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> Check out my Vietnam War + D&D freakish character, A 123 point starting character
Wounded Ronin
post Aug 23 2005, 06:53 AM
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A long time ago, when I was a little kid, I remember finding a novel by Mickey Zukert (sp?) called "By Chaos Cursed" which was about a Vietnam vet who was transported to ancient Scandinavia by Loki. Then he got put back into NYC and got guns so he could pwn an evil mage, super 80s style. It's like, "I cast magic missile!" vs. "I shoot you, tee hee."

For some reason, this morning, I felt inspired to make a SR starting 123 point character who is sort of based on that concept. I think that it's something of a continuation of my Damage, Inc (http://www.bullshido.net/modules.php?name=Reviews&file=viewreview&id=121) binge, which earlier manifested itself as a "Vietnam War Sterotype Mod" post I made on DSF.

For the purpose of fleshing out this character, I also designed a M16A1 assault rifle using the firearms customization rules. I basically decided to go with Raygun's 5.56 damage code of 9M, and then added weight decreases and some recoil comp since the point of the M16 was to be lighter and easier to use than the older battle rifles. The details are at the very bottom of this post.

So, here's the character backstory:

Thomas Blake was an ordinary young bus driver who worked for the MTA in New York City during the 1960s. Being a New Yorker he was sardonic and clever, but he never really succeeded in getting ahead in the city because the cost of living was so high.

Anyway, Lyndon Johnson decided it would be fun to start sending draftees to Vietnam instead of reservists so that legally he didn't have to shift the country to a war footing, which would have derailed his Great Society political goals. As a consequence of this, Blake ended up getting drafted and going to 'Nam just in time to catch a first-run jam-o-matic M16A1.

So, being an unmotivated and relatively unskilled draftee, Thomas Blake spent his time partrolling the jungle with a lot of his friends who were in the same unit. He got into many vicious firefights with the VC in which he freaked out, screamed, and used spray and pray tactics, but luckily the M16A1 would jam at strategic intervals to stop him from blowing all his magazines at trees. Given enough repetition, he actually got pretty handy with the M16A1, since that's what a high pressure practice environment will do for you.

Blake also became pretty cynical about the US government, like many people in the US at the time became. He decided that the war, with its seemingly meaningless and endless patrols and hill-stormings, was nothing but a half-assed political ploy by Lyndon Johnson and the federal government; a half-assed ploy that ordinary citizens were forced to give their lives to maintain. His opinion ended up going in this direction because he was a cynical, downtrodden New Yorker in the first place.

Anyway, one day he and his friends got totally surrounded by huge amounts of VC. Willie Pete was going everywhere and bullets zinged through the jungle. However, it was pretty clear that Blake and all his friends were going to die. Blake got to see many of his friends die around him and it was quite traumatic.

Then all of sudden, BAM...the god from the D&D 1st edition pantheon, Rad the Preserver, teleports Blake and his remaining friends out of the jungle where they are destined to die anyway in a few minutes. It seems that over in the Planescape world some naughty and irresponsible immortals were teleporting in various demons from the multiverse to raise hell and make more worlds shift towards chaos than towards law.

So, Rad the Preserver is like, "yeah right", and with a wave of his hand he creates piles of +5 5.56 ammo for Blake and his remaining buddies, and tells them that he saved them so they could go and kill the demons that were trying to mess with the balance of the Planescape campaign setting. Then Gary Gygax appears and writes them in some doughty 1st edition translated Mk2 hand grenades that do d20 damage a pop. Blake screamed as he felt his soul being transformed into d20 statistics, but before he could dwell on it for too long he found himself drifting through the planes and confronting every manner of d20 demon and chaos-spawn. To make the experience even harder to deal with, as soon as Blake was exposed to a magically active campaign setting, he expressed into an elf.

All the demons and chaos-spawns were pretty powerful, but Blake and his friends just kinda shot them.

Anyway, the campaign against the influx of demons and monsters takes many years, and as the gruelling battles go on all of Blake's remaining friends end up being killed one way or another, suffering horrific deaths at the hands of the D&D Monster Manual. Blake got even more traumatized. Why was Blake the sole survivor? Probably because he'd expressed into an elf, and we all know that elves are better.

Finally, all the extra chaos-orientated demons injected into the campaign setting were gone, but since Blake was supposed to have died in Vietnam it would have upset the game balance, uh, I mean cosmic balance of the 1960s, the immortals decided that instead no one would notice if they just plunked Blake in the Redmond Barrens in the generic Shadowrun campaign setting.

