Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Grand Unified Savage Worlds Theory

 
The Grand Unified Savage Worlds Theory
I love Savage Worlds because it's a big, crazy mash-up of everything good about role-playing games.  I don’t have a specific “type” of game I favor above all else.  Riffing off of popular models of RPG theory, I can (and do) enjoy what I'm going to call board-gaming (rules, dice rolling, battlemaps), storytelling (meta-game control of genre simulation, player agency to control the game world, “we are all telling a story together”), and immersion (old-fashioned “I am in the head of my PC; I interact with the world from her frame of reference”-style play).  And I can do all of that – or as little of that – as I want with Savage Worlds.

Board-Gaming

The board-gaming or gamist elements of miniatures in Savage Worlds are pretty obvious, and they’re really not something I ever got into before playing Savage Worlds.  I was always a “theater of the mind” GM because I’ve got better things to spend money on than miniatures (like comics and wine), but I went nuts for paper minis and map tiles for a couple of years.  I’ve given them up again because they really slow down play, but there are other gamist parts of Savage Worlds that I can enjoy without having to blow my money on printer ink or limit my players to the venues I’ve printed up.

Mass combat is an obvious board-gaming element; forces on both sides are tracked through tokens in what amounts to a “mini-game” inside the main rules system.  Player characters get separate rolls on a success table to see how their actions affect the outcome of the battle.  This works quite well and, frankly, speeds mass combat up from having to run it a round at a time.  Chases are also handled through a mini-game, with position of the participants determined by a combination of dice rolls and card draws.  Extended actions also call for card draws in order to add a random element to the difficulty of the moment. 

These embedded mini-games amuse that part of me that occasionally plays Tripoley with the in-laws or fondly remembers playing Axis & Allies with my early gaming compatriots.  Playing a role-playing game is, after all, playing a game; sometimes it’s just fun to roll the dice, draw the cards, and gamble.  Such aspects don’t necessarily appeal to all gamers, though, and it’s easy enough to discard both miniatures and mini-games.  Mass combat can be handled in a microcosm, with gameplay focusing on the actions of the PCs, and chases can always be handled as simple, round-to-round actions using the usual initiative system.  Both options might better appeal to those who prefer immersion (it seems to me that storytelling players will find the mass combat rules effective).

Storytelling

Two core rules add minor storytelling elements to Savage Worlds, with two optional rules greatly increasing storytelling in the system.  The core rules are bennies and the wild die, while the optional mechanics are interludes and the adventure deck.  Additional optional mechanics (“setting rules”) can also help mimic genre expectations.

Bennies are a “do-over” mechanic that allows players and the GMs a chance to reroll the dice for a better result.  As a GM, I enjoy this because I can be a softy by handing out bennies when the players are being awesome but also shield myself from peer pressure to just flat-out allow a do-over when someone flubs an important roll.  The wild die is a mechanic whereby player characters and important NPCs get to roll two dice for most actions – choosing the higher score, naturally – while most NPCs only get to roll one, thus stacking probability in the players’ favor.  Both of these mechanics supply a certain level of “meta-gaming” but become practically invisible when you’ve used the system for awhile. 

(Arguably, they are also both undermined by the “exploding dice” mechanic.  When a die roll results in the highest score – a 6 on a d6, a 12 on a d12 – the die is then rerolled and the results are added.  This can go on multiple times if the dice keeping exploding, so it is entirely possible for a lowly goblin to roll a ridiculous damage roll and kill a legendary hero – but that’s what bennies are for.)

Interludes are the most blatant storytelling mechanic in the game because they literally just involve telling a story.  When faced with a significant period of downtime – like a long journey across the game setting – it is suggested that, instead of a series of unimportant and potentially resource-draining random encounters, a player volunteers to tell a story about her character’s past.  The theme of the story is randomized with a card draw (a heart means a tale of love, etc.) and the player receives a benny for being put on the spot.  I have yet to use this mechanic, but it would be a great way to work in a chance for players to show off the thought they’ve put into their characters (and give me material to bring into the campaign).

