Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Vampifan's Views 31 - Monthly Musings 16

Vampirella by Joe Chiodo
I'd like to start by thanking everyone who commented on my first ATZ-FFO batrep. The new format seems to have been a big hit with you and is one that I will stick with for the foreseeable future. I had a lot of fun playing the Day One scenario and I'm looking forward to continuing my campaign with the rest of Team Vampifan. I'd like to share some of my views on the scenario and on the FFO rules.
I'll start with the rules and I have to say that they are a vast improvement on the two previous versions of ATZ. Everything seemed to flow more easily and I spent a lot less time referring to the rule book and the Quick Reference Sheets. A handy tip for you players - I printed out the QRS pages on to thin card and used them rather than the rulebook. Printing them on card-stock gives them durability, which is very useful for something that is going to see a lot of use.
The In Sight rules worked fine, as did the Melee Combat rules, which I particularly like. I'm glad that you no longer have to divide your attack dice if fighting against multiple opponents. Mind you, I wouldn't want to take on zombies unarmed. The shooting rules have barely changed from before and I only got to use them once. Take note of the consequences of gun play during the first few weeks of the Outbreak because gunfire can attract zombies and the police, as happened in my game. The Star Power advantage will be a great boon to many a party of heroes. Remember that this is an advantage that can be given to Grunts as well as Stars. It was a shame I forgot to use it but that was my problem for forgetting about it. It is tough being a citizen. They have the worst results on the reaction tables; they suffer a penalty when they want to Charge Into Melee and worst of all, they are subject to the Citizen Brown Pants test. The latter was one rule that I really did not like, but I understand why it has been included and so I will not ignore it or drop it. Thankfully, Vampifan no longer has to take it but Angie, Big Sil and Gap will. Let's see how that works out.
Moving on to the scenario itself, I had already played it using the BDTZ rules and to be honest, I'd read through the FFO version beforehand. So, I had a good idea of what to expect. Yeah, I know, I'm a naughty boy! Bite me! I could very easily have omitted the Gas Station encounter for Vampifan's third location but when I read it I knew that it was just the sort of challenge that I wanted to throw at Vampifan. But more importantly, it gave me the opportunity to showcase a lot more rules that would not have appeared otherwise.
Fellow blogger, Joe/Zabadak e-mailed me with some interesting criticisms of the scenario. First he asked why Rep is used for the Meet And Greet test and not People skill? I actually thought you did use People skill for this test but I double checked just to make sure and yes, Rep is used. If ever you were going to use People skill then surely this is what it was designed for. In future, I will be replacing Rep with People skill for this test. Call it a house rule if you want, but it makes a lot of sense to me.
Secondly, he asked why I didn't use my Driving or Fitness skills on the Get There tests taken in between each location depending if my character was travelling by vehicle or on foot respectively? Again, it's an excellent point and I do wish I had. I just never thought of it at the time. Isn't hindsight wonderful?
Thirdly, he bemoaned the lack of people in each of the encounters. This is something I heartily agree with. Mayhem City should have been teeming with people. After all, this was only Day one of the Outbreak. Many people would not even be aware of what was going on, or if they were aware, many would not believe it. Now I understand that Ed wanted to keep the game simple and lots of civilians on the board may have confused things. Plus, how many gamers could fill a city centre location (or wherever) with a horde of innocent bystanders? Well, I could, and again, in hindsight, I wish I had. It would have made the set up times for each location a lot longer but on the plus side, my boards would have looked a damned sight more impressive and realistic.
Finally, he thought it "laughable" that Vampifan would keep his katana in his office. Obviously, I totally disagreed with him. Anyone else think it was a "laughable" thing to do?

