Monday, February 15, 2016

A Look at the Duskwall Heist Deck for Blades In The Dark

Two decks for fast creation of Heists in Blades in the Dark.

So, +John Harper makes games that I enjoy. One that he is working on right now is called Blades in the Dark. Find out about John and what he makes. Blades in the Dark has an Early Access Digital Edition available at DriveThruRPG. As a backer of the Kickstarter and a general fan of John's work, I believe that this game is worth a person's time. For me the combination of interesting setting and mechanics that support a really strong up-time / downtime cycle make even the early revisions of the game fun, interesting, and worth stealing from for other games. The game also has a nice set of rules that set stakes vs. risks that has made its way in to my own GMing, so I encourage you to investigate it and I hope you enjoy it.

I found +Andrew Shields on G+ a few years back now and after carrying on a sort of mutual nerdy correspondence over G+ we became what I'd call pretty good online buddies. Andrew has a blog where you can find out a lot about his gaming and creating for games. I play in his online games when I can, and I enjoy him as a player, a GM, and as a creator. When he told me that he was working on a Heist Deck for Blades, with John's blessing, my response was enthusiastic. The product is a triple-threat for me since I like Andrew's game and game creations, I like cards as randomizers, and I like Blades in the Dark. When Andrew told me that +miller ramos would be working on the design and layout of the cards this pretty much sewed it up for me. I was going to buy one.

The response to the release of the Heist Deck over on in the G+ Blades in the Dark community disappointed me somewhat, so I hope that this closer look at the product will give people a little more info to go on than can be found at the Game Crafter page. Andrew has done a pretty good job of discussing how this thing works conceptually, so go check that out because I think he's the best ambassador for this thing. I'm already a fan, so I'm hoping to take an approach that is oriented on the specific qualities of the thing. Here goes!

Q: How many decks? A: TWO decks! (Three sir!)

The "Heist Deck" is really two decks. Its 90 cards split into a 50 card "red" deck of obstacles and dangers, as well as 40 cards "blue / yellow" that have people on the blue side, and goals or treasures on the yellow side. The tuck box comes wrapped in cellophane, and has a little bit of extra room with the cards inside it that might fit something nice and small like a pocketmod notebook or the like. My guess is that the box would hold like 100 or 120 cards. The cards and the tuck box seem to be of the same card stock and have a similar finish. I like this finish more than some other finishes I've seen for RPG products its smooth, and not "chalky" feeling. Its not air cushioning finish, but its not too glossy or too matte and I think it will probably withstand your fingerprints and shuffling pretty well. Some cards I've bought for games don't, and almost instantly form finger prints. Maybe thats not a problem for everyone.

The faces of the cards have nice touches that deliberately echo the Blades trade dress, with the ragged slash edging, that font, and the dagger icons. The color-coding idea seems sharp, particularly with red as obstacles and yellow as treasure. People with limited color vision might offer a different opinion? I have no experience or education involving that kind of thing.

Here you can see how the Personalities (Blue deck) has Objectives (Gold deck) on the flip side.

The descriptions and suggestions on these cards are rich, and evoke the haunted setting of Duskwall in a way that nestles well within the setting and rules document as its been released. Suggestions on the Obstacles cards have ways of scaling the difficulty up or down, and they have lots of interesting leading questions to draw ideas out of you, or help you make decisions about the heist. Since Blades revolves around a sort of central "up time" for heists and "down time" for recuperating, personal projects, getting into trouble...getting another heist together quickly using this deck is going to be fairly simple with a quick shuffle and deal from the decks. If you're like me you may want more time to think these through and could do a few draws between games to give you ideas or ready-made heists to keep in a stack.

The Obstacles deck has a flip side with suggestions on how to scale the problem up or down.

The blue cards have a nicely sketched out NPC on them. This includes quick labels, some good info on the NPC, what kind of reputation they might have, how they get things done, and possibly locations they might be associated with. Added benefit to this instant NPC is that once you've used them, they can become a regular part of your game...or not as you like. A fast heist draw would have two people, a patron and a target, about three obstacles, and one treasure / objective. Then you ponder how they all connect.

