Thursday, November 28, 2019

Dandy Highwayman (Troika! Background)

Dandy Highwayman

Qua qua, da diddly, qua qua, da diddly

Clothes. More than just a way to keep you warm and dry, they’re an extension of your soul, your personality, your inner self. Fashion is ever-changing, and what’s flash and new last week is dull and gauche now. You’re obsessed with clothes and the fickle whims of fashion, so much so that you’ve turned to thievery to fund your obsession. But no brutish thug, you. You’re a dandy highway man with swagger and poise. It’s important to look good while you rob from the rich and give to your closet. 

You’ve exhausted the sartorial possibilities of your homeworld (or maybe there’s too much heat from the constabulary). Now you’ve come to Troika to see what the Humpback Sky has to offer in the ways of fashion. 

  • 2 very Fancy pistolets
  • Belt with six plasmic cores
  • Flashy clothes, including mask and cloak (+2 to Swagger)
  • Face paint
  • Mount (horse, ostrich, strider bug, or some similar large beast)

  • 3 Swagger
  • 2 Riding
  • 2 Pistolet Fighting
  • 2 Sneak
  • 3 Fashion Sense

Every month, you must spend fully half your income on flashy new clothes. If you do, you gain +2 on all Swagger rolls. If you don’t, you receive -2 on all Luck rolls until you update your wardrobe. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Last 48 Hours for "Leopard Women of Venus" Kickstarter!

Unrestrained self promotion!

As of this writing, Leopard Women of Venus of Venus has less than 48 hours left in its Kickstarter campaign. It's been a wild ride!

We've hit our first stretch goal, and we'll be able to hire Stefan Poag to do art for the book. That's super exciting!

I'm very much hoping that we'll reach the $4000 dollar mark, so we can bring my friend Anne Hunter (DIY & Dragons) onto the team. Our plan is to have her write a new supernatural patron for book--some kind of powerful super computer connected to the Caverns and the Science Robots. Anne talks at length about her ideas on her last blog post: "I Shall Destroy All Civilized Stretch Goals." A mixture of Futurama and Star Trek? Yes please!

The LWoV Kickstarter runs through November 20.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Acadecon 2019--Games I ran and Played

This past weekend I went to Acadecon in Dayton for the first time. It’s a smaller con, a few hundred attendees maybe. I spent way too much money on the (admittedly nice) hotel, but the con staff were all friendly and the whole thing seemed very well organized, which is more than I can say about a lot of cons of this size (BASHcon).

I had registered to run two Dungeon Crawl Classics adventures, and I signed up to play in a few other games over the weekend. This is how things went.

Friday afternoon I ran “Sanctum of the Snail” from Crepusucular #1. Not surprisingly, I can pretty much run this game in my sleep. I had three players—one who had played DCC a few times at cons, one who had played DCC, like, once, and a third who had never played DCC but had heard stories about its unique and deadly experience. All together they had 12 zero-level zeds ready to run through the funnel.

I don’t get a lot of TPKs as a GM. Perhaps my hippy-dippy upbringing has made me soft. But this session wound up a total blood-bath. Things looked pretty promising for the players at the start, when they all got initiative over the Sharkboys and raced through the sanctum door to relative before the monsters could attack any of them. Things went down-hill quickly after that.

Post-game, when I shared the dungeon map and went through the adventure a bit, one of the players quipped “Wow, we really did take the path of most resistance!” Through no fault of their own, they missed every weapon cache, armor stash, magical benny, and treasure pile. Gong farmers fell like cordwood, the party split up, and the “replace your PCs here” room was avoided. Blorgamorg was never encountered.

The swarm of 1hp floating skulls were the worst menace. The fragile little monsters chewed up the PCs while bad dice rolls prevented the heroes from landing blows. The last three survivors managed to make it all the way to the Snail Sorceress’s bedroom, but breaking down the door created a lot of noise that attracted Chaos Slug Men. These wandering monsters were the death stroke for the party. All hands lost.

And yet! Despite that, the players all had fun. They knew DCC’s rep, they knew what they were getting into, and they had the proper DCC experience. Good times all around!

I didn’t run anything on Saturday, but I got to play in three different games. All Out of Bubblegum is one of those one-page mini-RPGs you find on Reddit. This one was about playing 80s action dudes. It was very silly and fun, and run by one of the guys from the Critcast podcast (which I will have to check out now).

