Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Character Statting - Teryna - 10 Games

Teryna is a character I've played in a couple of different places. She is a human ranger originally, though I've played around with statting her as other classes. She has a rather unusual origin, being a reincarnated familiar. She was born a fox and raised in the environment of a retired adventuring wizard's tower. She maintains a rather friendly and optimistic outlook and attitude and has a sort of bestial innocence with regard to killing for food or defense.

I'm going to be designing her as a basic 1st level character in most cases, though a bit higher level in one or two versions. Unlike some of my other older characters, I still have her originally rolled stats on hand so I'll be using those instead of an array in 5e.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Character Statting - Kya'Rei L'Di'Shinabon - 12 Games

A character of mine from a 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons PBEM game.
Kya'Rei was a drow cleric/ranger for the goddess Elerrina

She was the party cleric and negotiator. While the drow of that world were not so instantly hated as they are on other worlds, they were still primarily evil. Kya'Rei was part of a group of mostly solitary wanderers following their old goddess, Elerrina, the sister to the hateful goddess who most drow now worship (forget the name). Kya'Rei is the first priestess to answer the goddess's call since she returned as the Maimed Goddess. Before her, Elerrina's divine casters were limited to a scattering of Rangers.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dunadan and Numenoreans in 5e Dungeons and Dragons

Note: For this essay, I'm using the gender-neutral use of "Man" as a reference to the race as a whole. This goes along with the way Tolkien used the term and goes back to pre-Norman conquest Old English when mann simply meant human while wif and wer were the gender indicatives (female and male respectively)

The Dunadan of Tolkien's Middle Earth are one of the remnants of what are known as the Edain or High Men. They are remarkable for being much longer-lived than other races of Man and having gifts of foresight or the like. They are remarked as being taller and healthier than many other men and marked by a seeming of great intelligence and insight. Some of this is certainly due to the long traditions of maintaining lore and knowledge down through the generations but there is also a significant difference between the majority of the race of Man and the Numenoreans and Dunadan.Comments by Tolkien have indicated that Elf and Man would be considered the same species if examined by science. The difference between the two people is a spiritual one. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Yet Another Bigotry in Middle Earth Post

One thing that occurs fairly regularly is a piece showing how a certain piece of fiction or another is racist or sexist or something else offensive and should thus be cast aside. Most of this recent spate of accusations depend upon reinterpreting some pieces of symbology from a perspective of modern context rather than using the more ancient attitudes. This is not to say that pieces of fiction which are deliberately racist don’t exist. They most certainly do. If you have to work hard to find the symbols and metaphors that prove your assertion that a work is racist, then it is most likely you are seeing what you want to see. For the purposes of this essay, I’m going to focus on Lord of the Rings. It has often been suggested that Lord of the Rings is racist and sexist. These interpretations are largely fueled by modern eyes and context and make little sense within the context of Tolkien’s life.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Chimera Sirens Behind the Fiction - Session One Notes and Rolls

Stoneskin – Stone-Skinned teleporter + animated statue minions

Conditions: Angry, Hopeless, Guilty

Moves: Create animated minions, Strike with stony force, Terraport away from danger, threaten enemies

Chimera Sirens - Session One - Consequences and Discoveries

Statues formed out of the walls and ground surrounded a man with resilient stony skin as he stood in the entrance of the bank eyeing the situation outside. He grumbled to himself as he tried to decide on his approach to the situation. The Eiyu-Tai were across the province dealing with some lunatic trying to make the volcano erupt so he’d taken the opportunity to rob a bank when it was just going to be the police on hand. Then these…people showed up.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Chimera Sirens: How the team got together

“Wait a minute, is that Kiki-Koko up there?”

The speaker was a young woman with mostly short hair dyed blonde hair and bright pink eyebrows, the only portions breaking the crewcut were the long bangs that draped down over one of her eyes. She was still a girl really, probably not even twenty years old. She was currently dressed in artfully torn jeans with a rather jarringly bright top that may have been made of latex, though she had a T-shirt over that.

“You’re the one concerned with fads, not me. How would I know?”

The girl she was speaking to looked quite a bit older on first glance. A second look made one realize that the impression was largely due to her more conservative style of dress. She looked rather more like a responsible office worker or civil service employee. Some things stood out about her however. Among other things was the fact that her pale skin had a decidedly more grey tone than the usual pink, tan or brown most humans had. Her ears were unusually shaped as well, but what stood out the most was her green hair.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Chimera Sirens

Superhero fiction created by die roll.

Thank you for tolerating my lack of editing on these. I'm doing them for fun and am thus being a bit lackadaisical.

Using the Masks RPG, I come up with the basic situations and use the die rolls to determine the direction of the story before filling in the details.

The characters were created by a mix of random rolls and selection of ideas.

Chimera Sirens: The Transformed - Bronze Chimera

Bronze Chimera - Umeko Hayashi - Age 23
Umeko Hayashi/Bronze Chimera - 5'7" 218 lbs.
The Transformed
Asian, Bronze Skin and Steel Hair, No Costume, Cold Eyes
She has two powers: Technopathy and Impenetrable Skin

Labels - Creation

Freak +3
Danger +1
Savior +0
Superior +0
Mundane -1

Chimera Sirens: The Janus - Pearl Chimera

Pearl Chimera - Ayako Wakahisa - Age 22
Pearl Chimera 5'2" 107 lbs
The Janus
Woman, Asian, Shabby Clothing, Distracting Costume, Oni Mask

Powers: Energy Absorption and Impossible Mobility

Labels - Creation

Freak -1
Danger +1
Savior +0
Superior +0
Mundane +3

Chimera Sirens: The Protege - Jade Chimera

Minako Kita, 5'5" 104 lbs
Jade Chimera - Minako Kita - Age 18
The Protege
Woman, Indistinctly Asian, Conservative Clothes, Armored Costume

Mentor's Power: Magical Training
Personal Power: Twilight World Evolution
(Enhanced Hearing, Nightvision, Magically Inert)
Shared Power: Air Control

Labels - Creation

Freak +1
Danger -1
Savior +0
Superior +2
Mundane +1

Chimera Sirens: The Legacy - Amber Chimera

Amber Chimera 5'4" 101 lbs
Amber Chimera - Kyou Higa - Age 17
The Legacy
Woman, Okinawan, Raver Clothes, Traditional Costume

Divine Visions, Magical Training, Aquatic Adaptation, Multi-Dimensionality, God-Like Beauty

Labels - Creation

Freak +0
Danger -1
Savior +2
Superior +1
Mundane +1

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Some Superhero Tropes

There are several elements of superhero fiction and settings that I appreciate and some that I do not. In some cases, I dislike the underlying message that a particular element delivers and in other cases I simply don’t find the trope makes much sense. These are not entirely consistent likes and dislikes either. A trope I dislike in one instance is one that I feel is entirely appropriate in another instance. However, I’m going to go ahead and discuss some of these below and when I have issues with them and when I don’t.