The more use this deck sees, the more likely it is that you're going to "use up" some of these or have repeat people. Thats good for your game. With any randomizer that you deplete over time, its going to be up to you to maybe repopulate the spent results with new results. My suggestion would be to make a table or notes in your GM notebook that is linked to the card you wish to ignore. When that card comes back up, just re-draw, or go to your clever replacement table / notes.

The suggested 6 card spread with a Patron, a Target, an Objective & three Obstacles.

Obviously I'm invested in this product. Its square in my game fan wheel house. It provides a big set of mix-able ideas into a format that can be easily shuffled, and have lots of evocative, quickly useable, and useful game content on them. Even really great random tables don't usually have this level of tinder for starting your imagination fires. If you want to check it out, but you don't want to go all in at the Game Crafter's price you can check out the smaller Print and Play PDF version on the DriveThruRPG website. Even the preview there can give you some more info to investigate that might help you make a decision. There's even the README.PDF that works as a sort of instruction manual / thesis for this thing.

My advice is to go investigate the links, think about the ways you could use this in your games, and count your coin to decide if this is going to work for your wallet. Personal experience tells me that the shipping time was a bit of a wait for getting it from where it was to central Kentucky in the US. I was not happy about that wait, but I took the cheapest shipping option I could get. Still, I'm happy with this product and have already used it to make a heist. I can see using it to build "missions" for my own games even though I have none currently set in Duskwall. Also, my allegiances to Andrew and the game  Blades in the Dark has already been clearly stated I think. Get out there and take a look, I hope you find that this thing is for you!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

'Other Dust' read through Chapters 1&2

Since I'm still going on about Other Dust and Stars Without Number...and it just occurred to me to post this here along with any other related posts.

First, the LINK is for a solid and brief review from Grognardia from 2012.

What's there to LOVE in Chapters 1 & 2 of Other Dust?

Chapter 1: Is very short and explains that most of the book is a kit.
  • A quick and slick background breakdown that tells you what the book is about. (Its about Old Terra 200 years after the techno-collapse that really jacks things up.) 
  • There is a 2/3 page, single column for "If you're new" and the same for "If you're a veteran" and then a quick glossary. Thats all for Chapter 1.
Chapter 2: Characters, and theres a lot that I like...
  • 3d6 in order (with some options to alter if you want to a little later on); Attribute mods are: +2, +1, 0, -1, -2 with the 2 tails being the extreme end: 
    • 18 = +2 
    • 14 to 17 = +1
    • 8 to 13= 0 
    • 4 to 7 = -1
    • 3 = -2
  • Pick from 16 backgrounds to give the character a past, and bring some skills from that past onto the sheet. (this is a very SpyCraft and FantasyCraft style conceit that is tightly merged to the skills system. To me, the benefit is customization within a limited and flavorful lets you know what the game is about, and it gives options for skills you want before you even get to class considerations)
  • 4 Classes that each have an interesting core ability. Scrounger, Slayer, Speaker, Survivor all do something the other class can't do. (another kind of "post-d20 3.x kind of mechanic)There are "prime attributes" but there's a nice little set of rules that can get you into a particular class no matter what.
  • I also am happy to note that all these classes have d6 HD with some modification based on the class. The XP charts are uniform, and the Attack Bonuses and the Saves look a bit like LotFP to me, but in a good way. If you wanted to "gritty" this up some, you'd just lower the AB and the Saves down to something from an older edition of D&D.
  • Each class then picks from (or I guess you could roll) 1 of 8 different Training Packages that assign more skills or buff skill levels that were already there.
  • Encumbrance is awesome and simple. 
    • You can carry 50% of your STR score in "ready" items
    • You can also carry 100% of your STR in "stowed" items
  • Mutations are a part of the game, so character generation has a table for that. BUT it also has a simple system of trading rolls on the mutation table for stat bumps, and if you trade all your rolls for stat bumps...then you're "null-strain" genetic pool means you're not subject to mutations in the game. I think that's a nice bit of "opt-in" design. It lets you take a stand on mutations as a player...which is both a taste...and tactical choice.
  • No starting cash. Everyone gets some starting gear, with a few options. Then there's another slick, minimal system for random rolls on the starting gear table, or trading 2 rolls for 1 straight-out selection. You get 6 rolls, or any combination of 6 minus your picking fee. Simple descriptions of the gear tell you how many "items" of encumbrance each piece takes up.
Chapter 3 is mutations, and I'll do that one next time, if people aren't too annoyed by this kind of post.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

