Mar 042020

Crypt Worlds

Small, uninhabited, asteroids in or near royal space. There are several of these in The Stones. Nearly all Crypt Worlds are made from mined out asteroids. It is here that the dead are brought for internment. Some of the inhabited worlds in royal space are unsuitable for the burying of the dead. In some cases the dead must be protected from the unlawful attention of looters.

Eventually, these crypts fill up and are moved to a distant orbit where they will be left to float eternally. No one but family or the occasional desperate looters visits these crypts.

The dead memories trade changed all that. Looters now seek the memories of the dead in corporeal form using a form of spirit alchemy to create their illicit substances. To combat this violation of the dead the wealthiest royal citizens add private security firms to the defense of their family mausoleums. The less wealthy add traps, tricks, and monsters to defend their ancestor’s remains.

The Op

  1. Crypt security – to protect the honored dead
  2. Party hired as part of a mercenary company
  3. A shipboard patrol
  4. Visit a sentry outpost
  5. Drive off grave robbers
  6. Capture or kill some graver Robbers to discover a new horror. (Grave Worm on-board raider vessel)
  7. Learn that the raiders were interrupted by Grave Worm attacks.
    1. Grave Worms are semi legendary cryptids
  8. Investigation reveals they are no longer legendary. Defend the crypt.

Basic Grave Worm

[subterranean predator]

[][] fair +2 : predator action

poor -2 : move on surface

stunt –  armor:2 unless exposed on the surface.

Created by insane warlocks using banned magic back on home world. The grave worm is one of the creatures that drove civilization into space. Originally, they were intended to guard undead crypts as they cannot detect the dead.

The reporting of grave worms to the authorities will bring swift overwhelming force to bear. The company would lose their lucrative contract. The crypt they guard would be destroyed by fleet ships. An investigation would tie up resources and pay for all involved until it was determined how grave worms got to this crypt.

The company believes the more reasonable approach is to cleanse the worms from the crypt, perform their own investigation and then relocate the dead worms and any evidence uncovered to another location, possibly one protected by a rival company, before informing the authorities.

The Company – The Lock

Originally started long ago to provide steady paying work for the veterans left jobless by the exodus from home world. Though the original founders were dwarves, the company is multi racial. Folk serve where they can provide the most advantage to the company. The work is easy and the pay is decent even good when bonuses are paid. The company’s discipline and reputation is good, though, many employers believe they are too quick to hand trespassers to the authorities. They would prefer a more permanent end to those who violate their ancestors graves. In truth, some in the company turn a blind eye on minor crypt looting. Without some trespassing the companies reason for existing and it’s contract could be threatened.

Major threats to their crypts are dealt with using the ruthless efficiency of a mercenary company filled with disciplined veterans.


The Captain

Malice Crackanvil Stoneborn

Malice was elected captain by popular vote. She has a record of successful campaigns on dozens of worlds. No one knows why she is called Malice. Everyone is either afraid to ask or too polite.

The Lt.

Tusk Trollborn

Tusk served during the orc uprising. He lost his left hand to an orc chief before strangling them to death with his right. Earning him the orc enemy name “Throat Crusher” a sign of respect the orcs in his command continue to honor.

Master Sergeant

Mary Vimes

A Human woman,she lost her right eye to a wight in a close quarters fight. Later, during a routine patrol an undead raid cut her small squad off and threatened to take the crypt they guarded. She led her team on a suicidal ambush of the wight leading the raid. The survivors of her team remain faithfully loyal. She caries an illegal “wight blade” concealed on her person. It is rumored to be made from the wight that took her eye.

Posted by Lodger
Mar 042020

The tomb of Opacus

Opacus was a necromancy researcher specializing in ghosts and apparitions. She was brilliant and driven. Terrible traits for an apolitical necromancer. A rival had her killed in her lab. Unfortunately, her true death was inhibited by the spells she had woven into the very walls of her lab.
Her lab is now her tomb. She is a specter bound to this plane of existence. Her magic allows her to create magical anchors which prevent her from passing on and allow her to travel beyond her tomb.  These anchors hide and house her incorporeal form allowing her to travel secretly. She can teleport between anchors. In A.N. Society, a lich is beloved for having defeated death, but Opacus has allied with death. There are many who desire her research.


[Spectral Necromancy Outcast]
[Political dissident]
[Death’s ally]
Quick: +3, Forceful: +2, Flashy:+2, Clever:+1, Careful: +1, Sneaky: 0


Animation: Spirit summoning

Possession: Forceful+2 to possess a victim. Attacks do mental stress. A Victim must concede or be taken out to be possessed. (Mental stress)

4 Anchors: for a fate point, concede defeat and vanish to one of the seven anchors.

Incorporeal: great +4 – overcome to hit and (armor:2), Vulnerable to Fire, Magic, Alchemy (purified weapons)

Weapon techniques (stunts)

Read technique: use defense skill to learn an aspect of the target on a success with style. This costs the boost normally generated

Preferred Enemy: wpn:2 vs one kind of target (Human, Undead, Dwarf, etc…)

Elven Blade Adept: school of magic focused on the blade attack and defend with magic. A weapon is magically created for the user to use. Alteration magic. Self only advantages

Subtle Attack: tag a [feint:off balance] aspect for +3

Plan of Action: Carefully plan an attack, retroactively. Pay 1fp and describe a scene where you layout a plan in advance for this situation. Create aspect Carefully with 2 tags

Totem Crafting: Craft a totem to affect a zone . Place a zone aspect Carefully. Carve/Craft the one use totem with 2 tag aspect of a spiritual nature. Requires shaman spell casting

examples: [rage totem] [fear totem]

fair difficulty to overcome, Spend tags to increase difficulty or actively resist overcome actions.



Posted by Lodger
Feb 022020

The Night Sky, continued.

Visitors are led to the ‘Floor’. A vast multi level collection of open stalls and rooms where various merchants sell their wares to passerby’s. Some of the larger rooms are occupied by food and drink establishments. Opened to cater to the needs of both visitors and merchants.

Cherbog’s Elite

The administrators – A council of 6 vampires

Enforcers: Blind Seth – Wraith, surrounded by a frost aura

The staff: Revenants – Willingly raised to serve Charbog until their contract is up. They are then released into death and buried with honors.

The Pack – Vampire hounds, 12 in number. The largest is “Sinan.” The hell hounds are released by blind Seth. Usually to handle threats that cannot be handled by the staff.

Militia – some of the merchants have banded together to act as community police. They hope to handle small problems before blind Seth notices.

A.N. Cults

The current largest cult active in the stones is The Strangling Vine.

Majority: human

There are many small groups of mad folk, but clashes between them are rare despite their often opposed philosophies.

The ascension of The strangling vine was a surprise to everyone. An opportunity created when the Rolling Eye cult and the Fangs of Aphyron destroyed each other pursuing a exiled vampire.

The leader of The Strangling vine is Acacia Sym. Acasia is a cunning mad woman. She was driven mad by close personal contact with an extra dimensional being which manifests as mottled green and red vines with obsidian thorns.

She learned focus:evocation (vines) from it and carries its word to the unbelievers. It’s main goals involve the location of a peculiarly colored sun and a seed that is lost.  Occasional attempts to locate the seed or to investigate vine appearances are hampered by her madness.

Cult of Zen-Bratohn:

Majority: orc

Operating from the shadows, the followers of Zeh-Bratohn seek to improve attitudes about orcs. They act to police out of control orcs and perform charitable acts as orcs. Zeh’s followers have a high percentage of healers, magical and mundane. They are secretive about their purpose in the stones. They have ties to Klehnaki raiders but take pains to avoid them.

The Rose Garden

majority: mixed

technically a brothel catering clients in the stones. An inner circle is made up of 30+ initiates of a blind love god. Mostly harmless in nature, the rose garden is home to some of the stones most connected information brokers.

Order of Light

majority: human,elf

A Royal sanctioned anti- undead task forces. Their Official duties are officially to police cults. They have royal sanction to kill undead at will. This is why they are in the stones. Their presence is physically painful to the undead. They are all trained focus: evocation – sunlight and heavy armor operations. Officially, they lobby royals for permission to destroy the Stones by hurling them at A.N. Worlds. It takes very little provocation to get zealots to go rogue and start the purge without sanction.


Sarina Staroak – elf commander

Doriana Vey – elf, high crusader

Sir Johan Blank – human, sub commander

The order commissioned a small hollow rock to act as their base / sun cathedral. The base is the “Far Star Cathedral.“

The Fire Swarm

a klehnaki swarm comprised of three working ship sized vessels and a dozen smaller vessels.

The firestorm’s main tactic is to set their vessels on fire and crash them.  The fire swarm has an old orc fire and death cult at its heart. These shaman have changed the game for the swarm. The smaller vessels when tasked with fire bombing the crews are protected from fire and impact when they crash their vessel into a target. They emerge from the wreckage and fight crew using the flames as cover to hamper fire fighting efforts.

