Showing posts with label Dirty Nellie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dirty Nellie. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Victoria RPG

Continuing my exploration of Victorian era RPGS I can't help but mention the the game that uses the eponymous Queen herself.

Today, V is Victoria.

Victoria is the premier game from Daniel Hodges and Hazard Gaming.  Unlike most of the games I have reveiwed, Victoria is focused on running a game in the historical Victorian Era.  So focus on class, station and no magic (well...mostly).

Victoria is heavy on atmosphere and history.  In fact among the Victorian games, Victoria stresses the history the most.  It is trying to go for an authentic feel of the era sans monsters, magic.

So what does Victoria have? Well for starters character concept is king here.  You should have a good grip what sort of character you want to play.  The book suggests thinking about characters from literature or history.    One of the things things you are going to want to do is decide on your class.  Not how it is typically used in games, but social class.  Social class is everything in this game and there are plenty of examples of of how to use it in play.   The game is really targeted to the newer player with plenty of examples of game play and how to use skills.

Speaking of which, looking at the character sheet you might be surprised to see that everything is a skill.  The first three group are grouped by Social Class.  So there are Upper Class skills (High Society, Linguistics, etc.), Middle Class (Adventure, Law, etc.) and Working Class (Stealth, Street,etc.).  Depending on your class you have more points to allocate to one of the groups and then secondary and tertiary.   You can move points between skill groups (at a cost of course).  There is a fourth group, Personal, which are closer to "Attributes" but are treated just like skills.

The mechanic is a very interesting one and one I have not encountered before to be honest.  The skills are ranked 2 to 12, but you start around 7 and work your way out.    You roll a 2d6 and when you roll the number of your "Main" (a spread of scores) you make it, if you roll outside you don't.  Pretty easy really.
Double "1"s are a critical failure and double "6"s are always a distinctive success.  In either case you can be granted Plot Points.

Plot Points play like Drama Points or Hero Points in other games.  In Victoria the Point economy is bit freer with points being spent and gained quicker.  So if your Main is 5-9 and you roll an 11 then you can spend 2 Plot Points to extend your range and make it.  I mentioned before that critical rolls can grant you Plot Points.   If you fail, if you can describe your failure well then that is worth some plot points to be used at a later challenge.

Half the book is for the players and the other half for the Gamemaster.  The Gamemastering section is not to be missed really, especially if you are a new Gamemaster or starting one.  There is great advice here.  There is also good game-based advice for the giving out the Plot Points and how to reward play based on Social Class.

Chapter 10 is an interesting one since it deals with the Supernatural.  The "paradigm" of Victoria is the "Sherlock Holmes" one.  That is there is no magic, but many people that believe in it.  I think that is where this game works the best.  Some background (but not stats) are given for many creatures.  Chapter 11 similarly deals with alternate settings.  Chapter 12 is an example adventure that stretches science to near Frankenstein levels.

Victoria works best as "Charles Dickens" or "Sherlock Holmes" the Game.  Realism with real problems.
If you want a game with more magic, then we have those as well.  Take advantage of this game's strengths.

I would use this as an expansion is most any Victorian game to add another level of realism to the play. There is quite a bit of history and even a handy guide for how much various professions make in a year.
The character creation section is fantastic for any Victorian era game since it does require you to think about your character not as a collection of stats and numbers, but rather as a concept and as a person within society.

The book itself is fantastic to look at.  The layout is clean and easy to read. The art is the similar PD art found in Ghosts of Albion, Gaslight and Victoriana, but to me that is a good thing.  That is what a Victorian game should look like.

If you like historical games and like your games with a bit more realism in it, then Victoria is a great choice.

You can also go to Daniel's webpage to hear his weekly Podcasts.   In fact next week I am going to be in Episode 11.

Dirty Nellie
Dirty Nel

So, the one thing about Victoria is it lacks a proper magic system and supernatural creatures are non-existent.
That all being said, that doesn't mean I can't try to emulate my street faerie prostitute Dirty Nel.
You can see her in her Ghosts of Albion, Rippers, and Victoriana aspects. Here she is as a normal human.  She is still a prostitute working for the elite upper class. Her clientele are not just the upper class, but the upper-class spiritualist and occultist of the age.

