Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bowing Out

I have decided to lay this blog to rest.

Looking back over my posts, it has been a long time since I have posted anything of any worth. I hit a new low recently by simply posting about my characters.

I will leave this blog and it's seven years worth of scribblings here, if only to check in on my blog roll from time to time.

I have created a new blog over at Wordpress, but I will not be posting anything there until there is something worth posting. The address is  (named after an unused mini-dungeon in my abortive Persian-flavored 5e game)

Fare thee well, fellow gamers.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Gil the Healer

I returned to Steven's Thursday night game, which I have played in on and off since 2012. Right now we're playing RIFTS. I rolled up a Mystic, since our party is lacking in any magic and in most psi. We have a Cyber-Knight, a Wilderness Scout, a Rogue Scholar, and a Tattooed Warrior... all relatively low on the RIFTS totem pole.

Gil, my PC, is a refugee of the Coalition-Tolkeen War. He took to the roads after his village was destroyed in the crossfire of one of the battles. His sense of intuition carried him north, where he came upon a farm where the PCs are currently staying.

I spent most of the session making my character, as Palladium character creation is clunky. I did get to save an injured person from gangrene, which was kind of fun.

So far I'm playing Gil as a quiet, reserved thinking, very direct in speech to the point of being taciturn. He is so far unconcerned with money and offers his services in exchange for board.

This character is decidedly different from Big Billy Gruff and from my devious Warlock in my colleague's 5e game (which runs tomorrow.)

This RIFTS game is pretty rp heavy and there seems to be an impetus on exploring and problem solving rather than mini-nuclear wars with MD weapons. Very nice. It's good to be playing RIFTS again.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

William G. Gruff

I was invited to play in a Saturday night campaign of OneDice Urban Fantasy, set in the universe of The Wolf Among Us, which itself is based on Fables. Basically, characters from fairy tales and myths live in a hidden society in New York. The campaign is set after the events of The Wolf Among Us, with the PCs being deputized by Bigby Wolf (yes, the Big Bad Wolf, Sheriff of Fabletown) to investigate crimes while he recovers from injuries. There are three players and we elected to create our own original characters. Well, original in the sense that they do not appear in TWUA or Fables, but not original in that they have to be characters from fairy tales, nursery rhymes, etc. 

Our party consists of: 

William G. Gruff, aka "Big Billy" - the eldest of the Gruff brothers, Big Billy is a massive goat the size of a horse in his true form. While glamoured, he appears to be a biker guy in his mid-40's with an impressive goatee (see what I did?) and a bad attitude. He's constantly bailing his two younger brothers out of trouble. He hates trolls, and the feeling is mutual. 

Deanna "Dee" Woodson- The huntsman from Snow White's tale, she's sour at having been misgendered for centuries. She dresses all in black and is quick and deadly. She's the only character of the three who doesn't require a glamour. 

Bellina- Known in olden times as Thumbellina, Bellina is a hippy with powers of invisibility and fae magic. She is the stereotypical "dirty hippy," right down to placing little importance on personal hygiene. In her true form, Thumbellina is a tiny fairy. 

Our GM is new to the role, but she did a pretty good job. Our session was relatively short and heavy on investigation, much like TWAU is primarily focused around investigation. Unfortunately, nobody in the party has Investigation as a skill and only one PC put any points in Notice, so we'll be spending a lot of Stunt Points on those kinds of rolls, methinks. 

My character sheet: 

William G. Gruff aka "Big Billy" 
Strong 4   Clever 1  Quick 2   Magic 1
Health: 12  Defense: 12  Armor: 0 Magic Defense: 3   Movement: 20
Skills: Bruiser 2, Dodgy 2, Drive 1, Intimidate 1, Occult Lore 1 * 
Supernatural Abilities: Speak With Animals, Stronger
Weaknesses: None 
Equipment: Beat-up but tough chopper, leather jacket 

*The GM has given every character 1 free point in Occult Lore to represent the Fables being generally familiar with one another's stories and exploits from back home. 

This campaign looks to be a lot of fun.

In other news, I have rejoined my old Thursday group, the one that I used to play RIFTS and Beyond the Supernatural with. Currently they're playing a RIFTS game, so I'll be rolling up a character for this week. I'm thinking Juicer, because why the hell not? 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Saturation, again.

There comes a time when every OSR gamer asks themselves, "How many different highly nuanced/idiosyncratic reiterations of D&D do I really need?" In that regard, I think I am going to make a real endeavor for Seven Voyages of Zylarthen to be my last one. This has nothing to do with the content of Zylarthen, but between it and.... let's see... Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, Swords & Wizardry (Complete and White Box), Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Ruins & Ronin, Beyond the Wall, Mazes & Perils, and probably a couple I'm forgetting.

Now, we'll see how much resolve I can actually muster to stick to it. My new job and new responsibilities might actually help me curtail my collector's tendencies, since I won't really have time to do much but run one game at a time.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Places of Supernatural San Francisco

Below are some locations important to the supernatural side of San Fran. These are all locations that the PCs visited during the course of their investigations, listed roughly in order that they visited. I skipped places they went that are totally mundane. I took pretty much full license with the geography of the real life city, so some of these places aren't even based remotely on the real world.

The Old Metropole- A condemned theatre used by the Shadow Council as a meeting place or staging ground. Although condemned, the building is perfectly sound, and the actual paperwork to get the place demolished constantly disappears, gets misfiled, or the money to demolish it is taken and reallocated to higher priority city projects.

The Goblin Market- Most towns with a supernatural population have a Goblin Market, the place where supernatural merchants deal in otherworldly wares and services. The Goblin Market is on the Road (the midway point between our world and and other dimensions, detailed on my blog a month or so ago...comparable to the Near Umbra in White Wolf or the Twilight/Gloom in the Nightwatch series), though it's location roughly corresponds to North Beach, near all of the mundane flea markets. The PCs visited this place to find the Juiceman and ended up buying a magic maul, the Hammer of the North, from the minotaur.

Sultana's- Located South of Market, Sultana's is a Middle Eastern themed cafe and hookah bar. (Operating that section as a private club) Sultana's is a gathering place for the shi'irs of San Francisco, as well as supernaturals of Middle Eastern decent. There is a special meeting room that exists only on the Road where patrons can conduct magical business or talk shop.

Saint Cecelia's Hospital- This hospital has a special wing, maintained by the Shadow Council, for the convalescence of supernaturals. The ward employs many glamours, illusions, and wards. Many of the nurses and doctors in this ward are mundanes who are aware of the supernatural world.

The Kettle Black- A store that sells custom wrought iron goods, both decorative and functional. The proprietor is Maureen Dubois, an Artificer specializing in iron goods. Fae-Blooded tend to be uncomfortable in her shop, but her skills are sought after by a wide variety of patrons. Maureen is licensed with the Shadow Council and operates all over her business above board with them.

Never Ends Well- Located outside of San Francisco on the highway, this dive bar is run by Big Jim Raag and serves as a front for his biker gang's criminal operations. The place is currently undergoing some repairs after a brawl in their backroom VIP club. (A punch-up between the PCs and the Wolfpack while Amir tried to bind Hasan. )

Friday, July 29, 2016

OneDice Urban Fantasy: NPCs of San Francisco

Like many major cities, San Francisco has a secret supernatural community. Many members of said community lead mostly mundane lives, but others are part or even full-time members of the community.

Here are the NPCs who appeared in my KantCon game of OneDice Urban Fantasy: Djinn and Tonics. The PCs who ended up fielding the case were Lisa (Werewolf), Von (Demon-Blooded), Powell (Druid), Teegan (Fae-Blooded), and Cordell (Giant-Kin). I statted them up on the blog back in June.
NPCs are listed roughly in order of their appearance in the game session.

Harlan (??)- The PCs liaison to the Shadow Council. Harlan is one of the oldest non-vampire beings in the supernatural community of San Francisco, though nobody is sure exactly what he is, and even those with the Sight are unable to pin down his lineage.
Appearance: A very-tanned, slightly metro-sexual Joe Biden.

Peter Beaker (Goblin-Kin)- Pete fights on the underground boxing circuit. Like many who make their living in that shadowy world, Pete uses "enhancements" like magic potions.
Appearance: James Biberi (the guy who played Cook the Armenian in Drive) but if he'd had his nose broken one too many times.

Ollie (Selkie-Kin)- Peter's roommate. I wrote stats for him on the blog some time ago, but decided to make him an NPC due to his rather limited utility outside of a water-based adventure. Ollie is a hapless loser, the type of guy who will drink the last beer or try out his roommate's "performance enhancer" potions.
Appearance: Elden Henson (the guy who plays Foggy in the Daredevil TV show), but unshaven and slovenly.

