Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts

Thursday, July 19, 2018

DC in the News

So I remain, despite a box-office trouncing, a devoted DC fan.

Few things are cooking in the DC Universe that will make me happy this fall.  Lets start with a big one and move on to EVEN BIGGER ONES!


We already knew that Kate Kane, AKA Batwoman will be featured in the Fall sweeps 4-Episode Arrowverse crossover (I guess that also means no tying in Black Lightning just yet).

Now it seems they want to use that as a backdoor pilot for a Batwoman series for 2019-20.
They are currently looking for an out lesbian/queer actress of any ethnicity to play Batwoman.

I commend them on this.

There is nothing about Batwoman's background that says she has to be white, or black, or Asian, or Algonquin, or Hispanic.  There are three things though that immutable about the character.

1. Kate is a Soldier. She lives to serve. Just now she wears the uniform of the Bat.
2. Kate is a Lesbian. Even in her earliest interactions, this is something she knows about herself and we know about her.
3. Kate is Jewish.  This informs how she sees life, how she approaches everything she does. The colors of her uniform.

In Comics Dark seems to be the new Black.

The Witching Hour will be a 5-comic arc featuring Wonder Woman, JL Dark and the plot revolves around Hecate and Witches!


I mean read this:
Part one, WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1, with art by Jesus Merino, sets the tone for the Wonder Woman-centered event. In this 48-page debut one-shot, Hecate, the witch-goddess of magic, always knew a day would come when the monsters she stole her magic from would return. Now she must activate the Witchmarked, humans within whom she secreted vast stores of power. This hits Justice League Dark especially hard: one of the most powerful of the Witchmarked turns out to be Wonder Woman! WONDER WOMAN AND JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR #1 is on sale October 3.
Those aren't tears in my eyes.  No. Not at all....Shut up, you're crying.

And just when my poor heart couldn't take anymore.



Holy Shit!  Robin just said "Fuck Batman" and that Raven!  That is the Raven I have been waiting nearly 38 years to see on my screens.  Even Dove and Gar look great.

So yeah.  You can have your Infinity Wars and your snappy Thanos (who is a rip-off of Darkseid anyway). I know where my action is going to be this fall.

Right?


That's so Raven!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Willow & Tara: Survive This! Dark Places & Demogorgons

Yesterday I took the entire Buffyverse and dropped them into 1984 Ohio and found it works rather well.  Today I want to continue that thought but also do a deep dive into the three witch classes that DP&D has to offer.  And I know of no better way to do this.


So for reasons that work for the game, I am going with Dark Places & Demogorgons: Player Options & GM Guide for the witch classes. A White Witch for Willow and a Nature Witch for Tara.  So far I have no reason to assume that Willow will need a Black Witch.  The two realities are connected, but also different.

Willow D. Rosenberg
In 1984's Sunny Valley Willow is a mathematical genius who is the only person, quite likely in the whole town, that knows how to use a computer for more than just video games.  She has been best friends with Alex Harris since kindergarten and has been friends with Daniel "Oz" Osbourne since Junior High.  Oz is obviously rather fond of Willow, but he suspects there is something holding her back.


During her summer job at the local library, Willow discovered a locked room.  Normally one to follow every rule, this room called to her.  One day she found a key (after several weeks of searching she would later admit) and opened the door.  Inside books on the occult, summoning demons and more importantly magic.  She has been reading them and trying to master them.  Though she has help from a fellow witch and honest to the goddess wiccan in Tara.

Willow Rosenberg
Class: White Witch  Level: 5
Alignment: Good
Languages: English, Hebrew, Latin, Greek
Age: 14

Attributes
STR: 9 +0
INT: 18 +3
WIS: 16 +2
DEX: 11 +0
CON: 11 +0
CHA: 17 +2
SUR: 16 +2

AC: 10     HP: 19    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 6 +3
Critical: 5
Death: 5
Mental: 4
Poison: 3

Background
Parents are rarely at home.

Class Abilities
+1 to saves involving magic, +3 to courage saves, healing touch 8/day, heal at double rate, summon light, seen in darkness, advantage on saves, immune to fear, talk to animals and plants, create potions

Skills
Computers +5, Art +1, Math +5, Science +5, Knowledge (Magic) +5, Paranormal +4, Botany +3, Electronics +4

Possessions
Bike, Home Computer,

Money: $40

Spells
Minor (4), Major (1)
Charm, Glammerd Appearance, Magical Insight, Burning Ash hands,
Firebolt

Tara A. Maclay
Tara attends Sunny Valley Community High School on the southside of town.  She lives in a trailer with her father and brother.  Her mother Megan died from cancer just last year.  Having a rough time with that and struggling with being the "known gay" in school she was picked on quite a bit.  It was not till the arrival of Faith did things change.  Faith protected Tara because she felt something of a connection to her.  When Elizabeth Summers died north of town Faith became the new Slayer. Elizabeth came back (thanks to Alex) and soon Tara and Faith joined the Northsiders on their nightly fight against vampires, zombies and other undead menaces.  While Faith has been drawn more and more to Elizabeth and their shared mystery. Tara has been getting much closer to Willow.


Tara and her best friend Faith

Tara Maclay
Class: White Witch  Level: 4
Alignment: Good
Languages: English, French, Latin
Age: 15

Attributes
STR: 12 +0
INT: 16 +2
WIS: 18 +3
DEX: 9 +0
CON: 12 +0
CHA: 16 +2
SUR: 12 +0

AC: 10     HP: 16    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 5
Critical: 4
Death: 3
Mental: 5
Poison: 3 +4

Background
Mother is dead, Father is super-strict

Class Abilities
Toughness: Nature/Weather +4, Empathic w/ Animals, Create Potions, Control Animals.

Skills
Botany +4, First Aid, Knowledge (magic) +4, Outdoorsmanship +2, Paranormal +4, DAnce +3, Horsemanship +4,

Possessions
Bike,

Money: $40

Spells
Minor (3)
Blind, Charm, Magical Insight

If this were an 80s show then Willow and Tara would have had (implied) sex but then Tara would have been killed and Willow sent on an "evil lesbian" rampage only end the show crying in the arms of some man.  Really, who wants to see some shitty after-school special cliché like that?

I think these classes work great, to be honest.  I would like to reorganize their powers a bit to fit my concepts of these characters. Normally I would let Willow have access to some Dark spells and Tara should be the one to heal by touch.