The adventure deck is an option that allows the players to do some minor GMing.  It’s a deck of cards with various one-time events and bonuses the players can use to boost their characters or change a scene.  Players are only allowed to play a card once per game session, but may draw multiple cards based on the character’s rank in order to optimize their choices.  Many cards offer simple temporary increases to skills or damage rolls, but others can alter the scenario significantly (though with the caveat that it’s at the GM’s discretion).  One card allows for a mob of angry locals to rush to the players’ aid; when one of my players used this in a game based on “”Manos:” The Hands of Fate,” I used it as an excuse to have a bunch of drunken rednecks show up and start shooting up the place.  I actually greatly enjoyed this because I like to improvise and I like to be surprised by the game.  I’m highly cognizant of the difference between a GM and a novelist and I have no illusions about my ability to control the narrative.  As the GM, I am actually just another player; why shouldn’t I be able to enjoy being surprised by the story too?

Savage Worlds allows for a gaming group to make a campaign a story about their characters’ triumphs – if they want to.  The flow of bennies across the table is up to the GM; if the group wants to gamble with their characters’ fortunes rather than ensure their success, the GM can restrict bennies to the bare minimum.  Increasing the number of Wild Card (wild die-using) NPCs the players encounter will also reduce their statistical advantage (but, again, the exploding dice abrogate this to some degree).  As the other storytelling components are completely optional, the impact of the meta-gaming/storytelling aspects of Savage Worlds is completely mutable.  

Immersion

It is my firm belief that any RPG can be an immersive role-playing game as long as you think and talk in character and save the dice rolls for when they’re really needed.  This is supported by the text itself with the advice on the roleplaying campaign type in Savage Worlds Deluxe (pp. 122-123),  That said, Savage Worlds games can obviously fall heavily into the board-gaming and storytelling side of things (and I’ve certainly been guilty at one time or another of allowing that to happen).  Despite all of these meta-gaming aspects, it's obvious the game is written to be immersive.

There is no “Find/Remove Traps” skill in Savage Worlds.  The closest there comes is Lockpicking.  I have to admit that the text of the Lockpicking skill description mentions using it to remove traps, but you know what?  The skill name is Lockpicking.  If you want to emphasize player skill in your trap-filled dungeon, just be literal.  Limit Knowledge skills.  Drop Guts.  Require roleplaying Persuasion and Streetwise attempts and assign bonuses and penalties based on the player's skill. 

There are no character classes, so players have to involve themselves in their characters' growth.  There are no alignments, so players have to make their own moral decisions.  There are very, very few Edges or Hindrances in the core rules that have the meta-game restrictions of "Daily" or "Encounter" powers, so almost everything a character can do is something that directly reflects her existence within the game world.  The description for Tricks -- the ability to outmaneuver or outwit a foe for a temporary combat advantage -- specifies that "[t]o perform the trick, the player must first describe exactly what his character is doing..." (SWD p. 76).  The game is written to require input from the players, to require them to immerse themselves in the game.

One System, Many Games

One of the elements I know I'll have to include in the Regency/Gothic book is GM advice.  Part of this advice is going to have to be how to adapt an RPG system intended for fast, furious, pulp action into a game about emotions and romance.  I also, frankly, sometimes feel a need to justify the whole thing to myself.  Why aren't I just creating my own system (besides the fact that I'm lazy and part of the impetus for the whole thing was just the perverse kick of doing Savage Jane Austen)?  I honestly believe Savage Worlds is a system that can handle all of my needs.

Savage Worlds lets me zoom in and zoom out.  It lets me be immersive when I want and lets me board-game when I don't.  I can run a political conspiracy as a series of interpersonal negotiations, or I can abstract it to a mass combat.  I've never played any other RPG that allowed such customization.  I can use Savage Worlds to play the game I want to at that moment -- no matter if it's board-gaming, storytelling, or immersion. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Today at the bookstores

Yes, I am a weirdo. Yes, I will read all of these.

(I've never read Elizabeth Hoyt, but the book's about a masked vigilante in 1738 London. How can I resist that?!)
"The Drops of God" 4, "True Blood" (ongoing) # 2, "STNG/Doctor Who" #2, "Godzilla" (IDW series 2) #2, "The Shadow" (Dynamite) 2 & 3, Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase, and Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Breaking News: Scandal Wears Satin on sale today

Now that George MacDonald Fraser has passed away, my favorite living novelist is Loretta Chase.  Her Regency historical romances are a bigger part of the inspiration for the Regency/Gothic project than Jane Austen (they have far more sex and danger).  As announced on her blog, her latest book goes on sale today.

Now I have to swing by a bookstore on my way home...