Bloodtusk’s Second Fireborn

[Orc firestorm traditionalist, Follow the old way, return Klehnaki, Chosen of the fire spirits, Item: book of the ancient flame]

careful-fair, clever-great,forceful-good,flashy-superb,quick(orc)-good, sneaky-good


focus: shaman

Ancient flame, tome – because I hold the tomb of the ancient flame, I get +2 to flashily create a shaman advantage involving fire.

Disciple of the ancient flame – Because I am the chosen, I am immune to mundane fire.

Fire swarm orc raider

[][] attack: fair

stunt: immune to fire and crash damage



[ghost ship – experimental warship]

careful-med, clever-poor,forceful-poor,flashy-med,quick(orc)-ave, sneaky-ave

working ship [][][]


Navigation, Weapon station: scorching Ray 2, engine +1 mild consequence

Not there: 1/session vessel can concede and disappear because everyone is shooting at an illusion.

Cloud generator: Flashy +2 to defend inside dramatic black clouds

Ghost crew:  Slay living +2 / be subtle -2


Immortal pirate captain – Captain Dain

[vengeance driven revenant, hate filled monster]

superb: kill the living +4/ avoid trouble -2


void filled cutlass – 1/fight increase the severity of a consequence.


Orc ship to ship sniper

[orc blow gunner]

shoot+2/avoid hand to hand -2


blowgun darts: on a success with style trade a boost for a situation aspect of:

[poisoned] no action until overcome.

[hallucinating] this compels a full attack action on nearest person until overcome.

[sleeping] sleeping until overcome.


Torin ship yards – goblin collective of ship builders. The collective refers to itself as Torin yards. In addition to their work on several solid ship designs , they rent labor and expertise to other ship yards when they need skilled help. Torin yards is a great supply depot for the invisible fleet.  It is also a monitoring base for spying on royal and a.n. Interactions. The monitors are a professional espionage team. They occasionally finance adventurers to handle problems that haven’t been noticed by official channels.

Goblin Torin mechanic:

[sneaking and spying]+2/[direct confrontation]-2

Vaeda Torin:

[Goblin master ship engineer]

[monitor base commander]

[retired ship captain: serrated fang]

[deep reserves]

[Collector of A.N. Crypt artifacts]


A.N. Crypt artifacts

Phylactery : Bound soul of a lich. 1/fp call on a lich sponsored power to grant wpn:2 to a magical attack. User gains the aspect [sponsored] with no free tags. It lingers until payed off or the phylactery is returned to its owner.

Complication: if the lich is destroyed. It’s soul will possess and sponsored creature in possession of the phylactery.

Blood totem: a vampire fetish which contains one of the blood demons used to create a vampire by the A.N. creation rite. 1 charge – release blood demon servant. It requires 1 adult body’s worth of blood to manifest. Blood demon lasts for 1 scene.

[blood demon] drain or engulf+2/solidify or hide -2

stunt: All Blood – 1/ scene drain attack if successful with style it forces a med consequence and the advantage [growing bigger] instead of a boost.

Staff of Ebon Rites: Staff made of a gnarled black wood of great age. Careful +2 to cast rituals.

Ring of Vedec: Gaudy gold ring created by the fashion challenged wizard, Vedec. A duelist mage. Considered one of the fastest casters of his age. Ring provides quickness +2 for determining initiative.

Bracers of the Elements: Studded with black stones carved from some lost asteroid. When it’s user uses evocation lightning to defend a success with style trade a boost for 2 stress inflicted on the attacker.




Posted by Lodger
Jan 062020

Sector issue: Riddled with claim jumpers

Planet base: Draug Hold (Asteroid Base)

Planet issue: the hungry dead are always watching

“The Stones” are an asteroid belt circling a binary system. A yellow star dancing with a brown dwarf. The belt is littered with valuable minerals and raw gems.

Miners of all types flock here. Mining the stones is hard, dangerous, work. Good work for dwarves. Small independent mining companies dot the belt. Attracting scavengers, who pick off the unwary in the shadows on the belt’s fringe. Rumors of an army of claim jumpers working the outer ring are unsubstantiated but plausible.

A large grey asteroid circles in the inner ring casting shadows behind it as it passes. This is the orbital tomb called “Draug Hold”. Set here by the annular necrocracy (a.n.)  to act as a listening post and trade center on the edge of their territories. The hold is populated by legions of undead led by a dwarven lich  named “A’heet” Stoneborn Glassmaker. Glassmaker is locally infamous for encasing miscreants in glass and keeping the preserved corpses as decorations in the trade tunnels of Draug Hold.


The A.N established Draug Hold to act as a forward observation post and intelligence gathering tool in its cold war with the Royals. It performs the first function using a type of highly sensitive life sensing specter array under the control of the resident lich. It’s second function is achieved by sponsoring a trade hall (The Tunnels) in neutral space just close enough to the a.n. to prevent direct Royal assault. The trade hall is monitored and policed by a powerful revenant. Various servitor undead report interesting conversations to it directly. The revenant was a human named “Dral Tem”.

The trade hall is frequented by orc pirates whose missions are funded by Dral. They are generally well behaved when visiting the hold. Their leader , a nasty captain called Kirgaz’s third Ston Aetherclaw, is being blackmailed by Dral. He isn’t actual Kirgaz’s third or even of the line of Kirgaz and should his crew discover this. They would turn on him. Also, he betrayed his previous crew to an elven patrol to escape detention. This betrayal is public knowledge, if not the details of it. Among orc pirates, several popular drinking songs cover “The Betrayal”. Unfortunately for Ston, one of those killed was collected by Dral and interrogated postmortem.

Adventure seed:

One of Dral’s spies , a goblin named Pehn, has escaped the “3 Blades” shipyard with plans for a new class of dreadnought. Ston’s Pirates have been sent to collect Pehn by Dral. But, Royal fast attack boats are in hot pursuit.  The players find themselves caught in the middle of a slug fest between orc pirates and the Royal Navy.

5 pirate boats

4 royal fast attack boats

1 fleeing spy with plans on a goblin blockade runner

Pehn is a master spy. He could easily swap to the players vessel leaving his own (burning) vessel to smash into the pursuing royal boats. He will attempt to bargain or hijack the players vessel.

Players find themselves in possession of some very hot merchandise because of Pehn. The plans have a tracking spell on them making them easy to find. This is how the arriving Royal frigate “The Hand of Vengeance “ (HOV) will locate their current position and bear down on that location under full power.


Pursued- fleeing the arrival of “The Hand” . The players play cat and mouse with a clearly superior vessel that can track them.

Draug Hold boarders – a platoon of Draug Hold dead arrive to acquire the plans. Compliance will be rewarded. They will not leave without the plans and/or Pehn.

HOV boarders – Capt. Zek, a troll with a no nonsense attitude and experience with pirates. He is a stubborn and calculating foe. He has a secret weapon he will use if it appears the plans are about to fall into a.n. hands. A platoon of anti-undead marines reinforced by dwarf battle healers. All platoon members are armed with alchemist solar silver weapons, very rare weaponry outside the Royal Navy.

Plans Acquired – detailed data on a new class of anti-undead dreadnought. A type of magic banned under the current treaty. The plans will allow the A.N. a short time within which to violate the current treaty without consequences if they can get evidence.

Secrets – unknown to both sides there is an application to this research that any spell user could see. The spell could create a creature of necromantic origin from a dead world or star. While ethically suspect such a creature could easily turn the tide of the ongoing cold war. Pehn used a spell to secretly transmit the data to a hidden specter array used for spying on Royal Space. Which leads the players to step 2.

Step 2: Ice Cold War

The A.N. Deploys a research vessel to a small dead moon at the very outer edge of the system. The moon is code named “the clouded eye”.  The vessel, “Bone saw”, is a black ops vessel used for black ops missions. It is typically crewed by intelligent undead.

The Royals approach:

The Royals send an operative of their own and contact the party. Considering player involvement in the last mission, the Royals are prepared to make them one of the two following offers.

  1. To clear their names in exchange for cooperation. Cash + maintenance in Royal shipyards.
  2. To Smear their names as traitors to Royal space. The Players do want to be able to travel in Royal space again don’t they?

The Clouded eye rises:

Sector issue: Hot dead star radiates no light.

planet: Clouded eye

planet issue: Illegal necromantic research

A tiny moon orbiting a dim star. A secret base ruled by a goblin vampire named Izmelda Darkshore. The Eye is technically a research base which moonlights as an observation post tasked with monitoring nearby Royal military transport corridor. The vessel, tracked by Royal Intel Scryers to the Eye, is the A.N. “Bone saw”. A black as space stealth frigate with experimental star field illusion generator. The “Bone saw” is captained by an ex human turned ghoul named, Ansel TurnCrow. Ansel has arrived to witness a new development in necromancy on behalf of the A.N.. The reanimation of a dead star. A potentially game changing magical technique. Depending on the outcome, the decades old cold war could end and with it all living things.

