In this post, we look at a few areas that are new to Fallout: Wasteland Warfare or different for the RPG. As ever, James Sheahan (designer of Fallout: Wasteland Warfare and the Fallout: Wasteland Warfare RPG expansion) sheds some light on these areas.
When action occurs in the RPG, the game uses Action Play to break events into turns and rounds. To determine the order in which characters act during Action Play, the RPG uses the same activation system as the miniatures game. Each side in the scene (usually the players and the GM) take turns making one of their Unready characters Ready and then deciding whether to activate all of their Ready characters or not. This gives players lots of control over the order in which the characters act, plus it allows them to co-ordinate so they can work together such as one opening fire to suppress the enemy whilst the other makes a run for it, or lifting the broken door that’s too heavy for one character on their own. Also, having an initiative system with no dice roll means players are not frustrated by an unlucky, poor initiative roll leaving their character in a precarious position, plus using the same system as the miniatures game means all abilities and Perks that affect turn order work seamlessly too. The system also provides some mechanics the GM can use to add extra detail to a situation tool; for example, characters caught by surprise may start ‘Stunned’ or ‘Used’ so they miss their first one or two actions respectively.
Giving a visual element to a chase can really help players and the GM keep track and understand where different characters are. To facilitate this, the RPG includes a framework for chases using the range rulers. Before a chase starts, the range rulers are placed so they are all side-by-side in order of length with their ends aligned at one end. Where they all line up represents the target the characters are chasing. The players each place their model (or something representing them) at the end of a range ruler representing the relative distance to the target where they start.
The chase is broken into ‘moments’ and, during each moment, the GM gives the characters a choice which may move them to a shorter range ruler than their current location if the gap narrows, to a longer range ruler if the gap increases, or keep them where they are if the gap remains the same. If a character reaches the target, they immediately catch the target.
Let’s take the example of chasing a target through the alleyways of Diamond City. The characters all start at Green distance away. One moment in the chase may be as simple as the target running around the shell of a rusted sedan and the characters can either go around too, or can try and jump and slide over it as a shortcut; those that choose to jump it, make an Acrobatics skill test: a success means they close the gap and move one range ruler closer (i.e. if they were on Green then they are now on Red), but failure means dropping back 1 distance. Another moment in the chase is that the target throws a door shut behind them as they enter a dwelling. The nearest character, as they’ll be the first to reach the door, chooses whether to open the door (which will take time) or slam into it to try and barge it down. If they succeed, all the following characters can just go straight through too and narrow the gap to the target; however, failure means losing time and the next character will find it more difficult to barge it down (given their friend still shaking their head to stop the ringing in their after their collision). One more example of a moment is a group of sick-looking people in the alley arguing who is next to see the doctor – the characters could avoid it for no change, but could make a Presence skill test to shout at them to clear the way. If the shout is successful, they move and the character closes the gap, but fail and the crowd is just confused so the character has to muscle their way through losing some ground. After the chase, the characters that went through the crowd must test to see if they caught Mole Rat disease off the waiting patients (with a penalty to their roll if their shout failed and they got very close to the sick).
Using chases can add some exciting split-second decisions for players, and the same system can be used for when the characters are being chased too. Just like all elements of an RPG, the GM can choose to use the chase system or d it a different way, but it does add an easy framework for those wanting a visual system.
Crafting and Repairing
Crafting and repairing items in Fallout is just a way of life. Apart from some basic weapons, characters can not create new weapons or armor so scavenging the Wasteland can be key to gaining new equipment; however, characters can create mods as well as attach and change the mods attached to items. Complications that occur during skill tests, or other incidents, can result in damage to equipment and repairing these broken, damaged or jammed items is necessary to get them working again.
To craft or repair an item, a character needs the relevant ‘Repair & Craft’ skill, plus they need to be using the relevant workbench or station too, and have any resources the GM deems required too (which can come from scrapping other items). For example, to repair a weapon, a character needs the Repair & Craft Weapons skill, a weapons workbench, plus the resources – if the weapon is a Pipe Pistol then a few screws, gears and steel from a Desk Fan will likely be enough, but if it’s to repair a Laser Rifle then the resources required will be more advanced (such as Fiber Optics) and, most likely, be more scarce. Food, drink and chems can be crafted in the same way using a cooking station or chemistry station respectively, plus some ingredients too.
The settlement is the main homestead or camp for many inhabitants of the Wasteland. Characters may want to remain in an area and build up a settlement to serve as their base of operations. At other times, characters may come across settlements that need assisting, investigating, controlling, attacking, etc. Settlements come in many different forms and the section on settlements in the RPG provides some advice for GMs on what a settlement might contain and what characters may want to include when building their own.
All player characters can use Luck (as they are the equivalent of being Heroic). In the same way as the miniatures game, Luck Points (LPs) can be spent during a scenario to tweak moments in the character’s favour such as nudging a failure into a success (or vice versa), reducing damage slightly, or gaining an extra critical point. In the RPG, characters can also spend LPs to add Effect Dice to a test too, adding one dice for each LP spent.
Characters can gain Luck Points over time and the GM awards LPs at fitting moments such as after they rest or after they complete a task. Also, the GM can award LPs as a reward and incentive for good roleplaying, clever thinking, noticing clues, etc.
As you can see, the Fallout: Wasteland Warfare RPG provides many additional or revised elements to ensure the world away from the battlefield has all the depth needed to tell your Fallout story.
Next time, we’ll look at combining the tabletop and RPG for an even bigger Fallout: Wasteland Warfare experience. Until next time, happy wandering in the Wasteland. You can pre-order the Fallout: Wasteland Warfare RPG Expansion here.