Difference between revisions of "Bulletproof Blues 4e EN:GM Resources"

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|-  
 
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Darkness
 
| class="alignleft"|Darkness
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty
+
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Dehydration
 
| class="alignleft"|Dehydration
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty, one Health per day
+
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty, one Health per day
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Exhaustion
 
| class="alignleft"|Exhaustion
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty, one Endurance per day
+
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty, one Endurance per day
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Exposure
 
| class="alignleft"|Exposure
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty, one Health per six hours
+
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty, one Health per six hours
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Falling
 
| class="alignleft"|Falling
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|-  
 
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Pressure
 
| class="alignleft"|Pressure
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty, one Health per minute
+
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty, one Health per minute
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Radiation
 
| class="alignleft"|Radiation
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty, one Endurance per week
+
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty, one Endurance per week
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Starvation
 
| class="alignleft"|Starvation
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty, one Endurance per week
+
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty, one Endurance per week
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Suffocation
 
| class="alignleft"|Suffocation
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty, one Health per minute
+
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty, one Health per minute
 
|-  
 
|-  
 
| class="alignleft"|Vacuum
 
| class="alignleft"|Vacuum
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty, one Health per minute
+
| class="alignleft"|-{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty, one Health per minute
 
|}
 
|}
  
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===Darkness===
 
===Darkness===
  
Darkness, fog, rain, blizzards, and other visual impediments can make combat much more difficult. If an attacker can't see the defender, the attacker incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill roll penalty. Conversely, if a defender can't see the attacker, the defender incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty.
+
Darkness, fog, rain, blizzards, and other visual impediments can make combat much more difficult. If an attacker can't see the defender, the attacker incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty. Conversely, if a defender can't see the attacker, the defender incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty.
  
 
===Dehydration===
 
===Dehydration===
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A character who goes more than 24 hours without drinking begins to suffer the effects of dehydration.
 
A character who goes more than 24 hours without drinking begins to suffer the effects of dehydration.
  
If a character is suffering from dehydration, they lose one Health per day until they are rehydrated or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character is rehydrated, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.
+
If a character is suffering from dehydration, they lose one Health per day until they are rehydrated or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character is rehydrated, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.
  
 
Damage from dehydration is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by dehydration.
 
Damage from dehydration is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by dehydration.
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Most people need to rest after eight hours of strenuous activity. A character who goes more than 24 hours without sleep begins to suffer the effects of sleep deprivation.
 
Most people need to rest after eight hours of strenuous activity. A character who goes more than 24 hours without sleep begins to suffer the effects of sleep deprivation.
  
If a character is suffering from sleep deprivation, they lose one Endurance per day until they get a solid night's rest or until their Endurance and Health are reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character gets a solid night's rest, their Endurance and Health are restored at the same rate they were lost.
+
If a character is suffering from sleep deprivation, they lose one Endurance per day until they get a solid night's rest or until their Endurance and Health are reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character gets a solid night's rest, their Endurance and Health are restored at the same rate they were lost.
  
 
A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by exhaustion.
 
A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by exhaustion.
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===Exposure===
 
===Exposure===
  
If a character is suffering from exposure, they lose one Health per six hours until they return to a comfortable environment, or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character returns to a comfortable environment, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.
+
If a character is suffering from exposure, they lose one Health per six hours until they return to a comfortable environment, or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character returns to a comfortable environment, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.
  
 
Damage from extremes of heat and cold is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by extreme temperatures.
 
Damage from extremes of heat and cold is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by extreme temperatures.
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===Pressure===
 
===Pressure===
  
If a character is exposed to extreme atmospheric pressure, they lose one Health per minute until they return to a pressurized atmosphere, or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character returns to a normal atmosphere, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.
+
If a character is exposed to extreme atmospheric pressure, they lose one Health per minute until they return to a pressurized atmosphere, or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character returns to a normal atmosphere, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.
  
 
Damage from extreme atmospheric pressure is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by high pressure.
 
Damage from extreme atmospheric pressure is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by high pressure.
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===Radiation===
 
===Radiation===
  
Twenty-four hours after exposure to ionizing radiation, a character must attempt a remarkably difficult (DV 15) Survival (Brawn) roll. If the target has Alteration Resistance, they may add it to this roll. If the Survival (Brawn) roll is successful, the character takes no damage from the radiation and suffers only incidental side-effects such as nausea. If the Survival (Brawn) roll is not successful, the character has succumbed to the radiation, and their Endurance is reduced by one. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls.
+
Twenty-four hours after exposure to ionizing radiation, a character must attempt a remarkably difficult (DV 15) Survival (Brawn) roll. If the target has Alteration Resistance, they may add it to this roll. If the Survival (Brawn) roll is successful, the character takes no damage from the radiation and suffers only incidental side-effects such as nausea. If the Survival (Brawn) roll is not successful, the character has succumbed to the radiation, and their Endurance is reduced by one. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls.
  
 
Once a week, the character must attempt another Survival (Brawn) roll. Each failed Survival (Brawn) roll results in another loss of one Endurance. This continues until the character successfully makes a Survival (Brawn) roll, or their Endurance and Health are reduced to zero. Once the character successfully makes a Survival (Brawn) roll against the radiation, their Endurance and Health are restored at the same rate they were lost.
 
