Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Geist: The Sin-Eaters

Imagine you died. Doesn't matter much what from; could be violence, could be disease, could be just plain bad luck. Imagine after you died, your soul was approached by a...sort of spirit. It offered you the ability to return from the grave, but in return, you have to help the spirit. The spirit was a ghost, once, but has lingered for so long that it has lost its identity; all that remains is a driving purpose, a need to see something done. It may be a single task, or it may be the work of a lifetime, but it will give you life to help it. So you take the deal, and find yourself different; you have access to strange powers. You can speak to the dead, see ghosts, and, if the time and place are right, you can cross into the Underworld. You have a new lease of life, and the ability to police the line between life and death, and a task. What do you do?

That is essentially the premise of Geist, and it is the last of the new World of Darkness games. As such, it shares a system and a setting with the others. For this, the last WoD game, I'll make up a former card shark, who leaves how he treats the line between life and death to Lady Luck. I'll put Social first, then Mental, and finally Physical. So, Presence 3, Manipulation 3, and Composure 2, then Intelligence 2, Wits 3, and Resolve 2, and finally Strength 2, Dexterity 2, and Stamina 2. For Skills, I'll want Empathy 3, Persuasion 3, Socialize 3, and Subterfuge 2, then Computers 2, Investigation 2, Medicine 1, and Science 2, and finally Brawl 1, Drive 1, and Larceny 2. For Specialties, I'll want Larceny (Pickpocketing), Empathy (Lies), and Persuasion (Fast-Talking). Then I add Geist characteristics; archetype (how I see my new occupation), threshold (how I died), Psyche (how powerful I am), manifestations (my Geist powers), and keys (the flavor of my powers). For archetype, I'll choose Bonepicker, someone who uses his powers to make the world more comfortable, and for threshold, I'll pick Forgotten; I died by chance, like I lived. My keys will be Industrial, which affects the trappings of modern society, and Passion, which lets me influence the emotions of others. I'll put two of my 3 manifestation points in the Passion Boneyard; I can judge the emotional nature of others, and compel others to feel certain emotions, and the last point in Industrial Curse so I can reduce the benefit of any technology my enemies may use. I'll spend 6 of my Merit points to get to Psyche 3, and put the last point in Resources to reflect people I've fleeced. Derived characteristics are Defense 2, Size 5, Initiative 4, Speed 9, Health 7, Willpower 4, Synergy (Geist Morality) is 7, Virtue is Justice, and Vice is Envy. He tries to fleece those who deserve to be taken down a peg or two, but also just wants to live a comfortable life. So, the final character looks like this:

Joey Evans
Concept: Slick card-shark
Archetype: Bonepicker
Threshold: The Forgotten
Virtue: Justice
Vice: Envy
Intelligence: 2
Wits: 3
Resolve: 2
Strength: 2
Dexterity: 2
Stamina: 2
Presence: 3
Manipulation: 3
Composure: 2

Computers 2
Investigation 2
Medicine 1
Science 2
Brawl 1
Drive 1
Larceny 2 (Specialty: Pickpocketing)
Empathy 3 (Specialty: Lies)
Persuasion 3 (Specialty: Fast-Taling)
Socialize 3
Subterfuge 2

Resources 1


Passion Boneyard 2
Industrial Curse 1

Defense 2
Size 5
Initiative 4
Speed 9
Health 7
Synergy 7
Willpower 4
Psyche 3

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hunter: The Vigil

There are terrible things out there in the dark. You know; you've seen them. One of them, or many of them, have done something to you, or to your family, or your friends; something bad enough that you have taken up a cause that may get you killed. When your day job is done, and everyone else has gone home to have dinner and be with their family, you hunt the creatures that dwell in the darkness. You are the light of humanity, fighting back against the darkness; you know, though, that all too often, those who take up your chosen task are extinguished - or, worse, become that which you despise. Can you hold the line against the night? Can you fight back without becoming too close to that which you hunt?

this is the premise of hunter; essentially, you play a normal person int he World of Darkness hunting the creatures of the night, whether they are vampires, werewolves, the walking dead, or witches. As such, it uses the same system, and is almost identical to the base World of Darkness character, with a few differences. For this character, I think I'll make a kind of modern crusader, a soldier who fights the darkness with his faith - and a gun or two. I'll put Physical first, then Mental, and finally Social. So let's have Strength 2, Dexterity 3, and Stamina 3, followed by Intelligence 2, Wits 3, and Resolve 2, and finally Presence 2, Manipulation 1, and Composure 3. For Skills, I'll go with Brawl 2, Firearms 3, Survival 2, Athletics 3, and Drive 1; then Computer 1, Investigation 2, Medicine 2, and Science 2, with Intimidation 2 and Streetwise 2 for last. For Specialties, I'll take Medicine (Field Medicine), Firearms (Assault Rifles), and Intimidation (Stare-Downs). As a hunter, I choose first a Profession (which will be Soldier), and a Tier (I'll go with 3), so I am also a member of a Conspiracy (mine will be the Malleus Maleficarum, the Hammer of Witches - a Catholic organization that hunts monsters). My Profession gives me another specialty, in either Firearms or Survival - I'll take one in Survival (Foraging). I now have 7 points of Merits; I'll spend three in Professional Training (Soldier). which gives me easier access to further specialties in play. I'll spend 3 points in Benedictions, which gives me access to the Malleus Maleficarum's special ability - the use of ancient Catholic rites to fight evil, such as the Armor of St. Martin, which gives the user temporary divine armor. My last point will be spent on Status in the Malleus - this gives me the access to the Benedictions, otherwise I'm not a trusted enough member to be able to use them. Finally, we have derived statistics; Defense is 3, Size is 5, Initiative is 6, Health is 7, Speed is 10, Morality is 7, Willpower is 5, his virtue is Faith, and his Vice is Pride. So, the final version looks like this:

Andrew Benedict
Concept: Crusading Soldier
Profession: Soldier
Conspiracy: Malleus Maleficarum
Virtue: Faith
Vice: Pride
Intellgence: 2
Wits: 3
Resolve: 2
Strength: 2
Dexterity: 3
Stamina: 3
Presence: 2
Manipulation: 1
Composure: 3

Computers 1
Investigation 2
Medicine 2 (Specialty: Field Medicine)
Science 2
Athletics 3
Brawl 2
Drive 1
Firearms 3 (Specialty: Assault Rifles)
Survival 2 (Specialty: Foraging)
Intimidation 2 (Specialty: Stare-Downs)
Streetwise 2

Professional Training 3
Benedictions 3
Status 1

Defense 3
Size 5
Initiative 6
Speed 10
Health 7
Morality 7
Willpower 5

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Vampire: The Requiem

There is a culture of the supernatural that hides underneath the veneer of human society. They come out only at night, and they feed on the blood that flows through the veins of mankind. They live for hundreds of years, and they control wealth and power that would make many of the richest men blush; and yet, they can never reveal who and what they truly are, for fear that society will destroy them. Soulless creatures, trapped in the darkness, preying on the living and trying to find a purpose. These are the vampires.

This is the premise of Vampire, and as with the several games before it, it is set in the World of Darkness and uses the same setting. I haven't done a female character for a while, so I think I'll make one of those; I'm thinking a vampiric dilettante. I think that means I'll put Social first, then Physical, then Mental. Presence 3, Manipulation 3, Composure 2, then Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2, and finally Intelligence 2, Wits 2, and Resolve 2. Then for Skills, I am thinking Intimidation 2, Persuasion 3, Socialize 3, Subterfuge 3, then Athletics 1, Brawl 2, Stealth 3, Weaponry 1, and finally Investigation 1, Occult 2, Politics 1. For specialties, I'll take Socialize (Parties), Subterfuge (Misdirection), and Stealth (Moving in Darkness). Then I choose Vampire characteristics: Clan (which vampiric bloodline she is from), Covenant (which vampiric group she claims membership with), Disciplines (vampiric powers), and Blood Potency (how powerful her vampiric powers are). As the Daeva bloodline is the emotional, sensual, and desirable one, I'll choose that, and with it an extra point in either Dexterity or Manipulation - I'll choose Manipulation. As for covenants, none of the one presented really fit the character I am imagining, so I'll remain unbound for now. Now I get disciplines; I'll take two points in Majesty (which lets me stun others in awe, and make them reveal their innermost feelings) and one point in Celerity (which makes me faster in combat, letting me subtract dice from my opponent's rolls). Blood Potency starts at 1, and I'll increase it to 2 with Merit points; I'll use the remaining 4 to get 2 points in Haven, for a decent place to stay during the day, and 2 points in Herd, making it easier for my character to feed. Finally, I'll do derived statistics; Defense is 2, Size is 5, Health is 7, Initiative is 5, Humanity (Vampire Morality) is 7, Speed is 10, Willpower is 4, Virtue is Charity, and Vice will be Lust. So the final character will look like this:

Alanna Chance
Concept: Societal dilettante
Clan: Daeva
Covenant: Unbound
Virtue: Charity
Vice: Lust

