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USH'S MATRIX GAME 2006- General help thread
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Ushgarak
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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USH'S MATRIX GAME 2006- General help thread

This thread is to help act as a quick reference guide for advice during play. It may extend as time goes by as requests for things are made.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Aug 25th, 2006 03:15 PM
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Ushgarak
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Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

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GENERAL FIGHTING

Try not to rely on a single tactic, either offensive or defensive. Obviously, specialisation is very powerful and we don’t want to entirely discourage it. But one day you are going to come a cropper on that one. Parts of the game are specifically designed to bugger up certain tactics and you can quickly end up looking like Mr. Useless if you didn’t build in any variety. Obviously, All-Rounders have an edge here, not only in that they can gun and fight, but also in that they chose more powers anyway.

Tapping is a fine art. Obviously, Hackers have to be really choosy about when to type, relying on their high stats, and hence high pools and general combat capacity, to carry them through.

But it is not as if a Natural can just tap out every turn. Naturals recharge powers in large blocks, but the fact it that the Natural is subject to the whim of the random deck. If I draw ten cards in a row and none of them is the Joker, then it doesn’t matter how many powers you will refresh when the Joker comes, there has still been no refreshing. If you had tapped out all your powers by turn, that’s seven turns you have gone now without Powers, and if the Agents are around by then you are probably dead- tapping Powers make you very survivable against Agents, it is when you run low on resources that you are in trouble.

On the other hand, if you don’t use your Natural’s full capacity when the refresh turn comes, then you are just a crappy Hacker. It’s a fine line, and that is where the art of being a good Natural is- when to tap, and how much risk to take.

Veterans should also remember to make use of their ability to choose when they swap their powers. A good example of this is the Initiative roll- you might be able to run away from the Agents if you are going first, but if the bad guys are going to go first, you might need that Defensive power in very quickly! Hacker and Naturals have to guess, but Veterans can wait until after the roll and then choose. In On-Line terms, make sure I know what power you might swap in, depending on circumstance.

You CAN tap multiple powers for a super-attack, but best wait for the best moment!


MARTIAL ARTS

So long as you have three or more dice left after your opponent’s Defence is taken into consideration, you are more likely than not to hit. With specialists able to dice pools of 12 or more, this is often not an issue.

That being the case, Damage counts for more than extra dice. Once you have hit, all extra dice can for you is the possibility of extra damage. On average, three dice will give you one extra damage point. So a sword, which does four damage, compared with the one damage from Barehanded, may as well be rolling nine extra dice, which is close to the Barehanded guy using Hands of Light tapped on every single roll. This is also why, although it looks boring, path of the Jade Emperor proved the most powerful duelling power in playtesting.

Barehanded gets plenty of things to make up of course, and you may note that many of the bonus powers on otherwise generic powers only work if you are weaponless, but in a duelling contest, the person who can persistently generate more damage will win. In one-on-one duels, this also makes Toughness a very valuable stat.

It also means that if you can find a way to bugger up your opponent’s attacks, that’s great. Parries are powerful, and by extension things that stop Parries, like Blocks or Unstoppable Damage, are also useful in just getting that edge needed to win a duel.

However, that said, what extra dice do give you is a greater chance to roll triple 6s and get your bonus powers into action. So bear that in mind.

Off-line practicing and playtesting is one thing, but the jury is still out on exactly what does work best in duelling, so feel free to give things a go.


GUNS

A lot of work has been done in making guns more interesting and less fiddly. As such, it is worth putting some thought into it!

Burst Fire is great- three extra dice, the kind of free bonus that Fighters would kill for (if you weren’t staying back and shooting at them, that is). But if you are a Gunnery specialist with a big pool, do you really need those dice? With no bonus effects on Gun powers, you don’t need extra dice for triples 6s. Look at other options.

Take 10000 Bullets. Tapped, that can do huge amounts of damage. But it runs out as soon as your ammo does- even if you have Lightning Reload. Now, your burst firing Uzi may give you as huge pool, but with a smaller ammo capacity than a standard Glock 17, it is actually the light pistol that has the better chance to nail an opponent! So long as you can keep hitting, that is, and if you are a good Gunner that should be fine. It’s even worse with the auto-firing Glock 19, which goes through ammo like mad. And ok, you can take the extended magazine version, but do you have space to carry two of those AND the ammo if you want to blaze away with two guns?

