Showing posts with label AA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AA. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Plays Well With Others: Victorious and Victorian-era Games

Time once again for another chapter of Plays Well With Others.

Between some games there are often rivalries, heated debates, or even outright distaste.  Some games even have that between editions.
Not so for Victorian-era games.  We, the aficionados of such pastimes, fancy ourselves more genteel Lords and Ladies.  We generally get along and support each other and celebrate each other's successes.  This can be seen in the Facebook groups Victorian Gamers Association and +Jordan Bodewell's Victorian Adventure Enthusiast.

So today it will my pleasure to discuss how you can use Victorious with various other Victorian-era RPGS.

Note and Disclaimers: 1. I am making no attempt whatsoever to hide my biases here. 2. All books are mine. No book was provided for review purposes. 3. Links are affiliate links. 4. This will not be exhaustive.

Shall we begin?

Tho star with let's talk about what Victorious brings to the table that is unique. This is not just a Steampunk game or a game of Victorian daring-do. This is a game of Super-humanity from a Victorian point of view.  This is the writing of Friedrich Nietzsche writ-large with more hope, action, and steam. These are the promises of the ideas, but not the letter of, Charles Darwin.  The attitude is generally positive (which mind you can be a criticism of the game, the Victorian times were dirty, poor and generally terrible for many).
Victorious, true to it's name, is about striving for more and then seeing that goal realized.
If you go back to my review from yesterday you will see right off the cuff there are a few things that can easily be added to any Victorian game from Victorious.
1. The timeline
2. Background on the Victorian world, with various organizations.
3. The NPCs, in particular, the villains.

Many of the games I am talking about will also have these, but using them in concert makes for a better game.

Leagues of Adventure
Right off the bat Victorious has a LOT in common with Leagues of Adventure. Both games have similar motives and design goals.  Where Victorious can be summed up, though inadequately, as "Victorian Superheroes", Leagues of Adventure is summed up as "Victorian High Adventure".  Both have simlar Pre-Pulp sensibilities, and both have the point of view of Mankind will soon be much better.  I think the main difference to me is summed up by think how the characters could travel from London to New York in each game.  In Victorious the character would either fly by some sort of super-human means (in addition to other means) in LoA the characters would pilot a steam powered airship.
The timelines of both games are largely compatible and characters in one would feel right at home in the other game.

Could you imagine a team up of these characters?  I totally can.
The power levels of LoA are a little flatter than Victorious'.  Character start out and remain largely human-powered.  LoA has more skills, but Victorious' rules are a little faster on how skills are dealt with.  The GM of one game should find a lot material in the other game to give them plenty of ideas.

If Victorious is about super-humanity, then Victoriana is about weird-humanity and others.   Regardless of which edition you have/buy (1st Edition is pictured below), Victoriana is a little further on the "Castle Falkenstein" scale of Fantasy Victoriana than Victorious is.  It also takes place in the mid-Victorian era compared to Victorious' ever-popular late-Victorian era.

Victoriana is often described as Gaslight-Shadowrun. This is true. There are also plenty of other races like orcs, trolls, ogres, gnomes, elves (Eldren) and dwarves running around.  Victoriana is a fun game, but I sometimes wonder what it would be like under a different rule system.

Well not exactly like that...but you could fake a really cool Victoriana by mixing Victorious with Castles & Crusades. It would be a system that most of my readers would already be familiar with and still get at some similar types of game-play.  I would then advise GMs to grab some of the 3rd Edition Victoriana supplements.  Most of them are written with a minimum of game stats and all are absolutely beautiful.
While reading over Victorious I could not help but think of this picture from 1st Edition Victoriana.

This appendix in Victoriana covers very well what mixing 21st-century super-heroes with 19th-century sensibilities would be like.  It is a good read for anyone running a Victorious game.

In our hypothetical trip from London to New York, our Victoriana characters also travel by Airship, though it is not steam powered, but rather some eldritch magic.  Or they find an ancient Eldren gate.

On the WAAAY other end of the "Castle Falkenstein Scale" is +Daniel Hodges' Victoria.  Victoria is very much set in the "real world". It is, however, a game I always suggest since it deals with the issues of the Victorian times better than pretty much every other game. Why? Because those issues are the focus of the game.   IF as a GM you really want to get a feel of the times then this is the game to use.  In fact, I have often wanted to run this game as an introduction game.  Everything is nice (well...not really nice) and normal then move on to the Fantastic game of choice once the characters learn of the "true world".

To travel to New York from London in this game you better book passage on a steamer and with some luck you will get there in about a week.

We have now used up all versions of "Victoria" for a game!

Baker Street
On the same scale as Victoria is the Sherlock Holmes influenced Baker Street by +Bryce Whitacre.  Baker Street is set in "normal" Victorian times, albeit, one with Sherlock Holmes as a real person.  Victorious also has the world's most famous detective.  GMs should pick up a copy of Baker Street if Sherlock is going to play any part in their Victorious game.  Plus the clue-resolution system in Baker Street is fantastic and is something that can be lifted out to use in any game.
I will go as far as to say that Baker Street is one of those underrated games that should really get much more attention and many more awards.

Again. Steamer ship, arrive one week later.

Let's go to the other side of the scale into more Horror.  It is October after all.

Masque of the Red Death
Ravenloft Masque of the Red Death shares a lot of DNA with Victorious.  Either the d20/3rd edition or the original 2nd edition would work fine here.  I have already mentioned that you can mix Victorious with Tainted Lands and get something not unakin to Ravenloft Masque of the Red Death. Both games have several compliments to each other. Both have great and well-researched timelines. Both games have a great variety of NPCs and Villians. In fact, most of the material from one game can be used with the other with little fuss.  The big issues though are what does the Red Death mean in Victorious and how do super-humans work in Masque of the Red Death.  If you want to add some Gothic Horror to Victorious this is where I would start.   I for one would pick up MotRD's A Guide to Transylvania in a heartbeat to use with this.

Not too far away from Masque of the Red Death, but further up on the CF scale (this is a thing now) is Gaslight.  Gaslight is cut from the same cloth as Masque.  Since it is OGL/d20 it mixes with Victorious well.  I would argue that the system in Victorious/Castles & Crusades is better than d20 for this, but use some ideas from Gaslight to add a little more horror to your game.

Ghosts of Albion
In truth, Victorious and Ghosts of Albion are very, very different games.  Victorious takes place in the late Victorian era, Ghosts in the early. There are plenty of known superhuman and supernatural occurrences in Victorious. In Ghosts everything is hidden behind a veil of secrecy and magic.
But both games have a number of complimentary features.  First, if you plan to run one game in the other's time frame then both have good, detailed timelines.  Magic is a main feature of Ghosts, so if you are planning to add some more magical juice to Victorious then this is a good place to start.
I bet I could put together a "Protector" class for Victorious.  Mix in some details from Amazing Adventures and I could have a Ghost, Faerie and Vampire races for it as well.
Otherwise, the Magic quality is easily replicated by Victorious' Magicians.

One day I'll run an ultimate Victorian game with elements of these games plus Space: 1889 and Cthulhu by Gaslight.  Something truly epic.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Review: Victorious

Victorious or Victorious: Steampunk Adventure in the Age of SuperMankind is a game that I had been waiting for sometime.  I had not been able back it in the Kickstarter so I picked it up this past Gen Con.  I was quite pleased to do so.