"The Juiceman" aka Juicy James (Fae-Blooded)- A slick middle-man dealing in magic potions, the Juiceman maintains a well-stocked and magically protected tent in SanFran's Goblin Market. While he is a clever businessman and a skilled negotiator, his opportunistic personality sometimes causes a lapse in judgement.
Appearance: A young Scatman Crothers, but not even 1/10th as classy and dressed most tackily.

Kagaz (Minotaur)- Kagaz has to stay on the Road or otherwise out of the mundane world, as he is an actual Minotaur and not simply a human with monstrous ancestry. Kagaz is an old being and spent several centuries as an apprentice to both Giant and Dwarf smiths. He is skilled in forging melee weapons, magical or normal. He lives by a strict honor code and always repays his debts.
Appearance: The minotaur illustration from the AD&D 2nd edition Monster Manual.

Amir Mohammad (Shi'ir)- A young and ambitious sorcerer, Amir got deep in debt with local biker gang leader Big Jim Raagi and was extorted into handing over his bound djinni to them. After the scenario settled, the PCs convinced the Shadow Council to go easy on Amir. As a result, they placed a curse on him preventing him from using magic for one year and one day, followed by a two year probationary period.
Appearance: Comedian Dah Ahdoot, but with more facial hair.

Arash Mohammad (Shi'ir)- Amir's uncle. A businessman and sorcerer. He is deeply embarrassed by his nephew's incompetence, though he tries to help the lad out whenever he can.
Appearance: Parviz Parastui (you'll probably have to Google him, which is how I found him) in a business suit.

The Shi'ir of San Francisco (Shi'irs)- Two or three other shi'irs who are associates of Omar. While they try to help Amir as well, they have far less patience for him than his uncle does.
Appearance: A bunch of middle-aged or slightly later Middle Eastern guys in suits.

Maureen Dubois (Artificer)- Maureen is one of the best artificers in San Francisco, specializing in cold iron objects. While she prefers to work with iron, she can get her hands on various other artificed items at the request of her customers. Unlike a lot of supernatural merchants, she does not maintain a shop within the Goblin Market. She has a store called The Kettle Black that also sells high quality mundane objects of wrought iron.
Appearance: Susan Sarandon as a strawberry blonde in hippy skirts.

Swedish Fredrik (Technomancer)- A friend of Lisa's (one of the PCs) who is one of the few mages able to fuse technology with magic. Fredrik is essentially a high-tech diviner, able to assemble an electronic data trail on someone within minutes. Despite being the only person named Fredrik that Lisa knows, she still insists on calling him Swedish Fredrik. Swedish Fredrik also didn't physically appear in the game session; he communicated to Lisa through texts, a phone call, and a shared Vine video.
Appearance: He looks like my dorm RA my third year of college. Don't know what that looks like? Doesn't matter because he never actually appeared in person. If you must, imagine Joel Kinnaman (Robocop in the reboot, though I prefer to think of him as Holder from The Killing.) Bleach his hair, shave his face, give him glasses.

The San Joaquin Valley Coven (Witches)- Witches specializing in potions made from more natural and less crazy ingredients, the witches took great offense to what they perceived as Amir's attempt to mess with the magic potion market in SanFran's supernatural community. After the PCs unveiled the situation for what it was, they declared war against Ragg's Wolfpack.
Appearance: For the two who actually showed up in person, Uma Thurman, pre-Medusa reveal, in the film version of The Lightning Thief and Fairuza Balk, but dressed normally.

"Hasan" (Ifrit)- His True Name unknown, Hasan is a fire genie with a mastery of alchemy. He was bound to Amir, who was later strong-armed into transferring his contract to Raag's Wolfpack. With help from the PCs, Amir was able to bind Hasan again, though the Shadow Council insisted that his anchor to this plane be severed an he be banished back to the otherworldly City of Brass.
Appearance: Human scale version of the big red guy on the earlier printing of the AD&D 1st edition Dungeon Masters Guide.

"Big" Jim Raag and Raag's Wolfpack (Werewolves) - Big Jim is the leader of a werewolf biker gang with a history of being involved with prostitution, gun-running, drug smuggling, and extortion. They recently tried to break into the potion market by way of Hasan. The gang is presently regrouping after Big Jim was apprehended by the PCs and handed over to the Shadow Council to be imprisoned pending trial. The pack also lost one member in the fight to Lisa's claws, a fact they have not forgotten. They are also presently the subject of an Ancestral Vengeance conflict declared by the San Joaquin Coven.
Appearance: Dollar store Sons of Anarchy, with Big Jim being dollar store Ron Perlman. Well, until they turn into werewolves...then they just look like werewolves. (Reference the AD&D 2nd edition Monster Manual if you really need to know what a werewolf looks like.)

More Stuff...Just What I Need!

Yesterday I received a batch of like four or five issues of The Tolling of the Great Black Bell! Sadly, I had been at a day camp for the activity that I coach, so I was far too tired to sit down and read. I'll have to digest those sometime this weekend.

I also bought Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition on PDF because it was six bucks.
Will I ever run it? Of course not. My interaction with Vampire is likely to be endless replays of the 2004 Bloodlines computer game. (It's the best Vampire campaign I have ever participated in, player or ST. Yes, I said it and I mean it.) This purchase was born from the powerful combination of nostalgia and an 80% discount. I'd probably buy Mage20 in hard copy someday, but their 25th anniversary year isn't until 2018 I think.

I still harbor a morbid curiosity for the newest iteration of WoD. (I'm not calling it NWoD anymore, because it came out in 2004...) For the time being, however, I have no more room in my life for new and untested games. (Somehow I typed that with a straight face...)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Quickie: OneDice Shadowpunk

So this is pretty much Shadowrun. As I frequently state, I hate Shadowrun's rules. I love Shadowrun's setting. I hereby present OneDice Shadowpunk, an attempt at emulating Shadowrun using OneDice Cyberpunk and OneDice Fantasy. You need both books for this.

Character Creation

There are five attributes in ODSP: Strong, Clever, Quick, Cyber, and Magic. Strong, Clever, and Quick must have at least 1 point in them and have a maximum value of 3 (though these can be raised higher later on.) Cyber and Magic can start between 0 and 3, though a character must have at least 1 point in Cyber to neurally interface with the Net and 1 point in Magic to use spells.

1. Pick a race: human or one of the metahuman types. Note that these write-ups replace their counterparts from OneDice Fantasy. If the GM prefers to use those write-ups, feel free, though they will feel more typical and less Shadowrun.

Human: Distribute 7 attribute points however you wish. Humans also start each game session with 7 Stunt Points rather than 6.

Dwarf: Dwarves have +2 to any roll made to resist the effects of toxins, poisons, or diseases. Dwarves have +3 to Magic Defense, even if their Magic rating is 0.

Elf: Elves can have up to 4 points in Quick. They have +2 to any Negotiation or Persuade rolls due to their beguiling demeanor and the public perception that elves are glamorous.

Orc: Orcs add +3 to their final Health Point score after calculating it. (An orc with Strong 2 would have a base of 6 HP, +3, for a final total of 9.)

Troll: Trolls receive +1 to their Strong score, and are allowed to begin with Strong 4. Trolls have -2 to Negotiation and Persuade rolls because of their appearance, and they must pay double for any clothing or armor because it must be specially made for them.

2. Calculate Health Points, Movement, Defense, and Magical Defense as described in pretty much all of the OneDice books.

3. Distribute skills. This is done exactly as detailed in OneDice Cyberpunk.

4. Pick spells: Characters who have Magic ratings of 1 or higher must decide if they are Mages or Shamans. Characters who have a Magic rating of 0 skip this step.
Mages can pick spells from the Sorcerer and Wizard lists in OneDice Fantasy.
Shamans can pick spells from the Cleric and Druid lists.

5. Get some gear: Do this as per the OneDice Cyberpunk rules. Characters are considered "Outsiders" in the default Shadowrun mode of gameplay. The GM can double the starting funds of the characters if they want beginning characters to access cyberware.

Some rules considerations:
If you want to stick to the Shadowrun idea that cyberware reduces the Essence and magical potential of an individual, simply state that every 2 basic implants reduce a character's Magic score by 1, and every major implant reduces the Magic score by 1. A character who is reduced to 0 Magic can no longer cast spells.

Monday, July 25, 2016

KantCon Report (and also hi, I guess I've been gone for three weeks)

Alright, so I kind of vanished for a few weeks.

I didn't do a lick of work on the WBCP Bestiary, and in fact had all but abandoned it mentally until a player asked if I'd ever run Shadowrun. I certainly would not run Shadowrun (in any of its recent editions, anyway) but I might run a Shadowrun-eque game using some other, for instance, White Box.