Both Guns Blazing is also a nod to the gunnery experts, because it means you can do small what others need to do big. Yeah, it is tempting to take the biggest damn gun you can find. But a Gunner with Light Pistols using Both Guns Blazing is doing as much damage as he would with an Assault rifle! And with Straight Shooter as well, his pistols are hitting harder than the rifles the Mooks or casual shooters may have, and as I discuss above, Damage is damn valuable. Remember, BGB sets your damage, so trying to pair up Desert Eagles is pointless, just gives you less ammo than the Glocks. Deagles work better solo, as used in the films.

Foe All-Rounders it is different- your skill is lower, so the burst fire is nice. That’s presumably why Morpheus takes an extended Glock in Reloaded. You also don’t have room to take nearly all the gun powers, so consideration like Both Guns Blazing might be irrelevant to you. It’s not a certainty, but it is likely that as an All-Rounder you aren’t planning to get into a gun fight with a Named character, relying on your Martial Arts instead, so plan what you take accordingly. All-Rounders also have to be very wary about encumbrance if they carry a Melee weapon also! You may find your ammo runs out fast.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Aug 25th, 2006 03:15 PM
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Ushgarak
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Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

BAD GUYS

MOOKS

Mundanes, Coppertops, people about to go splat… we all know and love our Mooks. They are not complicated entities, so here are a few pertinent reminders:

- In case you don’t know, the term ‘Mook’ refers to all the extras in action films whose job it is to run into the action scene and get killed in large numbers by the heroes (or villains). James Bond is probably the most visual originator of the idea on the sort of scale we mean (earlier originators include Flash Gordon), but the most famous example is probably the Stormtrooper
- It’s a little different in the Matrix, where you still slaughter plenty of mooks, as seen in the films, but also they present a much bigger danger to you. It takes a whole army of battle droids to worry Jedi, but even a single squad of Matrix mooks can cause you serious grief if you are not careful.
- Mooks in the Matrix are normally policemen and security guards, or SWAT teams if things are getting serious. Remember your training- those plugged into the system this long are your enemy. They will fight to protect the System, even if only subconsciously. They may be Human, but you have no option but to kill them.
- However, it is possible for Exiles to be Mooks. These would be low powered Exiles without the benefit of heavy self-modification, or modification by another programme, to make them powerful inside the Matrix. I doubt you have any qualms about killing programmes; rules-wise, they are identical to Human mooks.
- Remember, successes kill Mooks, not damage. So when it comes to Mooks, the more dice the better! However, overkill on Mooks is ignored, so actually the best way to deal with them is multiple attacks. * weapons get extra dice when attacking Mooks, don’t forget. Normal Mooks die with three successes- remember, that needs nine dice, on average, so it is not that easy. Armoured mooks need four, which is an average of 12 dice thrown at them. Battle droids they are not.
- Mooks have small attack pools, but if they are tooled up burst fire they are very capable of scoring hits on you! Ten Mooks with Assault rifles could be six dice per mook (a mere three from their pool, but an extra three from burst fire), which means on average each Mook will hit, which is easily thirty damage! Oops! Defensive Powers, good positioning and use of cover will reduce the danger greatly. Look at the tactical use of cover used by Neo and Trinity in the Lobby scene, very much as opposed to Jedi tactics. Fight smart and Mooks are only an annoyance. Stand in the middle of a large room just trying to blast a Mooks army down one by one and you’ll go the way of Mouse.


NAMED CHARACTERS

These are your major foes, the ones you need to beat to make progress. Named characters are major villains (normally villains, anyway) who work on the same rules, mostly, as you guys, except played by me. Named characters are not throwaways, they are not just more powerful bad guys. They are fully realised characters and personalities in their own right. That being the case, they aren’t very common, and it is not as if every one of you will face off against one, especially with so many players. True duels will be rare events that certain characters will find themselves caught up with. Best hope it is your Fighters, because they are the ones designed for it!

