Sunday, January 23, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Sherlock, Adventures in Time and Space

ETA: My post did not go as scheduled Saturday morning, so I am re-editing it with Sunday's post.

I am a HUGE Sherlock Holmes fan.  Last week's post on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson reminded me of that.  It also reminded me of this post.  I had been picking at it for a bit, though this weekend would be a good time to wrap it all up. 

I have read all the stories, seen most of the movies and nearly all of the classic BBC series with Jeremy Brett (whom I still feel is the definitive Holmes), and few-score other adaptations including non-canon books, movies, and plays. I also really enjoyed the Sherlock series from the BBC starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

Sherlock: Holmes and Watson

The show was created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. The same duo that worked on the Russel T. Davies re-start of Doctor Who and who helmed the 11th and 12th Doctor years. 

I know I am not the only one who would love to see a Sherlock/Doctor Who crossover.

But considering I don't have the time or the skills to edit together a clip like that, I'll settle for the worlds I can manipulate.

Here is the modern Sherlock Holmes for Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space (Eleventh Doctor Edition).

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock
Sherlock Holmes
Story Points: 12

Awareness 6
Coordination 4
Ingenuity 6
Presence 3
Resolve 4
Strength 3

Athletics 4
Convince 1
Craft 3
Fighting 2
Knowledge 6
Marksman 1
Medicine 2
Science 6
Subterfuge 4
Survival 1
Technology 3
Transport 0

Attractive, Boffin, Eccentric, Insatiable Curiosity, Photographic Memory, Selfish, Technically Adept, Voice of Authority

Smart Phone
Home Tech Level: 5

Martin Freeman as John Watson
John Watson, MD

Story Points: 12

Awareness 3
Coordination 2
Ingenuity 3
Presence 2
Resolve 4
Strength 3

Athletics 1
Convince 0
Craft 1
Fighting 2
Knowledge 3
Marksman 4
Medicine 5
Science 3
Subterfuge 1
Survival 2
Technology 2
Transport 1

Brave, Code of Conduct, Face in the Crowd

Cellphone, Revolver

Home Tech Level: 5


With many characters in different systems I strive to make mechanical or even closely mathematical equivalents.  With Sherlock here vs. Sherlock Holmes, I am more interested in staying true to the character and to the system.

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge

Friday, January 21, 2022

Character Creation Challenge, Kickstart Your Weekend style

Something a little different today.  I am interrupting my regularly scheduled Character Creation Challenge posts with a Kickstart Your Weekend style review.

SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons Class Compendium

The Kickstarter for SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons Class Compendium has begun and Bloat Games offered me a sneak peak.  I am providing a review of their new book, and a link for their Kickstarter.

The Kickstarter

I am a huge fan of Dark Places & Demogorgons

As of this writing the Kickstarter has made their initial goal. They are now heading to the next Stretch Goal of new art.  After this more stretch goals will be announced.  The lowest level to get in $6 and that gets you the PDF.  Not a bad deal really.

The Book

The current version of the book is all complete with layout and art.  Stretch goals will replace some of the art, but right now it looks great.

The book is digest sized, 210+ pages, color cover and black & white pages.  If you are familiar with any SURVIVE THIS!! book you have a good idea of how it looks on the inside.

The book contains all the classes that have appeared in every Dark Places & Demogorns book, all in one place.  The new classes include  Archery Enthusiast, Badger Scout,  Horror Connoisseur, Hot Shot,  Snoop, The Source, Sweet Baby, Thespian, and new psionic classes, Animal Wrangler and The Forgotten. So 56 classes and 10 new classes for 66 in total.  There are also new spells for the magic using classes.

Most classes cover two to three pages.  Everything you need to know about each class, but no rules for play. You still need the core rules for that. I am reading through and the classes do look expanded.  For example the Goth in the core Dark Places & Demogorgons book tops of, as all classes do in that book, at 5th level.  The Goth in the Class Compendium advances to 10th level, and there are archetypes of the "Mopey Goth" and the "Supernatural Goth."

