Monday, December 31, 2012

Obligatory 2012 Retrospective- Just the Highlights

 Rather than bash out a rambling retrospective, here are some highlights of my gaming for 2012. I'd say that overall, it was a pretty good year for gaming.
Stuff I Got To Play in 2012:

-AD&D 2nd edition Vikings/Sort-of Hellfrost
-Stars Without Number (Mindy's game)
-Stars Without Number ( Dan's game)
-Deadlands Reloaded
-Beyond the Supernatural 2nd edition

One Shots:

-AD&D 2nd edition at KantCon
-Lady Blackbird at KantCon
-Ingenium at KantCon
-Stars Without Number (Dave's game at OSFest)
-Mutant Future at OSFest (Dave's)
-Dungeon Crawl Classics (Dave's. OSFest)

Stuff I Got To Run in 2012: 

-Stars Without Number (July-August)
-Stars Without Number Spin-off campaign (August-Present)

One Shots:
-Pathfinder (with the missus and her friend)
-B/X D&D "Citadel of Evil" module (At Nuke-Con Aftershock)
-B/X D&D "Death Frost Doom" at KantCon
-B/X D&D "Realm of the Technomancer" module at OSFest

Stuff I Worked On in 2012:
-RIFTS-to-AD&D conversion (Which I'd say is 80% finished)
-World of Darkness heartbreaker (Which I just have barely started work on)

Conventions Attended in 2012:
-Nuke-Con Aftershock Game Day (March)
-OSFest 5 

General Highlights: 
-At one point, I was playing in three different games per week
-Met new gamer pals this year
-Did not have any long periods of no gaming
-SWN Spin-off Campaign is the best thing I've run in a long time
-Conquered some of my own self-identified DM hang-ups

General Low-Points: 
-Had two campaigns fizzle (Pathfinder wasn't supposed to be a one-shot)
-Didn't finish my RIFTS project (can't fault myself on the WoD project since I started it mere days ago)  
-Did not attend Nuke-Con's actual convention

  Thus ends my fourth year of blogging. It was the year I did the most gaming, but also the year I blogged the least. (Hmm...imagine that.) I don't really have any plans for 2013...this blog is primarily just a way to express my thoughts and to think out loud. Beyond that, I have no agenda. I guess here are some goals for 2013:

-Finish the RIFTS thing
-Finish the WoD thing
-Keep running SWN
-Run something fantasy as well
-Buy less stuff (fah!)

Here's hoping the New Year brings good things for you all. I know I'll be starting it off right by running another session of SWN. May your save vs. poison always be successful. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Old Gaming Group "Farewell Concert"

So, one of my longtime pals and gaming buddies (as well as occasional commenter on this blog) is moving away this week. I think he's played in everything I've ever run since 2005, with the exception of the all-ladies steampunk Savage Worlds game I ran a bit last winter.

My wife, being the clever one that she is, decided we should have one last D&D game. (It will actually be Pathfinder at his request, but my wife is ok with that since it's close enough.) We're calling together gamers from our two old D&D groups- including one group that we were all in before my wife and I were even dating- and they can remake any D&D character they have ever played under me. (Turns out Josh and my wife both have their character sheets from my last two d20 campaigns) I will be spending tomorrow trying to create a suitably epic adventure to send him off.

I freely admit that I'll be winging parts of it; Pathfinder is simply too crunchy for me to digest anymore and it's been some time since I "studied" the rulebook last.

Things have changed, and not everyone from the old groups is around, or in contact with us anymore. We might have one person playing via skype (or maybe hangouts). Regardless, it's going down this week.

It's not all bad, though. He will now live within spitting distance of a gaming convention I was planning to attend in 2013.

His departure does mean that I will probably never run anything d20 again in my life, save for possibly some PF at the request of the missus.

Friday, December 28, 2012

I like boxed sets and I cannot lie...

I was at the LGS today and chanced upon a copy of the Barsaive boxed set for Earthdawn 2nd edition. I snapped it up because it was only five bucks. This thing is in excellent condition: the cards are unpunched and it even comes with the mail order slips from days of yore.

I also picked up a copy of CJ Carella's Armageddon RPG, also five bucks and in absolutely pristine condition. I very much doubt that I'll ever run it, but I enjoy Carella's work a great deal... and copies of this start at fifty bucks on Schmamazon, so I guess if I really dislike it I can sell it and actually make a few bucks.

