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Ghostofman

The fun of Gear fluidity and disparity...

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TL;DR: Would a post apoc game where you (and everyone else) burn through gear regularly, and occasionally find items of stupid power sound like an ok setting. Or would you always be mad about losing that one pistol that one time (even if it wasn't especially good), and never use that plasma grenade for fear of coming across a bigger fish later?

 

Full ramble:

So curse of the GM and I'm always thinking 3 campaigns into the future. And by extension having too many good ideas, and fretting over "Will it actually be fun." 

I'm kicking around a post apocalypse setting of some kind (not fallout, though I may nick some bits), but one thing I kinda want to do is make gear acquisition and loss much more fluid. Stuff will break, ammo will be a bit more scarce, batteries will die, fuel will run out. If you get captured by Scavs there's no assurances they'll put all your stuff in a bin and leave it out for you to recover during your inevitable daring escape.

This isn't to say I'll be stingy with gear; a big part of my world design is to ensure there's ample supplies out there to loot, recover, salvage, and craft. And I certainly have no intention of counting every bullet and bean. It just means that gear isn't soulbound to your character, glued to his hand, and getting more ammo isn't just about swinging by the local Walmart and picking up a box. 

I'll of course scale to the players, and all things will be "even" so the opposition will be equally (or even unequally) limited to what they can find and have figured out how to get working again. So the players will (usually) not be at a disadvantage. 

 

And the other related idea was a certain level of gear disparity. So like, melee weapon, bows, and basic firearms will be reasonably common and (more or less) what you're used to seeing in the system.  But when someone rolls up with an assault cannon, or a laser pistol, or sat uplink, or what have you, that's going to be a really big deal. These weapons and items will be much more rare, more powerful than typically depicted, but also by extent more limited. Yeah an assault cannon can level a building, but it's also only got enough ammo in the can for two shots.

Also by extension there's an element of increased derp. A scav might show up and threaten you with an rocket launcher, but a perceptive player might notice the scav also has no idea what he's doing and probably couldn't actually get the thing to fire if he wanted to. 

 

But...

Is it fun?

RPGs typically place a priority on gear acquisition, and rarely destroy items without offering something better in short order. Would you be annoyed to lose kit regularly even if you got a suitable replacement soon after, or would you accept it as a part of the setting?

And hanging onto that Damage 5,000 grenade until the credits roll isn't an unusual thing among players... Would you toss it at the pursuing horse cavalry, or hang onto it in case a tank showed up and then be angry when a tank never ever showed up?

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Ghostofman said:

TL;DR: Would a post apoc game where you (and everyone else) burn through gear regularly, and occasionally find items of stupid power sound like an ok setting. Or would you always be mad about losing that one pistol that one time (even if it wasn't especially good), and never use that plasma grenade for fear of coming across a bigger fish later?

As long as the players are on-board with it, hêlls yes it sounds fun!

And thinking on it, you could re-flavour Heroic Abilities as "gear" so you're guarenteed to always have something in your back pocket.

All the Facts is a tricorder. Hard to Kill is a force-field or auto-hardening armour. Unbowed could be a nanite injection. Unleash is that bandolier of grenades. Etc.

That way, you don't have to worry about them "never having it again."

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I think it absolutely sounds fun. Just make sure to explain it as well as you did here during session 0. That's the purpose of session 0; to align everyone's expectations. 

 

You could also do a 1-3 session one shot to try out the idea. If it works then keep going, if not then stop.

 

I think Genesys would be perfect for this because you could just make threat more dangerous to items. Allow 1 threat spent to damage a weapon 1 stage (selectable multiple times), or 2-3 threat can outright break a weapon. This way players can use it on enemies just as much as it can be used on them.

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The Numenera RPG is a science-fantasy system and setting long after an ancient apocalypse that focuses on delving into old technological ruins for mysterious artifacts.  The game featured a few catagories of items:  Cyphers were powerful, one time use items that you could only carry a few of.  Artifacts were more durable equipment that you could use many times, but you still had to roll on a 'depletion' table or it might run out of ammo/power/just break.  There was a third catagory, Oddities, but they were quite minor and seldom had mechanical effects.

 

I ran Numenera for a couple months, and that aspect of the setting and system sounds a lot like what you're talking about.  My players had fun getting the most out of their cyphers, and that part of the system was the main draw.  But I made it pretty clear at the beginning to not expect permanence from the items they dug out of the rubble.

I would definitely make sure the players understand the nature of gear in your setting from session 0, and I would recommend making it easy (or at least not incredibly hard) to scavenge or craft new gear and equipment when stuff breaks when you're starting out.  If it were my game, I'd intentionally break something early on, maybe in the first combat encounter, to emphasize that.

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On 6/6/2019 at 3:46 PM, Ghostofman said:

TL;DR: Would a post apoc game where you (and everyone else) burn through gear regularly, and occasionally find items of stupid power sound like an ok setting. Or would you always be mad about losing that one pistol that one time (even if it wasn't especially good), and never use that plasma grenade for fear of coming across a bigger fish later?

GAMMA WORLD 7 (the DnD4e version) and MUTANT: YEAR ZERO both play it as, "yeah, yeah, have your basic gear, but Woah Hey What About This Wild-@$$ One-Use Jetpack!?!"


And me and my players love it.

 

Remember kids, use your "once a session" items/abilities early and often!

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We were pretty hard on gear in a Star Wars: Edge of the Empire campaign and I really liked it as a player.  One of the things it led to in our group was a wider variety of combat skills b/c you never knew what weapon you would be using.  The combat focused characters were more generalists rather than specialists.  Compared to other Star Wars/Genesys games I have played or run, it slowed the power creep a bit.

I love scarcity as a motivator in games and will always steer towards this model anyway, so you and your players mileage may vary of course.  

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