Monthly Archives: November 2009

Clockworks Playtest- Chargen! Part Two

For Part One, click here.

After my players got done with the things that needed to be on paper and solidifying their Clockworks characters personality and concept it was time to discuss HOW and WHY they each knew one another.

Even though I am a 3.5/Pathfinder player usually, I did buy the DMG 2 (4e) because I heard quite a bit of positive feedback for it. I did a review of it from a 3.5 DM perspective, part 1 and part 2. The first chapter, done by the amazing Robin D. Laws, talks about the concept of group character/party generation and having each player have a tie-in with someone else.

I really wanted to give that idea a try, since usually I allow my players to be whatever the hell they want, within reason, and then something brings them together. With this campaign I didn’t want to rely on “divine prophecy/intervention, a “Johnson” giving them various jobs that bound them together, etc.

I had already decided to run the Gentleman Caller, a Clockworks adventure module. I like the way it flows, and whatnot. I’m leaving out info on it here so as not to spoil it for my players and other potential people. Needless-to-say, I like it.

Solidifying the Concept

I told my players that they will be employees of the Department of Unusual Biology at the Colrencian University. The idea I have for this campaign is an X-Files kind of feel where they are trying to prove/disprove different “species” of creatures. At least in the beginning.. MWA HA HA.. Sorry.

Solidifying the Party

Each member of the party was to create a link with another in the group. Everyone sat in silence.

ME: Alright.. How about we go around the room, you describe what kind of character you are, personality, etc, but you don’t have to give anything away.. When we are done with that, you can work out, through discussion, who you know here and why.

I won’t go through a play by play of the discussion of each person, and in the first part of the post you can read the concept of each of the players, I will say though, I was really happy with my players creative juices flowing freely.

In the end the group tie-ins look something like this:

Angie and Drew

Angie’s character goes out in the field looking for a link that would show that Faeblooded are the next link in evolution of man. Drew accompanies her in the field trying to garner info that will help him, unbeknownst to her, achieve his goal of saving “undesireables” and bringing down the DoUB.

Omar and Elmer

Omar, being a bounty hunter and hit man (and breaker of my toilet without telling anyone that he clogged it up and lets someone else discover the horror that lurks within the bowl.. sorry.. Had to get that out.) was hired at some point by Elmer’s father, most likely for several jobs, now is on retainer for Elmer in case he is ever needed. Elmer has used his money and influence to get him a job at the DoUB so he can remain close.

Liam and John

After the accident that John’s character caused, he now works in the basement of the DoUB as maintenance man. There he also gets to tinker with left over parts and etc on inventions and devices of his own. Liam has gotten to know John, a fellow Faeblooded, and aides him in his tinkering and maintenance. Liam uses his info from DoUB and John to aid him in trying to gain equality for Faeblodded throughout the Great Republic.

So there you be….. My group ready to rock come December 6th, 2009 on our first official Clockworks session.

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A Character Creation Questionnaire.

I’m posting this after a comment from Anarkeith. This is a questionnaire that I gave to my players in my current DnD 3.5/Pathfinder game.

Feel free to use it, comment on it, or whatever.

Character Creation Questions

1) What is your characters name?
2) What does your character look like? (Age, height, weight, eye color, hair color, what kind of clothing does your character usually wear? What do they wear when unarmored?
3) What do you see as your future goals? Both long term and short term.
4) What do you think is the best thing about you?
5) What is your biggest weakness?
6) What is your greatest strength?
7) What is the most enjoyable thing you remember doing? What is the most significant thing you remember doing?
8 ) How do you feel about your group members thus far? Are you paranoid, or weary about any of them? Do you respect any of them? Why?
9) What would you like to know about each one of your party members (ie- how they got a scar? Have they ever been in battle? Have they ever lost someone they loved?)
10) What makes you most excited?
11) What do you enjoy the least?
12) What do you fear the most?
13) Why do you think you’re here?
14) Tell me about your past, where you’re from, your family, notable accomplishments or failures, any significant other relationships or jobs.
15) There’s a dangerous creature approaching your group quickly, you _______________________________________________
16) A quote that personifies you the essence of your character.
17) What is your worst memory?
18) What is your best memory?
19) How do you feel about the other “playable” races (dwarves, elves, gnomes, humans, half-orcs, half-elves)?
20) If you feel strongly, positive or negative, towards a race, why?
21) Have you ever been in love? Are you still?
22) Are you married? If so where is your significant other?
23) What would you do if you lost that person?
24) List 5 of your favorites (ie- color, food, drink, animal, past time, skill, etc.).
25) Out of character- What is something you would like to see your character do? Something that would happen to them?
26) Create an edge for your character.
27) Create a flaw for your character.


