Monthly Archives: August 2011

Natural Disasters are Serious- Play Them as Such- Oh and a Table

I had almost an entire post written for this, but hated it and scratched it.  Hopefully this one will pan out better than the tripe that was on my screen before.  I blame the apathy monster I mentioned earlier.

Last week was a bit of a bumpy week for the East Coast as we got hit with an earthquake (whether or not it was as serious as those felt in California is not the point of this posts, but I will talk about my observations on how people here in NJ handled it) and then we got slammed by a Stage 1 Hurricane/lowered to Tropical Storm by the end of Sunday.

Like I said, bit of a bumpy week and luckily nothing terrible befell me.  I didn’t lose power, my basement flooded slightly, but the pump spit all o’ it back up, and I was stocked up on much needed provisions (beer).  I literally played Deus Ex: Human Revolution and drank tons of tasty Oktoberfest beer.  Life is good.

However the reaction that people had around me in NJ during our little bump of an earthquake got me thinking about natural disasters.

I’m used to earthquakes since I grew up inCaliforniaand I know thatNew Jerseynever gets them, but that aside, people kind of lost their shit when it happened.  The epicenter in Virgina was a 5.8 and by the time it got to NJ it was roughly a 3.0-3.3.  Not bad at all.  Plants shook and monitors wobbled.

However people were genuinely freaked out.  The entire cell phone line infrastructure was tied up due to everyone calling at once.  I heard coworkers get all panic, “Oh my god.  I can’t get through on my cell!  This is bad.  This is bad.”

Now I’m not trying to undermine the seriousness of a natural disaster, but come on…  It was a small shake… Even if it WAS bad..  Losing your head about it doesn’t make it better.

Then with the hurricane, people were freaking out.  I went and bought two cases of water (each had 3 1 gallon bottles) and some canned food just in case, but I wasn’t freaking out or felt a real sense of urgency about it.  When I got my water I got the last two cases.  A woman came around the corner and threw a temper tantrum at me that she missed out and how I had ruined her day.  I told the old bag she needed to chill and that there were still single gallon bottles of water left, “I’m not paying that much for water!”

Well I guess she didn’t need it that badly.

Where Am I Going With This?

Rambling aside about idiotic rude people the whole Natural Disaster thing got me thinking about how I’ve seen it handled in games that I’ve played in and ran (which I haven’t done in a very long time) and I think I want to start handling it differently.

Looking at what happened with the small earthquake and Hurricane Irene, shit just stopped.  Shut down.  People panicked.

I know this is old news now, but look at how bad Hurricane Katrina was and how it affected New Orleans.  All the devastation, lack of supplies, preparation, the ineptitude of FEMA, and then add in the total failure of something that was supposed to work and protect the people, the levee’s, and you had utter chaos.

When I have play in a RPG’s where a natural disaster has occurred it always felt one dimensional to me and not enough focus was given to the event itself and the effects on the territory/city, but only on the navigating of the players through a certain number of challenges.

I know that giving a city a living breathing atmosphere is hard enough to do, let alone turn the whole thing on its head and express chaos, fear, death, starvation, desperation, and lack of hope.

I looked at some cases of natural disasters in olden times and began thinking about how people would have reacted physically, emotionally, or even philosophically to something such as a natural disaster.

To quote Lewis Black, “We’re three hairs from a baboon now imagine what we were like back then!!”

Putting aside human nature of being self-serving selfish asswads, thinking about the construction of buildings and how they would hold up against an earthquake or insanely strong winds is also another factor.  Reading that article showed that certain towns were completely leveled after an earthquake, killing hundreds of thousands to millions.

The thing the article does not go into is the aftermath, famine, fighting, rioting, thieving, murder, etc.

These are all things that, when I run a natural disaster, I want to somehow convey or implement in my game.

I think, going forward, that rather than having the natural disaster be the back drop, it will be the main character and the PC’s will become secondary.  I would run a natural disaster scenario in one to two sessions.  One would probably be the disaster itself while the second one would be the immediate aftermath and problems therein.

Even after those initial two sessions there would still be problems and themes that would be prevalent for several sessions to come.

