Sunday, April 26, 2015

[Cryptworld] New Thing: Flotsam

An Aquatic Blob for Cryptworld


FLOTSAM
STR: 5 (75) --- WPR: NA
DEX: NA --- PER: NA
AGL: 4 (60) --- PCN: 3 (45)
STA: 4 (60) --- PWR: NA
ATT: 1/68% --- WND: 0*
MV: W 125

Experience: 750

A Flotsam is a form of Space Blob (CW rulebook, page 69) found only in bodies of water. The creature normally floats on the surface of the water, appearing as nothing more than a tar-black oil slick about 10 feet in diameter. Observant persons may see the "slick" moving against the wind or current, seemingly under its own power. Only when it detects someone has entered the water with the thing swoop in for the kill -- swimming with amazing speed and engulfing its prey in a thin viscous slime.

Fortunately, a Flotsam's reach is limited only to the body of water is lurks in. Those on shore or out of reach of the water (rafts, boats, etc.) cannot be attacked by the Flotsam. However, the Flotsam is very patient. It will lurk nearby for days if necessary until it can strike. Anything touching the water -- a finger, a foot, even hair -- will be engulfed by the incredibly strong, quick goo, and the victim will be pulled into the water and to their doom.

A Flotsam attacks by enveloping its victim, quickly dissolving them with strong digestive acids while it feeds. (Treat as acid damage on the armed combat results.) If the victim is reduced to 0 Stamina, they have been completely consumed by the Flotsam. Each victim a Flotsam digests increases its body mass by 1 foot. A Flotsam takes full damage only from fire and electricity attacks, but are immune to nearly all other forms of damage.

There are rumors of ancient gargantuan Flotsam hundreds of feet across lurking on the ocean's surface -- the result of hundreds of years of feeding on shipwreck victims and other oceanic disappearances, but these tales are thus far unfounded.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

[Labyrinth Lord] Savage Menagerie: Seacrush

No. Enc.: 0 (1d2)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: Swim: 90' (30'); Leap: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 7
Attacks: 2 (trample, bite)
Damage: 2d8/2d8
Save: F3
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None

The Seacrush is a monstrously large angelfish (15') that has developed the ability to launch itself out of the water to land on and crush its prey. It does this through the use of a pair of muscular overdeveloped pelvic fins which act in a manner reminiscent of a pair of frog's legs.

The Seacrush is normally found in very large bodies of salt water (oceans and seas) and will never be encountered in fresh water. The carnivorous fish normally lurks in deeper waters where it eats other aquatic sealife smaller than itself. However, when oceanic prey thins out or becomes scarce, the Seacrush will position itself nearer the shoreline in hopes of snagging a land-dwelling meal. If it senses prey on the beach, the Seacrush pushes off of the seafloor with its strong pelvic fins, exploding out of the water, and hurtling through the air toward its prey. If it lands on its target, the Seacrush will do 2d8 hit points of crushing damage. It will then attempt to bite its prey for 2d8 hit points of damage. If more than 10 points are done, the Seacrush will have seized its meal in its powerful jaws. On its next attack, it will launch itself back into the air and into the sea with its prize, where the victim will surely drown unless he can free himself in time.

Due to its rubbery hide, the Seacrush takes no damage from non-edged weapons. Only weapons that are edged or pointed can pierce the thick scales of the creature.

NOTE: Today's monster was created using straight rolls on The Random Esoteric Creature Generator.

Friday, April 17, 2015

[Kickstarter] Last Few Hours For Cartomancy, Playing-Card-Based RPG System

"What if the primary randomizer used in role-playing games had been based on playing cards rather than polyhedral dice?" That's the interesting thought experiment that launched the concept of Cartomancy, a new RPG now in its last 24 hours on Kickstarter.

Here's the (abridged) description straight from the Kickstarter page:

Cartomancy is a card-based roleplaying game. The conventions of card games—hand management, straights, kitties, trumps, window cards, widows and all the rest—form some of the most basic conventions of Cartomancy.  This means that it it plays differently than a dice-based game. A die can be rolled an infinite number of times, whereas a card can be played but once, making every action a sacrifice. When the cards are dealt at the beginning of a Cartomancy scene, all of the luck is in place and it is up to the players to see if their hands will win or lose. As cards are fundamentally different than dice, so is Cartomancy fundamentally different from other RPGs.

I'm a sucker for a clever game mechanic, and Cartomancy's description was different enough that I tossed in a dollar to give the playtest document a look. After reading a bit about the how the mechanics worked and watching the gameplay vid, I decided to support the campaign. The rules are positioned as a universal toolbox which allows you to use the Cartomancy mechanics for any genre you desire. However, three settings are planned for the initial roll out:

Four Kings: An adventure and setting that should feel comfortable to most fantasy game alumni.
Consoles & Cards: A solitaire or co-op JRPG-inspired setting.
Toytastrophey: A tactical war-game of battling kid’s toys.

