The King is Dead

Monday, August 22, 2016

Legendary Achetypes: Wilderness Warrior



As Paul “Wiggy” Wade-Wilson wrote long ago, “Life Begins at Legendary.”


In Legendary Archetypes, the Wine and Savages blog presents ready-to-use Legendary Rank (80 XP) heroes built using only the Savage Worlds core rules. These archetypes are offered as aids for duet and solo gamers or for gaming groups ready to jump right into the big leagues.



The characters are built with an eye toward versatility (necessary in duet gaming) and so have their Traits and Edges spread out for broader competence rather than min/maxed in certain areas. Game Masters using these archetypes may wish to allow the players another 20 to 40 experience points (2 to 4 Advances) to further customize the characters beyond choosing Hindrances.



Wilderness Warrior



Hindrances: Heroic or Delusional [Major] (depending on the film), Loyal, Stubborn


Whether one of the last Mohicans in colonial New York or the king returning to Gondor, whether riding the steppes of Mongolia or the plains of Texas, whether on long range recon patrol in Vietnam or evading the Sheriff of Nottingham, the wilderness warrior combines survival skills with mobility and combat prowess into a deadly camouflaged package. 

The wilderness warrior can be modified into a twin blade-wielding swordsman (+1 die in Fighting or +1 die in Fighting and Shooting or Stealth if an elf, Ambidextrous, Florentine, and Two-Weapon Fighting), a hard-riding nomad or ranger (+2 dice in Riding, +1 die in Healing and Intimidation, Beast Master, Quick Draw), or a remarkable archer or rifleman (+1 die in Agility, +1 die in Fighting and Shooting, Marksman, and Followers or Sidekick) with the application of four Advances.

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d10
Skills: Boating d4, Climbing d6, Driving or Riding d4, Fighting d8, Healing d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d8, Shooting d8,  Stealth d8, Survival d8, Swimming d6, Streetwise d8, Throwing d8, Tracking d8
Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 7
Hindrances: One Major, Two Minor
Edges: Alertness, Danger Sense, Steady Hands, Woodsman


Hindrances: Enemy [Major; Lloth, Artemis Entreri, etc.], Outsider, Vow [Minor; to Mielikki]

Legendary Archetypes: Social Encounter Warrior

As Paul “Wiggy” Wade-Wilson wrote long ago, “Life Begins at Legendary.”


In Legendary Archetypes, the Wine and Savages blog presents ready-to-use Legendary Rank (80 XP) heroes built using only the Savage Worlds core rules. These archetypes are offered as aids for duet and solo gamers or for gaming groups ready to jump right into the big leagues.



The characters are built with an eye toward versatility (necessary in duet gaming) and so have their Traits and Edges spread out for broader competence rather than min/maxed in certain areas. Game Masters using these archetypes may wish to allow the players another 20 to 40 experience points (2 to 4 Advances) to further customize the characters beyond choosing Hindrances.



Social Encounter Warrior

Hindrances: Arrogant, Outsider, Stubborn



More than just a pretty face, the Social Encounter Warrior is a master of the put-down, gifted with the gab, and able to roll with the punches. The archetype can easily embody a variety of roles in low-violence settings, from socialites like Pride and Prejudice's Elizabeth Bennet and Downton Abbey's Lady Mary Talbot (née Crawley), to comical con artists like J. Wellington Wimpy and Bender Bending Rodriguez, to master detectives like Hercule Poirot and Lieutenant Columbo.


Additional Advances can refocus the Social Encounter Warrior to be the face for a team of soldiers of fortune on the run from a crime they didn't commit (+1 die in Agility, + 2 dice in Fighting and Shooting, +1 die in Driving, Gambling, Persuasion, and Stealth), a gentleman thief (+1 die in Agility, +3 dice in Lockpicking, +2 dice in Stealth), or a consummate politician (+1 die in Intimidation and Persuasion, Command, the Connections Edge with any two organizations).


Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d10, Strength d6, Vigor d10
Skills: Climbing d4, Driving or Riding d4, Fighting d4, Gambling d6, Healing d4, Intimidation d8, Investigation d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d8, Shooting or Stealth d4, Stealth or Swimming d4, Streetwise d8, Taunt d8, Throwing d4
Charisma: +4; Pace: 6; Parry: 4; Toughness: 7
Hindrances: One Major, Two Minor
Edges: Alertness, Attractive and Very Attractive or Attractive and Charismatic, Combat Reflexes, Level Headed/Improved Level Headed, Strong Willed

Hindrances: Greedy [Major], Delusional [Minor; wants to be famous and/or a folk singer], Habit [Minor; smokes]



Sunday, August 21, 2016

Legendary Archetypes: Ninja

As Paul “Wiggy” Wade-Wilson wrote long ago, “Life Begins at Legendary.”