So here is a table I came up with for some quick ideas for what could be going on due to a natural disaster.  I tried to keep it setting and system neutral.  As time goes on I will try to add more options to the table.

Feel free to make suggestions of events or things to be added to the table as well!

Here it is as a PDF: Natural Disaster Situation Table

Natural Disaster Situation Table

1

Bodies’ liter the street- smell of blood, rotting flesh, and excrement fills the air.  Characters must make save or become nauseated.

2

Something that should have protected the city (magic/technological) has failed and caused the situation to become worse.

3

Lack of preparation by public officials has caused a major situation.

4

City Officials make a choice of rescuing the wealthy and elite while leaving the poor.

5

Authorities are under equipped to handle situations and begin losing cohesion.

6

Fires rage unchecked through buildings.  Thick smoke blankets city.

7

Large decrepit building crumbles from the disasters onslaught and topples onto people below.

8

People fall to their knees and begin praying to their gods in hopes of reprieve.

9

Fetid water causes disease.

10

Supplies begin to run out and people begin fighting and killing to survive.

11

Gangs and Crime lords use the chaos and confusion as an opportunity to seize property or territory.

12

Flash floods in an area cause serious damage and cut people off from rescue efforts.

13

Mass transit vehicle over turns and crashes into a building killing or gravely injuring passengers.

14

People are being raped and victimized in the streets.

15

Crops completely destroyed before harvest.

16

Government collapses in aftermath.

17

Damage to ecosystem threatens to alter life in area.

18

The ports of the town are destroyed effectively ending trade/fishing for quite some time.

19

To reestablish control government institutes police state.

20

People begin to die of famine or plague in aftermath creating a new disaster/emergency.
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Random Ramblings of the Blog Kind

Wow.. Two weeks since my last post. Sorry about that (not that it really matters). I’ve been busy with other things and suffering from a strong case of apathy lately that just clouds everything I do..

Hopefully I’ll get out of it soon.

A couple things I’m working on or going through:

A)

Started playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution and I have to say that this is a damned fine game! I dig the game play and the story! If you like Cyberpunk and role-playing then you have to check this game out. I love how Edios used what they learned with the Hitman Series and blended it into this game seamlessly.

The story, thus far, is top-notch, and has really got me itching to run a cyberpunk game (something I have not done in a long while). I really do recommend this game.

B)

Which brings me to the next thing I’m considering… For a cyberpunk/Sci-Fi Game I’m looking at StarSIEGE: Event Horizon. (here’s a pretty awesome review of the game- A big thanks to Chuck for sending me the link). If anyone has more to add about StarSIEGE, I’m definitely interested in hearing how this Toolkit plays, because it’s does sound awesome.

C)

I’m working on a post and possible table for Natural Disasters given that I’ve just been through a tiny earthquake and the outer edges of a hurricane in one week (it wasn’t bad for me at all because the quake was more like a fart in NJ and I’m inland enough that I didn’t get much flooding).

D)

I will probably finish updating the rest of my Firefly Hurtlin Through the Verse V2 game to full Dragon Age Box Set 2 status. I honestly don’t have that much to do thanks to the beta rules.

E)

I am still working on my own Steampunk Setting using Savage Worlds. I’ve gotten quite a bit done on it. I’m almost done with the mechanical stuff and will be working on the flavor/setting stuff.

My goal for the setting is to keep it really light. I want to give a feel and enough description to guide the player and GM, but largely leave it open and DIY.

That’s what’s on my plate right now. Hopefully I’ll shake this apathy that has attached itself to me and get back to writing and RPGing more.


My Vornheim City Table- Hustle and Bustle of a Big City

I’ve been running urban campaigns for quite awhile now. I started back in my days of 2e when I was running a homebrew setting and continued with Eberron and Sharn: The City of Towers (3.5 of course) and eventually moving into other settings and now I’m running a campaign using the Vornheim Complete City Kit.

I’ve become used to running city adventures and attempting to make them feel “alive.” Most of the time I can do this pretty successfully, other times I acknowledge I fall flat. Running city adventures can be difficult in giving the miniscule details of “what’s happening street level.” It’s important to not bog thing down by giving too many unimportant details, but giving enough can enrich the city and make it feel like a living part of the campaign.

