The King is Dead

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The King is Dead: Self-Empowerment


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 secret society by women for women in order to keep women’s rights front and center in the game’s themes.

Unfortunately, writing that society has always given me trouble.

Since the Freemasons and Illuminati are popularly associated with Hermetic magic, it made sense to me to contrast the feminist society with the Illuminati stand-ins by associating them with an “opposing” kind of magic.  In tabletop RPGs, the opposite of wizardly magic has almost always been clerical magic, so I decided the feminist group would be defined in terms of religion.

It seemed like a good idea, but it’s led to revision after revision of the group and their name.  They were originally the Sorority of Belquis (after the Queen of Sheba, described in Islamic texts as a wise and powerful woman), then the Circle of Isis (because explaining how a quasi-English cabal came to be named after a Middle Eastern figure seemed overly complex, but referring back to the popularity of the Isis cult in Roman times seemed much easier), and then the Society of Minerva (in reference to both the goddess and the 18th century publishing house, Minerva Press).  Throughout these revisions, I’ve always had to shoehorn in explanations for why these thoroughly modern women were looking to the goddesses of the past.

I don’t hate the concept – in fact, I’d really prefer that I didn’t have to throw it out and rewrite 4 or 5 pages of text – but I just haven't felt confident it.  It's always felt off.  I've always worried that – for lack of a better word – it’s too witchy. 

I recently realized that the Blue Stocking Society – an honest-to-goodness early feminist organization – existed in the mid-18th century.  I’m used to the term “bluestocking” from Regency romance novels (where it is invariably an insult, and, yes, I read Regency romance novels) and never really thought about where it originated.  It occurred to me that modeling the feminist society more specifically on this historical original would be a good idea.

Savage Worlds offers five core types of “magic:” wizardly magic, clerical miracles, psionics or psychic powers, super powers, and weird science.  Throughout the development of The King is Dead, I’ve always had psychic powers assigned to a Fenian/Jacobite Celtic society in homage to the Highlander films and the tradition of the second sight amongst the Celts.  It has, honestly, always been an awkward fit because of the way psionics work in Savage Worlds, and I’ve often considered ditching that connection in order to link the pseudo-Celts to a pseudo-Druidism in order to emphasize the religious divisions that have long existed in the British Isles.

(Just to clarify for those coming in late, the state religion of the vampire-dominated society is a Satanic high church comparable to Anglicanism or Catholicism.)

If I change the psedo-Celts to pseudo-Druids, then that would free up psionics for use by the Bluestocking Society.  This appeals to me because psychic powers have long been framed as at least a pseudo-science; this then makes the Bluestocking Society scientists.  It makes them innovators.  It makes them dedicated to progress.
 
It makes them (literally) self-empowered.
 
As much extra work as it causes me, I feel better about this already.  A society dedicated to teaching women to overcome their problems through the force of their own minds and wills?  That's a metaphor that works!
 
(And, yeah, it's a bit Golden Age Wonder Woman and a little bit Bene Gesserit, but those are comparisons I am way more happy to make.)
 
 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The King is Dead: New Trapping -- Vehicle

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 air balloon might have wings and a rotor attached to allow it to fly with more control over its speed and destination.

Example: Dr. Kendra Jackman builds an auto-propelled balloon.  She is a Veteran Weird Scientist with 15 Power Points.  The basic cost of fly is 3 Power Points; Dr. Jackman wishes to include the rest of her cabal on his voyages, so she pays 5 points for additional targets and doubles the balloon’s speed from 6” to 12” for 3 points.  She has now spent 11 Power Points, so adding in her remaining points for a total of 15 Power Points allows the balloon to fly with a crew of 6 for 7 hours at a speed of 4 miles per hour without the aid of the wind.

Victorian Adventure Wishlist

Ok, this is technically Edwardian, but you get the idea.