Victorious is not the game I thought is was.  That is not a problem of the game, but rather a problem with my expectations.  I thought this was going to be a Victorian steam-punk game closer to Leagues of Adventure.  The game I got  though is rather fun and different than other Victorian games I have played and own.  This is a very good thing.

Victorious is a game of Victorian era Steam Punk Superheroes.  Once I got that into my head then the rest was a ton of fun.

The system is the tried and true SIEGE Engine from Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures and is largely compatible with both of those games.  So adventures for one will work in the other.  In fact, I tried out an Amazing Adventures scenario I had used in the past and it worked brilliantly.

Let's look into the chapters.
First, though, full disclosures.
1. I purchased both the hardcover and the PDF versions with my own cash.  Troll Lords did not send me copies for review, nor are they expecting reviews.
2. Links in this review often link to affiliate sites where I get a small percentage of anything bought.
3. I have authored a Victorian game that could be considered competition to this game. I do not see this as such.  Victorious and Ghosts of Albion can be played in similar time periods and even tell similar stories (I am planning on running a Ghosts adventure under Victorious to test this) but the games are not in competition with each other or other Victorian era games.

The Book. The book is a sturdy hardcover with color covers, black and white interiors, 144 pages.  The form and format reminds me of the original AD&D books.  The PDF comes with two files, one is a little more print friendly than the other.  Both are bookmarked.

Introduction gives us the basics of the game, some background and some information on RPGs in general.  It should be noted the the GM in this game means "Genteel Magistrate".  Damn.  I wish I had thought of that first!

Only if we are very, very lucky...

Chapter 1 is all about Character Generation.  If you have played Amazing Adventures or Castles & Crusades (or even D&D) then you know how this works.  First, we go through the standard Attributes and modifiers.  This is followed by a simple skill system.  In fact, this skill system would make a nice important to Castles & Crusades.  Up next is the big feature of this game; the powers that the characters gain as they level up.  Again, this is the primary feature of the game.  There are quite a few powers listed here and they remind me a bit of Mutants & Masterminds.  This is not a surprise really, given the focus of the game.  One could, I imagine, add more powers from other d20-derived games.
Some hindrances and shortcomings are also discussed.  Such things as "enemy" or "fame".
This is followed with some character examples that are roughly character classes. These include the Contraptionist (gadget guy), the Hypnotist, the Inquiry Agent (Sherlock Holmes), the Magician, the Paragon (Victorian Super-men), the Radiant, the Strongman, and the Vigilante (Gaslight Batman). We end with some ideas on completing the character.
There are enough character concepts here to create any sort of character you want.  I mentally "stated up" a few characters and was able to come up a Victorious version of them.

Chapter 2 covers the rules of the game. If you know Castles and Crusades then these rules will be very familiar. The main addition here are a bunch of Victorian-era firearms and some Steam-Punk gadgets. If your C&C game has black powder then this is a great chapter to have. Unlike some Victorian games there is no lengthy list of firearms (looking at you Dracula RPG), and this is a good thing.

Chapter 3 Equipment and Encounters is kind of a catch-all chapter of money, equipment, vehicles. encounters and worldly goings on.  One nitpick, there is a section on "Cost of Living" that details various costs of goods in both British Pounds and American Dollars, but no actual cost of living.  Te second half of this chapter details various organizations active in the Victorian era.  If you play any Victorian game then this is a great chapter to have. Nearly every Victorian game has a chapter like this and I really can't get enough of it.  Many, if not all, of these can be used in any other Victorian game and the societies and groups from those games can also be used here.

Chapter 4 The Victorious Era details some of the world history from the point of view of this game.  At this point, I have one major issue with this game.  There is the assumption that there are some super powered humans that have time-travelled from the 21st Century here.  I understand why the author did this; to help players acclimate to the stranger times of Victorian England. Personally, I thought it was unneeded/unnecessary.   BUT it does fit with the game, so that is fine.  Personally I am not going to use it. If I am running a Victorian game you are going to play Victorian characters.
Ignoring that there is a bunch of information on Victorian life that is great for any game. There is a great section on criminal slang that gives us the expected British slang, but also the rarely printed American/East Coast slang.
There is a Chronolgy of the Victorious age next.  This lists all sorts of political and scientific advancements made.  Included in this are events from fiction (like Dracula and Sherlock Holmes) and events from within the game itself.

Chapter 5 is the Bestiary.  Included are a lot of animals and the expected monsters of the Gothic Tradition.  These monsters are 100% compatible with Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures. So if you need more monsters they can be found easy.

Chapter 6 covers Supermankind. This has some more information on the world of Victorious. This includes many of the NPCs; the good, the neutral and the bad.  There are some great characters here including John Henry, Sherlock Holmes and the Spring Heeled Jack.  Like most games (and most ficition) the bad guys are the most interesting. Listed here with full stats are Aleister Crowley, Baba Yaga, Dorain Grey, Dracula, Hyde, Moriarty, and Col. Moran.  Really a Whos-Who of Victorian Villainy.  Really the star chapter in this book.  Which is saying something because there is a good game here.  These NPCs could be used in Amazing Adventures too.

Next we get and adventure, Hyde and Seek, which is a lot of fun.
The Appendices cover the Designer Notes, which are really fun read. I have to admit reading these gave me a greater appreciation of this game. There are sections on quick combat, dice rulings, and my favorite; mob rules.
There is a section on "History vs. Fantasy" which is a great read if you have ever tried to run a pseudo-historical game.  There is a list of resources that is also a great read. It's not exhaustive and there are some really notable exclusions, but this in not *my* list but theirs.

All in all this is a really fun game and I have nearly endless uses for it.
Mix it with a bit of Castles & Crusades for more fantasy or Amazing Adventures for more pulp.  Include some ideas from Codex Celtarum to make a more fantastic faerie-themed game. Mix it even more with Tainted Lands and get something not unakin to Ravenloft Masque of the Red Death.
The game has a multitude of possibilities beyond what is presented in the two covers.

The game is full of possibilities to be honest, and I really can't wait to try some of them out.
This is certainly a game I would love to play at a Convention sometime.

Buy this game if you enjoy Victorian games, Castles & Crusades, or superhero games with a twist.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Class Struggles: Castles & Crusades Classes

It has been a while since I have done a Class Struggles post.  Normally with these I like to take a deep dive into a single expression of a class and talk about it in it's various forms in the various editions and offshoots of D&D.

Today though I want to instead look at the unique, or mostly unique, classes offerings from Castles & Crusades and other SIEGE Engine games.  My point of view though will remain the same; how to use these classes in your Fantasy RPG/D&D.