Clockworks Playtest- Chargen!

First little bit of info here.

Yesterday my role-playing groud and I took our first steps towards our play testing of Clockworks, the Steampunk setting by Shawn Gaston using the Savage World rules.

Sadly we actually didn’t get to run Gentleman Caller yesterday (to my playersdon’t read this or I will hang you by your feet and cause you great amounts of pain and suffering), but we had so much fun with Savage Worlds chargen and coming up with Clockworks characters and how they will all fit together. Also it is important to note that I had to explain the world of Vheld to them, the workings of what their characters would know, explain where they would be, what they were doing and etc.

The Birth of a Party

After explaining the world and some of the history of the Great Republic, I told my players that they are employees of the Department of Unnatural Biology and that their characters need to reflect that in some way or go along with that theme.

I also explained that we were going to be doing group chargen, so everyone will need to know one of the other characters somehow. I wanted to use this tactic to form a bond right from the beginning.

I said that there were only two people were allowed to be Faeblooded, and one Elementalist and one Weird Scientist. All choices were gobbled up by the players quickly!

Players

• Omar
• Angie
• Drew
• John
• Liam
• Elmer- new to our role-playing group but long time friend of Omar!
• Kinal- she wasn’t able to make the session so her and I will have to get together soon and make her character.

Now I will let my players speak for themselves and their characters

Omar– “Rapiduro” Dominic Delavego (human)

Physical Description: Tall and slim. Green Eyes. Slightyy darker tan and hair tied in a braided ponytail.

Rapiduro is a slim, tall, and extremely handsome looking man. A bounty hunter by profession, Rapiduro is well known for his efficiency at catching, not only wanted criminals for steady income, but also entertaining hired work from private clients who desire a stroke of “bad luck” on persons of their choosing. Although very good at his work, he is severely arrogant and stubborn, always thinking he is the best at what he does and never wanting to admit he is ever wrong.

Quirk: Rapiduro cringes of the very thought that there might actually exist, although unlikely, a person that would dare scratch his beautiful, flawless face. Due to this fear he wears a white mask that simply has small slits for his eyes and slim red vertical diamond shaped marks on the mask. He only wears it when he is on a job, and he is compelled to ALWAYS wear it.

______

Angie– Jane Goodwin (human/elementalist)

Physical Description: 5’3”, 120 lbs, Green eyes and auburn hair.

Zoologist at the university. Young faculty member. Jane is thoughtful and bright. She is strongly convinced that a creature representing the evolutionary link between primates and faeblooded exists and she is devoting her life towards proving her theory. She is strongly curious and quite adept at adventuring in the field but has an irrational phobia of squirrels.

______

Drew– Cid Evenblood (human)

Physical Description: 5’11”, 200 lbs. Brown hair, blue eyes, and wears a monocle in right eye.

Cid is a member of the U.L.F. (undesireable Liberation Front), and is secretly trying to bring down the department of Unnatural Biology in an attempt to save faeblooded and other such “undesireables.”

______

John– Noah Walker- (Faeblooded)

Physical Description- 5’10”, 175 lbs. Looks human for the most part except skin always looks like it has a bad sunburn and eyes are yellow and animalistic.

Noah is a bit cocky. Growing up he was always a little ahead of the curve when learning new things. Being Faeblooded, the other children treated him badly, so he always felt he had something to prove.

Once he got into “weird science” he became uncontrollable until he caused an accident in which many people were injured. Sometimes people will still recognize him from that day. This event caused him to slow down and actually think about his actions and tinkering.

______

Liam– Jean-Claude “Bloody Bones” Zeeman (faeblooded “elf”/wannabe vampire)

Physical Description: 6’2”, 185 lbs. Golden hair and pale blue eyes.

J.C. was abandoned by his parents as a child for being faeblooded. Struggled to survive and developed a mean demeanor and physical prowess.

J.C. strives to obtain equal rights for all Faeblooded and will rush to the defense of any of his brethren, no matter the odds.

______

Elmer– Orson Vastol Duran (human)

Physical Description: A tall handsome fellow with bright eyes and a casual manner that belies his noble appearance.

Concept: Rich heir of a newspaper industry.

A spoiled, obnoxious, but rather intelligent young man forced around from university to university in an attempt to properly educate him and restrain his adventuring spirit. His family is home to some dark secrets and truly dirty deals of which he wants little to do with. In fact, he’s given little thoughts to his inheritance except that it funds his excursions and that his brother would be glad to be rid of him.

His bodyguard, Michael, is only the latest in a surprisingly long line of loyal servants.

______

So now you know the party members! Tomorrow I will go over each of their connections and how the campaign will begin. We plan to kick off, with our first actual play session of Clockworks on Sunday, 12/6/09!