D30 folks you met in prison

D30-ish fellow prisoners and their disposition

  1. Alice Lively:  Friendly
  2. Aggravated Karl: Hostile
  3. Cap'n: Neutral
  4. Carnie Asada:  Neutral
  5. Cat-Fart / Puke: Hostile
  6. Chafey & Slick Nethers: Friendly
  7. Gaurmish: Neutral
  8. Grumbles / Mumbles: Neutral
  9. Handsome Glauk / Prettyboy Thor: Neutral
  10. Hapless / Lucky: Friendly
  11. Jah-Balance: Friendly
  12. Jenny Quid: Neutral
  13. Li'l Debbie: Friendly
  14. Maggie Pup: Hostile
  15. Marigold: Neutral
  16. Narr Neckbeard: Neutral
  17. Og the Mot: Neutral
  18. One-Two: Neutral
  19. Piddling Pete: Neutral
  20. Ponyboy: Neutral
  21. Poxy / Sleazy: Neutral
  22. Relioh: Neutral
  23. Rubberlegs: Neutral
  24. Shane McGowan: Uncooperative
  25. Sours: Friendly
  26. Slop / Wanks: Neutral
  27. The Neck: Neutral
  28. Three Teeth: Hostile
  29. Ulk Big-Thumb: Neutral
  30. Vorgrak the Voormi: Hostile
I'm doing a little leg work for a Savage Worlds conversion of SC-1 Perils of the Sunken City by +Jon Marr. Thanks to the G+ people, I now have an easy list of Extras to put through the funnel with the PC's. The idea is to get as much of the Savage Worlds system out in the open in stages as I can. Extras are a fun, and distinct feature of Savage Worlds, and the Extras that make it back alive with the party could become fixtures of the game.

If I wanted something closer to an actual funnel, I'd just give the players four chumps, and let them pick names from this list. I don't think the players in question are accustomed to that, so I'll probably have them build Novice level characters and throw them in with this bunch. The most important thing will be to throw in a quiet moment where they can talk about how they wound up in Mustertown's prison interlude later in the dungeon to milk Bennies might serve that purpose. I'm actually thinking of starting the game "after" the group has been attacked by the opossum men and then "skipping back" to the start in a bit of a flashback, but that might be too fancy for me. We'll see.

Roll, or use any name that strikes your fancy, mark them off and write new ones in if you want to keep a living list of scum. Some are grouped to pair the list down to 30.x

2 to 4 per PC depending, they're designed to be fodder for the funnel. Flat d6 in everything. If a player takes a real interest in one, add D8 skill or to something implied by nickname. Nickname will imply personality unless you wish to roll for or invent one. Purple Sorcerer has a great little generator for 0-level that could throw up some inspiring info. +Ramanan S's generator could work too for quick ideas.

At least one extra should challenge the party for dominance, or try to turn on them at the first sign of loot, or balk at really freaky danger. This will let you go over Test of Wills. Extras will want armor, and weapons...will want to haggle over loot and shares. Extras take actions on controlling player's initiative card.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Savage Perils of the Sunken City.

So, I got the Sunken City Omnibus not long ago. The first "funnel" adventure is light enough that I'm going to grab it and use it for a Savage Worlds demo for folks who've never done Fantasy with the system. Here are my conversion notes of monsters in the module. This assumes you have both the module and Savage Worlds Deluxe. Hat tip to the Savage Free Bestiary as well. I've added traps and environmental hazards to the key also.

Cells of the Arena Slaves D-1

Healing pool restores all Wounds, and Fatigue on first contact. Repeated use in seven days heals all Wounds, but inflicts one level of Fatigue.

Collapsed Tunnel D-6

Dislodging the necklace here causes a minor collapse. Agility roll -2; fail 3d6 damage, success fatigue -1, raise negates.