Some general points about Named characters, and then a look at the different types:

- They are rarely super-powered, because that would be unfair as you are meant to be able to beat them. If a named villain IS super-powered, then you shouldn’t be trying to take him on in a fistfight!
- If a Named Character DOES look really really powerful, consider the same things you might when looking at a player character. Maybe the named guy is a specialist, and so has a weakness. Maybe you are not the right person to fight him with!
- Other Named Characters might cover all the bases, but then they might not be so directly lethal
- With so many players, though, some Named villains may be re-tooled in this game to fight several of you at once. Watch out for that.

Ok, a look at the different types:


Other Humans

You might not expect them, but the last game was full of Human foes (even if that was a bit deceptive). And with traitors like Cipher known to exist, the possibility of fighting your own is hardly impossible.

Humans use exactly the same rules as you guys, and will be built out of similar templates, so there’s really not much more to say about them!


Exiles

The pay off for the first game was to make the Matrix storyline as a whole here about Exiles. There are several reasons for this, but the two most important are that, first of all, the introduction of Exiles into Reloaded made the storyline much more open and adaptable for good role-playing. Secondly, Exiles allow you to do lots of fun things as far as bad guys are concerned.

So, the lead in for games will generally be you are finding out about Exiles, and generally get dragged into bigger things. Here’s what you need to know:

- To specify, Exiles are those programmes who do not live in, or work for, the System, and instead live independent lives inside the Matrix. The reasons for this are many and varied.
- Although Renegades from the System, the System seems much more concerned about you guys than them
- Exiles have little interest in the rules of the Matrix, and can abuse them if they are programmed to be able to. Some are made that way, some can evidently re-design themselves to their own needs, or even re-programme others. But there are also limits as to how powerful they can be, presumably related to their skills, so no Exile can simply take over the Matrix at a whim
- Being bound neither by rules nor a Human’s belief about what can or cannot be done, Exiles can manage all sorts of otherwise impossible effects, be it invulnerability to all but a certain effect, ghost form, teleportation, gravity reversal… everything is up for offer.
- Such special abilities of Exiles are called ‘Exile Powers’, and of course are only ever available to Exiles.
- Exiles also mess around with their stats and skills. Because their system for doing so works differently, Exiles can have Stats at 5. There is also no limit of 4 on their Mental stats- they lack the biological boundaries of Humans.
- Exiles have an entirely different way of adapting themselves in the Matrix for fighting. They have no Download system. But the way they fight is functionally identical- they use the Path system, and they tap, swap and refresh like you. They may use Paths you are unaware of, but the fundamental system is the same.
- Exiles are considered generally hostile. But although she has not directly confirmed it, most would identify the Oracle as an Exile, so that makes the issue rather fuzzy. But do remember- Exiles are not Human. It is like interacting with an alien race. Some may be better at human mannerisms than others, but all are fundamentally different on some level.



Agents

Heheh, the ultimate foe… despite all the Exiles’ crazy tricks and what not, the larges threat to you inside the Matrix comedy from Agents, and if that is not from sheer power, it is from their dedication. It is their very purpose to find and kill you, and they do their job well.

