Monthly Archives: March 2010

Clockworks Session Recap, Part 3- The Real Adventure Beings

Recap One Here, Two Here.

Set Course for Adventure

After the ball the session fast forwarded to two weeks later. The group was summoned to a meeting room next to Dr. Ludgrove’s office. Inside the group found Agent Crane waiting for them (even though she was just in the Gentleman Caller pre-made adventure, I liked her personality and decided to keep her on as a reoccurring character and the Department of Public Health and Safety operative that the group reports to). At the table were several lumpy manila envelopes.

Agent Crane hands the parcel belonging to each individual. When the group opens it they find a small billfold. This is their “badge” w/ a certificate that shows they are working with the D.P.H.S. Here is what the badge read:

“(Character name) is an official Constables and Investigators of Supernatural and Undesirable Activity (C.I.S.U.A.). The mentioned individual will be serving as a liaison and official employee of the Clorencia University Department of Unnatural Biology (C.U.D.U.B.), and active in conjunction and cooperation with the Department of Public Health and Safety (D.P.H.S.)”

Agent Crane says that this appointment will allow any member of the group to enter a crime scene believed to have involvement with the supernatural or undesirables. This will also mean the group will continue doing top secret missions for the D.P.H.S.

The group is told that they are to depart tomorrow for the Ironian City States. There are rumors of a live Habutchu Worm (something I made up). The group is to go there, observe the creature in its natural habitat to see if it is a natural creature or a mutation/undesirable and then capture it alive.

A Habutchu Worm is a creature that was thought to be of Ironian Mythos until 100 years ago when the skeleton of one was discovered by archeologist/adventurer Dr. Hessingston of the Great Republic. The skeleton now resides in DUB warehouse. The myth of the Habutchu Worm states that the creature burrows deep underground and eats meat, but prefers the flesh of man.

The group will be traveling aboard the Great Republic Iron Clad (G.R.I.C.) Flagship, Indomitable, captained by famous and honorable Oliver Hennessy. The airship is on its way to the Vori Islands to do a fly by just to remind the Free Islands and the Vori Island Pirates.

The group travel on the Indomitable for 2 days without any incident. On the 3rd day the group was milling in the mess hall when an alarm went off and a voice called all to stations and for the group to report to the bridge.

When they arrived at the bridge, the crew was in a flurry of activity. An SOS had been sounded by the Great Republic Trade Ship (G.R.T.S.) The Mark. It is under heavy fire by Vori Island Air Pirates and taking elemental damage.

Captain Oliver Hennessy ponders for a moment, looking out of the view port. He then turns to the bridge. “Give the call to arms, all hands to battle stations! I want the element of surprise. Prepare the dirigible for ascension and the blades for faster speed. I want to come at them from a higher altitude.” He walks over to the group. “I am sorry but we will not be touching down with you. We are needed to defend a ship of the Great Republic with all due haste and possible force.” He walks over to the captain’s chair, “Prepare the Whirlies. They need to disembark in 15 minutes. Second Officer Carlson, help expedite their departure.” The captain then pulls a map towards him and start working.

The Whirlies

The group is then escorted down to the bottom cargo bay of the ship. There they see the contraptions aptly called, “whirlies:”

You see a tall cylindrical tube, 8 feet tall with metal pointed cone style roof with slated metal sheets, 3 feet tall. There are six seats. One seat at each of the following directions, N, E, S, W, NE, and NW. In the positions of SE and SW are large tanks that have copper tubes going from them to underneath the slated roof. There are gears around both tubs as well. All the seats have harnesses. There are also squatter rounder whirlies for cargo.

The group was then asked to put all of their gear in the cargo whirlie, which they did (Save Jack/Sir Pendleton) and then strapped to their seats. Two men operated a series of cranes that grabbed the top of the Whirlie and suspended them just above the ground. Then the floor opens up and the group can see just how high up they are.


His voice is drowned out by another series of alarms.

Group: “No what?! What did he say?!”

