Tuesday, June 30, 2009

4th Edition D&D, a fun Game

I played D&D 4th edition and had fun. But, it's not a game I'd want to use for role-play. This post describing one team's efforts to "beat" The Origins Ultimate Dungeon Delve demonstrates why. And more than all the speculation, debate, ranting, flaming, defensive whining, et al shows WoTC's vision for 4th ed and exactly what kind of game it is.

More on WoTC's Ultimate Dungeon Delve.

And just to piss off the fan boys, WoTC's Fabulous Future.

Tuesday is God Day - Mylien, Ryllan Synarion, Sineiri Syl, and Zoryd

Tuesday is God Day cause it's named after Tyr most awesomest Norse god of all. This post continues a series on the gods of Pelos, the major power in my high magic, epic, pseudo Roman/Ancients campaign. This glossary might be helpful.

"mile-ee-in" Greater Deity (Lawful Good)

Mother Mylien is one of The Nine. She appears as a attractive Common Pelosian with short brown hair and warm brown eyes. Sometimes old, sometimes young. Dressing in clean white common robes. Always with a cheerful demeanor. Mylien's symbol is the garlic plant. Favored weapon quarterstaff.

"Mylien loves you."

Portfolio: healing, health, protection, compassion

Domains: Creation, Healing, Protection, Good

Cleric Training: Priests of The Nine or Pantheists train together at various temples, monasteries, and religious schools. Mylien's priests continue learning the arts at hospitals, clinics, and refugee camps.

Quests: Clerics are regularly sent out on missions, to the country, poor areas, refugee camps to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and restore the spirit.

Prayers: Quiet and soothing. It is said just hearing a Mylien priest pray is enough to heal.

Temples: The typical Pelosian temple will have statues or altars to The Three in the middle surrounded by altars to The Nine. Which in turn are surrounded by nooks and crannies for alters to The Many Others. Unlike most other gods Mylien temples(hospitals and clinics) are common. They are clean, airy, bright places of health and healing.

Rites: Babies are often delivered by Mylien clerics and almost all are turned over to them for a few days of blessings, protections, and wardings. The same at ages 3 and 9.

Ryllan Synarion
"rile-lan se-na-ree-on" - Intermediate Deity (Neutral Evil)

The god of strife Ryllan Synarion is one of The Nine. He is the cause of war, conflict, argument and the struggle to survive. A tall gaunt High Pelosian of stout build. Ryllan always wears his armor and wields two glimmering short swords. One side of his face is contorted in anguish the other is dominated by the toothy grin of maniacal laughter. His followers are identified by two triangles one blue, one gray arranged in perpendicular, conflicting ways. The Pelosian short sword is his favored weapon.

"I know, lets you and him fight."

Portfolio: strife, conflict, argument, war

Domains: War, Mysticism, Pestilence, Summoner

Cleric Training: Priests of The Nine or Pantheists train together at various temples, monasteries, and religious schools.

Prayers: Drums, gongs, bells, trumpets out of tune and playing not together.

Temples: The typical Pelosian temple will have statues or altars to The Three in the middle surrounded by altars to The Nine. Which in turn are surrounded by nooks and crannies for alters to The Many Others. Temples to Ryllan, if they exist, are not publicly known. Shrines to him are found at war memorials and occasionally where soldiers congregate.

Rites: None publicly known.

Sineiri Syl
"see-nay-ee-ree sil" Intermediate Deity (Neutral Good)

Sineiri Syl is one of The Nine. She/he is a hermaphodite and changes from male, female, or some mixture of the two at will. (S)he enjoys all that life has to offer. She is easiest described as a party god. Sineiri appears to be an attractive High Pelosian. Often half dressed but always with a goblet in hand. A goblet tipped so its spilling deep red wine is the sign that a shrine or temple to Sineiri is near. (S)he has no favored weapon. (instead clerics get +2 competency bonus to one of gambling, brewing, perform)

"Less talk, more wine."

Portfolio: games, revelry, gluttony, parties, fun

Domains: Competition, Luck, Creation

Cleric Training: Priests of The Nine or Pantheists train together at various temples, monasteries, and religious schools.

Quests: Priests often compete against one another in contests of skill, luck, or who can drink the mostest, the fastest.

Prayers: Quit talking and drink up, life is short.

Temples: The typical Pelosian temple will have statues or altars to The Three in the middle surrounded by altars to The Nine. Which in turn are surrounded by nooks and crannies for alters to The Many Others. Major cities have sprawling palace like temples to Sineiri Syl. They are quite popular.

Rites: Coming of age often involves and all night, weekend, or weeklong binge with your local Sineiri Priest.

When Flame leaves the night sky to join Waterdrop during the eighth month there is a great celebration. There are important Myri rites to perform but Sineiri Syl knows its just an excuse for one honking big party. Many children are born nine months later.

"zoard" - Greater Deity (Chaotic Neutral)

The Master of the Deep is one of The Nine. In the depths sleeps Zoryd, brooding and angry in his dreams over his isolation from the other gods. He wakes only rarely. Thankfully for when he does the waters rise up and try to swallow the land. Zoryd isn't "worshiped" as such. It is more of an appeasement. The most common depiction of Zoryd is that of a reclining, sleeping human, bare chested with only a loin cloth for cover. Sometimes with a a net other times with a large war axe. Statues of him are often literally placed under seawater. Deep blue usually shaped into a triangle is Zoryd's symbol. The net is his favored weapon.

"At sea the only Zoryd is between you and death. Best not to do
anything that would cause him to consider this fact."

Portfolio: seas and oceans, weather at sea, sea creatures, travel by water, fishing

Domains: Weather, Water, Animals, Travel

Cleric Training: Priests of The Nine or Pantheists train together at various temples, monasteries, and religious schools. Priests of Zoryd often come from fishing or trading families.

Quests: Typically involve returning various treasures "stolen" from the seas.

Prayers: Sacrifices, crushed and scattered in the sea. Prayers are best done at sea. The truly serious ones are done in the sea.

Temples: The typical Pelosian temple will have statues or altars to The Three in the middle surrounded by altars to The Nine. Which in turn are surrounded by nooks and crannies for alters to The Many Others. Shrines and temples built to placate Zoryd are always near the sea. Several large ones are actually under the sea. Zoryd's waters magically kept at bay.

Rites: Before a new boat first touches the water it had better be blessed by one of Zoryd's priests or it shall surely sink.

Herald and Allies: Zoryd occasional manifests as a terrible hurricane. Leviathons and titans of the sea are either other manifestations or his allies, priests aren't sure

That's it for Pelos. Next time we move east to the hot, sandy Qatrun city states and their militant monothesim The Holy Fist of Hlark!

Morning Links While I Wait out Thunderstorm

Riding motorcycle has advantages and disadvantages.