Crocodillos (2)

As Aligator / Crocodile in SWDX.
Notes say that these two are "lethargic" from feasting on Opossum men that also roam the area. So if you're merciful you could step-down the die type on STR damage they do by one or two types, or as the text suggests "they do not pursue" those who flee their wallow.

Fellow (prisoners is how I'm running this) 

Extras for the players to "control" in fights. 2 to 4 per PC.
Flat d6 in everything. If a player takes a real interest, add D8 something implied by nickname. Nickname will imply personality unless you wish to "roll" or invent one. At least one extra should challenge the party for dominance, or try to turn on them at the first sign of loot, or balk at really freaky danger. Extras will want armor, and weapons...will want to haggle over loot and shares. Extras take actions on controlling player's initiative card.

Luck Shrine (Trap) D-4

Gas Trap as Venomous Poison, Medium Burst Template, 10 Mins to disperse. Vigor roll. Smarts or Agility roll for those who witness the opening of the trap to add +2 to the Vigor roll.
Flipping the brass marker on the vase from "Tragedy" to "Comedy" mask disarms the jar in question, 50% chance of each side facing out roll upon inspection. Treat "Electrum Coin" as a half-pound of meteoric iron hammered into a medallion bearing Malloc's tree sigil.

Madazkan's Arena (Death-Trap and Puzzle) A-5 

Theres a lot going on here. I haven't decided how to handle it. Contested Spirit Rolls vs. the arena crowd ghosts to act normally. Spears maybe Fighting d8 Damage 2d6. Flying murder-balls maybe Fighting d8 with Bash maneuver to drive people over the wall and into the pit. Crossing the wall without some kind of trick (Smarts roll -2 to time the climb, Agility -2 to finesse their way over...the book suggests climbing over a fallen companion...) will inflict 2d4 damage. The electrified screen maybe causes a vigor roll, and failure inflicts 1 Bumps and Bruises Fatigue each time as raw-elemental electricity courses through a body. Maybe do something really nasty if the character is "grounded" to another object when hit with this?

I think you could probably write a book about the merits of deadliness and translation to Savage Worlds. Some SW people might say its against the "Fun" in the FFF! motto, but if you can make it Fast, and make it seem Furious...two out of three ain't bad.

This is a bit of a railroad careful clues and descriptions could turn some of that around. Inspecting the levers in the box could yield vital clues to the traps. Throwing the levers might start the whole least then they'd feel like it was there fault. Or it may demonstrate the arena's deadliness? Theres a few clues sprinkled into the description of the areas here, AND there's a few suits of decent armor. Be sure to have the Extras argue over who gets the good protection. *evil grin*

Malloc's Temple (Trap / Puzzle & NPC Patron encounter) D-8

Tendrils (8) Wounds as Extras, Rolls and initiative as Wild Cards
D8 for all Attributes
Pace 6, Parry 5, Toughness 7
Fighting d8

Malloc thirsts and begins at Reaction Hostile. Bearing a sigil of Malloc adds +2 to Persuasion attempts. Add +1 to Persuasion for deference, good acting etc. and let all the players get the chance to pile on this score. Even then Malloc is an ancient and twisted being that knows no play it like that.

Those who offer to take the "mark of Malloc" must offer their blood by sticking their something into Malloc's maw willingly. These characters suffer two Thirst Fatigue levels. A Sigil of Malloc will prevent the fatal effects of Thirst Incapacitation if the character hits that level.

This is a deal that must be struck...its not automatic. Those who take the Mark must accept a taboo (Vow Hinderance), and receive the Common Bond, Luck Edges as well as a deformity that imposes the Ugly Hindrance until their taboo is broken. Common Bond only works with other marked characters. Breaking the taboo inflicts Thirst Incapacitation immediately.

Refusing the mark results in a psychic backlash, and characters are shaken for 2d6 minutes, making them easy to rebel against, or wound and offer to Malloc. Spirit roll will cut the time in half, raise will negate.

Crossing the "circle" on the floor without bearing a sigil of Malloc, or attempting some obeisance, triggers the grasping tendrils, they grapple and drag people towards Malloc's maw at their pace. Wounded tendrils are severed and wither. One round later, another sprouts from the vacant hole and is dealt into initiative.

