Category Archives: Barbarians of the Ruined Earth

The Vek Race as Class for Barbarians of the Ruined Earth (Black Hack)

Continuing in posting more on my Barbarians of the Ruined Earth  game that uses the Black Hack rules, here is the Vek (race as ) class.

 

Vek (Raptorfolk)

deinonychus_antirrhopus 

The Vek are highly intelligent anthropomorphic raptors that have obsessions with Stupendous Science and Ancient Earth technology.  Their scaly flesh ranges from vibrant red to bile yellow or forest green.  They are a stubborn race with a proud heritage, and often consider themselves far more evolved and advanced than any other on the Ruined Earth.  Vek live closely together in a hierarchical community called a Collective.  Many Vek have been subjugated and enslaved by powerful Sorcerers, so naturally the Vek have become mistrusting of magic and those with the ability to wield it.  Vek proudly trace their ancestry to the long-dead Ancient Earth dinosaurs, the Deinonychus.

“Mine is a proud people; descendants of the most powerful and ancient of Earth’s creatures.  Our minds are keen, and technology is ours to mold and shape.  Our flesh is strong and our teeth and claws are sharp… were it not for the vile powers of Sorcerers, we would be the rulers the Ruined Earth.”

Starting HP: 1d8+4

Hit Points Per Level/Resting: 1d8 HP/lvl

Weapon and Armor: Gambeson, Leather, Small Shields, All bows, Claws and Bite, All technological weapons, Spears, Maces, and Short swords

Weapon Damage: 1d6/1d4 Improvised

 

SPECIAL FEATURES

raptor_warrior_by_predaguy

Art by Predaguy (not part of BotRE project)

Highly Intelligent: Veks have a sharp mind.  They have Advantage on Intelligence rolls and saves against mind-altering effects.  They are also literate (for normal literacy rules, see pg XX).

Dinosaur!: Veks have thick hides and are treated as having 2 AP (this stacks with armor, but the AP is reduced to 1 while wearing armor).  Their claws and teeth are razor sharp and they can attack for class damage.  Finally, Veks are agile and able to jump long distances (roughly 15-20ft), effectively launching themselves at a target.

If a Vek launches themselves at a target they can either make a single bite attack at a target with Advantage or attack with both clawed feet and a bite attack, but suffer Disadvantage to all three rolls.

More Juice: If an advanced technology contraption has a Usage Die and finally runs out of “juice” the Vek can coax a little more back into it, returning the Usage Die to a d4.  This can be done once per hour.

Leveling Up:

Roll all Attributes to see if they increase, roll twice for DEX or INT.

 

STARTING EQUIPMENT

WEAPON: Spear and short sword

ARMOR: Leather Armor 4 AP (2 AP/d6 Usage Die)

ADDITIONAL: Rations (d6), waterskin (d6), bedroll, torches x6 (d6), and healing salve (1 Hit Dice of HP restored).

INTERESTING TRINKET (roll 1d6): 1) a book of Ancient Earth history; 2) a laser pistol (d10 Usage Die on battery pack); 3) a headdress of bone, leather, and feather; 4) a city map of the Ancient Earth city, “Los Angeles”; 5) a ruby necklace; 6) an Ancient Earth Sea Captain’s hat and jacket.

LIFE EVENT (roll 1d8): 1) you were a slave and escaped; 2) your father was a brilliant mind and created many helpful Stupendous Science gadgets.  Eventually he wronged a Sorcerer and was killed in front of you; 3) your mother is your Collective’s leader and you have served the tribe with distinction; 4) you messed with your Collective’s super computer and broke it.  You have been exiled by your people; 5) you banded together with a Barbarian and defended your Collective from Pig Raiders; 6) you traveled with a Scavenger for a few years.  You and he discovered many interesting Ancient Earth ruins during your travels; 7) your seven sisters and five brothers were transformed into statues by a Sorcerer after you angered him; 8) you discovered a sentient robot during your travels and are still friends.


The Scavenger Class for Barbarians of the Ruined Earth (Black Hack)

Continuing in posting more on my Barbarians of the Ruined Earth  game that uses the Black Hack rules, here is the Scavenger class.

 

Scavenger

 Scavenger 1

Scavengers are humans that live on the fringes of the remnants of human society, or wander the Ruined Earth alone, looking for trinkets, bits and baubles, Ancient Earth tech, or simply shiny junk to tinker with or sell for some coins.  They prefer to be sneaky, shying away from conflict when possible, but when they strike, they know how to make it count. 

