Showing posts with label DP&D. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DP&D. Show all posts

Monday, November 15, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Illinois Hominids

The weekend before last I drove down to my parent's house to see my dad before his 92nd birthday (his doctor told him he'll likely live to a 100) and my sister for her 51st birthday.  Picked up a few books my sister had for me, mostly older occult books.  But driving through the state and back got me thinking about some more local horrors. I mean there HAS to be something interesting hiding in all those corn and soybean fields.  I also thought about how these creatures would work well in all the occult games I was talking about last week.  

Another thing is I love Bigfoot legends.  I don't believe any of them for a moment, but they are so great for games. Bringing these all together really helps capture the feel of the games I wanted to play in the early 80s. So for that D&D-loving kid in Central Illinois back in the 1980s who loved Bigfoot stories, this is for you. And by "you" I mean "me."

Sassy

Illinois Hominids

When one hears about Illinois the first thing that comes to mind are cornfields, Chicago, and spectacularly corrupt politicians.  One doesn't typically think of 10 ft. tall hominids.   But for the residents of Illinois, these creatures are not unheard of.  They have been spotted all over the state from the northernmost points to the far south point, nearly 400 miles. 

In nearly all cases these creatures try to avoid humanity.  Their great size and obvious strength would make them a threat to any group of investigators, but thankfully they have so far shown no particular desire to attack.  

Illinois Hominids like all species of sasquatches are large, nocturnal creatures that walk upright like humans.  It appears to be omnivorous but its preference is for vegetables and fruits found in the wild.

For this posting, I am going with "Illinois Hominids" as opposed to "Bigfoots" or "Sasquatches" since both of those terms are more associated with creatures of the Pacific Northwest.  "Skunk Apes" are more commonly referring to creatures in the Southern United States. 

I am also grouping creatures together that may, or may not, be classified as Sasquatches in other Bigfoot lore. Most of these creatures have only been reported once.

Dogmen of McHenry County

These creatures are 7" tall creatures that appear to be some sort of simian/canine/hominid hybrid.  Their defining feature is their dog-like faces.  Similar creatures have been sighted in adjoining Cook County, and as far south as Christian (nearly 250 miles to the south) and Woodford Counties. They are noted for their howls in the night.  Many scholars classify these as separate sorts of creatures. 

Cole Hollow Road Monster

Found in central Illinois this creature has been sighted near Peoria, IL, and might be related to the similar Farmer City Monster found further to the east.  This creature is grayish in color and stands 7"-8" tall.  It is quite reclusive and can hide in natural environments with 95% effectiveness and can never be surprised.  

Swamp Hominids of Southern Illinois

Several creatures occupy the lands at the far end of the state. Unlike the other hominids featured here these usually range to about 10' tall and tend to live near swamps or other wetlands.  They also have a smell that can be detected for a 100 yards, any closer and investigators suffer a -3 (or roll with disadvantage) on any attacks.  They share this feature with the Skunk Ape of the southern part of the country. 

These creatures include the Tuttle Bottoms Monster of Harrisburg, IL which also has an elongated snout.  Nearby Enfield in White County also has The Enfield Horror, a fast-moving hominid. 

The Abominable Swamp Slob, also known as the A.S.S., are found in Jackson County near the Shawnee National forest. It can emmit an ear-shattering shriek.  The most famous of these is the Murphysboro Mud Monster and "Sassy" the Shannee Sasquatch. 

RPG Stat Blocks

Basic Bestiary
Illinois Hominds
Basic Bestiary

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d4 (1d6)
Alignment: Neutral [True Neutral]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 6d8+18* (45 hp)
  Large: 6d10+18* (51 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 8 (+11)
Attacks: 2 fists or rock throw
Damage: 1d6+5 x2 or 2d8+5
Special: Camouflage, Howl (cause fear), Odor
Size: Large
Save: Monster 6
Morale: 8 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: None 
XP: 650 (OSE) 680 (LL)

Str: 22 (+5) Dex: 18 (+3) Con: 19 (+3) Int: 10 (+0) Wis: 13 (+1) Cha: 8 (-1)

The hominid can attack with two fists or throw boulders, much like a giant.  The hominid can also howl.  This howl causes fear (as per the spell) to all that hear it who fail a saving throw vs. Paralysis.  Those that fail the save are too frightened to attack or move.

Dark Places & Demogorgons
Illinois Hominids
DP&D, We Die Young

Armor Class: 15
Hit Dice: 6+6 (27 hp)
Move: On Foot - 18 (ignore rough terrain)
Actions: 2
Morale: 8
Terror: 12
HDE: 7

Attack Damage: Fist (d8), Slam (d8), 
Special: Large creature, 20 STR, Toughness +4, can run x4 Move, scream or howl can cause fear.

Bonuses: +5 to Melee attacks, +5 to Melee damage, +5 to Spot, +6 to Listen, +8 to Stealth, +2 to Initiative, +4 to Track.

Hug Attack: In combat, if he attacks with his fists and both hit, he will deliver a bone-crushing hug attack for an additional 2d6+4 hp damage.  A successful DEX check by the target will grant half-damage.

NIGHT SHIFT
Illinois Hominids
NIGHT SHIFT

No. Appearing: 1-3
AC: 6
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 6-8
Special: 2 attacks (fist) Strength, Camouflage, Howl (cause fear), Odor
XP VALUE: 240 (6HD) 480 (7HD)  960 (8 HD)

Camouflage: The hominid can hide with 90% effectiveness.

Howl: The howl of the hominids causes a fear reaction to any that hear it. This is treated like the cause fear spell. This happens only when the hominid is first heard, subsequent encounters with the same creature do not have this fear effect.

Odor: Anyone coming within 10 feet of a hominid must succeed at a Constitution saving throw or be at -3 to all actions due to the overpowering stench.


Dark Street & Darker Secrets
Illinois Hominids
Dark Street & Darker Secrets

Dogmen of McHenry County  6HD

Cole Hollow Road Monster, Farmer City Monsters 7HD

Tuttle Bottoms Monster, Enfield Terror, Abominable Swamp Slob 8HD

Special Abilities: Howl causes fear. Stench causes disadvantages to attacks. Very strong, +4 to all attacks. 

Illinois Hominids avoid the cities at all costs.  

Links

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Plays Well With Others: Modern Occult Horror Games

Been thinking a lot about all the modern supernatural games I have (and I think I have all of them) and in particular the ones that have come out from the Old-School gaming scene.  These games all cover roughly the same sort of topics and themes but they all do them in different ways that I keep thinking they would all work great together. 