Armorcast sexy female vampire
Moving on, it was my 55th birtday last Saturday and it went very well for me. My mum bought me a Vampirella trading card binder and my brother bought me the Avengers boxed set of Marvel Comics DVD films, which included Iron Man, Iron Man 2, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor and Avengers Assembled. That'll keep me happy over the Christmas holidays when there is sod all worth watching on TV.
I bought a couple of presents for myself, something I always do. First up was an Armorcast 28mm scale sexy female vampire, which is shown to the right of here. That picture is taken directly from the Armorcast website and as you can see, she bears a remarkable similarity to a certain "sexy female vampire" whom I greatly admire. I was lucky in the fact that she arrived from America on the day of my birthday. What great timing! I think that her head is oversized but apart from that she is a very good sculpt and she looks a lot better in the flesh. What is particularly pleasing about her is that she is exactly 28mm tall from the soles of her feet to the top of her head. It makes a refreshing change to find a 28mm scale figure that is exactly that and not heroically scaled.
1/5 scale resin cast Vampirella model
My major purchase was for a 1/5th scale resin cast model of Vampirella, which I ordered from King of Hobbies, a garage sculptor of considerable talent. You can see her in the photo to the left of here shown assembled but unpainted. The sculpture is based on a painting by Boris Vallejo and comes in nine parts - head, torso, two arms, two legs, skull, boot and base. It'll need a lot of prep work before I can make it as there are a lot of mould lines to file down. I'll pin the arms, legs and head to the torso when I come to glueing her together. Then I'll paint the four components (Vampirella, boot, skull and base) separately before I stick them together. This will be a major project and I suspect I'll wait until the new year before I start work on her. I am slowly building up quite a collection of large scale Vampirella models. Just wait until you see the one I'm getting for Christmas. She is the most awesome model I have ever seen and I'll let you see here next month closer to Christmas.

In other news, I have finished making my Stoelzel's Structures 28mm scale Warehouse. I just have to decide how many crates and pallets to fit inside. I did print out a lot of them, but they are easy to make. I am currently painting 15 Acheson Creations 28mm scale Crazies and Cultists and 8 of their zombie figures.
On the reading front I have just started reading Pretty When She Kills by Rhiannon Frater. This is the sequel to Pretty When She Dies, one of the best vampire stories I have read in a long time. I have high hopes for it but if it is as good as I suspect it will be, I'm going to be very frustrated waiting for the third part of the trilogy, Pretty When She Destroys due out some time in 2013.
I only had two visits to the cinema this month. First was to see Skyfall, the latest James Bond film. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it it did live up to the hype. Second was Love Bite, a low budget British comedy/horror film that was a cross between The Inbetweeners and Ginger Snaps. Yes, it was a werewolf movie and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has a great sting-in-the-tail ending.
Well, that's all for my wafflings for this month. If you've made it this far, many thanks.

55 comments:

  1. Nice, i cant wait to see the warehouse, the Vampirella sculpt in sweet, and that was a nice Bday haul.

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    1. SK, I know that you have become a dedicated fan of Carl's buildings so I'll try and get some photos and a review of the Warehouse up as soon as I can. I'm very impressed by the size of it.

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    2. Cool, im looking forward to it, Carls stuff is by far the best on the market

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    3. No arguments from me. I totally agree.

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    4. Both of you are too kind, but thanks as always I do appreciate.

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  2. Keeping a katana in the office? I guess if you're the owner of the company then you can make your own rules. However in at least one of the big corporations for whom I have worked, bringing any type of weapon into the office would have been cause for instant dismissal (and possibly would have involved the police). This was clearly stated in the "Standards of business Conduct" document that we all had to read and sign off.

    But hey, it's your story and you can do what you like, right?!

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    1. You make an interesting case for the prosecution, Hugh. However, in Vampisoft, Vampifan is the boss and he gets away with it. Being the boss does have its perks.

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  3. Happy Birthday. You could keep, and walk around with, a Katana in many states in the US.

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    1. And here we have Sean for the defence. Thanks, mate!

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  4. I can see a katana in the office place going against HR regulations, especially if it is sharpened. But we are playing in a fantasy world, and sometimes bending the rules a little bit helps make things a little more fun that reality would actually be.