Operator: “GOOD LUCK!!”

He threw three levers and each one of the “Whirlies” are released.

After free falling for a few, the blades popped open and began turning, slowing the fall to that of a feather.

The Whirlie part was fun for the adventure because I had the two passenger ones begin to overheat and Angie used Elemental Manipulation on both of them to cool them. While she was doing that, the cargo one began smoking, sputtered, and stopped working.. It plummeted to the ground with a loud explosion.

The group landed safely and began looking through the wreckage of the cargo whirlie for the remains of their gear.

I’m an Asshole

I decided (albeit this is completely unrealistic, but made for fast rolling) that EVERYTHING in the cargo whirlie had a 75% chance to be destroyed. So I went through everyone’s character sheet and rolled, and checked off that which needed to be removed from their inventory.

After much mutinous mutterings and dirty looks, my players complied. I told them that it was all in good fun and to make them have to improvise and not just rely on what they bought since character creation. I still don’t think they have forgiven me.

The group began arguing about what to do next: signal for help (which would require them to rebuild the wireless Morse Code system) or begin looking for the Habutchu Worm.

While this was going on Sir Pendleton began looking for tracks of the worm. And he found them

Tomorrow– Sir Pendleton makes a booboo.

Side Note For This Adventure: I came up with the idea of the “Whirlie” first (My player Elmer drew an awesome pic of the Whirlie that I will scan and post soon.) and fell in love with the idea and decided to make an adventure that would have that in it. The story evolved into this.


Clockworks Session Recap, Part 2- Don’t Mess With Angie

Angie- Jane Goodwin (human/elementalist)
Elmer- Orson Vastol Duran (human)
Drew- Cid Evenblood (human)
John- Noah Walker- (Faeblooded)
Liam- Jean-Claude “Bloody Bones” Zeeman (faeblooded “elf”/wannabe vampire)
Jack- Sir Pendington Gastly (human)

Part One of the recap.

Don’t Mess With Angie

We have a joking rule at my game table. Well.. it is slightly a joke, but there is some truth in it. It’s simple. Don’t Mess With Angie. Any time I or another player messes with her, they are in a world of pain, either real and physical (cause she’ll slap the hell out of em) or in game, because she will make you regret it.

Side Story:

In our Star Wars Campaign that is now dead and buried- Drew attempted to cock block Angie (Drew was a scoundrel and Angie a Jedi Knight) while she was hitting on a guy in a cantina. He succeeded. The gentleman became flustered and ran out of the cantina. Angie, not one to take a jab without retaliation, asked if there were any big scary aliens around. I said yeah, there was a Barabel just outside the Cantina. Angie then Jedi Mind Tricks Drew into believing he wants to have sex with the Barabel. She rolled, she critically succeeded. Drew, marched over to the creature and proposed an evening of sensual passion with a human. I had him roll a charisma check, he critically succeeded.

Leaving the gory details out, Drew spent 2 weeks in a bacta tank recouping from his wounds. He lost some respect from his crew and suffered a -1 to his Charisma when dealing with them.

End Side Story:

So ever since then Angie has gotten a reputation of being a quite vengeful. God I love her.

Up to Meet Neigel Pendleton the III

Neigel Pendleton the III was sitting alone in the library. I really had nothing planned for this guy except to make my players really dislike him. I played him as being smug, pompous, and chauvinistic. The dialog exchanged at first was him taunting the group, in general. Then Angie made some off hand smart ass comment and I decided that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I didn’t want to just have Angie dislike this guy.. I wanted her to HATE him. I had Neigel make comments about her not fitting into her dress properly, working in a man’s world, the fact that educated women were a threat, etc.

I won’t deny that I ran the risk of having Angie shove my beloved d20 up my nose while I was doing this.. Thankfully my nose and my dice remain unblemished.

Angie then hatched a plan, and wouldn’t share with anyone what it was and started goading Neigel to come down stairs and talk at the restaurant over a bottle of wine. Neigel, not being one to back down, agreed.