This also brings up an interesting dilemma. Should Willow be a multiclassed Kid Scientist 1/Witch 4?  DP&D, like a lot of OSR games, has no Multiclassing rules.  To me though I like the idea of a multiclassed Willow.  She starts off as a Kid scientist and then moves to White Witch and maybe Black Witch IF we follow the original series.  Tara can start as a Nature Witch then move to White after a bit.

These are great.  This really captures what I wanted from this game quite well.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Review: Survive This! Dark Places & Demogorgons

I'll start off my week-long look at Survive This! Dark Places & Demogorgons with the core rulebook.   A little bit of background thought first.  I love the 80s in the way a true child of the 80s only can.  Everything about the decade still fascinates me, fills me nostalgia and is a creative well I keep going back to.  In truth, I had better decades.  The 90s were particularly good to me and the 2010s are also really nice, but the 80s hold my interest more, especially when it comes to gaming.

Dark Places & Demogorgons (DP&D) taps into all of this in such a deep and profound way that it pisses me off me to no end.  Pisses me off, because I wish I had come up it myself!

A few things upfront.  DP&D owes a great deal to Stranger Things (which in turns owes a lot to D&D), but as fantastic as that is, that is not enough to sustain a game.  DP&D draws on deep 80s culture as well.  And deep I do mean shallow!  Nothing here about the Cold War, or USA for Africa, or the 84 Olympics, or the home computer revolution.  This is about what was going on in YOUR small town USA and how it felt like it was the strangest place on the planet.  All that "important stuff" is just background noise to what is really important; what are we doing Friday night and who's going to drive around cruising?  That of course until your friends start to disappear.

Dark Places & Demogorgons (DP&D) is a 200 page 5"x9" book with color covers and black & white interiors.  The art is a mix of new art, some art purchased from collections and (my personal favorite) some photos of the authors and friends from some 80's high school yearbooks.  I am reviewing both the physical book and PDF.  Both of which were purchased by me so no books were contributed for review.

The book is divided into an 80 page Player's Section which includes the Classes and Basic rules, and a 120 Page Game Master Section.

The Players section introduces the concept of a Role-playing game and what you can do.  We also get a little background on the town this all takes place in, Jeffersontown KY.
We go right into building a character. Now while the book tells us that this is a version of the same game played in 1974, there are more 21st Century rules here.  The rules feel like a Swords & Wizardry variant with some Basic (Holmes in particular) thrown in.  There are multiple types of saving throws (ala OD&D, Basic, an on up) and ascending AC (S&W, 3e).   In short though if you have played any sort of OSR game in the last few years you will pick this up fast.  If you have never played before, well you will still pick this up fast.

Unlike its progenitors, this game has Seven Abilities.  The new one is Survival.  At first, I was not a fan of it, but now I see how it works in the game it makes more sense to me.  Much like how another seventh ability, "Luck", works in The Heroes' Journey.
I mentioned there are new saving throws too, Courage, Critical, Death, Mental, and Poison.  Courage works a lot like a Fear/San test and there is even a terror table.

Where DP&D takes off though are ways you use to describe your characters.  We start off with Backgrounds.  You can roll randomly here in true 80s style, or choose.  Rolling seems better.  These include things like "Parents are never home" or "Bratty Kid Sister" and they have in-game effects.  Not having your parents home makes for your house to become the natural HQ of your monster surviving endeavors, but having to watch your "Strawberry Shortcake" obsessed little sister is going to slow you down.

After that, you can decide on what your Class is going to be. Classes work here like everywhere else really.  They decide your skills, they let you know where you fit in the world and they provide a role-playing guide.  The classes in this book are largely based on 80s High School stereotypes.  There are five main classes with three subclasses each (similar to how 5e does it) You have The Brain (Kid Scientist, The Nerd, The Geek), The Athlete (The Jock, Extreme Athlete, The Karate Kid), The Outsider (Break Dancer, Goth, Metal Head), The Popular Kid (Preppy, The Princess, Teen Heart Throb), and The Rebel (Bully, The Hood, the Punk Rocker). That pretty much covers everyone in a small high school.
Each class gets 5 levels and new abilities and/or skills each level.  So the Karate kid gets new moves and martial arts, the Princess can affect others and so on.

Skills cover the things you can do.  You can get some via your class or be improved by your class.  Others you can pick.  Combat is a skill and if you want to be better at it then you need to take the skill otherwise you are just a kid with a +0 to hit.

Character creation then is largely rolling up Abilities, picking a Background, a Class, some skills, determining your saving throws and finding out how much cash you have in your pocket.  Then you are set!

I recommend a Session 0 for character creation and concept.  Sure it is not in the rules and certainly not old school, but it better than everyone showing up for the game playing all playing "The Bully" or "The Nerd".

Lastly, you come up with your age, Alignment and various combat-related stats (AC, attack bonus).  DP&D is not a combat focused game.  You are kids and the monsters are, well, monsters.  You might score a hit or two, but that is it.  Otherwise, run!
XP and Leveling are a little "easier" then and there are other ways to gain levels.

We end this section with some sample characters, examples of play and a quick breakdown of the 1980s vs. Today.

The Game Master Section is next and this is where the fun is!
Here the advice of not making this a combat heavy game is repeated.  This is a game of mystery, investigation, and deduction.   From the book:

This game draws inspiration from movies like The Goonies, ET and The Lost Boys and T.V. shows like Stranger Things, Eerie Indiana and Scooby Doo.
Talk about hitting me where I live!

The rules might say 1974 on the tin, but they are much easier than that.  Nearly every rule is simplified and straightforward in a way we never would have tried in the 80s.  Among the "new" rules are Difficulty Classes (circa 3e) and Advantage/Disadvantage rules (circa 5e).  It makes for a very fast-paced game and the rules will fall into the background.

We get some weapons and explosives, but not a lot.

There is a nice section on magic and the occult which include some really nice Psychic classes.  In case you want to dial your game up to 11 (see what I did there!).

The fun part of the book are the Adventure Seeds.  Some are familiar to anyone that watched movies or TV in the 80s.  But others...well I can only conclude that these must be local legends and myths from the author's own home.  Which reminds me how much all these little towns are really the same, just the details differ.