The new classes are fun with the Horror Connoisseur toping the list of my favorites.  Though I knew a lot of "Sources" back in High School and they would also be a fun class to play.  Though the Magic Classes are still my favorite.  So I am quite pleased to get a bunch of new spells.

Skills are also updated.  The game moved up and out from the core book so new skills need to be defined and there are revised skills as well. 

There is even some space given to fighting threats from "The Otherside."  I'll try not to take that one personally! ;)

Really is a fun book and a must have if you are playing Dark Places & Demogorgons.  It should even work for We Die Young to be honest. 

So yeah, this is a Kickstarter worth backing.

The Character

Again, I think I need to go with my Drosophila melanogaster of playtesting magic classes and see what my dear little witch Larina was doing in the 1980s (1984 to be exact).  She was my big experiment in my Modern Occult Horror RPGs post a bit back, but let's have a look at her in detail.  I am also including my NIGHT SHIFT character sheet as well.

Click to see larger. 

Larina for Dark Places & DemogorgonsLarina for NIGHT SHIFT

I love how these two games work well with each other.  Each providing me a a detail I did not have before.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Lee Jun-fan

Today's character could work with either my Victorian setting or Spirit of '76 for a lot of the same reasons.  

I have always been a big fan of Bruce Lee.  I first saw him on the old Batman series as Kato and then later in interviews.  I am not sure what the first Bruce Lee movie I saw was, but likely it was "Enter the Dragon."  Later I learned of his legacies of how Asian-American actors were treated in Hollywood, his invention of Jeet Kun Do, and his atheism.   He was in every respect of the word, an icon and all-around good guy. 

He was huge in the 1970s, especially after his death, and he was central, or at least he heavily influenced the TV series Kung-Fu.   That gives him an "in" to both eras I am gaming with this month.

So in the tradition of the series(es) Kung-fu I have a character idea that would work for both times.  This is an alternate world (NIGHT SHIFT) where Bruce Lee's "Jun Fan Gung Fu" (just Gung Fu from here on out) was a classical style (and totally missing the point of what Lee was trying to do I know...).  

Victorian Era

Here a young British Lord and his Chinese wife had a son, Lee Jun-fan.  But they were killed in the Taiping Rebellion. Their son, whom they feared would also be killed, was left with monks where he was raised to learn Gung Fu. Here he trains for his first 30 years of life.  He returns to his father's home in England where he deals with the racism of 1880s Victorian England.  He is protected by title and wealth, but still, things are not easy for him. He is also a master of Gung Fu and learns of the vast Occult Underground London has to offer.  

Think of it as "Kung Fu by Gaslight."

Spirit of '76

In 1976, Lee Jun-fan's great-grandson, also named Lee Jun-fan, but going by "Lee Young" (yes, I know Lee was a family name) now lives in America, but his legacy will soon be tested.

Here he is (both versions use the same stats) for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

The real Lee Jun-fan
Lee Jun-fan (Lee Young)

6th level Mystical Martial Artist (Human)
Archetype: Martial Artist in a Strange New World

Strength: 18 (+3) P 
Dexterity: 19 (+3) S
Constitution: 16 (+2) 
Intelligence: 13 (+1) 
Wisdom: 14 (+1) 
Charisma: 16 (+2) S

HP: 33
Alignment: Good
AC: 5
Attack: +3
# Attacks: 2

Fate Points: 1d8

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +4/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +3 Ranged bonus: +3
Saves: +2 to Constitution and Dexterity saving throws

Martial Arts Powers
+3 to Dexterity; Free Running; Instant Kill ("Gung Fu Death punch"); Lightning-fast; 
Danger Sense, Supernatural Attack, Pneuma Blast

Athletics, Steady Hands, Body Control, Insight


In both campaigns, the emphasis for this character is he is close enough to the world he living in at the time, but still an outsider.  But he is also an outsider with this amazing power.

In both cases, I would want to feature his sense of humor. Bruce Lee had a wicked sense of humor and my Lee Jun-fan would also.  I also want a character who despite all the hardships and reversals he has faced wants to believe that people, in general, are good and they act how they do out of fear.  

