This isn't just pedantic bookkeeping for its own sake. First of all, vehicles are plentiful but fuel is not, so carrying capacity and travel rates are important. Secondly, even if survival does not feature heavily in the campaign it is always a threat looming on the horizon like the not-so-random rust monster encounter in D&D.
I've hidden the sheet behind an LJ-cut, don't forget to skip below for the Contacts. It's a cool system, really made me rethink some things in other games--even when I was uber-anal-retentive.
Bob Bobby Bobinsky
27 year old actor-turned-hero.
|COG: 6||CDN: 5||Location||Slight||Mod||Serious||Critical|
|EDU: 6||FIT: 7||Head||1||4||8||12|
|PER: 10||MUS: 7||Torso||1||8||16||24|
|RES: 6||AWA: 3||Limbs||1||8||12||16|
|CUF: 3||OODA: 1||Survival Points:||8|
|Artisan: Comedy Writing:||3||Novice|
Survival Points are the system's equivalent to Fate/Luck points: They can be used to grant bonuses or mitigate penalties. The older you start, the fewer you start off with, so it encourages you not to make that 97 year old Mechanic Army Ranger Retired Neurosurgeon Turned Farming Prodigy. Also every year over 30 there is a chance to lose a point from one (or more) of your attributes at the end of each phase.
Now we get to the part that's as cool as the Life Paths: Contacts. Contacts are people the person knows whom they can call upon for help. Friends and lovers, co-workers, colleagues, family, and mentors--those are contacts. Shadowrun players will be familiar with the concept, but T2k puts a unique spin on them. Instead of being NPCs as such, Contacts in T2k have only 2 details: Category (Information, Reinforcement, Service, or Trade--in other words, what they can do), and Quality (Green, Regular, Experienced, Veteran, or Elite). For each contact you roll 1d20 and refer to a chart, which tells their Quality.
You get 1 contact for every point of PER, plus one for every ten full years of age. Bob has PER of 10 and is 27, so that's 12. As a note, every phase spent in a combat arms career subtracts one contact: Soldiers know soldiers, a lot of whom are now part of the atmosphere. Bob was never in the military, but his Entertainment phase provides +1 contact. That's 13 contacts! Bob is well-equipped and well-connected! He also is now glad he doesn't have to flesh them out very far. ;)
The first step is to pick which type each contact is. You can only have CUF-3 Reinforcement contacts, and since Bob has a CUF of 3... no Reinforcement contacts. Well, that simplifies things a little. Deciding to play it safe, Bob chooses 4 Information, 5 Service, and 4 Trade contacts. Rolling a d20 for each--not assigned, just one at a time, to keep munchkins from piling all their Elite contacts into Reinforcements--he gets 8, 3, 4, and 19 for his Information contacts: a Regular, 2 Green, and one Veteran. 14 16 12 and a pair of 15s come up for his Service contacts, which makes them all Experienced, while his Trade contacts roll a 6 a 9 a 1 and a 12 making them 2 Regular, 1 Green, and 1 Experienced.
|Information||2 Green, 1 Regular, 1 Veteran|
|Trade||1 Green, 2 Regular, 1 Experienced|
Right now that's all he has. Bob could expand on some or all of them, but he doesn't have to--and isn't encouraged to. They could be anything: Old friends, people who know of him even if he doesn't know them, maybe even people from the ranch community he's leaving behind to rescue. The GM warns him that his mentor, the old actor in ill health, is not one of them. One theme of this campaign is that of the hero needing to be rescued. In fact, his survival is not assured! Bob (well, his player) is warned that if Bob does not find help, if Bob just focuses on his own survival, this near-father-figure will die. This works for Bob's player, as it gives his character a strong motivator which may double as an internal conflict.
Bob is also advised that to his contacts, Bob is a Contact. While Bob doesn't need to do this much, he tells the GM that he is most likely a Trade contact for them by way of his status in his ranch-community. He could facilitate or authorize the trade of the community's food, gear or shelter.
So here's the cool part about Contacts (at last!): Activating contacts. During a scene you can decide to call upon a contact. At this point the contact is "activated" and fleshed out. The player tells the GM which contact they're activating, describes their relationship and what sort of aid the contact will be able to provide. The Contact is now defined, the player makes a certain roll to determine if he can find them and how long it takes. If the roll fails, the player just couldn't find them... but the Contact remains defined. That's the risk you take, but hey--you can try to play them another time.
So let's say at some point in the campaign Bob has found a locked building with the words "forgive me" painted on the door and a corpse nearby clutching a revolver with 6 expended shells and a key ring--none of which fits the locks on the shelter. While Bob has information telling him the shelter was stocked with food, a radio, batteries, ammunition, and even a generator, he can't quite stomach eviscerating the corpse on the off-chance that the man swallowed the key. A day spent searching the area turns up a half-dozen keys, apparently discarded by frustrated looters as none of them fits the lock.
Bob decides to activate one of his Service contacts and tells the GM that this is Mannie Martinez, a crackhead Bob had befriended in Hollywood. Mannie had a reputation for being able to break into any building, especially if it was locked. In fact, Bob decides, he met Mannie when he and his mentor had locked themselves out of their SUV back in the day. It just so happens that Mannie said his mom lived in this part of the state, so it's possible Mannie's nearby.
The GM likes the story, decides it's plausible enough that he can't say no, and tells Bob to make a note of Mannie Martinez and cross out 1 of his 5 Experienced Service contacts. Bob then makes his rolls. If Bob fails? Maybe Mannie came here after the bombs and riots but his mom had fled elsewhere. Another time, Bob can try to activate Mannie--maybe he finds where Mannie and his mum fled to.
Let's say Bob succeeds. Based on his rolls, Bob finds Mannie in six hours. The GM, being a devious bastard, has some bandits ambush Bob--but Mannie is among them, and convinces them not to attack Bob. They talk later, and Bob quietly offers to split the loot in the shelter fifty-fifty with Mannie, which suits the former crackhead just fine... except... he didn't exactly remember to bring his lockpicking tools. There is a town about a day's ride from here though, and they had a locksmith until Mannie's crew raided them for supplies a few months back. Maybe Bob could convince them to give up the man's gear. Mannie's willing to give Bob 5 gallons of ethanol to help sweeten the pot. Of course, Mannie's also willing to raid the place if Bob will be their man on the inside...
Contacts are so cool!!