Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spirit of the Century

Amelia Blaze
Two-fisted pilot who was raised by cheetahs.

Other characters in the same continuity are: Eva Langley


Daughter of Eleanor and Henry Blaze, pioneering aviators, young Amelia was a passenger in her parents plane when they crashed in a remote part of Africa. The only survivor, young Amelia was, oddly enough, adopted by a family of cheetahs.
Born to fly
Raised by cheetahs
The Great War

Found in 1912 by, Captain Felix Hawke, an old friend of the family (And Century club member), adopted as had no living relatives. Discovered talent for flight. Adoptive father offered his services to British government at start of war and was later shot down by Josef Jacobs, a German ace.
Amelia travelled to France and took to the skies to avenge him. Though skilled her exploits and conduct were very much that of a solo hunter, leading the allied pilots to view her appearance in a battle as a bit of a double edged sword. Inconclusive duel over the skies of France as the armistice is signed.
Whose side is she on anyway?
Unfinished business; Josef Jacobs
Miss Blaze in the return to the Lost Plateau

In which Amelia returns to the site of her parent's crash to pay her respects. There she finds that the mercenary explorer Winston Apperly has a team of natives excavating the area as he believes it to be the site of King Solomon’s Mines.

With the aid of Eva Langley she discovers that the tribesmen believe the plateau to be sacred ground and are only working for Apperly because he has their wives and children hostage. Freeing the prisoners she is able to convince the natives to turn against Apperly and his soldiers, aided by Dr Westfield's undead father taking the role of a vengeful spirit. Once the smoke cleared, Dr Westfield's medical skill was vital in saving the lives of several of the natives.
Rabble rouser
Enemy: Winston Apperly
Guest-starred in...

Eva Langley and the Netherworld Gate

A madman was murdering cats in London. Guided by her feline friends, Eva tracked him to his lair and broke in, poring over his occult library to work out what he was up to. She was captured by Am-Tuat, who chained her up to witness his final triumph... only to discover that she had carefully adjusted two of his mystic symbols, causing the ritual to collapse and destroy him.

Am-Tuat used the cat call for the last time, intending to call the last cat needed to finish his ritual. Instead of a moggy, he got Thema the cheetah, and hot on her trail, Amelia. The distraction that this caused bought Eva the time needed to adjust the symbols, and as the magic went out of control Am-Tuat's fate was sealed when Amelia kicked him into the gate.
Follow the cat!
In the nick of time!
Alexander and the Hollow Earth

Was flying escort with one of the supply airships; spotted Alexander on the ice and rescued him.
To the ends of the earth!
What's that down there?
Born to fly
Raised by cheetahs
Whose side is she on anyway?
Unfinished business; Josef Jacobs
Rabble rouser
Enemy: Winston Apperly
Follow the cat!
In the nick of time!
To the ends of the earth!
What's that down there?


Animal companion – Cheetah (Quality *2, Skilled (Athletics, Fists,Stealth), Independent)
Flying Ace
Personal Aircraft (+1 to all pilot rolls when flying it. Plane is a modified Fairey Fox; speed Good, performance Fair)
Danger sense
Animal friend (cats)

Composure: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
Health: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dark Heresy

The first of three (?) long awaited Warhammer 40k RPGs, Dark Heresy has the players taking the roles of an Inquisitor's retinue.

The system is based on WHFRP, which in turn built on the system used in the wargame.

Character generation allows for a purely random method, so that's what we'll be doing.

First I roll to see what sort of planet my guy came from, getting a 71 - he's been born on an Imperial world, which is the most likely option, the others being Feral world, Hive world and Void Born.

Being from an Imperial world gives my character the following traits
Blessed Ignorance (-5 on Forbidden Lore tests)
Hagiography (The Common Lore skills of Imperium, Imperial Creed and War are treated as Basic Skills)
Liturgical Familiarity (Literacy and Language (High Gothic) are treated as Basic Skills)
Superior Origins (+3 to Willpower)
Now I generate Characteristics. These are all rolled on 2d10 plus a fixed number set by your Homeworld type.
Weapon Skill: 33
Ballistic Skill: 26 (29 with re-roll, 34 with Advance, 37 with tarot (see below))
Strength: 37
Toughness: 27
Agility: 25 (Up to 30 after advances)
Intelligence: 28
Perception: 29
Willpower: 30 (33 after Superior Origins)
Fellowship: 30
I may re-roll one of these, with the caveat that I have to take the re-rolled result even if it's worse.

