Showing posts with label supers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label supers. Show all posts

Friday, January 26, 2024

Kickstart Your Weekend: The Week of Valiant Heroes!

 Ok I have three semi-related Kickstarters for you this week. None of them need my encouragement as they were all funded pretty quickly, but they are still fun.

Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose: LAST STAND

Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose: LAST STAND

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jimbalent/tarot-witch-of-the-black-rose-last-stand?ref=theotherside

Jim Balent and Holly Golightly are back with another huge issue of Tarot Witch of the Black Rose. I am a massive fan of Jim and Holly. They are great people and put a lot of love into everything they do. Tarot is no different. I am woefully behind on my reading of these, but that's fine, I'll get caught up. 

Tarot and her allies (from the pic above, her sister Raven, her lover Jon "Skeleton Man" Webb, and more) are fighting a massive battle against the undead.  Sounds fantastic really.

I have supported many of their Kickstarters in the past, and they are always really fast in getting their material out. My general advice for these? Come to see what Jim is doing with Tarot, but also check out all the fun stuff Holly does in the stretch goals, add ons!

Moving on to other Supers.

Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game

Valiant Adventures Roleplaying Game

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/greenroninpub/valiant-adventures-roleplaying-game?ref=theotherside

Green Ronin, a company I adore, is up with a new set of Supers using their iconic Mutants & Masterminds system. 

I have been dying for some new superhero RPG rules, which should be fantastic. I know very, very little about the Valiant Universe, but I know it will be great. 

There are many options here, and there should be some level for everyone. They even have a free Quickstart that looks great, by the way. If this is how the full books look, then this will be a great-looking game. I also can't help but think I could use this with their own M&M 3 universe and the DC Adventures game they had out years ago. 

Tales of the Valiant Game Master's Guide 5E

Tales of the Valiant Game Master's Guide 5E

Another Valiant, this time Kobold Press' 5e alternative. The look is something of a cross between 5e and Pathfinder 2r. Still compatible with 5th edition.

There looks like there is a lot of good stuff in this book and more coming. I am just not sure if it is for me. I bet my oldest would love it though.


Thursday, September 7, 2023

Knight City: Trials of the Teen Witch!

 I love shared universes. I love shared multi-verses. But anytime I can see a collaboration of various creatives to bring new life to something old or bring to life something new, then I am all for it.

Last week, I shared how both TTim Knight over at Hero Press and Pun Issac over at Halls of the Nephilim brought to life my evil villain, The Refrigerator for their respective Superheroe universes. 

I'll play a little in their sandboxes, too and bring over one of my iconics to their worlds. Today I am visiting Knight City with one of my favorite superheroes Taryn, the Teen Wtich.

Tim is using a modified version of Villains & Vigilantes. I am not 100% clear on all his house rules, but I can't go wrong with a by-the-book super. 

Taryn "Nix" Nichols
Taryn and Mojo, created in ePic Character Generator

To recap, Taryn is the teen daughter of my witch Larina. I wanted a character specifically for supers that had a magical background. My comics reading through the 1980s was largely Teen Titans and X-Men (so...like everyone else) and I wanted a character that would fit into those sorts of tales. 

Her father is a faerie lord, and his relationship with Taryn and Larina is...complicated. He will feature in other plots, but I am working hard NOT to make this a Trigon-Raven retread right now. Scáthaithe would not really be interested in taking over the Earth. Bringing more magic to it? Yeah, that might work. But really, I think his issue would be for Taryn to stay in the Faerie Realms.

While I always considered Taryn a Millenial/GenZ girl, she is named after "Taryn" from the Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. Which is my favorite of the series. She is pretty much equal parts Raven from Teen Titans, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service. She has a thing for flying fast and dating guys with fast Japanese motorcycles.

This is an update/revision of her Mighty Protector stats.

Taryn Nix, student and crime fighting witch
Teen Witch
Taryn "Nix" Nichols

Power Level: 6
Age: 17; Ht: 5' 3"; Wt: 114lb; Gender: F
Basic Hits: 3
Side: Good

STR: 9
END: 12
INT: 15
AG: 12
CHA: 17

Hit Points: 7
Power Points: 48
Carry Capacity: 110 lbs
Basic HTH Damage: 1d3
Healing Rate: 0.9/day
Move: 33"

Damage Modifier: +2
Accuracy: +1
ATT: +2
DEF: ??
PSYCHIC DEF: ??
Detect Hidden/Danger: 12% / 16%

ABILITIES/POWERS

WITCH BOLT: Power Blast, Range 54, 1d20 dmg
TELEKINESIS: 540 lbs 
FLIGHT: 108 MPH
HEIGHTENED SENSES: Detect magical auras
MAGIC SPELLS: Takes a full action to prepare

GEAR

Broom. Prop, needed to fly.

Cat. Her black cat is named Mojo.

LEGAL STATUS: Minor of the United States with no criminal record.

What is Taryn doing in Knight City? No idea! Maybe Tim will let me know!

Thursday, August 31, 2023

The Blizzard of Summer 2023!

One of the best things about blogging and writing about games for so long is I have gotten to meet so many really great people and made some really great friends.

Two such are Tim Knight over at Hero Press and Pun Issac over at Halls of the Nephilim. Both are great guys, and we all have many intersecting interests in RPGs, comics, and movies.  So it is no real shock then when we decide to go over and play in each other's sandboxes.

Over the summer, they graciously allowed me to use two of their iconic characters, The Acrobatic Flea and The Web Archivist, for The Wasted Lands.

Now they have returned to honor and built versions of my misanthrope villain, The Refrigerator, for their own respective supers games, along with tweaks to make him work in their worlds. 