Once a week, the character must attempt another Survival (Brawn) roll. Each failed Survival (Brawn) roll results in another loss of one Endurance. This continues until the character successfully makes a Survival (Brawn) roll, or their Endurance and Health are reduced to zero. Once the character successfully makes a Survival (Brawn) roll against the radiation, their Endurance and Health are restored at the same rate they were lost.
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A character who goes more than one week without eating begins to suffer the effects of starvation. Initially, the character experiences weakness, confusion, and irritability. After three weeks without food, the character experiences hallucinations and convulsions. Starvation eventually results in death.
 
A character who goes more than one week without eating begins to suffer the effects of starvation. Initially, the character experiences weakness, confusion, and irritability. After three weeks without food, the character experiences hallucinations and convulsions. Starvation eventually results in death.
  
Each week a character goes without eating, their Endurance is reduced by one, until their Endurance and Health are reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character has resumed a normal diet, their Endurance and Health are restored at the same rate they were lost.
+
Each week a character goes without eating, their Endurance is reduced by one, until their Endurance and Health are reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character has resumed a normal diet, their Endurance and Health are restored at the same rate they were lost.
  
 
Damage from starvation is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by starvation.
 
Damage from starvation is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by starvation.
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===Suffocation===
 
===Suffocation===
  
If a character needs to breath but is unable to do so, such as someone drowning or suffocating, they lose one Health per minute until they can breathe freely again, or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character is able to breathe normally, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.
+
If a character needs to breath but is unable to do so, such as someone drowning or suffocating, they lose one Health per minute until they can breathe freely again, or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character is able to breathe normally, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.
  
 
Damage from suffocation is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by suffocation.
 
Damage from suffocation is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by suffocation.
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===Vacuum===
 
===Vacuum===
  
If a character is exposed to vacuum, they lose one Health per minute until they return to a pressurized atmosphere, or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character returns to a normal atmosphere, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.
+
If a character is exposed to vacuum, they lose one Health per minute until they return to a pressurized atmosphere, or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -{{KM4_SKILL_BONUS}} skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character returns to a normal atmosphere, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.
  
 
Damage from exposure to vacuum is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by exposure to vacuum.
 
Damage from exposure to vacuum is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with [[Bulletproof_Blues_4e_EN:Powers#Environmental_Immunity|Environmental Immunity]] is unaffected by exposure to vacuum.

Latest revision as of 11:05, 2 May 2022

Arrow up 16x16.png Contents

This chapter provides additional information for the game moderator, such as the mass of commonplace objects and the speed of various creatures and vehicles.

Hostile Environments

Table: Hostile environments
Environment Effect
Darkness -3 skill penalty
Dehydration -3 skill penalty, one Health per day
Exhaustion -3 skill penalty, one Endurance per day
Exposure -3 skill penalty, one Health per six hours
Falling damage based on the distance fallen
Fire damage based on heat and intensity
Poisons one Health per minute or less
Pressure -3 skill penalty, one Health per minute
Radiation -3 skill penalty, one Endurance per week
Starvation -3 skill penalty, one Endurance per week
Suffocation -3 skill penalty, one Health per minute
Vacuum -3 skill penalty, one Health per minute


Darkness

Darkness, fog, rain, blizzards, and other visual impediments can make combat much more difficult. If an attacker can't see the defender, the attacker incurs a -3 skill penalty. Conversely, if a defender can't see the attacker, the defender incurs a -3 skill penalty.

Dehydration

A character who goes more than 24 hours without drinking begins to suffer the effects of dehydration.

If a character is suffering from dehydration, they lose one Health per day until they are rehydrated or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -3 skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character is rehydrated, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.

Damage from dehydration is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with Environmental Immunity is unaffected by dehydration.

Exhaustion

Most people need to rest after eight hours of strenuous activity. A character who goes more than 24 hours without sleep begins to suffer the effects of sleep deprivation.

If a character is suffering from sleep deprivation, they lose one Endurance per day until they get a solid night's rest or until their Endurance and Health are reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -3 skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character gets a solid night's rest, their Endurance and Health are restored at the same rate they were lost.

A character with Environmental Immunity is unaffected by exhaustion.

Exposure

If a character is suffering from exposure, they lose one Health per six hours until they return to a comfortable environment, or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -3 skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character returns to a comfortable environment, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.

Damage from extremes of heat and cold is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with Environmental Immunity is unaffected by extreme temperatures.

Falling

Falling is treated as a normal attack which inflicts Health damage. The damage rating of a fall depends on the distance fallen: 1d6, plus one damage rating for each five meters fallen (rounded in the character's favour), up to a maximum of damage rating 20. Particularly soft or yielding surfaces can reduce the damage rating of the fall by as much as half.


Table: Falling Damage
Distance (m) Damage
5 1d6+1
10 1d6+2
15 1d6+3
20 1d6+4
25 1d6+5
30 1d6+6
35 1d6+7
40 1d6+8
45 1d6+9
50 1d6+10
55 1d6+11
60 1d6+12
65 1d6+13
70 1d6+14
75 1d6+15

Fire

Fire is treated as a normal attack which inflicts Health damage. The damage rating of a fire depends on its heat and intensity.