I’ve heard many people state that they have a heard time with this. Jim over at Lamentations of the Flame Princess has stated in his books as well on multiple podcasts that he doesn’t run city adventures for the very reason I’m mentioning.

In his book, Zak gives tons of tables and charts to help a city active and alive, but he leaves the minor details up to the GM. These, to quote him, “less intrusive encounters” can sometimes be a pain to come up with on the fly or, perhaps, the GM isn’t feeling inspired enough to do so.

To aid myself, and anyone who wants to use it, here is a chart of activities that are happening “street level” around the characters. Can these turn into full encounters should the players choose to interact with “it”? Absolutely! These are just to make the city feel more alive and active.

I would probably roll up two or three of these at a time and describe them when the players are walking through the city and then sprinkle in some actual encounters that will directly affect the characters and the story.
I tried to keep these pretty neutral so they could fit into many different campaigns and setting styles.

Here it is: City Hustle and Bustle Chart (PDF form).

1

Man preaching/ranting about religion/doomsday

2

Pro-human group defiling another race

3

Baazar opens to ruckus trade

4

Woman crying about her missing child

5

Authorities chasing someone down the street

6

Vehicle accident of some kind

7

Town crier yelling out news of the hour

8

Honorable duel in a field

9

Bar fight spills out into street

10

Children playing

11

Street performer(s) on corner

12

Prophet sees the future

13

Shop is having a sale

14

People haggling over price

15

Pimp beating whore in street

16

Couple kissing under a lamp

17

Workers bring supplies from vehicle

18

Bank robbery in progress

19

Wedding going on

20

Music Festival

21

Play about to start

22

Street fight happening, caller taking bets

23

Building on fire

24

New bar just opened

25

New restaurant just opened

26

Spousal fight

27

Vehicle breaks down

28

Person gets sick in front of characters

29

Street vender takes notice of characters

30

Little child throwing temper tantrum

31

Woman cooing over dress in window

32

Men bragging about last nights conquest

33

Purse snatcher attempt to take from a woman

34

A drunk gets tossed onto the street

35

Pan handlers beg from the characters

36

Whores ply their trade

37

Show of magic and bizarre about to begin

38

Animal loose on streets

39

Bird flying by defecates on character

40

Street water splashes on passerby

41

Shady deal in alley

42

Guards arresting someone

43

Rabble bullying someone

44

Major NPC walks down street

45

Characters run into old friend

46

Pick pocket snags from character

47

Fireworks going on in distance

48

Construction on new building

49

Repairs on city wall

50

Workers strike

51

Section of town closed- Royalty eating

52

Animal festival

53

Religious ceremony in front of chapel

54

Homeless shelter opens for day

55

Gang turf fight explodes

56

Potion maker demonstrating wares

57

Butcher hanging meat on store front hooks

58

Herder bringing livestock through city

59

Traffic Jam

60

Street thick with insects

61

Garbage piled in streets

62

Sewage in streets

63

Section of street closed- murder scene

64

Someone threatening suicide

65

Soldiers march through street

66

Decorated soldier parades by

67

Paint falls on character from overhead

68

Condemned building is demolished

69

Baker selling strange pies

70

Funeral procession

71

Person on street crying

72

Jewelry maker showing wares

73

Mercenaries stating they are for hire

74

Thug attempts to rob players

75

Public urination/defecation

76

Eating contest

77

Festival

78

Parade

79

Casino opens

80

Streetside games of chance

81

Person running screaming down street

82

Large gathering of people for unkown reason

83

Person drops crate they were carrying

84

City representative touring area

85

Reporter asks character their thoughts

86

Meteor shower can be seen over head

87

A filthy man blocks characters path

88

Person arguing with themselves walks past

89

A dog begs for food and follows character

90

Man brandishing a weapon screams of injustice

91

Old man wandering down street looks lost

92

Feral cats scamper across street

93

Woman begins to give birth

94

Person screaming looking for a doctor

95

Person screams their friend is possessed

96

Children run by singing creepy song

97

Person asks if character wants fortune told

98

Character sees a rival across the street

99

Flower girl approaches a character

00

Characters run into royalty

My Vornheim- Session 5 Recap- A Bar Brawl, Character Death, and a Dubious Proposition.