The Refrigerator

Both are great takes on my villain, and I love the additional little details they have both added. 

What is the point of having an iconic character if you can't share it?

Sunday, August 27, 2023

#RPGaDay2023 Game you'd like a new EDITION of...

 This is a two-fer for me. There are two games I want to see a new edition of and I hope that once again they are the same system.

I would love to see a new edition of Mutants & Masterminds AND a new edition of a DC Comics RPG.

DC Adventures and Mutants & Masterminds

I started with M&M back in 2nd Edition and I loved it. Such a great game.

When 3rd Edition came out I grabbed the PDFs right away and was going to pick up the print versions, but Green Ronin also had released the DC Adventures game that used the same M&M 3rd edition system. So I got all of those books.

I'd love a 4th edition of M&M and wonder if it couldn't move a little closer to their AGE system.

I also want a new DC comics RPG. I know there is a new Marvel game out and yes it looks great, but I have always been more of a DC guy.  I also want to buy more Green Ronin stuff.


RPGaDay2023


Monday, July 10, 2023

Wasted Lands Playtest: Superheroes in the Dreaming Age, Part 0

 I have been thinking a lot about gods, monsters, humans, and demons in these pages lately. Between my One Man's God, my ideas for Deities & Demigods II, and playtesting The Wasted Lands gods and their relationship to humankind have been on my mind a lot.

This has also got me thinking about how in today's society, the role of the hero of myth is now played out by comic book superheroes and maybe even more so by their movie counterparts. 

Christopher Nolan quote

Rick Riordan

Edna Mode

And there are more.  So this week I am going to make some modern "gods" and recraft them as Wasted Lands heroes. 

As is my nature, I am going to lean in on DC Characters, or at least their archetypes.

So come back later today and all this week for some humans as superheroes as gods in the time of the Dreaming Age for Wasted Lands.

And don't forget to checkout and back the Wasted Lands Kickstarter too!


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Witches of Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition

Yesterday I spent some LONG overdue time with Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition. It is a ridiculously fun game that is really easy to learn and play. I want to give it some more trials, but one of the first things I always do with a game is to see how well it emulates one or two of about a half-dozen or so characters I am always throwing at a game. 

I choose these characters because I know how I want to play from the start, the question is can I make the game do what I want.  Today, with the Fall Equinox knocking on our door and my 100 days of Halloween still on my mind, I am going to do witches.  Shocking. I know.

The Witches of Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition

BUT there is a good reason for this. I always want to check out the "magic" power of any supers game since that is the place you can really break the system. Also, I want to use characters familiar to readers here. This way you can compare and contrast between the various systems. They all do very similar things, but they all also do something different and it is in these differences I make my decisions. 

So, let's get back to some old favorites of mine!

Click on the sheets for larger.

Taryn Nichols, AKA "Teen Witch"

Taryn is my young, "Teen Titans"-esque superhero character. She needs to be on the low end of the supers scale. Her purpose is to see what I can do with the fewest amount of points.  In P&P I started her off at "Low" which is 100 hero points.

Taryn character sheetTaryn mini

Larina Nichols, AKA "Witch Queen"

Larina is always my "rules as written" witch.  To get her the way I wanted I had to jump a level to "High" at 150 hero points. I wanted to do 125 but she kinda got away from me.  Plus I would like to see the interplay of mother and daughter here in a supers game. 

She gains the extra Super Senses (Magic) power from her cursed left eye.

Larina character sheetLarina mini


Tara Maclay

Anyone who has been here for a while knows of my undying love for Willow and especially Tara.  They are largely retired now but would still be magical powerhouses in any game. I set Tara at "Legendary" with 175 hero points. She puts some points into her ability to heal by touch.

Tara character sheetTara mini


Willow Rosenberg

Willow sits at the highest end of my experiments. She is at "Iconic" level with 200 hero points. Like Tara she no longer has Burnout or Concentration con modifiers to her powers the Nichols girls do.  They have to focus, magic to Willow and Tara is like breathing at this point. 

Wilow character sheetWillow mini

I like how they turned out.  As with any game you might do things a little differently and that is fine. These builds work for me and give me a good idea of what the Omni-power can do for Magic.

I used the character sheets instead of typing them all up because I wanted that visceral feel of pencil on paper. Also so you all could an idea of what the sheets look like. 

You can see my other write-ups too for Zatanna, The Refrigerator, and Justice.

ZatannaThe RefrigeratorJustice


Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Review: Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition

Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition
This one has been sitting in my TBR pile for so long I actually feel kinda bad that I am just now getting to review it.  But this is my unofficial superheroes month so but late than never I guess.

Prowlers & Paragons Ultimate Edition

I like supers games. While I might be suffering from a little bit of superhero burnout right now I still enjoy these games. While I have not found the Prefect-for-Me supers game, this one is very, very close.

For this review, I am considering the POD and PDF I got from DriveThruRPG via their 2019 Kickstarter.  The book was ready rather quickly I am just really slow on my review.

PDF and Hardcover, 192 pages. Full-color covers and interior art.

This is a supers game so one of the first things I consider is the art. I know, that seems shallow of me, but comics are a visual medium. So are superhero movies and TV shows. The art of P&P is gorgeous. I read through it and wonder where is the comic that should be attached to this game? No comic. But the game still looks great.

Foreword and Introduction

The foreword from Sean Patrick Fannon talks about the game he wanted to create and then discovers that the original P&P from Leonard Pimentel did more or less everything he wanted. This new P&P updates the old with some new ideas from both Pimentel and Fannon.  

The Introduction covers the game and various glossary terms to get you going.