Monday, December 24, 2012


Christmas Day, 1990- I'm in third grade. An imaginative kid, my grandma decides to get me a copy of Hero Quest, from Milton Bradley. This game was basically my introduction to roleplaying (the way we played it, it bordered on a crude rpg) and my introduction into the Warhammer universe. (Although I wouldn't realize that until a few years later) Christmas Day is basically the anniversary of my entering into the gates of gaming nerdhood. Christmas Day is also the anniversary of my introduction to various new rpg systems I received as Christmas presents: Gamma World (the 4th edition published in the early 90's), GURPS (3rd edition revised), and others I can't think of at the moment.

This year, the wife got me an rpg and two rpg-related gifts. More details on those to follow...the egg nog is calling me.

Best of the holidays to you and yours.

Pipe Dream Conversions

So I've done a few conversions. I did a quick and dirty Shadowrun-to-SWN on this blog a year or two ago. I have an almost-playable RIFTS-to-AD&D sitting on my hard drive, and now I've got this bug to create a WoD Hearbreakerclone.

I think I've mentioned this before, but there are some great games out there that have rule systems I either don't like or don't have the patience to learn.

While I am on the subject of rebuilds and such, this is my list of pipe dream conversions that I will never get around to, but sort of hope someone else would. Presented in no particular order:

*In Nomine- I'd like to see this converted to World of Darkness or FUDGE.
*Heavy Gear- Stars Without Number
*Alternity- Stars Without Number (The races, etc.)
*Gear Krieg- Savage Worlds
*Jovian Chronicles- SWN
*Tribe 8- Savage Worlds or FUDGE
*Fireborn- World of Darkness
*Dragon Star- Pathfinder (believe it or not). I guess you could also do it with D&D/SWN
*Star Frontiers- SWN!
*Nightbane/Nightspawn- World of Darkness

My WoD thingie is underway as a series of scratchings on my note pad. (Like, a real, dead-tree-paper note pad) Right now I'm trying to decide which bits of the OWoD mechanics I like and which on the NWoD mechanics I like. The frustrating part is that both systems having things I like and things that really get on my nerves. The trick will be coming to a happy medium between them.... but that's another post for another time.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

WoD Rebuild and After Sundown

I've been reading through a roleplaying game called "After Sundown," which seems to be a World of Darkness "heartbreaker" (god I hate that term, got to come up with a different one...) that also attempts to make WoD concepts with Shadowrun-esque mechanics.

All in all, this is probably not a game I would run. This is, however, a game I would gleefully steal from.

One thing I like about his re-do is that all monsters basically use the same mechanics. The differences between the types of creatures (vampires, lycanthropes, etc.) is what powers they start with. The book has a huge array of powers (called disciplines), and your starting package is pretty much predetermined. The basic capabilities of each creature are handled by their starting powers.

Another element I liked is that all monsters simply have "power", and that is what fuels their various disciplines. The thing that differentiates monsters is how they get power back. (Vampires drink blood, etc.) 

I'm not sure if I'll even finish reading the PDF in its entirety, but this does have my gears-a-turning as to how I could make kind of a generic OWoD game without having to come up with X number of stat sets, where X is the number of character types available for play.

Good stuff

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rebuilding the WoD

Okay, so I've been playing this MUD that is kind of like the WoD. It's simpler and it makes me pine for old-old-old WoD before you had 13 clans and a million bloodlines and anti-tribut and..... you get the idea. By the end of the OWoD, it was getting pretty crowded in there.

I'm thinking I'll use the chassis of the old WoD (d10s, attribute+skill@difficulty) and figure out some way to standardize all the "extra" stats.

In the OWoD, I figured there were a few types of extra stats-
*Fuel Stats- Powered your supernatural powers
*Power Stats-They determined how high up on the supernatural totem pole you were. (Generation, Rank, Arete, etc.)
*Anchor Stats- A morality/sanity type thing, which you wanted to keep from going to zero (Humanity) or you wanted to keep as low as possible (Angst, Paradox)

The OWoD didn't have any symmetry regarding this at all, since each game line was standalone. Werewolves had two Fuel stats (Rage and Gnosis) and three Power stats. (Glory, Honor, Renown) In Orpheus, you could actually tap your anchor stat for extra energy (at the cost of possibly raising it permanently, and it was a bad stat you didn't want to raise)

New World of Darkness tried to standardize this by giving each type of supernatural an Anchor stat that worked the same way (don't let it drop or you gradually become unplayable) and a Power stat that worked the same way (determined you overall power level)

Standardization is cool in that it makes it easier to run multiple types of supers in the same game. On the other hand, taken to an extreme it can become like 4E, where every class feels like it plays the same.