Getting to Playtest Clockworks!!

Designed and Owned by Shawn Gaston

So a few weeks ago I asked Shawn to do a guest post on his influences on his steampunk webcomic based on his own homebrew game using Savage Worlds. He agreed, and it was a really good article.

As I had posted awhile back I was looking for a good Steampunk setting and many people had commented and left good idea. In the end, wanting to use the Savage Worlds system I decided to go with Deadlands…

Sadly there was much I personally didn’t like about the Deadlands setting once I got into the GM (Marshal’s) section. Without giving much away I felt as though the description of why our world ended up the way it did was pretty much tantamount to Willie Coyote going totally evil and creating an evil Acme factory that spits out weird evil creatures who’s single purpose was to generate fear.. Spppooooookkkyyy…

I liked everything before that. So maybe someday I’ll homebrew it to my liking… But not right now..

So I’ve been reading Shawn’s comic for a while and I’ve poured through his wiki and I found myself totally intrigued by his world and wanted to explore it in more detail.

I sent Shawn an email asking if he had more info I could use info from Clockworks and run a game set in his world. He politely told me that he did have stuff, but that he was keeping it close to the chest since he is planning on getting the setting published in the near future (something to look forward to at Gen Con ’11!!).

However…

Shawn mentioned that he wanted to have some people play test the world and system to see how it worked and etc. So he asked if I and my players were interested.. HELLZ YEAH!

So after signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), I was sent all the info from the game. I can’t wait till Sunday to run our first session!

I should mention that Shawn is being really cool and allowing me to do session recap blog posts as long as it doesn’t divulge any information about the actual setting. He is also allowing me shy away from canon if I so desire since it is my own homebrew campaign. I appreciate this gesture since it will allow me freedom where things might not be concrete in his rules/setting.

I want to give a hearty thank you to Shawn for giving my players and I the privilege and opportunity to be the first to play test this!

I will be posting a session recap on Monday 11/23/09! Keep an eye peeled!

Here are some different recaps for Savage Worlds and etc. Many of these are older posts by myself, but they have TONS of links for Savage Worlds and Steampunk references, just in case you are curious:

Dude You Gotta Try Savage Worlds
Steampunk Gone Savage
More Steampunkyness


Having Fun With Curses!

In a recent post ChattyDM talks about how one of his players CHOSE to take a cursed item, and it jogged my brain about all the fun that I’ve had with curses in my games. No, not just the fun I have from being the mean nasty man behind the screen laughing maniacally at a player’s expense and intense suffering… MWA HA HA *cough* Anyways…

Curses are the bane of many a player’s existence because largely they end up messing up their abilities in combat and/or attributes. I can’t tell you how many times in a game I’ve played in that I sat out a whole combat, bored, because I kept failing a savings throw and was immobile or whatever.

It’s either that or it is a hat that cannot be taken off, except for a high level dispel by a cleric, that gives the wearer a -6 to some stat (and some DM’s target that characters most important stat just to be a dick), thus rendering that character very ineffective in their “nitch” situation.

So Let’s Make Curses Fun!

Fun? Scha, right.. And monkey’s might fly outta my butt (sorry, just got done watching Wayne’s World recently.. Had to get that out)…

So looking at Chatty’s example of cursed armor that does not impede on combat or give a negative stat modifier, just a lisp that makes for some good and silly role-playing!

In one campaign I created a curse that afflicted a player with some fun randomness. Every so often I would have the player roll a will save, if he failed I would roll a d100 and apply the effect to him

• Act normally
• Run around squawking and flapping arms like a chicken.
• Jibber like an idiot.
• Speak in a language unknown to character.
• Lay on the ground motionless.
• Be open to suggestion (this one was fun once my other players realized what this meant).
• Ect.

None of these really affected combat and actually, usually, made it more entertaining when the big bad warrior suddenly started running around clubbing baddies while acting like a chicken.

What about you? You have any fun curse stories or ideas?


One Blade Down!! Aww crap.. Four More to go…

Sorry that it has taken me a few days to put up my session recap, damned Real Life butting its head into my blogging! Anyways, here we go…

This session continued from the previous, which you can read here.

This session, was shorter than normal because all the players got to level their characters 2 levels (they didn’t get to level last time). The leveling, plus getting dinner, took a bit of the time.

Players

• Angie (Kaias- Human/Werewolf- Rogue lvl 14)
• John (Griffith- Elf Vampire- Ranger lvl 14)
• Kinal (Asha- Saytr- Bard lvl 14)
• Drew (Mo’Lock- Ghoul- Rogue lvl 14)
• Omar Drecks)- Minotaur- Druid lvl 14)
• Liam (Alberic- Half Green Dragon- Sorcerer lvl 12) *Absent so played by Omar*

The session started off in the middle of a split party battle between Drecks and Cyrian, one of the Five Blades, and Griffith, Kaias, Asha, Mo’Lock, and Alberic against a horde of zombies.

