Monday, April 25, 2016

RPG Blog Carnival: The Weather Outside

As trails are blazed in the West and prospectors discover new pathways to distant Malum, the incidence of Weirdness increases.  Strange beasts stalk livestock and settlers, perpetuating a mythic existence in the mundane world.  Alien winds now blow through the doorways distorting weather patterns and giving rise to otherworldy weather paradigms, betraying the knowledge of almanacs and boosting the stock of stormseers across the frontier.

Weather as Setting
An unseasonable blizzard tore across the Panhandle until it reached a desolate roadhouse.  Trapped by snowfall and hungry winds, the PCs quickly detect a numinous prescence in the storm.  Of course there are several strangers present as well, full of sass and secrets.  The storm wants something or someone from the inhabitants, figuring that out is on the characters.
Hungry Winds - Aspects: The Winter's Fury, Oooooo! Shiny!Skills: Bite to the bone +3, Quick as a zephyr +2, Born yesterday -1 Stunts: I take what I want (+2 to strip possessions away from characters) 

The posse has chased the thief and degenerate gambler Velvet Verdoux to the dilapidated metropolis of New Orleans.  Ever since Good King Xango came across an open trail, he has made the Big Easy his home and sole holding in this world.  The U.S. Government have tried to intervene but only succeeded in killing his cheval.  Since the last assassination, he has closed all but one way in, the rest are choked with beasts and sentient thunderstorms.  Velvet found a way in, they can too.

Weather as Plot
Tycoon Jeremiah Wrong has the county under his thumb, he recently recruited a powerful fabulist into his Regulators.  The local settlers are going broke paying Jeremiah's racket, if they refuse to pay their plot will be cored out by tornadoes.  More folks are packing up and getting out while they can.  Just as they can easibly leave, they can be easily followed as well.

Fabulist stunt: I can whistle up a tornado but I get carried away, literally.

Houston has not lacked for rain this past week, torrents falling and resevoirs filling up.  This month's RPG Blog Carnival Weather theme came from Mortaine's Blog.  Check out other contributors here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fragged Empire: Independent Contractors

Collene Mondrian - Performing a majority of her courier work for Translight System Services, Collene's able to move a wide range of illicit cargo with minimal accidents.  Her semi-romantic relationship with Mako gave her an opportunity with the insular Kaltoran-centric business. When the pair broke up, Translight dumped him and kept her.  Since then she's getting more work than she can handle.  Something she hopes will solve itself with her newest acquisition: the Lupin.  Won in a game of chance, she is proud of the ship's reputation and construction.  Unaware that some of the previous owner's contraband is still in a secret hold and Mako still hasn't gotten even since she left him, Collene's future looks to be interesting.

Mako Useful - It takes a lot to get kicked out of a family business, much less two of them. But Mako somehow managed. Since then he handles low risk, low priority contraband and keeps his ear to the ground gathering information for his current employer - the Integrated Haven Port Authority. A good enough smuggler to be a risk to himself, the arrangement with the Authority means he can pull a heavier load when he wants to. The real danger is the tendency to shoot his mouth of when he does.

Kristopher Riordan -A programmer suffering from "head trauma" and botched experimental surgery to repair the damage, Kristopher shouldn't need the intense personal security that trails him everywhere.  If that's all he was, he wouldn't.  A failed attempt to decant a clone of Paladin Consortium's CEO Maxwell Hyperion, narcissism keeps him from having Kristopher destroyed. Smug and overconfident the surgery did the trick, Kristopher is allowed a wide range of freedom under Dragoon Ventures Unlimited's auspices.  As a copy of Maxwell Hyperion, there are myriad uses for Kris and his biomass - his existence is one of Maxwwell's best kept secrets.

