Monday, 2 September 2013

The Convenient Activation and AI system

Following on from my previous post I have found some time to test out a few rules, but bear in  mind these are still very much a work in progress which make sense to me but may well be meaningless to others!

Really they are parts of most of the games I have played, as detailed last time I have stolen piecemeal from THW, The Department/GoalSystem, 7TV/action:engine, and even Spacejacker’s Gunstorm.

Equipment needed
A random determiner for each Group like coloured beads, dice, poker chips, paper tokens, decorated mouse skulls, and a suitable bag, cup, hat, vase, mouth of a lion, to draw them from
Some d12 (will do for d3, d6, or even d2/d4, although they’re not required, aren’t d12 cool?!)
Some figures and terrain (really up to you, I’ve no system for laying these out, although a card draw system would be very good)
Some PEF markers (I use paper mini style ‘tents’ with a ? on them, very cheap!)
Some markers for Hostile and Fleeing status (these need to be small, like the 7mm dice I use, but cool under figure base discs would be good, even in cardboard, or simply bits of paper/card)
Possibly some other things I’ve forgotten here but mention below

For your information I am currently trying to play test these with 15mm figures on Fat Dragon Games street tiles laid out 4x4 (the 1.5 inch tiles shrunk to 60% using Poster mode in Adobe Reader, this give 5x5 squares which are greater than 20mm), I therefore read things in squares rather than inches/cms/Wookie hand spans.

OK, so you lay out your terrain, determine conditions and whatever scenario you have in mind. 5150 New Beginnings is excellent here. Place your figures and however many PEFs you want if you’re not following 5150.

Place in your receptacle a token (in my case coloured d6 in a dice bag) for each unit in play, at the start this is likely to be your force and the PEFs, but this will grow as your game reveals figures.

Draw a coloured die from a bag
If it is PEFs go to the PEF section, otherwise:
Choose half (round up) of the figures from that group (7TV)

Non-player figures
Choose those that are in danger/have an opportunity to fire etc. Basically use common sense, although you could dice off if required (I might use a global Combat Nous/Tactics style number to roll against, if equal or under then follow common sense, otherwise do something else!).
Roll on their current Subroutine table (TDFM)

Player figures
The player is free to choose the actions of his own figures (except when Fleeing themselves) and the opposition will react to these as required.

Each AI figure has a subroutine allocated to them, these are Normal, Hostile, or Fleeing. The subroutine can be picked as the figure is placed as required by the scenario you have in mind, or determined randomly using whatever method you want. For instance in a Blade Runner campaign everyone would start as Normal, until you raid the Replicants’ ‘base’ when everyone starts as Hostile. I don’t want to give too much away as I don’t want to reveal the complete workings of GoalSystem/The Department’s Subroutines (I actually only have The Department so don’t know if this is unique to that interpretation of the GoalSystem or not, but assumed it is not).

I have modified the subroutines from The Department a little too, making move a random 1d3 for Normal and 1d6 for Hostile and Fleeing. I have yet to test these thoroughly but could easily double them to 1d6 and 2d6. For those without access to The Department Spacejacker’s Gunstorm AI table makes an excellent basis for your own Hostile and Fleeing Subroutines, Normal can follow the PEF movement table. I have an idea for subroutine tables of my own which I obviously would post, but playtest, playtest, playtest is required first.

PEF movement
This is simplified quite dramatically from THW, first select the closest half as before, rounding up). For each PEF roll 1d12 and move it 3 squares according to this table:


Any score greater than 8 means stay still, on an 11 or 12 the PEF splits, immediately roll again for both (this can be reduced to 12 only if you don’t want a profusion of PEFs). If a PEF comes in contact with a door, or a corner etc. which would reveal LOS I stop them. On their next activation I roll for direction again and if it is vaguely in the right direction I will move them out of the building (3 squares still if out of LOS) or into LOS if around a corner and not revealed already.

I’m sure that’s not clear so here’s an example: Imagine a 5x5 room with a door in the middle of the left hand wall. For this example the PEF starts in the bottom left corner. This turn I roll 8 so move the PEF upwards so that it stands in front of the door even though this is only 2 squares movement (if necessary randomly determine wall/obstruction direction). Next activation I roll 5, as the action is not directly outside from here I move the PEF out into the street and down 2 squares as this puts it on a corner where if it moved 3 it would reveal itself. Now the next turn I roll 7 and move it 1 square into the road where it is revealed as crowd of 1d6-1 people.

OK, so that’s the Active AI sorted, what about Reactive AI, this is where my version of THW steps in, the following reactions are used:

In sight
Return fire
Man down

The In sight reaction is only needed where the enemy is in Hostile or Fleeing mode (and only where the Fleeing figure is an ‘enemy’). This starts getting into my own system, but is basically d12 blackjack i.e. both sides roll 1d12 highest roll under the figure’s Reactions/Combat stat activates first. Example:

Detective Bob Reactions 7, Replicant Mike Reactions 6 (5 is human average), Bob rolls 8 and Mike 2. Mike goes first as despite his lower roll it is under his Reactions stat while Bob’s roll exceeds his. If both fail, they stand agog at each other, if equal they react at the same time.

Return fire is handled by a Bravery/Combat stat, Mike fires at Bob (Bravery 5) but thankfully misses, Bob rolls 1 and is free to react returning fire. Mike (Bravery 6) is missed and gets to react rolling an 8, this puts him in Fleeing subroutine and he immediately rolls on that table scarpering off to the nearest cover.

Finally, the Man down test is also made against Bravery. Unfortunate Mike (Bravery 6) is next to Replicant sympathiser Susie when she is gunned down and Taken out (removed from the board) by the determined Bob and his PKD Special. Mike rolls 7 and decides once again that discretion is the better of valour, or maybe he cares not for humanity, and finds himself on the Fleeing subroutine, breaking cover for the safety of the board edge.

Unfortunately as he breaks cover he is in LOS, this time Bob rolls 6 and Mike 4, Bob reacts first and plugs Mike so he is Down (laid on his side/down), looks like Bob’s earned his bounty.

I think next time I will outline my system’s stats, of which there is a detailed and simple configuration, plus how they all work, then its on to my own AI tables.

Any comments of course welcomed!

Until next time Steve

1 comment:

  1. Hi Steve, this is good stuff. I meant to comment on it earlier but lost your post in my blogroll. I've been having real trouble keeping up lately. Gunstorm is still something I need to check out. I'll be interested to see how your AI tables play out.