Friday, July 11, 2014

[Savage Worlds] Spider Billy

All new arrivals find themselves standing in the middle of a two-lane highway with thick woods on each side. It's dark and bitterly cold. Lurking nearby is a rotten little fiend the locals call Spider Billy. He makes his home in a miserable little shack cobbled together from sheets of metal siding and wood pallets. When he hears someone out on the road, he rushes out to give chase.

     Spider Billy appears to be about 13 or 14 years of age. His has freakishly long arms and legs. His eyes are black and he's covered in filth. His greasy hair is about shoulder length and he grins maniacally with a mouth full of jagged teeth. His appearance is extremely unsettling, so a Fear check (Spirit roll) is in order. See page 97 of the SW Deluxe Explorer's Edition.

     Billy carries a broomstick topped with a jagged blade. He loves to skitter after new arrivals, poking and prodding them with sadistic glee.There's no reasoning with Billy. He's out of his damned mind so it's fight or flight. Please note that an encounter with Billy need not be lethal. He has no reason to fight to the death. Billy simply loves to terrify and will quickly retreat - or not engage at all - when faced with superior foes.

spindly little freak

Agility d8
Smarts d4
Spirit d4
Strength d6
Vigor d8

Derived Statistics
Pace 8"
Parry 6
Toughness 6
Charisma -4

Edges and Hindrances
Edges: Fleet-footed
Hindrances:  Mean (m), Ugly (m)

Climbing d8, Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Stealth d10

Bayonet (Strength + d6)/Parry +1/Reach 1-2

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Conversion Experience: Southern Bastards

Esaw, the big 'neck in the foreground, will be detailed at a later date.

Not Starting Material, Rebel Pride!

Good (+2) at: Football, Stomping People's Asses
Bad (-2) at: Independent Thought
Stress: [_] [_]

Extras: A baseball bat provides a free shift when used in combat; A football helmet provides a free shift when the thug is resisting an attack.

     When Coach Boss needs someone to be put down, he sends out his linebackers coach, Esaw, along with a few second stringers. (He can't risk having any of his starters hurt.) The young men are big, but dumb, and do not act without Esaw's direction.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Don't Go in the Basement

While watching the Tour de France, I sketched a simple, two-story home that may serve as a base of operations for the PCs. The cellar has a secret door which leads down to the city's expansive sewer system. My idea is that the PCs are new residents of the house and will not be aware of secret door's existence.

     The housekeeper knows, but she keeps her mouth shut as she's heard stories of the Things that are down there. The last things she wants are PCs opening the secret door and letting God knows what in. Who wants to get eaten by a sewer monster while polishing the wood floors?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Morning Coffee Map

Someone feels that they have been wronged, so they travel to a hidden shrine to pray to a deity of vengeance. Being capricious, the deity may exact vengeance on behalf of the petitioner. Then again, he may inflict the desired punishment on the person who has been been wronged instead of the wrong-doer. The deity likes to remind people that revenge is a dangerous, unpredictable beast.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Baldur's Gate

11" x 17" pen and ink map of the Balddur's Gate

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mail Call

Today I received the most radical booklet from Matt Jackson. It is hand-bound, the corners are trimmed, as are the pages, and the paper quality is simply stunning. As you flip through it, you feel the time and effort that went into its production.

     Matt is gracious with his praise in the introduction, but it is really he who has become the inspiration. Anyone who follows his work can attest to the steady progression of his mapping skills. In "A Collection of Presentations, Cartographical in Nature", we are treated to many examples of his artwork and creative text. I cannot wait to read it tomorrow while I am waiting for the night sky to explode.

     Well done, Mr. Jackson! Stellar work!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Mail Call

First up is a nifty single-sheet zine from Matt Jackson. Titled "10' Pole" it presents the city of Bethmoora, which is perched on the edge a titanic pit called Ghorl Nigral - or - The Black Pit. A significant portion of Bethmoora's economy is derived from servicing (and perhaps taxing?) adventuring parties who are lowered into the pit via an elevator. I really look forward to seeing future issues.

     Next, an awesome micro-adventure arrived from Tim Shorts. It's printed in color, laminated and has on overall effective graphic design. The adventure would be a lot of fun to run as it features a red herring and something of a moral quandary for PCs with a conscience. A GM armed with several of these cards would never be at a loss for some last minute adventuring.