Chapter 1: Basics

The game mechanic is very basic and very easy to use. Every trait, ability, power, or what have you has a score. Figure our what you want to do, find the right combination, add those numbers up, minus any negative modifiers, and then roll that number of d6s.  "2s" and "4s" are one success, "6s" are two successes.  Compare that to the Thresholds table and you will know by how much you succeed, or fail.

Some special d6s would be nice, but that could get cost prohibitive. Keep in mind Fannon's original supers game was called "Handfuls of Dice" so it's good you can use regular d6s here!

Actions, Combat, Resolve, and Adversity are all dealt with in more detail in chapters 3, 4, and 5. But it is great to have here to get an idea on how to create your characters.

Chapter 2: Characters

The heart and soul of any supers game are the super themselves. Here we cover how to create your characters which will include types and power levels. This is a point-buy system so you get so many points depending on your power level and then use those points to buy everything you need. 

Abilities are your base abilities like what you can find in most games. Agility, Intellect, Might, Perception, Toughness, and Willpower.  Similar to D&D and very similar to Unisystem. 1d (1d6) to 6d represents the human norm. Talents are like skills, but broader.  We also have our huge list of Powers. Powers can have Pros and Cons. For example, Ironman and Green Lantern both need to have a power source for their powers. This would be a con. Characters can also have Perks (Wealth for Batman) and Flaws (Compulsion, also for Batman). 

The powers seem pretty comprehensive. Very much similar to say Mutants & Masterminds or other supers games.

This is the largest chapter of the book as expected.

Chapter 3: Action

This is the shortest chapter since action rolls are pretty easy to figure out.  Again you are rolling a bunch of d6s (determined by abilities, talents, powers, and other modifiers) and counting your successes ("2s" and "4s" are 1, "6s" are 2). Compare that number to the Thresholds chart. You can also embellish your actions.

Chapter 3: Action

Chapter 4: Combat

Combat is largely a specific type of action, but since fighting bad guys is so central to many supers games and the variety of ways to engage in combat, this one is a bit larger and on its own.

Chapter 5: Resolve and Adversity

It is not the powers that make heroes the heroes, but their ability to do what is right and fight on. This is Resolve.  Resolve allows the heroes to push through the tough times, to help their allies, to be able to "do this all day." It is a bit like the Drama Point system in Unisystem (Buffy, Ghosts of Albion). You can save it for the right moment for the best heroic action. Adversity is what challenges them. 

Chapter 6: Equipment

Utility belts, flight suits, fast cars, even swords, bats (baseball, not the flying kinds), and your base of operations are all covered here.

Chapter 7: Environment 

Street-level supers might be limited to the mean streets, but a supers game can take you anywhere and the players need to know how to handle these situations. 

Chapter 8: Friends and Foes

I always love these chapters in Supers games. We get a variety of heroes and villains to help populate our worlds. Often they are the authors' homages to the heroes and stories they love, but also to fill certain niches.  This chapter starts out with the basics; animals, extras (NPCs), and then we move onto the main heroes.  There are variations of some classics here; your speedster, your blaster, you martial arts expert, the super soldier, and so on. If you have read a comic...well...ever then you should know what to expect here. I can almost judge a game by how many of these heroes I'd like to use. So far this game is doing great since all of them seem interesting me. These are followed by the Foes. They are also very interesting. Sure in both cases (heroes and foes) are built on very, very familiar archetypes, but that is also why they work. 

Heroes and Foes

Chapter 9: Superhero Gaming

This last chapter covers running your Prowlers & Paragons games including creating villain and their motivations. Also creating scenes, stories, and series.

This is followed by a character sheet, a list of Kickstarter backers, and a good index. 

Honestly, this is really a great supers game. It is a little less on the complexity scale than say Mutants & Masterminds, but more so than say Icons.  

while the notion of rolling say 20+ d6s can be daunting for really powerful characters, the fact that you are just looking for success makes it go really fast. Plus dropping a handful of dice for an attack? Yeah, there is sublime satisfaction in that as well.

There is also a free Quickstart and free Character Sheets.

Character creation is pretty fast and very fun.  Here are some examples of ones I was able to do with just some of the Quickstart details and a pre-Kickstarter draft.

I am going to have to come back to this game for some more!

Friday, September 16, 2022

Review: Vigilante City #4 Into the Sewers!

Vigilante City - Into The Sewers!
Our last day for Vigilante City! It has been a lot of fun. Our fourth book takes us Into the Sewers so let's get to it.

Vigilante City - Into The Sewers!

PDF and softcover book. 224 pages. Color cover, black & white interior art.  For the purposes of this review, I am considering the PDF from DriveThruRPG and the soft-cover books I picked up from Bloat Games' own store.

Here we see Bloat Games' TMNT love on full display. And it works well here. I am sure other supers RPGs have tried this before, but I can't think of any that do this so explicitly. 

If Book #2 gave us an overview of Victory City above ground then this book covers the sewers and underground. Sadly the sewers are full of radiation, mutants and eve worse dangers.

We go through the sections and neighborhoods of Victory City and discuss what is going on underneath. General features as well special ones such as Shayana's Bazaar. Great for all your underground (literal and figurative) needs. 

It would not be a SURVIVE THIS!! game without plenty of random tables and this one does not disappoint.  100 things you can encounter in the sewers. There are plenty of new creatures too and they are detailed in this book. Yes. There are alligators and vampires in these sewers. 

There are two new introductory adventures, "Into the Sewers, We Go!" and "We're In a Pickle Here" to get the PCs out of the relative comfort of the above world down to where the action is. 

Given all of the new focus on mutants, there is also an updated Mutant Class with more abilities to replace or augment the one in the Core Book.  Just reading through them I can't see any reason why you could not use both if you wanted. Different strains of mutants. Likewise, there is an updated Anthropomorph class.

