Tips On Writing Actions

AKA "I don't know where any of this goes, but someone might find it useful".

A lot of times, people complain about me (Tal) not following their actions properly. That's a hazard fairly unique to REKT. While most games have a one-action-per-turn policy, REKT lets you do multiple actions. The primary gameplay advantage to this system is being able to spring surprises on the enemy, whereas in a turn-by-turn format, enemies can react to your tactics immediately. The primary advantage overall is the reason it exists this way, however: The game doesn't get held up by one person that is slower at posting than everyone else, because you can execute many actions at a time in one day out of a week, instead of having to be here posting every single day.

There are, however, a lot of disadvantages to this system, with the primary one being that I do not always fully understand what the players want me to do. There are some guidelines you can follow to mitigate this effect.

  1. Saying "while" with your post does not work with turn-based format. You are essentially telling me to make you multitask, but without a multitasking (engines) roll. Under the rules, this is typically not possible unless all you are doing is moving, in which case I also typically give a slight penalty (-1 to -2, depending on the involvement required) to all tasks attempted while in motion. Sometimes it creates paradoxes or even makes me have to go around and iterate on the whole layer database, which is no fun at all. I typically ignore you saying "while" and just do what I think sounds good instead.
    If you say "while", you are putting your character's life in the hands of the GM. You know, the guy that wants to kill your character. Think carefully about this.
    The exception to this is if you have an onboard ship AI. Those typically don't have dependencies and are designed to do work while you work anyway, so I have a separate line for it, and you're the one telling it what to do anyway.
  2. Saying "When" doesn't work the way you think it does. I basically just choose a point in your layer timeline for the turn and stick it in there based on what's going on. Often this requires shoving things around to where they don't quite match exactly what you said. Sometimes I just stick it in exactly where in the turn timeline you said it because I can't come up with a way to put it where you would've wanted it to go without breaking everyone else's posts. Naturally, this screws up your turn. Sometimes it even creates paradoxes. When it does this I typically try to think of a way to fix it, and then just make you fail a roll, because that generally fixes it. This usually screws up your turn the worst… except in the instances where two people are literally waiting on each other to do something. When you do this, I typically make you wait out the rest of your turn without doing a thing. A lot of the time I just ignore "when" though and make you do it when it makes the most sense to me. Or not.
    If you say "when", you are putting your character's life in the hands of the GM. You know, the guy that wants to kill your character. Think carefully about this.
  3. Do not use "if" for every single thing. Using "if" is significantly harder for me to deal with than straight actions. In order of increasing difficulty:
    1. "If environmental factor X is Y, do Z" - - - This is the easiest. I typically know what's going on in a turn as far as the environment goes without needing any rolls. This is usually really easy on me and doesn't take any extra thought. In a worst-case scenario, the environment depends on your previous actions… which is mildly annoying but not nearly as difficult as it might be.
    2. "If my roll X did Y, do Z" - - - This is moderate difficulty. I end up having to do your roll early (minor annoyance) because I can't tell what's going to happen to you. Sometimes I have to discard your roll later if you've done other stuff that makes you change your action. In the worst case scenario, you've stacked your roll with other dependents I have to figure out and deal with before I can even figure out which way this "if" swings. Again, somewhat annoying. In that case I end up doing all your rolls before everybody else.
    3. "When an enemy does Y at any point during the turn" - - - This is moderate-high difficulty because it essentially multiplies the work of this action by the duration of the turn, by the number of enemies that exist. Every layer, I have to check every enemy against everything you're doing, which, at worst, can make your turn take as much work as an entire squad normally would.
    4. "If character X has done Y, do Z" - - - The worst. I have to switch back and forth between both of you to see what happens, which takes a lot of extra time navigating between you, and seriously interrupts my workflow. In severe cases, it creates a paradox where both of you are depending on the other person. If this happens, I typically make you waste the rest of your turn. In the worst cases I have a ton of you depending on each other for various things, like a crazy networked web, and I don't even know what to do with it.
    5. "If my roll O is likely to do P (but not Q) while character R is doing S or T but they haven't done U yet, do V or W depending on whether X has Y or Z" - - - Screw you. You're losing a leg this turn.
      If you overuse "If", you are irritating the GM. You know, the guy you're putting your character's life into the hands of, that really wants to kill your character. Think carefully about this.
  4. "IF" DOES NOT EQUAL "WHEN". I do your turn sequentially. "when" may bug me and I may not always pay attention to it, but if you use "if" I will put it exactly at the point in the turn where you say to use it. I am not God. I cannot see the future. I have to work through your turn carefully one thing at a time, even if this means you don't end up doing some of your actions.
  5. "If" and "When" do not make me roll for actions. If you say "If I see X", I will only count it as true if you have already looked for it and seen it. If you say "If I hit X" I will count it as false if you have not fired. Again, I do turns sequentially. If you say "When", you should put it at the front of the turn so I don't have to rework your entire turn just to put in the "when" stuff, because sometimes it's enough work, between you and everybody else, that I simply can't. Don't make me spend thirty minutes just working out the layout of your turn. That's ten hours of work if everybody did it. I don't have the time for that. If I did that, the turns would never get done and we wouldn't have a game.

