Ghastly Affair VENUS Packages I: Bandit, Demon Hunter, and Everyman

In the early years of Wine and Savages, one of my obsessions was adapting Savage Worlds to Gothic Romance in the style of The Castle of Otranto, The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Monk, and other such early classics. I made some progress, but Daniel James Hanley beat me to the punch with Ghastly Affair. a charmingly horrific D20 RPG of Gothic horror in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is, frankly, brilliant and I encourage the curious to check out Hanley’s site – The Engine of Oracles – and download the free version of the game (or buy the nifty illustrated version).

Thankfully, utilizing the Savage Worlds Horror Companion easily allows one to adapt the setting to our favorite game – especially if one uses Ghastly Affair’s character classes as the basis for V.E.N.U.S. (Venturers, Experimenters, Navigators, and the Unusually Skilled) packages. Here, then, are the first of nine.  Quotes are taken from Ghastly Affair.
“A lurking Footpad, flamboyant Highwayman, or snarling Pirate.”
  • Bonus Attributes: +1 die Agility.
  • Bonus Skills: player’s choice of +1 die Fighting or Shooting; +2 dice Stealth and the player’s choice of Boating, Climbing, or Riding. 
  • Bonus Hindrances: Wanted [Major]
  • Bonus Edges: the player’s choice of Ace, Thief, or Beast Bond
  • Bonus Gear: “2 weapons (such as a blunderbuss, brass knuckles, cutlass, dagger, garotte, hand axe, musket, pistol, rapier, rifle, or saber); a bandolier (with wadding, powder, and bullets); a haversack; a pet (such as a parrot or crow); 1 set of flamboyant clothes; 1 set of rugged clothes; a mask; a torch; a bottle of gin, wine, or rum; a loaf of bread; a piece of dried sausage; a piece of stolen jewelry; an eye-patch; letters from admirers; warrant for own arrest…”
  • Capturing: Bandits gain a +2 bonus on rolls to Disarm and Grapple, typically using this ability to capture hostages and steal goods.
Demon Hunter
“One who studies and hunts the horrors of the dark”
  • Bonus Attributes: +1 die Agility.
  • Bonus Skills: +1 die Fighting, Shooting, and Tracking; +2 dice Knowledge (Occult).
  • Bonus Hindrances: Enemy [Major; a supernatural foe with a personal enmity against the Demon Hunter]
  • Bonus Edges: Forbidden Lore,* Monster Hunter*
  • Bonus Gear: “2 weapons (such as an iron dagger, pistol, rifle, saber, silver bullets, silver dagger, or stake & mallet of ash wood), a bandolier (with wadding, powder, and bullets), a haversack, 1 set of somber clothes, a book on Demonology, a holy book, a keepsake curiosity from a monster (Vampyre's fang, finger of a Werewolf, etc.), a letter of thanks from the father of a rescued child, a letter explaining the strange events in a faraway village, a meal of dried bread and meat, a lantern with oil, a vial of holy water, a necklace of garlic…”
*see Savage Worlds Horror Companion
“A soldier, a thief, a housewife, an artisan: just an ordinary person.”
  • Bonus Attributes: the player’s choice of +1 die to any Attribute.
  • Bonus Skills: +1 die to any three skills of the player’s choice.
  • Bonus Hindrances: Delusional [Minor; an irrational prejudice against people of a certain economic class, nationality, orientation, profession, race, or religion or a certain region or township] and Phobia [Minor].
  • Bonus Edges: Connections (the hero’s social circle of family and friends), Luck.
  • Bonus Gear: “1 set of clothes appropriate to social class, a set of tools appropriate to Profession,… a meal appropriate to social class and profession, a family heirloom or keepsake, money equal to 1 week's income.”
  • Inheritance: Any everyman/woman caught up in a ghastly affair is obviously not so ordinary after all; all everyman/woman heroes begin with a mysterious inheritance (ancient amulet, old house, etc.) determined by the Game Master for plot purposes.
  • Profession: An Everyman/woman gains a +2 bonus on Common Knowledge rolls dealing with their profession (anything from beggar to banker).

    Nifty, huh?


  1. My name is Daniel James Hanley, and I approve these conversions! I love seeing how different people adapt the material in Ghastly Affair. Also, thank you for your kind words about the game. I've personally enjoyed reading about your great “The King is Dead” setting, and your site has piqued my interest regarding the Savage Worlds system. One of the games our group plays is Rifts, and we've talked about using the new Savage Worlds conversion of that game.

    1. Huzzah! I'm happy that you're happy with the conversions. Seeing one's creations thriving in the wild, being utilized and enjoyed by others is one of the greatest thrills of being an RPG author, don't you think?

      I'm glad to hear you enjoy The King is Dead as well (a rising tide of 18th century Gothic material floats all 18th century Gothic RPG boats, after all). If you ever have any questions or concerns about Savage Rifts, let me know.

    2. I've noticed an increasing presence of games set in the 18th century / Napoleonic period, or in fantasy worlds inspired by the period. Maybe it's the next "hot" historical epoch, like the 1890s became with the rise of Steampunk. I guess we'll see.

      As an incorrigible rules-hacker, I can't help but be interested in what you're doing. I'm also fascinated by the way your conversions bridge the OSR and Savage Worlds. Ghastly Affair is after all an OSR game, albeit part of the "New Wave" that uses the basic concepts of Old School rules to explore genres beyond fantasy, and incorporates modern rules innovations. I like seeing how the game can be merged with a system like Savage Worlds.

      And it's definitely true that the real beauty of any creation is in the life it achieves apart from its creator.


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