 

“You call that junk…?  I call it a treasure.  Add some wires, strap on a clock, and maybe some spikes- now you’ve got something useful.  If you don’t want it, give it to me: I’ll make something useful out of it- make some money off the damned thing at least.”

 

Starting HP: d8+4

HP Per Level/Resting: 1d8

Weapons & Armor: All Swords, All Bows, Daggers, Energy Weapons, Ancient Earth Firearms, Gambeson, Leather, Small Shields

Attack Damage: 1d6/1d4 Unarmed or Improvising
SPECIAL FEATURES
Agile: Roll with Advantage when testing DEX to avoid damage or effects from traps and magical devices.

 

Sneaky Bastard: Rolls with Advantage when attacking from behind and deals 2d6/2d4+the Scavenger’s level damage.

 

Skilled: Rolls with Advantage when performing delicate tasks, climbing, hearing sounds, moving silently understanding written languages and opening locks.

 

Keen Eye: Once per hour a Scavenger can look through junk piles and make a Luck roll, if the result is 4-6 they find something mundane of use.  This could be a waterskin, some rations, an energy cell for a laser weapon (1d6 usage die), etc.  The GM has final arbitration on what is acceptable or not.

Scavanger

Fixer: A Scavenger knows how to repair technology.  Must succeed on an INT test to repair a machine (vehicle, robot, etc.). If successful heal 1d6+Scavenger level HP back and replenish the target’s AP (if applicable). Repairing an object takes 1d6 hours.
LEVELING UP
Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for DEX or WIS.

 

STARTING EQUIPMENT

Scavanger 2

WEAPON: Dagger and crossbow

ARMOR: Cloth armor- 2 AP (1 AP/d4 Usage Die)

ADDITIONAL: Ammo for ranged weapon, rations (d6), waterskin (d6), bedroll, torches x6 (d6), and healing salve (1 Hit Dice of HP restored).

 

INTERESTING TRINKET (roll 1d6): 1) an Ancient World “HAM” radio- still functional; 2) a blowtorch; 3) a metal detector; 4) a collection of pretty glass bottles; 5) a tattered, but beautiful wedding dress; 6) a “football” helmet.

 

LIFE EVENT (roll 1d8): 1) you were a slave and escaped; 2) you were exiled from your village after it was discovered you were stealing much needed food and other goods; 3) you stumbled across an Ancient Earth factory filled with robots and gadgets- you were happy there until you accidentally blew it up; 4) You found a Stupendous Science device that emitted a freeze beam.  You used it to thwart Pig Raiders who attacked your village; you’re a hero; 5) you lived in a cave for many years with a crazed and ancient Sorcerer; the stories he told made you uncomfortable- but were entertaining; 6) your penchant for tinkering with things you shouldn’t got you into trouble.  You accidentally vaporized your father and two of his drinking buddies; 7) you were delirious while wandering the wastes and fell into a hole and discovered a lake of shimmering golden water.  You emerged from the cave and vowed to return, but don’t the whereabouts; 8) you were zapped by a piece of Stupendous Science that transported you to the year 1994.  You were there for several days before being returned to your time.


Barbarians of the Ruined Earth- Session One- Getting Their Kicks… On Route 66

On Sunday we kicked off our Barbarians of the Ruined Earth campaign (we’ll be bouncing back and forth between this and our Star Wars game).

BotRE is inspired by Thundarr the Barbarian (largely), He-Man, Transformers, Mad Max, etc.

Introduction:

Over two thousand years ago the world was torn asunder when an alien planet crashed into our moon, utterly shattering it.  Destruction rained down from the sky, nearly annihilating all life on Earth.  Humankind persevered, but the Earth was forever changed as alien matter mixed with our own and a new, bizarre world has risen from the ashes of the old; a world of depravity, stupendous science, and nefarious sorcery!

Not content with a life of mundane toil, you have cast off the chains of oppression and travel with companions, brave and bold, pitting your cunning, bravery, and talents against the forces of darkness and tyranny! 

We created characters and jumped right in to the action.  Each class has starting equipment, and a d8 table to generate an interesting trinket and life event that the player can quickly build off.