Types of creatures I would want in the game:
Vampires, shapeshifters (were-whatevers), mages, psychically gifted, supernaturally-imbued monster hunters, demons (perhaps just half demons), changelings/fae, projectors (like in Orpheus)

I'm also kind of keen to include some kind of angelic-based character type and to include dragons (reborn in human form) because I really liked the *idea* of the Fireborn rpg, but I wasn't a big fan of the system.

Some deliberate design goals:

-None of that gothy stuff. Over it.
-Horror or Urban Fantasy. Let the GM decide what vibe his game gives off.
-No PC behavior regulated by game mechanics.(Removal of anchor stat?)
-Have a variety of supernatural creatures, but don't overcrowd the world. (Might already be too late, looking at my list above.) Perhaps come up with some whack ass excuse to have them concentrated in certain areas.
-Anchor Stats represent a "devil's deal" kinda thing. I want to model it after Spite in Orpheus.... you can tap it for extra power beyond what you can normally dial, but you may have to accept a temporary or permanent consequence for doing so. I figure this will be my "morality" system, rather than having some stupid ass, arbitrary set of values that determines if you are eeeeeeeeeeeevil or not.

Edit: Since I've started working on this little project, I've come across a "WoD Heartbreaker" and am currently studying it for things to steal
inspiration. Obviously the tone of this game is much lighter, being that it has a "Table of Awesome." I'm going for a lighter tone in that I want this game to be more modern/urban fantasy and not so much GAWTHPUNKZ, but the tone of this particular game is a little too light in some spots. Anyway, it should make for interesting reading.
Yes, my RIFTS-to-AD&D game is still not quite finished. Maybe I'll finish it off over my winter break.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Role Reversal

Tonight I got to switch roles and play in SWN. It's been awhile since I had the chance to experience the game as a player.

Dan ran a game set on one of the worlds in Hydra sector. I ran multiple characters. We got involved in a conspiracy involving the ultra-creepy Shibboleth from the SWN corebook.

I still like running games much more than playing games, I have to admit.

I also gotta say that I don't like running multiple characters. (I've blogged about that before, though) It's weird that as a DM, I can keep track of lots of different NPCs, even when they're all around the players, but when I'm a player, I have serious trouble getting into more than one character.

I did like having to lasso a dinosaur, though. Legit.

I also like mixing Mayan/Central American mythology with science fiction. I like when Dan busted out his map of a huge ziggurat and said "You know what THIS is, right?"

We'll continue the adventure over break, since our regular SWN game will be on hold for the holidays.

I have also received two different requests from other gamer pals to run stuff over the break. I'm going to do my best to accommodate everybody. Plus, you know, gaming is fun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Now I Know My ABCs...and TPKs.

I mentioned this briefly before, but I bought a copy of The Dungeon Alphabet by Michael Curtis....

...from  my LGS.

I guess if you don't know me or live in my town, you might not understand what a complete and utter shock this is. I would have expected to find a live unicorn, a wish-granting monkey's paw, or a copy of Maid on the shelves before I would ever find something that came out of the OSR. My only guess is that he mistook it for one of the 3.5/4e compatible products that Goodman Games put out in relatively recent times. I combed the shelves looking for any DCC rules system modules, but to no avail.

Anyway, Dungeon Alphabet fits in nicely with my recent tendency to use randomly generated stuff to stitch my games together. I'm not going to write a review or anything, but I will say that I found it pretty imaginative without getting into the higher-than-high weirdness of something like Anomalous Subsurface Environment. I'm more likely to use stuff from DA as-is in my game. (Though there is plenty of weirdness in there, don't get me wrong.)

Hopefully I'll start seeing things like People of the Pit or the Emerald Enchanter show up at the LGS. It would certainly make my trips there less of a depressing morass.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


On occasion, I find that disparate elements in a sandbox game come together seemingly of their own volition. Stories and plots rise organically out of a motivated, involved party.

This is why I love my SWN game. Though I only have two players, they take things in directions I don't expect, and this leads to greater things than I have previously thought of.

I like leaving parts of the map blank, literally and conceptually, so this kind of thing can happen.