Name: Dirty Nel
Class: Working
Occupation: Prostitute/Informant
Backstory: Nel is a young elfin-looking woman. She claims she fell on hard times, but Nel didn't have far to fall.
Flaw: Fallen Woman, Greedy

Upper Class

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
High Society X X X X
Linguistics X X X
Medicinal X X
Research X X

Middle Class
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Adventure X X X X
Law & Inv X X X X X
Martial X X X
Tactics & Org. X X X X

Working class

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Chameleon X X X X X X
Stealth X X X X X X
Street* X X X X X X X
Trade & Source X X X X
*extra skill speciality: Dark Secrets

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Atheltics X X X
Machines X X
People X X X X X
Wits X X X X
Possessions: clothes, boots, purse, couple of knives.
Ht: 5'0" Wt: 6.7 stone Age: 16
PP: 4
Money: what she made the night before.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dirty Nellie for Victoriana

Ghosts of Albion takes place in 1839.  Rippers, Cthulhu by Gaslight, Masque of the Red Death and most other Victorian Age games typically take place in or around 1880s-1890s.  That leaves a huge swath of time that is Victorian but often covered by any game.   Except of course for Victoriana.

Victoriana is a game I want to hate but can't.  First, it is full of really cool Victorian goodness.  It is made (presently) by the cool guys over at Cubicle 7, the same guys that give Star Blazer and Doctor Who.  The second edition has been gone over by Andrew Peregrine (who also worked on Angel).  I like the "black die" mechanic they add to what could have been just another dice pool game.    There are some things in it I'd never try with Ghosts of Albion, but it all seems to work great in Victoriana.  The C7 guys describe it as "Victorian-age Shadow Run" and that is pretty dead on.  Most everyone knows about magic.  There are dwarves, gnomes, halflings, "eldren" (elves, but don't call them that), ogres, and beastmen.  So if my work on Ghosts of Albion is more "Hammer Horror" than Victoriana is more "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", something it shares with "Rippers", though I put Rippers closer to the movie "Van Helsing" or at least what we all wanted the movie to be, not what it really was.

I have played it a few times now, and try to get in a game at Gen Con with either Andrew or one of the other guys at C7 (I think I sat in a game with Marc once), and it is always a great time.  In fact outside of running my own games, or the nightly Catan games in the hotel room, it is my only Gen Con "tradition".
But of course they are the "competition" with Ghosts of Albion, so I have to hate them. ;) (ok not really).

Dirty Nellie, Street Faerie
So one of my favorite NPCs/Guest Stars is Little Dirty Nel, the Street Faerie prostitute.  I have detailed her early years with Ghosts of Albion, and her later years with Rippers.  I should also detail what she is doing during the middle Victorian period with Victoriana.  Like before, this is not a strict conversion, it is more of

Dirty Nel in Victoriana, 1867
Nel in this reality is still a Street Faerie dollymop, but she is doing a little bit better for herself.  In the Victoriana world the existence of magic is widely known, so Nel is often able to offer her trade as herself, complete with her peppered moth wings visible.  For stats, I put Street Faerie between Eldren and Halflings.  She looks like a small Eldren woman, with of course wings.  Like Eldren, Street Faeries are prone to a mental illness or two.  I kept her addictions and faerie arrogance in place since they would work fine in this world.
Like her Rippers and Ghosts of Albion universe counter-parts, Nel is a wealth of information about the occult and criminal worlds.  She is doing a bit better for herself money wise and her reputation is growing.

Dirty Nellie
Dirty Nellie
Social Class: Lower
Race: Street Faerie
Nationality: British
Age/Gender: ??/Female
Build: Slim
Hair/Eyes: Black/Piercing Blue
Vocation: Prostitute
Personality: Loner, almost cynical
Social ethics: lower-class anarchist

Strength: 0 Presence: 3
Dexterity: 3 Wits: 3
Fortitude: 3 Resolve: 4

Imitative: 9 Movement: 8
Health: 5 Mana: 2+4 = 6

Racial Abilities
Innate Magic (Petty Magic)*

Art 6
Athletics 5
Bull 8
Charm 10
Conceal 6
Concentration 2
Dance 2
Dodge 4
Etiquette 4
Fisticuffs 4
General Knowledge 6
Hide & Sneak 6
Improvised Weapon (melee) 4
Perception 10
Streetwise 12

Conversation 4
Pick Pockets 6
Slight of Hand 4

Enchanting 5

Talents, Privileges & Assets
Beautiful, Glib, Ear of the Street, Street Informant, Bolt-Hole, Income (Lower class, prostitution)

Bad Reputation, Bon Viant, Criminal, Lecherous, Faerie Arrogance

Befuddle, Cloak of Shadows, Glamour (like “Liken Shape” but can change to human shapes), Instant Beauty

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dirty Nellie, Street Faerie

For Ghosts of Albion I introduced a new race of fae call Street Faeries. They are fae that have choosen to live in the urban sprawl of large cities rather than their normal sylvan glades and woods. The most notorious of of all though was a little street fae name "Dirty Nel".