As the group (Angie, Elmer, and John) and Neigel started walking across the dance floor Angie launched into action.

Angie: I want to cast Elemental Manipulation (she is a water elementalist) on Neigel. I want to manipulate the water in his body and cause him to lose bowel and bladder control. I thought this was awesome- even if it failed- because it was allowing the player to get into character and have a good time.

ME: Ok, roll a Elemental use skill check, TN is VS his vigor. Neigel is a wild card so I rolled his Vigor and the wild die.. I rolled a 2 and a 2. Not wanting to thwart my players (or my girlfriend- remember fear here~.<) I decided to not burn a benny for a reroll. Angie rolled and scored 3 raises. So not only did poor Neigel lose bladder and bowel control, he lost enough water that he became pallid and severely dehydrated.

Elmer: “Is there a doctor in the building?!”

Somewhere in the distance, “I’m a doctor.”

Tomorrow- The REAL Adventure Starts

And to prove Angie isn’t some knife-weilding vindictive maniac^_^ Oh and that I AM a sexy bitch.. We BOTH are sexy bitches.

Love of my life 🙂

Clockworks Session Recap- To the Ball

Angie- Jane Goodwin (human/elementalist)
Elmer- Orson Vastol Duran (human)
Drew- Cid Evenblood (human)
John- Noah Walker- (Faeblooded)
Liam- Jean-Claude “Bloody Bones” Zeeman (faeblooded “elf”/wannabe vampire)
Jack- Sir Pendington Gastly (human)

Off to the Ball

When we last left off, the group had been invited to a ball at the High Life Club on the 11th level of Clorencia City (I recommend clicking on this link to see an awesome picture of the city) by Neigel Pendleton the III.

The group got dressed up for the ball, paid for by Orson of course, and headed to the 11th level. The entire trip Orson imparted his wisdom of Gentry etiquette.

John looks at me, “You know what.. No.. I’m wearing my tie as a belt and my bullet proof vest over my shirt. I’m not playing by their rules.” Everyone knew that that ball was going to be interesting, especially now. Due to John dressing in this way and being a Faeblooded, the rich took him as being “special” and was referred to as the “special boy” all night.

When the group arrived inside the immaculate High Life Club Orson, Cid, Noah, and Jean-Claude headed straight for the bar to have a drink before meeting Neigel while Jane went to the dance floor to cut a rug (music of my Clockworks game)with an awkward, attractive, and “unstuffy” gentleman.

Things Take a Turn

Cid walks up to the bartender and asks what the most expensive drink on the menu is.

Bartender: “Well sir. We have this exquisite drink from San Khotal (it is a golden liquid with a fire red swirl in the middle). This drink is said to be mystical and the drinker will embark on a ‘spiritual’ journey.”

Drew (out of character): “So basically you are saying this stuff is liquid peyote…”

ME: (shrug) Maybe.

Cid: “What do you have that is more expensive than that?”

Bartender: “We have two bottles of this drink in stock.”

Cid: “I’ll take them.”

With that, Cid takes the drinks, starts chugging them, and ambles onto the dance floor while Jane is jitterbugging with an enthusiastic date. As Cid continues to drink everything in his vision is sufficed in a golden haze. People had a golden aura and surrounding them and a red haze at the core of their body.

You Do What?!…

As Cid was looking around I described him seeing Jane and her dance partner in the same golden hue, but a little bit behind her was shadow figure (much like a wraith) that was twitching and hunched over. The figure looked towards Cid and let out a soft moan. There was a smoke-like mist flowing off the creature.

Cid: “Ok.. I walk over to this figure.”

ME: “Ok. It’s twitching, letting out a moaning noise, and from what you can tell looking at you.”

Cid: “I inhale the smoke.”

There is a deadpan silence that hits the entire room.

Cid: “What? It’s just a hallucination.” Drew looks at me, “Isn’t it?”

ME: “Ok so basically I need you to roll me a Vigor check, minus 4.

Drew failed, go figure.