Jana Hyperion - Breaking free from her father's orbit, Jana seeks to burn his conglomerate empire to the ground and build her own from its ashes.  For that she needs two things: Kristopher Riordan's scrambled egg brain and a skilled psion to pull out its secrets.  She knows her father is in deep with nefarious entities and has a dark agenda to match, she needs to prove it though.  Going solo provides a cover to assemble a rolodex of deniable assets and dangerous people, all in service of the larger goal.

Fragged Empire is having their second kickstarter  for the Protagonist Archive, four new species and expanded brain powers abound.  If you're seeing this, then you're probably already part of the Fragged Empire community and you should kick in your $2 if you haven't already.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Fragged Empire: Shadowy Entrepreneurs

Atia Vorenus - Operating under the name X!pH0s300, the Legion Hacker and pirate Atia Vorenus treads a dangerous line.  Her online identity is known for her spam operations, mainly search engine optimization and selling reams of valid contact information.  In meatspace she is a member of the 7 Brothers, researching and softening targets for their raids on her electronic clients' warehouses.  If they don't have to manufacture the product then that's a cost they don't have to pay.  Atia knows that this pattern can't keep up before she is found out and is looking for a way out.

Samantha Thirst - Rising aggressively in the field of nanoviral development, Samantha owns a vertical monopoly in their development and manufacture.  Always on the hunt for the next big thing, she is interested in the explosion of fringe faiths established since the Externality's fall.  She accepted a lucrative contract from the Black Key, and her association has spurred her rivals to taking a more aggresssive approach.  Contracts targetting her companies' research labs for exfiltration have been popping up on various job boards.

Arpaio - An independent contracter frequently engaged with Tri Fuel Industries, Arpaio is fiercely loyal to those who earn it.  Rescue from a defunct Nephilim Destroyer by a Tri Fuel salvage crew left a lasting impression, though the implication of ownership that comes with employment chafes him.  Mona Barrister, a Corporate accountant at the company, confided in him that she had noticed aberrant patterns in the financial records. The very suggestion of embezzlement from the company has set him on the trail and he needs a few good operators to help him out.

Pertova -Always hiring and always providing interesting jobs, Pertova has acquired a reputation for danger and excitement.  Recent contracts revolve around "liberating" pre-Externality artifacts and sabotaging Mechonid interests. Whatever her vendetta; she pays well, on time, and you won't be bored.  It's a hold over from her time in the Great War, performing high altitude insertions.  She has trouble envisioning any situation worse than boredom.

Fragged Empire is having their second kickstarter  for the companion volume the Protagonist Archive, where the Twi'far, Remnant, Palantor and Zhou are detailed along with some other great stuff.  Wade Dyer is incredibly passionate about this game and it shows.  Go check it out and kick in $2 if you can spare it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tumbleson County Family Album Part 2

The Harmans - Dark bargains with the Devil, also werewolves.

Yankee blue only set foot on the Tumbleson soil in a destructive but ultimately failed invasion.  Many antebellum palaces burned that night, but Sherman's boys met their match under the moon at the Harman plantation.  The clan's patriarch, Goodberry Harman, struck a deal with the shadows in the pines, consigning the daughters of the Harman line to unholy matrimony.  In exchange the Harmans run with the moon as beasts.  Since then they are the only family still living in their ancestral home, the others still stand but slowly succumb to structural damage and the incessant rot. 

Transactions with the Other Side recur with eery frequency in the Harman family history, contributing to folks distancing themselves.  Cut off from the town's mainstream economy they've taken to selling antiques and cultural heirlooms to dealers in order to bring in cash. Five of the six Harman sons actively, and aggressively, salvage such goods from the various ghost towns and abandoned homes in the County.  The sixth son went missing across the River six - eight months ago, his brothers don't seem too concerned though their father is pulling his hair out.

The Conerlys - Grappling with the Beast

Originally pig farmers, the War of Yankee Aggression left the Conerlies with a morass but no livestock.  Quickly adapting to their new normal, Shem Conerly rustled several alligators from the Bigtree Gator Farm over in Louisiana.  These beasts provided the intial stock of the newly started venture.  The thing is Shem wasn't counting on their ceaseless fecundity, and they quickly overran their enclosure and spilled over the surrounding landscape.  The Conerlies simply built a larger perimeter fence and called it a day.

