I knew I wasn’t quite done with it and decided to ruminate on it and came up with a few more options and refined my original idea. I thought it would be fun enough to make it just slightly more “generic” so it could work well with other settings that are either homebrewed or ported from a movie or show (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, etc).
Well here is is.. Enjoy…
Here is a PDF: Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks
Freaks and Geeks is a hack of Barbarians of Lemuria. My goal has been to leave the system largely intact without massive overt changes or clunky additional rules. I created this hack because I thought the BoL system was extremely rules-light (which is fucking awesome), robust, and able to handle cinematic style play, such as Hellboy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Doctor Who, or whatever.
The great thing about the BoL system is that there are no complications when hacking it to another genre or style. Just understand how the simple mechanics work and that this game is about being awesome and a dialogue between players and the GM in the hopes of achieving their goals, having fun, and you’re solid.
The other goal I had was to strip away lists and powers presented in BoL and the need to consult anything at all. A few examples of Boons and Flaws are given, but largely the players should come up with their own kickassery powers! That’s it.. Now go play!
Freaks start out with 5 points in Attributes while Norms start out with 4. Max of 4 in any one ability. One ability score can be taken from 0 to -1 and allocated to a different ability score, so as long as the score does not go above +4.
Freaky Power (Freaks only)-
Freaks start out with 4 points in Combat Abilities and 1 point automatically in Freaky Power while Norms start out with 4. Max of 4 in any one ability. One ability score can be taken from 0 to -1 (except from Freaky Powers) and allocated to a different ability score, so as long as the score does not go above +4.
All characters start with 10 plus their Strength score in LB.
Optional: Instead of having a stat that people will dump points into JUST to have higher Life Blood, just have players start with 10 + 1d4 LB.
Both Freaks and Norms choose four careers that show their areas of study and events in their lives up till the present. Freaks and Norms have 4 points to spend in careers, but cannot put more than 3 points in a given career.
Don’t like something here, make something the fuck up.
Labor Industry- Specify
Police Officer/Private Investigator
Awkward High School Student
Dabbler in the Occult
Boons, Flaws, and Freaky Powers
Boons generally allow a player to roll 3d6 and keep the higher of the two while Flaws allow a character to roll 3d6 and keep the lower of the two. Boons can also be a static bonus or effect, like immunity to poison while a flaw could be weakness to poison.
If there is a boon of flaw you want to create that doesn’t follow that mechanic discuss it with your GM.
Freaks start off with two boons and one flaw. For Freaks, boons are also their strange and awesome powers that make them unique and special little butterflies. When using this (most of the time) it should go off the Freaky Power and the appropriate Attribute (but it can use a Career if the GM approves) that makes sense. Some powers may have a drawback as well as benefits. Discuss it with your GM and if they approve you are good to go!
Making your type of freak is rather simple; want to play a Vampire? That is easy! Just choose appropriate Boons and Flaws. It honestly doesn’t matter if it is 100% accurate. This is about having some fun and playing in a game that is about pulpy action and heroics!
Hellboy- Hand of Doom- The Hand of Doom is indestructible and hurts like hell when he hits with it. Roll 2d6 and take the higher of the two as damage.
Liz’s power of fire manipulation would go off of Mind and Freaky Power. The modifiers to the TN would change based on what the Liz’s player is trying to do (see below)
Summon flame in hand to see: Easy +1 to roll.
Cause burst of flame to hurt target 1d3 damage (moderate 0).
Burst of flame to one target 1d6 damage (tricky -1).
Flame damage to one target for 2d6 damage, or a burst of flame in a five foot radius that does 1d6 damage (hard -2).
Norms start with three Boons and one (they have to be snowflakes in some way too, right?). Norms Boons and Flaws can be cool and unique but they should still be grounded in the realm of that your character is a squishy, easily bruised, and fleshy normal dude.
Freaks and Norms can sacrifice Luck Points to gain an extra boon at character creation. A Freak can lose up to two Luck Points to gain two additional boons. Norms can only lose one Luck Point to gain one additional boon.
Boon and Flaw Examples
Boon– Buffy is a Slayer and strong. Permanently raise Strength Attribute by 1.
Boon– Hellboy is immune to any fire damage.
Flaw– Liz has trouble controlling her powers. When she uses her freak skill to generate and control fire she rolls 3d6 and takes the lesser of the two.
Flaw– Zander is awkward and tends to babble and make an ass of himself in front of people. When making an appeal roll, roll an extra die and take lower of the two.
