Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Best Case Scenario (Micro-Wargame Rules, Character Creation, Advancement)

     Check the sidebar under "Houserules" for the most up-to-date ruleset!.

    This game is set roughly now, in an area that you're familiar with, even if just from the movies. It is intended (more than designed) for two to four players. One of them will serve as the referee. The referee, being a divine figure, requires no more advice than they have already gathered (though they might want to check out the updated rule set); the rest of this document is directed at the playing types.

    In the field you control both the Commanding Officer and their subordinates. You are responsible for choosing their roles and their equipment, tracking their resources, and making their decisions in combat. Most of the actual rules are related to combat because it provides tension and finality, but as the CO you should seek opportunities to employ stealth, diplomacy, high-explosives, booby-traps, falsified documents, intimidation, and graft.

    Combat is a sequence of Rounds, assumed to take only a second or two. In each Round each character acts simultaneously. Each character may move 3m over level ground and take one Action. If it is important who acts first — such as when fighting for a dropped gun, or slamming a door in a face — roll two d6s. Highest goes first.

     Actions in a Round:

  • Attack. Roll a d6, add relevant bonuses, subtract relevant penalties. On a 4 the target is hit and lightly wounded, on a 5 the target is seriously wounded, on a 6 or higher they are dead. This is assuming mortal human enemies, of course. If you were using a gun, subtract the result of the Attacks from your ammunition.
  • Reload. Swap out one magazine for another, replace a belt, or load a grenade or two shells into a grenade launcher or shotgun.
  • Take Aim. Choose a target. Next round, roll 2d6 when Attacking and take the higher value.
  • Provide Suppressing Fire. Requires an automatic weapon. For the duration of the Round, anyone in or passing through a targeted area is Attacked unless behind cover. Those behind cover test Morale. Expends a full magazine, penalties may be applied to Attacks if the magazine didn't start out full
  • Hide. Enter nearby cover or concealment. Targets in cover may not be directly Attacked, targets in concealment cannot be Attacked except by Suppressing Fire.
  • Sprint. Move an additional 3m. This movement may take you up a ladder or over a gap of less than 3m.
  • Rally. Roll a d6 to calm a Panicked ally, succeeding on a 4 or higher.


     In addition to the CO you control the lives of four soldiers, which you must spend wisely. Soldiers start with 2/2 Morale and a Role. They advance through experience, earning medals, or having Budget invested in their gear and training. They may spend Morale to grant them an additional die on any check, but they may not do this if it would leave them with less than 0 Morale.

     Example Roles:

  • Marksman: +1 to Attacks per Round spent taking Aim, up to +3. If Invested, +2 bonus for the first Round, and can reach +4.
  • Grenadier: As their primary weapon, carries a special grenade launcher loaded with six grenades of varying types. If Invested, has access to more interesting grenades.
  • Automatic Rifleman: May provide Suppressing Fire when Panicked. If Invested, +1 bonus to Attacks when providing Suppressing Fire.
  • Medic: May use a first-aid kit to remove a light wound or serious wound. If Invested, their first-aid kits have two charges.
  • Sapper: Carries your choice of an AP mine, two bear traps, a 1kilo charge of C4 and detonator, or a bundle of spike strips in addition to their gear. If Invested, carries two.
  • Rifleman: Nothing special, but is considered Invested (with +1 to Attacks) after two successful missions at no cost.
  • Chaplain: Reduces Morale costs when a soldier is killed. If Invested, automatically succeeds at Rally checks once per soldier per mission.

     When a character checks Morale, they roll a d6, losing a point of Morale on a 3 or lower. If they drop to 0 Morale or below, they are Panicked. Panicked characters can only move and Sprint away from danger or Hide. When a Panicked character is Rallied, they do not regain Morale. Characters at 0 Morale automatically fail Morale checks.

     When a character is lightly wounded, they may not assist the CO in any checks. When seriously wounded, they cannot act in combat. Two light wounds make a serious wound, and two serious wounds are lethal. When a soldier dies, surviving soldiers in their fireteam check Morale.

     Each soldier, including your CO, carries a primary weapon and three pieces of gear. If they don't carry a primary weapon, they may carry five pieces of gear. Short range is 0m 20m, medium is 20m40m, long range is 40m 200m. Attacks normally suffer a -1 penalty at medium range and a -2 penalty at long range.

     Example Primary Weapons:

  • Assault Rifle: as normal. 31/30 ammo.
  • Machine Pistol: Priority when deciding who acts first, no long range. 41/40 ammo.
  • Shotgun: +1 to Attacks at short range, no long range. 6/5 ammo. Not automatic. Uses one shell per Attack.
  • Sharpshooter Rifle: -1 to Attacks at short range, no penalties at medium or long range. 21/20 ammo. Not automatic.
  • LMG: +1 to Attacks when providing Suppressing Fire, takes up 1 additional gear slot. 200/200 ammo. Suppressing Fire only uses 100.
  • Grenade Launcher: Launches grenades. 1/1 ammo. Not automatic, obviously.

