Saturday, December 19, 2015

Prohibition Mobsters: I reject your history and substitute my own

Disclaimer: Tentative campaign plans ahead. Also, if you are a player in Prohibition Mobsters, you need to close this tab and go read Dresden Files or something productive rather than spoiling yourself.


It started with a hypothetical I threw out to the guys in our campaign's OOC chat. "How fucked would everything be if Germany had a nuclear preemptive strike in WW2?"

Germany back in the early 1940s was nowhere near nuclear technology, nowhere near having the dominance to successfully capture and hold territory, and all told, the hypothetical could never happen.

But it got me thinking, and that's a dangerous thing. Line up a series of events where the world is a much different place than the world we knew of the 1940s. What if FDR died of Polio in 1921, before he fully came into his political career? What if the US Communist Party had political success and didn't wither before the 1930s? What if Germany was much more intelligent regarding scientists, Russia and other facets of war? 

Line up the dominos through the 1920s and 1930s during the course campaign so that in 1940 WW2 breaks out and the United States is invaded by a foreign power. Organized crime was a large part of the various resistance movements during WW2, and it's not a far cry to think that my players would relish such a twist on the criminal genre- especially after two decades of in-game time passing from where they are currently.

Such an undertaking is monstrously huge. In addition to running the game week to week, there's:
  • Identifying things to change about history
  • Making sure the alternate history is internally consistent enough to not break suspension of disbelief
  • Getting through two decades of in-game time, which at the current pace of in-game time per game session is just completely out of whack unless the campaign lasts a decade of IRL time.
  • Determining how the social-political situation in NYC affects the resistance
The big bright side is that this idea will have a very long time to stew and ripen- or maybe turn rotten and be discarded.

Any thoughts, comments, suggestions for historical alterations and ideas are welcome in the comments below.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Maybe I'll Put Down The Pitchfork: Session 3 of Dungeon Exploration

Our group:

Cinder (me): Some kind of fire elemental offspring. Innate burning attacks, not much else.
Rocky: IQ 8 Golem with decent DR 4, Injury Tolerance: Homogeneous, and not much else
Beholder: Has a bunch of hilariously weak eye beams (binding, corrosive/burning innate attacks, telekinesis, etc)
Dr. Dinosaur: Makes things explode and is a dinosaur. Played by my roommate's ten year old daughter.
Homunculus: Winged greedy thing whose capabilities I don't know much about yet.

We started play in combat, quickly wiping the floor with the Kobolds.

This left us at the top of a very deep hole- roughly 60 feet according to a failed Mathematics (Surveying) check on my part. 60 feet being enough of a fall that even Rocky isn't comfortable trying to tank that amount of damage

We dithered about in real time for almost 45 minutes trying to resolve getting down this drop. My climbing skill of 11 is the highest in the group, and repeated climbing checks meant that a fail early is a one-way ticket to creating a new character.

Nobody has rope or climbing gear, and our two flying members either have low ceiling (Beholder) or are still suffering from arrow wounds (took me four attempts to succeed on first aid over the course of an hour of play time). The kobolds had a perilously dangerous ladder they had used which I promptly burned when the GM implied it was in our way.

Attempting to make a ramp of sorts by dumping rubble in was fruitless. The Kobolds had no hidden entrances or doors that we could find.

We eventually made a very dubious ladder from the fences the Kobolds used for fortifications, a bloody miracle considering that nobody in the group has carpentry.

Somehow, we all made it down alive. Kobolds immediately began trying to nail us with crossbows, but 15rof suppression fire does wonders to convince anything with a brain that occupying hallways is a bad idea.

Beholder got caught in a deadfall trap, reducing his HP to 2. The next 'deadfall' we got to I lit on fire (just in case it was a trap- yeah, that's the ticket). When it didn't immediately collapse the group sprinted past it in full expectation of a cave-in.

