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Vive la Resistance!

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Vive la Resistance!

Post by Wallace on Sun Sep 13, 2015 10:39 am

Bang. Marie awoke with a gasp. It sounded like a dry thunderclap in the distance. She held her breath and lay as still as a mouse. She could hear her siblings breathing and she thought to herself that probably nobody had heard. The night was quiet and hot and the sound had carried far. Bang. Bang.
That had awoken someone else. They turned over in their bed and went back to sleep. She tried to imagine peering through the total darkness and seeing who it was. It had come from Jacques or Claire maybe. As the room was quiet again, Marie allowed herself a few calm breaths.
She thought back again to the sounds. Just pangs carried from afar in the night. The nights these days were full of strange sounds she had never heard. Ever since the Germans had come to Paris more than a year ago it had been like this. Sometimes the sounds were violent and loud, other times they were quiet but still threatening. She couldn't comprehend it all.

She heard footsteps coming down the narrow street and echoing off the buildings. Quick ones, someone running. They slowed and then stopped. She could hear sand grit underneath a sole as they turned and then a slow click clack. Silence again. Had they stopped? Had they gone inside somewhere? What was that person out there thinking?
THUNK! THUNK! THUNK! That had the house astir. Someone banging on the door. All around she could hear her brothers and sisters waking up. Heavy footsteps going down the hallway, dad going for the door quickly. THUNK! THUNK! She heard father mutter as he descended the stairs.

A snap and a small light burned. It lit an oil lamp on the table near the door on the other end of the room. She saw Jacques' face as he picked up the lamp and went to the door. She could hear Claire's voice quiet and low. Jacques only gave a quick response before he opened the door and made it quietly down the hallway.
When she heard the door of the shop being unlocked and opened downstairs, Marie was more than a little curious as well. She threw the blanket off of herself and crawled to her bed end trying not to disturb her sister sleeping next to her. She slid off the end of the bed and landed on her two feet. She saw Jacques light disappear in the hallway but she knew the house well enough that she was able to make it around without the help of much light. She went through the door and saw that Claire was up as well but her big sis didn't see her so she waited to follow.

As she went close behind Claire through the hallway and to the top of the stairs, she could hear words being exchanged downstairs. Men talking. Dad and someone else. Not Jacques. Claire stopped at the top of the staircase but Marie slid past her and tip-toed down the steps avoiding the third as she knew it always creaked. Claire sighed but didn't say anything. Marie didn't look back to see if her big sis was following.
She could see Jacques' light now again as she came to the bottom step and rounded the corner to the next flight. She moved a bit quicker and then took the stairs down to come up behind Jacques who was at the door at the back of the shop peering through. He didn't even hear his little sis come up behind him as he was fixated on what was going on in the shop.

Marie stood next to him and heard the men talk. She saw through the slit of the door her dad's back. He was wearing his nighties and hadn't bothered to put anything else on. He had opened the door of the shop and Marie could see a stranger there. A man, quite young, he had a pistol in his hand and he seemed to be pleading with dad. When dad moved a bit she could see blood glinting by the light of dad's own lamp. Dad seemed to be arguing against the man but the man didn't look very dangerous or threatening.
At once, in the middle of the conversation, as though they were two deer caught in the headlights, they both stopped talking and listened to something in the distance. Dad cursed and made the sign of the cross, he at once grabbed the stranger by the shoulder and pulled him into the shop. The man stumbled and fell to the floor but dad had no eye for him as he closed the door.
Dad turned and grabbed the man again as he was getting up and forced him to the back door. He looked at Jacques. "Take your sister upstairs. Everybody stays in their room. No lights, no sound."

The earnestness on dad's face and the tone of his voice compelled Jacques to act immediately. He grabbed his little sister who could do little to object against her much older brother. Jacques extinguished the lamp with a blow of air from his mouth and took two steps at once to get upstairs. Claire who was still at the top of the stairs turned as she saw her brother coming up with their sister. Marie tried to look back to see what dad was doing with the stranger but they were not there to be seen.
In all the commotion, she could hear a lot of noise growing outside. Boots, engines, shouts, bangs.
Jacques came to the room and pushed Marie inside. "Stay in the room. I'm going to check on everyone else."

THUNK! THUNK! THUNK! "AUFMACHEN! OPEN UP!"

- - - - -

Soooo, I want a more story/character based game revolving the French resistance during WW2. I like to take a realistic approach to my games as you well know and this will be no different. There will be action and there will be consequences. There will be different paths to take for each encounter and for your character progression.

