Yellow Dawn: the scale of isolation pivots on communication and settlement dispersion

Storm Curtains & Wilderness

aurora borealis or meteorological phenomenon known as a storm curtain in Yellow Dawn

Meteorological phenomenon known as a Storm Curtain in Yellow Dawn

Following the destruction of the SOYAR corporation’s vessel “Kalisto” as it broke apart into hundreds of fireballs, tearing across the sky to rain burning debris across a 300 mile swath of southern Europe and North Africa, the population of Earth suffered several waves of cosmic, unexplainable horror and weird environmental changes that meant that life on the planet was never going to be the same again.

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Part of this includes distorted weather patterns and the alien meteorological phenomenon of Storm Curtains.  Storm Curtains resemble the ghostly and enchanting aurora borealis except are a dirty amber in colour; still beautiful, they carry the threat of deadly chill vortices and are responsible for planet-wide disruption to digital satellite communication systems.

(!) How much disruption is down to the GM and creates the pivot point for scale of isolation the GM wants for characters in their game.

The rulebook (2.5) standard is:

If you have a handheld PA or a larger computer / cyberdeck device with a PA module; you would equip it with either a City Comms phone chip or a SatCom phone chip.

  • City Comms Account: Gives you 99% coverage in any Living City in the world. Going more than 1 km into a Dead Zone and coverage drops to zero %. There is no coverage beyond the Living City. You can talk, surf internet and watch movies. You cannot use a CityComms account for cyberdecks.
  • SatCom Account: Gives you 99% coverage in any Living City in the world, and 80% coverage anywhere else in the world (one roll per hour). They provide the massive bandwidth suitable for cyberdecks and robot controller links.

But the rulebook also weaves in the idea that the electromagnetic interference created by the Storm Curtains can severely disrupt satellite communications, and suggests the idea that a signal booster may be employed to punch through this.

Under “Internet” the rulebook states

The global Internet still exists but you’ll need a device that can punch through the storm curtain interference and connect.

Under “Wilderness” the rulebook states

Many survivors are existing without electricity so the luxury of digital communications is scarce.  Also, high levels of electromagnetic interference in the atmosphere (Storm Curtains) prevent all satellite communication unless the settlement has access to powerful signal boosting technology: this would be a suitcase-sized bit of kit, or an old relay tower from pre-Yellow Dawn days.

GM dictates severity of this:

GMs should feel free (and confident) to interpret and define this as they wish, in order to create a flavour of Wilderness and accompanying isolation that suits the mood / atmosphere of tension they want in their game.  The GM should answer following questions:

  • What does the signal booster look like, how much does it cost and weigh? What is it’s power consumption like? Is it a part of a handheld PA (modification / clip-on component)?  Or does it need to be a separate piece of kit?

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In my flavour of Yellow Dawn:

I enjoy the idea that once out in the wilderness, away from the powerful antennae arrays of the Living Cities, they need an expensive and unwieldy, suitcase-sized device to punch through the atmospheric interference.  This enables the 80% chance (per hour) to establish a satellite connection.  Without it they are prevented from using PAs to talk to compatriots via satellite – and unable to access the vast wealth of information on the Net.  Without it they are forced to rely on line-of-sight laser links or radio sets that have a limited range.  The deeper they go into the wilderness, the further they get from a Living City, the more isolated and “on their own” they become.

I’ve defined such a signal booster for my group as:

  • Looks like a small suitcase.
  • Cost: 10,000 credits.
  • Weight: 10 KG
  • Operation: requires a universal power pod, that provides 144 hours of constant use (24 hours per power cell; 6 days in total).  Whilst active, it enables the 80% chance (per hour) to establish a satellite connection

One thing that should always remain sacrosanct, is when a Storm Curtain does strike – when the characters are caught within or near to the subsequent Chill Vortex – then regardless of boosters all communications including radio signals are totally severed due to powerful electromagnetic fields radiating from the nearby curtains of light. This effect lasts until the GM rolls ‘1’ on 1d20; one roll per hour.

The antennae arrays in Living Cities almost always guarantee satellite access except when a Storm Curtain strikes.

Other GM options:

Occasional impact from atmospheric interference: You could state that such a booster is only required at certain times, when interference grows particularly strong.  The GM would have to define a roll that determines when and how often this occurs.  It means that characters are not always at the risk of total isolation; but there’s a chance – forcing them to decide whether or not to buy-into signal boosting technology. In this option I would make the signal booster more unwieldy, expensive and vulnerable to damage.

Negligible impact from atmospheric interference: Alternatively, you could simply state that any handheld PA device with a SatCom account comes with a modified antennae stub allowing it to beat the interference (the GM is therefore defining the interference as generally weak except when a Storm Curtain strikes the local area).