How WOTC Can Get My Money

Wizards of the Coast is reprinting the D&D 3.5 core books.  Interestingly, they are actually fixing the errata, so the new printings will be a useful purchase for anybody still playing un-Pathfindered 3.5.

Is there anybody who does that?

I bought the 3.5 core books at Half-Price Books right after 4E came out.  I ran one horribly disastrous group campaign and one clumsy-ass duet campaign with them.  For the most part, it just convinced me of my bias toward point-buy/skill-based systems rather than class/level systems.

There is, however, one condition under which I would happily buy new printings of the 3.5 books – a condition under which I suspect another 14,951 people would, too – and that’s if they did a licensed Order of the Stick edition.

I might even try running it again.

(Admittedly, I already plan on buying Ed Greenwood Presents: Elminster's Forgotten Realms.  I'm a sucker for the idea of unadulterated Ed Greenwood.  And it comes out on my birthday!  And then I'll run it with Savage Worlds!)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Game Wine: Wine Paparazzi

I lied.  There's no game content in this post.

Robin EB is now officially part of the Texas wine paparazzi. We spent a big chunk of last night at William Chris Vineyards in Hye, Texas, for a press event and wine club thank-you (as press; we don't spend enough money on our membership to be part of those thanked). You know those wine blogs I list over on the right-hand side of this page? We met most of them, including the big-name guys who have actually published books! And Robin didn't embarrass herself the way I did when I met Warren Ellis.

Full details are upcoming on Vitis Poema but check out some of my crappy phone camera pictures below!

That is a much more serious knife than you really need to kill watermelons.

Everybody gathered beneath the oaks for watermelon sacrifices like vegetarian Druids.

Bill (AKA "William") talking about the new varietals on the way.  Vive l'Tannat! (I don't know French.)

Even as the sun sets, Robin's wine hat sticks out like a big "S" on her chest.  (That was my idea.)


Setting Rule: Fear of Intimacy

New Setting Rule:
Fear of Intimacy


In many cultures throughout history (ex. Heian Japan) and fiction (the planet Vulcan), the expression of powerful emotions has been censored by societal norms.  In such a setting, the GM may require a player to make a Fear check (rolling either Spirit or Guts, depending on the setting) in order to overcome their character's fear of public censure in order to admit and/or act upon a socially-unacceptable desire or impulse.  In most settings, failing the roll will result in a Fear/Nausea result but settings that emphasize extremes of emotion may instead result in Terror and call for a roll on the Fright Table (Savage Worlds Deluxe p. 85).

In the most obvious use of this rule -- forcing characters to screw their courage to the sticking place in order to confess love -- the object of affection's Charisma is used as a negative modifier on the Fear check and a positive modifier on the Fright Table as per the normal "Fear penalty" rules.  In other words, the more desirable the beloved, the harder it is to admit love.

Additional penalties or bonuses may apply depending on the setting.
  • Example 1 (Fear/Nausea):  Ranma Saotome is a Japanese high school student in an anime/manga-based setting.  As the Japanese public education system discourages the free time that allows American high school boys to (frankly) learn how to talk to girls, Ranma is unable to tell his fiancee Akane Tendo of his feelings.  When a new, smooth-talking rival wins a smile from Akane, Ranma tries to win her back with a confession of his love.  She really is kind of cute (Attractive - Charisma +2), so Ranma applies a -2 penalty to his Fear check.  Failing the roll, he is stricken with self-doubt that leaves him Fatigued in the coming "Anything Goes Salsa Dance" battle.
  • Example 2 (Terror): Sir Lancelot is a noble knight in a medieval setting of powerful passions.  He has fallen hopelessly in love with his liege's wife and sneaks off to a tryst with her during a formal hunt.  Approaching the beautiful Guenivere in a secluded forest glade, he rolls to overcome the battling demands of love and honor and fails.  The queen has a +6 Charisma (Very Attractive and Noble) so Lancelot suffers a -6 penalty on the Fear check and adds a +6 penalty on the Fright Table.  He ends up with a Fright Table result of 21+, suffers a heart attack, and dies.  Hooray!  The Round Table is saved!
New Edges:

Casanova

Requirements: Novice, Spirit (or Guts) d6+
Your affections are easily given.  You do not suffer the usual Charisma-based penalty to your Fear check, but your reputation has suffered for it.  Instead of the GM rolling on the reaction table, targets of your seduction attempts always begin at Uncooperative -- or Hostile if they have personal reasons to dislike you (see "Persuasion" on p. 26 of Savage Worlds Deluxe).