OSR Modern Occult Horror RPGS

In other words, it sounds like a perfect topic for a Plays Well With Others

So the games I am talking about are Dark Places & Demogorgons, We Die Young, Dark Streets & Darker Secrets, and my own NIGHT SHIFT.  These are the big modern supernatural, occult horror games from the OSR. 

I have reviewed these games in the past.

Obviously, I have not reviewed NIGHT SHIFT. Reviewing your own game is incredibly tacky and remarkably dishonest. 

I have covered many of these games in other Plays Well With Others too.

With the addition of Dark Streets & Darker Secrets to my occult library, I wanted to revisit some of these ideas. Though I want to take a different approach today.

With this Plays Well With Others, I am going to mention each game and talk about what can be used from that game in any of the other three.  In some cases, this is easy like moving from Dark Places & Demogorgons to We Die Young which are essentially the same system.  In others, it will be converting characters from one system to the other. 

At the core of all four games (three systems) is the old-school, the OSR, design.  All of these games have the same "godfather" as it were in Original or Basic D&D.  They have the same uncle (mother's brother), the d20 SRD. And their mother is all the D&D games we all played and the supernatural, occult, horror and urban fantasy media we consumed when not playing. 

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets
Dark Streets & Darker Secrets 

This is the newest game, for me, and the one on my mind the most.  Thankfully it is also the one that has the most to offer all the games.  

For starters, the classes can be imported rather easily into the other three games.  In particular the Tough, the Nimble, and the Smart can be used as subtypes of the Veteran or Survivor in NIGHT SHIFT or as a class in We Die Young.  Maybe not so much for DP&D since those are supposed to be kids. The Gifted of DS&DS is similar to the Supernatural in NS.

The real gift of DS&DS is all the tables.  Someone online described the game as a great toolkit game. Some of the best ones to use in all games are the Complication table (p.20), Weird Items (p.32- 33), almost all the Gear. The Magic and Psychic backlash tables are also fun. ALL the artifact tables. The various "signs" in Chapter 7.  In fact, pretty much all of Chapter 7 to be honest.

Survive This!!

Both Dark Places & Demogorgons and We Die Young from Bloat Games use the same Survive This!! basic rule system, so right out of the gate they are compatible with each other.   Dark Places & Demogorgons focuses on kids in the 1980s and We Die Young on young adults in the 1990s.  So there is a continuum there for any that wish to use it.  There are plenty of "classes" in both games that can be used and mixed and matched.  Like DS&DS there are a lot of great toolbox-like tables and ideas that can be imported into another game.

I can easily see a game then of people in their 30s in the 2000s with large chunks of DS&DS mixed into the Survive This!! system.  Would this game be called "Survive This!! Dark Streets" or "Dark Streets, Dark Places, Darker Secrets & Demogorgons?"  I don't know, but I LOVE the idea of kids experiencing weird shit in the 80s, taking a bunch of drugs to forget them in the 90s (both DS&DS and WDY have these) and finally having to deal with this shit all over again in 2000-2020s as older adults.  Very "It" if you think about it.

Dark Places & Demogorgons We Die Young

The jewel though in the Survive This!! (and there are many) though HAS to be the DP&D Cryptid Manual.  DS&DS takes a toolkit view on monsters.  NIGHT SHIFT has a minimalist view (a very OD&D view if I can add) on monsters.  But the Cryptid Manual gives us a proper monster book.

Of note. Both DS&DS and We Die Young use the newer D&D5-ish Advantage and Disadvantage mechanic. Albeit in slightly different ways.  I have been using this in NIGHT SHIFT as well and find it works better for me than a simple +3 or +5 to rolls

Also, both games have a Madness mechanic.  I like the one in We Die Young much better.  Bits from DS&DS could be added to this, but in general, I think I'd use the one in WDY. 

We Die Young also has some really cool races that can help fill out the "Gifted" of DS&DS.

Don't forget you can get the new Hardcover version of Dark Places & Demogorns on Kickstarter now.

NIGHT SHIFT: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars
NIGHT SHIFT: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars

I talk a lot about NIGHT SHIFT here and with good reason, I am quite proud of the work I have done it.  It fills the void in my life left by the Buffy RPG and everything I wanted from all three editions of Chill, but never exactly got (no slight on Chill, fantastic game), a little more approachable and less nihilistic than Kult, and none of the baggage of The World of Darkness (though I do get the urge to play that again.  My oldest want to give it a try sometime).

Dark Places & Demogorgons makes some assumptions in the game that makes it what it is.  The characters are kids and there is also the Jeffersontown setting, all of which are central to the game and make it work.

Dark Street & Darker Secrets is on the other end of the spectrum with no assumed setting other than "The City" which also works fantastic for this game and one of it's great strengths.

In between those two, we have NIGHT SHIFT (and We Die Young, but I'll get to that).  NIGHT SHIFT does not have a default setting. There are different levels of difficulty you can configure the game in, Cinematic, Realistic, or Gritty.  DP&D would be Cinematic, DS&DS is the poster boy for Gritty, and WDY is around Realistic.  So I would use ideas from those games to inform my choices in the three levels of NS and vice-versa. 

What NIGHT SHIFT has to offer these other games are our "Night Worlds" or mini-settings.  Any of these can be used in any of the other games and the other games can be used to add more details.  Jason's "The Noctnurmverse" can be supplemented either by or used in DS&DS.  The "City" in DS&DS becomes the Noctnurmverse's Pittsburgh.  Or dialing back the Way-Back Machine use it with We Die Young in the 1990s.  My own "Generation HEX" benefits from the ideas on playing kids in DP&D.  You could even take Generation HEX and play it as a DP&D setting if you wanted.  My "Ordinary World" can be used in DS&DS IF you ever decide to move out of the city into the suburbs. 

I already talked a lot about how NIGHT SHIFT and Dark Places & Demogorgons can be used together.  The same logic applies when adding in the other two games.  In fact one place where this might work great is my own Sunny Valley, OH game of the Buffyverse in the 1980s rather than the late 90s/early 2000s.  This works well since a.) NIGHT SHIFT was made to fit the "Buffy-shaped" hole in my life and b.) DS&DS takes a lot of cues from and was influenced by Buffy in all media.  I might just be the best melting pot for all these games. Or crucible. Time will tell.