The group sees Cid walk past Jane, take a big deep breath of nothing and suddenly become rigid, seize up, and fall to the ground twitching. He vomits all over himself and stops breathing.

Orson runs over to his body, “Is there a doctor in the house?!”

Somewhere in the distance, “I’m a doctor.”

Jane runs over, turns him onto his back, and casts Purify (only Orson noticed) and brings Cid back from the jaws of death.

While this was going on, Drew saw the shade sitting on his chest moaning and began tracing its finger on his forehead and he felt a burning sensation.

When Cid came to there is a symbol etched into his forehead. This symbol (see picture) is the one that the group saw inside the Gentleman Callers hide out (what does this mean? Bum bum bum).

Drew: “Crap! That thing was real?!” Dammit.

The group loaded Cid into a Put Put (What I call horseless carriages) and sent him to Orson’s house while the group decided it was time to finally go see Neigel Pendleton the III

Tomorrow: See?! You don’t mess with Angie.

Mass Effect on Paper, Part 2.

An awesome person did a conversion for Mass Effect 1. I found it on Savage Heroes. A really wonderful site for anyone who has never been there.

For anyone interested in using this conversion, or building a Mass Effect game yourself, here is the Mass Effect Wiki, chalk full of info! Another site is right here. This looks to be another wiki that focuses on Mass Effect 1.

Mass Effect on Paper

Like so many other people I have seen on RPGBN, I have fallen prey to Mass Effect 2. I’m nearly done with my first run through of the game and am honestly loving EVERY minute of this game. It amazes me how deep the character development goes for, not only Shepard and his crew, but the histories of the difference species and planets. I love it and am totally immersed.

Oh God…. He’s Thinking Again.

For a bit now, I’ve had a hankering to play a Sci-Fi game and I DO want to play a Star Wars game, but I think that (and part of my soul is dying by typing this out) it would be nice NOT to play in the Star Wars universe.

I feel that way because with Star Wars there is such a HUGE preconceived idea of what should and shouldn’t be in Star Wars, how it should be ran, etc (this may also depend on your players and how you or the GM feels about Star Wars, cannon, and whatnot). I also acknowledge that Mass Effect that preconceived idea may also exist.

But I think a game in the Mass Effect setting could have real fun potential.

Where to Start?

First thing I started thinking about was, most importantly, system. Feel free to chip in a different opinion here. Two systems (and there are MANY I am not familiar with) that I think could fit the Mass Effect feel would be Savage Worlds or 4e DnD (most readers and friends who follow my piddily writing know I am a 3.5/Pathfinder lover, but for Mass Effect, I think 4e would work better).

An Aside: I don’t deny the good of 4e, but I am not a huge fan of it. I am a HUGE fan of Savage Worlds though, as you can see as I am gushing about it here.

Savage Worlds-

The pacing of Savage Worlds is simple, fun, and combat can be deadly. I think that having a “classes” type system would be a definite strength, and I love it for player creativity.

As far as powers go, Biotics would be a type of Magic Background edge and the powers would be purchased like normal; warp, overload, push, pull, etc.

I think that weapon abilities like the ones in Mass Effect 2- cryo, armor pen, and other types of ammo, or concussive shot could operate using Weird Science mechanics. A weird scientist or engineer (in Mass Effect) would invent the item and it would have a number of Power Points (PP), and the player could use the ability and the PP would replenish as normal (1 PP per hour).

4e DnD-

On the opposite end of the spectrum of Savage Worlds is 4e. Using classes and the powers system of 4e would probably work wonderfully with Mass Effect. Having a Biotic class that learns “x” powers over time or a soldier who learns tactical training either as a leader or defender, a medic class that operates like a Cleric, or a rogue or ranger that operates as a bounty hunter, sniper, assassin, or scoundrel. With the classes you can implement the weapons and armor restrictions (you can also do this in SW by having a min STR requirement.

These are just some initial thoughts of mine. Any feedback, interest, etc? Thanks much!