Opossum men (Degenerate Opposummen) (8) 

Add more if its fun, or buff one with Wild Card status for a prolonged battle.
As Gnoll in Free Bestiary. Reaction starts at "Hostile"
On a fighting roll of 1, the creature "freezes" for 1d6+1 rounds and looses its bowels / excretes a powerful musk. Treat this as Stun power (Vigor roll -2 saves) with a "Nauseating" trapping. Small Burst Template, centered on the creature. Read: adjacent squares affected, or 10' radius cloud around "frozen" adversary...however you like to roll. Persists as long as the creature "plays" dead.

Purple Slimes (2) (Wild Cards) 

Wild Card status may be overkill, but provides better chance of raise on Fighting roll to activate Madness Touch. You're the GM, figure it out.
Modified "Cavern Crawler" blobs from Savage Free Bestiary.
Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d4 (A), Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d12
Pace: 2; Parry: 5; Toughness: 6
Special Abilities:
Fearless: immune to Fear, and cannot be Intimidated or Taunted.
Immunity: no damage from cold or fire based attacks.
Ooze: +2 to recover from Shaken; no damage from called shots; immune to poison and disease.
Can not Gang Up on.
Can’t be blinded or deafened, they ‘see’ by feeling vibrations, ignore all lighting penalties.
Reach: 1 (stretchy reach)
Size: +1
Slow: Crawlers have a Pace of 2, and can’t run.
Wall Walker: They can move up walls and across ceilings without difficulty.
Madness Touch: As Fear power with a Fear penalty of 2, by touch, Extras are "Panicked" until a successful Test of Wills is made against them to get them to calm down. Intimidate does not work in this case. A Raise on the Fighting roll imposes Spirit -2 to save.

Rod of Chains Arena area F

The Rod of Chains allows the bearer to Roll Spirit to "turn" the skeletons of the slaves once per encounter with Skeletons. Failure enrages them and they focus on the bearer, success emancipates 50% of them. Raise emancipates all of them. Stats as a Long Sword in SWDX, STR+d8 damage.

Skeletons (Chain Skeletons)

As Skeletons in SWDX.
Treat their barbed, slave-chains as Spears AND Flails: STR + d6;  Parry +1, Reach 1, 2 Hands, Ignores Shield Parry, and Cover Bonuses.

"Whiskers" the giant, catfish

As Shark, Great White in SWDX
Add "swallow whole" from Giant Sturgeon in Savage Free Bestiary

Comments Welcome

This is my first big-ish conversion like this, and commentary and discussion is welcome.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Savage Hall of Bones part 1

What follows is a re-counting of my on-the-fly conversion of Hall of Bones for my co-workers. I was asked about how the the OSR-style setup converted to Savage Worlds and wether or not the styles were mismatched. Its just reposted here on the blog to keep it from slipping away into the G+ stream. Theres a great bit of back and forth in the comments and you can find the original post here.

Anyway, the on the fly work I did is leading me to want to dual-stat things in SW and in LL / Swords & Wizardry...more about that later I believe. Here's my reply to Jack that turns into a re-cap & reflection on my GM style...which seems to be a position statement that is emerging form my time running, and playing lately:

+Jack Shear  I did my best to be a lazy GM and read the module bit by bit as they explored. I rounded out their party with a starting "healer" and "mage" from the template list in Deluxe. First thing I ran into was the dilapidated village, its got a map (as +Erik Jensen  points out) for very little reason. I think maybe I'll recycle that map for a combat above ground post-dungeon. The two players were very cautious, and Tork's player was enthusiastic and battled with being too cautious and being "the brick" but he did it with gusto. They explored and started running into a conversion problem (ie making good "notice" rolls but getting little information.) So I just began with surface details / obvious things and your roll would give you a second level of detail, and a raise would give you accurate information. I'm a big fan of +Courtney Campbell's work, so I kept trying to bounce the decisions back on them with some ideas, kept trying to summarize etc. though I'm not sure I'm super good at hewing faithfully to the ideal on that. (hey, its all practice right?) 