- Information about how Agents works is restricted! You have to work it out during the game
- Two bits of information that will be given though- first, they don’t use anything even vaguely resembling your way of getting skills, and secondly Agents do NOT use the Path system. They have their own set of moves (with very boring names because Agents have a very straightforward brawling style rather than mad Kung Fu), and they run off a number called ‘System Resources’, an extra feature they have which they must spend in order to use their stuff. You never know an Agent’s SR level.
- Agents are not Exiles and they have a responsibility to play by the rules. They have n obligation to make a ‘proportionate’ response to all disturbances. The theoretical power of an Agent is very high, but still limited by certain inbuilt Matrix limitations. Aside from their ability to bodyhop, Agents never fly or teleport or stuff like that. They can still push limits, like massive jumps and the like.
- Because of their proportional approach, Agents enter combats at a relatively modest power level. This starts to change quickly…
- … first of all based on time. The longer a situation goes on, the more Agents request extra resources to deal with the situation. This is represented by Aces being drawn from the card deck, and also when Refreshes come
- … secondly based on threat. If someone suddenly seems really dangerous- or if you really annoy one- an Agent will gather even more power from the System
- You can tell when an Agent powers up because they ‘pose’- straighten their ties, adjust their hair or glasses, tighten their cufflinks, or some such thing.
- Anything is up for grabs when Agents power up- more SR, more skill, more stats… they can become better than you in any way.
- This being the case- it is possible to fight Agents. What it is not possible to do is BEAT them. Stay in a fight with an Agent and at some point he will outpower and then destroy you. Just like in the films, if you fight an Agent, it is not to beat him, but to get an opportunity- normally to escape. Unless you are Neo. 99 times out of a hundred, you fight an Agent in order to get a chance to escape from him. You’ll have to work out how to do that.
- You can’t defeat an Agent in a straight fight, but you can take advantage of circumstance, Morpheus knocked one off a speeding truck, if you can send one over a balcony or onto a subway rail as the train is coming, then great! They’ll still come for you, of course, because they are effectively indestructible, but that gives you a chance to get stuff done. But remember, the longer you take, the more dangerous they become.

The idea behind this system is to make Agent fights possible- if they just always killed you immediately, why bother even playing it out? But the system also makes sure you can’t beat them; you can only ever hold them off. This makes them ultimately different from Exiles, who are built to be beatable.

Work out what you can about Agents. One final thing to remember about them, though. Agents are not robots (ironically). They are fully realised personalities, with their own desires and wants. They have an enormous hatred of you Rebels, of course, but they have plenty of free will and even, in Smith’s case, personality problems. If Agents were 100% efficient, you’d be in serious trouble. But they enjoy their work too much. They showboat, play around. They’ll taunt you when they should be snapping your necks, and they think it is amusing to try and do things like run trucks into you instead of shooting you. They feel their indestructibility quite keenly and are extraordinarily reckless. You can take advantage of this to live longer.

Ultimately, though, against Agents- you are trying to escape. Don’t lose sight of that.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Aug 25th, 2006 03:16 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

AGENT INTELLIGENCE


Basics

Levels

Agents have 'levels'. The higher their level, the more powerful they are. Things that imrpvoe by level include stats, skills, armour and dodge.

However, this is not a matter of some Agents being better than others. Unless a Mr. Smith style unique Agent is devised, all Agents are the same. Instead, Levels are used to show how Agents try to mount a proportional response, but have to call in more resources and increase their power as an incident goes on, or opposition proves to be too tough.

All Agents start at Level One. They improve from the following circumstances:

1. Time passing. Every time an Ace is drawn from the card deck, all Agents improve in power.

2. Extreme situation. Should situations become noticably desperate for the System, Agents will draw in more power. The circumstances for this have to be more than a losing battle. Escaping Rebels aren't enough. A good example of an extreme situation would be Neo turning up.

3. 'Other' You may find out other ways to increase Agent level, probably the hard way. Discovered so far- repeated use of Bullet Swerve in a small amount of time; recovering from becoming Vulnerable


Agent Powers

Agents have no Downloaded powers, or any concept of Active or Inactive powers. Instead, they have their own special Agent powers.

Agent Powers do nothing unless activated. They have no static effect, unlike your Paths. This makes your Paths quite an advantage against low-level Agents. As they go up in level, their natural bonuses will at least compensate for your Path effects, and will eventually surpass them.

Activated Agent Powers give more specific effects, often as good as your taps, sometimes better. Agent Powers are not beholden to tapping, instead, they run off a pool called 'System Resources'. The more powerful the Power being used, the more SR it costs. SR available depends on level.

An Agent's System Resources pool refreshes to maximum when a Refresh card is drawn from the deck, or when an Agent goes up in level.


Showboating

If Agents have a weakness, it is that they take too much pleasure in what they do. Agents will not always use their powers and movements efficiently, instead choosing to play with their victims. Annoyed agents tend to act differently.