Night's Black Agents Char Gen - GUMSHOE

This is a general summary of character creation in the GUMSHOE vampire spy thriller game NBA printed by Pelgrane Press.

The premise of the characters in this game are:

"For a few years now, your character has been part of Europe’s shadowy underground of criminals, mercenaries, and deniable paramilitaries. Before that, you were on the rolls somewhere: MI5, DGSE, Stasi, perhaps even the CIA or Mossad. Someone recruited you out of the sunlight, and taught you to survive in the shadows."

Usually in the first operation, the players uncover proof of the existence of vampires and also come to the attention of the vampire conspiracy.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Chimera Sirens: The Bull - Marble Chimera

Marble Chimera - Katja Holgersson - Age 20
Marble Chimera, 5'11", 150 lbs
The Bull
Woman, Swedish, Casual Clothing, Simple Costume

Superhumanly Tough, Inhumanly Strong and Uniquely Skilled at Fighting due to a combined genetic and magical experiment performed on her giving her the ability to take on the form of a semi-demonic, physically perfect body.

Labels - Creation

Freak +2
Danger +2
Savior -1
Superior +0
Mundane -1

Masks Solo Campaign

The idea of this is to create some characters and run them through a campaign on my own.
I'm going to use various random generators (Palladium books, Seventh Sanctum, Abulafia, Behind the Name, etc)

We'll see if this works as well as any of my other attempts at serial stuff.

Seventh Sanctum has already given me a name for this group: Chimera Sirens. And yeah, they're likely to all be female, at least to start.

If this goes long enough, I'll give it its own page in the menu.

As it stands these are the playbooks being used:

Bull, Legacy, Protege, Janus and Transformed.

I'll roll up some stats, each in their own page, and try to expand that later.

Since I currently live in Japan, that's where I'll set it.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Low Magic in Dungeons and Dragons 5e

Trying to model a low magic setting in most Dungeons and Dragons systems can be challenging since the core assumptions of the game assume a very magical reality. There is also the fact that there is often disagreement on what exactly is meant by the term “low magic”. The one common element is that magic is uncommon in low magic settings. Some would extend that to assume that non-human creatures are also rare and that magic is weak. However, this is not always the case. There are several fantasy stories considered low magic which have instances of powerful magic within them.

Friday, October 2, 2015

My Five Questions and the use of Build Plans

In most, if not all, role playing games, there comes a time when a character grows in power and ability. Different systems provide different methods for advancing characters and most of those advancement schemes require the player to make a choice of how to direct a character's advancement. In such situations, I tend to approach my decision on what to take based on a set of concerns that I've summarized with five questions.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Urban Fantasy Crossover Scenario - Monster of the Week

It's too late for me to put this into the line-up of this coming break (September 18th to 23rd, 2015) but what the hell, I'll at least set this up for some time in the future. The basic concept here is to have a mutli-versal crossover scenario with a bunch of characters from different urban fantasy settings.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Exhaustion Mini-Con

This semi-pretentious title is what I am calling my decision to run nine one-shot games over the course of my five-day vacation in later September.

Mostly it was cancelled due to schedule conflicts, illness, lack of interest and other assorted reasons.

Friday, September 4, 2015

It's a Small Curse Prep Page

A small town is having some curious troubles. A number of unusual incidents of seeming bad luck have been plaguing the town. Local animals have become scarce and there's been a few unlikely car accidents and injuries. Odd mists have come down on the town as well.

Wednesday 23rd - Slot 3 - 5pm to 10pm (Japan Time) - It's a Small Curse - Monster of the Week

Heritage (Worlds in Peril) Prep Page

In the far ancient past, Earth was natural nexus of interdimensional gates that was colonized by the citizens of several civilizations that had advanced to the point of dealing with other realities. Over time, the stations on Earth shifted slowly toward being more and more permanent. Eventually, people began to settle there to raise families as small cities rose up. Over time, the people who were born and raised on Earth exposed to the extraordinary levels of transdimensional energies and they began to exhibit strange and often powerful abilities.

Wednesday 23rd - Slot 2 - 11am to 4pm (Japan Time) - Worlds in Peril 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Gods and Monsters Prep Page

From the product page on DrivethruRPG:

The world is young and majestic, and humans eke out a living and dream of civilization.

But you are not like them: you are a god. A primal creature, your soul a blazing font of power, your body an expression of your nature. The more extreme your behavior the greater the power you can wield—but it is easy to become lost in a single facet of your existence and cross the line from god to monster.

Perform mythic acts, skirmish with rival pantheons, and walk the line between power and control in this Fate World of Adventure by Chris Longhurst.

Wednesday 23rd - Slot 1 - 12am to 5am (Japan Time) - Gods and Monsters

Just a Game Prep Page

You're logging up on the computer, happily cracking open the brand new shiny MMO you just downloading from the company site, ready to make your character and start on a new set of adventures. But something changes when you click "start playing"....because instead of watching a load screen boot up, you find the world turning black and when you wake up it seems like you've become your character and the world around you is...is the tutorial mission. What the hell is going on here?

