Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fractured Sol: Plains of Dust

The game of Atomic Robo continues with +Mark Miller +Frank Falkenberg +Ron Frazier +Robert Sims and I. The game really heated up this week. We had the introduction of a new PC, exciting. The beginnings of a new heist, also exciting, and the introduction of a whole bunch of new villains. Overall the game seems to be going well.

A conversation that Ron and I had has made me want to delve a bit into the weapons technology of our setting. He asked what sorts of weapons we used? Whether it was traditional cartridge weapons or if we had lasers or mass drivers, or what. So I thought I would devote a bit of time to the concepts. It seems I can't get past the writing of weapon descriptions. I have spent the last six months writing what amount to equipment guides for Jadepunk, and now I am writing them for our Atomic Robo game. Heh, guess we all have our niches, and this is mine.

Most human weapons are chemically or electromagnetically compelled. By and large they come in two forms. Magnetic accelerators are basically a rail gun that fires small bits of metal at incredible speeds. This works like the guns in Mass Effect only with electromagnets rather than mass effect fields. Recently there gas been some experiments in man portable gravity based projectile weapons, but they are still experimental. The other weaponry used are gyrojet weapons. Mostly they are used for micro-gravity and zero gravity environments, as the kick from a normal gun can be problematic.

The Europeans(from Europa) have never needed projectile weapons as they have Telekinesis and can just accelerate matter on their own.

The Hellions main weaponry are pulsed laser weapons. They have near zero recoil and are intensly powerful, They are not, however, silent. When the laser hits the surface of a target it cooks off a layer rapidly. This causes a popping sound. They are generally set to fire off bursts of three to five laser blasts, in less than a second, blowing a hole in the target up to nearly three inches deep and making what sounds like a loud bang(all those expanding molecules gotta go somewhere).

There are of course loads of other weapons that are used, but these are the primary weapons used by each species.

Here is a recording of the game, should you wish to watch it:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jadepunk: Dark Premonitions



As some of you may know I am currently writing a series of short stories for Serial Tales: Iconic Adventures, a Patreon that +Ryan M. Danks and I started. The story series I am writing is set in the world of Jadepunk, so I thought it would be fun to write up the characters of the series as Jadepunk characters. Sort of like a preview, only playable. A playable preview, if you will.

As I wrote her up, I realized that there are going to be some gaps in the narrative here. A lot of her aspects only show up during the story. I guess that is one of the differences between a game and story. In the game you have the character in broad strokes right from the start, whereas in the story you are introduced to the character one piece at a time.

Name: Lacao Keahi
Princess of the border province of Shinkenu, an idyllic island on the fringes of Kaiyumi territory.
Portrayal: Provincial Kaiyumi Princess
Nearly from birth Keahi was raised to rule. Her mother ensured she had the finest tutors and was schooled in all the royal arts. Though only the ruler of a small province, her mother had much higher aspirations for her daughter.
Origin: Trained To Rule
Shinkenu has recently discovered a major vein of red jade in the extinct volcano at the heart of the island. This has led to a great deal of interest by the great nations in the island. Keahi's mother has gone off to the capitol to negotiate new trade contracts, leaving Kaehi to rule for the time she is gone. In the last few days some of the fishing boats have gone missing. Her advisers think it is the weather, but Keahi fears something darker is at play.
Inciting Incident: War Nips at Her Heals
Keahi sees her current situation as a chance to test her theories on leadership. She disagrees with much of how the Empire runs things. Her mother thinks it is just a phase and that a little authority will help get it out of her system.
Belief: Government Must Serve the People
Shinkenu has very few defenses. It had never needed much previously, as they had few strategic resources. Now that red jade has been discovered, the defenses are lacking. Those in charge are all to aware of this.
Trouble: On the Run From Trouble To Trouble

Professions
+3 Aristocrat, +2 Scholar and Explorer, +1 Fighter and Scoundrel, +0 Engineer

Assets
Lacao Family Armor: Blue jade armor that can instantly form around her at her will. Increases her speed, protection, and combat prowess. One hundred years ago, Kaiyu began to conquer and colonize many of the smaller island nations that surrounded it. During this time a young general named Lacao Heido rose to prominence. Shinkenu and this armor were given to his lineage as a sign of the empress' pleasure.

Function Aspect: Blue Jade Reactive Armor
Features: Focus 4(+2 Explorer and Fighter), Protective 2(reduce shift value of succesful attack against you by two), Sturdy 2(two extra stress boxes)
Flaws: Situational(Can only use explorer and fighter when outnumbered)
Cost: 5

The Seal of Shinkenu: Her mother's seal, used on all official documents. Entrusted to Keahi until her mother's return. The seal represents the imperial power granted to the leaders of a province. Whoever holds the seal, holds the fate of the family.

Function Aspect: Jade Provincial Seal
Features: Focus 1(+1 Aristocrat), Aspect(Symbol of Imperial Authority)
Flaws: Situational(only when dealing with issue related to the province)
Cost: 1


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fractured Sol: Lunatics Unleashed

Last Sunday I ran a game of the Atomic Robo RPG for +Frank Falkenberg +Ron Frazier and +Mark Miller. I think it went rather well.

Our heroes(and I use the term a little more loosely than normal) arrive on the moon and begin their search for December's sister and the secret Martian files she stole. After a fair bit of investigation they discover that she is in jail after breaking into a Lunar Casino. In the course of their investigation they realize that she had not broken in to steal something, but to leave something. POL noticed through his nano-tech sensor network that they were being followed. A bit of a fight begins with a local gang, the Moon Ogres. While the heroes win the fight, but the local constabulary shows up and they get arrested. What follows was a standard escape and flight from justice while holding a conversation with August about the nature of what she is doing. As they made their way out of the lunar plains they find out that what she stole is dangerous beyond all imagining.

We ran our first brainstorm this session, and I think it went rather well. If you would like here is a recording of the game.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Fractured Sol: Characters and Addenda

Yesterday I wrote about the world we created during our game of Atomic Robo. Today I would like to share the characters that my players made. They are awesome, characters and players alike.

Player: +Ron Frazier 
Name: P0-7A-1423 (Pol)
Concept: Modular Ship Intelligence
Good Mode Aspect: More Than Just a Talking Machine*
Fair Mode Aspect: Natural Space Navigator
Average Mode Aspect: Backups, Checks, and Protocols
Omega Aspect: A Serious Personal Jackpot

Good(+3) Mode: Aperatoid
Fair(+2) Mode: Pilot
Average(+1) Mode: Science

Skills
+5 Athletics, Notice, Physique
+4 Combat, Vehicles
+3 Computers, Engineering, Astronomy
+2 Contacts, Will
+1 All Sciences

Stunts and Mega Stunts
APERATOID STRENGTH (2): Absolutely stronger than any human (Physique), but at a cost; +2 to overcome with Athletics when jumping.
METALJAK (5): Bulletproof, but at a cost; Armor: 2; Weapon: 2 when fighting hand-to-hand; +2 to Vehicles to CA when airborne; +2 to Combat to attack when airborne.
SIGNATURE ASPECT: More Than Just A Talking Machine.
ASTEROID DODGER: +2 CA Vehicles when pulling off a fancy maneuver.ROUTINE MAINTENANCE: Use Physique to remove your own physical consequences, but without the usual +2 increase in difficulty.

Player: +Frank Falkenberg 
Name: Captain Ernest H. Serious (from the good old Earth)
Concept: A Crew of One
Good Mode Aspect: Sometimes violence is hilarious
Fair Mode Aspect: Honestly, would I ever lie to you?
Average Mode Aspect: Scum of the blasted Earth
Omega Aspect: August’s, December’s sister, Ex.

