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 http://www.tarabryan.com/lamour/index.htmlhttp://www.ourlabrador.ca/member.php?id=46

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.

Stunts:

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.

Stunts:

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

Stunts:

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

Stunts:

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

Stunts:

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

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