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 cowboy
  • Dracula (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 world.
  • A "wild man" in the Mowgli/Tarzan tradition, but a pastiche instead of one of those two, so I can work in my own wacky ideas.  What if the ape-man was literally half-ape (with the caveat, of course, that the apes aren't literally apes but rather shaggy hominids)?  He would still probably look a lot like Christopher Lambert...
  • Ruritania!  We've never touched on anything like the Ruritania plot in all our years of gaming.  (And then it turns out all the crowned heads of Eastern Europe are foreign imposters.)
  • A Fu Manchu pastiche more in line with the sympathetic model of Planetary's Hark (though I've always sympathized greatly with Fu Manchu).
  • Myōjin Yahiko, master of Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū, and Lady Snowblood.  Or not.  I have to try to keep Robin's character in the foreground; I'm running a game, not writing fan fiction.  Pastiche!  Pastiche! Pastiche!
  • "Zorro Jr."  Damn it, there I go again.
  • El Dorado.  I've got to find some excuse to get Lady Atalanta to the U.S..  Maybe lost Viking colonies, too?
  • Atlantis, but in a down-played, subtle way.
  • Werewolves 
  • Zenith the Albino
Edited to add:

Does 1890s Henry Jones look like:

The Great Train Robbery

OR

Darby O'Gill and the Little People?

Hmm...


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Juggling Act


The Flying Karamozov Brothers live!

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 wine industry up there, and sometimes you really have to go “where everyone knows your name” (as they sang on Cheers). 

I an addition, of course, Robin writes for Texas Wine and Trail Magazine, Lifestyle of Comanche Trace, and her own wonderful blog, Vitis Poema.  If she’s going to support my writing, then it’s only fair I support hers, and that sometimes means prioritizing going on behind-the-scenes tours of wineries over writing about elfgames.  (Oh, the horror!)

Writing


  • The #1 priority here is obviously The King is Dead.  I am so close to finishing the initial player packet (that I think I’m going to instead call the Primer) that I am sorely tempted to go without sleep.  Once I finish the oh-so-close-to-done text, I need to figure out a stopgap for my lack of proper desktop publishing software, insert some clip art, and get this off to Pinnacle so I can get approved as a licensee.  I think I’ll release it as a pay-what-you-want product on DrivethruRPG; I feel pretty confident in the new rules and Edges, so I’d be happy to just get it out there and start drumming up publicity (and a little bit of cash).
  • The #2 priority is Steamscapes: Asia (since I will actually get paid for that), but +Eric Simon  has assured me that I’m a little ahead on things there.  When it comes time to ramp up production, I’m going to have some fun “research” materials to watch; Hulu has recently added Ryomaden, a live-action drama about Meiji revolutionary Ryoma Sakamoto, and Samurai Jam: Bakumatsu Rock, a completely absurd anime about the same guy that casts him as an anachronistic rebel rock star.
  • Meanwhile, +David Larkins, +David Schimpff, and I have been kicking around ideas to develop Miyamoto Academy Combatters into a full setting.  Work on The King is Dead has kept me from keeping up with this as much as I might like for the last couple of weeks; I probably need to set a schedule where I split writing time between the projects.
  • Similarly, +Charles Akins has organized what promises to be a fun little round-robin blog thing.  I’m not sure what I’m allowed to share about it, but that should appear in mid-September.
  • Finally, has anyone heard about the plans for the next +Savage Insider?  I’m really looking forward to writing something for that, and am champing at the bit to find out what the theme will be.

Gaming

  • Duet gaming is, as always, an important part my marriage; it is, in the end, part and parcel of “Happy Wife, Happy Life.”  Princess Errant crashed and burned, a victim to the juggling act I’ve gotten myself involved in.  Making up a whimsical fantasy world on the fly was too much work, so we’re paring things back to a Victorian adventure setting.  That should be a lot easier to do; I can not only draw on my own knowledge of Victorian adventure fiction, but also Gaslight, Rippers, and the old Pulp GM’s Toolkit.  (Somebody remind me to write up my version of Quincey P. Morris, vampire cowboy.)
  • I also belong to a local gaming Meetup, the San Antonio Sci-Fi/Fantasy RPG Gaming Guild.  For the first time in my nearly 41 years, I’m getting to be a player in someone else’s game.  Right now, the only campaign I’ve been able to commit to is a wacky Ravenloft/World of Darkness: Dark Ages mash-up GM’d by +Alan Vannes   Well, I’m not sure it was meant to be wacky, but it’s gotten that way since my character got involved.  (I may just be a terrible player; I’m not sure yet.)  Every game is a milestone for me, as I had literally never played a PC for two consecutive sessions before this campaign.
  • Unfortunately, that all means that I’ve had very little time to develop the mecha/kaiju campaign I’m hoping to start with fellow local Savage +Curt Meyer.  The need to stick closer to home now that Robin’s back at work might free up some time for that, but I also need to get a The King is Dead game going once The King is Dead Primer is complete.  Maybe I can also conflate some campaign prep with an article somewhere or find some other way to monetize it; that would really help justify the time.  Thankfully, some other members of the Meetup have expressed interest.
Man, being popular is tough work.  J

Friday, August 22, 2014

The King is Dead: PC Dhampyres

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 beast, it means selling your soul and becoming a monster.

