Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Blackwood: Breathless Pin

Once upon a time there was a young lady who was apprenticed to a  master clockmaker, she showed glimmers of genius and was quick to solve a problem. As long as there was work, everything went well, but when the master's patron was bankrupted she was dismissed, and the master told her she could go wherever she wanted. 

Her parents were dead and she no longer had a home. So, she went to her brothers and asked them to support her until she found a patron. The brothers, however, had hardened their hearts against her and said "What can we do with you? You are too old to find a husband! Begone and make your own way!"

Left with nothing but her tools, she set out into the Wider World. 

Crossing heath, mountain, and sea, she ended her travels in the city of Farwater Beach. There she finds what she was seeking: a home. With no need for a husband, the apprentice clockmaker built beautiful works, and became a journeyman, and in time she was considered a master.

This bothered her, however, because she had not ascended through the ranks in a traditional manner. To be a master she needed to construct a masterwork. No one could doubt her ambition as she set out to build an automated man.

As word of her project and her progress spread, it caught the attention of those in high places. The clockmaker was approached by an envious noblewoman who bought what she could not make and took what she could not buy. Three times the clockmaker refused the noblewoman, irritated with each interruption as she creeped nearer completion. 

The noblewoman was determined that if she could not own the clockwork man, then no one could. Through her influence a gang of ruffians burned down the clockmaker's workshop with her inside. Delirious from breathing in the smoke, she loosed the incomplete masterwork and fell. Smothered by the burning remnants of the life she had built.

The workshop had become an oven, though he would fare better without air than his creator, the extreme heat played havoc with his springs and sprockets. Surely he would have perished there too, if a fellowship of errants hadn't fought their way into the building to make sure there were no victims.

CULTURE - Automat - An incomplete masterwork that can't be duplicated. Construct (Doesn't need to breathe/sleep/eat, etc.), Cannot Speak (Amelii's prototype larynx was unfinished when the "accident" happened), Clueless (He wasn't raised in a traditional manner, -2 on Common Knowledge rolls), Dependency (his key is in a place he can't reach, someone else must turn it), Noisy (His gears and springs grind,whir, click and clack. -2 on Stealth rolls)
BADGE OF ERRANTRY - A locket containing a picture of his creator, Amelii Rozse.
RANK - Seasoned
STATS - Strength D8 Agility D8 Vigor D8 Smarts D6 Spirit D6
SKILLS -  Athletics D8 Fighting D8, Knowledge (Classics and Music) D6 Lockpicking D6  Repair D4, Weird Science D8 
PARRY 8 TOUGHNESS 8 (2)
EDGES - Arcane Background (Clockwork), Aspiring Student (J'Osudeau)
HINDRANCES - Code of Honor (Major, Breathless Pin is dedicated to the Errant virtue of Benevolence, maybe he can teach Cannibal Ox.) Loyal (Minor, Dust and Lady Ceryneia pulled him from the fire. Now no one gets left behind.), Vow (Minor, To avenge the death of Amelii. Kestrel has leads.)
CLOCKWORK POWER - 10 PP - Warrior's Gift (Pin can imitate the fighting style of anyone he's seen)
EQUIPMENT
Lancing Sword (1D8+1D6 Damage, +1 Parry, Ranged 2/4/8), Hauberk (+2 armor to torso, arms, and legs), Buckler (+1 Parry), Badge of Errantry

The 7 Errants are a fellowship of heroic martial artists and wanderers for Eli Kurtz' Blackwood setting - a mash-up of Wuxia action and frontier fairy tales. You can find the book for sale here and a free quick start bundle here

Monday, September 10, 2018

Blackwood: Kestrel

A shabby, little town at the end of the Elk River, Lehm was once known for its fine pottery. Lead by Burgomeister Franz Fluss, the town prospered under a firm and fair system of taxation for the common good. In the Elder King's absence, taxation and tithe turned into corruption and tyranny. Chief Sentinel Jurgen Shining cited the oncoming winter and seized goods in excess for years.When that fierce winter finally came howling, the provisions distributed were meager. The townsfolk did without and many perished. After that the town started to dry up as people moved away, the river changed course, and their stranglehold cinched tighter. Jurgen never suspected his doom would take flight from young Kestrel's bow.

Orphaned by that cruel winter, Kestrel dealt out justice her deceased friends and family would never know. Eluding capture, she traveled the riverways and trails in the company of outlaws, pagans, and Errants until she fell in with Dust and Breathless Pin. Despite their counsel she still hunts the wicked the Sentinels can't, or won't, touch.

CULTURE - Woodkin - Kestrel starts with a +2 to Notice, the Luck Edge, and the Superstitious Hindrance.
BADGE OF ERRANTRY - A kestrel's embroidered silhouette attached to her gambeson, a gift from her departed parents. Looking a bit careworn she kisses it for good luck.
RANK - Seasoned
STATS - Strength D6 Agility D8 Vigor D6 Smarts D8 Spirit D6
SKILLS - Athletics D8, Fighting D6, Healing D6, Investigation D4, Notice D10, Shooting D10, Stealth D6, Survival D8, Tracking D8
PARRY 5 TOUGHNESS 6 (1)
EDGES - Assassin, Aspiring and Worthy Student (Falcon School), Luck, Marksman
HINDRANCES - Emotional (Minor, Kestrel followed her heart after Dust.), Superstitious (Minor, A hundred little rituals for good fortune), Wanted (Major, The Sentinels come down hard when you kill one of their own.), Vengeful (Minor, Nothing angers Kestrel like the guilty escaping their just reward.)
EQUIPMENT
Bow (2D6, Ranged, 12/24/48), Hatcher (2D6, Thrown 3/6/12), Dagger (1D6+1D4, Thrown 2/4/8), Gambeson (+1 armor to torso, arms, and legs), Errantry Kit, Hearthbread, Cap Helm

The 7 Errants are a fellowship of heroic martial artists and wanderers for Eli Kurtz' Blackwood setting - a mash-up of Wuxia action and frontier fairy tales. You can find the book for sale here and a free quick start bundle here

Friday, September 7, 2018

Blackwood: Lady Ceryneia, Warden Between Wild Wood and Worked Stone

Born to Errant Classicists, Ceryneia isn't a noble in the traditional sense. She is afforded the title at the Neighbors' insistence. Specifically the self styled "High Lord" Manu, who pursues her hand in... matrimony? Eluding her erstwhile suitor, she fell into Kestrel and Breathless Pin's company.

