There's been some discussion of Capes in this forum in recent weeks, most of which, I fear, I'm the original infection vector for. I can't let that stand without helping to truly solidify the infection, so I'm cross-posting this from my personal blog as a work-in-progress, but it gives a hint of the kind of insanity one can do if one is particularly inclined to perversion, a taste for game design, and a memory for old-school pseudo-wargames from the heyday of gaming.
Yes, its more Capes geekery. Of course its more Capes geekery.
I've been playing a fair amount of Auto Assault lately. Unlike World of Warcraft, you really don't have to be on a few hours to complete a couple missions; you can generally do some decent farming or run a couple missions in an hour, which is part of why I appreciate it so. I can pop on, go butcher some Pikes or Scavs, ram head-on into vehicles and crazy huge monsters to watch their ruined, burning forms go hurtling through the air, and roll on with a big ol' smile.
But AA wasn't the first game to involve putting on the armour of Mad Max, arming up with your railgun, and heading out into the wasteland. Car Wars burned along the highways of North America long ago, and Autoduel Quarterly was one of our favourite reads. We were slaves to the wheel, strapped in and burning hard with nitro injectors and crazy-huge arenas full of jumps and deadly traps, which we bump-and-jumped around and over while blazing away with machinegun fire and flames, missiles and plasma arrays. Or we were on the highways and by-ways of a dead and mutated America, picking up resources from bombed-out cities for our Arks and subterranean bases, fighting off muties and worse in the ruins.
Well, Hell, how could I get so wound up over such a concept without translating it into the goodness of Capes? But why do it the usual way?
Car Assault Wars Auto Double-Zeta takes the Capes mechanics and leverages the click-and-lock system to let players jump in, throw together a vehicle, then hit the arena or the highway, looking for a good time, and more than a little carnage.
All Clicks / Frames are assumed to be all-Powered traits, like Supers. All Locks / Drivers are assumed to be un-Powered. Styles for both Frames and Drivers can be either Powered or un-Powered, but no more than 3 Powered Styles on a vehicle. Groups of vehicles can be created in the usual way, but are always assumed to be un-Powered on all traits. (This game is about badass heroes in badass cars; heroes don't hunt in packs.) Vehicles are created just as the click-and-lock system always works, by picking one or more Clicks, one or more Locks, putting them together, then picking traits totaling 5 / 4 / 3 or 4 / 4 / 4 in the columns.
Extremely Fast, Foil Armour, Narrow Profile, Light Machinegun, Hard to Hit
Weaving Evasion, Fixed Forward Weapon, Exposed Driver
Sewing-Machine Engine, Light Armour, Twin-Mount Flamethrower, Bumper Spikes, Blinding Headlights
Roof Turret, Flaming Wreckage, Hit and Run
Land Yacht, Pimped-Out Paint-Job, Rack-Mount Missile Launcher, Oil Dropper, Heavy Machinegun
Trunk Turret, Driving Through Destruction, Ramming Assault
SUV / Van
Heavy Armour, Slow, Cargo Space, Medium Railgun, Dual-Mount Heavy Machinegun
Roof Turret, Hidden Pop-Up Weapon, Sideswipe
Unthinkably Armoured, Ponderous, Focal Laser Array, Flame Gouter, Spike Drop
Take a Beating, Unstoppable, Ram Through And Over
Derek Wild, Human Hot-Shot
Close Call, Look Good Doing It
Joyful, Unflappable, Bored, Rebellious, Talkative
Seres Nightsky, Mutant Engineer
Fix It Now, Inhuman Reaction Speed
Honest, Aggressive, Put Upon, Demanding, Sarcastic
Void 01, Drone Warrior
Explosive Results, Seen It
Curious, Confused, Logical, Cold, Superior
Right Place Right Time, Ignored
Furious, Denial, Abrasive, Uncomfortable, Confident
Play proceeds much as it does in standard Capes. The Scene creator describes the arena, highway, urban or wasteland area the ensuing battle will rage across, with particular focus on ramps, narrow streets, or other terrain that could be of interest. If there's a question about whether the area contains a particular feature or not and there is no desire to recourse to the mechanics for a solution, the Scene creator has the final say.
Its a new Scene and Tony is describing it. He says, "Its a large, flat parking lot, with only a few other cars scattered on it. Around the sides are high buildings with alleys running between them which are out of bounds."
Alex says, "I want a wrecked semi large enough to hide a van behind."
Tony has three choices:
- "No, its only small cars."
- "I guess we know what the first Conflict is, eh?"
Of the answers, 1 and 3 are the preferred choices.
Once the Scene is set, and Vehicle selected, let the violence begin!
Every Player must select a Vehicle for the Scene. If they have Story Tokens, those can be burned to bring in non-badass un-Powered groups of vehicles or NPCs such as Snow Storm, Earthquake, or Random Sniper Fire From the Stands.
A Scene runs until people run out of cool things to happen and Conflicts to resolve. Depending on the setup, this might be longer or shorter. The more interesting features the Scene has or ends up having introduced during narration, the longer it can go.
Useful Conflicts to introduce include:
- Goal: My ride finally feels a few rounds of fire (which keeps anyone from narrating actually hitting your car with a weapon until it resolves).
- Goal: I force someone into a wall (fun, because whoever resolves the Conflict will get to pick who that is, which might be yourself).
- Event: The ramp over the gully collapses (useful for trapping people beneath it, or simply keeping it useful until the Event resolves).
- Event: Someone restarts their engine (handy if you then introduce a Goal of making someone stall; they won't be able to restart their car until the Event resolves).
- You get the idea.
Once the Scene is over, award Scores based on (Story Tokens Earned + Story Tokens Spent - Debt Outstanding) x Total Inspiration Pips Earned. High Score is declared winner of that particular Scene. (Yes, technically, especially in early Scenes, you can win the Scene while losing the bulk of your Conflicts, by cranking out good Inspirations. Congratulations, you're an underdog come-from-behind kind of guy.)
One round of Scenes, one from each Player, is sufficient to define an Issue. A Tournament is defined as one or more Issues. Tally Scores, highest is considered the winner of the Tourney, predictably.
There's no reason you can't integrate a Car Assault Wars Auto Double-Zeta tournament into the flow of any modern or near-future ongoing Capes game. In fact, I heartily endorse it! Vehicles are just one more Character to go into your library, and creating Characters to represent the Drivers when outside the Vehicle is perfectly acceptable. Playing off a couple shared traits between the Driver, their Vehicle, and the whole Character can lead to interesting juxtapositions.
4 Wheel-Deep Mud
1 Standing Water
2 Difficult Steering
3 Slippery Asphalt
2 Out of Control
5 Roll the Vehicle
1 Plumes of Mud
3 Bubbling Exhaust
Random Sniper Fire From the Stands
Event: A Vehicle takes out the shooter.
This has been your free Capes mini-game broadcast for the week.