Photo deserted survivor settlement in California mountains  image David J Rodger - All Rights Reserved

Deserted survivor settlement [] image David J Rodger

Wilderness and settlement dispersion

Another key metric that can be modified to customise the scale of isolation, is simply the distance between settlements in the wilderness.  There are a handful of surviving, fully operational and – more importantly – protected cities across the world. So-called “Living Cities”.  New York, for example, is a Living City, but the nearest neighbour is over 1,000 miles away.  Every Living City is typically surrounded by a wide swath of Dead Zone, where the Infection is rife; and then like a surreal inversion of the horror of the Dead Zone is an even wider region known as the Rural Support Zone. But beyond all this, away from the Living Cities, the landscape has reverted to a wilderness, where survivors exist within an often lawless, sometimes predatory world.  Such survivors endure bleak or occasionally idyllic existences within settlements.  The dispersion of these settlements within the wilderness defines the scale of isolation for any characters travelling through it.

The rulebook (2.5) standard is:

The rule of thumb for the Wilderness is that there’s typically one settlement, of varying size, every 11 to 30 miles (1d20+10), or between 1 and 6 settlements (1d6) every 100 miles.  That’s a significant distance on foot, even on horseback.

GM Options:

A GM should always feel free to increase the average distance whenever they feel it is required or better suits the region. Such as one settlement every 1d100+20 miles or 1d4-1 settlements every 100 miles.

Photo California Highway 395 deserted road through post-apocalyptic landscape - image David J Rodger - All Rights Reserved

Highway 395: deserted road through post-apocalyptic landscape [] image David J Rodger

Notes from Rulebook (2.5)

{ Internet }

The Internet is not what it was.  As the bulk of locations hosting the infrastructure of the Internet became Dead Places, the power grid failed, the servers and routers switched to emergency back-up batteries, and then blinked out.  The global Internet still exists but you’ll need a device that can punch through the storm curtain interference and connect you.
Lots of the data that used to exist in mirror-sites and replication servers is simply dark now.  It’s ‘out there’ but inaccessible. There’s an abundance of contracts available for freelance data-salvage teams, willing to send people out into dangerous places (Dead Cities and bandit country) to hard-line a connection into a cold server to get access to information they want.  GMs could use this as a plot hook.

{ Wilderness }

Photo New England eerie light glows on forest covered mountain peak - image David J Rodger - All Rights Reserved

New England Wilderness – Lovecraft Country – Eerie light glows on forest covered mountain peak – image David J Rodger

Access to information is power – never more so in these isolated communities.  Many survivors are existing without electricity so the luxury of digital communications is scarce.  Also, high levels of electromagnetic interference in the atmosphere (storm-curtains) prevent all satellite communication unless the settlement has access to powerful signal boosting technology: this would be a suitcase-sized bit of kit, or an old relay tower from pre-Yellow Dawn days.
Occasionally, locals keep in touch with other settlements via radio sets; but the range is limited, restricting knowledge about what is happening out in the world.

This ‘exaggerated isolation’ of the Wilderness creates a viable market for people willing to courier messages to settlements beyond the range of available communications; these messages can be hand-written notes or a video on a data-chip, for example.  It also increases the risk and the horror for people caught up in bad events because there is often no way to call for help.

{ Maps}

Before Yellow Dawn happened the whole world had been scanned by satellites and mapped in infinite detail; terrain types; population distribution; environmental impact zoning.  Much of that data still exists; for Living Cities and Rural Support Zones the data is up-to-date and clearly shows the state of things as they are now; for the Wilderness, the satellites are not re-scanning or re-mapping the landscape so the only way to find out how any particular sector has evolved is to either point a satellite at the area (requires some serious contacts) or to just go there.  Some exceptions exist, in that corporate interests, military intelligence or scientific needs may have led to a particular area being recently re-mapped; ultimately this is down to the GM to justify.

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Role playing game - Yellow Dawn The Age of Hastur - post-apocalyptic horror investigation and survival in the sci-fi dark fantasy universe of British author David J Rodger

YD 2.5 available from LULU

Paperback : from LULU ¦ Hardback (with black cover): from LULU

Primary Rulebook (2.5) This book is crammed with everything you will need to create characters and run scenarios. [] Features narrative examples of key themes • The Influence of Hastur • Medical theories on the Infection • Zombie surges • Dead Cities • Wilderness survival • Comprehensive scavenging system and how to repair or build things with resources • Backgrounds and motivations of government bodies and corporations • Computer hacking and drug abuse • High-tech immortality options • Non-human characters • Enhancements through cyberware and bioware • Weaponry, equipment and armour • Complete character generation and development system • Complex political, corporate and quasi-religious tensions • Schools of Elemental Magick, occultism, demonology, and the alien horrors of the Outer Chaos – the Cthulhu Mythos.