Players:

Chad– Medical Robot (named Marko Tron), rides a Giant Snailbadger.  Life Event: Has trouble understanding why humans whine so much, has mouthed off about it and been chased out of several villages. Trinket: World War II army helmet.

JohnBarbarian (named Dagor)- rides on a Giant Snailbear. Life Event: Mother was killed by croc-men when he was a child. Now he fights for the underdog!  Trinket: Silver dagger given by his father.

LiamSorcerer (named Fulgur Tenebris) Crazy Sorcerer appearance- grey skin, grey hair, cat eyes, jagged nails, yellow teeth, body changes color with emotion (50 shades of grey), has a metalic staff with spider web etching. Power manifestation black orbs with grey lightning. Life Event: Family was pushed out of village because of your birth.  Trinket: Golden necklace given to denote remarkable birth.  Rides one of the last Ancient Earth elephants (also has grey skin and yellowing tusks). Rules for Spellcasting here.

Nate– Vek (Anthropomorphic dinosaur- raptor- pretty feathers. Named Valeran the Vek).  He thinks humans are savages.  Life Event: Father was a brilliant Vek who understood Stupendous Science. Father was eventually killed by a Sorcerer. Trinket: Headdress of bone, wood, and feathers.  Rides a camel.

FletchUrchin class (wasn’t able to play today).  More on this character later.

After characters were rolled I used a table from my Starrunner Kit that allows the player to roll on a chart and create a memory.  The categories are tragedy, life is easy, make a friend, something went wrong, etc. I took a page from Beyond the Wall and told the group that their story would involve another player and that is how they met and bonded.  The players rolled and I gave them a few minutes to figure out what happened.  We told our stories and then moved on.

Team!  The Sounds of Battle!

We started the session with the group wandering through the wastes of southern California (near modern day Santa Monica), looking for a nearby settlement called Route 66.  It was named after an Ancient Earth route system (upon which the group was currently traveling).

The group came up over a hill and saw Route 66 in the distance.  Dilapidated, wrecked cars were stacked 3-4 high and formed a wall to protect the city.  Ancient Earth storage containers were stacked inside the wall and looked as if they were being used as housing.

The sounds of battle met the characters ears and an explosion went off, and a tower of six cars toppled inside the wall.  Nate found an Ancient Earth lighting pole, climbed up and saw robots attacking the villagers.  The Vek jumped down and shouted this information to his compatriots, but John was already riding hard on his giant snailbear towards the settlement.

Robot

The group charged into Route 66 to aid the humans and faced off against five robots, and a group of 10 smaller, twitchy-looking robots.

When combat broke out, I decided to try a variant for Initiative inspired by Drunkens and Dragons.

INITIATIVE
When combat breaks out, the GM rolls a die.  If the result is even, initiative favors the players.  If the result is odd, initiative favors the enemies and act before the players.  Once favor has been determined, every player rolls a 1d20 and the player with the lowest roll goes first.  Once that player has taken their turn, initiative continues in a clockwise fashion.

When initiative favors the enemy, if a player critically succeeds on their roll (rolling a 1), they get the drop on the enemy and can act before them.  After players that have critically succeed have taken their turn, initiative returns to normal with the enemies attacking, then the remaining players.

Initiative is rolled once per combat.

We all really liked this initiative order.  It was easy to shout out the order people went and it freed me up from having to remember shit and avoided zig zagging, etc.

For the robots I used mook and horde rules, see below:

MOOKS
Mooks are foes that are there to be mowed through and make the heroes feel epic and powerful!  Mooks should die in one hit, as long as they take 1 point of damage (they may be wearing armor, have protective shielding, etc.).  Give mooks HD, as it will determine their damage die against the heroes.

HORDES

When there are several mooks banding together to attack their foe (attacking as one), their overwhelming numbers make it hard to move out of harm’s way.  The defender rolls with Disadvantage to avoid a hordes attack.  The mooks, if the attack is successfully, roll damage with Advantage.  A horde can have up to 20 different members in it.  Each HP of damage is a number of minions killed in the horde.  When it is down to 3 HP or less, the horde is now treated as individual mooks (see above).

The battle went pretty quickly (probably 20-30 minutes), and the group took some good knocks before dropping all the robots.

After the fight, the leader of the village, named Chad 2.0 (I basically described Chad, one of my players, and named him Chad 2.0).  Chad 2.0 thanked them profusely for saving them and the rest of his Highwaymen.  He offered them shelter in one of their buildings, which was five storage containers fused together.