CULTURE - The Margin - No one's too sure where Ceryneia came form, and she's tight lipped about her past. She starts with the Ambidextrous Edge.
BADGE OF ERRANTRY - Her antlered cowl, crafted by her own hand.
RANK - Seasoned
STATS - Strength D6 Agility D6 Vigor D6 Smarts D8 Spirit D8
SKILLS - Fighting D8 Healing D8 Herbalism D8 Knowledge (Beastcraft, Classics, Elves, Religion) D6 Notice D8
PARRY 6 TOUGHNESS 6 (1)
EDGES - Ambidextrous, Arcane Background (Herbalism), Aspiring and Worthy Student (Stag's Crown Treatise), Two Fisted
HINDRANCES - Heroic (Major, Despite Ceryneia's disdain for both hapless humans and malicious elves she doesn't want to see anyone hurt), Outsider (Minor, Not really home anywhere), Zealot (Minor, "Don't stray from the path, you idiot."), Vow (Minor, Once the 3 Signs have come to pass, she must marry High Lord Manu. The Elder King's absence is the first sign.)
HERBAL DRAUGHTS (her draughts are teas, steeped in a gourd) - 5 PP each - quickness, boost/lower trait, armor
EQUIPMENT
Quarterstaff (1D6+1D4 Damage, Parry+1, Reach 1), Gambeson (+1 armor to torso, arms, and legs), Errantry Kit, Hearth Bread, Hatchet, Herbalist's Kettle, Sling (2D4 Damage), Antlered Cowl (as a cap helm)

The 7 Errants are a fellowship of heroic martial artists and wanderers for Eli Kurtz' Blackwood setting - a mash-up of Wuxia action and frontier fairy tales. You can find the book for sale here and a free quick start bundle here

Blackwood: Dust, the Night's Own Child

Hailing from the far edge of the Elder Kingdom, Dust has come a long way. Falling in with Cannibal Ox and company in to Walk the Margin. Their companions do know their mother was also Elfmarked, and rumored to dabble in witchcraft. They've also learned that you don't ask about their past because once they start talking about home, they won't stop. You would think all the abuse and bullying at the hands of peers would dampen Dust's spirit, instead it seems to have had the opposite effect.

CULTURE - Elfmarked - The circumstances of Dust's birth is the seed of local gossip and stories in their hometown. Their dull, black eyes and fuzzy antennae betray otherworldly parentage. Dust gains +5 PP for Arcane Background (Elfpact) and -2 Cha from stigmatized appearance.
BADGE OF ERRANTRY - A headband given to them by their mother before leaving home. Keeps the antennae out of their eyes.
RANK - Seasoned
STATS - Strength D4 Agility D8 Vigor D6 Smarts D6 Spirit D8
SKILLS - Fighting D8  Investigation D10 Notice D6 Knowledge (Elves) D6 Pact D10 Stealth D6 
PARRY 6 TOUGHNESS 6 (1)
EDGES - Arcane Background (Elfpact), Beast Sight (Moth eyes provide low light vision), Leaf Step 
HINDRANCES - , Enchanted (Minor, When the moon is full Dust transformed into an eclipse of various moths), Emotional (Kindness) (Major, Dust is moved to provide succor and kindness that they've hardly experienced.), Big Mouth (Minor, Naive and quick to trust.)
ELF POWERS - 20 PP - blast (a powerful gust), confusion (hallucinogenic pollen)
EQUIPMENT
A Flintbladed Hatchet (1D4+1D6 Damage, Thrown), Gambeson (+1 armor to torso, arms, and legs), Elf Totem x2, Errantry Kit, Hearth Bread x3

The 7 Errants are a fellowship of heroic martial artists and wanderers for Eli Kurtz' Blackwood setting - a mash-up of Wuxia action and frontier fairy tales. You can find the book for sale here and a free quick start bundle here

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Blackwood: Jacek Brandt (Cannibal Ox)

Nothing spoke to young Jacek like the folkstories and dime novels of Errants on the Margin. Every caravan that made its way to the big city of Span, there was always more stories to pore over and memorize. More daydreams and fantasies for the giant Jacek to act out, more topiaries to shatter with a sloppy imitation Elder King's Palm. Once he was old enough to leave, he left home to make his delusions reality. Unfortunately the stories never provided instruction on where to start. So he faked it until he made it, leaning on his impressive size and the fearsome moniker "Cannibal Ox" he earned a fearsome reputation that is largely bluster. Lady Iron took pity on him and trained him in the Tortoise School before cutting him loose.

CULTURE - Riverfolk - Growing up on the move from city to city afforded Jacek a taste for the wider world. And taste everything he did. Jacek starts with Persuasion D6 and the Brawny Edge as well as the Mischievous hindrance.
BADGE OF ERRANTRY - A drinking vessel carved from an auroch's horn.
RANK - Seasoned
STATS - Strength D6 Agility D8 Vigor D12 Smarts D4 Spirit D6
SKILLS - Athletics D6 Fighting D6 Intimidate D10 Knowledge (Battle) D6 Notice D6 Persuasion D8
PARRY 6 TOUGHNESS 10 (1)
EDGES - Aspiring and Worthy Student (Tortoise School), Brawny (Cannibal Ox is a big boy)
HINDRANCES - Mischievous (Minor, Jacek doesn't like to break character, even when it makes things worse.), Overconfident (Major, There's nothing Cannibal Ox can't or won't do!), Pacifist (Minor, you can make a principled argument for nonviolence. Cannibal Ox quails at the sight of blood.), Vow (Minor, Jacek is quick to swear himself to right wrongs.)
EQUIPMENT
3 Section Staff (2D6 Damage, Parry+1, Reach 1), Gambeson (+1 armor to torso, arms, and legs), Errantry Kit, Hearth Bread x2, Hachet, $145 set aside for a Treasure Map.