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Megan O'Kelly

Going to a character today that was one of the first (though not the first) Spirit of '76 characters I came up with.  

Megan O'Kelly came to me from a variety of sources, but the main one was the idea of this college girl wearing a Led Zeppelin U.S. Tour 1975 t-shirt, oversized sunglasses, old hiphugger bell-bottom jeans, and carrying a burlap messenger bag where she kept all her witch gear.   She was a young, recent UC Berkely grad with a freshly minted degree in Psychology and she was going to change the world.

Until that is, she discovered the supernatural.  Or more to the point, the supernatural discovered her.

"Megan" began as "Stephanie" in an older game back when "Spirit of '76" was "Summer of Love" and took place in 1968.  I wanted to keep Stephanie where she was but I wanted to do the Summer of 1976 as well, so Megan was "born."  Eliza Roberts, the actress to "play" her, was suggested to me by my NIGHT SHIFT co-creator Jason Vey.   Megan would go on to have more adventures in other games, namely Chill (from last year) and the Buffy RPG.

Here she is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Eliza Roberts as Megan O'Kelly
Megan O'Kelly

4th level Witch (Human)
Archetype: 70s Occultist Witch

Strength: 11 (0) 
Dexterity: 14 (+1) 
Constitution: 15 (+1) 
Intelligence: 18 (+4) P
Wisdom: 17 (+1)  S
Charisma: 17 (+2) S

HP: 14
Alignment: Lawful
AC: 8
Attack: +0

Fate Points: 1d6

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/0
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: +1
Saves: +3 against spells and magical effects

Witch Abilities
Arcana, Supernatural Senses, Spells, Arcane Powers

Arcane Powers
Precognition, ESP (Clairvoyance)

First Level: Detect Evil, Detect Magic, Protection from Evil
Second Level: Cause Fear, Suggestion

Research, Insight, History, Science (Psychology)


Megan is my gift to that younger version of me that discovered witches in pop psychology books and magazines and always had crushes on girls older than himself. She is the "psychic witch woman" of the 1970s.  She has crystals, she always consults her horoscope, she has "feelings" about things, and she can be a lot more powerful than even she gives herself credit for.  

She has more history in my games later on, but this is college grad Megan. This is young Megan. She is excited, and eager and wants to take on the world. Her future is so bright right now that she needs those knock-off Marlo Thomas sunglasses.   Is it possible to love an NPC? Because I think Megan is great.  I almost feel bad for all the shit she later goes through by the time the 80s roll around.  Almost. Swords are forged in fire and magic is forged in pain.  But that's not till 1979 at least and Megan here has a lot to do before then!

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Virginia Dare

Continuing my "Spirit of '76" mini-campaign I want to get some more details on who my "big bad" might be.  I say might, because I am not 100% sure yet what I want to do with her save for being the mastermind behind the plot.  I know I want to make what she wants to do sound reasonable and something that most people would want to support. That is if her plan didn't involve the death of millions. 

Given the name of the series, I figure she would fit in fine as the first person of European descent born in the colonies.  She is also the reason I have scrapped many of the ideas I had for Spirit of 76 (including other NPCs) in favor of newer ones.  Still planning on four adventures, but I only have the first two figured out.

I spoke about Virginia Dare briefly before. She is the immortal enemy of Valerie Beaumont. Though their relationship is quite a complicated one. She wants to kill Valerie, but Val doesn't really want to kill her.  I liken their relationship (as it is growing in my mind now) as similar to Holmes and Moriarty or The Doctor and the Master.  

Here she is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Rose Byrne as Virginia Dare
Virginia Dare

14th level Survivor (Supernatural, Immortal)
Archetype: Immortal Mastermind

Strength: 12 (0) 
Dexterity: 14 (+1) 
Constitution: 16 (+2) 
Intelligence: 19 (+4) S
Wisdom: 17 (+2)  S
Charisma: 18 (+3) P

HP: 77
Alignment: Neutral (?)
AC: 8
Attack: 4

Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +6/+4/+2
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: +1
Saves: +5 to death saves. +2 to all others.