They ran into puzzles first, and since the fighter was ironically and sufficiently suspicious of the button he'd pressed they found the stair trap. He also set off the moldy room trap, but the other player was thinking quickly and dragged his sleeping form from the doorway pretty quickly. There was some great ham acting on his part and the two of them bantered with my two extras a lot, and had a good time. Since they thought to ask the "healer" and the "mage" about the mold after activating it they were able to get info on disabling it, and spent an "hour" with faces covered, burning out the mold with torches. They faced a bunch of "do you get discovered by dungeon monsters checks" and never had an encounter. They discovered the sanctuary room, beyond the mold trap and just before the end they faced down my re-skinned "ghouls" in the big, trashy ghoul den. I simply re-wrote "goblin" stats from the SWDX and gave them an extra power. Because they were super scared by the purple mold, I played that up in the description of the little, toothy dead-things with purple-ley patchy beards and body hair. I also doubled the number monsters in the room, and just gave the first two "surprise" THEN I had to react to the first initiative card dealt (a joker of course) to the Archer. So, I declared my actions, and then let him decide to interrupt or not. Then started the first round.

Rules I made up or may have mis-used:

Purple Mold: 
vigor -2 or fall asleep for 2d6 rounds; the end of the round you fall asleep it settles on you, colonizes and you make one more vigor check @ -2 save = fatigue, fail = 3d6 damage. If you're asleep then someone else has to take actions to help you, or the mold eats you. Mold continues to eat you every round as before.

Two ghouls in this room just get automatic surprise. Fine. If someone pulls a Joker, let them in on the first round before everyone else goes, then go in order of the initiative as the cards dictate.

"Groovie Ghoulies": (goblins by the SWDX)
These four-foot undead have been colonized by a strain of mold or fungus that grows on their bodies and so just add a paralyze to their attacks. Any shaken, or wound they cause also gives a Vigor check. Fail = lose actions (not very sexy, but its how I translated it on the fly) for 2d6 rounds. Second thoughts about these monsters is that they should have 2, maybe 3 attacks since they're basically fighting d6 and are not likely to hit the fighter's 6 parry. Then maybe rework the paralyze by going to look at other examples of paralyze in SW products. If they are "purple mold ghouls" you could just use a the Vigor vs Sleep rules from the mold entry I guess, but I was going quickly and thats just hindsight...

The combat was quick and they did well. I'm going to have to do some kind of work on the spell casters that makes them easier for me to I need to know the Power Points system better or give them a set number of spells or something...

All in all, I felt like it was Fast for what we were doing, and we definitely had fun, I'm not sure about Furious but I can include that later. This was pretty good for a ZERO prep game though.

Thats everything I've got on it right now. I plan to take some down time and actually prep some of the module so I'll report back on that if anyone is interested. I should also get out the NPC pdf and see what kinds of personalities the "healer" and the "mage" have...right now, its like a 4 person buddy cop movie in there...which is also good.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Re-skinning for fun, not profit.

This is just a personal statement about use of stats. In a similar vein to +Jack Shear's Just Use Bears. I'm posting it here as a challenge to myself, and to provide a LINK to understanding how I intend to use / reference stats for things I post here later.

Don't spend hours and hours rolling, or building bad guys. Pick some stats from one of the following lists...maybe add a really important, distinct power that uses existing rules. What stats you use depend on what game you're playing. Making baddies tougher is easy. 

For D&D / S&W / LL, you simply add a hit die, or raise AC or both. Lots of times its much easier to pick a new stat block from a humanoid or something up the scale a step, and just describe it differently. NO NAMES, DAMNIT. Calling it a goblin ruins it. Let the players call it whatever they want...if a monster appears more than once, they will name it. 

In SW, you make a stat block tougher by bigger or smaller degrees through manipulation similar to D&D and the clones. Parry goes up when fighting goes up. Edges can make a stat block harder to hit, harder to wound etc. Don't re-invent the wheel. Use what works for you. Steal what you need and describe it differently.

In either system: Pick one thing. You won't remember more than that for each type / individual bad guy. Make sure it uses existing rules, don't re-write rules and stay away from obscure rules that never get used. Head towards the core of either system and just play.