Intelligence: 2
Wits: 2
Resolve: 2
Strength: 2
Dexterity: 3
Stamina: 2
Presence: 3
Manipulation: 4
Composure: 2

Investigation: 1
Occult: 2
Politics: 1
Athletics: 1
Brawl: 2
Stealth: 3 (Specialty: Moving in Darkness)
Weaponry: 1
Intimidation: 2
Persuasion: 3
Socialize: 3 (Specialty: Parties)
Subterfuge: 3 (Specialty: Misdirection)

Haven 2
Herd 2

Majesty 2
Celerity 1

Defense 2
Size 5
Initiative 5
Speed 10
Health 7
Humanity 7
Willpower 4
Blood Potency 2

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mage: The Awakening

Long ago, man discovered the secrets of magic. As men are prone to do, they used this new ability to gain power. They created the city of Atlantis, and as they grew more powerful and decadent, they created a Celestial Ladder to take them to the heavens while still alive and rule over the world. A few mages climbed the ladder, but most simply fought over it, and the ladder, along with Atlantis, was destroyed - separating the Supernal Realms, the realms of the heavens, from the earthly realm. Now the Exarchs, those few early mages to climb the Celestial Ladder, have incredible power, and they want to keep it - and so they have erased the memory of Atlantis. But they are opposed by a small group of Atlantean mages who also climbed the ladder, and established Watchtowers in the Supernal Realms, pathways to magic - and they use these Watchtowers to call to humanity across the abyss that lies between the Realms. Those called become mages, and must oppose the earthly forces of the Exarchs - and possibly rise in power to oppose the Exarchs themselves.

This is the premise of Mage, and as with the last few games, it is set in the World of Darkness, and uses the same system. I think I'll make a character who is a historian obsessed with the secret history of mankind. So I'll go Mental, Social, Physical. Intelligence 3, Wits 3, and Resolve 2, then Presence 2, Manipulation 1, and Composure 4, and finally Strength 2, Dexterity 2, and Stamina 2. Then on to Skills; I'll take Academics 3, Computers 1, Investigation 3, Occult 3, and Medicine 1. Then I'll take Empathy 2, Socialize 2, Streetwise 2, and Subterfuge 1. Finally, I'll take Brawl 1, Drive 1, and Stealth 2. For specialties, I want Academics (History), Investigation (Artifacts), and Occult (Atlantis). The I add the Mage template; I choose a Path (my path to magic), Order (my social group of mages), magical abilities, and Gnosis (degree of magical proficiency). My path will be Obrimos; they draw their power from what they perceive as the realm of the divine. This also gives me +1 to my Resolve attribute, and tells me my major Arcana will be Forces and Prime, and I will be weak with Death magic. My group will be the Mysterium, seekers of lore and knowledge. When casting a spell that uses one of the Mysterium's specialties - Investigation, Occult, and Survival - I get +1 die to my pool. For my magical powers, I get 2 dots each in Forces and Prime, and I will take one in Spirit; I then get 6 points to spend on specific rotes, or spells. I will take Influence Light and Control Heat in Forces, Activate Enchanted Item in Prime, and Second Sight in Spirit. I start with Gnosis 1, and increase it to 2 with 3 Merit points, using the rest for the Merit Encyclopedic Knowledge; as a mage, I get the High Speech merit for free. Derived values are Defense 2, Size 5, Health 7, Initiative 6, Wisdom (a Mage's Morality) 7, Speed 9, Willpower 7, Virtue will be Faith, and Vice will be Greed. So the final character will be:

Thomas Coyne
Concept: Secret Historian
Path: Obrimos
Organization: Mysterium
Virtue: Faith
Vice: Greed

Intelligence: 3
Wits: 3
Resolve: 3
Strength: 2
Dexterity: 2
Stamina: 2
Presence: 2
Manipulation: 1
Composure: 4

Academics 3 (Specialty: History)
Computers 1
Investigation 3 (Specialty: Artifacts)
Occult 3 (Specialty: Atlantis)
Medicine 1
Brawl 1
Drive 1
Survival 2
Empathy 2
Socialize 2
Streetwise 2
Subterfuge 1

High Speech
Encyclopedic Knowledge

Forces 2
Prime 2
Spirit 1

Influence Light (Forces 1)
Control Heat (Forces 2)
Activate Enchanted Item (Prime 2)
Second Sight (Spirit 1)

Defense 2
Size 5
Speed 9
Initiative 6
Health 7
Wisdom 7
Willpower 7

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Promethean: The Created

You used to be human, once. At least, you think so. Now you are something else, something created from the parts and bodies of the dead. Like the monster Frankenstein created, you now wander the earth, searching for a purpose to your existence, trying to find a way to become that which all of your kind want - to be truly human, to have a soul. Until then, you wander without aim, never staying too long - as your very presence can incite normal people against you.

This is the premise of Promethean, and so, like all the other World of Darkness games, it uses the same setting and system. As a being that was created from the parts of the dead, the Promethean has little in the way of a true background - generally, they don't remember the lives of their bodies or their parts. I will make a combative character this time; as a concept, he will be a defender of the weak. So for Attributes, Physical will be first, then Mental, then Social. I'll go with Strength 3, Dexterity 2, Stamina 3, then Intelligence 2, Wits 2, and Resolve 3, and finally Presence 2, Manipulation 1, and Composure 3. Then I move on the skills. I'll take Athletics 3, Brawl 3, Survival 3, and Weaponry 2. Then I will take Crafts 2, Investigation 2, Occult 2, and Medicine 1. Finally, I'll take Empathy 1, Intimidation 2, and Streetwise 1. Then I get 3 specialties, and I'll take Body Language for Investigate, Boxing for Brawl, and Foraging for Survival. Then I add the Promethean template, which means lineage (the type of Promethean), Refinement (the path the Promethean is taking towards a human soul), transmutations (the powers of the Promethean), and Azoth (the degree of Divine Fire within the Promethean). I'll make this character a Tammuz, also known as a Golem; he will be introspective, and governed byt he element of Earth; he also gets the Bestowment of Unholy Stamina, which increases his Stamina and its effects in a number of situations. He will follow the Refimement of Iron, the way of the warrior, which gives him access to the transmutations of Corporeum and Vitality. I then get 3 dots in transmutations; I'll spend all 3 in the Vitality transmutation, to get one dot of the Might Transmutation (giving me +1 Strength every time I spend 1 Pyros - the Promethean's energy) and the Bludgeon ability (letting me pummel living beings with supernatural power). I will spend 3 points of my 7 Merit points to get my Azoth to 2, and the remaining four to get the Giant Merit, giving me +1 Size and thus +1 Health. For derived statistics, Defense is 2, Health is 9, Size is 6, Initiative is 5, Humanity (Promethean Morality) is 7, Speed is 11, Willpower is 6, the Virtue will be Justice, and the Vice will be Wrath. I imagine this character as kind of like a mix between Bruce Banner and the Hulk from the old Lou Ferrigno series. so the final character looks like this:

John Buck
Concept: Defender of the weak
Lineage: Tammuz
Refinement: Iron
Virtue: Justice
Vice: Wrath
Intelligence 2
Wits 2
Resolve 3
Strength 3
Dexterity 2
Stamina 3
Presence 2
Manipulation 1
Composure 3

Crafts 2
Investigate 2 (Specialty: Body Language)
Medicine 1
Occult 2
Athletics 3
Brawl 3 (Specialty: Boxing)
Survival 3
Weaponry 3
Empathy 1
Intimidate 2
Streetwise 1


Might 1
Unholy Stamina

Defense 2
Size 6
Speed 11
Initiative 5
Health 9
Willpower 6
Humanity 7
Azoth 2

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Changeling: The Lost

Imagine you ran into a creature, the most beautiful, wondrous creature you had ever seen. Imagine it invited you to its home, to see the sights that it has created and to experience its world. Imagine going there, only to become the lowest of the low, servant to your new master, forced to do anything and everything it thinks of, and never being allowed to do, or go completely mad. Now imagine you were given the chance to escape, to return to your world again, changed by your experiences; are you still who you were when you left? Now imagine that the world had continued on without you; your former master had left a simulacrum in your place, and it continued your life - and better than you ever did. Imagine you are this changed being, without a home or family, constantly living in fear that your former master will come back to this world and find you and bring you back. your only solace is in the companionship of others who have felt the same servitude, from different fae masters. What do you do with your life?