Table: Fire
Fire Damage
Campfire, torch 1d6+1
Burning building 1d6+2
Molten lava 1d6+3

Poisons

Poisons and pathogens are substances which disrupt biological processes when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism. Described here is a generic poison: your character may encounter poisons or pathogens which are more complicated than this example.

Immediately after exposure, a poisoned character must attempt a moderately difficult (DV 12) Survival (Brawn) roll. If the target has Alteration Resistance, they may add it to this roll. If the Survival (Brawn) roll is successful, the character takes no damage from the poison and suffers only incidental side-effects such as nausea. If the Survival (Brawn) roll is not successful, the character has succumbed to the poison, and their Health is reduced by one.

Periodically thereafter, the character must attempt another Survival (Brawn) roll (once a round for very potent poisons, once an hour for very weak poisons, and once a minute for normal poisons, at the GM's discretion). Each failed Survival (Brawn) roll results in another loss of one Health. This continues until the character successfully makes a Survival (Brawn) roll, or they are administered the appropriate antidote (if one exists), or their Health is reduced to zero. Once the character successfully makes a Survival (Brawn) roll against the poison or is administered the appropriate antidote, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.

Some poisons and pathogens have additional effects, such as blindness or paralysis.

Damage from poisons and pathogens is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with Environmental Immunity is unaffected by poisons and pathogens.

Pressure

If a character is exposed to extreme atmospheric pressure, they lose one Health per minute until they return to a pressurized atmosphere, or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -3 skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character returns to a normal atmosphere, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.

Damage from extreme atmospheric pressure is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with Environmental Immunity is unaffected by high pressure.

Radiation

Twenty-four hours after exposure to ionizing radiation, a character must attempt a remarkably difficult (DV 15) Survival (Brawn) roll. If the target has Alteration Resistance, they may add it to this roll. If the Survival (Brawn) roll is successful, the character takes no damage from the radiation and suffers only incidental side-effects such as nausea. If the Survival (Brawn) roll is not successful, the character has succumbed to the radiation, and their Endurance is reduced by one. Additionally, the character incurs a -3 skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls.

Once a week, the character must attempt another Survival (Brawn) roll. Each failed Survival (Brawn) roll results in another loss of one Endurance. This continues until the character successfully makes a Survival (Brawn) roll, or their Endurance and Health are reduced to zero. Once the character successfully makes a Survival (Brawn) roll against the radiation, their Endurance and Health are restored at the same rate they were lost.

Damage from acute radiation syndrome is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with Environmental Immunity is unaffected by poisons and pathogens.

SIDEBAR: Liefeld Radiation

Exposure to Liefeld radiation typically results in spontaneous painful deformity followed by death. Symptoms include atrophy of the hands, feet, and abdomen, and a grotesque increase in musculature in the chest and thighs. However, in rare and isolated cases, exposure to Liefeld radiation has resulted in a permanent transformation from human to posthuman. Such cases are one in a million, at best.

Starvation

A character who goes more than one week without eating begins to suffer the effects of starvation. Initially, the character experiences weakness, confusion, and irritability. After three weeks without food, the character experiences hallucinations and convulsions. Starvation eventually results in death.

Each week a character goes without eating, their Endurance is reduced by one, until their Endurance and Health are reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -3 skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character has resumed a normal diet, their Endurance and Health are restored at the same rate they were lost.

Damage from starvation is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with Environmental Immunity is unaffected by starvation.

Suffocation

If a character needs to breath but is unable to do so, such as someone drowning or suffocating, they lose one Health per minute until they can breathe freely again, or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -3 skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character is able to breathe normally, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.

Damage from suffocation is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with Environmental Immunity is unaffected by suffocation.

Vacuum

If a character is exposed to vacuum, they lose one Health per minute until they return to a pressurized atmosphere, or until their Health is reduced to zero. Additionally, the character incurs a -3 skill penalty on their defense and on all skill rolls. Once the character returns to a normal atmosphere, their Health is restored at the same rate it was lost.

Damage from exposure to vacuum is not restored by rest and recuperation. A character with Environmental Immunity is unaffected by exposure to vacuum.