(Yes, guys, if you are reading this, I am intentionally being vague. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise for next time, right?)

I've also decided to take a page from DCC for this SWN game. Having grown very attached to an ordinary hireling, the PCs wanted to know what they had to do to promote her to a 1st level character. They already pointed out that she's survived captivity by space pirates and other perilous events. I decided that she, being effectively a zero level character, needed to survive an adventure. Turns out that surviving a dog fight with an alien spacecraft that blows your ship halfway to hell counts as surviving an adventure.

I embrace the idea that PCs and NPCs don't play by the same rules. I think this Right and Proper. Trying to fit everyone into the same mold leaves us with absurd crap like 12th level commoners in 3.x. That, however, is another post for another time.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The AD&D 2e Questionnaire

 ...or, "If You Think AD&D 2nd Edition Sucked, It's Your Fault For Not Filling This Out."

I thought I'd post some of the questions on the AD&D 2nd edition questionnaire I accidentally came into possession of over the weekend. You could white out the title of the document and it could almost be titled "Stuff OSR People Blog About."

Rather than post the entire questionnaire, (it's over 120 questions) I thought I'd just post some of the talking points that get floated around here every so often. It looks like these were things people wanted to change back in the day, but were either in the minority or were overruled by TSR.

(These questions ask the reader to rate them from 1= strongly disagree to 5= strongly agree)
22. Add special rules to make each weapon different
23. Drop some of the obscure pole arms
24. Cut longsword damage vs. large opponents 
40. The value of money should be changed so copper is worth something
41. The value of money should be converted to a decimal system to simplify math
42. The gold standard should be changed to a silver standard.
43. The "boom town" economy should be changed to something that works for a stable kingdom.
44. More ideas on how to take money out of the campaign should be added to this section.
45. Rules for incorporating gunpowder should be added
46. Rules for incorporating SF/high-tech should be added.
47. System crossover rules are needed for other TSR rule sets (TOP SECRET game, GAMMA WORLD game and others)
48. Any rule that gives an automatic adverse result should be revised to give at least a small chance of success. One that gives and automatic favorable result should be revised to give a small chance of failue. 
 50. Character classes are too restrictive and contrived. They should be replaced with a proficiencies that allow you to choose the abilities you want your character to have.
51. I hardly ever look at the rules while I'm running a game. I make things up according to what I think is right instead of following the rules.
52. Characters should be generated by rolling 3 dice with no re-rolls. Any other method creates super characters.
53. There should be character classes for every profession, PC and NPC, since this is the only way to measure character abilities.
55. The combat system needs a lot more detail: critical hits, exact hit location, shock, knockdown, and more special rules to make each weapon different.
56. Peopl who enjoy playing a Monty Hall campaign or have characters of 50+ levels dont' understand what the AD&D game is about.
57. The AD&D game is too confusing. There are too many different tables and systems. They should all be resolved by a single table to resolve everything.
58. Player characters need better reasons to do things than just killing monsters and getting treasure.
59. Alignments are stupid and without redeeming features. They should be removed from the game.
60. Too many people forget that the idea of playing the AD&D game is to have fun. They become too involved in their characters and the rules.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. There are questions on how long combat should take, how long character creation should take, how long you should have to play before you reach 9th level, how experience should be doled out, spell points vs. Vancian, etc.

The apparent moral of this story is that we spend a lot of time bitching about stuff that we still bitched about in the 80's. (Well, I didn't then because I was like five in the 80's and D&D was just another Saturday morning cartoon to be enjoyed over a bowl of sugary breakfast cereal.) 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My SWN Toybox Pt. 1

Here is some slightly customized gear in my SWN game world. I'm not 100% on the costs yet, and cost tends to vary greatly in my milieu anyway.

Dan, one of my players, also game up with some gear for the game. I have a few more items as well that I'll drop into a second post.

Qotah Ceremonial Armor Cost: 300 cr    AC: 7   Enc. 0 TL 4
The warriors of the Qotah craft a form of light, flexible, attractive looking armor. This armor stands up to high-teach weaponry and does not encumber the user at all. (It should never cause any penalties to an Athletics or Stealth roll, for instance) In addition, it's bright colors and intricate patterns mean that some cultures don't even recognize it as armor, thus allowing Qotah to sometimes wear it where armor is normally not permitted.