Good(+3) Mode: Action
Fair(+2) Mode: Banter
Average(+1) Mode: Mutant

Skills
+5 Athletics, Combat
+4 Provoke, Deceive
+3 Notice, Physique, Vehicles, Will, Empathy, Contacts
+2 Rapport
+1

Stunts and Mega Stunts
Duplication (2) - Proof against physical damage, but not vs. energy weapons; any hit, that would have caused physical stress produces the number of shifts in duplicates. (Dupes are mooks without stress boxes.)
Lend me a hand - Create Advantage by using Combat produces 1 duplicate for a success, 2 Dupes on a success with style.
Friends in low places - +2 to Overcome with Contacts in the seedier side of society

Player: +Mark Miller 
Name: December
Concept: Cold As Ice Former Operative
Good Mode Aspect: Friends? Enemies? Who can tell anymore?
Fair Mode Aspect:
Average Mode Aspect: So many secrets.
Omega Aspect:

Good(+3) Mode: Secret Agent
Fair(+2) Mode: Cryokinetic
Average(+1) Mode: Intrigue!

Skills & Stunts have yet to be fully finalized

Fractured Sol: Beginings

The other night +Ron Frazier+Frank Falkenberg, +Mark Miller, and I all got together via hangouts to play a game of Fate. +David Lee could not make it to the game, though we hope he will be able to play in our future games. We had discussed prior some basic campaign premises and what we were aiming for, we eventually landed on this pitch: Science Fiction Supers set in the future Solar System. We also decided to use Atomic Robo for the system. This will be my first time running this particular iteration of Fate. I hope it goes well.

We dove right into world building, defining the setting as a little over one hundred years in the future and set in our solar system. Ron wasn't quite feeling it at this point, so we went back and forth for a bit on whether to use Earth and Sol or to base it in another system altogether. Eventually we got it nailed down, and here is the setting we devised.

Fractured Sol
In the early 2020s humans began the great space renaissance. technology and desire finally reached a point where space travel was a practical and and profitable endeavor. The terraforming and colonization of Mars began in earnest in the 2030s. By 2050 Mars had a breathable atmosphere and nearly one billion citizens. Work had begun on Venus and scientific stations had been established throughout the system. In 2055 the scientists on Europa made a startling discovery, life existed under the ice. It not only existed but flourished. The following years led to another great discovery, intelligent life existed there as well. The Europeans( a joke name that stuck) had little in the way of technology, but had deep understandings of logic, mathematics, and theory. They managed to trade these skills for access to technology and the outside world. For the next decade humanity and teh Europeans became very close and their societies mingled in interesting and strange ways. During this time humans also made many great breakthroughs in the area of robotics and synthetic intelligence. They could create sentient intellects, though these were not sapient. Robotic assistants and workers boom throughout human space. These became known as the Aparatoi.

Also during this time many great unrests rose up among the workers and the under classes. The leaderships of the various nations began to militarize, aiming at each other and at keeping their populous in line. By 2078 the nations of earth still held all the power in the system. Then came the planet Hellion. Many light years away a solar system was dying. It sun was on the verge of transitioning to a red giant. Though philosophically disparate, the people of the one inhabited planet banded together to save their planet. Utilizing dangerous technologies the developed a method for transporting their planet faster than light to a system that could support them, Sol. By using up all of their dying star's energy they made the trip. Many died, more were injured, but they had made it. The planet Hellion's arrival in the system had many strange effects. First it destroyed a great deal of the Earth's technology and infrastructure, stranding the people there until they could rebuild. The secondary effect Hellion's transportation had was far more subtle and far reaching. The Apparatoi began to develop sapience. Not all of them, and not all at once, but enough. The Hellions, Humans, and Europeans began to develop super powers. Again, not all of them developed powers, but a small number have. No one really understands why or how.

Mars, now cut off from the earth was forced to take a leadership role in human space. Luckily they had been self sufficient for over twenty years at that point. Seeing the arrival of Hellion as a direct attack, the Martians formed a massive fleet to counter this incursion. The First Contact War had begun. It raged for ten years, neither side one though an uneasy peace was arrived at five years ago in 2088. Now the year is 2093 and the Martians and Hellions are the two largest powers in the system. Each stands ready to fight, and each controls large swaths of the inner system and are always pushing further out.

Threat
Hellion Xenophobes Are Bad News

Coming threat
Terra Rising

Themes
Not All Change is Good
The Struggle For Identity

Places



Dead Rock: Hollowed out asteroid in the belt taht serves as the home base(indipendant and nuetral) for miners, mercenaries and pirates of all races.
Dirty Dianas Bar and Grill: Its the best you can get
Red Dawn: nice hotel, where Martian Ex-patriots hang out
Mars: seat of Human power)
Europa
Asteroid Field: pirates, prospectors, and opportunity
Venus
Luna: The Lunatics (space hillbillly anrachists) crazy accents and space motorcycle gangs, used to be a popular place to live until the destruction of Earth.
Hellion: Seat of Hellion power
Decimated Earth: Seek to regain all that they have lost and more.

Faces
Red: The Lord of The Docks, Nothing Lordly about him, ex soldier from the war, has a bunch o friends from the war, they took the docks and it is easy money
Decker: Martian Ex pat who still keeps a hand in(discretionary funds and such, he hires the heroes every now and again)
August: Pyrokinetic super spy and sister of December(one of the player characters), recently gone missing with some very important files.

If you would like to watch, here is the recording of our session:

Friday, August 29, 2014

Big Trouble in Little Narnia

On my way home from work and idea struck me. It hit me so fast and so hard that I had mental whiplash for a bit. I realized right away what I needed to do with this idea. I needed to share it. So here it is. What would a mashup of The Chronicles of Narnia, Big Trouble in Little China, and Doctor Who look like? I know, right?! I will give you a moment to collect yourself after I just asploded your brain meats. You better? Good. Lets break this down.

Uncle Chu: China is here Mr. Burton. The Chang Sing, The Wing Kong, they've been fighting for centuries.
Jack Burton: What the hell does that mean? huh? China is here, I don't even know what the hell that means, all I know is this "Lo Pan" character comes out of thin air in the middle of a goddamn alley while his buddies are flying around on wires cutting everybody to shreds, and he just stands there waiting for me to drive my truck straight through him, with light coming out of his mouth!
~Big Trouble in Little China

“Why, if we can get back to our own world by jumping into this pool, mightn’t we get somewhere else by jumping into one of the others? Supposing there was a world at the bottom of every pool.”
~C.S. Lewis, The Magician"s Nephew
There is the basic idea. The idea is this, whoever built the world of the pools still exists(these would be our Galfreyan Time Lords...sort of). They have since moved beyond using something so primitive as the pools, directly. Instead they harness the power of the pools to control the reality flux. Their civilization is powered by the eternal creation and destruction of worlds at the other end of the pools. Then comes the Exile with his Dimensional Bathysphere. He travels the pools with his dimensional companions, often humans from the Earth Ream. 

The People of Charn, desperate to prolong their dying world have begun to bleed the pools together. The Charn will be like the Daleks a bit. Also this is where the Big Trouble in Little China stuff comes in. The Charn begin their conquest of a new dimension through the subtle stuff, bring entropy and chaos to a world and then gradually the dimensions meld. When Jack Burton enters the scene, the invasion had been held off a thousand years ago by the first sovereign emperor, and no Lo Pan, the Charn conqueror is seeking to restart the invasion. All that stands in his way is a green eyed girl, a tour bus driver, a resteraunt owner, and Jack Burton.

So that is the idea I had. I would love to play more in this head space. I think that I would like to use Timeworks, or something like it to represent the dimensional travel. Though I am a bit at a loss how to do it.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Unleash Your True Power!

Perhaps you do not know this, but I am a fan of Dragon Ball Z. I just love how over the top it gets and how ridiculous everything is. I have tried a few times to do something like it in an RPG, however I could not figure out how to do it right. I even bought the Fuzion System game and its supplements, it...was not the best for what I wanted. Basically my issues with doing a Dragon Ball Z-esque game come down to a desire for unique special attacks, an ability to handle power ups, and a need for an all or nothing strike. I think I can do most of those with Fate Core, but my issue came down to how to do it. I can model most of that with Jadepunk's asset creation system, but it is so smooth that I find it difficult to get the results in the way I want.