First up is the Knight.  The knight comes to us from the Castles & Crusades Player's Handbook. So in this respect, it is a "core" class.  It is best to compare the Knight to the Cavalier. In fact if one were to look at the list of classes in the C&C PHB and compare that to AD&D1 PHB/UA or OSRIC the Knight stands out as being something of a unique class.  Like the UA cavalier the knight is a mounted, armored fighter type. They both follow codes of conduct and belong to various orders.  In most ways the knight appears exactly like the romance knights of King Arthur's Round Table with their code of chivalry and courtly romance.  Thankfully though the knight is a little bit more than that.
In Castles & Crusades there is the concept of Prime Abilities. Each class has one and they do about what you would imagine if you never read the rules.  For the Knight the prime ability is Charisma.  Not physical prowess, but charisma. This is the same for Paladins who are now taking more of the role of Holy Warrior.  The 5th Edition D&D Paladin is still closer to the C&C Paladin, but the C&C Knight is in many ways closest to the D&D4 Warlord. Both have leadership abilities and both appear to be more militarily trained fighters.

At this point, I must apologize for my selections of classes.  They are going to be based on the ones I know and the books I have.   I also mightnot focus on every class in the books I do have.

The Codex Celtarum is one of my favorite C&C books. I love the idea of playing in a Celtic universe and there is just so much fun stuff in this.  This book comes with a new class, The Woodwose, and a variation of a class, The Wolf Charmer. Both of these classes have a distinct Celtic flair to them.  The woodwose is a wildman of the woods and somewhere between a ranger and a barbarian in terms of role. Looking at their prime abilities, the Barbarian is Constitution, the Ranger is Strength and the Woodwose is Dexterity.  The wolf charmer is described as a pied piper of sorts for wolves.  They can be rogues or rangers and they gain some wolf charming abilities in favor of some the abilities they would have gotten for their own class.  A ranger-wolf charmer, in fact, resembles the concept of the Beastmaster I discussed in a Class Struggles a few months back.  In 3rd edition, we might have done this a Prestige Class.

It's sister product or cousin product, is the Codex Nordica.  Personally, I think both books should be used together for a greater effect to both. Yes their "worlds" are very different, but their interaction in our world is very linked.   This book offers us the Seiðkona, or sorceress.  Other books might call her a witch.  Indeed I used a lot of the same myths about the  Seiðkona, Vísendakona and Volur in my own witch books right down to using a distaff in place of a staff.  The Seiðkona uses Intelligence as her primeary ability and casts the same spells and magic as the Wizard does.  If she had used Charisma, I would naturally compare her to the Sorcerer of D&D3.   Though given her role, Intelligence (or maybe even Wisdom) is the proper choice here.  This is a class that is very much part of the mythology of the world she is in. She loses some of the things that make her special if she you dropped her into Greyhawk or the Realms.  There is also the Völva, which the clerical counterpart to the Seiðkona.  This class also serves the role of a priestess and uses a distaff.  As expected her primary ability is Wisdom.  Her gift is divination and prophecy.  So by means of a rough comparison, she is more similar to the Oracle class in Pathfinder.

Moving on to more C&C specific "worlds" we can first turn to the Tainted Lands. Now to be fair, I was pretty hard on this product when it came out.  I still find faults with it, but I am softening my approach some more.  I just ignore the "Psychic" and "Supernatural" attributes. The nice thing about this setting is it is easily back-adaptable to ad some darkness to your games.  The Tainted Lands also gives us four new classes.  The Witch Hunter (which I have converted to Wisdom), The Metals Master (which I honestly don't use), The Portal Keeper (I use Intelligence instead) and the Vampire (Strength).  Of these, I use the Witch Hunter the most.

The Haunted Highlands are next and have some classes that fit into the same horror or darkness tinged mode.  This includes the Players Guide, the Castle Keeper's Guide and the Black Libram of Naratus.  Now these books hit me right in my home.  Dark, scary, Celtic themed play?  Sign me up!  I will work on getting a full review out for the Haunted Highlands soon.  Case on point, the classes are a revised Assassin, a revised Monk, the Conjurer (Charisma based), the Necromancer (an Inteligence sub-class of the Wizard and which is also detailed at length in the Black Libram of Naratus), and the Witch (Wisdom based)! I could go on and on about the witch here, but it is a very approapriate adaptation of the concept for this setting.  Again. There is so much here to go through that I will have to devote a blog post or two about it.  But I would easily play one of these witches or necromancers.

To wrap-up my collection of Castles & Crusades specific books (and I know there are more out there) I want to look into the Castles & Crusades Players Guide to Aihrde.   What I really like about this book are some "race" specific classes. There is the Heisen Fodt (Dwarves), the Oraalau (High Elves), Ieragon (Eldritch Goblin), Hugrin dun (Gnome), and Felon Noch (Halfling). Essentially these are the racial classes closest to the Basic/Exper D&D expressions of the Race as Class classes.  Here though they have a strong cultural context and they really work.   I would add these to not only my Castles & Crusades game, but any OSR game or even D&D5.

Stretching now just a bit I want to talk about a few of the classes found in Amazing Adventures.  While AA is a Pulp or even modern RPG, there are some classes that would work well with just the tiniest of modifications.  Some of this is detailed in the books, but I want to share my opinions on the matter.  The Arcanist is basically a Wizard or Cleric.  The Gadgeteer though would make for an excellent Magical Artificer.  Use the rules here and in the Book of Powers to create your own artificer.  The Mentalist would add a psionic or psychic character to your game.  The  Socialite can be dropped in almost as-is for a Royal Courtier.   Now if we add in the Amazing Adventures Companion we get a whole new slate of character class options.   The Acrobat, the Archer, the Duelist, the Feral, the Pirate and the Soldier can all be used with only modifications to anything that involves firearms.  Depending on your game you could even add in the Gunslinger.
If you check out the Troll Lord's online shop you can also find the Demon Hunter class for AA, but easily compatible with C&C.

There are similar choices in Victorious, but I am not done reading that one yet.

All in all, nearly 30 classes you can add to your Castles & Crusades games.

I think the Troll Lords need to come out with a "Class Codex" now!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Review: Amazing Adventures Book of Powers

The Amazing Adventures Book of Powers for the Amazing Adventures RPG is really, really interesting book.  Interesting in that it opens up the Amazing Adventures game, and thus Castles & Crusades and Victorious RPGs into new and interesting realms of play.   It does in a sense to Castles and Crusades what the BESM d20 rules did (or could have done) to d20 rules.

Let's start with the basics and then move into specifics.

The Book of Powers (BoP) is a slim book, 48 pages. The covers are full color, the interior is black & white.  The list price is $14.99 but as of this writing, the PDF is on sale for $10.99.
We get right away to my first gripe about the book.  The cover.  I love Peter Bradley's work and this cover is gorgeous.  However, it is not really "pulp" to me at all.  Sure if this were a modern supers game (which in fact you can use this book to turn AA into) this would be a great cover, but acrobatic girl with green hair, in skin tight lycra/spandex outfit with plunging cleavage isn't my idea of the 1930s.  Sorry.  I mention only because I fear that people might not grab it.
Moving on.
The premise of this book is pretty cool.  Take AA's Gadgeteer class and turn gadgets into powers.  These powers can be used along side gadgets and other powers to make some truly heroic characters.  I did a few quick and dirty character creations this morning and I am pleased so far with what I was able to do.

Expanding on this idea Vey also presents a "Sorcerer" class, a magical power wielder that could fit in right next to the Arcanist class in AA OR even the Wizard in C&C.   For my next character I want to create an AA style sorcerer for a Castles & Crusades game to see how well it works.