As of this posting, the Kickstarter has 24 hours left. If this sounds interesting, I suggest you race over and check it out and -- perhaps -- toss a few bucks into the kitty!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

[Timemaster] Postage Due for Timemaster Available For Download

According to today's Google Doodle, today is the 155th anniversary of the Pony Express. On this day in 1860, the first westbound letter of the inaugaral run of the Pony Express was successfully delivered.

Or was it?

Interestingly, one of my convention-run Timemaster adventures -- "Postage Due" -- takes place on this very date in history! In my adventure, the mail DOESN'T get through on that fateful night. Time Corps agents are sent back to April 14, 1860, to investigate and ensure that the inaugaral run of the Pony Express succeeds as history shows.

So rather than noodling around with today's Google Doodle, how about saddling up, traveling back in time, and putting history back on the correct path?
Click the links below for the game script, pre-gens, and rules the PCs should keep in mind when traveling throughout continuum! Saddle up, pardners!

Time renegade Quinton Kensey awaits your arrival!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

[GameHack] Build A Better Zombie Horde For Escape: Zombie City

As part of International TableTop Day, I wrote an overview of Escape: Zombie City. Now, I really like this game a lot, but to be frank, the zombies that came with it are a bit lacking.

First up: many other zombie boardgames comes with actual zombie figures for use with play. Cardboard cut-outs placed into plastic standees strikes me as a bit cheap-looking. (Also, the player and van figs are physical wooden props, so why not the zombies you fight/flee from? My other issue was that the coloring used to differentiate the power of the zombies (red, yellow, and green) was applied very lightly. As a guy with severe color-blindness, this made the zombies nearly impossible to identify during the heat of play. I needed zombies that were RED, YELLOW, and GREEN. So I decided to Build a Better Zombie Horde.

If you're color-blind, these are identical -- except for the numbers, of course.

I know there are many places online where you can buy ready-to-go zombie figures for use with other zombie games. (The Bag O' Zombies for use with Zombicide comes to mind.) But for this project, I didn't want cookie-cutter zombies who all looked the same; No, I wanted an assortment of different zombies in different poses who stood just a touch bigger -- the size of little green Army men, in fact.

I did a bit of searching online, I found a 60-piece zombie playset filled with an assortment of undead -- just what I was looking. I then gathered up some white poker chips, epoxy, plastic primer, three tubes of acrylic paints, and some double-sided foam tape.

My staging area for my soon-to-be-released zombie horde.

First I sorted out 20 zombies in interesting poses I liked, then I glued them to the poker chips for a stable base. After dusting them with the primer, they held the acrylic paints well.

A few zombies both pre-painted and post-painted.

For the fist/bat icons, I scanned a few of the original figures, then trimmed the icons down in size (removing the "X" as superfluous). I printed them onto thin cardstock, covered them with a layer of clear tape (to protect the imagery), then stuck them to the bases with foam-backed double-sided tape. This both "lifts" the icon up for easier reading, as well as adheres to the irregular shape of the poker chip base.
Compared to the originals, I like my zombies a LOT better for gameplay!

 And my Escape: Zombie City "new-and-improved" zombie horde is ready to storm the table!

During gameplay, you'll need to draw these blindly out of a box rather than the cloth bag provided with the game, but I think these are going to see a lot of use in future games!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

[Int'l Tabletop Day Review] Escape: Zombie City by Queen Games

Welcome to The Savage AfterWorld and International TableTop Day! We're participating in a multi-site "Boardgame Review Bloghop" today, so zip down to the bottom of this post to see who else is participating. And now, on with my overview!

Most boardgame enthusiasts by now have probably heard about and/or played Escape: The Curse of the Temple by Queen Games. This frantic, real-time, dice-rolling, adventure game is great fun for would-be Indiana Jones-types as they hurriedly roll dice, explore the tomb, retrieve the treasures, and try to get out alive before time runs out! But what if you prefer "less Raiders" and "more Living Dead"? Well Queen Games' recently released Escape follow-up will slake that zombie hunger!
 Escape: Zombie City is Queen Games' newest entry in their real-time, dice-rolling, exploration-and-escape game series, and it has quickly become a favorite in the Sniderman household. Gameplay is similar to the first Escape game (explained later), but in Zombie City, the game is divided into two distinct phases. (First, you'll want to pop in and play the enclosed CD soundtrack which acts as both a 15-minute timer as well as a nifty ambiance soundtrack.)

During the first phase, players spread out from their church stronghold into the zombie-infested city. While running through the streets and exploring the town, you'll need to scavenge up several specific items necessary to escape: first aid supplies, food, weapons, etc. During all of this, zombies are rising from the grave, attacking the players and wandering the streets back to the church. If three manage to enter your home base, your base is overrun and you lose immediately! So simply avoiding the zombies isn't enough -- you'll have to destroy them, spending valuable time in the process.