Mass

Table: Item mass
Item Mass Brawn (to lift)
medium dog, full suitcase 20 kg 1
full pony keg of beer, small sea turtle 45 kg 1
slender adult, large dog 65 kg 1
full keg of beer 75 kg 2
typical adult, small floor safe, wooden chest 90 kg 2
heavy adult 125 kg 2
racing motorcycle, refrigerator, wooden table 150 kg 3
weapon locker, gun safe, large sea turtle 200 kg 3
large brown bear, dolphin, harpsichord, lion 225 kg 3
motorcycle, medium floor safe, tiger, a Twinkie 11 meters long 300 kg 4
grizzly bear, large desk, riding horse, touring motorcycle 400 kg 4
polar bear, empty light wagon 500 kg 4
cow, draft horse, small sailboat 600 kg 4
compact car, piano, loaded light wagon 900 kg 5
civilian helicopter, medium missile, grand piano 1,000 kg 5
full size car, large herbivore, hippopotamus 2 t 6
small military helicopter, Humvee 3 t 6
armored Humvee 4 t 6
elephant, empty dump truck 5 t 6
light jet fighter plane 7 t 7
large military helicopter, empty tractor-trailer 9 t 7
jet fighter plane 10 t 7
international marijuana shipment, Polaris missile 20 t 8
loaded dump truck 20 t 8
private jet plane, empty train car 30 t 8
empty C-130 cargo plane, loaded tractor-trailer 40 t 8
Easter Island stone head, loaded tanker truck, bank vault 50 t 8
suburban house, Trident missile, M1 Abrams tank 50 t 8
loaded C-130 cargo plane 80 t 9
blue whale 90 t 9
loaded train car 100 t 9
locomotive, fishing trawler 200 t 10
empty 747 passenger plane 300 t 10
typical train 400 t 10
loaded 747 passenger plane 400 t 10
Space Shuttle 2,000 t 12
Coast Guard cutter, passenger train 3,000 t 12
Saturn V rocket 3,000 t 12
Eiffel Tower 6,000 t 13
freight train 7,000 t 13
destroyer, nuclear submarine 8,000 t 13
10 story building 9,000 t 13
Brooklyn Bridge 10,000 t 13
long freight train 10,000 t 13
large nuclear submarine 20,000 t 14
aircraft carrier 80,000 t 15
loaded tanker ship 100,000 t 15
cruise ship 100,000 t 15
large office building, loaded large tanker ship 200,000 t 16
Empire State Building, empty Ultra Large Crude Carrier 400,000 t 16
Ben Franklin Bridge, loaded Ultra Large Crude Carrier 600,000 t 17
Golden Gate Bridge 800,000 t 17
enormous skyscraper 900,000 t 17
Great Pyramid of Giza 5,000,000 t 18

Speed

Table: Item speeds
Item Speed Agility
avg human running 20 km/h 3
max human running 40 km/h 4
fast submarine 80 km/h 5
fast bird, cheetah, sailfish 120 km/h 5
arrow 240 km/h 6
fast car 320 km/h 6
fast helicopter 400 km/h 6
F5 tornado wind 480 km/h 6
terminal velocity 530 km/h 7
bullet train 560 km/h 7
airplane 800 km/h 7
pistol bullet 1,100 km/h 7
sound 1,200 km/h 7
supersonic airplane 2,000 km/h 8
rifle bullet 3,000 km/h 8
superjet 10,000 km/h 9
escape velocity 40,000 km/h 10
rocket 50,000 km/h 10
solar winds 483,000 km/h 12
interplanetary speeds 4,700,000 km/h 14
light 1,079,252,848 km/h 19

Tell A Story The Kalos Comics Way

A game of Bulletproof Blues is, at its core, storytelling. When any RPG campaign loses the story telling focus, and devolves into a series of battles, the characters are no longer characters at all. They become writing on a piece of paper, just complicated tokens pushed around the game board of the campaign setting.

The players look to the game moderator to provide that setting and a series of problems or situations to resolve. Generally, this sequence of events is referred to as the plot. Sections of the overall plot that take multiple game sessions to resolve are called a story arc. The key to an engaging, thrilling experience for players and game moderator is for the GM to connect the individual game sessions together in a way that engages the persona each player is playing.

It is important to note a plot dynamic in Bulletproof Blues games which does not occur in comicbooks -- unlike a comicbook, each player in the group sees their PC as the main character of the story. The GM needs to give equal "spotlight" time for each player to roleplay in situations that explore their character's motivations, complications, and history. GMs can use the Kalos Comics Way to build a story that features all of the PCs equally.

For comicbook writers, the Kalos Comics Way requires development of two types of structures. First is a conventional, western-style narrative structure for each story arc, containing the classic five elements: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Writers are encouraged to embed some foreshadowing exposition from the next story arc into the rising action and falling action of the current story arc, in order to create a bridge from one story arc to the next.

Second, writers must produce an eastern-style narrative structure known as kishōtenketsu for each major character. In the Kalos Comics Way, the purpose of the kishōtenketsu is to communicate how the "person behind the mask" will be engaged in the story arc. The PC hero, after all, isn't a hollow shell with powers. The character is a person (or alien or robot) who lives in the world, and who has worldly emotions, concerns, and desires. GMs are encouraged to use the hero's motivations, complications, and history to build each kishōtenketsu.

Because kishōtenketsu is a technique useful for merging two seemingly unrelated plot threads without requiring direct conflict, it is used in the Kalos Comics Way to bring the mask and the person behind the mask together in the story.

In the Kalos Comics Way, after the story arc plot is laid out, and a kishōtenketsu is done for each major character, they are all woven together to form the basis for the storyboard of the comic art. In Bulletproof Blues, they are all woven together to provide the framework for the game moderator's campaign.

Story Arc Plot

The story arc plot is the sequence of events in the current section of the overall story. The plot is made up of five elements centered around how the main characters confront and eventually (hopefully) overcome the source of the conflict. The five elements are:

Exposition

The exposition is where the heroes are placed into the location of the story arc setting, key NPCs are identified, background information is provided through dialogue or explanation, and the game moderator provides clues or explicit instructions that lead the heroes into the rising action.