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Yellow Dawn 2.5 ¦ Bolt-On rules: Nanomech & Synthology

Bolt-On Module

Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007, is an RPG written by sci-fi & dark fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. Learn more…

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This bolt-on is available as a free download in PDF format.

download_PDF_of RPG rules for resolving chases and mob attacks

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The purpose of this bolt-on is to introduce two new forms of technology into the world of Yellow Dawn.GMs are free to state that this technology has been around for a while and is prevalent, or, alternatively suggest it’s only recently percolating down from Deep Space and Living Cities with strong O-Zones.

Synthology is the science of taking existing genetic code and modifying it to create customised organisms.  Bioware is a specialisation of Synthology, focusing on developing systems for the human body; the wider field of Synthology develops a range of organisms from bacteria engineered to clear up toxic spills to complex “creatures” capable of undertaking certain tasks.  Synthology has issues with general public disliking and not trusting such organisms; the general “mutated” and “monstrous” of these things can be a real barrier to consumer taste; to the point where there is a new specialisation in the science called Aesthetic Synthology: developing creatures that are pleasing to the eye.  The creation of Carbons comes under Synthology. There are also the moral and ethical issues with how much intelligence and free-will do such artificial yet living creatures be given?  Corporations, always keen on profit and the bottom line, are less discerning about such issues, so a lot of dark, lonely corporate facilities will have “things” grown to perform tasks: from cleaning and repairs through to sentry duty.

Nanomech- dense clusters of nanotechnology working together in a highly flexible and adaptive relationship to create larger structures

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Nanomech refers specifically to dense clusters of nanobots working together in a highly flexible and adaptive relationship, to create larger structures, including computer devices, sentry systems, drones and reactive armour (such as Bronson Arms Flash Armour) and adaptable living quarters in a few orbital residences and many deep space habitats (typically only the wealthy).

The nanobots are composites of chemical polymer molecules and advanced metal alloys.  It is predominantly a non-organic technology.

Nanomech can be bought pre-configured; “ready-made” to fulfill a particular function. Or it can be bought or made in a raw un-configured state; developers then write or download templates to get the Nanomech to behave in specific ways – essentially allowing you to create flexible technology that can evolve from one shape and function to another.

Nanomech technology is relatively recent development on Earth.  Part of the backwash of advanced technology coming from deep, deep Space and the Borgendrill Enigma. (GMs can change this if desired).

The risks of weaponised Nanomech being developed and used by terrorists has led to some draconian laws about the classification and legality of certain types of Nanomech. In summary, Nanomech is legal so long as it does not possess the ability to disassemble other matter in order to replicate itself or create new compounds.

Disassembling and replication (DisRep) is constrained to specialised nanotechnology units, called nubs; creation and distribution of DisRep nubs is tightly controlled, and licensed.  Misuse of DisRep nubs or being in possession of unlicensed units carries severe punishment by authorities across the board, from UTOC to the UDP.


 

AUTHOR NOTE (19th April 2012): This bolt-on system is very much a work-in-progress. Nanomech has been completed but requires game-testing; Synthology is yet to be written at this point.  I’ll provide updates via my blog; so follow if you want to keep informed. However Nanomech does feature strongly in the post-apocalyptic horror story The Black Lake (see below).


 

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The Black Lake by David J Rodger a science fiction dark fantasy horror story that blends post-apocalypse with Cthulhu Mythos

Available in paperback and Kindle formats

The Black Lake

By David J Rodger

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A remote island haunted by the consequences of a terrible act that has brought new monsters into our world

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AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK AND KINDLE

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“Atmospheric and Creepy” – The Guardian on The Black Lake

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“…the best Sci-Fi horror I’ve read in ten years” – Floyd Hayes, Creative Director of World’s Fastest Agency on Dog Eat Dog

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BUY THE BLACK LAKE TODAY

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Available to buy in paperback from LULU Global

Available to buy in paperback from Amazon UK ¦ USA ¦ DE

Available to buy on Kindle UK ¦ USA ¦ DE

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Yellow Dawn 2.5 ¦ Bolt-On Rules to Resolve Street Chases and Mob Attacks

Bolt-On Module

Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007,  is an RPG written by sci-fi & dark fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. Learn more…

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This bolt-on is available below formated to this blog theme, or you can download it in PDF format.

download_PDF_of RPG rules for resolving chases and mob attacks

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This bolt-on is a optional, self-contained system to provide GM’s with a swift way of resolving any kind of chase between participants on foot, taking into consideration the risk of colliding with terrain features (city or rural) and endurance – the ability of one participant to outrun another regardless of sprint speed. It also provides guidance to GMs who want to deploy a mob into a scenario – how they behave, how they can be talked down and how they fight when angered.

