Things you'd like to know about Pan-Pacifica

Fuzzy
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Re: Things you'd like to know about Pan-Pacifica

Postby Fuzzy » Sun Aug 25, 2019 3:38 pm

I can see an assassin society like in John Wick arranged for the Triads/Yakuza etc.


This. Definitely.

Others:

    Who are the corporate/challengers to the current power structure? Social 24... and I mean really social 24, which I don't consider Tharkhold...
    suggests that the high lord relies on complex mechanisms to maintain power
    Secret hacker societies... the "freedom fighters"... cryptocurrency-like zero trust authentication schemes; secret societies without "leaders" that can't be broken by kidnapping and mind-reading the leaders, because the hacker-cliques spontaneously self organize
    psionic-social interaction. Psionic augmentation, psi-enabled encryption that can't be broken by tech 26 since the social axiom is too low
Spygear! Tech 24 stuff that helps against tharkhold, etc.

    Examples of Elite Kanawa Strike Squads... Again, Social 24... So, not Nile-empire villain teams, but nameless and ruthlessly deadly stormer teams that incorporate balanced skill sets and are used to eliminate threats
A working example of how Kanawa deals with a serious threat from another cosm, CE or otherwise... Eye-In-The-Sky drones with telescopic IR cameras that can track faces with a Find Skill of 15+ (yeah, you can hide against them, but not easily), that work hand-in-hand with elite hit teams and fire support drones with surface-to-air micro missiles

Examples of how you get in and out of Pan Pacifica without an invitation from Kanawa...


But above all:

What is the high lord/DD plotting to deal with their CE enemies (Delphi Council) and other high lords? PP should be ahead of all of the other realms in anticipating betrayal, and plotting to pre-emptively betray everyone else while blaming others for the strife... or even stirring up conflict among other high lords. I really want to see Social 24 in action.

One aspect that would really help is if players felt just as threatened in PP as they do in Cyberpapacy or Tharkhold... I do have some concern that Cyberpapacy goes so heavily into the concept of a theocratic surveillance state that it could take some wind out of PP's sails. PP may have less tech than Cyberpapacy, but they should be infinitely more competent. The way we've played it is that the Social axiom heavily limits sharing and efficient use of information because everything goes VERTICALLY and humans need to make religiously driven decisions to channel it back down... So, just because one parish/vicar/diocese/bishop/etc. has discovered that some group of storm knights is running amok in an area, doesn't mean that this information is shared. The bishops are all competing with each other, and suspicious of each other.

PP may not have the level of surveillance technology, but efficient dissemination of information should make that technology much more dangerous... I guess it may come down to this:

In Cyberpapacy, people FEEL like they are always under suspicion, and they are, but they are not always being watched in real time. Sure, video of their moves may be recorded all the time, but mostly that video sits in data vaults in storage, waiting for some priests to access it.

In PP, they should not FEEL like they are always being watched. The surveillance is "friendly". "Hit continue to accept Terms and Conditions. We only use your data to help improve our quality of service and customize our products to your ever-changing needs." The bellboy at the hotel who carried your luggage ended up being the master assassin who pulls the trigger on the sniper rifle when you make contact with your Delphi Council liason.

The risk with PP is that the sense of being "out-thunk" by Kanawa ends up paralyzing them with indecision. They feel like they are ALWAYS being outmaneuvered. It's like a game master who comes up with a plot the or she is so proud of that, when a PC figures out the real enemy ahead of time and tries to short-cut the plot, the GM just changes the plot so that the PCs are foiled no matter what they do. THis, also, kills player initiative... they being to think "well, who cares what I do?"

The beauty of TorgE is that there are ways of handling this that don't feel arbitrary... Basically, realm cards... For example, "Triple Cross", At some point in this act, information critical to the storm knights plan is leaked... gain X possibilities. Or "Decoy Plan", the actual plot of the adventure ends up being a decoy to some other plan in which the storm knights are a key player. Or Master Puppetter, an enemy of your enemy provides secret aid, but will demand a favor in the future.

I'm really looking forward to PP.

Zackzenobi
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Re: Things you'd like to know about Pan-Pacifica

Postby Zackzenobi » Sun Aug 25, 2019 7:54 pm

I'm really hoping for a Mission Impossible style adventure. Where the team gets disavowed by the Delphi Council. Maybe Kanawa Gents infiltrate the Delphi Council so they dont know who to trust till they find the mole.

Wakshani
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Re: Things you'd like to know about Pan-Pacifica

Postby Wakshani » Mon Aug 26, 2019 12:41 am

You have to remember Rule 0 - "Player characters exist". This is true in PP as it is in CP... you have to have ways to get around the Observation State and do STUFF because you're heroes and that's what heroes do. This puts an onus on both the writers, and the GMs, to have holes in systems that can be exploited, people who can br bribed, areas where cameras don't go, etc … SOME way to get around it and get things done. It doesn't have to be easy or common, it just has to be easy enough and common enough for PCs to do it... even if sometimes it blows up on you and you get found out.