In my game, Qotah are allowed to start with this armor for free. The price is listed in case a replacement suit needs to be obtained. The armor is hard to find outside of Qotah space, as they generally do not sell it to outsiders. The armor is tailored for Qotah physiology and cannot generally be worn by other species, unless they have some kind of shapeshifting ability or have a physiology very similar to the Qotah.

GMs, bear in mind that the Qotah receive +1 to their Dexterity bonus, meaning the average Qotah warrior will actually be AC 6 when wearing this armor.

Hochog Heavy Battle Armor Cost: 1,000 cr  AC: 3  Enc. 2/3 TL 4
This armor looks a lot like low-tech metal plate armor, only it tends to be dull gray, green, black, or some patterned combination of the three. The armor is actually made up of modern polymers and advanced carbonites, thus granting the wearer full protection against high-tech weaponry.

This armor is bulky, designed with the hochog frame in mind. The armor counts as three encumbrance when worn by non-hochog. A forgiving GM might rule that a big burly alien of another species might be able to wear the armor without penalty.

Despite the name, there doesn't appear to be a hochog light battle armor. Most hochog who are asked about light armor laugh like you made a joke or were being sarcastic.

Advanced Shield Cost: 100 cr  AC: (-1) Enc. 1 TL 4+
This device is a small bracer worn on the forearm. When activated, a telescoping disc of advanced materials spirals out of a raised cylinder on the bracer, forming a shield. This shield lowers the AC of the user by 1 and is effective against high-tech materials.
When the shield is active, the user cannot use a two-handed weapon without foregoing the AC bonus for a full round. At the GM's discretion, an active shield might also get in the way of a task that requires fine manipulation with that hand. 

The "plus" version of this item does not create a metal disc, but rather a disc of barely-visible force that lights up when struck by an attack. This version of the advanced shield is much more compact and often overlooked as armor, but it requires a Type A power cell for every 24 hours of operation. (GMs who don't feel like keeping track can just make the PC recharge it every week.) This version is technically TL5, but it is relatively simple and has become so widespread that it can be purchased on many TL4 worlds.

Hochog "Liquid CouRage" Combat Drug Cost: 150 cr per dose   Enc. 3 vials= 1  TL: 4
Part steroid, part painkiller, and all bad news, this is a cocktail used by some hochog in battle. The drug must be applied via syringe or autoinjector. It lasts for 2d6 rounds. While drugged, the user has +2d4 bonus hit points, +1 to hit in melee combat, +1 to all damage rolls, and +2 to any saving throw vs. Physical Effect or Mental Effect. Non-Player Characters have their Morale increased to 12 while under the influence of this drug. The character also takes 1 System Strain. If the character is at maximum System Strain and injects the drug anyway, he falls helpless with seizures for the duration of the drug's effect instead of gaining any bonuses.
Characters who are on LCR are able to distinguish friend from foe, but they must attack an enemy each round. That means they will fire into melee, run after fleeing enemies, etc. They can choose to disregard fallen opponents. If there are no enemies remaining, the hochog will generally take his aggression out on nearby inanimate objects until the drug runs its course.
After the duration of the drug ends, the character will get "the shakes," suffering -1 on attack rolls and skill checks for 1 hour. The character must also make a Physical Effect save or get hooked on the drug. The saving throw has a +4 bonus, -1 for every dose the character has taken in the past week. Non-hochog likewise suffer an additional -2 to the save.
A biopsionic can use Purge Toxin to end the drug's effect early. Unwilling subjects must be struck in hand-to-hand combat. The user still experiences "the shakes" and also suffers an extra System Strain (beyond what the power normally inflicts) as the drug is violently expelled from his system.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Quick Thought About Randomness in Preparing and Running Games

Of late, I've found that I very much enjoy preparing my games using various randomizing tools. Maps, monsters, gimmicks, whatever. For some reason, my brain isn't coming up with much on it's own, but give me some random data points and suddenly the ideas are pouring out. I'm sure some would think it means I've become a lazy DM. I find that my stuff is refreshingly out of character for me as a DM. Forcing myself to bridge a gap between two (or more) seemingly incompatible results is keeping me on my mental toes, certainly more so than taking everything to a "logical" conclusion. Making myself build concepts from random generation makes my SWN milieu feel like a universe with many unique places and cultures, rather than a bunch of stuff that was all thought up by the same guy.

If this all makes me lazy, then so be it...some of my favorite things in this campagin (and things I can't wait to use) were inspired by random data points.