We end with some new skill packages which include assassin and sewer rat.  In this game, you can have a sewer rat skill pack applied to an actual sewer rat Anthropomorph. 

Graf von Orlock aka "The Nosferatu"

Living in the sewers under Victory City is a monster feared by humans, supers, and mutants alike. This monster summons rats and other vermin by the hundreds. He is the undead monster known as The Nosfertu.

The warlord known as the Graf von Orlock was not a pleasant man even in life, his death and rebirth is lost to the sands of time and even he does not recall it. Unlike the suave vampires of film and television, the Nosferatu is a monster; both in appearance and deeds. Over the centuries his face has become more and more rat-like.

The Nosferatu


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Review: Vigilante City #3 Superhero Team-Up!

Vigilante City #3 Superhero Team-Up!
We continue our tour of Vigilante city with the next book in the series and the first expansion. If this one makes you think of the Teen Titans, then I think that might be the point.

Vigilante City #3 Superhero Team-Up!

PDF and softcover book. 176 pages. Color cover, black & white interior art.  For the purposes of this review, I am considering the PDF from DriveThruRPG and the soft-cover books I picked up from Bloat Games' own store.

Classes

This book presents some new classes for us to try out.  They are the Alchemist, Getaway Driver, Mutant Hunter, Occultist, Revenant Hero, Sewer Guardian, Tunnel Shadow, and the Weapon Master.

So bits of TMNT poking through again, but that is perfectly fine really.  The classes are good and few I really like. The Occultist was the obvious choice and yes I am a fan, but also the Alchemist and the Revenant Hero for running a game like The Crow. 

We get some new skills too. The nice thing about VC is the skill system is very flexible. You could even run it without skills if you like.  I try not to get too bogged down in the skills myself, but the system here makes it rather easy to use. 

Teams

This section is where I am getting the Teen Titan vibe, though it can cover all sorts of teams.  The first is team combo actions which give you some ideas on how teams can work together.  There is some detail on your base of operations as well. Covers everything from living in the sewers to a giant tower shaped like a T if that is your fancy.

Gear

Alchemists and Occultists can make potions so there is new gear associated with that. There are new items of equipment and vehicles. If you ever needed to know how much it would cost to build your own superhero lair then this book has you covered.

Dr. Azmournus and More

We get into a section of rogues next. Up first is the evil Dr. Azmournus and his crew. This guy does tests on mutants and Anthropomorphs to create even more mutated creatures. He is not a pleasant guy. We also get his mutated crew.

There is a vigilante group that doesn't quite operate within the law, the "Wretch Slayers," and a group of sewer-dwelling crime fighters that face off against Dr. Azmournus and his crew ("Insecto's Sewer Guard").

There are more, but you get the idea. Use them all or none, but they add a bit more color to the streets, and under the streets, of Victory City.

Adventures

What might be the best part of a book full of great parts are the adventures. Included here are "Backup"  by David Okum and homage to the "Buddy Cop" movies of the 70s and 80s.  "The SynGen Situation" by Melanie R. Meadors, an open-end, even "sandbox" style adventure to get players and characters acquainted with Victory City.  You get to meet other heroes and even have a run-in with a noisy reporter! There is even a tavern where you can meet up.  Michele Lee gives us "The Demonic Cabal" here you get to meet a mentor in the form of Roadkill an ex-cop and former vigilante.  Of course, Roadkill soon lives up to his name and is dead. It is up to the player characters to find out how and why. Friend of the Other Side James M. Spahn is up with "Quiver of Serpents" which is more of an introduction to the criminal organization, the titular Quiver of Serpents as the PC's version of the Legion of Doom.  

All in all the book works really well and is a worthy addition to the Vigilante City line.

Taryn Nix aka "Teen Witch"

Taryn is, as long-time readers might know, the daughter of my iconic witch Larina. She began not as a D&D character but as a Mutants & Masterminds one (back in the M&M 2.0 days) and a BESM 3.0 character.  Naturally, I would use her as my go-to character for trying out magic systems in superhero games.

She and Larina have, well, issues. No need to get into them here, but suffice to say that if Larina is a "witch" archetype then Taryn is my "warlock" archetype. Taryn is also my "embrace the stereotype" character. So she will wear a large witch hat and all the rest. I swear it is like she tries to piss her mother off.  She is a hero, or maybe a reluctant hero, because she likes to hang out west of town where she can watch the VC Yakuza's hanger's-on race their highly modified and not exactly street legal motorcycles. If she were in the Teen Titans she would 100% be into Robin. 

In this game, I would say she gets into some trouble because some potions she has made are being sold as drugs and now she has all the wrong people interested in her. 

Taryn Nix aka "Teen Witch"


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Review: Vigilante City #2 Villain's Guide

Vigilante City #2 Villain's Guide
Book 2 of the SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City core rules is the Villain's Guide and it was shipped out with Core Rules #1.  It's Vigilante City week, so let us get to it.

Vigilante City #2 Villain's Guide

PDF and softcover book. 300 pages. Color cover, black & white interior art.  For the purposes of this review, I am considering the PDF from DriveThruRPG and the soft-cover books I picked up either via Kickstarter or from Bloat Games' own store.

This book builds off of the Vigilante City #1 Core Rules. While it says "Villain's Guide" on the cover it is really much more than that. 

Victory City

We start out with the titular Vigilante City, "Victory City." We get the layout of the city and its districts. We get a great map of the city (and it is reprinted on the back).  