Obviously, a fetus in the womb cannot make a contract with Sathaniel.  A dhampyre might be born with the same thirst for blood as its father, but it never makes a conscious choice to become a monster.  Raised in a torturous mix of privilege and abuse, taught from the earliest age that vampires are superior beings and that a dhampyre’s very reason to exist is to serve its father until it becomes a vampire itself, it is inevitable that most dhampyres will eventually choose to make a pact with Sathaniel.  It is inevitable that most dhampyres will choose to become monsters, but they are not born that way.

I realized I was being racist by casting all dhampyres as bad guys, by denying players the chance to play dhampyres who chose to rebel against their rearing.  I was choosing Nature over Nurture, and that’s not what I believe in.

So dhampyres are now a playable race in The King is Dead.  Enjoy!    


Dhampyre (homo sapiens sanguinus)

Dhampyres are born when a vampire deflowers a human maiden.  Bringing a dhampyre child to term is difficult and requires regular feeding on vampire blood; because of this, the vast majority of dhampyres are nobility, born and bred to carry on their ancestors’ bloodlines.  Vampires made from dhampyres are more likely to inherit their sires’ same powers (rather than spontaneously mutating) so the vampire houses of Malleus breed themselves as carefully as hunting dogs and horses.

Raised amidst the selfish and violent world of vampires, most dhampyres become just as cruel and psychotic as their parents.  They are, however, born with free will and are not inherently monsters.  Some few dhampyres have seen the value of a world of equality and freedom and joined the revolution, but it is difficult for dhampyres to rise above their brutal origins.

When a woman is impregnated by a vampire, she must endure nine months of illness and pain.  The unborn child constantly feeds on its mother’s own blood, and so the mother must imbibe regular quantities of fresh (or preferably vampire) blood in order to not be devoured by the fetus.  Many noblewomen enduring a dhampyre pregnancy are practically confined to their beds for the duration, and most wind up as hopeless thralls afterward.  Commoners with inconvenient dhampyre bastards are often left to die.

Once born, the infant dhampyre is a bloodthirsty beast.  Most are tightly swaddled to prevent them from attacking the household, and many are chained or caged until they can begin to control their hunger around the age of five.  They live in darkened isolation for much of their childhoods, cut off from interaction with any who are not servants of family because of their inhuman strength and appetite.  Dhampyres in their teens have usually gained control over their bloodthirst, and begin to be introduced into proper society.

A dhampyre’s “coming out” is when life changes radically for male and female dhampyres.  Male dhampyres go off to boarding schools and university, are taught the skills to act as their fathers’ daylight agents, and become the most sought-after bachelors in Hammerstadt.  Female dhampyres – practically incapable of having children of their own due to their own bodies’ bloodthirst, and therefore politically worthless – are sent to convents where they will become “brides of Sathaniel” in honor of Salome, the princess who was given the Gift of Sathaniel in order to give it to mankind.

Many male dhampyres will eventually be given the Gift of Sathaniel themselves, but female dhampyres are rarely elevated to unlife.  Some rare nuns achieve political power as abbesses and some rare dhampyre noblewomen find themselves (by happenstance or intrigue) as the sole heirs of their families, but for most female dhampyres life is one form of imprisonment after another.  