I took a crossbow bolt to the hand for 3 damage but grabbed the burning 'trap' and took 6 points of burning damage. My absorption DR quickly converted this back into HP.

The rest of the session involved fruitlessly trying to stem the tide of Kobolds taking pot-shots with their crossbows and moving further into the unknown depths.

Lowering the Pitchfork:

I had more fun this last session, largely because of my own antics. Lighting things on fire is what my character is designed to do, and I got to do it twice, even if burning a support beam underground is a terrible idea.

Now, the pacing still sucks. Spending 45 minutes examining boring idea after boring idea is a drag. Nobody found the hole problem captivating or exciting- just something that was keeping us from getting to the gooey center.

It's obvious that for the moment we're on a set of railroad tracks considering the path ahead of us has had no branch points at all. The way back isn't an option unless we want to try the ladder back up (ha, no). This linearity isn't a problem- until the party hits a challenge that they cannot succeed at. It's totally cool to have things that players cannot solve or do immediately in games, but only if there are other things to turn around and do while getting the equipment/spell/skill to deal with that thing you're leaving alone for now.

We lack that option entirely, with the only option being forward. The fact that two of our party are seriously injured and that we still have no healing at all (unless the ten year old is adding it to her sheet) is still a concern.


Along with Session 2, we were granted 10 points:
  • I raised all skills associated with Talent (Explorer) to have at least 1 point, and increased Cartography to 2 points
  • I added a second level to my Torch Accessory Perk to double the range it illuminates from 2 yards to 4
  • I added the Overhead enhancement to both of my innate fire attacks on the suggestion of Matt, the guy who played Virgil in Agency 17. Now I can literally rain fire on foes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sessions 1&2 of Frustrating Dungeon Delving

My IRL group that meets on Tuesday nights just started a dungeon delving game using GURPS run by one of the players who was in my Monster Hunters game. We had our second session tonight.

Point total for characters is 150-50-5, and since the entire group decided to play monsters/monstrous beings... character creation got a bit nasty.

Our group:

Cinder (me): Some kind of fire elemental offspring. Innate burning attacks, not much else.
Rocky: IQ 8 Golem with decent DR 4, Injury Tolerance: Homogeneous, and not much else
Beholder: Has a bunch of hilariously weak eye beams (binding, corrosive/burning innate attacks, telekinesis, etc)
Dr. Dinosaur: Makes things explode and is a dinosaur. Played by my roommate's ten year old daughter.
Homunculus: Winged greedy thing whose capabilities I don't know much about yet.

Session 1:

We started play in the middle of nowhere in a small hamlet inhabited by some goat people who were extremely unhelpful at giving us any sort of directions or material aid. We briefly considered cooking and eating some of the goat people because supplies were low, but decided to try exploring instead.

We trudged around some forests for a while, eventually getting into a fight with a giant spider who managed to bite the golem and then get roasted by me and the dinosaur. Turns out three PCs have burning-related innate attacks, meaning significant overlap in combat ability which means niche protection is laughable.

We somehow managed to make enough naturalist skill checks to not starve despite nobody having more than a 9 in it.

Eventually, after repeated failed navigation rolls, we found a place that might be the dungeon entrance we were looking for. Heavily guarded though, we went around and searched up some rumors from another hamlet and tried another location.

This other location was behind multiple wooden palisades and walls, which we started to burn down at range with a constant barrage of fire attacks and explosions. We ended the first session here.

Session 2:

We more or less immediately started in combat with the things guarding the hole that we believe leads to the dungeon. Homunculus tried flying over to scout, took a crossbow bolt to the torso for 5imp and was immediately out of the rest of the session because nobody in our group has any healing capability.

We spent some time searching the surrounding area and found a destitute farmhouse that still had a door. We stole the door and used it as mobile cover to approach the walls and palisades, eventually cooking most of the Kobolds.

I largely relied on my 1d 15ROF 7 acc innate attack because the range penalty was -7 for the first half of the fight as we picked people off at range. It was a ho-hum "Aim shoot, aim shoot, I aim and shoot again" situation.