    I think I shall be copying your use of People skill vs Rep and Driving when moving between encounters. Thanks for the reports, and enjoy your birthday gifts.

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    1. Well said, Adam. After all, in a game involving zombies, we are clearly in the realms of fantasy.

      I shall certainly enjoy my birthday gifts. painting both Vampirella figures will be a labour of love.

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  5. Good haul of birthday prezzies.
    I think a general "Day One" scenario with civilians, characters and the crazy "terrified civilians" would be a great addition to the overall campaign setting.
    At least Vampifan wouldn't get wrong off the boss of Vampisoft for having a lethal weapon at work ! (Most of us would probably get sacked !)

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    1. Joe, your remark that Mayhem City looked like a ghost town really resonated with me. I think on Day One in particular, you could (should?) populate your game board with civilians. They don't have to take any part in the game. Just class them as street furniture, like lamp posts or fire hydrants. Just by being there they would add a much needed element of realism to the scenario.

      As I said to Hugh, Vampifan can get away with keeping his katana at work because he's the manager of the company. Also, it has been mentioned before that Mayhem City is a very lawless place.

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  6. I agree with the board being empty, which has always been an issue with ATZ scenarios. I don't agree with Vampifan keeping his katana at the office being an issue. I imagine that all of his kendo gear was stored there, at least during the week, where it was more convenient to his school.

    Interestingly, there's a gentleman in Pittsburgh PA that teaches "the way of the samurai", including the sword work. Part of their class is learning to cut through flesh, using deer carcasses. He pointed out that they would get these big, strong, guys whose blade would bounce off the fur, and these tiny women that would cut the carcass almost clean through. Can you imagine how many of his students were carrying a live blade around in their vehicles, or sticking them into their cubicles at work?

    Great monthly cap Bryan! I'm looking forward to seeing those Vampirellas painted up!

    There are Vampirella trading cards? Are they art cards?

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    1. Oh, I do like your words of wisdom, Jon. Regarding the lethality of a katana, it's all about the technique. I can well believe the little women being so deadly with the blade after sufficient training and practice. Also, good point about carrying their swords to and from their training schools. if they were at work beforehand it would surely make sense to take the swords with them and store them somewhere safe, like a locker.

      Little Vampirella will get painted a lot quicker than big Vampirella.

      Last year i bought a boxed set of Vampirella trading cards and they have remained in the box until now. Yes, they are nearly all art cards. There are a few showing live models dressed up as Vampirella.

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    2. I don't think I've had art cards since Brom had a series in the mid-nineties.

      The discussion this has generated has definitely got me thinking about how Varangian et al. are going to be armed, and where their weapons will be stored.

      I had a big long discussion about Japanese style blades, their construction, and how that affects their sword work. It got a bit long...

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    3. Jon, if you want to e-mail me with your thoughts I'd be very happy to read them. I'm all for long discussions with enthusiastic gamers!

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  7. Nice figures there especially the one sitting on the skull. Looking forward to the next instalment of Vampifan's story. I disagree someone's office sound's like a plausible place to have a katana to me. You'd decorate however you pleased especially if it was your own company.

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    1. Simon, you and I are on the same wavelength. A boss ought to be able to decorate his own office as he sees fit.

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  8. Good waffling as always. really looking forward to seeing the girl painted in all her glory Bryan.

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    1. So am I, Fran, but it's not a job to be rushed.

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  9. I see no reason why you wouldn't have a katana in your office, or a decorative batliff if you were a trekie, or a baseball bat if you're a sports fan. Weapons are justifiably all around.

    Speaking of civilians, ever thought of doing a small civilian "horde" base similar to the zed ones many have made. Might make the table look more impressively populated but still game manageable. I thinking like small bases of 5 to 10 civies, and maybe even large CD bases of 15-20.

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    1. Your views on the "katana issue" makes me feel a lot better, Carl.

      The idea of putting multiple figures, be they civilians or zombies, on a single base is not one that I have ever considered before. It is food for thought.

