Thursday, January 6, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Lucy Westenra

Yesterday I featured Mina Murray Harker, the hero of the Dracula novel.  The archetypical victim though belongs to her friend Lucy Westenra.  I have compared Lucy and Mina a few times. Showing where Mina is the "Modern Woman," Lucy is the "Old World Woman."  She does a lot to make herself more attractive to Dracula.  She is looking for a man to define her life, she is a member of the "idle rich," she has bouts of sleep-walking, her innocence, and more.  Where Mina is proactive, Lucy is largely reactive.  

It is hard really not to feel bad for her.

After she is turned by Dracula all of that gets inverted.  The sweet, coquettish girl becomes the dangerous "bloofer lady" that preys on children. 

My favorite portrayal of her comes from Sadie Frost in 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula, but I also rather liked how Jan Francis looked as the vampire Lucy (or rather "Mina" in this version) in 1979's Dracula, though she looks nothing like the "bloofer lady."   Though the most accurate physical portrayal was by Katie McGrath in the short run NBC series Dracula.

Here she is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Katie McGrath as Lucy Westenra
Lucy Westenra
2nd level Survivor (Supernatural, Vampire)
Archetype: Vampire Victim

Strength: 11 (0) 
Dexterity: 12 (0) 
Constitution: 8 (-1) 
Intelligence: 11 (0) S
Wisdom: 10 (0) S
Charisma: 17 (+3) P

HP: 4
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
AC: 9
Attack: +1 

Fate Points: 1d6

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +2/+1/+0
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: 0
Saves: +3 to all Wisdom saving throws, +3 to death saves. +1 to all others.

Powers:  Vampire Powers, Stealth skills, Climbing, Danger Sense (1-2), Sneak Attack x2

Katie McGrath as Lucy Westenra
Vampire Powers
  • Ability Bonuses (+2 to Strength, +2 Dexterity)
  • Damage Immunity
  • Feed on Life (Con drain)
  • Vampire Regeneration
  • Vampire Vulnerabilities

Stealth Skills

  • Open Locks: 25%
  • Bypass Traps: 20%
  • Sleight of Hand: 30%
  • Move Silently: 30%
  • Hide in Shadows: 10%
  • Perception: 45%

--

Dracula, and Lucy for that matter, drains Constitution, not "Levels," which is as it should be for "Dracula."  There was no way Lucy could survive three attacks of draining 2 levels when she is always described as frail and weak before Dracula even shows up.  Not only that the children Lucy later preys one are certainly 2nd level, they are barely 0 level.

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Mina Murray Harker

Longtime readers here will know of my love of Mina Murray Harker, the true hero of the Dracula novel.  I have talked about her here a few times, but in short, she is the one that puts all the pieces together, she is the one that has the forethought to transcribe everyone's notes.  She is the one that really has the tools to go hunting for Dracula.  She is also the prototype of the "Final Girl" a trope that will only grow for the next 120+ years.

One thing I have never cared for though was the whole reincarnated lover of Dracula.  Mina is interesting enough without needing to add anything else to her character.  That being said, I did not mind Alan Moore making her into a vampire.  But that is not what I am going with her.  This is Mina from the book and most of the movies.

Here she is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Peta Wilson as Mina Harker
Mina Murray Harker

3rd level Survivor (Human)
Archetype: Survivor

Strength: 10 (0) 
Dexterity: 12 (0) 
Constitution: 15 (+1) S
Intelligence: 16 (+2) P
Wisdom: 12 (0) 
Charisma: 16 (+2) S

HP: 11
Alignment: Light
AC: 8
Attack: +1 

Fate Points: 1d8

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+1/+0
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: 0
Saves: +3 to death saves. +1 to all others.

Powers:  Stealth skills, Climbing, Danger Sense (1-3), Sneak Attack x2, Read Languages, 

Stealth Skills

  • Open Locks: 35%
  • Bypass Traps: 30%
  • Sleight of Hand: 40%
  • Move Silently: 40%
  • Hide in Shadows: 30%
  • Perception: 50%

--

Mina is a vampire attack survivor, more so that she survived an attack by Dracula.  That has to count for something. 

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge



Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Jonathan Harker

Harker is the first character we meet in the novel Dracula. You would think this would make him the most important character, but that role will be discussed tomorrow.  Harker is a means to end, both to the novel Dracula and the character Dracula.  He provides the Victorian England point of view of the story.  

He is not a particularly useful character, either in the novels or many of the movies. Though he gets more limelight in the 1979 John Badham, Frank Langella staring Dracula and in the 1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula from Francis Ford Coppola.  I do remember at the time really ripping into Keanu Reeves' portrayal, but looking back over others and re-reading the book, Harker is kinda weak. 