I decide to take a chance and re-roll Ballistic Skill, getting a total of 29

Next we roll for Career Path. All paths are open to Imperial World citizens, and I get a 30, meaning my character is an Assassin. This gives my character the following Skills, Talents and Equipment. Some talents are presented as a choice of two, for example I can be Ambidextrous or Unremarkable.
Speak Language (Low Gothic)

Melee weapons training (primitive)
Thrown weapon training
Pistol training (SP)
Basic Weapon training (SP)

Starting Equipment
Hunting rifle+16 rounds, Sword, Knife, 10 throwing knives, 3 doses of Stimm, a corpse-hair charm, black bodyglove (common quality clothing)

My character's starting rank is Sell-Steel.
Now we roll for Wound and Fate points, getting a 10 on both rolls, giving 13 Wound points and 3 Fate points.

My agility gives me a base move of 4 and I roll 138 for Starting Wealth.

I next get to spend 400 xp on Career path advances.

I spend my advances as follows, each costing 100 xp
Agility +5
Ballistic Skill +5
Inquiry (skill)
Silent Move (skill)
Now we roll on a bunch of tables to generate the fluff details.

My character is Well built, 50 years old, tanned with blond hair and brown eyes. He has pox marks and came from a Feudal world.

His reading from the Imperial Tarot was 'The gun is mightier than the sword', giving a +3 to Ballistic skill.

I decide to roll for his name on the Archaic table, and get Attilas.

So there we are. One basic Dark Heresy character. As with all DH characters he's a bit rubbish. The age is a bit of a surprise, maybe he was more of an armchair assassin rather until picked up by the Inquisition.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Mouse Guard

Mouse Guard is a RPG based on the comics of the same name by David Petersen.

You're playing mice. Intelligent mice with swords, but basically, still mice. They're small, furry and pretty much everything wants to eat them. Unlike other talking animal worlds there are few sapient species, just Mice, Weasels (and weasel like beasties) and hares. Owls and Bats too maybe, but again, unlike other talking animal worlds not every beastie can understand every other beastie.

Physically the book is a square full colour hardback mostly using art from the comic.

Along with Artesia and Cadwallon it's probably one of the prettiest gaming books I own.

The system used is a light version of Burning Wheel, streamlined and tuned for the setting.

Characters are created by going through a simple lifepath system that gives them their skills and traits.

The first step is to come up with a concept.

We'll go with a studious mouse who joined the Guard at the tail end of the weasel war and found that he had a natural talent for fighting.

Next you choose your rank in the guard. You can be a raw recruit (termed a tenderpaw) all the way up to a Guard Captain (but only if the rest of the group agrees).

I decide that my mouse is going to be a Patrol Guard. He's a veteran guard mouse responsible for complicated or independent missions.

Next I pick my character's age, which determines his Health and Will scores.

Patrol guards can be 21-50 years (don't think about it too much - I've just assumed that sapient beasties live human length lives) old. I decide to make my mouse quite young for his rank, so 22.

This choice gives us our first numbers:
Will: 4
Health: 5
The next step is to work out my mouse's (let's name him now - looking at the list of names, I decide that I like the sound of Jasper) nature.

Nature is a score of how mouse-like your character is. It can be used instead of your skill for Escaping, Climbing, Hiding and Foraging, and can be used to boost the dice rolled for tests. Overall it's a pretty important stat.

Characters start with a Nature of 3, which is adjusted by answering a handful of questions.

Looking at the questions, I decide that Jasper saves for winter, stands his ground and doesn't fear Owls, Weasels and Wolves.

