Friday, May 31, 2024

Dracula, The Hunters' Journals: 31 May, Jonathan Harker's Journal (Cont.)

 Jonathan awakens to a new horror.

Dracula - The Hunters' Journals

31 May.—This morning when I woke I thought I would provide myself with some paper and envelopes from my bag and keep them in my pocket, so that I might write in case I should get an opportunity, but again a surprise, again a shock!

Every scrap of paper was gone, and with it all my notes, my memoranda, relating to railways and travel, my letter of credit, in fact all that might be useful to me were I once outside the castle. I sat and pondered awhile, and then some thought occurred to me, and I made search of my portmanteau and in the wardrobe where I had placed my clothes.

The suit in which I had travelled was gone, and also my overcoat and rug; I could find no trace of them anywhere. This looked like some new scheme of villainy....


Moon Phase: Waxing Crescent

So where was Jonathan hiding his Journal? If Dracula took everything why not this? I am sure it is because Jonathan would have kept his journal on his person. Everything that Dracula took were things he expected Jonathan to have and things he had use for; the letter of credit, travel documents, and even the suit. 

It will be a bit before we hear from our heroes again.

Sci-Fi Month Final Thoughts

 This Sci-fi month was a lot of fun. I got to look into the history of Gamma World, reminisce a little on Star Frontiers and Star Wars, and finally spend some quality time with Alternity. 

All fun games that I enjoyed, but none really hit the mark I am looking for. Now to be fair, this is largely about me and not the games themselves.  Next year I am going to cover a bunch of d20 based games, but in the meantime I have a solution to my sci-fi game problem, and it is one I knew I had to do for a very long time.

I am just going to have to do my own. 

With Thirteen Parsecs, that is exactly what I am doing. 

Thirteen Parsecs

This game uses the same O.G.R.E.S. game system that you find in NIGHT SHIFT and Wasted Lands. Also, like NIGHT SHIFT's "Night Worlds," this one has new "Solar Frontiers."

At least for me, I want to make a game to fill the hole in my life that Star Frontiers, Star Wars, and Alternity would have filled. 

Thirteen Parsecs will be hard sci-fi for people who like that (me!), Space Opera for people who like that, and futuristic military in space. It will also fill my need for horror in space. Something that Dark•Matter was also doing. 

You can combine Thirteen Parsecs with NIGHT SHIFT for all sorts of horror in space or even just horror sci-fi.  If you also like this sort of thing, I recommend the "No One Hears You Scream" pledge level. 

We are very close to offering hardcovers and leather-bound editions, and I really, really want to see that become a reality. 

If you want to know more, beyond the funding page information, then check out this Q&A Jason, Derek, and I did with Dan Davenport. 

I can even begin to tell how excited I am for this game and to get it into your hands.

Recently I saw copies of Wasted Lands at my FLGS and they told me it was selling great. Tim Kask gave us praise on his post-Gary Con wrap-up show. We have a lot of great things for you and can't wait to get them all to you.

Back Thirteen Parsecs if you can!

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Larina Nix for Alternity Dark•Matter

 It's time to put everything together and see how it works. Since this is a modern horror sci-fi game, I'm going to use my standard character for these things. But first, I should at least talk about how I'm going to do it all.

Alternity Dark Matter books

I knew I had to use both the Alternity Core rules as well as the Dark•Matter campaign setting. I also looked into two of the other books I have here, Mindwalking: A Guide to Psionics and Beyond Science: A Guide to FX. Both books are good, but they are designed with Star*Drive in mind. Plus the rules for Psionics and FX, in particular Arcane and Miracles, have been updated in the Dark•Matter book. The designers even mention there are differences. So as fun as those too books look, I am going to not use them for this build.  

Now, one of the things I have had for Dark•Matter, well, forever, it seems, is this download on Witchcraft FX. While I am not 100% sure where I got it originally, it can still be downloaded from the site. 

I like it. I have liked it for many years now*, and I really wanted to use it. Instead of explaining it, you can download it for free yourself.  Here Witchcraft is a Faith-based FX. I like this. It tracks with what I was doing with Larina and all my witches at the same time. My own 1999 Complete Netbook of Witches & Warlocks had witches as a type of priest using wisdom. 

