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Steamscapes: Asia -- Strider

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Strider has been published! If you're a Steamscapes: Asia backer, you should have an e-mail waiting for you with a link to download the PDF.

This is my first time writing a long-form adventure, but I think I did a pretty good job. (I certainly hope I've picked up something after 25 years of gaming.)  I'd love to hear your feedback, though, so please feel free to comment here or on Google+. Send me an e-mail if you like!

Steamscapes head honcho Eric Simon tells me he's pretty pleased with the whole thing.  I'm happy to hear that, given that I kinda tweaked things more in the wacky, weird direction mind brain goes...  
Eric kindly calls it a mini-campiagn, but I'd say it's more just an old TSR-style adventure. In either case, it's 27 pages of NPCs, new equipment, plots, and random encounter tables that should hopefully add up to a month's worth of gaming sessions.

It's a cross-country quest and a murder mystery rolled into one.  There's a robot…

Deadline accomplished!

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Okay, it took a little longer than I wanted it to, but I got sick and it couldn't be helped.

Strider -- the adventure module I promised backers of Steamscapes: Asia -- is finished. I just e-mailed it to Eric Simon, so that gives him a week to get it formatted. I certainly hope he's not trying to do anything too fancy with it...

This now means that I have to start working on completing the Japan section of the book, but I should be able to work at a more relaxed pace. Which will be good for my health... And the blog... And The King is Dead.

Hooray!

(And, yeah, module.  It's like 11,000 words.)

EDEN3

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EDEN3 A Savage Worlds Setting Sketch Yesterday on Google+, I wished that somebody else would write a Super Powers Companion-compatible science-fantasy sword and sorcery setting in the vein of Blackstar, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Crystar the Crystal Warrior, etc. Response was enthusiastic and – of course – my stupid brain immediately began churning out ideas. Dammit.

Anyway, here’s some notes toward an SFS&S setting…

EDEN3
World of Wonders
 Worlds have risen and worlds have died many times since the Cosmos was born. Now – one the far reaches of the Cosmos – a new world is in its birth pangs. Eden3has been seeded by far-traveled, long-lost civilizations and now its barbarous inhabitants struggle to master the strange wonders their forebears left behind. Though the orbiting supercomputer DeusMAX and its cadre of ARC-Angels were set in place to defend Eden3from extraplanetary interference, a serpent has still come to this wondrous garden…

Probes from the Blight, a malevolen…

Gentleman Thief

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Gentleman Thief
The gentleman thief (also “lady thief” or “phantom thief”) is a cunning and charismatic cat burglar. He is as adept in social settings as he is in picking locks and scaling heights. The gentleman thief is generally averse to physical violence, and prefers to use his cunning to confound his foes. Gentleman thieves usually work alone or with small bands of allies, but have been known to become leaders of criminal syndicates.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d4, Investigation d4, Lockpicking d6, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Stealth d8, Streetwise d4, Taunt d4, +2 skill points
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 4; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: One Major (Arrogant, Code of Honor, Curious, or Overconfident) and two Minor (Cautious, Death Wish, Greedy, Loyal, Pacifist, Quirk, Vengeful, or Wanted)
Edges: Thief and either Noble (for genuinely aristocratic gentlemen thieves) or Attractive (for those who are merely social climbers) G…

Edo Era Samurai

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The following are stock NPC archetypes for a Savage Worlds chanbara setting. They represent typical samurai that might be encountered in the tense, uneasy “peace” of the Tokugawa Shogunate rather than the martial valor of the Sengoku era.
New Background Edge Samurai
Requirements: Novice
While the samurai are often thought of as Japanese nobility, this isn’t quite true. The samurai of the Sengoku and Edo eras were a much larger, much more varied caste than European nobility. They ran the gamut from impoverished farmer samurai to the wealthy retainers of the shogun. They were united by a common background as the warriors or servants of their lords, but otherwise varied greatly. The defining aspect of the samurai was the exclusive right to own and wield the daishō – the matched pair of katana and wakizashi – and so any character with the Samurai Edge begins play with those weapons. As the only authorized wielders of swords, even the poorest samurai also had the right of life and death over…

How Much Backstory is Enough?

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I am not a fan of overly-detailed character backgrounds. Playing an RPG is not the same as writing a novel nor is it the same as acting for the stage or screen. Player characters need to be flexible and open enough that players can always find a way to justify their characters participating in the game at hand. “My character wouldn’t do that” is the stupidest, most selfish thing a roleplayer can say at the gaming table, and far too many gamers of my acquaintance use detailed character backgrounds as an excuse to be jerks to their fellow players (and those fellow players include the GM).
That said, when you’re writing an adventure (as opposed to a dungeon) or a setting for others to GM and play, you obviously need to provide some background on the NPCs. Action comes from motivation, and motivation comes from background. How much background do you need to include to provide motivation?
I’ve got three articles coming up in the next Savage Insider. One is an Auspicious Archetypes article…