We left off with 4-5 Kobolds still alive, with us holding a gap in their defenses with the door and us clustered behind it.

Frustration Points: 

I definitely feel this campaign needed 250 points to really be enjoyable for me as a player, especially once everyone decided that a monsters game would be more fun than playing vanilla humans. Everyone in the group dumped points into fun abilities- flight, innate attacks, being made of rocks- and skimped heavily on skills. I haven't looked at everyone's sheets, but between the three I've seen the IQ skills for things like naturalist, navigation, and cartography are either non-existent or one point wonders.

My character is the only one with first aid, at a 10 with 1 point spent.

Now, there's a balance in any campaign between the premise, what the GM expects to present as challenges for the players, and how the players build their characters to face challenges. Obviously, a mix of things that PCs are prepared for and not prepared for is best, because it allows someone with niche abilities to shine, but everyone in the group is obviously geared for munchkin played out with GURPS:

Our group is not geared for trying to locate the dungeon everybody wanted to start in to begin with. Now granted, I could have skimped any number of abilities to shore up my skills, but that directly cuts out from my fun burning monsters to ashes. My first five earned characters points went into Explorer Talent because I expect the GM to continue being a twat about needing those skills (Cartography, chiefly) even though I'd rather be adding additional dice to my innate attacks, picking up more utility (obscure, infravision, etc), or adding to skills that are more fun to use.

It feels like we're being set up to fail. It doesn't help that the GM created PCs (Rocky and Dr. Dinosaur) are nigh useless. Rocky has DR 4, IT: Homogeneous- and ST 10 or 11. And no other useful skills except maybe geology or brawling, both of which are probably around 12 or 13. Sure, rocky can stand around and soak damage, but that's nowhere near fulfilling the brick role the player wanted (HULK SMASH).

Dr. Dinosaur has magery, no spells, and an explosion innate attack that requires FP- despite it being their core combat option. Because casting magic missile five times and being out of spells for the rest of the fight was fun back during 2ed D&D, right?

Let's not forget that any failure at this point inevitably leads to some kind of slow grind to a painful death. No healing, no town to go back to for resources/rest up. No social connections or friends to go to for help. It feels a little like walking through a minefield. I'm dubious about how long this continues before frustration hits the boiling point and we abort the game.

Here's my character (I did not bother to change the randomly generated biographical info):

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Prohibition Mobsters: Rachel Xercotti

Rachel Xercotti, Journalist

Rachel came about as the result of a critical success on a reaction roll I made on behalf of one of my players while they were at a party trying to sling cocaine to get close to a Broadway singer so they could kidnap her. So I decided that Tony now has a very determined and nosy admirer and love interest.

Rachel is built on 100% of Tony's points and appears on a 6 or less. I used Action 4 as well as many of the various Power-Up series for inspiration and ideas.

 Rachel was built using numerous skill packages from Action 4: Bon Vivant, Journalism, Detective Work, Femme Fatale, Social Engineering. These packages resulted in a significant overlap, especially with Sex Appeal which ended up ridiculously high (especially after tuning it to IQ instead of HT with a Perk).

Rachel's Top Capbilities:
  • Getting people to divulge information: With Sex Appeal 18 (effective skill 24 with Very Beautiful Appearance), Acting and Fast-Talk 16, and Carousing 14, Rachel is a natural at getting information from people
  • Rubbing Elbows with the Upper Crust: Connoisseur, Current Affairs, Diplomacy and Savoir-Faire (High Society) all at skill 13 work exceedingly well with her skills above to help her mingle with those that matter without stepping on figurative toes
  • Technical Journalism: Rachel has a spattering of journalism technical skills in the 11-13 range that help her gain information when people aren't around to talk to.
Rachel's Weaknesses:
  • Rachel is a liability in combat. She's not a bad shot with a gun but she's otherwise completely outmatched by most street thugs or criminals.
  • No athleticism
  • Almost no points in stealth-related skills, and only a paltry 11 in Shadowing. 
Projected Growth:
  • Shoring up Rachel's capability to be a sneak- stakeouts, following people, probably lockpicking and some skills geared towards getting into physical places she doesn't belong
  • Increasing the technical skills she has
  • Perception increases would benefit a large number of her skills (not to mention IQ which would be a crazy increase across the board)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mr. Insidious Reviews- GURPS Action 4: Specialists