He does get to fair a little better in the "Alternate" Dracula, Powers of Darkness, and in the RPG Rippers.

Here he is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

David Manners as John Harker Dracula 1931
Jonathan Harker

3rd level Survivor (Human)
Archetype: Survivor

Strength: 11 (0) 
Dexterity: 12 (0) 
Constitution: 16 (+2) S
Intelligence: 14 (+1) P
Wisdom: 12 (0) 
Charisma: 15 (+1) S

HP: 14
Alignment: Light
AC: 8
Attack: +1 

Fate Points: 1d8

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+1/+0
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: 0
Saves: +3 to death saves. +1 to all others.

Powers:  Stealth skills, Climbing, Danger Sense (1-3), Sneak Attack x2, Read Languages, 

Stealth Skills

  • Open Locks: 35%
  • Bypass Traps: 30%
  • Sleight of Hand: 40%
  • Move Silently: 40%
  • Hide in Shadows: 30%
  • Perception: 50%

--

Harker is pretty much the archetypical vampire-attack survivor.  

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog for more! 

Character Creation Challenge


Monday, January 3, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: R. M. Renfield

One of the more interesting characters in the Dracula novel and movies is "zoophagous maniac" R. M. Renfield.  He is one of Dracula's first victims, though we never see the attack, we know that he is under Dracula's thrall. 

We first meet Renfield in Dr. Seward's sanitorium where we learn he is very excitable and very strong.  His defining features are his diet of bugs (though he hopes for a cat) and his deference to his "Master."

Given all of this, I thought with the new NIGHT SHIFT Night Companion going out to backers today, I'd give Renfield a try as a Ghoul.

Here he is for Night Shift.

Alexander Granach as Renfield/Knock in Nosferatu
R. M. Renfield

5th level Survivor (Supernatural, Ghoul)
Archetype: Thrall

Strength: 16 (+1) P
Dexterity: 16 (+1) S
Constitution: 15 (+1) S
Intelligence: 11 (0) 
Wisdom: 8 (-1) 
Charisma: 8 (-1) 

HP: 20
Alignment: Dark
AC: 8
Attack: +2

Fate Points: 1d8

Feed: Live flesh, prefers insects

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +1  Ranged bonus: +1
Saves: +3 to all Constitution-based saves and are immune to poison. +3 to death saves.

Powers
Rake attack, paralysis, Stealth skills, Climbing, Danger Sense (1-3), Sneak Attack x3

Stealth Skills

  • Open Locks: 55%
  • Bypass Traps: 50%
  • Sleight of Hand: 60%
  • Move Silently: 60%
  • Hide in Shadows: 50%
  • Perception: 60%

--

A few things here.  First I think this works great as Renfield. He works great as a Survivor, especially with his sneak attacks and his ability to escape.  He also works great as a Ghoul.  His bug-eating is covered well by his "Feed", a new rule feature in the Night Companion for Supernatural characters.  

Additionally, his alignment is listed as "Dark" another new feature of the Night Companion.  He is evil, but not irredeemable. Though in truth he never gets the chance. 

 

Character Creation Challenge

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Prof. Van Helsing

In many ways, it was Van Helsing who was my true gateway to D&D.  

While I will wax poetically about the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, it was really Hammer Horror that fueled my desire for adventure games.  And while Christopher Lee's Dracula was the unchallenged star of many of the films of my youth it was Peter Cushing's portrayal of "doctor, professor, and meta-physician" Abraham Van Helsing that was the obvious model my first character took.

Here is the good professor for Night Shift.

Abraham Van Helsing
Professor Abraham Van Helsing
5th level Theosophist/5th level Sage (Human)
Archetype: Vampire Hunter

Strength: 11 (0)
Dexterity: 13 (+1) 
Constitution: 13 (+1)
Intelligence: 18 (+3) P
Wisdom: 18 (+3) S
Charisma: 15 (+1) S

HP: 45
Alignment: Lawful Good
AC: 8
Attack: +2

Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +5/+3/+2
Melee bonus: +0  Ranged bonus: +1
Saves: +3 (+6 total) to Spells and magical effects, +3 to all saves

Powers
See dead people, Turn Undead, Summon the Dead, Channel the Dead, Protection from the Dead, Sage abilities, Survivor skills, Lore,  Read Languages, Suggestion

Languages: English, Latin, Greek, German, Dutch, Flemish, French, Hebrew, Romanian, Russian, Arabic, Middle English

Spells
First Level: Bless, Detect Evil
Second Level: Find Traps, Knock

--

Van Helsing, MD, D.Ph., D.Litt., etc., combines the powers of a sage and a theosophist.  The sage is easy to see, but the theosophist is a little different.  His powers are not those of a "necromancer" but rather own that studies the undead and wants to fight them. 