The 7 Errants are a fellowship of heroic martial artists and wanderers for Eli Kurtz' Blackwood setting - a mash-up of Wuxia action and frontier fairy tales. You can find the book for sale here and a free quick start bundle here


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Redwood Mystery Machine


My long running podcast ended earlier this year and we've decided to keep playing Monster of the Week. We're in the same setting but jumping from the Deep South in the Great Depression to Northern California in the late 90's. Most of the preparation for Tumbleson was done via a D6,6 table providing the sorts of rumor and gossip that permeate small towns wherever the grass grows. I put this together for Shasta, California.

D6,6
1,1 - Strangers - The Park houses a large population of drifters and vagrants, so be careful when you're camping. Don't leave anything out or it'll walk off. And pack table salt. A line at the door to your tent should suffice.
1,2 - Medical trials - The local Church is heavily involved with the local medical practices, funding many of them directly. Especially the Urgent Care and free clinics. However, if you ever need a little money, you can always go to the Hospital and participate in some medical trials. They take a bunch of neurology readings and stuff. I heard Dr. Alder at the college is also offering money for some other ... stuff.
1,3 - Sleepwalking - Speaking of Dr. Alder, has your sister been sleeping alright? My nephew was in his class and stayed late for extra credit. Ever since then he walks and talks in his sleep, talking to things that aren't there. Could he still be in Il Regno Delle Fate? Should've out grown it by now.
1,4 - Missing children - There's been a rash of child kidnappings. Unfortunately the sheriff can't be bothered with it. Just a bunch of poor kids out in the trailer parks, far from the touristy spots. If some out-of-towner was snatched he'd give a shit.

1,5 - Suspicious circumstances - Three bodies washed up in a creek deep in the park. They were all young Klamath women, which explains why it wasn't really reported. Coroner said they died from drowning. 


dappermouth
1,6 - Enchanted motel - When you're driving late at night on those two lane roads, wending through the trees, you might see a neon sign for a motel you don't remember. It's safe to sleep there if you need to. Just heed the sign and don't eat anything. Even the mints on the front desk.
2,2 - The old junk shop - You know the junk shop with the "?" sign? That's the "Mysterium" it's where everyone's old crap ends up. Ran by Zach Ketchum. A lot of weird shit ends up there too. Unlike Gold Diggers Pawn, Zach puts it all up on the shelf for sale. Usually has a yarn to got with it.
 2,3 - Ritual murder - Valeria Magnani was hard to get along with. But she didn't deserve to die like she did. It must've taken a long time, having her face split up like a flower and her eyes cut out. I heard she was close to one of the MCs. Maybe a gang killing?
2,4 - Slaughtered family - You remember last summer when the Tillinghasts went missing? Turns out they were killed about a half mile into the woods from that rest stop. Never did catch the killer.



2,5 - Wisemen - The Town was founded by Italians who've "gone native." That's why everything waxes Americana too thick. The past 30 years have been marked by East Coast wiseguys "Going West" into retirement. Those idle hands end up doing a lot of "community work" for the local Church, dedicated to St. Clare of Assisi.
2,6 - Pill mill - If you're hurting, just see Dr. Ricci. He'll get you the medicine you need. Since Valeria's murder, he's the only person I'd trust. He won't take money, instead he'll want favors. Last time my brother needed some painkillers, we took a package out to the prison for Kim Yancy.


3,3 - Crossroads - You know the local record shop? Yeah, "Holy Mountain". Warburton's kid runs it, and he's really turned around musically. Gossip's he went down to the crossroads and bartered with a Fell Power, sealing the deal with a fluid exchange. But that's just superstitious nonsense.
3,4 - The Gentry - If you came for the golf, you're in for disappointment. The local country club keeps odd hours, a stable full of horses, and the grounds are unkempt. Nothing weird about that at all.
3,5 - Motorcycle clubs - Something about the woods draws the rootless. Jim Jones, the hippies, etc. The Town used to have a bunch of small motorcycle "cliques", calling them clubs would oversell them. Recently two large outlaw clubs moved in - the Shaggy Men and the Mountain Devils. Venomous rivals, if you've got a bike they'll patch you in for whatever rumble is sure to happen.
3,6 - The covered bridge - I hope the old bridge get's taken down soon. the road feeding it has  been blocked for a decade. Fool kids playing out there are liable to get hurt. 

4,4 - Bigfoot hunters - Everyone's heard those stories of folks going missing in state parks. The Park and the Mountain are a bit different. A couple of yahoos have moved in to the Trailer Park, hunting "Bigfoot". They've got tunnel vision- eyes only for Sasquatch. I hope they don't stumble across the Market.
4,5 - Silly games - You ever wonder how ideas spread among kids? You know; insults, jokes, nursery rhymes, and other odds 'n ends. Especially playground games. The kids around Town have been playing the same game of pretend for the past decade. Even kids who just moved in get into it. The call it "The Matter" and there's prescribed role and motivations. Whoever plays the monster is called "Talpa" and wants to pluck out the maiden's eyes.
4,6 - Star crossed lovers - The Rosettis and the Lastregas have bad blood since their fathers' time back East. I heard they buried the hatchet last year but, with Ray L making eyes at Jerry R, I don't think the patriarchs will leave it alone.