The group was given food, water, and told that Route 66 had recently found a strange device in an abandoned Ancient Earth warehouse.  It pulsed with energy.  One of the villagers tried messing with it and was vaporized.  Chad 2.0 felt this was too dangerous to leave alone.

Somehow the witch Grenzel found out about this device and begun attacking Route 66.  Her first several attacks were repelled by the Highwaymen.  And she retreated to her stronghold.  Two weeks ago a strange object fell from the sky and crashed into her stronghold.  The Highwaymen hoped that this was the end of Grenzel, but she showed up today with an army of robots and took the object from Route 66.

The group agreed to go to her stronghold and defeat her and retrieve the artifact.  The old wise woman said that Grenzel’s lair was located four miles to the south east and was an Ancient Earth structure where people used to go to worship a great powerful being called “Consumerism.” The old wise woman called the place a “ShopING Ma-all.”

 

The group rested for the night and left in the early morning for Grenzel’s lair.

About quarter mile from the lair, the group found a cultist guard station.  They attempted to sneak up on it, but found only a tiny fire and no guards. Arrows began peppering them as cutlists that were hidden on the ridge began shooting at them.  The group sprung into action.

Cultist

A Worshiper of the Dark.  Cultist of the Witch Grenzel

The battle was quick, and the cultists didn’t stand much of a chance.  However, one of the cultists pulled out a glass vial and held it over his head, “May the darkness take us all!” and smashed it on the ground.  A billowy black substance surrounded the cultist and Nate.  The group heard a sickening gurgling noise from both of them.  When the smoke cleared the cultist was a mummified husk and Nate was sick and panting on the ground (he suffered 1d6 points of Constitution damage).

The group collected themselves and decided to take a rest.  They could see the shopping mall in the distance and a strange saucer-shaped object smashed into the western building.

Shopping Mall Map

 

Crashed_UFO_at_night

The saucer destroyed all of the Dakota Purses store.

We ended here for the night and will hopefully do another session at the end of March.


The Urchin- Barbarians of the Ruined Earth Class for the Black Hack

I haven’t done a post for Barbarians of the Ruined Earth in awhile and figured I damned well better.  I’m rewatching Thundarr the Barbarian and decided that I wanted to do an Urchin class for the book.

Urchin

thundarr-urchin 

You are a forgotten child, surviving on your own in the wilds.  You distrust adults and civilization, preferring your own company and those of a few select people or creatures that you feel are worthy of your time.  You are quick-witted and fast acting.  Adults constantly underestimate your abilities, which usually leads to their downfall.  You are plucky, bossy, and master of your domain!

 

“Someday I’ll build my own empire!  I mean, I don’t want to be an urchin ALL of my life.”

 

Starting HP: d4+4

HP Per Level/Resting: 1d4

Weapons & Armor: Short Swords, Daggers, Short Bows, Blow Gun, Sling, Cloth, Leather, Small Shields

Attack Damage: 1d4/1 Unarmed or Improvising
SPECIAL FEATURES
Small: Urchins are roughly 4’ tall (tallest among them are 5’) and quick on their feet.  Urchins have Advantage to tests to avoid melee attacks from any target that is taller than them.  Urchins suffer Disadvantage to Strength checks when attempting to grapple or wrestle with someone larger than them or lift heavy objects.

 

Unexpected Adversary: Most people underestimate Urchins.  When making their first attack the Urchin rolls with Advantage.  If the attack is successful they deal 2d4+Urchin level in damage.

 

Bossy: Urchins are spoiled brats that live by their own code.  They are bossy and demanding.  Once per day they can boss their way through a situation and automatically succeed on a Charisma test.  This is applicable to bartering, getting someone to do a favor, etc.  The GM has final arbitration on what is acceptable or not.

 

Environment: Urchins know how to survive in their environment.  Roll on Type of Urchin table, pg XX.
LEVELING UP
Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for DEX or other (the second stat is determined by type of Urchin, pg XX).

 urchin-2

STARTING EQUIPMENT

WEAPON: Dagger and blowgun or sling

ARMOR: Cloth armor- 2 AP (1 AP/d4 Usage Die)

ADDITIONAL: Ammo for ranged weapon, rations (d6), waterskin (d6), bedroll, torches x6 (d6), and healing salve (1 Hit Dice of HP restored).