Replace the Pope Lick Monster with the Mobil Monster and they could have been talking about my old hometown of Jacksonville, IL.  We even had giant cats, giant birds and bigfoot.  But if you know what is good for you stay away from Magical Mystery Lane (if you could find it) or the glowing "things" out by Lake Jacksonville.

The book also has a bunch of monsters in Swords & Wizardry format (more or less).  You could add more, but be careful.   Just because I have the stats for a Manticore in a S&W book that would work with this there had better be a good reason to include it.

There are stats for animals and various types of NPCs.  There is even a table of random monster generation.  Delving into more game specific tables there is a table (1d100) of basic adventure hooks.

We also get a small guide to the setting, Jeffersontown, or J'Town (I grew up in J'ville. AND we used to call it a "Sinkhole of Evil" YEARS before anyone ever said the words "hell mouth").
The guide is great, not just for use in the game but for the sheer nostalgia.  It read like someone had taken a fictionalized version of my old hometown.  I think that it is also flexible enough that an lot of people reading it will feel the same way.

We end with a nice solid appendix (the PDF is not hyper-linked here) and their own "Appendix N" of movies, television, and music.  Music was too important in the 80s for there not to be a list like this.

We end with a copy of the character sheet.

Wow.  Where to begin.

Ok first of this game is very nearly perfect and I hate it so much.  That's not true. I hate that I didn't come up with it and publish it sooner.  But in truth, I am not sure if I would have done the same quality job as Eric Bloat and Josh Palmer.  Plus the inclusion of their yearbook pictures and own background made this book for me.  I LOVED reading J'Town because I could see and feel my own J'Ville in it.  I would not have been able to do that if I had written it myself, so much kudos to them.
This is a work of art and I love it.

Everything feels right about this game, to be honest.  I even have a potential "Series" in mind for it.

Can't wait to do more with it!  I would love to get some of my old gamer friends from the 80s and have them play versions of themeselves in a "Stranger Jacksonville" or more to the point the Jacksonville we all WISHED it was.

Next time I look at the supplements.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Wayward Sisters for Amazing Adventures

Ah. I have never met a windmill I couldn't joust with.

Anyway it's AMAYzine May AND it is Wayward Wednesday.  So today you can watch your favorite Supernatural episode featuring the Wayward girls on Netflix.


Amazing Adventures is a really awesome game with a lot of character development and customization built right in.  Today I want to just work from the core rulebook and figure out how to add some different quirks to some characters with similar backgrounds.

Jody and Donna are both sheriffs working in the northern part of the Midwest.
Anne/Alex and Clare are both survivors that have turned to less-legal pursuits for hunting monsters.   AA gives me the means to get a little more finesse out of these characters.


Links lead to their pages on the Supernatural Wiki.

Jody Mills
Class: Gumshoe (Police officer)
Level: 7
Lawful Good

hp: 46
AC: 12
BtH: +7

Attributes
STR: 12 (0)
*DEX: 14 (+1)
CON: 15 (+1)
INT: 15 (+1)
WIS: 16 (+2)
CHA: 15 (+1)

Class Abilities
Climb, Cat & Mouse, Hide, Move Silently, Take em Down, Precision Shot, Face in the Crowd
Adversary (Monsters)

Traits
Abrasive, Honest

Background: Law enforcement
Knowledge: Law

Donna Hanscum

Class: Gumshoe (Police officer)
Level: 7
Lawful Good

hp: 46
AC: 12
BtH: +7

Attributes
STR: 13 (+1)
*DEX: 12 (0)
CON: 12 (0)
INT: 14 (+1)
WIS: 17 (+2)
CHA: 16 (+2)

Class Abilities
Climb, Cat & Mouse, Hide, Move Silently, Take em Down, Precision Shot, Face in the Crowd
Adversary (Monsters, mostly Vampires)

Traits
Cautious, Easy going, Honest

Background: Law enforcement
Knowledge: Law

The differences between Jody an Donna are subtle in terms of stats, but they are role-played very differently.  Jody has a longer history of hunters and hunting, but Donna has made up for lost time.

Jody can be a bit abrasive with others and with her family, but that is only becuase she worries about them. Her first family were all killed.

Donnan can act all sunshine and Minnesota good cheer, but never doubt that she has already figured out the monster and knows a couple of different ways to kill it "doncha know".


Alex/Anne Jones
Class: Socialite/Hooligan (Multi-class)
Level: 1 / 3 (3)
Neutral Good

hp: 24
AC: 10
BtH: +1

Attributes
STR: 12 (0)
*DEX: 12 (0)
CON: 15 (+1)
INT: 15 (+1)
WIS: 16 (+2)
*CHA: 15 (+1)

Class Abilities
(s) Charm, Connected (Vampire clans), Exalt (Vampire clans) (no clan)
(h) Back Attack,  Case Target, Climb, Hide, Lingo (Vampire slang), Listen, Move Silently, Open Locks, Pick Pockets, Traps, Medicine (from Nurse's training)

Traits
Passionate, Focused

Background: Mean streets
Knowledge: Vampires

Anne has two classes to cover the time when she was living bait for a clan of vampires (Socialite) and when she was later hunting and acting out (Hooligan) or as Jody put it, she was not a cheerleader but the one smoking pot under the bleachers.

Clare Novak
Class: Hooligan
Level: 4
Chaotic Good

hp: 20
AC: 11
BtH: +1

Attributes
STR: 12 (0)
*DEX: 12 (0)
CON: 15 (+1)
INT: 15 (+1)
WIS: 16 (+2)
CHA: 15 (+1)

Class Abilities
Back Attack,  Case Target, Climb, Hide, Lingo (Hunter slang), Listen, Move Silently, Open Locks, Pick Pockets, Traps, Sneak Attack

Traits
Passionate, Reckless

Background: Mean Streets
Knowledge: Angels and demons

Anne and Clare would normally by the rules appear to be Hooligans.  Anne/Alex starts out as a "Socialite" since that is the closest thing in the rules to "pretty vampire bait". Though she did do all of the things a socialite did for her vampire clan.   After she was freed she became every bit the rebellous teen Hooligan that Clare is.   Using the rules to swap out powers I took out her "Traps" ability and replaced it with "Medicine" to cover her training as a Nurse.  I am thinking that for now she is an LPN, not an RN, so maybe as she gets better I might have to rule of taking out some of her other hooligan abilities that no longer fit.
I also removed her Exalt since she is not running with a vampire clan/nest anymore.