You will be playing someone in the Clement family. Three generations worth of characters for you to choose from: one grandparent, mom and dad, maybe an uncle or aunt if everyone wants to play adults and we don't have enough room left over. There are also the kids to choose from and I think they will be very much an interesting choice to make. 4-8 kids in the family ranging from 5 to 25 years old. I am looking for any number of players and there will be both individual storylines and group storylines depending on the characters that you pick.
(Feel free to pick any of the characters from the above example. Marie is 4-6 years old, Jacques is 18-21, Claire is 15-17)

It is now August 1942. The Clement family has been affected as much as you would expect any family to be affected under occupation. Things are harder but so far there haven't been any run-ins with the resistance, the Carlingue (French Gestapo) or the Germans as a whole. Backgrounds are not required as they can be filled in later and because you pretty much grew up together so your backgrounds are very much intermingled.

So, the rules are a homebrew hybrid of White Wolf and Risus as below.

Character Creation
There are two types of stats: attributes and packages. The first are general fallbacks while the second are specialised skillsets. Each one can be invented making the whole process to build your character unique and flavorful.

Attributes
You have three basic attributes: Physical, Social and Mental. You pick the type of attribute and then assign dots as explained below. Attributes are used when your packages don't allow you to do something. For example, you might come to a blocked doorway but you don't have way to open the door with your skills as you're not a locksmith or anything. If you're Burly/Stout/Portly etc. then you can roll to see if you can open the door with brute force, if you're Lithe/Limber/Agile you might be able to climb through a high window, if you're Fat/Rotund/Grossly Overweight you're going to have a tougher time but you might still be able to put your weight against the door and open it but you will have a disadvantage (more on that later.)

Physical: this is your body type and determines how you handle physical situations. Examples are: burly, lithe, grossly overweight.
Social: this is how your handle yourself in social situation where you are trying to get something out of someone else. There are only three categories here: Charismatic, Manipulative, Appeal. You're charismatic if you are a friendly extraverted person who gets people to like them quite easily. Manipulative means you have a way with words that makes other people do something you want, either through intimidation, blackmail, outright lying, etc. Appeal is based on leveraging good looks, grace and charm.
Mental: this is where your learning comes from and is rolled mostly when determining if you know something or to solve something. Examples include: academic, streetwise, common sense, curious, rational.

Attributes are fallback categories and used when you don't have a particular set of skills that can deal with the situation. They are also not mutually exclusive. For example, a Physicist is likely to have Academic as his mental attribute because that was the environment that he was brought up in and learned most of what he knows. He would have a Package below though that would typify his specialty in Physics though such as a "Licence de Physique" (a university degree in physics.) This means that in regards to physics his specialty skill set will cover everything quite well and he will only fall back on his academic knowledge in regards to other topics.

Your character starts with 20 Character Points. Attribute dots cost 2 CP each and a minimum of 1 is required with a maximum of 3 on character creation.

Packages
These are much like the clichés from Risus. The system allows you to make up a class for your character and your character knows and can do everything that a character with that class should be able to know and do. Dice are assigned to determine how well you perform in the cliché/class.
For example, a Rogue (1) knows and can do the same things as a Rogue (4) but the latter simply outshines the former in everything Roguish they do. The fact you can create your own "class" this way means you can enhance it a lot. A Dashingly Charming Rogue (4) will have more luck with the ladies than the Swashbuckling Rogue (4), however, the latter will have more success in anything that requires the use of swords and acrobatics.
Of course, in WW2 France you will need to come up with classes like this in a very different way and I am more than happy to oblige you with some tips when you create your character.

Packages cost 1 CP per dot and can have up to 4 dots on character creation.

Character Progression
Unlike Risus, which uses an extremely random way of character progression, and unlike White Wolf, which uses an extremely linear way of character progression, I think I found the right balance between luck and linearity. (If linearity is not a word I just invented it...)
Each scene, whenever you use one of your packages successfully, you gain a success in that package. When you have as many successes as dots, you gain a new dot which you can use to upgrade that specific package on the spot, to buy a new package for the next encounter (new packages require training), or to buy a success in an Attribute.
If you have enough successes in an Attribute you can upgrade it or change it to a different one but with only 1 dot. e.g. If you are Grossly Overweight ●●● you will need to train and exercise a lot and gain three successes before you can become Lean ●, or Lithe ●. In the meantime, you won't be losing whatever advantages being Grossly Overweight give you (probably limited to winning eating contests and burping the alphabet) because you won't lose dots until you change.