Sunday 20th 11pm to 4am (Japan Time) - Just a Game - Powered by the Apocalypse
Tuesday 22nd - Slot 1 -12am to 5am (Japan Time) - Just a Game - Fate Core

Don't Let the Sun Go Down Prep Page

An earthquake and major thunderstorm have struck Seattle where the recently reincarnated Goddess Amaterasu has been attending middle school and she has gone missing. Something has interfered with the normal telepathic link between a Goddess and their chosen society, making it hard to locate her. Now mortals, Gods and Demons are all looking for Amaterasu before something bad happens...or maybe to insure something bad happens.

Loss of Life Prep Page

Richard Olmstead is a young man of twenty-one years of age. He has also been missing for a week, gone without word, and his friends are concerned that they haven't heard of them. It has been at least a week since he was last seen by either family or friends. The local police department has proven uninterested in the disappearance of single young man of no particular importance and, as a result, his friends and family are taking matters into their own hands.

The player characters are expected to include those friends and family along with the possibility of professionals hired or known by those friends. There was some word that he was planning to come to Salem to visit his mother's family there, but he never appeared on the day he had originally planned to be there.

The players are now in Toledo to look into his activities and to discover what happened to him.

Saturday 19th 12pm to 5pm (Japan Time) - Loss of Life - GUMSHOE (Trail of Cthulhu rules)

Tournament of Fate Prep Page

The time has come round again.
Three score years have passed.
Five artifacts waiting to be claimed by a host of seekers.
Five Wielders will battle in the chosen place until there is but one.

 Monday 21st - Slot 2 - 5pm to 10pm (Japan Time) - Tournament of Fate - Monster of the Week

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Dean Winchester - Monster of the Week

The elder of the Winchester brothers, Dean lives as if he is perpetually stuck in an 80s action movie and oozes the confidence and rebellious rock and roll attitude of the heroes of such movies. He has been hunting monsters most of his life, been dead and come back several times. Hell, he's been a monster at least a couple of times. He's met monsters he rather respects and met hunters he rather hates and has thumbed his nose at everything from Heaven to Hell and in between. He's romanced women, reapers, monsters and who knows what else.

He's Dean.

Mai Taniyama - Monster of the Week

Mai Taniyama was a rather normal girl with an independent attitude and a particular appreciation for ghost stories. Then one day some strange older teenager appeared at her school. It turns out he had graduated from college young and was being hired to investigate a haunting in an old building the school was trying to tear down. Both she learned that, her curiosity about the activities at the other building resulted in the injury of the young man's assistant (and bodyguard) as well as damage to some of his equipment. She was convinced to help him with the case in repayment and stayed on at his company afterwards.

Kiritsugu Emiya - Monster of the Week

Known as the Magus Killer, Kiritsugu Emiya was a freelance magus who often used what other magi considered to be "uncouth" means to kill his targets. He often did work for the Clocktower in tracking down rogue magi experimenting with Dead Apostle research or other dangerous subject matter. His life was based on the hope of eventually finding a way to end suffering for all people so that they could live happily.

Kate Freelander - Monster of the Week

At one time Kate Freelander was a particularly talented mercenary and thief making her living out of the shadows. She originally worked for a secretive organization called the Cabal until she ran afoul of the Sanctuary directly eventually leading her allegiances to shift.

Ichabod Crane - Monster of the Week

Ichabod Crane is rather famously the protagonist of the Washington Irving story Sleepy Hollow, but this version is the Ichabod Crane of the recent television show. Married to a witch and spy for the American colonists, Ichabod turned from his service to the Crown of England towards supporting the revolution once he became aware of the dual nature of the war between England and its colonies. Namely that the forces of evil were influencing the British.

Harry Dresden - Monster of the Week

Harry Dresden, Wizard, Lost Items Found, Paranormal Investigations, Consulting and Advice.  No love potions. No endless purses. No parties or other entertainment.

The infamous rogue wizard of the White Council. The wizard which fire, chaos and destruction follow in his wake. He's not the oldest or most skilled wizard around, but when he sets about to do something, it damn well gets done.

Celty Sturluson - Monster of the Week

Celty is the main character of the rather unusual anime Durarara!!!  She is a Dullahan, the Celtic grim reapers that inspired the story of the Headless Horseman as told of in Sleepy Hollow. Of the characters in the anime her personality is the one that would most fit in with real life, making her pretty much the one-sane woman, which is amusing giving that she's a headless woman with shadow-stuff coming out of her head. She suffers from amnesia which she believes is connected to her missing head. While she searches for it, she takes work as a courier in Akihabara where she sort of serves as the calm, rational older sister to several of the other characters in the series.

Alice Gallow - Monster of the Week

Alice Gallow is a character from Zachary Rawlins' Central Series. She is one of a group of people working with a secret society which monitors and oversees the hidden population of supernatural individuals. With psychic abilities which were awakened by nanite machines created by a long lost civilization, Alice is one of the Auditors who are sent to deal with rogue elements of the hidden society as well as beings from outside that prey on humanity such as the sociopathic Witches which feed on misery. She has a reputation for being vicious and borderline sociopathic and has little to no tolerance for people and creatures she considers evil.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Shade Cut - Unsung Destiny (Worlds in Peril)

Codename: Shade Cut
Real Name:  Essence Vastagh
Origin: The Accident
Drive: Figure Out Who I Am
Achievements: 0

Greyskin - United (Worlds in Peril)

Codename: Greyskin
Real Name: Megumi Morisato
Origin: I'm a Freak
Drive: To Protect
Achievements: 0

Megumi was originally a HERO System character. I will post her end-campaign stats later. This represents her more at the beginning of the campaign, before she nailed down control of her powers and settled her emotional issues.

Superhero Characters

This is a collection of various characters made in different systems, some based on published game settings, others based on homebrew.  There will eventually be various systems represented.

Superhero Stuff

I'll expand the description later, for now this is just where I'm going to collect stuff I've written related to the superhero genre.

