Monday, April 21, 2014

More thoughts on my Alien Menace PC

Just some notes-to-self about improving A.B. Karabus after the first session of play.

My character portrait:

- I need more Move. Or Speed. I have Basic Speed 6.5, so 10 points for a 7 would be nice. Or 5 for Basic Move 7, either way. My goal is an encumbered 5+ Move.

- I need to learn Observation. I forgot to take it. I took Cooking, but not Observation. Or Orienteering. Oops.

- I, amusingly, have something like 22 points in melee skills and less than 22 points in ranged weapon skills. That's Karate, Wrestling, and a little Axe/Mace (for a hatchet) and Knife (for a Large Knife). But my idea is that when I need my unarmed/melee armed skills, I need them badly and no one can provide fire support. The skills on the page are probably the best rolls I can get, while my ranged weapon gets Acc 5, +4 with full ROF, etc. to counteract the range penalties. In melee, it's Trained ST 19 vs. whatever the universe can bring.

- If I'm going to shoot on the move, I need to learn CQB for my SAW. Bulk -5 is not conducive to hitting anything.

- I need to modify my quirks a little to reflect actual play.

- I need to write a pithy statement on my helmet. I think I'll mimic one of my players from his X-COM: UFO Defense days and write "Aliens Welcome" on the front. Or maybe "Welcome Aliens." That second one makes me laugh when I read it, so probably "Welcome Aliens."

- I should really line my helmet with tinfoil. You know, just because.

- I do need to note my Acc, Reflex sight, and other mods for shooting.

- I have to sit down and read the Fantasy Grounds FAQs and such. The smoother I can make my end go, the easier it is on the GM.


  1. The way I like to handle mods in FG: make a Note (in FG) that tells what quick-keys combo applies to what game-rule conditions—I usually use "Shift" for ranged mods, "Ctrl" for melee, "Alt" for defenses, etc. If you know XML at all, you can edit the quick-keys file for that character directly, which makes it a little faster.

    1. I meant noting the mods on a piece of paper in front of me. Noting them all in FG might work once I'm comfortable with it - and only while I can also double-check the numbers by hand to ensure I'm checking off the boxes I need to check off. I don't know any XML, and I got out of IT so I wouldn't have to learn it. ;)

    2. FG handles this pretty well once you're comfortable with it. You can put mods in the quick-key slots and name them appropriately. When it comes time to shoot, you click them (or use the hotkey) it dumps it into the mod-box, to be applied to the next die roll. You can hover over the little dots in the mod-box to see what that mod is, for pre-roll review.

      Also worth noting is that you can dump a number of mods into the mod-box and drag them into their own quick-key slot, so they get fired off together—I've started using this for things like scope+acc+aim-bonus that almost always apply at the same time (I have three, for 1-round, 2-round, and 3-round aiming).

  2. Definitely curious how FG feels on the player end. Doug was definitely showing some angst over it as a GM, but how was it on the other side of the screen?

    1. FYI, my angst is almost solely because I was hypersensitive to perceived delays on the part of my players. Brian Ronnle invited me to play as a player in his Banestorm game (I wrote about it) and when handled by a skilled GM, familiar with the game foibles, it works very well.

      My GM-based angst is somewhat interface related (some of the chosen key and mouse combinations are not intuitive), and somewhat what I'd call 'order of operations' related. Eric Hil walked me through the right process for (say) laying out a combat encounter, and it's basically path dependent. To do an encounter, you first get the right NPCs in place. You then put those guys into an "Encounter" or future combat, and tell the program how many of each type you want. When you add these to the combat tracker, they'll go in as Guy1, Guy2, Guy3. Then you can place them from the tracker on to the map.

      There were also some features that used to be present (and still are on other rulesets) that didn't carry through to FG3 (but are still there in 2.97 or something) that provide better visual clues (the token highlights when the Combat Tracker says it's their turn and such).

      My "angst" is to try and make the interface not visible to the players. Given what I've experienced with Roll20 and MapTool, that's not really a goal that an ever happen . . . but as a first-time-in-a-while GM, I was very sensitive to coming to the end of my first session and having four of my friends giving me the digital "well, that was four hours of my life I'll never get back" look.

    2. Player FG Impressions:

      1) Character sheet is nice. Wish it was resizable.

      1a) Wish the borders of all windows were more clearly defined so that they were easier to resize.

      2) Not being able to permanently dock the map window somewhere is annoying.

      3) Having tokens snap to both hex centers AND corners (and snap-rotate to both corners and faces) is annoying.

      4) Having all players able to rotate and move all player tokens is annoying.

      5) Having the players unable to move NPC tokens is also annoying.

      6) Measurement tool is okay, but "L+R click, drag" is a bit cumbersome and often ends with the numbers hidden behind my token.

      7) Having the mouse wheel control both map zoom and token facing if you accidentally place your cursor over a token (such as when zooming in or out of the map) is annoying.

      8) Not being able to get rid of dice that you don't use (d20 in a GURPS game) is annoying.

      9) Character portraits on chat lines are basically clutter at the size of the chat window.

    3. #1 Coming Soon™
      #1a is an issue with the default skin, and could be rectified with a custom skin (really gets on my nerves, too)
      #6 I got used to making the pointer off-hex and moving it over when I can't see the numbers
      #8 is Coming Soon™
      #9 GM can turn those off in Options
      Everything else kinda falls under "I've gotten used to it over the years"—which doesn't mean it can't/won't be corrected (Soon™).

      I'm helping a little with the development of the ruleset update, so I'm tracking all the complaints for potential bug-squashing. I'm also thinking of creating a new GURPS default skin based on the stuff I've been hearing here.

  3. Having played a fair amount of X-COM: UFO Defense I wholeheartedly support your large amounts of melee skills. I would also wholeheartedly support a very large number of big explosives and rockets though. Man I hate Chryssalids....

  4. I'm not sure what everything does, especially with the specialized rules. I'm not sure if my guy is all the great, but he knows one thing, point the hollow end the other way and waiting for the boom.


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