5,5 - Dreamlands - Did you know that Spanish cartographers drew California as a massive island? I think the Mountain remembers that as truth. Spend too many nights up there and you'll dream of an Old World Eden. It's a strange place. Clings to you even after you leave. The old families call it "Il Regno Delle Fate". 
5,6 - Mystery cult - It's an open secret around here that "the Church" isn't some extension of larger Catholicism. It's a syncretic mix of folk beliefs and New Age hippie stuff. They hold their doors open, but only members who meet various esoteric requirements are initiated into the greater mysteries. I know couples who were struggling to have kids were blessed with kids not long after joining. 
6,6 - Roll twice. 



Sounds like - Dragonaut by Sleep off the Album: Holy Mountain

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Borchardbriar 5 Adventures

Infiltration - Underdim Union Hall - A bound Chimera - Additional target is a gang of poachers
Unoccupied since the Underdim Union was broken, the old building has new life after nightfall. Seems a gang of poachers captured a Chimera and they're using her to run blood sports a couple nights each week. Otherwise they're selling snakebite under the table. Chimeras can be powerful, though dangerous, allies.

Sowing unrest - Ms. Kitty's - Civilian authorities that support Reynard - Target didn't show
The Cell is camped out in the back rooms of Ms. Kitty's, waiting to confront members of Clowdertown's government that support Reynard. After some close calls and recruiting among the staff and clientele, the targets don't show up. Were they tipped off?

Surveillance - This Old Chestnut - A cotorie of childthieves - Something equally pressing has come up - assassination of a foul sorcerer.
This Old Chestnut is a mob bar, everyone knows that. Now it's also quartering a kidnapping ring. They're running a sophisticated scheme, they snatch some kiddos and a "private finder" reaches out to them once their grief goes public. Extorting the parents while the kit is off to Borchardbriar in chains. The night the Cell moves into position, they hear an occultist is performing a ritual at a nearby cemetery/burnt out church/orphanage/place of woe. This may be the only chance to bring him down. Do they split the party?

Delivery - Leaky Moon Distillery - A criminal gang - The cell gets ambushed by a third party
The illegal trade in snakebite lays the bedrock for other illicit hustles across the Land. What's a Moon Market without some hooch? This is supposed to be a milk run, the cell is picking up some old barrels from the Leaky Moon Distillery and delivering them to Little Bobo, a backwoods distiller. Counterfeiting provenance is a pretty victim less crime. The trouble starts when local crook Maeve and her crew burgle the Distillery and aren't particularly keen on witnesses.

Criminal activity - The Ingot - an infamous Wyldbreaker - They've been double-crossed by someone in the cell
Power collects power, the fundamental truth of Stonebones. Just as Sunny Burrows solidified its place as a locus of the rich and elderly, the Ingot is the dark, angry mirror. Superficially resembling a Roden juke joint, it's the defacto meeting place for a conspiracy of embittered Ironheirs. The Badgers have scraped together enough coin to attract the infamous Barbaro Grindstone to the city. You goal? Slip into the back room and stash a nest of inkbeetles to find out their next move. They'll transcribe whatever sounds they pick up so you've gotta be careful. Too loud and you'll get a ton of useless scribbling. Too quiet and they won't get anything.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Last Parsec Archetypes: Rooga Usquebaugh

The sad story of McDowell Prime definitely casts the JumpCorp's benevolent reputation in doubt, the full story is lost in the shuffle of Tyran Freenze's war. You might ask, how you lose a whole planet? Looking back the chaos of JumpCorp's largest internal struggle, it's actually pretty easy. Regardless, now there's a sizable asteroid thicket and the Roogas clinging to what's left of their homeworld. Organized into loose "mobs" each maintains an oral history of the wrong done to them by various offworlders. No matter how long the litany of grudges, they all end with "JumpCorp stole the land beneath our feet."

Sometimes who you have on the ship is as important as what you're carrying. One of the few constraints that JumpCorp puts on its Charters is on the quantity of intoxicants, especially alcohol. Luckily for the crew and the destination, a good usquebaugh can make liquor out of nearly anything.

SPECIES - ROOGA - Sunrunner - +2 vs heat and a Pace of 10, Tough as a Coffin Nail - Start with a Vigor of D8, Turn Around - A history of colonial exploitation has taught the Rooga to get theirs whenever they can. Start with the Greedy Hindrance.

STATS - Strength D4 Agility D8 Vitality D8 Smarts D6 Spirit D6
SKILLS - Athletics D6 Fighting D8 Shooting D8 Notice D6 Knowledge (Chemistry) D8 Repair D8
PARRY 6 TOUGHNESS 9 (4) CHARISMA 0
EDGES - Liquid Courage

HINDRANCES -  Bad Luck (Major), Hard of Hearing (Minor), Loyal (Minor)
EQUIPMENT - Body Armor, Laser Pistol (deals 1-3D6, more damage costs more charges.), Water Filter, Re-Breather, Smuggled Liquor Collection (includes Wasabi 6, Evil Bear, and Salty Treat among others), CapsuleCo. Distillery


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Last Parsec Archetypes: Cerato Labor Organizer


All the world that's owned by idle drones is ours and ours alone
We have laid the wide foundations; built it skyward stone by stone.
It is ours, not to slave in, but to master and to own.
While the union makes us strong. 
- Ralph Chaplin, "Solidarity Forever"

Standing seven feet tall and weighing over half a ton, the gentle giants from Chordat Tau are one of the most imposing species in the Know Worlds. Descended from large herbivores the Cerato are defined by two things - their horns and the herd. The Cerato dominated their planet through cooperation and defensive thorniness. It was easier to get along than to take them on. Something JumpCorp surveyors learned when they made first contact during an age of steam powered exploration. Falling under the Cerato's pheromones, the surveyors jump-started the saurians' introduction to the Known Worlds. Distressed at the deep cultural divisions and corporate indenture in the Big Empty, the Cerato adopted the Sisyphean task of re-defining civic discourse through the milieu of shared interest and labor solidarity. Calling their venture the Intersolar Freelancers Union, they actively recruit from a wide range of vocations and species, making tremendous headway among synthetics. Adopting android emancipation as a tent pole issue, the IFU is currently engaged in legal action against Tykon Corp in several fringe systems.
Cerato is singular and plural.