In Legendary Archetypes, the Wine and Savages blog presents ready-to-use Legendary Rank (80 XP) heroes built using only the Savage Worlds core rules. These archetypes are offered as aids for duet and solo gamers or for gaming groups ready to jump right into the big leagues.



The characters are built with an eye toward versatility (necessary in duet gaming) and so have their Traits and Edges spread out for broader competence rather than min/maxed in certain areas. Game Masters using these archetypes may wish to allow the players another 20 to 40 experience points (2 to 4 Advances) to further customize the characters beyond choosing Hindrances.


Hindrances: Heroic, Loyal, Quirk (mute)

Ninja


Whether a pseudo-historical legend like Sarutobi Sasuke or the original Ishikawa Goemon, a master of ancient arts in the modern setting like Arashikage Tomisaburo or his cousin Jinx, a gaijin who somehow learned the secrets of the East like John Peter McAllister or Elektra Natchios, or even... um... a mutant turtle, the ninja archetype combines combat proficiency with stealth for a hero who can kills you five ways before you even see her.


Additional Advances can transform the ninja into a member of a daring, highly-trained special missions force (+ 1 die in Boating, Driving, Piloting, and Knowledge: Battle), make the ninja a formidable archer able to aim by hearing alone (+2 dice in Shooting, Alertness, Marksman), or even change the archetype into an urban vigilante (+2 dice in Driving, +1 die in Intimidation, Streetwise, and Throwing plus the Noble Edge to stand in for an inherited corporation).


Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d10, Healing d6, Intimidation d6, Lockpicking d6, Notice d6, Shooting d8, Stealth d10, Streetwise d6, Swimming d6, Throwing d8, Tracking d4
Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 8; Toughness: 6
Hindrances: One Major, Two Minor
Edges: Acrobat, Assassin, Danger Sense, Martial Artist, Quick Draw, Thief

Hindrances: Vengeful [Major], Loyal, Wanted [Minor]

Friday, August 19, 2016

Legendary Archetypes: Secret Agent

As Paul “Wiggy” Wade-Wilson wrote long ago, “Life Begins atLegendary.”

In Legendary Archetypes, the Wine and Savages blog presents ready-to-use Legendary Rank (80 XP) heroes built using only the Savage Worlds core rules. These archetypes are offered as aids for duet and solo gamers or for gaming groups ready to jump right into the big leagues.

The characters are built with an eye toward versatility (necessary in duet gaming) and so have their Traits and Edges spread out for broader competence rather than min/maxed in certain areas. Game Masters using these archetypes may wish to allow the players another 20 to 40 experience points (2 to 4 Advances) to further customize the characters beyond choosing Hindrances.
Hindrances: Heroic, Vow  [Minor; to British Intelligence], Quirk (quips)
Secret Agent

Whether the hero works for the government like James Bond or Emma Peel, is on the run from the government like Jason Bourne or Number 6, is an independent operative like Abbie Chase or Sterling Archer, or is even a criminal with a similar skillset to a true secret agent like Arsène Lupin III or Simon Templar, the secret agent archetype emphasizes investigative skills amidst a broad – even holistic -- competency.

The 80 XP secret agent has only begun to achieve the prowess regularly shown in spy cinema and fiction. Additional advances can emphasize the character's skill in hand-to-hand combat à la Jason Bourne (Fighting d10, Block, Brawler, Improvisational Fighter), Daniel Craig-as-Bond durability (+1 Intimidation and Swimming, Nerves of Steel/Improved Nerves of Steel, Strong Willed), or the panache and style Emma Peel or Roger Moore's James Bond (+1 Smarts, +1 to whichever of Boating or Piloting the hero doesn't have, Elan, Jack-of-All-Trades).

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Boating or Piloting d4, Climbing d6, Driving d6, Fighting d8, Gambling d6, Intimidation d4, Investigation d8, Lockpicking d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Shooting d8, Stealth d8, Streetwise d8, Swimming d4, Taunt d6
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 6
Hindrances: One Major, Two Minor
Edges: Ace, Attractive or Charismatic, Martial Artist, Investigator, Thief

Hindrances: Vow [Major; to British Intelligence], Vengeful [Minor], Quirk (quips)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Legendary Archetypes: Wandering Swordsman

As Paul “Wiggy” Wade-Wilson wrote long ago, “Life Begins atLegendary.”


In Legendary Archetypes, the Wine and Savages blog presents ready-to-use Legendary Rank (80 XP) heroes built using only the Savage Worlds core rules. These archetypes are offered as aids for duet and solo gamers or for gaming groups ready to jump right into the big leagues.

The characters are built with an eye toward versatility (necessary in duet gaming) and so have their Traits and Edges spread out for broader competence rather than min/maxed in certain areas. Game Masters using these archetypes may wish to allow the players another 20 to 40 experience points (2 to 4 Advances) to further customize the characters beyond choosing Hindrances.