In this post I will be talking about power attacks and how I would like to use them in Fate. Specifically I would love to have a system that allows for dangerous and powerful last ditch efforts. Enter +Ryan Macklin and his recent post about power attacks. If you do not wish to read through the entirety of the post(though it is short), here is the relevant part:
Sometimes an attack will be so overwhelming that stress boxes shouldn’t come into account, nor stuff like armor ratings or other things that tweak stress. These attacks are known as power attacks, and work slightly differently from normal attacks. You still roll dice and apply your skill and any relevant stunts, just as you would for any action. Then…
  • If you succeed, you inflict a moderate consequence.
  • If you succeed with style, you inclift a severe consequence.
  • If you tie, you inflict a minor consequence
  • If you fail, nothing happens — though if the defender succeeds with style, they still get the normal benefit
Naturally, if the type of consequence is already filled, a higher one must be used.
It was like serendipity. Basically he is planning on using these rules for guns, to showcase what a game changer guns are. Upon reading this post, though, I saw the beginnings of what I am looking for in a power attack. It was just lacking a trigger. Or more specifically, lacking the kind of trigger I was looking for. So here is my idea, In order to use a power attack, you must have first filled up all your stress boxes. To me this feels a lot like the action we see in the show. The heroes spend much of the fight(the real fight, not the build up fights prior to it) taking hits and barely keeping up, and then, when all looks lost they start hitting hard and often. I also think that it might be interesting if failure was a little worse when using a power attack, though I have not really worked that through yet. Perhaps failure grants a boost and failure, where the defender succeeds with style, grants a full aspect...I will consider it.

So this is the first step toward my dream of a DBZ rpg that works the way I want it to. Let me know what you think.






Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Shadow Legion: Farspace, Pirates, and Heresy

After watching Guardians of the Galaxy(seriously go see it, its phenomenal, I will wait) I really wanted to capture that feel. Then I realized I had already done something quite similar a year ago, when I ran the Shadow Legion Campaign for some friends. It was awesome and hit all my favorite parts of Space Opera. In reminiscing I realized I still had more to explore in the fictional universe of the Shadow Legion. And so I began to build on the edges of the world, just for my own fun. However, these ideas and concepts were scattered and unfocused. I often find that when I am brainstorming it is quite fun, but I need to actually attempt to write the ideas for other people in order to find the clarity I seek. As I like the movie, I was more interested in the fringe societies and dangerous threats of the galaxy. Luckily way back when I made my first post about the Shadow Legion(though that name had yet to be invented for the setting) I mentioned that Guardians of the Galaxy was one of my influences.

I also had mentioned briefly the idea of Farspace and the Non-Aligned Worlds. So I will be working in those area a bit more now. I like the idea of places on the edge of Charter space, where the law exists only in theory and justice comes at the edge of a sword or the barrel of a gun. Here be dragons, as the old spacers claim. In this post I will be digging into the fringes of the main species of the galaxy, and also I will be looking at the history of the future.

Shadow Legion Long Patrol
We are the line between darkness and light. Driving back the shadows to bring the light of peace.
~The motto of the shadow legion
After the finally defeating the mighty Sukar threat five years ago, the Shadow Legion was sorely depleted. They were forced to pull back from the frontier. As a stopgap to deal with the problems, the Long Patrol was established. New recruits were paired with former Shadow Legion members, brought out of retirement, to travel in larger than normal Cadres throughout the edges of space. Bringing justice and granting the experience of their elders to the new recruits.

Tesh Biology, Culture Basics, Mother-lines and other Heresies
Tesh retain memories through their father's genetic material. These lines of descent are known as father-lines and are the basis of much Tesh culture. They gain skill and knowledge through the males, though female Tesh retain power because they can control their fertility and through the rareness of females. There are 40 males for every female. So while Males have the advantage of memory immortality(should come up with a term for this that sounds neat)

Tesh myths
...the myth of the mother line claims that their exists a mutant genetic line among the Tesh. This line gains knowledge from the mother rather than the father. When asked where this line exists, it is always somewhere far away and remote, usually deep in Farspace.

...the myth of the Lamfa, master of all, a Father-line that contains(or will contain) all skill and knowledge in the universe, creating a perfect Father-line of Tesh who will be the universes true masters. There are a great many differing views on the Lamfa. Every few years a Lamfa cult will appear around one particularly skilled Tesh, though they never last long. On the other end of the spectrum is the yearly games named after the Lamfa, the tournament of all skills. It is mostly played for entertainment and for laughs.

First Post that includes Tesh
Second Mention of Tesh
Tesh Humor

Taurai Exiles
Being an exiled Taurai is bad, very bad. Taurai are an ancient people, powerful and intelligent, yet paranoid and Isolationist. Every member of their species has Esp, and as they get older their power grows. Those with a clan become, upon their physical death, individuals within the unconscious undermind of their clan. This is why being exiled is bad. You lose the closest thing to immortality that anyone outside of the Tesh can understand. You lose anyone who could ever truly understand you. To exile even one Taurai is a serious thing, exile is a death sentence. Forever death, forever lonely. Not just that but a the exile is destined to die alone and unloved. Being an exile is bad.

Pirate Clan Worlds
Five years ago, the Shadow Legion made a deal with the Pirate Clans of Antares. For their agreement to help fight the Sukar, the Pirates were promised legitimacy and the rule of three star systems. After the end of the war the politicians held back as much as they could. The Pirate Clans were left with only one system after they had sacrificed so much. Relations are cold between the Charter and the Clans. The worlds of the Antares system are lawless havens of vice and commerce. The only law is Pirate Law. The only enforcement is what you can bring with you. Currently there are seven pirate clans that rule over the system.

History of the Primacy of Man
Four hundred years ago, after humanity had colonized the sol system, but before the discovery of Hyperspace Gates, war raged throughout human spheres of influence. Among the worst and most dangerous were the Titans, humans who had altered themselves using genetics and nanotechnology to near "perfection." These Titans believed themselves to be gods of science. They crafted clone armies and cults of personality. Their missionaries would promise immortality and temporal power, and thousands would flock to the banner of these petty godlings. Eventually they were driven back and driven off, disappearing into the dark of space. One hundred years ago, the Charter encountered the Primacy of Man. This was a group of worlds inhabited by humans united in their genetic engineering and their belief in godlike beings called the Titans. Since the fall of the Sukar, the Primacy has been making more aggressive moves throughout the Non-aligned Worlds.

First Mention of the Primacy of Man

Monday, July 28, 2014

Omnis Mundi: Big Times in the City

Last Saturday I got together with +Timothy Shiflet and +Paul Carroll  to make characters. +Loyd Digg Johnson was sick and unable to make it, and +Ron Frazier still couldn't make it. I was going to do character creation and then do a bit of a starting scenario. As we were missing a few players we did what we could. We worked through character creation and did a bit of joint world building. Over all we had a lot of fun, and I think we set up a pretty good basis for adventuring.

So here are the character that my players made:

Player: +Timothy Shiflet
Character Name: Talathriel
High Concept: Conflicted Agent for the Unseelie Court
Trouble: Cannot Tell a direct lie
Aspect: Damn The Man
Aspect: I know the Perfect Place
Aspect: ?

Skills
+4 Deceive
+3 Athletics, Stealth
+2 Fight, Burglary, Notice
+1 Investigate, Physique, Shoot, Will

Stunts & Extras
Elf Extra: To play an elf you must have elf in your high concept and you must reduce your refresh by one. The elf aspect means that you are immune to age. You do not get sick. Provided you do not die from your wound immediately you will eventually heal from any damage. You can see perfectly in even the dimmest of light. You can invoke your elf aspect to be better than others at any skill the requires fine motor skills. You can be compelled to be viewed as aloof. People feel like elves look down at them.
Mind Games
Dazing Counter
Glamour: Lets you cast visual and auditory illusions with deceive. Increase difficulty by one per zone.
Hack and Slash: Lets you use burglary in place of technology for hacking computer systems.

Gear
Computer with hacking programs, Massive Damage Fae Crafted Blade(black blade), Gossamir armor(massive damage)

Personal item of great importance: Manacle(represents his ties to his overlord)
Refresh: 1

Player: +Paul Carroll
Character NameAaron “Razor” Dobbs
High Concept: Psychic Street Warrior
Trouble: Hunted By the Shadow Suns
Aspect: I can be more
Aspect: Ebb and Flow of the streets
Aspect: ?