SPECIES - CERATO - Natural Weapons (their horns deal Strength + D6), Cooperative Pheromones (+2 Charisma), Sponsorship (Rich Edge) -or- Solidarity (Common Bond Edge), Environmental Weakness (Cold), Low Tech Society

STATS - Strength D6 Agility D6 Vitality D6 Smarts D8 Spirit D6
SKILLS - Fighting D6 Investigation D8 Shooting D6 Persuade D6 Streetwise D8 Notice D8
PARRY 5  TOUGHNESS  Rich 11(6) -or- Bond 9(4) CHARISMA +2
EDGES - Connections -or- Lucky
HINDRANCES -  Heroic -or- Death Wish (Major) Gotta make quota- 500 new members, Vow (Minor) The herd is all, Enemy (Minor)
EQUIPMENT - Rich- Gatling Particle Accelerator (2d8+4, AP 2, ROF 4), Combat Armor (Armor 6), Molecular Knife (D6+D4+2, AP 2), Personal Data Device, Water Filter, Rebreather, a brand new Hovercycle, Intersolar Freelancer Union Automemberships for new members, $100 spending cash 
-Common Bond- Particle Accelerator Rifle (2d8+2, AP 2) Body Armor (Armor 4), Molecular Knife (D6+D4+2, AP 2), Water Filter, Rebreather, Intersolar Freelancer Union Automemberships for new members, $850
Austomemberships are form-fillable ID cards that take photos and genetic information of an IFU member.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Last Parsec Archetypes: Truf Field Medic



Between arboreal titans swaddling planets and deader-esque seeds taking root in deceased husks, plant-based sentients are a diverse lot beyond the slight, flowery leeks. For instance, look at the intelligent fungi of Sequoia Prime. Dwelling in subterranean cities carved from the root network of deceased forerunners earned them the nickname "trufs". Their bipedal forms are actually a super-organism of cooperating colonies in constant chemical communication. Each colony has it's own sensory organs so while a truf's body is functionally covered in eyeballs, it can be difficult to parse all the information. The truf were exposed to the Big Empty when flaming wreckage and an escape pod crash landed. Though the serran occupant died from his injuries the truf city learned the best way they knew how - consumption. Horrified by their actions once they had expanded context, the truf species as a whole made a concerted effort to join the larger galactic community and ease suffering.

Truf use plural pronouns.

SPECIES - TRUF - Hardy, Regeneration - or Whole Body is a Brain (+1 die size to Smarts), No Vital Organs, Dependency (Moisture/water), Environmental Weakness (Heat/Fire), Bad Eyes

STATS - Strength D4 Agility D6 Vitality D6 Smarts D8 Spirit D6
SKILLS - Healing D8 Notice D6 Knowledge (Science) D4 Repair D6 Shooting D6 Weird Science D10
PARRY 2 TOUGHNESS 9(4) CHARISMA 0
EDGES Arcane Background (Weird Science), Luck
HINDRANCES -  Pacifist -or- Curious (Major), Stubborn (Minor), Big Mouth (Minor) 
EQUIPMENT - Tranquilizer Pistol (2d6+1, causes Fatigue rather than Wounds), Medi-Scanner, Body Armor, 10 tubes of Medi-Gel, Personal Data Device, $100 spending cash.
POWER - Xenoherbal Medication (Boost Trait) -or- Ablative Mushroom Patch (Deflection) -or- Hallucinogenic Spores (Fear)-or- Anesthetic Aerosol (Stun) -or- 2 Fun guys (Summon Ally)


Monday, June 25, 2018

Last Parsec Archetypes: Rokishi

One of the most popular sports in the Known Worlds, RoboSumo's regulating body is a mega-corp in its own right. The objective is simple - remove your opponent from the ring via push or pull, no closed fists. The Kumite Directive manufactures competitors, sets the standings, designates tonnage, referees matches, and negotiates the broadcast distributions for the hundreds of tournaments that take place across the galaxy. The competing droids are organized in indentured stables (also called heya) and earn out their contracts through victories. Most rokishi continue competing long after their indenture ends, though they aren't an uncommon sight on JumpCorp vessels. Life outside the ring is hard for synthetic beings built for ritual combat, constant drills and contests leave little room to develop other skills.

Rokishi names combine the name of their stable and the last two digits of their serial number, they often take on new names after completing their indenture.

The Rokishi is inspired by Brando and Hercules,  from Urasawa's manga Pluto. There's a great article on the series here. Also check out 17776, which is excellent. Wikipedia's synopsis is here.

SPECIES - DROID - Construct, Mods, Vow (Major) Loyalty to the Kumite Directive and abiding by their rulings, Weakness (Electricity) +4 damage from electricity, Outsider (Major) Terminator prejudice, Dependency (Recharging)
MODIFICATIONS - Increase Size x 2

STATS - Strength D10 Agility D8 Vitality D6 Smarts D6 Spirit D6
SKILLS - Athletics D8 Fighting D10 Intimidate D6 Notice D6 Knowledge (Botany) D6 Knowledge (your choice) D4
PARRY 7  TOUGHNESS 12 (4) CHARISMA -2
EDGES - Geared Up
HINDRANCES -  Overconfident -or- Clueless (Major), Quirk (Minor) the courtesies of ritual combat, Obese (Minor)
EQUIPMENT - Atomic Palms (d10+d4+d6, on a raise deal +d10), Body Armor (+4 Armor), $300 in spending cash

SAMPLE NAMES - Rikkidozan61,  Leontiskos51, Wakahamada02, MontBlanc21, Rousey11, Milo88, Akebono79, Gesicht38, Gracie92, Severn13, Kimura27, Kototenzan40



Friday, June 1, 2018

TORG: No Place Like Home


With Torg Eternity's release, Tharkold is my favorite cosm. This mash-up of Terminator, Dark City, and Hellraiser is even more interesting because the savage frontier of the Blasted Land is on its doorstep. I want it to be more Stalker/Roadside Picnic than Mad Max. 
Here's my first step towards making that happen. Because everyone needs a cool home base. 