(I might also consider OneDice Cyberpunk, adding magic and races from OneDice Fantasy. I might also consider Fudge or Savage Worlds...)


I just got back yesterday from KantCon 2016, my fifth consecutive year of attending that convention.
I posted the games and the characters back in June. Here's the convention in brief:

Stuff I Ran:
*Starships & Spacemen 2e- We had three returning players to S&S and one player who often signs up for my games in general. Full table, barely managed to keep the session within the time frame. The PCs managed to complete the scenario with the best possible outcome. Four NPC redshirts died and one was trapped in a hallucinogenic-addled state.

*Lamentations of the Flame Princess- I ran a slightly modified version of Zzarchov Kowalski's "A Thousand Dead Babies." The PCs ended up wiping out the cult but also bringing the Inquisition down on Carroc and New Smithwald. One PC died. One turned into the new Black Knight. One ended up with the basinet. Bonus: That player later told me he had an unpleasant dream inspired by the session. We had some pacing issues and some faffing about by players who weren't exactly sure what they should be doing. I'd give myself a B as DM on this one.

*OneDice Urban Fantasy- I had an absolute blast with this one, as did the players. I really like the implied setting that I created around the scenario. The PCs managed to resolve it with minimal fallout to the supernatural community. I still have some issues with the math in the OneDice system, but I found that the game ran well enough to have fun with it .

*Ruins & Ronin- My scenario was mediocre and an obstacle I placed ended up stalling out the session in an incredibly aggravating way. The game is pretty much just White Box; the mediocrity of the session was entirely my fault. I think it was a combination of it being the last game I ran (with much of my energy being expended from the rest of the weekend) and the fact that I ended up just not being that excited about it the way I was about other things I ran.

Stuff I Bought:
*Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Characters and Magic book- I found a used hard copy at Tabletop Game and Hobby for twelve bucks. I've long wanted a hard copy of LotFP...I have the book on PDF (purchased when Jim had a ridiculous holiday sale on PDFs about two years ago)

*The Wilderness Alphabet- I loved, loved, love The Dungeon Alphabet. Even though this isn't the same guy, the book looks like a worthy spiritual successor. Good for on-the-fly things to drop into an otherwise boring trip between Point A and Point B, and a damn sight better than just another encounter with stirges or bandits or whatever.

Stuff I Didn't Buy But Bought Later:
*Seven Voyages of Zylarthen- I downloaded these from Lulu some months ago and found myself highly enamored by them. The vendor was selling them for $7 each, but then I got a Lulu coupon for 30% off and it ended up being slightly cheaper. They are in the mail to my house now.

Stuff I Didn't Buy But Kinda Wanted To:

*Guardians, the White Box superhero game. I didn't buy it because I rarely run superhero games and I can't imagine anything supplanting my love for ICONS: Assembled Edition.

*Into the Odd: I almost bought this for the cover alone. (The cover reminds me of three video games I dearly love: Braid, Limbo, and Bastion.) The game seemed really cool, too. I felt like it was maybe worth $10 and not $15. It also seems like the author is doing a ton of modifications to it on his blog, so I wouldn't be surprised to see revised edition sometime in the nearish future, and one that is even more removed mechanically from D&D than this one is.

*Wickedness and Wonder: The leveless magic system looks cool, but I'm not really into paying $20 for this. I might get the PDF for $10 someday. The ideas are very cool, and I'll definitely be reading the author's blog for his various ideas.

I also played some legit board games and painted my first mini in like 24 years. (It looks like utter garbage and I feel like my painting efforts are doomed)

Go forth and game!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Beyond the Wall Again, Etc.

The 55 hour work weeks are over. My goal is to knock out the White Box Cyberpunk Bestiary sometime this week, after which I will consider the rules playable.

Last night I ran another game of Beyond the Wall. We did The Hidden Cult with the playbooks once again. This week we rolled out with the Young Woodsman (actually a Woodswoman), the Self-Taught Mage, and another Witch's Prentice, this one a lad and with a very, very different set of spells and background skills than last week's. (Also a different player)

We rolled up the village of Oxley, plagued by some strange and creepy events. This session was a bit more horror-movie-esque than last week's Brothers Grimm type feeling. Still, the similarities were there. I very much like the feeling and spirit (ha) of Beyond the Wall. I would consider running a campaign. I might look into the other supplements written for the line.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

In Which We Go Beyond the Wall

My steampunk Savage Worlds game didn't run last night due to various things. I did end up running an off-the-cuff session of Beyond the Wall with three players, one of whom was gaming for the first time. We created characters using the playbooks, and the ladies picked the Untested Thief, Would-Be Knight and Witch's Prentice. We created the village and added places and people, with one player delightedly adding illustrated buildings and places to the map as we went.

I used The Angered Fae scenario pack, but I deviated heavily from what I rolled up. One of the elements from the Witch's Prentice's backstory fit really well with the idea of some angered fae, so I ran with that instead, noted a couple of choices/paths in my head, and off we went.

Our three PCs were Bellona (Would-Be Knight), Matilda (Witch's Prentice), and Chad (Untested Thief) The village was plagued for weeks with terrible portents, and finally attacked by the Wild Hunt. The PCs set about investigating, finally figuring out that one of the villagers, Amelia, was pregnant with the child of the local fae lord. While they all personally had grudges against her, Matilda's master (the town's witch) had sworn to protect the woman and her unborn child and wouldn't back down. Rather than cross the old woman, the PCs did some digging, made an uncomfortable deal with the Pukka, killed a Redcap, and managed to work out a Persephone-esque custody deal between the fae lord and the child's mother. The PCs didn't go the easiest route, but they went a pretty solid one. They saved the village. Chad managed to get his hands on an antlered helmet from the fae knights of the Wild Hunt. A good time was had by all.

I thought the pacing and tone of the game were uneven, but the players deflected my self-criticism. I do think that overall the game was good. I'd play this village and this PC set again, or happily roll up a new village.

One thing we all agreed on is that character creation/village creation in Beyond the Wall is fun. I like games where character creation is fun in and of itself. I'd add BtW to the list that includes Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (1st and 2nd editons) and Traveller. (Although that's funny, because usually I hate the way Traveller actually plays out as a game.)

I'm glad I bought a print copy of Beyond the Wall and that I've already had a chance to kick the tires on it. I almost want to run it on Sunday at KantCon, but I'm already running two fantasy games based on D&D mechanics.

7/7 would recommend.

Friday, June 24, 2016


So Mutant Crawl Classics looks cool and Faith looks cool and it makes me with I still had Dungeon Crawl Classics and that I had picked up Mutant Crawl Classics and I also really like the cover of OpenQuest 2nd edition annnnnnnnnnnd adfdfjadljfkaldsj al;sdfjj

Ruins & Ronin PCs for The Devil Rakan

I've generated the PCs for the Ruins  & Ronin game I'll be running at KantCon. Players are free to change the name and gender of their characters.

Here I've represented the four classes detailed in the Ruins & Ronin book (bujin, sohei, shugenja, half-ogre), as well as three classes posted on Mike's blog (kensai, ninja, headhunter), one of his "experimental" classes he posted online for his Deluxe edition plans (gakusho), and a race he posted on his blog as well. (The hengeyokai, though this one advances as a shugenja as well) I had to change a few details about the gakusho to make it fit in better with the White Box mechanics.

I've sorted the characters out so that there are three fighters, three tricky/experty types, and three spell-casters.

Asano Teiji - 4th level Bujin          
Str 14          Hit Points: 15                 Alignment: Lawful
Int 9            Base Hit Bonus: +2        Languages: Imperial
Wis 10       Armor Class: 20
Dex 11      Saving Throw: 13
Con 13      Movement Rate: 6
Cha 8                  

Special Abilities: Chanbara*, Follow-Through, +1 save vs. death/poison

Gear: Katana (1d6/1d6+1), wakazashi (1d6), daikyu w/20 armor-piercing arrows (1d6+2),  o-yori armor, horse, manservant, saddlebags containing 1 week's provisions, cooking utensils

*Chanbara is just a dressed-up name for the fighter's ability to make multiple attacks against 1 HD opponents. That ability isn't present in R&R, but I've given it to this character regardless.

Teiji is the youngest son of a minor samurai noble. He stands to inherit virtually nothing, leaving him with high social standing and expectations but without the means to live such a lifestyle. He ends up taking various assignments from his father's lord, most of which he considers beneath this one.