Celestial Crow - Unsung Destiny (Worlds in Peril)

Codename: Celestial Crow
Real Name: Layla Xun
Origin: A Death in the Family
Drive: Prove Myself
Achievements: 0

Unsung Destiny

Unsung Destiny is one of the sample campaign settings in the excellent Mutants and Masterminds 2nd edition Mecha and Manga supplement. I will use the book itself to summarize the setting premise:

"In the year 2010, astronomers around the world discovered with horror that a comet had been hiding its route behind the Sun for an unknown number of years, maybe even centuries. The path was charted and discovered to cross Earth’s orbital path.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

5e (Lack of) Core Character Build Mechanics

There isn't going to be much discussion here, I was going to to try to analyze the basic build mechanics that WotC used in creating its races and classes. But it was proved pretty early on in my analysis that they don't have any sort of benchmark value applied to any of their abilities.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Yoni Kovac

Monster: Herald
Motivation: To bring about the freedom of his master.


Monster: Sorcerer
Motivation: To accrue power.

Maeve Maria

Monster: Queen
Motivation: To establish a great dynasty.

Gunnar Lachlan

Monster: Torturer
Motivation: To acquire a true eternal life.

Fred Teagan

Bystander: The Victim
Motivation: To live the adventure


Bystander: The Innocent
Motivation: To face the Great Demon directly

The Sickle

Sickles are farming implements used to harvest wheat and other plants when they are ripe and ready. They are also often used in certain religious practices. This Sickle appears to be made of one solid piece of metal with no sign of tool marks. The handle is not wrapped and must be grasped straight on the metal. There is a slightly electric feel to the Sickle.

The Rosary

A rosary is a selection of beads threaded over a cord. Most of the time they have a religious significance, but not all rosaries do so. This Rosary does not appear related to any specific religion and may be taken to be a simple collection of worry beads. The beads are multi-colored, with each bead having a subtly kaleidoscopic appearance that makes them entrancing to look like. The beads feel smooth and sometimes seem to move in the Wielder’s hands.

The Jewel

The Jewel is an emerald roughly the same size of an eyeball with an attached chain so that it might be worn like a necklace. It feels a great deal heavier than it should be.

The Chalice

A chalice is a ceremonial cup used in occult and religious ceremonies. This Chalice appears to be a large but simple cup made from pure silver. It is very cool to the touch and seems as if it might be wet though none of the perceived liquid is left on any hand that holds it.

The Athame

An athame is a simple ceremonial knife meant to be used to mark circles and direct energy but never used to cut anything. This Athame has a black handle and a pristine blade. It is incredibly warm to the touch.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Causality in Fiction

If you have watched Fate/Stay-Night then you are familiar with the Gae Bolg, Lancer's magical spear from his legend as Cú Chulainn. Within F/SN this spear has two major powers and the one I am most concerned with is the power to unfailingly strike the heart. To do this, the spear warps causality. In normal, real situations, the blade of the spear would strike the heart as a result of the path it traveled to get there. In Gae Bolg's case, the path of the spear is a result of the spear striking the heart. I start with this because it is not the only example of manipulated causality in fiction. In fact, the vast majority of fiction is an example of the same sort of reversal.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

5e Half-Elf Storyteller

This is based on my current playing character, a half-drow, half-Rashemen bard by the name of Shui Baenre. For kicks I'm imagining this as an alternate universe where Liriel and Fyodor from Elain Cunningham's novels had a kid. Mostly because I wanted to play a bard and was being lazy on creating a background.  The stat array she has appears to be a little higher than what the standard is or even what I've been using on these builds. I'm suspecting we rolled for stats. I'll just go with the array I have been using. Part of the inspiration for this is the Storyteller from the Jim Henson's show a couple of decades back performed by John Hurt, I believe. In game, she was seeking to revive the lost goddess Eilistraee.

5e Kitsune Cleric

This is going to be a theoretical build based on an old character of mine from D&D 3.0 semi-reproduced on my Shadows of Undrentide game using some cosmetic changes to the avatar and using a base human model in the same way I created the satyri. There isn't a hengeyokai race, so I'll be using the Wildhunt Shifter instead. Her class was a cleric of the sun and she also had a tendency to summon celestial insects, but that's something only druids could do in 5e.

5e Satyri Monk

This character is based on my current Neverwinter Nights OC character, my satyri monk, Mili Swift. Satyri are another of DPRagan's creations. The one I used for Mili was the sort that were created by cursed soap. Their demonic appearance is purely cosmetic. Other than that they just normal humans. In this case, however, we're going with a tiefling, which is more like those of DPRagan's satyri which were created by a demon sucking away their humanity.

EDIT: Sword Coast Legends Adventurer's Guide Tiefling Variant using Winged instead of Infernal Legacy. Of course, the NWN couldn't do flight, but oh well. It fits.

5e White Dragon Descended Sailor

This theoretical build is based on a character currently being played by DPRagan.(warning: his gallery contains quite a bit of NSFW content) A human who was changed into a sorceress when she was forced to be a canary, triggering traps ahead of them, for a group of evil adventurers. One of the traps she triggered imbued her with the essence of the copper dragon whose lair the adventurers were invading and made her a sorceress.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Divine Blood using Urban Shadows

Since I did a bit dealing with reskinning Monster of the Week to be used to run an action/investigation centric campaign set in the Divine Blood universe, I thought I'd start looking at doing one for Urban Shadows as well. I may consider looking at Monsterhearts, but the focus, and mechanical enforcement of, dysfunctional relationships in that game is something of a turn off for me. Anyway, back to Urban Shadows.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Just a Game - Fate Core Character Creation

These are the rules for creating characters for Just a Game campaigns using the Fate Core rules. They are mostly based on the standard Fate Core game rules.

Just a Game - PbtA Advancement

Advancement system for the Just a Game Powered by the Apocalypse rules.

Just a Game Gear - Powered by the Apocalypse Rules

Note that while the options and bases are stated as if they were actual gear, this can also represent such things as innate powers in a superhero game. In the case of Summoners with autonomous weapons or armor, that represents a constant pet that fulfills the role of shield or weapon.

The Tank - Just a Game Avatar

Your build is meant to draw all the attention and soak up all the damage.

The Support - Just a Game Avatar

Your build is meant to enhance and heal your team-mates.