Rising Action

The rising action is a series of conflicts or problems that grow more and more complicated and challenging for the heroes. The resolution of one conflict leads to the next. The rising action builds excitement as each danger is vanquished or mystery solved. The Kalos Comics Way uses two to four combats or encounters to build the rising action.

Climax

The climax is the turning point of a story, novel, or script. It is the moment where it seems like the main character is in danger or could even possibly fail at resolving the conflict. Depending on the kind of conflict being faced (man vs. man, man vs. self, etc.), the actions at this point in the work can be either physical or mental.

Falling Action

Taking place after the climax, the falling action includes events that will help to fully resolve the conflict. The results of actions that the main character has taken are presented as well as the results of decisions that have been made, whether good or bad for the character.

Resolution

The end of a story, novel, or script includes the last plot element -- the resolution. It is here that loose ends are tied up, conflicts are concluded, outcomes are revealed, and a happy or sad ending takes place. As many of the final actions have already taken place, a resolution can be made up of a just a summary of where the main character will end up in the future, instead of including any more active events.

Kishōtenketsu

Kishōtenketsu is a compound word formed from the Japanese Kanji characters that explain the structure. The examples here are from poet Sanyō Rai.

Ki (Introduction)

Daughters of Itoya, in the Honmachi of Osaka.

The first element places the character in the context of what is important in the character's life. Typically, the ki element sets the scene, forming the basis for how the things the character cares about will become part of the story.

Shō (Development)

The elder daughter is sixteen and the younger one is fourteen.

The second element, shō, expands on the first element and typically contains an action that develops on the scene identified in ki.

Ten (Twist)

Throughout history, warriors have killed the enemy with bows and arrows.

The third element is the climax, in which an unforeseen development occurs. Typically, the relationship of the content of ten to the first two elements is not readily apparent. In other words, there is not a linear progression from shō to ten.

Ketsu (Reconciliation)

The daughters of Itoya kill with their eyes.

The fourth element, ketsu, is the conclusion. Ketsu merges ten into the narrative direction of ki and shō.

The Kalos Comics Way

In the Kalos Comics Way, the comic writer or GM assembles the pieces of the story in the following manner:

  1. The first step is to assign draft events to the five story arc plot elements. These events may change during the process. The climax is identified first, then the rising action that builds up to it, followed by exposition. Falling action and resolution are done last, then all 5 are reassembled in their chronological order.
  2. The second step is to create a kishōtenketsu for each major character based on their motivations, complications, and history.
  3. Third, the kishōtenketsu are inserted into the five elements where it makes the most sense from a story and character standpoint.
  4. And finally, in the fourth step, for the comic writer the assembled plot is reviewed with the editor, then sent to the pencillers and turned into a story board. For the GM, this step is where the descriptions are filled in, and NPC and villain characters are created or taken from sourcebooks.

The Big Example

Below is an example that illustrates how you can use the Kalos Comics Way in your games.

Step 1: Story Arc Plot

The GM wants to use the story arc to reveal a new master villain: Dr. Virago, a super scientist bent on world domination, who has been cryogenically frozen since 1973. Dr. Virago's technology was 100 years ahead of its time in 1973, so it is still advanced, but also strangely dated. The GM intends for Dr. Virago to become one of the PC group's long-term arch nemeses.

With that in mind, it is important that Dr. Virago survive the climax of the story arc in a way that propels the campaign forward. The GM decides that the best way to keep Dr. Virago as an active antagonist is to not have Dr. Virago directly involved in the climax. Instead, Dr. Virago's 1970s-style robot bodyguard/killing machine will take the brunt of the heroes' wrath, and Dr. Virago's involvement will be revealed in the falling action after the climax of the story arc.

Climax: The heroes think they have found the lair of Dr. Virago, but instead they've fallen into a trap! They've been sealed in a subterranean base with Dr. Virago's monstrous death robot, MX-ML1, who's been programmed to kill!

The GM decides that Dr. Virago wants to acquire some bio-weapon technology -- an area that has seen tremendous strides while she was in cryogenic hibernation. Her investigation has led her to Lance Doughty, a virologist, who had a history of selling his private research. But not all of Doughty's research is in government or corporate hands -- Dr. Virago's "sources" say key formulas are stored in a safe deposit vault owned by Doughty's estate.

But Dr. Virago is no fool. She doesn't want to be directly involved at all. So she hires three mercenary villains: Razor, Cacophony, and Equinox. Razor has gang affiliations, so Dr. Virago tells him to hire some local muscle to do the actual break-in. She provides some vials of a mysterious, powerful Transformation Serum so the thugs will agree. Plus, the gang can have everything in the bank vault, as long as they turn over Doughty's safe deposit box unopened and unharmed.

Rising action 1: A 911 call leads the heroes to a couple of gang members who have taken the Transformation Serum. The chemicals have warped their bodies, making them far stronger and tougher than normal, and wildly violent.

Rising action 2: After questioning one of the malformed thugs, the heroes go to the gang's safehouse to recover the stolen goods and the rest of the Transformation Serum. Clues lead the heroes to the mercenary villains.