Dirty Nellie
She looked like child, one of those unfortunates forced to work the streets, though no child had such a licentious gleam in her eyes. Of course no human child had wings either. They were the same shape as other pixies, that of a butterfly, but these were more like that of a peppered moth. They were colorless, save for irregular patches of what appeared to be soot or grime. She smoked an American style cigarette, which of course was not only scandalous as a woman, but as a creature of the Fae. Her clothing was a motley assortment that revealed more flesh than even the most brazen dollymop would have been ashamed to show. I approached her to ascertain what sort of creature she was. She noticed me and said, "Oi! Piss off. Im trying to work ere!"
She disappeared in a shower, not of pixie-dust, but of soot and smoke.
- From the Journal of Tamara Swift

Dirty Nellie

One of the more notorious Street Fae is a pixie named Nel, also known as Dirty Nellie by human occult researchers. Nel is a Street Faerie prostitute often working in the theatre district of London. She got her start at the dawn of the Victorian age as a simple street walker. She would use her minor powers of Glamour to appear as whatever she felt her clients were looking for. A low level of empathic powers helped her to seek out those whose need was great (and thus able to pay more) and what they were looking for. Her most oft-used guise is that of a coster girl who has lost all her snells and needs to make back all her lost money or her cruel stepfather will beat her. She has also been known to appear as dusky beauty for the orient, or a young lad lost in the city after leaving his boarding school.

Through guile, deceit, and lots of hard work, Nel worked her way into the prominent occult societies of the time. As her clientele increased in wealth and status, so did her own. She gained not only monetary wealth but a wealth of information about such organizations as the Algernon Club, the Rosicrucians, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (where she was Crowley's lover for a time), and the Theosophical Society. By World War I no living being knew as many secrets (and it is amazing how many secrets a man is willing to share in the cloak of night in the lover's bed) of the occult underground as she did.

Note to Modern Directors: Dirty Nellie has not been seen since the Blitz of WWII. If she survived (and many suspect she did not) she must be using a new guise or has moved on to another city.

Roleplaying Dirty Nellie
Nel is the archetypical good-time girl. When not working she can be found in gambling houses, public houses, or even an opium den. Her looks in any form are striking. She is a bit vain and proud of her looks, so in any guise her midnight black hair (cut short), green eyes and many piercings remain. She is fond of soldiers and once traveled to India to be with an entire troup. She returned to London with a pierced nose and an addiction to the cigarettes smoked there. Her favorite trick is to produce one she has pre-rolled from nowhere and light it with the tip of her finger. As a Faerie, Nel is immune to the harmful effects of her addictions to smoking, alcohol and drugs. She is also immune to the diseases that plague her trade, but Directors may decide she is a carrier and say there is a chance that her paramours could contract syphilis themselves.
Nel in any part of the Victorian age is a wealth of information and can act as a Criminal or Supernatural Contact. In the time of Ghosts of Albion (early Victorian) she is worth up to 3 points of Criminal Contacts (she knows everyone and most owe her) or 2 points of Supernatural. As the 19th Century progresses she can be bought fo up to 3 points of Supernatural but only 2 of Criminal.

Nel is not a fighter. She not above threatening someone with her knife or even throwing a bit of fire at someone, but she will not engage in most forms of combat. Nel would rather seduce someone and then poison them in the bed chamber if she wants someone dead. Usually though trouble finds Nel and not the other way around. A possible introduction would be having her running for her life and smack right into the Cast.
Despite some of her addictions, arrogance and her rather rude habit of calling humans monkeys, Nel is actually a very sweet faerie girl. She is also just determined to do things her way. One thing is certain, it is never boring with her around.

Ghosts of Albion stats
Name: Nel, Dirty Nellie (various human guise names are Alice, Little Mary, Tommy Atkins)
Motivation: To make some money and have a good time while doing it
Creature Type: Faerie (street faerie)
Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Constitution 4, Intelligence 4, Perception 5, Willpower 6
Life Points: 34
Drama Points: 15
Qualities and Drawbacks: Addictions (Hashish 1, Opium 1,Smoking 2, Sex 2), Adversaries (Police, various rivals, various demons she owes money to), Blink 2, Criminal (Prostitute), Contacts (Criminal 3, Supernatural 3), Elven Soul Flame, Emotional Problems (Covetous, Cruel, Faerie Arrogance), Faerie, Glamour, Minority (Woman), Resources (start at -6 works up to +2).