Rolling
Your dots represent a dice pool. You roll a d10 for each dot and have to beat a certain difficulty number with each die. For example, if you have the package Rogue ●●●● and you're picking a lock, I might set the difficulty of the lock low 2-4, average 5-7, or high 8-10 depending on how hard the lock is to crack. If I set the difficulty at 6, only one of the dice needs to roll 6 or higher. Each 1, however, detracts one of these successful rolls. So if the Rogue rolls 1, 6, 5, 5 he will fail but 2, 6, 5, 5 succeeds.

Advantage and Disadvantage
Continuing on rolling above, as the GM I will give advtange or disadvantage on certain rolls. If the Rogue above has no lockpicking tools whatsoever I might give the roll 2 disadvantage. This means he will roll 2 extra dice on his pool and remove the highest 2 rolls. If the Rogue has a hairpin or some other improvised tool to crack the lock I might only give 1 disadvantage.
Similary, I might give advantages. If the Rogue has a really good lockpicking set I might give him 2 advantage which means he will roll 2 extra dice and remove the lower 2 rolls.

Example Character
Thierry Decaux
-----
Lanky ●
Manipulative ●●
Academic ●●●
-----
Science Journalist ●●●
Resistance Member o●
Café Crawler ●●
World Traveller ●

(The o is a dot with one success in it.)

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Re: Vive la Resistance!

Post by Himo on Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:36 pm

I'm interested in playing one of the younger, female members of the family (age 12-25).

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Re: Vive la Resistance!

Post by kabetts on Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:20 pm

I could probably play Jacques or the dad, I think either would be fun.

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Re: Vive la Resistance!

Post by Wallace on Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:00 pm

Sounds good, guys. I'm updating the main post to reflect "injury" as well because I forgot. Here are some tips for you to stay true to the era and find the sort of character you want to play for the family.

@Himo:
That's a pretty wide age gap. It basically falls into two categories, teen and early twenties.
Teenage girls of the era would go to girl's school, especially if they're the older daughters in the family, whereas poorer families will send their daughters to work in factories, mines, or any job that can be found closeby. In Paris, this means something like running errands, shop's assistant, etc. Money a girl would make would go to the family to pay for food.
Since the occupation, most of these jobs are still available though not as prevalent and payout is usually in food coupons as French money has devaluated.

After girls' school which prepares to be good obedient housewives, rich girls might attend a midwives school or attend a trade school.

So, you have some options for packages picking some school/trade and adding a social package maybe. High attributes and low packages means you can easily learn new packages that fit better in the long run. It's a trade-off you can definitely go for.


@Kory:
For Jacques, you can go with trade schools or maybe an apprentice for some trade. University attendance is expensive but I wouldn't rule it out. There are quite a few ways to go here.

For the dad, with an age category of 45-55 you could pick a World War I Veteran package giving the family easy access to someone with some combat training. It depends on the type of role and game you want to play.
I've kept the "shop" intentionally vague, you could go with something that is quite practical for the resistance as well. Something like Pharmacist or Clockmaker has skills that can be used for more than just being a general shopkeeper.


Let me know if you guys have questions.

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Re: Vive la Resistance!

Post by kabetts on Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:49 pm

I think I prefer the dad role, it's a little more like real life for me so easier to fit.

depending on what year it is, I think 45 would work. Born around 1895, turned 18 during the war and fought in the trenches for a good portion of it. I'm not sure of the store, I was originally thinking about a Butcher shop but I like the idea of a pharmacy.


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Re: Vive la Resistance!

Post by Wallace on Sat Oct 10, 2015 10:01 am

That gives you at least two decent packages to start with. All you need to figure out is if you want to spend your dots on a third and maybe fourth package or dump it into your attributes.
As for a butcher's shop, that will be hard to run. From wikipedia: "The Germans seized about 80 percent of the French food production, which caused severe disruption to the household economy of the French people. French farm production fell in half because of lack of fuel, fertilizer and workers; even so the Germans seized half the meat, 20 percent of the produce, and 80 percent of the Champagne. Supply problems quickly affected French stores which lacked most items."

Here are a few links that will give you an insight into life in Paris under the German occupation:
Wikipedia gives you the facts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_military_administration_in_occupied_France_during_World_War_II
This gives a good view of the Parisian motives: https://www.quora.com/How-was-French-life-in-Paris-under-the-Nazi-occupation
Lots of pictures of the occupation in Paris, by some considered to be propagating Nazi views: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2417335/Paris-Nazi-lens-Propaganda-images-occupied-French-capital-citizens-thriving-German-rule.html
Probably the most balanced article regarding the occupation: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-history-of-paris-during-nazi-occupation/2014/08/29/fce9e112-222c-11e4-958c-268a320a60ce_story.html

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