Monday, 16 July 2012

GDL and Temeraire #1

Or, how you (don't) mix GURPS, a drop of history and Temeraire book series.

With the recent, Lithuanian pride boosting, summer date of the Battle of Grunwald, where Lithuanians always try to take as much credit for the victory as possible, I've remembered the small experiment I did with the Temeraire setting in one RPG game.

For those who don't know what paper RPG is, I'd like to link you to a past post, but it's in Lithuanian, so, unless I suddenly find more time than I can use (yeah, right), you could probably google the subject matter. In a nutshell, RPG is a story that is created by players and the Game Master, that is usually called a GM.

GDL stands for Grand Duchy of Lithuania, (LDK in Lithuanian) and it's about the period of our history that everyone would have liked us to have stuck in, because listening to anyone from around here, it was such a great time... Well, there were some moments, true, but same here as anywhere else, really.

Temeraire series is about a question that the author (Naomi Novik) raises. What the history would be like, if people had dragons? As the books focus on the gunpowder age with Napoleon wars and Brittish air force, they do mention that the world always had dragons.

So, in once, in a middle of the summer, similarly to this one, I decided - why not. As with all the games, the first problem wasn't the plot, as usually there are hundreds of ideas, but the question of a system. I actually was and still am looking for a light-ish system that has reasonably executed ship-to-ship, or, in this case dragon-to-dragon battles.

In my desperation, I didn't home-brew anything to that matter, but, have decided to fall back on GURPS lite. GURPS is a system that I dislike, but can play or GM without much problems, except a bit of personal discomfort.

Here, I home-brewed a few advantages and created a crew for the dragon, as well as thinking over what statistics would the dragon use and how all the combats and confrontations would work. Simply enough, the party (mostly unchanged for the most time), and the characters that changed a few players in the times I Gm'ed in that story line were thus:

Captain - any dragon crew has to have a captain, and following the Tremere ideas, dragon exclusively listens almost only to its captain.

First-mate (equivalent) - there's always a guy that helps to command, and while Captain is concerned with guiding the dragon, he is concerned with crossbows and other crewmen and performance of the orders.

Crosbowmen leader - a guy that's in charge of fifteen  crossbowmen. The shoot stuff from the dragon back, obviously.

Swordsman leader - a guy in charge of nine swordsmen, who all have hooks and ropes - in truly desperate times, when one dragon starts clawing the other there's is a possibility to drop your men on the other dragon, or otherwise, threatening the captains life and thus effectively taking over the dragon. This is the guy that has to do that, or look that no one would take over their dragon.

Surgeon - a guy that can heal both dragons and humans, esecially ifthe dragon lads someewhere in the middle of the woods. Usually has a child helper in training.

Harness master - a guy that is in charge of harnesses and ropes, and the one everyone's lives are hanging on, literally. Usually has two to three helpers.

Signaler (reserve character) - a man with good lungs and a few flags/ candles in boxes - one that gives signals form afar, trying to communicate with dragon formations or the ground. Has two children watching on both the wings.

That gives us a crew of 36 people, quite much, but somewhat of an expected standart for heavyweight dragon.

There's also a dragon, of whom there are quite a few different breeds.

Here, the people were a crew of the only Kazilik in GDL, gifted by the former (at the time) khan Tokhtamysh, when he visited the Grand Duke asking for help.

What adventures there were and the historical background will probably be covered in other parts. Sometime in the future.

To be continued...

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