(Disclaimer: I decided to write this review because these are my genuine views of the product.)

Action 4 is undoubtedly an iteration of the Specialty packages Kromm created for his GURPS campaign, The Company, back in 2009. This is a good thing.

Reading through The Company Document (page with link here, direct attachment link here) is interesting, as many of specialties are lifted almost verbatim (I'll bold examples) from the word document to Action 4.

For example, The Languages Speciality from The Company Document (which I'll call TCD from here on out):
Every Company operative is expected to be bilingual, at least – but a trained interpreter is a valuable resource for a squad, given that there’s no way of knowing where the next job will be. You’re multilingual in the extreme and have a trained ear even for languages you don’t know. This specialty is most effective when paired with something like Impersonation, Social Engineering, or Spin Doctor.

Advantages: Acute Hearing 1 [2]; Language 1 (Native) [6]; Language 2 (Native) [6]; Language 3 (Native) [6].
Perks: Accent (any one for any language known) [1].
Skills: Linguistics (IQ/H) [4].

And the same from Action 4:
25 points
You’re a trained interpreter or just a “citizen of the world.”
You’re multilingual in the extreme and have a trained ear.
Advantages: Acute Hearing 1 [2]; Language Talent* [10]; Language (any at Native) [4]; Language (any other at Native)
[4]; Language (yet another at Native) [4].
Skills: One of Gesture (IQ/E) [1], Lip Reading (Per/A) [1],
Public Speaking (IQ/A) [1], or Writing (IQ/A) [1] – or Linguistics (IQ/H) [1] in a realistic campaign, though Action
doesn’t use that skill.
* When doubling up, choose Cultural Adaptability [10] or
Voice [10] the second time.
So, both include Acute Hearing 1 as well as Three Languages at Native Comprehension. TCD has 4 points in linguistics and a perk, while Action 4 springs for Language Talent and a single related skill at 1 point. This is pretty indicative of a lot of the packages from TCD to Action 4- they ditch perks and they tend to skew skills towards more of an action oriented game.

Records Falsification from TCD:
Records Falsification
You can fake just about any kind of document: identity cards, ledgers, police reports, and (in a pinch) banknotes. Given the Company’s shadowy existence, this specialty is in great demand. Company ops don’t have to do this sort of work themselves – they can request it from their handlers in advance – but field Agents often run into situations and timelines that render such orders infeasible during an assignment.

Perks: One-Task Wonder (Administration defaults to full IQ when filling in/interpreting forms) [1].
Skills: Accounting (IQ/H) [2]; Computer Operation (IQ/E) [1]; Counterfeiting (IQ/H) (from Forgery) [4]; Electronics Operation (Media) (IQ/A) [2]; Electronics Repair (Media) (IQ/A) [1]; Forgery (IQ/H) [12]; Photography (IQ/A) [2].
 And from Action 4:
 Records Falsification
25 points
You can fake documents of most kinds: identity cards, ledgers, photographs . . . even banknotes, in a pinch. To falsify
digital records, tack on Computer Intrusion (p. 13).
Skills: Accounting (IQ/H) [4]; Administration (IQ/A)
[4]; Computer Operation (IQ/E) [1]; Electronics
Operation (Media) (IQ/A) [4]; Forgery* (IQ/H) [12].
* Counterfeiting (IQ/H) defaults to Forgery-2,
which usually suffices because it rarely arises in
Action. If it’s essential to a character concept, take
it instead of Forgery and use Forgery at its Counterfeiting-2 default.