Asano Nori - 4th level Kensai         
Str 9         Hit Points: 14                    Alignment: Neutral
Int 8         Base Hit Bonus:  +2          Languages: Imperial
Wis 14    Armor Class: 15
Dex 16   Saving Throw: 12
Con 10    Movement Rate: 12
Cha 9                  

Special Abilities: Favored Weapon (Naginata), Life-Saving Parry, Natural Defenses, +1 save vs. death and fear

Gear:Naginata (1d6+2) , tanto (1d6-1),  simple traveler's clothing, backpack, provisions for 1 week,

Background: Nori is Teiji's cousin. She also stands to inherit little, so she instead chose to become one of the "battle maidens," women who choose not to marry and instead study weapon arts as a form of philosophy. Nori has proven a capable fighter and her presence is often a deterrent for peasants who are considering brigandry.

Oki- 4th level Half-Ogre        
Str 15     Hit Points: 16                    Alignment: Lawful
Int 7       Base Hit Bonus:  +2          Languages: Imperial
Wis 9     Armor Class: 15
Dex 12   Saving Throw: 13/8
Con 13   Movement Rate: 12
Cha 8                  

Special Abilities: Iron Constitution, Ogre's Ferociousness

Gear: Flail (1d6+3), custom-fitted armor pieces (do-maru, jingasa, haidate), large sack filled with foodstuffs

Background: Oki-Ono was born to a woman who appeared on the outskirts of the land one night. She died during childbirth. The village was ready to destroy the obviously inhuman child, but Koharu (see below) intervened. The half-ogre was raised to be a loyal and steadfast protector. Although he is a fierce friend and a natural protector of the innocent and helpless, the lord often sends him on missions for intimidation factor.

Payang- 4th level Headhunter       
Str   13       Hit Points: 25                    Alignment: Neutral
Int   12     Base Hit Bonus:  +2          Languages: Lakang, Imperial, one slot open
Wis   8     Armor Class: 12
Dex  13    Saving Throw: 12
Con 15     Movement Rate: 12
Cha  5                 

Special Abilities: Sturdy Constitution, +2 save vs. death and poison, Ambush, Track Outdoors

Gear: yari (1d6), daikyu w/12 frog crotch arrows and 12 hummingbird arrows (1d6+1/1d6-1), blowgun w/10 darts (1 dmg), thick fur hide armor, hide sling bag containing food, jar of numbing poison (5 doses), jar of killing poison (save or 1d6-2 dmg each round)

Background: A warrior from the southern tropics, Payang was captured by slavers and ended up being sold to the local lord. When he saved the lord's life on a hunting trip, he was freed and offered the chance to become a paid retainer.

Koga Yui- 4th level Ninja       
Str   10      Hit Points: 9               Alignment: Neutral
Int    13     Base Hit Bonus:  +1   Languages: Imperial,
Wis  10    Armor Class: 12
Dex  17    Saving Throw: 11
Con 10     Movement Rate: 12
Cha  15                 

Special Abilities: Ninja Abilities, Backstab, Climb Sheer Surfaces, Read Languages, +2 saving throw vs. death or poison

Gear: 6 shuriken (1d6-2), kusari-gama (1d6), tanto (1d6-1),  simple traveler's clothes, backpack containing ninja garb, grapnel, 40 ft silk rope, 10 caltrops, 4 flash powder pellets, flint and steel

Background: The Koga ninja clan hires its services out to various noble houses. Yui is on the payroll of the local lord, and often travels under the guise of a minor bureaucrat or sometimes a traveling herbalist. While her companions may suspect Yui's true profession, most of them are gracious enough not to mention it.

Inugami- 4th level Hengeyokai
Str   10     Hit Points: 8 /4                Alignment: Chaotic
Int    17    Base Hit Bonus:  +0        Languages: Imperial, Oni, Spirit, Elemental
Wis  14   Armor Class: 10/10
Dex  9    Saving Throw: 12
Con 12   Movement Rate: 12/12
Cha  6                 

Special Abilities: Dark Vision, Tracking, Spell Casting, Shapeshifting, +2 saving throws vs. magic

Gear: elegant enchanted clothing, magic tanto +1 (1d6 dmg)

Spells Known:
1st level- Charm Person, Detect Magic, Read Magic, Sleep
2nd level- Detect Chaos, Detect Thoughts, Invisibility I, Web

Background: Inugami has no name. A malevolent dog-spirit created by an onmyouji sorcerer, Inugami was defeated and bound by Airi. He presently serves the local lord, bound under a spell of compulsion.

Koharu- 4th level Sohei
Str   15      Hit Points: 18              Alignment: Lawful
Int    9       Base Hit Bonus:  +1    Languages: Imperial
Wis  15     Armor Class: 15
Dex  8       Saving Throw: 11
Con 15     Movement Rate: 12
Cha  12                 

Special Abilities: Spellcasting, +2 save vs. death and poison, Banish Undead

Gear: Tetsubo (1d6+1), paired jitte (1d6+1), hankyu w/ 15 leaf head arrows (1d6), prayer beads, hanburi helmet, do-maru chest plate, sote arm guards, suneate shin guards, wicker backpack containing food, provisions, ceremonial implements

Background: Koharu was bigger than any boy in the village, but they kept their comments very, very quiet. Unmarriageable, she ended up studying in the temple and becoming a temple soldier. The locals see her as a friend and protector, so she is often sent to handle delicate situations that just might require some violence.

Bawa, Old Man- 4th level Shugenja
Str    7        Hit Points: 9             Alignment: Neutral
Int    14     Base Hit Bonus: +0   Languages: Imperial, Oni, Spirit, Elemental
Wis  10    Armor Class: 10
Dex  11    Saving Throw: 12
Con  9      Movement Rate: 12
Cha  12                 

Special Abilities: Spell Casting, +2 save vs. magic

Gear: Tanto (1d6-2), robes, belt pouches containing dried fruits/nuts, spell ingredients

Spells Known:
1st level- Detect Magic, Hold Portal, Light I, Protection from Chaos I, Read Languages, Read Magic
2nd level- Detect Chaos, Detect Invisibility, Knock, Locate Object, Phantasmal Force

Background: The Old Man has always lived in a hut on the edge of the land. He practices strange magics and auguries, and the villagers are afraid of him. The local lord knows his wisdom, however, and consults him in return for making sure that superstitious peasants leave him alone. For him to actually come out of his hut, however, is a signal that something must be truly wrong.

Airi- 3rd level Gakusho
Str  8      Hit Points: 10          Alignment: Lawful
Int   12   Base Hit Bonus: +0  Languages: Imperial, Oni, Spirit
Wis  14  Armor Class: 10
Dex   11 Saving Throw: 12
Con   11 Movement Rate: 12
Cha  13                 

Special Abilities: Spell Casting, +2 save vs. magic, Banish Spirits

Gear: jo stick (1d6-1), elaborate robes, wicker backpack containing simple rations, ceremonial materials

Background: Airi has always been a shrine priestess, as far back as many can remember. She's remarkably sturdy for an old woman, and her mystical powers are well known to populace. When she leaves her shrine, it's usually a sign that something dark and sinister is afoot or that someone is in need of urgent treatment.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Christian sent me his zine, The Tolling of the Great Black Bell, issues 9 and 10 in the mail last week. I didn't know I was getting two I need to go back and pay him for the second one...

I got my copy of Beyond the Wall, and it is flippin' gorgeous. This is easily one of the most beautiful gaming books I have ever owned.

I got an email notification on my phone at my second job yesterday afternoon about the PDF of the Savage RIFTS Player's Guide being available through their website. Of course, by the time I got home to log in an get it, excessive web traffic had reduced Pinnacle's website to smoking digital ruins. I still can't access the site today. Le sigh. Hopefully I'll be able to get it before too long.

In other news, I have only a single spot left open in my OneDice Urban Fantasy game at KantCon and one in my Ruins & Ronin game. I am strongly considering a 5th game because I have nothing going on Sunday morning. I probably won't do BtW, because I'm already running two D&D-style fantasy games at the con. Maybe I'll just play board games Sunday morning... running four games is already more GMing in a weekend than I've ever done at a KantCon before.

Addendum: I ordered a print copy of Mythras Imperative from Lulu, because the cover speaks to me. (As did the cover of OpenQuest) Also, it was pretty cheap and I found like three different Lulu coupons lurking in my email. Five steps forward, six steps back.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Free RPG Day

So I went to Free RPG Day this last weekend. My LGS sets a limit of three items with no repeats. I also popped in after lunch and I suspect much of the table was plundered. I was in a lazy kind of mood that day and didn't feel like driving to other stores. Here's what I picked up:

Gaming Paper: Seems pretty useful. I have an erasable battle mat for combat- when I feel like using it- but these seem kind of useful for when I don't want to draw out a detailed building. Of course, that limits me to the building configurations included in the sampler. Still, not a bad product.