Patience Turner
Class: Mentalist
Level: 1
Lawful Good

hp: 6
AC: 10
BtH: +0

Attributes
STR: 12 (0)
DEX: 14 (+1)
CON: 12 (0)
INT: 18 (+3)
*WIS: 16 (+2)
CHA: 17 (+2)

Class Abilities
Meditation, Psionic Power, Psychic Senses

Traits
Focused

Psionic Powers
Basic: Clairvoyance w/ Pre-cognitive

Background: Student
Knowledge: School topics

Patience is the easiest one.  She is, by any definition I can think of, a 1st level character.  She has some skills (she is top student and athlete) but she only has one trick right now and that is her visions.  So she is a perfect level 1 Mentalist with very, very minimal customization.

Ok. Now, these are builds I can enjoy and get behind.  These would be some kick-ass characters to play.  Everything from Patience discovering what her own powers mean and what she can do, to Clare's unresolved anger issues and the new mother/daughter relationship to Jody (who is basically Clare in few more years).  Even Anne trying to put the horror of her life behind her to do something normal.

It would make for a great game and a great TV show.

Don't forget that Petition!
https://www.change.org/p/the-cw-save-wayward-sisters



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Wayward Sisters for the Chill RPG

Yesterday I posted the stats the Wayward Sisters for the Supernatural RPG and I had a blast.   I always have a lot of fun doing these deep dives into characters.  So I figure what the hell.


The next logical choice, of course, is Chill.   Even in 1980 Chill was the monster hunter game.  Today's 3rd Edition Chill is if anything even more suited for a Supernatural-style game.  The changed point of view on magic, The Art, is a good fit to how Supernatural deals with magic.

In truth, I would love to see how something like SAVE would work in the Supernatural universe.  I am a huge of fan of Chill and I have been wanting to do a Supernatural / Chill crossover forever.  This is really is perfect.

Links lead to their pages on the Supernatural Wiki.

Jody Mills

Attributes
AGL 60  Movement 30
STR 50  Prowess 25
STA 55  Close Quarters Combat 28

FOC 50  Research 25
PSY 50  Communication 50
WPR 50  Interview 50

DEX 50  Fieldcraft 25
PCN 60  Investigation 60
REF 55  Ranged Weapons 55

STU 12

Skill Specializations
Stealth E 60
Lore E 55
Leadership E 80
Interrogation E 80
Drive E 55
Crime Scene E 90
Pistols E 85

Edges and Drawbacks
Attractive 1
Courageous 2
Decisive 1
Information Source 2
Natural Leader 1

Drive: To make sure no other families are destroyed by the monsters.


Donna Hanscum

Attributes
AGL 50  Movement 25
STR 50  Prowess 25
STA 50  Close Quarters Combat 50

FOC 60  Research 30
PSY 60  Communication 50
WPR 60  Interview 30

DEX 50  Fieldcraft 25
PCN 60  Investigation 60
REF 55  Ranged Weapons 55

STU 12

Skill Specializations
Stealth B 40
Knife Fighting B 65
Lore E 60
Interrogation E 80
Drive E 55
Crime Scene E 90
Pistols E 85

Edges and Drawbacks
Courageous 2
Hopeful 1
Information Source 2
Peace of Mind 2
Tough as Nails 2

Awkward 3

Drive: To protect the innocent.

Alex/Anne Jones

Attributes
AGL 60  Movement 60
STR 50  Prowess 25
STA 55  Close Quarters Combat 55

FOC 50  Research 25
PSY 60  Communication 50
WPR 55  Interview 28

DEX 55  Fieldcraft 28
PCN 65  Investigation 33
REF 60  Ranged Weapons 30

STU 13

Skill Specializations
Knife B 70
Lore E 55
Persuasion B 75
Drive B 43

Edges and Drawbacks
Attractive 2
Background 2 (Vampires lore and behavior)
Emergency Medic 2
Strong Stomach 1

Burned Out 3

Drive: Prevent anyone else from suffering like I did.

Clare Novak

Attributes
AGL 60  Movement 30
STR 50  Prowess 25
STA 55  Close Quarters Combat 55

FOC 50  Research 25
PSY 70  Communication 70
WPR 60  Interview 30

DEX 60  Fieldcraft 30
PCN 60  Investigation 30
REF 60  Ranged Weapons 60

STU 12

Skill Specializations
Stealth B 45
Knife fighting E 85
Lore E 55
Deception B 85
Drive B 45
Larceny B 45
Crossbow E 90

Edges and Drawbacks
Attractive 1
Courageous 1
Inured 1
Tough as Nails 2

Drive: Destroy all the monsters that have harmed me.

Patience Turner

Attributes
AGL 60  Movement 30
STR 60  Prowess 30
STA 60  Close Quarters Combat 60

FOC 70  Research 35
PSY 70  Communication 70
WPR 70  Interview 35

DEX 60  Fieldcraft 30
PCN 70  Investigation 35
REF 65  Ranged Weapons 33

STU 35

Skill Specializations
Stealth B 45
Thrown Weapon B 45
Melee Weapon E 90
Lore B 50
Empathy E 100
Drive B 45

Edges and Drawbacks
Attractive 2
Hopeful 1

Naïve 2

The Art
Sensing (PCN)
Premonition B 85
Prescient Dream B 85

Drive: Discover what the new world is about, how to use my powers and live through it.

Ok. Now, these are builds I can enjoy and get behind.  These would be some kick-ass characters to play.  Everything from Patience discovering what her own powers mean and what she can do, to Clare's unresolved anger issues and the new mother/daughter relationship to Jody (who is basically Clare in few more years).  Even Anne trying to put the horror of her life behind her to do something normal.

It would make for a great game and a great TV show.

Don't forget that Petition!
https://www.change.org/p/the-cw-save-wayward-sisters

Monday, May 14, 2018

Wayward Sisters for the Supernatural RPG

Well.  A while back I expressed my wants for the upcoming Wayward Sisters Supernatural spin-off.  Well, sadly we learned over the weekend that the show was not picked up (Charmed was! but more on that later).



