Author Topic: GameTalk - Role-playing the military  (Read 3761 times)

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Offline bayonetbrant

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« Last Edit: November 03, 2014, 02:28:12 PM by bayonetbrant »
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Offline Cyrano

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Re: GameTalk - Role-playing the military
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2014, 11:59:34 AM »
I play fantasy RPGs 'cuz, well, folks like 'em and I've run my share of Deadlands, but my favorite RPGs have always been rooted in historical military simulation.

1.  GURPS manages this very well.  I've run ancient, medieval, and Napoleonic.

2.  Twilight 2000.  Little more needs be said, I think, other than Frank clearly was designing a wargame when an RPG broke out.

3.  Savage Worlds. It's a miniature skirmish system with an RPG shell around it.   I'm sure Whill Wheaton hates it.  I once had the notion of taking a party -- in a grossly ahistorical way, I'll grant, through the whole of WWII...beginning in ca. 1933.

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Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: GameTalk - Role-playing the military
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2014, 12:01:07 PM »
Twilight: 2000 came immediately to mind for me, as well.

I still enjoy occasionally flipping through a sourcebook or module from that game. :)

Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: GameTalk - Role-playing the military
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2014, 12:28:34 PM »
Yes, T2k came to mind for me, too.  But how good was it as a game?  I haven't played it in 20 years, but I remember it being a pretty mediocre set of RPG rules...
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Offline Cyrano

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Re: GameTalk - Role-playing the military
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2014, 01:09:51 PM »
Depends entirely on what you want from your RPG.

The biggest grievance, bar none, with first ed. was the tracking of EVERY ROUND OF AMMO SPENT.  I can't even imagine...

The combat, which uses a clever telescoping scale depending on the nature of the engagement, is admittedly a bit unintuitive until you had someone explain to you how it's supposed to work.  In my case I pigeon-holed Frank at GenCon and got it done.  It's also very bloody, which strikes me as appropriate.

I'd also note that it comes from a time before more narrative RPGs like Vampire, In Nomine, &c., in that it's quite rules heavy.

I don't know as anyone interested in swords, sorcery, pointless armor, and iron rations would get into it, but, military guys, ex-military guys or green-sniffers (for whom I always figured the game was designed anyway) have always seemed to like it.  My 2LT REMF buddy had a campaign that ran well north of a decade before he switched to Battletech.

Best,

Jim
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Offline GJK

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Re: GameTalk - Role-playing the military
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2014, 02:01:48 PM »
How's the T2K combat rules as compared to Phoenix Command?  I really, really enjoy the level of detail of Phoenix Command but the rules overhead and chart after chart lookups just kills the tempo of the game.  PC wasn't really an RPG however but was created to be used as a modern combat model for RPG's. 
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Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: GameTalk - Role-playing the military
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2014, 03:39:08 PM »
The biggest grievance, bar none, with first ed. was the tracking of EVERY ROUND OF AMMO SPENT.  I can't even imagine...

Yeah, but that wasn't by far the biggest pain in the ass of the system. We had even more "fun" foraging for veggie crap, turning said veggie crap into digestible crap for a portable still, and sitting around waiting for random encounters whilst said still made crappy fuel for the vehicles. THAT sucked, but that was more of an issue in the Europe modules, like the original one and ones like Ruins of Warsaw. Once you got to Gateway to the Spanish Main and back stateside, things kind of improved. The Red Star, Lone Star module was by far my favorite content-wise but saw an extensive return to the whole mash-fuel junk.

As far as it being a good game, it was more about the roleplaying with us, a bunch of JROTC and ROTC dorks with aspirations for military service. The world was relatively immersive and realistic at the time. The 2nd ed. of the game did its best to re-route history based on the fall of the Soviet Union (IIRC), and things more or less turned out the same as they did in the 1st ed. I don't know - I enjoyed playing it at the time. Would I do it now? Nah. I don't mind re-reading it if I'm really, really bored one day, or flipping through a sourcebook like the Warsaw Pact Vehicle Guide, but I doubt I'd actually want to play it now.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2014, 03:59:21 PM by Banzai_Cat »

Offline Jack Nastyface

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Re: GameTalk - Role-playing the military
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2014, 09:10:44 PM »
In spirit, I loved military and historical themed RPG's.  Some of my favorites included Skull and Crossbones, Privateers and Gentlemen, and of course Boothill (okay, not "military" but not sci-fi or fantasy, either).  In practice, however, my gaming group sadly learned that "realistic" games required a completely different way of playing.  The  hack-n-slash and spell-throwing tactics that worked so well for dungeon brawls just didn't cotton in historical or military games, and more often than not, everyone in our band of pirates/royal navy sailors/outlaws ended up bleeding-out about 3 encounters into any scenario.  Sure...Tomb of Horrors had it's sphere of annihilation, but every damn grenade, rpg, rocket or bazooka was a flying sphere of annihilation in T2K; every Colt .45 or shotgun was a +10 magic missile, and never was there a cleric or healing potion to be had.  In short, military and history themed RPG's taught us how to play carefully and cautiously, and that in an RPG, discretion is very often the better part of valor.
Historical RPG's also taught me something else:  the importance of good story-telling.  Many of the fantasy and Sci-fi games we played had very little story to them (or perhaps better said, story that we cared about) aside from hack-n-slash adventuring.  In the historical / military RPG's, we usually had to figure something out, make a (sometimes complicated) plan or decision, or struggle with a moral complexity.  Although these games were often less bloody, they were more engaging and somehow more human.
Although I haven't played a game of this ilk for sometime, I look fondly upon games like "Carry", "In Harm's Way", or "Aces in Spades".

Yours in gaming,

Jack Nastyface
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 11:11:36 AM by Jack Nastyface »
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Offline Double Deuce

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Re: GameTalk - Role-playing the military
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2014, 10:24:26 AM »
We played T2k one shots many times but it just didn't seem to generate any long term interest to carry on through several weeks. Not sure why, maybe because we were all active duty Army. On the other hand the Fantasy RPG's lasted through entire tours.

Offline Cyrano

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Re: GameTalk - Role-playing the military
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2014, 12:18:57 PM »
Ah, yes...now I recall...

Banzai Cat is most correct.

Rotten 'tater hooch straight into the tank.

Frankly, I hand-waved a lot of that business away as GMs often do, e.g., "OK, you've scared the peasant and he shows you his secret stash of...100 gallons of pure-grade booze-a-hol! "

S'matter of fact, that may be part of why groggier types don't like RPGs...too much discretion for the GM and not enough system.  Still, kriegsspiel was one of the world's first formal RPGs and in many ways the inspiration for D&D (both Gygax and Arneson said so).   Paddy Griffiths wrote that, once you realize you are blessed in not having actually to participate in war, all attempts at simulation can be made to seem absurd if you take matters far enough.  Doesn't seem right to take the shoot so far from the trunk.

Best,

Jim
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One mustachioed, cigar-chomping, bespectacled deity, entirely at your service.

You didn't know? My Corps has already sailed to Berlin. We got there 3 days ago and we've been in the Tiergarten on the piss ever since. -- Marshal Soult, October 1806