 

In the following document, the people doing the chasing are pursuers and the people being chased are the prey.

Cut to the Chase

This is the system in action. Explanatory notes and tips follow this.

Any chase will require a number of Challenges before the people being chased are considered to have gotten clean away. For a very crowded environment, probably riddled with doorways and alleys, where getting away doesn’t need much distance to form, then only 1d6 Challenges are required. But the GM can ask for 2d6 (settlement or open urban area) or even a whopping 3d6 Challenges (this would be a very large location, probably with very few obstacles and very few opportunities to lose the pursuers).

How badly do the pursuers want to catch their prey?  If the pursuers want to HURT the prey then add +2d6 to the number of challenges required to get away; if the pursuers want to KILL the prey then add +3d6 Challenges.

Range is also a factor = The Escape Ceiling: if the Distance between Prey and Pursuer ever reaches +20 or more then the chase is over – unless the GM has extenuating circumstances.

Each Challenge

[1] Check for falling foul of Terrain: every participant in the chase must roll 1d20+DEX and score more than the Terrain Difficulty Rating (a value set between 5 and 20).  If they fail to do this then they have collided with, fallen over, tripped, snagged or been struck by some aspect of the immediate terrain environment.  The GM should narrate what this is, as appropriate.   There could be some damage involved but the direct consequence is a loss of 1d3 points of Distance.

[2] Compare CON values, adjust range and check for fatigue: the prey should roll CON+1d20.  Every pursuer should do the same.

Every 5 points of difference here (ignore fractions) either increases or decreases the Distance between pursuer and prey, depending on which scores the higher value. The higher value is the winning value.  If the Distance ever reaches 20+ then this particular chase is over (unless the GM has a reason to keep it going).

RISK OF FATIGUE:

If the CON + 1d20 value is LESS than the number of Challenges performed so far: then the participant has suffered CRAMP (reduce effective CON by 2 for these Challenges and -20% on all physical skill checks); if this happens again then they suffer SEVERE CRAMP (COOL check to continue, -5 CON); and if again, go into FATIGUE, no longer run (see Yellow Dawn rulebook).

[3] Check for large hunt mass inserting fresh pursuers at a close Distance.  This is optional and should only be used if there is a large number of participants involved in the chase who have split off into convergent routes in an attempt to head-off the prey; or if there are other participants in the area (local community infiltrated by gang members or cultists) or other participants can be swiftly inserted into the area (police support, etc).

If used, the GM should roll 1d20 for every Challenge.  If the value is ‘1’ then another group of pursuers will intercept the prey’s position, coming in at a distance of 1d3 behind the prey.  In certain circumstances, the GM may increase the target number  from ‘1’ to ‘3’ or ‘5’ or even ‘10’, making it more likely that another group can intercept.

When Distance Reaches Zero

The prey is caught.

When NPCs are the prey: then the actual capture should be played-out using the combat system. The NPC is likely to fight unless Intimidated into submission (see Intimidate skill in Yellow Dawn rulebook) or realises to fight might be futile.

When Characters are the prey: the treatment depends on whether the pursuers want to Restrain, Hurt or Kill the characters. There are notes for handling each of these below.

Making a Run For It

If a character or NPC isn’t exhausted, hasn’t been securely restrained, hasn’t been subdued through violence or made submissive through Intimidation, then they are free to make a run for it at any moment.

This forces an opposed DEX check.  If the prey wins then they get away with [Distance] being 2: however, the pursuers get at least 1 round to use ranged weapons – if this is appropriate.  If the prey fails the opposed DEX roll, then pursuers get one grapple or other close-proximity attack before the prey gets away with Distance of 1.  And so the Chase Begins Again!

Supportive Notes

 

Define the NPCs

The GM should determine the following factors:

  • DEX for any NPCs (this can be one value for all NPCs)
  • CON for any NPCs ( “ “ )

Note: An Average Human Sprint is 12 metres per round, with exceptional being 18 metres per round or faster.

How difficult is the Terrain?

Value of 3 to 18.

Is it cluttered or free of obstacles? This definition applies to urban and rural terrain, from walkways packed with café tables and busy roads, to fields made uneven by tussocks and ditches, and difficult by fences and dry stone walls.  The GM should select a value between 5 (empty) and 20 (heavily cluttered, very difficult) or roll 3d6+2 to determine random values that allow the GM to create a freestyle narrative as the chase unfolds.

The measure of distance

Rather than getting bogged down with the exact number of metres between different individuals and groups of people, the distance is a value from +1 onwards.  Anytime Distance reaches Zero means that the pursuer(s) have caught up with prey.