Last session my players had just staggered back from Death Frost Doom with two books, hoping that one of them was the correct book they were hired to find, a coffin with a vampire stuck inside, and the slinking feeling that they were going to be in trouble for the death of a bunch of Nym Sorrowfield’s redshirts. Not to mention they lost their comrade, Philip, and Keplin’s dog, Tank, during the adventure.

Terra and Keplin felt the coffin shift slightly on the harness they made for it that was being drug by their Grazers. A muffled voice issued from within, “Thanks for bringing me here. The curse has been lifted. I am free. I shall look you up later.” The Grazers sped up slightly and the two decided to investigate and found the coffin completely empty.

Terra: “Ok.. So now he’s gone. Now what?”

Keplin: “Vampire’s can disappear?!”

Terra: “Guess so. Come on.. Let’s go get cleaned up and get us a drink.”

The two separated and went to their apartments to refresh and agreed to meet back at the Whining Dog Saloon.

Aside: When I started jotting down notes for this adventure after Death Frost Doom I was thinking how best to handle what happens in a living city while the players were away. I came up with this.

The first important piece of business for Tera was to rid herself of the curse she was afflicted with (she was cursed by a locked that she picked up that forced her to roll any check twice and take the lower of the two rolls). She made her way to the Whining Dog Saloon and asked Hazock if there was anyone he could get treatment from discreetly since she didn’t want to go to one of the churches for help.

Hazok: “Well if you’re looking for someone who won’t kill you after they take your money around here, and you’re willing to gamble, there is always Annie Babbton.”

He motions out the front window. Terra turned around to see “The Babbler” yelling something inaudible in the bar at a passerby.

Terra shrugged, “What the hell. Give me a shot Hazok.” She downed it easily. “I’ll be right back. Cook me up something strong.”

Terra walked up behind Annie as she finished professing a nervous and scared man a murderer. “Killed his wife he did! Murdered her for her love of another! Under the floorboards she is.”

After exchanging a few words and Annie agreeing to help, she and Terra made their way down the street, stopping here and there for Annie to shout out some prediction at a passerby, towards Annie’s basement apartment.

Once there Annie had Terra lay on the floor, “Are you sure you want this child? Sometimes there is a price for such things..”

Terra: “Yeah, I have gold. Let’s do it.”

Annie: “I wasn’t referring to gold child.” Without another word to Terra, Annie began a ritual that seemed to be sucking a black viscous substance out of Terra. The substance would splatter on the walls and begin to run down, but would evaporate and disappear before hitting the floor.

Aside: I had Annie speaking incomprehensibly, but twice she spoke with ringing clarity. I had Nate roll 2 d100 and then consulted the Fortunes chart in Vornheim (pg 56-57). Nate’s two fortunes were: “You will be given a message by a strange man with a spoon.” And “You will be impaled on a summer’s eve.” The second one was fortuitous because it was actually summer and evening during the session. So I just wanted to figure out how to incorporate this into the game.

After a few more sweeps, Annie went silent. “Is that it? Am I cured?” Terra asked, feeling completely drained and exhausted.

“That you are child.”

“Thanks.” Terra got up, left Annie some gold, and bid her farewell.

When Terra got to the street I made a heavy breathing noise and shouted her name. He took the bait and said he looked to where the voice came from. Behind Terra was a 5’3”, 300 lbs man with a blue mohawk, eating a tub of ice cream with a big spoon.

He professed his love for her and began offering her large sums of money for a good fuck. Terra made a quick get away by skirting down an alley and then made her way back to the Whining Dog Saloon (Fortune 1 inserted).

Back Into the Bar: This Isn’t Carousing.. This is Chaos!

Back in the bar Terra immediately downed a stiff drink and began probing Hazock about her reputation and why fat little men were hitting on her while Keplin laughed at her plight.

Before Hazok could really answer however the little man burst through the door professing his love, causing the whole saloon to go quite for a moment before bursting out laughing.

Terra yanked the man over to a corner, “What the hell do you want you little troll?!”

“I have.. I have a message for you… I’m a fat little man that no one pays much attention too.. I hear things.. I’ve heard that the Rat King is coming for you.. He blames you for the death of some of his men.. You and you’re friends. I just wanted to let you know.. Because I love you.”