As a result of these choices, Jasper's nature is now 4 and I can't pick the Bold or Generous traits.
Nature: 4
Can't pick Bold or Generous
Next we decide where Jasper was born. This choice gives you your first skill and your first trait.

I want to somewhere close to The Darkheather, which looking at the map gives me a choice of Sprucetuck or Barkstone. Sprucetuck was known for its scientists, which fits my concept nicely.

Picking Sprucetuck gives me a choice of Scietist or Loremouse for skills and Rational or Inquisitive for traits.

I pick Loremouse and Inquisitive
Loremouse: 1

Inquisitive: 1
Next I pick an area in which Jasper is naturally talented, as a Patrol guard he gets one pick; Tenderpaws and Guard Captains get two.

I choose Fighter.
Loremouse: 1
Fighter: 1
Now I choose my parent's trade, which also gives me a skill. Tenderpaws would get to make two choices; everyone else gets one.
Loremouse: 1
Fighter: 1
Archivist: 1
The next question asks how your mouse convinces people to do what he wants. This is interesting because it makes sure that everyone has at least one social skill at a basic level. The three options are Deceiver, Orator and Persuader. Patrol leaders and Guard Captains get two picks; all others, one.
Loremouse: 1
Fighter: 1
Archivist: 1
Persuader: 1
Now Jasper begins his career in the guard, starting with his apprenticeship to a senior artisan in Lockhaven.

This choice gives your character another skill. I decide that Jasper gets apprenticed to one of the Archivists, bringing his rating in that skill up to 2.
Loremouse: 1
Fighter: 1
Archivist: 2
Persuader: 1
Next, Jasper was assigned to a mentor - a senior guardmouse who showed him the ropes, and taught him a new skill.

I decide that Jasper's mentor stressed Pathfinding during Jasper's apprenticeship.
Loremouse: 1
Fighter: 1
Archivist: 2
Persuader: 1
Pathfinding: 1
Next we get eight skill picks from a short list to represent Jasper's experience in the Guard so far. (Other ranks get different numbers of picks).

As a Patrol Guard, Jasper gets to pick from Fighter, Healer, Hunter, Instructor, Pathfinder, Scout, Survivalist, Weather Watcher, Labourer, Haggler and Cook.
Loremouse: 1
Fighter: 3
Archivist: 2
Persuader: 1
Pathfinding: 3
Weather Watcher: 2
Instructor: 1
Scout: 1
Now I get to pick Jasper's speciality from the same list. If making a full patrol of mice, each person would pick a different speciality. I want Jasper to be a good fighter, so pick Fighter as his speciality.

At this stage the skill picks are all done, and it's time to get the final ratings. Basically, you add one to the existing ratings.

Jasper's final skill list looks like this:
Loremouse: 2
Fighter: 5
Archivist: 3
Persuader: 2
Pathfinding: 4
Weather Watcher: 3
Instructor: 2
Scout: 2
Next we pick Jasper's wises - specialised snippets of knowledge. They add 1d to skill checks where they apply.

As a Patrol Guard, Jasper gets 3 wises.
Next it's time Jasper's resources (his ability to get equipment) and his Circles (his ability to find people). Like Nature these start with a base rating which is then modified by questions.

Jasper starts with a base resources of 3 for being a Patrol Guard. Looking at the questions, I decide that he packs carefully for journeys, which increases resources by one, but means that he can't take Bold or Fiery as traits.

Jasper's Circles start at 3. I decide that none of the questions get a Yes answer, so leave them at 3.
Resources: 4
Circles: 3
Can't take Bold or Fiery
Now Jasper gets a second trait. Tenderpaws, Patrol Leaders and Guard Captains get a third pick from their own lists.
Inquisitive: 1
Defender: 1
We've already named Jasper, so it's time to decide what he looks like - this boils down to picking his fur colour. Red is rare, but it fits his name, so Jasper's a redfur.

The next parts are fluff. Naming Jasper's parents, the artisan he apprenticed under, his mentor, outlining a friend, an enemy and finally, deciding on his cloak colour.

Jasper's parents are Ivy and Henson, the Senior artisan he apprenticed under was called Brand and his mentor is a Patrol leader called Dalia who's normally found patrolling the scent border.