Dhampyre Racial Traits
  • The Blood is the Life: While dhampyres lack the astonishing regenerative abilities of vampires, they may make a natural Healing roll once per day (instead of once per week) on any day in which they feed on fresh blood.
  • Feed: Dhampyres must drink at least a pint of fresh blood per day, just like their vampire fathers.  This is treated in most ways as the Habit [Major] Hindrance, but cannot be bought off.  A dhampyre Exhausted by going without blood may make a Spirit roll at -2; if successful, the player may choose to have the dhampyre simply perish of starvation, but if the roll is failed, the character goes Berserk (as per the Edge) and will hunt friend and foe alike until its bloodthirst is sated.
  • Long-Lived: Dhampyres do not begin to feel the effects of old age until they are 150 years old; many live naturally into the low 200s.
  • Low-Light Vision: Dhampyres ignore penalties for bad lighting in all but pitch-black conditions.
  • Outsider: Dhampyres are distrusted by humans and seen as servants (at best) by vampires.  They suffer a -2 modifier to Charisma amongst all but their fellow dhampyres.
  • Strength of the (Half-)Dead: Dhampyre player characters start with a d6 in Strength rather than a d4.
  • Weakness (Sunlight): Dhampyre eyes are sensitive to the sun.  They suffer a -2 penalty to all tasks while in sunlight unless wearing dark glasses.

New Edge

Mark of the Beast
Requirements: Background, dhampyre or Noble

The vampire heritage is strong in this hero. The character’s fingernails grow into graceful but dangerous claws and her teeth are wicked fangs. Her unarmed attacks cause Str+d4 damage and she may bite a grappled foe for the same. Such obvious signs of vampiric ancestry will unnerve those in the rebellion who already distrust you.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Creepy Housekeeper (Gothic Tropes NPC)


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.
 
Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca
 
 


"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 she often welcomes hapless visitors, chances are they will be either murdered or scared off by the end of a terrifying night. She will be common in murder mysteries/tales of the supernatural, although often subverted for comedy."

Creepy Housekeeper
Extra
 
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Healing d4, Intimidation d6, Investigation d4, Knowledge (Profession – Housekeeper) d6, Lockpicking d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Stealth d6, Streetwise d4, Survival d, Taunt d6
Charisma: -2 Pace: 2 Parry: 6 Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Curious [Major], Loyal [Minor], Mean [Minor].
Edges: Alertness
Gear: Dour black garments, hairpin (Str+1), key ring with more keys than there are doors in the house.
***

Gerda Mortenson

Seasoned Wild Card

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8,* Vigor d8*

Skills: Fighting d4, Healing d4, Intimidation d8, Investigation d4, Knowledge (Profession –Housekeeper) d6, Lockpicking d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Stealth d6, Streetwise d4, Taunt d6

Charisma: -2 Pace: 4 Parry: 6 Toughness: 6

Hindrances: Curious [Major], Loyal [Minor], Mean [Minor].
Edges: Alertness, Strong Willed

Gear: Prim black garments, key ring, riding crop (Str+d4-2, cost $25 - $100, weight 1 lb, +2 to hit, +1 to Intimidation & Riding, AP -2).

Gerda Mortenson has effectively been the mistress of the remote estate of Greyholme – ancestral hall of the Greystorm line of the Blut von Heinrich – for two decades.  Thrall to the Count von Greystorm since her teens, she thinks of their relationship in far more intimate terms than does her master.  She is possessive of the manor house and its staff, and is alarmed by the arrival of the count’s dhampyre son; the savage child she whipped into submission is now a a grown man who will not brook her interference in his rights.
*+1d for thrall status.

(Thralls were formerly known as moroi.)


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser (Legendary Rank)



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 equates to a James Bond film’s pre-credits scene or a martial arts movie’s training montage, they have risen from Seasoned to Legendary (and 20 XP beyond)…
 
Fafhrd (The Jewels in the Forest)

Legendary Wild Card (100 Experience Points)

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d10, Vigor d10
Skills: Boating d6, Climbing d6, Fighting d12, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Riding d6, Stealth d8, Streetwise d6, Survival d6, Shooting d6, Throwing d4, Tracking d6

Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 8; Toughness: 9(1)

Hindrances: Heroic [Major], Loyal [Minor], Vengeful [Minor].

Edges: Ambidextrous, Brawny, Common Bond, Trademark Weapon [Graywand], Trademark Weapon [Heartseeker], Two-Fisted

Gear: bedroll ($25), bow and 20 arrows ($250 + $10 + $25 quiver; 2d6, Range 12/24/48, RoF 1), clothes ($20), dagger (“Heartseeker;” $25; Str+d4, Range 3/6/12, RoF 1), flint and steel ($5), grappling hook and 100’ rope ($100 + $100), horse and saddle ($300 + $10), knapsack ($50), leather armor ($50; Armor +1), long sword (“Graywand;” $300; Str+d4, +1 Parry), throwing axe ($75; Str+1d6, Range 3/6/12, RoF 1), whetstone ($5).


