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Showing posts from August, 2014

The King is Dead: Self-Empowerment

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Dang it, I just keep making work for myself.

As readers of this blog should be well aware, I’ve spent most of the last year developing a setting called The King is Dead with an eye toward marketing it for Savage Worlds.It takes place in a quasi-18th century world where the middle and lower clases are rising up to overthrow a literally vampiric aristocracy.All of the player characters belong to secret societies -- inspired by such examples as the Bavarian Illuminati, the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians, and the Sons of Liberty – that are conspiring together to stage the revolution.

Early on, I decided that one of the societies should be explicitly feminist.While the Bavarian Illuminati believed in equal rights and education for women, they were still a male organization and their in-game equivalent was always going to wind up looking like a bunch of white guys in periwigs sitting around talking a bigger game than they actually played.It always seemed important to me that there be a sec…

The King is Dead: New Trapping -- Vehicle

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One of the challenges I decided to tackle in The King is Dead was to find a way of allowing Weird Scientists to invent some honest-to-goodness new technologies without bolting on new rules to the sleek Arcane Backgrounds rules of Savage Worlds.  I finally cracked it.  The solution: trappings!


New Trapping
Vehicle 

One goal of the Zunft von Hohenheim is to bring mankind closer together by providing faster and safer means of transportation.  The vehicle trapping can only be applied to the powers burrow, environmental protection, fly, and speed.  The trapping allows a vehicle (boat, carriage, hot air balloon, locomotive) to take advantage of the power for a number of hours equal to the usual duration (plus any extra from additional Power Points).  If the power allows for additional targets, those passengers must be taken into account when the device is built.  A submersible ship might be built with the environmental protection power to allow the passengers to survive underwater or a hot ai…

Victorian Adventure Wishlist

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Sometimes this blog is a notepad, a place where I can jot down thoughts and characters I want to use.  This is one of those posts...
Robin and I just started a Victorian adventure campaign starring archaeologist (and occultist) Lady Atalanta Scarborough, and there’s a few things I’d like to hit:
Quincey P. Morris, vampire cowboyDracula (duh)Young Dr. Henry Jones (Sr.)Sherlock Holmes references but no appearances by the Great Detective himself (he’d be too insufferable); maybe Sebastian Moran, but not Moriarty; maybe Sherlock Holmes’ other brother (not Mycroft, it would be the theoretical third brother who inherited their father’s estates); definitely Lestrade.A lost world story; I could actually tie this into the TimeBomb concept from MKST!!!, and come up with a pseudo-plausible explanation for cave men and dinosaurs.  Should I do Pleistocene mammals and dinosaurs together, or separately?  Separately, obviously.  With the Time Bomb, there's no reason to limit ourselves to one lost …

Juggling Act

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I may be overextending myself.
I’ve got a lot on my plate right now.It’s incredibly gratifying – I don’t think I’ve ever been in demand like this, either as a writer or a person – but I am having to learn new time-management skills.I beg the indulgence of all of those who are relying on me.
Summer is a surprisingly busy time for me.Between work and family, there’s a heckuva lot to do.With luck, the early autumn lull at work and the beginning of the school year will free up some time.
Happy Wife, Happy Life
My top priority at all times in my life must be my lovely, indulgent wife, +Robin English-Bircher.We’re both kind of estranged from our families and don’t have any children, so we rely on each other with an intensity usually found only in newlyweds.I don’t like getting too personal on Wine and Savages, but there’ve been some annoying setbacks around here this summer, and sometimes we really, really have to go to the Texas hill Country for our mental health.We have friends in the w…

The King is Dead: PC Dhampyres

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I realized I was being racist.

I want vampires in The King is Dead to be able to have actual children of their own loins as a way of explaining why they would form noble families and therefore behave in most ways like the old European nobility.I also want some “monsters” in the setting who are somewhat less dangerous than vampires themselves.Thus, vampires in The King is Dead can sire dhampyres (formerly dunpeals) – blood-drinking daywalkers gifted with increased strength, rapid healing, and superior night vision.
I also want there to be no ambiguity in the righteousness of slaying vampires, thus allowing players to indulge in some of the excesses of the French Revolution without any moral qualms.Therefore, vampirism in The King is Dead is a choice.When a vampire accepts the Gift of Sathaniel, he receives a vision of The King of the World in which Sathaniel lays out – plainly and honestly – that becoming a vampire means becoming a predator of mankind, it means becoming a murderer and …

Creepy Housekeeper (Gothic Tropes NPC)