RPG Blog II's social science fiction. Like Vonnegut, Huxley, Orwell this "prediction" is actually a critique on today couched in science fiction.

2009 Origin Awards Winners.

Who loves the RPG Bloggers Network the most. aka about 10 more blogs I need to add to the roll...

Death, some people get it, some don't.

Random dungeon generators reviewed!

If you are at all interested in RPG design, houserulling, and the like I strongly reccomend checking out Unofficial Games who is doing a long series of posts on the why's and what not's of his Piecmeal RPG. I certainly don't agree with many of his opinions and ideas but they're the kind of dissagreements that spawn a great deal of thinking. Thinking is good.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Early D&D Commercial

Not sure this commercial would have made me want to play D&D...

BuffyPunk - Spring Break

[BuffyPunk Campaign I developed and ran a one shot in 2004. I read several cut scenes to the players. They helped set the mood and introduce complex setting to the players (being a one shot was not time to roleplay all the background). They provided suitable segways between interesting bit of action. Buffy RPG also has this whole shtick about being a TV show, episodes, actors, supporting cast etc. The cut scenes fit right in. It's a useful technique if you have any writing skills at all (I hope I do)]

Cut Scene One "The Picnic"

Nice breezy, sunny day among the pines.

A pale, little girl of no more than eleven years carefully smooths her pretty white dress, with its frills and cute pink belt that matches the ribbon in her blond hair. She knows her guests lack the mathematical aptitude to notice the geometric equation she has formulated on the spotless white tablecloth. Even so, her blue eyes sparkle with satisfaction at the splendid array of saucers, cups, tasty morsels, steaming tea, soy-milk, cubed sugar, napkins, and Wendy's favorite, itsy bitsy little silver spoons that twinkle in the sunlight.

At the center of it all a simple cream vase demurs to the beauty of a single daisy. Freshly grown by the the senior biology class, each petal a different unnaturally vibrant hue. Another of Wendy's favorites, brought just for her by Mr. Delgado. Who is again looking protectively towards her. She brushes a lock of hair from her eyes and favors him with a reassuring little smile. He removes a black wool hat, revealing a short, dark, and handsome head of stiff hair. Graying at the temples in a most gentlemanly way.

Bowing deeply, he returns Wendy's greeting and places his cane carefully within easy reach. But even before removing his fine gloves his illmannered attempt to pilfer a buttery cookie was halted with a quick eep and stern look from Wendy. Mr. Delgado would have to sit, patiently, until Wendy said it was time to have cookies. What could he have been thinking? The tea hasn't even been poured yet! But, she must attend to that shortly, Queen Pickles had started chewing on her napkin!

Wendy sighed, accepting that her dress was as smooth and straight as it possibly could be and poured Mr. Delgado and herself each a hot, rich brown cup of dragon tea. From some hidden place she produced a cherry tomato. Queen Pickles ceased the unseemly napkin chewing and fixated on the new shiny red treat waved in front of her. The Queen's attention was rewarded and soon she was sloppily and noisily in sweet tomato bliss. Giggling, Wendy next presented several bright green leaves of lettuce to the distinguished Mr. Shuffles. Nearly as distinguished as Delgado for he also had a fine hat and gray fur, lacking only a cane. Queen Pickles was already nudging Wendy for another tasty treat.

Owl had to admit that this was a very pleasant party and the nice little girl was definitely of the white side of things. But, Owl couldn't very well leave unmolested such a plump rabbit peacefully munching away right underneath his branch. He was after all, Owl. So, Owl unfurled great brown wings and silently left his piny perch.

Mr. Shuffles stopped chewing, he had that feeling. That feeling only hunted get, the feeling that only hunters give. He hopped once, all the way onto the table. Then turning three quarters of the way around pushed as hard as his hind legs would push. On the way to the ground, something yanked off the stoopid hat Wendy made him wear and his left ear stung painfully. He heard Wendy screech and call out his name. But, there was no time for any of that. Mr. Shuffles was busy executing his famous "Hippity Hop This way an That" maneuver.

"Oh no!" Wendy thought, that naughty owl scared Mr. Shuffles. Scared Queen Pickles too, but she has sense enough to hide under the table. No doubt curled up tight, spines all out. With a quick twist she threw her tea cup up after the owl but he was already lost to sight, even a slayer's. Wendy forward flipped out of her chair, over the table and was off running after the rabbit. She ignored Delgado's warnings, pleadings, and lastly his admonishments to return. Her pretty pink ribbon caught on a branch and was yanked from her hair. It swung briefly in the ocean breeze before Delgado retrieved it. Folding it neatly and sighing, he placed it in his vest pocket. Checking his watch he was extremely alarmed to find it suddenly after dark.

Wendy stopped, her hair did not. With a hefty puff from her lower lip she blew the blond mess clear from one eye. She brandished a tasty orange carrot, pointy end towards the trench coated figure that blocked her path. She didn't recognize this one but she knew the type, heavy boots, lots of black, lots of leather. Not much trouble usually, but this one had it's clawed hands wrapped round a quivering mass of distinguished gray fur. She was preparing a suitably threatening threat when Mr. Trenchcoat burst out laughing.

"Lil girl, did you not get the memo? Carrots, do jack all against us vampires."

This prompted a laugh from another just walking up. His laugh was guttural, the kind that only comes from being raised in "Asswipe" Mississippi. This one Wendy knew all too well.

"Uh huh, get it boss? Leading with carrot, hitting with stick. Huh huh."

"Shut up Cleetus." said the trenchcoat.

Wendy said to Cleetus "Thanks for reminding me."

Wendy let go of the carrot and toppled forward into a cartwheel. When her shiny black shoe was far overhead she grabbed a stake strapped to the back of her thigh. Ending her tumble in "the splits"; right leg out, toes expertly pointed, right arm perfectly parallel. Coach Byers would be proud. The stake, propelled with all her forward momentum, penetrated more than halfway into Trenchcoat's chest. A small puff later he, fashion crime outfit and all, turned to dust. Wendy jumped up, not even pausing to brush away the dirt and needles her gymnastics had attracted. Cleetus was dumb, dumber than dirt, but he knew when to run. By the time Wendy was hugging Mr. Shuffles safe and sound he was long gone.

Ewwh! There was slobber all over Mr Shuffles ear, that nasty trenchcoat had been licking all the blood off Mr. Shuffles talon wound.

Back at the picnic area everything was smashed and scratched into the table was a note from Cleetus:

"We gots D. who dummest now"

Wendy burst into tears. Queen Pickles didn't quite know what to do with Wendy so upset. So, she rubbed her tiny wet nose on Wendy's wrist.