The Summoner - Just a Game Avatar

Your build is meant to control pets and minions to do your fighting for you.

The Sapper - Just a Game Avatar

Your build is meant to make the enemies weaker.

The Mob-Clearer - Just a Game Avatar

Your build is meant to eliminate hordes of weaker enemies so the other classes can focus on the stronger enemies.

The Controller - Just a Game Avatar

Your build is meant to control the behavior of enemies and the pace of the fight.

The Boss-Killer - Just a Game Avatar

Your build is meant to remove powerful enemies quickly.

The Strategist - Just a Game Persona

You are the person who always comes up with the plan for how to succeed.

The Soloist - Just a Game Persona

You have always preferred to go your own way.

The Newbie - Just a Game Persona

You are new to the gaming community in general and this game in specific.

The Native - Just a Game Persona

You were born in the game and were never a player.

The Guilder - Just a Game Persona

The guild is your life and your family.

The Elite - Just a Game Persona

You know the game system better than almost anybody.

The Crafter - Just a Game Persona

You are focused around creating items for other people to use.

Just a Game Playbooks

The playbooks for the Powered by the Apocalypse version of the Just a Game rules.

Just a Game Character Creation - Powered by the Apocalypse

Just a game character creation rules for Powered by the Apocalypse.

Just a Game - Powered by the Apocalypse Basic Moves

Basic Moves

Basic moves available to all characters for the Powered by the Apocalypse version of Just a Game. 
Back to the Just a Game Prep Page

Monday, August 17, 2015

Worlds in Peril Character Creation Summary

This is a summary of the character creation procedure in Worlds of Peril.

While these are listed in "Steps" you can do them in whatever order you want.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Reskinning Monster of the Week for Divine Blood

Monster of the Week is a Powered by the Apocalypse game geared toward reproducing action horror and urban fantasy style stories such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, The Dresden Files, Anita Blake and several other such things besides. On the surface that feels like it should work perfectly for my Divine Blood setting.

At the very least, it should do well to represent campaigns that focus on both the dangerous parts of the world and the supernatural. Right?

Well, sort of.

Gods and Monsters Regions

A summary of how regions work in Gods and Monsters.

Gods and Monsters Communities

A summary of how Communities work in Gods and Monsters.

Intention in 30 Seconds

This is the summary of how intention works in Gods and Monsters.

Gods and Monsters Character summary

Real short summary of the character creation in Gods and Monsters.

Character Art from the 2006 Heritage M&M Event

Catherine Lusitania - Demon (FBI Psychologist);
Acacia Cristos - Drider (Physicist/Gamer)

Possible Heritage Power Profiles and Limitations

The powers of Heritages are based on the ancient myths of Earth, all of which were started by the lingering long-lived super-beings that pre-date the general melting pot of species that resulted in the human race.

These profiles are samples of what you could do. The human race is a vast melting pot so someone could look like a demon but have an elf's. The high end "possibles" and "impossibles" are also just thoughts, you could reverse them for individual characters. 

The Soldier

You were brought into the group for one purpose and one purpose only: to bring the muscle. Let the others worry about the metaphysical issues, you'll focus on the battle front and making any of the psychotic freaks that come after your comrades sorry they were ever born, or summoned, or whatever. You're supposed to be coming to the last stage of this campaign, and it looks like its taking place in a small city. That's going to present complications.

The Mentor

The Tournament of Fate is too important to be ignored. the Great Beast must not be released into the world. On the other hand, you do not trust yourself to handle the power of such a demon directly. Not even to siphon it off and keep it sealed. The history is full of examples of those immortals who have participated as a wielder in the Tournament of Fate multiple times becoming progressively more monstrous. So you have made it your task to guide a wielder you feel is more capable of handling the touch of the Great Beast's essence.

The Friend

Whatever your nature, you were drawn into this mess for one reason: you chose to stand by a friend. The Tournament of Fate and its promised boon don't really interest you. From everything you've seen so far it's a more like a curse than a boon. People dying around you left and right, getting caught up in contests with secret societies and ancient magicians. You haven't seen anything good come out of this whole affair. You just want to see it end.

The Conjured

At some point in the effort to gain the first artifact, you were summoned to the aid of the team. The magic that brought you forward ties you to this task. Perhaps you're a normal part of the tournament or maybe the team brought you forth deliberately. Regardless, you're here now at least until the tournament is resolved. After that you'll decide for yourself what comes afterwards.

The Rival

When this all started your goal was to be the one bearing the artifact and you had been a consistent rival to the rest of the group. Now things have changed. Now you are aware of the stakes involved. The potential fallout of the wrong person winning the tournament and completing the ritual is too horrible to contemplate. Rather than waste resources in competition, you'd rather support the wielder and their allies. You could always find another avenue for gaining power.

The Wielder

After many trials and contests, you have acquired one of the artifacts of the Tournament of Fate. Now, as you find yourself entering the city of Almadel, you can't help but think that you and your allies will be facing four others who have faced many of the same trials that you have. More than that, you know that you will be the focus of those other wielders as they seek to acquire the artifact in your control. You will have to defeat them and complete the Victory Ritual in order to siphon off the growing power of the Great Beast and stabilize the seal around him.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

5e Changeling Inquisitor (Paladin of Vengeance)

There is no particular character I'm basing this off of, but the idea is that the character investigates matters for their church superiors. his was, historically the intended purpose of the historical inquisition. I am heading for a Paladin of Vengeance which will heighten the stereotype of the grim and suspicious investigator type.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

5e Aasimar Boistrous Brawler

This character is going to be based on the concept that went on to be my Neverwinter Nights 2 character, Angwiel.  However, that character was a fighter and we're going to go with my original concept, which was that of a lightly armored raucous person who simply enjoys getting into a good scrap. Since she's a boisterous brawler type, her "rage" is less in the manner of anger and more just vibrant sort of thrill. If she didn't live in a world where evil threatened at every turn, she'd be the type of person to get into X-games.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

5e Cutesy Chaos Sorceress

This is a build for a 5e human warlock. The concept is based on something I came up with way, way back in the high school. The idea was that there was a chaos-sorceress who was cursed that every action she ever took would only ever result in a good deed of some kind no matter what she tried. So, she tried to get around the curse by training an apprentice...and bringing about her world's very first good chaos-sorceress.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

5e Half-Oni Tea Mistress

This is a build for a 5e tiefling tea-mistress.  This is based on a character I made for a story rather than any roleplaying game. Her first incarnation in an RPG was in Fate. Her actual back story was that she was half-oni and overheard a priestess (or perhaps her mother, I toyed around with things a bit) conducting a tea ceremony with her oni father as a way of banishing him so that he would leave the family alone.