With the Federation allied with the Reality Raiders, everyday Russian life adopts levels of scrutiny and suspicion rivaling the Cold War. The cities close off as the military seizes transit ways while fleets of surveillance drones scour the countryside. Outside the Wolf's piercing gaze, the Blasted Land is an Ostern dream. The rugged mix of taiga and arid waste awash in  nano-weirdness makes surviving here a rough proposition. Even if insurgency is the best/only way to oppose Tharkold without sparking World War 3. To operate in the Blasted Land, you need an outpost.
First you pick 3-5 features, followed by 2 internal conflicts, and 2 external threats.


Simeon Todorov
Features (pick 3-5)- an abandoned prison, shanties, crude farming, all these pigeons, tunnels into underground vaults, moldy tarps and re-purposed plastics collecting rainwater, feral kids, trailer park chemistry lab, wrecked automobiles or airplanes, rail yard with a working yard goat, Orthodox church sanctuary, heavy industrial remains, eerie totems and graffiti, glowing algae, bustling marketplace, motor pool worth bragging, a fine coating of rust, a well-stocked infirmary, a rickety still made from a radiator, alien flora in bloom, sophisticated armory, an autofactory running on fumes, a library with mixed knowledge, a high frequency radio antennae, exercise bike generator, at a crossroads, so much barbed wire, watch towers with good sightlines

Conflicts (choose 2)- squalid conditions breed sickness, you owe protection tribute, there isn't enough work to go around, scant weaponry, you're a bunch of jackals, too many mouths to feed, potable water is scarce, there aren't very many of you, you provide protection to other outposts, plans of action, faith traditions or lack thereof, psychic privacy, people come and go as they please, your technology is finicky and fragile, the desperate escape with a needle

Threats (choose 2)- two Tharkoldu prides fighting over territory, a labour of bear-sized moles, "Krokodil" a predatory trader, psychic raiders threatening your food and secrets, man-eating anomalies triggered by iron, packs of pangolin scaled wolves, deniable military personnel, gray goo breaking down organic matter, a borganism calling themselves "Zmei", Koschie necrotechnicians were drawn by a recent battle, a recently seeded gospog farm, cenobites worshiping the Blast, weird weather like skyquakes and acid rain, a squad of "Laika" Retrievers stalk the area, cracks in Reality's sidewalk


Fallout 4's Pilgrim mod

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Borchardbriar Adventure Generator Part 2

Who's the target?
2-5 - A criminal gang or syndicate, maybe a Wild Sounder
6-8 - A coterie of Raynard's childthieves
9-10 - Civilian authorities that support Reynard's reign
Jack - An infamous Wyldbreaker
Queen -A foul sorcerer who's bargained with the Mad King
King-Ace - A Chimera has moved in, could it be an asset? (black = wild/red = broken)
Joker - One of Reynard's Winnowers is in town (black = the Bellringer/red = the Penitent)

What's gone wrong?
2-5 - They've been double-crossed by someone in the cell. Who was it?
6-8 - The target didn't show. Were they warned?
9-10 - Something equally pressing has come up and timing is too tight for both operations. Draw a new set of cards to generate a parallel adventure. Do they split the party?
Jack - Someone's raised the alarm! Bells! Flares! Watchmen on every street corner!
Queen - The cell has been ambushed by (black= 3rd party/red = Reynard's forces). Do they fight or flee?
King-Ace - There's an additional target of opportunity. Do you take it?
Joker - Depends. Black Joker = Everything goes smooth, for once. Red Joker = Someone has sold you out and provided extensive details to the enemy, there's a bounty on the cell's heads.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Borcharbriar Adventure Generator Part 1



What's the deed?
2-5 - Surveillance
6-8 - Delivery
9-10 - Sowing unrest
Jack - Infiltration
Queen - Criminal Activity
King-Ace - Assassination
Joker - Mass Event



Where's the spot? (Hearts/Spades/Diamonds/Clubs)
2-5 - The Litterbox/ The Ingot/ This Old Chestnut/ Leaky Moon Distillery
6-8 - Ms. Kitty's/ The Love Below/ Thumper's/ Red's Rest

9-10 - Fleeting Fetch's/ Rodrig's Box & Tackle/ Allbright Books/ Hammer & Tongs
Jack - Abbey of the Alley/Church of the Iron Chain/ Accord Memorial/ Saltbite Keep
Queen -  Boiling Cauldron/ Sunny Burrows Golf Course/ Deeproot Hall/ High Table
King-Ace - Horace's/ Underdim Union Hall/ Saffron Point/ Maugrim Manor
Joker - Draw again for the Open Road





Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Borchardbriar: Beyond the Land and Far Away Part 1


Manykings
Across the Sea of Bones and over the Spine you'll find Manykings, a vast peninsula broken up into a quilt-work of interdependent city states called Rajs. A vast and hostile jungle surrounds each Raj in a poisonous stranglehold. Within the cities, golden palaces and dizzying minarets dominate each city's skyline. The slender towers channel the prayers of the populace and create the border between civilization and wilderness. As the green hell grows taller, these structures fail and crumble.