Drecks and Cyrian battled for about two vicious rounds while the others dealt with the zombies, before they decided the village was a lost cause and had Alberic teleport them to the other village to aid Drecks.

As the group was teleporting Cyrian summoned a Rhezmoraz to fight Drecks.

The group materialized right around Drecks, who was engaged in melee with Cyrian.

Drecks: I’m going to cast Anti-life shell! To protect us!

Me: Alright. (looks at spell) Um.. You realize that it will just protect you? Everyone else will be rejected from it..

Drecks: Really? Oh.. Well.. I still cast it.

BOOM!

Everyone failed their save and all, including Cyrian, are tossed into the air about 15 feet back.

Omar: You make sure to put this in your recap! (There you be pookie).

With everyone getting tossed around, Kaias had the misfortune of landing right next to the Rhezmoraz who immediately swallowed her whole and started burning her with its searing hot innards (insert dirty look from girlfriend here)!

After a few more rounds the Rhezmoraz was killed and Kaias was able to cut her way out of its belly without taking any more damage. The group then reconsidered its strategy by deciding to try to hit Cyrian with the crystal that they were instructed to by the Old Sage.

This proved more difficult that it should have been with quite a few, although humorous, critical failures.

Finally they were able to hit the damned man with the crystal, he failed his roll, and with the damage he had accumulated, was consumed by black flames, and then exploded violently, leaving a black crystal spinning in the air.

All was good! All was great! The group did it through team work and sheer force of will!!

Except..

Drecks botched his Reflex roll and now took double damage from Cyrian’s explosion… Sadly.. Drecks done and got himself perished…

The group hurriedly grapped the crystal and Drecks body and then teleported to The Haven in the hopes of resurrecting their friend.

To Be Continued


Pathfinder Bestiary and MMI Breakdown

So I did a post a few days ago reviewing the Pathfinder Bestiary. Nick commented on wanting a bit more clarification on how the Pathfinder layout is better than MMI. Fair enough.

So I set out to create a look alike for the Bestiary and the MMI to show the difference. I’m sorry if it is crude, but just deal with it ^_^.

Pathfinder Bestiary

Uber Scary Creature

This creature is so scary it makes you wet yourself. This creature is something every DM dreams of coming up with and throwing at their players. They would delight in the glee of seeing their comprehension dawn on their players faces when they realize that their characters, are in fact, doomed.. Doom doom doom…

Uber Scary Creature CR !! (unlimited xp)

CE Huge Creature
Init +20 Senses Darkvision, Smell 80ft, Perception +15

Defense

HP 2,000
AC 40
Fort +20 Ref +20 Will +20
Immune Everything

Offense

Spd 60ft, jump 40 ft
Melee Claws x2 +20 (2d10+10), Bite +20 (2d6+10)
Space 15 Reach 15
Special Attacks Scary scary thing that makes players scared and flee

Statistics

Str 30, Dex 25, Con 18, Int 25, Cha 8
Base Attack 20 CMB +20 (+20 Grapple) CMD 30

Ecology

Environment Somewhere from your worst nightmare
Organization Solitary one is more than enough
Treasure Value You kill this, bitch you gonna be rich

Special Abilities

Scary scary thing that makes players scared and flee This is going to scare you and your party so bad they poopie themselves and run and cry in terror.

End of Pathfinder Bestiary

I will do the same monster with the same stats but now using MMI layout so you can see the difference.

Uber Scary Creature

Hit Dice 2000
Initiative +20
Speed 60
Armor Class 40
Base Attack Bonus 20
Attack Claws x2 +20 (2d10+10)
Full Attack Claws x2 +20 (2d10+10), Bite +20 (2d6+10)
Space/Reach 15/15
Special Qualities Scary scary thing that makes players scared and flee (attacks)
Saves Fort +20 Ref +20 Will +20
Abilities Str 30, Dex 25, Con 18, Int 25, Cha 8
Skills Different things to mess you up and annoy the party
Feats Overpowered abilities that cause lots of damage and make it harder to hit
Environment Somewhere from your worst nightmare
Organization Solitary one is more than enough
Challenge Rating !!
Alignment CE
Advancement You need to ask?
Level Adjustment

End of MMI

I just find that the breaking down of Defensive, Offensive, and then other pertinent info to be helpful to the eye when you are scrolling down to find pieces of the monster.

Another thing I think that is helpful is to have the CR and the Alignment at the top of the creature.

So this is the difference in a nutshell. If anyone has anymore questions, please let me know!