FOR DAWS TO PECK AT

Issue #2

Blue Room Edition

"I PLAY THE HARPSICHORD" - RECITING THE GENEVA CONVENTION

Since this is the post-Gen Con issue, I'm sure several contributors will be mentioning the con, and one or two might even share amusing Gen Con stories and anecdotes.

Mine, then, would be redundant. Besides - I'm sure that yet another mention of the AotA/A&E Battletech game is something that the universe can manage to trudge along without somehow <grin>. Suffice it to say that it was a fun event, even if there WAS a gaming convention going on in the background.

And any rumors you might have heard about John Nephew and I sleeping together are very probably rubbish.

And besides, the best part of Gen Con wasn't the con (suprise, suprise), it was hanging out with the APA-members mentioned above. Lee (as always) is just plain Swell Company. the Tims were largely obsessed with their tech-stuff (congratulate them both on getting the book!), but were fun, anyway. Lowell seemed nice the few times I actually got to talk to him (there were only so many hours in the weekend, alas), Dave Pulver has to be one of the neatest folks in the APA (and takes constant questions and criticisms regarding GURPS Vehicles well); Dave Carter is almost precisely how I imagined him (which is to say, an extraordinarily level-headed and nice person who GOES AROUND EXCERPTING PEOPLE'S PRIVATE LETTERS WITHOUT BLOODY ASKING THEM). Spike was as fun as ever, but I still can't cope with the fact that he's an AotAer, now. Loyd was very pleasant to talk to (especially when talked to about music and other non-game stuff). All in all, a gathering most grand.

One last note, though. Never ask directions in a Milwaukee redneck bar. That would be Bad.

QUOTE DEPARTMENT

``If you would create something, you must be something.''

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

SHIPBOARD LIBRARIES IN GURPS VEHICLES

Okay, okay - I KNOW it's not sane to do this sort of thing, but (while writing up stats for some flying ships for my fantasy game), it occurred to me that having some realistic library stats might be useful for ship captains with CLASS. I have no idea what posessed me. But here they are:

Library (TL 1+)

Library stats - relative to how much information they contain - depend a lot on tech level. At TL 1-2, libraries are collections of scrolls - massively bulky and very expensive. At TL 3-4, they are collections of large, handmade and handwritten books (heavy, bulky, and expensive - but a big improvement over scroll libraries). After the printing press becomes widespread at TL 5 (it is a TL 4 invention), libraries begin containing more information in a much smaller area, and become cheaper. With the increased use of paperback texts at TL 6-7, libraries become both compact and lighter (although a good deal less dignified - for an all-hardback library, just use TL 5 stats - TL 7 assumes an even mix of hardback and paperback). Stats below include access space and shelves and stuff.

Above TL 7, ignore these rules and just buy databases. Alas.

Libraries are defined by how many books they contain (abstracted into millions of words), and their subject matter. Libraries can be Single-Subject (devoted to History, Physics, Criminology, Law, or some such), Single-Speciality (devoted to Russian History, Ballistics, Serial Killers, or Tax Law, for instance), or General (devoted to every subject there ever was or ever will be).

Stats below are given in Millions of words (or MegaWords, if you don't mind me being a little cheeky in my own 'zine). Smaller libraries are often just appended to an existing room (the captain's quarters is a favorite), while larger libraries are thier own separate part of the vehicle, or at least part of the crew recreation area or messhall (subsumed into quarters).

TL Cost Mass Volume

1-2 $15,000 1,650 lbs 650 cf

3 $7,500 45 lbs 3 cf

4 $4,000 35 lbs 2 cf

5 $300 25 lbs 0.7 cf

6 $240 20 lbs 0.6 cf

7+ $175 15 lbs 0.5 cf

Note that this accessory also allows the creation of BOOKMOBILES!!! How did your campaign ever survive without this? (Sorry - I'm in a playful mood - I always do this much math when I'm feeling playful).

Using Libraries

Libraries each have a Research Value, depending on their size and focus. A single-subject library of 200 million words will allow research on that subject at no skill penalty. A single-speciality library can do the same trick with only 20 million, and a general library requires a cool 50 billion (50,000 MegaWords) before it fails to penalize research.

If a library is of some other size, then divide the number of words it has by the standard values above, and compare the result to the following table (if the result falls between lines on the table, round DOWN):

0.0001 -10 1.000 +0
0.0004 -8 1.250 +1
0.0020 -6 2.000 +2
0.0090 -5 3.250 +3
0.0375 -3 5.000 +4
0.1650 -2 7.250 +5
0.7500 -1 10.00 +6

Remember that some questions will carry a hefty bonus to the roll, even beyond normal ``everyday skill use'' bonuses. Finding the family tree detailing the players in the Rurikid Dynasty is a History (Medieval Russia) question at about a -4, but finding the capitol of Bolivia is something like +20 (the maximum, defined as the Any-Moron-On-Research-Default-Could-Find-It-In-An-Encyclopedia-Set level).

If a character wants to research a subject inappropriate to the library's subject, the GM may allow it on a whim at appropriate penalties. Looking up a Criminal Law question in a Tax Law library would be at -6 (there's bound to be at least one general work that MIGHT have the answer), while looking up a Cooking question in the same library would be effectively impossible.

Magical Libraries: In a world where magic is legit, a Single-Subject (Occultism) library has two modifiers; the first modifier is the normal one, and is used for researching any general occult questions, like looking up which spell is causing the halfling to turn blue, or what brand of bran muffin is likely to cause a demon to reveal it's true name. The second modifier is it's usefulness for researching specific spells. Divide it's MW into 50,000 and compare to the table. Thus, the 63 MegaWord captain's library on the Three Moons, a sailing airship crewed by wizards, applies a -2 to Research on general Occultism, or a -8 if the browser wants to study to improve his Levitation spell. Libraries devoted to a specific spell have no penalty on 20 million words; libraries devoted to a whole college have no penalty on 200 million words.