Frozen Baronies
Keep going North and the sea solidifies into an unbroken glacial plain. On the edges you'll find the Baronies' remnants clinging to the ice and bleeding out into the water. Fisherfolk and raiders, the Frozen Folk are drawing closer to Saltbite Keep as their frosty coastline presses South. Their skalds sing of a time when the ice would thaw and green shoots would push up from the sod.




Blast From The Past: Rules of 3

I tend to run two models of role-playing game sessions: the one shot game and the mini-series.  I rarely indulge in the long form campaign, my attention tends to wander quickly. I find inspiring my players relies on three elements: building emotional investment, sharing narrative control, and being on the same tonal page.  Just about everything players say matters and has weight, unless they're quoting Galaxy Quest.

3 x 3 x 3 - Building emotional investment - I found this on the old 7th Sea forums years ago, and works wonders for making everyone feel interconnected with the setting and each other.  The idea is have the players create 9 NPCs connected to their character - three friends, three acquaintances, and three enemies.  Don't require it all at once, have them create 1 - 2 before each game session and insist on no more than three sentences each.  Suggest cross pollinating the lists so some of the characters have mixed relationships with the same NPC. Then insert them into the narrative at any dramatic opportunity, as opposition or working cross purposes to build conflict.You mzy not use all of them, but try to squeeze in at least one NPC from each player.
 
It can contribute to a certain Guiding Days of All My Children's Hospital feel to things, making it feel like a small, melodramatic setting.  On the other hand you are establishing and spotlighting character backstory in a front staged, interactive way, rather than exposition.  Be sure to eschew backstory novellas when you do this, since it'll just be wasted work.

Tell Me 3 Things - Sharing narrative control- This is from the back of John Wick's Houses of the Blooded.  One of the core elements of role playing is the idea that you are adopting another persona, one who lives, breathes, fucks, and dies in the collaborative fantasyland.  So collaborate already.  

Expanding on the idea of the improv principle of 'Yes, and...' when my players meet an NPC or go to a new place I ask them to tell me something that they know about that place or that person, until three things have been said.  Everything stated is taken as fact on the surface, validating their fictional selves and further building out the setting.  Anything could possibly be rooted in half-truth or flat out deception further complicating things for the players and adding depth.

Share inspiration -Same tonal page- These practices are built on the conceit that your players are interesting and intelligent people that you want to role-play with. Also the idea that role-playing is a collaborative medium, none of us are as strong as all of us. This can go awry if you're all going in different directions, for example sci-fi is a broad genre and if you want to run a game that meditates on economic nihilism then you want to keep things from getting too Hitchhiker's.  

You can get everyone on the same page in two steps: 1) talk about the sorts of associated media so there's an established baseline of genre assumptions 2) make characters in a group so everyone can brainstorm character concepts and gel their relationships.  The player characters are the most important characters in the campaign, providing perspective and coloring events with their agency and motivations.  If you have most of the PC's are in line with Dark Matter, but there's one selfish Zaphod then the whole thing can go sideways, very fast.

Whatever your grand designs for fantasyland; if your players don't care, aren't enjoying themselves, and showing up out of obligation then you've failed. Loosen the reigns and share the narrative with them, as they've shared their time and presence with you. 

This month's theme is Inspiring Your Players. the seed article is here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

On Top of Mt. Shasta: The Goblin Market

The Goblin Market - Getting lost's an easy thing in the Park, finding is often the hard part. Plenty of treasure hunters and mystics have wandered off the beaten path surrounding the mountain. Never to be seen again. Most become ensnared in the Goblin Market's wheeling and dealing. Squirreled away in the rough country, you can find vagrant tent cities intermingled with market stalls and vendors hawking a range of goods. Some human, some not. All are welcome to barter in the Goblin Markets. Just remember that money doesn't spend here. They're interested in baubles and ephemera, refusal gets the Gobbomeister Flim-Flam involved.
And nobody wants that.

Goal: They want more people to come to the park. Some to trade, some to lose.
Move: Constituents of the Goblin Market may take Sticky Bandit as an advancement.
Sticky Bandit - When you turn out your pockets looking for something, roll +Sharp. On a 10+ then you have what you need. On 7-9, you have something that's not quite close enough. On a miss, you had it but someone stole it from you.
Leader: Flim-Flam - At the intersection of snake oil and used cars salesmen, you'll find Flim-Flam. His loud suits and greasy hair camouflage his Otherworldliness, something he'd rather not discuss. The greedy goblin has grown fat and happy with the Underdim Compact and maintains it as best he can. If the Mole King wants a girl with green eyes, then that's what Ualichu gets.
Like this but WAY more flea market.

Monday, May 14, 2018

On Top of Mt. Shasta: The Wireless Church

The Wireless Church- Settled by Italian immigrants in 1905, the city of Mt. Shasta was fertile ground for fringe beliefs and folk traditions. Later this century the New Age Movement declared Mt. Shasta a sacred mountain, a lodestone of spiritual energy, or a refuge of lost Atlantean civilization. The Wireless Church is a culmination of all these beliefs and more. Claiming lineage from the benandanti and guidance from Saint Clare of Assisi, patron saint of television. They espouse the belief that the soul is an eternal part of the electromagnetic spectrum. That when you die, you're dispersed into the ionosphere and have a unique frequency. With proper diet and prayer, you can tune into the Saints and maybe even the voice of God. For a faith movement so heavily predicated on communication through the ages, they are heavily invested in human cloning, President Clinton's ban on 3/4/1997 has thrown leadership into a tailspin.
Move: Members of the Wireless Church may take the move Divine Protection as an advancement.
Divine Protection - The Saints grant you 1-armor, impenetrable. If you wear armor  use that instead.
Goal: They seek the lost Refuge the Saints say is in the park, so they can shelter against the turning of the millennium.