Since then the Conerlies and their gatores have become county mascots of sorts.  Picking up alligator wrestling tricks and putting on shows and surrounding fairs doesn't hurt.  Since hiring a retired Seminole wrestler to teach them the Conerlies stopped going to any of the churches in town.  Instead opting to provide space for a cavalcade of travelling preachers and parsons, all of whom whip different, deviant Scriptures.  The Conerlies don't really care what's said, they like the snake handling ones best.

One thing that unnerves about the Conerlies, other than age, they all look about the same.

Next Up: Everybody Else.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Tumbleson County Family Alblum Part 1

The five founding families of Tumbleson have rotten roots that dig deep into the lives and loam of the land and everyone who lives off of it.  Here's three of the families: who they are, what they've done, their woes, hopes, and seeds of corruption.  I'll round out the last twoa nd everybody else in my next post.

The Golds - Shipping magnates, the pyramid's top
The Golds were able to get an early stranglehold on shipping out of Tumbleson County through use of force.  Though the times and methods have changed, their control over navigation and logistics have not.  Want to cross the river into Battiste Parrish?  You'll deal with the Golds. Head down the river to New Orleans?  The Golds again.  Head North?  Still the Golds.  Just a few months ago they buried the patriarch, Miser Gold, with an ostentatious grave marker. Rumor is that the Old Miser's bones and hair aren't in his grave but in the statuary itself.  His oldest son, Donny Gold, is mum on the matter.  He's too concerned with keeping the family empire together.
 In the light of day Beulla Gold is the picture of antebellum beauty and propriety, the young women all the men come 'round to court... until the sun sets.  Often found down by the river, straddling gentlemen callers with maniacal frenzy and exposing them to unwholesome rites. Beulla's reputation stays unsullied outside the county after Donny pays hush money to the bruised and broken suitors, but around Tumbleson she's the scorpion to Donny's frog.

The Tagerts - Impoverished farmers, can't win for losing

Cursed by Elizabeth Harman's dying breath, Preacher Goodenough had his family line change their names to escape the shame and get out of the state.  Unfortunately they couldn't all move away, and the county still remembers the evil done by that night.  Regardless of their involvement, little sympathy is gleaned when the Tagerts' labor force moved North for better jobs.  Since then their fields sit untended and rampant, this is exasperated by the sheriff's targeting of Tagert youth to send up to Parcell State Farm.

Pa Tagert hopes that marrying his eldest daughter, Jeanette, to Snake Hands Jimmy of the Fergusons will help alleviate some of their pressures.If they're kin, then Sheriff Horace Ferguson might stop scooping up his nieces and nephews-in-law on trumped up charges for Parcell's bleeding.

The Parcells - Failed ambitions, drowning hope

After the town of Nevermind failed, the Parcells only asset is the state incarceration contract.  Convinced that Jimmy Copeland's treasure is buried in his fields, Bobby Parcell has a special work detail that excavates the surrounding contryside looking for treasure.  Populated by prisoners being punished by the staff, they do harder labor and take fewer breaks.  This is the third such group, the previous two found things buried in the fields and put to the gun to contain it.

The Tagerts' hard times have been to the Parcell's benefit, as the Golds now ship surplus Parcell State produce.  The prison's harvest is used in other ways as well, one of the guards, Zeb Coryell, has taken to illegally leasing convict labor to the Tagerts.  Usually healthy, unprocessed prisoners are siphoned off and sent to the Tagerts' place.  Careful not to send the Tagerts any of their own kin, it's only a matter of time before the sheriff blows the whistle on the arrangement.