Soul Mate
Requirements: Seasoned, Spirit D8+, character must have previously succeeded on a Fear check against Fear of Intimacy with subject
There is one person in the universe with whom you can really speak your heart.  You do not roll Fear checks when facing a situation that would call for a Fear of Intimacy check with this character.  This soul mate may be a player or non-player character, but the benefits of this Edge are lost if the character dies (and is not resurrected by a Genesis Device or the Phoenix Force or something like that).  At the GM's discretion, the Edge may apply to alternate universe versions of the soul mate.  This Edge may be taken again to apply to a new character upon the death of the original soul mate (or if the setting is just into that kind of thing).

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Regency/Gothic: AKA Regency/Gothic

I'm off at Hilmy Cellars, one of the many delightful wineries along Highway 290 outside of Fredericksburg, Texas, and I really want to blog but I only have access to my phone app so I'm going to babble about something I don't have to consult rule books for: the name of the game.

I've stumbled into using "Regency/Gothic" for the name of the Regency Romance + Gothic Horror project (for obvious reasons) but I never intended to use that as the actual title. It's kinda catchy, though, and Robin and I haven't come up with anything really better.

I considered "A Taste of Claret" because "claret" (one of my favorite kinds of wine and one that was popular in the Regency) was used as Regency slang for "blood." That would seem to imply vampires as being central to the setting and -- while Polidori's "The Vampyre" is a product of the Regency and Lord Ruthven will undoubtedly appear in the plot-point campaign -- I just don't see this as an Emma and the Vampires game. I also kicked around "Any Savage Can Dance" as a reference to one of Darcy's lines in Pride and Prejudice, but that sounds like a chapter title or a Regency-setting netbook.

I don't want to step on "Colonial Gothic'"s toes. I probably need to figure out the main story arc of the plot-point campaign before I figure out a title.

Dammit.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Regency/Gothic: The Power of Persuasion 2


Sometimes I just want to say "He ain't buying it" when a player tries to con an important NPC or when somebody appeals to common sense in an affaire d'honneur.  But I like to play fair with my players.  I roll in the open.  I like to avoid GM fiat when I can.  Since Persuasion is going to be as ubiquitous in the Regency/Gothic setting as Shooting is in Deadlands, I think some guidelines are in order. 

On page 62 of Savage Worlds Deluxe, the "Modifiers" subheading under "Trait Tests" advises a +2 bonus to easy Trait tests, a -2 penalty to difficult tasks, and a -4 penalty to very difficult tasks.  Examples in the "Situational Combat Rules" section later on (like the "Suppressive Fire" example on page 71) show that a combination of penalties can exacerbate the penalties to -6 or more.  Let's extrapolate from that.

How about:
  • Suggested course of action is in NPC's best interest - +2
  • Suggested course of action is not in the NPC's best interest: -2
  • Suggested course of action is actively against NPC's best interest: -4  
  • Suggested course of action violates social mores: -2
I feel like there should be some modifiers for social standing.  I realize the Noble Edge grants a +2 Charisma modifier specifically because of the character's high social standing, but a duke isn't going to take orders from a baronet.  Hmm...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Regency/Gothic: The Power of Persuasion

I'm concerned about the use of Persuasion in the Regency/Gothic setting.

The Persuasion Skill in Savage Worlds is defined as the ability for PCs to make NPCs cooperate with them.  (Persuasion explicitly does not affect PCs.)  Savage Worlds Deluxe states NPCs "start at one of five different attitudes: Hostile, Uncooperative, Neutral, Friendly, or Helpful."  A success on a Persuasion roll (a roll of 4 on the Skill die, which can range from a d4 to a d12) changes the NPC's attitude by one step friendlier while two successes raises it by two, with a failure decreasing it by one step and a critical failure decreasing it by two.  It is one of only two skills modified by the Charisma attribute (the other is Streetwise, the ability to get answers by questioning people).

Unlike some games, Charisma in Savage Worlds is a secondary Attribute derived from Edges you can take (Edges being comparable to both Storyteller System merits and D&D feats). The default Charisma is 0. The Attractive Edge adds 2 points to it, Very Attractive (which requires Attractive as a prerequisite) raises the total to 4, the Charismatic Edge can add another 2 points, while the Noble Edge adds another 2 points.