Map of Vigilante City

Since this is street-level supers we get a lot of gangs. The gangs do feel like what you might get if you took the gangs from the movie The Warriors and let them populate Gotham City from Batman the Animated Series for a while. Yeah, it is every bit as fun as it sounds. I bet the creative team had a blast working on this. 

There is a great section following about building your own city or adding to Victory City.  Personally, I would rather add to the existing VC.  I mean nearly every superhero story is defined by the city they live in. So for a Vigilante City game, I am going to want to play in Vigilante City.

Anthropomorph Island is our next big section and it is an island of anthropomorphic animals. Not all of them are teenage. It's a neat little addition to the superhero mythos. 

There are a couple of sample adventures, which is nice.

Rogues Gallery

At about 75 pages in we finally get the Rogue Gallery. Ok, "finally" is too strong. Everything up to this point has been great. But let's be honest it is the bad guys that are the most fun.

Nearly 90s pages of all sorts of bad guys (and girls and animals) here and they are all fun.

There are a couple of local heroes, some sample characters, and a bunch NPCs. 

Bestiary 

There is a bestiary that covers normal animals to were-beasts and other threats. Bigfoot is even here! Note: The Dark Places & Demogorgons Cryptid Manual would work great with this. 

Community Content

I *think* this material was part of the Kickstarter where backers could submit heroes and villains of their own. This is that section and it is a lot of fun really.  I mean really, we are getting an official version of the Acrobatic Flea? Worth the price of the book alone!

Its the Acrobatic Flea!

This book could have been also called the GM's Guide, with all the material here.  It is great stuff. Can you play VC without it? Sure. And you can also have Batman without the Joker and Gotham City but it would not be as much fun.

The stuff of my nightmares

The Refrigerator for Vigilante City

Time to revisit one of my favorite bad guys for a supers game, Dr. Andreas Gelé, AKA "The Refrigerator."

A while back I introduced you all to Dr. Andreas Gelé, aka The Refrigerator. He is a socially stunted misanthrope with mommy issues and the intellect to act out in the worst ways possible.

This guy came, literally, out of a nightmare.  Around 1982 or so (I was 12) I was hit with a double shot of women being frozen alive, the movies were "In Like Flint" and "Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die." It really bugged the hell out of me and gave me nightmares for a long time.  Still kind of bugs me.  Of course, later I learned there is a whole creepy fetish thing related to this.  I think my issue is far more elemental.  I hate being really cold and think being frozen is quite possibly the worst thing ever.

His name comes from the classic Women in Refrigerators website started by Gail Simone.

The Refrigerator in Victory City

What brings the infamous Dr. Gelé to VC? Well, I see him as sort of a Dr. Phibes-like character now, he freezes and defrosts himself periodically to inflict new horrors on the world.  He has moved his operation to VC to once again seek out beautiful women for his collection.  

Once again I went old school for this sheet.

Dr. Andreas Gelé, AKA "The Refrigerator."

I could see him maybe trying to do research at Victory City University's library (he is old school after all) where he sees my Larina working there in her guise as a librarian. Well...not a guise really she got a degree in this. He decides he needs to add her to his perverse collection completely unaware that she is also the superhero known as the Witch.

His big evil plan might be thwarted by my other big bad.  Who is that? Well, that will be revealed on Friday!

I can see this game taking the place of Icons or Villains & Vigilantes in my life. It is at the intersection of them both for me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Review: Vigilante City #1 Core Rules

Vigilante City #1 Core Rules
It is the start of Vigilante City Week here at The Other Side for my unofficial Super Hero month of September.  

Vigilante City has been sitting on top of the computer I use as a home server forever.  I figure now is a great time to let everyone know about this great street-level supers game.

Vigilante City #1 Core Rules

PDF and softcover book. 292 pages. Color cover, black & white interior art.  For the purposes of this review, I am considering the PDF from DriveThruRPG and the soft-cover books I picked up either via Kickstarter or from Bloat Games' own store.

Vigilante City, or more accurately, SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City #1 Core Rules, is a street-level supers game for the SURVIVE THIS family of games from Bloat Games. The same folks that gave us the awesome Dark Places & Demogorgons and the amazing We Die Young RPGs.  So right away these rules feel familiar.  But this game is more about teenage angst in the 80s and 90s. There are mean streets out there.

The game really is a great starter for anyone that has played D&D/OSR-like games and wants to get into a supers game.  Like all SURVIVE THIS!! games this one in class and level with levels topping off at 10. 

Right from the start, this game lets us know what it is all about. These are street-level supers. While there might the occasional mutant, anthropomorphic otter, Super Soldier, or power suit we will not be seeing the likes of Superman or Wonder Woman. This is Batman, Captain America, and Tony Stark down all the way to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and some guy with a baseball bat.  If this sounds like your kind of game (and really who wouldn't want to play this?) then buckle in, because this is going to be fun.

The Core Rule book covers the basic hero classes (this is a class/level system derived from the SRD) and basic rules.  I am going to point out here that the rules are very much the same as other Survive This!! games with notable areas to aid heroic play.  While in the past I have pointed out that teens of the 80s in Dark Places & Demogorgons can grow up to become the young adults of the 90s We Die Young, there is no logical progression here from those games. To be fair that is also not the designer's intent. I *can* see a world that involves all these games (that and their newer What Shadows Hide line) but let's first appreciate this game for what it is right now and not what inhuman creation I'll make with it later. 

Who was that masked otter?
The Basics

We start off with the basic rules, or maybe I should say "Basic" rules since these rules are designed from the d20 SRD to feel like old-school D&D, D&D Basic in particular. As mentioned before it shares this design with all the other Survive This!! games.  You generate attributes, the usual six plus a seventh "Survival," you generate your saving throws, pick your alignments, calculate your Vigilante Points, work out your Origin/Background (every good hero has a backstory!) and then comes the time to choose your class.