The Clouded Eye is a featureless rock with a breathable atmosphere and little else. It orbits a dead star which is slowly cooling over eons. There is a population of still living folk on Clouded Eye in service to the A.N.. They perform support functions for the base as well as serving as a food source for Izmelda.

Security: Captain of the guard [bound wight, the barrow calls]

fight +2/ control rage -2 ps:3 ms:2

4 shadows – elite security [untouchable undead shadow]

freeze+2/touch-2 ps:1 ms:2 (immune to non-magical physical attacks)

12 Draug Hold marines [Draug dead, only a head-shot matters]

fight+2/stealth-2 ps:2 ms : <n/a>  stunt: defend at +2 vs ranged attacks because [only a head shot matters].

the plan:

  1. Infiltrate
  2. Investigate
  3. Sabotage

Location – Ritual site: set into the rim of a crater is a small amphitheater. Symbols in precious metals that ring the 3 tiered amphitheater. An ornate alter on a raised dais lies at the center. The ritual itself involves the sacrifice of a dozen living slaves and the bones of 3 fallen necromancers. These slaves were delivered by the “Bone Saw”. The slaves are abductees from around royal space and are currently enthralled by Izmelda. They are also valuable evidence of a treaty violation by the A.N..

NPC: Izmelda Darkshore

[Exotic Goblin Vampire, Problems with sunlight, Brilliant necromantic researcher, I set my own agenda, I remember my roots]

Careful-good, Clever-ave, Forceful-med, Flashy-fair(vampire), Quick-ave, Sneaky-fair(goblin)

Focus: Necromancy (careful)

Fog Defense – because I am a vampire , I can use sneaky+2 when I transform into a fog to defend.

Create Thrall – because I am a vampire , I can use flashy+2 when I create the aspect [dominated] on a victim.

Blood is life – because I am a vampire , I recover 1 minor consequence if I succeed with style and sacrifice the boost when biting.

NPC: Ansel Turncrow

[Human turned ghoul, Flesh eating gourmand, Council’s agent, Authority and responsibility, Smartest ghoul in the graveyard ]

Careful-fair, Clever-good, Forceful-fair, Flashy-ave(human), Quick-good(ghoul), Sneaky-great

Falls from the bone – because I am a ghoul, I recover 1 minor consequence if I succeed with style and sacrifice the boost when biting.

Grave Rot – because I am a ghoul, I create the aspect [grave rot] when I attack with style and sacrifice my boost on a bite attack.

Paralyzing Touch- because I am a ghoul , I use quickly+2 to create the advantage [paralyzed] when I touch living non-elven skin.

Ship: A.N. Bone Saw

[shadowy stealth frigate]  fp:2

[universally reviled]

size warship (major ship)

Component: stealth field generator (Sneaky+2 when hiding but not moving)

Component: weapon system (spine torpedo)

Careful-med, Clever-poor, Forceful-ave, Flashy-poor, quick-good, Sneaky-ave


The ritual to awaken a dead sun spirit begins.

  1. Consecration – a team of living servants (5) prepare the area with tensors of acrid smelling black smoke and 3 braziers are lit.
  2. Sacrifice – 3 bundles of bone filled rags are thrown into the braziers. The bones of fallen necromancers crackle merrily in their braziers.
    1. Living victims (12) are then sacrificed one after the other to feed the spell.
  3. The Naming – how Izmelda learned or created the name of a dead star is a mystery. Fortunately, the device required to be heard in the vast airless void is large and complicated. It is a design based on a modified spectral array common to the A.N.. The Sun Spectre’s name is “A’shuus the empty gaze”. A’shuus isn’t stated because it has a godlike level of power.

Scenario: Diamond and Stone

An accident unleashes an asteroid of undead into the unsuspecting mining range of the stones. A nickel iron asteroid, hollowed out with undead laborers to create a A.N. war ship.

Built in secret, it was fitted with an experimental “death drive” for longer operational range then black silver commonly used in the A.N..

and deployed to Draughold for crew. It’s officially gone rogue.

A.N.S. Hammer Maw

[hollowed out iron war moon]

[undead automation]

[crew of one]

size: warship

Force-ave, Sneaky-ave, Careful-med, Flashy—med, Clever- poor, Quick-poor


  1. Weapon system – lightning projectors
  2. weapon system – armored ram (force+2)
  3. tractor chain – to catch smaller boats (careful+2)

Resources [][][][]

Introduction: Players are passing through The Stones carrying minor cargo. They are suddenly contacted by the A.N. via messenger spirit.

The indentured spirit of a human woman appears on the bridge of their vessel and begins repeating the message. “Message follows. Vessels traveling in the stones be advised. The rogue vessel “Hammer Maw” has been sighted in the vicinity. Use all caution. Avoid contact and report its location to the nearest A.N. Representative. “

The spirit lists a 10000 A.N. gold reward for the destruction of the Hammer Maw. The woman’s figure vanishes.

Delivery of their cargo proceeds without incident.


The crew wass contacted for a short run to an outpost to deliver foodstuffs in exchange for minerals, an easy job with good wages.

Docking at Grinding Rock is made difficult by unusually high levels of ship debris. Overcome difficulty = good.

Secret issue: current – hotbed of the cold war.

Planet issue: Organized crime is good government.

Outpost – Grinding Rock:

After docking and assessing any damage taken during the landing, the crew becomes aware of the eerie silence. No outpost crew comes to greet them. This is very unusual.

The search: Grinding rock

  1. Forceful, flashy = great difficulty
  2. Clever, quick = good difficulty
  3. Careful, sneaky = fair difficulty

Discovery stress: [][][]

discovery box 1 = ore warehouse – dozens of corpses where an apparent last stand took place. Evidence of miner on miner combat. Clever vs. good difficulty to determine that some victims were reanimated before being re-killed by their crew mates. [Postmortem wounds]

discovery box 2 = living quarters – corpses with defensive wounds. These miners were caught unprepared and were unarmed. Clever vs. good difficulty uncovers the corpse of a standard issue A.N. Reanimated Assault Skeleton ( armored marine type)

discovery box 3 = offices – a few corpses, but obvious signs of looting. Strewn invoices, overturned tables, and the back wall of the overseers office has been torn open where the safe was torn out of the rock and carried off.

note: Failed rolls result in random wandering reanimated corpses attacking in numbers, as required, to keep the crew moving.

New Direction:

The “Hammer Maw” appears.


  1. If the crew posted a watch. They have time to load and try to escape.
  2. otherwise, check quickness of the Hammer Maw vs. lowest player quickness. (Note: faster crew may opt to ditch slower players and then circle back to rescue, or not. Their choice.) Failure leaves crew on the rock when the Maw begins attacking the ship.

The Hammer Maw uses flashy to attack with lightning projectors. It will use forceful to ram when in open space.

player options:

  1. Fight – Hammer Maw has the advantage in an open space fight, but in a [debris field] it needs to spend time flashily overcoming the aspect with lightning projectors.
  2. Run – Hammer Maw is not quick, but it will pursue relentlessly.
  3. Hide – The Hammer Maw can move in a stealthy (sneaky) manner if required. It’s weak sensors have difficulty overcoming  sneaky advantages.
  4. Boarding- Hammer Maw is big enough that it would have trouble spotting an opponent in it’s shadow.

Boarding action notes:

  1. Typical crew on the Hammer Maw are reanimated skeletons. They have programmed functions to perform. They will continue to work unless attacked. When attacked all crew present attack together.
  2. The commander unit is an elaborately decorated skeleton. It is bonded to Magda, the vessels current captain.
  3.  Removing Magda from control ends the threat.
  4. She can order the crew to defend her.
  5. Destroying the commander ends her control over the Hammer Maw. This also releases the being that is held in the death drive. (Oops)

The Death Drive:

An experimental new power source for ships is tested. Easier to create and longer lasting then the standard Royal Silver Sink drive system. This makes it extremely illegal in Royal space. It draws on the necromantic field of a powerful undead creature. The A.N. is planning to create special purpose undead to fill the power supply role.  In this instance, they have used a condemned criminal.

The elven vampire Brotol Vesh, was condemned to the Hammer Maw for experimentation. He has used his not inconsiderable charms to turn Magda into a traitor .

Brotol is an ancient vampire from Home world. He used his knowledge of troll lore to convince Magda that he is a troll cultural treasure. A historical source to learn ancient troll legends from. Legends that troll society considers lost before the calamity.

The A.N. put such a large bounty on the Hammer Maw that Magda’s attempts to put ashore and escape into Royal space have all been met with attacks. Magda is now focused on acquiring an new vessel by piracy.

NPC: Magda

[Terrifying Troll Starless Knight, A.N. Foster-ling, Rage fueled action, servitor: Command skeleton, Dark and Foreboding]

Careful-ave , clever-ave ,forceful- fair(troll) ,flashy- Good, quick- Fair ,sneaky- Med


Evocation: Negative energy – create negative energy advantages and attacks

Skeleton – Fair: acts as controller of the Hammer Maw’s skeleton crew. +1 med consequence.