Getcher Steampunk On

Outland Armor

The other day DriveThru RPG had an amazing GM Day sale. If you didn’t take part of it, shame on you!

I was able to buy several awesome steampunk books to use for ideas in my current Clockworks game.

I was able to pick up:

Several Imperial Age books- Victorian Monstrosities, The GameMaster’s Guidebook to Victorian Adventure, Engines, Imperial Age: True 20 Edition, and London.

I also bought:

Gaslight (Savage Worlds Edition) and Brass, Blood, and Steam.

On a previous sale I purchased:


So Much Info

I have yet to fully pour over all of these books and absorb all of the info and convert it (where needed) to Savage Worlds for Clockworks ideas.

The one piece of gold that I’ve found thus far is in the Gaslight book. It has rules for using a wealth skill (much like Mouseguard and other games). I have devised my own for my game, but to be honest I am not particularly thrilled the way it has turned out thus far. I just treated it as a regular skill that can be purchased and raised, just like any other SW trait.

Although my players haven’t abused it by trying to purchase outlandish things, I feel that (say with Elmer’s character, who has the Filthy Rich Edge) there lacks the ability to have a risk of not getting what they want at any given time with out me setting the Target Number (TN) too high, which then is unfair to the other players that aren’t as well off.

I like the Gaslight’s Wealth rules, so I will be using those from now on.

Anyways, each one of these books has something to offer and I will enjoy finding more tidbits of gold to use in my current Clockworks game.

Music for My Clockworks Game

Awwww.. Music.. Some people love it in their games.. Some hate it and find it distracting. Personally I love music in the background. I find it adds quite a bit of ambiance to the setting. My experience shows that if the music doesn’t quite “match” what is going on in the game, players tend to shut it out and no one really hears it (unless it is SO blatant a contrast- say The B-52’s playing during a epic boss fight). However when something happens in game and the music matches and enhances the mood, it will pop in the player’s minds and makes what is happening more exciting, more palpable. For example: A dark melody playing (Mozart’s Requiem) as the campaigns villain does something diabolical for instance.

Clockworks- Not Classical

One thing I wanted to veer away from in our current play-test of Shawn Gaston’s homebrew steampunk game Clockworks was to get away from classical pieces. Why? I use them constantly in our DnD and fantasy settings. Classical goes really well with fantasy settings.

So what does that leave me?

I didn’t want to just have rock going in the background constantly, although I will use it for mood and action.

Reading the comic and trying to keep with the Victorian and Dystopian feel of it, I pondered what music I would like to hear that would enhance the mood. I wanted something that I was into, and make the setting mine.

In my head I see workers on docks, dissatisfied with life and their position, yet unable to change, looking for an escape. What do I hear with that? I hear the Blues. I’m not talking about new Blues. I’m talking early Blues artists, like Robert Leroy Johnson, Lead Belly, Bessie Smith, and others.

I don’t want the WHOLE theme to be the Blues though. My game takes place in Clorencia City, the capital city of the Great Republic. It is a city of prosperity, of opportunity, all at once dark and dangers, yet safe and secure. Decadent yet vibrant.

Here I see dimly lit, smoky hazed clubs, with energetic music playing as people dance, drink, and celebrate that they live in the greatest nation in all of Vheld. Here I hear Ragtime and Early Jazz. Sadly I don’t know MUCH Ragtime, save for Scott Joplin (the most well known and recorded of Ragtime composers), but I’m hoping to gain more recordings of this style of music. I think I also want to incorporate some Bepob Jazz into the game for its discordant and highly improvisational style.

Early Jazz, however, I am a HUGE fan of. I love it. I really want to incorporate artists like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Art Tatum, King Oliver, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and others.

As I said, for action or whatever I’ll use more dramatic/energy charged music like Ramstein, White Zombie, NIN, old Marilyn Manson, etc.

I think that putting this music will add a nice authentic feel, for me, and hopefully my players. I want to be able to treat it as if they went to a pub/music hall, and that is what is playing.. Not just something that my players are listening to.