Friday, September 6, 2013

Do you hear that?

That is actually the sound of pen scribbling on paper...or at least keystrokes energetically gathering and dispensing random thoughts from my overzealous mind. There is movement I can say, a momentum that is gaining ground with an actual hope of producing something that was promised many months ago.

Stay Alive! is really my second born, bastard child of an idea. I wanted to run a modern game using T&T rules. The boy wants to play games with spies and guys with guns, so I attempted to go back to 'Top Secret' once again. IMO, Top Secret is a system that implodes onto itself - from the calculus needed to figure out a successful missile attack, to the totally unusable experience tables. I was pointed towards an article from a now defunct and hard to find magazine (Sorcerer's Apprentice #7) that featured 'The Lovecraft Variant'.

Having not tracked that down, at least for a cost I was willing to pay for it, I then reached out to FBI to get a copy of Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes by Michael Stackpole. MSPE is basically T&T with some tweaks and changes. I cannot comment on any T&T system prior to 7.5 being such a newbie, but the 'talents' are basically 'skills' that can be chosen for your character based on your INT attribute (the value) and other pre-requisites based on the skill you are looking to have.

MSPE also ventures a bit more into the abyss of 'hard to play' because of the separate tables for missile attacks (based on the type of weapons), the ambiguity of how damage can and should be applied, and the way experience (AP) is tracked based on total experience for the player as well as individual experience for each skill (or is it trait?) every time it is used.

In the latter, it is very similar to 7.5 and its Talents in that the level of the skill (trait?) is your modifier when attempting the saving roll for the skill (I am just sticking with skill at this point). I did like the fact the missile adjustments were created based on shooter movement, target movement, and range. Melee combat is basically handled the same as T&T - roll the damage, compare the totals, and apply the difference as the adjustment to health/CON.

So what the heck am I doing then? Nothing that is too trailblazing I guess. I created a few things that I can hopefully say are my original ideas. Not having every seen the 'Lovecraft Variant' or reading everything that has ever been written in article or blogs for T&T, I cannot truly know if it is a purely original idea. I changed some things with missile combat (based on a combination of MSPE and T&T) that has grown from play testing online, games at conventions, and the home play test group made up of the boy and the girl. I have also added to, updated, and changed some weapons and their combat values. I figure it is better to go basic than deal with specific automatic weapons or shotguns or handguns - if you want to add more detail as the GM, that is your prerogative.

I am also going to add some additional rules on using miniatures with the T&T system. I know Ken is offering something up in the upcoming Deluxe rules regarding miniatures, but being a guy who has been using miniatures from day 1 with all my T&T games, I think I do have something to offer in this regard for those that would be interested. Obviously, miniatures are never a necessity, but I think they make things work better when dealing with range and line of site.

Why 'Lite Edition' for the rules? My plan was to originally make an entire book with rules and supplemental material for running a Zombie campaign. That is still in the works, but I want to get something out there at a very low cost that just encompasses the rules that I am envisioning. The Zombie Edition, Weird West Edition, or the Gaslight Edition - those will come later. Hopefully. Maybe.

We shall see...


  1. Good to hear it Jerry. If the hometown project resurfaces, I'll be happy to retweak Venice Beach to accommodate any rule changes you're making. (And go back and expand--we do need those basketball courts featured in White Men Can't Jump--, polish, and generally make the project competent).

  2. Top Secret was great, but you're right; it wasn't a great system. Thanks for the Sorcerer's Apprentice scan. That's the first time I've seen this copy. T&T is made up of house rules, so I don't see a problem about Ken's ideas & yours. I cracked up when I read the original idea comment. T&T is a copy of D&D. Gasp... :)

  3. good to hear from both of you...thanks!