 

INTERESTING TRINKET (roll 1d6): 1) a necklace made of a railroad spike from ancient earth; 2) a snow globe; 3) a miner hardhat.  The headlamp still works; 4) an ancient Earth police officer’s hat; 5) a pair of whacky eyeball glasses; 6) a tattered, yet adorable teddy bear

 

LIFE EVENT (roll 1d8): 1) you were a slave and escaped; 2) you were abandoned by your parents in this environment; 3) your parents were killed by raiders and you’ve had to raise yourself; 4) You ran away from your village and decided to raise yourself; 5) You were a servant to a Sorcerer and managed to escape their lair; 6) You were chased out of your village after causing too much trouble with your childish pranks; 7) You are child of your village’s leader.  You and your family were exiled after your father sold several of the villagers to raiders; 8) Years ago you had a dream of flying on a magical bed and traveling through a fun and strange Slumberland.  You awoke in a cave in the environment that you now live.

 

Type of Urchin

1) SwampYou know how to survive in the swamps.  You have Advantage on all knowledge tests when identifying plants and animals of the swamp.  You also have Advantage on tests for survival in this environment.  Secondary Ability Score: Wisdom.

 

2) DesertYou know how to survive in deserts.  You have developed a resistance to poisons because of all the hostile creatures in the desert.  You roll Advantage on saves against poisons.  You also have Advantage on tests for survival in this environment.  Secondary Ability Score: Constitution.

 

3) SewerYou have survived in the remaining sewer system of a once great city.  You have a keen sense of direction underground and can never get lost.  Your eyes have become accustomed to the dim light of the sewers and you can see in low-light as if it were normal up to Nearby.  You also have Advantage on tests for survival in this environment.  Secondary Ability Score: Constitution.

 

4) UrbanYou know how to survive in the crumbled ruins of a once great city.  You have Advantage on tests for climbing, detecting hazards in ruins, and determining what is structurally sound.  You also have Advantage on tests for survival in this environment.  Secondary Ability Score: Wisdom.

 

5) ForestYou know how to survive in wooded forests.  You have gained the friendship of an animal that is your loyal companion.  If the animal companion dies, you can return to the forest and attract another one.  Doing so takes one week of establishing a rapport.  Roll 1d10 for companion- 1-2) fox; 3-4) hawk; 5-6) badger; 7-8) lynx; 9) snake, poisonous (not deadly); 10) wolf.  You also have Advantage on tests for survival in this environment.  Secondary Ability Score: Wisdom.

 

6) BadlandsYou have survived in one of the harshest environments.  You can survive an extra two days without food or water as a normal person.  You’ve had to learn to become strong in order to survive.  You’ve learned to fight with short spears, no longer suffer Disadvantage to Strength checks for your size (see Small ability) and your attack damage is increased to 1d6/1d4 for Unarmed/Improvising.  Secondary Ability Score: Strength.

Adult Urchins

When an Urchin becomes an adult they lose the following abilities: Small and Unexpected Adversary.  Instead they gain the following:

 

Dirty Fighting: Adult Urchins know how to fight dirty.  Once per combat they can attempt to throw off their foe by kicking mud in their eye, feinting, spitting on them, etc.  The Adult Urchin must make a Charisma test to successfully trick their adversary.  A tricked target is thrown off granting Advantage to the Adult Urchin’s next 1d3 defensive rolls.

 

Small Frame: Adult Urchins never get big or bulky.  They are still skinny and spry.  They can fit through small spaces that a normal-sized adult would not be able to. They also have Advantage on saves against traps and explosion.

 


Black Hack- Deadlier Dying

A few months ago I was running my Barbarians of the Ruined Earth game (using The Black Hack rules) and one of the PC’s fell 3 times in various combats in the dungeon, rolling a 1 each time on the Out of Action table.  It got me thinking that it may be a little too forgiving for numerous drops to zero HP in a single day, so I decided to come up with an optional rule.  I haven’t toyed with it yet to see how well it works though.

fantasy-art

 

DEATH & DYING
When a character is reduced to zero HP, they are taken Out of Action (OofA), they are unconscious and cannot make any actions. When the fight is over/are out of danger, a character that is taken OofA rolls 1d20 and consults the table below to see what happens to them. If they survive, they gain 1d4 HP.  If the characters lose the fight or are unable to recover the body of the character, they are lost forever!