This, in a nutshell, is the premise of Changeling: The Lost. You play a person returned from the world of the true fae, changed by your experiences and perhaps not entirely sane. It, too, uses the Wolrd of Darkness as a setting, and so the same system. I think I'll make an architect, so I'll put Mental first, Physical second, and Social third. I'll take Intelligence 3, Wits 3, and Resolve 2, then Strength 2, Dexterity 3, and Stamina 2, and then Composure 2, Manipulation 2, and Presence 2. Then I get Skills at 11/7/4, so I'll go with Academics 2, Computer 2, Crafts 3, Politics 2, and Science 2. Then for Physical, I'll take Athletics 2, Drive 2, Firearms 1, Stealth 1, and Survival 1. Finally, for Social, Persuasion 1, Socialize 1, Streetwise 1, and Subterfuge 1. Then I take Skill Specialties; I'll take Academics (Architecture), Craft (Buildings), and Computer (Drafting). Then I add the changeling template; I choose a seeming (the type of changeling I become) and a Court (the group of changelings I join). I will be an Artist of the Wizened seeming; I get to use a special rule now when I use Crafts, and can spend Glamour for rerolls. I am also nimble and dexterous, but sadly ugly; my Presence rolls will suffer, as will untrained social skills. I will also join the Winter Court. Now I have 5 points of contracts, the changeling powers, to distribute; I'll take 3 dots in the Contracts of Artifice, which lets me repair most things, disable many devices, and make already-created items more efficient and easier to use. I will take the final two dots in the Eternal Winter contract, letting me cool a room considerably and also freeze liquids with a touch of my fingers. then I determine my Wyrd, the connection I have to the fae world; I start with 1, but can add 1 point per three Merit point spent. I'll take 2 more dots, leaving me with 1 point left; I'll use that to give myself a New Identity. then I determine derived stats. Defense is 3, Health is 7, Size is 5, Initiative is 5, Clarity (Changeling Morality) is 7, Speed is 10, Willpower is 4, my Virtue will be Temperance and my Vice will be Envy. So the final character is this:

Joseph MacAllen
Concept: Bored Architect
Seeming: Wizened (Artist)
Court: Winter
Virtue: Temperance
Vice: Envy
Intelligence 3
Wits 3
Resolve 2
Strength 2
Dexterity 3
Stamina 2
Presence 2
Manipulation 2
Composure 2

Academics 2 (Specialty: Architecture)
Computers 2 (Specialty: Drafting)
Craft 3 (Specialty: Buildings)
Politics 2
Science 2
Athletics 2
Drive 2
Firearms 1
Stealth 1
Survival 1
Persuasion 1
Socialize 1
Streetwise 1
Subterfuge 1

New Identity (1 point)

Artifice 3
Eternal Winter 2

Wyrd 3
Defense 3
Size 5
Speed 10
Initiative 5
Health 7
Willpower 4
Clarity 7

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Werewolf: The Forsaken

Long ago, when the Earth was Pangaea and the spirit real was much closer to the physical world, Father Wolf patrolled the border between the two, keeping vigilant for any spirit that caused too much trouble in the land of flesh. He mated with the moon spirit Luna, and had 9 children, who would become the first werewolves, and taught them the ways of his task. As time went on, Father Wolf grew old and slow, and spirits began to get away with much more, and so one fateful day, five of his children decided that, for the good of the world, they must kill their father and take up his task. They did, and hearing his death howl, Luna cursed them to be forever of two worlds, fitting in with neither. Three of Father Wolf's children, too cowardly to do what must be done, went and hid, and nursed a grudge against their siblings - a grudge added to by their new spirit advisors. The ninth child did nothing, and disappeared from history. And so now we are the children of those five, the Uratha, the Forsaken; cursed to be of two worlds, to walk between and police the boundaries, our songs unsung by the humans around us and our guard always up, for spirits, and our so-called 'Pure' brethren, are always seeking to destroy us and bring the spirit world into dominance over this world. So now you, too, must join the fight, take up a weapon, and guard your territory, for we are the only defense this world has.

Werewolf: The Forsaken is a game set in White Wolf's World of Darkness, and uses the same system; in fact, all that is added are a tribe (which of the 5 Forsaken children you feel the most in common with) and an auspice (the phase of the moon you are born under). You also get the Primal Urge merit, telling you how in touch with your animal side you are, and Gifts from your spirit heritage to help you in your task. So, let's start out; I think I'll make a musician. As before, we have 5/4/3 divided between Physical, Social, and Mental; I'll keep Social as primary, then have Physical as secondary and Mental as tertiary. So I'll have Presence 3, Manipulation 3, and Composure 2, then Strength 2, Dexterity 3, and Stamina 2, followed by Intelligence 2, Wits 2, and Resolve 2. Then I go on to skills, where I again have 11/7/4. For Social skills, I'll take Expression 3, Streetwise 2, Socialize 2, Intimidation 2, and Persuasion 2. For Physical, I'll take Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Survival 2, and Drive 1, leaving me with Computers 1, Crafts 1, Medicine 1, and Occult 1 in Mental skills. Then I get three Skill Specialties, so I'll take Expression (Musical Instrument), Brawl (Dirty Tricks), and Medicine (Pharmaceuticals). Now I choose auspice and tribe. For auspice, I will go with the gibbous moon, or Cahalith; it is the moon of storytellers and lorekeepers, priests and historians. I get a free specialty in a Cahalith skill (I'll choose Persuasion), and the Prophetic Dreams ability; once per story I can ask the Storyteller for a prophetic dream, though he is free to make it as full of symbolism as he likes. For tribe, I will go with the Iron Masters, the tribe most in tune with modern society, even if only in a kinda-sorta way. These two things determine the kinds of Gifts I can take, and the type of Renown (status in werewolf society) that is important to me. Then I move on to derived attributes; Defense is 2, Health is 7, Initiative is 5, Harmony (werewolf Morality) is 7 (this is also the size of my character's Essence pool), Size is 5, Speed is 10, Willpower is 4, and my Virtue will be Fortitude, while my Vice will be Lust. For Merits, I start with 1 dot in Primal Urge, and I'll spend 3 more Merit points to get a second dot, and the remaining four to get the Inspiring Merit. Now I choose Gifts; I get one each from my auspice and tribe, and one other. I'll take the 1-point Gibbous Moon gift, Pack Awareness, letting me know in general where my packmates are and what they are doing, as well as if they are badly hurt. then I'll take the 1-point Inspiration Gift The Right Words, letting me make a nice speech and gain a bonus to Social rolls made to encourage or mollify others. Finally, I'll take the 1-point Technology gift Left-Handed Spanner, which lets me cause a minor and temporary malfunction in any piece of technology with more than two moving parts. Then I have three points of Renown to distribute; I must put one in Glory for being a Cahalith, and one in Cunning for being an Iron Master, and will put the third point in Wisdom. So the final product looks like this:

Nate Simons
Concept: Alternative rocker
Auspice: Cahalith
Tribe: Iron Masters
Virtue: Fortitude
Vice: Lust

Intelligence 2
Wits 2
Resolve 2
Strength 2
Dexterity 3
Stamina 2
Presence 3
Manipulation 3
Composure 2

Computers 1
Crafts 1
Medicine 1 (Specialty: Pharmaceuticals)
Occult 1
Athletics 2
Brawl 2 (Specialty: Dirty Tricks)
Drive 1
Survival 2
Empathy 2
Expression 3 (Specialty: Guitar)
Intimidation 2
Persuasion 2 (Specialty: Motivational Speeches)
Streetwise 2

Pack Awareness
The Right Words
Left-Handed Spanner

Primal Urge 2

Glory 1
Cunning 1
Wisdom 1

Health 7
Size 5
Speed 10
Defense 2
Initiative 5
Willpower 4
Essence 7
Harmony 7

Monday, May 17, 2010

World of Darkness

The World of Darkness is perhaps one of the best-known games around. Made by White Wolf Game Studio, the current version of the World of Darkness is the second, often referred to as the 'new' World of Darkness. Essentially, what the game is about is this: you play, at least in the basic version of World of Darkness, a normal person. Somehow, you have seen something you shouldn't have, and the world has been blown wide open to you; you realize the supernatural is real, and in some cases is all around you. There are creatures that live in the shadows and hide themselves away from humanity, things like ghosts and spirits, werewolves and vampires. Some of them prey on humanity; some of them use humanity; some of them simply try to avoid humanity. But you know that there is something out there now, and you don't know that you an hide anymore.