Immortal Abilities
Immortals regenerate 1d8 hit points every minute. 
+3 to Intelligence
+5 to all saving throws against magic, poison, disease, and death-based attacks.
Arcane Powers: Charm Person, Empathy
Unique Kill: Can only be killed by Valerie Beaumont

Survivor Abilities
Stealth skills; Climbing; Danger Sense (1-5); Sneak Attack +4, x2; Read Languages 80%, Ritual Magic

Survivor Skills (8th level)

  • Open Locks: 145%
  • Bypass Traps: 140%
  • Sleight of Hand: 150%
  • Move Silently: 150%
  • Hide in Shadows: 140%
  • Climbing 105%
  • Perception: 105%

Research, Insight, History (x2) 


Virginia Dare has survived some of the worst times this country has seen.  She is brilliant and her own special abilities to understand and charm others to get her into positions where she can leverage her intellect the best.  She learns what people want and she finds a way to get it to them, for a price.  

She prefers to work behind the scenes but she has amassed a powerbase that when she decides to play her hand it will have devastating effects. 

I just need to figure out what that is.  I have an idea, but not sure how to make it work just yet. Both in-game and for the game. 

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge

Monday, January 17, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Carl Kolchak

Going forward in time to another campaign I have been tossing around for a while.  This one is set in the Summer of 1976.  I don't have much planned yet save that it involves an increased upswing in demonic and supernatural attacks and related phenomena.  

Ideally, I'd love to be able to use a lot of weird shit that made the 70s one of the best decades for occult happenings.  My goal here is to try to figure out what this campaign/set of adventures is all about.

So let's start with the character that made me want to do something in this decade;  Carl Kolchak, The Night Stalker.  Besides, it is the 50th Anniversary of the Night Stalker TV series.  

Here he is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Carl Kolchak
Carl Kolchak 

3rd level Survivor (Human)
Archetype: Corespondent

Strength: 10 (0) 
Dexterity: 13 (+1) S
Constitution: 16 (+2) 
Intelligence: 13 (+1) P
Wisdom: 14 (+1)  
Charisma: 15 (+1) S

HP: 15
Alignment: Light
AC: 9
Attack: +1

Fate Points: 1d6

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+1/0
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: +1
Saves: +4 to death saves. +2 to all others.

Survivor Abilities
Stealth skills; Climbing; Danger Sense (1-4); Sneak Attack +4, x2; Read Languages 80%

Survivor Skills (8th level)

  • Open Locks: 35%
  • Bypass Traps: 30%
  • Sleight of Hand: 40%
  • Move Silently: 40%
  • Hide in Shadows: 30%
  • Climbing 75%
  • Perception: 50%

Research, Insight, Notice (x2)


Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Doctor John Watson

Wrapping up my tour of the Victorian era with the original dynamic duo of Holmes and Watson.  Today I focus my sights on the good Dr. John Watson.

John Watson is an interesting character.  By all rights, he would have been the star of his own serials; British Army officer, Doctor, not a bad detective in his own right and good with a service pistol.  He was also smart, just not as smart as Holmes.

Here he is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Dr. John Watosn played by Edward Hardwicke

Dr. John Watson

6th level Veteran (Human)
Archetype: Chronicler and sidekick

Strength: 13 (+1) S
Dexterity: 14 (+1) S
Constitution: 13 (+1) 
Intelligence: 14 (+3) P
Wisdom: 16 (+2)  
Charisma: 14 (+1)  

HP: 33
Alignment: Light
AC: 8
Attack: +3 

Fate Points: 1d8

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +4/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +1 Ranged bonus: +1
Saves: +2 to all saves

Veteran Abilities
Combat Expertise, Improved damage, improved defense, Supernatural Attack, tracking

Medicine x2, Science, Insight, Notice


Dr. Watson is a veteran with a lot of training in medicine. This covers his character rather well. 

I hope this gets me motivated for some more Sherlock Holmes posts. 

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge