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Sunday, December 11, 2011

BRUTAL ep. 1 - Intro / Battleship vs. 10 Giant Squid

Welcome to BRUTAL: my personal game system. I have been picking away at this for many years as I wanted ideally to 'release' one version of it - the finished one...

... this is only made possible by the fact that BRUTAL has always been about making it simple, kick-ass and CONCLUSIVE.

Before I launch into explicating Ricalope's excellent suggestion, of pitting a battleship against 10 krakens to see who would come out on top, I want to take a moment to discuss workplace homicide...

Here is Joe Douche. Tired of his life and the way things are going, he decides to kill some people whom in his angry little mind, have wronged him. Joe is sporting a ranged projectile weapon... and nothing else:

Joe is represented in three ways: his BRUTAL glyph (top), which shows an approximation of his appearance, as well as explaining his armament; his name (self-explanatory); and finally his BRUTAL summary bubble. The number at the top of the bubble is his points cost, and the glyph at the bottom is his 'hit point' value of one regular 'wound.'

Joe's Weapon Number Three will do one 'wound' worth of damage on a D6: 5+.

This gives Joe almost no chance against a heroic cop with a tactical shotgun:

Not only does Weapon Number Four go before Joe's relatively puny Saturday Night Special (higher number); but it does two 'wounds' worth of damage on a D6: 4+. (It's possible these numbers will shift slightly as I run some tests on my near-completed system. An eventual Manual release or the Ministry of Truth technique will make sure we're all clear on these important statistics. Thank You. Bonus points if you got the Asterix joke.)

Now let's try equipping Joe with something more deadly: a Bulldozer. Yaay!

Joe's glyph / sketch is now much more interesting. He still has his #3, but he's had to learn some new skills, worth 10 points each: how to drive a bulldozer, and how to use it as a weapon.

The reward for 20 points of cost starts with Weapon Number Twenty: one vehicle close-combat weapon. It deals one 'star' of damage on a D6: 4+. Stars are BRUTAL'S equivalent of megawounds or structure points.

Joe / bulldozer's summary bubble reflects the changes: he now costs 43 points, and has two stars' worth of 'hit points.' Star total is determined by taking the cost and dividing evenly by twenty.

Joe could handily squish Officer Porcus, if given half a chance; since P's shotgun can't pierce the hide of a bulldozer! But Porcus is smart and well-trained, and would keep Joe-dozer at a distance until he could call in a couple of these military heavy machine-guns:

(#5 | * | D6: 3+ | 5/1w)

whose concentrated fire stands a good chance of stopping Joe in his tracks...

... or here is a basic tank destroyer:

(10 10 #40 | ** | D6: 4+ | 60/***).

Now let's revisit our lovely Giant Squid:

As you can see, the kraken is a terribly devious and cruel deep-sea monster. He can manoeuver in the water with skill, and wields a deadly beak...

... he also has an upgrade, '10i', which represents his submarine ability. '10i' allows an entity to strike its adversary with the weapon of its choice; combat will continue in decreasing number value as usual. This means that the Coast Guard cutter pictured below, despite its two heavy machine guns, will get eaten up by the mighty Kraken, if it makes its (10i | D6: 2+).

(Also pictured: Joe and his fishing buddy get arrested.)

The crafty squid can do pretty well at concealing itself; looming up from directly beneath, and under the guns... picture a crewman or two being picked up by the rescue chopper as the kraken drags the small boat down. Cinematic!

... Now, to properly kill a movie-style monster such as the kraken calls for a pocket nuke or a great big laser (#6 | ** | D6: 2+ | 6/1w); or else a naval vessel with advanced sensors or something (10i | D6: 2+) to give it the needed edge, and some serious #30+ firepower like torpedoes or depth charges...

Next let's revisit the Battleship:

This battleship is pure oldschool. I was more than happy to take Ric at face value and summon up a WWII-style surface battleship - because I happen to be a Bismarck wreck/story buff.