World of Darkness uses White Wolf's Storyteller system, which is generally pretty easy to grasp; most rolls within the system involve combining the numbers of an attribute and a skill, then rolling that number of dice in an attempt to hit a target number. For a basic character, the amount of points you get to make your character are small: there are three categories of Attributes, each with three Attributes. Mental attributes are Intelligence, Wits, and Resolve; Physical attributes are Strength, Dexterity, and Stamina; Social attributes are Presence, Manipulation, and Composure. Each Attribute starts with one points, then you get additional points; 5 for one category, 4 for a second, and 3 for the third. I think I'll try to make a journalist who's finding out there's more to his stories than he knows, and so I'll go for Social first, Mental second, and Physical third. So I'll make his Presence 3, Composure 3, Manipulation 2, Intelligence 2, Wits 3, Resolve 2, Strength 2, Dexterity 2, and Stamina 2. Then I move on to Skills; there are again three categories of Skills, and they get points divided by 11/7/4. For Social skills, I'll take Empathy 2, Intimidation 2, Persuasion 2, Socialize 3, and Streetwise 2. For Mental skills, I want Computers 2, Investigation3, and Occult 2. Finally, for Physical skills, I'll take Athletics 1, Brawl 1, Drive 1, and Larceny 1. I then get three Skill Specialties; I'll take a specialty in Crime Scenes for Investigation, Lies for Empathy, and Bar Hopping for Socialize. Then I determine some derived stats; Defense (which is the lower of Dexterity or Wits, so 2), Health (Staminas plus Size, so 7), Initiative (Dexterity plus Composure, or 5), Morality (7 for starting characters), Size (5 for normal humans), Speed (Strength + Dexterity + 5, or 9), Willpower (Resolve + Composure, or 5), and a Virtue and a Vice; I'll choose Hope for a Virtue and Pride for a Vice. Then, finally, I have 7 points to spend on Merits; I'll take Eidetic Memory, Barfly, Striking Looks, and Iron Stomach. So, the final character will look something like this:

Rob Stirling
Concept: Nightstalker journalist
Virtue: Hope
Vice: Pride

Intelligence 2
Wits 3
Resolve 2
Strength 2
Dexterity 2
Stamina 2
Presence 3
Manipulation 2
Composure 3

Computers 2
Investigation 3 (Specialty: Crime Scenes)
Occult 2
Athletics 1
Brawl 1
Drive 1
Larceny 1
Empathy 2 (Specialty: Lies)
Intimidation 2
Persuasion 2
Socialize 3 (Specialty: Bar-Hopping)
Streetwise 2

Size 5
Speed 9
Initiative 5
Defense 2
Health 7
Willpower 5
Morality 7

Eidetic Memory
Striking Looks (2 points)
Iron Stomach

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Armageddon: The End Times

Armageddon is a game, unsurprisingly, about the end of the world. It is set in the not-too-far future, where the supernatural has once again come into the world. Beings of great power walk the world, powers both old and new; gods of old walk alongside angels and demons, magic-users and gunfighters. The Army of the Reckoning, composed of the followers of the great and evil power Leviathan, is sweeping the world, trying to bring about the end of everything; the other powers are, understandably, upset about this, and are doing what they can to prevent it.This catastrophe brings strange bedfellows; the Heavenly Host and the Infernal Legion battle alongside the Lodge of the Undying, the Pantheons of old gods, and the former angelic beings known ans the Watchers. Armageddon, made by Eden Studios, uses the Unisystem rules set, and unlike previous games, has four tiers of character power, each with several options: Pre-Heroic Characters, including Potential Heroes and the Beginning Gifted; Heroic Characters, including the Gifted, the Lesser Gifted, the Mundane, and the Lesser Supernatural; Legendary Characters, like the Supernatural and the Greater Gifted; and Mythical Characters, including Demi-gods, Greater Supernaturals, and Gifted Masters. I think I'll go with the Mythical tier, and make a Greater Supernatural character - that gives me 30 points of Attributes, 20 points in Qualities, up to 15 points in Drawbacks, 60 points in Skills, and 90 points in Metaphysics.

Well, I want to have dealings with the Norse pantheon - I want to be an Inheritor of Tyr, the god of justice and battle. So let's give my character 5 in Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, 3 in Intelligence, and 6 in both Perception and Willpower. That gives me, according the the Life Point and Endurance Point Formula Charts. 90 LPs and 78 EPs. It also gives me Speed 20 and 50 Essence Points. As for Qualities, I need to take Inheritor, which is a 20-point Quality; it gives me the aspect of Justice, +3 Strength, and +3 Constitution, and +1 to Intelligence. He regains 1 LP or EP per Willpower point per turn, cannot be killed by narcotics, irritant poisons, or mundane diseases,a nd he does not grow old. As an inheritor of a god of Justice and War, my character must take the Drawback Honorable, and I'll go for the full three points; I'll also take Adversary at 3 points, and Recklessness for 2 more. I'll use those 8 points to buy Fast Reaction Time, Hard to Kill 3, and Nerves of Steel. That brings me to skills, where I have 60 points to spend. Let's take Brawling 5, Dodge 5, Drive: Car 4, Gun (Handgun) 4, Hand Weapon (Hammer) 5, Intimidation 5, Language (English) 5, Language (Norse)4, Martial Arts 5, Myth and Legend (Norse) 5, Notice 5, Rituals 5, Stealth 2, Storytelling 5, and Surveillance 2. Finally, we come to Metaphsyics. As an Inheritor, my character uses what is known as Primal Power. I have 90 points, so I'll take Primal Skill 5 for 10 points, then Aura of Power for 3 points, Dominion for 8 points, Combat Wisdom for 5 points, Sagacity for 5 points, Sense Truth for 3 points, Wise Choice for 2 points, Decision for 5 points, Discover the Guilty for 3 points, Unbending Will for 2 points, Cold Fury for 10 points, Berserk Leader for 5 points, Enhanced Strength for 4 points, Iron Muscles for 6 points, Combat Speed for 10 points, and finally Ways of War for 8 points. That's an exhaustive list, but it means that I can see the truth, punish the guilty, increase my Will, Strength, and speed, make wise decisions, gain berserker abilities without losing conscious thought, give berserker strength to others, and use any weapon from a rock to a rocket launcher with a fair degree of skill. So, that means my final character will look like this:

Erik Gardena
Character Type: Greater Supernatural
Association: Pantheons

Strength 8
Dexterity 5
Constitution 8
Intelligence 5
Perception 6
Willpower 6

Secondary Attributes
Life Points: 129
Endurance Points: 96
Speed: 26
Essence Pool: 57

Fast Reaction Time
Hard to Kill 3
Nerves of Steel

Honorable 3
Adversary 3 (Church of Revelations)

Brawling 5
Dodge 5
Drive: Car 4
Gun (Handgun) 4
Hand Weapon (Hammer) 5
Intimidation 5
Language (English) 5
Language (Norse)4
Martial Arts 5
Myth and Legend (Norse) 5
Notice 5
Rituals 5
Stealth 2
Storytelling 5
Surveillance 2

Aspects: Justice and War
Primal Skill 5
Aura of Power
Combat Wisdom
Sense Truth
Wise Choices
Discover the Guilty
Unbending Will 1
Cold Fury
Berserker Leader
Enhanced Strength 2
Iron Muscles 3
Combat Speed (10 point version)
Ways of War

Friday, May 14, 2010


Withcraft is another game by Eden studios, and it, too uses the Unisystem rules set. Unsurprisingly, the game is about witchcraft, those gifted with magic and those without. There are a number of orders who are devoted to the use of magic, and several who are devoted to rooting it out; both think they are doing the best, but a Time of Reckoning is approaching where one side will likely prevail over the other, and determine the future of the world. It has actual witches in the Wicce, conspiracy-themed magic users in the Rosicrucians, the magic-hunting, Inquisition-descended Sentinels, the mental Cabal of the Psyche, and others, and characters belong to one of these groups - or go it alone - in their attempts to discover what is going on in the world of the supernatural, and whether they want to stop it or hurry it along. As the game uses the Unisystem, it's pretty familiar; there are four tiers of character with Witchcraft, though: the Gifted, who have the greatest magical powers; the Lesser Gifted, who have some power, but not as much; the Mundanes, who are without supernatural abilities, but can make up for it with normal human skills; and the Bast, a group fo feline shapeshifters. I'm going to go with one of the Lesser Gifted. This gives me 20 Attribute points, 15 points for Qualities (of which 5 will be used to purchase the Gifted Quality, up to 10 points in Drawbacks, 30 points in Skills, and 15 points for Metaphysics.