 Both have a spattering of the same skills, although the point values differ a little between the two. Perhaps the biggest difference are the skills that later get removed with Action 4- Electronics Repair (Media) is completely ditched, as is the perk in favor of putting actual points in Administration. Action 4's specialty just makes more sense than the one in TCD.

So what do we know about Action 4?
  • Action 4 has effectively been in development for almost 6 years since the specialty packages concept have been kicking around Kromm's head since around that time (at least)
  • Action 4 is sleek, lean, and based off something that works- I used TCD for my Agency 17 game and all of my players ended up with very capable, interesting characters to play. I still suggest using specialties to my players to this day, and I'll likely allow players the choice of choosing between the ones laid out in TCD or Action 4.
  • Hell, I still routinely build NPCs off TCD to this day.
  • There's new specialties in Action 4 completely left out of TCD, such as Journalist, Bon Vivant, Researcher and Fireman, which expands from purely the espionage roots of TCD into incorporating a wider selection of Action Roles.
  • Action 4 takes the default agent template of TCD and breaks it down to a lower point total and then encourages people to select from power-ups which allows for even made tailor-made characters without moving away from Templates.
 I only have a few complaints:
  • I would love to see this expanded to non-action genres, although many specialties could easily be converted without much effort.
  • Somewhat more realistic specialties would also be fantastic
All in all? Action 4 is a solid product, and one that I bought immediately with full confidence that I would get a great deal of use out of it. I personally feel it is applicable for many campaign styles besides Action alone, and that gives it a great amount of utility. I strongly suggest buying it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Prohibition Mobsters: Sessions 2 and 3

The players went back to Jack, explaining that Bruno was gone. After a long wait for Sam to get back from rousing Moran's crew into a useless search of the Hudson River for a booze shipment, Jack returned with their new crew member- a WWI vet with an appreciation for heavy weapons.

The hijacking of the booze shipment went more or less without a hitch. Thanks to a third player (still unidentified by the players) chasing down the shipment, the players really only had to clean up after the escort and chase vehicles were done shooting each other to shreds.

After securing the booze, the PCs had a week to stew.

Than Lester Montange, another capo within the Barberini family, had a job. One of the Barberini's drinking establishments/gambling parlors had been tossed by the O'Malley Family, an Irish outfit heavily involved in illicit gambling. Turns out, two Families, the O'Malleys and the Zambitos, have been slugging it out for a few months over who gets the bulk of gambling within NYC.

Some questions to their extended social circles reveals that the O'Malleys were told by Three-Finger Moran that the Barberini place was a Zambito establishment.

Lester tells the crew to hit the O'Malleys.

Despite a failed area knowledge check, the group locates an O'Malley bar, and case the place. It's being watched by three guys- one in a window across the street, and two in a vehicle parked in an alleyway.

Vinnie and Red head inside to get the watchman. Vinnie lockpicks the door, sneaking inside. The crappy floor gives him away, but Vinnie manages to slip around back the guy. Vinnie garrotes him.

The poor shmuck failed his ST roll by 5. Vinnie succeeded his ST+3 (due to using a garrote) check by 8, meaning the guy took 13 cut damage to the neck. I didn't bother making HT checks.

The second guy in the apartment that they didn't know about comes out about this time. Vinnie and Red pummel him down, breaking both of his hands in the process.

With the lookouts out of the way, the crew assembles in the overlook point to plan, when Moran's guys phone in. Sam manages to affect a shitty Irish accent, convincing them that he was posted. They tell him that they're leaving since it's obvious that the Barberinis didn't take the bait.

The PCs immediately prove that assessment wrong by sneaking Red and Sam inside the bar, then having Vinnie and Tony beat up the bouncers and enter with guns blazing. They empty out the bar and begins smashing everything in sight.