Skills
+4 Burglary
+3 Fighting, Stealth
+2 Athletics, Physique, Will
+1 Contacts, Technology, Pilot, Rapport

Stunts & Extras
Mind Knives Extra: You need to have psychic in your high concept. It can be invoked to make you a mystic warrior par excellence. You now have access to energy knives made from your mental energy. It appears to be made from a glowing energy. You can use fighting as though you had a weapon even if you have no weapon. You can gain access to a bunch of stunts to improve your mind knives or mystically enhance your fighting ability.

Massive Damage Knives: Your Mind Knives is far more dangerous than normal. Your knives now counts as  Massive Damage Weapons.
Aggressive Defense: When you are defending in hand to hand combat and succeed with style. Rather than gaining a boost you can immediately do two stress to the attacker(three if you have a Massive Damage Weapon and your opponent does not have massive damage armor you deal an extra stress).
Mystic Will: You gain a +2 bonus to will defense actions when dealing with supernatural mind effects.

Gear
Street bike, Electronic lock picks, Tricorder

Personal item of importance: Gang Clothes
Refresh: 2

So there are the characters. We left the last aspect blank so as to link up with the other players. We also did some world building and added in some more depth the the City.

The Shadow Suns
A gang of psychic youths who have trained their minds as weapons. Led by Aaron's brother Drask "The Blood Axe." They are thugs, though small in number, they do a lot of mischief. They are hunting Aaron for leaving the gang. Drask is a blunt instrument of a man, a self aggrandizing bully

The Unsellie Court in the City
The court is always in flux, Fae vying for prestige and rank. Each gain in power leads to an even more dangerous game. The Unseelie do not deal in material possessions, but in Oaths and debts. The more debt one collects, the more power one has.

Sade, Spirit of Slaughter, is Talathriel's contact in the City. It was once a major Unseelie Lord, but a recent failure has led to a lessening of its influence. Sade now seeks to gain back what it lost, but it cares little for what Talathriel does, so long as the reports keep coming in.

And that is what we came up with for our game. Here is the recording of the session, should you wish to watch it all:


Here is the rest of the setting documents should you be interested.
1. Introduction to the Setting
2. Character Creation
3. Solutuhz, The Unbound City
4. Tasmania by +Tom Tyson
5. City of Book
6. City of Book, addendum7. Lord Gene and the Animal Men
8: The City

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Omnis Mundi: The City

Last Saturday I got together with +Timothy Shiflet +Loyd Digg Johnson and +Paul Carroll to discuss our upcoming game of Omnis Mundi. +Ron Frazier was unable to make it, but we have hopes that he will be able to join the campaign proper. The session was mostly devoted to getting to know my new players and building the setting. I know what you are thinking, after all the work already done on the setting, what more needs to be done? Well that is what is so lovely about setting creation, you can always add more in. And let me tell you, we added some really awesome stuff, and built a really cool set piece in which to play our game.
The session started out with some basic ideas. I asked what the players were looking to to experience in the setting. After this initial idea mining, we came up with a solid basic idea. A city that spans the dimensions through the tears. This city is ruled by an evil entity that only cares for its own power and wealth. The players wanted something like Game of Thrones, with politics and big issues being just as important as anything else. A science fantasy mega-city with links to all other times and places. There was even mention of a Realm of the Bagel Lords, so that might become a thing. We then moved on to some basic character idea generation. The characters my players came up with is pretty fantastic, not gonna' lie. So here is The City and the setting for our game as it opens.

Upon the ruins of the ruins of Old Detroit lies The City. Once a shining example of mankind's potential and glory, now it is a blight hidden within the shining facade of culture and prosperity. Ruled over by the Demon Lord, The City spreads its influence throughout all the possible universes. The Demon Lord keeps control over the city by encouraging infighting and treachery among the powerful factions within The City. Each vies for power within the city, the ends differ but they all need power to achieve them.

The City stands tall, shining towers of impossible delicacy scrape the atmosphere, connected together by gossamer webs of bridges. This glorious center is surrounded by the squat dark factories belching smoke and the rookeries oozing with desperation and sorrow. The Wall stands circumference about the city, hugging it close to the great freshwater sea. Day and night the people are out in the streets, boulevards, and arcades selling and buying. In The City everything is for sale, if you know where to look or who to ask. Beneath all the noise, sorrow, and glamour lies the deep city, catacombs and tunnels containing true ruins from the Golden Lands. Only the most desperate or foolhardy dare enter the deep city, though it is said anything can be found their for those found worthy.

The Current Major Factions: 
The Sons of the Dawn: Freedom is the right of every sapient being. This is the credo of the Sons of the Dawn. They believe in freedom and justice, at least on paper. For many years they were nothing but a small movement of like minded individuals. They never had the economic or political clout to do more than spread pamphlets and talk of freedom in barrooms. IN recent years certain criminal families have begun backing the faction in the hopes of gaining more influence in The City. This had led to some of the members speaking out, for the crime families see the faction as a way to gain and exert control. While the leadership is still the core members who believe what they always have, many feel that the faction has lost its way and become blinded by power and money.

A Better Tomorrow
Indulgence Now

The Military: The strong right arm of the Demon Lord, the obvious sign of his rule. Brainwashed from birth to be warriors, they are given battle drugs to enhance reflexes, dull pain, and remove empathy. The side effect of these drugs is a dark mind magic, they radiate an aura of despair and terror. Upon seeing them, many enemies just flee in terror. These paladins of darkness are completely dependant upon the drug. Should they fail to receive it the withdrawal symptoms are dangerous and terrifying. The begin to have violent hallucinations, intense rages, and a complete lack of control. Without the drug they fly into a berserk fury and attack all around them until exhaustion or damage cause them to stop.

Storm troopers of the abyss
Need the drugs

Little Fott Consortium: When the Demon Lord came to The City he found a group of trans dimensional beings had already taken up residence there. They were the Little Fott clan from a dimension where dinosaurs developed sapience. They worshiped The Devourer, a dark god that demanded ritual sacrifice through the devouring of other species. The Demon Lord made a deal with this clan, they would be given access to the many dimensions to trade and raid, and they would not stand in his way. Their currency, the silver leaf, is the main currency of The City. On the nights of the new moon, the poor and disenfranchised know to lock up their doors tight, for it is on that night that the Little Fott consortium hunt and eat other sapient life in sacrifice to the Devourer. They are heavily invested in the status quo, and seek to ensure things continue on as they have been going.

The Money Must Flow
Food For The Old God

Children of the Demon: These are the aristocrats, overseers, and administrators of the city. They are the priests of the Cult of the Demon Lord. Their are many rumors as to the origin of the Children. It is said that they summoned the Demon Lord to this plane, that they are in fact his spawn in some way, or even that they caused the fall of the Golden Land. All that is known is that they have a link to the Demon Lord in some way and that they are dangerous. Very Dangerous.

Servants of the Demon lord
Chained by Bureaucracy


The Character Concepts
Loyd: A drug addicted combat mentat who is one of the rebel leaders. He is always in the right spot at the right time.

Paul: A guttersnipe with brain knives made of energy.

Tim: An Elven spy of the Unseelie Court sent to scout this dimension for conquest. He does not wish to see this world destroyed and secretly works against his dark masters.

And that is what we did on Saturday. Next Saturday, the games begin!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

FATEsy Heartbreaker: Underpinnings of Creation

While working on Jadepunk I keep coming up with loads of ideas, for my other projects and for brand new projects. Primarily I have been working on Heartbreaker in my spare moments, trying to drill down to the interesting substrates of the game, reworking what needs polish. I recently started a couple of discussions about what makes a Paladin, and what makes a Druid(feel free to jump in on either discussion). I will probably continue along those lines for a while, opening discussions on the what the core of various fantasy ideas entail. However, in even just these two days of discussion I discovered some areas that require some work. I need to work out the structure of the universe and the nature of magic and the deities.

Here is my thinking on the deities of Heartbreaker.