Also, a gift from Chris Lauricella!
Later, I got to play Shadow of the Demon Lord for the first time. I’ve been meaning to try it out for some time. The adventure was a pretty linear—take this evil artifact to the obelisk and destroy it—but it did a good job of demonstrating the system and setting. That’s what I want from a demo game! The GM was also engaging and system-smart, so kudos to him.

My last game on Saturday was Worlds in Peril, run by another of the Critcast fellows. Worlds in Peril is a “Powered by the Apocalypse” superhero game. I love PBtA games, and I love superheroes, but I’ve never found a supers RPG that I really loved. I’m not sure this is it yet, but I like how “Bonds” worked a lot. I still have to find a group to play Masks: A New Generation with.

On Sunday, my Leopard Women co-conspirator Leighton “Laser Ponies” Connor came up from Cincinnati to play. We had a power-brunch at Waffle House, then went back to the con to do some “Saucer Full of Secrets.” “Saucer” is the zero-level funnel for LeopardWomen of Venus. I’ve run it once before at Gencon, while LC has ran it a couple of times himself at various cons. LC would play some zeroes in this session, but he’s very good at “fading into the back” and letting the other players run things. All together, I had six players with 18 zeds in total.

The adventure started with the gathered zeds receiving their mission from Forecastle J. MacBeth, leader of the Humanoid Coalition and my favorite NPC. The party needed to cross through the dangerous jungle to a crater where an alien spaceship had crashed 72 hours previous. They were to salvage what they could from the saucer and find out what had happened to the previous retrieval team.

The trek across the jungle was treated like a dungeon, with paths connecting to various clearings. No need to overwhelm new players with wilderness-crawl rules right out the gate, I figure. The party encountered a shrine to Fantomah, got the jump on some Martian scouts, fought a deranged Flying Saurian, and avoided the deadly Venusian Bees. Little-to-no casualties at this point, thanks to luck and sound tactics.

When the party arrived at Gorgon’s Gorge, things started to turn. Three giant flaming claws smashed, squeezed, and burned several members of the party before they were destroyed.

Eventually the party found the wrecked saucer and set to exploring it. The radium miner’s geiger counter let them avoid the ruptured core at the center of the craft. The Martian cafeteria seemed promising until mutated slime puddings dropped from the ceiling killed several of their number. The sadistic surgical robot the oversaw the bio-lab also managed kill some of the players before getting scrapped. The Martian barracks were the most deadly of course, as a cadre of Martian pikemen and gunners winnowed down the PC party. When they party eventually decided to examine the saucer’s power core, the co-mingled monstrosity that was once two members of the original team killed several more PCs (It had three attacks!). At long last, the PCs managed to rescue the two survivors from the original expedition and were able to call in MacBeth for an extraction. Of the 18 level-zeroes that started the adventure, only seven made it out alive. That’s what I call a good funnel adventure!

Acadecon was fun, and if Dayton’s in your travel zone, you should consider checking it out. My only real problem was that it was the first convention in a long time (maybe ever?) that I attended by myself without buddies or family. That makes for some boring downtime. If I go back, I’ll certainly need to bring company.


Saturday, November 2, 2019

Leopard Women of Venus for Troika!

The Kickstarter for Leopard Women of Venus still has 18 days to go, and we’re just $400 away from funding. If you haven’t checked LWoV out yet, click the link above and give it a look-see! I think you’ll like it.

Speaking of crazy sci-fi-fantasy settings, I’ve spoken before about how much I love Daniel Sell’s Troika. I think Leopard Woman would fit in quite well beneath the Hump-Backed Sky, executing who knows what kind of missions for the sinister Science Robots. So here they are as a Troika background.

Leopard Woman of Venus

You once were a normal citizen with a caste and a job--just a comfortable cog in a subterranean techno-socialist “utopia.” Then your masters, the Science Robots, chose you for some reason. They filled you with radioactive leopard blood and rewired your brain with pranic circuitry, making you faster, stronger, better. Now it’s your duty to defend Venus from all manner of alien evil. What threats does the city of Troika hide?

  • Comet Fire Helmet (as fusil)
  • 3 Plasmic Cores
  • Leopard Skin Armor (modest armor)
  • Flying Saurian (Medium beast, flies)

Advanced Skills
  • 3 Saurian Riding
  • 3 Comet Fire Helmet Fighting
  • 2 Hand-to-Hand Fighting
  • 2 Propaganda
  • 2 Spell: Leopard Blood

Leopard Blood (X)
The Leopard Woman channels her prana through the irradiated leopard blood coursing through her veins. She gains a bonus to her Skill on her next action equal to the number of Vitality she spent when casting the spell.