To top it off, they make off with a cargo truck with a small shipment of booze the O'Malleys were unloading in the back of the bar.

Overall take:
  • One cargo truck
  • Small shipment of booze
  • Cash register
  • One fairly shoddy shotgun

Friday, July 24, 2015

I Killed a PC in the First Session

Last Saturday I started a new campaign centered around Prohibition Mobsters trying to make it big in 1920's NYC. Here's how it went.

  • Four PCs- Sam (Played by the same guy who played Virgil in Agency 17), Bruno, Roseanna ("Red"), and Vinnie
  • 150pt total
  • Red and Vinnie are both playing minors (16 or 17 years old)
The PCs are called into a speakeasy by their local Capo, Jack Bennedetto. Jack works for the Barberini family, and so do the PCs. Jack's learned that the Baker Gang, a smalltime outfit working out of Newark is sending a shipment of booze South around Manhattan to try and avoid having another shipment hijacked going through the heart on NYC.

This, of course, means the players should have an easy time hijacking the very same shipment.

The players pump Jack for details. The Bakers are politically insignificant. They only manufacture booze, they sell to other outfits who ultimately distribute the product. Most families buy from them only when shit hits the fan and their normal supply routes have been compromised.

Sam sets out to get in contact with his brother-in-law, Teddy, an excellent wheelman. He then does some digging, meeting a soldier of the Vespucci family. The Vespuccis have been keenly aware of the trouble that the Baker Gang is having- their last three shipments from them have all been hijacked.

Sam is not pleased to learn it seems to be his nemesis, Jack "Three Finger" Moran who is involved. Moran is Irish, territorial, and feisty. Sam sets up some smoke and mirrors, hoping to convince Moran's gang that the next Baker shipment is going by boat.

Meanwhile, the others decide to scope out Newark. Locating a diner owned as a front by a member of the local criminal elite, they manage to fast-talk their way into getting Bruno a job at a 'rubbing alcohol' plant.

Bruno attempts to so some reconnaissance  while Red and Vinnie are stationed outside, but Bruno is an amateur actor at best, and he arouses suspicion. He's confronted by some armed thugs in the parking lot outside, and is convinced to go back inside.

Bruno is questioned by the boss of the factory, but doesn't break under interrogation. They're convinced he's a cop.

Meanwhile, Vinnie tries to sneak into the factory, even getting into a supply closet via a window, but without any firearms, and outnumbered, he wisely stays out of sight.

Bruno eventually makes a move, attempting to get his armed guard in a headlock. The guard takes aim, just to get socked in the chest. Firing his shotgun twice at Bruno, the guard misses due to the bulk and shock penalties.

Bruno misses on his next attack as the guard dodges and retreats. The guard opens fire again, and Bruno fails his dodge, taking seven shotgun pellets. Bruno is hit in the torso, groin (twice), right arm (twice), the leg, and his hand, for a total of 26 damage, as well as a crippled arm and hand.

Bruno does make his HT checks, but the players taps out knowing that continuing the fight is pointless. More members of the factory are moving in, some drawing firearms.

The session ends with Bruno's body being loaded into the same truck the players think they have to hijack.

Important Lessons:
  • Bruno didn't go for an all-out attack while trying to grapple the guard
  • Retreating out of close combat to avoid bulk penalties is powerful
  • Bruno never should have gone back inside the factory. Range penalties work in your favor when you're running away from people with guns.
  • A lot of the PCs invested a great deal in melee brawling skills, a poor decision considering they're operating in the era of the Tommy Gun
  • Acting at default, Fast-talk at 12 and Streetwise 11 aren't going to cut it if you're trying to infiltrate an enemy outfit.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Italian Mob Rank/Status

Monster Hunters is ongoing, despite a long (almost month long) break in sessions due to numerous real life things going on. The game's plot is as thick as ever, which has made me increasingly reticent to blog about it since describing what's going on would take ages.