Jasper's enemy is a Guard mouse called Trevor who was part of Jasper's first patrol. He retired from the guard early due to an injury, and now spends his time at Blackrock as a Cartographer, updating maps. He blames Jasper for his injury.

Jasper's friend is Garrow, a hunter that he met whilst a tenderpaw in Dalia's patrol. Jasper helped Garrow bring down a Shrike that was attacking mice near a small settlement.

Jasper was given a pale blue cloak symbolising his inquisitive nature.

Finally I write out my character's Belief - an ethical or moral statement that describes how he views the world, and his Instinct - something that he always does. These are important both as a RPing tool and because they affect how you get some character rewards. Both can be changed between sessions if you feel your character has changed enough that the original Belief and Instinct are no longer applicable.
Belief: A guardmouse must stand their ground - it is only by facing our foes that mice can prevail.

Instinct: Always study the situation before acting.
If Jasper was going to be used in a mission I'd write a session goal for him. Mice don't need or get a lot of equipment (the amount they can carry is limited by what you can write into the equipment box on the character sheet). Jasper has his cloak, a spear and some writing tools.

And we're done. Jasper the Patrol Guard is ready to report to Lockhaven for his first mission of Spring.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Savage Worlds: Explorer edition

Savage worlds uses a stripped down version of the system that was first seen in Deadlands.

It bills itself as Fast! Furious! Fun!

I've used it in the past to run a game set in the City of Villains world and found it worked reasonably well, though the granularity of the system and the limited resources you have to create characters with led to very specialised characters. They couldn't really be challenged in their speciality, but were fairly useless at everything else.

As Savage Worlds is a generic system, I'm going to create the same character as I did for Gurps 3rd edition. In future, Samiksha will be my default character for generic systems.

The first step in character creation is to decide on your attributes. You get 5 points to split between the attributes, they each start at d4 and each die step up costs 1 point to a maximum die size of d12.

After a bit of thought I give Samiksha the following attributes:
Agility: d6
Smarts: d8
Spirit: d6
Strength: d4
Vigour: d6
There are a few derived statistics to calculate, but since some of them are dependent on skills, we'll wait until we've picked those.

Like attributes skills are rated by their die size, but start at 0. Each die size costs 1 point up to the level of the linked attribute, then 2 per level up to d12.

The skill list in Savage worlds is pretty comprehensive, but paints in broad strokes - for example there is a single fighting skill rather than one split by weapon type.

You have 15 points to spend on skills
Fighting: d6
Healing: d4
Investigation: d6
Notice: d6
Persuasion: d6
Riding: d4
Streetwise: d4
Knowledge (History): d6 (d8 after Edges and Hindrances)
Knowledge (Languages): d6 (d8 after Edges and Hindrances)
The last part of character creation is to pick Edges and Hindrances. As a human, Sam gets one free Edge, and I pick Danger Sense which gives a Notice roll at -2 to not be surprised by ambushes.

For hindrances I pick Bad Eyes (minor - she has glasses), Curiosity (Major) and Vow of poverty (minor).

This gives me 4 points that can be spent on more edges or attributes (at 2 points per edge or attribute) or skills (at 1 point per skill point)

I spend two points upping Sam's Knowledge skills, then the remaining 2 points on buying the Scholar edge, which gives her a +2 to dice rolls involving those skills.
Scholar (Languages and History)
Danger sense

Poor eyesight (minor)
Vow of poverty (minor)
Curiosity (major)
Now that we have Sam's final attributes and skills we can calculate her derived attributes.

are Pace, Parry, Charisma and Toughness.
Pace: 6 (default for humans unless adjusted by an Edge or Hindrance)
Parry: 5 (2 + half fighting)
Charisma: 0 (default unless an Edge or Hindrance adjusts it)
Toughness: 5 (2 plus half vigour plus torso armor)
Finally we have 500 moneys to spend on equipment. Savage Worlds Sam manages about the same loadout as her GURPS equivalent - a weapon, some armor and some supplies, but no mount.