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Old 03-22-2016, 11:45 AM   #51
jason taylor
 
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Default Re: 1980s American Cars, Guns, Gadgets and Consumer Goods [Atmosphere, look, minutiae

TV was a lot more family-friendly in those days. You could still see things like sexual innuendo and in some cases fanservice. But they were played down. Families in dom coms were usually fairly conventional though they tended to have an eccentricity as a gimmick to make them run.

Detective shows were more likely to focus on the PI rather then the force. Also forensic dramas were unknown.
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:42 PM   #52
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Default Re: Background for Clayborn Allen (mill owner) and Courtney Allen (preppie son)

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Originally Posted by Mr_Sandman View Post
My dad had a Ford F-250 in the 70's and early 80's. The F-350 was available since 1953, but I doubt many people would have had it as a personal vehicle. It would have been used almost exclusively for commercial use/businesses that need to take fairly heavy equipment on the road.
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A Ford F150 is a 1/2 ton pick up, a F250 is a 3/4 ton pick up, and the F350 is a 1 ton pickup, this nominally how much they can haul around. Chevrolets and Dodges generally use 1500, 2500, and 3500 numbers for the same thing.
If you're aiming for performance in deep snow and off-road capacity, which model Ford is the best starting point?

Again, totally not a car person. I genuinely have no clue whether the benefit of a more powerful engine oughweighs (pun not intended) the presumable disadvantage of a larger and heavier chassis when it comes to the sort of off-road winter driving that 'Jeep' guys in Iceland sometimes do for fun and profit. You know, driving on glaciers, crossing rivers and slowly chugging through waist+ high snow on their broad huge wheels with chains attached.
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:50 PM   #53
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Default Re: Background for Clayborn Allen (mill owner) and Courtney Allen (preppie son)

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A Ford F150 is a 1/2 ton pick up, a F250 is a 3/4 ton pick up, and the F350 is a 1 ton pickup, this nominally how much they can haul around.
And for what it's worth, the series keeps going. An F-650, for instance, is a common base for a dump truck, tow truck, fire engine, etc. (Though I remember someone did make a street-legal passenger truck out of one, perhaps just for the auto show lulz.) I think the F-750 is the biggest one they currently build (in that series). The F-350 is the biggest "normal" pickup that I've seen people driving, and those are scarce. F-250s are fairly common.

In the 80s, Ford had a "compact" pickup truck called the Ranger, smaller than an F-150.
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:26 PM   #54
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Default Re: Background for Clayborn Allen (mill owner) and Courtney Allen (preppie son)

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
If you're aiming for performance in deep snow and off-road capacity, which model Ford is the best starting point?

Again, totally not a car person. I genuinely have no clue whether the benefit of a more powerful engine oughweighs (pun not intended) the presumable disadvantage of a larger and heavier chassis when it comes to the sort of off-road winter driving that 'Jeep' guys in Iceland sometimes do for fun and profit. You know, driving on glaciers, crossing rivers and slowly chugging through waist+ high snow on their broad huge wheels with chains attached.
The F-150 is the better bet.

They all have sufficient power to deal with all but the very worst conditions, but the smaller frame will have some advantages. the F-150 will have a tighter turning radius allowing it to traverse more difficult trails.

The F-350 has double tires on both sides of the rear axle (called "dualies"). This creates a "floating" effect on snow which makes traction very difficult.

In all cases, for snow performance in a pickup, the owner will pack the back of the truck bed with 30-100lbs of sand bags for the winter. This helps to counteract the "floating" effect of having a very light back end.
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:27 PM   #55
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Default Background on SA Maria Lucia Estevez (FBI computer supergeek from privileged family)

9)
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9) While most people are saying "PC", the Wintel machine had not cemented it's dominance yet. Other options that she may have:

Commodore Amiga. The Amiga 2000 was a top model at the time, and included a lot of expansion options.

The Atari ST is also an option. Especially for someone into the Music and "Demo" scene.

An Apple Macintosh, either an SE or a Mac II if she was more upscale.

Also on the Apple side, she could have a IIgs, but a Mac would be more hipster.

As far as PCs go, IBM was still in their first generation of PS/2 systems, which had just been released in 1987. Only the highest of high end systems ran with 80386's, most folks made do with 8086/8088 machines, or might spring for an 80286.
Upscale would be an understatement. Her father was a Fairchild engineer who founded his own company specialising in programming guidance chips for the Air Force. At the time of play, he's loaded. Not among the 140 billonaires that Forbes identified in 1987, but certainly knocking on the door to be let in the club in the next decade or so.

Her mother's family is old money in California, land owners from before it was part of the US. Their fortune is now dwarved by Estevez's military contractor pile, but even without any additions, would have been quite enough for limosines to school, ponies for fifth birthdays and effectively unlimited access to geek toys.

In game terms, the character has Filthy Rich in her own right, just to represent her parents constantly preemptively buying her anything they think might make her life easier, help with her studies (or that 'FBI fad') and, in her father's case, make up for never seeing her enough. If she wanted to actually ask her parents for money or stuff, she also has Patron.

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Originally Posted by cvannrederode View Post
You could still make do without a hard drive for day to day use. DOS was at version 4, Windows was only at version 2. Most PC work was at the command prompt, while the other machines listed all had fully realized GUIs.

Online work was with a modem, and given the area, long distance calls. BBSs were still a very big thing, Compuserv was the biggest name in what would become online services. Quantum Link had just changed it's name to America Online in Oct or Nov 88 after launching "PC Link" in August. GEnie was around also. Dial in speeds would be 2400 bits per second at most. ARPANET was just starting to become the Internet, but Berners-Lee wouldn't start work on HTML for another couple of years. She'd be much more likely to use CompuServ or GEnie or even FidoNet for "Email".
I know that she likely would have used ARPANET at Stanford, where I think she would have gone in ca '81, as a sixteen-year-old math prodigy with an application so heavy with academic honours and resume-adorning extra-curricular activities that the dean of admissions must have thought she was in her thirties.

What would she have used in terms of OS and 'Internet' while working summers and school breaks as a computer programming and general tech geek intern/technician (between early 1983 and 1985) for the Las Angeles office of the FBI and later as a programmer/designer at ViCAP at Quantico (1986 to mid-1988)?

The character is meant to be one of the unsung tech geeks behind the creation of the ViCAP and the digital technology revolution at the FBI. She's an off-the-scale genius who grew up in a household that was at the forefront of early digital computer technology and she was a superstar student of Computer Science at Stanford.

In GURPS game terms, she has IQ 14* and between 4-8 points per skill in a variety of computer and related skills, including Computer Operations [skill 16], Computer Programming [skill 15], Electronics Operation (Media) [skill 14], Expert Skill (Computer Security) [skill 13], Mathematics (Computer Science) [skill 15], Mathematics (Statistics) [skill 14] and Research [skill 15]. She's not the best in the US at any one field, but she's damn good at anything to do with programming or using computers.

Granted, all of that is background, not so much relevant for this adventure. On the other hand, my three players include a software engineer, a computer scientist and a first-year student of programming and computer science.** I expect they'd welcome background and characterisation in the form of geeky equipment for her to carry and be familiar with.

And if it turns out that Special Agent Estevez can actually use her 80s computer skills and equipment to contribute materially to the adventure, well, that would be an unexpected, but nice, bonus.

*Plenty of Disadvantages that bring her effective IQ in social terms down to human average or so, but those are not relevant to her technical skills.
**Unfortunately, the player playing Special Agent Estevez, uber FBI tech geek, is the one who has a degree in Japanese and is just on his first year of computer study.
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:35 PM   #56
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Default Re: Background for Clayborn Allen (mill owner) and Courtney Allen (preppie son)

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
And for what it's worth, the series keeps going. An F-650, for instance, is a common base for a dump truck, tow truck, fire engine, etc. (Though I remember someone did make a street-legal passenger truck out of one, perhaps just for the auto show lulz.) I think the F-750 is the biggest one they currently build (in that series). The F-350 is the biggest "normal" pickup that I've seen people driving, and those are scarce. F-250s are fairly common.