Personally, I think this is a huge mistake and many entertainment news outlets are reporting the same.  There is even a petition that gaining steam and buzz asking the network to reconsider.  I would consider it a favor if you all could stop by and sign it.
https://www.change.org/p/the-cw-save-wayward-sisters

But I am not asking this and expecting not to pay.  So here are the Wayward sisters themselves, ready to go for your Supernatural Cortex game, whether they get a show or not.



Links lead to their page on the Supernatual Wiki.

Jody Mills

Concept: Sheriff. Survivor of zombie attacks. Lost her entire family. Has a history with Sam and Dean. Seasoned Hunter

Attributes
Agility:  d8  Alertness: d8  Strength: d6  Intelligence: d6  Vitality:  d6  Willpower: d8

Derived Attributes
Initiative: d8 + d8  Endurance: d6 + d8  Lifepoints: 18  Resistance: d6 + d6

Skills (Specialty in paratheses)
Covert d6 (Open Locks d8, Stealth d8), Discipline d6 (Leadership d8), Drive d6, Guns d6 (Revolver d8), Influence d6, Knowledge d6 (Law d8), Lore d6 (Levithans d8, Zombies d8), Mechanic d4, Medicine d4, Melee Weapons d4, Perception d6 (Investigation d8), Survival d6, Tech d4

Assets & Complications
Allure d2, Carries a Badge d6, Contacts d4, Devoted d6, Natural Leader d4, Tough d8
Anger Issues d2, Duty d8 (Protect her family), Out for Blood d4, (resolved)

Weapons & Gear
Service Revolver, d6, 50', 8
Shotgun, d10, 30', 8

Vest, Ballistic. 2w


Donna Hanscum

Concept: Sheriff.  Survivor of a monster attack.  Softy on the outside, hard as nails on the inside. Seasoned Hunter

Attributes
Agility:  d6  Alertness: d6  Strength: d6  Intelligence: d8  Vitality:  d8  Willpower: d8

Derived Attributes
Initiative: d6 + d6  Endurance: d8 + d8  Lifepoints: 20  Resistance: d8 + d8

Skills (Specialty in paratheses)
Covert d6 (Open Locks d8, Stealth d8), Discipline d6, Drive d6, Guns d6 (Revolver d8, Shotgun d8), Influence d6, Knowledge d6 (Law d8), Lore d6 (Vampires d8), Mechanic d2, Melee Weapons d4, Perception d6 (Investigation d8), Survival d6, Tech d4, Unarmed Combat d4

Assets & Complications
Allure d2, Carries a Badge d6, Contacts d4, Cool Under Fire d4, Devoted d6, Focused Hunter d2 (vampires), Good Natured d6, Tough d8, Unbreakable will d2
Duty d8, Honest to a Fault d4, Idealist d4

Weapons & Gear
Service Revolver, d6, 50', 8
Shotgun, d10, 30', 8

Vest, Ballistic. 2w


Alex/Anne Jones

Concept:  Runaway former vampire bait. Wants to put hunting behind her to focus on her nursing. Survivor. Veteran Hunter.

Attributes
Agility:  d6  Alertness: d8  Strength: d4  Intelligence: d8  Vitality:  d6  Willpower: d6

Derived Attributes
Initiative: d6 + d8  Endurance: d6 + d6  Lifepoints: 14  Resistance: d6 + d6

Skills (Specialty in paratheses)
Covert d6 (Stealth d8), Discipline d4, Drive d4, Guns d4, Knowledge d6, Lore d6 (Vampires d12), Medicine d6 (First Aid d8, General Practice d8), Melee Weapons d6, Perception d6 (Investigation d8), Survival d8, Tech d4, Unarmed Combat d4

Assets & Complications
Allure d4, Contacts d2, Higher Education d4 (LPN, RN), Tough d4
Dark Secret d4 (used by vampires as bait), Paranoid d4 (vampires)

Weapons & Gear
Knife d2

Clare Novak

Concept: Once religious daughter of Jimmy Novak who gave up his life to be Castiel's vessel. Former thief and now out for blood hunter. Veteran Hunter.

Attributes
Agility:  d8  Alertness: d6  Strength: d6  Intelligence: d6  Vitality:  d8  Willpower: d4

Derived Attributes
Initiative: d8 + d6  Endurance: d8 + d4  Lifepoints: 14  Resistance: d8 + d8

Skills (Specialty in paratheses)
Covert d6 (Open locks d10, Stealth d8), Discipline d4, Drive d6, Guns d4, Knowledge d6 (Religion d8), Lore d6 (Angels d10, Demons d8), Melee Weapons d6, Perception d6 (Investigation d8), Ranged Weapons d6 (Crossbow d8), Survival d8, Tech d4, Unarmed Combat d4

Assets & Complications
Allure d4, Contacts d4, Cool Under Fire d2, Devoted d6, Faith d2, Focused Hunter d4 (demons), Intuitive Leaps d4, Tough d4
Anger Issues d4, Out for Blood d8, Overconfident 2d (down from d4), Rebellious d4, Smartass d4, Wrong side of the Law d4

Weapons & Gear
Angel Sword d8
Knife d2


Patience Turner

Concept: Highschool star of academics and sports.  Emerging Precognitive.  Grandmother worked with the Winchesters.  Rookie Hunter

Attributes
Agility:  d8  Alertness: d6  Strength: d6  Intelligence: d10  Vitality:  d6  Willpower: d8

Derived Attributes
Initiative: d8 + d6  Endurance: d6 + d8  Lifepoints: 12  Resistance: d6 + d6

Skills (Specialty in paratheses)
Athletics d6 (Sports d8), Covert d4, Discipline d6, Drive d4, Knowledge d6, Lore d4, Melee Weapons d6 (sword d8), Perception d6 (Empathy d8), Science d6, Tech d4

Assets & Complications
Allure d4, Clairvoyant d4, Low-Profile d2, Natural Athlete d6, Premonitions d6
Combat Paralysis d4, Idealist d2,

Weapons & Gear
Baseball bat d6 B
Handgun d4, 40', 6

I like them!  Now I just need some good rules to get Rowena into the mix.

Don't forget that petition!



Monday, October 30, 2017

No Spell to Right This: Carmilla Week Round-up

Well...it was more than a week really.

I love doing these week-long deep dives into a character or a system. It's a great way to explore a topic in my mind. Whether it is a week-long deep dive into a game system like Blue Rose or Superbabes or investigating a set of characters like I did with Miriam and Fran it is something I really look forward to planning and doing.