Rising action 3: The heroes find Razor, Cacophony, and Equinox, and bring them to justice. The villains reluctantly agree to reveal the location of Dr. Virago's hideout.

The police begin to realize they are out of their depth when they see the hole ripped into the brick wall of Metro City National Bank. Their fears are realized when they see three monstrous men on the security tape, so naturally they call the heroes.

Exposition: A call from Metro City police ask the heroes to help capture three "creatures" who broke into Metro City National Bank.

After the heroes defeat Dr. Virago's monstrous death robot, MX-ML1, they hear an odd clacking sound from another room. They enter to find a telex machine sending the last page from a stack of documents. A cursory glance reveals that documents contain complex formulas and engineering specifications. Behind the telex machine is a bank of two dozen 16" tube type color televisions. The screens flicker on, showing a test pattern, then the aged, malevolent face of the dreaded Dr. Virago! She is surprised and angry that the heroes defeated MX-ML1, and swears vengeance.

Falling action: After defeating MX-ML1, the heroes discover that Dr. Virago has been the mastermind behind the bank robbery and the Transformation Serum. The evil genius' whereabouts are unknown.

Once the federal government finds out that Dr. Virago has somehow returned, dozens of agents swoop in on the subterranean base, seizing the documents and the remaining Transformation Serum. The heroes are "debriefed". The gang members who broke into the bank are identified and charged with the crime. Razor, Cacophony, and Equinox are long gone -- they escaped from custody while they were being transferred to jail.

Resolution: Local police and federal law enforcement coordinate to secure Dr. Virago's base. The gang members who broke into the bank are charged with robbery, but Razor, Cacophony, Equinox, and Dr. Virago herself remain free, leaving the heroes frustrated.

In chronological order, the story arc plot is:

  1. Exposition: A call from Metro City police ask the heroes to help capture three "creatures" who broke into Metro City National Bank.
  2. Rising action 1: A 911 call leads the heroes to a couple of gang members who have taken the Transformation Serum. The chemicals have warped their bodies, making them far stronger and tougher than normal, and wildly violent.
  3. Rising action 2: After questioning one of the malformed thugs, the heroes go to the gang's safehouse to recover the stolen goods and the rest of the Transformation Serum. Clues lead the heroes to the mercenary villains.
  4. Rising action 3: The heroes find Razor, Cacophony, and Equinox, and bring them to justice. The villains reluctantly agree to reveal the location of Dr. Virago's hideout.
  5. Climax: The heroes think they have found the lair of Dr. Virago, but instead they've fallen into a trap! They've been sealed in a subterranean base with Dr. Virago's monstrous death robot, MX-ML1, who's been programmed to kill!
  6. Falling action: After defeating MX-ML1, the heroes discover that Dr. Virago has been the mastermind behind the bank robbery and the Transformation Serum. The evil genius' whereabouts are unknown.
  7. Resolution: Local police and federal law enforcement coordinate to secure Dr. Virago's base. The gang members who broke into the bank are charged with robbery, but Razor, Cacophony, Equinox, and Dr. Virago herself remain free.

Step 2: Kishōtenketsu

For our example, we'll use a team of three PCs:

  • Blueshift – Speedster martial artist hero, reformed criminal
  • Manticore – Flying, armored superhero persona of an international celebrity
  • Monolith – Massive, immensely strong hero who advocates for children's charities

These PCs are established heroes from Kalos Comics who we're teaming together. Along with each hero's motivations, complications, and history is that hero's kishōtenketsu.

Blueshift's Motivations
  • Pragmatism: The character believes that practical accomplishments are more important than ideas and philosophies.
  • Rebellion: The character doesn't fit into the larger society.
Blueshift's Complications
  • Enemy: Blueshift is still hunted by Project Genesis, and not everyone has forgiven her criminal past.
  • Outsider: Blueshift's unease around normal people is often taken as disdain.
Blueshift's History

For Blueshift's history, please see her full character write-up on page XXX.

Blueshift's Kishōtenketsu

The GM decides that Blueshift's background as a leader of Master Sin's strike team would be a good way to bridge the gap between the gang members and the mercenary villains. Equinox, when she isn't using her fire and ice powers to commit crimes, is an alcoholic: a rough and tumble country girl who drowns her sorrows in cheap whiskey and drugs at honky-tonk bars. Having worked with her before, Blueshift knows Equinox's habits, recognizes the description given by one of the thugs captured at the gang's safehouse, and knows how to find her.

  • Ki (Introduction): Blueshift and three armored troopers hide outside an industrial complex, watching the guards patrolling behind a razor wire fence.
  • Shō (Development): The troopers give Blueshift confused, questioning looks as she checks her watch then looks past them to the horizon and the glowing haze above a nearby town.
  • Ten (Twist): A woman is slumped against the bar in a seedy dive, one hand clutching an empty glass, eyes barely open.
  • Ketsu (Reconciliation): Blueshift grits her teeth as she slings the woman's arm over her shoulder and drags her out of the bar, in spite of the woman's protests.

