These are notes / reports from a RPG - using a homebrew mechnaics and setting - we don't use the official Modiphus mechanics nor setting (primarily because we've started it back in 2015, i.e. well before there was enough Infinity RPG material. Aslo, we don't really need all that detail). It was heavily inspired by the Girls und Panzer anime concept, but with “big robots” instead of tanks. Both GM and player being Infinity fans, we decided to use this universe as the setting for the game. Originally, these reports were published at Datasphere and Infinity the Game forums. Due to these nearing the end of their respective lifespans, I'm migrating the reports here. Though I guess they do qualify as fanfics... That’s how it is: Almost 30 years have passed since the end of the war with the Evolved Intelligence. The EI managed to unexpectedly Transcend (GM’s comment: I haven’t talked about this yet, I think, but it’s supposed to be because the Combined agents located and cracked open the Penny Arcade, acquiring the Digester), effectively vanishing from the conflict in a matter of seconds, its Aspect bodies becoming lifeless statues. Its subordinate races were therefore left out in the cold, so the Human / Tohaa alliance was able to drive them back through the wormhole and end the war. A couple of years after the war, a new sport, eventually second only to Aristeia in popularity, emerged - TAG-Soft (that’s a temporary name until we come up with a better one). It uses outdated, manned (this is a basic requirement) TAGs to play wargames, much resembling paintball and the like. Weapons fire non-penetrating ammunition (equivalent to rubber bullets, and non-explosive warheads on launcher-type ordnance), allowing for quite realistic ballistics, and computers take care of determining the effects of a hit. All this makes the sport showy, yet very safe: barring collisions with terrain / other players, there’s basically no way for a pilot to be actually harmed (pilots are prohibited from leaving their cockpits outside of the hangar, and escape / ejection systems must be disabled). Both professional and amateur teams exist, though high cost of maintaining obsolete TAGs means they are not very numerous. Teams are often partially sponsored / supported by TAG manufacturers, who supply them with replacement parts (on-demand / custom made for these obsolete, sometimes downright antique machines), much like a car manufacturer could support a racing team using their cars. Performance and armaments can be upgraded as per league rules, but every change must be represented by real alterations to a machine and registered with the game organiser. A typical team consists of 8 TAGs - while rules allow for bigger teams, these are uncommon due to procurement and maintenance requirements (and the bigger, the more rare). While smaller teams are easier on the budget, they also suffer from being outnumbered in the field. In military service, manned TAGs have been already long replaced with Remote Presence units. Only some second-grade Ariadnan units and underfunded mercenary outfits still field TAGs with actual pilots inside. The place: Planet Avalon, a PanOceanian colony world. One of the handful of new planets discovered and settled after the war. Avalon is mostly covered in water (however, nowhere close to Varuna), with two large landmasses, Morgana (South America-sized), and Merlin (Australia-sized), in the southern hemisphere’s temperate zone, and a number of islands. The soil is fertile and supports extensive vegetation, luckily not as aggressive as on Paradiso. Most of the land fauna is arachnid - some species get as big as a small dog, quite furry and very colourful (GM’s comment: in my mind, they’re based on earther jumping spiders). They are not aggressive toward humans, and in fact some species are considered cute enough to be kept as pets (being roughly as domesticated as cats, that is - don’t bothering themselves with humans most of the time). Many of the settlers, at least on Merlin, are Spanish / Portugese speakers, and dominant cultural trail seems South American. There is one professional TAG-Soft team on Avalon, the Knights of the Round Table, based in planetary capital, Port Arthur (on Morgana). One amateur team did exist, but was disbanded about 5 years ago due to piss-poor performance and lack of interest. Roberto Rocha Preparatory Academy is an large combined school (i.e. one institution covering elementary, junior high and senior high education), located in the city of Belo Horizonte, continental capital on Merlin. It is also a pretty expensive school, meaning it is attended by most of the local elite’s children. The school’s motto is “Facere aut non facere, non experiri”. The principal, Ms. Ginevra Chennault, had recently decided to reactivate the school’s TAG-Soft team, taking advantage from the fact the equipment wasn’t actually sold, but mothballed. Trying to keep the costs manageable, it was decided to employ a coach from outside of the typical circle (being a professional sport, TAG-Soft has a cadre of professional coaches now, usually ex-players themselves). The protagonist: Warrant officer Diego “Diablo” Ibarrez, Corregidor Jurisdictional Command (retired). Diego is a veteran of the Paradiso conflict (as a Gecko pilot), and once a hero. After the war, he was for many years an instructor in CJC’s TAG school (finally - the chief instructor) but became obsolete once the last manned TAGs were phased out of the Nomad military. He was later posted in logistics, but couldn’t really stand it, and finally retired about 2 years ago. Having worked meaningless jobs since then, he’s bored and ready to take a chance to once again do what he really liked: train TAG pilots, even if for a game only. He is well-known for his multilingual cursing, likes spicy food, good beer and a number of other good things in life (though these aren’t usually