Yael Kenite – Faustian

High Concept: Overlooked Ancient Heroine
Trouble: Famous For Murder
Domain Aspect: The Demoness of Hospitality
Conjuration Aspect: The Pleasant Hostess
Other Aspect: Faustian Landlady

M. Reynolds – Mortal Authority

High Concept: Top Notch Local Cop
Trouble: New to the Supernatural
Other Aspects: Badass Normal
Insightful Police Officer
Respect the Badge

Lisa Krendal – Mortal Connection

High Concept: Blessedly Lucky Middle School Student
Trouble: Diving in the Deep End

Other Aspect: Plucky Determination
A Kid’s Concept of Danger
Innocent Inspiration

Momo Shin – Mortal Connection

High Concept: Badass Japanese Imperial Agent
Trouble: Need to Know Basis
Other Aspects: Plausibly Deniable
Psychics Are Nothing New to Me
Jurougumo Ancestry

Susano’O Omikami – Yomian Connection

High Concept: The Original Defectee to Yomi
Trouble: Only Recently Reincarnated
Domain Aspect: The God of Storms
Conjuration Aspect: The Impetuous Male
Other Aspect: Irredeemably Crass

Jun Omikami – Yomian Connection

High Concept: Freelance Investigative Demi-God Journalist
Trouble: Curiosity Killed the Reporter
Other Aspects: The Mind is faster than the Sword
Son of Susano’O
Eye for Detail

Scylla Crataeis the Second – Nirvanite Connection

High Concept: Half-Demon (Probationary) Herald Counselor
Trouble: Haven’t Chosen My Direction
Other Aspects: No, That Scylla is my Great-Great-Grandaunt
Avatar of Amaterasu
Shapeshifting Sorcerous Dabbler

Himiko Jingu – Nirvanite Connection

High Concept: A Nine-Tailed Demi-Goddess
Trouble: Mother Wouldn’t Understand the Truth
Other Aspects: A Rare Mastery of Illusions
One Body, Nine Souls
A History of Loyalty to Nirvana

Holle Halja – Gehenna Complex

High Concept: Gehenna Complex Resident
Trouble: Tempted to Forget the Past
Realm Aspect: The Demoness of Ice
Conjuration Aspect: The Loving Mother
Other Aspect: Healing Done The Hard Way

Jack O’Laindeir – Faustian

High Concept: Smooth Talking Faustian
Trouble: Walking the Line Keeps Getting Harder
Realm Aspect: The Demon of Fear
Conjuration Aspect: The Man With the Pumpkins
Other Aspect: Once Was Human

Hermes Turms – Herald

High Concept: Nirvana’s Favored Solicitor
Trouble: Notoriously Slick Reputation
Domain Aspect: The God of Messengers
Conjuration Aspect: The Silver Traveler
Other Aspect: A Realist’s Perspective

Nyx DisPater – Elysium Provider

High Concept: Sarcastic DisPater Death-Seer
Trouble: Neglected Daughter of Hecate
Domain Aspect: The Goddess of Darkness
Conjuration Aspect: The Unwanted Child
Other Aspect: Elysium Provider Healer

Illujanka Baal – Rakshasha

High Concept: Nostalgic Yomian Hero
Trouble: Bitterly Aware of Stagnation
Realm Aspect: The Demon(ess) of Snakes
Conjuration Aspect: The Warrior Serpent
Other Aspect: Gender Fluid Shapeshifter

Shu Ms’Re – Shadow

High Concept: Quick-Witted Yomian Spy
Trouble: Never the Lead
Realm Aspect: The Demon of Wind
Conjuration Aspect: The Essence of Emptiness
Other Aspect: Ambitious but not Disciplined

Urd Jotundottir – Einherjar

High Concept: The Half-Demon General of Nirvana
Trouble: A Wretched Family Life
Domain Aspect: The Goddess of Fate
Conjuration Aspect: Queen of Soldiers
Other Aspect: Eldest Daughter of Lilith and Vishnu

Morrigan Nemain – Eyes of Ra

High Concept: Atonement Seeking Nirvanite Investigator
Trouble: My War Criminal Past Clings To Me
Domain Aspect: The Goddess of Bloodshed
Conjuration Aspect: The Bloody Nightmare
Other Aspect: The Washer at the Ford

Detailed Divine Blood Facts List

A more detailed summary of the abilities of characters in Divine Blood and some of the politics of Gods and Demons.

Letter in Olmstead's apartment

“If you are set on this fool’s errand of yours then you must not forget to relay to friends and families what your plans are. This tour of New England is reckless. There are many old parts of the country where you will find treasures no more interesting than a degenerate cesspool of bandits and moonshiners. At the very least you must not follow through on this idea of starting with such a small town as Salem. Certainly you are aware of its sinister history? I’m afraid the locals have grown no more educated since the days when they were hanging midwives on the testimony of feverish children. Indeed it would save you much money and time to remain in your home rather than chase through old records to find where your mother’s line originated.

Yours truthfully,

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On the Dangers of Laziness

So, today (maybe yesterday by the time this gets out) I managed to take a hefty blow to my self-esteem and possibly damaged a project of mine and it is entirely my fault. I was lazy and approached a project as something I could just riff off. I did not equate in my mind that something which was "just a playtest packet" would need to be taken just as seriously as my novels, RPGs supplements and short stories.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Loss of Life Pre-Gen - Captain Kendrick MacGuinness

Age: 25 years old
Occupation: Military (Engineer)
Drive: Bad Luck
Occupational Abilities: 
  • Athletics
  • Driving
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Intimidation
  • Mechanical Repair
  • Outdoorsman
  • Scuffling
  • Weapons
Occupational Abilities have no effect on game-play. They are half-cost in character creation or advancement.