Monday, April 4, 2016

And Their Bigger Sins

 A haunted, bloodstained landscape, the South sleeps uneasy with nightmares of antebellum atrocities. Abandoned buildings and worn rope cling to hillside and tree refusing to be forgotten, providing perch and shelter to the haunts, phantasms, and revenants hungry for more.  In these parts secrets and generational guilt get up to walk around, moving with malevolence all their own and may just visit you in the middle of the night.

The Largest Town Hides the Biggest Wrongdoing 
Young Town - The Chickasaw village was built where the Veil is thin, enabling magic and medicine tied to Spring. Forced off by the government, the Anglos quickly moved in and found the area's propensity for miracles wondrous and frightening. Preacher Goodenough saw his control slipping as the congregation fell under the sway of a charismatic girl, Elizabeth Harman. She took to performing miracles under the full moon, a whole generation of townsfolk in attendance. Late night revivals she called them; casting out demons and such.

The church sat on a high mound, the windows shuttered against the chill October night. The Preacher stirred up a hooded mob, burning down the church and trapping all within. The helpless deaths of all within tore a hole in the Veil, fostering a fecund malignancy. Spurring trade in particular herbs and animal life only found on the Eastern side, demanded by rootworkers in Battiste Parrish. 

Unincorporated Townships
Odem Railroad Station -If you're hard up for cash Odem will buy whatever you can kill in the woods, no matter how dubious. Turns them into the most beatific links you ever laid eyes on, spiced tubes of intestinal heaven.

Burning Bush - The most infamous in a long line of deviants from Burning Bush, the Rambler had the gall the kidnap the governor's son.  Could barely recognize the boy once the search party found him.  The others all have titles rather than names, only someone from Burning Bush could name them all.  It's a sickness.

Mockingbird - People are going missing, and the bodies haven't been found.  The whole Lancaster homestead has been abandoned and no witness to what happened.  As if they were swallowed by the night sky.

Blackwell -  Siobahn Ferguson has started wooing town youths down by the river, initiating them into the Cult of the Skinless Man.  This doesn't sit well with any of the local clergy and they've all begun outreach programs, turning Blackwell into a battleground of faith and proselytizing.

Sunflower -  Birth pangs may become death spasms, the Sunflower Lumber Co. is refusing to honor paychecks written out to flight risks, even unemployed ones.  This has marooned a growing population up in the hills and the town suffers from burgeoning overpopulation and tensions.  Whitecaps have been harassing the tent city fringes with torch and saber but haven't killed anyone yet.

Jug's Corner -A strange lot, the Fergusons exhibit strange permutations.  Look at Snake Hands Jimmy, yes, his hands are eyeless vipers.  His Uncle Simeon is worse, and let's not talk about the women.  Eager to gain legitimacy, these Stygian moonshiners are marrying into the Conerlys.  Lorecia was just the first of several arrangements between the two families.

Ghost Towns
Bloodland - A prime example of the haunted South, this den of wickedness drowned in its cradle. God had nothing to do with it though.  The night that storm hit, everyone in the county was trapped in their beds, caught up in the same fever dream.  Prime time witchcraft I tell you, that much death served another purpose.  Probably still down in the ruins.

Nevermind - Surrounded by the moth eaten vestiges of failed ambition, the State Farm's warden is always a Parcell. And that family clings to grudges fiercer than anyone else. The Tagerts fear the Farm more than anybody else. They have their own section of the Prison Cemetery.

Questing - Never actually home to a courthouse, Questing benefitted greatly from Reconstruction.  Moved to violence with envy and greed Johnny Copeland organized a mob who rode through the town and burned it all to the ground.  Doubling down, Copeland took his father's sabre to every citizen of Questing he could lay steel on.  Things got so bad the moon averted her gaze, cloaked in smoke.  There in the Questing Methodist Church, the Devil claimed Johnny Copeland, leaving the sword plunged into the altarstone in that hell-kissed sanctuary.  The bloodthirsty blade Johnny's daddy wielded in the War is the only treasure in Questing.