I want to make a Rosicrucian, a member of the Brotherhood of the Rose Cross; I'm a member of a secret society looking to use magic for the good of humanity, whether it wants it or not. Taking an idea from the core book, I'll play a stage magician; what better place to hide than in plain sight? I'll take Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Constitution 2, Intelligence 4, Perception 4, and Willpower 4 for my Primary Attributes, and secondary attributes like Life Points, Endurance Points, Speed and Essence are determined the same as in All Flesh Must Be Eaten, giving me 26 LPs, 29 EPs, Speed 12 and 20 Essence. Then for Qualities, I take Gifted (5 points), Attractiveness (3 points), Fast Reaction Time (2 points), Resources (2 points), and Increased Essence (6 points), adding 5 Essence per point spent. That puts me over my limit, so I need to take some Drawbacks; I'll take a 3-point Adversary (perhaps a demented, and undead, stalker fan), Delusion (Invincible) for 2 points, Emotional Problems (Fear of Rejection) for 1 point, PAranoid for 2 points, and Showoff for 2 points. Then, I move to Skills; I have 30 points here, so I'll take Acrobatics 1, Acting 3, Brawling 2, Climbing 2, Dodge 2, Escapism 4, Lock-Picking 3, Occult Knowledge 2, Rituals (Rosicrucian) 2, Seduction 3, Sleight of Hand 4, and Stealth 2. Finally, we come to Metaphysics, where the real magic is. I want Affect Psyche, Elemental Air, Lesser Illusion, Shielding, and Essence Channeling, and thanks to Drawbacks, I have 22 points to use. I'll take 3 levels of Essence Channeling, which determines the possible Strength of my other magic; that costs 6 points. I can then buy 2 levels of each of the other 4, at 2 points per level, to finish off my points. So, the final character looks like this:

Anthony Blackstone Farland
Association: Rosicrucian
Concept: Reluctant Hero
Channeling Level: 3
Primary Attributes
Strength 2
Dexterity 4
Constitution 2
Intelligence 4
Perception 4
Willpower 4
Secondary Attributes
Life Points: 26
Endurance Points: 29
Speed: 12
Essence Pool: 50

Fast Reaction Time
Increased Essence 6
Resources 2
Adversary 3
Delusion (Invincible)
Emotional Problem (Fear of Rejection)

Acrobatics 2
Acting 3
Brawling 2
Climbing 1
Dodge 2
Escapism 4
Lock-Picking 3
Occult Knowledge 2
Rituals (Rosicrucian) 2
Seduction 3
Sleight of Hand 4
Stealth 2

Affect Psyche 2
Elemental Air 2
Lesser Illusion 2
Shielding 2
Essence Channeling 3

What we have here is a very intelligent, savvy stage magician (though a bit off is rocker at times). He's very good at normal stage magic, and his magical abilities help him out: Affect Psyche lets him influence the moods of others, or project an Aura of confidence; Elemental Air lets him affect the air around him, from things as small as stirring the air to the possibility of lightning from thin air; Lesser Illusion allows him to create visual, auditory, or even full illusions, that will fool most people; and Shielding will let him shield himself from both magical and physical harm - for those times when getting sawed in half isn't just a trick. With Resources 2, he's fairly well-off, so can purchase most of what he wants, so it leaves him some leisure time to traipse about the world finding out the secret of the supernatural - while putting in the occasional show, of course.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

All Flesh Must Be Eaten

Who doesn't like zombies? They're great enemies - no mind, so easy to kill without qualms, but then, you can always throw zombies of friends or family at characters to mess with their heads. Fast zombies, slow zombies, disease zombies, magic curse zombies, they're all good. All Flesh Must Be Eaten is a game about surviving in a world with a zombie problem. It's by Eden Studios, who did Buffy, Angel, and Army of Darkness, but it uses the full Unisystem rules set, as opposed to the Cinematic Unisystem rules. As with those games, there are three tiers of characters, though they aren't as blatant in power level difference; there are the Norms, who are your basic everyday person stuck in a world full of zombies; Survivors, people who have that extra something that lets them survive more easily in a world of the dead; and the Inspired, people who have developed supernatural powers, large or small, that they can use in the face of a zombie apocalypse. Let's build a Survivor.

As a Survivor, I get 20 points for Attributes, 15 points for Qualities, up to 10 points of Drawbacks, and 35 points in Skills. Attributes are Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Perception, and Willpower. Let's make this Survivor a former police officer, and give him Str 3, Dex 2, Con 4, Int 3, Per 4, and Wil 4.This lets us determine the secondary attributes, which are Life Points, Endurance Points, Speed, and Essence Pool. Life Points are determined by adding Con and Str together, multiplying by 4, and adding 10, this gives our cop 38 LPs. Endurance Points are found by adding Con, Str, and Wil together, multiplying by 3, then adding 5; this gives me 38 EPs as well. Speed is Con + Dex x2, or 12, and Essence is determined by adding all attributes together, for a total of 20. Next, I move on to Qualities and drawbacks; I'll take Contacts (Police) 3, Contacts (Underworld) 2, Hard to Kill 4 (which gives me 3 LPs for every level, bringing my total to 50), Nerves of Steel, Resistance (Disease) 1, and Situational Awareness. No Drawbacks for now; they could prove to be deadly. Next we go to Skills. I want a character who can do what a cop should, so I'll take Brawling 3, Computers 2, Dodge 3, Drive: Car 3, First Aid 2, Guns (Handgun) 4, Guns (Shotgun) 3, Hand Weapon (Club) 3, Intimidation 3, Questioning 2, Streetwise 3, Surveillance 3, and Bureaucracy 1. Finally, I get gear, and since I'm a cop, I'll take what looks like fairly standard police equipment: a Class IIIa Bulletproof Vest, First Aid Kit, Flare Gun, Flashlight, Handcuffs, Handgun, Squad Car (Sedan), and Vehicle Radio. Put that all together, and we have:

Officer John Clemens
Str 3, Dex 2, Con 4, Int 3, Per 4, Wil 4
LPs: 50
EPs: 38
Speed: 12
Essence: 20

Contacts (Police) 3 (3)
Contacts (Underworld) 2 (2)
Hard to Kill 4 (4)
Nerves of Steel (3)
Situational Awareness (2)
Resistance (Disease) 1 (1)

Brawling 3
Computers 2
Dodge 3
Drive: Car 3
First Aid 2
Guns (Handgun) 4
Guns (Shotgun) 3
Hand Weapon (Club) 3
Intimidation 3
Questioning 2
Streetwise 3
Surveillance 3
Bureaucracy 1

Class IIIa Vest, First Aid Kit, Flare Gun, Flashlight, Handcuffs, Squad Car (Sedan), Vehicle Radio

He's not quite STARS material, but he'll do for now.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lord of the Rings RPG

Lord of the Rings, like Star Trek, is one of those things you learn about in general if you tend to read blogs about RPGs. Especially after the big movie trilogy, Lord of the Rings was very much at the front of people's minds for RPG purposes, and Decipher, the same company that did the Star Trek RPG, picked up the Lord of the Rings license. They didn't keep it for very long, but it's a decent enough version of the game, and it's what I have. The system is very similar to the Star Trek system - near identical, in fact, excpet for some name-changing. And since anyone reading this probably has a basic knowledge of the Lord of the Rings world, I'll get to character creation.

First, you choose your character's race; you can be a Dwarf, Elf, Hobbit, or Human. Elves and Humans have several versions, and since I'm partial to the Riders of Rohan, I'll go with a Human of the Middle Peoples; as such, I get +1 Strength and +1 Vitality, and speak Westron and Rohirric. As a human, I get Adaptable , which is +2 to one of the derived statistics of Stamina, Swiftness, or Willpower; Dominion of Man, which gives me +1 Courage; and Skilled, which gives me +2 to one skill or +1 to two skills. Then I get to make six skill picks; I'll take +1 to each of Armed Combat, Ranged Combat, Ride, Inspire, Observe, and Survival. I also get an Edge, so I'll take Honour's Insight. Then I choose my Order, which is like a class; my options are Barbarian, Craftsman, Loremaster, Magician, Mariner, Minstrel, Noble, Rogue, and Warrior. Since I'd like to be a Rider of Rohan, I'll take Warrior. I'll take the Horseman package, which gives me Armed Combat +3, Healing +1, Inspire +2, Intimidate +2, Observe +2, Ranged Combat +1, Ride +3, and Siegecraft +1, plus 5 points to distribute to any Warrior Order skills; I'll take Armed Combat, Ranged Combat, Intimidate, Healing, and Survival. This also gives me an Edge, so I'll take Fell-handed. Then I choose a Warrior Ability; I'll take Warrior-born, so I can spend a point of Courage to gain +2 to all Armed Combat and Ranged Combat checks in a single battle. Then I choose my attributes; as with Star Trek, I can take an array of 10, 9, 7, 7, 5, 4, so I will arrange those Nimbleness, Strength, Perception, Vitality, Bearing, and Wits. I then get a third Edge pick, and I'll take Bold. Then I determine secondary statistics; Stamina is derived from Strength or Vitality, Swiftness from Nimbleness or Perception, Willpower from Bearing or Wits, and Wisdom from Bearing or Perception. Then Defense is derived as 10+ my Nimbleness modifier, which makes it 12. Health Is my Vitalyt (8) plus my Strength modifier (+1), so I have 9 Health. As a Human, I start with 4 Courage, and 0 Renown as a starting character - though I'd change that shortly in play. And, as as a Human, my Size is Medium. Equipment is determined by game, but errata indicates a good starting amount of starting money is 1d6 silver pieces, modified by order and background. So, it all comes together like this:

Dirohl, Rider of Rohan
Race: Man (Middle Peoples)
Racial Abilities: Adaptable (+2 Willpower), Dominion of Man, Skilled
Attributes: Bearing 5 (+0), Nimbleness 10 (+2), Perception 7 (+0), Strength 10 (+2), Vitality 8 (+1), Wits 4 (+0)
Reactions: Stamina (+2), Swiftness (+2), Willpower (+2), Wisdom (+0)
Order: Warrior
Order Ability: Warrior-born
Advancements: 0
Skills: Armed Combat (Polearms) +6, Healing (Treat Wounds) +2, Inspire +3, Intimidate (Majesty) +3, Language: Westron (Common) +3, Language: Rohirrin +3, Lore: History (Rohan) +3, Lore: Realm (Rohan) +3, Observe (Spot) +3, Ranged Combat (Bows) +3, Ride (Horse) +5, Siege-craft (Defence) +1, Survival +2 (Plains)
Edges: Honour's Insight, Fell-handed, Bold
Flaws: None
Health: 9
Courage: 4
Renown: 0
Gear: Longsword, spear, longbow, 20 arrows, chainmail, large shield, horse

Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game

Star Trek is a franchise that probably everyone is aware of - almost certainly if you find yourself reading blogs about RPGs, anyway. What is there not to like about playing a character serving on a starship, traveling throughout the stars looking for new planets to explore, and new aces to contact? Well, or conquer if you are into the Cardassians, Klingons, Dominion, and that crowd. There have been several RPGs based in the Star Trek universe; this is the most recent, by Decipher, which also made a Star Trek CCG. The system is a fairly simple one, so let's get to it, shall we?