I really like +Brendan S's house rules for the "Finchbox"game he's running. Borrowing his HD mechanic for NPC's / Monsters / Adversaries is a good idea. Your milage may vary, but it makes sense to me. Same for adopting a flat AC score, and removing bonuses. Although, I'd say that for a GM, having the HD demonstrate prowess in combat is a nice, simple a 3HD whatever might still have a +3 to hit, or hit as a Fighter lvl3 or what have you. Do what makes sense, anything else will atrophy in use because its not suited to your style. Steal stats from the LL Monster Matrix, and keep going. Use special monster that follow simple rules you know, or duplicate spell effects that you know. Add an attack, or a special power use in the same round as experience dictates. Establish your own Ascending AC reference, and then refer to it.

For SW I steal a lot of stats straight from the SWDX explorer's edition, and might tweak if I feel the need. Of the scads and scads of settings I have, there are lots of stat blocks to sift when I'm feeling like it. Also, you can raise or lower a die type pretty easily on the fly, figure out a Parry or Toughness score by comparison, and if you run SW you'll become familiar with the typical "buff" style special powers pretty quickly. Even just rolling a d6 and sending in more copies of the stat block you have on the table is a good one in SW. If they're not Wild Cards, they can ratchet tension and not really slow players down. Wild Cards have their own wounds, and chance to soak wounds so they really seem to freak the players out when they show up, or you declare their actions. Lastly, 

Skin Factories:
The early attempts to commodify me are very useful as skin factories because I know them well and I love them...Thundarr, He-Man, Scooby-Do and all those other shows whose theme songs I still have memorized...they are skin factories that I should be stealing plots, characters, and situations from every chance I get, or every time I'm not feeling creative.

Freebie Stats:
LL Monster Matrix
SW FREE Bestiary

Monday, December 30, 2013

4 NPC's for the end of the world

Dawn of the Days of the Restless, Walking Dead

I'm currently awash in research that I'm hoping will help me run a Savage Worlds "the end is happening right the heck now" game of surviving in an urban environment while the dead return to life and civilization melts down.

So here are some Extras for use in your modern-ish PA setting. Three are "pulled" using the Zombie Run "cast of thousands" table, which is a lot like the SWEX NPC generator that used to be in the Explorer's Edition...and their starting gear is drawn from the Zombie Run and Hell on Earth scavenging tables...just to kick the tires on those tables, and redistributed in a sensible manner. The final Extra is more of a plot/quest generator that I just got the idea for based on my read of a contributing writer for a "prepper" website which Im finding to be great reading / entertainment.

Alec, Nate, and Sophia
These three are a little survival band to encounter early, either out scavenging or holed up in a place your PC's want to break into and loot.

Alec is: dirty, blue eyed, 20-ish, and bearded
Used to be: WRITER (local graffiti culture)
Loves: Cats (demonstrated by the cat with mustache and monocle on his t-shirt)
Carries: Aluminum softball bat (d6+d4); 1 flash-bang grenade (stun power)
Knows: a cache of 2d20 meals and 3d12 Liters clean water

Nate is: doughy, black-eyed, 50-ish, with steel gray hair
Used to be: ENGINEER (public works)
Loves: Conversation (the end of the world has killed a good talk over beers)
Carries: Large crowbar (d6+d4); 1 flash-bang grenade (stun power); 5 pints fuel
Knows: how to travel more quietly using the public utilities systems

Sophia is: tall, large-eyed, 50-ish with straight hair
Used to be: ENTREPRENEUR (start ups are her specialty)
Loves: Math (running the numbers brings her real satisfaction)
Carries: AR-15 (Use M16 Stats) +1 to Intimidation / 4 rounds left
Knows: how to organize and delegate to medium size groups of people

Goods held in common / up for barter:
25 rounds of .50 cal, 15 crossbow bolts, a case of 24 sodas, 9 extra meals

Captain Bart
This is a character with real potential:
But I see him as an etherial, ham-radio operating presence that relays possibly useful information. A kind of "Three-Dog" character with a survivalist / prep-er bent.

Bart is: a ghostly voice on the radio, 60-ish, 
Loves: preparedness and ham radio
Carries: Colt Commander (2d6+1)
Knows: that he's "too old" to "bug out" but hopes that he can still help people over the radio from his secret "bug in" location