too sophisticated - Diego is a man of rather simple pleasures). Also, quite a ladies’ man, pretty handsome at that. However, he can take a “no” for a “no” (on Corregidor those who can’t end up with broken arms…). Note about age: Diego looks almost forty years old. Biologically, he’s almost fifty (thanks to high-quality medical care of this era… also, a quality body), but technically is almost sixty - he was KIA during the Paradiso operations and later Resurrected. Which actually is the reason for him not seeking a combat position in a merc outfit: being dead sucks, and he knows it for fact from his personal, first-hand experience. Diego is motivated primarily by boredom: given the quality of his body and the typical available medical care, it can be assumed he’ll live for another 50, maybe 60 years, most of it being active, productive time. Simply too much time to spend it watching holos all day long. Secondary motivation is financial - the CJC retirement pension ain’t all that great, and he’d prefer to raise his retirement fund than to deplete it. While it is obvious that the school does offer him significantly lower wages than a local / PanO coach would claim, it is still good money and allowing for a pretty comfortable life in Belo Horizonte. Avalon Chronicles entry #1 “Welcome to Avalon” Diego got an offer from Roberto Rocha Preparatory Academy to become their TAG-Soft team’s coach. The team was inactive for 5 years, as the previous attempt proved disastrously unsuccessful. While not becoming a teacher himself (in a formal sense) he’ll be assisted by a PE teacher. To the school’s great surprise - he accepted almost immediately. Well, the school was mid-term already, and didn’t intended to start the team sooner than beginning of the next term. Friday, September 20th. After an uneventful journey, Diego lands in the Belo Horizonte Astroport, where he’s greeted by Yuni Iskandar, an attractive (if you’re into seriously athletic types. Also, her looks suggest Polynesian/Pacific islands descent (GM’s intention was Malaysian, exactly) young woman who appears to be the PE teacher designated to assisting Diego regarding the team. She’s a motorcycle enthusiast (riding an imported Diryat Fatih bike, pet-named “Beast”... And doing it way too fast). She threatens to break Diego’s arms should he try anything on the pupils. She, however, gladly accepts his response that “breaking hearts of sixteen-years-olds was something he considered OK, but only until he hit about twenty years of age himself”. Not that Yuni herself goes around unnoticed by the teenage students ;) And she is currently single... Since the landing, Diego congratulates himself for keeping the Nomad military-issue programming on his comlog: while it is outdated by military standards now, it provides him with pretty effective spam filters and ad-blocks! The next meeting is at the school - the principal, Ms. Ginevra Chennault, wants to be sure Mr. Ibarrez understands his role. She’s a tiny, old, dry and strict lady, who reminds Diego that he should behave “properly”, and conduct the team’s training in a way that she wouldn’t get complaints from the parents. She also states that the fate of the project relies on the results Diego will be able to produce. Which he replies to with “ - Ma’am, if you want results, then I can’t be running no sunday school there”. The Principal accepts this - memorabilia in her office (and the way she behaves) imply that she was once a front-line officer of the Bagh-Mari Regiment. Yuni later informs Diego that Ms. Chennault currently teaches literature, and that she is in the school longer than herself, but still not long enough to have seen the previous TAG-Soft attempt in person. The next visit is the teachers’ room, where Diego is welcomed rather indifferently, save for Father Loyola (teacher on religious studies and a Christian priest) who is clearly antipathic towards him, and a history teacher, Gerhard Oobleck, who’s openly enthusiastic on meeting “a real war hero”, and invites Diego to be a guest in the classes he’ll be teaching on the EI conflict. Ibarrez agrees reluctantly - he considers it all to be events of the past, and he isn’t exactly enthusiastic about getting back to them. Next stop - the TAG hangar, where chief mechanic Eric Wana and his assistants are trying to restore the team’s equipment into working condition. Mr. Wana seems to be a pedantic, perfectionist type - which isn’t the worst kind of guy to be in charge of a workshop! The motor pool consists of a Gecko, an Iguana, two Anacondas, a Szalamandra, and a trio of Lizards. All the machines (save for one Anaconda) are, as Eric says, going to be ready for use by Monday, which is the good news. Bad news is that all these TAGs are in their original, stock configuration (instead of the “Praxis refit” standard Diego was used to in the Nomad military, and that is familiar to the Infinity the Game players), making them clearly inferior to any other TAG they could meet on the playfield. The final stop is the meeting with potential team members. Despite the school’s size, there’s only 8 of them, including only one boy (who, seeing the rest of the team and their intended coach, quickly storms away). Of the girls, six are genuine volunteers, the seventh was actually forced into the team by her teachers - she’s a problem kid, school bully and also one neglecting on her PE classes. Diego immediately begins to think of her as “the bad apple”. All the students are first or second-class Senior high-grade students (i.e. no third / final-years ones). Diego orders a first training session for the next day (Saturday) - he contacts a Laser Tag facility in the local mall to use it for orientation training and show the girls the basics of infantry combat (hey, you have to walk before you can run). After the meeting ends, he’s ready to hit the town with a list of places where he could rent