Human Classes

Basic D&D's DNA is peaking through here. You have your normal human classes and then a section on "Mega Humans." But let us talk about humans first.  Essentially these are the roles that an everyday, but not really average, human could pick up and say "I am going to fight crime as a ..." Yes a lot of these require training and/or to be born with the right genetic lottery (smart, rich, or both).  

These classes are: Athlete, Crime Fighter, Dark Avenger, Gadgeteer, Genius, Hardboiled Detective, Knight Nurse, Martial Artist, Mentor, Mercenary, Protégé, Sharp Shooter, Street Preacher, and True Vigilante.  Most, if not all are fairly self-explanatory.  Each gets 10 levels of advancement where they gain certain advantages. Like the comics that inspired them the character classes are fairly 2-Dimensional. THIS IS APPROPRIATE. You fill in the blanks with your backgrounds and skills. You can choose "Street Preacher" but you have to figure out if you are Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel's character in "From Dusk til Dawn) or Jesse Custer from Preacher. 

Mega-Humans

Much like the split between Demi-humans and humans in D&D, and Meta-humans/Mutants and humans in comics, we get our section on Mega-Humans. Mega humans are both a "species" and a "class" they can pick up skill packages to differentiate themselves, but largely this is what they are. Again, this fits the tone of the X-man comics.

Our Mega-Human classes are: Anthropomorphs, Borg, Mutant, Mystic, Powered Armor, Psion, Super Soldier, and Super Speedster.  Lots of choices here.  

The Mystic

These classes and their powers (spells for the mystic, psionics for the psion) cover the first 210 pages of or 2/3rds of this book.  That is expected really.

The classes are followed with Skils & Skill Packs, XP/Leveling, Gear, Vehicles, Game Terms and Critical tables.

There is a solid index and the PDF is bookmarked. 

The game has a feel of Villians & Vigilantes mixed with Mutants & Masterminds with the difficulty of Icons.  Any veteran of either of those games will pick this one up fast. Anyone that has played D&D or other Survive This!! games will pick it up even faster.  That is already given the fact that this is a quick and easy game to learn and play.  There are groups out there that are searching for the perfect Supers game and this could very well be it for them.  I find it very, very appealing.  

Like all games from Bloat Games, there is a lot of support online and in other books for this line.

Vigilante City

Larina Nix for Vigilante City

Give me a magic-using class and I am going to try it out with my Drosophila melanogaster of magic, Larina. 

Given this is an old-school game I opted to go old school with dice, a printed character sheet, and a pencil.  I spent longer troubleshooting my scanner than I did on this character build!

Larina Nix for Vigilante City

I like how she came out, to be honest. And I like how fast it was to create a 10th-level character too. I'll pick her spells later. I figure she would have access to all of them. 

I'll do this for the other books in the series as well, adding what each book adds to the game. This will be quite fun really. 

All I could think of while doing all of this was this song.  So play us home Steve!


Saturday, January 30, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Mutants & Masterminds

Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition
Mutants & Masterminds from Green Ronin might feel like a stretch from all the other systems I have done, but really it is quite appropriate given the playstyle I like.  And if I am doing a multi-verse of witches here, then it behooves me to throw some supers into the mix. 

The Game: Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition

M&M 2nd Ed was one of my favorite superhero RPGs, so it made sense for me to upgrade to the 3rd Edition when it came out.  Also given that the same system was being used in the DC Adventures RPG, I just really could not say no.

I have talked a lot about M&M 3 and DC Adventures here. And it is no surprise with my Zatanna postings that I am more of DC fan than a Marvel fan. 

I am happy to see the M&M is still going strong.  One of the true success stories of the OGL experiment. 
Green Ronin even has a Pateron for Mutants and Masterminds at https://www.patreon.com/MutantsAndMasterminds

From the very start of War of the Witch Queens, I knew there was going to be some influences from other games and other universes.  Mutants & Masterminds, which already embraces the Multiverse, was an early obvious choice for me.   But something that no one knows is that my Come Endless Darkness also had an origin point in M&M.  Back then it was going to be Dracula trying to take over the world.  I really could not pass up the chance of Dracula fighting someone named Summers.  While I moved the whole thing over to D&D (and Dracula to Strahd) I can still see some of the old DNA of M&M in it.  Some of the rest moved on to WotWQ.  One idea, in particular, was an anti-hero Scáthach.

Now before I get into the character of Scáthach, I do want to address that this is neither the Ulster cycle character Scáthach, nor is the Red Sonja character of Scáthach, The Red Goddess, though in true comic book fashion, both are inspirations.  Since she is supposed to be a witch of sorts I am going all the way back to one of my first WitchCraft RPG games that took place at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Plus I wanted a character I could port back over to D&D if I wanted.

DC Adventures

The Character: Scáthach the Shadow Witch

Professor Moria Stewart, Ph.D. was a lecturer on classic Irish and Scot Mythology at the University of St. Andrews.  She was busy sketching pictures of Dunscaith Castle in Scotland while working on a new paper about Cú Chulainn when she noticed that all her sketches featured the same shadowy figure.  She did not remember drawing it, nor even seeing it.  She compared it photos she took but nothing was uncovered.  She returned to the castle site and was confronted by a Shadow.  She fell and hit her head on some rocks below the castle. She was certain to die but the figure came to her saying it would give her power if it could bond to her.  Not wanting to die Dr. Stewart agreed and became a creature of shadow herself.

While during the day she goes about her life and teaches her classes to bored undergrads by night (or when she needs too) she can veil herself in shadows and she becomes Scáthach the Shadow Witch!