Setting the Distance at the start of a Chase: One or more people (prey) make a run for it.  What is the initial Distance between prey and pursuers?

Every 10 metres is +1 Distance.

Especially Fast Participants?

If one participant has a sprint / run speed that is 6 or more than any others, then that person will automatically gain or close the Distance by 1 unit every Challenge.

Running as a Group

If characters (or NPCs) want to stick together as a group whilst sprinting in pursuit, or sprinting to avoid capture, then three rules should be applied:

[1] All members of the group must use the lowest CON amongst them.

[2] Any time a member of the group is caught up by terrain, then the group must “stop and help” – losing Distance as one unit – otherwise they plough on leaving the fallen behind.  Stopping and helping reduces the Distance lost by 1 point.

[3] At any moment there is high-stress, a direct threat, then all members of the group must make a COOL check to be able to stick together and work as one.

Anybody who FAILS the COOL check: must make a LUCK roll to find themselves continuing along with the group even though they momentarily became a separate unit.  If the LUCK roll fails then they actually veer off in a different direction, the fight or flight survival instinct pushing them along with tunnel vision unaware that they’ve left the others.

Treat this person as a separate unit, alone and without the support of others.  How they find the main group again depends on the local circumstances; LUCK could be a big part of it; IDEA could also help. Did the team have a structured rendezvous and regrouping plan?  Do they have communication devices?

LEADERSHIP:

Anybody with a Leadership skill check can attempt to use it to override the failed COOL check of others; in other words, they have the ability to see what’s happening, see the group fragmenting and shout, “Hey, you, on me, on me! This way!” with enough authority to cause that person to follow. One Leadership skill check required per individual character (who has failed a COOL check).

Finding a Hiding Place

The Distance needs to be 5 or more before it is possible to jump into a hiding position (if the GM states this is even feasible).  Using hide makes use of the Hide / Evade/ Move Stealthy skill and opposed Awareness skill checks (see Yellow Dawn rulebook).

When does the threat pass?

If the chase was a small group who sprint off in pursuit unaware that the prey has found somewhere to lay low, then the threat is more or less over straight away. But there’s a still a chance the pursuers might suspect what has happened and backtrack; alternatively, the prey might be in an area where there is a high proportion of potential hostiles.

Chance of pursuers heading back to check for hiding places? If the pursuers want to RESTRAIN the prey then chance is 1d6 x 5%; if the pursuers want to HURT the prey then chance is 2d6 x 5%; and if it’s to KILL then chance is 3d6 x 5%.  The GM can add +20% for large number of pursuers; +20% for technological support; +20% for a local population who are sympathetic to pursuers; alternatively if the local population is sympathetic to the prey, then reduce chance by 3d6 x 5%.

The chase is back on: distance will be 1d3 unless there is a reason why the prey are remaining hidden for a significant period of time (another opposed Awareness skill check against Hide / Evade / Move Stealthy).

Getting out of a hot zone

Value of 3 to 18.

This is defined as the prey finding themselves in a location surrounded by a population that is either all hostile, or contain elements who are potentially hostile.

It comes down to what is the chance of a hostile reaction if the prey is seen on the street?  The GM should determine this as a value between 3 (unlikely, population either unaware of what prey looks like or mostly uninvolved in this situation) to 18 (entire population is hostile and very aware of what the prey look like).

The prey then needs to make their way out of the hot zone (the area where they are at risk of being spotted creating a hostile reaction; this could be a small market place; a whole settlement or a neighbourhood in a Living City).

Typically every 100 metres will force a risk of being “being recognised” unless, the prey can demonstrate a way of covering the distance without being seen by the population.  This could be through using Hide / Evade / Move Stealthy skill, but such a skill check will suffer a penalty of -20%, -40%, -80% or even -120% depending on how the GM sees the chance of moving without detection, how busy the area is, how much cover there is, how alert the population is to the risk of prey moving amongst them

NOTE: failing such a Hide / Evade / Move Stealthy skill check not only forces a chance of being recognised, but also adds +20% to it because of the way the prey are behaving (acting suspiciously).

When a Mob Wants to Restrain

This happens when Distance reaches Zero.

If characters want to resist (without using dangerous weapons) then they have 1 chance to create an opportunity to MAKE A RUN FOR IT: at which point the Chase automatically continues.

This chance is based on a 1d100 roll against a value of:

  • STR + DEX + INT
  • + / – the success or failure of a Persuasion skill check (bluffing); this is entirely optional.

Any character that rolls beneath this value:

Is still captured by the mob but they’re not beaten, they’re treated with a slight amount of respect (you’re tough; you might be the wrong guy, etc); and when the character(s) reach their next destination with the mob around them, they’ll have a positive opportunity to attempt escape if they wish. More importantly, the mob won’t take bags or equipment, although they will have removed any visible dangerous weapons.