First, I have to choose a species. You can choose from basically all the Star Trek standards - Vulcans, Klingons, Romulans, Bajorans, Cardassians, Talaxians, Trill, Betazoids, Ferengi - there's even a whole book devoted to various aliens, but I think I'll go with a bog-standard Human. As a species, they have no adjustments to the basic statistics, but they do get the ability Adaptable, which gives them a bonus to either Stamina, Quickness, or Willpower; Human Spirit, which gives them +1 Courage; and Skilled, which lets them add +2 to one skill or +1 to two skills. Then I choose my profession, My choices are Diplomat, Merchant, Mystic, Rogue, Scientist, Soldier, and Starship Officer - and within the Starship Officer profession, you choose from Command, Operations, and Science. Being as it is Star Trek, I'll go with Starship Officer, and choose Operations, as I'd like to make a tactical officer. Then I choose my attributes: the attributes are Agility, Intellect, Presence, Perception, Strength, and Vitality. I can roll for this, or choose from an array; I'll go with the array, which is 10, 9, 7, 7, 5, and 4. As I want a tactical officer, the book recommends I get Agility, Perception, Vitality, and Strength, then Presence and Intelligence, so that is how I will distribute my points. Then, we move on to skills. First I choose species skills; this is a number of points equal to my Int (4) x2, so 8 points to distribute among skills like Culture, History, Politics, Religion, Homeworld, and various languages. Then I choose a personal development package; this is, essentially, what I get for my character as he grew up. I'll choose the Military "Brat" package. I'll get Energy Weapons +2, Computer Use +1, Survival +1, and System Operation +1, plus an Edge - I'll go with Alert. Then I get a Professional Development package; since I want a tactical officer, I'll take the Tactical Officer package, which gives me Computer Use (Hacking) +2, Culture +2, Energy Weapons +2, Repair +2, System Operation (Tactical) +4, Tactics (Space) +2, and an Unarmed Combat skill at +2. Then I get 5 skill points for Security Professional skills, so I'll take +1 to Athletics, Energy Weapons, First Aid, Observe, and Tactics (Space). I also get another Edge, so I'll choose Resolute. I then get a third Edge choice, so I'll go with Promotion, to make my character a Lieutenant (junior grade) instead of the standard Ensign. Then I determine a number of characteristics, the Reaction scores; Quickness gets the modifier from either Perception or Agility, Savvy from Presence or Perception, Stamina from Strength or Vitality, and Willpower from Intellect or Vitality. Defense is 7 plus my Agility modifier, which is +2. Health equals my Vitality attribute plus my strength modifier, so I have 7 starting Health. I have 4 starting Courage, the 3 standard +1 for being Human. As a beginning character, I have no Renown. So, after all that is done, my character looks like this:

Tactical Officer Lieutenant j.g. David Holdstock
Agility 10 (+2 modifier)
Perception 9 (+1 modifier)
Strength 7
Vitality 7
Presence 5
Intelligence 4

Quickness +2
Savvy +1
Stamina +2
Willpower +0

Defense 9
Health 7
Courage 4
Renown 0

Energy Weapons +5
Computer Use (Hacking) +3
Survival +2
System Operation (Tactical) +5
Human Culture +4
Repair +2
Tactics (Space) +3
Unarmed Combat (Self-defense) +2
Athletics +1
First Aid +1
Observe +2
Human History +2
Earth Knowledge +2
Federation Standard Language +2

Alert, Promotion, Resolute

Professional Abilities
Starship Duty, Security Protocols

As a Starfleet officer, David gets equipment as assigned to him for a mission, though he can request specific items.

PhD Acceptance

Well, today was a big day - I finally found out whether or not I would have any future in a PhD program. I have been given provisional acceptance into my program, and the conditions seem entirely possible, but it's also been a long day, so I don't have a character done for today. Tomorrow, though. hopefully I'll have the time - and the energy - to knock out a couple to make up for it. At least one of them will be from Decipher's Star Trek RPG.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Stormbringer is an RPG based on the stories of Elric of Melnibone, the dark fantasy character created by Michael Moorcock. It was made by Chaosium, and the edition I have was printed in 2001, so it could conceivably still be in print. In Stormbringer, you play a character set in the world of Elric, amidst the Young Kingdoms; you aspire to become a champion of the primal forces of Law, Chaos, or Balance. Perhaps you could even aspire to becoming the current incarnation of the Eternal Champion. You discover the secrets and prophecies that criss-cross the Young Kingdoms, the Unknown Lands, and the gods of Law and Chaos - if, that is, you manage to keep yourself alive.

It uses the same system as other Chaosium games, like Call of Cthulhu, so the skills are percentile-based. There are seven principle attributes: Strength (STR), Constitution (CON), Size (SIZ), Intelligence (INT), Power (POW), Dexterity (DEX), and Appearance (APP). You determine those by rolling 2d6+6 for each. Then you determine the derived statistics Idea (INTx5), Luck (POWx5), Dexterity (DEXx5), and Charisma (APPx5). Since I won't be making a magic-user, I don't need to raise my Power, the attribute that governs magic. I determine my Damage Bonus in combat by adding STR + SIZ, and determine hit points by adding CON + SIZ and dividing by 2. My magic points, useless though they will be to me, are equal to my POW score. I can then choose 13 skills, and add 20 skill points to each. Then I choose an occupation for my character; since I generally tend to play fighters, I can go with Mercenary or Soldier, and I think I'll go with Mercenary. This means I can divide 250 points among the skills Brawl, Dodge, Ride, Throw, 3 weapon skills, and a personal specialty skill, as well as 200 bronzes. I then roll for a distinctive feature, and roll 1d6, add that to 17, and find my age. Since I'm not taking magic, I'll go for Law, and add 20 skill points to between 1 and 3 skills, adding 1 point to my Law allegiance for each skill. I then get my equipment, including 600 bronzes, a horse and tack, and something that shows my character's relationship with his family. So, putting that all together:

Sayem Osrode
Age: 20
STR: 15
CON: 14
SIZ: 15
INT: 11 Idea: 55
POW: 9 Luck: 45
DEX: 13 Dexterity: 65
APP: 12 Charisma: 60
Distinguishing Feature: facial tattoo

Law: 3
Damage Bonus: +1d4
Hit Points: 15
Brawl: 75%
Broadsword: 50%
Climb: 60%
Dodge: 71%
Hide: 40%
Jump: 45%
Listen: 45%
Maul: 50%
Move Quietly: 60%
Ride: 60%
Sailing: 35%
Scent/Taste: 35%
Search: 60%
Throw: 70%
Throwing Axe: 50%
Track: 55%
Trap: 25%
Young Kingdoms: 55%

Horse w/tack, broadsword, maul, throwing axe, half-plate, backpack, rope, sandals, shirt, laborer's clothes, family ring

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hellas: Worlds of Sun and Stone

Hellas is an odd, but very cool, game. It's odd in that it is a mix of very different types of games; it mixes the classical Greek heroic game with the sci-fi space opera game. It is cool in that it does it very well. Essentially, in the game universe, the Hellenes (or Greeks, as we'd think of them) were pushed into high-tech society when their gods manifested and helped them out, and so within 500 years they were flying around their own solar system like champs. After a nasty run-in with Kronos the Titan, who made them abandon their home system, they spread out to many systems and worlds - often corresponding to the city-states of the Greeks as we think of them, with the Athenians, Spartans, Corinthians, and other all having their own systems. The trouble came when some of their own, the Atlanteans, decided they knew best and wanted to take over - and very nearly did it, before being dumped into the setting's equivalent of hyperspace. Like Greek mythology, their are a number of monsters, but many of them present themselves as alien species - the Amazorans, for instance, or the man-serpent race of the Goregons, the insect colony hive-mind Myrmidons, and others. Play is set up in such a way that you follow a god and gain glory in his or her name, and if you get enough, they take you into the afterlife - or kill you out of jealousy, because Greek gods are like that. But it's cool, because you can pick up playing as your previous cahracter's son, nephew, best friend, or whatnot, as the game is meant to stretch generations. It uses a variant of the OMNI system, used by Talislanta - though I don't know, since I've never played Talislanta.