If an Agent is victorious in a fight, he will try to kill his target. But often, especially against a target that has been fighting hard, an Agent might try to come up with a fun away to kill him (Reference: Smith trying to 'train' Neo to death at the station). This may give players a chance to get away, or for inventive rescues to come their way. Attempts to abuse this will simply lead to a dead player; this is to allow otherwise doomed players a final chance, not to pretend that you are still fighting when you can't.


Unstoppable

Unless in an unavoidably hazardous situation (e.g. a cliff edge), Agents are almost impossible to get out of your way. It's like trying to move a mountain.

Attacks that throw Agents allow bonus pool or a disengagement as per the rules. However, they will not remove Agents from fights, over railings, across rooms etc. They will remain, more or less, where they are.


Becoming vulnerable

If an Agent takes more damage than his capacity, he does not die, and will soon recover. However, for one turn the Agent becomes vulnerable. He will not act during that turn, and furthermore at this point Throws- and other powerful moves- can be used to knock Agents out of the way, and if the scenery is appropriate, even out the fight, possibly forever if the fight is nearly done.

Agents recovering from Vulnerable status increase in Level.

-----

AGENT STATS

Strength: ?
Dexterity: ?
Toughness: ?

Intelligence: ?
Perception: ?
Charisma: ?

Agent stats are fixed; they do not alter by level.

---

AGENT POWERS

-

Bullet Swerve

"Men have emptied entire clips at them, and hit nothing but air..."


Cost: 0

Agents are almost impossible to hit with bullets as they simply move fast enough to avoid them- but the effort they make may slow them down.

Bullet Swerve is activated when an Agent is under attack from a Guns attack. It makes the attack automatically miss.

The Agent loses one pool from his next action for each success rolled on the Gun attack. There is one extra success if Burst fire is used, and one extra success if Both Guns Blazing is used.

If an Agent's MA pool is reduced to zero by a Bullet Swerve, it loses its next action.

Agents continuously forced to Bullet Swerve may increase in level.

-

Agent Attack

In the Subway fight, after Neo recovers from being proned after being smashed into the wall, Smith attempts a Straight Punch, which Neo dodges. But instead of a normal punch, Smith follows up this move by grabbing Neo's arm, twisting him around and hammering blows into his back


Cost: 1

Most Agent blows are simple jabs and punches. Sometimes they pull off spectacular effects. But some attacks by Agents are more imaginative than a punch, yet not distinctive enough to warrant their own power. All of these moves are dealt with by the generic power "Agent Attack."

Agent Attack is very simple; it adds 2 to an Agent's attack pool for that turn. It is not highly efficient; Agents often use it to mitigate circumstances when opponents are using high defence or when the Agent has lost pool.

-

Agent Defence

In the subway fight, Neo has driven Smith back with a hail of blows. Neo advances the distance and tries another rapid set of blows. Smith blocks Neo's right arm with his own, moving the force of the blow away and up. Neo whips away his arm quickly but then his next blow is equally blocked by Smith's left. Although Neo then blocks Smith's next blow in turn, Smith gets the better of the exchange.


Cost: 1

Agents are always keeping up a defence based around the use of their forearms- Agents almost never dodge, instead simply taking blows without seeming to notice them. Sometimes an Agent will put extra effort onto Defence, especially if pressed by a particular move. "Agent Defence" simply represents them concentrating more on this area.

Agent Defence adds +2 onto the Agent's Defence rating for this turn. Whilst this seems less powerful than path-based defence, this is actually bonus Defence, more along the lines of Walking Willow.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Last edited by Ushgarak on Jan 30th, 2007 at 10:24 PM

Old Post Aug 25th, 2006 03:17 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

Power reference to be kept here


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Aug 25th, 2006 03:17 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

Agent intelligence updated.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jan 20th, 2007 02:56 PM
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Ushgarak
Paladin

Gender: Male
Location: Chelmsford, Essex, UK

Co-Admin

Agent Intelligence updated. Two new Powers added; other areas updated with more info.


__________________



"We've got maybe seconds before Darth Rosenberg grinds everybody into Jawa burgers and not one of you buds has the midi-chlorians to stop her!"

"You've never had any TINY bit of sex, have you?"

BtVS

Old Post Jan 30th, 2007 02:53 PM
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