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.
“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).