For a new campaign, I'm thinking about Prohibition Era crime- the likes of Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, and so on. It would involve trying to scrabble up the ladder within the organization, pulling off jobs, fending off other gangs, and inevitably clashing with police.

Associate members of the mob are pretty easy to peg- Rank 0, 2pts (as per Social Engineering pg. 15). This comes with a -2pt Duty to the Family (representing getting asked to do jobs above and beyond the normal criminal endeavors and the cut of profit that gets sent up to the bosses). All PCs would be given this to start.

Rank increases at 2pt/level, with the mob representing a 10pt Patron for Requests for assistance. This is to model individuals like Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel who had clout within the mob without being able to fully capitalize on the Mob's power due to their ethnicity.

Made Men receive Criminal Rank in the family, at 3pts/level, replacing rank that they previously held before. (IE: Rank 3 previously is now Rank 2) The mob represents a 15pt patron for Made Men when making a request for assistance.
Made Men are subject to a -10pt vow:
-Code of Silence (Never talk to Authorities or seek their help)
-No talking about business to non-members
-Cannot fight or kill fellow members without Boss' Permission
-Must pay tribute
-Cannot commit adultery with other family members' wives
And also a -5pt Duty.

Breaking the vow or refusing to accept an order from the boss is punishable by death.

But Made Men enjoy privileges:
-5pt Legal Immunity within Organized Crime Circles. This represents the fact that Made Men are not to be attacked without permission from the Man's boss.
-Reputation 4 (Large Class of People, Criminals: -50%)- 10pts

Soldiers generally have rank 1-3, with a cap of 3. Rank 0 would represent a  member not currently in the good graces of the family.

Capos have rank 4-6.

The Underboss and Consigliere are rank 7.

The Boss/Godfather is rank 8.

The levels for the 2pt rank for non-Italians is roughly similar, with rank 4 meaning that an individual is in responsible for a group of individuals below them, with the size of that group increasing with each level of rank.

Most Made Men are expected to be Status 1 or 2, with higher ranking Capos (Rank 6 especially) likely edging into Status 3. The Underboss and Consigliere would both be Status 3 or 4, and the Godfather would be Status 4 or 5 (Al Capone). This status is purchased separately from Rank.

Any thoughts or comments are appreciated.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Endless Legions: Impalers

I ran a combat last session involving Impalers, and while effective at taking on the weakest combatant who was in the fight, they didn't exactly pose a significant threat to the players.

So as I go through introducing you all to the Impaler, I'll likely talk about the failing points they had last session.


Impalers are part of the Endless Legions of Hell. Used primarily to crack defenses as shock troops, Impalers are characterized by the black tar that seeps from their bodies constantly. This tar hardens, covering their entire body in a protective shell and forming the claws and spines for which they are named. Impalers can fire spines from their bodies, allowing them to attack at range.

ST: 13        HP: 13         Speed: 7
DX: 15      Will: 13        Move: 7
IQ: 13        Per: 13         Weight: 200lbs
HT: 12       FP: 12          SM: 0

Dodge: 11  Parry: 13     DR: 20 (Ablative)

Traits: Claws (Long Talons); Combat Reflexes; Damage Resistance 20 (Ablative); Regeneration (Extreme, DR Only, Requires Ready)*; Spines Innate Attack (Detailed Below); Spines (Long); Unfazeable
Skills:Innate Attack (Projectile)-16; Karate-18; Wrestling-19;

Claws (18): 1d+2(5) cut or impaling; reach C.
Spines (21): 1d small piercing damage; range 100, Acc 3, RoF 30, Shots N/A, Rcl 1

*Restores 20 DR/second due to scaling effects of having DR 20

Impalers originally had only 10 DR. While enough to prevent the less damage heavy characters from immediately cracking through and dealing HP damage to them, Fiona swinging her great axe for 5d+3 had no issue getting through to the gooey center. Increasing this DR to twenty both ensures that two or more attacks will be required to start affecting the Impalers' HP, and that regenerating the shell for a turn is more of a worthwhile investment.