Expanding on these powers even further we are given rules on how to make Vampire, Demon and Angel characters.  Now this is a REALLY cool option.  I don't often pull this card, but today I will.
Jason knows his shit here.  We worked together on WitchCraft, All Flesh Must Be Eaten and of course the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.  Jason is above and beyond qualified to give us these rules. And these rules are really fun.  So much so that one idea I had for a supers game I want to now convert over to an AA game with powers, sorcerers, vampires, angels and demons.  It's actually quite silly how well it work for me.

The book also has a host of new character options including a modified skill check system.  I *believe* is the same as the one in Victorious.  Though I am not 100% sure.  It's a nice simple system.  Though reading it I realize I almost never do skill checks in C&C/AA; just ability checks.
There is also a new advantage system or perks for each class.  Totally optional, but allows for greater customization.  Not enough here? They are similar enough to feats to allow importing from other d20 games.  Add these to Castles & Crusades and you basically have D&D5.

Speaking of which there is also a section on "Amazing Crusades!" with guidelines on how to get Amazing Adventures Peanut Butter into your Castles & Crusades Chocolate.  I would also add that you can add the sweet, sweet creamy caramel of Victorious to this.

I was going to like this book anyway since it does a lot of the things I tend to do in my games anyway.  It also has a lot of things I love adding to my games.  So how do I give an unbiased opinion?

Well, I will say this.  If you love Amazing Adventures, then you should check this out.
If you want some more flexibility with powers and even races in Castles & Crusades, you check this out.
If you want more Steam Punk gadgety goodness of Victorious then definitely buy this.

I highly recommend this.

Disclaimer 1:  I received of a copy of this book in the mail as thanks for being a playtester.  No review was ever mentioned, promised or implied.
Disclaimer 2: I was a playtester for this book.
Disclaimer 3: I am good friends with the author, Jason Vey, and we have worked on many RPG projects together over the last 16-17 years. 
Disclaimer 4: All links are affiliate links.  Your clicks support my book habit.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Guest VJ Jason Vey

Tonight we have a special guest VJ Jason Vey!

He is here to share songs that influenced him or motivated him while working on Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG.

Jason and I have known each other for years. We worked on Buffy together, playtested each other games and respected each other enough to say when a bit of game design was total shit.

I was a playtester on this in the early days but I really can't say anything about it other than I am REALLY excited it is coming out.  So without further rambling on from me, here is Jason.


Greetings, night stalkers, vampires and Weepers! I’m definitely NOT Kasey Kasem. I’m Jason Vey(sem) and I’ll be your guest veejay for this week’s edition of Friday Night Videos on the Other Side.

Tonight I’m going to talk about the music of Brimstone and the Borderhounds – my RPG that’s currently in Kickstarter through Troll Lord Games. I’d like to share a few little ditties that are inspirational or otherwise appropriate to this particular game which falls solidly in the urban fantasy genre. But before we do that, here’s a quick primer from the Kickstarter itself:

Forget everything you know about the afterlife. Good guys don’t always go to Heaven and bad guys don’t always end up in Hell. The multiverse is one giant amalgam of giant corporations that humans know as afterlives. Heaven. Hell. Valhalla. The Happy Hunting Grounds. Some might look prettier than others, but in the end they’re all at war for the greatest commodity in the multiverse…Human souls.

It doesn’t matter much where you end up when you die; your lot in life is one of slave labor in one of these afterlives, doing whatever you might have done best (or didn’t know you were best at) in life. That could be constructing buildings or architecture. It could also be mopping up in a strip club. In Hell these human souls are called Weepers. Some win their freedom and earn a meager living in the dregs of society. Others try to escape, either to join terrorist groups known as Kittens, or to get out to another afterlife or even back to Earth. When that happens, crack teams of bounty hunters called Borderhounds are sent out to the Wastelands to bring them back in. The best of these teams is known as XiBalba and is led by Brimstone, the half-demon son of Hell’s Grand Architect.

Using the acclaimed and easy-to-learn SIEGE engine mechanic, the Brimstone and the Borderhounds RPG lets you play as Brimstone and his allies, as a new team of Borderhounds hunting down escaped Weepers and battling corporate espionage from other afterlives (or engaging in a little of your own), or play as a psychic, mystic, occult investigator or Earth-bound hero, battling supernatural incursions from the other worlds as our planet becomes a battleground in the greatest corporate war the multiverse has ever seen. Wield Helltech weapons, call upon Forza Infernis (the powers of Hell) or draw forth alien magic and psychic energies. The sky (or the Pit, as it may be) is the limit when you play in the world of Brimstone and the Borderhounds!

So there you have it, kids. Brimstone and the Borderhounds is an urban fantasy game using the same rules that power Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures. If Buffy-meets-Cyberpunk-in-Hell sounds cool, then B&B is just for you!

Now let’s take a look these happy little numbers that were inspirational or are otherwise appropriate for this game.

1. The Number of the Beast - Iron Maiden
A classic of heavy metal by one of the most important bands in the genre, this nightmarish story about a guy hunted through the woods by the devil himself is uniquely suited to a game about, well, souls escaping from Hell!

2. The Road to Hell - Bruce Dickinson
This may be cheating, since it’s by the lead singer of Iron Maiden and sounds a bit Maiden-ish, but it’s a relentless, driving tune that’s perfect background music for chasing down those Weepers or battling incursions from the other Afterlife Realms!

3. Seasons in the Abyss - Slayer
Sensing a theme, here? What did you expect? It’s a game set in or revolving around the theme of HELL! This is a classic of dark thrash metal from 1990. Its minor key and chilling, dark vocals are a great mood setter for a campaign revolving around those first discovering how the multiverse works.

4. All Nightmare Long - Metallica
Kind of a new record, and sure, Metallica has probably had better tunes, but this one is a worthy entry into their oeuvre. The video is as chilling as the lyrics and like Road to Hell, it’s relentless and driving and would be great for that climactic battle against whatever enemy your GM cooks up.

5. Faster - Within Temptation
Led by singer Sharon den Adel, Dutch metal masters Within Temptation are one of the more underrated symphonic rock bands out there today. This song is actually a single from their album The Unforgiving, which would completely unto itself act as a great soundtrack for a B&B campaign. It’s also tied to a comic book limited series, which you should totally check out as it dovetails neatly with the themes in Borderhounds.

6. Welcome to my Nightmare - Alice Cooper
Seriously, need you ask? What game about hell and monsters is complete without a song about the gradual degradation of sanity and the horrors of the madhouse? Nobody has ever captured the mood of horror and nightmares in music like Alice Cooper, and likely no one ever will. Here’s a creepy live clip of that one.

7. Holy Wars - The Punishment Due – Megadeth
The connections here are several. Thematically, this is about terrorism in the Middle East…and the Marvel Comics’ character The Punisher. Strange pairing, but there it is. The idea of “holy wars,” however, is a great fit for a game about corporate espionage between Heaven and Hell, and the driving, never-quit force of it is another excellent soundtrack for action and adventure, while the comic connections are obvious.

There you have it: seven songs to get you in the mood for Brimstone and the Borderhounds, Kickstarting now! Check it out—back if you like, and spread the word!