Putting it All Together

Honestly, there are just too many ways to combine these four games into something you can use.  Start with one and add what you need.  Start with two and be pickier about what you add from the others.  One of the ways I am using it is in my Life-Path Development ideas. Each game represents a different point the characters' lives and each is used to model that time.  The obvious reasons are that DP&D takes place in the 80s with kids, WDY in the 90s with younger adults, and DS&DS and NIGHT SHIFT go beyond that.  To go with personal experience, I was living in Chicago proper in the mid to late 90s and then in the suburbs after that.  To use my ordinary world example my progression would look like this:

DP&D (high school, small town) -> WDY (college, college town) -> DS&DS (grad school, city) -> NIGHT SHIFT (adulthood, suburbs).

In a weird way, it makes sense to me.  But I am not stating up myself. I don't live in a magical world, I live in this one.  BUT I do have my Drosophila melanogaster of these sorts of experiments, Willow and Tara.   I have done stats for them for Dark Places & Demogorgons and NIGHT SHIFT.  Doing ones for We Die Young and Dark Streets & Darker Secrets would be easy enough.  BUT.  Those are not the same characters really. They fall under my "Alternate Reality" versions rather than "Lifespan or Lifepath Development."   Though doing DS&DS versions of Willow and Tara should be in my future.

No for this I need a character that has been around for a while, for that I am going to have to turn to my Iconic Witch Larina.

Fortunately for me, the witch is one of the few character classes/archetypes/concepts that can be found in all these games (the weird psychic is as well, but witches are my thing).  So building a witch feels right.

I worked up all the sheets and this is what I ended up with.  Purple is the color of all of Larina's sheets. Click for larger. 

Dark Places & DemogorgonsWe Die YoungDark Streets & Dark SecretsNIGHT SHIFT

Dark Places & Demogorgons

It's 1984 and Larina is 14 and 4th level.  She lives in a small town where her mom runs a spice shop and her dad is a Professor of Anthropology and teaches music.  She is called "creepy girl" by the kids in school.  At this point, she is shy and can't quite understand why others can't see the strange things all around them. 

Most of these adventures are of the "Scooby-Doo" sort; short ones that are resolved by the end.  Easily Monster of Week sorts.

We Die Young

We are moving to the early 90s now and she is 7th level. Larina is in grad school and is now Larina Macalester. She was married at age 19 but obviously, it is not working out well.  She is living in Chicago while her estranged husband is still living in Ireland. Her stats nudge up a little but she largely is similar to her 1DP&D version.  There are some differences between the two types of Witch classes (and DP&D still has others) but nothing I consider earth-shattering.  I did get to add her two tattoos. One is a protection tattoo (a large Triple Moon Goddess on her back) and one on her left wrist that allows her to cast a magic bolt. 

Dark Streets & Darker Secrets

Things are getting darker.  Larina is now 35, 10th level, and back to going back to using "Nichols" as her last name.  Her complication is she is hiding from her ex-husband who was in the IRA.  (NOTE: I actually played through this back in the early 2000s.  The big twist was that while she was hiding out, her ex had moved on and was living his own life with his new wife.)  I wanted to use my new idea for Sanity by having it as Intellect +  Willpower /2. BUT for Larina here both scores are 17 giving me an average of 17. 

NIGHT SHIFT

Here is the one closest to my heart, obviously.  She has more spells, but this is expected at 13th level. 

As expected the powers don't always match up right and I could have taken more care in aligning the spells with each version. But I figure that these changes can be chalked up to learning and experiences.  I do feel that all versions reflect the character at the time well.   

Looking forward to trying this with other characters to see how they work out. Also, I am keeping all of these books together to use as needed.  By themselves, they give me a wonderful experience. Together they give me an epic experience.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Review: SURVIVE THIS!! We Die Young RPG Core Rules (2021)

We Die Young
"Son, she said, have I got a little story for you
What you thought was your daddy was nothin' but a...
While you were sittin' home alone at age thirteen
Your real daddy was dyin', sorry you didn't see him,
but I'm glad we talked...

Oh I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey, I, I, oh, I'm still alive
Hey I, oh, I'm still alive."

Pearl Jam, "Alive" (1991)

It's October. There's a chill in the air and there is a feeling in the air. Something that makes me reflective, chilly, and maybe a little melancholy. Sounds like the 90s to me.  There is also a game that captures this feeling perfectly.  Bloat Games' newest offering in the SURVIVE THIS!! series; We Die Young RPG.

I have been waiting to share this with you all and today is that day! 

We Die Young RPG Core Rules

"Tell me do you think it would be alright If I could just crash here tonight?"

We Die Young RPG Core Rules is 372 pages with color covers and black and white interior art.  The book is digest-sized, so the same size as Bloat Games other games.  The game was Eric Bloat & Josh Palmer with art by Phil Stone and additional art by RUNEHAMMER & Diogo Nogueira.

For this review, I am considering the just-released PDF on DriveThruRPG that I got as a Kickstarter backer.  The print book is due out soon.

Comparisons between this game and their first game, Dark Places & Demogorgons are natural and I think needed. I spent a lot of time with DP&D so I am looking forward to seeing how I can use this game with that as well. But first, let's get into the game proper. 

The book begins with two dedications from the authors.  I want to repeat them here since they set the tone not just for the game but also for my review.

We Die Young Dedication

Growing up in the 1980s was fun.  Being in my late teens and 20s in the 1990s however, was AMAZING.  January 1990 I was a university undergrad, living in the dorms with a girlfriend that driving me crazy (not in a good way), but a best friend I hung out with all the time.  December 1999 I was married to that best friend, I had a brand new baby son, living in my new house, and was working on my first Ph.D.  That's no small amount of change.  But I never forgot that kid in 1990 with the flannel, goatee, Doc Martins, and long hair. This is the game for that kid.  
BTW "Layne" is Layne Staley, the former lead singer of Alice in Chains who died of a heroin overdose in 2002.  If you can't remember EXACTLY where you were when you heard Layne, Kurt, Shannon, or Chris was dead, then this game is, to turn a quote "not for you."

Introduction

"With the lights out, it's less dangerous. Here we are now, entertain us."