Roll 2d6 aiming for a target number of 9. If it is a combat ability add the attribute that most likely fits the situation and combat ability being used. If it is non-combat then use the attribute and career.
In combat that target number is still 9, but the targets defense number becomes a modifier to your roll.
Optional Fall Forward Story Mechanic:
If a player rolls a 7-8 the GM will present them with the option to miss or they can still succeed at the task they are performing, be it a freak power, attack, or a non-combat action. However if they choose to still succeed then some complication arises from their actions. This could be a free attack by the enemy, or maybe them getting tossed to the ground. Their weapon may break. They may unlock the door, but the alarm still goes off, or guards show up, etc.
This is an optional rule to add a bit more of the pulpy dynamic feel like that of the adventures of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Hellboy, Doctor Who, etc into the game. If the GM and the players do not want to utilize this rule, they don’t have to.
Target Numbers Modifiers
Easy: +1, Moderate: 0, Tricky: -1, Hard: -2, Tough: -4, Demanding: -6
Players start with 5 Hero points each saga (session). Hero points can be used in the following ways:
Twist of Fate– Change something in the narrative with GM approval.
Defy Death– You don’t die… good for you.
Reroll the Dice– You fucked up, but no one was looking, try again (save for snake eyes- you gotta keep that fuck up).
Might Success– Does neat shit not in the free rules.
Legendary Success– Does neat shit not in the free rules.
Shake off Wounds– Only a flesh wound- roll 1d6+1 and gain that back in HP.
Be creative– do your sales pitch, but don’t be sad when the GM laughs at you.
Friends Care! (Norms only)– Norms often give support their friends in ways that Freaks are not aware of. Norms can share Hero Points with another player.
Each session players should get 2-3 Advancement Points. They can spend them or save them to use later.
Raising Attributes costs a number of points equal to the current amount plus the new amount. Norms can have a max of 5 in any Attribute while Freaks have a 6.
Raising Combat abilities costs the new amount +1. Norms can have a max of 5 in any Combat Ability while Freaks have a 6.
Raising Careers costs equal to the new amount.
Purchasing a new career costs 1 point.
Buying a new Boon costs 3 AP while buying off a Flaw costs 2 AP.
Gear and Shit
These are things that do damage and hurt people and beasties making them scream and bleed. See Barbarians of Lemuria to make up damage that fits.. All damage is derived from a d6.
Rule of Thumb– Light weapons like knives will do d3 or d6-2 damage. Regular weapons are 1d6-1 to 1d6+1. Heavy Weapons are 1d6+2 or +3. Guns operate the same way. Snub pistol could do 1d6-1. Standard handguns could do d6+1. Machine Guns and the like could do d6+2 or +3, 2d6, or 2d6 keep highest of the two.
Armor provides a layer of damage absorption that makes it so the hurt doesn’t hurt as bad. There are two types of armor for people light and heavy. Light absorbs 1d3 damage and heavy absorbs 1d6 damage.
Give the characters what they want and need to play their characters. If it is key to the session, such as an amulet to ward off a demon or a potion to cure a disease, that is an adventure right there! There is no need to complicate a cinematic game with money or shopping lists for mundane every day items. Buffy and Hellboy never needed to go shopping for weapons. They had them or used what was available in the heat of combat. If they lost their arsenal then one of their buddies had back ups. Beefy superduper weapons are a rare exception and tend to get broken and fucked up during the adventure or “disappear” at the end.
Further Examples of Boons
Liar Liar Pants on Fire– You can lie your ass off and not bat an eye. Roll an extra die.
I’ve got Friends– You’ve got people who will come to your aid when called. They may want something in return, but hey what are friends for?
Groupie– You’ve got a low level NPC that follows you around showering you with uncomfortable looks of adoration. Stat this poor sod as a standard NPC.
Steel Will– You’re Willpower is awe inspiring. Roll an extra die when these types of situations arise.
Further Examples of Flaws
Shifty Eyes– You suck at lying. Roll an extra die.
Fuck I have an Enemy– Someone hates your guts and goes out of their way to make your life a misery. They always seem to show up at the most inopportune time! This is a fully stated Villain and wants to make you suffer as long as possible before plunging the knife into your heart.
Addiction– You’re character is addicted to something. When it is around you must make a test. Roll an extra die. Each day you go without this addiction you suffer -1 an appropriate attribute.
Lecherous– You’re character just can’t help themselves. You will go out of your way to hit on, grope, and talk to a person you are attracted to.