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Old 01-14-2019, 10:47 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2017
Default Roleplaying experiences without a GM in Car Wars?

Hey guys. I've recently been reading the rules for Car Wars Classic and in the not too distant future am looking to get a bunch of PDFs for this wonderful game, starting with the Car Wars Deluxe Edition!

Anyways, I noticed this supplement for it call Convoy and it intrigues me. It seems to be a combo of Choose Your Own Adventure and Car Wars. I'll definitely pick it up sometime, but at the moment here's what I'm looking to do and I'm not sure if there is a supplement for Car Wars that meets this desire of mine.

Do any of you guys know of a supplement that has rules for enemy AI? How about tables for random events/locations in a city/town?

I ask this because I began thinking of ways to make this possible. While I don't mind GMing, I love playing Car Wars more. My goal is to create, eventually, some tables for any given area that the characters are in with random results based on die rolls when using certain skills.

For example, prior to fighting, each character would be allowed to visit 6 places other then the local Arena once prior to combat, to maybe try out some skills that normally won't come into play, like Fast Talking. Let's say that a player goes into a Weapons Shop and rolls on a table for the Weapons Shop. The table would have different results, some that might have you make a roll using a particular skill with varying results depending on how bad or good your roll was.

I'm also thinking of ways to pre-generate enemies via a table that you roll every 2-3 turns. Each enemy would have an A.I. fueled by different objectives. For instance, one enemy vehicle might target the car/character with the most total damage and try to get as close as possible before firing weapons. Another enemy might do the exact opposite and keep his distance.

I'm curious to find out if thinking along these lines exist in any supplements to date or if this is something I'll have to work on to achieve.

Hope this makes sense and thank you guys for your time!
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Old 01-15-2019, 01:09 AM   #2
schoon's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Oakland, CA, USA
Default Re: Roleplaying experiences without a GM in Car Wars?

To my memory, Convoy is as close to solo CW as you're going to get.

That said, you can easily expand upon the framework it provides to add some of the elements you discuss.
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:01 AM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Roleplaying experiences without a GM in Car Wars?

Enemy AI is pretty easy. Just set them an objective and be honest and assess the fight phase by phase from each vehicles perspective to achieve that objective. If you decide actions per phase it in reverse reflex order then your decisions will be more honest as you reduce the effect of opponents second guessing courses of action (since you know all of it). You can still implement the actions per phase in vehicle speed order.

e.g. If Car 1 wins the reflex don't even consider what they might do, decide (and preferably resolve) the lower reflex first and then respond to that.

Objectives ideally should be driven by the plot rather than randomly as it makes decision making more robust. If you randomly decided the bandits are trying to kill the hero at some point you will need to decide how aggressively they will prosecute the attack (i.e. do they break off if they loose their front armour for example). If this is driven by the plot (e.g. bandit 1's child was killed by the hero) the answer is a lot easier to determine (in this case Bandit 1 may fight to the death, but once he is dead the remaining bandit's mission becomes one of salvage and they will break off one there is credible risk that they will be killed or injured).

As for deciding encounter distances, there was an article in ADQ about it (2d6 +mods inches if memory serves). Don't think of this as representing when you first see your opponent, rather when you first realise that they ARE an opponent (rather than some innocent party just trying to pass).

There are a few programmed adventures in ADQs that give more advice.
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:42 AM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: London, UK
Default Re: Roleplaying experiences without a GM in Car Wars?

If an average Bandit vehicle gets 'taken out' - killed , crashes , lethally set on Fire etc - after first round of Combat , the rest are extremely likely to disengage . There's always easier targets & they can always strip their fallen 'comrade's' ride , as he's hardly likely to object . Unless they're very desperate or crazy , I'd put a 50/50 chance of this happening if they're in Cars . Bikes ? Probably less than one-in-six - not much to strip or salvage off a motorbike ...

Percentage Polyhedral Dice are extremely useful in encounters or random events .
Also try & play your opponents like real players you know :

" Okay I'm going to play that randomly rolled Hotshot Mk8 aggressively , like when Lightbulb is using Flame weaponry . "

" ... that stretch of desert Highway , looks just like a perfect ambush spot that Swordboy would set up ... "

" ... do hope that Tractor-Trailer won't tailgate like Lumpy likes to do ... " *rolls dice* " ... well apparently it DOSE ... "

The Possibilities are endless : Miss G set up one Car chase like the Trench Run in Star Wars - with Pedestrian Snipers taking place of Gun Turrets , a important storage tank instead of exhaust port & an Über Duelist in a 100K Sporty Car as Vader replacement & two mooks as his Wingmen .
Five Gauss Guns on a Camper !!!
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:13 AM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2017
Default Re: Roleplaying experiences without a GM in Car Wars?

Thanks guys! I'll definitely check out Convoy in the future. Thanks Schoon for the solid advice and it's good to know that there is a solid framework there to use as inspiration for further expansion.

I've just been playing Car Wars a little over a couple weeks now with 2-3 players. Focusing just on the car design and combat aspect is great fun for sure. It would be nice though in a game without a GM to be able to use the skills like Streetwise and Fast Talk that come up more in the context of a story.

Thank you also, Swordtart, for your insight. I totally agree that it is ideal for enemy A.I. to be fueled by a story and logical choices rather than by pure randomness.