In any case, let's create a character. Much as I'd love to fiddle with the insect colony of the Myrmidons, I think I'll stick with a Hellene for now. There are ten Attributes: Intelligence (INT), Perception (PER), Will (WIL), Charisma (CHA), Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Constitution (CON), Speed (SPD), Combat Rating (CR), and Dynamism Rating (DYN); the last is the statistic that governs the 'magic' of the setting, but I won't really be dealing with it. I have 5 Attribute points, and since I'll be making a warrior, I'll put 2 in Strength, 1 in Constitution, 2 in Combat Rating, and I'll take a -1 to Dynamism for a point in Dexterity. As a Hellene, I get to choose between 4 skill packages, Athenoian, Delphoian, Boetian, and Spartan; I'll take Spartan, which gives me Command +2, Evade +2, Pankration +2, Parry +2, Lore (tactics) +2, Etiquette (Hellene) +3, Speak Language (Hellene, native), and Weapon (of choice) +2. As a Hellene, I also get +2 on all Command and Diplomacy rolls, and as a Hellene I can also force a reroll of any dice action pertaining to my character a number of times per game equal to my Will score (minimum once).

Now we come to the fun part, the Lifepath, where I roll to determine many of the important things. First, I roll for month of birth; it comes up Hekatombaion, in the summer, the month of Athenia. As a Spartan, this is Sparta. My father is dead, but he was a Retired Hero; this gives me +3 Glory, and +1 in a skill of my choice. My family is well-loved, and we have many allies. I am an only son, and have received my father's hoplite sword as an inheritance from my father. A grandparent on my mother's side, it seems, had a divine parent, and so I gain 5 Glory; the divine mark I gain from this is Strength of Mind, which gives me +1 Will. When my character was a child, he met a ghost that told him of his tragic fate; he is fated to die at the hands of a noble, though a noble from where is unknown. And now, I choose a god. Being born in the month of Athenia, I will choose her over the war god Areson. Now, I choose a profession, and as a Spartan, I will go with Hellene Spartan; this gives me +1 to STR or CR, and the skills Brawling +3, Command +2, Evade +1, Intimidate +2, Parry +4, Survival +2, Weapon (spear) +4, Weapon (rifle) +4, Weapon (blade, large) +4, and Profession (warrior, STR) +4. I gain the Talent Advanced Militia Training, and starting gear in the form of a Spartan tactical cuirass vest, Hoplon shield, Spartan infantry spear, Spartan slug rifle, and military clothing, as well as 250 dm in money. I have several choices for Callings that proceed from this profession: Legionnaire of Delphoi, Noble, Rogue, or Warrior; this tells me what I have done in my chosen profession, and how long I have spent in it. As I want to be a great hero, I will choose Legionnaire of Delphoi, and my roll tells me I have spent 4 years in their ranks; as a major event in my time, I have fought a great battle; I fought pirates on the planet Elis, and stories tell of how I threw a spear through ten men; I gain +1 STR or CON.

Now, I come to disadvantages; every character has some, 5 points divided between the categories of Relationship, Internal, or External Problems. I will put 2 points in Relationship: I abandoned a lover to join the Delphoi League, and she plots against me; 1 point in Internal: my character is hot-blooded and quick to take offense; and 2 points in External Problems; I owe a debt to a high-ranking Strategos, who helped to spread the tale of my deeds on Elis in exchange for occasional favors. After that, I have 30 Freebie point to spend; I will spend 5 points to add 1 to STR, and 5 more to add 1 to DEX, and 5 more after that to add 1 to CHA; this leaves me with 15 points. I will then take the Danger Sense and Hardiness Talents, for 5 points each, and spend the last five points on skills. I start with 7 Hero Points, which I can use to help out on my rolls. As a hero (PC), I can start out with three Heroic Ambitions, like 'Find and take my revenge on the Zoran General Bydeles, the murderer of my cousin'; if I ever complete the Ambition, I get 10 XP on the spot. I won't think any up right now, but maybe later. I start out at age 22, and I will choose the name Aristeides; all I have left is to choose my heroic epithet, which I will relate to my great battle and become Aristeides Spear-Hurler. So, at the last:

Hellene of Sparta
Epithet: Spear-Hurler
Glory: 8
Age: 22
Favored of Athenia
Profession: Hellene Spartan
INT +0, WIL +1, STR +3, CON +2, CR +3, PER +0, CHA +1, DEX +2, SPD +0, DYN -1
Hit Points: 31
Hero Points: 7
Command +4, Evade +3, Pankration +2, Parry +6, Lore (tactics) +3, Etiquette (Hellene) +3, Speak Language (Hellene, native), Brawling +3, Intimidate +2, Survival +2, Weapon (spear) +4, Weapon (rifle) +4, Weapon (blade, large) +6, and Profession (warrior, STR) +4

Advanced Militia Training, Danger Sense, Hardiness

Spartan tactical cuirass vest, Hoplon shield, Spartan infantry spear, father's hoplite sword, Spartan slug rifle, military clothing, Plate helmet, 40 dm

Edit: I haven't been doing this for other games, though I probably should, but here is the website for Hellas. Also, if you find yourself interested in the game, the first supplement, Princes of the Universe, is being ransomed, and you can find that here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Delta Green

Delta Green is a game related to Call of Cthulhu - which is a game about finding out all about the horrible things that lurk just beyond our imagining, waiting to destroy our minds and blast our sanity, and that's if we're lucky. Delta Green takes that, and adds new elements - it assumes that some government agencies know about the Cthulhu mythos and all that goes with it, and some of them are trying to keep it from coming to light and coming to pass - while some of them are actively trying to make it all come true. you play a member of one of those agencies - the titular Delta Green - which recruits agents from every government agency in order to combat the groups that oppose it - whether the mythos-corrupted Majestic-12 or the formerly Nazi Karotechia, or the SaucerWatch group that tries to find out what it shouldn't know - and also the mythos itself, whether the alien Mi-Go of the icthyoid hybrids of Ipswich, or the horrific presence of Nyarlathotep. Delta Green uses the original Call of Cthulhu game, rather than the d20 version, so I will post a character from the original.

Agent Scott Jaeger
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Age: 37
STR 13 CON 17 SIZ 14 INT 17 POW 14
DEX 14 APP 11 EDU 19 SAN 70 HP 16
Damage Bonus: +1d4
Education: Doctor of Jurisprudence (Law Degree)
Occupation: FBI Special Agent
Skills: Computer Use 28%, Drive Auto 52%, Fast Talk 51%, Law 63%, Listen 54%, Martial Arts 56%, Psychology 77%, Spot Hidden 72%
Languages: English 95%, Spanish 23%
Colt Delta Elite Auto 70%, 1d10+1
Colt M16A2 Assault Rifle 60%, 2d6
Fist/Punch 55%, 1d3+db
Grapple 55%, Special
Head Butt 35%, 1d4+db
Kick 55%, 1d6+db

Scott is, obviously, an FBI agent, one who got a law degree before joining up. As a special agent, he gets training in the skills Drive Auto, Fast Talk, Handgun, Law, Listen, Psychology, Spot Hidden, and any two of the following: Accounting, Computer Use, Electronics, Martial Arts, Other Language, Rifle, and Submachine Gun. Scott, obviously, took Computer Use and Martial Arts. So he joins Delta Green, becoming a part of their organization and preparing to face things which defy explanation - and sanity.


Spycraft is a game that started out in the d20 craze, and is still pretty cool. Unlike a lot of d20 games, Spycraft abandoned the whole fantasy background, and decided to go with another area entirely - the spy game. It's for everyone who ever watched a James Bond movie, or a movie like the Bourne films, Sneakers, Spy Games, or any number of other movies based on the espionage industry. Like d20, the game uses the six primary attributes - Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma, but after that it swerves away from the D&D character. you get to pick your character's Origin - which consists of two parts, picking a Talent and then pickign a Specialty - which replace the normal race selection of a D&D game, and then you get to pick a class. These classes aren't the typical D&D classes; they are created specially for Spycraft. They consist of the Advocate, the Explorer, the Faceman, the Hacker, the Intruder, the Pointman, the Scientist, the Scout, the Sleuth, the Snoop, the Soldier, and the Wheelman. Most of those are somewhat self-explanatory; they cover most of the general archetypes you see used in spy movies and similar media. So, let's create a character based on this stuff.