Blake screamed once again, vomitted, and passed out as he felt his soul being torn down from d20 statistics into d6 statistics, and when he woke up he was in the Barrens, with only a pile of Mk2 hand grenades and a bunch of M16A1s from his fallen comrades around him. He probably would have starved to death, but a kindly gang in the Redmond Barrens decided to take advantage of his situation by offering him food if he'd go into that burnt out building over there and kill all the "ghouls".

Not having many alternatives, Blake went ahead and was totally underwhelmed by the local ghouls. He wasn't afraid of them because he didn't know about the Krieger Strain. It all worked out, though, because slobbering ghoul-ness was no match for spray-and-pray tactics and Vietnam-desperation-fu. One of the ghouls tried to magic Blake, but luckily for Blake his Mk2 exploded on his next phase and blew the magic ghoul to somewhat infectious smithereens. PWNED!

So, the ghoul-busting-for-food arrangement continued for a year or two until Blake, through observation, began to understand more how the default Shadowrun campaign setting works. At first, when he only knew about the Barrens, he was consumed with despair, thinking that the entire world had devolved into some kind of Mad Max scenario no doubt due to nuclear war with the Soviets. Eventually, though, he learned about the rest of the city, the corporations, and how he could make actual money using his skills as a Shadowrunner.

Blake decided that the internal disunity which was so shocking and novel in the US during the Vietnam War simply extended and grew until the United States collapsed, which was why there was UCAS and CAS now. Furthermore, he decided that the world situation had gotten worse with the primacy of the mega-corporations. Whereas before, he reasoned, governments tended to justify themselves by representing what was best, or at least workable, for the people, now that corporations were totally in control they could be utterly and barbarically self-serving. More than ever, Blake decided, it was the ordinary citizen who was sacrificed for the advancement of the already powerful, except now there was even an explicit expectation of that.

The icing on the cake was that not even the all-powerful gods like Rad the Preserver were any better than that. They too had no problems with essentially using mortals; no matter how much pretense of principled action or compassion they might exhibit, the fact that they were so much more powerful than mortals and so separated from their day to day lives meant that there would always be a degree of caprice, a lack of genuine sensitivity, towards those under their power. Even the universe was like a gigantic version of the Federal Government!

Filled with the righteous, hippie wrath of the 1960s, Blake decided to work as a Shadowrunner so that he could be as devastating and destructive as possible to the various megacorporations. He bought himself a fake identity, built up a stash of arms, and worked hard to establish his credibility as a Shadowrunner. He would carry out a one-man guerilla campaign, but get paid to do it. He planned to kill and destroy and kill some more to bring his own balance to the universe, since he knew that in the end not even the gods themselves could look at him in the face and tell him he was wrong.


Character sheet:
Name: Thomas Blake
Handle: Peace
Age: 25
Hair: Blond, crew cut (keeps the lice easy to find when in the Barrens)
Eyes: Grey

Play notes: Blake has a skill rating in almost every weapon category, but many of the skills are rather low because he gained only minimal familiarization with them back in 1960s boot camp. The combat skills which are high (such as Assault Rifles) were refined from years of actual use.

Even though Blake has Assault Rifles and SMGs at 5, he will generally prefer spray tactics (suppressive fire, engaging multiple targets) over point fire. This has to do with the philosophy with which he was trained, pertaining to the 1960s theory that large volumes of easy to control automatic fire would be better than masterful and precise single shots.

Blake sees corporations as being evil, and so will try to cause as much damage as is feasible to corporate infrastructure and personnel when on his missions.

Blake has seen a lot of friends die and combat and the prospect continues to terrify him. Blake's Flashbacks are linked to a teammate taking a D wound.

Reflecting his outlook and life and the time from which he came, Blake often paints the 1960s peace symbol on his armor.

Quotes include, "Getsome! Getsome! Getsome!", "Peace, dude!", and "DIE, WHORES!"


Attributes:
B 5
Q 7
S 5
I 5
W 4
C 4
R 6 (9 for the purpose of surprise tests)
Init 6 + 1d6
Combat Pool: 8

Skills:
Assault Rifles 5
Edged Weapons 2
Unarmed Combat 2
Clubs (assault rifles) 2 (4)
Thrown Weapons 5
Spray Weapons 2
Shotguns 5
SMGs 5
Heavy Weapons 3
Pistols 2
Rifles 5
Athletics 3
Stealth 6
Car 5
Parachuting 4
Small Unit Tactics 3

Knowledge Skills:
US History: 1960s 5
1960s military tactics 5
Redmond Barrens 5
Planescape campaign setting 2
Critters (ghouls) 4 (6)
Shadowrunner haunts 3