The GM can use this kishōtenketsu series of events as a flashback so Blueshift's player can suggest canvassing local honky-tonk dive bars with a description of Equinox. In addition, this knowledge can be used after the story arc is complete as foreshadowing for future story arcs concerning Blueshift's past and/or the continued pursuit of Dr. Virago.

Manticore's Motivations
  • Adventure: The character has an adventurous spirit and rarely turns down a quest.
  • Community: The character believes that the greatest measure of an individual is in their value to society.
Manticore's Complications
  • Enemy: Chloe Zhang is internationally famous, which makes her a very easy target for her enemies.
  • Weakness: Most of Manticore's powers are dependent on her armor and equipment.
Manticore's History

For Manticore's history, please see her full character write-up on page XXX.

Manticore's Kishōtenketsu

For this story arc, the GM uses Manticore's significant experience as a hero and her numerous encounters with the subversive groups that plague the modern world. Recently Manticore defeated a group of infiltration specialists and armored stormtroopers working for ASGARD. Among the information gathered from the defeated agents was a list of contacts.

When the Metro City police show the heroes the security video of the bank robbery, they also have a list of the owners of the safe deposit boxes. One box belonged to the estate of Lance Doughty.

  • Ki (Introduction): Five years ago, Manticore and her teammates Mr. Shade and Ladon, Guardian of Ages, stand over the unconscious bodies of a group of Vidar: dangerous agents employed by the evil organization ASGARD.
  • Shō (Development): Just behind Ladon, a Vidar agent attempts to erase data from a handheld device, but Manticore notices and leaps to stop him.
  • Ten (Twist): A disheveled man in a lab coat accepts a thick envelope labelled "Doughty" from a disinterested woman. He gets out of her car, and with a nervous backward glance walks into the night.
  • Ketsu (Reconciliation): Manticore can see a phrase, "Doughty 1471" flash across the display as the device melts through the agent's trembling hand.

The GM decides to foreshadow this recollection in the exposition, then drop the reference into the story arc plot during the fight with the mercenary villains. Manticore doesn't have to associate the list of deposit box owners (from the bank manager) with the name from the ASGARD device. Instead the GM will mention "1471" as if by accident while roleplaying the braggart Razor or the uncontrolled Equinox during the fight. Manticore will make the connection, then the team can use their Investigation skills to trace from the safe deposit box, to Doughty's estate, to recent contacts with the estate, to a landline phone call from an abandoned warehouse just outside of town that disguises the entrance to one of Dr. Virago's underground bases.

Monolith's Motivations
  • Compassion: The character wants to protect others and alleviate their suffering, particularly the innocent and the helpless.
  • Justice: The character seeks to ensure that misdeeds are met with appropriate punishment.
Monolith's Complications
  • Enemy: Monolith has made many enemies, but Cesspool is the most vile and persistent.
  • Uncontrolled Power: Monolith's size and weight make it impossible for him to have a normal life.
Monolith's History

For Monolith's history, please see his full character write-up on page XXX.

Monolith's Kishōtenketsu

The GM decides that commitment to charity work would be an excellent opportunity to connect the "human elements" of the story. In the course of his volunteer work, Monolith has met one of the thugs who robbed the bank. Monolith doesn't think the young man is a criminal type, so there must be some other explanation.

  • Ki (Introduction): Monolith attends a charity event -- a ribbon cutting for a new inner city playground.
  • Shō (Development): One of the organizers introduces Monolith to a teen, Abe Washington, who is good student, but who is having trouble in his tough neighborhood.
  • Ten (Twist): Three deformed, monstrous humanoids tear through the wall of a bank and loot the vault.
  • Ketsu (Reconciliation): While watching the security video of the bank robbery, Monolith sees that one of the humanoids has the distorted face of Abe, the boy from the playground.

With this information in hand, the GM decides to add a wrinkle to the story arc plot: the genetic damage caused by the Transformation Serum is potentially lethal, and there is no known anti-serum. Two of the gang members involved in the bank robbery have died from the side effects. Only the young man Monolith befriended is alive, but time is running out. As the boy lay dying, he refuses to speak with anyone other than Monolith. As he slowly slips into a coma, he explains to Monolith that Razor threatened his family if he didn't take the Transformation Serum and participate in the robbery. The clock is ticking. Will the heroes find a clue to an antidote in Dr. Virago's subterranean base?

Step 3: Integration

In chronological order, the story arc plot with kishōtenketsu added is:

