Friday, May 29, 2015

"Monsters Macabre": New Cryptworld Supplement Now On Kickstarter!

  • You asked for new THINGS to torment your players with...
  • You asked to play as THINGS in your games...
  • You asked how to create your own THINGS...
  • You asked for ways to calculate weapon-specific damage...
  • You asked how to randomly create new monster hunting societies...
  • You asked for new adventures for Cryptworld...
Here's our answer...

Monsters Macabre is the newest supplement for Pacesetter's new horror RPG, Cryptworld! Within the book are new THINGs, new rules, new options, and new adventures! The cover and interior text are finished; the only thing needed is interior artwork. This Kickstarter is to raise funds to illustrate the many THINGs within. All backers have immediate access to the draft copy of Monsters Macabre so you can use it in your Cryptworld games tonight! Help us fill the book with nightmares and terrors, and become a backer for Monsters Macabre!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Temple Of Divine Sight: A New Religious Order For Your Fantasy Games

Over the weekend, I discovered some old notes of mine from my days as a live-action role-player. Yes, I was one of those guys who wandered the state parks, whacking on "orcs" and "goblins" with foam-core swords. Say what you want, but I had loads of fun back in those days. One of my favorite PCs to play was a cleric by the name of Jarrod Theodyne. Jarrod was a fledgling acolyte from The Temple of Divine Sight, which sorta leads me to today's post. I didn't want to play "yet another cleric" who was always spouting good-vs-evil, keep-the-faith rhetoric. So I came up with a fairly convoluted new religion -- one that was vague enough so I could make up details on the fly, but also one that would give me something more to do on the field other than spout prayers, lay on hands, and crush things with a mace. So here you go -- feel free to use this religious order in your own RPGs:

The Temple of Divine Sight is a faith that worships human knowledge, education, and wisdom above all else. As the faithful believe, only by expanding our knowledge of the world around us can we hope to achieve the very wisdom of the gods. Since human memory is fleeting and fallible, the Faithful spend their days recording everything they've seen, heard, and experienced. (All Temple clerics are talented scribes, able to read and write in several languages.) The written word is as close to a permanent record of the human condition that exists, therefore everything must be dutifully transcribed -- conversations, observations, thoughts, conclusions, questions, everything the cleric experiences is jotted down in an ever-present journal, known to the clerics as their "Tome".

To accumulate knowledge and wisdom for the church, Divine Sight clerics are sent out on a 1,000-day journey to experience the outside world. These clerics roam the countryside, speaking with the citizens, learning what they can, and recording everything down in their Tome. Oftentimes, these clerics meet up and join with adventurers, thinking that these stalwart individuals will provide them with new and unusual situations and knowledge to record and share with the church.

Clerics of The Temple also collect as much written material as they can gather. Scraps of scrolls, pages ripped from books, nothing is too minuscule or minor to be considered for the church's archives. Speaking of the archives, the primary Temple -- location unknown to all but the Faithful -- is said to be one of the largest libraries of non-magical books and tomes in the world. It is said that everything there is to know can be found somewhere in the church's massive libraries which fill up many large dorm-like buildings.

It goes without saying that the written word is their holy symbol, and their Tome is used for such rituals. When casting spells or turning the undead, the cleric's book glows with a holy light as the acolyte's wisdom is channeled through the book. Because of the sheer importance of the Tome both as a holy symbol as well as the symbolic storage of the cleric's knowledge with, the Tome is irreplaceable. Some clerics who have had their Tome stolen or lost have entered into lengthy quests to retrieve it.

You may be asking yourself about the nature of the "god" that the Temple denizens worship. Well, that's the part I've left deliberately vague when I played Jarrod. There are several ways you can play this depending on the nature of your personal campaign world:

** The Temple of Divine Sight doesn't worship any one "god" in the pantheon. Wisdom and knowledge are more important to the Faithful than the whims of some omnipotent being. And who's to say which omnipotent being is the most knowledgeable? Since they derive their arcane powers from expanding their own consciousness and knowledge of the world they live in rather than in esoteric philosophies, the Temple of Divine Sight could be played as "agnostic clerics," if such a theme appeals to you.