Wendy woke up with a frown. Mr. Shuffles was hiding under the warmth covers as usual and Queen pickles was nudging her wrist impatient for morning treat. "What a poopy dream. I won't pay it any mind at all. Today is my birthday! la la my birthday! me me birthday la da dee." she sang all morning getting ready for school

[The characters started at school, during lunch break, Friday before Spring Break. There was a little set piece where each character got introduced highlighting their "thing".]

A nice sunny day, birds are chirping, air is sweet with flowers from the garden.

Mannie, Mia, Gunder hanging in the school courtyard during lunch, various kids and teachers are milling about. Wendy comes skipping up. "La la la. Perfect the last three of my deliveries" "you, you," doing a cartwheel and flip "and you." "Don't be late, la la la" she sings skipping away.


[The birthday invitations were real props, it was fun NPCing Wendy. Then some time for PC roleplay after which the bell rings. Skip to some action, an encounter, on way home, small earthquake that evening. Next time, Birthday Party!]

Sunday, June 28, 2009

OMFG - Dungeon Majesty

Follow up to the Fun School Rockumentary, aka best D&D Video evar. Which just got an extra dose of awesome sauce! According to these comments by Stuart
"That video was edited by Riley Swift of Dungeon Majesty / Telefantasy Studios. The music was composed for the video by one of the guys from the Metal Band 'Crom?'."
Not sure that is the right Crom, they're a much heavier deathmetal sound than the D&D video which seems power metally. But, I do not lament nor am I a princess so, wtf do I know? This Crom is maybe the one to blame instead. Hell probably some other Crom entirely. I mean there's got to have been a couple hundred or more metal bands named Crom.

Whatever. OMFG Dungeon Mastery! A public access TV style show of four young ladies and a DM playing D&D, acting out scenes, replete with fantabously awesome type cheesy green screen, models and FX. Guess I don't get out much cause the show has started and been done a couple years now. Some images from their gallery. The show trailer and several clips below. Along with video from each Crom at the bottom. It's better than bad it's good!


Snake Charm Mother Fucker!

Hotties vs Kirk!


Power Crom!

Death Crom!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Fun School Rockumentary

Been posted to various blogs and comments recently, tis where I saw it. But this video is way, way too awesome to not get posted again.

Made for some D&D Fan Film. This was 3rd finalist. Have absolutely no idea why this didn't win by a land slide. Maybe too many newb kids voting who have no clue and don't recognize 30 years of history. Damn kids, get the hell off my dungeon.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Would not like to encounter this!

On the other hand I think it would be great fun for my players to encounter one, or three. In generic terms that probably don't match any game system I offer to you the

Bugeye Stalkus Cuspiscruris

Commonly known as "ahhhh, what the hell is that?" the bug-eye stalked spike legged spider is often the alpha predator of its environment, deep underground. Equally adept at ambushing from ceiling, wall crevice and the like or stalking (tracks as a ranger of equal HD). Few escape its spiky embrace.

Size: Large 10' leg to leg

HD: 6

AC: 20 (16 natural +4 dex)

2 forelimb attacks, 1d6+1 piercing damage each. On a good hit (19-20) the victim has been impaled and is considered grappled. On the following round the spike legged spider will retreat to munch (d4+2 automatic each round) it's snack.

Special Defense: Once per encounter can cast web (as spell). Typically to make good it's escape.

Special Qualities: It's eyes are sensitive to heat (double distance infravision) and extremely acute (low surprise chance).

Special Weakness: Intense light (brighter than a torch) dazzles its sensitive eyes (-2 AC, -2 tohit and other actions). Double damage/effect from light based magic.

Radioactive Bugeye Stalkus Cuspiscruris

Is identical to it's more common cousin except for the following. It glows in the dark, has no light sensitivity, has xray vision 60', can emit gamma radiation beams from each of its two eyestalks. A black ray that affects everything in a straight line out to 120', each target takes 1d6 of burn damage and has 50% chance that one memorized spell is lost (randomly chosen).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

HackMaster Basic - Quick Review

I got my HackMaster Basic pre-order in the mail yesterday, woot! These are my thoughts after a feverish read through.

If you like HackMaster this is HackMaster v2.0. If you're after a crunchy, point buy system that's less ornery rule wise (but more ornery flavor wise :) than GURPs/HERO/RoleMaster this book contains everything (cept an intro module) you need to start. Alternatively, there are several mechanics that can be straight up stolen for use elsewhere.

Pros: Price, $20 for 185 pages. Complete, quick start rules, monsters, magic, no intro module though. Effective, reader friendly layout and design.

Cons: Crunchy char build, point buy, but that's just me. Too many different mechanics; roll over, roll under, roll against, use d20 use d100. No rules on converting 4th ed (of HackMaster silly) or d20 stuffs (then again that seems like a web/free download type of thing). Wasting 10 pages on old, tired dice etiquette bit, boooooh!

The Suck

Build Points and Fractional Stats are two horrors I was really hoping they'd ditch. I like to be able to pick up a game and get playing pronto. I like to get new people to play. I like to play one-shots at game stores which means we have 4-6 hours and don't wanna spend more than 15min of that on character gen. Point buy is the plague of death to any of those. Fractional Stats are faniggly and crunchy for crunchy sakes. In other words complete waste of time. Although, I give Kenzer mad props for including "Quick Start" rules that are character gen without the point buy. Personally this is what I'd always use. Drop Build Points and that whole mess. Drop it with fire down a pit to hell!

Skills, meh, mostly skipped this part of book. Needlessly crunchy (proly mostly to support usage of build points) and using different mechanics than rest of game? d100p roll under. WTF? I don't need no skills and would use stat based system such as the one from C&C. But if I wanted skills I'd use a nice system, i.e not this one.

Weapon specialization. There are four categories you may increase per weapon attack, damage, speed, defense. But you have to increase them all to +1 before any can become +2, etc. So, what's the freakin point of having those categories if there's no possibility to rock one out (say to make a big bruiser with high damage bonus or a swishy swashbuckler that has extra defense with his rapier). The reason is to provide a Build Point sink for fighters, lame, uber lame! Throw out build points and give fighterly types one or two +1 specializations to distribute per level. Bam!

The Hacking!

Despite the authors claims to the contrary a game called HackMaster is all about the axe to the face style of roleplay. The most interesting bit here is the continuous initiative system. Initiative is "roll low" usually a d12 but other dice are possible such as d6 if character was ready and looking for trouble to charge through the door. Also, thieves being canny and such roll smaller dice. This is modified by stats (DX and INT, nice!), armor, and maybe some other stuff. But it really only matters once at the start of combat.