Doing this for Carmilla and Laura was just as much fun.

I did a lot of stats for various horror games.
Not to mention my original Ghosts of Albion stats for "book" Carmilla.

I also watched a lot of movies.
I would like to try some more systems to be honest. Chill 3.0 comes to mind.
Anyone have any requests?

I am looking forward to doing some more of these deep dives.  Maybe next time a game system.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Seven Best Horror RPGs

I wanted to get this out in time for Halloween weekend gaming.

This is based on a conversation I was having on Facebook where we all discussing the "Seven Best".  I had a number of people ask me what I felt were the Seven Best Horror RPGs.

For this I immediately thought I am not going to include any horror RPG I have either written or worked on, but as it turns out that is a non-issue since my top seven are all ones done by others.  If this was a Top 10 then we might have other problems!


So without further ado, here they are my Seven Top Horror RPGs, arranged by year and one honorable mention.

Seven Horror RPGs
There is a chill in the air, gloomy clouds in the sky and leaves are all turning.  It is October and it's the time of the season for horror games.  I have been playing horror games for as long I have been playing RPGs.  Even my fantasy and sci-fi RPGs take on a slightly darker tinge to them.  So with Halloween just around the corner I wanted to talk about my Seven Favorite Horror RPGs.

Call of Cthulhu (1981)
Call of Cthulhu might not be the exact first horror RPG, but it was one of the first and the most influential. It was certainly the first horror game that most of us have played or knew about.  It perfectly blended the mythos stories of H.P. Lovecraft with RPG mechanics. Out of the gate the game did exactly what it was supposed to do, which is why the changes in the first six editions are relatively minor.
Call of Cthulhu was monster hunting, but it was so much more than that.  “Monster hunting” covers D&D pretty well but there the similarities end.  In CoC you had to investigate, you had to research and then maybe, just maybe, you found the clue you needed.  If there was magic you used it only in the direst of circumstances and even then your victory or your sanity was never assured.  For many in the 80s, CoC was their first introduction to the weird and alien worlds of the Cthulhu Mythos. Stories from 30-50 years prior were now in vogue again and influenced a generation of gamers and game designers.
The Basic Roleplay System from CoC also powered other games namely Stormbringer (1981), Superworld (1983) and RuneQuest (1978, 1980).

Chill (1984, 1992, 2015)
Chill has the distinction of being the second RPG I ever played (Dungeons & Dragons was first).  Chill is a horror game in the vein of the Saturday night creature feature monster movies, or monster hunting TV shows of the 80s to today.  Here our heroes are brave (mostly) but are expected to push back the dark for just another day.  Chill First Edition came out of Wisconsin and Chill Second Edition came from the Chicago suburbs, so it had a strong Midwest flavor to it that drew me in immediately.
Like Call of Cthulhu’s investigators the characters of Chill are normal humans caught up in an abnormal world.  There are monsters and they need to stop them.  Not always because they are the best at what they do, but because they are the only ones that can. Unlike CoC, the characters of Chill are expected to survive, more or less.  Call of Cthulhu has investigators, Chill has heroes. The definition is subtle in play, but you can feel it.
Chill introduced me to the idea of a meta-plot in RPGs. That there was more going on than just what your characters did. There was this worldwide organization, S.A.V.E., and they helped with the beasties and things that went bump in the night. As the books came out the S.A.V.E. plot expanded.   But we ignored this for the most part with 1st Ed.  In 2nd ed and later 3rd Edition, this became more of a central feature of the game.

Vampire: The Masquerade (1991)
Very, very few games have changed the business as much as Vampire.  Up to this point, you fought the monsters.  With Vampire you became the monster and the battle was with yourself.
Vampire asks the question, what would you do to stay alive? What price is your humanity to just exist for one more long night?  There is personal horror here along with existential horror.    There are also other horrors. Things worse than you, things less human than you are.
The mechanics of the Vampire game, later the Storyteller System, were nothing new; a dice pool with successes and botches, but combined with the story and the effects it became the system of choice for many in the 1990s.  In fact it captured the fear and horror of the 90s so well that it can be better compared to the fear and horror seen in Dracula at the turn of the prior century (1890s).  Though Vampire owes its largest debt to Anne Rice and embraced (pardon the pun) by those who grew up on “Interview with a Vampire” and “The Vampire Lestat”.
For better or for worse Vampire changed not only how we view games but how they were also marketed and sold.

Kult (1993)
Kult asks the question “What is reality?” and the answers are not ones that normal people want to hear.  Characters can come from all walks of life and persuasion and the background can be any large modern city.  But that is where most games stay, Kult goes beyond that and characters (and players) discover that reality is an illusion and the real reality is a battleground of supernatural forces vying for control.
If WitchCraft posits that “All Things are True”, Kult’s point of view is “Nothing is true”.  In many ways, it presaged the ideas from the movies “That Dark City” and “The Matrix”.  There are supernatural creatures that control various areas of human action and interaction behind the scene and some humans know about these creatures, Archons and Death Angels, and follow them in cults. The characters do what they can to discover these forces or keep them at bay.
The game had a great concept in Mental Balance that was the first real challenger I felt to Call of Cthulhu's Sanity score in terms of gauging the mental health of the characters involved. More out of balance you are the stranger you become even to the point of not being altogether human yourself anymore.
With Kult, the horror is also of an existentialist variety, but in that way, only the Scandinavian seem to do well. If Call of Cthulhu is Lovecraft and Chill a Saturday Night Monster Movie then Kult is Søren Kierkegaard.

CJ Carella's WitchCraft (1999)
WitchCraft is, hands down, my favorite game.  Period.  Picking up a copy of this book back in 1999 was just like picking up a copy of the Monster Manual in 1979.  Everything I ever wanted in a game was right there. Everything.
WitchCraft had such a profound effect on my gaming that I can draw a rather clean line between what came before and what came after it.
The central idea behind WitchCraft is the same as most other Modern Supernatural Horror games.  The world is like ours, but there are dark secrets, magic is real, monsters are real. You know the drill.  But WitchCraft is different.  There is a Reckoning coming, everyone feels it, but no one knows what it is.  Characters then take on the roles of various magic using humans, supernaturals or even mundane humans and they fight the threats.  Another conceit of the game (and one I use a lot) is that supernatural occurrences are greater now than ever before.  Something's coming.
You can play the same sort of games you played in Call of Cthulhu or Chill as well as Vampire.  WitchCraft assumed that all supernatural views of the world were equally likely. So vampires could rub elbows, metaphysically speaking, with elder horrors from beyond. Your characters can be there to stop them, study them or join them as the case may be.