MORE DEADLY (Optional Rule): If a character falls repeatedly in during a day before they rest for 8 hours, the risk of permanent injury and death becomes greater.  The first time a character falls in battle, roll 1d20.  The second time, roll 1d20+1d10, and the third time roll 5d4.  There is no fourth time; if you fall that many times in a day, you’ve taxed your body to the limit and are dead.

Out of Action
1-4 KO’d: Just knocked out.
5-6 Fat Head: Disadvantage on all tests for the next hour.
7-9 Cracked Bones: STR, DEX and CON are temp -2 for the next day.
10-11 Cracked Skull: INT and WIS are temp -2 for the next day.
12-13 Crippled – STR or DEX is

permanently reduced by 2.

14-15 Brain Damage: INT or WIS permanently reduced by 2.
16-17 Disfigured: CHA reduced to 4.
18-19 Limb Lost: Need a prosthetic.
20 Dead: Not alive anymore.

Barbarians of the Ruined Earth- Episode 1: Battle Over the Heavy Metal Throne of the Eclipse! Part 2

Yesterday I posted the part 1 of my first session of Barbarians of the Ruined Earth.

Cultists and Museums 

After the group rested up, they barged bravely through the front door of the Museum of Art and History.  The group plunged into the entrance and found a dirty, disheveled mess.   Ishkur the Ummm Wizard saw that they could head into a Weapons Exhibit and recommended that direction.  Zed Winkle led the group through the hall and triggered a trap, taking a spear to the side.  The Weapons Exhibit had pretty much cleaned out, but the group found a spear from ancient Roman times, a cutlass from the American Civil War, and a mace that didn’t have a plaque with information.

They continued down to the cafeteria and were attacked by three cultists.  All were wearing white robes, black masks which had a crescent moon symbol on their forehead, and curved daggers.  The cultists stood in front of the entrance, creating a bottle neck.  “Only death will set you free!  Let us send you on your way!”

cultist

I used mook rules, each cultist having only 1 HP.  The group made quick work of them, but got stabbed a few times, but for little damage.  Once the cultists were dead the group looted the room, finding daggers, a healing salve, 50′ of rope, and a backpack.

The group then headed back up and found a hallway to the Modern Art room.  Ishkur the Ummm Wizard groaned, “ug…  There is nothing of interest in there.”  Most of the paintings had been defaced, however they found the body of a Barbarian tossed into the corner.  They looted him of his items, the most exciting of which was a football helmet and then continued into the Old West Room.

Here the group was attacked by four cultists throwing spears at the group.  Ishkur stepped to the front and used Life Leach, dealing 1 point of damage to each of the cultists, killing them all.  They took the daggers on the cultists and Ishkur found a tattered and cut up cowboy hat, and excitedly put it on his head.

Error (404) came up with a plan that he would put on a cultist outfit (being the only one who could wear one) and tie up Ishkur and Zed with a trick knot.  The group went through the rest of the museum and didn’t encounter anyone else, except for a mutant with glowing red eyes who was chained to a wall and shied away from the robe-wearing Error (404).

Eventually the group came to a room with stairs leading into the basement; chanting could be heard below.

Battle for the Heavy Metal Throne of the Eclipse

heavy-metal-throne

The group wandered into the basement and found three cultists circled around a large throne made of metal, adorned with spikes.  Walking around them was another cultist, with embellished robes and a black mask with a half moon on the forehead.  A car engine rested on the seat of the throne, jumper cables attached to several of the spikes of the chair.  The captured humans were tied and laid on the ground, metal skullcaps placed on their heads with metal tubing going from the cap and attached to the engine.  Lurking in the corner was a hideous mutant with green slime dripping from its skin.

The lead cultist spoke to the room, “We have finally obtained the Heavy Metal Throne of the Eclipse!  With the energy taken from these lower ones, we will revitalize the throne and finally have the power over the sun itself!  We will plunge this world into darkness and be the true masters of everything!  Let the ritual begin!”  One of the cultists pulled a lever on the engine and it sprang to life.  A human screamed as their energy was pulled from their body, leaving them a dried husk on the floor.  The energy traveled through the skullcap, up the cable, into the engine, and through the jumper cables into the throne.

The lead cultist looked at the disguised Error (404), “Ah brother!  What have you brought us?

Error (404): More food for the machine!