Edges:
Adrenaline Surge
Lighting Reflexes, + 3 to REA

Flaws:
Computer Illiterate
Combat Monster
Flashbacks (triggered whenever someone on his team takes a D wound; flashbacks are of all his friends dying in 'Nam and in the Planescape campaign setting)

Contacts (level 1)
Redmond Barrens gang leader
fixer

Resources:
Rating 6 fake credstick (uses his real name, since he just appeared magically)
20 Mk2 hand grenades (treat as offensive HE grenades)
5 Walther PB-120s, 100 regular rounds, 25 magazines
5 Defiance T-250 shotguns, 100 regular rounds
5 M16A1 assault rifles, 300 regular rounds, 25 magazines (custom gun; see below)
5 Ruger 100 sport rifles, 100 regular rounds, 25 magazines
5 Sandler TMPs, 300 regular rounds, 25 magazines
Armor Clothing
Shredded up, clawed, and burnt 1960s ballistic nylon (now useless)
Handset unit cellphone
Ford Americar
4 mo. middle lifestyle (apartment is rented using fake credstick; 1 of each gun, 5 magazines for each gun, and half the ammunition listed for each gun above is kept here)
Permanent low lifestyle (Redmond Barrens hideout which is maintained by bribes to the Redmond Barrens Gang Leader contact; the rest of the guns, magazines, and ammunition are kept here.)


APPENDIX: M16A1 custom assault rifle

Assault rifle frame
Increased Power, 1 level (+80 DP, -.25 FCU, +.25 weight)
Recoil Compensation, 2 levels (+140 DP, -1 FCU, +.5 weight)
Weight Decrease 8 levels (+40 DP, -2 weight)
Final: 9M damage code, SA/BF/FA, conc. 3, Wght 4.75, Ammo 30 ©, DPV 485, cost 2425.
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Sabosect
post Aug 23 2005, 07:04 AM
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Um... yeah...

Say, you mind if I borrow this guy?
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Wounded Ronin
post Aug 23 2005, 07:07 AM
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QUOTE (Sabosect)
Um... yeah...

Say, you mind if I borrow this guy?

Please, go right ahead. I'd be honored.
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northern lights
post Aug 23 2005, 12:15 PM
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woe is me, i am forever traumatized that your lunacy has so tarnished my beloved planescape campaign setting. i shall now hate you forever, and rejoice at your passing.

dude, you've got way, i mean WAY, too much time on your hands, and yes that includes, watching platoon and hamburger hill, etc. etc. at least once each every week.

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Tal
post Aug 23 2005, 02:10 PM
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Given what the poor guy's been through, I'm mildly surprised at the flashback flaw. Seems a tad understated.
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Grinder
post Aug 23 2005, 02:35 PM
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A really weird and interesting background story. Thanks for giving me the idea how to integrate characters from every epoch of human history to 2070. :D
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Tal
post Aug 23 2005, 02:43 PM
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Missed the part where he gets sent back to kill the dinosaurs with a tac nuke though. :grinbig:
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Kyuhan
post Aug 23 2005, 03:52 PM
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QUOTE
Missed the part where he gets sent back to kill the dinosaurs with a tac nuke though.
So it is written in the Book of Rage...I'll be impressed if anyone gets that.
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Backgammon
post Aug 23 2005, 03:55 PM
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That was just... FUN to read! :D
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hyzmarca
post Aug 23 2005, 04:19 PM
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QUOTE (Kyuhan @ Aug 23 2005, 10:52 AM)
QUOTE
Missed the part where he gets sent back to kill the dinosaurs with a tac nuke though.
So it is written in the Book of Rage...I'll be impressed if anyone gets that.


Edit - wrong topic

Johnny was cooler in the movies. Sim Sim Salabim

Brilliant character, by the way.
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Kyuhan
post Aug 23 2005, 04:36 PM
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I am impressed. :spin:
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Wounded Ronin
post Aug 23 2005, 05:57 PM
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QUOTE (Tal @ Aug 23 2005, 09:10 AM)
Given what the poor guy's been through, I'm mildly surprised at the flashback flaw. Seems a tad understated.

My original plan was to load him up with more mental flaws, but when I looked down the lists I was surprised to see that there weren't too many that seemed appropriate. I had considered taking a Phobia of some kind but decided that that was less suitable than Flashbacks linked to teammate death. Had there been more mental flaws resembling PTSD I'd definitely have taken those.