The world was designed by rational beings and thus behaves according to rational logic. However, as multiple beings were involved in the creation of the world what is rational and logical shifts depending on which gods have authority at that time and place. The world is currently dragging its way out of a major shift in godly authority. This is due to the god war which brought down the last great empire on the world.

Basically when you support your god it allows you to "break" the current laws of physics as you now operate, to some extent, within your gods preferred paradigm. There would need to be some touch points though, things like time and space would need to still work and the rest of the laws of physics would exist, but on a sliding scale of godly preference. There would need to be some sort of groundwork, that is agreed upon by all the creator gods.

When you are in an area where your god/pantheon does not control supplication difficulty is increased...or you take mental stress to reduce it(max you can take brings it down to baseline). Supplication has no direct skill. You must create advantages to have a bonus on the roll. Supplication advantages are ritual, cleansing, sacrifice...and need to think on this. Miracles are basically when physics goes sideways to your advantage for a scene...maybe, perhaps there are certain stunts you can only get through supplication to your deity, or deities.

The rules of gods that I have worked out.

Gods control a raw, primal, creative magic.
Gods can be born or/and made.
Gods can die(this was a surprise when they discovered this, some interaction of gods and their creation allows for this outcome).
Gods cannot unmake something gods have made.
Gods do not(or cannot) take thier gifts back.

That is what I have, so far. Now the questions I must ask. Is morality external to the gods, or created by the gods? If external, what enforces it? If the gods created it, what makes one morality better or less relative than any morality created by man? What are the ramifications of gods that work the way I ave outlined them working? I am going to keep working on this, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the answers to these or any other questions you might raise.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Jadepunk Chrono Trigger: Millenial Fair Crono

A little shile back I attempted to start a Fate Core game remeniscent of all the Shonen Anime that I like. The game fell through, as they sometimes do, but I did realize something. I realized that what I wanted was this:

I love Chrono Trigger, I have loved it since I first played it when I was a lad, and it stands up as one of the greatest video game RPGs of all time. Seriously, it has multiple endings, everything you do or don't do matters. Visually and musically it is amazing. So I started replaying the game, and then it hit me. Jadepunk is a perfect match for this game. See, Chrono Trigger is mechanically based around having cool gear, techniques, and allies. Jadepunk's asset system does that so well. Whoo, buddy! I am excited. Are you excited? Yeah, I am going to go through the game and build all the characters from Chrono trigger as Jadepunk characters. Lets see how this goes. For each of these characters I will be building them as we first meet them. At the end of this I will probably do the characters at their peek as well, because why not?

Crono
Crono is the trickiest character to do in Fate, as he is a silent protagonist with little backstory and few real decisions. That said there are a bunch of things we can guess about his character based on the reactions of those around him. We start out by meeting his mother. She is not named in the game, so well will just call her, "Mom." Normally in an RPG like this she would be a throw away character. Just there for exposition and to get you out the door. Not so Mom. She has things to say, she has personality and she cares about Crono. When Crono disappeared and then was on trial, she was worried. So we know that Crono has a good relationship with his mom, Mom. We also know he was so excited about the Millenial Fair that he couldn't sleep. He is a martial artist, practiced with a sword. And he cares about people(well he does in my version). He helped a little girl find her lost cat, he helped Marle find her necklace, and he jumped into a time portal without thought for his own safety to rescue her. We know he has a best friend in Lucca. Also the way other talk to him seems to imply that he is not dumb. So there you go. Lets start working from there. Also I only have included his starting technique and I did not include his sword. I do not think any of his swords really matter, until you get to swords with special powers, and that does not happen until much later in the game. His wooden sword just doesn't add in any mechanical benefits at this point.

Portrayal: Spiky Haired Swordsman
Origin: A Good Son
Inciting Incident: Things Must Be Set Right
Belief: I See The Good In Others
Trouble: Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Professions: Fighter +3, Explorer and Scoundrel +2, Aristocrat and Scholar +1, Engineer +0

Assets:
Technique: Cyclone
Crono spins around and around, hitting everyone nearby with his awesome sword. Its pretty neat. Like the Tea Cup ride at Disneyland...only deadly-er, more deadly.

Guiding aspect: Spiky Haired Swordsman
Features: Exceptional(hits everything in the same zone as Crono), Harmful 2
Flaws: Demanding(need to roll a +2 fighter roll), Limited(can only be used once per scene)
Cost: 2 refresh

Stress: [1] [2] [3]
Refresh: 5

So there is the first of the series. Next up we will do Marle, followed by Lucca, Frog, Robo, Ayla, and Magus, in that order. After that I will be delving int each of teh time periods and building the monsters for each era. Its gonna be epic. Let me know what you think. Comments, Critiques, and Questions are all welcome.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cyber Jadepunk: Wherein we meet our hero

About a month ago, +Gary Anastasio brought up moving Jadepunk forward in time and mixing in the ideas and adventure seeds with Aeon Wave. As I  helped out on both projects(more so on Jadepunk than on Aeon Wave) I thought this was awesome. So we decided to do a game. And here is the best part, I get to play in this game. normally I only get to run games. So I am quite excited. Well, we had our character creation session on Friday and we all kind of nailed down our basic ideas on characters and our aspects. We had a good time, a lot of good conversation and discussion about what we wanted out of the game and the nature of the setting.

The Game will be set one hundred years in Kausao City's future. The Jade mines have begin to dry up and the future is looking grim. There are three main faction fighting for dominance in the city and the world. There are the Naturalist(we may change the names as we go along) who believe that people should reject technology and move back to subsistence level. They have become in tune with green jade and their eldest members are nearing something like immortality. There are the Deniers, who seek to ignore the problem. they represent the old guard, the status quo. Then there are those who seek to build an artificial jade substitute and alternate technologies. None of these groups get along, but they are all trying to retain control of the world. Our story starts out with someone having cracked the synthetic jade problem. They are now dead and one of the groups has hold of the research. Enter the PCs. No need to say, hi-jinks will ensue. 

Fade was born to a well to do family. He was commissioned into the army early on, making a name for himself as a brave and efficient leader. Upon leaving he moved into corporate security and was on the fast track to head of security for [name of corporation, haven't decided yet]. He was efficient and driven. Then one day he discovered a secret the company would rather remain buried. When he asked about it he was fired, and a price was placed on his head. Since that day he has been on the run, helping out those in need and trying to stay one step ahead of his corporate masters. One day, he will get his life back. Until that day, he fights injustice in all its forms.

Name: Fade Arakiin
Player: Jacob Possin
Portrayal: The Last Paladin
Background: Master of Martial Arts
Inciting Incident: I will get my life back
Belief: I can help them
Trouble: Knows too much

Professions: Fighter +3, Aristocrat and Explorer +2, Engineer and Scholar +1, Scoundrel +0

Assets:  
Twin Blue Jade Swords
Crafted of blue jade these weapon can become any hand weapon necessary for the situation. They also have the ability to get around most defenses and armors. When in use they glow blue the is always shifting slightly like light through water.

Function Aspect: Shifting Blue Jade Weapons
Features: Exceptional(defender cannot check stress boxes to reduce a hit), Exceptional(when using a created aspect related to a new weapon form of the weapon you gain a +3 rather than the normal +2), Numerous(twin weapons), Sturdy(it has a stress box)
Flaws: Demanding(requires a +2 fighter roll to activate the weapon, and it takes a turn to do so)
Cost: 3 refresh

Jade Multi Tool
A glove made of White, blue, and black jade that lets its user create whatever tool is required for the situation, and acts as a computer console.

Function aspect: Multi-Jade Multi-Tool
Features: Focus 2(+2 to Engineer), Focus 2(+2 to Scholar)
Flaws: Situational(Engineer can only be used when bypassing security), Situational(Scholar can only be used when dealing with computers or knowledge that can be gained from computers)
Cost: 1 refresh

Twin Sword Style
IN his youth he was taught many dangerous and powerful martial arts. His favorite was the twin sword style. Among the well to do of Kausao, dueling for honor and prestige was a way of life among the youths. Fade mastered the duel and Twin Sword Style was key to his victory.