Kickstart Your Weekend: Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG

I don't know much about the Brimstone & The Borderhounds comic, except it looks like "Dog the Bounty Hunter" meets "Hellraiser".  I could be wrong.  But even if I am it sounds like a cool game.

Troll Lords also thinks so with their new Brimstone & The Borderhounds RPG.

It is being written by Jason Vey (of Amazing Adventures, Band of Zombies, Broken Gods, and contributing author to the Defending Earth the Unit Sourcebook for the Doctor Who RPG, and contributor to Buffy) and uses the SEIGE Engine found in Amazing Adventures and Castles & Crusades.

Already I see a lot of use for this game.

I have a little side game going on (well on hold for a moment) called "The Daughters of Death" that was using D&D4.  With this it looks like I could easily move it over to Castles & Crusades.

Since I already have some Castles & Crusades plans in the mix for my game after my D&D 5 one.

In anycase this looks like a lot of fun.

Troll Lords has a great track record with Kickstarter so backing this one should be a no brainer.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Demon Hunter Class for AA (and C&C)

Just in time for Halloween (but I just found it now) Jason Vey has put out a new Demon Hunter class for his SIEGE Engine Amazing Adventures RPG.

While designed for the Pulp-era adventures of Amazing Adventures this class also would work fantastic with Castles and Crusades.

The class is much more "Buffy" than it is "Solomon Kane" but you could do either with it.  Mostly though it reminds me of John Gregory, the Spook, from the "Last Apprentice" book series.

It compares well to the Paladin really, except it doesn't have healing, spells or a special mount. It does have supernatural senses and a special weapon.

Just another reminder that I need to play more Castles & Crusades.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Kickstart Your Weekend: What THIS is REALLY about

So I like to support smaller game companies or lines on Kickstarter and I like letting you all know about them.

In the end THIS is what it is all about.

My recent haul from the Amazing Adventures Kickstarter from Troll Lords.

I want need to do something with this soon.

Just so much fun.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Amazing Adventures Companion

The Amazing Adventures Companion is now out. If you enjoy the Amazing Adventures game (and I do) then this is great news.   The book is 162 pages with covers and OGL statement.  Beyond that it is packed with all sorts great things.

Book One covers Astounding Action Heroes, or ways to improve your characters or make them closer to your vision.  Abilities above 18 are covered and even how to get them there.
Each class is also presented and tips on how to play "other classes" with them.  For example The Gadgeteer can be refocused into a street-level, Pulp Age Superhero.  Think Batman in his early days.  OR take the Gadgeteer and make his gadgets into potions and you have The Alchemist.   The Gumshoe can give you an Ace Reporter (something I have really wanted) or the Consulting Detective.  Play that aging Sherlock Holmes if you like.  No new rules are needed for these since the rules are largely flexible enough.  But....if you really want new characters then you are covered here as well.  The Companion introduces The Acrobat, The Archer, The Duelist, The Gunslinger, The Pirate and The Soldier.  What they do should be fairly self-explanatory.
The next section is one I was really looking forward to reading.  This discusses porting over the classes in AA over to a Fantasy game like Castles & Crusades.  While there is nothing shocking here it is a good set of guidelines.  With the new classes, say like the Alchemist, Archer and Gunslinger it is nice to have so guidelines.
Next we have AA multiclassing, which is a port of the C&C "Class and a half".
We dive into equipment next which includes an expanded firearm list and how to use "classical" armor in an AA game.

Book Two covers Advanced Action Heroes.  New rules for your Pulp Character. This includes some new generic class abilities. My new favorites are Occult Library and Wild Talent.

Book Three is Mysteries of Magic, Mentalism and Gadgets.  It's like it was written just for me!
More information is given on Magic and Sanity; with caveats of what sort of game are wanting to run.  A game where magic is dark can include Sanity and then some spells are removed, others added. We get a few pages of new spells, some tips on adapting C&C spells and then some revised Spell Lists.
For Mentalists we get some new Psionic Powers. For Gadgeteers we get some new gadgets and powers.

Book Four is Astonishing Stories. This covers some basic and advanced rules including contested rolls, Fate points,  "Movie Physics",  and various issues regarding damage and healing.  It's kind of a catch-all chapter, but the overall theme is making your game more cinematic when you want to.

Book Five is Spinning Strange Tales.  While it does feature a kickass Snake-headed monk get ready for some kung-fu fighting there is more to this chapter than that.   This chapter covers different types of games you can play with AA and what alterations are needed.  Most times this is about which classes to include and what equipment to use or not.  My favorite might be the "Science Fantasy" section.  I mean really, what is more "Pulp Adventures" than Edgar Rice Burroughs?  Seriously. Reading this section suddenly I want to give up all my current games and play a Barsoom game using AA/C&C.
Of course I have to mention the section on "Tales of Swords and Sorcery".  The author, Jason Vey, has honestly forgotten more about Conan and Robert E. Howard than I'll ever know.  He makes some great points about using AA to emulate a Conan style game.  Ok. Conan on Mars. That's what I want to play now.

Book Six is our Rouges Gallery. NPCs and Groups. This includes the historical (Harry Houdini) the semi-historical (Robert Locksley) and the comics.

All in all if you are a fan of Amazing Adventures or the Pulp Era in general then this is a must buy!

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Amazing Adventures of Libby Sawyer

I am playing around some more with the witch in Castles & Crusades still and also thinking about how she might work in Amazing Adventures and the new Amazing Adventures Companion.

Since I am having +Chrys Fey and Libby Sawyer day here. Let's see how Libby might look in Amazing Adventures.

Libby Sawyer
8th Level Witch (Cha-based Arcanist) / 4th level Gumshoe (Police Detective) (Multiclassed)
Family Tradition Witch

Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 16 (+2) p
Constitution: 13 (+1)
Intelligence: 15 (+1) P
Wisdom: 13 (+1)
Charisma: 18 (+3) P

Hit Points: 50
Alignment: Lawful Good
AC: 13
BtH: +4
MEP: 65

Languages: English, Latin, (native language is English)
Background: Law Enforcement +2,
Traits: Spellgifted
Skill: Knowledge (Arcana)

Gender: Female
Age: 33 (Born 1982)
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 138 lbs

Ritual Magic

Climb (Dex)
Cat and Mouse (Wis)
Hide (Dex)
Move Silently (Dex)
Face in the Crowd (Cha)

Cantrips: (8) Arcane Mark, Detect Illusion, Detect Magic, Light, Magical Aura, Mage Hand, Prestidigitation, Stun
First: (5+1) Change Self, Command, Daze, Identify, Shield, Sleep
Second: (3+1) Blur, Hold Person, Knock, Pyrotechnics,
Third: (2+1) Fear, Nondetection, Remove Curse
Fourth: (1) Seeming

Gun (police issue .45), cell phone

Works for me!  Still need to figure out how to do traditions.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Troll Lord Sale

Troll Lord Games, makers of the amazing Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures is having a sale this week till Sunday.

I really, really like Castles & Crusades. There is so much going on in that game that I just love.
D&D 3 mechanics, AD&D feel and as streamlined as D&D 5.  Or, rather...D&D 5 is as streamlined as C&C!

This sale is crazy. There are some serious deals here and I am loading up my cart now.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Castles & Crusades Players Handbook 6th Printing
Read my review here.