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    2. An example of what I was thinking.

      http://i1212.photobucket.com/albums/cc447/BoobooTheDude/Zedhorde.jpg

      Not sure how to handle them in ATZ, but in 7ombie it is basically multi wound, and receives a strength bonus for remaining wounds points.

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    3. I have seen a zombie horde fitted on a CD disc with about 30 figures on. It is an impressive sight. I've no doubt that a crowd of civilians would look equally impressive. Mind you, it would be a hell of a challenge if they were all classed as "terrified citizens!"

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  10. As Carl said there is no reason that someone might not have a Katana in their office as a decoration. You have executives, office managers,even software Programers that have Swords, Replica Armour, baseball bats, hockey sticks, Basketballs, footballs, etc... in thier offices as decorations

    Vampifan is a software programer so who's to say that he didn't have the Katana in the office because he was using it as a reference for a weapon in a video/computer game he was working on.

    I know my ATZ character is loosely based off of me, ex-military, avid shooter and a photographer, and yes I did enlist in the military, injured my shoulder towards the end of Basic Training and was put in a physical therapy unit before they discharged me, I am an avis shooter, and do have a collection of firearms, and I am a photographer in a portrait studio (got moved from the sales rep position to photographer back in August). I am also going to have him living with a GF in the suburbs with most his gun collection at home, he will be carrying either a pistol or a BA Pistol (he will have his Concealed Pistol License, a permit here in Michigan that allows one to carry a concealed pistol on them, with some exceptions) and maybe have melee weapon (camera tripos which will act as a 2 handed improvised weapon) and the rest of his camera gear (luxury items) from the get go, I am planning that he will be at a photo shoot when the outbreak starts, and his first stop will either be for fuel or his home to get his GF.

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    1. Doug, your background material never fails to impress me and you've done it again. Wonderful backstory for your own FFO Star. I like the idea of using your camera tripod as an improvised weapon. That's thinking outside the box!

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  11. So, it's plausible that there is a zombie outbreak in which the owner of a company (who is very knowledgeable about zombies)is the hero of the story, but implausable that he keeps a Katana in his office?

    I think it's totally implausable that Iron Man can manage to keep his house so clean and tidy.

    My FFO campaign started off quite interesting, with me as a REP 3 star, driving back home from work (24 miles), and encountering paramedics and Police dealing with a bite victim just outside the small town I live in. I had a tyre iron in the car, but was obliged to drive away from the incident in order to still be living when I got home. Once home I still only had the tyre iron, and some kitchen knives. I'm having to sneak around and avoid combat due to a lack of weaponry. I don't own any guns and don't even know anyone who has a gun! My campaign is more terrifying than action oriented. I may have to come across a shotgun in a farmhouse.

    I think FFO can only take 'realism' so far. I see the game as a skirmish based role playing game in the heroic style. As long as you only have the one katana at work I think that's fine.

    I'm OK with the Katana at work. The HR department might object, but they would be the first to be eaten in a real outbreak.

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    1. QUOTE: "The HR department might object, but they would be the first to be eaten in a real outbreak." That has to be my favourite quote on this subject.

      Frank, you make some very valid points in your comments. You highlight one of the strengths of the game and that is to do with the way the game is played. You can play it like a guns blazing, all action movie or you can adopt your approach and emphasise the horror of the Outbreak and make day to day survival a real challenge. I think it's great that you're going for a more realistic approach. I wish you all the best in your campaign.

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  12. A great read, I must have missed the new batrep? I'll go read it now!

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    1. Cheers, Ray. It's not like you to miss a batrep.

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  13. The Vampi collection grows! For what its worth, here in TX not only could you keep the katana in your office if you were the boss, you could even keep it in your vehicle so long as it was on a rifle rack that could be seen from outside the car. This rule applies to most rifles as well. ;)

    Frankly, I was more dubious about a month's worth of medical supplies than I was about either the katana or the cash. But hey, I suppose the co. could have a large first aid kit or something.