DM starts counting up (each count is 1 second). Characters are "surprised" (can't act/have typical "flat-footed" type penalties) until their initiative number is reached. Once that happens they can declare actions, which take a certain number of seconds. One second of movement, four seconds to aim bow, couple seconds to draw/ready huge zwei-hander. Each weapon has a "speed" This is in fact the number of seconds it takes to recover after rolling to hit with that weapon. If I rolled 10 for initiative and my mighty axe had a speed of 7 I'd roll to hit (assuming I did nothing but attack on counts 10, 17, 24, 31, etc. So, there aren't really turns, everyone is interleaving their actions back and forth. In the case of movement all players might all act every count! This along with the defensive roll seems like it would keep everyone involved and combat would play fast and tense. Even if it takes a long time it wouldn't be a drawn out bore.

I like continuous initiative systems very much. Lots of tracking though. Easy to mess up/cheat. Complex for new players? As DM I'd probably be tracking everyone's initiative + all the monsters, bleck! Still, I want to try it. Just need to come up with some awesome prop/aide to make it easy.

Dice rolling, most rolls are opposed and not vs a static number. So, instead of rolling d20 to hit and looking to get over a certain "Armor Class" number. The defender rolls defense. Highest roll "wins". Saves vs poison and spells work in similar vein. This is nice for player engagement but puts additional burdens on DM (all his cute creatures need rolling) and lengthens conflict resolution.

Interestingly not all attacks/defense rolls use d20p. For instance a d12p/d8p is called fo when defending against flank/rear attackers, when fleeing like a sissy you can't use a shield and only get a d10 for defense Range for missile weapons is also handled by reducing the die type rolled as distance increases. Although Kenzer fucked up that simple system with complexities of target size and shooting into melee. There are nice fumble (opponent gets free attack), critical hit (dbl damage), and expert defense (defender gets free attack) mechanics for rolling 1 and 20's.

Armor provides damage reduction, from 1 Thick Robes to 5 Scalemail, which directly reduces the number of damage points a successful attack causes. Armor also provides an adjustment to defense. This adjustment is in the bad direction making it easier for you to get hit! I approve of this mechanic. One I've longed for since learning it from RoleMaster. Heavier armors also increase initiative (bad), how fast you can move and really heavy armors have a speed modifier reducing how often you can swing a weapon.

Thank the elder gods! Finally a RPG has given the shield its due! +4 to +6 to defense and you roll d20p instead of d20p-4 for defense, a roughly 40-50% increase of defensitude. That's what I've been talking about yo! When using a shield opponents misses are considered to have always hit the shield. The opponent rolls reduced damage (1/2 for hack/crush, 1 point for pierce) and applies this to your shield which has 4-6pts of damage reduction, remainder hits your armor (more DR), any left over you take as damage. Simulating heavy blows to your shield doing some damage. (although, this isn't how shields are actually used but hey this is a fun game not a medieval combat simulation). Shields can also be splintered/destroyed if they fail a save after taking more than a threshold amount of damage. So, again get hit more but take less damage. All around I dig these shield rules. They are now my shield rules and will see use (possibly slightly tweaked) in other games I play.

Hackisms! Knockbacks, do a certain large amount of damage (based on targets size) defender gets knocked back 5', 10' or more. Everyone has a ToP, Threshold of Pain, based off of hit points, increasing slightly with level. Receive a wound, trauma, greater than your ToP roll d20 (thankfully no penetration) under 1/2 CON. For each point you miss by you spend 5 seconds rolling around on the ground crying for yer momma. Aw yeah, these are some sweet bits to steal if you're after this kind of flavor.

There is an excellent detailed example of combat using KoDT comic, blocks of text explaining mechanics and a top down view of a battle map. Entertaining and well done. Overall looks like fun combat system. A bit long to resolve but not slow and boring. Geared towards smaller battles (there's just way too much to track for huge 40 orcs attack you type slugfests) Although mook/minion rules would be simple enough to come up with.

The Other

Nice, clean, readable layout. Thank you. I'm tired of RPGs masquerading around as fancy coffee table art books. There freakin rules! I want to read them, not drool over your art direction. Makes good use of shaded text blocks to expand on rules. Nice tables. Effective and funny use of KoDT comic. Except for the stupid dice chapter an entertaining smackering of the "HackMaster Universe" Gary Jackson and the like. Right amount of art to inspire (sadly most of it not in the HackMaster style, lots of it looks reused, but hey $20).

Movement is interesting. Due to the continuous initiative system movement is rated on a feet per second basis. Character may move every second at one of four speeds walk, jog, run, sprint. Armor reduces top movement type not overall speed. Thus Bif the Basher decked out in heavy scale armor can only walk and jog. Another faniggly bit that adds zero to fun is this retarded rule:
From a standing position, a character can begin to walk or jog immediately but not run or sprint.
Never will enforce that, bet most people will never read or remember that. Just stupid. An example of how crunchy authors can't leave well enough alone. I might do the jog/run/sprint thing as a group of mounted knights charge just to build tension but there's no need for a freaking rule, geez.

No intro module. I don't need one but it could have nicely portrayed the HackMaster style of play and ethos. And it's a real shame cause the ten pages they wasted on the unfunny and largely identical to what has been printed before "Dice usage and Etiquette" Chapter would have been plenty of room for a rockin dungeon. That dice crap is the kind of thing that should be on their website/freebie download. But, 10 out of 185 pages is not a deal breaker

GM Section. Thankfully & strangely? no section on "What is roleplaying", or "This is how you GM". I guess they believe their main audience is existing gamers and/or people don't need baby like hand holding. I agree with that belief, tis better not to tell people how to play. Let them figure out their own style. Included here are enough monsters and magic (40pgs worth) to get started and have many sessions of hacking and looting fun. Of note is the Hydra, Aquatic Worm featured on the cover.

No index. Meh, don't rightly know if this kind of book (basic intro to game) really needs an index. There's not that many rules / options, the book is well layed out, and it's not a rules reference.

The Shindiggy

Overall, I like the game play parts and loath the character gen/build point/skills parts. It seems easy enough to drop the suck (Kenzer has even started this with the Quick Play rules) or lift the awesome into something else. There's little quirks and minor things I'd gloss over or streamline. All and all the second crunchy but fastish playing system I've seen this week, Shard being the first. Is this the most happy and glorious future of RPGs? I would not be sad if so.

If there are any questions on specifics, post'm to the comments. I'll be glad to look them up and answer them.