** If you wish to have a god, here's the way I played it. Only those clerics who have contributed the most to their Temple's collected works are entitled to know their god's True Name. Until they have risen in the ranks of the church and have earned the right to learn His Name, they must remain ignorant of this One True Fact. It is the symbolic withholding of His Name to those who are still learning that shows the cleric that they will never know everything  -- only He knows all. Acolytes refer to their god as He Who Knows. And their prayers often start with the mantra "By His Unknown Name..." It could be a quest for your player to rise up the ranks to one day be entrusted with this most holiest of holy words -- the Real Name of his god!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

[Cryptworld] New Thing: White Noise

A Sonic Spirit for Cryptworld

STR: NA --- WPR: 7 (105)
DEX: NA --- PER: 5 (75)
AGL: NA --- PCN: 5 (75)
STA: NA --- PWR: 120
ATT: 1/* --- WND: 0*
MV: F 75 (incorporeal)

Experience: 1,000

White Noise is a malevolent spirit whose only physical manifestation in the material world is in the form of audible sound waves. This rare form of Ghost (CW Rulebook, page 60) is never seen or felt -- only heard. Because of this, White Noise is often misidentified as eerie sounds or unexplained noises. The thing's evil presence may not be discovered until it has claimed several victims.

As explained, White Noise has no physical form that can be seen nor is it capable of moving objects in the physical plane. But what White Noise does have is several audible powers that it uses to disorient and terrify a victim. (See White Noise Powers below.) White Noise usually has the same motivations as a Ghost, often desiring revenge against a living victim whom the creature viewed as having wronged it in life. However, White Noise may also settle in as a form of "protector" to someone the Ghost viewed as important to it in life, using its abilities to drive away those it sees as undesirable to its "friend."

As with a Ghost, White Noise cannot be physically harmed. Since it is sound-given-form, White Noise can be "captured" by activating an audio recording device when it is present. Roughly 30 seconds of captured sounds made by the White Noise will be enough to permanently trap the spirit in the recording medium. Playing this recording at a future time will be enough to release the now-enraged spirit. It is rumored that DAPA HQ has a soundproof vault filled with hours of White Noise recordings from decades of investigations.

White Noise Powers

Ventriloquism: White Noise can make any sound it desires (other than a human voice) be heard within 200 feet of the creature's location. Examples include a gunshot coming from another room, footsteps coming up the stairs, or snarls and growls under the victim's bed. Each usage costs 5 WIL and may prompt a minor Fear check (no more than Level 2).

Mimicry: At a cost of 10 WIL, White Noise can perfectly impersonate and speak in any voice it has heard for up to 5 minutes, mimicking it perfectly. White Noise often uses this ability to lure a victim to a secluded location to better attack them in solitude. ("I'm in the next room! Come here!") It may also use this power in conjunction with ventriloquism (above) to cause one victim to attack another. (Luring one victim to a room with mimicry, while terrorizing someone within with ventriloquism into thinking a monster was about to enter.)

Silence: At a cost of 5 WIL per minute, White Noise can cause complete and utter silence to descend upon an area of 50' radius. The White Noise is, however, immune to this effect, allowing it to use any of its other powers effectively while everything else is silent.

Feedback Shriek: The White Noise releases an ear-piercing cacophony of sound, as if human screams were mixed with microphone feedback and static interference. This mind-melting sonic blast costs 30 WIL and affects all within 100', requiring a specific PWR check versus the hearer's current WIL score with the following results:
S = The victim is stunned and cannot act for one round.
L = The victim is stunned for 1d10/2 rounds, temporarily deafened for 1d10 minutes, loses 1d10 STA, and takes one wound.
M = The victim is knocked unconscious for 1d10 minutes, temporarily deafened for 1d10 hours, loses 2d10 STA, and takes two wounds.
H = The victim is knocked unconscious for 1d10 hours, rendered permanently deaf in one ear, loses 3d10 STA, and takes three wounds.
C = The victim drops into a coma-like state for 1d10 days, is rendered permanently deaf, loses 4d10 STA, and takes four wounds.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

[Cartoon Action Hour] "Thundarr-esque" Wasteland 2010 Sourcebook Now Available!

One of my favorite RPGs is Spectrum Games' Cartoon Action Hour -- the 1980s action cartoon RPG. And, of course, my favorite 1980s action cartoon is Thundarr the Barbarian. So I was thrilled when one of CAH's Kickstarter stretch goals was released this weekend -- the sourcebook for CAH's "ode to Thundarr" Wasteland 2010!

"A group of bold adventurers travels across a dangerous post-apocalyptic landscape, carrying out missions for the Utopian League, an organization of scientists, civic leaders, and scholars who seeks to rebuild society. Can the heroes make a difference in a world filled with sorcery, strange civilizations, mutated creatures, and other hazards?"