A troll of the Starless Knights. Abducted at a young age from an orphanage in Royal space. She is a ruthless officer of the A.N.. She has been turned against the A.N. by the careful influence of Vesh.


Ship: ANS Hammer Maw

[Hollowed out Iron War Moon, Undead Automation, Official crew of One]

quick-poor, forceful-poor, sneaky-ave, flashy-med, careful-med

component: Weapon station – Lightning generator, Weapon station – Armored Ram (force+2 when ramming, requires a strait run),

Weapon station – Tractor Chain (Careful+2 to capture a smaller vessel)


Organization: The Starless Knights

An order of slave knights raised in the A.N.. The order recruits talented orphans from a series of orphanages run by a front organization in Royal space.  Children showing early talent in magic are recruited into the Starless Order. The order operates on the frontier seeking to subvert or destroy the lit worlds. The knights are trained in the use of evocation: negative energy. They are assigned to support undead groups as healers and special weapons units. Uniforms and armor are black with scarlet accents. Their symbol is a red stylized sun with a grinning fanged mouth at its center.

NPC: Brotol Vesh

[Ancient elven vampire, Problems with sunlight, Collector of trollish trivial, Leader of elven heretical sect, A.N. Traitor]

Careful- good, clever-superb(elf),forceful-fair,flashy-good(vampire ), quick- fair,sneaky-ave


fog defense – because I am a vampire, I can use sneaky +2 when I transform into a fog to defend.

create thrall – because I am a vampire, I get +2 to flashily create the advantage [dominated]

Blood is the life – because I am a vampire, I recover my highest stress box when I succeed with style on a bite attack and I sacrifice my boost.


The pale white of death, Brotol is an ancient vampire and is losing his resemblance to the elf he used to be. His eyes are rich burgundy red in color and his face is vaguely bat like. He is currently dressed in a bloodied white hospital gown.

Location: The Stones

Ruling body: the Syndicate ( dwarves enforcers)

Majority – dwarves

The dwarves of the syndicate are a private lot. They count themselves as neither Royals or A.N. And are far enough away that neither the Royals nor the A.N. have pushed the issue. The area called the Stones has no obvious value, strategically, to either side. The main value of The Stones is a neutral force policed security zone between the empires. The syndicate enforcers keep the region under control and work to keep conflict low key. The stones have become a hotbed of spies, brigands, and revolutionaries. Dwarf religion is based on speaking to the stones themselves. The dwarves are more open minded then usual in The Stones. Each major asteroid has a name and a personality.

Welcome to Octus:

Octus is the undisputed center of The Stones government. Here the only requirement for a seat is undisputed rule over one of the stones. A seat grants one vote. Who casts the vote or sits in the seat must be determined by the inhabitants of the particular stone in question. The A.N. has a seat on the council because of the presence of the Draug Hold. The Royals do not maintain a seat, but are support by loyalists.

Organization: The Enforcers

Dark suited and well groomed, the Enforcers are not police. They are the made-men and women of the Syndicate. They buy their way in with gold and influence and become “The Made”. The face of the organization is Dram Hammersmith. Enforcers choose their leaders based on influence and power. This makes Dram the most influential dwarf in The Stones.

NPC: Dram Hammersmith Stonesborn

[Dwarf leader of the enforcers, Obligations to the stones, Native Octan, Steeped in the rich tradition of hammer making, Infatuated with goblin women]

Skills: careful(dwarf) – fair, clever – good, forceful – ave, flashy – fair, quick – med, sneaky – ave


Back alley general – Because I am a General, I can use careful+2 to create clever advantages involving groups of people.

Ancient hammer arts – Because I am a hammer maker, I get weapon:2 when using a hammer I made

Speachify – because I lead the enforcers, I can use flashy+2 to create adv on listeners from the Stones.


Graying at the temples, Dram is dressed in a finely cut dark suits of charcoal grey with a white button down shirt. He wears a memorable bowler hat with a scarlet band. A large gold ring is worn of his left hand.

Stones of note:

Octus – Which speaks of the eight foretold. The dwarf stone readers say Octus tells the story of eight heroes, unnamed. The stone readers never say anything more of what they read in Octus. They only say, ”He could not choose and she will not choose.”

Fin – Which speaks of food undreamed of and difficult to describe.

Relin – A collection of short tales in which the joke is always on the reader.

Desak – Which has no stories, but is a den of scum and villainy

Zuun – Which only asks ,”why?”, over and over on every tunnel wall and passage. The more superstitious of miners say that if someone digs deep enough they will find a new kind of rock that has the answer. These miners often gather as a cult in dark lit taverns.

NPC: The Speaker for Stone

[Dwarf critic turned holy woman, Not very sane, Stone reader, Dwarf nationalist with Klehnaki ties, Anti-Royal agitator]

Skills: careful(dwarf) – good, clever – fair, forceful – ave, flashy – med, quick – ave, sneaky – fair


Evocation: earth

Animation: earth

Word of stone – Because I am the stone reader, I get +2 to overcome the resistance of a dwarf.


Vessel: The Stone church – a ship built like a stone tower and crewed by loyal dwarves and elementals.


NPC: Lore Master Jon Troll

[Trollish lore master, Historian activist, Core world journalist, Rakish and fashionable, Loyal following of fans]

Skills: careful – good, clever – ave, forceful(troll) – fair, flashy – fair, quick – med, sneaky – ave


The Jonish army – 1/session find an extremely helpful person who is a fan.

Secret histories – because I am a keeper of ancient troll lore, I am sneaky +2 when moving quietly among non trolls

Trolls gaze – because I am a troll journalist, I can use forceful +2 when intimidating an non-troll.


Location: The Hammer and Stone pub.

Built into a mined out asteroid husk. The Hammer and Stone acts as a local watering hole and neutral ground. It is here that the various factions of the syndicate meet in peace. The proprietor is a dwarf so big he has been called ,”half troll”. No one ever does this to his face, or course.

Virgil  shoemaker stoneborn was born on home world and emigrated to The Stones shortly after arrival in Royal space. He crafted a web of agreements and coercion that rivals the Syndicate in scope. He is an unofficial member of the syndicate. His is a strange tale. His greatest talent is a nearly supernatural talent with logistics and accounting. He uses trustworthy agents throughout Royal space and the A.N. to ship and receive goods, services, and information in a timely fashion. Time acts as his ally due to his planning skills.

NPC: Virgil shoemaker stoneborn

[Biggest dwarf ever, Terrifying visage, Business partners everywhere, Owe a lot and owe everyone, Plan for long term. Adapt in-the short]

Skills: careful(dwarf)-fair, clever-fair, forceful-ave, flashy-med, quick-ave, sneaky-good


The Web – 1 FP to contact an expert who owes you.

Fixer – Because I am a fixer, I get a +2 to carefully acquire exotic items as an advantage

Mithril touch – because everything I touch has value to someone, I get +3 when tapping wealth advantages

NPC: Avena Shoemaker Aetherborn

[Dwarven mine collapse survivor, Survivor guilt and ptsd, Reformed tomb raider, Assassin guild sleeper agent and pub owner]

Skills: careful(dwarf)-fair, clever-ave, forceful-ave, flashy-med, quick-good, sneaky-fair


Shadow strike – Because I am an assassin, I get +2 to sneakily attack from the shadows.

Hunter – Because I used to raid crypts in the a.n., I get +2 to cleverly attack the undead.

Proprietor – Because I own the hammer and stone, I get +2 to quickly create architectural advantage in the hammer and stone using hidden passages and equipment.

Items: Smuggled gear

Wight blade – 1/session, a combat attack with a magical dirk. Empowered to wpn: 4 if it hits. This ability can be triggered after a hit.

Specter bomb – (plot device) 1/campaign, inflict sever consequence on 2 zones. Those killed rise as angry souls and begin killing survivors who then rise as well.

Soul wand: (2 stunts) – necromantic weapon, flashy+2 to attack the incorporeal, Capable of attacking incorporeal creatures. Acts as a whip up to 2 zones and can maneuver around defenses, corners.

Dead memories(potion) – usually used by A.N. Interrogators to question the dead. An excellent tool for gathering intelligence. Unfortunately, it can become an addiction. The buying and distribution of dead memories is becoming a problem.

Stunt: Extra – potion of dead memories (1/scene), 1fp to pull out a potion of dead memories pertaining to the task at hand. Careful+2 to overcome pertaining to memories being consumed. Option: Succeed with a cost and gain the aspect [addiction] (for use as a permanent stunt by a player)

Stunt: Enhanced undead, intelligence: because they are enhanced, they get +2 clever to create advantage using their alien cunning. (add as a stunt to any unintelligent undead)

House Fen:

Lead by matriarch Lucinda Fen.

Lucinda’s daughters occupy all positions of authority in House Fen.

A powerful trade house, House Fen , has mysteriously moved all their holdings to The Stones. The main manor is in a large granite asteroid near Octus. It is woven with spells and wards providing security and comfort for its inhabitants. This is Fen manor.