The majority of rolls (to hit, damage, defense, healing!) penetrate aka explode. That is if you roll (per die) the highest possible value you roll that die again, subtract 1, and add the result. Repeat until you don't roll the highest possible value. I dig that this is fun, exciting, and provides a chance for the impossible. What I'm less hot about is that a d4 is much more likely to penetrate than a d12 or d20. Btw a d6 is used for d20 penetration and a d20 for d100 penetration. But, I guess my fears are unfounded, here are the averages (and max value rolled) after 100,000 dice rolls each. Most the avgs seem to be just .5 or so more than normal non-assploding average.

d4p 2.99 28
d6p 3.99 34
d8p 4.99 35
d12p 7.02 56
d20p 10.63 47
d100p 50.53 143

And details for d4p (100,000 rolls)
1 25122 0.25
2 24740 0.25
3 25028 0.25
4 6371 0.06
5 6218 0.06
6 6318 0.06
7 1542 0.02
8 1512 0.02
9 1573 0.02
10 391 0.00
11 410 0.00
12 398 0.00
13 103 0.00
14 84 0.00
15 92 0.00
16 24 0.00
17 28 0.00
18 26 0.00
19 5 0.00
20 3 0.00
21 9 0.00
22 2 0.00
23 not rolled
24 1 0.00

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

uh oh

Already had been light on posting (down 2 out of 4 people at work is my excuse) and now that my

HackMaster Basic

just arrived there is even more to do than blather on about something or another. Oh, and wooo hooo!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday is God Day - Creegus, Ealnor, and Elondar of The Nine

Tuesday is God Day cause it's named after Tyr. Since I learned about him as a little kid Tyr has never been replaced as my most favorite god of all. This post continues a series on the gods of Pelos, the major power in my high magic, epic, pseudo Roman/Ancients campaign. The glossary might be helpful.

The Nine
Confusingly there are more than nine gods in The Nine. Different areas of the Known World elevate different gods into this group.

The Nine are the "movers and shakers" of the pantheon. Powerful and having large spheres of influence. Airlan Synarion, Beaho, Brogine, Creegus, Ealnor, Elondar, Mylien, Ryllan Synarion, Sineiri Syl, Zoryd.

"kree-gus" - Greater Deity (Lawful Neutral)

Called the Hound of Battle he is one of The Nine.

Creegus appears as a large powerful human clad in pure silver full plate with a full faced helm shaped into a hounds head. If he pushes the visor back (no other may, if they ever get the chance to try) his face is revealed as that typical of any veteran mercenary warrior, scarred and worn looking, and in Creegus' case sporting a drooping gray mustache reminiscent of a hounds whiskers. Symbol hounds head. Crossbows are his favored weapon.

"When words fail, arms succeed."

Portfolio: battle, warriors

Domains: War, Force, Strength, Animal

Cleric Training: Priests of The Nine, Pantheists, and Creegus are common. They train together at various temples, monasteries, and religious schools. Clerics of Creegus often start in or join the military. Training to be one of Creegus' warrior priests resembles modern bootcamp.

Quests: Typically involve besting some monster in direct battle.

Prayers: Creegus cares not for words other than those delivered on the battle field to inspire troops to victory.

Temples: The typical Pelosian temple will have statues or altars to The Three in the middle surrounded by altars to The Nine. Which in turn are surrounded by nooks and crannies for alters to The Many Others. Shrines and temples dedicated specifically to Creegus are common and every fort, military compound, etc. has at least one.

Rites: When soldiers are regaled with honors clerics of Creegus bestow them. They bless and inspire troops prior to battle. And perform various military ceremonies, advancing in rank, retirement, completion of training.

"eh-owl-nor" - Greater Deity (Chaotic Good)

Ealnor is one of The Nine. Ealnor represents passion, the fire that drives people to great accomplishment and others to great ruin. She is willful and wants nothing more than that which she cannot have.

Ealnor the embodiment of sex appeal. She is an irresistible High Pelosian female. Draped in revealing silks. Her grace and charm are unsurpassed. Ealnor's followers adorn themselves in her holy symbol, gold. The Javelin is her favored weapon.

"Oh, I must have one of those!"

Portfolio: seduction, passion, greed, lust, desire, envy, jealously

Domains: Domination, Trickery, Charm, Sun, Glory

Cleric Training: Priests of The Nine or Pantheists train together at various temples, monasteries, and religious schools.

Prayers: Dances, orgies, sacrifices of blood and valuables.

Temples: The typical Pelosian temple will have statues or altars to The Three in the middle surrounded by altars to The Nine. Which in turn are surrounded by nooks and crannies for alters to The Many Others. Temples of Ealnor are often where sex and similar services may be had. Her shrines turn up in peculiar places.

"eh-lon-dar" - Intermediate Deity (Neutral Good)

Elondar, the Sky Mistress, rules the area above the lands. In Darsis and most of the Wildlands she is one of The Nine in place of Brogine.

Though goddess of weather she has no power over its destructive elements e.g. storms and hurricanes; these are under the influence of stronger gods. However, it is Elondar who brings the good weather that usually follows such destructive forces.

Elondar is pale High Pelosian with long flowing white hair and beautiful white wings. She wears nothing. but her feathers, mists, or clouds, seem to always hide her nakedness. Symbol Dove, favored weapon sling.

"High above Elondar soars."

Portfolio: sky, air, birds, weather

Domains: Air, Weather, Animals, Good, Sun

Cleric Training: Priests of The Nine or Pantheists train together at various temples, monasteries, and religious schools.

Prayers: Harps, lots of harps.

Temples: The typical Pelosian temple will have statues or altars to The Three in the middle surrounded by altars to The Nine. Which in turn are surrounded by nooks and crannies for alters to The Many Others. Shrines and temples to Elondar are open to the sky and often contain aviaries.

Rites: Every morning her priests great the sun and thank it for coming back.

Herald and Allies: White dove, or pale High Pelosian dressed in purist white with white hair and large white wings.

Most Tyr's days I'll post about the gods, religions, cults from my campaigns. Next time, last of The Nine - Mylien, Ryllan Synarion, Sineiri Syl, and watery Zoryd.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Free RPG Day - Shard

I forgot my camera, so no blurry photos.

This past Saturday I went to my FLGS to attend the third? annual Free RPG Day . While there I bought the pocket edition of True20 and yet more dice. I almost snagged the only copy of Labyrinth Lord but I'm not sure it's the system for me and holy cow are RPGs expensive in the store! I wanted many other modules and rule books but at $19 or more for an adventure and $40-60 for a rulebook I can do without. In the evening I played 4ed D&D for the first time read about it in my previous post. During the day I played Shard, twice! What follows is possibly inaccurate preview based on being a player in about 5 hours of demo, the actual rule book is debuting at Origins.

My very first impression was furry / over the top anime and it was hard not to run. But I'm glad to have made my will save. The world of the false dawn is a very interesting setting. That is if your interests reach beyond the pseudo-medieval that 90% of fantasy RPGs adopt. Shard is picturesquely set in an Indian/Chinese milieu gushing with unique flavor (there's even an detailed fantasy realistic explanation for that and for why there's a bunch of anthropomorphic animals running about). Although it is set up for cinematic heroics, it's not really anime inspired and thankfully lacks ridiculous giant swords, big eyes/boobs, and other adolescent maleisms. It seems to based heavily on actual Indian/Chinese mythology, history and culture to great effect. Too many unique settings are "bad weird", full of anachronisms and inconsistencies. The other thing that hit me as I sat down at the table was the lush colors of the gorgeous art. Art inspires my creativity and helps craft the mood of an RPG. Shard's art is full of color, oriental mystery and fantasicalness.