Here we are introduced to the newest SURVIVE THIS!! game. The authors are upfront about their inspirations here; grunge music from the 90s and the games that were popular at the time.  Having already gone through the book a few times it is a thread that weaved in overt and subtle ways, but it never feels overused, hackneyed, or clichéd.  We are given some in-game background for why the Pacific Northwest is so full of supernatural strangeness and it is a fun explanation.  But to quote the late, great Bard of Seatle I prefer it "always been and always be until the end."  But it works well. 

The basics of RPGs are covered and what you need to play.  Next we get into character creation.

We Die Young Character Sheet
Character Creation

"I'll be whatever you want. The bong in this Reggae song." 

Character creation follows the same process as other SURVIVE THIS!! games and by extension most Old-School games. We are told from the word go that we can add material we want from the other SURVIVE THIS!! games. 

Attributes are covered which include the standard six, plus the "Survive" attribute common to all SURVIVE THIS!! games.  My first thought?  My Dark Places and Demogons characters have grown up and moved to Seatle.

Like the other games in this family, Hit Points start with a 2d6 and increase by 1d6 per level regardless of class or race.  Combat can be quite deadly in these games for people used to the hardiness of even Old-School D&D characters.

Saving Throws are different from D&D but the same as DP&D with the edition of the Magic save.   This does make porting over characters and ideas from the other games pretty easy.

Alignment covers Righteous, Law, Neutral, Anarchist, and Evil. 

Races

"All I can say is that my life is pretty plain, You don't like my point of view and I'm insane."

Here we get into the really new material. We have a bunch of new races for this setting.  These include shapeshifting Doppelgangers, undead Ghouls, garden variety Humans, the immortal Imperishables, the ancient undead Jari-Ka, the various Realm-Twisted Fey (my new favorite, and I am sure I dated a Twitter Fey back then), Vampires (sparkles are optional), and Were-beasts of all stripes.  If you played ANY RPG in the 1990s you know what you are getting here, but still, they manage to make it feel both new and old at the same time.  New, because there is new potential here and old because they feel comfortably familiar; like that old flannel in the back of your closet or those beat-up old Doc Martens.

The races are well covered and you could easily drop them into any other SURVIVE THIS!! game or even any other Old-School game. They are really quite fun and I could not help but think of what characters I wanted to make with each one. This covers about 40 pages.

This is followed by a list of occupations with their bonuses. 

Classes

"This place is always such a mess. Sometimes I think I'd like to watch it burn."

We Die Young Witch
We Die Young is a class/level system.  There 16 classes for this game.  Some look like repeats from DP&D but are not really.  They are updated to this setting and older characters.  We are told that classes from the other SURVIVE THIS!! games are welcome here.

Our classes include the Mystic (tattoos mages), Naturalists (potheads, I mean druids), Papal Pursuant (soldiers of God), Psions (Carrie), Revenant (Eric Draven the Crow), Riot Grrl (what it says on the tin), Rock Star, Serial Killer, Shaman (oh here are the potheads), Sickmen (homeless, as seen by Sound Garden), Street Bard, Street Fighters, Thralls (Vampire servants), Tremor Christs (psionically powered religious prophets), Warlock (steal power for otherworlds), and what I can only assume is an attempt to get a good review from me (just kidding!) the Witch. 

The witch here is slightly different than the ones we find in DP&D.  So there can be no end to the witchy goodness you can have by combining games. 

That covers a healthy 50 pages.  

Skills

"And so I wake in the morning and I step outside, And I take a deep breath and I get real high.
And I scream from the top of my lungs. 'What's going on?'
"

The skill system for We Die Young is the same as DP&D.  Though without checking it feels a bit expanded.  You get points to put into skills and there are DCs to check.  Very 3e.  Or more like 3e IF it had been written in 1995.  So, yeah, another solid point for this game. 

Magic (& Psionics)

"Show me the power child, I'd like to say. That I'm down on my knees today."

Here is one of my favorite things in a game.  There is a mythos added to the system here that is rather fun (see Spellcasters & Salt) as well as rules for Rune-Tattoos.  Yeah, this is the 90s alright! 

Now I have to say this.  If adding a witch class is trying to get me to do a good review, then these spell names are outright flirting with me.  Spells called "All Apologies", "Heaven Beside You", "Black Days", "Wargasm", "Super Unknown", and "Far Behind"?  Yeah. That is hitting me where I live.  And that is only the very tip of the iceberg.

Magic, Spells and Psionics cover a little over 60 pages and I feel they could have kept going.

Equipment

"What did you expect to find? Was there something you left behind?"

No old-school flavored game is complete without a list of equipment. This includes common items, weapons, and even magical items.  Don't fret, it's not like there is a Magic Shop there. A "Health Locker" costs $50k and that is if you can find one. 

The list of drugs is really interesting and fun.  Look. It was the 90s. Everybody was taking drugs. 

New to this setting are the Zapatral Stones.  These are the remains of a meteorite that fell to Earth and hit the Pacific Northwest and Mount Rainer in particular.  They have strange power and effects depending on the size of the stone and the color.   

Playing the Game

"Whatsoever I've feared has come to life. Whatsoever I've fought off became my life."

Here we get our rules for playing the We Die Young game.   We get an overview of game terms, which is nice really. New rules for Curses, Exorcisms, and Madness are covered. It looks like to me they could be backported to DP&D rather easily. 

There is a fair number of combat rules.  Likely this has come about from the authors' experiences with their other game Vigilante City

We also get rules for XP & Leveling Up and Critical tables.

The World of We Die Young

"I'm the Man in the Box. Buried in my shit."

This is great stuff. This is the built-in campaign setting for We Die Young set place in a mythical and magical Pacific Northwest.  the TL;DR? Grunge woke supernatural creatures.  Ok, I can do that.  I mean it is not all that different than ShadowRun right?

The setting of the PNW/Seatle on the 90s is covered well.  I had many college friends that made the trek out to Seatle after our graduations (91 to 93 mostly), so I have some idea of what was happening on the ground level.  Twenty-somethings like me seemed drawn to the place by some mystic siren song.  A siren song with a Boss DS-2 distortion pedal. 

Various associations/groups are covered, like Jari-Ka circles, Ghoul Legacies, Vampire Lineages, were-kin groups.  Like I said, if you played RPGs in the 90s you know the drill. But again they are still both "new" and "old" at the same time. Kudos to the authors for giving me something new AND invoking nostalgia at the same time. 

We also get some great locations of note and some adventure seeds which include some creatures. 

Bestiary

"She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak. I've been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks."