In the 80s, Ford had a "compact" pickup truck called the Ranger, smaller than an F-150.
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Originally Posted by khorboth View Post
The F-150 is the better bet.

They all have sufficient power to deal with all but the very worst conditions, but the smaller frame will have some advantages. the F-150 will have a tighter turning radius allowing it to traverse more difficult trails.

The F-350 has double tires on both sides of the rear axle (called "dualies"). This creates a "floating" effect on snow which makes traction very difficult.

In all cases, for snow performance in a pickup, the owner will pack the back of the truck bed with 30-100lbs of sand bags for the winter. This helps to counteract the "floating" effect of having a very light back end.
So, for a personal vehicle that can handle any conditions, the Ford F-150 is a fine choice?

Would it make a difference if you wanted to be able to fit four people in it?

I know modern Ford F-150s can have decent space in the back, but what about the 80s models? Do the F-250s have more passenger space or is the same?
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:41 PM   #57
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Default Re: 1980s American Cars, Guns, Gadgets and Consumer Goods [Atmosphere, look, minutiae

6)
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Originally Posted by lwcamp View Post
Weatherby Mark V? Weatherby makes nice hunting rifles that are not exactly cheap.
Wonderful suggestion! Thanks.

The .300 Weatherby Magnum probably has Damage and Range between the .300 Win Mag and the .300 Remington Ultra Magnum, which neatly slots it in at 9d pi. The .300 Win Mag has Range 1,600/6,600 listed on p. HT119, but unfortunately, the .300 Remington Ultra Magnum is just listed as a caliber option with Dmg, no Range listing, on p. HT118.

Would the .300 Weatherby Magnum in a typical loading have more or less 1/2D and Max Range than the .300 Win Mag in whatever loading was used as the basis for the GURPS stats of the German-adopted Accuracy International AWM-F in .300 Win Mag?
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:51 PM   #58
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Default Re: 1980s American Cars, Guns, Gadgets and Consumer Goods [Atmosphere, look, minutiae

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Legal drinking age at the time in Quebec was 18, in New Brunswick was 19, and in Maine was 21. College kids will be headed north to drink, not south.
Ok, thanks. Incidentally, do you remember/know what the situation with driving licences in Maine in the 1970s to the 1980s would have been? Just so I don't put in some blooper in the background of an NPC...

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Cross-border shopping was usually done from Canada in the US, even with the unfavourable exchange rate - the selection of goods in US stores was wider and deeper than the selection in Canadian stores.
Makes sense. On the other hand, do even the small border towns of Maine have a better selection than Canadian stores, or do people drive for three hours to the bigger towns?

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As for smuggling, many border crossings between Canada and Maine were unpatrolled at the time; we wouldn't have Homeland Security and the Canada Border Services Agency for more than another decade, and there was a certain amount of pride in the two countries having the world's longest undefended border. Smuggling was trivially easy, as long as you did it "retail" instead of "wholesale" - do too much, and you draw attention to yourself and both the IRS and Canada Customs and Excise take an interest. Do a little bit, and it was a game: how much can you can get away with and not draw the attention of the authorities? This doesn't apply to major border crossings, of course; those were always staffed with Customs agents on both sides of the border. (It also doesn't apply to the modern day; the borders have tightened up substantially since 9/11.)
This fits with what I read about the area.

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Anything with high taxes in Canada - fuel, tobacco, and alcohol - was fair game for being smuggled from the US. A major exception to this was weapons - try smuggling those, and you will attract attention. Going the other way, "soft" drugs such as marijuana were often smuggled south; while they were illegal on both sides of the border, the laws were less stringent in Canada so it was safer to produce them there. Again, this was risky - the "War on Drugs" had been taking place for over a decade by this point, and people caught with cannabis in the US were receiving stiff jail terms.
About when did Canada start taxing alcohol higher than the US? What about cigarettes? I know they were much cheaper in the States than Canada starting in about 1990, due to severe excise tax hikes in Canada, but I haven't been able to figure out the relative pricing on cigarettes and alcohol during the 60s, 70s and 80s.