The demo was run by Scott Jones, local Austinite and co-creator of Shard. Nice guy and fine GM. The game has been a labor of love for Scott and Aaron de Orive, the other co-creator, crafted over many years from actual game play. They have produced a very nice rulebook, irrc 360 pages, $40 (which is very reasonable for a full color hardback of that length), and several supplements. I was pleased that the world map which unlike so many RPG maps was created by someone who knew at least an inkling of geography and climate. That attention to detail and research seems to be consistant throughout the setting.

There all no humans, characters are all anthropomorphic animals. Of which there are 90! to choose from and 90 more in an expansion. That is big ass 'A' Awesome. The demo characters included a 12' tall elephant honor guard, a turtle mangi (priest), a mocking bird archer/huntress, a wolf suthra master, a condor seer, and a snake assassin. Shard is a point buy system with option to start players at any power level from peasant to mythic hero or even as children which sounded very interesting esp, perhaps, for those gaming with their children. [Playing child animals combined with a colorful (literal and figurative) setting sounds like it would be very attractive to little peoples. And introducing foreign cultures and beliefs is what I'd want to do with my children.] The world has firearms of the black powder, flintlock, blunderbuss variety. All manner of stone, crystal, chitin (metal is vanishingly rare) melee and thrown weapons. But martial arts is a primary method of physical negotiation. I could see a combat driven campaign or one were violence was a background detail. Instead focusing on the complex caste, family, honor codes built into the world and characters.

Ok, some talk about mechanics, although brief and vague cause I only know about what I experienced in demo. In a sentence Shard appears to be a cinematic, heroic, low magic, storyish (as opposed to sandboxish), crunchy, d6 dice pool RPG. Build points are also story points (used for the usual player narrative control things) are also experience points. Four page! crunchy character sheet. Don't have experience with dice pool mechanics but this one seemed nice. Never too many dice (12max, 5-8 normally), all d6's, 456 are successes, 6's after the first explode, 1's with no successes = fumble/bad stuff. Two successes for full success, one for partial, more than two equate to increasing levels of "I kicked ass". Difficulty adds/subtracts number of dice rolled. Opposed actions, opponents successes are subtracted from yours. Maybe there's more in a full game but we didn't play with a lot of modifiers or options (there were some for combat to attempt various stunning, locking, breaking martial arts moves). For the most part it was look at my skill/trait/ability roll that many dice, tell GM number of successes, DM tells you what happened. So, play was fast, lite and loose. The crunch seems to be nicely tucked away in character creation/advancement or on the GM's side of the screen.

I was impressed with the conflict resolution system it plays fast even though it was fairly crunchy and wasn't' actually all that fast. Basically everyone rolls initiative and determines the number of actions they get that turn. On their turn characters spend actions to do stuff, draw weapon, move, leap onto chandelier. The trick that made it seem fast and keeps everyone involved is that after each action any and all characters can react with one (and only one) action of their own. It plays out nicely action, counter-action. Unsurprisingly much like the action sequence of Kung-fu movie.

I'll definitely buy the rules when they hit retail and maybe the Magic & Martial Arts supplement (two of my favorite subjects). Also, strongly considering wrangling some players for a one-shot to explore the system in detail. But frankly, I'd be fine with lifting the setting, the 90 freakin animal templates, cherry picking some mechanics, dropping the whole thing in the system of my choosing and rocking out! Maybe put it in a bottle, other side of shimmering portal, or bottom of a rabbit hole. Dungeons day in and out can get dreary. Need a touch of fantastic oriental exotica, Shard delivers.

Free RPG Day - 4ed

I forgot my camera, suck.

This past Saturday I went to my FLGS to attend the third? annual Free RPG Day . Not that kind of free RPG though. The loot was a disappointing being mostly intro/fast play abbreviated rules for various systems. The best thing I snagged was an elven engraved d12 and d10 from Q-Workshop. After everyone had rummaged through the table of free stuff I picked up "Paranoia, Citizen's Guide to Surviving Alpha Complex", "Dragon Warriors" intro book, and "Castles & Crusades A Primer".

In the evening I played 4ed D&D for the first time. It was about how I expected. It was fun, a fun combat miniatures game. It wasn't what I'd consider an RPG. It could have been, with effort and player buy in, but wasn't. Looks like good system for one-shots, skirmishes, etc. Wouldn't like to run a campaign in it. From my comment on this Grognardia thread.
There was reading of boxed text and we got to look at interesting minis on not as interesting terrain. But no one used imagination. There was no room for it. Everything had been presented to us right down to every possible action our characters could take. And the "creativity" was of the analytical type. Problem solving and figuring out tactics. Which I enjoy and I repeat was fun.

It's like the difference between a movie were you are wowed by the visuals / audials and a book which prompts your imagination and visualize with your mind's eye.

4e gives you all that wow. Which you have to accept or work around if you have your own wow. (Some) D&D editions provide little wow and expect/demand the players come up with it themselves. For some gamers coming up with that wow is 90% of their fun in playing RPGs.
One thing I noticed is WotC's goal of "always having cool thing to do" totally failed. As evidenced by player comments around the table and my experience the at will powers have devolved into the "boring" baseline. Swinging a sword every round is the same as at will power despite having some special name and various traits. It is basically doing 1d10+4 per round and the players know it. The encounter and dailies are now the fun things and you get to do them once per encounter or day. Then it is back to the boring slog of tap, tap, tapping with your at-wills until opponents massive hit points are gone. It's kind of even worse as every class has the same basic "do some damage" at will. So, for most the combat (all of it except encounter/daily uses) a Dwarven Paladin is same as Elf Invoker is same as Warforged Fighter. We were only 2nd level I assume you get more encounter powers at higher levels, that might help lesson the slog. Maybe cut bad guys hit points in 1/2?

I enjoy tactical, problem solving, miniature/war games so I had fun. I totally see why many gamers, esp ones raised on early editions of D&D, would have had zero fun. I now view d20/3.x as the middle ground (doing everything halfway and/or badly) which makes it ripe for modding into what you want by evidence of the varied forms it has taken from stripped down microlite20, true20, to M&M, C&C(is this actually d20), PathFinder, etc. Like I mentioned you could and I'm sure people are having great fun using 4e as the basis of their role-playing game. But that's saying little, I could roleplay using Stratego, neither game was built for it. I also see why some people believe 4ed is close to OD&D and old school. It's very gamist and some people play and view OD&D also in a very gamist light. Others view OD&D a different way and believe you're smokin crack if you claim resemblance between D&D's latest and oldest.

Final 4e verdict: Great packaging, had fun, would play again in future.