The balance of powers each class gives is important to give the character the right feel.  The Sage gives him his languages and survivor skills.  The theosophist gives him some undead fighting ability.   Though you never see him casting spells, save for rituals that would help him fight Dracula. 

Character Creation Challenge

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: NIGHT SHIFT

NIGHT SHIFT
Welcome to 2022!  Last year I participated in TardisCaptain's Blog of Holding's Character Creation Challenge. It was a lot of fun and I got to do a lot of really cool witches.

This year I am going to do something a little different.  This year I want to explore just one game, but show how versatile the system is and what I can do with it.   That game is obviously going to be my own NIGHT SHIFT.

The Game: NIGHT SHIFT Veterans of the Supernatural Wars

NIGHT SHIFT Veterans of the Supernatural Wars is a modern supernatural monster hunting game written by Jason Vey and myself.  We took all of the work we have collectively done with Old-School RPGs along with all the experiences we had while working on Buffy, Angel, Army of Darkness, Ghosts of Albion, and All Flesh Must Be Eaten and poured it into this new game.  My personal goals here were to make a game that I could play any type of witch I wanted and to fill the Buffy-shaped hole in my life.  I feel I succeeded in both.  

NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

For this challenge, I am going to focus on characters you can use in any sort of campaign.  I am going to draw from a couple of different campaigns I have been playing around with for a few years.  The first is a Dracula-focused one I have picked at for a number of years decades. Dracula is always fun and I have a blast using him in an adventure.  

The others will be NPCs from my Spirit of '76 game, set obviously in 1976.  I'll also include some modern ones.   In all cases, I want to show off how well NIGHT SHIFT can do these characters and even show off some of the features of the new Nights Companion for NIGHT SHIFT. Coming Soon. 

Dracula
Dracula

16th level Veteran (Supernatural, Vampire)
Archetype: Master Vampire

Strength: 22 (+5) P
Dexterity: 18 (+3) S
Constitution: 18 (+3)
Intelligence: 13 (+1)
Wisdom: 14 (+1)
Charisma: 22 (+5) S

HP: 120
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
AC: 5

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +7/+5/+3
Melee bonus: +12  Ranged bonus: +8
Saves: +5 to all

Powers
Vampire Powers
Veteran Abilities

 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

My Old School Gaming Project

Spend any time here and you know that I do love my old-school gaming.  Also for me, my introduction to RPGs coincided with my introduction to computers.  For me, RPGs and computers have always gone hand-in-hand. 

So it should be no surprise then that if I am going to spend so much time working on bringing old-school games back to life I might be doing the same with old-school computers.

Here is my current project.  

Raspberry Pi CoCo

This a "proof of concept."  It is a 3D printed case, housing a Raspberry Pi with 8Gigs of RAM.  It is wifi enabled and has HDMI ports.  Currently running the CoCo-Pi software.

https://coco-pi.com/

Back in 1985, I bought my first computer. It was a Tandy Color Computer 2 with 16k of ROM, a tape-cassette drive for storage and I  plugged it into a color TV.  One of the first things I did with it was to write programs to roll dice, do character abilities and even mimic combat.  Eventually, my DM and I would spend our gaming sessions working on some software we called "BARD" and it was a combat manager.  We could load 10 characters in at a time, roll for initiative and have them battle any number of monsters we wanted.  Some special abilities were a problem (beholders gave us no end of grief) but we had it worked out so that even dragons with breath weapons worked well. I even had a character, my one and only even ninja, killed by a black dragon, taking 70 hp of damage in the first attack. The death was so spectacular that my DM and I sat back and laughed our asses off as this black dragon attacked only the ninja and kept on attacking him until he was at -400 hp. 

It was great fun and I still have the source code.

Fast forward to later this year when my brother got me this:

CoCo 2

CoCo 2

That's not just any CoCo2, that is the one my DM and I wrote BARD on.  He had sold it to my brother years ago because one of the EPROM pins broke off and at the time it was too costly to replace and better computers were out.  I have even gone from my CoCo2 to a CoCo3, to a Tandy 1000, to an 8086, and then to an Intel 286 by that time.  I was getting ready to buy my next computer, my Gateway 486 that I upgraded for years until it got to be so full I needed to keep the case off and have fans blowing in. 

But I digress.  This "new" machine is close to 40 years old and I have been spending my Christmas break cleaning it, upgrading the internal components, and even 3D printing new parts for it.  What I have not be able to make or re-use I have been ordering online.

I hope to show her off soon.  Right now I need to stop so I can transfer some files to USB.  Yes, I got it working with some new USB ports.

This will be a lot fun.  Scratch that, this has been a lot of fun already.