The red and blue players team up to fight a red zombie while the white player contends with a yellow zombie that popped up on the new area he entered. (No thanks to the zombie card shown!) Meanwhile the green zombie is just one step away from walking into the church to the right!

Every five minutes of real-time when the zombies groan with hunger, you must race back to the church to both drop off found supplies and take shelter from the undead horde. Fail to do so, and you lose the use of one of your precious dice for the rest of the game! Hopefully during the chaos, you'll be able to find the road that leads out of town as well as collect enough supplies to make a run for it! When (and IF) you do, phase two begins...

During phase two, you load up the beat-up church van and try to drive out of town. At this point, the streets are overrun with undead, and the players must now fight together as a team to get themselves, the van, and all of their supplies to the exit ramp and out of town. Movement slows to a crawl as EVERY player must successfully move along with an extra movement rolled for the van. Any zombies you encounter must be fought rather than bypassed or fled from. And by this time, you have a scant few minutes before time runs out!

The yellow van is loaded with supplies and ready to head out to the exit in the upper left of the photo. But the road out of town is loaded with zombies! Good thing they're escaping, as two zombies managed to enter the base as shown in the lower left next to the zombie card pile.

Like its predecessor, each player constantly rolls five dice, attempting to make matches that will allow them to perform actions. Matching a pair of "getaway" icons allows you to reveal and place a new city tile or enter an area previously exposed. "Fist" and "bat" icons let you scavenge for necessary supplies and attack the zombie hoards. Be careful, as "panic" icons become locked and unusable unless you can unlock it with a "caution" roll. It sounds simple enough until that looming 15-minute countdown begins, then it becomes a frantic dice-rolling free-for-all.

Complicating things are the zombies and the zombie cards. With each new street section exposed, a player must draw a new zombie card. Some cards cause one or all zombies to move toward the church. Some cards cause a zombie to explode out of the ground in the section the player's now in. And other cards cause zombies to pop up throughout the city! There are also injury cards -- such as a broken arm (you must play with one hand only) or bitten by a zombie (lose a die). Also zombies come in three strengths. The weak "green" zombies are easily defeated, needing three fists or bats to put them down. Moderate "yellow" zombies need four fists/bats to stop them, and the hearty "red" zombies require all five of your dice to show fists or bats. With the stronger zombies, you'll need other players to run to your aid as you can then combine your dice if you're in the same section. However, while you pool your fighting resources, you lose time scavenging for supplies. And the clock is always ticking down.

rawwwrrrr...grooooannn....unnngghhhrrrr

Unlike Escape: The Curse of the Temple, Escape: Zombie City adds a new dimension to the gameplay as the gameboard is now alive (in a manner of speaking). Players are not just trying to gather supplies and escape to win...now they must also defend their base from an ever-approaching -- and ever-growing -- zombie horde. And as the timer ticks down, more zombies enter the game, staggering towards the church, cutting off the players' hope for Escape! If you enjoy the quick-paced exploration mechanic of the original game, Escape: Zombie City adds a great new element with the approaching relentless zombie horde as well as horrifying zompocalypse theme to the game. Good luck, and try not to get eaten!

Be sure visit these other International TableTop Day "Boardgame Review Bloghop" participants!

Channel Zero – Thunderstone by Alderac Entertainment

Fractalbat – The Hills Rise Wild by Pagan Publishing

The Gibbering Gamer – Dragon Dice by SFR (formerly TSR)

Random Encounters (From Ohio) – Nano Bot Battle Arena by Derpy Games

Troll in the Corner – Star Realms by White Wizard Games

The Savage AfterWorld – Escape: Zombie City by Queen Games

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

[Labyrinth Lord] Savage Menagerie: Blood Imp (AKA "Hemogoblin")

Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1 (weapon)
Damage: 1d6 or weapon
Save: F1
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: III (XX)

The Blood Imp is an offshoot of Goblin (LL rulebook, page 77) though it stands slightly taller than its Goblin cousins (slightly less than 4 feet tall) and has a crimson tone to its flesh. Blood Imps live underground in a loose tribal fashion, though some above-ground camps have been encountered. Blood Imps do not suffer any penalties in sunlight, though their infravision is not as effective, ranging around 30' in the darkness.

The Blood Imp always appears to be caked in dried blood and grue. This is because the creature can actually heal itself using the blood of a victim. If injured, the Blood Imp can rub the spilled blood of an enemy upon its skin which will heal the Imp for 1d4 hp of damage. It takes one round for the Imp to apply the "blood salve" to its wounds; healing is instantaneous. The blood used can be from any fallen foe. In fact, Blood Imps have been known to slaughter weaker members of their tribe solely to use their blood to heal the stronger members during active combat.

NOTE: I misspelled "hemoglobin" earlier today, and that misspelling inspired this vicious creature!