House Fen ‘s daughters are notoriously ruthless and frugal. Several work as sell swords to the syndicate when the price is right. They are highly trained swords women and magical dabblers.

House Fen has an agenda in The Stones. They are forging strong trade bonds with the guilds, the syndicate, and crypt raiders. They offer unsolicited aid to adventure groups with casual mentions of monetary rewards for unusual stones, equipment or artifacts if any should be found.

Fen occasionally commissions dwarven guilds to tap and mine particular spots on very specific stones, often with no monetary expectations.

NPC: Lucinda Fen

[Elven matriarch of house fen, The house and only the house, Mathematician magi, Memories of home world, Goblin allies of the secret pact]

Careful-great,Clever-superb(elf), Forceful-fair,Flashy-good, quick-good,Sneaky-great


alteration magic

focus: math magician- create adv in the form of blessings and predictions. The math magician is using divination to determine optimum success or failure. Magic acts as a computer , the magician’s will is the input.

Ex: a sword woman calculates fields of fire in her zone. She creates advantage +2 barriers to hit her as she knows where the enemy will hit and miss when attacking.

Ex: calculates a target’s actions to create a strike zone adv.+2 to hit.

NPC: Mabe Fen

[Lucinda’s 1st daughter , The house is first, Alchemist master, Syndicate ties, A.N. Ties]

Careful-ave, Clever-good(elf), Forceful-med, Flashy-ave, quick-fair, Sneaky-fair


Alchemy – Cleverly create adv by crafting potions, poisons, or philters. Requires a lab, resources, and time. Ex. Wraith oil- weapon venom adds wpn:2 to first hit by a treated weapon.

Dark charisma – Clever acts as flashy in social events.

Anatomy – Because I studied anatomy, I get +2 to Cleverly create weakness advantages

NPC: Jubek Sen

[Son of  the fen, The house and only the house,  Vanity with purpose, Order of light supporter, Royal ties]

Careful-med, Clever-ave(elf), Forceful-fair, Flashy-good, quick-ave, Sneaky-fair


Lay it on thick – Because I am handsome and I know it, I get +2 to flashily create adv based on my flattery

Misdirection – Because my flattery has purpose, I can tag a flattery adv at +3.

Organization: Klehnaki swarm

Orc raiders in stolen ships. The swarm has learned to stay away from established routes, but will wait at the fringes to attack and capture unwary vessels to add to the swarm. Several small secret bases are hidden in un-populated parts of the stones. Most swarm vessels are small merchant vessels stripped for speed and equipped for boarding.

NPC: Klehnaki boarder: [][] Skill: attack – ave

Ship: Klehnaki swarm ship

[Stripped for speed, Crawling with orcs, Fly it like you stole it]

quick-ave, forceful-ave, sneaky-med, flashy-poor, careful-poor

Component: boarding harpoon – forcefully create adv [hooked]

Location: Night Sky Market

[Clandestine necromantic moving market, Everything for sale, Master Cherbog ” The Leach”]

The night sky market is a massive ship. It was designed in the fever dreams of a necromancer. Bone, stone, and frozen flesh are its main materials. Created to emulate the elven tree stations, horribly. It is classified as as a small moon.

It runs an unsanctioned market for extremely illegal goods and gambling. Doubly illegal as the Royals and the A.N. both don’t approve of it. But, it is too useful for intelligence gathering to shut it down.

Its interior is opulent. Red carpets on black slate tile lit by flickering torch stones in somber but homey hues.

Master Charbog

[Flamboyant human lich, Independent operator, First order necromancy , Ultimate party organizer , Hobbyist orc genealogist]

Careful-great(lich), Clever-great, Forceful-fair, Flashy-good(human), Quick-good, Sneaky-gold


Absorb damage – Because I am dead, I get +2 to quickly absorb damage when defending against physical weapons

Experienced necromancer – Because I am a lich, I get a +2 to carefully use necromancy ritually

Focus: necromancy

focus: evocation-Frost



Posted by Lodger
May 202017

Urban threats are random items you might find in any abandoned fantasy or science fiction metropolis.

Ghost dogs

[][] fair: dog [Dark Mastif]

Stunt: dog +2 stealth in the dark.

Pack birds

[] average: bird [Pack hunting flightless bird]

Pack bird Alpha

[][] fair: bird [aspect alpha bird is smart!]

Stunt: Bird +2 to create advantage using leadership vs. notice

Posted by Lodger
Aug 302010

Hello Lodgers,

August is here and it’s record-breaking cool here. I took a slight break to read up on The Dresden Files by Evil Hat Productions.

Technically this isn’t a review. Oh, I could go on and on about the books and their appearance. (Gorgeous.) Or, I could mention the price. (Reasonable but ouch.) The layout is clean and so on. But, I imagine that these things have been noted numerous times elsewhere.

Instead I will travel into uncharted waters: experiments in system and exploration of the outer range of what can be. Some of which, hopefully, will be of interest to those looking for inspiration.

The rules lay out some “templates” for characterization, all of which are taken from the series of books from which the game takes its name.

It is implicit in the text that these templates are guidelines. While these templates do speed up character creation, the section on powers and stunts is clearly filled with abilities not intended for use with many of these templates. Many are intended for the creation of unique character types, both player and non-player.

Here is where I come in. What follows is a series of PCs and NPCs for use in my campaign. I freely admit that I departed from the world building slightly.

Welcome to the Labrador Coast

A complex political landscape of both mortal and supernatural influences. The Labrador Coast is largely a collection of small fishing villages connected by waterways, and plied by aging barges and water taxis piloted by French-speaking descendants of the native Mikmaq peoples and the European fishermen.

L’Anse Amour

Centuries ago the first humans came to a small cove and buried a child. Something old resides there. Old even then, it made a pact with these travelers: peace and protection in exchange for their cooperation in some ancient, little understood, task. Thus was the first of the Mad Blades created to act as a supernatural sheriff. That Which Sleeps empowered its agent with a blade of whispering madness as their symbol of office.

There is a price to take up the Mad Blade. Those who drowned in the cove are given The Choice. They may take up the Blade and live, or pass on to their final reward. But those who take up the Blade are Its servants and they are doomed. There will be no reward for them, no promised afterlife. They will remain and sleep with the creature at the bottom of the cove. Forever their souls will be kept in a crude stone urn and their voices will be added to the mad whispers of the blade until the Mikmaq Armageddon is achieved at the end of the world and all things.

The current Mad Blade: Mike Sontag

High Concept: Wielder of the Mad Blade

Trouble: Doomed and he knows it

Phase 1 : Born oceangoing trailer trash

Phase 2 : Gambling is in my blood. My blood is on the floor?

Phase 3 : Bargains – Time to stop treading water

Mike made a terrible mistake. An illegal offshore gambling operation decides to write off his debt by drowning him and making off with his sister. That Which Sleeps offers him The Choice.

Phase 4 : Tunnel duelist

Trouble with rebel Boglins at the Gnomish Collective results in Mike dueling a Boglin work boss.

Phase 5 : No time for rules

As the representative of That Which Sleeps, Mike must negotiate a peace between the Eagle people and a human settlement. Mike is forced to break the peace when he discovers a black court vampire destabilizing the area, while his new friend Drale, Prince of Thunder, struggles to hold back his people from a murderous rampage.


Marked by Power (-1)

The Shadowed Gladius (+1)

Cloak of Shadow (-1)

Inhuman Strength (-2)

Supernatural Recovery (-4)

The Catch: Bright Sunlight (+3)

Refresh 4 remain from 8

There are several power players in the area. All of them are delicately balanced against each other. Each of them plays some mysterious part in That Which Sleeps’ plans. Of particular interest to the conspiracy theorist is the large number of rare werecreatures to be found living around the lake of That Which Sleeps.

These are the groups:

  1. Thunder’s Aerie – The descendants of were eagles. Once each generation, a prince is born with the powers of the Thunderbird. This youth is then raised to lead the band’s war parties. All day-to-day decisions are made by a council of elders.
  2. Spider Clan – Were wolf spiders, arguably the most powerful of factions. They are also the least organized. A coalition of family heads (male and female) leads the clan. Spider Clan places great importance on the safety and well-being of their mortal neighbors. Next to the Lich, they are the most active in hunting vampire threats.
  3. Abbey of St. Valentine – A Christian-based cult. The abbey takes in young women on a volunteer basis, usually from poor families. These girls must be extraordinary young women to be accepted. They then spend a year of toil for the abbey before they are inducted into the inner mysteries of the order. The ritual involves the ingestion of a very rare honey. At that point the young woman becomes a worker for the queen of the colony. The Queen is a particularly powerful were wasp. When the colony has grown large enough, the queen will choose her most promising worker and make a queen of her before sending her out into the world to start a new colony elsewhere.
  4. Gnome Collective – A freehold of gnome misfits from the isle of Jamaica. They call the tunnels beneath several human towns home. They run the Gnome Bazaar. The Gnome Militias protect their territories from the influences of Summer and Winter as well as anything that would prey on the human populace. There is a strange connection between the Gnome Collective and the Erl King in the form of Militia Hunter teams.
  5. The Lich – On the furthermost north island is a large, comfortably appointed mansion. The creatures within pose as eclectic scholars entertaining visitors from around the world with discussions of philosophy. These are the undying servants of the Lich, a wizard of ancient origin. The Lich is a freehold lord and thus governed by the accords. The White council takes a dim view of this creature but has more pressing matters to deal with. Perhaps one day, they will send a team to destroy it, but currently it is far too useful as an ally. It has a terrifying hatred of vampires. It has sent aid to several beleaguered warden teams in the form of mage hunters, a form of undead it creates from volunteers who have taken up “The Debt.”

