Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Cyborg" infected with computer virus infects computer


Here is the gist, a man with a RFID chip infected with a computer virus scanned the RFID chip with a computer and infected the computer with the virus.

I hope you are thinking "so what?".  I hope are thinking "why?"  The idea that media can contain malware which can infect other systems when opened should come as no surprise to most computer users.

In the world of Cyberpunk (as I am working on the contest, but know I will not meet the deadline unless there is some miracle) malware would be a threat for all systems.  In my game there is a big lack of implanted Cybernetics.  In 30 years I think the idea of implanting a dirty machine should be thought of as crude and primitive (like a hook for a hand or peg leg).  In a world where tissue can be cloned and grown I don't think there will be a need for hearing aids, pace makers and other common cybernetics we see every day.  

But an idea remains.  Scientists recently created artificial life (here ) -- as much as the guy from the above article is a cyborg.  The idea of manipulating or programming DNA as you might software is the roots of genetic engineering.  A custom virus used to insert DNA to correct a genetic disorder might cause harm to another person.  It might mutate or be fused with another disease in an unexpected way.  As this branch of medical science progresses there will be points in time where scientists will have to choose between their Boss' desire to make money and their ethical responsibilities.  My current view of doctors and where medicine is headed in general, I am sure there is some sloppy guy about to enter medical school today who will make the wrong decision in time to mess up life in the year 2032...

what do you think?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Detriments (I hate coming up with names for stuff)

What I hate most about my sick need to make a RPG of my own is coming up with names for stuff.  When I look at other games I think to myself "Oh, there is a good name for something."  But then immediately feel self-conscious about plagiarism.

This is not healthy because I am drawn to games, especially homebrew games (I am really liking where StarGazer is taking Gears -- ).  But when I look at them it is like I have seen something which I can not un-see and therefore am aware of "copying".

There are so many things you can call a spade (Shovel.. ah, spade.. digging-stick?), so it should not be a surprise to use a name for a mechanic in a game the same name as another game.

In "the Counting Game" (yep, still keeping with that name), you have abilities which are worth character creation points.  The good ones that help you cost points and the bad ones give you points.  I'd call the ones that cost points "abilities" but have been on the fence as what to call the ones that give you points back.  The opposite of an ability is a disability, but it would not be politically correct or sensitive to use "disability", right?

Then that makes me say "Disadvantage" and then ability becomes "Advantage".  If you are a GURPS player, you see that that is a term they use.  I don't like that, I'd rather steal from a more obscure source.  So I have been thinking of calling them "Detriments"..

Yeah, I hate coming up with names for stuff.. I stink at it...

Gaming this last weekend with my kids..

My wife went out of town this last weekend and I had the kids.  We watched "Iron Giant", "Princess Bride" and the older one and I watched "Dune".  We also had a chance to play a very short game of "Fair Use Space Opera" similar to a unrelated Space Opera with the initials of "S.W."

The game was a big hit with my 7 year old.  He was instantly fascinated by the idea of numbers on paper to simulate the world and dice to decide how things work out.  He was very excited and we had a great time.  His brutish "Space Trooper" had a hard time with pushing the correct buttons and natural 20s resulted in some exploding control panels.  Great comic fare for a 7 year old.

Character creation was interesting, he has a great grasp on mathematics but most of the process was verbal -- "Could your guy walk a tightrope without a net?"  His 7 year-old exuberance left him wanting to play the "Ultra" version where attributes normally on the scale of 1-20 were in the hundreds.  While this was possible, it is not really playable.

I look forward to playing again soon with them as each time it is a lot of fun.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

When would you freak out?

I enjoy playing a RPG that lets people be human.  Back in the day playing D&D or Palladium's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"/"Robotech"/"Rifts" you were not often playing a true person but more like a video game character from "Double Dragon".  You had no fear, there was no reason to hang back.. as long as you had hit points and your sword ( gun/mecha/etc) you were all set.

The first time I played GURPS it occurred to me that playing a game could be more "real".  Now, not real in the tedious way and also not real in "skill roll for everything, including tying shoes", but real in that the character might get scared or that a person's motivations in playing a game are more than just achieving the next level.  I had old skool D&D players tell me how much the levels and hit points made sense, but really it is a stand-in for the ideas that later made video games possible (levels and hit points are the basis of most video games).  I can't see my own life where I am seeking experience points to get to my next level, I am not seeking a better understanding of Cisco Routers so that when a guy punches me I can take it better.  The old systems were so one dimensional.

*major confession time*
I am too old to understand Twitter and I have never played D&D 3E, 3.5E or 4E.

I know you all think less of me, but I will continue writing this...

Many games need a sense of tension and fun that only real life "S*&T Happens" type stuff can offer.  If your 4th level Cleric could always "Inflict Critical Wounds" then you are just a video game cabinet away from Gauntlet.  If your Cleric was allergic to cats and was -4 dexterity in a sneezing fit around them, now things are interesting.

In other games such things were forced.  In Rifts if you faced a Daemon there might be some forced "save vs insanity" roll, where you hit up a table on failure and ended up with a fear of heights.  But I think when a character confronts a life or death situation for the first time (ever or even "in a while") and the blood gets pumping, there should be a roll.  Anything a rookie "Glitter boy" does the first time they get face to face with "Azemodeous the eater of souls" is the right thing to do (even if they have to change their pants afterward).

In my game, such a reaction roll would be base upon the Mental Endurace/Will attribute.  There are two kinds of rolls, contest and non-contest...  This would be a non-contest roll.  In a non-contest roll you must roll under half the attribute plus any applicable skill and modifiers.  A normal person has a ME/Will of 10, with no skill (+0) and default modifier (+/-0) would have to roll under a 5 with a 20 sided die -- or 25% to hold it together.  Now let's say that they Glitter Boy Rookie had seen video of Azemodeous dancing with a puppy on YouTube, he might get a +3 for a modifier which would have him roll under a 8 with a 20 sided die, or about 40% chance to keep it together.

The same goes with Tunkar the Warrior.  If Thunkar is out in the woods and stops to look at a butterfly, a sneaky DM might ask Thunkar to make a Wisdom roll.  
"Why?" says Thunkar's player.
"I will tell you later." says the DM.
Thunkar has a Mental Power/Wisdom of 8.  Half 8 is 4, with no modifiers or skills applied by the sneaky DM Thunkar has a 20% chance and completely fails the roll.
Later, as Thunkar is ambushed by two Lollipop Trolls, he reaches for his two-handed axe and is surprised to find out he left it next to the pretty butterfly.

I am sure this stuff is possible with every system out there.  I am sure you have even played D&D with such things happening.  If you have not then I encourage you to find a way to add it to your games.  It is a good way to prevent Munchkin-ism ( "Can I drop my charisma to 2 and raise my strength to 18?" "Yes -evil laugh- I am sure charisma will not come in handy.").

Popular Posts