Gotta have Bigfoot
This covers all the creatures you can run into.  The stat blocks are similar enough to Basic-era D&D to be roughly compatible.  They are 100% compatible with other SURVIVE THIS!! games, so the excellent DARK PLACES & DEMOGORGONS - The Cryptid Manual will work well with this. In fact, I highly recommend it for this. 

There is a good variety of creatures.  Angels, Demons, BIGFOOT! and more. 

We get about 47 pages or so of monsters with stat blocks and an additional 10 pages of templates to add to monsters such as "Vampire" and "Radioactive."

Radioactive Bigfoot.  I don't need a plot. I have that!

We get Adventure Hooks next.  Roll a d100 and go!

The Appendix includes some Grung songs to get you into the mood.  Some Seattle Grunge bands, some not-Seatle Grunge Bands, and some late 80's and 90's Alternative bands.

There is a list of movies about the era. A list of books.  And finally the index and OGL.

Thoughts

"I don't mind the sun sometimes, the images it shows. I can taste you on my lips and smell you in my clothes."

Wow. What a really damn fun game!

If Dark Places & Demogorgons gave a "Stranger Things" 80s, this gives me a strange supernatural 90s.

It is exactly what I would have expected from the fine folks at Bloat Games.

My ONLY question about this setting is "Where are the UFOs and Aliens?"  I mean NOTHING was bigger in the 90s than "The X-Files."  I get that it is hard to cleave 90s Aliens to 90s supernatural (ask anyone that has tried to play WitchCraft AND Conspiracy X), but maybe a supplement is due out later?  I would suggest grabbing DARK PLACES & DEMOGORGONS - The UFO Investigator's Handbook to add some X-Files flavored goodness to We Die Young. 

Back in the early 2000s I had a game I was running, Vacation in Vancouver. It took place in the 90s and in Vancouver (naturally).  These rules make me want to revive that game and see where I could take it now. 

The bottom line for me is that SURVIVE THIS!! We Die Young RPG is a great game.  The pdf is fantastic and I can't wait for my Kickstarter books.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Kickstart Your Weekend: Dark Places & Demogorgons 5e

Ok, now this one has my attention!

Dark Places & Demogorgons 5e

Dark Places and Demogorgons for 5e
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jiangshi/dark-places-and-demogorgons-5e?ref=theotherside

Spend ANY time here and you know that I love Dark Places & Demogorgons.

This seems like a perfect match for anyone that is a fan of D&D really.
Go to the page, read up and then back it.  It is going to be great!


Thursday, November 5, 2020

Plays Well With Others: Kids Games, Dark Places & Demogorgons

Last week I talked about an Other Side perennial favorite, Dark Places & Demogorgons and using it as a central feature of a generational game. Today I want expand on that idea a little more.  While this is a "Plays Well With Others" and I normally use that to talk about how the subject be used in conjunction with a lot of other, maybe unrelated, games.  Today I am going to focus exclusively on Dark Places & Demogorgons and NIGHT SHIFT: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars, but there is no reason why the same logic could not apply to say Kids on Bikes/Brooms and other modern supernatural games like Dark Streets & Darker Secrets.

Reminder: Dark Places & Demogorgons 5e is having a Kickstarter RIGHT NOW to update DP&D to the 5th edition of D&D.  Go. Pledge now and come back here. 

Playing Kids' Games

Dark Places & Demogorgns (DP&D) is fantastic. Full Stop. But, I should say a little more than that, and I have and I will. I have even dedicated other PWWO to their Cryptid Manual.

DP&D is a "Stranger Things" like game of playing kids in the 80s, early and mid-80s in particular, when the audience for this game was the age at the time their characters would be.  It is a great game that captures a time that many remember as simpler (though I also remember trying to get "online" with a 300 baud (bps) modem...nothing simple about that!) time. 

That is the main focus of the game, playing kids and 80s kids in particular.  But that is not all it can do.  It is a great game of "mild" supernatural terror.  A lot less than Call of Cthulhu, or even Chill, but greater than say Scooby-doo or Ghostbusters. For me, it is exactly the sort of shenanigans I wish I could have gotten in to.  You know, but minus all the death. 

But let's say for example you don't play DP&D (and why not?) you play something like NIGHT SHIFT that deals with more adult matters? Not R or X rated mind you or even bills and jobs, just people over 18.  What can a game like DP&D do for you?

DP&D is such a delight. It really is. I am very fond of this game and I still enjoy playing it.  On the surface it looks like DP&D and NIGHT SHIFT could be used to tell the same sorts of stories, and that is true to a degree, but that really underplays what makes both games special.  

NIGHT SHIFT covers adults in a very dangerous supernatural modern world.

Dark Places & Demogorgons covers kids in a very dangerous supernatural world of the 1980s.

Getting the Characters to Play Well With Others

It seems to be an unpopular topic among old-schoolers, but new gamers love this stuff. They want to know about their character's backstory, what they did when they were younger.  Even down to things like what their favorite foods are, who was their childhood crush, and more.  Personally, I think it is fun as hell and I love that these newer players have so much excitement for their characters and games.

But how can an old guy like me do that and still stay true to my own roots?

Easy.  Take my characters and play them as kids.  There are a few ways to make this work.

The Flashback

This is the technique used in the Stephen King movie "It" and a couple of times on Supernatural. 

Take your NIGHT SHIFT characters and re-do them as DP&D characters.  Something I mentioned before, and it is true here as well, do not try to make a one to one correspondence between the classes. Think about yourself, what you were, and what you were doing when you were 13 vs. now.  I would not be the same "class" at all.  In fact, this is part of the fun.  What was your character back then that made them who they are now?  Were the actions of the DP&D game what made your character into who they are now?  OR, and I will admit this is a favorite, was the event so traumatic that your adult character forgot it so you have to replay it as a kid.

The forgotten flashback is a good way to build some background and then they can get XP or perk once they remember.  So in a NIGHT SHIFT based game, I'd give a character some perk from DP&D related to their "kid" class.  Nothing to unbalance the game, but certainly something to add to each character. Making them something a little "more" than they were before.

Lifespan Development

Another great option is to start as a kid in DP&D and progress to the logical end (18) and then pick up as an adult, maybe a couple of years later even, in NIGHT SHIFT.

Again, there is not a good one to one class correspondence between the games and nor would I want there to be.  A Jock (DP&D) might end up as a Veteran (NS) or even as a Chosen One (NS).  In truth, I would give any DP&D kid character some "free" levels in Survivor but allow them to keep some of the perks of their original DP&D class.  So Goths still see ghosts, Karate Kids still kick ass, and so on.  