Any character rolling beneath 1/5th the value:

Is able to make a clean escape. The Chase may or may not continue against them.

Any character who fails to roll beneath the value: is given a bit of a beating by the mob for resisting; the mob wants the character subdued.  The character takes 1d6+3 hits, each doing 1d6 Stun damage.  It ends with the character having everything portable taken from them and being securely restrained.  They are now classed as subdued and cannot act freely until they roll a ‘1’ on 1d20, one roll per minute; and even then it requires a COOL check to take any action that might result in further beating.

If a character decides to use a dangerous weapon to encourage escape, then see those rules further on.

When a Mob wants to Hurt

This happens when Distance reaches Zero.

The character(s) have done something that has angered the people in the mob.  The characters have no chance to escape unless they decide to use dangerous weapons (see below). Otherwise the mob surges over them with a barrage of blows.

For the next 1d6 minutes the character suffers a sustained beating; most likely curled up on the floor after dropping down, or being knocked down.  After the experience comes to an end the mob will disperse, quickly or slowly (GM’s call), leaving the character bloodied and bruised, clothes dirtied – maybe even ripped away.  There is a risk of broken bones and internal bleeding, of lost teeth and swelling on the brain.  Confidence can be damaged leaving the victim anxious, angry and upset.  At the very least the character will have facial bruising, black eyes, split lip that linger for a week: making it evident they’ve been in a fight (this may inspire dislike in some, or sympathy in others – GM decision, or use NPC motivation score in Yellow Dawn rulebook).

The GM should go through the following list, applying effects where required:

  • The character suffers 1d4+1 injuries, each delivering 1d3 HP’s of damage.  Do not roll for hit-location unless appropriate.  Armour has no effect because the mob will either remove it; or target their hits to vulnerable areas.  Of course, a character may have other means of absorbing or deflecting damage; these should be considered.
  • Regardless of how much HP damage is sustained by the character, use the above value (1d4+1 x 1d3 HP) as the risk score for what follows.  These risks are based on the physical violence rained down on the character, including being grabbed by hair, neck and limbs, stamped on, dragged and repeated blunt force trauma.
  • Clothes ripped from body or at the very least ruined: if you roll beneath Risk Score x 5 on 1d100.
  • Broken jaw: if you roll beneath Risk Score on 1d100 (see expanded notes below).
  • Smashed teeth: if you roll beneath Risk Score on 1d100 (-1 APP until repaired by dental surgeon)
  • Lacerations to face bad enough to cause permanent scaring –  from being dragged by legs, and by head smacking off a solid surface (wall, ground): if you roll beneath ½ Risk Score on 1d100 (-1 APP permanent).
  • Knocked out: if you roll beneath Risk Score x 3 on 1d100 (lasts until you can roll ‘1’ on 1d6, one roll per minute)
  • Beaten into a coma: if you roll beneath ½ Risk Score on 1d100 (lasts until you can roll ‘1’ on 1d20, one roll per day; suffer -20% to all physical and mental skills for 6 months after waking up)
  • Suffer internal bleeding or swelling of the brain that is life threatening: if you roll beneath ½ Risk Score on 1d100 (see expanded notes below)
  • Make an Anxiety roll, using the Risk Score as a penalty DM, or suffer the loss of 0/1d6 COOL.  (Those using this with CoC can swap Anxiety & COOL for the Sanity score.)

Broken Jaw

This requires 6 weeks to heal, during which time the victim’s jaw is wired shut, and they cannot eat solids.  -40% penalty DM to any communication skills.

Internal Bleeding / Swelling of the Brain

The victim will feel unwell, suffering -40% to all skills and all vital stats are halved. They will be unaware of the injury until somebody makes a MedTech skill check to recognise the symptoms.

The injury poses a serious risk to the victim. Every hour the GM should roll 1d20. On a ‘1’ the victim will collapse, barely conscious, and wracked by unbearable pain. This only gets worse. After 3d20 minutes the victim will fall into unconsciousness and enter a coma. After another 3d6 minutes the victim will enter Cardiac Fibrillation suffer a heart-attack and then going into Death Stage 1.

The injury can only be “cured” with Emergency Surgery (count as ‘serious wound’ for cost).

When a Mob wants to KILL

This happens when Distance reaches Zero.

It’s a horrifying and sickening experience. The character becomes a bloodied rag-doll at the hands of a violent crowd.  For the next 1d100 + 4 minutes the character suffers a sustained beating to the point of being subdued.  At this point the character will then be murdered, either through acceleration in the violence, or through something more dramatic.