“Wow.. That’s actually important and useful. Why didn’t you just tell me that?”

“I wanted you to know how I feel.”

“Well I’d rather scrape my eyeballs out with my own nails and eat them than fuck you, so get lost.”

The little man burst into tears and waddled from the saloon. The crowd laughed again and one man shouted, “Terra! Terra the fat fucker!”

“Who said that?!”

The patrons went quiet. A group of men sitting at the bar eyed Terra and their ring leader nervously. A greasy man with no teeth sat in the middle of his cohorts, trying to muster some bravado.

“What did you say to me?” Terra asked through gritted teeth.

“I’m just playing with ya girlie. No harm done.”

“Fine.. Fine.. Hazok, your strongest drink please.” Terra took the drink and threw it on the toothless heathen. “Let’s see you smile this off fuckwad.” She grabbed a candle and dropped it on him, instantly setting him ablaze.

Within seconds the place was in utter chaos, people quickly taking sides, drawing their weapons and fighting.

“Terra! I’m going to kill you for this!” Hazok bellowed over the sound of discharging pistols. “I just finished repairs from the LAST fight you started!”

“Sorry Hazok” Terra muttered as she dove over the bar avoiding the five cohorts drawn pistols as Keplin went to bear hug one, but missed.

Fight Highlight: This fight was fun and brutal. Terra, Keplin, and Hazok faced off against 4 men armed with guns, 1 with a knife, and Toothless (one he put himself out)- who was armed with a Blunderbuss and 2 pistols.

During the fight Terra and Hazok were shaken while Keplin sustained two wounds.

The funny thing about this was before the fight actually broke out, Nate stated he was about to do something.. Then decided he was being too rash, so he was going to just have his character drink. I got excited because I wanted to use the Carousing Table for a night of defeated drunken revelry… however, with egging on from Fletch, that went right out the window and instead Nate lit the poor man suffering from poor dental hygiene on fire. Not that I’m complaining because this was fun as well.

Finally the fight ended with Terra pulling out her blunderbuss and putting right at the guys chest, “Hey Toothless… Get your fucking teeth fixed!” She unloaded shot right into his chest and he rocketed back, his corpse crashing through tables, leaving only a bloody mist where he once stood.

Keplin then waded into the fighting crowd, trying to break up the fight, when people started running into the bar screaming in fear. There was a bright flash of light, searing pain, and then Keplin was lifted off his feet..

The Raven Clutch had dispatched one of their own along with the Vornheim Militia to break up the riot.

“By decree of the Vornheim Avian Court! You are all found in direct violation of the law; including murder, the carrying of weapons, and rioting. In accordance with the law, you will all be taken outside and flayed under the moonlight and have salt rubbed in the wounds. You will then be corralled and a Brain Worm will be tossed in. Any left alive will be found innocent and allowed to go free.”

Terra, who was still behind the bar, bolted through a secret passage down into the sewers and headed for freedom while the rest of the patrons, Keplin included, where hauled outside and flayed.

Sadly, due to the grievous injuries that Keplin sustained during the fight, his body succumbed to the pain and his heart gave out and Keplin was no more.

Aside: I felt bad that Fletch’s char died here, but he rolled poorly on his Vigor roll and I let the die fall where they lie. He’s working on his new character, a Halfling with Orc servant. We’ll see how far they make it.

Terra made it through the sewers and came up about 5 blocks from the Whining Dog Saloon onto the street. As she began to walk towards the alley there was a honking noise. She turned in time to see a small Put-Put with piping coming at her. She felt a sharp pain go through her shoulder and she was impaled by the sharp piece of metal.

The driver of the Put-Put slammed on the brakes causing Terra to be flung across the road and she landed with a thud in the alley she was originally headed for (insert Fortune 2).

After being injured Terra made her way to Elwynn’s for a place to hide and be healed up.

The next morning Terra was introduced to Auberon who had come to fetch Terra on behalf of his employer, Nym Sorrowfield.

When they arrived at the Bordello they were directed up to Nym’s office.

After some quick banter and informing Terra of her friends death, High Priestess Lieal, took the book from her before departing.