Little Fears (2001)
When was the last time you were really, really afraid? Most people would say childhood.  Little Fears is exactly about that.  Little Fears is a game of childhood fears.  The monsters are real, they hide in your closet and under your bed. The scary old lady down the street really is a hag. But don’t worry. You are protected by Belief and items that seem mundane or meaningless to grownups can help you.   Little Fears is based on a simple system, as befitting its nature of school children fighting monsters adults can’t see. 
Little Fears also has the notoriety of being one of three RPGs one of my FLGS will not sell in the open.  You can order it, but they don’t stock it.  I don’t agree, but I respect their choice.
While it is a game about children, it is not a game for children.  The subject matter of abuse and death can be a bit much for some adults, let alone kids.  It is also one of the most effective horror RPGs I own.

Sorcerer (2002)
If Vampire is all about what will you do to remain human, Ron Edward’s Sorcerer is all about what price will you do for power?  Created at the height of the creative output of The Forge, indeed the first RPG from and starting the independent RPG movement from The Forge. 
Like Vampire your character struggles with their Humanity. But where Vampire can be described as the Beast Within, Sorcerer is the Beast Without or in this case a personal Demon.  You make a pact with a Demon for power and the more power you need, use or take causes you to lose your humanity and become more and more enthralled to the demon.  The game can do a lot of different types of play, but it is all centered around this central idea.

And one more.

Special Mention: WITCH Fated Souls (2016)
I know I am only doing Seven games, but WITCH Fated Souls by Elizabeth Chaipraditkul combines a lot of what made all these other games so much fun.  You have the struggle with power vs. humanity vs. damnation you see in Vampire and Sorcerer. The hidden world of Little Fears, Chill, and Kult and the power struggle between faction you can see in WitchCraft and again in Vampire.   All against a background that is as unique as Call of Cthulhu and Kult.
I picked up this game last year and have not done enough with it yet.

All these games are great and many have won numerous awards over the years.  They have been enough that they cover most aspects of horror.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

This Old Dragon: Issue #126

October 1987.  I am a Freshman in University and about to hit my first big Halloween bash at a school notorious for it's 50,000+ people Halloween party.  But that is at night. Durning the day I pick up a copy of Dragon magazine that is destined to be one of my top three Dragons of all time.
So "Here I Go Again" with October 1987 and issue #126 of This Old Dragon!

Let's first talk about that cover.  It is easily one of my all-time favorite covers. Daniel R. Horne's "Saving the Best for Last" is an epic in a picture.  An old enemy back from the dead to exact his revenge and a ranger down to her last magic arrow.  Only one is going to walk away here.  To this day if I ever use a frost giant against a group of characters you can best believe that at least one of them is coming back as an undead to try to avenge.  That's some powerful shit there to still affect my gaming 30 years later.

Letters come from people looking for PBM games. I didn't have a mainframe account yet, but I knew even then that LISTSERVs were going to be the future of gaming, at least anyway for the next few years.  We also learn that Star Frontiers will no longer be published. More on that in a bit.

The Forum covers two letters concerning setting up a BBS (Bulletin Board System) for accessing older Dragon articles via modem.  Oh the can of worms that must have raised in the offices then.  This is the dawn of the age that TSR clamped down on ANYTHING on the Internet that was D&D related.  Heck in the 90s I seriously doubt I could have even done an article like this without hear from their lawyers.  Look, I am all about nostalgia here of the "Golden Age" of our hobby, but let's not forget what a bunch of assholes TSR had back in the late 80s and early 90s.  You could barely talk about anything online.  When it comes to doing anything online with D&D give me WotC over TSR any day of the week.  Sorry if that makes me loose my old-school street cred, but it is also the truth.

Ken Rolston is up first with his Copyright 1987 Role-Playing Reviews (No snark, I only point that out because it is one of the reasons why the BBS would not have worked and the CD-ROM didn't).  Covered this month is Role-Aids Undead.  I enjoyed the Role-Aids products even if they never had much, or any, traction in my groups back then.  Everyone was all "only TSR!". But Undead is a fun book an a fun adventure.  It had some great alternate lich ideas and some cool undead.  It even had a clan of disgraced dwarves.

Sage Advice runs the gambit.  One player asks if his LG Paladin could marry a CE Magic-User. It must have made a sub-conscious impact on me cause I'd spend the next few years having my Paladins fall in love with Witches.  Or maybe they are both my favorite classes.
We learn also there will be no more Star Frontiers (less details than promised) and no more D&D Cartoon.

We come up to our October feature! The Dead of Night.

To start off with a home run we have THE Tom Moldvay talking about a bunch of different vampires in Hearts of Darkness.  He gives us stats not only for the vrykolakas, Baobhan sith, and the ch'ing shih but also for Dracula himself. I had been working on the stats for Dracula for every game I knew at that point.  I even had Star Frontiers stats for him.  Seeing this was like a bolt from the blue.  I knew I was doing something right.  I still continue to this day.

Dead on Target by David Howery is a great article on using the right weapon against the right undead.  If you go with the idea that clerics can't use swords, then this article makes a lot of sense in explaining that.  Swords are not that effective against skeletons, zombies or ghouls. Sorry Michonne.  A lot of these ideas have been used in other games before or since, but here they were new and fresh and really, really bugged the crap out of my players. Especially since I Was about to go All Ravenloft, All the Time.

Vince Garcia is no stranger to the Other Side.  His article on A Touch of Evil:  Breathing life into the world of the dead was another one of those articles that were common sense in retrospect but seemed revolutionary at the time.  The article covers how to make undead scarier and more unique.  It flows well from Dead on Target to really, really make for a bad day.

