Q: I?m a bit confused about the multiple action rules and the rules for multiple shots in a round. For example, if a character fires 3 shots at a zombie with his semi-auto pistol is this 3 separate actions (no penalty on the first then -2 then -4 on the others) or is it one action but with -1 on the second shot and -2 on the third. How do you guys approach a multiple shots per round situation?
A: The multi-action rules on AFMBE, page 100 are intended for actions other than semi-automatic fire. Running and throwing, swinging from chandeliers while reloading and scanning the room for targets, screaming coherent instructions for defusing the boom while grappling with a zombie -- those are the kind of things that involve multi-action rules.
Semi-automatic fire has it's own set of rules, those found on AFMBE, page 102. Successive pulls of a trigger involve much less activity, and thus suffer a lower cummulative penalty (barring the whole recoil thing). The basic intention is that each trigger pull requires a separate Task roll. You can play it with a single roll and successive penalties, but that may result in some meta-gaming where the player squeezes off more shots if his Task roll is a high one, and less if his roll is lower (and thus shots start missing sooner). That can be countered by strictly enforcing the Intentions phase of the sequence of combat (see AFMBE, page 98), and requiring the number of shots be specified there, but I know some folks don't like that approach.
Q: The text of the Status Quality lists only the extremes. Could you provide some values for what each Status level actually represents, and just as importantly, what tangible benefits are gained by a given Status level. Also, how exactly is Status _used_ ?
A: Status does not have as much weight in, say, 20th century American as it does in Medieval Europe (or Feudal Japan), but its still comes into play. Most U.S. citizens are Status 0, unless they have enough money, which confers them some measure of status. Respected professionals (doctors, attorneys -- the latter maybe less respected than they used to be, but still considered to be knowledgeable in an important field) would have +1 or +2, frex. Local political figures, well-known journalists, and minor celebrities would have a Status of +2 or +3. And so on. People with unconventional professions (street performer, carnie) could have a -1 Status; anybody with a criminal record would have a -2 to -3 status in our society.
As to how it is used: Status may affect some rolls (like Smooth-Talking, Intimidation or Seduction -- the "Do you know who I am?" factor). But it's largely a background tool. Low-status people have considerable more problems functioning in society. They are more likely to be harassed by the authorities. Doors are closed to them. High status people can get away with more; their word carries more weight.
Q: One thing I'm unclear on with the standard duck for cover. Do you make one roll which lasts the whole Turn, or do you make repeated rolls against each attack at normal multi-action penalties?
A: Whichever works best for you. If you want more detail at the expense of time, allow for multiple rolls; otherwise, use one roll result against all the attacks. Multi-action penalties apply only if the circumstances warrant them -- if the character is ducking for cover from a volley of fire coming fromt the same direction, no penalties should apply -- the character is effectively dodging once. If the character is "dancing" around multiple shots, a la Matrix, then penalties should apply. You could have a single roll, then apply the penalties to the result, rather than rolling multiple times.
Q: Our group objects to the cost of the Luck Quality/Drawback. Three points is just too high. Given that you can only use the Luck bonus a limited number of times a game, and it only grants +1 to one die roll per level, one point per level seems about right. What was your reasoning behind 3 points per level?
A: Good question. Our feeling was that AFMBE was generally a "lower power" Unisystem game. While the supernatural in the sense of zombies was pretty common, in other senses, it is unusual. In all cases, it is very dangerous. Shooting for the head is also relatively difficult. Characters are generally much better off planning their engagements, than going in half-cocked and counting on their weapons to save the day. When planning is not possible, escape is the best bet -- zombies should be frightening, not just fodder. Thus, any bonus is going to be a big help, and a bonus to a die roll that may be used every game session is a big deal.
That said, three points may be a bit too much. If you like, modify the cost down and allow the Luck Quality/Drawback to play a larger role. We have adopted this view for Armageddon -- a much more action-oriented game in which the supernatural is much more common and blantant. AFMBE can be played that way as well, depending on the taste of the gaming group. As alw ays, it's your game. Play it as you wish.
Q: How do you deal with surprise attacks in AFMBE?
A: If an attacker achieves complete surprise (i.e., sneaking up on someone without being spotted, or a sniper firing from a concealed position), the target has no chance to defend against the attack. In cinematic games, the Zombie Master may allow characters with Situational Awareness or Fast Reaction Time to defend even against a surprise attack, albeit with a -4 penalty (reduced to -2 if the character has both Qualities).
Q: That little part about how to use D6s like D10s is all wrong (see AFMBE, p. 87). Doesn't the system in the book -- roll 2D6 and subtract 2 -- result in a skewed distribution focusing on a result of 5 (7 minus 2)? A truer method involves rolling D6 to obtain a 1-5 (ignoring the 6 roll) and another D6 for odd & evens or 1-3 & 4-6. With odd/even, if the second die is even, the 1-5 roll is unmodified and if it is odd you add 5 (Resulting in 6-10). You can even use a coin toss for the second randomizer in this method.
A: Good point. As you note, bringing in 2D6 imports a bell curve of probabilities where as D10 is a straight line. But as your write up makes clear, it's also much harder to explain.
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