“Ah!  Excellent!  The energy of a Sorcerer will truly make the throne powerful!”

Error (404) brought the pseudo-captured comrades into the circle and they sprang their trap.  Liam (Ishkur’s player) told me he wanted to summon forth Error’s bag that was carrying a bunch of the curved daggers and multiply them in the bag, then have the bag explode and send the daggers flying everywhere.  I told him that they would hit everyone, not just the cultists, he said that’s ok.  I told him it would be Power of the Moon (level 2) spell (here is the alt magic rules) and he agreed.  He rolled in INT check with Advantage after using Life Leach previously and succeeded.  He failed his Usage Die roll, finally robbing him of his energies to cast spells.  While this was going on another two human hostages were drained of energy.

The daggers killed all three cultists, all the human hostages save 1, missed the mutant and the lead cultist, and missed all three players.

Nate had to leave at this point, so John took over rolling for Error (404).

The cultist and mutant ran at Liam’s character and started beating on him.  The mutant’s touch drained Ishkur of his vitality (temporary CON drain).  Zed Winkle used his epic strength to pick up the Heavy Metal Throne and engine and chucked them at the lead cultist, who was struck hard and slammed into the wall, becoming a bloody grease stain.

The battle with the mutant took awhile, but eventually the group stabbed and bludgeoned enough to kill the creature.  The group looted the room, finding an obsidian sword and a silver dagger.  They also found a scroll on the body of the dead lead cultist- with the wax seal of the Portends of Death.  Ishkurr put it in his pack to examine later.

With that they took the delirious, shell-shocked survivor and returned her to The Bluffs.  Ren thanked them for risking their lives and returning his daughter to them (I made a Luck roll on the importance of the survivor).

With that we leveled up and called it a night.

Next time: Trouble in the Bluffs

After Thoughts: We are all still loving the simplicity of The Black Hack.  We are using the Better Armor rules from Additional Things.  It works very well for the players, however I tried to do something similar for monster and it doesn’t work well.  Damage Reduction per attack works well for systems like 3.x, Pathfinder, and 5e where there is a steady escalation of damage based on the weapon, Attribute modifiers, and weapon bonuses…  However in TBH weapon damage is static, although it may have a small bonus or you roll damage with Advantage, etc.  However a creature with an armor of 3 means that a Conjurer will always need to roll a 4 on a d4 to be effective.  When we were fighting the mutant, this became really apparent.  John and Liam both were rolling super low (John gets to roll a d8 for damage)… and after 4 or 5 rounds (can’t remember), it just became evident that it doesn’t work well.  The normal armor rules in TBH work much better for enemies.  So I switched it back to that rule and they had done about 5-6 points of damage, I treated it that they had drained the creature of his armor and were now doing physical damage.  So now I need to change that throughout the whole BotRE document.

John’s use of his epic strength ability was fun as hell and creative.  Also, he totally stopped the second coming of Lo-Pan (the next round the evil Sorcerer would have been pulled from the chair).  So that was a cool and unexpected event.

Liam really likes the free form spell casting thus far- especially as the two spells he attempted to cast would not have been possible at all with normal rules.  We will keep trying them and see how they hold up over several sessions.

 

 


Barbarians of the Ruined Earth- Episode 1: Battle Over the Heavy Metal Throne of the Eclipse! Part 1

Barbarians of the Ruined Earth is a setting I’ve been working on for Black Hack that is inspired by Thundarr the Barbarian and other things in the same vein of influence including Heavy Metal Magazine, Wizards, He-Man, Adventure Time, and others.

I decided to put playing Land of the Spirits on hold while I continue to write it and hammer out the details.  With Barbarians first draft completed and first pass of proofs done, it felt like an awesome time to start playing it.

On Sunday we kicked off our campaign and by playing through an adventure I generated with one of the tables I wrote for the book.

Only three of my players were able to make it, and it was a tough session, but we kicked ass and took names!

Players

Nate: Error (404) the Human Scavenger (I haven’t posted the Scavenger class yet) 

Liam: Ishkur the Ummm Wizard- Sorcerer class (we are using the Alternate Magic system rules I created)- the reason he has “uuuummm” in his title is Liam had trouble coming up with a name and kept saying “ummmm”…  so that’s what kind of Sorcerer he is.  Sorcerer’s are also a creepy lot and most are easily identifiable.  Liam’s character has yellow skin, purple hair, stone nails, stunted teeth, lava lamp-like eyes, and a Sorcerer’s staff made of resin with a whirlwind trapped inside (this was all generated from the tables located in the character class).