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People might boast about bring a "40 ouncer" (a 40 oz bottle of spirits) or a "carton of smokes" across the border without declaring them, but the weapons and drug trades were kept very quiet.
The long and interesting travelogue I read about a city boy in the 2010s visiting this area looking for family history had him remarking several times how open people were about the 'good old times' of unrestricted smuggling before 9/11 border controls. Respectable people did not hesitate to tell funny stories to a stranger about smuggling, either by themselves or family members. No one was ashamed to mention a relative who grew rich smuggling cigarettes in the 90s or an ancestor who was an alcohol bootlegger.

Unfortunately, the writer didn't mention what they were smuggling and in which direction, once Prohibition ended and before the cigarette smuggling bonanza of the 90s.
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:55 PM   #59
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Default Re: Background for Clayborn Allen (mill owner) and Courtney Allen (preppie son)

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
If you're aiming for performance in deep snow and off-road capacity, which model Ford is the best starting point?

Again, totally not a car person. I genuinely have no clue whether the benefit of a more powerful engine oughweighs (pun not intended) the presumable disadvantage of a larger and heavier chassis when it comes to the sort of off-road winter driving that 'Jeep' guys in Iceland sometimes do for fun and profit. You know, driving on glaciers, crossing rivers and slowly chugging through waist+ high snow on their broad huge wheels with chains attached.
Tricky, for 1988 Ford had a range of engines from the 4.9L(iter) straight 6 cylinder engine to a 7.5L V8. The larger the carrying capacity, the lower geared the transmission would be for pulling weight. A 5.8L V8 F150 with the right transmission and 4 Wheel Drive would likely be your best bet.

Interestingly enough, I have a 1991 F250 with a 7.5L V8 2 wheel drive that is the last year the 1986 model was built before a major redesign. It is the worst vehicle I have ever driven on ice and snow.
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:59 PM   #60
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Default Re: Background for Clayborn Allen (mill owner) and Courtney Allen (preppie son)

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
So, for a personal vehicle that can handle any conditions, the Ford F-150 is a fine choice?

Would it make a difference if you wanted to be able to fit four people in it?

I know modern Ford F-150s can have decent space in the back, but what about the 80s models? Do the F-250s have more passenger space or is the same?
Yes, a fine choice. And the best-selling vehicle in America.

Cabs on the F-150 and F-250 were identical. To seat 4, you'd need the SuperCab version of either, and the extra two people would be quite squashed. There were bench seat and jump seat options depending upon which dimension you wanted to squish. The bench seat had tight legroom, and was uncomfortable for anybody over the age of 10. The jump seats faced the middle of the truck and were uncomfortable for anybody even slightly overweight or broad of shoulder. This also extended the length of the whole vehicle causing a minor compromise in the off-road capability, but not a major problem.

For 4 comfortable seats, you had a few options, none of them pick-up trucks. Jeeps (CJ-5 through CJ-8) were very easy to customize, with nice seats being easily available. Access to them required a little bit of contortion, but nothing beyond what the average person could handle. Once seated, anybody under 6' tall was fine, but taller folk would hit the ceiling. The Toyota Land Cruiser was similar, but a little harder to customize. The Chevy Blazer (early SUV) would seat 4 quite comfortably, but they were all 2-door requiring a little bit of squeezing to access the seats. This was less of a problem than with the Jeep or Land Cruiser, but still annoying. The Blazer didn't have much in the way of luxury options, and didn't have much of an aftermarket upgrade community. The engine upgrade in 1988 was substantial, and made the vehicle much more capable all around. The AMC Eagle was the only actually off-road capable 4-door vehicle I know of at the time. With some factory options, it was quite luxurious.

Last edited by khorboth; 03-22-2016 at 02:10 PM.
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