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Now that I feel greatly rejuvenated after a fantastically productive block of writing on The King is Dead yesterday, I feel I can finally return to sharing some of the work on that setting on the blog.  I'm going to start a series of posts taking Gothic archetypes (courtesy of TV Tropes) and stat them up for The King is Dead's somewhat truncated version of the Savage Worlds Skill list.  Keep in mind that The King is Dead is an action-horror setting, and so Guts and Sanity are not used; GMs wishing to work these archetypes into a more traditionally terrifying setting may wish to add those Setting Rules. Creepy Housekeeper from TV Tropes


"Ever found yourself at a huge mansion in the middle of a torrential rainstorm? Chances are the door was opened to you by a Creepy Housekeeper. This character spends much of her time walking around a large manor house cleaning, cooking, being fanatically devoted to her master, and scaring off any new female inhabitants of the house. Although…

Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser (Legendary Rank)

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Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (The Circle Curse and The Jewels in the Forest)
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser leave Lankhmar at the beginning of the vignette The Circle Curse, returning three years later after a series of adventures that take them practically from one end of the world called Nehwon to the other (and then back again). By the time we meet them again at the beginning of The Jewels in the Forest (originally published as Two Sought Adventure as well as being the first published Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser story and the beginning of their adventures proper), they have become living legends. As Leiber wrote:

“The names of the Gray Mouser and the Northerner Fafhrd were not unknown in the lands around Lankhmar – and in proud Lankhmar, too. Their taste for strange adventure, their mysterious comings and goings, and their odd sense of humor were matters that puzzled almost all men alike.” (Leiber, The Jewels in the Forest; emphasis mine).

In other words, in the space of a vignette that equ…

Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser (Seasoned Rank)

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Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (Ill Met in Lankhmar)
By the time Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (no longer Mouse) finally meet on the smoky streets of Lankhmar, they have both made names for themselves as independent thieves of guile and skill.When the Thieves’ Guild hunts down the Twain for daring to rob the robbers, it is Fafhrd's and the Gray Mouser’s lovers who pay the price.Chastened by this tragedy, the two leave Lankhmar, vowing to never return…


Fafhrd

Seasoned Wild Card (20 Experience)
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Boating d6, Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Stealth d8, Streetwise d4, Survival d6, Shooting d6, Throwing d4, Tracking d6
Charisma: +0 Pace: 6 Parry: 6 Toughness: 8(1)
Hindrances: Heroic [Major], Loyal [Minor], Vengeful [Minor].
Edges: Ambidextrous, Brawny, Two-Fisted
Gear: clothes ($20), dagger (“Heartseeker;” $25; Str+d4, Range 3/6/12, RoF 1), knapsack ($50), leather armor ($50; Armor +1), long sword (“Grayw…

Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser (Novice Rank)

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As has been revealed at Bleeding Cool and on Google+, Pinnacle Entertainment now hols the license to Fritz Leiber's seminal Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories and will be releasing The Savage World of Lankhmar in the near future.  I have mixed feelings about this -- can it capture the weird, dreamlike feel of the stories? will Pinnacle's self-imposed PG-13 approach unsex my beloved Nehwon? -- but mainly I'm mad I never got around to posting my conversions of the Twain before this.  I've wanted to write about them since the beginning of the blog!  Oh well, better late than never... 
Fafhrd (The Snow Women)
Novice Wild Card (No Experience)
A young skald who yearns for a life of adventure and freedom, Fafhrd nearly misses his chance to leave behind the Cold Wastes for the city... 
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Boating d4, Climbing d6, Fighting d6, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Shooting d4, Stealth d6, Streetwise d4, Survival d6, Thr…

Shaolin Monk (Savage Worlds Martial Artists Aren't All the Same)

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Shaolin Monk
Seasoned Wild Card
Striving to perfect body and soul, the Shaolin Monk is a student of martial arts style that inspired all imitations.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Faith d8, Fighting d10, Knowledge (Martial Arts Philosophy) d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d6
Charisma: +0 Pace: 6 Parry: 7 Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Pacifist [Major], Poverty [Minor], Vow [Minor; uphold the principles of the Shaolin Temple].
Edges: AB: Miracles, Adept, Martial Artist, Power Points, New Power.
Gear: formal robes ($200), staff ($10; Str+d4, Parry +1, Reach 1, 2 hands); $40 in alms.
Special Abilities Power Points: 15Powers:damage field (holy aura), environmental protection (superhuman endurance), stun (concussive punch)

Underworld Gambler (Savage Worlds Martial Artists Aren't All the Same)

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Underworld Gambler
Seasoned Wild Card
Connected and respected, the Underworld Gambler is the most dangerous person in a city full of criminals.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Gambling d6, Fighting d10, Notice d4, Persuasion d6, Stealth d6, Streetwise d6, Throwing d4
Charisma: +2 Pace: 6 Parry: 7 Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Wanted or Blind [Major], Greedy [Minor], Loyal [Minor].
Edges: Charismatic, Connections (tong/triad/yakuza), Martial Artist, Luck/Great Luck.
Gear: formal robes ($200), dao/kodachi ($200; as Short Sword; Str+d6), umbrella ($5), $45 in coin and IOUs.