And now the scariest article of all....Steve Winter is up with The Game Wizards Second Edition: An Editors Viewpoint.  Yes, 2nd edition is going to be here in about a year.  It is an overview of what the Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide will contain.  I remember a few years back comparing this list to my PHB and DMG and found minor differences, but nothing that stood out.  I can't recall if I was excited then or not. I DO know what I did think eventually.  It is the same cycle I go through with ever edition change.  1. "I am not going to upgrade, I am happy with what I have." 2. "Ok, I'll have a look and see, but I am not really going to play." 3. "Wow this is awesome! I love what they did!" 4. "Abandon everything, this is now the only edition I will ever play!" 5. Repeat.  The notable exception was 3.0 and I was ready for that one the moment I knew it was coming.

Dan Salas is next with a world changing article for me. Well, game world changing.  The Ecology of the Shade gives us a look into the Shade (from MM2).  AS an alternate to the Lich this was a viable option for characters looking for immortality and not exactly Good.  Some of this would come back from the dead in 4e as the Revenant.

Bazaar of the Bizarre covers Treasures of the Orient. Neat, but I would have rather seen more spooky stuff.

Dean Shomshak is back with some spells for Call of Cthulhu in A Ghastly Grimoire.  I adapted some to AD&D.

Letters and Forum have their overflow pages.

The Dragon's Bestiary covers mutants for Gamma World.  Yes, I converted some of these as well. Especially the Giggle Bugs.

New contact system for Top Secret.

The Marvel Phile is next and it is another home run.
One of my FAVORITE Marvel Comics was The Tomb of Dracula.  Loved it. Was introduced to such great characters as Drake, Blade and of course Doctor Strange.
The Marvel Phile has stats for Dracula and bringing his "history" up to date.
I spent HOURS pouring over various books and movies and comics to come up with the most detailed history of Dracula.  I had him doing something every year from the time he was born till 1987.  Obsessive much? Yes. But you should expect that by now.
I added his Marvel stats to my collection as well.

HUGE ad for something I never thought I would see in 1987.  A Star Wars RPG.






Role of Computers covers the state of the art for PC games at the time.  One game it covered was Rogue by Epyx, Inc.  It reviewed the PC and Mac versions, but not the one I was playing at the time, the Tandy Color Computer 3.  I was most disappointed.

Small ads.
Convention Calendar
Snarf Quest and Dragon Mirth.
A double shot of Wormy in the form of a Hex-Word puzzle and the normal comic.
Fun stuff.




All in all a crazy great issue and one I still use.

Want to know what I thought of White Dwarf from the same month? Spoiler, it doesn't measure up. But check out White Dwarf Wednesday #94.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

This Old Dragon: Issue #54

Again today is a bit of cheat. I had been going through all my October issues and this is the next one on the pile.  It's October 1981.  I am in the earliest days of my gaming life, having played Basic D&D pretty much exclusively but adding the bits from AD&D where we wanted. This would place me in 7th grade and my life was full of D&D and learning to program on a TRS-80 Model III.
Radio and the movies have been dominated by "Endless Love" and "Arthur" since August and on the shelves is Issue #54 of This Old Dragon!

Ok let's get to that cover.  I HATED it!  Not because it is bad or anything, but when I was little I had gotten really scared of the trees in the Wizard of Oz movie.  I also was scared of the Tree Monster from the terrible movie "From Hell it Came".  Poltergeist didn't help either. Ever since then Tree Monsters freak me out. Not today of course...that would be silly...(looks behind).
But all kidding aside it is actually a really fun cover.

We start of the issue with a letter from J.D. Webster concerning the fate of the comic Fineous Fingers.  FF was also that bit of D&D history that "predated" me. While I was playing and had been now for two years (little less) I was not reading Dragon yet and I had not even heard of White Dwarf.  I used things like FF to judge how long people had been playing.  If they talked about it I knew they had been more involved than me.  Plus one of the groups in town had a player (I forgot who) whose character was Fineous Fingers.   Oh, the letter.  Yeah, this is the last issue for FF.

There are some letters, mostly about a recent adventure competition.

Up first in real articles we have something from Ed Greenwood.  So this year (2017) I have been spending some time expanding my knowledge of the Forgotten Realms.   This article is one of the earliest articles on the Realms I know of.  Down-to-earth Divinity discusses how Ed has put together his Pantheon of Gods.   You can easily see how this evolved into the gods of the Realms.  I found it interesting that he includes the elemental gods from the Melnibonéan mythos. There are a lot of "reskinned" Deities and Demigods gods here too (which is the point of the article).  I liked that Ed specifically mentions that witches worship Selûne.  The article is long and seriously good.

A feature I loved in the past is present in this issue, The Dragon's Bestiary. We get a different version of the Boggart here, closer to it's Brownie origins. The Stroan, which looks like a giant water bug, and the Incubus.

Beware the Jabberwock is next by Mark Nuiver.  Background and stats for the creature and the poem that gave us the vorpal sword.

The centerpiece of this issue is the competition adventure for AD&D, Cavern Quest by Bill Fawcett.  It's a long one and has one of the most complex scoring systems I have seen. It might be fun to try with the right group.

Abomination is the fiction bit. Seems related to the cover.

Cash & Carry for Cowboys by Glenn Rahman is one of the very few Boot Hill articles I can recall reading in the pages of Dragon.  Odd that Boot Hill has not been remade in the wave of nostalgia hitting both WotC and the OSR.   It is a very useful price list of items for sale in the Old West.

Simulation Corner by John Prados looks like it was a semi-regular feature on Game Design.  This one, Practicing Game Design III Rules of Realism covers how to get realism into your game.  It might be interesting, in a purely academic sense, to compare this five-part series to what later would be said about GMS game theory or the work at The Forge.  My philosophy of game design is a simple one.  Do what is fun and serves the game the best.  Derive everything else from that.

Another favorite feature from the past, Bazaar of the Bizarre is next. This time we get More feather tokens by Edward J. Greenwood.   To go with a loose Halloween theme there is the Skull Mace, Mace of Pain and Jug of Undead.

Hmm...there is a continuation of an article on Ruins that I don't seem to have the first part of.

There is a silly little technology quiz on page 74.  At 11 I would have loved it. Today...it's like seeing an ad for polyester kung-fu pants.

We get a What's New. A Dragonmirth.  Both Wormy and Fineos Fingers in color.

Ads for both the D&D Basic set (A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure!)


Loved these ads. But you never got to fight a Purple Worm in Basic!

And and ad for the D&D Folders.


Always wanted one of these!

Great issue. Not very Halloween-filled, but still a lot of fun.

Here is what I said about White Dwarf #27 from the same month.
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