The Bismarck as a typical kind of all-big-gun ship was relatively slow (though for her time, the Bismarck impressed), heavily armoured to take a pounding, and built to cross the T: in other words, sail across an enemy fleet's line and rake it with broadsides. Most later ships, such as some battle cruisers, had lighter armour, and several heavy guns but positioned fore only, for running down and destroying enemy vessels more efficiently; rather than sail about trading fire in a gunfight...

You'll notice my battleship drawing has three 10-point 'crew' glyphs amidships. This represents the ship's Captain, as well as two 'fire directors'. Bismarck had a fore and an aft fire director and as such, might perform differently against the Squidden in different scenarios...

Each fire director is responsible for 4 'big guns' and two 'small guns':

(#40 | ** | D6: 4+)
(#30 | * | D6: 5+)

Soon I will run a few tests on our two combatants, including fore- or aft-massed attack; attack amidships, and divided attack. Remember that kraken as a 10i must still make a D6: 2+ or they may get somewhat pulverized by the naval guns... we shall see!

What you need to play Battleship vs. 10 Giant Squid:

- 10 Invisible Squid counters (top left)
- 10 Visible Squid counters (top right)
- some D6's (middle)
- Battle Map in two zones (bottom).

First, divide your squids into squads. Hee hee!

One might split into two squads, one fore, one aft; or four squads of twos and threes, or run in a giant horde from the bow or stern, or go straight up the centre in a group of 10 (up the dotted line, exposed to all of the battleship's fire), or any other way one can think of. (The worst is one by one!)...

Position your squads appropriately on the map. Then, roll a D6 for each squad. On a 2+, the squids move in undetected, for unanswerable close combat feeding!! On the roll of a 1, that squad of squid has been spotted and will be attacked by the ship's armament before they close in.

Ship's armament is in two groups that fire independently. Each group may not divide its fire (that would necessitate more fire directors!). #40 and #30 both go before the close combat #20, so may effectively both be rolled at once. Each discovered squid / squad will receive a withering:

4x(#40 | ** | D6: 4+)
2x(#30 | * | D6: 5+)

Math seems to indicate that the individuated squid will get killed the least, but will still take a while to eat the ship; while a ballsy Squid Horde, if not spotted in time, will take a serious chunk from it. In any case, squid left unchecked will slowly devour the ship from below the keel, where they are safe from fire. Even if the squid horde is spotted, every gun will have to hit to take them out. Hardcore!

Here is the game I ran, which is intended to be a bit storyish:

The tribes of the Kraken, and a loner move in. Spotter fail!!!

Ho-ly crap. While not gnawing the ship as badly as expected, she takes holes...

At 24*, the battleship is a beefy piece of equipment, and will go down hard. Still, without the help of some kind of spotter plane or a contingency unit of crew chucking explosives overboard,

such as + 6x(#5 | * | D6: 3+) = 500/25*
(which still wouldn't make me feel safe, after what I've witnessed)

the battleship will end up, at most likely best, limping back to port leaking badly, listing, and being eaten by monsters. I would pronounce that the monsters have it.

But just for the benefit of the feature film, here is the gambit scenario: 10 squid attacking amidships, on the surface (visible!) with the extra ship's crew dropping grenades / flares / anything they can on the approaching monsters: in other words, a decent handicap in favour of the ship. Let's see how she do:

Holy smokes, Cap'n!!

#5 blast attacks. Fluff tells me this should happen later in sequence. Maybe single-digit attacks happen in the next round? Drop some bombs on feeding kraken? Policy under consideration.

The big guns open up and take down three kraken.

Secondary guns whiff.

And om, nom nom!
Wow. The ship actually got mauled worse than before. And there are still squid feeding on the hull!...

Yep, the squids definitely have it. Next time better bring your ASDIC...

Stay tuned sometime for ep. 2: Mutant Puffer Fish vs. Mothra.
Thanks for geeking!

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