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Monster Hunting Advice

 
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:01 pm    Post subject: Monster Hunting Advice Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I may soon be running a contemporary monster hunting game. The idea is that they're covert, scattered around the city in disguise, and one of the PCs' challenges (esp. in the early game) is finding them.

My current thought is that the PCs will have access to a ritual which lets them know when they are 'kinda close' to a monster. Something like: you put a specially-treated flower on the car dash, and it wilts when the monster is within about... half a mile?

The idea is to have there be a substantial but manageable amount of driving around work, which turns up areas which are themselves a fair amount of work to search. Half a mile is my attempt at a compromise between the detection range and the area to be searched. Does it seem okay?
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"Now that we've determined that up to π angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine the specific number (or fraction) of angels dancing?"
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virgil
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

What kind of city are they in? Detecting a monster within half a mile in Funkley, Minnesota is substantially more helpful than detecting one in a half-mile radius in Lower Manhattan.

On a related note, what means of detection do they have of the monster once it's in a populated area and start driving around?
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

virgil wrote:
What kind of city are they in? Detecting a monster within half a mile in Funkley, Minnesota is substantially more helpful than detecting one in a half-mile radius in Lower Manhattan.

It'll probably be Greater Boston, because it's where we live and so know pretty well. That's got a lot of mile-radius areas which are going to be diversely difficult to search.

Quote:
On a related note, what means of detection do they have of the monster once it's in a populated area and start driving around?

I'm... not sure what the question is? So I'm going to answer a different question in the hopes that it helps. That question is: 'having found the area, how do they find the monster in it?'

Some of that is just going to be detective work. Once you have a relatively small area it's a lot easier to look for shit that be freaky yo. Yeah, you are going to get multiple suspicious subjects because it's a big city and there are statistically going to be some very weird people. A guy is going to turn out to eat a lot of tulips because he's a nutball and not because he's some sort of evil fairy.

So there are also going to be things to do to bypass monster disguises once the hunters are down to a reasonable number of suspects. Probably something like the AS dispel/power-downs, where you throw sand at them or get them soaking wet. Something that's tricky to do to large numbers of people, but just shenanigans to do to a few.
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"Now that we've determined that up to π angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine the specific number (or fraction) of angels dancing?"
"What if angels from another pin engage them in melee combat?"
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TiaC
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It still allows triangulation. With two cars, you can get a pretty exact fix unless they are moving at speed.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hm, I don't want to punish that sort of cleverness, but I also don't want to have it trivialize much of the hunt. I guess I'll make the flower ritual sufficiently expensive that they'll hesitate to use two to find the same prey. That way it becomes a strategic thing where they can decide to expend more resources if the terrain includes like seven giant condo plexes, or if there's particular time pressure.
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"Now that we've determined that up to π angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine the specific number (or fraction) of angels dancing?"
"What if angels from another pin engage them in melee combat?"
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Mechalich
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Half a mile seems like a lot. From a single point that gives you a search area of ~0.8 square miles. Population densities in the heavily settled parts of Greater Boston are quite high, with much of the metro core above 10,000 people per square mile, and the densest areas several times that.

For example, take something like Quincy, at a density of ~5500 per square mile. Around 92,000 people in around 16.8 square miles. That's twenty-one search areas, leaving you with over 4,000 people in an average search area. That seems like a lot to go through.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was about to argue, but you're right. I was looking at setting the spots up so that large amounts of the search area would be water or park, but that relies on the players approaching from a particular angle, which I of course can't guarantee. I need to set the range substantially smaller, more like 1/8 of a mile.

That'll increase the driving workload. Hopefully not too much.
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"Now that we've determined that up to π angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine the specific number (or fraction) of angels dancing?"
"What if angels from another pin engage them in melee combat?"
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Do these monsters do anything? Because unless their activities make them indistinguishable from totally regular humans, it seems like the best way to systematically search for monsters is to go through the morgue and find any suspicious wounds, and once you've finished up there start looking up any missing persons cases. Go sniffing around organized crime and local religious organizations to see if any of them are being used as a cult or cult recruiting grounds by a vampire. That sort of thing.

Narrowing the location of a monster down geographically doesn't really help at all once you've already got them down to the city they live in (and the premise of the campaign is that all monsters live in Boston), because it only takes like an hour to get from one end of the city to another, so if a vampire lives in East Boston they can go commit any monster-related activities over in Hyde Park. Knowing that the vampire lives in a 1/8th mile radius area within East Boston only helps if they break into each and every house, condo, and apartment in that area looking for coffins, which is much riskier and not especially faster than tracking them down from the crime scenes or other suspicious activity they cause while monstering.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Hunter's Moon is an RPG based around hunting monsters, time is a limited resource so hunters have to balance prepping and research vs stopping it from snacking on metro goers.