RUEBEN DOWNS, A 200-POINT PROFITLESS MERCENARY FOR GURPS GREYHAWK

Earlier tonight, I was sitting around talking a lot to Gertrude and flipping randomly through my files when I came across this character - Rueben Downs, my ``fighter'' from Gertrude's last roleplaying campaign - a traditional action-adventure fantasy run that she GM'ed fifty or sixty years ago (Gertrude insists that it's been less than two years, I think). It was a GURPS campaign set in TSR's World of Greyhawk setting, using T1 and then the Slavelords stuff, along with bits of other modules and lots of Gertrude's personal material.

The campaign went very well, and ran for several months, but in the end it was cancelled due to a bout of (as far as anybody could tell) GM apathy. But I still remember it fondly.

Rueben was my second character for the campaign. The first, Alcaide Roanwood, was retired when he went stark raving mad. A long story - and one which inlolves a small amount of cheese, some sausage stew, a major demon and at least one broken dog.

But don't worry - he turned the dog to stone before he broke it.

Rueben, then, was a ``return-to-sanity'' sort of character. I wanted to play a basically nice, thoroughly mundane sort of fellow. No more insane elves for me!

PERSONAL DATA

5'6'' 140 lbs. Dark Eyes and Hair, the hair with a slight reddish tint. He is of unmixed Oerid stock and looks it. Has a single eye (his left), his right is healed over and covered with a brown leather patch. His cloak is a faded plaid of mixed reds and browns, visible only on close inspection. Otherwise, his choice of dress is non-oeridian. He favors solid dark reds and whites and browns. He wears mostly chainmail and a battered helmet. His shield is unadorned. Age: 25.

CHARACTER STORY

Rueben was born and raised to the age of 15 near the town of Woodwych in the kingdom of Nyrond. His family owned a small farm where they raised grain and some cows for milk. His fondest memories involve riding the cart with his brothers and sisters into town and smelling the fresh bread that they would bring for sale. He had trained under his uncle while a child (his uncle was Greele, an infantryman in the king's army). At the age of 15, he took a job as guard with a merchant company being formed in the town. He has yet to return home, although he intends to one day.

He traveled with the merchants for 4 years before meeting Grace, the daughter of a rich wine-seller in Rel Mord. They married, and he worked with her father for some time. The marriage turned troublesome, however. Rueben tired to convinve Grace to travel with him west to the "better" kingdoms, and she would not live "the life of some vagabond." Rueben had traveled too long, and this, combined with Grace's temper and possesive nature, led to increased drinking and fights with her father. He left at night, and, again, has never returned.

The rest of his life to date has been a strange mix of activity. He returned to fighting life, and became a "profitless mercenary," joining armies on the basis of his belief in the cause they fought for. To this end, he spent 5 seasons fighting alongside the Knights of The Shield against the Horned Society. This is where he lost his eye, to a goblin's knife. He has traveled in all the lands around the Nyr Dyv, and has developed a strange and strict personal view of the soldier's honor. His habit of praying over the bodies of his slain foes has thrown up as many eyebrows as it has brought him respect. He is a devout follower of Delleb, the Oerid patron deity of Intellect.

His primary passion, above the arts of war (he dislikes fighting beasts of any sort, by the way), is good food. He is not a glutton; he is an epicure, seeing all things as opportunity for pleasure and appreciation. He has gathered particular knowledge of the Breads and Cheeses of the continent, true to his boyhood habits. When his life gets aimless, he sets off in search of a sample of some foreign comestible to keep himself occupied. Unfortunately, his love of alchohol has never been at the intellectual level, and his drinking has cost him friends and work in the past, much to his torment.

His weapon of choice is a weathered morningstar he calls Grace, but he will use a sword on occasion. He disdains the "dishonor" of using ranged attacks of any sort (possibly due to the knife-throwing habits of goblins, and their relation to his vision).

He really just wants to a) get some renknown as a warrior, b) meet a nice girl and marry her (despite his claims), and c) clear a hex, build a keep, and attract followers (natch).

ATTRIBUTES: ST 14; DX 14; IQ 12; HT 12

ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES

Toughness (DR 2), Strong Will +1, Wealthy, Combat Reflexes, Literacy, One Eye, Addiction (Alchoholism), Rueben's Code of Honor (Never refuse a foe's right to surrender; never strike a defenseless opponenet; the use of missiles is the mark of cowards and goblins)

Quirks: Prefers the life of a ``profitless mercenary,'' Speaks often of his wife and names his weapon after her, Passionate love of breads and cheeses, Prays over slain foes, (Minor Delusion): If you frown, your face will stick that way.

SKILLS

Animal Handling-10, Area Knowledge (Rel Mord)-11, Area Knowledge (Shield Lands)-11, Area Knowledge (Kingdom of Nyrond)-12, Area Knowledge (Nyr Dyv Kingdoms)-12, Cooking-12, Fast-Talk-10, First Aid/TL 3-11, Gambling-12, Heraldry-12, Hobby (Greyhawk Cheeses)-13, Hobby (Greyhawk Breads)-14, Language: Nyrondese (native tongue)-12, Language: Common-12, Language: Old Oeridian-11, Merchant-10, Strategy-10, Streetwise-11, Survival (Plains)-10, Tactics-11, Acrobatics-11, Axe/Mace-12, Brawling-14, Broadsword-13, Buckler-16, Carousing-13, Climbing-13, Flail-15, Riding, Horse-12, Shield-16, Stealth-12, Swimming-13, Two-Handed Flail-11.

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