So, in other words, you can have a Charisma score of 8.

Or, in other other words, you can have a +8 to Persuasion rolls.

The target number for successes in Savage Worlds is 4. This means a super-attractive lady or lord would have an automatic 2 successes on a Persuasion roll without even rolling the dice... and we all know characters like that are going to exist in a Regency/Gothic setting.  We all know player characters like that are going to exists in a Regency/Gothic game.

It is strongly suggested that GMs should not allow an NPC's attitude to be changed by more than two steps during a single encounter so a Hostile NPC should not become any better than Neutral during a scene.  There is, however, explicitly no resistance roll for NPCs to resist a Persuasion roll.   That whole "single encounter" verbiage implies to me that a change in attitude is permanent, so a PC should be able to convert a Hostile NPC to a Friendly one in four conversations, tops.

So it should have taken charismatic Elizabeth Bennet only two or three conversations to win over Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

That's... problematic.

I need to work up some guidelines for penalties to the Persuasion roll and what counts as a "single encounter."  Unfortunately, I'm way behind on posts and just want to get something out on the internet right now, so that will have to wait.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Regency/Gothic 2: What is Gothic Horror?

First of all, "Gothic Horror" is a bit of a misnomer.  Back in Jane Austen's day, a Gothic was a "romance" in the same sense that Le Mort D'Arthur and The Song of Roland were romances -- fantastic tales of extraordinary people with supernatural occurences.  A novel like Pride and Prejudice, on the other hand, was about normal people doing realistic thing -- a concept so new that it was a novelty.  So Matthew Lewis' The Monk -- a story of black magic, incest, rape, and Satanism -- was a romance and Persuasion -- the story of two former lovers who discover they still have feelings for each other -- was not.  Wacky, huh?

Anyway...

Gothic is really hard to define.  Sometimes there's haunted castles and sometimes there's ruined manor houses.  Sometimes there's explicit supernatural elements and sometimes there's not.  Sometimes it's a male genre with blood and guts and violence and sometimes it's a female genre with psychological suspense and no blood in sight.  What seems to be the defining element is that it is a genre about powerful emotions driving characters to extremes of behavior -- love, madness, murder, sacrifice, etc -- that take the readers (or viewers) out of the safe confines of the regular world and into a heightened reality where the audience can experience the catharsis of unfettered desires and the terror of suppressed ones.  Let's look at some examples:

Jane Eyre is about a psychologically abused orphan who goes to live with a scary rich man.  It's kind of like "Little Orphan Annie," but not.  Eventually she finds out he has his crazy wife locked in the attic, but everything turns out okay after he gets deformed in a fire and she finds out she's rich and she really loves him anyway.  There's nothing explicitly supernatural in it.  Read it here.  Hey, look!  Magneto!

Wuthering Heights is about a trio of a**holes with poor impulse control who let their histrionics get the better of them and try to ruin the lives of everyone who is nice to them -- and their own children.  There's nothing explicitly supernatural in this one either, though the biggest a**hole in the story has hallucinations (and humps a corpse).  Read it here.  Hey, look!  Bane!


Frankenstein is an allegory for women's fear of childbirth.  (Think about it.)  There's certainly some science-fantasy in this one.  Read it here.  Hey, look!  Henry V!



"Twin Peaks" is about a nice guy who goes to a remote backwater village and finds murderous goings-on and freaky psychological convolutions.  There is plenty of the supernatural in this one.  You can watch it on Netflix.  Hey, look!  Muad'dib!



"Army of Darkness" is NOT A GOTHIC!  Yes, there's skeletons and demons.  Yes, there's castles and swords.  Yes, there's a lot of screaming.  Yes, Ash lets his emotions get the better of him.  But seriously, dudes, we all know this isn't a story with deep psychological roots (even if it is one of my favorite films).  Gothic is about the deeper underpinnings, not hacking things to pieces with a chainsaw.  You can watch it on YouTube.  Hey, look!  Sam Axe!


Maybe a way to describe the Gothic is "Kinda like Lovecraft, but with hope."  Or maybe not.  It's really hard to define, but you'll know it when you feel it (not when you see it) because "feeling" is what Gothic is all about.

Friday, June 8, 2012

THIS WOMAN IS WRESTLING A TIGER!