Name Score Damage Notes
Dodge 11 Defence action
Grapple 7 Resisted by Dodge
Punch 5 4 Bash
Knife 11 4 Slash/Stab* Plus Elven Soul Flame

Dirty Nellie in Rippers & Gaslight (Savage Worlds)

Dirty Nel. I am afraid no amount of Ripper Tech can prepare you for that tangle with the supernatural.
- Attributed to Jonathan Harker, circa 1890

You can't be truly initiated into the inner ranks of the occult until Nel initiates you herself.
- Alistair Crowley, 1899

By 1892 Dirty Nellie (now mostly known as just Dirty Nel) is still doing what she does best. While not uncommon (Faeries have all sorts of obsessions), keeping the same job for 60 plus years is quite a feat for a little Street Fae.

Since the dawn of the Victorian age when she gained certain infamy in occult circles she only become more notorious. Some time in the 1840s she caught the attentions of a few occult researchers and scholars. Originally she was the subject of much discussion in the inner circles of occult lodges, discussing her the same way they would the tomes of Agrippa or a new species of vampire. That is till one of them decided to just approach her. When the young research returned from his visit, he spoke of her charm, her wit and of course her skills. Soon Nel was being visited by most of the members of the lodge and of a few others. Each would share some secrets with her, as is common with paramours. She went from back alley toffs to receiving gentlemen in her apartment. Her fees increased, not that the erstwhile men of learning noticed, and she increased her own knowledge. By the time anyone had figured out what was happening it was too late. Nel knew all their secrets, all their enemies secrets and a few more besides. She bartered her knowledge and took over one of the clubs where the men had met, the Mayfair House, and converted it into a club catering to me with a taste for both forbidden knowledge and forbidden carnality. While it is money that is often paid with her real currency is information and secrets. The Mayfair Club becomes a central gathering place for members of the occult community. She hires several girls, many with faerie or other blood in them, but most are still just human. She provides the men with a place to talk and relax, like any other Victorian club, but she provides other services as well. By 1892 the Mayfair Club is the place to go to get answers or find someone in the occult community. To date she has not hired any demons, werwolves or vampires, but she is getting more requests a day for even more forbidden fruit.

She has a lavish flat in Highgate, paid for by her many paramours, both with occult and terrestrial power. She is also now often paid just to be seen with someone, rather than have sex with them; though she still does that as well.

Nel after Rippers

People have been excommunicated or executed for less.
- One occult scholar failing to describe the events of the Mayfair Club party on New Years Eve, 1899.

During The Great War Nel provided financial power to protect her own homeland against the threat of the Kaiser, but that was not her major concern. She was also dealing with worsening relations with the Seelie and Unseelie Courts and ultimately the Shadow War between them. Nell like many Street Fae refused to choose sides and she was branded a traitor by the Seelie Court Queen. Hoping the further her own end the Unseelie Court Queen granted Nel Safe Passage for her services to the Unseelie Court (mostly by keeping Englands occult community in a sex-crazed haze to keep them out of the Courts business). This infuriated the Seelie Queen and she order Nels death.

During the Pulp Adventures ages (an age I think Savage Worlds is best at) Nel can be found at Mayfairs (the Club was dropped years ago) but her lust for life is mostly gone. Though adventurers search for some artifact will certainly find their trail leading to her door. She now employees a number of Unseelie Court faeries, but she even admits they are more likely to be spies for either Court.

The last reported sighting on Dirty Nellie was during the final Blitz of WWII. If she survived (and many suspect she did not) she must be using a new guise or has moved on to another city. Given the events of the Shadow War between the Fae, it is unlikely that the Seelie Court could have made good on their threats to kill her. But various stories suggest she was killed in the Blitz, or a jealous lover killed her or even more fantastic that the Devil claimed her as his own bride. Though it is also likely she has slipped away to live quietly. Though anyone that knew her cannot believe that.

Mayfairs remained closed till the 60s when it reopened as a center of the psychedelic drug culture. Since the middle 70s it has been owned and operated by a vampire couple who brought back to its roots of a contact place of the occult and the mundane.

Dirty Nellie (Savage Worlds)
Agility d8
Smarts d8
Spirit d8
Strength d6
Vigor d8

Charisma 4/2/0 (humans/other street fae/seelie court fae)
Pace 6
Parry 3
Toughness 6

Climbing d4
Fighting d4 (Nel is a lover, not a fighter)
Guts d10
Intimidation d4
Knowledge (Occult) d12+3 (if Nel does not know it, its probably not true)
Knowledge d10
Notice d10
Persuasion d8
Riding d4
Spellcasting d6
Stealth d8
Streetwise d8
Survival d10
Taunt d6

Compulsions (Smoking, Sex) (Used as Habit (Major)), Delusional (Faerie Arrogance, Minor), Illiterate, Outcast (unwelcome in the Seelie Court, treat as Outsider in respect to Seelie Court Fae), Weakness: Iron

Connections, Faerie Attractiveness (Adds +4 to Charisma for humans), Hard to Kill, Rich

Arcane Background (Magic Glamour)