Faith: A sci-fi rpg that has some kind of playing card-based resolution system. I don't know because they only kind of explain the rules. The tiny little pamphlet is mostly a graphic novel with some lore sidebars and a totally unnecessary comic strip of characters in the game universe playing the roleplaying game, including a subplot about an alien who is on his phone the entire time and not paying attention. Cute, but I'd have maybe preferred more information about the rules. The art is cool and the lore seems cool, but this isn't so much a free rpg or even a set of quickstart rules as it is a teaser trailer on paper. Oh, and the advertised "adventure seed" is this: you're smugglers and you get captured by the evil empire type guys. Ground breaking stuff.
This is a game I'd consider buying, but only as material for my preferred sci-fi rules chassis.

Slugs (with umlaut): So this is a bestiary for LotFP. It has thirty-two variations of giant slugs. So that's what that is. I predict that LotFP's Free RPG Day offerings will forever leave me pining for something the likes of Better Than Any Man. Oh, and only one slug has genitals for a face. This is less than I expected, but of course you have to have one, because apparently you can't be weird without genital monsters.  \m/
I'm also not a huge fan of the cover, which is not the imagine he used to promote the book...I thought that was going to be the cover.

Other stuff I took a look at and very nearly picked up:

*Mutant Crawl Classics- I no longer own Dungeon Crawl Classics (well, the rule book- I own lots of the adventures because I really like them), but if I did I would totally buy this game. As it stands, I will probably buy the adventures to use with Mutant Future. There was also a Lankhmar thing included, but I honestly don't give a flip about Lankhmar.

*The Dark Eye, 5th Edition- Like a no-good ex who you still contact every once in awhile, I picked up and leafed through the second attempt at bringing Das Schwarze Auge to the English-speaking world. I just... no. The artwork is amazing and lush, but I just don't like the mechanics. That whole three-rolls-to-use-a-skill with point pools to modify the dice if any of your three skill rolls fail is just... not for me.

Now, despite my bagging on it a little, Jim Raggi's little bestiary was probably the most useful item I picked up. Although I am stuck comparing everything released after Better Than Any Man unfavorably to that most excellent tome, I will concede that Raggi's produces Free RPG Day things that can be used, and have more utility than quick start rules or a one-shot adventure. He has a little rant in the beginning that calls out most Free RPG Day products being crippleware rules for a $50 core book (I'm paraphrasing since I don't have the thing handy).

And now, back to not working on things I'm supposed to be working on because I am tired and crabby like 85% of my waking hours and will likely be so until the end of next week. (After that, I'll go back to my normal tired-and-crabby percentage of 40%)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Even More OneDice Urban Fantasy Characters

More folks you might find when cruising the supernatural community of San Francisco.

Bimal (Naga-kin)

Strong 1 (0)  Clever 3  Quick 3 (4)   Magic 1
Health: 3  Defense: 6  Magic Defense: 9 (12) Movement: 30 (40)
Skills: Dodgy 1, Computer 2, Language 1 [English],  Negotiation 2, (Perception 1)
Gifts: Quicker, Shapeshifting (snake)
Weaknesses: None
Gear: High-end smart phone, laptop bag containing high-end laptop, clothing barely considered business casual

Background: Bimal Atwal grew up an only child in a strict household. Many things about his life were determined by his parents from an early age, primarily that he would attend college and become a computer software engineer like his father. Unfortunately for his parents, Bimal possessed little desire for hard work; his talents were in faking it, bluffing, and cheating. Bimal sleazed his way through college, taking a middling position in a middling firm where he could coast under the radar while plying his preferred trade: information brokering.  Bimal was caught snooping by the Shadow Council. The next day he found himself sitting in Von's office, facing an interesting dilemma: turn his talents toward the bidding of the Shadow Council, or find himself in trouble with both his mundane job and the supernatural community.

Maureen (Artificer)

Strong 1  Clever 3  Quick 1  Magic 3
Health: 3   Defense: 3  Magic Defense: 9  Movement: 10
Skills: Artificing 2, Business 1, Dodgy 1, Negotiation 2
Gifts: Cleverer, The Sight
Weaknesses: None
Gear: trendy glasses, hipster-chic clothes, handmade shoulder-bag full of simple artificing supplies and Sephora stuff, iPhone 6, bottle of "monster mace" made from silver nitrate and holy water.

Background: Maureen "Moe" Nading was born Cale Nading, the oldest son of a trucker and a medical transcriptionist in small-town Iowa. She moved to Des Moines during her transition to live with her aunt. It was there that she discovered her ability to see the true nature of reality. Her aunt, delighted that Maureen had discovered her natural talents, taught her the basics of creating simple charms and talismans. Moe had a talent for artificing far beyond anything her aunt had ever seen. She was apprenticed to Watts, a dwarf artificer living in the mountains of northern Montana. Life was difficult under his tutelage, and Moe was only too glad to finally strike out on her own. She's since taken up residence in San Francisco and has become a licensed artificer working mostly for the Shadow Council.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Royal Society Events

Updates from my original campaign setup, events both local and global.

Two months have passed, and it is now May of 1888.

*The National Geographic Society begins financing expeditions into mountainous regions of Alaska. In addition, the Society claims that member (and son-in-law of the principle founder) Alexander Graham Bell has developed a sonar device that will allow them to accurately map the ocean floor.

*Rudolph Carl von Steuben vows to destroy the legacy of Charles Babbage, vanishing from the public eye shortly thereafter. Henry Provost Babbage declines any official comment.

*Athens continues rapid modernization, baffling industrialists and economists around the world. Valerois Stais is appointed as a special advisor to the Prime Minster of Greece.

 *War continues in British West Africa. Despite efforts to downplay it, the British are being driven back by the mysterious warlord Makaia. Tabloids accuse the United States or Germany of supplying the African soldiers with modern weaponry.

*Two months ago, the Spring-Heeled Jack was revealed to be a gang of individuals who were being armed by Cedric Blackwell, a disgraced industrialist attempting to finance his illegal weapons manufacturing.

*The Labour Reform Party continues to clash regularly with police and private security forces across the industrial sectors of London. The LRP is torn between members who advocate for reform at any cost and those who urge members to seek nonviolent means of social change.

*The area of London known as "The Bleaks" becomes a hotbed of superstition as people report seeing a ghostly man with no skin lurking in the old factories. He is colloquially called "The Bone Man."

*In the United States, Nikola Tesla demonstrates wireless transmission of electric power at one of his laboratories in Manhattan. Thomas Edison publically denounces it as a "stage magician's parlor trick."

Getting Slugged This Saturday

Free RPG Day is this Saturday. I'm excited for Jim Raggi's advertised free 32 page bestiary.

I hope it hearkens back to the halcyon days of Free RPG Day products like Better Than Any Man.

I f'n love BTAM. It's one of the best gaming products on my shelf.

Although, unless I missed a crucial illustration in the ongoing implied story of the Flame Princess and her pals, she's looking awfully....intact... on the cover. LotFP fans will surely understand what I'm talking about. It's also quite likely that I have missed something, as I felt kind of soured on the whole line after Skull Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children.

But with a name like Slugs, with an umlaut, I feel like we're getting back to the kind of stuff I dig on.

My play is to drop by the local game store bright and early to snag a copy.

...funny, I can't even remember what I got for FRPG Day last year...must've been underwhelming.

Campaign Idea: Abyss

So there's this board game, Abyss. It's not always my cup of tea on a given evening, it does have a very unusual and interesting setting, not to mention some badass artwork.

I think it would be a dandy setting for one of your heavy narrative games like Fate.

Just a thought. (These days I'm more about quick thoughts than actual blog entries... this will likely change in July)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Blank Stare

Pretty much not working on the bestiary until I'm no longer working 11 hours a day Monday through Friday. Luckily, this grind ends on June 28th. Right now my routine is get up, go to work, go home, shovel food into my mouth, play video games/, go to bed. Sure, there are variations, but that's pretty much my day to day.

I will jump in with this, though:

I ran into John, the GM of the Engines & Empires game I played in last year. (And I may have mentioned this five or six times, but he's also the author of E&E.) He's currently running Beyond the Wall, and from his description alone I downloaded it (and ordered a print copy because it's got a beautiful cover and very evocative art)




The magic system is very much something I've been hoping for to replace the Vancian system. The flavor is one that I've wanted to try out for some time. Though I haven't quite finished reading it, it encroaches on LotF for my favorite OSR rule set variation.

Meanwhile, my Thousand Dead Babies and Ruins & Ronin games have picked up a player each, leaving only one space in each game. There aren't a lot of events going on Sunday, so I'm considering running a fifth game.

And now, back to my Sisyphean grind.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Grind is Real

I'm going to be straight with you: I haven't written so much as one word for the White Box Cyberpunk Bestiary. I'm working two summer jobs and running my Savage Worlds campaign and I just haven't found the motivation. I will, though... I didn't spend all that time and energy on the classes, task resolution, equipment, etc just to give up now.