So here's what I'm thinking in the future. Get Convoy for inspiration on a solid framework for this type of game. Get some other adventure packs like Muskogee Mayhem and GURPS supplements like the AADA Road Atlas volumes for lore. Heck the Autoduel America Map couldn't hurt either.

I figure this information would be a great starting point to start coming up with generation tables for various parts of a GMless campaign I'm looking to put together.

So rather then just having say one generation table as a catch all for my games, I could approach it in much the same way that a GM would when writing an adventure.

For example, I could prepare a few generation tables for different parts of the East Coast starting out. I would attempt to design these in such a way where the contents would still be generated through dice rolls (uncontrolled by the creator) but hopefully also fit into the lore of the particular arena/location and keeping enemy intent in mind.

I'm thinking a co op campaign where I and others could all be part of an Autoduel division, whilst also doing "side jobs" would be great fun.

I'm in no rush to achieve this goal, but I do think it's worth my time to at least see what I could come up with.

Solid advice also Racer! I'm not afraid of implementing polyhedral dice! :D

I'm LOVING this game so far though. Like a lot of you guys, I'm keeping my eye peeled for this Sixth Edition of Car Wars in the future, but playing the old school way is amazing. The situations and moments that come up during play are fantastic! I'm hoping that this new edition could serve to streamline play and bring new players in without getting completely rid of the more complex aspects of it. If anything, I hope they keep the full rule set but maybe make it modular so someone learning the game can easily play with "Basic Rules" and then slowly add in more in more rules over time to get the "full game".

Last edited by industrialchild; 01-15-2019 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 01-15-2019, 01:52 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: CA
Default Re: Roleplaying experiences without a GM in Car Wars?

Don't see how you could do it without a GM. Even in Convoy someone needed to play the 'bad guys'.

We did have a CW campaign but I think it's better to use another system for the roleplaying stuff (I have ideas but I won't say b/c of forum rules).

We had tables for random road encounters (required) and we came up with rates for transporting cargo and passengers for running a transport company, and rules for running a cycle gang. Your idea about 6 other non-arena events per month sounds about right and is similar to what we did (we did 2 not 6).

Biggest financial drain was Gold Cross which is probably appropriate. A corporation like GC would probably be the most powerful entity in the world. Make Gold Cross the antagonist and you have yourself a campaign...
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Old 01-15-2019, 02:25 PM   #7
Join Date: Jan 2017
Default Re: Roleplaying experiences without a GM in Car Wars?

Juris, I think it could be done if I and whomever I was playing with went at it cooperatively. I'm just not sure at this point if the payoff will be worth the time thinking about this and trying to develop something out of this.

With how rich the lore and background of Car Wars is, I would most certainly want to spend a good deal of time trying to make this co-op RPG/Wargame hybrid a reality, utilizing the Car Wars system. I know doing this though will be no easy task for sure.

I'm not against the idea of using another system for the roleplaying aspect of this either, but it's nice that right out of the box Car Wars Classic teaches skills for characters outside of dueling and how to use them in the context of the world this game takes place in. I have a few RPG systems under my belt that I consider to be my "go to" systems.

I'm not fully up to date on all the lore for Car Wars yet, but I did learn about the Gold Cross via the Arenas map box and I love the idea of making them the antagonist in the game...There's so many ways that can go. Imagine how they can "alter" a clone of someone whom they suspect of conspiring against them...Scary stuff!

Ultimately, I still want Car Wars to feel like the war game we've been enjoying but with more options of stuff to do, stuff to acquire (potentially off of a black market) and jobs to take outside of combat. It would be ideal too if I could tie it in to an epic story, like ultimately going against the Gold Cross! Pretty epic Juris!!!
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:04 PM   #8
Chris Goodwin
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon, USA
Default Re: Roleplaying experiences without a GM in Car Wars?

I've never known of Gold Cross to be antagonists. They're the ones who bring duellists back to life!

Edit: I missed the end of Juris' post. Carry on.
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:21 PM   #9
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Roleplaying experiences without a GM in Car Wars?

Originally Posted by industrialchild View Post
Do any of you guys know of a supplement that has rules for enemy AI? How about tables for random events/locations in a city/town?
If you can find a copy: The ancient _Autoventures_ line of products had some AI-enemy options -- specifically, the supps _Hell On Wheels_, and _Street Fighter_.

As to city-town/truck-stop encounters: "Roll 2d6 and pray" is the time-honored approach. The old TSR solitaire books (of which the _ADQ 1/1_ _Convoy_ was made into) also had a mechanism for dealing with issues like replacing a crippled car, or getting info from a NPC.

For my part: Back-when, I used "contest of skills", as mentioned in _Car Wars Compendium_. I just needed to figure out what skill level the opponent might have.
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Old 01-15-2019, 06:19 PM   #10
Blue Ghost
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Spinward Marches
Default Re: Roleplaying experiences without a GM in Car Wars?

Good recommendations. I have all of the Autoventures, and they provide some real good play material. I think the only one that requires a GM is Ultraforce.

Otherwise, yeah, Convoy is pretty much the only offering by SJ Games. I think there's one or two others in ADQ, but I can't remember their names.
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