I'm getting a big kick out of this series book (as well as all of the other series for CAH) because I now have a setting to introduce Snydorr, The Wasteland Warrior!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Stamped Adventures: My Play-By-Mail Retrospective

Back in the B.C. Era (before computers), I gamed with a local group and we had a lot of fun doing it. We tried an assortment of games, so there was always a bit of variety in my role-playing youth. But it wasn't enough. I wanted to game 24/7. During those times when my group wasn't playing (due to sleep or school or work or other lame excuses), I'd spend my downtime trying to find other ways to scratch that gaming itch. I'd create NPCs, design modules, and thumb through my well-worn issues of Dragon Magazine. That's when I saw the ad for Silverdawn.

Silverdawn was advertised as a play-by-mail game (PBM) where you could game through the postal service. It was slow, it was costly (to a 14-year-old), and it was perfect. Upon reflection, Silverdawn was unique at the time since there was a physical moderator typing up and mailing you your moves. You would replay with -- in essence -- a letter describing what you wanted to do in the fantasy world, and the moderator would read it and reply with what happens in a similar letter. (It was played very much like contemporary play-by-post games on RPG forums.) Over the years, I've kinda forgotten some of the details of the game. I recall I played a wandering bard with a silver flute who was captured and falsely imprisoned by a corrupt baron. During a jail escape is when I bailed on the game as writing up two pages of text (by hand!) to cover every possible outcome, then waiting for a month for a reply was a bit tiring. So I moved onto another game.

The next PBM I tried was It's a Crime, and it quickly became a favorite. It was more of a strategy management game where you were a crimeboss running a gang of ne'er-do-wells, trying to grab as much control over the city as you could without crossing the cops or -- worse -- rival gangs run by other players. My gang, "The Skull Stompers," was able to carve out a sizable chunk of the city before I ran afoul of a rival gang, "The Ed Grimley Clones." The Clones and I waged jolly territorial war for months, as city blocks traded hands for a while. Then, when we had sapped each other's resources, ANOTHER gang swooped in a decimated both of us. We even teamed up to try and drive them off (players were encouraged to communicate by mail outside of the game to make such arrangements), but it was too late and I was wiped out. I loved it. From the same company, I also tried Monster Island, a similar game of shipwrecked castaways trying to carve out an existence on a remote island but I really didn't get into it very much and bailed after a while. Anyway, that was back in the mid-80s and both It's A Crime and Monster Island are STILL GOING ON (though they're both now run by KJC Games, a U.K. company).

In college years later, I had that same itch to game via mail. (Electronic gaming was still in its infancy as email wasn't a "thing" yet as it was all local BBS bulletin board services at the time). I was already familiar with Flying Buffalo due to Tunnels and Trolls and such, and I recall getting a flyer for their play-by-mail games when I stopped by their booth at Origins (held in Columbus where I was attending OSU). I immediately signed up for Heroic Fantasy to wet my whistle again. This game was played as a dungeon-esque crawl, where you controlled a fantasy party exploring the dungeon's depths. I (stupidly) split up the party to cover more ground and quickly lost them to much powerful creatures. (Never split the party!) My next try was Illuminati based on the crazy-fun card game of conspiracy by Steve Jackson Games. Although I am a fan of the game (and no slouch at it either), I was horribly outclassed by the other players who quickly infiltrated by power structure and whittled me to pieces. (Although I've always wanted to give it a go again...perhaps soon.)

I've run and played in a few games via electronic play-by-post over the years, but there's just something about getting that envelope in the mail. By the time you've filled out you move and mailed it in, you've kind of forgotten about it until the reply comes a few weeks later. Then -- BOOM -- you're sucked right back into that world as you process what's happened and try to come up with a plan to overcome the newest gaming challenge. It's like waiting for the next installment of your favorite show. Sure, you can binge-watch, but I prefer the slow burn -- the build-up to the next installment, building up anticipation to see what happens next. And that's why, although somewhat archaic in today's instant message society, PBM will always be a bit more special to me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

We Interrupt This Blog For Real Life: Please Stand By...

Wow. I have really been ignoring the ol' blog as of late. As way of explanation, many "real life" events and issues have kept me preoccupied. And when I do have down time, I'm working on a few "top secret" RPG projects behind the scenes that will be coming to light veeeeery soon. So bear with me as I neglect The Savage AfterWorld for about another week while I wrap up some stuff.

For what it's worth, here is a rundown of some future blog posts I have hammered together in my "Draft" folder:

  • The Temple of Divine Sight: A new religious order for your fantasy OSR games
  • A review of the classic Pacesetter boardgame "Chill: Black Morn Manor"
  • Advice to newbie GMs on how to set up and run your first convention game
  • And, of course, announcements and reveals on those "top secret" RPG projects!

Please stand by...