Next post the unexpectedly awesomely rad Shard.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

BuffyPunk - The Greater Bay Area

[Part of a series on BuffyPunk Campaign I developed and ran in 2003]

GBA Slang of 2103
anti-socialite : Criminals, those who intend ill-will towards GBA or it's citizens.

buffed : Seriously well-armed.

do time : To live. "He does time in Kropotkin."

GBA : [Greater Bay Area] "Political" division, independent city state controlling much of the bay area.

ganked : Death/murder, usually in a sudden, "ew, totally gross" manner.

ferals : Children and adults, often mentally "touched", who live a wild, barely human existence in marginal areas such as Downtown. Also, wild animals; dogs, cats, and ferrets being common.

frust : The small line of debris that refuses to be swept onto the dust pan and keeps backing a person across the room until he finally decides to give up and sweep it under the rug.

kaiser sosayed : Tricked into believing the bad guy is really a good guy, and on your side!.

kipple : Name for areas that are used as dumping grounds (for rubble, trash, etc) and were never rebuilt after 2070.

no-go : [a no-go zone] Area that is not safe to enter. Reasons for this include it's toxic, structurally unstable, or the people there spread SDS.

PRD : [Planned Rural Development] Built, guarded and maintained by a corporation as a peaceful, safe home for it's tele-commuting employees.

protein puck : Any one of several processed vegetarian protein foodstuffs (tofu, boca, vegetable patties).

rocket sauce : Brand of energy drink. Anything that is good and powerful.

SDS : [Sudden Death Syndrome] An affliction suffered by those who habitually piss-off the wrong people.

slice and dice : A fight involving knives or swords.

social leper colony : unpopular group.

some kind of a whack : It's stupid.

speed is of the serious essence : We need to hurry.

Shake and Burn : The quake and riots of 2070.

throwing down : "I'm throwing down." ie. throwing down the gauntlet. Challenging someone to a fight and/or the ensuing fight.

tweaked : adj. Under the influence. verb. To take physical enhancement drugs. "Don't fight Sweeny he tweaks and will rip your head off."

uber : Massively cool/powerful, above the best. "The uber demon kicked both slayer's ass."

uberkid : A phenomenon affecting 1-2% of new births. They are super-intelligent child prodigies whose accelerated development leads to accelerated death. None has lived past their 26th birthday.

unscheduled slayage : Unexpectedly having to fight vampires.

unregulated : Areas controlled by corporations. Named because the are not subject to governmental regulations.

what's the what : What's going on?

wiggins : The state of wigging out.

SanFran District

Part (the ass part) of the GBA. It is crumbling home to 120,000 living and an annoying number of unliving. Franciscans are none the less prideful of their home and consider life elsewhere a waste of time.


Julia Butterfly High School - One of two 7-12 years schools in SanFran. Principal Sally Wong. Home to the Pine Weasels, Varsity Militia.

Kropotkin Heights - Anarchists Collective, home of Mannie.

Hotel International Boarding House - Current residence of Celestine Pearl and Miakoda. Run by Wanda Jennings.

The Coffee House - Hangout.

Stow Medicine Lodge - First Citizen Sweat Lodge and sacred spot.

The Plant
The public power system helps the GBA to hold the many factions and enclaves together postquake. Consisting of several wind, solar and tidal generating facilities scattered throughout the bay area. The big producer was still is a cold-fusion power plant. Although, several facilities and large parts of the grid where destroyed the fusion plant survived and served as a focus for the fledgling GBA.

Downtown (aka Deathtown)
Downtown is a rubble strewn, sinkhole happening, building collapsing, place you don't wanna be. Most citizens consider it no-go. Only ferals and anti-socialites do their time here.

SmackDown Fields
The biggest arena combat park in the GBA. Monthly amateur nights.

Parts of BART, BART2, MUNI and other tunnels that survived the Shake & Burn provided relatively safe and easy method for travel and communication. The Bay Tunnel is flooded. None of the tunnels have operating trains, strictly pedestrian.


SF Authorities - SanFran council & militia, the Rainbow Patrol. SF is more isolated than other parts of the GBA. And, a lot of people still end-up dead, hrmmmmm.

GBA Authorities - GBA council & milita.

The Lees, The Chans - The two biggest gangs of SanFran are these rivals. Their throw downs rarely result in serious harm to themselves, others, or property. They are mostly left alone since, the local council recognizes the value of having large numbers of trained combatants.

Neptune Society - Burn baby, burn.

Rosicrucians - The Rosicrucian museum of San Jose was unscathed by the shake and burn. Curious, that.

SFSS - SanFran Secret Society.

Mormons - Various factions, maintain "safe houses", churches and conduct "Missions" throughout the GBA. The opposing factions often get medieval on each other. Then the Authorities have to come out and lay down some secular whoop-ass.

The Russians - An enclave in the Avenues remains independent of SanFran and the GBA. Ruled by the leaders of the local Russian Orthodox Church. The GBA certainly isn't going to force them in and they maintain peaceful if aloof relations. Inhabited by peeps of predominantly Slavic decent, strongly xenophobic, strongly religious.

GBA (The Greater Bay Area)

The GBA encompasses most of The Peninsula, East Bay, and South Bay. It is hemmed in the east by the Coastal Hills Range, in the north by El Cerrito, and includes all of San Jose in the south. These are not fixed, recognized boundaries. They are the places in which more people claim to be part of the GBA rather than part of something else. Within this area are many large and small tracts that are uncontrolled, controlled by other entities (IAT, Corporations, Government, Independent Townships, etc.) or are just not fit for continuous habitation.

Formed out of the people who had not abandoned the Bay Area before and who lived through the Shake and Burn. Neo-hippies, anarchists, libertarians, cypherpunks, survivalists, technopagens, cultists, crusties, crunchies, FOB's, freaks, and a medley of other sub-cultures. They share common attributes of DIY, freedom, independence, multi-culturalism, equality, and being shunned everywhere else.

The GBA is divided into districts. Each district has its own locally elected council, a militia, and is largely self-governing but all subscribe to "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights". The GBA itself has an overall council elected by its citizens and a "militia" which is more of a standing para-military force than the district militias.

A tough place to live, the GBA is walk in the park compared to most unregulated areas and in its citizens opinions far better than being a corporate drone.

Alcatraz Island
Seized by the Indians of All Tribes (IAT) in Nov 2069, on the 100 year anniversary of the first Indian reoccupation. Since the Shake and Burn IAT has heavily fortified it with low-tech,
hi-tech and magic. It is a no-go zone for non-indians. Violaters are killed dead by organized, trained, and buffed Indian warrior braves.

Miwok Island (formerly Angel Island)
(Re)occupied and developed by IAT starting in the summer of 2072. It provides grow-food
land, living space, and is the epicenter of tribal life for the IAT. Non-tribesmen are unwelcome but not killed on sight.

