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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Feng Shui: Bag Full of Guns

I acknowledge it's been a while since I've talked about the Traveller RPG. Have no fear, I'll get back to it in time -- I've just been in an odd headspace lately, what with all of the traveling (heh) I've been doing, and dealing with a hurricane, and... well.. being distracted by another shiny RPG:
For people who don't travel in the same nerd circles that I do, Feng Shui is a balls to the wall action RPG that attempts to emulate all the awesome goofy goodness of Hong Kong cinema (and, to a lesser extent, Western action movies as well). Anyone who's watched a Jackie Chan or Jet Li movie already knows what I'm talking about, but if you aren't a fan of subtitled movies, then go watch Big Trouble in Little China; it's basically a Hong Kong movie made for Americans.

I played the first version of Feng Shui back when it first came out... dear gods, twenty years ago, I feel so farking old now... and I backed the Kickstarter of FS2 last year. But while I love PDFs for looking up rules during a game, I have trouble actually getting into a game unless I can browse the dead-tree version at my leisure, and the hardcopy version of the game isn't cheap. But thanks to the glory of Amazon gift cards via the Affiliate program, I was able to afford the printed rules!

And like you'd expect from me, I immediately started going "Hm, I don't like that rule... this needs to be changed,.. wait, they left THAT out?" And so, I'm going to indulge my House Rule impulse until I get it out of my system.

This post deals with the Bag Full of Guns schtick, which is a good attempt but falls short of what it could me. Here's the stock version:
Bag Full of Guns I
Start each fight with a revolver (9/2/6). Each time  you fail an attack roll, spend 0 shots to move to the next item in this gun list: Colt 1911A (10/2/4),  Desert Eagle .357 Magnum (11/3/3), Chiappa Rhino (12/3/5), Mossberg Special Purpose (13/5/4).
Okay, that's... not terrible. The notion of escalating firepower is cool, but a level 1 schtick allowing a 0-shot weapon switch seems excessive (it normally takes 3 shots to switch weapons). But Bag Full of Guns levels II-IV have the kludgy and totally unnecessary "homemade weapons" rule which is as unnecessary as the homemade guns are overpowered.

Here's how I would do it:
Bag Full of Guns I
Start each fight with a Colt Detective Special (9/1/5). After each attack, spend 2 shots to move to the next item in this gun list: Colt 1911A1 (10/2/4),  Desert Eagle .357 Magnum (11/3/3), Chiappa Rhino (12/3/5), Mossberg Special Purpose (13/5/4).

Bag Full of Guns II
Start each fight with a Colt Detective Special (9/1/5). After each attack, spend 1 shot to move to the next item in this gun list: Colt 1911A1 (10/2/4),  Desert Eagle .357 Magnum (11/3/3), Chiappa Rhino (12/3/5), Mossberg Special Purpose (13/5/4), M16 (13/5/1).

Bag Full of Guns III
Start each fight with a Colt Detective Special (9/1/5). After each attack, spend 0 shots to move to the next item in this gun list: Colt 1911A1 (10/2/4),  Desert Eagle .357 Magnum (11/3/3), Chiappa Rhino (12/3/5), Mossberg Special Purpose (13/5/4),  M16 (13/5/1), Hand Grenade (23/2/-). [You have a theoretically infinite number of grenades in your bag.]

Bag Full of Guns IV
Start each fight with a Colt Detective Special (9/1/5). After each attack, spend 0 shots to move to the next item in this gun list: Colt 1911A1 (10/2/4),  Desert Eagle .357 Magnum (11/3/3), Chiappa Rhino (12/3/5), Mossberg Special Purpose (13/5/4),  M16 (13/5/1), Hand Grenade (23/2/-), Grenade Launcher,  Rocket Launcher, or other ridiculous form of explosive or incendiary military hardware (18/5/6). [See rules for Military-Grade Weaponry, p.130.]
With this version, each increment of the schtick decreases weapon switch and gives an increasingly impressive ultimate weapon without the ridiculous "homemade weapon" rule.

Before you ask: There are no current rules for belt-fed machine guns in Feng Shui. However, since an M249 SAW is the same caliber as an M16, the M249 basically has the same stats as the M16. Be sure to check the "Automatic Weapons" rule on p.128. The .30 caliber M60 has the same stats, except it has the "two skulls" damage of 7.62mm ammo, as opposed to the "one skull" of 5.56mm.

Other Thoughts
I didn't want to clutter the rule block with additional info, as the entire point of Feng Shui is to be shot, sweet, and deadly, but here are a few notions I wanted to append to the Bag Full of Guns concept:
  1. The FS2 core book says "you can personally carry a number of guns and clips equal to your Strength Action Value. Bring a gym bag, however, and all bets are off. Tip: bring a gym bag. Needless to say, the schtick Bag Full of Guns comes with its own gym bag." From this I decude that anyone with the BFoG schtick can carry a theoretically infinite amount of guns and ammo, subject to the good humor of the GM. 
  2. Based on this, and bolstered by the Full Metal Nutball "Ready Resupply" schtick which seems to indicate tossing a fresh gun or magazine to a teammate, it could be easily argued that any PC who wants to spend 3 shots next to a Bag Full of Guns schtick owner could get fresh ammo from the bag. 
  3. It is less easily argued that a teammate might be able to take the next gun on the list, because that could lead to abuse. On the other hand, they are spending shots doing it rather than doing fun action hero things, so at least a price is being paid. If the GM is feeling cranky, perhaps the teammates need to spend a Fortune point as well as shots in order to rearm. 
  4. "How is BFoG different from Lightning Reload?"
    • BFoG allows you switch weapons for little/no shot cost, but reloading them is not affected. It's basically the "New York Reload" schtick with escalating lethality. 
    • Lightning Reload is better used for characters who really like one kind of gun and want to keep it running. 
  5. "The rules say 'start each fight with a revolver.' What if I want to start a fight with something else?"   
    • The BFoG schtick belongs to the school of thought where quantity is better than quality. If you want to start with a specific weapon, maybe you should invest in a different schtick, such as Fast Draw. 
  6. "If I have the Signature Weapon schtick, how does it work with the Bag Full of Guns draw order?"  
    • See above. 
  7. "If BFoG is about dropping empty guns and picking up new ones, why not use the Battle Scavenge schtick?"
    • Battle Scavenge forces you to roll to rearm, but gives you a free Fortune die if you're successful. BFoG requires no roll and grants no free Fortune die. 
    • BFoG grants control over what you pick up; Battle Scavenge only lets you glean what has been dropped by dead NPCs. 
    • It's basically a question of "How do you want your Guns character flavored?"

Next time, I'm going to address the question all the fans of supernatural creatures are asking:  "What the heck happened to the Brain Shredder schtick?"

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