Example characters:

Drale, Were Eagle Prince

High Concept: Were Eagle, Prince of Storms

Trouble: Noblesse Oblige

Phase 1 : The young rain caller

Phase 2 : Run! Logger scum!

Phase 3 : Thunder Bird Descendant

Drale learns to lead his people and to dislike loggers.

Phase 4 : Mike story: Storm’s Unquenchable Fury

Rescuing a swimmer leads to a fight on an oceangoing casino.

Phase 5 : Haley’s story: Why did it have to be underground?

Drale learns he has an inherited fear of being underground as he assists Haley in rescuing some children from smugglers.


Beast Change (-1) Really Big Eagle

Human Form (+1)

Claws (-1)

Wings (-1)

Modular Abilities (-4) (choose one at a time: Huge, Diminutive, Breathe Lightning, Inhuman Strength, Toughness, or Recovery)

Echoes of the Beast (-1) (Vision)

Refresh 1 remain from 8

Human                                                                                Bird

Superb: Presence, Might                                                   Superb: Fists, Athletics

Great: Alertness, Discipline                                         Great: Alertness, Weapons

Good: Endurance, Athletics                                         Good: Might, Discipline

Fair: Fists, Stealth                                                              Fair: Presence, Stealth

Average: Weapons, Intimidation                                Average: Endurance, Intimidation

Spider Clan Hunter (Were Spider Master Hunter)

High Concept: Were Wolf Spider, Clan Hunter

Trouble: Strange Family

Phase 1 : Back Woods Scholar

Phase 2 : 1st to College

Phase 3 : Feuding with the Queen Bee

Phase 4 : Night Stalker for the Eagle Prince

Phase 5 : Tunnel Homes


Beast Change (-1) Huge Wolf Spider

Human Form (+1)

Fangs (-2) [Poisoned]

Spider Climb (-1)

Supernatural Toughness (-4)

Catch (Obsidian Weapons) (+3 Common, research)

Refresh 3 remain from 8

Human                                                    Spider

Superb: Survival, Stealth                Superb: Fists, Endurance

Great: Alertness, Guns                     Great: Alertness, Athletics

Good: Intimidation, Fists                Good: Intimidation, Stealth

Fair: Athletics, Discipline                Fair: Discipline, Survival

Average: Driving, Endurance        Average: Driving, Guns

The Abbess (Were Wasp)

High Concept: Were Wasp Queen

Trouble: Territorial Matriarchy

Phase 1 : Abbey Obligations

Phase 2 : Pact with That Which Sleeps

Phase 3 : Drone Shortage

Phase 4 : Cold War with Were Spiders

Phase 5 : Ethereal European Beauty


Beast Change (-1) Giant Wasp

Human Form (+1)

Claws (-1) (Stinger)

Wings (-1)

Addictive Saliva (Honey) (-1)

Inhuman Speed (-2)

Channeling [Kinetics] (-2)

Refresh 1 remain from 8

Human                                                             Wasp

Superb: Discipline, Resources                Superb: Fists, Alertness

Great: Deceit, Alertness                           Great: Athletics, Discipline

Good: Lore, Presence                              Good: Endurance, Presence

Fair: Empathy, Endurance                    Fair: Empathy, Lore

Afer-Zuul (Undead Mage Hunter)

High Concept: Undead Mage Hunter

Trouble: Beholden to the Lich

Phase 1 : Beautiful Dead

Phase 2 : Runic Tattoos

Phase 3 : Merciless Hunter

Phase 4 : Soft Spot for the Young

Phase 5 : Secret Lives


Living Dead (-1)

Flesh Mask (-1)

Supernatural Toughness (-4)

Physical Immunity (magic) (-8)

Catch (+8) Fire, research

Refresh 2 remain from 8

Superb: Stealth, Guns

Great: Athletics, Alertness

Good: Conviction, Weapons

Fair: Intimidation, Discipline

Average: Lore, Investigation

There is a web of treaty and pact woven between these groups which keeps open conflict to a minimum. This is in each group’s best interest even if they may not realize this. Open conflict brings in the Mad Blade and their patron That Which Sleeps. None of the factions wants to be the one that forces the awakening. So conflict simmers in a supernatural cold war for the time being.

All of the characters are fit for player use in a campaign with an 8 refresh.

Places of note:

L’Anse Amour – A quiet and tranquil place where something old and powerful dreams, and in dreaming shapes the world.

The Gnome Bazaar – The ultimate destination of all that is lost or forgotten. Features of the bazaar include the animated skeleton of a North American mastodon, the hanging fuselage of a WWII vintage P-38, and a translucent blue obelisk made of unmelting ice. All are welcome here provided they abide by the rules. The bazaar is accorded neutral ground.

Thanks for visiting. I’ll try to be more punctual with my next installment.

Legends of Anglerre arrived this month. Who’s up for some dungeon stuff Fate style?

The Lodger

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , ,
Jun 292010


I’ll be talking about Deluge again today.

My topic is “Route Creation.” Diaspora calls them “clusters” but that doesn’t make sense in the context of survivor villages.

A route is the local area familiar to your players: a series of villages and obstacles that will be known to them as part of the local geography. I’m using part of the Star Blazers Adventures sections on group-oriented adventure creation for the village stats.

  1. Start with a blank sheet of paper.
  2. GM picks the number of villages to be created. I think one village per player should be plenty, but more doesn’t really seem to cause too many challenges. My example has 4 villages.
  3. GM starts by placing a Major terrain feature/target area on the map. This is the driving factor for the area and can be almost anything: Mountain, Mines, Ruins, etc. This feature gets one aspect all its own. This  major feature dominates the area. It is often visible for miles even in the heaviest rains.
  4. Player 1 to the left names a village and rolls its 3 stats.

Stat 1: Tech level – Tech level indicates the available manufacturing level of the village. Roll 4df.  Any roll between +4 and -1 is treated as a -1. The other values are self explanatory.

Stat 2: Size level – Size indicates the current population. (4df Roll)

Home -4
Hamlet -3 -2
Village -1 1
Town 2 3
City 4

Stat 3: Wealth – The current wealth of a village. Mostly measured in what it can barter with. Usually trade goods or expertise. This is a simple number.

Choose 2 aspects to personalize the population. Local problems, relationships, or advantages are all good ideas.

  1. GM places a terrain feature next to the previous village. This has a single aspect and represents a point of interest or difficulty on the path to the next village.
  2. Rinse and repeat for each village.

This is the basic “Route” characters will travel and trade on. This forms the basis of a common shared background between them. The GM places a third aspect on each of the villages. This aspect represents the villages’ interaction and relationships with each other or their most significant terrain feature. Once that is done, technically, character generation or play can begin if characters were generated previously.

However, the villages could be made to provide a mechanical advantage in addition to their aspects. Star Blazers Adventures provides a set of stats for towns. This would allow characters inside a town to access that town’s skills for their own use; possibly even a companion bonus as if the town were a character itself.

Village Stat Block:

Structure stress: = Scale (City=5, Town=4,Village=3, Hamlet=2, Home= 1) This is the structure and infrastructure of a town. When reduced to zero the town has been destroyed.

Morale stress: = Scale (City=5, Town=4,Village=3, Hamlet=2, Home= 1) This is the populace. When reduced to zero the village has been abandoned.

Consequences: Per skill effected (Average(+1) = 1 mild, Decent (+2) = 1 mild, 1 moderate and Good (+3) = 1 mild, 1 moderate, and 1 Severe) A city takes damage differently then a character. Each of its skills can be used to absorb structure or morale stresses. A skill that has taken all of its available consequences can no longer be used and represents the loss of some critical industries. Additionally, the new consequences can now be tagged for effect to further grind the town down unto its destruction. These consequences also provide a mechanism for recovery after the attack. Treat these as wounds to be treated by any appropriate player or town skills.