Friday, May 11, 2018

On Top of Mt. Shasta: The Groundskeepers

Groundskeepers - You won't find park rangers friendlier than those working at Mt. Shasta State Park. Under the keen supervision of Chief Ranger Carson Ranger, the park's volunteer and professional staff have become the envy of the National Park Service. The saccharine shell of smiling faces and ever helpfulness hide a secret. Several of the park rangers formed a druid cult around the"Stareek." Following its guidance they plant juniper saplings around the park and on neighboring properties. In exchange they have purpose and command over the park's wildlife. Park Lieutenant Rodney Womack is the self-appointed leader. A sprig of juniper in his hatband.
Goal: They want to expand the boundaries of the park. By any means.
Move: A Groundskeeper Initiate can take the move Wild Tongue as an advancement.
Wild Tongue - You can speak and understand the speech of animals. You may also issue simple one word commands and they obey the best they can.
Leader: Park Lieutenant Rodney Womack - A once athletic guy, now gone to seed. Park Policeman Womack crawled inside the bottle after his divorce. Since communing with the Stareek, his life has found new purpose. No one will take it away from him.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

On Top of Mt Shasta: Shaggymen MC

Shaggymen M.C. - Founded in 1972, the Shaggymen drew mostly from the reclusive Sasquatch community in Northern California. Originally a way to hide in plain sight, the idea caught on and other Bigfoot communities across North America started their own chapters. The world has shrunk over the last 25 years and Shaggymen M.C. feels the crunch as the open road becomes the big empty. Peanut, the Shasta Chapter's sky pilot, experienced a spiritual revelation that Mt. Shasta is the paradise for all Bigfoot and it's their Manifest Destiny to seize the park.
Goal: They want to take over the park for all Bigfoot kind.
Move: If you're a sasquatch then you may take One Man Gang as an advancement.
One Man Gang - You count as a small gang when you Kick Some Ass
Leader: Rubble - An enormous Sasquatch standing a bit over 8 feet. His intense gaze draws the eye away from his piebald appearance. Swathes of his fur were burned away in a fight with a rival Bigfoot M.C. - The Mountain Devils.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Chupacabracon - Queen of Gold

MINIONWORKS PRESENTS:
THE QUEEN OF GOLD - A SHADOW OF THE DEMON LORD CAMPAIGN IN 24 HOURS!


A Storm Gathers on the Horizon!


A new evil stirs in the distant Kingdom of Sails, promising to plunge the world into
Shadow! Shipwrecked and half drowned. You will rise on shaking legs to face the
horrors of the deep, seek accursed relics, face your nemesis, and journey to the ends
of the Urth! Set sail and find the fabled Queen of Gold!


This year at Chupacabracon 2018, I will be running a complete campaign in 22 hours! We will be using the Shadow of the Demon Lord from Schwalb
Entertainment. The campaign is broken up into 5 parts that span the entire convention
from Friday to Sunday. Starting characters will be created during Part 1 on Friday
afternoon. Attendees joining the later legs of the odyssey will be provided with
pre-generated characters of the appropriate tier.


If you’ve listened to any of our shows and though: “I want to play with those guys!”
You have the opportunity to make it somewhat true! Spots are limited so register now so
we can prepare accordingly.

Come face the apocalypse on the high seas!


Shadow of the Demon Lord is © 2015 - 2018 Schwalb Entertainment, used with permission

Friday, February 2, 2018

Borchardbriar: Frozen Folk

Moose
One of the largest Folk, you'll see a Moose before it sees you. Revered by many as the first children of Winter for their resemblance to Hottah the Frozen Sky. Each Northcrown is following a quest known only to them. More and more are charting course for Whisper and the rotten castle of Borchardbriar.

Tall As The Sky - Moose have +3 Size which increases their Toughness by the same amount.  Also increase their Reach by +2 and they can wield two-handed weapons in one hand.
Broad As The Earth - Due to their vast size, Moose pay twice as much for armor.
Lumbering- Moose suffer a -1 penalty on all Agility skills.



Lynx
Reclusive, the Lynx leverage their secrets and knowledge to attain temporal power. Ruling 3 of the 8 Baronies is no small task, though uniting them into a single front may prove impossible. With their sacred enigmas and the Grand Design, they feel up to the task.

Softpaw - Shifting out of step with the world, Lynx have a +2 to Stealth rolls.
Weavers' Gift - Each Lynx holds a sacred riddle whispered in their ears at birth. Befuddling listeners when it's said aloud. This works like the confusion power rated at d8. this may be increased like any other skill.
Winter's Kin - As obligate carnivores, Lynx suffer -4 Charisma with prey Folk.





Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Borchardbriar: Outside 4 Corners

Mudslide
River and streams crisscross the Land, most trade plies the waterways since they're swifter and a bit safer than the Open Road. Away from the big cities, traders, punters, hardbacks and riverfolk are a world all their own. On the surface of isolated Lough Deoiridh, a barter town flotilla calling itself Mudslide has formed. Most of the Roden smuggled out of Stonebones arrive here. Given succor by Sister Isla, the riverfolk work very hard to maintain a free place of commerce and community free from Reynard's terror.

The Open Road
A catch-all for the wild in-between the Holdfasts and Borchardbriar. Populated with bandits, Chimera, Ruckus, ruins, Wild Breakers and witches; there's a lot to fear in the wilderness. Penal conscripts are often organized into hunting parties and keep the surrounding countryside as quiet as they can. The risk doesn't keep brave Folk from eschewing the high walls of the Holdfasts and living on the fringe. 

Opossum
Life outside the Holdfasts is dangerous for the small and squishy. The Opossum eke out a living by staying up and out of the way. Their tree villages stay quiet and camouflaged, high in the boughs of tupelo trees. The only business they have below the boughs involves the breeding, care and harvesting of venomous snakes.

Wormtail - Gain an additional non-Movement action with no multi-action penalty.
Adderproof - Immune to Poison.
Cautious - Opossum have the Cautious Hindrance.