Scáthach, The Shadow Witch - PL 10
Realm Name: Moria Stewart

Strength 1, Stamina 1, Agility 1, Dexterity 1, Fighting 7, Intellect 3, Awareness 2, Presence 1

Advantages
Contacts, Languages 3, Well-informed

Skills
Athletics 2 (+3), Deception 2 (+3), Expertise: History 8 (+11), Insight 2 (+4), Intimidation 2 (+3), Perception 4 (+6), Ranged Combat: Shadow Blast: Cone Area Damage 10 8 (+9), Stealth 8 (+9), Technology 4 (+7)

Powers
Blend in Shadows: Concealment 2 (Sense - Sight; Blending)
Faerie Fire: Cumulative Affliction 5 (1st degree: Impaired, 2nd degree: Disabled, 3rd degree: Unaware, Resisted by: Will, DC 15; Cumulative, Increased Range 2: perception; Limited: One sense (Sight))
Shadow Blast: Cone Area Damage 10 (shadow, DC 25; Cone Area: 60 feet cone, DC 20, Increased Range: ranged)
Shadow Form (Activation: Standard Action)
   Alternate Form (Shadow) (Activation: Standard Action)
      Concealment: Concealment 5 (All Visual Senses, Sense - Hearing; Limited 2: Darkness and Shadow)
      Insubstantial: Insubstantial 4 (Incorporeal)
      Movement: Movement 3 (Safe Fall, Trackless: Choose Sense 1, Water Walking 1: you sink if you are prone)
   Flight: Flight 6 (Speed: 120 miles/hour, 1800 feet/round)
   Ríastrad: Enhanced Fighting 6 (+6 FGT)
      Strength Effect
   Shadow Aura: Protection 6 (+6 Toughness; Sustained; Noticeable: Visible effects)
Shadow Magic: Illusion 5 (Affects: Two Sense Types - Sight, Hearling, Area: 30 cft., DC 15)
Shadow Sense: Remote Sensing 5 (Affects: Visual Senses, Range: 900 feet)
Shadow Sight: Senses 3 (shadow, Darkvision, Low-light Vision)

Offense
Initiative +1
Faerie Fire: Cumulative Affliction 5 (DC Will 15)
Grab, +7 (DC Spec 11)
Shadow Blast: Cone Area Damage 10 (DC 25)
Throw, +1 (DC 16)
Unarmed, +7 (DC 16)

Complications
Identity: Shadow Witch is different than Moria
Mythic Weakness: Can't touch any metal while in Shadow form

Languages
English, French, Greek, Latin, Scots Gaelic

Defense
Dodge 3, Parry 7, Fortitude 2, Toughness 7, Will 4

Gender: Female
Age: 35
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 145#
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

Power Points
Abilities 22 + Powers 98 + Advantages 5 + Skills 20 (40 ranks) + Defenses 5 = 150

Hero Lab and the Hero Lab logo are Registered Trademarks of LWD Technology, Inc. Free download at https://www.wolflair.com Mutants & Masterminds, Third Edition is ©2010-2017 Green Ronin Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.

This character could be a lot of fun!  I can see her working in either the DC Universe or the M&M Universe.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Zatannurday: Zatanba Live Action Movie in the Works?

I know we have all heard this one before, but it seems like a new live-action Zatanna movie is in the works at Warner Brothers.

DCEU Mythic / Comic Book Resources reports.





We have all heard rumors before of Emilia "Mother of Dragons" Clarke being eyed for the part for either the movie or the HBOMax Justice League Dark series.  But right now everything is either hearsay or rumor. 

But hope springs eternal here at the Other Side.

In other DC news, Ray "Cyborg" Fisher accuses Justice League relief Director Joss Whedon of unprofessional behavior.



Or the same thing I have been saying about this asshole for the last 20 years.

Here is hoping that we start seeing something better from the DC Movies.

Friday, May 8, 2020

No Way for You to Hide: Carmilla and Laura for Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition

It's been a while since I did one of these, but I just discovered that the entire seasons of Carmilla have now been collected into single videos, so I thought it might be a good time to revisit some old friends.

Outfits based on this picture.
Characters created with ePic Character Generator

I think for these versions I am going to set it a little after the Carmilla movie and long after the end of Season 3. So I guess three years now.  Wow.

In a Mutants & Masterminds game, Laura is now a world-renown reporter in the Lois Lane mold, with a knack of uncovering supernatural goings-on.  Carm is still living on a fortune that has also collected 340+ years of compound interest. And of course, helping Laura, because she knows that in true Lois Lane fashion, Laura is going to get herself into trouble.

Given the number of adaptations of Carmilla over the years I might even riff on that with one of her less than savory relatives show up.  Maybe an older brother. Someone who is evil, threatens her fortune and whom Carmilla would hesitate to kill outright at first.  That is till he puts the moves on Laura.

For these builds, I am going to rely heavily on the Mutants & Masterminds Deluxe Hero's Handbook,
Power Profiles, and of course the Supernatural Handbook.

I figure that Laura is a bit higher in PL than your average reporter.  She has saved the world and she knows Krav Maga.   Carmilla is a very, very old vampire (340 years old!) and she has seen a lot in her years.  She was alive for a while thanks to a "gift" from Inanna and is a vampire again.