  1. Exposition: Monolith is interviewed by a local news reporter about his attendance the day before at a ribbon cutting for a new inner city playground. A senior Aegis agent stops by to see Manticore and thank her personally -- the only surviving ASGARD Vidar agent from a recent raid has been found guilty of espionage. A call from Metro City police ask the heroes to help capture three "creatures" who broke into Metro City National Bank late last night. While on her way to the precinct station, Blueshift passes by a honky-tonk bar she remembers from a time years ago when she worked for Master Sin. At the station, the bank manager gives the detectives information about what was stolen, and the detectives show the heroes the security camera footage. Monolith recognizes one of the humanoids as Abe, a boy from the playground.
  2. Rising action 1: The heroes' next steps are interrupted by a frantic 911 call. The heroes fight a couple of gang members who have been transformed, their warped bodies making them far stronger and tougher than normal, and wildly violent. One of them is the boy from the playground. The effects of the transformation begin to take their toll: the boy is dying. He refuses to speak with anyone other than Monolith, revealing the involvement of Razor, a known posthuman criminal, and discloses the location of the gang's safehouse.
  3. Rising action 2: The heroes go to the gang's safehouse to recover the stolen goods and find out more about the drug that turned the gang members into monsters. After a battle with the thugs, some transformed and some not, but all armed, the heroes question the gang about the location of Razor and the origin of the serum. The gang doesn't know much, but one of them describes an associate of Razor's with half her body on fire, and the other misted over with ice. Blueshift recognizes the description as Equinox, and has an idea of where to find her.
  4. Rising action 3: The heroes ask around at the bar where Blueshift had found Equinox years ago. The bartender is tight lipped, but a local drunkard gives directions to a fancy hotel where the heroes find Razor, Cacophony, and Equinox preparing to skip town. The villains fight until defeated. During the fight, one of the posthumans complains that they better not go to jail just for 1471. The reference reminds Manticore of her experience with ASGARD's Vidar agents. The name Doughty isn't common. Maybe the two are connected? With the help of police detectives and a list of safe deposit box owners from the bank manager, the investigation leads from the safe deposit box to Doughty's estate, to phone records, to an abandoned warehouse outside of town.
  5. Climax: Descending into the depths in a secret elevator, the heroes think they have found the lair of Dr. Virago, but instead they've fallen into a trap! They've been sealed in the subterranean base with Dr. Virago's monstrous death robot, MX-ML1, who's been programmed to kill! Can they defeat the robot in time to defuse the self-destruct mechanism? Will they find an antidote to the Transformation Serum and save Abe's life?
  6. Falling action: After defeating MX-ML1, the heroes disarm the self-destruct mechanism and find a shortwave telex machine sending the last page from a stack of documents. A cursory glance reveals the documents contain complex formulas and engineering specifications -- Doughty's research notes for a massive virus bomb. Behind the telex machine, two dozen 16" tube type color televisions flicker on, showing the aged, malevolent face of the dreaded Dr. Virago! She is surprised and angry that the heroes defeated MX-ML1, and she swears vengeance. The screens click off: the evil genius' whereabouts are unknown. A quick search reveals a few vials of antidote among the dusty boxes of Transformation Serum. The heroes return to town as fast as they can. All of the other young men who took the serum have died -- only the boy from the playground still lives. With the antidote in his system, he slowly returns to normal.
  7. Resolution: Local police and federal law enforcement coordinate to secure Dr. Virago's base. The boy from the playground is the only survivor of the three who broke into the bank, and without any evidence of him being coerced, Abe is charged with robbery. Razor, Cacophony, and Equinox are long gone -- they escaped from custody while they were being transferred to jail. If Doughty had plans for a virus bomb in his estate, what did he sell to ASGARD five years ago? But perhaps most troubling is Dr. Virago herself. What new terror will she unleash on the world? How will she wreak vengeance on our heroes? Only time will tell.

Step 4: Fill In The Details

With the story arc plot and kishōtenketsu merged together, the last step for comicbook writers using the Kalos Comics Way is to meet with the editors who ensure continuity with the Kalos Universe, crisp pacing, pithy dialogue, and good taste in character development. The last step for the GM is to fill in the blanks with the materials needed to run the story arc with the gaming group. Here are a few key things you'll need:

  • Descriptive passages to give some color and personality to the key locations. These are very helpful when the PCs move from one location to another, since they provide a box of text the GM can read from to set the scene with key details. Think about all five senses: what the characters will smell, and hear, whether the ground is hard or soft, crunchy or slippery.
  • Write-ups for the villains. It seems obvious, but improvised villains can prove one dimensional. It's one thing to role-play an unspeaking villain like Cacophony, but having a reference that lists her skills, or the scope of her devastating sonic attacks, or her claustrophobia can be important. Write-ups from Bulletproof Blues sourcebooks are naturally encouraged.
  • Maps for complex places, especially for fight scenes. Even a crudely hand drawn map is a better visual reference for GMs and players alike than nothing at all. Think of unusual elements in the environment that can be used in fun and interesting ways.
  • Names and one sentence descriptions for NPCs. What are the detectives' names? Was the reporter who interviewed Monolith sympathetic, or did she seem slightly hostile? Little details can go a long way toward improving the game.
  • Ideas that build on the events in the story. If the heroes go back to ask the drunkard how he knew where the posthuman villains were, what do they find out? Is he an Aegis agent in disguise? Or was it really Dr. Virago trying to tie up loose ends? Having ideas like these ahead of time can help you dovetail this story arc into the next one.
  • An expectation of the unexpected. Role-playing game players are crafty and inventive. Sooner or later they will derail your prepared plot and take the game in a direction you didn't think about. Be ready to improvise!
  • The most important thing you'll need is a sense of fun and adventure. Bulletproof Blues is a game in a dark setting. The PCs are surrounded by malevolent corporations and sinister government initiatives run amok in a world shell-shocked from the unprecedented destruction wrought by Paragon. But Bulletproof Blues is a game. It's intended to be a fun way for a few friends to get together and work as partners fighting the good fight. Enjoy it!