     Example Gear:

  • 3 grenades. Flash, smoke, flare or frag. Limited to short range only.
  • Underbarrel Grenade Launcher. Fires a grenade at medium range. Cannot be reloaded in combat.
  • Underbarrel Shotgun. Attacks as a shotgun. Cannot be reloaded in combat.
  • Magazine, clip of shells, or boxed belt.
  • NVG.
  • Gas Mask.
  • Heavy Armor. -1 penalty to Attacks against you until you're wounded, then it's broken.
  • Semiauto. +1 to Attacks at close range, -2 penalty at medium range, no long range. 16/15 ammo. Not automatic.
  • Revolver. +1 to Attacks at close range. 6/6 ammo. Not automatic.
  • Melee Weapon. +2 to Attacks at point-blank range. Obviously, ineffective at other ranges and not automatic.
  • First-Aid Kit. Can be expended to remove a light injury.
  • Line Thrower. Dedicated tool for launching a grapnel and sturdy line 100m, to aid in scaling buildings or crossing large gaps. Usable as a weapon, once, with no long range fire.
  • Silencer. Silences a firearm.
  • Truth Serum. One-dose vial.
  • Steel-Bodied Flashlight. Provides light, and +1 to Attacks at point-blank range.

    Example Grenades:

  • All grenades have a fuse of 4 Rounds when thrown by hand, while launched grenades may be set to explode on impact or after a shorter time.
  • Flash. Perforated cardboard body filled with metal salts. Produces a flash of disorienting light and sound within 5m. Flashed targets typically miss the first Round of combat. They may also need to check Morale.
  • Smoke. Thin cardboard body. Produces a thick, obscuring screen of smoke in a 10m radius for about a minute. May be colored for signalling purposes.
  • Flare. Sturdy plastic body. Produces brilliant light for about an hour.
  • Frag. Sturdy metallic body. Instantly kills unprotected targets with 5m. Unprotected targets within 15m are Attacked.
  • Tear Gas. Thin metallic body. Produces a thick, obscuring screen of smoke in a 10m radius for about a minute. Unprotected targets within the cloud are blinded.
  • Poison Gas. Thin metallic body. Produces a thick, obscuring screen of smoke in a 10m radius for about a minute. Unprotected targets within the cloud are Attacked every round.
  • Incendiary. Heavy glass body. Covers a 5m area with burning material, quickly destroying wooden buildings and unarmored vehicles. Produces foul, blinding smoke.
  • Concussion. Thick cardboard body, and quite heavy. Instantly kills practically anything within 3m with overpressure. Acts as a flash grenade throughout an entire floor of a building, even against targets outside visual range.

    Outside of combat, you can do anything it's obviously possible you can do. If there's time pressure, or if trying something not obviously possible, roll a d6. You succeed on a 4 or above by default. If you have a soldier with a relevant skillset — a sapper for demoliition, a medic for biology, a chaplain for translating a cult's holy book — you may add 1 to the check. Additionally, your CO has a background which makes more things obviously possible

    Example Backgrounds:

  • MP. Bullshitting, paperwork, forensic research. Relatively free reign as a special agent of the military police led you into many strange places and situations. When you were snapped up by the Organization it was hardly a surprise.
  • PMC. Maintenance, hotwiring, first-aid. You worked for the Organization for years unknowingly, before they let you see the man behind the curtain.
  • SWAT. Intimidation, demolition, chemistry. A raid against a hive mistaken for a drug lab left you the sole survivor. You were inducted right out of the hospital bed.
  • CSI. Biology, computers, paperwork. You were a friendly for years, offering your services to the Organization under the table, until they gave you a job offer and a free trip to boot camp.
  • Research. Chemistry, biology, physics. When the fireteams brought back cursed tomes, inhuman POWs and photos of lights in the sky, you were part of the Organization who studied them. After a disaster in the lab you picked up a gun from the corpse of a security officer, and you never put it down again.

    After surviving a mission, it is the CO's responsibility to write up an after-action report (for good examples of these, check out some articles on the SCP wiki) and nominate a soldier for a medal. By default, roll a d6 and the soldier receives the medal on a 4 or above.

    Example Medals:

  • the Eight-Pointed Star for Conspicuous Bravery in the Line of Fire. Grants one free Morale check per mission when suppressed or near a grenade.
  • the Gold Triskelion for Enviable Success snatched from the Jaws of Failure. Grants one extra light wound per mission.
  • the Platinum Infinity for Notable Composure while looking upon the Face of Horror. Grants one free Morale check per mission when encountering something terrible.
  • the Jacaranda Vein for Surprising Resilience in the case of Horrible Bodily Mutilation.
  • the Viridian Eye for Remarkable Ability in landing Confirmed Kills.
  • the Ivory Hamsa for Admirable Restraint in collecting Undamaged Anomalies.
  • the Cerulean Heart for Exemplary Gladhanding while evacuating Neutral Parties & Civilians.
  • the Black Mark for Unanticipated Survival even when Everyone Else Died.