A tiny voice in the back of my head is telling me that I should cancel my trip to KantCon and use the money I was going to spend on hotel, food, and gas for more responsible things that need done.

...there's a slightly bigger voice, though, that tells me to flip the bird to the tiny voice, and also to sign up for a beginning miniatures painting seminar AND to run a 5th game, since the offerings still seem kind of light. It also tells me that both presidential candidates are shapeshifting aliens. (Haha, just kidding NSA spy dudes...trying to brighten your day)

On the real, though, I'm leaning towards indulging my id and doing what is essentially the only fun thing I'm going to get to do this summer. Gutter covers can wait another season.

If you happen to be going to KantCon in July, I have one or two spaces open in each of the games I'm running, except for Starships & Spacemen 2nd edition. (That always turns out to be my most popular game)

Stuff I'm running at KantCon, recap:

You Never Get a Second Chance... (Starships & Spacemen, 2nd edition) - Captain Valdez and the crew of the CSS Armiger must search for a first contact party that went missing on a new planet. Can they save the missing party and salvage relations between the Confederation and a new species? This session is actually full as of now.

The Goat, the Bassinet, and the Dark, Dark Woods (Lamentations of the Flame Princess) - This is actually the Zzarchov Kowolski module "A Thousand Dead Babies," but I was asked to consider running it under a different name because the convention is family friendly. (I still slapped an 18+ age minimum on it and mentioned that it is potentially disturbing) I'm sure there are people who would pooh-pooh my decision to abide by their request, but those people can eat some of these. I'm also using LotFP as the rule set even though I don't think it was expressly written for it. Two spots open!

Djinn and Tonics (OneDice Urban Fantasy) - The characters work for the Shadow Council of San Francisco, essentially the police force of the supernatural community. (Think Dylan Dog or Night Watch) A mysterious, unsanctioned alchemist is peddling dangerous and unpredictable potions. The Shadow Council has dispatched the PCs to find out who this alchemist is and put him out of business. One space left.

The Devil Rakan (Ruins & Ronin) - When a remote village failed to pay taxes, the local lord sent a group of tax collectors. Only one returned, bearing horrific injuries and babbling about devils before dying. Now the lord has sent a special team of troubleshooters- monks, mystics, and samurai - to figure out what's happening and put a stop to it. Oh, and about those taxes... room for two more players.

I'm also playing in a session of All Flesh Must Be Eaten and Dungeon Crawl Classics.

My plate might be too full already, but my Sunday morning is completely empty. I've also noticed surprisingly little FATE on the docket this year... usually there are a couple of games that I invariably fail to get into. I honestly would just like to see how the game plays in real life around a real table.

The bestiary will get done when it gets done. I also feel like I need a different name, because most of the antagonist ideas I and others have submitted are not beasts, but men... maybe I should call it the dudetiary. (yuk yuk)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Procrastination and a Treasure Trove

So, I didn't finish the bestiary for White Box Cyberpunk. I'm still working, but end-of-the-school-year and job-switching things took precedence.

On an unrelated note, our school's librarian managed to get his mitts on a box of things being donated to my city's public library system. (He has connections in all layers of the unseemly library underworld) He rescued some things the library had planned to chuck, and he gave them to me. This treasure trove includes:

*A copy of the AD&D 1st edition PHB (demon idol cover.) Granted, I already have four other copies (including two other demon idol cover prints), another is always welcome. If I ever get another AD&D 1st edition campaign running, I'll probably have enough PHBs for everyone at the table to have one.

*The AD&D 1st edition DM Screen...well, half of it. I got the panel with the PHB demon idol on one side and an armored spear-wielding guy facing down a dragon on the other.

*Modules G1, G2, and G3! (The "Against the Giants" trilogy)

*Modules A1 and A3 from the "Slavers" series.

*Module T1, "The Village of Hommlet"

*Module S2, "White Plume Mountain"

*Module S3, "Expedition to the Barrier Peaks" (Which I have a copy of already, but no matter)

*The World of Greyhawk (Folder containing two maps and the gazetteer"

*A copy of blue cover Holmes Basic (which I have wanted for quite awhile now)

*Good ol' B2, "Keep on the Borderlands", which I already own.

*B4, "The Lost City"

*Finally, a curious little game called "Demons: The Game of Evil Spirits", a small pamphlet of a thing published by a company called Simulations Publications, Inc in 1979. It appears to be a rule book separated from any playing pieces or board that might be required. Still, it might be worth a look through to get ideas for the various alternate magic systems that tumble incomplete through my head.

My Savage Worlds game continues this Friday, with the party finally poised to track the Spring Heeled Jacks to their final hiding place and end their menace once and for all.

As an aside, I suppose I can understand the library's decision not to carry old ass D&D stuff, although I don't think the library carries any D&D books anymore. This was not the case in the early 90's... hell, that's where I first read through a lot of the old AD&D books... I used to check out the DMG, Oriental Adventures, and Holmes' "Fantasy Role-Playing Games" regularly during my youth... and more than one or two of my old second-hand AD&D books have public library stamps on them from days of yore. Unfortunate.

One last personal note- it seems that the Engines & Empires game I used to play on Sundays (with the author of E&E, no less) is winding down. I have been given an open invitation to the next campaign that he starts and I may very well take that up, depending on how my summer begins to unfold. I learned that my character, Henrik Iverssen, has been living in the dwarf castle where I left him for three game years and is apparently kind of a big deal there. He's also (possibly) married to a gnome alchemist he used to work with back when I was an active participant in the game.

This week I will attempt to just sit down and bang out that bestiary. Cheers.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

White Box vs. Black

Last night I downloaded Cyber-Hacked!, a cyberpunk sourcebook for The Black Hack. While not 100% compatible with White Box or my own sensibilities, it gave me a few things to think about:

1. More bestiary ideas
2. Vindicated my very short list of cyberware with its own very short list of fairly similar cyberware
3. Made me rethink hacking, though I'm not quite read to abandon my present neuromancer concept. It suffers from the "hacking as mini-game" problem that Shadowrun and Cyberpunk 2020 suffered from, but on a much smaller scale. It does, however, allow anyone to attempt hacking.

Definitely worth the two bucks to take a look at it.

My goal is to finish the bestiary this weekend, though I must attend a graduation, so we'll see. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

OneDice Urban Fantasy: The Road

Disclaimer: Stolen from several sources.

The Road is a strange space between the mortal world and the various outer realms. The Road is a reflection of the mortal world, but stained by emotions, events, and locations of magic. A place where great violence took place might have ethereal bloodstains, bullet holes, or even phantom corpses long after the original crime scene vanished. A place devastated by economic ruin might appear run down, dilapidated and desolate.

Any supernatural character can step onto the Road by concentrating for a moment and making a TN 3 Magic test. The character can step off the Road with a similar roll. In areas that are magically heavy or mystical in nature, the TN might be lower or even automatic. Similarly, supernatural dead zones might require a higher TN, or the Road may simply be inaccessible ... or perhaps not even exist in that locale.

Creatures on the Road are invisible to mortals. Supernaturals can peer onto the Road with a TN 3 Perception roll (characters with The Sight can do this automatically) While doing so, they see the real world with the Road partially imposed on it, and can see creatures on the Road clearly enough to identify them. However, opening one's perception to the Road allows creatures on the Road to see the observer clearly as well. Ordinarily individuals in the real world appear as blurry, shadowy outlines. No physical interaction is possible between individuals on and off the Road; they will simply pass through one another as if they weren't there.

While the Road exists as the nexus between various realms, modern supernaturals have embraced it as a means to covertly go about their business. Inhuman creatures can hide indefinitely on the Road without drawing attention to themselves. Combat, goblin markets, and all manner of things best not seen my mortal eyes also happen on the Road.

Ordinary electronics do not occur on the Road; cameras, phones, GPS, and the like simply glitch out. However, some shady mortal organizations have developed goggles and similar devices that allow mundane operatives to peer onto the Road. Rumor has it that some of these organizations are working on ammunition that can be fired onto the Road, devices that allow humans to step onto the Road, and even stranger gadgets. 

Fighters, Weapons, and Kicking the Can

Aight, so... I am working on the White Box Cyberpunk Bestiary, but I find i to be as much of a grind as the gear chapter. (Maybe I'm just not suited to put games together)

In the meantime, I read a really good idea about OSR weapon skills over here - and did I mention that TotG&D is one of my favorite blogs? So much good stuff.

I've long been a fan of the Lamentations task resolution system, and this fits in nicely. I would probably use different categories/weapon assignments, but I'm a ditherer by nature.