This is the option for people that want a rich backstory for their characters, but don't want to write it, they want to live it.

Age Regression

There are also a few ways to do this one. In Star Trek: The Next Generation there was a great episode "Rascals" where Picard, Ensing Ro, Keiko O'Brein, and Guinan were transformed into pre-teens due to a "transporter accident".  Their bodies were de-aged, but their minds were the same. 

In the third season of Charmed the episode "Once Upon a Time" did it the other way around; the cast stayed in their own adult bodies but their minds were like children.  They needed to do this because only children can see fairies.   In this case, it was a spell and this also makes it more useful for your NIGHT SHIFT game.  Your character stays the same, but not your mental attributes are DP&D.

Alternate Reality

Finally, one I have been using a lot lately is an alternate reality/timeline.  In this one the characters are children.  It's not necessarily the same character, but certainly the same character in a different situation. 

Case in point I run a "Sunny Valley, OH" game is an alternate version of my Buffy RPG.  Same characters (mostly) but the differences are the characters are all younger than they were in the show/RPG, they are set in the ironically names Sunny Valley, Ohio instead of Sunnydale, CA, and it is set in DP&D's proper 1980s instead of the late 1990s/early 2000s.

Pulling it Together: The Characters

One of my better examples and I have a few, would be my versions of Willow and Tara for both NIGHT SHIFT (my "The Dragon and the Phoenix" timeline) and DP&D (my "Sunny Valley, OH" timeline).

This split allows me to different things, have different sorts of adventures, tell different sorts of stories. 


Can I do this all in one system? Of course. Especially for a game like NIGHT SHIFT.  BUT changing the system allows me to do two things. It allows me to give the different times/ages a different feel via the system.  Do I feel the same way now as I did in the 1980s? No. Do I do things the same way? No.  The mechanics are a good way to reflect it. 

It also allows me to force the players to feel the experience as being different.  ESPECIALLY if it is a game that is similar but slightly different. Like NIGHT SHIFT and DP&D are.  Combat is largely the same for example, but saves are different. Skills are different.  This difference helps mimic the feel of being younger and not always knowing what to do or how to do it. 

I have always said a "rising tide raises all ships."  Other designers/games are not my competitors, they are my colleagues. Playing games from other designers gives me new insights into my own games. 

For more details and examples I am providing some links below to other posts.

And don't forget the Kickstarter!

Dark Places & Demogorgons

Sunny Valley, OH

NIGHT SHIFT Veterans of the Supernatural Wars





Thursday, October 22, 2020

Plays Well With Others: Night Shift and Modern Supernatural Games

I am a firm believer that a rising tide lifts all ships, and that other Game Designers are not my competition, but my colleagues.  I buy their games, they buy mine. We all benefit and we all enjoy.

Naturally, I also feel that a good gaming experience can be had by looking to see what others are doing and seeing what I can bring into my games when I am running them.


When we were working on NIGHT SHIFT we had a fairly strict "no looking at other games" policy.  We really wanted our game to have it's own unique feel and direction.  But that was last year, and now NIGHT SHIFT is out and I am pulling out all my other games to see what each one has that can help NIGHT SHIFT and what Night Shift has that can help them.

Old School Roots

Jason and I have worked on a lot of games. Both together and separately for dozens of publishers. But the one thing we both enjoy are old-school games. This doesn't mean we don't like new ones, quite the opposite in fact. But it is the old-school design aesthetic that keeps us coming back and saying "what else can we do with this?"  NIGHT SHIFT covers both halves of our RPG hearts.

The mechanics in NIGHT SHIFT (what we call O.G.R.E.S. or Oldschool Generic Roleplaying Engine System) are firmly rooted in the Old School mechanics of the world's first popular RPG system.  What does this mean? Well if you have been playing RPGs for any length of time since 1974 then chances are good you can pick up the rules for NIGHT SHIFT very, very quickly. 

Also, it means that out of the box, NIGHT SHIFT is roughly compatible with thousands of RPG titles. 

Appendix A of the NIGHT SHIFT book covers conversions between NS and the Oldest RPG, it also covers conversions between the O.G.R.E.S. of NIGHT SHIFT and the O.R.C.S of other Elf Lair Games products; namely Spellcraft & Swordplay and Eldritch Witchery.


It also covers 0e, B/X and BECMI style conversions. Converting then between NIGHT SHIFT and anything based on Swords & Wizardry or Labyrinth Lord for example is easy.



There are guidelines on how to convert classes, but since the classes have the same DNA as the ones in many of these clone games I am going to take the extra step and say, just play them as is.

So yeah, run a Sage in Labyrinth Lord.  Put a Chosen One in Swords & Wizardry.  In fact, I'd love to hear how this works for you.  This also gives you a good way to add a new supernatural species to your game.  What to play an Angel cleric? With NIGHT SHIFTS rules on supernaturals, you can. IT also makes a nice way to create something my Basic Games have needed, a Vampire Witch.  In NIGHT SHIFT this is easy.

Need more monsters? Grab any monster manual and you can be set to go. Monstrosities and Tome of Horrors Complete are only two examples but they give hundreds of monsters. More than you will ever need.

NIGHT SHIFT is not the only Modern Supernatural RPG out there based on old school roots.  So many in fact that my next one and others would have to constitute another full post to them justice.  But I will mention a couple.

DP&D is such a delight. It really is. I am very fond of this game and I still enjoy playing it.  On the surface it looks like DP&D and NIGHT SHIFT could be used to tell the same sorts of stories, and that is true to a degree, but that really underplays what makes both games special.  

NIGHT SHIFT covers adults (for the most part, I'll talk Generation HEX specifically) in a very dangerous supernatural modern world.
Dark Places & Demogorgons covers kids in a very dangerous supernatural world of the 1980s.


Both games are built on the same chassis and have similar cores.  One day I want to run a game where the Adults (NS) flashback to when they were Kids (DP&D).  Sort of like Stephen King's "It."
Or one could start out as a kid in DP&D progress a bit and then become an adult to continue on in Night Shift.