Monday, December 3, 2012

SWN Session Prep

Tomorrow's session is pretty straightforward: The PCs were hired by a corporation to sterilize a compromised bio-tech research lab and to retrieve the data core from said lab.

Helping me to create this "Lil' Lab of Horrors":

-The sci-fi map generator from the Wizardawn website
-My dusty but serviceable copy of "The Random Esoteric Creature Generator."
-My vague high school memories of the "Bio-Research Lab" dungeon from SaGa Frontier. (a PS1 game)


ASE Lv. 2 and 3

ASE 2-3 might be just a little too gonzo for me to use it out of the box. That doesn't mean that I won't steal from it liberally, though.

I think my favorite thing is the Scientist character class. I think the class is really more of a Cyborg than a Scientist, but some of the lore-type abilities might combine nicely with the Techno-Rat class from Sword+1's "Resistance" B/X hack. It also gives me an idea on how I might revise the Headhunter and implement the Combat Cyborg in my RIFTS-to-AD&D conversion that sits mostly finished on my hard drive.

If there's one thing that I truly take away from ASE, though, it's the variety of stuff in the rooms. There really is never a dull moment in ASE. I would totally play in an ASE game, but I'm not sure if I would ever run one.

....well, except at a convention, maybe... or a "we want to play but don't have enough people" type of thing.

I still think it's money well spent, though. There's a lot to observe about dungeon design and making rooms memorable.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I discovered Champions in 8th grade. (Er... the summer before 8th grade I think) It was in its 4th edition back then. I had already been gaming for several years. I ended up really hating the way the system ran and gave the book to my best friend, who ran it sporadically throughout high school. I loved/hated those games. We did end up creating a pretty solid continuity in our superhero world. (The city of Megalopolis) Taking heavy doses of inspiration from the X-men cartoon from the early 90's, the Spider-Man cartoon from the mid-90's, and whatever shit we happened to be interested in that week, our heroes battled a bunch of insane villains with really shortsighted plans. I present to you the good and bad guys spawned by our 14-16 year old minds:

The Good Guys (?) 

Nightcloak- A naked ripoff of the good guy from the computer game Noctropolis, only with invisibility thrown in and a ludicrously high DEX score. I am sorry to say this was my character.

Darkblade- He had liquid darkness for armor. He was like, but not exactly like, the Guyver. Brutally killed off when his player moved away.

Jade- Take the Punisher, make him a girl, give her a green suit instead of a black suit. Managed to convince the other heroes that their "don't kill the villains" policy was misguided. Showed up like twice.

Arcanus- My second character who only ran in solo games. He was basiclly a D&D wizard. He made potions and had psychic powers and lived in a stone tower outside the city.

Black Dragon- Was a white guy who was a ninja. He seemed unable to do any significant damage for some reason. Player decided he hated Champions and stopped showing up. 

The NPC Good Guys Who Were Really Just Liabilities and DNPCS We Got No Points For:

Prism- She could create rainbow force fields. Yup. Mostly just hid behind them, too.

Mezmer- know, I really can't remember. He had US Army bodyguards (who were useless), some kind of mental powers, and he got captured a lot. Despite us hating him, we found that we were often railroaded into rescuing him.

The Bad Guys

The Jokester- He was the Joker, only with superhuman strength and futuristic body armor.

Golem- Clayface, only with...wait, no. Clayface. He has the distinction of being the only villain to ever die.

Inferno- A guy with fire powers who was apparently mentally retarded. Psychically liked to...

Glacier- Inferno's brother, a guy with ice powers. Also apparently mentally retarded. Together, they could fuse into...

Antipode X- Aside from being named after a spell from the video game Chrono Trigger, AX was pretty badass. He had fire and ice powers. Stopped showing up after Jade blew him in half with a rocket launcher whose flame rounds nearly killed Glacier, who was unfairly saved at the last second by....

Wonder Man- Superman, only evil. He had the ability to buy airtime and run anti-hero propaganda commercials. He was loved by the populace of Megalopolis, despite being a total douche and regularly causing fatalities among its citizenry.

Quiver- The Green Arrow, but British. An evil corporation had his sister captive, so he had to be evil. He rejected offers of our team to attempt to rescue his sister. His leather armor also saved him from a thirty story fall one time.

Samurai- He was a Samurai. He ended every sentence directed at someone else with "Dishonorable Cur." His sword also just did normal damage, rather than killing damage, so usually it just knocked you out. Was actually pretty dishonorable whenever combat was going against him. Infuriated if dishonorable behavior was pointed out.