All of this said, I understand that due to turn formatting it's sometimes useful (and sometimes even necessary) to do these things. I'm not going to kill you just because you use if/when/while. Just keep in mind that your turn may not end up exactly how you wanted it. I'll still try to match as closely as I can, but if I can't… there's not much I can do. Some more tips, this time from REKT veteran, Dinosawer:

  • Try to make your actions NOT depend on other players. It raises the chances of something going wrong by a large amount.
  • In a lot of cases, you can make them depend on the environment instead:
    "if there are enemies" left instead of "if dude X shot Y", etc. Tal knows from before what his minions will do. He doesn't know what the other PC's will do.
  • If you really, REALLY need to make them depend on other players, make sure you know very well what said other player is doing. Problems arise when you're expecting someone to do something while they have no intention of actually doing that. (yes, that has happened. Regularly.)
  • Keep it simple. If you have more than 2 dashes (levels of ifs) somewhere, you should re-evaluate your post and see if this is really needed.
  • Usually it's better to do something more general than trying to plan everything ahead, because the more complicated your post is, the more will go wrong. Try to invent tactics that will work for everything.
  • An easy way to do "clever shooting" without using ifs: instead of saying "if someone is shooting at me, shoot back. If someone is shooting at a friend, shoot them. etc; say "I shoot 4 times, preferably at an enemy that is attacking me or a friend, or another enemy". In that case Tal only has to figure out WHO you attack, not WHEN you attack.

Other random tips

Cover on the ground

There are three types of cover: half cover, full cover, and concealment.

  • Half cover is provided by things like low walls, some counter tops, certain parts of ships, and things like that. With half cover, you're potentially out of sight if you crouch down, and most projectiles won't pass through. Half cover provides a +1 bonus against getting hit.
  • Full cover is provided by things like wall corners, boulders, and other objects that you can stand behind without being seen, but still look around the edge of and fire. Full cover provides a +2 bonus against getting hit.
  • Concealment is provided by things like smoke screens and thin walls. While there is nothing between you and the enemy capable of stopping a bullet, they can no longer see any part of you, and are not entirely sure where you are. Concealment provides a +1 bonus against getting hit.

Learning to use cover is essential in staying alive in REKT.

When moving from one piece of cover to the next, your level of cover is equal to the least amount of cover you have between the starting and ending state, with a maximum of 1. Staying behind cover until you're sure it's safe to move can save your life. It's also important to note that when moving quickly between two cover spots that are fairly close to each other (somewhere in the range of 10 meters), you are effectively in cover for the duration of the move. This makes flanking and moving much more viable than they would be otherwise.

Cover and concealment can stack. Using a smoke grenade while in full cover will give you a +3 cover bonus, instead of just a +2. This will make you nearly impossible to hit.

Cover in the air

In the air, you can either:

  • Be hit, and be able to fire on the enemy
  • Not be hit, and not be able to fire on the enemy

There are some rare edge cases, like firing from the inside of a one-way forcefield, but for the most part, air cover is very simple. If you don't want to be hit, stay out of the way.

Medical things

Tal imagines five separate "levels" that a bodypart's state can be. Note: THESE ARE ONLY IN TAL'S HEAD AND DO NOT ACTUALLY HAVE ANY EFFECT ON GAMEPLAY.

Level Status Usable? Affects willpower? Bleeding out? Endurance rolls? Penalties?
1 Fine Yes No No No No
2 Harmed Yes Maybe Probably not Probably not No
3 Injured Probably Yes Maybe Probably Yes, light
4 Broken/severe injury Probably not Yes Probably Probably hard Yes, heavy
5 Gone Hahaha, no. Hell yes Almost certainly Yes Does not apply