Masked Vigilante (Savage Worlds Martial Artists Aren't All the Same)

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Masked Vigilante
Seasoned Wild Card
A fearsome shadow in the night, the Masked Vigilante hunts evildoers the law dares not investigate.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fear d6, Fighting d10, Notice d4, Stealth d8, Streetwise d4, Throwing d4
Charisma: +2  Pace: Parry: Toughness: 7(2)
Hindrances: Heroic [Major], Enemy [Minor; weird foes target the do-gooder], Wanted [Minor; pursued for evading arrest].
Edges: AB: Super Powers, Assassin, Martial Artist, Noble.
Gear: bandolier ($25; as Quiver), formal robes ($200), grappling hook ($100) and 50’ of rope ($50), katana ($1000; Str+d6+2, AP 2), 2 kunai ($25 each; as Dagger; Str+d4, Range 3/6/12, RoF 1), leather armor ($50; +1 Armor), $25 in coin.
Special Abilities:
Power Points: 20Powers:fear (“I am the night!”)

White-Haired Sorceress (Savage Worlds Martial Artists Aren't All the Same)

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White-Haired Sorceress
Seasoned Wild Card
A strange and haunting agent of evil or a supernatural avenger, the White-haired Sorceress strikes fear in the hearts of those she meets.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Knowledge (Occultism) d4, Notice d4, Shooting d6, Spellcasting d6, Stealth d6, Taunt d6
Charisma: -8 Pace: 6 Parry: 6 Toughness: 6
Hindrances: Bloodthirsty [Major], Mean [Minor], Ugly [Minor; frightening white hair].
Edges: AB: Black Magic (Magic), Extraction, Martial Artist, Quick Draw, Strong Willed.
Gear:formal robes ($200), bow ($250; 2d6, Range 12/24/48, RoF 1, 2 hands) and 20 arrows ($20); quiver ($25), $5 in coin.
Special Abilities: Power Points: 10Powers:bolt (dark chi; necromantic “Shards” trapping, +1 damage to unarmored foes, -1 to armored), entangle (tendrils of hair), summon ally (demonic servitors)

Aged Master (Savage Worlds Martial Artists Aren't All the Same)

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Aged Master
Seasoned Wild Card
Gray-bearded and old beyond reckoning, the Aged Master has forgotten more about martial arts than most will ever learn… and he’s forgotten a lot.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d12, Notice d6, Spellcasting d10, Taunt d6, Throwing d6
Charisma: -1 Pace: 6 Parry: 8 Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Elderly [Major], Habit [Minor; speaks in annoying riddles], Stubborn [Minor].
Edges: AB: Hidden Techniques (Magic), Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Danger Sense, Martial Artist.
Gear: formal robes ($200), ji/naginata ($250; as Halberd; Str+d8, Reach 1, 2 hands); $50 in coin.
Special Abilities: Power Points: 10Powers: burst (Buddha’s Palm technique), deflection (blur of movement), smite (thundering fist)I was able to keep his Strength and Vigor at d6 by shunting 2 Attribute points each to them (raising them to d8 before imposing the Elderly Hindrance penalties) and then I used 2 points from Hindrances to buy Smarts up to d6.

New Style Pioneer (Savage Worlds Martial Artists Aren't All the Same)

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New Style Pioneer
Seasoned Wild Card
Forging a new style from a synthesis of older styles and the unique experiences of her life, the New Style Pioneer faces a difficult and dangerous future.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d10, Intimidation d4, Knowledge (Martial Arts Philosophy) d4, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Stealth d6, Streetwise d4, Taunt d4, Throwing d4
Charisma: +0 Pace: 6 Parry: 7 Toughness: 6
Hindrances: Heroic [Major], Outsider [Minor; despised as an upstart in the hidebound martial arts community], Vow [Minor; never decline a challenge].
Edges: Ambidextrous, Frenzy, Martial Artist, Two-Fisted.
Gear: 2 daos ($200 each; as Short Sword; Str+d6), normal clothes ($20), knapsack ($50), $30 in coin.