SHE'S WRESTLING A TIGER, PEOPLE!!!
IT'S ATTACKING HER HUSBAND AND SHE'S WRESTLING IT TO SAVE HIM!
OH NO, THEY DROPPED THEIR STICKS!
THE TIGER POUNCED ON THEM FROM A CAVE!
HER HUSBAND HAS A PAW ON HIS BUTT!
LOOK AT THEM WRESTLE!
AWESOME EDO-ERA PAINTED SCREEN TIGER WRESTLING!!!

I saw this at the museum last weekend and just had to share it.  I haven't been able to find any indication that it is based on a specific myth or folktale and statting it up for Savage Worlds seemed superfluous, so I just thought I'd post my photos in all their fuzzy glory.  Look at the worried way she's biting her lip!  The tiger seems kind of unimpressed, though.  Hey, why don't you guys tell me what the story is?  Feel free to stat it up for your favorite RPG!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Deadlands: Noir, Cast a Deadly Spell, and My First Duet


I've already played a game like Deadlands: Noir -- once -- and it was one of the most bizarre RPG experiences of my life. It was also the first one-one-one or solo game that I GM'd.  (Following a pretty savvy series at RPG.net, I've decided to start calling this "duet gaming" as well.)  It was a homebrew setting I created inspired by an odd little film called "Cast a Deadly Spell."

 "Cast a Deadly Spell" is a 1991 made-for-HBO film about a private detective in 1940's Los Angeles named H. Philip Lovecraft and his attempts to recover the Necronomicon for his employer.  Seriously.  It's one of the last TV works of director Martin Campbell before he went on to make "Goldeneye," "The Mask of..." and "The Legend of Zorro," "Casino Royale," and (*cough*) "Green Lantern."  It stars Fred Ward (Remo Williams!), Clancy Brown (Lex Luthor!), David Warner (Ra's al Ghul!), and Julianne Moore (the other Clarice Starling!).  There's gremlins, werewolves, and zombies running around -- and they're only background flavor!  It is a seriously fun film.

My adventure was set in a a film noir San Antonio filled with magic and fairy tale creatures.  The plot of my adventure was the mysterious death of debutante Goldie Lox at the hands of her lover, shapeshifter "Baby" Bexar, but there were a lot of crazy asides and wackiness that have vanished into the depths of my memory.  I remember A shady informant who looked like Kermit the Frog and talked like Peter Lorre and people strolling the River Walk with billy goats to protect themselves from bridge trolls...

Unfortunately, it was too weird for my players.  We had dropped AD&D 2nd Edition a while back and picked up West End Games' d6 Star Wars.  The d6 system was my first foray into skill-based games and I still think it's one of the best (if only it used more than one kind of dice).  The system was flexible enough that, for the first time, I felt I could play any kind of game in any kind of setting.  This "hard-boiled fairy tale" setting was my first attempt at that and half of that night's players rebelled.

Of course, there were only two players actually participating besides myself.  I know I didn't spring the idea on them with no warning, but for some reason my brother decided to just sit and watch instead of joining in.  The other two created characters -- a Native American shaman and a hard-boiled detective -- but after an hour or so the guy playing the shaman just opted out as well and joined my brother in the staring.  If I'd been more mature, I probably could have salvaged things and gotten everyone involved (probably by giving up and playing something else) but I was an ass at that age, so I just pressed on with my single player.  

The two of us who did play had fun.  My player wasn't as well versed in noir as I was, so I had to coach him a bit (hint to hard-boiled P.I.s: if the suspect won't talk, rough him up), but it was still a good time.  [Note to self: write a post some time about how a duet GM's job is sometimes to be a coach.]  I keep thinking it might be fun to run a game where Snow White is being blackmailed because of some kinky photos taken with the dwarfs, but that's a scenario for horny young guys without wives. 

Kinky photos and blackmail raises a point.  I was kind of iffy about Deadlands: Noir when the setting was merely New Orleans.  Like with "Cast a Deadly Spell"'s Los Angeles setting, I just can't imagine hard-boiled detection without the seamy underbelly of glitz and glamor, and the Big Easy just doesn't cut it for me.  Now that the Companion has been announced, however, I just need to see how much money I can spare.

I Want Edopunk

I didn’t back 7 th Sea: Khitai for three reasons: 1) I honestly haven’t gotten much use out of my 7 th Sea 2 nd Edition books so far...