Because that's also fun … in moderation. :D

In Shadowrun, you have competing corporate lords who don't share easily … they have their fiefdoms and are loathe to admit that someone got one over on them since that means weakness and if you're weak, other corps might move in. They also don't control *everything*, so as long as you go where they aren't, you can generally hide - might not be a great life, but it's one with freedom... some people stick with it, others sell out to move out of the crummy places and get a cushy life downtown. How much can you trust the guy who sells you ammo? The gal who helps you hock stolen gear? The corp exec that wants you to bump off his boss to make room for a promotion … will he honor the contract and know that he can hire you again or is he more of a "No loose ends" guy who'll betray you?

Those are HUGE questions that each table has to answer for themselves. Personally, I drop hints that someone will betray them before it happens and I keep those betrayals SUPER rare … someone that's been by your side long enough is closer than family and trust is something that you just can't buy. Of course, to remind the PLAYERS that this can happen, I have them make friends with other shadow teams, who themselves are sometimes betrayed, or who betray others, so that the concept is out there without screwing over the PCs. Let me tell you, nothing will sour a game more than the person who hired them going, "Hah hah, not gonna pay you, outtie!" From that moment on, the team will view every person who hires them as an antagonist, not a plot device, and things get ugly.

It's a tricky dance, but it can be done.

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TorgHacker
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Re: Things you'd like to know about Pan-Pacifica

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:19 am

Zackzenobi wrote:I'm really hoping for a Mission Impossible style adventure. Where the team gets disavowed by the Delphi Council. Maybe Kanawa Gents infiltrate the Delphi Council so they dont know who to trust till they find the mole.


TBH, we won't ever do an adventure like this officially. The reason is that we specifically have the Delphi Council as an organization that the players can trust won't screw them over. Obviously GMs can choose to do this or not with their campaigns, but if there's a betrayal that's going to happen with an organization it will be with someone they're working with.

I emphasize that the players trust is key here...it's meta...it's probably unrealistic, but this was something we decided almost immediately when we chose to bring the Delphi Council in as the Storm Knight's 'patron' so to speak. We put Storm Break in as the "dark side"...so that there is still a Core Earth antagonist, but we don't want the players to be distrusting the GM when it comes to handing out missions.
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vaminion
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Re: Things you'd like to know about Pan-Pacifica

Postby vaminion » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:38 am

Wakshani wrote:You have to remember Rule 0 - "Player characters exist". This is true in PP as it is in CP... you have to have ways to get around the Observation State and do STUFF because you're heroes and that's what heroes do. This puts an onus on both the writers, and the GMs, to have holes in systems that can be exploited, people who can br bribed, areas where cameras don't go, etc … SOME way to get around it and get things done. It doesn't have to be easy or common, it just has to be easy enough and common enough for PCs to do it... even if sometimes it blows up on you and you get found out.


I think Pan Pacifica has the most potential for security holes when you get down to it.

The tech is close enough to Core Earth that many of the tricks that work there will work in Pan Pacifica. It's a cosm full of scheming and backstabbing
so social engineering definitely works. Like you said, people can be bribed. But there's also the very real possibility that Kanawa's schemes sometimes involve shooting itself in the foot for a much later gain.

For example, Alice is a Kanawa operative who hires SKs to blow up a lab. Kanawa uses the "lost" research as a pretext for a tech-sharing deal with a demon from Tharkold. They chop up the hell-guns they received to figure out how to build lower-tech knockoffs. One month later the Kanawa branded Lord's Light PPC goes on the market. The Storm Knights still helped the war effort. It just wasn't the way they thought they would.

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pkitty
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Re: Things you'd like to know about Pan-Pacifica

Postby pkitty » Mon Aug 26, 2019 8:46 am

TorgHacker wrote:
Zackzenobi wrote:I'm really hoping for a Mission Impossible style adventure. Where the team gets disavowed by the Delphi Council. Maybe Kanawa Gents infiltrate the Delphi Council so they dont know who to trust till they find the mole.


TBH, we won't ever do an adventure like this officially. The reason is that we specifically have the Delphi Council as an organization that the players can trust won't screw them over. Obviously GMs can choose to do this or not with their campaigns, but if there's a betrayal that's going to happen with an organization it will be with someone they're working with.

I emphasize that the players trust is key here...it's meta...it's probably unrealistic, but this was something we decided almost immediately when we chose to bring the Delphi Council in as the Storm Knight's 'patron' so to speak. We put Storm Break in as the "dark side"...so that there is still a Core Earth antagonist, but we don't want the players to be distrusting the GM when it comes to handing out missions.