Meander- He could shoot an "unluck" beam at you, which basically meant that all your own die rolls somehow fucked you over for the next several turns.

Crusher- He had one arm and a huge psychic attack. His name was NOT short for "Mind Crusher."

Arch-Lich- Undead. Uh, I think he had magic. The only power I know he had was the ability to brew up some mind control salsa to hypnotize the patronage of a local, family owned Mexican eatery so his supervillain team could rob it. No shit.

The Druid- Was a Forgotten Realms druid. He was an eco-terrorist, but operated on a pretty small scale. (Like, the local lumberyard)

Hot Elf Chick- Not actually her name, surprisingly enough. She was named after some elf chick in some Forgotten Realms novel. She shot arrows. I think we knocked her out in one hit. She helped the Druid shut down a local lumberyard.

Ninjas- Ninjas showed up a lot. They had bows, but also laser rifles and an armored hovercraft with a mounted laser cannon on it. I don't remember what the ninjas ever wanted. I think they stole some computer stuff once.

Necromancer- The arch-enemy of Arcanus, and really the only bad guy Arcanus ever fought. He never seemed to show up in any of the group stories. He invested all his power in magic items of a thoroughly non-necromantic nature, most of which were eventually stolen by Arcanus, creating balance problems and relegating Arcanus forever to his own continuity.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

SWN Campaign: Who is the Emperor of Galaran?

In my SWN milieu, war is brewing in Ceres Sector. The ruler of the planet Galaran has crowned himself Emperor and annexed several nearby planets with the might of his Pre-Tech space fleet. He has now turned his sights on the rest of Ceres Sector.

Relatively little is known about this mysterious Emperor of Galaran, but he has become the subject of much worried speculation. Character inquiry into the Emperor will require a Culture/Spacer, Culture/Criminal, or Culture/Traveler roll, depending on where you are. If the characters are on one of the Four Worlds (a faction that opposes Galaran), the roll is at +2. If they are on one of the worlds that have been subjugated by Galaran, the roll is at -2, and failing it by more than 3 will prompt attention of the local authorities within 1d6 hours.

If the roll is successful, the PCs can make a second roll to see what piece of information they glean about the enigmatic Emperor of Galaran:

1. The Emperor adheres to some ancient mystical religion. Some say he has psionic powers such as telekinesis and the ability to throw lightning from his hands.
2. The Emperor is actually one of the original Mandarins, kept alive all these centuries by Pre-Tech nanites.
3. The Emperor is a withered husk, kept alive by a machine that can only sustain him if it is fed copious psychics.
4. The Emperor is actually a massive ancient computer.
5. The Emperor is a foppish figurehead, and the aggressive expansion of Galaran is plotted by a sinister conspiracy.
6. The Emperor is a feral psychic who has the ability to completely dominate the minds around him due to an ancient and powerful Mandate discipline he has mastered.
7. The Emperor strides around naked. Anyone who points this out is executed.
8. It is an Empress, not an Emperor.
9. The Emperor was an ordinary noble until he was corrupted by a horrible alien artifact.
10. The real Emperor was a benevolent and kind man. He was clearly assassinated and replaced by an evil shape-shifting Solphir.
11. The Emperor is secretly trying to unite Ceres Sector against a horrific alien menace of incomprehensible power. If he doesn't succeed, all sentient life will be surely destroyed.
12. The Emperor is just a man with delusions of grandeur.
13. The Emperor drinks human blood.
14. The Emperor drinks alien blood. (Or the closest equivalent)
15. The Emperor is merciless.
16. The Emperor survives by having his brain patters transferred to a new body every century. His most recent transplant was partially unsuccessful, making this incarnation recklessly aggressive compared to its more calculating predecessors.
17. The Emperor fell in love with a beautiful Queen from another planet. He has started this war in order to take possession of her. (Which planet she is on varies widely and should be determined more or less randomly)
18. The Emperor is an AI Godmind whose interstellar war is a front for some other, likely baleful, agenda.
19. The Emperor is long dead. Galaran was a peaceful planet. The invading fleets look nothing like Galaranian ships and its soldiers remain obscured behind enclosed helmets. All footage of the Emperor looks like it is from several decades ago. There is some kind of invasion going on, but Galaran is clearly not behind it.
20. The Emperor is dying,and he simply wishes to take as many people and planets with him as possible before he goes.