“You’ve gotten yourself into quite a situation, Terra.” Nym said smiling over a glass of wine. Auberon eyed her with intense loathing.

“What do you mean?”

“From what sources are telling me, Hazok is furious with you. He’s putting word out to have you killed.”

“What?! Over a lousy bar fight?”

“All patrons did not survive the judgment last night. That’s bad for business. You also caused $20,000 in fines, fees, and damage to his bar.”

“I’m a dead woman.” Terra moaned.

Nym eyed her for a moment apparently savoring the others discomfort and worry. “I have a proposition for you. I will pay off Hazok and give him a little extra as a cushion. In return you will work for me, under contract of servitude, until the $20,000 is paid off. That fair?”

Auberon scoffed at this deal. Nym threw him a look and clicked her fingers. Auberon grunted as pain wracked his body. “You see Terra, some dogs need to be reminded who their master is from time to time.. Lest they forget.” The pain left Auberon and he regained his aloof composure.

“I’ll do it. I’ve honestly got nothing to lose.”

After a few moments and the contract signed in Terra’s blood, they were all informed of a job going through one of the portals with illegal Baby’s Tears. The group would meet at the docks in three days time and take off with Neet the Battle Wench.

This was a great and fun session, despite Keplin expiring before his time. Our next session will hopefully be on 8/21/11!


New Project in the Works -Steampunk- and a Question of System

I’m a huge fan of Steampunk and I decided that after I did my update of Wrath of Zombie Survival Horror RPG v3 I would take a crack at creating a steampunk setting.

If you’ve been following the development of my Vornheim campaign you may remember that I mentioned that I wanted a dirty steampunk game. I wanted to focus on the “punk” and the dystopian aspects of the genre rather than the shiny “enlightenment” part of it.

So I’ve been putzing around with ideas and etc for a couple weeks. Here is my rough notes on the setting:

World Name– Hubris: An Adventure into Cogs, Sex, and Steam.

World– Dystopian feel.  Religion, government, and nobility crushing the masses.

Inspiration– French Revolution.

Races– Human and Beastmen of the north.

Races have been at work for years with no real victor until Steamtech was invented.  Human government then slaughtered many of the beastmen and displaced the tribes throughout the highlands.  The humans didn’t want the tribes to regain their strength so they slash burned much of the trees, or took them as material for their own resources.

The beastmen are now little more than indentured servants in the human lands.  They work mines, farms, factories, etc.  Very few make any sort of solid living and hardly any become citizens.

Magic and Technology– Through the miracles of science extraordinary achievements have been made.  The tireless work of Sprocket Jockey’s (Weird Scientists) have created Coggers (mechanized creatures that create a labor and armed force), firearms, airships, cog armor, cog appendages to replace those lost in battle, among other amazing things.

There are two types of magic in Hubris: Divine and the Witch.

Divine magic comes from the blessings of the God or Goddess above or the Heathen below.  This power is only gained by humans, which has lead to many arguments that the Beastmen are evil creatures.  Spells are cast by praying to the God or Goddess for help or the Heathen below.

The Heathen below exacts a price on those calling upon his favor.  Eventually a person may be consumed by his corruption.

Those who show outward signs of corruption are put to the flame before it overtakes them completely.

The Witch uses their own life energies to cast spells.  This practice originally was discovered by the Beastmen and was their main strength against the human armies.  Eventually humans living in the north with the Beastmen were taught the ways of the Witch and the knowledge has spread over the years.

Generally Witches are mistrusted in the human lands and in some territories the practice is out right illegal.

Originally I was planning on doing this in Savage Worlds (and I’ve already done some work for that- see below), but then I thought it might be cool to do it for Castles and Crusades (although the work involved does make me weep a little).  If I have time I may do for both.

The way I’m trying to approach this book is by only giving very light setting descriptions.  Enough for the GM and Players to get a feel of the world and what’s going on, but make up everything else.  I really am tired of campaign settings that are tomes (that is just my preference).

So what setting would you choose: Castles and Crusades or Savage Worlds?

Here is some of what I’ve done using Savage Worlds Deluxe:

Humans-

Humans start as described on page 21 of SWDX.