Thanks for the compliments, guys. :)
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Nikoli
post Aug 23 2005, 05:59 PM
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Actually, I'd see more of a When teammate takes a Serious wound
And you could have a Phobia (Nightmarish creatures) ie Hellhounds, Doznoqua, Chupacabra, etc.
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SFEley
post Aug 24 2005, 02:36 PM
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QUOTE (Wounded Ronin)
Blake screamed once again, vomitted, and passed out as he felt his soul being torn down from d20 statistics into d6 statistics, and when he woke up he was in the Barrens, with only a pile of Mk2 hand grenades and a bunch of M16A1s from his fallen comrades around him.  He probably would have starved to death, but a kindly gang in the Redmond Barrens decided to take advantage of his situation by offering him food if he'd go into that burnt out building over there and kill all the "ghouls".

I wonder it says about me that, in all of that, the only part I truly found silly or unbelievable enough to object to was that a man surrounded by grenades and weapons is in danger of starving to death in the Barrens.

In your head, this guy is played by Bruce Campbell, right?
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SkeevePlowse
post Aug 24 2005, 04:28 PM
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Hail to the king, baby.
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Wounded Ronin
post Aug 24 2005, 05:47 PM
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Indeed.
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Wounded Ronin
post Aug 25 2005, 06:06 PM
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QUOTE (northern lights)
woe is me, i am forever traumatized that your lunacy has so tarnished my beloved planescape campaign setting. i shall now hate you forever, and rejoice at your passing.

dude, you've got way, i mean WAY, too much time on your hands, and yes that includes, watching platoon and hamburger hill, etc. etc. at least once each every week.

So, wait....does that mean I've caused you Planescape: Torment? :rotfl:
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Kyuhan
post Aug 26 2005, 12:36 PM
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I think the joke police got dispatched on that one. :grinbig:
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Foreigner
post Aug 26 2005, 04:36 PM
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Wounded Ronin:

IIRC, I once read that somebody tried that in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons or one of its spinoffs.

In this particular campaign, the PCs were mercenaries, and had recently become involved in a civil war that had been going on for over 20 years game time.

After a protracted battle during which neither side could gain a tactical or strategic advantage, the PC's party cleric prays to his/her deity for a means of ending the conflict.

The DM decrees that there is, at most, a 10% chance of anything of that magnitude happening--after all, the war has been going on for over 20 years--and gives the player the dice.

The resulting roll--using three 10-sided dice--was as follows: 01, 01, 01.

The DM, thinking on his feet, decides that the cleric's prayer was so strong that it tore the fabric of the space-time continuum.

Through the resulting warp comes a B-52 Stratofortress, which the DM says had been on its way to an Arc Light mission--a strategic bombing campaign from the Vietnam War, using squadrons broken up into three-plane elements (the leader and two wingmen).

The plane's electrical system had been taken off-line by the stresses of passing through the time warp; however, using auxiliary power, its crew manages to restart four of the eight engines, thereby gaining enough altitude to avoid crashing.

The pilot salvoes the bomb load--dumping the whole schmeer, bombs, racks, and all. Unfortunately, he forgets to disarm the bombs before doing so.

The bombs land on a ridge very close to the enemy leader's castle, doing a lot of damage, and inflicting heavy casualties. However, the plane is severely damaged by a rather large Call Lightning spell--or something of the sort--and it crashes on the plains behind the castle, killing its crew.

Unfortunately for the PCs and the people they were helping, the enemy leader employs a large number of Troll mercenaries--some of whom attempt to recover anything salvageable from the wreckage of the plane.

They end up with the crew's personal weapons, and the twin 20mm General Electric M-61 Vulcan cannons from the aircraft's tail turret, along with quite a bit of ammunition.

After losing several of their number while trying to figure out how their new toys work--but not that many, because Trolls in AD&D can regenerate damage from most wounds--they begin doing a lot of damage to the army with whom the PCs have allied themselves.

I've forgotten what happened next, but I think that the gun crew was eventually taken out by magical means--possibly a MASSIVE Fireball spell.

I also don't recall how the conflict was resolved, i.e., whether one side or the other won the war by wiping out their enemies, or if it was ended by more peaceful means, such as a peace treaty.

--Foreigner
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Wounded Ronin
post Aug 26 2005, 04:55 PM
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Wow, that sounds like an awesome campaign.
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Tal
post Aug 26 2005, 05:02 PM
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Reminds me of A Connteicut Yankie in King Arthur's Court for some reason.
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Shadow
post Aug 26 2005, 08:40 PM
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Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill.
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I wish I could find the book series, but there is a series about a group of mercenaries that is similar to this. They are on a hill in africa fighting some war and they are all about to die. Aliens show up and spirit them away. They offer the mercs a deal, serve us or we put you back to die.

They take them to a medieval planet where some drug is processed. But the local fiefdom has rebelled and the mercs have to put it back on track. Of course the mercs all have HK's and anti tank weapons. More than a match for knights on horses.

I'll try and find the name of the book for you guys, I think you would like it.
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