Marin Headlands

Not part of GBA. The IAT has several camps and grow-food areas here. There are also several well-defended corporate PRDs around the North Bay.

The World (cliff notes version)
Bay Area folk are concerned with local issues such as "will my home still be there". Peeps don't travel much anymore. Why stress when every needful thing can be had over The Net. No muss, no fuss.

The rest of the world is Mootvile to them, but here is what is known.

Corporate Lands
The area that was formerly California, Oregon, Washington and a few other states, is now corporate controlled or "`slang|unregulated`". A very few independent townships struggle on. The state and local governments themselves have been voted out of existance(privatized). Much of the rest of the world has suffered similar corporate takeovers.

What remains consists of the Northeastern, Midatlantic and most of the Midwestern states. Corporations control everything through Federal and state government proxies.

A govermental facade. Ruled overtly and absolutely by corporations.

Around 2037 Canuks saw that they liked Szechwan food and disliked being threatened by the USA. Meanwhile the PRC took note of Canada's enormous freshwater reserves and vast empty lands. Soon the Sino-Can accords were signed. After years of immigration, mutual defense, joint space exploration, Martian colonization the PRC and Canada are like brother peas in the co-prosperity pod.

God's own Republic of Texas
Texas, N. Mexico and most of the Southern states.

The Free State of Utah
North of the RFSU.

The Real Free State of Utah
South of the FSU.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

BuffyPunk - Season One


The Greater Bay Area focusing on Julia Butterfly High School. Spring, 2103.

Stars (PCs)

Celestine Pearl - Recently moved to the GBA and got a room at the Hotel International Boarding House. Got hired as new music teacher when the previous one up and disappeared. Making her the youngest and coolest! teacher at Julia. Since she has become one of the gang bullies that pick on you seem to have bad luck; books falling on them, tripping over chairs, pants slipping off.

Manta Ray Lopez aka Mannie, aka Ray - Junior at JBHS. Parents died in the Medellin Anarchist uprisings of 2090 adopted through "Save the Urchins" by three lesbian clones, Steve1, Steve2, and Steve3. Raised in Kropotkin Heights Anarchist Collective by his adoptive parents. Mannie is very small and could bend into a pretzel even before discovering Yoga. When not watching old movies on his handie he's scamming seniors or poking around with one of his biology "projects". Best friends with Gunderson who often carries Mannie around on his shoulders.

Miakoda - Junior at JBHS. Grew up on Miwok(Angel) Island in a First Citizen community Selected by tribal council to be sent to GBA and learn technical skills. Shares a room at HIBH with two younger tribe sisters and Thunder Feather their adult supervision. She is learning much more than just technology and wonders if tribal life is really what she is meant for. Wickedly smart, snagging top honors in every shop tech competition. Instantly liked Mannie for being everything her tribe elders were not.

Mullettov Viva La Gunderson - Senior at JBHS. Of German/Swedish/Danish/Finn decent he was conceived unexpectedly to radical college students during the Russian integration riots of '85 "Mullets for Equality". While attending Micheal Moore Memorial Elementary got legs blown off during failed "Kids are bombs" raid on CocaCola corporate research facility. Last year, the senior shop class's project was to make cybernetic legs for him. Gunderson was called the "six million dollar dork" until he kicked one of the bullies into a week of traction. Gunderson lives with his mother in a small apartment near Kropotkin Heights. He thinks you're all gonna die, sooner rather than later.

Supporting (NPCs)

Wendy - The slayer is only 11 yrs old. She has a condition that makes her very, very smart but her metabolism is such that death will arrive before she's 24. A bit of a brat, mostly Wendy lacks the emotional wiring to relate normally. You and Delgato are her only friends. Although, she thinks and treats you more like her pets.

Mr. Delgado
- The watcher is a software teacher at JBHS. Old (aka over 20), but nice enough. Dresses funny, very protective of Wendy. He's always busy and doesn't hang out much.


-- Episode 1 (pilot) "Who Invited You?" - Filmed
-- Episode 2 "Of Emperors and Urchins" - Filming halted 1/2 way through
-- Episode 3 "Nothing lost, Nothing gained" - ???
-- Episode 4 "The Truth is out There" - Concept
-- Episode 5 "Who Are You?" - Concept
-- Episode 6 "Human Hearts are Made of Flesh" - Title
-- Episode 7 "Hung with Black are the Heavens " - Title

The pilot and scenes from "Of Emperors and Urchins" were edited into a special made for TV movie which aired April, 2003

Previous Seasons

Last several TV episodes did not happen. Let's just pretend "The First" never happened, although, Buffy and friends did eventually take the Sunnyvale hellmouth off-line. It's nice and peaceful there, cute bunnies hoping around.

Here is what did happen, although your characters wouldn't exactly know this, Wendy and Mr. Delgato do more or less...

Buffy Summers remains the only slayer to have "retired". Absolved of her slayer duties by The Reformed Council. Together, Buffy and Faith kicked so much demon butt that having a slayer making babies and being a soccer mom was doable. After many years of peaceful home life Buffy died of old age surrounded by friends and family, awwwwh.

Faith, dead by age 25 just like any slayer not named "Buffy". Still, her death took three full-demons, a record, and two of them didn't survive to gloat over it.

Willow's magical powers rank her with the likes of Merlin, Akhnaten, and Lilith. Responsible for numerous earth altering events; preventing several wars, stopping various and sundry demonic "end-the-world" plots and repulsing an interdimensional invasion. Throughout Willow remained anonymous, always on the sidelines, always allowing others the credit. A feat undeniably her's is the perfection of techomancy or use of magic with technology primarily the casting of spells over, through and on computer and communication networks. After Buffy's retirement Willow became even more reclusive and cast powerful wards to ensure her privacy. Many claim to have seen Willow or recognize her handiwork but the only verifiable appearance is at Buffy's wake. Where, interestingly, she showed no signs of physical or magical weakness despite qualifying for the "silver discount".

Giles led the reformation of the Watcher's Council. It is now called The Reformed Council and is not as bastardy. Made into a vampire by Angelicus, killed shortly thereafter by slayer.

Spike, didn't burn up in flames of martydom. Never accepted by the "good guys" and no longer evil he led a lonely and troubled existence. Some things never change, eh?. He was the prime figure in putting down Angelicus after Angel lost his soul yet again. Even had a short fling as a soap opera star. Sadly, Buffy never forgave him for dusting her first love and he became outwardly bitter and spiteful to slayers and scoobies. Spike crashed Buffy's wake were his drunken rantings forced Willow to throw down with the magical asskicking. After that, little is known of Spike's wanderings. The Reformed Council believes he has finally been put to rest.

[Part of a series on BuffyPunk Campaign I developed and ran in 2003]

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