    Between missions, your CO allocates their Budget to soldiers and special gear. You start with three points, which may be reassigned as you please. Successful missions will result in more trust from the Organization, more Budget to spend, and more things to spend that Budget on.

Example Things to Spend Budget On:

  • 1: Investing in a soldier.
  • 1: Requisitioning a van from the motor pool.
  • 1: Requisitioning a special piece of equipment, such as a flamethrower or a drone.
  • 2: Requisitioning an armored vehicle from the motor pool.
  • 2: Requisitioning a helicopter from the motor pool.
  • 3: Requisitioning a tank from the motor pool.

Sample Fireteams:

  • Chi-2, the Bear Hunters. Room-by-room clearing of buildings and spookum hives.
    CO Steven Mills. Shotgun, clip, frag/frag/frag, heavy armor.
    Rifleman +1 Matthew Weber. Shotgun, clip, flash/flash/flash, heavy armor.
    Rifleman +1 Claude Butcher. Assault Rifle, magazine, magazine, heavy armor.
    Medic Elmer Gibson. Machine Pistol, ballistic shield (provides cover until wounded), medkit, medkit
    Chaplain John Marsden. Shotgun, underbarrel grenade launcher, flare/flare/flare, heavy armor
  • Gamma-7, the Phone Phreaks. Recovery of computers and sensitive information.
    CO David Flynn. Semiauto, silencer, clip, flash/flash/flash, heavy armor.
    Rifleman +1 Nathan Spitz. Semiauto, silencer, magazine, magazine, heavy armor.
    Marksman +1 Simone Oakley. Sharpshooter Rifle, silencer, magazine, smoke/smoke/flare
    Sapper Walter Hibl. Semiauto, silencer, kilo of C-4 and detonator, tactical matte black hacking laptop.
    Medic Spencer Heath. Machine Pistol, silencer, medkit, medkit.
  • Delta-13, the Unfortunate Sons. They've got a helicopter and a stick up their ass.
    CO Raymond Michaud. Assault Rifle, magazine, magazine, revolver
    Automatic Rifleman +1 Susan Combs. LMG, boxed belt, boxed belt.
    Automatic Rifleman +1 Ludwig Saylor. LMG, boxed belt, boxed belt.
    Marksman +1 Nelson Vipond. Sharpshooter Rifle, NVG, medkit, medkit
    Marksman +1 Sandhip Kaur. Sharpshooter Rifle, underbarrel grenade launcher, NVG, flare/flare/flare
  • Omega-7, the Camera Outage Kids. Sometimes you're less worried about this week's spookum than the collateral damage from handling it. Dropping five black-clothed gunmen in the middle of the local Starbucks can cause a bit of a ruckus, you know? Four people in long coats (and a fifth on a nearby hill) are a lot less... notable.
    CO Seth Masters, Machine Pistol, smoke/smoke/flash, revolver, magazine.
    Chaplain Nathan Gibson, Machine Pistol, first aid kit, underbarrel shotgun, melee weapon
    Rifleman Claude Eaden, Machine Pistol, smoke/smoke/flash, heavy armor, magazine
    Rifleman Sam Dillinger, Machine Pistol, underbarrel shotgun, magazine, heavy armor
    Marksman Jim Twoda, Sharpshooter Rifle, NVG, line thrower, magazine. 
  • Theta-4, the Tour Guides. Scouting and low-level suppression of a wide area, identifying epicenters, leading evacuations, etc.
    CO Claudia Sells, Assault Rifle, NVG, flare/flare/frag, megaphone
    Marksman Todd Morel, Sharpshooter Rifle, magazine, line thrower, NVG
    Medic Sam Opal, Assault Rifle, first-aid kit, first-aid kit, megaphone
    Medic Lydia Thiel, Sharpshooter Rifle, first-aid kit, first-aid kit, NVG
    Sapper Thomas O'Brien, Machine Pistol, first-aid kit, heavy armor, revolver

    Some of the rules, roles and teams are by Xenophon of and Archon of My friends and I on the double-deluxe secret GLOG server have prepared a few short adventures already, and some of mine will be posted soon. Look up "Delta Green Shotgun Scenarios" to tide you over in the meantime.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Until Human Voices Wake Us (GLOG Class: Hollow Man)

I am known to be a humorous patrician, and one that
loves a cup of hot wine with not a drop of allaying Tiber in it;
hasty and tinder-like upon too trivial motion;
one that converses more with the buttock of the night
than with the forehead of the morning;
what I think I utter, and spend my malice in my breath...

    I've been developing this microclass for a full year now. This is really a labor of love, I wouldn't have been able to accomplish this without the support of the entire OSR community, who all adore me and believe me to be literally divine. They believe this because I have told them so, and I have told them so because it is true.
    I hope you enjoy.