Loss of Life Pre-Gen - Ming-Wen Chu

Age: 33 years old
Occupation: Clergy
Drive: Ennui
Occupational Abilities: 
  • Assess Honesty
  • History
  • Languages
  • Library Use
  • Occult
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Reassurance
  • Theology
Occupational Abilities have no effect on game-play. They are half-cost in character creation or advancement.

Loss of Life Pre-Gen - Professor Dorothy Mayven

Age: 53 years old
Occupation: Professor
Drive: Thirst for Knowledge
Occupational Abilities: 
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Bureaucracy
  • Languages
  • Library Use
  • Interrogation
  • Occult
Occupational Abilities have no effect on game-play. They are half-cost in character creation or advancement.

Loss of Life Pre-Gen - Dr. Daniel Anton

Age: 35 years old
Occupation: Doctor
Drive: Duty
Occupational Abilities: 
  • Accounting
  • Biology
  • First Aid
  • Forensics
  • Languages
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Assess Honesty
  • Reassurance
Occupational Abilities have no effect on game-play. They are half-cost in character creation or advancement.

Loss of Life Pre-Gen - Inspector Mason Winschel

Age: 31 years old
Occupation: Police Detective
Drive: Follower
Occupational Abilities: 
  • Athletics
  • Cop Talk
  • Driving
  • Evidence Collection
  • Firearms
  • Interrogation
  • Law
  • Assess Honesty
  • Sense Trouble
Occupational Abilities have no effect on game-play. They are half-cost in character creation or advancement.


These are the basic rules for combat in GUMSHOE. Find the GUMSHOE SRD here.

GUMSHOE Drives and Drivers

These are the rules for how Drives and Drivers affect the Characters in GUMSHOE. Find the GUMSHOE SRD here.

GUMSHOE Stability Recovery

These are a summary of the rules for recovering Stability in GUMSHOE. Find the GUMSHOE SRD here.

GUMSHOE Stability Tests and Effects

These are the rules related to Stability Tests in GUMSHOE especially with regard to this scenario. Find the GUMSHOE SRD here.

GUMSHOE Health Recovery

This is the basic rules for how Health is recovered in GUMSHOE. Find the GUMSHOE SRD here.

GUMSHOE Health Tests

These are the rules related to Health Tests in GUMSHOE especially with regard to this scenario. Find the GUMSHOE SRD here.

GUMSHOE Recovering Ability Pool Points

These are the basic rules of recovering General Ability Points in the GUMSHOE system. Find the GUMSHOE SRD here.

GUMSHOE General Ability Tests

These are the basic rules dealing with General Ability tests in GUMSHOE. Find the GUMSHOE SRD here.

GUMSHOE Investigative Spend Example Benefits

These are some sample benefits you can get from spending Investigative Pool Points. Find the GUMSHOE SRD here.

GUMSHOE Investigative Spends

These are the basic rules on using Investigative Abilities in GUMSHOE. Find the GUMSHOE SRD here.

Divine Blood Quicky Power Facts

“Power Facts” are basically a way of stating what sort of skills and capabilities are implied by different Aspects or background elements. Since most of the skills and powers of a character exist within their Aspects in Fate Accelerated, it can be important to note what different things mean.


This is a list of terms used in GUMSHOE games by Pelgrane Press. Find the SRD here.

M-Com Operation Name Tables

 This is a list of prefixes and suffixes for generating random operation names for the M-Com Monster of the Week campaign.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Character Sheet Philosophy

I have recently run across the argument that any point buy game system will end up resulting in every player having the same exact build. The phrase used is “one true build.” This attitude mystified me because I have never seen this “one true build” materialize in over twenty years of playing roleplaying games the majority of which has spent with point buy systems such as HERO, M&M, BESM and the like. Comments that I’ve never seen it materialize were met with the assertion that my GMs must not have been making the games tough enough. Further comments from both myself and other point buy players that we haven’t encountered a GM where it is even a good idea to have everybody built the same way was responded to with the comment that once we figured out a GMs habits and tendencies then we would start building to respond to those and then everybody would end up with roughly the same build. Which is where I found the base discrepancy that was resulting in the idea of a “one true build.” These players read character sheets in a vastly different way than point buy games do.

The Purpose of Rules

Before I go further, I’m using the term “rules” here in reference to the systems of a game. Rules of etiquette and rules of the house exist in even freeform games even if they are not outright stated. For the rest of this rant, when I talk about rules, I’m going to be using it reference to things like character creation, task resolution, conflict resolution, health maintenance and the like.

Friday, June 12, 2015

5e Shifter Barbarian (Lycanthrope)

The concept here is to create a playable lycanthrope type character using the official classes and races. The shifter is the official almost-but-not-quite lycanthrope race. In combination with barbarian it makes it rather easy to do the Hollywood style lycanthrope which is the big humanoid man-animal hybrid. What's still missing is to the sort of lycanthrope that turns into a natural seeming version of the animal they are part of rather than a hybrid form.