    ZC

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    1. I should relocate Mayhem City to Texas, shouldn't I? Actually, I envisage it being on the East Coast, in the area of Atlantic City.

      I just figured the medical supplies would be a standard first aid kit rather than something you'd find paramedics using. Plus with medical supplies, you do not get a month's worth as with food. You get just enough for one use and no more.

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  14. Big big thank you Vampifan for all things you write and helping me to begin in ATZ. i'm french and i come every day to follow your adventures. Really smart and funny.

    Age is only in the mind! Sincerely very happy birthday to you buddy!

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    1. Hi Dave, I'm sorry to hear that. But seriously .. you really have amazing things in yourself. A spirit!

      travesti

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    2. Pandafurtif, welcome to my blog. I am so glad to hear that my batreps are helping you to play ATZ. You are just the kind of gamer that I want to help.

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    3. So you succeed very well :) begining are difficult I forget many things and sometines I'm lost on what to do but practise will come with time I think. Your batrep help very much to retrieve my way. Can you tell me if risk and reward deck is compatible with ffo if I buy it? If not, I think to make a deck myself or an event deck too, I don't find anything like that on the web. Sorry for my english if I use wrong words... Sometimes.

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    4. Regarding the Risks and Rewards deck, it could be used in FFO in place of the existing rules. I wouldn't use the deck, even though I have it, but that's just my opinion.The rules for searching buildings have changed a lot with FFO and so I shall stick with the rules as they written. If you prefer the Risks and Rewards deck, then go for it, Whatever you think works best is okay. ATZ lends itself to all kinds of customisation. Coming up with your own cards is a great idea.

      Keep on practicing, Pandafurtif, and you'll soon pick up the rules.

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    5. No i think you're right for the risk of reward. Maybe it's not a good idea but for events it can be very interesting to create many random situations, there is no limit. I also spend my time making decent building and other stuff. I find in my old attic pieces of "majokit" it's very old but maybe it's an idea for people who want cheap plastic city and who can find it. A sublayer and paint on it and the result is not bad at all.

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    6. I agree with you that for random events there is no limit. One of my blog followers, Colgar6 designed his own deck of events cards and you can check them out here - http://colgar6.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/atz-event-cards-finally.html
      Well worth a look at, and they are available for sale if you're interested. I have a set of them myself, so I can recommend them. They are compatible with FFO.
      Your building project sounds very interesting. Good luck with it and if you ever decide to create your own blog, do let me know.

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    7. Thank you Bryan for the link, this deck seems very interesting. I love random event like in one of my favorite game: Last Night on Earth, love Arkham Horror too. I wait to know the game better to make my own rules but the potential is awesome.

      I become really fanatic of this game and you're very roguish (good word?) to say me that i could create my own ATZ blog. I have many work but the idea is making his way... Your fault! And it will drive my wife crazy! Hihi Seriously i'll let you know i promise ))

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    8. Pandafurtif, I have never been called "roguish" before, but you are right, it is a good word. In fact I take it as quite a cimpliment!

      I too have Last Night On Earth, but not Arkham Horror. If you did decide to create your own deck of random events, I have no doubt that you could have a lot of fun designing it. It is something you should consider doing when you know the game better. From my own experiences, I would say that it is very easy to become fanatical about ATZ. I certainly am! Welcome to my world, my friend!

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  15. With a great pleasure "roguish" Bryan!

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  16. In sight test is really the difficult part, particularly reaction test. I tried training myself on atz bdtz but ffo is really more friendly so i go on with it. I always search ffo examples With only zombies In sight test is not a problem (;)) but when i try with 5 or 6 minis in the same time, things become harder.

    I read you make card with QRS chart, it's pretty good idea so have you make this with all chart ou only some? Card format is not too little for that? i'm always open to new ideas which make the game more easy to learn.