Yes, I meant ditherer and not tinkerer. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

White Box Cyberpunk Bestiary - First Look

 I am presently writing up stats for my WBCP Bestiary, but I'm having trouble thinking of entries. Here's what I have so far. Most of them are statted out to some degree.

Black Hounds- Genetically modified dogs (or other animals) used as security      
Choppers- Murderous thieves who use specialized tools to rip implants out of people to sell on the black market.

Consumer- Average citizens

CorpSec Guard-  Privately trained security forces loyal to a particular corp.

Cyber-Ninja- Heavily modified and conditioned deniable assets used as assassins and bodyguards. Most are in danger of becoming cyber-zombies.

Cyber-Zombie- Someone with Stage III Cyber-Psychosis. In other words, heavily-cybered berserkers.

Drone, Buzzer- Helicopter-style drones

Drone, Spider - crawling drones.

Ganger- Low HD muscle

Ganger Chief- High HD muscle

Ganger Lieutenant- Medium HD muscle

PrivaCop- Cannon fodder.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I feel like it's a bit sparse, but at the same time there aren't a lot of "monsters" in the cyberpunk world. (Well, there are, but they're monsters of a human sort.) I expect that the bestiary in the Shadowrun-esque material I plan to throw out next will be a bit more beefy.

I plan to publish the stat blocks in the next couple of days, along with any other entries I come up with  or that are suggested to me.

Solo- Elite operatives, specially trained.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

More 1DUF Characters!

Terrance (TJ)
Strong 2  Clever 2  Quick 2 Magic 0
Health:  6  Defense:  6 (9)   Magical Defense: 0   Movement: 20
Skills: Bruiser 1, Driving 1, Investigation 1, Perception 1, Shooting 1, Sneaky 1
Gifts: None
Weaknesses: None
Gear: handgun (dmg 2), clip of sliver-tipped ammo, clip of iron-tipped ammo, wooden stake, leather jacket (+1 armor), concealed vest (+2 armor), silver-lined handcuffs, phone, radio
Background: TJ Grant is a former police officer who discovered the existence of vampires one night when he responded to what he thought was just a mugging. As the vampire was about to dispose of him, he was rescued by Cordell (see previous posts). After being unable to explain the events that occurred in the alley, TJ was placed on administrative leave. He began investigating the supernatural on his own. After uncovering a local gang that was dealing on vampire blood-laced drugs, the Shadow Council recruited him as one of their rare human agents.

Ollie (Selkie-kin)
Strong 2 Clever 2 Quick 1 Magic 1
Health: 6  Defense: 6  Magical Defense: 3  Movement 10
Skills:  Dodgy 1, Negotiate 2, Swimming 3, Survival 1, Trade 1
Gifts: Breathe Underwater, Long-lived
Weaknesses: None
Gear: shabby clothes, surfboard, pocket change
Background: Ollie has always been a beach bum at heart. Unable and unwilling to hold down a regular job, Ollie operates concession stands, hunts for coins with a metal detector, and sells junk.
As a fairly low-profile member of the supernatural community, Ollie is privy to lots of goings on and gossip. While not really an agent of the Shadow Council, they often barter with him for information.

OneDice Urban Fantasy: New Natural Gifts

*Acute Sense- Select one sense from sight, hearing, and smell. The character has that sense at a preternatural level. Characters with acute sight can see twice as far and can see tiny details and textures, acute smell can track prey by sent, acute hearing can hear well above the human spectrum. The character gets a +2 to all Perception/Tracking rolls involving that scent. Werebeasts are assumed to have this gift while in their beast forms.

*Empathic Manipulation- With a Magic vs. Clever check, a character with this gift can instill a given emotion in the target, intensify an emotion the target is already feeling, or dull the intensity of the target's current emotion. The target will not be aware of the source of the manipulation unless they have The Sight or a similar ability. Supernatural beings can resist with Magic instead of Clever.

*Face Stealer- With a TN 3 Magic check, the character can take on the physical appearance of anyone they have personally seen (no pictures) in the last 24 hours. This ability can only mimic specific individuals. The target still perceives the face stealer as they actually appear, but to everyone else, the character appears to be the victim. People who know the individual can see through the disguise with a TN6 notice check. The disguise is merely a psychic trick, not an actual physiological change.

*Glamour- With a TN 3 Magic check, the character can alter their appearance. They can change height by up to 12", hair color, eye color, ethnicity, and build. These changes are illusionary, the character does not change physically. Glamour cannot disguise themselves as a specific individual and any attempt to do so simply comes off as a similarity. Overtly monstrous looking creatures can appear as ordinary humans with this gift.

*Illusions- The character can project illusions within a range of 20.  These illusions can be both visual and aural. The

*Regeneration- The character heals at a much faster rate than others. A character with regeneration heals at triple the normal rate. However, injuries sustained from a Vulnerability still heal at the normal rate. Characters with regeneration must also ingest double the normal amount of food per day.

OneDice Urban Fantasy: Revised New Supernatural Gifts

I don't know why I can't stop messing with this system, but I can't.

First, a revision to my vampire and demon-blooded gifts.

Although matings between demons and humans is almost unheard of in the modern era, the descendants of such pairings often exhibit some of the infernal nature of their fell ancestor. Demonic blood is erratic, skipping generations without any discernible pattern. Select two Demonic Gifts and one Demonic Weakness.

Demonic Gifts

Charm- With a Magic vs. Magic check, the demon-blooded can entrance a target within range 20. For the next 1d6 hours, this individual considers the demon-blooded to be their romantic or sexual ideal. This spell cannot force an individual to change orientation, but in such case they regard the demon-blooded as a dear friend. The charm is broken if the demon-blooded does anything overtly hostile to the target.
Demon Form- The demon-blooded is able to manifest a demonic visage and natural weapons such as horns, a spiked tail, or claws. These inflict damage 3. The demon-blooded also receives +2 to intimidate. Assuming this form requires a TN 3  Magic check, lasts for Magic x 10 minutes and can be done a number of times per day equal to the character's Magic score.
Long-Lived- As the fae ability of the same name.
Nightmare Sending- The demon-blooded can fill the mind of a sleeping or unconscious individual with horrific nightmares. The demon-blooded must be within range 20 and makes a Magic vs. Magic check to affect the individual. Upon waking, the target is not treated as having slept at all and suffers fatigue, giving them -1 to physical tasks and -2 to mental tasks until they get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. This power can only be used on one victim per day.
Sorcery- The demon-blooded can learn Sorcery spells. They cannot use any other types of spells.
Stronger- As the natural gift of the same name.
Unearthly Beauty- As the fae gift of the same name.

Demonic Weaknesses
Ban: As the fae weakness of the same name. Demon-blooded tend to have bans against holy ground/holy objects or magical seals.
Compulsion: Demon-blooded often suffer from powerful desires. A demon-blooded descended from an incubus might need to satiate carnal needs on a regular basis, while others might yearn to collect wealth, inflict physical or psychological torment, or even worse. A demon-blooded can ignore this compulsion for a number of days equal to  their Strong score. After that, for every day they fail to fulfill their need, they suffer a cumulative -1 penalty to all rolls.
Unnerving to Animals: Animals are spooked by the character. The demon-blooded suffers -2 to any roll involving calming, riding, training, or otherwise interacting with any animal. Animals are more likely to attack the character over others. Shapeshifted characters are not affected by this weakness.
Vulnerability: As the fae ability of the same name. Demon-blooded tend to have vulnerabilities to blessed/holy items or cold iron.

Vampires are sentient undead who feed on the blood of the living. Every vampire was once a mundane human until they were drained of blood and transformed by another vampire. Vampires don't eat, drink, or require normal food. They tend to be sluggish during the day and often slumber through it. Vampires who reach 0 Health are rendered unconscious, but will not die unless destroyed by one of their vulnerabilities.

Vampires automatically start with the following gifts: Dark Vision, Dominate, Quicker, and Stronger. They may also select one more gift from the list of vampire gifts below. A vampire must also take all vampire weaknesses.

Vampire Gifts
Necromancy- The vampire can learn and use Necromancy spells.
Shapeshifting- As the fae ability, but vampires can only shift into a bat, rat, wolf, or cloud of mist.
Sorcery- The vampire can learn and use Sorcery spells.
Spider Climb- As the natural gift of the same name.

Vampire Weaknesses
Achilles Heel  (Stakes): A wooden stake through the heart will instantly destroy a vampire. In combat, an attacker treats the vampire as being +4 defense. 

Ban (Sunlight):Sunlight doesn't actually destroy vampires, but it weakens and terrifies them.
Dependency (Human Blood):Note that only mundane human blood nourishes a vampire.
Vulnerability (Silver, Holy Water)

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

White Box Cyberpunk Work Continues

Despite my dalliances into the world of OneDice Urban Fantasy, I have been working on White Box Cyberpunk. Currently I'm writing the bestiary, though work is slow.