Aspects: 3 (the aspects previously chosen)

Skills: Scale 1 = 0 pts, Scale 2 = 2 pts, Scale 3 = 7 pts, Scale 4 = 16 pts, Scale 5 = 20 pts

3 skill categories = General, Offensive, Defensive

General skills: Scouts (advanced warning and detection/area knowledge), Repairs, Salvage (recovery of old tech/archeology; requires warehousing/1 level), Docks/Barracks(Barracks house troops (see offense skills). Barracks can deploy one unit per exchange per skill level), Manufacturing, Mining (requires warehousing/1 level), Warehousing (Guest housing/animal farming/storage – one skill level for each skill which requires warehousing), Systems (required at Scales 4 and 5. Systems covers items not specifically mentioned; such as medical, libraries, messengers, bureaucracy, etc.)

Offensive skills: Melee Combat (fighting inside the village), Ranged Combat (fighting outside the village), Information War (including sabotage), Troop Facilities(1 squad/platoon of 10 troops per skill level)

Defensive skills: Walls(select only once), Hardened Structure (select only once; add Structure stress point equal to the skill and reduce attack damage on the walls by 1 pt per skill level), Concealment (select only once; some habitations are hidden to avoid attack all together). Walls and Hardened Structure cannot be greater then +3 skill level.

This is some major untested systems tinkering by me. But the main idea is to provide some mechanical advantages for players to encourage village building. Players in good standing with a village may substitute one of the village’s skills for one of their own as long as that substitution is supported by narrative, once per scene. Thus, a trader in need of goods to trade who has the support of a village (they’ve helped out there before) can roll on the village’s manufacturing to produce some goods (to a certain level/ quality) or to place an aspect, via a maneuver, on a load of goods to be tagged later (such as a load of weapons with the aspect: Hidden Flaw). Since players are starting out fresh, the GM probably won’t need the village stats immediately. But, as players assist their chosen homes by moving goods or improving facilities, villages will gradually grow and develop in new ways. Perhaps after each session, players and GMs should discuss what they see as having improved in their home village and a new skill can be added to the bottom of the pyramid.

Also, village skills can add +1 to assist player skill rolls and players can add +1 to the village’s rolls as long as the skills are appropriately similar in nature.

Example Route:

I created a sample route to illustrate how this could work.

GM-placed prime area

  1. Mount Garth [Aspect: Crumbling Basalt]: Mount Garth is all that remains of a once great mountain. Pounded into submission by the rains, the basalt columns lie in great stacks like blackened bones. They are visible from most clearings and dominate the skyline where the jungle allows.
  2. Garthville [Aspects:Made of Stone, Too Big, Lawless] {Stats: T-3,S+1,W-1}:  Garthville is in decline. It was once a bustling community of stone masons. Now its population has dwindled to a few grizzled miners. It is comprised of large stone buildings of which only the centermost are still occupied. The city has the air of a graveyard, silent and sepulchral, until the living areas are found, where a drunken revel to rival Odin’s hall is always raging. Miners only stop drinking when their chits dry up. They then return to the mountain to rake at its bones until they have enough carts of stone to trade with merchants for more drinking chits.
  3. Terrain feature: The Garth Road [Aspect: Stone Road]: Built by the early denizens of Garthville before it was realized how valuable their stone was. It is now constantly patrolled and maintained. It is far too valuable to dismantle as it provides a nearly rainproof connection to the next town.
  4. Tractorville [Aspects: Pig Farm, Methane Plant, Gas Tractor] {Stats: T-1, S-2, W-1}:  Tractorville sprung up at the end of the stone road when a group of mechanics recovered an aging tractor frame and adapted it to a methane engine. As the only working tractor in the area, it is used to transport stone to nearby areas.
  5. Terrain feature: Bright Jungle [Aspect: Strange Plants]: The jungle around Garth Mountain is not a normal place. The return of the jungle to this part of the world awoke strange seeds in the bones of the mountain.
  6. Black Patch [Aspects: Jungle Garden, Unhealthy Dirt, Trade Powerhouse] {Stats: T-1, S+1, W+2}: Deep in the bright jungle is a patch of black earth on which nothing will grow. The perfect place for a village. Black Patch is a wealthy trade haven. This village uses the strange plants and fungi of the bright jungle to make a living, which currently means trading fermented goods for stone building materials.
  7. Terrain feature: Apache Preserve [Aspect: Constantly Watched]: This patch of jungle is frequented by a tribe of intelligent bears. They are currently not hostile to humans. But never doubt, you are constantly watched.
  8. Savage End [Aspects: River Port, NeoSioux Outpost,Tribe  Bears] {Stats: T-1, S+2, W-1}: Savage End overlooks the massive and dangerous Savage river on which NeoSioux steam vessels ply their trade. Savage End is part of the NeoSioux civilization. There is a garrison of their troops here and some of those troops are bears. Trade here is largely in storage facilities holding goods destined for other places.
Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , ,
Apr 052010

Greetings from the Internet’s secret back alley,

Earlier I promised to share some of the development I did for my Deluge campaign. So here’s a couple of things I’m using for my campaign.

I’ll be using Diaspora for characters and base system with a little bit of Star Blazers Adventures for survivor village statistics.

Diaspora is a hard science sort of game, so some of the skills don’t apply to a survival game. I removed the skills Energy Weapons, MicroG, Culture/Tech, and stripped the [space] trapping off Navigation, Gunnery, and Engineering. I added the skills Scuba and Ballistic Weapons (Bows, Crossbows, Slings).

This simple skill conversion covers all my requirements for the story I want to weave. The Profession skill acts as a catchall for player desires.

Character Generation Phases are an important part of Diaspora. They are no less so for my Deluge game.

Characters: 10 aspects, 3 stunts and everyone starts with 5 Fate points.

Phase 1: Growing up – You grew up in the hot wet ruins of Deluge. What did you learn?

Phase 2: Starting out – Village life. It takes a village to raise a child in the future. What was yours like? Choose a motivation as one of your two aspects.

Phase 3: Close encounter of the third kind – No one knows what they are. But, at some point everyone sees one. What did your glimpse teach you?

Phase 4: Disaster – It rains everyday. Some days are worse. What was your bad day?

Phase 5: Here and now – Why are you here? What are you doing? Choose a duty as one of your two aspects.

Note on the “Have a Thing” stunt: that advanced piece of equipment you wanted? It’s ancient tech from before the rain. That makes it T0 at the highest level (T-1 is normal for PCs, lower is always available). Usually these things are special versions of existing equipment. This stunt can now include modified ammo types or special loads because ammo is becoming increasingly scarce. When your special ammo is gone, though, it’s gone. Time to pick a new stunt.

Deluge has a sanity check; Diaspora doesn’t. But Fate has a way of simulating this.

Sanity composure hits: terrifying things such as:

  1. The first time you get hit in a fight
  2. The first time a bear talks to you
  3. The first and every time you see an angel

These all cause Composure damage. The first damage rule is from Diaspora and I won’t be changing that. The other two (and anything else your Gm (I) wants) will call for the player to make a flat 4df roll to resist, modified by your Resolve.

Here’s my table:

  1. Talking bear: Sanity check = +1
  2. Seeing a giant octopus or intelligent squid: Sanity check = +2
  3. Alien angel creature: Sanity check = +3

Example: Billy Bob has ducked into a dark cave to avoid a cannibal raiding party. He should have checked better before entering. A deep gruff voice growls, “Who goes there?” Billy turns to find himself looking down the gaping maw of a massive shotgun held one-handed by the paw of a 10-foot tall grizzly. The GM calls for a flat roll of 4df. Billy rolls a -1. His Resolve is +2 and because it is greater then the bear’s +1 rating, it adds an additional +1 to his roll, making it a +0. Billy is about to take a 1-point hit to his Composure when the GM offers him a Fate point saying, “This is a creepy cave.” If Billy accepts the Fate point, he takes a 3-point hit to Composure. He may need to buy off this damage with a Consequence such as “I wet mah pants, dang.” He can also deny the compel at the cost of a Fate point he may need later. He’ll still take the one Composure if he does, though.

Villages are going to have a stat block, but I haven’t finished thinking about it yet. I’m thinking that the random tables will be providing some of the aspects that villages will be using. Possibly more on this later.

Diaspora recommends the use of imagery as a tool for delivering story points, so here are mine. I chose three to start with.

  1. An ancient stadium half-flooded with black sea water and wrapped in jungle creepers. A crowd screams for blood as twelve convicts are led to two oar-driven whale boats and armed with wicked harpoons. A ripple in the black water betrays the presence of something huge, intelligent, and many-armed as it races towards the boats. Jetting around the various floating debris and artificial islands dotting the arena, it closes in on its meal.
  2. An insane bear named Charlie standing many times the height of the humans it guides. Its thick fur scarred in ritual patterns. Its voice wrinkled by time and alien knowledge. It rambles and stares at its surroundings, seeing nothing and yet something more. A failed experiment given new and terrible potential.
  3. In the heat of the jungle, bacteria and fungus grow in infinite number. The old ways are gone forever. Those who embraced the ancient before the fall carried the future in their dreams of steam and independence. A village viewed from above is lit in brilliant blue-white arc lights. Freshly hand-wound generators turned by methane made in industrial anaerobic digesters. Anachronism made modern by a new order of brass and cog.