First, we'll use point-buy to buy our stats; this is the old 3rd Edition point-buy system, so we have 36 points. I'll spend 6 points to get Strength 12, 11 points to get Dexterity 15, 3 points for Constitution 11, 8 points for Intelligence 14, and 8 points for Charisma 14. since my highest attributes are Dexterity and Charisma, I'll aim for the Wheelman class. For Origin, I'll take the Daring Talent, which gives me +2 Dex, -2 Int, +1 to initiative checks, and +1 to action die results. For Specialty, I'll take Hot Rodder; it grants the Lane Dancer bonus feat, the Drive (Standard Ground Vehicles) skill focus, 1 forte relating to that focus, and a +1 bonus to Drive and Streetwise checks. So, the character will start to look like this:

Johnny Rocket
Origin: Daring Hot-Rodder
Class: Wheelman
Str: 12, Dex: 17, Con: 11, Int: 12, Wis: 8, Cha: 14

Skills: Drive 8, Electronics 5, Impress 6, Mechanics 5, Notice 4, Security 5, Streetwise 6

Fort: +0, Reflex: +5, Will: +0, Def: +1

Initiative: +5

Base Attack bonus: +1

Vitality: 8 (1d10 + Con bonus)

Wealth: 1

Gear: 1V

Core Ability
Driven: Each time you spend 1 action point to boost a Maneuver or Mechanics/Repair check, roll and add the results of 2 dice; also, when you suffer an error with a Maneuver or Mechanics/Repair check, the GC must spend 1 additional action point to make it a critical failure.

Class Abilities
Daredevil: At level 1, gain the Daredevil feat as a bonus feat
Custom Ride: Choose Vehicle gear picks as if the current mission Caliber were 1 higher

Feats: Daredevil, Lane Dancer, Defensive Driving

Johnny started out as a street racer, but because of his natural Charisma and skill, he got recruited by the Agency. Now he is the go-to guy for getaways, because he is a wizard with cars, bikes, and anything else that goes on land.

There are other options for characters, and other bits I haven't covered, like equipment, but that's all a little much for an entry like this. I'll likely be doing another entry tonight, as well, to make up for missing yesterday.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Unknown Armies

Unknown Armies is an odd game, in that it essentially revolves around your character being on the way to madness. The default character, at the 'Street' level, must be obsessed with something, though it is up to the player as to what that something is; if he or she wants to become an Adept (a worker of modern-day magic) or an Avatar (an example of a popular archetype that gives you power), you must be more obsessed, often to the point of madness or even total insanity. But let's start slowly. To create a character, first you must have an obsession; this can be something general, like 'Toughness' or 'Religion' or even 'Knowing it All'. Then, you must have three separate passions - a Fear passion, a Rage passion, and a Noble passion. Fear can be something like arachnophobia, or fear of foreigners, but each must be tied to a mental stress track, of which there are five: Violence, Helplessness, The Unnatural, Isolation, and Self. Rage passions can be things like Bad Drivers, Laziness, or Cell Phones. Noble passions are things like Protecting Children, or Historical Preservation, or World Peace. After you have those, you get to determine your stats, of which there are four: Body, Speed, Mind, and Soul. Finally, you determine your skills, and those can be virtually anything, since there is really no set skill list; each stat has a couple skills, but others are made up by the player. So, let's start out.

Jerry Kopp

Obsession: Vampires (yeah, sue me)
Fear Stimulus: (Violence) Bees
Rage Stimulus: Racism
Noble Stimulus: Book Preservation

Stats (220 points)
Body: 50
Speed: 60
Mind: 70
Soul: 40

Skills (15 bonus points, and 15% in all basic skills)
Body Skills (50 points)
General Athletics: 40%
Struggle: 40%
Speed Skills (60 points)
Dodge: 35%
Driving: 25%
Initiative: 30%
Multi-task: 20%
Mind Skills (70 points)
Conceal: 20%
General Education: 50%
Notice: 30%
Photographic Memory: 25%
Soul Skills (40 points)
Charm: 20%
Lying: 20%
Hunches: 15%
Vocal Imitation: 15%

Jerry is a very intelligent, quite nimble guy who isn't all that empathetic; he's good with doing multiple things at once and keeping track of all kinds of things in his head, but a lot of human interaction puzzles him. He has a bizarre fascination with vampires, in art, in literature, in movies, and so he is driven to see or read anything containing them, from Anne Rice books to Bram Stoker to Vlad the Impaler's history to the Twilight books. He's had some bad experiences with bees, because his presence seems to drive them wild, and so he's afraid of them. He's a white guy, but racism just sets him off; he's never seen a reason why people hate each other because of skin color, when there are so many better reasons. And he loves books, and works in book preservation to keep books old and new from falling apart. He's just beginning to learn about what lies underneath the world everyone else knows, but he hasn't become obsessed enough with anything yet to uncover the secret pathways to magic that are the paths to being an Adept.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Reign: A Game of Lords and Leaders

I'm a big fan of Greg Stolze's work. I liked it when he wrote for Godlike (a game I will likely try to do tomorrow), and I an currently enamored of his fantasy game Reign. It uses a system known as ORE, or One Roll Engine - essentially, the idea is that you can use a single roll to resolve just about anything. You use a pool of ten-sided dice, and instead of aiming for a target number, as with White Wolf games, you go for matching sets. The number that is matched tells you how well you do, while the amount of matches tells you how fast you do whatever it is you are doing; so 2 10s would be represented as 2x10, and 4 5s would be 2x5. Being the One Roll Engine, you can also create your character this way, and while I'd love to use some of the supplementary material, I shall restrain myself and keep to the core book. For this kind of character generation, you start with a score of 2 in the six primary stats: Body, Coordination, Sense, Knowledge, Command, and Charm. Then you roll 11d10 - to ensure that you get at least one matching pair; the matching pair(s) determine the professions your character has held. So, lets roll: 7, 7, 7, 6, 6, 3, 3, 10, 8, 4, 2. 3x7 gives me a career of Canny Sage, meaning I get +5 ranks of the Student skill in whatever field I choose, as well as +1 Knowledge, +2 Language skill, +1 Lore skill, and +2 Heal Skill. 2x6 gets me Foot Soldier, so I get +1 Body, +2 Fight skill, +1 Dodge skill, and +2 Parry skill. 2x3 is Street Entertainer, which gives me +1 Charm, +2 Perform skill, +2 Fascinate skill, and +1 Jest skill. That's it for professions; now comes the fun part. for each non-matched number, I can choose an outcome on one of three charts for my character's unusual experiences. So, for 10, I will choose Diplomatic Incident: I somehow caused a diplomatic incident, and got someone's attention; I get the Patron Advantage (5 points), but also gain Problem: Enemy. For 8, I'll go with Kidnapped by Barbarians, which gives me +1 Ride skill, +1 Endurance skill, +1 Plead skill, +2 in the Language of my kidnappers. For 4, I'll go with Caravan Debacle - a caravan I was with never reached its destination, and went terribly, terribly wrong; this gives me +3 Student: Navigation, and +2 Direction skill. Finally, for 2, I'll take Escaped a Death Sentence, giving me the Fool Lucky Advantage.Put together, this gives us:

3 Body, 2 Coordination, 2 Sense, 3 Knowledge, 2 Command, and 3 Charm

Language 2 (Truil), Language 2 (Dindovaran), Lore 1, Heal 2, Fight 2, dodge 1, Parry 2, Perform 2, Fascinate 2, Jest 1, Ride 1, Endurance 1, Plead 1, Student: Navigation 3, Student: Astronomy 5, Direction 2

Patron (5 points), Fool Lucky


As I can arrange these in any manner that suits me, let's spin it like this: Myruk Orser was, in his teens, a street performer, doing tricks for all that would stand and watch. It was a decent living, at first, but then, his nation, Uldholm, went to war with the Truil tribes, and the money began to dry up. It all came to a head when Myruk had the misforutne of telling a slightly-too-off-color joke in front of one of the leading guildmasters of the land; while he gained secret praise from the guildmaster's chief enemy, he also felt it wise to take up a new profession, and so he joined the army.

He marched and drilled with the best of the mediocre, but Myruk was never cut out for soldiering; his mind was always somewhere else. This was never clearer than when he went scouting in the wrong direction and was captured by the Truils. he found they were decent people, really, but his humor was not his best quality as a prisoner, and eventually the Truils decided to get rid of him - by tossing him off a nearby cliff. Luckily for Myruk, the cliff was not as steep or as deadly as the Truils thought, and so he thought himself lucky as he rolled down the hillside - especially when he ran into the Dindavaran caravan.

Sadly, the Dindavaran caravan was terribly lost, and despite his best efforts, Myruk was not a navigator, though he picked up quite a bit fromt he caravan's navigator before he died. Lost, alone, and near starving, Myruk stumbled back to civilization, and decided to put all his new skills to work - he became a sage's assistant, learning quickly of astronomy, herbs, and even picking up some of the language of his unlucky caravan. Now, though, his feet are itching for something else, and he is inclined to listen to them.

Myruk is not the best character ever, but he's certainly interesting enough. And if you like new and interesting games, I highly suggest Reign' the game world is different from almost every other fantasy world I have seen, and most of the material, besides the core book can be found for free on Greg Stolze's website. It's an easy system to learn, and a fun game to read, so check it out if you can.