Castles & Crusades Castle Keepers Guide
Read my review here.

Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure
This is the main monster and treasure book for C&C. Here you will find what I call the "classic" monsters from the great Monster Manual. If you are familiar with 3.x then these are all the monsters from the SRD in C&C's format. There is plenty of new text here though to make this more than just another SRD-derived book. Like all the C&C books the art and layout is great. I have the physical book, the pdf and a printout of the PDF and all read great.

The Castles & Crusades Monster stat block is a nice combination of Basic's simplicity, 1st AD&D's comprehensiveness, and some 3.x style rules. Saves are simple (Physical, Mental or both), AC is ascending and there is a "Challenge Rating" stat and XP all factored in. Honestly it really is a synthesis of the best of D&D. Grabbing a monster from another source and converting on the fly really could not be easier.

This book though is more than just a monster book, all the treasure and magic items (normally found in a Game Master's book) are here. This is a nice feature really. One place to have your encounter information.

Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters The Manual
A fantastic collection of monsters from the original Fiend Folio, Monster Manual 2 and various publications. All revised to be used in in Castles & Crusades. Not a "must have" book, but certainly a "you will really, really want it and kick yourself if you don't get it" book.
It is a fantastic edition to my C&C collection and I am very glad I bought it.

Castles & Crusades Tome of the Unclean
A collection of fiends, demons and devils for C&C (and any SIEGE Engine Game like Amazing Adventures).  At 38 pages it focuses on some of the classics of fantasy RPGs. There are not a lot, but there are enough new creatures and unique devils to make this worth anyone's while.
Personally I would love to use this with Amazing Adventures.  Faustian bargins against a backdrop of 30s pulp noir is just too tempting not to do.
The creatures each get about half a page of stats and description along with art.  Just because you know these creatures from other games don't assume you know them for this one! Actually, go right ahead and assume. That makes the game that much more fun for the Castle Keeper!
If I had a criticism it is I wish the book was larger.  There is enough material out there for a book 4 times this size.

Castles & Crusades Of Gods & Monsters
A collection of gods and monsters from various myths and legends. It immediately reminds you of the of Deities and Demigods, but it is closer in format to the earlier Gods, Demigods and Heroes.

The myths are well represented, though there are a few oddities. The Greek and Roman myths are separate and the demi-human myths could have been left out.

I did like all the new spells for clerics of the various gods. That was a good touch.

Castles & Crusades Codex Celtarum
All my C&C games have a Celtic feel to them.
Read my review here.

Castles & Crusades Character Reference Sheets
Sheets specifically designed for Castles & Crusades. Plenty of room for all your equipment, information and spells.
I like that they are a nice combination of both modern functionality (3.x era) and old-school sensibilities (AD&D).  Diving the sheets up by what ability the characters need (Strength, Dexterity, Wisdom) is a nice call back to the old "golden rod" sheets of a bygone age.
Yes you can find sheets on the web for free, but these are worth the price.

Amazing Adventures!
My favorite Pulp-era game.
Read my review here.

Amazing Adventures! Manual of Monsters
I won't lie.  I LOVE Monster books.  They are to this day one of my favorite things to buy for any game.  The Amazing Adventures Manual of Monsters manages to give me monsters I have seen before, but with a whole new take.  I mean a mummy is a mummy right?  Well...your old monster book won't tell you how it reacts when you fire your .38 into it.  But beyond that this book also has a lot of new monsters.  Enough to make it worth while in my opinion.
Also as an added bonus feature is an appendix of monsters from different countries.  So fight that Kelpie on it's native soil.  Or tangle with the machinations of the Greys.
If you play AA then you need this book.

Amazing Adventures Rise of the Red God
GREAT adventure for Amazing Adventures.  Maybe I should have said amazing.
But seriously this adventure has it all. Exotic locations, cults, demons, two fisted/high calibre action.  Even an ancient text to be found.
But more than your lives are stake here. You sanity or even your soul will be lost.

I have had the pleasure of running this under both AA AND Castles & Crusades (converting from Pulp to Fantasy) and both times it worked out great.  So even if you don't play AA (and why aren't you??) then you can run this with some thematic tweaks (and almost NO mechanical ones) with Castles & Crusades.

Part 2 later on today.  I just bought a bunch of stuff myself!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Kickstart Your Weekend: Victorious

I was going to cut back on these, but this is very much a Peanut Butter and Chocolate situation for me.

Victorious is the newest RPG from the Troll Lords.
It is a Victorian Era / Steampunk game using the SIEGE Engine system, the same that powers Castles & Crusades and Amazing Adventures.   So you can see why I am interested.

It should be 100% compatible with Amazing Adventures, but I won't know till I get it obviously.

I am certainly NOT in the market for a new game, let alone another Victorian Era one (I have them all), but damn if it's not attractive.

This being Troll Lords they were funded long before I ever saw the page.  I have supported them well in the past and I am on the fence on this one.  Yes I am going to buy it, that isn't even a question.  I just think this time I might wait and give my FLGS the money instead.

I am going to keep an eye on it for what ever bonus levels and features they add.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Amazing Adventures of Rachel Morgan

Wow. What a great week.  I finally got copy of "The Witch With No Name" and I have been doing a lot of stuff with Amazing Adventures.   I have also been going through all my material for the Castles & Crusades witch class.  

So I am seeing a lot of convergence here.

Amazing Adventures works well as a fully modern game as well as a Pulp era one.

I am toying with the idea that WIS is for casting Earth Magic, INT is good for Ley Line magic and CHA for Demonic and Elf magic.  Though I also really need for Rachel to be able to cast Astral Projection, she is 18th level.  True, the only real Astral plane is the Ever After so it should be a lower level spell.  But Rachel in WWNN is pretty damn powerful.
Camille as Rachel Morgan

Rachel Morgan
18th Level Witch (Amazing Adventures/C&C) (Arcanist)
Eclectic Tradition* (I have not worked out any traditions yet)
Race: Witch, now uncursed Demon

Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 11 (0)
Constitution: 12 (0)
Intelligence: 15 (+1) P
Wisdom: 13 (+1) P
Charisma: 18 (+3) P

Hit Points:  70
Alignment: Chaotic Good
AC: 13 (Rachel likes leather)
BtH: +4
MEP: 114

Languages: English, Latin, Elven (native language is English)
Background: Runner (Law Enforcment) +4,
Traits: Spellgifted (demon curses)
Skill: Knowledge (Arcana)

Familiar: Bis the Gargoyle (ok Bis is not really her familiar, but close in this world).
Herb Use
Ritual Magic

Cantrips: (9) Arcane Mark, Dancing Lights, Detect Illusion, Detect Magic, Light, Magical Aura, Mage Hand, Prestidigitation, Stun
First: (5+1) Change Self, Command, Daze, Identify, Shield, Sleep
Second: (5+1) Blur, Burning Hands, Hold Person, Knock, Pyrotechnics, Scare
Third: (4+1) Aid, Fear, Heat Metal, Nondetection, Remove Curse
Fourth: (4) Dispel Magic, Fear, Polymorph Self/Other, Seeming
Fifth: (4) Contact Other Plane, Magic Jar, Projection, True Seeing
Sixth: (3) Guards and Wards, Mislead, Veil
Seventh: (3) Power Word Stun, Teleport without Error, Word of Recall
Eighth: (2)  Symbol, Trap the Soul
Ninth: (1) Astral Projection

Magic Items
Splat-ball gun* (a paint ball gun with sleep potions in the paint balls).
Various charms, pain amulets, charmed handcuffs.