At the very least the character will have significant facial bruising, deep lacerations to head, body and limbs, and broken bones. Clothes (and armour) will be torn from the body.

Make a LUCK roll.  If failed, the character is hung, set-alight, beheaded or some other gruesome and unavoidable route to death.  If they succeed then there’s a chance they might survive.

The GM should go through the following list, applying effects where required:

  • The character suffers 1d6 injuries, each delivering 1d6 HP’s of damage.  Armour has no effect because the mob will either remove it; or target their hits to vulnerable areas.  Of course, a character may have other means of absorbing or deflecting damage; these should be considered.
  • Still alive?
  • Each limb has a 05% chance of being broken.
  • Suffer 1d6 Major Complications.  Use the hit-location table (in Yellow Dawn rulebook) to determine where these occur.  Some of these can be fatal.
  • 20% chance beaten into a coma: lasts until you can roll ‘1’ on 1d20, one roll per day; suffer -20% to all physical and mental skills for 6 months after waking up)
  • Make an Anxiety roll with a penalty of -20, or suffer the loss of 1d3/2d6 COOL.  (Those using this with CoC can swap Anxiety & COOL for the Sanity score.)

Using a Dangerous Weapon Against a Mob

A character will automatically hit.  Just roll damage for 1, 2 or 3 rounds of attack (the mob takes time to react to the fact there’s a deadly response taking place).

Total the amount of damage done. This can  be combined with other characters launching dangerous attacks.

If the Mob wants to RESTRAIN: multiply total damage by 5.

If the Mob wants to HURT: multiply by 2

If the Mob wants to KILL: multiply by 1

The resulting value is the % chance of making an escape as the mob opens up around the character(s) like a wounded creature.  Those characters escaping will gain a distance of 1d6+3 before any chase resumes (due to chaos and confusion and fear within the Mob).

Enraging the Mob

There is also an immediate 40% chance that a Mob that wanted to RESTRAIN the characters now wants to HURT them; or that wanted to HURT now becomes want to KILL.  This is the biggest risk from using dangerous weapons.

Failing to Escape

After the 3 rounds of deadly unchecked attacking comes to an end, the mass of the Mob swarms over the character(s).  They suffer an additional level of violence against them, on top of anything else that may come their way.

  • Sustain 2d6 Hits delivering 1d6+1 Stun.

How much of the mob died or was injured?

If the GM wants to know this, then every 10 HP delivered by the dangerous weapons leaves a mob member seriously wounded; every 20 HP delivered leaves a mob member dead. There may be legal ramifications of this after the fact.

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Download this in PDF format

download_PDF_of RPG rules for resolving chases and mob attacks

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Yellow Dawn The Ageof Hastur Primary Rulebook

Available from LULU

YELLOW DAWN – THE AGE OF HASTUR: The Earth has been ravaged by viral pathogens, the death of billions observed by the orbital colonies and deep-space habitats that were largely unaffected by the Outbreak. Terrified of infection, nobody came to help. Less than 30 percent survived the first few weeks. Then came the 2nd Wave of infection, spreading steadily outwards from the impact points, and that was when the horror really began…

This book is crammed with everything you will need to create characters, run scenarios and experience horror and adventure in the fictional world of David J Rodger.

FEATURES: Narrative examples of key themes • The Influence of Hastur • Medical theories on the Infection • Zombie surges • Dead Cities • Wilderness survival • Comprehensive scavenging system and how to repair or build things with resources • Backgrounds and motivations of government bodies and corporations • Computer hacking and drug abuse • High-tech immortality options • Non-human characters • Enhancements through cyberware and bioware • Weaponry, equipment and armour • Complete character generation and development system • Complex political, corporate and quasi-religious tensions • Schools of Elemental Magick, occultism, demonology, and the alien horrors of the Outer Chaos – the Cthulhu Mythos. Purchase or Preview via LULU.

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Yellow Dawn 2.5 Player Reference Sheets ¦ Combat & Wounding

Free Download

Following the launch of the much updated primary rulebook for Yellow Dawn – bringing it to version 2.5; I’m now working on releasing a number of free-to-download reference sheets and bolt-on rule systems.

Player Reference for Combat & Wounding:.

8 pages of tables and commonly required combat options, extracted from the Yellow Dawn primary rulebook (2.5) and condensed so that vital information is at your fingertips – keeping players aware of their options and the combat fast and fluid.

Download

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Yellow Dawn The Ageof Hastur Primary Rulebook

Available from LULU

YELLOW DAWN – THE AGE OF HASTUR: The Earth has been ravaged by viral pathogens, the death of billions observed by the orbital colonies and deep-space habitats that were largely unaffected by the Outbreak. Terrified of infection, nobody came to help. Less than 30 percent survived the first few weeks. Then came the 2nd Wave of infection, spreading steadily outwards from the impact points, and that was when the horror really began…

This book is crammed with everything you will need to create characters, run scenarios and experience horror and adventure in the fictional world of David J Rodger.