Also, this represents more the unstoppable beast sort of werecreature, for more stalker-ish werecreatures I would go toward Ranger or Rogue, especially for wererats.  This is of limited ability to model a real werewolf since shifting lasts for only 1 minute, but rages (which can be fluffed as transformations) can eventually last for an extended time.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Setting Conversions

Not all game systems are appropriate for all players. People just aren’t wired so uniformly that a single game can best serve the desires of every player out there. One player might thoroughly love a  playstyle and game system that another player just simply can’t understand. There might be a third player who enjoys a little bit of both systems preferred by the first two, but actually enjoys a third system much better. Some people might be more comfortable with a free-form RP situation rather than using any sort of system. None of this is accounting for the people who simply don’t understand or enjoy the hobby. This isn’t all that big of an issue and the general result was people trying various game systems until they found the one they most enjoyed.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Reskinning Feng Shui

Feng Shui 2 presents a lot of awesome character concepts and flavor, but they are very much based in the stated histories and settings of the book. Specifically, they are very much based on a Chi War where a lot of the heaviest battles are in Medieval China, Colonial Period China, Modern Day more or less as we know it and a Post-Apocalyptic Future. As such, it makes sense that most of the characters from the past are Chinese or at least Asian. However, the major junctures can and have changed in the past and even minor junctures can prove to be incredibly important, as proven by the rise of the Ascended. But the game isn’t made for that, right? No, all the archetypes are Chinese or Mad-Max-ish or the like. They even have little symbols about what time setting they’re appropriate to come from, totally can’t mess with that, right?
Actually it’s quite easy in most cases. I’ll look at them below.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

5e Mechanical Differentiation

To start with, and I will repeat this later, mechanical differentiation isn't important except to the people for whom it is important. Since the sources of enjoyment in the hobby are subjective, that means what is important is subjective as well. But, that said, on with the little analysis I spent time on when I could have been moaning about my current bout with writer's block.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Loss of Life Pre-Gen - Sarah Orne

Age: 22 Years Old
Occupation: Antiquarian
Drive: Curiosity
Occupational Abilities: 
  • Architecture
  • Art History
  • Bargain
  • History
  • Languages
  • Law
  • Library Use
  • Oral History
Occupational Abilities have no effect on game-play. They are half-cost in character creation or advancement.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cosmic Horror and Cthulhu

Note: This is a rant, not an essay.  I ramble, tangent, diverge and meander.  Be warned.

There is a common assumption that Cthulhu and company are cosmic horror. That they have to be cosmic horror and any use of them that is not cosmic horror is an improper use. They are taken to be a part of the genre rather than characters that most frequently appear within a genre. It is expected that if Cthulhu appears in a story that he must be an unbeatable foe that causes insanity merely observing him. To do otherwise is to not be using Cthulhu appropriately. However, while Cthulhu, Hastur, Azazoth and the like are characters primarily known for cosmic horror storylines they are not, in and of themselves, cosmic horror.

Friday, March 27, 2015

5e Omnidisciplinary Sage

This is a multi-class build and it is going to be multi-classed between Bard and Rogue with a couple of Feats letting it grab a few more skills. There is no particular character concept in mind save for the aggravating person who knows about a lot of different things.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

5e Drow Rogue

I've been playing Demon Stone a little bit and have decided to do a build based on the idea of Zhai, the rogue in that game. For those unfamiliar, it's an action game that lets you switch between controlling three characters, a human fighter, a human sorcerer and a drow rogue.

And it's one of the best D&D related games ever released. Up there with Neverwinter Nights 2.

Zhai is noted as being only half-drow, the other half being wood elf, but the distinction is minimal. One might think that the usual option for a drow rogue would be assassin, but I'll be going for thief here to better represent Zhai's stealth and athleticism. Besides, when you think about it, the Infiltration and Imposter abilities would be of limited use to a drow.

5e Necromancer

This character is mostly based off a character I made in the mid-90s for 2nd edition that I never got to play much. My suspicion is that she later found herself as the model for the Divine Blood variation of Hel.  They have much in common, both are crippled, both hate the undead (though Hel is actually afraid of ghosts in a setting where most ghosts are harmless), and both have necromantic characters. The original character's name was Yeighdra Blackthorn and she was a daughter of Cormyrian nobility whose uncle usurped her parent's title and tried to kill her. She was a young girl at the time and barely escaped with the help of some loyal servants. The use of undead in the incident caused her to obsess over them and become a necromancer herself, though very much a heroic one. In this case, I'll diverge from the model of either Hel or Yeighdra and create a heroic necromancer willing to use undead in order to combat the undead. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

5e Caravan Magus

5e Shifter Caravan Magus

This is based on a character I made a while ago for 4e and never got to play for very long. I'm assuming +1 spell acquired in adventuring each level on top of automatic gains for leveling.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015

PCs and Main Characters are all "Special Snowflakes"

In recent years there has arisen a derogatory term that has been used to refer to players coming up with unusual concepts. The term is “special snowflake”. The concept is that a player isn’t happy being a normal character, they have to be special. They have to stand out somehow and so they take on some ridiculous backstory elements in order to explain an ill-conceived combination of character concepts. There are lists of red-flag character elements, tests to see if your character is a Mary Sue and many other such things. And if your character happens to hit something on that list then suddenly you get derided for wanting to play a “special snowflake.”

On the rights of denying the use of some concepts in RPGs

It is within the right of a gamemaster to deny concepts he doesn’t want to deal with. I myself have said “I’m not really comfortable running a game where one of the players is a drug dealer, could you modify the concept a little bit please?” Other players can also indicate that a particular concept is not to their liking and could you please not use that? They have less authority than the gamemaster, but they are still a part of the game and the game is best when everybody is comfortable and having fun.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Divine Blood: Demon Next Door Kickstarter

This is the most ambitious kickstarter I've taken on to date.

If the kickstarter fails, the project will likely have minimal art or a lot of recycled art and I'd like to avoid that if at all possible. I'd like the book to be as beautiful as the core RPG turned out to be.  But I need help to make that happen.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

What is horror?

I've been in several discussions recently about what defines horror. I have some fairly specific ideas on what makes horror what it is and since the conversation seems to be coming up frequently, I might as well write up a rant so that I can just link it for any initial conversation and bear any details on out from that for the individual conversation. Which is probably an inspiration for my other rants now that I think about it.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Response to Legend of Five Rings essay on Asian and Western Storytelling

I do not know why I ever expect something useful out of essays regarding the differences between Western and Asian storytelling. As a result, I am almost always disappointed to find the same points and arguments made whenever I read such an essay; points and arguments which are disproven with even a passing familiarity with myth, legend and storytelling traditions. Since the essay which is provoking me is coming from the Legend of Five Rings RPG section on storytelling, that’s where I’m going to be pulling some of the points I’m planning to argue against.

Computer Games I'd like to see

I'm going to organize this by Game Genre first and then Story Genre and list some similar games and things I was dissatisfied with on th...

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