I like her!  I might need to fiddle with her stats just a bit to get the right feel, but I like what I have here.
Plus this will give a chance to try that Hollows/Dresden Files crossover I have been dying to do.

Don't forget the Amazing Adventures Kickstarter. Last Days!

BTW Witch With No Name is Awesome! Love it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Kickstart Your Weekend: Amazing Adventures (again!)

It looks like it is going to be a great weekend!  Kids are doing good. The Monster Manual is out at my FLGS today. The weather will be nice.  I am sure I will be spending my weekend doing fall yard clean up; but even that is ok.

Let's talk Kickstarters.

Or more to the point let me draw your attention back to a Kickstarter I featured a couple weeks back.

Amazing Adventures RPG

If you like Castles & Crusades then get this.
If you like Pulp adventures, then get this.

IF you ever wanted to play an OSR-style game in a modern setting then this is a must have.

Normally I HATE level-based modern games, but this game really changed my mind.

They are trying to reach $20,000 which gives you a lot of nice perks. I'd love to see this game do well.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Zatannurday: The Amazing Adventures of Zatanna!

I have been spending the week with Amazing Adventures.

While Amazing Adventures is a "Pulp Era" game there is no reason that you couldn't use it for a Modern Game.  In fact it might be fun to try doing something more Silver Age.

A while back I did a Pulp/Golden Age version of Giovanni "John" Zatara for AA.  So I am saying this version of Zee exists in the same universe.

This is a young Zatanna. Maybe soon after her first appearance with the Hawks, but long enough that she has some magical experience.

Stephanie Buscema
Zatanna Zatara
Arcanist (CHA) 8th level
Human* Female, Chaotic Good
hp: 30
MEP: 60
AC: 14 (dex, stage outfit)
Move: 30'

STR: 10 (0)
DEX: 16 (+2)
CON: 10 (0)
INT: 16 (+2)
WIS: 12 (0)
CHA: 19 (+4)

*Zatanna is a member of the Home Magi race. She gains a +1 to CHA and a -1 to CON.
Zatanna, as a quirk of her own style of magic, must speak all her spells backwards in order to work.

Languages: English, Italian, Latin, Greek (native language is English)
Background: Entertainer (Actor/Performer) +4,
Traits: Spellgifted (transmutation), Spellgifted (illusion)
Skill: Knowledge (Arcana)

Gear: Top hat, wand (magical focus +2), tuxedo

0: Arcane Mark, Detect Illusion, Detect Magic, Influence, Light, Mage Hand, Message, Prestidigitation
1: Change Self, Charm Person, Daze, Obscuring Mist, Silent Image
2: Alter Self, Blur, Misdirection, Pyrotechnics
3: Major Image, Suggestion
4: Mirage Arcana

A note about spells.  I opted for spells that look best on a stage or in front of a group of people.  So no fireballs or even a lot of damage causing spells.  Also I choose spells I felt she had access too; ones in her father's library.  Zee gets her own powerful collection of spells later on.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Kickstart Your Weekend: Amazing Adventures

I have been talking about Amazing Adventures all week and it has been a blast.

The Second Edition/Printing is being Kickstarted now and I think it blew past it's funding goal in the first few hours.

It is not difficult to see why.
- It's based on the Siege Engine rules, the same that power Castles & Crusades.
- It's two-fisted pulp action 
- It's written by Jason Vey who worked on Buffy, Angel, and All Flesh Must Be Eaten among other games.

And if my posts this week have been any indication, it is a lot of damn fun.

Amazing Adventures: Spider Mutants

Spider scary the crap out of people. Despite the fact that we out-mass a spider by several orders of magnitude I have seen tiny spiders send 200lb+ grown men into paroxysms of fear.
So imagine what giant spiders can do?
How about giant mutant spider?
How about giant mutant spiders mixed with dogs, rats, bats or wolves?

Yeah. That is the recipe for fun.

Mutant Spiders

They could be the result of arcane experiments, mad science gone unchecked or aliens from another world.  In any case a mutant spider spells trouble for the PCs.

Mutant Spider-Dog

NO. ENC: 2-8
SIZE: Medium
HD: 4d8 (16 hp)
MOVE: 40 ft., 20 ft. (climb)
AC: 16
ATTACKS: Bite (1d8)
SPECIAL Poison, Web, Twilight Vision
SANITY: 1d6/1d8
INT: Animal
ALIGN: Neutral (Evil)
TYPE: Animal (Aberration)
XP: 100 + 5/hp (180)

The Mutant Spider Dog looks like a large spider with the head of a dog.   It's eight legs end in a hook like appendage and gives it a distinct "clicking" sound when in runs.
The Mutant Spider-Dog is a carnivore and it's preferred meal are humans.

Web and Poison as per Large Spider.

Gigantic Mutant Spider
NO. ENC: 1-2
SIZE: Large
HD: 10d8 (40 hp)
MOVE: 20 ft., 10 ft. (climb)
AC: 20
ATTACKS: Bite (1d12)
SPECIAL Poison, Web, Twilight Vision
SANITY: 1d8/1d10
INT: Animal
ALIGN: Neutral Evil
TYPE: Animal (Aberration)
XP: 1350 + 10/hp (1750)

Giant Mutant Spiders are true monsters.  Often towering 20' or more they can combine the features of a number of different animals with spiders.  Like all mutant spiders the preferred food for these creatures in the warm flesh of humans.

Want to battle these creatures?  Support the Amazing Adventures Kickstarter and you can!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Amazing Adventures: The Refrigerator

A while back I did a series of posts for Superbabes. It was a lot fun. Part of the conceit of the posts was that all these various super-women like Kim Possible and Justice were gathered together to face an evil so bad that it takes all of them.  Well that evil was a mad scientist by the name of the Refrigerator.

Here is what I posted then:

The big bad is this mad scientist known as The Refrigerator. He captures women and freezes them.  Plenty of subtle and overt S&M and dominance context that makes this guy a bit creepier than Mr. Freeze or Captain Cold, yet fits rather well in this.  After all the perfect foil for a Good Girl is a creepy misanthrope.  All these heroes are gathered together, kick his ass and rescue the original team.

I also found this the other day from the August 1937 issue of Horror Stories.

Now here is the deal.  This guy came, literally, out of a nightmare.  Around 1982 or so (I was 12) I was hit with a double shot of women being frozen alive, the movies were "In Like Flint" and "Kiss the Girls and Make them Die".  It really bugged the hell out of me and gave me nightmares for a long time.

Still kind of bugs me.  Of course later I learned there is a whole creepy fetish thing related to this.  I think my issue is far more basic.  I hate being cold and think being frozen is quite possibly the worst thing ever.

But that picture above deserves a villain.  I have not found the issue yet so I can't say if there is a story that goes with that cover. But I have enough of my own nightmare fuel.

History of The Refrigerator
Dr. Andreas Gelé was born to wealth and privilege but never to love.  His father was a was a rich industrialist who made his money on the work of others and his mother was a noted and beautiful stage actress.  From his father he gained his intellect and from his mother he learned lessons in cruelty.