Weapons and equipment:

Anything could be justified with a stunt.

The state of the art varies by village from late Stone Age (T-4) to later industrial (T-1). The players’ starting tech will be decided by their home village. The average is crossbow, iron spear or sword, and leather armor. The typical vehicle is a cart and ox affair. In more elaborately supplied areas, the occasional cart and elephant will be seen.

Description: The Sundown World

The sunset world has passed into darkness and storm. The fall did not come as anticipated. Another intelligence has chosen our world for its home. As H. G. Wells once wrote, “Yet across an immense ethereal gulf, minds that are to our minds as ours are to the beasts in the jungle, intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.” They came unbidden and unnoticed and in the blink of an eye, our world fell to eternal storm. The rain became our master. One hundred and fifty years later a new human stalks the jungles. A hardier breed resistant to disease and wound. Lean and hungry, these new children stalk the ruins of the old world, searching for their heritage and building their new world on the bones of the sunset world.

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , ,
Nov 192009

Sorry, sorry…I know I said I’d try for one post a week. But I have a really good excuse. You see, there was this monkey, a giant space monkey. He needed a ride home and I was heading that way so I said, “What the hell. Why not?” Well, you’ve probably noticed my bandages by now, right? No? Well, never mind then. Suffice it to say the monkey and I have gone our separate ways. I got bandages and he got tetanus. (Long story.)

So, how about two quick posts this week to make up for my negligence? I knew you’d agree.

Part 3 of my Diaspora adventure. I post here  my player’s writeup.

Diaspora, Iron Spiral’s first adventure, 11/14/09  Note: My player came up with a new name, so cool.

IS (Iron Spiral) was selling lichen at some market somewhere, when the GM decided to try the social mini game. There was one other salesperson there, a woman also selling lichen. We had one customer, a man who to start with wasn’t looking at either of our stalls; he was checking out refractory materials nearby. IS decided to say to him, “Hey, what do you think of that near miss between two ships last week that almost caused a political scandal between Gemma and Demon Rock?” or something close to that, because she recognized that he was a pilot from his clothing. He said he was a pilot, but hadn’t been there. She said, “But I saw you on the news!” That caused him to say he hadn’t been there, but he had been on the news before. The other saleswoman said something like “Come get your lichen cakes while they’re hot,” which failed to grip him. IS turned out to have a fancy lichen sculpture/painting of two fleets of ships in front of a nebula. The ships were made out of iron, the rest out of variously colored and textured lichen (IS has a high Art skill). The pilot came over and admired the artwork. He said he was a Gemman pilot of a trade ship, and then he lowered his voice and said they had a goddess on board. IS asked what she was the goddess of, and he said the goddess of light and shadows, which turned out to mean that she could use a technology that could create impressive light-based phenomena. He said he’d buy all her lichen if she sold it for half off. There was a little haggling and he eventually agreed to buy the lichen at 47% off, which wasn’t really much of a deal, but what the hell. At the same time the other saleswoman had put on some weird music to try to get his attention, but gave up when she saw that he’d bought from IS. (End of social mini-game.) Oh yes, part of the 47% off deal was that IS would also get to meet the goddess. The pilot’s name was Gene-G(Gene) asked when IS would be free to meet the goddess, and IS said, “Well, since you bought all my stock, how about right now?” IS took down her stall and helped him carry the lichen to his ship, which was named the Cloudburst. The ship was very impressive. It also had gold decorations befitting a goddess. It had an odd smell coming from deeper inside. G led IS to a strange, large room which he said was called the ship “park.” This was where the smell was coming from, for it had grass and trees and a stream, all of which IS had heard about but never seen personally. Sometime while they were talking, during which G became quite animated when IS told him she was also a pilot and he started rattling on about the Cloudburst’s engines, G mentioned that the goddess had a “pet savage” who turned out to be a man from Demon Rock. This man had what G called a “thing” that G believed should be locked up because it was so dangerous, but that the goddess said would probably then break loose and kill people, so no, it got to stay free. G said he’d make an offering to the goddess of the lichen, and then IS could meet her. They headed toward the goddess’ office. IS thought she saw something metallic following them, but wasn’t sure. She mentioned this to G and he said he didn’t see anything. Then a voice said, “She’s right,” and a huge man in an antique armored vac suit with a horned helmet suddenly appeared, along with a very large granite boar. This was Deng, the “pet savage,” and his granite boar, whose name was Snaps and Drools (Snaps for short). G was extremely startled. D(Deng) said to G that the goddess wanted to see him, alone. It was about letting unauthorized people onto the ship. G hurried off to her office. D said he was the ship security officer, and asked why IS was there. She told him. He said, “Well, you’re here, so you might as well get the rest of the tour of the ship.” She petted S(Snaps) and it licked her. D said, “He thinks you taste good.” While D escorted IS, he told her that there was a vacancy on board for a secondary pilot, because the secondary pilot had gotten injured by S (he shouldn’t have tried to play with S). IS got to meet the goddess, Tu-Anon-Romten, who G had said was the least popular in her family, and that her father (also a god) had given her the Cloudburst in order to get her out of his hair. T(Tu-Anon-Romten) appeared backed by a godlike glow, and offered IS the pilot job. IS accepted. IS had a tearful farewell with her parents. Her father gave her an energy gun that had belonged to her grandfather. T also arrived and gave IS’s family gifts, which had been tribute given to her by some worshippers. IS boarded the ship. After she familiarized herself with the bridge, T appeared by hologram and gave commands. T also revealed that IS was the new captain, replacing G, who’d been demoted to secondary pilot. T ordered that they fly to Plug. It took a day to get to Demon Rock, at which one had to refuel in order to get to Plug. Actually IS took the ship to the Demon Rock refueling station, not the planet. The administrator assigned the Cloudburst one of the last to be refuelled, which pissed off T. T had D, S and IS come with her on a visit to the administrator. Inside the station, two Demon Rock guards saw them and reached for their weapons, but D made signs at them, and they saluted and stood aside. The station actually had Gemmans and Demon Rockans working there, plus I think a few visitors from Plug. T had D order S to burrow/eat through the administrator’s door. Inside was a terrified Gemman administrator. S started eating some of the furniture in the room. T and IS convinced the administrator to move the Cloudburst up to #5 in the list, out of about 180 ships. The administrator claimed he didn’t know the Cloudburst had a goddess on board. T wanted the #1 spot, but the administrator told her that was taken by the God of Heavy Weapons and Machine Guns, so T backed off. So now it wasn’t going to take weeks to get refuelled; only a few days. As they were returning to the ship, they noticed that they’d turned up on the news. D was not happy. T gave D and IS the day off and thanked them for their support. IS asked to meet D at the park, where she asked why he was unhappy about being on the news, and he said it was because he was something of a celebrity on Demon Rock because of his saving that warren from rogue granite boars and taming a wild one, which isn’t something normally done (taming a wild granite boar, that is). He said he preferred to lead a low-key life. He asked IS out to dinner on the station. Said he knew a good restaurant, which was owned by his foster mother, and he wanted IS to meet her. On the way to, and during dinner, S had taken the form of a large walking stick that D held. D explained that normal granite boars eventually decided to stop shapeshifting and settled on a preferred shape, but not S. D’s foster mom was a tall, tough blonde named Ping. She and IS liked each other. She chastised D for not writing, then they started talking about life on Demon Rock, which was better because there hadn’t been any recent granite boar attacks. IS, feeling paranoid, noticed four young vac-suited Demon Rock women at another table watching, but they seemed to be only interested in staring at D. IS commented how much she liked the view of the Hyathis nebula from Demon Rock, because at the Triskidar Belt, all you could see was the nebula’s top left tendril. P(Ping) said she’d like to visit the Triskidar Belt again because she hadn’t in a long time, and IS encouraged her because now happened to be the regular but infrequent occurrence in which the Hyathis tendril would move, as seen from the Belt. It was an altogether pleasant dinner, after which, back at the ship, IS went to bed. Okay, nothing adrenaline-pumping happened, but I had fun.

As you might have guessed, there is quite a lot of player-based story being added here. My GM style is to create realistic NPCs with goals (usually clearer stated in their aspects). Each NPC will follow their goal to its logical conclusion if the players are willing to follow that course. This allows me the flexibility to drop story threads as they become uninteresting to players. It also creates an organic “lived-in” feeling for the universe, which some players respond to. It has its complications as well. A large group (I’ve run up to twelve players at once) will immediately start splitting off to pursue their characters’ interests. This can be a challenge for a GM and all that parallel processing can bog a game down. There is also a certain player type who will take advantage of loopholes in the system, derail the adventure, or attack apparently important NPCs. These players are flummoxed by this method of driving a story. Since each NPC carries a goal he or she is trying to reach, exclusive of the players, they are quickly outnumbered and neutralized, usually, by other players.

That’s how I do it anyway.

Posted by Lodger Tagged with: , , ,