Guiding Aspect: Master of the Martial Arts
Features: Focus 1(+1 to fighter rolls), Harmful 1(add one additional stress on a successful hit)
Flaws: Situational(only when using facing off against a a single opponent)
Cost: 1 refresh

Stress [1] [2] [3]
Refresh: 2

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Debt to Heaven: The Idea

Last night I finished up the first draft of the Green Jade Supplement for Jadepunk. I am quite proud of how it turned out, so I sat down to do a post as it has been a while. I was going to write a long post about Game Theory and dig deep into the depths of my GMing soul. I would talk of how there is no such thing as a munchkin, and how play styles interact in interesting ways. There would have been this wonderful moral and we would have all learned something. It was going to be the best post I had ever written. Then I read through it, and realized that it was self indulgent and pretentious. So instead I am going to do a post about superheroes...and the hundred years war.


"King of England, and you, duke of Bedford, who call yourself regent of the kingdom of France... settle your debt to the king of Heaven; return to the Maiden, who is envoy of the king of Heaven, the keys to all the good towns you took and violated in France."

~Joan d'Arc


Nearly one hundred years ago, the hated British invaded. Ruled by the Witch King and his Demon Breed Aristos, the British rode their War Beasts out of Normandy into the peace loving countryside of the kingdom of France. For the longest time we could do nothing but retreat against the oppressive dark forces from across the channel. It has been a year since Joan d'Arc brought an alliance between le Herauts and the Sang de Sorciers to drive back the war beasts of the invaders. For the first time we hold them back. For the first time, we have pushed them back.

The idea for this started a long while back. I have always loved the Idea of super heroes at war. However I didn't know enough, and I didn't have the right medium to portray it. I'ma be real here, I still don't know enough. I will never know enough. Ever. I need to get past this. This idea is just a first go. It is not complete, but  it is something I have been working on for over a decade. It was a post by +Bruce Baugh that inspired me to start working on this in more than a merely contemplative manner.
And now, the Let's All Steal From +Cam Banks approach to light-weight superheroics in Fate.
* You have the usual five aspects.
* Instead of FAE approaches, you have the Smallville/Cortex Plus Dramatic values: Duty, Glory, Justice, Love, Power, and Truth. These have starting ratings of +2, +2, +1, +1, +1, and +0. Yes, the choice of two top-most scores is deliberate.
* Everybody gets a free sort of special bonus stunt dealing with the three affiliations from Marvel Heroic Roleplay: solo, buddy, and team. You get +2 when using one of them, +1 when using another, and +0 when using the third.
* Use Venture City Stories for powers, dropping out the skill linkages since this isn't Fate Core.

I am least sure about that last part and would need to tinker with it some to see how it is in practice.
 Here is a link to the original conversation, should you wish to engage it more directly.

This idea struck me as a good one. It reminded me a little of Greg Stafford's sublime King Arthur Pendragon. Pendragon was the game that taught me that a game could be about so much more than a ten-foot by ten-foot corridor(not that there is anything wrong with that, I lurves me some dungeon crawls). Pendragon is part of where this hack came from. I would love, love, to do something even half as good as Pendragon.

So this idea that Bruce had(by way of Cam), reminded me of Pendragon. That started me making connections between Superheroes, Pendragon, and the Hundred Years War. This inevitably lead me, as all things eventually do, to the Star Wars Prequels. Everyone has a theory as to why they fail, and most people are correct in their analyses, the movies fail on nearly every level that a movie can fail. For me, I dwell in the mind realms of action and battle. Where the prequels fail is the fights. The fights mean nothing. Nothing is at stake. Nothing is established. The things that were true before the fight are true after the fight. The bad guys don't talk, the good guys don't talk. its mindless, in every sense of the word. After walking out of the theatre after the Phantom Menace, this was what I walked away with. I will never, ever, ever, engage in a fictional fight that has no meaning. That is what I like about what Cam did with Smallville/Cortex Plus Dramatic.

I am sorry that I am meandering here, but this is one of those ideas you have. You know the ones, they sit in your head. They circle and circle for years. It starts as just a simple thought, but over the years of circling in your mind, it becomes more. It becomes high art(in your mind). You can just throw out your art, no. that would be crazy. People won't understand, not like you do. So you must explain, in stammering words and digressions. That is what this idea has become for me. Normally I just throw an idea out there. I have millions of ideas every day. Millions. However there are three or four that just circle. Mosquitoes of the mind.

So the idea. We have the basics of a mechanical framework. We have the seed idea: The Hundred Years War...but with Super Powers. But what are my influences and what are the specifics of of the setting.

Influences
Dresden Codak's X-Men Reboot
Marvel 1602
Solomon Kane
The Lion In Winter
Robin Hood
King Arthur Pendragon RPG
Ken Hite and Robin Laws
The Leviathan Series

Specifics
I will just be touching on setting specifics. Mostly because much of what I have is still sort of nebulous. In writing them down I will be forcing the ideas to take a single shape. Here goes.

The Hated British: Ruled over by the Witch King and his cronies the Eight Demon Breed Lineages. IN this history the British figured out genetics and their manipulation. They have created beasts for all sorts of tasks. The British countryside is an alien and disturbing site for most of those born on the continent.
Witch King: The First Witch King was king Edward III, the current Witch King is his great-grandson Henry V, The Star of England.
Demon Breed: Some families are blessed(or cursed) with power in the blood. These were known during darker and more ignorant times as the Demon Breed. Eventually these families seized power in Britain, making of it a haven for their kind. Britain is ruled by the Witch King, a member of the Lancaster lineage, cadet branch of the Plantagenet Lineage, as well as the Seven lineages that support his rule. Each lineage has specific power within its blood. Mixing blood is viewed as a taboo.
War Beasts: The beasts the hated British ride are not horses, nor any other animal recognized. They ride beasts that are all claws and teeth and sinuous power. Some call them serpents or dragons, but to most they are just war beasts.
le Herauts: They claim to be messengers from the most high. They have the power and vision to back this claim. Joan is their leader, though she claims no claim to such. Their examples of Divine authority are often accompanied by stigmata or flashes of light. They all have an intensity to their movements and speech. It was Joan who brought them together, and through their alliance with the Sang de Sorciers, they have begun to drive the British forces from the rightful lands of the Kingdom of France.
Sang de Sorciers: The Demon Breed in France never separated into families, they were rounded up and barricaded into land that no one else wanted, with the hopes that they would die off. For the longest time they were seen as something like a leper colony. the Sang de Sorciers are what happens after a hundred years of mixing the bloodlines. They have great power, yes. They also are all deformed, becoming as to like demons and beasts, in form if not in mind. They are Loyal to Joan, not to France. Pray nothing ill befall her, for no other has any influence with the Sang de Sorciers.

So those are my basic ideas. I would welcome thoughts and conversation on how to do this. As I said, I am far too close to this project to do what it needs.




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fate of the World Part 4: Mind of a God

Now we delve into the murky world of Channels(...mer...I really do not like that name, I need a better one. Thesaurus don't fail me now...and my thesaurus has failed me, looks like I am stuck with channel for now). Influences four this are Watchmen(Doctor Manhattan), Aberrant(Novas/aberrants), Progenitor(Dark Energy Users), and Steelheart(though more alien and less evil in this version).

Channels
1956, the year everything changed. 1956, the year physics as we understood it left the universe. 1956, the year He entered the world. At a small atomic research station in the middle of New Mexico an accident occurred. Michael Shuster, the labs leading researcher, died. He was disintegrated in a small nuclear reactor accident. Three days later, he body began to rematerialize from the brain outward. The Military quickly stepped in to cover up the situation. Soon they realized they had in their possession the ultimate weapon. Michael could manipulate the Strong Nuclear Force, or he seemed to be able to. For several years they tried to duplicate the conditions and results of his accident. They failed. As the years went on Michael became stranger, more distant. Many feared what would happen when he lost all connection to reality as we understand it.