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    1. The In Sight tests are the hardest part of FFO to learn. Zombies don't take or activate an InSight test, so that makes things easier. I'll try and give more examples of it when I post my next batrep. In the meantime, re-read the examples of it in play on pages 16 - 20 of the FFO rulebook, and keeping practicising with play test examples. Start out with a ganger and a survivor. Then add one per figure to the next try out. Alternate the extra figures between the sides each time. With practice you will get the hang of it.

      For the card QRS sheets, I just printed out the 12 pages from the FFO PDF that I'd downloaded. The size of each page remained the same.

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  17. Big thanks Bryan if you write a good example of an In sight test in your next batrep, however i don't want to bother you with that. For the moment I learn faster than I expect and I begin to understand the machinery. It's pretty cool :) But it's true with concrete examples the rules seems very more easy. There are many cases on your blog or others with ATZ BDTZ, with FFO it's hard to find. But it's still the begining it's the reason i think. And a great adventure wait Vampifan with ffo!

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    1. Yes, with FFO being so new, there aren't that many batreps out there. That will of course change once more gamers become familiar with the rules. It's still early days yet, Pandafurtif. I'd like to get another game of FFO played over the Christmas holidays but I can't make any guarantees.

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  18. Okay, here's my two cents (as promised earlier):

    Maybe you use Rep on the Meet And Greet test rather than People skill because when you meet someone for the first time that's more like a first impression (stature, looks, etc.). E.g. when someone's really imposing and aggressive looking who cares if he has a high diplomatic skill if he finally gets the chance to speak to someone :D
    Maybe People skill is okay to use in the first few days but as soon as people get more and more cautious of who they speak to when the situation gets more intense, using Rep may be the better option.
    When keeping a group together where more or less everyone knows each other, that's where People skill could come more into play.
    But that depends on one's point of view I think.

    The lack of people in the encounters, especially in the starting days, is a good point Joe mentioned. I missed them, too. A little at least. The presence of NPC civilians just wandering around where such a charm in your first campaign. + It made me buy a whole set of them from MegaMinis ;)

    Hm and the final point... It's maybe unlikely, but I would never laugh at someone wielding a katana :) I've seen enough personal objects at peoples' working places. Why not a katana? Let's say Vampisoft is working on a asian combat themed game and Scotty needs his katana as a reference for his designs. Likeliness++;

    Congrats again on reaching the 55th and the cool presents you got and handed over to yourself :) Enjoy! I hope you'll post pictures of the 1/5th scale Vampirella once it is painted. And now on to another 55 ;)

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    1. Good response, Stefan. My gut instinct still says that People skill should be used for Meet and Greet encounters but you do present a very good argument for keeping the rules as is, and using Rep. Hmm, I am going to have to think about this one very carefully. Your thoughts on perhaps using the People skill for the Keeping is interesting as well. I think however, you should either use Rep for both tests or People skill for both tests.

      Yes, the lack of people in the Day One encounters was an oversight.

      On the whole, more people thought that Vampifan keeping his katana in his office was a good thing than not. I feel vindicated!

      Of course, I'll post pictures of my 1/5th scale Vampirella once I paint her.

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  19. There's a question on why Rep is used on the Meet & Greet as opposed to People. The reason is that when meeting characters for the first time (as in real life) you consciously or unconscious size them up including their physical presence. The physical assessment occurs before either side has the chance to talk so I felt that Rep better covers this.

    Now having said this, if you have recurring interaction with the fellow then I'd switch to People Skill on a Challenge Test.
    Just an insight into why Rep is used.

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    1. Which echos what Stefan said in the prior post.

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    2. Thanks, Ed, I have decided that I will keep Rep for the Meet and Greet test, in response to the arguments put forward by you and Stefan. I thank you for explaining why Rep is used instead of People skill.

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  20. Hey Bryan, late to the party again :(

    Splendid batreps and much munching food for thought in your monthly views as always.

    As another year closes, you still are the king of zombie gaming blogs - well done my friend!

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    1. Thanks, Colin. It's great to hear from you again. I hope you're keeping well.

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  21. Did you know you can shorten your links with Shortest and get $$$$$$ for every click on your short links.

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