Now, for combat options, Impalers can actually make decent use of Spraying Fire, and Quick Shooting. I decided to give their claws a very high armor divisor to ensure that they could target the most beefy member of the PCs, without needing high damage to punch through DR.

The high RoF of spines is what really makes Impalers dangerous against unarmored targets. On a skill roll of 16, an Impaler is still going to score 5 hits against a target within 2 yards. That requires a margin of success of 4 to completely avoid the attack, which most characters with a dodge at or below ten will fail- consistently. Given that a roll of 10 is hitting with 11 shots, it's clear why armor is important while fighting them.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Endless Legions: Mayhems

The Endless Legion is the seeming mass of demonic beings that aren't powerful enough to claim their place within the meritocracy that is demonic nobility. A large portion of it is effectively a caste system enforced by which species a demon is- it's a rare imp that survives long enough to overcome the weakness of its birth.

One such species, used as troops by the nobility, are Mayhems, named because of the chaos of limbs and weapons that ensues when they enter a melee.

Mayhems look a great deal like a normal human, at least until they reveal the two extra arms that are generally hidden inside the chest cavity. At this point, it becomes obvious that their spines and arms are elongated (SM +1, arms have SM+2, a reach of C-2), and that they can use all fours arms to attack separately. Once they reveal their arms their height increases to almost seven and a half feet tall.

The spine of a Mayhem is exposed and can be attacked from the front. When the spine is crippled, the upper torso breaks free of the legs, reducing the Mayhem to crawling about on four arms to move around. This effectively gives them the horizontal disadvantage, making it impossible for them to move and hold more than a single weapon at the same time.

 Mayhems frequently use weapons with extended melee reach to enable themselves to attack foes who cannot close in to attack without risking a thicket of sharp death.


ST: 13            HP: 13           Speed: 5.5
DX: 13          Will: 10          Move: 5
IQ: 10            Per: 10           Weight: 200lbs
HT: 9             FP: 9              SM: +1
Dodge: 8        Parry: 10       DR: Only skull and spine

Fright Check: -2 (Experienced monsters hunters quickly acclimate to fighting these)

Claw (14): 1d+1 crushing. Reach C-4.
Grapple (15):  No damage. Gains +2 to ST per extra arm used to choke/strangle, up to +4.
Spear (14):  1d+3 impaling (1d+4 if held by two hands). Reach 1-3 (One-handed), 1-3,4* (two-handed)
Long Spear (14): 1d+3 impaling (1d+4 if held by two hands). Reach 2-4 (One-handed), 1-4,5* (two-handed)
Halberd (14): 2d+10 cut. Reach 2-4,5*.
Halberd (14): 2d+9 imp. Reach 2-4,5* May get stuck.
Halberd (14): 1d+4 imp. Reach 3-5*

Traits: Claws, blunt; Extra Arms 2 (Long 2; Extra-flexible, Switchable); Extra Attack 3; Injury Tolerance (No Vitals; Independent Body Parts (Upper Torso Only; No reattachment)); Night Vision 5; Striking ST 1.
 Feature: Spine can be targeted from the front, different crippled spine effects

Brawling-14; Climbing-18; Polearm-14; Spear-14; Wrestling-15

Friday, January 23, 2015

Allowing allies to take advantage of Feint

So, the combat in my game is starting to get slightly stale for my tastes, and I've always been slightly irked by how much better deceptive attack seems compared to a feint- the improved turn economy of deceptive attack is highly desirable.

A feint, done right, draws your opponent into a state of weakness so that you can then smash in their face, taking advantage of it.

My thinking is, a good enough feint might open up a hole in an enemy's defense so glaring that even allies can take advantage.

Any feint that imposes a penalty of -3 or more to a defense roll can be taken advantage of by allies, not just the combatant who originally used feint.