Here's a summary:
http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=56491

OgreBattle wrote:
Been reading about Japanese tabletop RPG's on various blogs, one of the things that gets mentioned is Japanese groups tend to meet less often, like once a month, and games are focused more on one-shot so there's an emphasis on quick character generation but not much on character growth over multiple sessions.

Here's a breakdown of how Hunter's Moon works.


Character Creation
You start with character motivation that gives a general motive of why your PC is hunting monsters. An 'avenger' lost something precious to a monster and is out for revenge, a thrill seeker just wants to test himself and get the adrenaline flowing, a magician belongs to an order with a duty to hunt monsters, and so on. You determine if your character 'hates' or 'fears' the monster, hate means when your hitpoints are low your attack power rises, while fear means when your hitpoints are low your defense rises.

You then pick from a list of skills that you're good at. Different attack powers are tied to skills, and you can have skills disabled from damage. This also applies to monsters.

The game has set phases called "Sundown", "Night", and "Sunrise", so it represents one night of hunting for one gameplay session. Sundown, Night and Sunrise are broken down into further phases of...


Pursuit ("Legwork"):
The phase starts off with the GM determining what the monster is up to, and then the PC's react to that.
-Monster roll: The GM rolls for what the monster is up to such as targeting specific people or going on a rampage, if the monster succeeds they get a benefit like a new ability to use, more morale (ablative hitpoints). and PC’s have to roll against that skill to stop it
-Location roll: Determines where the upcoming battle takes place, locations have unique effects like “Warehouse: players receive a free item”, “subway: anyone who rolls a fumble takes damage from being hit by a train”.

PC’s get 1 action to spend on things like researching the monster's weakness, stopping the monster from eating people, and so on:
-Weakness investigation: Finding out the monster’s weakness, making it easier to kill the monster or figuring out what body part you have to damage to disable its powers ("By piercing its chest it can't breath fire anymore!")
-Behavior Investigation: Finding out what the monster’s capabilities are, what triggers its super powers. ("The monster feeds off of anger and gets stronger when it senses it")
-Location Change: Change location of battle ("This monster flies, lets not fight it on the cliffside")
-Practice: Training, prepping weapons and so on, gives a bonus to the next battle.
-Support: Lower emotion, change status condition of allies (healing them), change emotion from fear/hate

After that's done you move on to...


Battle: PC’s run into the monster and fight

Battles are pretty short, with everyone getting maybe 1-3 turns before one side has to flee or dies. Hunter's Moon has a 'ablative hp and real hp' system with 'morale' (restores after battle) and 'hp' (when you lose hp you roll to see if you take injuries that disable skills and abilities).

This cycle of "Legwork-> Battle" is then repeated for "midnight" and "sunrise".




The same guys who made Hunter's Moon also made Shinobigami, which focuses on more player vs player interaction as PC's all have hidden agendas. It's kind of like "Mafia". It's still in phases but there's a PC who gets to decide the general theme of the phase like "I'm attacking player X" or "I'm spying on player Y", but other players can interact with it like "I use my scrying ability to jump into the scene and rescue player X from player Z"

Quote:
Shinobigami overview

Shinobigami is designed to be played in a single sitting, with an entire scenario wrapping up in about four hours. This feature of many Japanese role-playing games is put to great effect in Shinobigami, allowing dynamic characterization between sessions and exciting long-term storyline possibilities.

Before the game begins, each player should have a completed character sheet. The Game Master will hand each player a handout containing their character’s Mission and Secret. Once everyone is ready, play begins.

A scenario is made up of four separate phases: Introduction, Main, Climax, and Ending.
Introduction Phase

The Game Master will introduce the NPCs and the scenario’s inciting incident during this phase, and give each player character a scene. During these Introductory Phase scenes, the character gets to show off their character, describe their appearance, and reveal their Mission to each other. The players will record the names of each character in the People section of the character sheet for future reference. The objective of the scenario, and the “prize”, is introduced.
Main Phase
In the Main Phase, the Prize is put into play: It may stay with one person or change hands several times over the course of the three cycles. During the Main Phase, the players takes turns as the Scene Player. While acting as a Scene Player, a player has narrative control over a scene in which their character comes closer to fulfilling their Mission.

A Scene Player may choose between a Drama Scene and a Combat Scene. During each Drama Scene, a player will roll on the Scene Chart for inspiration, then narrate a scene in which their character uses a skill to forge an Emotional Bond, uncover another character’s Secret or Location, or recover a lost Life Point. If a character has found another character’s Location, they may engage them in a Combat Scene. Combat Scenes are quick, lasting only a number of turns equal to the number of combatants, meaning that each combat is quick and bloody.

A Cycle is complete as soon as each player has taken their turn as Scene Player. A scenario typically has 3 Cycles. Once the final cycle is complete, the Climax Phase begins.