I began my base stats for Dark•Matter Larina using her AD&D 2nd Ed stats as a base. I used the guidelines in the Alternity Gamemaster's Guide for conversion. For her "back story" well, I used the version I was using at the time in WitchCraft. Here she is, a 29-year-old divorcee living in Chicago and working in the library of a major university. She is a librarian and linguist by training but an occultist "by night."  This gave me a good idea of who this Dark•Matter Larina was going to be.

Larina "Nix" Nichols
Larina "Nix" Nichols

Human Female, Age 29 (1998)
Height: 5'4"  Weight: 125 lbs

Level: 10

Profession: Diplomat
Career: Occultist

Motivation: Find the truth
Morals: Ethical / Just
Traits: Curious

Allegiance: Independent

Strength 8  (Res. Mod. 0)
Dexterity 9  (Res. Mod. 0)
Constitution 9
Intelligence 14  (Res. Mod. +2)
Will 14  (Res. Mod. +2)
Personality 14

Stun 9
Wound 9
Fatigue 5
Mortal 5

Last Resorts 3

Action Check Score
Marginal 13+
Ordinary 12
Good 6
Amazing 3

Combat Movement Rates
Sprint 8
Run 6
Walk 2
Easy Swim 1
Swim 8
Glide (8)
Fly (16)

Armor: None

Special Abilities: Witchcraft (Faith) FX

Perks: Great Looks, Second Sight

Flaws: Obsessed (+2)

Social Class: Middle Class

Contacts: Scott Elders (Psychic), Heather McHael (Seer). 

Enemies: Eric MacAlister (ex-husband, former IRA operative)

Attack Forms
Unarmed 4/2/1 LI/O Personal d4a/d4+1s/d4+2s
Athame 8/4/2 LI/O Personal d4w/d4w+1s/d4+2w

Skill Points Spent: 91  Stored: 6


Skill    CostAbility RankScore
Vehicle Operation3DEX
Land Vehicle3DEX11052
Lang. English1INT31784
Lang. Latin1INT31784
Lang. Greek1INT31784
Lang. Hebrew1INT11573
Lang. Russian1INT11573
Medical Science3INT11573
Physical Science7INT11573
Social Science6INT11473
Conspiracy Theories3WIL11573
Occult Lore3WIL21684
Psychic Lore3WIL11573

Bolded skills are Free. Skills in Purple are from Dark•Matter.


Cast the Circle2WIL21684
Earth's Harvest2WIL31784
Part the Veil4WIL31784
Ward of Protection3WIL21684
Call Familiar3PER11573
Crone's Curse4PER11573

I went ahead and gave her Glamour even though it is not on the witchcraft list—it should be.


So I REALLY like this build. A few notes.

Levels in Alternity are treated differently than they are in *D&D games. In D&D games, you gain a level, and that helps define how powerful your abilities and skills will be. In Alternity, it is the other way around; your skills and powers help determine your level.

So Larina here would be a lot more skilled if she had dumped all of those skill points she spent on FX  (65 total) on more skills. 

She is not a combat person. She has no combat skills to speak of, and I am not likely to add much more to her for that. She can read a lot of languages and is a good researcher. More importantly, she has magic. I should give her some sort of blasty magic, but she is a support character for the most part. 

She compares well to her WitchCraft and AD&D 2nd Ed versions. I should get her WitchCraft version up sometime.

I will admit this build took me a while. A lot of it was my unfamiliarity with the system. It still took a bit. Going between multiple books is never really ideal. But this is a character I would play.

Now, if I were to get serious about Alternity Dark•Matter, I would likely work up my go-to psychic character, Scott Elders. He is a good choice since it would allow me to use all of the Mindwalking rules. He has alternates in AD&D, Modern times, and the Far Future so that also makes him a good fit.

*In the process of re-reading this to post today I found my original Dark•Matter sheets for Larina AND the printout of the Witchcraft Faith FX.

I started working on her back in March of 2000.

Original Witchcraft FX

Larina's first Dark•Matter character sheet

It only took me 24 years to finish.