There is not a good One to One class correspondence between the games and nor would I want there to be.  A Jock (DP&D) might end up as a Veteran (NS) or even as a Chosen One (NS).  In truth, I would give any DP&D kid character some "free" levels in Survivor but allow them to keep some of the perks of their original DP&D class.  So Goths still see ghosts, Karate Kids still kick ass, and so on.  
Frankly, I think it would be a blast with the right group.   Maybe I should write a two-part adventure that covers both. A little like "It" but something very different.  Something "Strange" happened in the 1980s and now a group of characters have gotten back together in their old home town to stop it once again.  

I singled out Generation HEX since that one already covers kids.  I can see a game though were kids from AMPA (Academy of Magic and Paranormal Arts) have to work with the "normies" of DP&D to solve some great mystery.   Likely one that is affecting adults only.

I have also used monsters from the DP&D Cryptid Manual for NIGHT SHIFT many times.

Modern Supernatural

It is no great secret that I LOVE games like WitchCraft and Chill.  I have talked many times about my love of both games. Chill was my first Horror RPG and WitchCraft might be my favorite game of all time.  Jason and I met while working as freelancers for Eden Studios, the company that made WitchCraft.  We worked together on Buffy, Angel, and Army of Darkness.  I helped him with his All Flesh Must Be Eaten books and he helped me on Ghosts of Albion.  A lot of what is in NIGHT SHIFT came out of our conversations of things we wanted to do in those games.


I guess then it is not a shock or surprise that I see NIGHT SHIFT and the spiritual successor, at least on my shelves and table, to games like Buffy and WitchCraft.


Buffy and WitchCraft defined horror monster hunting for the 90s and into the 2000s.  NIGHT SHIFT takes this to 2020 and beyond.  With NIGHT SHIFT I want to be able to play anything those other games offered me.  Sure the playstyle will be different.  WitchCraft is more about the machinations of the Supernatural World.  The Gifted (WC) for example are all covered by the Witch Class in NIGHT SHIFT.  In WitchCraft though there is a HUGE difference between the Wicce and the Rosicrucians. In NIGHT SHIFT those differences would have to be played out by the players in role-playing.  NIGHT SHIFT also is more Normies and Weirdos vs. Dangerous Supernatural types. More like Buffy or Ghosts of Albion in that sense. 


All Souls Night

There is an adventure that I have been dying to finish, "All Souls Night."  It is part of a trilogy across time and distance that includes Ghosts of Albion's "Blight", Buffy's "The Dark Druid" and what I have been thinking of as D&D's All Souls Night.  Translating them all into NIGHT SHIFT makes this so much easier to run. 

Supernatural and Chill
Not the new version of "Netflix and Chill" but adapting the best monster hunter games. 

Chill has such a long history I could not do it justice here.  I love the game but one place it has always felt a little lacking for me is the ability to play a spell-caster.  The Supernatural RPG is the same way.  In truth, Supernatural RPG is the cinematic version of Chill.   I mean sure. If I wanted to play a spellcaster, or a witch, I still have Buffy, WitchCraft, Ghosts of Albion, and about 100 other games to do that.  Both Chill and Supernatural are solid "let's go hunt some monsters" games.  So is NIGHT SHIFT.



Adapting the style of either game is easy.  Having these games also gives your NIGHT SHIFT game a slightly edgier feel.

I have already shown that Supernatural characters like The Wayward Sisters and Charlie Bradbury can have new life in NIGHT SHIFT.  

Some games, like say Call of Cthulhu, fit their niche so perfectly that I would not want to run a "Mythos" game with NIGHT SHIFT, but I certainly could borrow ideas from CoC for my NIGHT SHIFT games.  

In many ways doing a Plays Well With Others and NIGHT SHIFT is a cheat.  One of my own design principles for the game was to make it as flexible as I could so it could cover a wide variety of game and play styles.  I am happy in my belief that we succeeded in that.

Friday, August 16, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Dream

Today's topic is Dream.

Dreams have been an important part of my RPG journey as a world creator.


I have detailed in the past my recurring nightmare of the "Very Haunted House".

The house was an old Victorian manor complete with spooky attic and sub-basements.
It was haunted by the ghost of an evil old woman that used to torture kids.

This house was based on a few things in real life.  The biggest was "Maplecrest Apartments" in my old home town.  It used to be an old tuberculosis hospital turned into low-income housing. I delivered newspapers back then and that was on my route.  Scary place.  The house took more form when I went with my dad to see the Dana Thomas House in Springfield, IL.   These nightmares plagued me forever, to be honest, and they were not the "whew that was a weird dream" nightmares these were the "oh my god I am going to die in this dream" sort where you wake up afraid and still full of terror.  I added details to dream with every movie I saw or book I read including a bathtub full of black water with a rotting corpse that I am sure I got from "Silence of the Lambs".

Oddly enough they stopped about 15 years ago. I had the dream and in it, my wife was standing in the dark attic only now it was bright. She held a mop and had her hair tied up, she looked at me and said "What? I cleaned it."  Cheesy as it sounds I think she helped get over whatever fears it represented.

I have since used this house in other adventures I have written.  I first used "Cotton Crest" in my Buffy RPG adventure "Under a Cajun Moon".  Years later "Oakcrest" made it's debut in "The Haunting of Oakcrest Manor" in the Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall Special Edition.
I am considering also doing it again, only this time Willow Crest.  Cotton Crest was haunted by demons, Oak Crest by ghosts and other undead.  Willow Crest?  Extra-dimensional aliens.  Sounds like a good Dark Places & Demogorgons adventure.

Other dreams have given me some great monsters and some other game ideas.

Looking forward to see what I dream up next.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Kickstart Your Weekend: Friendship is Magic Edition

Couple of Kickstarters are ending in the next four days from some friends of mine and I wanted to share.  Both are great and I want to see them both do well.

First up is the sequel to Eric Bloat's wonderful Vigilante City supers game.

SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City RPG 2 Book Quickstarter


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ericfrombloatgames/survive-this-vigilante-city-rpg-2-book-quickstarter?ref=theotherside

Vigilante City is such a great game and I feel bad I have not done more with it. If you are familiar with Dark Places & Demogorgons then you know this system.   This time we get books 3 & 4:  SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Superhero Team-Up! and Into The Sewers.

From the Kickstarter:
SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City Book 3: Superhero Team up! Comes with the inclusion of many new classes, goes through the steps of team building while greatly adding to the equipment and vehicles. It shows how to build new superhero headquarters and stock it full of the valuable tech and tools every team needs to be successful. There will be new combat rules to include Team Moves and so much more!

SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City Book 4: Into The Sewers takes you underground to maze of tunnels that travelunderthe Metropolitan of Victory City, into the world of subcultures, gangs, Mutants & Anthropomorphs. Into The Sewers will feel like a new setting and greatly expands upon the already robust Mutant and Anthropomorph classes and powers.
It looks like it will be great!
Did I mention there is an all-star team working on this too?  Well, there is!  Check it out.

Next is Jason Vey's Amazing Adventures.

Amazing Adventures 5E RPG


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/amazing-adventures-5e-rpg?ref=theotherside

I featured Amazing Adventures 5e a while back.  It is also in its last 4 days, so time to get moving.

The book is done, save for the art and layout and I have played it.  It's so much fun.
Since my first post there have been a lot of stretch goals met and more added, and met. The next one is about to be unlocked.

Both games are a lot of fun and worthy of space on your game table.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Home Sweet Home Summer 1985

The new Stranger Things trailer was released today!  I honestly can't wait for this.

"What did you think? We were going to sit in my basement and play games for the rest of our lives?"


Uh yeah. I did.  So I worked my ass off for several degrees so I could get a great job and then do exactly that!

Got my mix-tape play-list gathered up and going to plan some Dark Places & Demigorgons game for this summer.

I should gather up my Dragons from 85 and see which ones still need the This Old Dragon treatment.
It was also this Summer that I first remember my "Very Haunted House" dream that would later spawn "Under a Cajun Moon" and  "The Haunting of Oakcrest Manor" in the Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall Special Edition.

Hmm.  Maybe I need to re-combine them into a Dark Places & Demogorgons adventure!

If you read them both you will see the obvious relationship between Cottoncrest Manor in Cajun Moon and Oakcrest Manor in "Haunting".  That's because both places are based on a real place, Maplecrest Manor.

Yeah.  I should do that.  Have the playlist ready to go for inspiration.  Kids + abandoned spooky old mental asylum?  That's the recipe for a good time!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

New Releases Tuesday: Vigilante City

It's Tuesday and that usually means new releases.  Today we have a great one.

Eric Bloat of Bloat Games has been a favorite here for a while.  I have gone on and on about how much I love Dark Places & Demogorgons.  Today he has released what is destined to be my new favorite game, SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City.

Vigilante City current features two new books.

SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Core Rules and SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City - Villain's Guide


The rules are a version of the same Survive This!! we see in Dark Places & Demogorgons and Survive This Zombies! so compatibility is a nice feature. Especially if you want to use The Cryptid Manual.

The one thing I did not expect was the inclusion of a Compatibility License and Logo.  That honestly SCREAMED at me when I started downloading.

I am going to read these rules over and get up a review and some characters sometime soon.
But you can all now expect a Mystic's Handbook to be coming from me soon! (name might change)

Can't wait to get into this game.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Plays Well With Others: DP&D Cryptid Manual

There is just over a week to go for the Dark Places & Demogorgons Cryptid Manual and I have been enjoying the hell out of my preview copy.

Back in the late 70s and early 80s I devoured books about cryptids, monsters, and UFOs.  Honestly, when I wasn't reading books about the occult or witches, I was reading this stuff.
I guess that is one of the reasons why this book (and this game) hit such a nerve with me.

Plus I love monster books. Always have.

So naturally, I want to use this book everywhere I can.


First and foremost, the Cryptid Manual is 90% compatible with Swords & Wizardry White Box. There is not a lot of overlap in monsters, so this makes the CM a perfect monster book for S&WWB players.  Also, there are a lot of "new" monsters in S&W for the DP&D player/GM.  Who's to say that an alien life form could resemble an orc or a wyvern.

In fact, this is true for nearly every clone. The clone game provides monsters for DP&P and the Cryptid Manual provides new monsters for your clone of choice.  You just need to justify why they are there.


The tone of The Hero's Journey is different than the other Clones, but with a tiny bit of tinkering the adventure-centric tone of THJ can work with the dark conspiracy tone of DP&D.  I mean really, isn't a Bigfoot just another kind of forest spirit?  I bit like a wilder, but less evil, ogre or troll.



B/X Essentials is an interesting game and one I will delve into more on future posts.  There is essentially a B/X Essentials Monster Manual.  Either or both can be used with both or either game and all fit well.  I think the only overlapping monster is the Medusa, and they are close enough to each other as to be the same creature with local variations.
Both games have a monster Morale score.  I have not done the math to see if these morale scores are 100% compatible, but they feel that way and are based on the same Basic mechanic.
If you like either game then consider picking up the other monster book for even more monsters.




I think the claim that the Cryptid Manual is a good book for any OSR game is a solid one.
I have been wanting to add a Hodag to my games for YEARS.

Now adding this book to an OSR/Clone book is easy. The hard part is figuring out why or how Chupacabras are out running around with the likes of elves and dragons.

Something that might help is looking at other games that cover many of the same creatures and ideas.


Dark Places & Demogorgons holds the same place that is/was occupied by Chill.  I can pretty much take any Chill adventure I developed and re-run under DP&D.  The Chill Monsters book covers a lot of the same ground as the Cryptid Manual.  The advantage of picking up the Monsters book has more information on each creature and a few new ones.  The Cryptid Manual also has a few new creatures for Chill players as well.  For conversions, I would find similar creatures in the books and use that as a template.

Chill's focus is more international and more adult.  BUT a great idea I had was to play a Chill game with some investigators and do a "flashback" adventure of when they were kids using DP&D.  Players of both games should check out the other books for lots of ideas.



The same is true of Eden's Conspiracy X 2.0.

The focus is even more X-Files than Chill is.  There is also a greater focus on Extraterrestrials than in Chill.  Like Chill, there is a feeling that Con X might be the "sequel" of the DP&P game.  Again a fun idea would be to run a Con X game, but pull out DP&D for a "flashback" adventure to when the characters were all children. 

Think about it in terms of the X-Files.  You are playing Fox Mulder as an FBI Agent working on the X-Files (Con X), but the GM wants to go back and try playing Fox as a kid when his sister gets taken by Aliens (DP&D).  It could be a flashback, an alien device that makes him relive it or he is in therapy and his doctor tries memory regression.  There is a ton of different things you can do. 

The systems are not compatible, but I am pretty fluent in both systems and did some of the work already for my Sunny Valley, OH Buffy game.

So, yes the Cryptid Manual is a remarkablly useful and flexible book that I can already use for a dozen or so games, and I plan on doing so.  Hodags! Hodags in every game!!