Beastmen-

  • Large: A Beastman is roughly 8 feet tall. They receive +1 to their Size.
  • Way of the Beast: A Beastman can tap into their bestial side and become fearsome opponents.  When a Beastman calls upon this power they must make a Vigor Trait test at the end, failure means they take one level of Fatigue.  A roll of 1 on the Vigor die, regardless of the Wild Die means that the Beastman is exhausted and cannot call upon this power for 24 hour and have gotten rest.  Way of the Beast duration is 1 plus half character’s Spirit.  This can be ended prematurely if so desired.

When a Beastman brings forth the Way of the Beast their features become more feral and their muscles more taunt.  Claws protrude out of their hands (Str+d6 damage) and they receive +1 to Notice Rolls for sight, smell, and hearing.

  • All Muscle:  Beastmen are lean and muscular.  They start with a d6 instead of a d4 in Strength.
  • Not Human: There is still much distrust and dislike for the Beastmen of the North.  Most humans treat them as something beneath them and as such, life for a Beastman in human lands is full of hardship.  A Beastman has the Outsider Hindrance.
  • Just Don’t Touch That: Beastmen are not familiar with the ways of technology.  They are learning slowly, but it is a constant uphill battle.  A Beastman has the All Thumbs Hindrance.

Arcane Backgrounds

The Divine-

Arcane Skill– Miracles

Starting Power Points: NA

Starting Powers: 3 + *Void Summons.

The Divine call upon the powers of the God and Goddess Above or the Heathen Below to grant them amazing powers that they utilize for protection, attack, or healing.  However if Deities feel you are unworthy of their blessing you may end up paying more than you bargained for.

The power of the Divine is only gained by humans, which has lead to many arguments that the Beastmen are evil creatures created by the Heathen.  Spells are cast by praying to the God or Goddess for help or the Heathen below.

The Divine can use all SWDX Powers even if it is above their rank.  They must pray to one of the Deities of Hubris to grant them their powers.  A Divine caster must make a successful Divine Skill Roll with an attached negative modifier depending on the Spells Rank; -2 Novice, -4 Seasoned, -6 Veteran, -8 Heroic, -10 Legendary.

The Divine can cast all but the following spells: Drain Power Points, Fly, and Grow/Shrink.

Depending on which spell the Divine desires to cast determines which of the three Deities of Hubris they pray to and the cost that will be extracted should they displease the Deity.  Some powers are under multiple Deities, this is to represent the way in which the power could be wielded and also to show that not everything is black and white.

The God (Knowledge, Protection, and Healing)– Armor, Barrier, Boost/Lower Trait, Deflection, Detect/Conceal Aura, Disguise, Dispel, Divination, Fear, Greater Healing, Healing, Intangibility, Invisibility, Mind Reading, Speak Languages, Stun, Succor, Summon Ally, and Warrior’s Gift.

 

The Goddess (Vengeance, Bravery, and Nature)– Beast Friend, Blast, Blind, Bolt, Burrow, Burst, Damage Field, Elemental Manipulation, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Havoc, Pummel, Shape Change, Smite, Summon Ally, and Wall Walker.

The Heathen (Lust, Control, and Death)– Banish, Blind, Boost/Lower Trait, Confusion, Darksight, Detect/Conceal Aura, Divination, Entangle, Fear, Invisibility, Light/Obscure, Mind Reading, Puppet, Quickness, Shape Change, Slow, Slumber, Speed, Summon Ally, Telekinesis, Teleport, and Zombie.

Divinity Rolls operate the same as the rules lined out on page 94, save for the Backlash rule.

When a Divine is casting, the player specifies whether they are praying to the God, Goddess, or Heathen.  If a one is rolled on the Divine die, regardless of wild die the following effects happen.

The God– The god gives knowledge and protection and he also takes it away.  Angering the God means the Divine goes down one die level in Smarts and is unable to pray for any spells that the God resides over for one day.  If the Divine ever falls below a d4 smarts they are reduced to a mumbling vegetable permanently.

The Goddess– The Goddesses wrath that follows her displeasure is frightening.  A golden light will surround the Divine who has angered her and on the next round explode out causing 3d6 to the caster and 2d6 damage to all in a large burst template.