By popular demand!

Youxia (Savage Worlds Martial Artists Aren't All the Same)

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Youxia (Wuxia Swordsman)
Seasoned Wild Card
Student of secret techniques of chi mastery, the Youxia follows the chivalric code of wuxia.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d10, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Spellcasting d6, Stealth d6, Survival d4, Throwing d4
Charisma: +0 Pace: 8 Parry: 7 Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Vow [Major; follow the xia ideals of benevolence, courage, glory, individualism, justice, loyalty, poverty, and truthfulness], Cautious [Minor], Vengeful [Minor].
Edges: AB: Taoist Alchemy (Magic), Elan, Fleet-Footed, Martial Artist, Trademark Weapon.
Gear: formal clothes ($200), jian ($300; as Long Sword; Str+d8; trademark weapon).
Special Abilities:
Power Points: 10
Powers:boost/lower trait (neigong – chi mastery and acupressure), healing (dianxue – acupuncture), wall walker (qinggong – mystic martial arts)

Tough Guy (Savage Worlds Martial Artists Aren't All the Same)

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Tough Guy
Seasoned Wild Card
Seemingly impervious to pain, the Tough Guy keeps going long after wounds that drop lesser men.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d10, Intimidation d8, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Stealth d4, Survival d4, Tracking d4
Charisma: -2 Pace: 6 Parry: 7 Toughness: 6
Hindrances: Code of Honor [Major], Loyal [Minor], Outsider [Minor].
Edges: Hard to Kill, Martial Artist, Nerves of Steel/Improved Nerves of Steel.
Gear: clothes ($20), $480 in... umm... stuff.

Blood Sport Fighter (Savage Worlds Martial Artists Aren't All the Same)

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Blood Sport Fighter
Seasoned Wild Card
Relying on strength and savagery, the Blood Sport Fighter is a brutal opponent.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d10, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d4, Fighting d10, Intimidation d6, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Stealth d4, Swimming d4, Taunt d6
Charisma: -4 Pace: 6 Parry:Toughness: 6
Hindrances: Bloodthirsty [Major], Enemy [Minor; would-be heroes are always trying to track him down], Wanted [Minor; rumor connects him to a string of murders, but no proof has come forth].
Edges: Berserk, Brawny, Martial Artist, Sweep.
Gear: clothes ($20), iron-shod staff ($400; as Maul; Str+d8,AP 2 vs. rigid armor, -1 Parry, 2 hands), knapsack ($50), $30 in coin.

The Dragon (Savage Worlds Martial Artists Aren't All the Same)

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The Dragon
Seasoned Wild Card
A dedicated, competitive fighter who specializes in speed and strength, the Dragon embodies the true spirit of martial arts.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6

Skills: Fighting d10, Intimidation d6, Knowledge (Martial Arts Philosophy) d6, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Stealth d4, Throwing d4, Taunt d4 Charisma: +0 Pace: 6 Parry: 8 Toughness: 6
Hindrances: Arrogant [Major], Death Wish [Minor; prove his kung fu is superior], Enemy [Minor; some up-and-comer is always challenging him to a fight].
Edges: Brawler, Block, First Strike, Martial Artist
Gear: butterfly knife ($10; as Switchblade; Str+d4; -2 to be Noticed if hidden), clothes ($20), formal robes ($200), nunchaku ($200; as Flail; Str+d6, ignores Shield Parry and Cover bonus), 2 shuriken ($25 each; as Throwing Knife/Dagger; Str+d4, Range 3/6/12, Rof 1), staff ($10), tonfa ($10; as Billy Club/baton; Str+d4)

Drunken Master (Savage Worlds Martial Artists Aren't All the Same)

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Drunken Master
Seasoned Wild Card
A martial artist who specializes in Agility Tricks, Taunt Tests of Will, and improvisational combat, the Drunken Master is a laughing rogue who enjoys a good time more than a good fight.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d10, Intimidation d4, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Stealth d4, Taunt d6, Throwing d6
Charisma: +0 Pace: 6 Parry: 7 Toughness: 6
Hindrances: Habit [Major; drinking], Big Mouth [Minor], Poverty [Minor].
Edges: Acrobat, Improvisational Fighter, Liquid Courage, Martial Artist Gear: clothes ($20), knapsack ($50), staff ($10), 3 wine gourds (improvised weapon, Str+d4 when reasonably full, Range 3/6/12, RoF 1; $5 each) and excellent spirits ($50 each)

In homage to Tommy Brownell and because I really need a distraction today.