Climax Phase

The Climax Phase is where lines are drawn and the ending determined. Each player will need to rely on allies they think they can trust to survive and complete their goals. A final combat scene with special rules will last a number of rounds as decided by the GM or scenario. This is the only point in the game where a character can be knocked out of the game or even killed. The last person standing can claim the Prize, or perhaps they will reject it in favor of another reward more in line with their true character goals!

Once the people standing lay down their arms, the game moves to the Ending Phase.

Ending Phase
The events of the Ending Phase are largely determined by the outcome of the Climax Phase. Repercussions and the results of complete or failed missions are shown or acted out in a final scene for each character. Finally, experience points are handed based on completed goals, secret goals and player actions. And from there…

Commonly the next step is… to play the game again! Likely another day, and perhaps with a new Game Master. Perhaps all or some of the previous session’s characters will appear again (though it’s not a given). Maybe there will be a new antagonist, or maybe the characters will act as each other’s enemies. With a simple new scenario (and a new “prize” to capture) and new secrets, no two games of Shinobigami will ever feel the same!



Emotional bond mechanic

-Info Sharing: If anyone towards whom you have a bond (positive or negative) learns someone’s Secret, Location, or Ougi, you will automatically and instantly receive that information. So it’s good strategy to start the game off by forming bonds, then letting other people find information for you.

-Emotion Mods: Whenever someone makes a roll, anyone with a bond towards that character may give a +1 bonus or -1 penalty, depending on whether the bond is positive or negative. This can occur once per bond per cycle (of drama scenes) or rounds (battle). In a co-op style game, this can be quite powerful, if everyone was nice enough to be positive towards each other.

-Battle Burst: If a character towards whom you have an emotional bond becomes involved in combat, you may jump in at any time. Normally, only the character called out by the Scene Player, and/or whomever else they decide, joins combat. Of course, you may join in to help or hinder as you see fit.

-Ninpo: Ninpo that either affect the way that bonds or formed or their effects. Missions and Secrets may also involve emotions, too, like the Secret: “You are in love with Player 1. If you and Player 1 don’t have ‘Loyalty’ or ‘Affection’ bonds towards each other by the beginning of the Climax Phase, your Mission becomes: Kill Player 1.”


Enigmas: Environmental secrets that have mechanical effects, usually on the last boss of the scenario. They consist of the ruse, its true form and effect, and the way to cancel it. Enigmas start off unknown, with only the ruse uncovered, and the rest must be uncovered like a Secret, and only then can it be canceled. For example, in a scenario with a boss and 4 underlings, an Enigma might be that “4 generals protect the boss’s weak spot” with the effect being that during a battle, the boss will never suffer the effects of any fumbles he rolls. In order to cancel that effect, the players must defeat all 4 underlings during the Main Phase.


The dice mechanics for both games is a chart based d66 and a roll over/under (I forget) thing, but I'm not really interested in that as you could convert it to dice pools or d20 and work out better math, it's the structured storytelling that interested me.


Last edited by OgreBattle on Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Dogbert
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm assuming the system you'll be using is not d&d, otherwise nothing stops the party wizard from doing Spell Research and coming up with a considerably more reliable "detect thingie" spell.

Chamomile wrote:
Do these monsters do anything?


I want to think we're working under the assumption these monsters ARE Criminals. Otherwise the implications of agents (be it freelance or government-sanctioned) who just go around hunting and killing people based on their race, well... they wouldn't be pretty.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm considering rethinking my whole set-up, but let me lay out where I've been coming from.

The big idea is that the monsters are part of a covert invasion from a magical dimension. The monsters can't stand up to a modern military, but they can use subtler powers to subvert chunks of our society, establish a larger presence, eventually set up some big ritual effects to destroy modern civilization with non-shootable forces like plagues and extreme weather, and only then reveal themselves to conquer the survivors by force.

As a result, unlike a lot of monster-hunting genre stuff, the monsters are making a real effort to not leave uncanny corpses and similar lying around to creep out the viewers at home. If an uncanny corpse is generated, they'll do their best to cover it up by actively mutilating the body to look like it has a more normal cause-of-death or just disposing of the whole thing like mob cleaners. Rational incredulity is a big help, but they only rely on that to the degree that they have to.

So the idea is that the things that will give them away are only suspicious if you're looking for magical monsters in the first place. These guys aren't forming cults of personality or serial-killing; they're working as secretaries in City Hall or selling (mind-control) donuts to the police. Even the ones infiltrating organized crime are doing their best to be innocuous criminals.

The covers aren't perfect, of course. There are a relatively small number of monster types and each type has weird behavioral compulsions. Some of those compulsions might be a thing they can do on the other side of town, but a lot of them are going to be much more convenient and inconspicuously done in the privacy of their homes, and some they're going to have to do at work because they can't go eight hours without.

That's the context I've been working with.
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