Rabbit Punches and Tyger Stripes
Shot in the Face is Shot in the Face
This “Golden Rule” is the central thesis behind game play, character creation, and game design. It’s simple. No matter what, getting shot in the face should hurt. If you’ve somehow made it so that getting shot in the face doesn’t hurt, you’re not playing in the spirit of the game. If you’ve counter-acted this by making it impossible to get shot in the face, you have, again, violated the spirit of the game.
This is the big, big rule with the future and technology. If you get shot in the face, it hurts. It doesn’t matter if you control time or space. It doesn’t matter if you can surround the sun with concrete. It doesn’t matter if you have nanotech neutrino dark matter, getting shot in the face hurts.
This is basically a Warhammer 40k rule. Eldar have the secrets of the universe in their power. Necron can resurrect themselves, hover around, and stay alive for millennium. At the same time, Orks drive around in crappy trucks and Tyranids are just bugs. In between the two, space marines have powered armor and, what, bolt guns? And yet, everyone’s equal. Everything’s balanced. Everything’s fair. Why?
Because getting shot in the face hurts. Simple as that.
And moreover, if you start thinking of what this means for 40k, you’ll see obvious repercussions for less obvious wargames. In 40k, getting shot in the face hurts and as a result, people die all the time. Combat is dangerous. If combat is not dangerous to your character, if you do not fear for your character’s life when bullets start firing, you have violated the spirit of the game. That’s that.
What does this mean in game terms? It means that while Alien Tech gives you access to weird powers (Desolidification, Tunneling drains, whatever), those powers are about the same active cost as other powers. At the same time, defenses stay about the same no matter whether you get them from armor or drugs or manipulation of the time/space continuum; 15 rPD is still 15rPD.
It also means that, in general, characters should think about taking cover, about using suppressive fire, about holding actions to hit people as they pop out of cover. A firefight is a firefight. Think of it realistically. Do not think about walking through automatic fire or teleporting right in front of people. If you can survive such maneuvers then something has gone wrong.