One I finish this, I have plans to create a "Cyberpunk Fantasy" supplement for those who feel the Shadowrun itch, but all of the material will be add-on. Right now I'm thinking a mage and an adept class and adding both the "traditional" races and some other playable fantasy creatures. I'm getting ahead of myself though; there remains some work to be done on the "vanilla" cyberpunk.

The end of the school year can be a bit hectic for teachers as well as students. After next week, I'll have more time and cognitive capacity to devote to this.

...until summer school starts.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

More OneDice Urban Fantasy Characters

Cordell (Giant-kin)
Strong  5  Clever 1  Quick 3 Magic 1
Health: 15  Defense: 15   Magical Defense: 3   Movement: 30
Skills: Bruiser 2, Climb 1, Dodgy 1, Intimidate 2
Gifts:  Quicker, Stronger
Weaknesses: None
Gear: Baseball bat (dmg 2), bottle of sedatives
Background: Cordell Roark has always been strong. Coming from the rural Midwest, Cordell found himself unable to do much in life but physical labor. Prone to bouts of anger, he traveled the Midwest as a migrant ranch hand. Discovered by a sorceress in a roadside diner, Cordell was charmed into serving as her slave for a time. She met her end in San Fransisco, and the newly freed Cordell was recruited by the Shadow Council. Although he's a bit of a blunt object, he nonetheless has his uses.

Anise (Shapeshifter)
 Strong 1 (0)  Clever 2  Quick 2  Magic 1
Health: 3  Defense: 6 (9)  Magical Defense: 3  Movement: 20 (30 Flying)
Skills: Computers 1, Investigation 1, Lore 1, Occult Lore 2, Perception 1 (3)
Gifts: Shapeshifting (Owl), Speak With Animals
Weaknesses: None
Gear: glasses, tablet, woven shoulder bag, rabbit's foot, dagger (dmg 2), cell phone with slideout keyboard
Background: Originally hailing from the northeast, Anise always felt a kinship with animals. She discovered her talent for shapeshifting during her adolescence, wisely deciding to hide it. She went to UC Berkely for college, majoring in literature with an emphasis in comparative folklore. While in Berkely, she discovered a supernatural community. After graduation, she traveled to San Francisco to work for the Shadow Council as an archivist. She was recently promoted to field agent, much to her chagrin. 

Frederico (Wizard)
Strong 1 Clever 2 Quick 1  Magic 2
Health: 3  Defense: 3  Magical Defense: 6  Movement: 10
Skills: Language (Latin) 1, Language (Spanish) 1, Lore 1, Occult Lore 2,  Research 1
Gifts: Magical Heritage (Necromancy - Aptitude   Wizardry- Gift)
Weaknesses: None
Gear: Finely-tailored suit, laptop, briefcase containing spellbook, smart phone 
Spells:  Wizardry-  Magic Bolt, Open, Wizard Glare     Necromancy- Speak With Dead
Background: Frederico Cavallero comes from a long line of wizards going back to medieval Spain. His family came to the United States a century ago and wasted no time becoming a pillar of the supernatural community. Unbeknownst to most, Frederico dabbles in the arts of necromancy.. the very thing that nearly resulted in his family's extinction during the Inquisition. 

Teegan (Fae-blooded)
Strong 1  Clever 1  Quick 1  Magic 3
Health: 3  Defense: 3  Magical Defense: 9  Movement: 10
Skills: Bow 1, Craft (woodworking) 1, Entertainer (singing) 1, Language (Gaelic) 1, Occult Lore 1, Sneaky 1
Gifts:  Fae Magic, The Sight
Weaknesses: Gremlin
Gear: small backpack filled with strange odds and ends
Spells: Confuse, Fear, Ingratiate, Open, Paralyze, Sap
Background: Teegan McCormac was always a bit of an eccentric. Growing up in Boston, she was home schooled and kept sheltered away from the harsh realities of life by her grandmother. The blood of the Fae is strong in the McCormac family, and has been since they left the old world in the late 19th century. After her grandmother passed away, Teegan traveled to the West Coast after having a strange dream urging her to do so. The Shadow Council eagerly accepted her petition to work for them, given her prodigious magical talents. She often frustrates her mentors within the Council.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

OneDice: Reneging Some Criticisms and a Few PCs

I started revising my revisions to OneDice; some of my math solutions create more problems.  I have also decided for the one shot I'm running at KantCon this summer, I'm going to use the rules-as-written (with the exception of having a vampire and demon-blooded PC among the pre-gens) I'll be going back to the previous posts and tweaking some things, but I'll not be making new posts about them.

Here are the four pre-gens for my Kantcon module, "Djinn and Tonics."

Lisa (Werewolf)
Strong 2 (4)  Clever 1      Quick 2 (5)  Magic 1
Health: 6 (11)   Defense: 6/7 (9) Magical Defense: 3  Movement: 20 (50)
Skills: Bruiser 1 (2), Shooting 1, Intimidate 1, Medicine 1, Perception 1(3),  Sneaky 1, (Track 2)
Gifts: Werewolf (Stats in parenthesis are for werewolf form)
Weaknesses: Lunacy, Vulnerability (Silver)
Gear: Big damn revolver (dmg 4, rng 10), biker leathers (armor 1), pack of smokes, flick lighter, sling bag containing duct tape, a change of clothes, and a first-aid kit 

Background: A former US Army combat medic, Lisa Matthews was injured in Afghanistan and honorably discharged. On her return to the states, she worked as a ranch hand in rural California...until one fateful night when she had a run-in with a werewolf. After her first change, she was discovered naked and in shock by Powell, who took her to San Francisco and presented her to the Shadow Council. Lisa now serves as muscle for the Council. She hates what she is, but she's glad to be doing something good with it. 

Powell (Druid)
Strong 1     Clever 2   Quick 1  Magic 2
Health: 3    Defense: 6  Magical Defense 6   Movement: 10
Skills:  Lore 2, Medicine 1, Occult Lore 2, Survival 1
Gifts: Magical Heritage (Druidic Magic- Gift, Wizardry- Aptitude)
Weaknesses: None
Gear: carved walking stick (dmg 2), satchel containing medicinal herbs and magical supplies, bird seed and nuts, matches
Spells: Druidic- Attune, Entangle, Summon Animal   Wizardry- Conjure 

Background: Nobody knows if it's his first name or his last name, but Powell has been around a long time in the supernatural community. He drops in and out, going on long sabbaticals into the countryside and down the highways. Some on the Council consider him an unreliable eccentric. His dislike of vampires and demon-blooded can make him difficult to work with, but his knowledge and knack for solving mysteries makes him an asset.

Lulu (Vampire)
Strong 4  Clever 1  Quick 4  Magic 1
Health: 12  Defense: 12 Movement: 20
Skills:  Lockpicking 1, Melee 1, Sneaky 2, Dodgy 2
Gifts: Dark Vision, Dominate, Spider Climb, Vampire Strength, Vampire Quickness
Weaknesses: Ban (Consecrated Ground), Dependence (Human blood), Vulnerability (Sunlight), Vulnerability (Wooden Stake)
Gear: pair of .38 revolvers (dmg 2 or dmg 4 w/-2 to hit, rng 10), pair of butterfly knives (2 dmg), lock picks

Background: Luz Vargas-Ayon grew up in a bad neighborhood. She developed into a scrapper and a survivor, until one night she broke into the wrong place and ran afoul of a vampire. She wasn't particularly cautious about her feeding habits or the use of her powers until she was apprehended by the Shadow Council and offered a choice: serve them to make up for her indiscretions or get staked. She grudgingly opted for the former. While she doesn't always do things by the book, she has a reputation for getting things done.

Von (Demon-blooded)
Strong 1  Clever 2  Quick 1  Magic 2
Health: 3   Defense: 3 Movement: 10
Skills: Negotiating 2, Shooting 1, Investigation 1, Persuasion 2
Gifts: Dark Magic (Sorcery Aptitude), Unearthly Beauty
Weaknesses: Vulnerability (Cold Iron)
Gear: 9mm pistol (dmg 3 rng 10), Samsung Galaxy Note, expensive watch, dagger (dmg 2, rng 2)
Spells: Fear, Ingratiate, Paralyze, Sap 

Background: Trevon Allen has always had a knack for deals and for dealing with people. He went to UCLA on an academic scholarship majoring in Business. He started off as an investment banker, eventually moving into Public Relations.  It was here he was recognized by one of the executives as a demon-blooded, and was recruited into the service of the Council on a part-time basis. Von has proven to be a valuable agent, specializing in negotiating on the business side of the supernatural community.