They began  a program to get him reconnected to this world. He went public, and over the next decade revolutionized technology, becoming a celebrity scientist. The years spent studying him allowed for various avenues of technology that were previously unimaginable. Michael was now connected to the human race again, but that did not make his thoughts or actions any less alien. As the decade progressed he became stranger and more philosophical. In 1967 a group stepped forward, the children of the atom, they worshiped Michael as Divine Made Flesh. Often he would visit these people and discuss things, sometimes denying his divinity and other times seeming to acknowledge it. These discussions were published as The Final Hypothesis. In 1969 Michael left the Earth. His last words were, "I am leaving yet. I must meet myself. Your destiny has been my Fulfillment." Much has been made of these last words. Some say that he had become unhinged completely, others that it was some kind of threat, still others think it a prophesy. No one really knows. That was the last anyone would ever see a being like that. Until 1972.

In Karuizawa, Japan. The United Red Army gathered a over twenty people into a Holiday Lodge below Mount Asama. Their the detonated an electrical device of unknown type, most likely derivative of technology developed by Dr. Shuster. This explosion caused the volcano to erupt. Thousands died, and much of the city was  left in ruins. Three days later a naked woman was seen hovering over the ruins, apparently helping the cleanup. Aoki Fukuko, the worlds second Channel, had arrived. Since 1972 there have been other occurrences, other accidents. Currently the world holds at least forty two Channels. There may be more, some may be hiding their nature.

Channels do not read as different than normal humans on initial inspection. All of their powers stem from their mental ability to control one or more of the four fundamental forces of the universe. So far none have been anywhere near as powerful as Michael Shuster. All of them seem to become more alien as time goes on.

Rules for making Channels in Jadepunk
1. You must have Channel in your portrayal
2. Your techniques are allowed to have any feature or flaw and they must all have the troubled flaw(relating to your inhuman nature and mindset.
3. Devices are unchanged.
4. Your Trouble must also relate to your inhuman nature in some way
5. Allies are not available to you. You have trouble making connections.

And that is my take on Channels. I really do need a better name for them, so any help there would be appreciated. Also any other comments or critiques would be welcome. the next post will be a little bit more history and world building as well as a couple of characters, maybe.



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fate of the World part 3: It's because of science...no, really

And here is where we get into the weird powers and strange history of the world a bit deeper. Today we will be delving into the hidden world of mutants and madmen. Today we are detailing Chimera. My influences for this, are TMNT, Elephant Men, the Prototype game line, The Bourne Legacy, Captain America, Jurassic Park, Resident Evil, and Aliens. It is three parts human animal hybrids, two parts zombies, two parts techno thriller, and one part body horror(not a whole lot of that, as it really creeps me the hell out).

But first, it has been brought to my attention that I have not dealt with the Themes and Threats of this setting. True enough, to be perfectly frank I had forgotten about them altogether as started writing this up. Now I sit, ready to lay them out...at least my first thoughts on the themes and threats. If you all see a better set of them, or even more that could be added in please let me know. This setting is very much a work in progress and kind of a stream of consciousness setting at that.

Threats and Themes
This would be dependent on the level of play, there are three modes of play that I see, so far, in this game: Street Level, City Wide, and World Shaking. These do not correspond to power level or anything like that, though they would certainly be influenced by that. I am reminded of Rorschach from the Watchmen. On the surface he appears to be in a street level game, but in reality he is in a World Shaking Campaign. He may be the least powerful of them all, but he has the biggest impact on the story(arguably). So those are the three levels I see.

Street Level is your basic TMNT type campaign. They deal with the Purple Dragons street gang and the Foot Clan. Basic conflicts would be turf wars and neighborhood level crime. the end of a street level campaign(or at least the major milestone) would be going up against a city wide organized crime family or some equivalent force. You will rare leave your local area and mostly deal with thugs and punks(with the leather jackets and their Mohawks). I think a good threat there would be something along the lines of: "[Local Gang] Is Taking Over." Then you could come up with a few faces for the local gang and some possible areas that need dealing with. A possible Impending Threat would be something like: "[Local Gang] is just the fingers of [Larger Organized Crime]." Themes for this would be anything from, "Our Home, Our Family," to, "This Turf Is Protected." really anything focused around the idea of keeping your streets clean and orderly. Make it fit with the threats you are working with, and the PC group you have.

City Wide is your bigger story, this is where you get your Prototype style game and that sort of thing. Generally you would be dealing with larger threats and a bigger scale. A common threat would be: "[something related to you origin] is threatening the city." This could all be a prelude to some larger plot something like: "This Is Just A Test Run." Some Themes that might fit could be, "Only We Truly Understand How To Deal With This," or, "Someone Must Clean Up [threat's] Mess."

For World Shaking Campaigns you are dealing with serious issues, I mean, this is where you get alien invasions(or faked alien invasions), A Bunch of Supers taking over a country, international politics, and massive conspiracies(the Bourne Legacy is a fine example of a low level version of this sort of campaign). As this is such a wide array of potential campaigns, the threats and the themes will be up to individual tables to work out. Some advice would be to keep it about power and The corruption that stems from it. Keep it based on the idea that the world is more exaggerated and that consequences are for failure are often far reaching and dangerous. You may want to use the Collateral Consequences rule from the Fate System Toolkit for this level of play(any level of play really, it is a spiffy rule that fits the ideas behind this series well).

I know that this is not a direct set of themes and Threats, but I think it works pretty well as guidelines for making your own campaigns. Of course, please let me know if you disagree or have a different idea on how to do it. Now, on to the Chimera and history moves forward a little bit further.

Chimera
No one know exactly how the Germans became so advanced in the field of Genetics. Sometime in the early thirties, Nazi scientist began to make huge leaps in the field. by 1935 they were more than a hundred years ahead of the rest of the world in that field. It wasn't until 1967 that anyone had even a glimpse as to what caused this technological boom. It was during the 1936 Olympic that the world realized what they were facing. The Nazi government fielded a team of Ubermenschen. They passed all their requisite drug tests and anything else the Olympic Committee threw at them. They broke every record known in the physical fields. It was only in the equestrian events that the rest of the world could compete, and even then america and Britain's golds in those fields were tightly contested. All in all, it was a tough row to hoe. Part of america's losses was due to the Crime College. the Dutchman had gathered up many of the best athletes in america at the time to work for him. America's teams were woefully under talented.

Then came the War.

By the time the Americans became embroiled in it, Germany controlled a few key beaches in Brittain and was driving straight for London. Their Super Soldiers were a key force that were hard to pin down or hold back. They called themselves the Blitz Soldaten, the Lighting Soldiers. It was all America and Britain could do just to hold them to the beaches, until Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson initiated the Stimson Plan. the Plan would allow former "villains" to join up and get a free pass on their actions prior to the war as well as being allowed to keep any devices or techniques as secret as they like, provided they put their efforts toward the war effort. Villains and Vigilantes signed up in droves, all wearing their masks, all dedicated to the freeing of Britain and the destruction of the Axis powers. The war was brutal and long fought. Lasting over ten years. Most of Europe was in ruin by the end, save for a few neutral countries. It ended August 4, 1949 with the unconditional surrender of both the German and Japanese forces, five days after both Berlin and Tokyo were wiped from the face of the earth with the first(and thus far only) atomic devices, Little Boy and Fat Man. There were few Blitz Soldaten left by the end, as they were often used in the toughest fighting, and most of the research and scientists who worked directly of the Ubermensch project were killed in Berlin. It would be twenty years before anything like them would be seen again.

Nineteen years later John Maldonado, an american treasure hunter, came upon a German U-Boat. It had been sunk in the final days of the war heading toward Antarctica, for reasons unknown. Within this sub were full research notes and schematics for the German Genetics Program. Within the notes were references to a "benefactor," and mentions of a disaster in the year, "1986." Hinting that the Germans did not come up with their process alone, and seemed to have some sort of doomsday cult within their scientists, who believed that a great disaster was coming in 1986.