John: Zed Winkle the Moose Beastman.  His people are known as the Bryll. 

The Set Up

Everyone rolled up their characters, got their starting gear, Interesting Trinket, Life Event, and I thought it would be fun for everyone to have a Weird Mount for starting play (especially as the Thundarr trio all had mounts).  Nate rolled one Form and rolled a giant snake as his mount.  John rolled one Form as well and rolled a llama for his mount (a moose man on a llama is a pretty hilarious image).  Liam rolled two Forms and a triceratops and velociraptor, which we decided to call a velocitops or triceraptor.

I decided that I would use the Adventure Generator that I wrote for the book; you roll for Person 1, Person 2, Action, Location, Object, and Twist).  What I rolled was: Cultists (Person 1), group of humans (Person 2), find (Action), broken down museum (Location), Heavy Metal Throne of the Eclipse (Object), and object is not what it is believed to be (Twist).

I then rolled on the Village Generator to see where the group will start:
The Bluff, home to the Sky People. The town is rickety, rusted storage containers that are half buried high up on steep high red rock bluffs. Rope ladders and bridges are used to traverse the bluffs. The leader is Ren, who wears a sea captain’s hat and vest.

I looked at what I rolled and merged it into a way that made sense: The PC’s will start with finding out that a group of humans from the Bluffs were kidnapped by a group of cultists. The cultists hope to drain the energy of the humans into the Heavy Metal Throne of the Eclipse, believing the Stupendous Science object gives control over the sun. It is actually houses the trapped live energy of the ancient Sorcerer Lo Pan (Big Trouble in Little China nod).

The group will have to fight a horde of cultists and a mutated horror to save the humans before five are drained (there are 10 total).

I also rolled for Village Trouble and got that earthquake caused by Badgerworms (Hybrid animal creature). This will manifest at the end of the session and lead into the next one.

Finally I rolled for Weird Religions and got Portends of Death:

Believe that the world is dying and that death is the only true escape from this torture.  They attack other settlements, often killing (or enslaving) every living thing.  Their leader, the Great Shadowed One, wears a skull mask made of an indestructible metal.

The Beginning

The group rode up to The Bluffs on their epically crazy mounts and I set the stage of a group of villagers scared and confused about men in white robes with black masks kidnapping their friends and family while out farming.  Ren, the village leader, quickly begged the players (who looked like they could handle themsevles) to save their people.

The group agreed to do so if they were adequately compensated upon their success.

The group rode off to where the abduction occurred and picked up on tracks leading off to the Northeast.  After walking for about a mile, they saw a building in the distance.  Error (404) was quick to pick up the tracks, but not to feel the earth trembling ever so slightly beneath his feet.

The group continued to walk when ground began to rumble and shake.  Ishkur the Ummm Wizard and Error (404) felt the quake, but Zed Winkle was oblivious.  The ground exploded, sending Zed and Error (404) flying and landing hard on the ground while Ishkur the Ummm Wizard readied for battle.  The head of a badger attached to a 15′ tall worm body rose into the sky (I created this enemy from my Hybrid Animal table), smoke furling out of its mouth.

Ishkur decided to cast a spell and make the ground quake, to send it back to the depths, however he critically failed his INT roll, instead making the spell manifest around him and his companions.  The ground cracked and crumbled- sending him and Error (404) to the ground again.  Zed Winkle charged into battle with his spiked club and started wailing on the worm.  Ishkur also failed his Usage Die roll, zapping him of all his magical power.

After a few rounds and a few wounds, the creature disappeared back into the earth (failing its morale check), looking for an easier meal.

The group dusted themselves off and made their way to the whitish building in the distance.  When they arrived they saw that the building was in fairly good condition and was from Ancient Earth times.  There were words on a cement sign stating, “Welcome to the Museum of Art and History.”  Ishkur, being the only literate being of the group, relayed this information.

The group surveyed the front of the structure and decided to rest up for an hour before proceeding inside (this way Ishkur could use his Inner Strength ability and regain his magic casting Usage Die back to a d4).

With that the group readied their weapons and walked into the museum.

Next time: Cultists, mutants, flying daggers, and thoughts on Black Hack mechanics!