The Heathen– The Heathen below exacts a price on those calling upon his favor.  Eventually a person may be consumed by his corruption.  Those who show outward signs of corruption are put to the flame before it overtakes them completely.  Each time the Heathen is displeased a Divine’s Spirit is reduced by one die type, however they are also given a “gift” so as to entice them to continue to rely on the Heathen.  When the character’s Spirit goes below d4 they are lost and have become corrupted; a twisted and mutated monster that serves the Heathen Below.

Roll on the following table:

1) Raise Strength one die type.

2) Raise Agility one die type.

3) Character eyes turn to that of a cat.  They can now see in the dark.

4) Character gains the Very Attractive Edge even if they do not meet prerequisite.

5) Character gains the Berserk Edge.

6) Character gains the No Mercy Edge even if they do not meet prerequisite.

7)  Raise Smarts one die type.

8 ) Raise Vigor one die type.

The Witch-

Arcane Skill– Pacts

Starting Power Points: NA

Starting Powers: 3 + *Void Summons.

Witches uses their own life energies to cast spells.  This practice originally was discovered by the Beastmen and was their main strength against the human armies.  Eventually humans living in the north with the Beastmen were taught the ways of the Witch and the knowledge has spread over the years.  Generally Witches are mistrusted in the human lands and in some territories the practice is out right illegal.

To cast spells a Witch will roll a pact check and follow the rules of No Power Points outlined on page 95.  The effects of Success and Raise are as normal (however if no additional effect is stated in the spell, the Witch can make an extra attack or movement without suffering the -2 multi-action penalty).  Failure means that the Witch takes one wound.  A roll of 1 on Pacts skill die, regardless of wild die, the Witch takes two wounds.

Witches can cast all SWDX spells except Drain Power Points.

Note: Witches cannot heal themselves.  They are able to cast heal on others but the Pacts and channeling of their own life force makes it impossible to heal themselves. 

Sprocket Jockey (Weird Scientists)

Arcane Skill: Steamtech

Starting Power Points: 10

Starting Powers: 1

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Sprocket Jockeys many new discoveries and inventions have been created in this new age of man.  Coggers (mechanized creatures that create a labor and armed force), firearms, explosives, mechanized weapons, airships, cog armor, cog appendages to replace those lost in battle, among other amazing things have all lead to what some are calling the “Golden Age.”  Others fear what these new inventions will do to people and the world of Hubris.

Sprocket Jockey functions exactly as Weird Scientists of SWDX on page 104-105.

New Powers-

Dampen Magic (replaces Drain Power Points)

Rank: Veteran

Power Points: 3

Range: Smarts

Duration: Instant

Trappings: Prayers, Gust of Wind surrounds target, an electric field.

This spell allows the caster to halt another from casting spells or calling upon their god for aid.   The caster and the target make an opposed roll (Miracles VS Pact).  If the caster is successful the target cannot cast a spell for one round.  On a Raise the target cannot cast a spell for two rounds.

Dampen Magic and Sprocket Jockeys- The Divine and Witches cannot use Dampen Magic against Sprocket Jockeys, however Sprocket Jockey’s can use Dampen Magic against the Divine, Witches, and other Sprocket Jockeys.  


My New Yoda Tattoo

This weekend I went to Otakon and my friend from MT came to hang out and have a good time.

I told him that I was thinking of getting a new tattoo and he offered to pay for it as a birthday present (how the hell am I gonna say no to that?!).

Strong am I with the Force...

This is my first plunge below the elbow line for a tattoo. All others are on my upper arms and back (this is #9 for me).

With Yoda I plan to get my dice floating around him as if he were using the Force to levitate them (see pic).

My babies

I think that will be the next tat I get. Finish it up.

After that I’m going to get Cthulhu on my left arm, in the same place as Yoda and his tentacles will be holding my beloved d20.

I went to Revolver Tattoo in New Brunswick, NJ.

The tattoo artist, Evan, (that’s actually not him on the toilet. That’s another one of the artists)was kick ass and a nerd as well. So we ended up shooting the shit and he mentioned he was curious about trying role-playing. So I told him that if he wanted I would run a game for his friends and him. Sweet!

Hopefully bringing more into the RPG fold!

I will definitely be going back to Evan for more ink.