Maldonado hid his findings from the rest of the world and began to gather investors in a wholly new idea. A genetics firm to build a better tomorrow. this was the Birth of Alpha Corp and the beginning of the Genetics race. Overnight genetics research when from the theoretical to the practical. soon their were multiple companies vying for the genetic dollar. But racing ahead of them all was Alpha Corp. For nearly twenty years they were the leaders in the field. their motto was as true as it was ominous, "Alpha Corp, we're in everything." Then the worst happened, 1986 happened. New York was nearly wiped out by a targeted pathogen, it killed people, and those it did not kill it altered. The first Chimera were expelled into the world like an unwanted tumorous growth. Some of the '86ers(as they became known) managed to hold onto their sanity and gain some semblance of control. Some went a little crazy, but most managed to try and help as best they could. It was during the investigation of Alpha Corp that much of their information went public in one form or another. Many of Alpha Corp'c competitors managed to reverse engineer what they found, and thus we entered a new era of technology.

How to make a CHymera Character using Jadepunk Rules
1. Devices can be considered internal mutations. Otherwise their rules stay the same. treat them as if they were part of the character.
2. Techniques are unchanged
3. Allies are generally going to be either from one of the genetics companies, or(if you are runaways or failed experiments) from the underground. What underground, you ask? why THE underground. There is always an underground. Make it fit for your campaign, it could be a bunch of PETA rejects or Luddites or whatever you like.

Sample NPCS
Hero Animal Pals - the well known and well loved mascots of Genicom, they mostly make public appearances, though they are on call by the cities SWAT team for whenever a strange event occurs. They have loads of training and equipment. They make Genicom grotesque amounts of money, with their cartoon series, comic books, and Public Appeal. Currently Genicom is the US governments leading supplier of post-utero genetic enhancements. All of the Hero Animal Pals is a cutesy animal designed to look good on TV as well as being able to deal with a crisis. They all have the same stats and Assets. they may look different, but they are really quite the same genetically.

Professions: Fighter +3, Aristocrat and Explorer +2, Scoundrel and Scholar +1, Engineer +0

Assets
Device:
Animal Powers
They have been genetically modified to be the perfect soldiers and faces for the company.they are fast, tough, and cute. The kids love them.

Function Aspect: Awesome Animal Abilities
Features: Focus 2 (Scholar +2), Focus 4 (Explorer +2, Fighter +2), Harmful 2, Protective 1(reduce incoming harm by 1 for all successful attacks), Sturdy 1(increase stress by one box)

Flaws: Situational (bonus to Scholar on works when using your senses), Situational(bonus explorer only works when using your natural senses), Situational(fighter bonus only applies when using your natural weapons, claws, teeth, etc)

Members
Squeeks: Modified Guinea Pig, Field Leader, stern and serious, always training
Portrayal: Guinea Pig Commando
Need: Never be Caged Again
Secret: Hates The Company
Notes: Swap Aristocrat and Fighter ratings.

Hoppy: Happy go lucky modified Snowshow Hair,
Portrayal: Rabbit Sniper
Need: Have Fun and Be Free
Secret: Hates to Kill
Notes: Swap Scoundrel and Aristocrat ratings.

Ham-Ham: Modified Hamster, master of close in fighting
Portrayal: Cutest Little Rage Monster
Need: To Be Accepted
Secret: Severe PTSD
Notes: no changes

Rex: Canine Heavy weapons, loyal and bright
Portrayal: Collie With Heart of Gold and a backpack full of C4
Need: I Must Keep My Family Safe
Secret: Afraid of Being Alone
Notes: Swap Engineer with Scholar rating

Standard New York Rager
Most of the folks affected by the Pathogen become Ragers. I am going to use +Ryan M. Danks' wonderful Zombie stats here, to represent the Ragers. i have changed a few of the aspects, but otherwise they are the same.

Mooks: Ragers
If you need a bunch of Chimera minions to threaten your PCs, this is the way to go.

Portrayal: Brain-dead Chimera
Need: Flesh
Secret: Aim For The Head!
Trouble: Unthinking Attacks
Competence Bonus: Average (+1)
Assets: Strong Bite
Type: Technique
Guiding Aspect: Brain-Dead Chimera
Features: Aspect (Infecting Bite), Harmful 1
Stress: 1 for every two zombies in the horde.

that is the Chimera, or at least, my take on the Chimera at the moment. Let me know what you think. What do I need to add or subtract? What am I missing completely? Alright, barring anything else, the next post will be the Channels, and the truly Inhuman. You know, I think I need a better name than Channel...it just sounds wrong when used as a noun describing an individual. Any thoughts on what i should call them?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fate of the World part 2: Natural Order

There have always been exceptional individuals. However they were few and far between. In 1924 the Dutchman opened the Crime College in order to find and train these individuals to further his ambitions. This lead to far more exceptional individuals in a far smaller geographic space. These men and women were trained in all manner of skills and technologies. They created wondrous devices and esoteric techniques. They wore bright colors and robbed banks, bold as brass. these were the first Villains. In order to face this new threat, heroes were forced to wear masks and delve into the esoteric. Many strange skills and bizarre inventions were used in the fight against crime. The public ate it right up. These were heroes right out of the pulps, facing evil villains in a never ending struggle of good against evil. That was the lie the papers sold them. the truth was far murkier. Many of the supposed heroes were nothing more than thugs in masks, shaking down villains. Some stood tall, but others became the very thing they were fighting against. It was a dark time, and justice was blind.

Rules for making Naturals in Jadepunk
1. Naturals may take any technique that does not break the laws of physics(discuss how far you want that to go within your group). 
2. Naturals may have any device, though the larger it is, or the stranger, the more likely it is to have the troubling flaw(everyone wants it, or it breaks all the time)
3. Allies are unchanged, these would be your gang, or your cop pals who feed you information.

Ivan Dahl von Teler
AKA: The Dutchman, the Ghost, George Anderson, Dutch

Born to a wealthy Danish family, Ivan was trained in everything the sone of a rich man was to know. A prodigy Ivan began learning everything that was available. By the age of eight he had read every book his father owned or could procure as well as burning through seventeen private tutors. At age eleven, tragedy struck. His father's fortunes waned and the family was forced to move to america. Things continued to deteriorate throughout his teen years and by the his sixteenth year his family lived in a detroit slum. During this time something cam unhinged in young Ivan. He began to see that he was different than other children, and in his isolation he focused even more on his studies. While he could no longer afford proper schooling as he was used to he began to train his body. Becoming strong and swift, able to do nearly impossible feats. He began to suspect that there were others like him out in the world. With that in mind he began his plan. He would build an organization of the greatest humanity could offer, and organization that could never fail, because it only accepted the best. To build this organization he needed capital. he began a string of robberies, and discovered he liked it. Ivan wished to remain anonymous and yet he also wished to be known for his expertise. And so the Dutchman was born. Dressed as a ghostly Pirate, he would rob banks and other high security locations. in 1921 he robbed an armored mail truck for over two million dollars in jewels and cash. He finally had enough money to put his plan into action. Over the next year he cemented his hold on a section of Chicago, and managed to pull together a few other unique individuals like himself. In 1923 he began work on the Crime College, developing recruitment tests and building a following of lesser crooks. His dream was about to take flight.

Portrayal: King of Crime
Background: Unhinged Prodigy
Inciting Incident: Out of the Ashes I Rise
Belief: Those With The Means Shall Rule
Trouble: It Is Never Enough

Professions: Scholar +3, Aristocrat and Engineer +2, Explorer and Scoundrel +1, Fighter +0

Assets
Technique: Mind Is The Best Defense
He has trained his body through the use of his mind. In a fight he can predict where an opponent's blow will land and be elsewhere. Fighting the Dutchman is like fighting the wind.

Guiding Aspect: Unhinged Prodigy
Features: Focus 2(+2 to fighter), Protective 2(reduce incoming harm from a successful attack by 2)
Flaws: Situational(only for defense and must described as part of the plan)

Technique: Master Mind
The Dutchman is brilliant at planing and getting people to do what he wants. He is a student of the mind, and the mind holds few mysteries for him.

Guiding Aspect: King of Crime
Features: Focus 2(+2 to scoundrel), Focus 2(+1 to aristocrat and engineer)
Flaws: Situational(only when dealing with followers or working toward a grand plan)

Stress: [] [] []
Refresh: 3

And that is my take on the Naturals for my setting. Let me know what you think, and perhaps what I am missing. Next up I will delve into the bizarre genetics of the Chimera. its gonna be pretty sweet.