Laura Hollis
Creampuff

Strength 1, Stamina 2, Agility 2, Dexterity 1, Fighting 1, Intellect 3, Awareness 1, Presence 1

Advantages
Krav Maga (Accurate Attack, Agile Feint, All-out Attack,  Close Attack, Contacts, Defensive Attack, Improved Disarm, Inspire,  Power Attack, Precise Attack (Close, Concealment), Prone Fighting)
Attractive, Languages 2, Skill Mastery: Expertise: Journalism

Skills
Acrobatics 1 (+3), Athletics 5 (+6), Close Combat: Unarmed 6 (+7), Deception 1 (+2), Expertise: Journalism 5 (+8), Insight 5 (+6), Investigation 5 (+8), Perception 5 (+6), Persuasion 1 (+2), Stealth 1 (+3)

Offense
Initiative +2
Grab, +2 (DC Spec 11)
Throw, +1 (DC 16)
Unarmed, +7 (DC 16)

Complications
Obsession: Find the truth!
Relationship: Carmilla

Languages
English, French, German

Defense
Dodge 3, Parry 2, Fortitude 3, Toughness 2, Will 1

Power Points
Abilities 24 + Powers 0 + Advantages 15 + Skills 18 (35 ranks) + Defenses 3 = 60

Validation: Unarmed: Attack Bonus exceeds Power Level limit by 1

Height: 5'2"
Weight: 119 lbs
Hair Color: Brown/Blonde
Eye Color: Brown
Age: 25

Carmilla, aka Mircalla, Countess Karnstein
Useless Vampire

Abilities
Strength 5, Stamina -, Agility 2, Dexterity 3, Fighting 5, Intellect 2, Awareness 2, Presence 4

Advantages
All-out Attack, Animal Empathy, Attractive, Fascinate (Deception), Improved Critical 3: Vampire Bite: Weaken 9, Improved Hold, Improved Initiative 3, Languages 4, Power Attack

Skills
Acrobatics 2 (+4), Athletics 2 (+7), Close Combat: Unarmed 3 (+8), Deception 5 (+9), Expertise: Languages 6 (+8), Insight 6 (+8), Intimidation 4 (+8), Investigation 1 (+3), Perception 8 (+10), Persuasion 2 (+6), Ranged Combat: ???? 3 (+6), Stealth 10 (+12)

Powers
Alternate Form (Moonlight) (Activation: Move Action)
   Flight: Flight 1 (Speed: 4 miles/hour, 60 feet/round)
   Immunity: Immunity 0
   Insubstantial: Insubstantial 2 (light, Gaseous; Absent Strength)
Cat form: Variable Attack 2 (animal, DC 12, Advantages: All-out Attack; Action: move, Attack: Dodge)
Spider-Climb: Movement 1 (Wall-crawling 1: -1 speed rank)
Undead Invulnerability
   Immortality: Immortality 5 (Return after 1 day; Limited: Not when staked or beheaded [0 ranks only])
   Immunity: Immunity 30 (undead, Fortitude Effects)
   Regeneration: Regeneration 8 (undead, Every 1.25 rounds)
   Vampiric Protection: Protection 9 (+9 Toughness; Limited 2: Not against Holy or Magic)
Vampire Bite: Weaken 9 (undead, Affects: Weaken Stamina, Resisted by: Will, DC 19)
Vampiric Senses: Senses 3 (Acute (Type): smell, Detect: smell (blood) 1)

Offense
Initiative +14
Grab, +5 (DC Spec 15)
Throw, +3 (DC 20)
Unarmed, +8 (DC 20)
Vampire Bite: Weaken 9, +5 (DC Will 19)

Complications
Blood Dependence: Needs blood to live
Relationship: Laura
Weakness: Can't use vampire powers in sunlight.

Languages
Ancient Sumerian, English, French, Hungarian, Latin, Romanian

Defense
Dodge 2, Parry 5, Fortitude None, Toughness 0, Will 2

Power Points
Abilities 36 + Powers 74 + Advantages 15 + Skills 26 (52 ranks) + Defenses 0 = 151

Height: 5'3"
Weight: 121 lbs
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown (red when enraged or feeding)
Age: 340

Links


Saturday, May 2, 2020

Zatannurday: Justice League Dark: Apokolips War

New Direct to Video DC Movie is hitting the "shelves" next week.
Of course, it has my attention.


Justice League Dark: Apokolips War deals with the Justice League deciding they need to stop Darkseid once and for all.


Among others, we are getting John Constantine (voiced by Matt Ryan again), Raven (Taissa Farmiga of AHS fame), Rosario Dawson as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman, and Camilla Luddington as Zatanna Zatara (reprising her JLDark role) and more.

Yeah I guess Superman and Batman are in it too.

The big news though that this is supposedly the final film in the DCAU, or DC Animated Universe.
Did it fall prey to Crisis too?

I'll let you know next week.  I got my pre-order in.

IMDB, https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11079148/
Amazon, https://smile.amazon.com/Justice-League-Dark-Apokolips-War/dp/B085DY6GY6

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Zatannurday: J.J. Abrams Justice League Dark

Well, the big news is the rumor that J.J. Abrams has three new shows coming up on HBO Max.  One of them is supposed to be Justice League Dark!

Here are some of the links to various news sites.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/4/16/21224271/justice-league-dark-jj-abrams-hbo-max-warnermedia-shining-berlanti-dc-comics

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/jj-abrams-sets-3-hbo-max-shows-justice-league-dark-shining-spinoff-duster-1290530

https://variety.com/2020/tv/news/justice-league-dark-series-the-shining-series-hbo-max-jj-abrams-1234582489/



I am looking forward to this, but Justice League Dark has not had a lot of success getting off the page to the screen, save for the one animated movie. And even then they had to throw in Batman.

With a little bit of luck, we will get Matt Ryan to play John Constantine.

The thing I am looking forward to the most is who will play Zatanna.

Related, I did find this video on all the portrayals of Zatanna over the years.




An here she is from the Justice League Dark animated movie.