Hindrances: Heroic, Enemy [Minor], Pacifist [Minor]

Wandering Ronin

Whether a true ronin like the eponymous heroine of the anime Tsukikage Ran or the nameless hero of the classic film Yojimbo, an underworld sell-sword like the central characters of the Lady Snowblood and Zatoichi franchises, or a wandering do-gooder like Rurouni Kenshin's Himura Kenshin, the wandering ronin archetype dominates chanbara (“sword-clashing” AKA samurai) anime, film, and manga. 

The character is built with an emphasis on speed. Samurai duels are often resolved in one quick strike, and the wandering ronin aims to be the one left standing. Recommended advances include taking the improved versions of the archetype's Edges, Martial Artist, Charisma-building Edges, and increasing Notice. Underworld characters can increase their ties to the Yakuza by improving Gambling; pacifist heroes can attempt to end fights before they begin by increasing Persuasion.

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d4, Fighting d12, Gambling d6, Healing d4, Intimidation d6, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Stealth d6, Streetwise d6, Swimming d4, Taunt d6, Throwing d8
Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 8; Toughness: 6
Hindrances: One Major, Two Minor
Edges: Danger Sense, First Strike/Improved First Strike, Frenzy, Level Headed, Quick, Quick Draw

Hindrances: Vengeful [Major], Outsider, Wanted [Minor]

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The King is Dead: I Have Made a Liar of My T-Shirt


The irritating thing is that I have three of these shirts -- and Robin has two.
The King is Dead is late – or, at the very least, woefully behind schedule – and it’s my fault. The long and the short of it is that I simply got overwhelmed. My anxiety disorder and the my day job joined forces to create a downward spiral of depression and the stress relievers necessary to continue to function (mainly, just trying to have a social life) leeched time away from writing.

But at least we got VARGR out in May, right? In a way, we actually got the project out ahead of schedule.

The biggest problem has simply been that my day job changed. A lot. Even though I’m functionally in the same position that I’ve held for the last seven years, the actual duties and processes of that function have changed dramatically. I used to have time to write blog posts while at work; that obviously isn’t true anymore.

The job’s a thousand times more stressful than it used to be, requiring me to actively engage in activities that trigger my anxiety, but I don’t dare quit because I’ve got great benefits and a bonus and a retirement plan and I don’t know if I could even find a job in today’s market because I’m over forty years old and have never been management and the job I do is even harder at my company’s competitors and I’ve got a mortgage and a car payment and freelance pay in the RPG industry is not great and etc., etc.…

(You get the picture.)

In an attempt to de-stress, Robin and I have spent a lot of time since Chupacabracon hanging out with some old high school and college buddies of hers. I lost all of my non-social media friends in the big divorce from my family several years back (and I hardly saw them before that anyway because of various personal rifts), so actually hanging out in person with people who share my interests (in politics and other aspects of life as well as gaming) has been an incredible blessing. Unfortunately, that’s meant a reduction in the weekend time I’ve had to actually write – but I’d probably be dead or my marriage would be in the toilet if we didn’t take time out like that.

Another thing that’s pushed The King is Dead back a little is Savage Rifts® – or, more precisely, some of the lessons Sean Patrick Fannon has shared with me that he learned while writing that project. Even though I’ve always chafed a little at the sometimes arbitrarily precise Savage Worlds skills list (I loathe the fact that Climbing and Swimming are unique skills instead of single Athletics skill), it turns out a lot of Savage Worlds fans are really invested in the core rules of the game and do not like setting-specific changes. This has meant revisiting the bonuses secret societies give characters – something that Savage Rifts® has helped provide an answer to.

Thankfully, things are getting better. Robin has been assisting a lot more with the actual writing of The King is Dead (so much that we’ll actually be sharing the writing credit) and the weird reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder we get in San Antonio from having to hide from the punishing heat is getting better. I’m now so past my self-imposed deadline of July 2016 that I’m no longer worried about it, and life is conspiring to force me to stay home and write regardless.

(I should be writing all day today, for instance.)

With that said, I’ve also learned I can’t do this alone. Anxiety and depression often make you want to go it alone, to not burden others with your unworthy problems – and RPGs are really meant to be collaborative endeavors like movies and TV shows. One of the most important pieces of advice for Game Masters is “If you want to dictate the story, then write a novel” and this is just as true for writing a game book as it is for running the game at the table.

I was trying to do The King is Dead solo, asking even Robin to contribute nothing besides editing. That was a horrible mistake on my part. Sharing the responsibilities and joys of building Malleus with her has been reinvigorating (and I apologize to Robin for all the complaining I do anyway). I should probably investigate bringing others into the project, too. I’m certainly better prepared to start taking realistic steps toward completing the book now.

