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.