FEATURES: Narrative examples of key themes • The Influence of Hastur • Medical theories on the Infection • Zombie surges • Dead Cities • Wilderness survival • Comprehensive scavenging system and how to repair or build things with resources • Backgrounds and motivations of government bodies and corporations • Computer hacking and drug abuse • High-tech immortality options • Non-human characters • Enhancements through cyberware and bioware • Weaponry, equipment and armour • Complete character generation and development system • Complex political, corporate and quasi-religious tensions • Schools of Elemental Magick, occultism, demonology, and the alien horrors of the Outer Chaos – the Cthulhu Mythos. Purchase or Preview via LULU.

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David J Rodger – DATA

YD 2.1 – update to rules for Persuasion (Skill)

This is an official update to the skill, Persuasion,  pubilshed in Yellow Dawn rulebook version 2.1.

This update will be included within the forthcoming version 2.5

The main change is the Objection score.  This value is now fixed by the NPC Motivation Score, plus any modifiers, rather than being a value that represents the potential Objection.  The previous version of these rules stated the GM then had to roll beneath the NPC’s potential Objection score to determine the actual level of Objection at that particular time; this resulted in NPCs with supposedly high Objections having significantly lowered scores… making it easy for characters to Persuade them to do something… even to the detriment of the NPCs life.  This created situations that broke the suspension of disbelief.

The new version of the rules for Persuasion makes it much harder to overcome people with simple verbal arguments, make the threat of violence a more suitable but dangerous option to take.  The rules now cater for the use of bribery to reduce the Objection of an NPC.

Persuade

Use this to bluff your way past a security guard, or use it to overcome a person’s point-of-view.

Bluffing: things like making an excuse for not having a security pass and being let through anyway; needing to get out the building even though it’s in a high-security lockdown; convincing a policeman to ignore your bad driving. These are all examples of bluffing. To succeed you need to win an opposed skill check, against their IDEA roll.

DM’s:

  • Bluffing professional police always carries a default penalty of -40%.
  • Bluffing military-type security carries a default penalty of -80%.

Time taken: matches a number of combat rounds equal to the value of your dice roll.

     Overcoming a person’s point-of-view: use this after you’ve made a sales pitch, or after you’ve asked a question, and been told ‘No’. Use this when you come up against a definite objection to something you want to do; or when somebody refuses to comply with your request.

This kind of persuasion involves calm discussion, logical traps, and manipulation techniques; it does not involve any violence or threats (Intimidation). It is used in negotiations and sales.

Winning the argument / beating the Objection: you need to make a skill check and succeed by more than the Objection of the person. The Objection score is an NPC Motivation value (3d6x5).  If the argument is against another player character, you need to win an opposed skill against the character’s maximum IDEA score.

If the Objection is based on the notion of following rules / protocol, rather than the personal point-of-view of the NPC, then this will increase the Objection:

  • Police or criminal complying with code of conduct = + 20 to Objection
  • Military or high quality security personnel complying with orders = +40 to Objection

DMs:

  • If doing what you ask will result in somebody getting hurt (emotionally or physically), although unlikely to be life threatening, then increase Objection by +20 points.
  • If doing what you ask risks getting the target into trouble, then increase Objection by +40 points.
  • If doing what you ask might risk the target being killed, then increase Objection by +80 point.

EXAMPLE: the character wants to persuade a criminal to give him access to his boss; the criminal knows that if he’s found out, the gang will kill him; so his Objection score is 3d6x5 (NPC motivation), +20 (criminal complying with code of conduct), +80 (risk of death).  It is very unlikely Persuasion will work on this person.  Intimidation is more likely to work.

Introducing Bribery: is it something the NPC wants?  GM’s decision, and if so – how much does the NPC want it?  Typically, reduce the Objection by either 1d6 x 5 points, for a bribe with minor desirability; 2d6 x 5 points for moderate desirability and 3d6 x 5 points for something truly significant in its desirability.  Defining what – if anything – is desirable to the NPC is always down to the GM.

Time taken: Persuasion is not a quick process. Each attempt takes 30 minutes. Also, after each failure, there is a 40% chance the person says “Look, I’ve had enough, I’ve given you my answer,” and asks you to leave (as above).

If you win the argument then you overcome the objection this particular time.

If you win the argument by 81%+ then you actually remove the objection entirely, and the person agrees with your point-of-view from now on (on this matter only).

Synergy: you can add 1/5th of your Seduction & Grift skill as a bonus.

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