I should have known that, you know? That’s why people hired me as a freelancer and were happy with my work (both bringing it in on time and fulfilling the assignment so spectacularly). Sheesh… Effin’ anxiety.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Savage Rifts® X Fairy Tail: Exceeds

“It must have been eight or nine years ago.
“My buddies and I were just mercenaries, treasure hunters, bandits… Whatever you want to call us, we were just in it for the money and power. We weren’t like that Tomorrow Legion you want to join. We were nothin’ like the Tomorrow Legion…
“Hell, I didn’t even get my Glitter Boy the honest way. I didn’t earn it. It wasn’t passed down to me like an heirloom sword. I found it on a battlefield, scraped the carcass of the former pilot out of it, and put it back together with spit and baling wire. Hell, maybe if I knew what I was doing, that kid and his cat wouldn’t have beaten us so bad.
“Yeah, I said ‘cat.’ That crazy-ass Burster on the other side of the Rift had some sort of cat-shaped D-Bee with him. A little guy with a big head. Blue fur. And he could fly.
“Aye, sir. He could fly real damn fast.”
 – Derek Platt, former rogue Glitter Boy pilot

"We have to save our friends!"


Filtering into Rifts® Earth from a few small Rifts located in the ruins of Fort Worth, Texas, the cat-like humanoids called Exceeds tell a curiously confused story about being dimensional refugees twice over. They claim to originally hail from a world of flying islands and diminishing magical resources called Edolas, from whence they fled to a PPE-rich dimension called Earth Land before again seeking refuge on Rifts Earth after Earth Land was invaded by the Alvarez Empire. The few Exceeds who have joined the Tomorrow Legion accuse themselves of cowardice – fleeing before the foe rather than fighting alongside the rest of their people – and try hard to contribute to protecting Rifts® Earth despite their diminutive size and unusual magic.

Exceeds are vaguely humanoid, bipedal cats. Their oversized craniums give them the brain capacity of any other intelligent species and their strength seems to be on par with most normal humans despite being barely twice as large as a normal housecat. They commonly wear clothes over their fur and happily make use of humanoid weapons (though most must be custom made to accommodate their size).

The most surprising aspect of Exceed physiology is that they all seem to be born with the ability to use a type of flight magic they call “aera.” While not a naturally winged race, Exceeds can temporarily manifest a magical pair of wings and use them to fly. This taps into their internal PPE – limiting its use for long-range travel – but they can attain incredible speeds for short bursts.

  • Aera: The flight magic of Exceeds functions closer to a Super Power from the Savage Worlds core rules than the magic and psychic powers of Savage Rifts. All Exceeds begin with a d6 in aera and 20 PPE. Aera works only on the individual Exceed. It primarily functions as the fly power in terms of effects and Power Point cost. Aera, however, also gives Exceeds the boost function of boost/lower trait for their Strength only for no additional cost – but only in terms of increasing their encumbrance capacity (allowing tiny Exceeds to carry full-size humans through the air). Exceeds are considered to have the Master of Magic Edge for aera only (giving them the effects of swift flight and greater boost trait) and must take the Master of Magic Edge again if they learn any additional forms of magic.
  • Claws: Exceeds have retractable claws that do Str+d6 damage.
  • Distinctive D-Bee: Talking, walking, weirdly-colored cats stand out pretty dramatically even amongst the weird races of Rifts Earth and the Coalition (being largely dog people anyway) hates them. Exceeds suffer a -4 Charisma when dealing with Coalition soldiers, officials, and citizens.
  • Non-Standard Physiology: The short stature, big heads, and paw-like hands of Exceeds mean they must wear  custom-made armor, wield custom-made weapons, and have difficulty operating most machinery (-2 for all Trait checks, including firing vehicular weapons).
  • Small: As has been mentioned many times before, Exceeds are really short (-1 Toughness).
  • Those Darned Cats!: Because of their diminutive size (smaller even than half-folk and similar peoples), opponents are at a -1 to hit Exceeds as long as the Exceeds are aware and moving. (Thanks, sitingduck1313!)   

Yes, that's a 20'-long sword the Exceed is wielding.

New Edge

Battle Mode Shift
Requirements: Exceed, Seasoned
Exceeds who train their bodies hard enough master the ability to increase their size to just under standard human height while using aera. This allows them to use aera’s boost trait benefit to Strength for hand-to-hand combat. Battle Mode Shifted Exceeds do not suffer a -1 to Toughness and opponents are not a -1 to hit them.

Improved Battle Mode Shift
Requirements: Exceed, Veteran
Exceeds who practice long enough and hard enough with the Battle Mode Shift increase the size of their shifted form to that of a tall and burly human. They effectively gain the benefits of the Brawny Edge while in Battle Mode Shift.