The Gray Mouser (The Jewels in the Forest)

Legendary Wild Card (100 Experience)

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d8

Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d12, Lockpicking d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Riding d6, Spellcasting d4, Stealth d8, Streetwise d6, Taunt d6, Throwing d6
Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 10; Toughness: 6(1)

Hindrances: Small [Major], Loyal [Minor], Vengeful [Minor].

Edges: Acrobat, Ambidextrous, Common Bond, Thief, Trademark Weapon [Cat’s Claw], Trademark Weapon [Scalpel], Two-Fisted

Gear: bedroll ($25), clothes ($20), dagger (“Cat’s Claw;” $25; Str+d4, Range 3/6/12, RoF 1), flint and steel ($5), grappling hook and 100’ rope ($100 + $100), horse and saddle ($300 + $10), knapsack ($50), leather armor ($50; Armor +1), lockpicks ($200), rapier (“Scalpel;” $150; Str+d4, +1 Parry), sling and 20 stones ($10 + $1; Str+d4, Range 4/8/16, RoF 1), whetstone ($5).


AND THEN THEY FOUGHT WONDER WOMAN



Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser (Seasoned Rank)


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 (“Graywand;” $300; Str+d4, +1 Parry), throwing axe ($75; Str+1d6, Range 3/6/12, RoF 1).


The Gray Mouser (Ill Met in Lankhmar)

Novice Wild Card (20 Experience)

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Lockpicking d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Spellcasting d4, Stealth d8, Streetwise d4, Taunt d4, Throwing d4

Charisma: +0 Pace: 6 Parry: 8 Toughness: 5(1)

Hindrances: Small [Major], Loyal [Minor], Vengeful [Minor].

Edges: Acrobat, Ambidextrous, Thief, Two-Fisted

Gear: clothes ($20), dagger (“Cat’s Claw;” $25; Str+d4, Range 3/6/12, RoF 1), knapsack ($50), leather armor ($50; Armor +1), rapier (“Scalpel;” $150; Str+d4, +1 Parry), sling ($10; Str+d4, Range 4/8/16, RoF 1).

 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser (Novice Rank)

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, Throwing d4, Tracking d4

Charisma: +0 Pace: 6 Parry: 5 Toughness: 7(1)

Hindrances: Heroic [Major], Loyal [Minor], Vengeful [Minor].

Edges: Ambidextrous, Brawny

Gear: clothes ($20), dagger (“Heartseeker;” $25; Str+d4, Range 3/6/12, RoF 1), knapsack ($50), leather armor ($50; Armor +1), long sword (“Graywand;” $300; Str+d4, +1 Parry), $60 in coin and gear.

 

Mouse (The Unholy Grail)

Novice Wild Card (No Experience)
 
The Gray Mouser first appears as "Mouse," a street urchin turned apprentice wizard.  A tragic interruprtion in his studies means he will never progress far as a mage, but it does send him wending toward Lankhmar...

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d6, Lockpicking d6, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Spellcasting d4, Stealth d8, Streetwise d4, Taunt d4, Throwing d4

Charisma: +0 Pace: 6 Parry: 6 Toughness: 5(1)

Hindrances: Small [Major], Loyal [Minor], Vengeful [Minor].

Edges: Ambidextrous, Thief

Gear: clothes ($20), dagger (“Cat’s Claw;” $25; Str+d4, Range 3/6/12, RoF 1), knapsack ($50), leather armor ($50; Armor +1), rapier (“Scalpel;” $150; Str+d4, +1 Parry), $205 in coin and gear.
 
http://blog.gallegosart.com/2010/11/gray-mouser.html
 

 

Friday, August 15, 2014

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



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: 15
  • Powers: damage field (holy aura), environmental protection (superhuman endurance), stun (concussive punch)

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


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.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

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



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: 20
  • Powers: fear (“I am the night!”)

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


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: 10
  • Powers: 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)




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: 10
  • Powers: 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)



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!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

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




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)



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)



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)




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)




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.