     I also received a nifty chess zine, but Master Cylinder fell asleep on it so I can't show it to you. It weirds me out when his eye is half open and lolling about. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

This Machine Kills Fascists

Henry the Guitar
Woody Guthrie was on to something when he painted "This Machine Kills Fascists" on his guitar back 1941. His message inspired many later musicians, such as Glen Campbell, who wrote "This Machine Surrounds Hate and Forces it to Surrender" on the calfskin head of his banjo.(*)

     Some, like Greil Marcus, questioned the patriotic message on Guthrie's guitar. He argued that a guitar is neither a machine nor is it capable of killing anyone.(*) Moreover, it raises the question that perhaps protest music is rather pointless. Nevertheless, there's no denying that music plays a profound, inspirational role in many lives.

     For the purposes of this blog and its role-playing themes, I'd like to suggest a way that music can be used by player characters in a manner not unlike D&D bards. Mechanics-wise I am thinking of Labyrinth Lord.

     Once per day, a character that has as part of his background an ability to play an instrument can declare that he is using music to grant a fellow player +4 to any single roll, such as damage, to hit, a saving throw, etc. The once per day limitation represents the fact that the performance is truly inspired and not easily duplicated at a later time.

     However, this ability comes with a few drawbacks. Obviously, the PC must be in a position to play his instrument. Secondly, doing so requires a full round and during that time the musician is more easily hit by opponents. He will not enjoy the benefits of a shield or dexterity bonus to armor class. Finally, the player character must specify how his performance relates to the recipient and the task at hand. For example, a halfling who plays the fiddle might play a jarring, scratchy tune to snap the brawny fighter out of a haze (+4 to saving throw) as a witch attempts to cast Charm Person while flirting with him.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Micah Rabinov, viola player and supernatural investigator

I am getting a chance to play Fate Accelerated this weekend. My character is Micah Rabinov, a viola player. I was asked to describe how he got interested in the occult and supernatural, so I decided to tie my character's passion for music into his background. My character will be rotten in combat, which I did by design. I appreciate the Cthulhu-esque idea of polished, academic types finding themselves in way over their heads when tentacled trouble rears its freakish head.

     Micah used to play the violin until he found a mysterious, badly decayed piece of music at an estate sale. He took it home and immediately began playing. The first movement was slow, almost dirge-like and as Micah played he was consumed by a dark, brooding mood. He even wept at one point and had to stop playing.

     The second movement was furious, violent and required all of the talent Micah could muster to play. At one dramatic flourish the unthinkable happened. Micah's left hand - the hand used on the fingerboard - broke! The hand didn't just break - the fingers literally and suddenly bent backwards as if an unseen force was snapping each one.

     Micah's recovery was long, arduous and quite painful. Eventually, he was able to play again, but he took up the viola as the slightly larger size accommodated his hand, which is slightly arthritic even though Micah is only 30 years old.

     Micah burned the mysterious piece of music, but its magical nature has haunted him for years. He hopes to someday locate its composer. If there is a composition that was capable of breaking his hand, then perhaps there is one that can restore it to full health.

viola player and supernatural investigator

High Concept: Talented musician who suffers for his art
Trouble: I might have a painkiller problem because of my hand.
Other Aspects: I enjoy the finer things in life.

Careful: +3 (good), Clever: +2 (fair), Flashy: +1 (average), Forceful: +0, Quick: +2 (fair), Sneaky: +1 (average)

I've Been Playing an Instrument Since I Was a Toddler
     Because I've Been Playing an Instrument Since I Was a Toddler, I get a +2 when I Carefully attempt to create advantages while playing the viola.

Private School Education
     Because I had a Private School Education, I get a +2 when I Carefully do research to learn more about a subject.

I Know a Lot of Affluent People
     Because I Know a Lot of Affluent People, once per session I can call on a colleague, relative or friend to help me with a problem.

Antique viola provides 1 free shift when played

STRESS: [_] [_] [_]

Mild (2):
Moderate (4):
Severe (6):


Current Fate Points: 3

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Desk Drawer Contents

Unless you're a gamer, there's a not a lot going on in my desk at work. Yes, there are some pens, sticky pads, staples and never-read memos, but the real treasures - to me at least - are the rpg books, dice and a few minis that have crept in there over the years.