I'm good with this, because it's a very slippery slope into the "Mr. Johnson" problem of Shadowrun -- a game which is so famous for quest-givers "secretly" being out to screw over the party, that players have joked that the most reasonable response to being asked to do something is to immediately shoot the person "in self-defense." More realistically, if you do something to make them too paranoid of the Delphi Council, players are going to spend half the first session of every Act wasting time looking into the backstory of the quest-giver, hacking their own org's files, etc. That's not fun (IMO).

mathey
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Re: Things you'd like to know about Pan-Pacifica

Postby mathey » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:31 am

pkitty wrote:I'm good with this, because it's a very slippery slope into the "Mr. Johnson" problem of Shadowrun -- a game which is so famous for quest-givers "secretly" being out to screw over the party, that players have joked that the most reasonable response to being asked to do something is to immediately shoot the person "in self-defense." More realistically, if you do something to make them too paranoid of the Delphi Council, players are going to spend half the first session of every Act wasting time looking into the backstory of the quest-giver, hacking their own org's files, etc. That's not fun (IMO).


Yeah, paranoid players and player characters are extremely hard to bring back into the usual framework of any game, Torg or no. My most common issue with Shadowrun was somewhat related in that these very mercenary freelance contractors wouldn't just retire somewhere after scoring enough nuyen to quit - rather than just constantly buying guns and cyberlegs or whatever.

With Torg, in any case, we do have an idealistic and ultimately redemptive role for the Storm Knights - or we should, given the stakes. I think its one of those things that absolutely has to stand up regardless of the genre tropes of the given cosms they're tripping through. Keeping the Delphi Council overtly The Good Guys as a patron should help keep PC's pointed in the same direction, especially when they visit places where other factions tend to be suspect if not corrupt.

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TorgHacker
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Re: Things you'd like to know about Pan-Pacifica

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Aug 26, 2019 9:47 am

pkitty wrote:I'm good with this, because it's a very slippery slope into the "Mr. Johnson" problem of Shadowrun -- a game which is so famous for quest-givers "secretly" being out to screw over the party, that players have joked that the most reasonable response to being asked to do something is to immediately shoot the person "in self-defense." More realistically, if you do something to make them too paranoid of the Delphi Council, players are going to spend half the first session of every Act wasting time looking into the backstory of the quest-giver, hacking their own org's files, etc. That's not fun (IMO).


Bingo.
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Zackzenobi
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Re: Things you'd like to know about Pan-Pacifica

Postby Zackzenobi » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:44 am

Sure I understand I was just feeling inspired watching Mission Impossible 6 last night. :D

Wakshani
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Re: Things you'd like to know about Pan-Pacifica

Postby Wakshani » Mon Aug 26, 2019 10:45 am

pkitty wrote:
TorgHacker wrote:
Zackzenobi wrote:I'm really hoping for a Mission Impossible style adventure. Where the team gets disavowed by the Delphi Council. Maybe Kanawa Gents infiltrate the Delphi Council so they dont know who to trust till they find the mole.


TBH, we won't ever do an adventure like this officially. The reason is that we specifically have the Delphi Council as an organization that the players can trust won't screw them over. Obviously GMs can choose to do this or not with their campaigns, but if there's a betrayal that's going to happen with an organization it will be with someone they're working with.

I emphasize that the players trust is key here...it's meta...it's probably unrealistic, but this was something we decided almost immediately when we chose to bring the Delphi Council in as the Storm Knight's 'patron' so to speak. We put Storm Break in as the "dark side"...so that there is still a Core Earth antagonist, but we don't want the players to be distrusting the GM when it comes to handing out missions.

I'm good with this, because it's a very slippery slope into the "Mr. Johnson" problem of Shadowrun -- a game which is so famous for quest-givers "secretly" being out to screw over the party, that players have joked that the most reasonable response to being asked to do something is to immediately shoot the person "in self-defense." More realistically, if you do something to make them too paranoid of the Delphi Council, players are going to spend half the first session of every Act wasting time looking into the backstory of the quest-giver, hacking their own org's files, etc. That's not fun (IMO).


Totally on point, here. I *hate* that Mr. Johnson's gotten such a reputation as it created a players vs GM vibe that's been insanely hard to shake.

CP has Paranoia as a key … it's hard, real, REAL hard, to get people to trust you, but once you're in, you're in. You have tiny groups of Resistance or witch covens or heretics who huddle up and trust one another but don't trust anyone else … trying to convince them that you're good is hard, and there'll be the bit of finger-pointing now and then, but you won't really be betrayed by the in-group.

PP has Infiltration as the key … the groups there tend to be larger and more organized, such as a corporation, but (reaching back to oTorg) around 1% of the group are working for someone else. This rarely means betrayal so much as passing information along. Stealing corporate secrets, giving up rumors about Mr. Sazuki's favorite meal so that you can surprise him with it for a contract negotiation, etc. With blood revenge being a big Thing in PP, everyone knows that if you screw someone over, they come back to get revenge in a big, bloody way, so you work hard to not trigger that; politeness in all things.

In short, figuring out who you can trust can be a challenge but, once you've found someone, you *can* trust them, and that's important. Take away that stability and the players get a little crazy and nobody wants that.

(Remember! One of the keys in every realm is the search for allies against the High Lords. That means that winning people over is an achievable goal. Be the Flash Gordon you need to be.) :D


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