a living place, passed to him by Yuni. He actually makes use of one of these, and, having now an accommodation, begins to familiarize with the neighbourhood. He ends his evening dining at Silva’s, a small local diner / cafeteria (specializing in Brazilian cuisine, and having it’s own micro-brewery), run by elderly gentleman named Esteban Silva. The owner is assisted by a teenage waitress, Dominique, who is seemingly an Atek. The cafeteria is typically frequented by local regulars - some of them being a trio of elderly NeoColonial War vets, and offers an “old-fashioned, human-touch service”: it uses almost no augmented reality stuff, and the orders are taken personally by the staff instead of being placed via comlog. Having finished his dinner, Diego enjoys a tankard of in-house beer when a chance customer, seemingly a not-so-local idiot who thinks he can get away with it, gets ballistic over the fact he was pinging the staff on his comlog for five minutes already and hadn’t yet been served. He’s naturally impervious to persuasion, and obviously looking for a brawl, calling the waitress (who remains perfectly civil) an Atek scum. As Diego intervenes, the waitress notices that the things are soon to get really ugly for the bully, and tries to defuse the situation once more - to no effect. The bully would’ve hit her, but that’s the moment for Diego to show him how a fair fight looks like by Corregidorian standards: the offender gets subdued in a quick, brutal and inelegant manner (which, however, doesn’t allow it to turn into a slugfest and demolish the cafeteria) then promptly removed from Silva’s, to everyone’s (save for the guy) relief. Saturday, September 21st. Diego meets the team (and Yuni) at the laser tag facility to let the girls learn the ropes - and to assess his players. After a warm-up first round, the team gets divided into two squads of four (Yuni filling the odd place) and set up against each other, with elements of instruction being introduced each round. Diego watches it all from a refree’s station, doing his best to enforce teamwork and trying various pairings. The resulting observation are like this: Mako, a basketball player (she decided to take up TAG-soft, while still playing on the basketball team, and apparently follows some other activities too - making her a very busy person). Very sporty, very active player. Does well in teamwork, and uses terrain extensively. Excellent prospects. Minuette, a cheerleader (she gave up the perspective of being head cheerleader - once the current one graduates at the end of this year - to enter TAG-Soft team) and self-proclaimed “morale officer”- things can get ugly if one day she’s forced down from her sugar-induced high. Does well in teamwork, and is physically fit. Sometimes not the quickest mind in the team, definitely. Prospectively a good, solid player. Patricia, a DJ. She seems to always come with Octavia in tow. Nondescript as a player (though pretty laid back), prospectively an average team member. Notable feature - she’s never seen without headphones (though she switched to low-profile ones for laser tag practice - usually these are huge external headphones!) Somehow, they don’t seem to affect hear hearing. (at least Diego didn’t notice it happening yet…) Octavia, a cello player. Close - almost inseparable - friends with Patricia. Shy and apparently insecure, tends to hide behind her friend. First thing Diego did was to place them in opposite teams. In combat, Octavia tends to panic (luckily this results not in running away, but in screaming and firing full auto at whatever scared her - though her accuracy is terrible). Seems to be doing very poor if forced to act on her own. Interesting fact - says to be way better checkers player than Patricia. Poorest prospects as of now, will require extensive work to make her into an effective team member. Diego notes down to contact her music teacher on whether she could possibly be given more solo performance. Evangeline, “the princess”. Proper language, proper behaviour, proper everything - that kind of girl. It took a while to persuade her to crawl on the floor when under fire. She likes the affairs she takes part in to be organised and well-managed, resulting in an urge to command other team members (that’s not bossing them around, she simply feels a need for the effort to be coordinated, and since nobody else is going to do that…). Prospective team leader, though she will require a lot of work to make her develop a tactical sense necessary in the field. Morgan, the sleepy one. Seems to totally lack interest in anything, and is apparently capable of sleeping all day, anywhere, anytime. Despite this, she’s a precise, methodical and controlled combatant. Prospectively a valuable team member. Alex, “the (bad) apple”. Aggressive and reckless, she tends to rush enemy positions guns’a’blazin’. While she’s able to intimidate the opponents in the laser tag facility, this will be of little use once the team mounts their TAGs. Diego is not a fan of the shock and awe tactics - Alex has a good entry point, but a lot of work will be required to teach her some really useful behaviour. After the allotted training time is up and the team is told to show up on Monday (after classes) for their first TAG practice (Mako runs off in hurry, she’s always tight on time with various activities), and the vid recordings from the laser tag practice gets mailed to the principal. She wants results - she should be glad to know that Mr. Ibarrez got right into the work! Diego asks Yuni whether she’s like to wash the “battle dust” down her throat - which results in both of them ending up at Silva’s for a dinner. The veterans and staff greet Diego as a regular already. The meal is good, the beer excellent (though Yuni has to limit herself - she’s driving!), and the chat pleasant. Which makes for a fine ending of a day. Which sums up entry #1.