As his mother aged she became more and more cruel.  In his mind's eye he saw her as beautiful. This was reinforced by all the pictures of her on the wall of their estates where she was young, beautiful and happy. Frozen in time.  Gelé began to work on a process to forever keep the beautiful women young.  He was drawn to beautiful women, and his prestige later as a doctor and his wealth made that easy.  But he never could talk to or relate to them having grown up socially stunted.  So Gelé embarked on a plan so he could have his desires met.
His first experiments in cryonoics were failures. Animals would not return to life when frozen and even when he perfected the process they still had damage.  Finally through a combination of fluids and gases at super cooled temperatures.  He tested it first on his hated father. He died soon after he was free of the ice, but Gelé expected that since the old man's heart was now weak.  He froze his mother next. He was overjoyed that the ice preserved her remaining beauty.
All his research though has left his fortunes depleted so he robs banks to keep himself funded for more research and to keep his "beauties" on ice.

Dr. Andreas Gelé "The Refrigerator"
12th level Gadgeteer, Male, Chaotic Evil

STR: 10 (0)
DEX: 13 (+1)
CON: 14 (+1)
INT: 18 (+3) P
WIS: 14 (+1)
CHA: 9 (0)

AC: 16 (protective lab coat, gloves, goggles)
HP: 51 (d6)
BtH: +3

- Starting: 70
- Current: 55
- Max: 85*  (Using his science as roughly the same as Arcana)

Fate Points: 10

Abilities: Medicine (removed Jury rig)
Background: Scientist (medical doctor, cryonics)
Trait: Focused

Languages: English, French, German, Russian

Gadget: Refrigeration Gun (self-created gadget)
- Freezing Stun (Sleep, 1st level)
- Freeze (Hold Person, 3rd level)
- Wall of Ice (Wall of Ice, 4th level)
- Freeze Ray (Cold of Cold, 5th level)

All in all a nasty piece of work.  But a good bad guy. I can't wait to try him in other systems too.

Don't forget to support the Amazing Adventures Kickstarter.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Amazing Adventures: Universal Monsters

It is no secret. I love horror movies.

A large part of that is growing up on a steady diet of Universal Studios' classic Monsters.  My dad had a bunch of book about the Golden Age of Cinema.  Most I never bothered with, but the one of the horror stories and monsters.  I wore that sucker out.   When I got older (11 or 12) I bought a used B/W TV that still used tubes.  The thing got so hot you could warm a slice of pizza on it (not really, but it was hot).  This was not a big deal for me since I could watch all my favorite "Monster Movies" when they came on KPLR-TV out of St. Louis.

One of the things I discover later is that almost in every case the stories were updated to the (then) modern times.  Dracula hung out with 1930s fashionistas.  The Wolfman smoked modern cigarettes in his John Talbot guise. Yes Frankenstein seemed set in earlier time, but the sequels were thoroughly modern.

Makes them perfect for Amazing Adventures.

Dracula (1931)
The OD (original Dracula...not counting Orlock) is Bela Lugosi.

Count Dracula

SIZE: Medium
HD: 15d12+10 (100 hp)
MOVE: 40 ft., 60 ft. (fly), 20 ft. (climb)
AC: 22 (cloak of protection)
ATTACKS: Slam (1d6)
SPECIAL: Blood Drain, Children of the Night, Dominate, Create Spawn, Energy Drain, Alternate Form, Gaseous Form, Entourage, Electrical Resistance (half), Spider Climb
SANITY: 1d6/1d8 (Dracula tones down his horror)
INT: Genius
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
TYPE: Undead
XP: 11050+15 (12400)

Dracula never carries weapons relying on his Dominate and physical strength.

Frankenstein's Monster & The Bride (1931, 1935)

Both the Monster and the Bride (Frankenstein is the name of their creator) are Awakened Golems.

Awakened Flesh Golem
NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1 (typically a unique creature)
SIZE: Medium to Large
HD: 10d10 (55 hp)
MOVE: 20 ft. (Typically these Golems are slow moving)
AC: 20
ATTACKS: 2 Slam (2d8)
SPECIAL: Berserk, Immunity to Magic*
SANITY: 1d6/1d8
INT: High to Genius
ALIGNMENT: Neutral (Evil)
TYPE: Construct
XP: 900+10 (1450)

An Awakened Flesh Golem possesses self-awareness, usually keen intellect and the self-reflection to abhor what they are.  This tends to make the creatures either tragic or villainous.

While immune to magic Frankenstein's Monster has been shown to be held under the thrall of Dracula from time to time.  Controlling the Monster though takes most of Dracula's attention.

The Mummy (1932)

Imhotep / Ardath-bey

NO. ENCOUNTERED: 1 (unique)
SIZE: Medium
HD: 10d12 (60 hp)
MOVE: 30ft.
AC: 22
ATTACKS: Slam (1d12) or by weapon
SPECIAL: Despair, Darkvision 60ft, Energy Drain, Fire Vulnerability, Magic*
SANITY:  1d8/1d10 (1d4/1d6 while in his "Ardath-bey" persona)
INT: High
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Evil
TYPE: Undead
XP: 60+2 (94)

*Imhotep does not have a mummy rot ability, instead he can drain life energy as if he were a vampire.  Also due to his curse he can not be raised.

The Invisible Man (1933)

The Invisible Man, aka Dr. Jack Griffin is a 5th level Gadgeteer who created a potion of permenant invisibility, but at the cost of his sanity. Dr. Griffin is currently in the 10-15 SAN point range and looses more all the time.

The Wolf-Man (1941)
Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.

Larry Talbot, AKA the Wolf Man

SIZE: Medium
HD: 4d8 (16 hp)
MOVE: 30 ft., 50 ft. (as wolf-man)
AC: 16
ATTACKS: Bite (2d4)
SPECIAL: Beserke Curse of Lycanthropy, Wolf Empathy, Trip, Alternate Form*, Twilight Vision
SANITY: 1d8/1d10
INT: Average
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Good as human, chaotic evil in wolf form
TYPE: Humanoid
XP: 120+4 (184)

Larry Talbot's curse of lycanthropy turns him into a human/wolf hybrid creature.  Him mind is gone and all he knows is animalistic desires such as hunger and killing.  While in human form LArry searches for the wolf that infected him hopping to find a cure. 

The Gill-man (The Creature from the Black Lagoon)  (1954)

SIZE: Medium
HD: 3d8 (12 hp)
MOVE: 30 ft., 60 ft. (swim)
AC: 16
ATTACKS: Weapon (by weapon), Talon (1d4), Bite (1d4)
SPECIAL: Breeding, Darkvision 60 ft., Saltwater Sensitivity, Water Dependent
SANITY: 1d6/1d8
INT: Average
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
TYPE: Humanoid
XP: 30+3 (66)

Gill-men are the rarer freshwater cousins of the Spawn of Dagon also called Fish men.  Biology though will keep them forever seperate since the Gill Man can no more tolerate salt water than the Fish Men can tolerate Fresh water.  It is suspected that like Fish Men the Gill Man needs human females for breeding purposes.  

Now I want to rewatch all of these!

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