Thursday, October 27, 2016

Boil and Bubble: Incantation Magic - Skulls and Masks


Blog or Treat! Today is GURPSday and I've got two new holiday-themed spells for incantors.


Skull Bomb
Spell Effects: Create Necromancy.
Inherent Modifiers: Damage, External Corrosion.
Skill Penalty:  Path of Necromancy8.
Casting Time: 10 minutes.

This spell turns an ordinary skull into an explosive device. This spell uses the rules for Conditional Spells (Incantation Magic, p. 20). When thrown (by sticking fingers in the eye sockets and mouth) it explodes outward in a spray of bone and caustic necromantic energies that cause 6d corrosion damage with 3d of cutting fragmentation damage (p. B104). It affects everything within 2 yards at full damage. It might affect targets further than that, but damage is divided by the radius in yards. This attack can start fires and affects spectral beings normally!

Typical Casting: Conditional Spell (5) + Create Necromancy (5) + Area of Effect, 2 yards (20) + Damage, Explosive Indirect Corrosion 6d (Affects Insubstantial, +20%; Explosion 3, +100%; Fragmentation 3d, +45%; Incendiary, +10%) (45). 81 SP. 



Mask of Samhain
Spell Effects: Strengthen Mesmerism.
Inherent Modifiers: Altered Traits, Terror.
Skill Penalty:  Path of Mesmerism‑11.
Casting Time: 10 minutes.

This spell channels the spirit of Samhain into the target's face. For the next ten minutes anyone who can see you (but not your allies) must make a Fright Check at -5. If they succeed you can affect them again - but they get a cumulative +2 to their rolls (this effect lasts for 1 day and is tallied against different users of this spell, if applicable). This does have its drawbacks - the target's head becomes monstrous and pumpkin-like giving -4 to reaction rolls.

Typical Casting: Strengthen Mesmerism (3) + Altered Traits, Terror 6 (Decreased Immunity 0, +20%; Nuisance Effect, -4 reaction rolls, -20%; Selective Effect, +20%) (108). 111 SP. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Triple Threat: The Raven Mocker


Note: In honor of the first annual "Blog or Treat!" I present a nasty monster from Native American mythology.

Called the ka'lanu ahkyeli'ski (preferably during the day, in sunlight, never indoors, and away from any nearby shadows) the Raven Mocker is a horrific being form Cherokee legend (though it shows up in other tribes occasionally) that is a kind of shapeshifting vampire witch. They can take the form of black birds (almost always ravens, but magpies and crows are pretty common as well). When hunting their prey they either take the shape of and old and withered human being (both male and female are common - whatever lets them get close to their prey) or more rarely a ball of fire or light. Their presence can be felt by ravens who cry when nearby. This is always followed by a strong northern wind. These two omens herald its presence and often heralds the death of someone nearby (similar to the banshee or strix). Raven Mockers feed on the life force of others and need only be in their victim's presence top do this (often invisibly). Those with a strong enough Will or magic ability can fend of this attack and in many stories turn it back on the Raven Mocker cause it to bleed its life force away rapidly. Those with Magery or similiar traits are highly effective against these monstrous beings.


Any Campaign Setting...
ST: 14             HP: 14            Speed: 7.00
DX: 14            Will: 18          Move: 7 or 14 (air)
IQ: 14             Per: 16           Weight: 150-200 lbs.
HT: 14            FP: 14             SM: 0

Dodge: 11       Parry: 11        DR: 0
                      
Punch (14): 1d-1 crushing. Reach C.
Grapple (14): Reach C. No damage.
Consume Life Force (18 vs. Will): The Raven Mocker can drain the life force of anyone within 100 yards. Targets lose 3d HP and the Raven Mocker gains 3d HP. This is reduced the farther away the Raven Mocker is from his target: 3d if less than 9 yards, 3d-1 at 10 yards, 3d-2 at 20 yards, 3d-3 at 30 yards, 2d at 40 yards, 2d-1 at 50 yards, 2d-2 at 60 yards, 2d-3 at 70 yards, 1d at 80 yards, 1d-1 at 90 yards, and 1d-2 at 100 yards. Your target adds their Margery+1 /2 to the roll to resist.
Improvised Weapon (9): Based on Damage 1d/2d.

Traits: Alternate Form (Human, raven, or orb of fire, possibly others); Combat Reflexes; Injury Tolerance (Damage Reduce /4; Unliving); High Pain threshold; Indomitable; Invisibility (Can Carry Equipment, Extra Heavy; Switchable); Magery 3; See Invisible (Spirits); Social Regard 4 (Feared); Social Stigma (Monster); Supernatural Durability (Damage from Weakness); Supernatural Features (Omens - cold winds and the cry of a raven); Terror 5 (Presence); Unfazeable; Weakness (Failure by 3+ on a roll to leech; 1d/instance; Quickened 6; Variable); spells or magical powers dependent on the setting. Typically something that allows them to curse others in some way.
Skills: Brawling-14; Intimidation-18; Occultism-14; Ritual Magic-14 or Thaumatology-14; Stealth-14; Wrestling-14;  any number of supernatural and occult skills that are setting dependent.
Notes: If the GM is using Intrinsic Fright Check from GURPS Horror (p. 139), Raven Mockers have a modifier of -4 or -6 if the PCs recognize it for what it is. Their Weakness is pretty straightforward: If they fail a Quick Contest of Will by 3 or more to consume a subject's life force they take 1d of injury instantly.


For Dungeon Fantasy...
ST: 14             HP: 14            Speed: 7.00
DX: 14            Will: 18          Move: 7 or 14 (air)
IQ: 14             Per: 16           Weight: 150-200 lbs.
HT: 14            FP: 14             SM: 0

Dodge: 11       Parry: 11        DR: 6
                      
Punch (14): 1d crushing. Reach C.
Grapple (14): Reach C. No damage.
Consume Life Force (18 vs. Will): The Raven Mocker can drain the life force of anyone within 100 yards. Targets lose 3d HP and the Raven Mocker gains 3d HP. This is reduced the farther away the Raven Mocker is from his target: 3d if less than 9 yards, 3d-1 at 10 yards, 3d-2 at 20 yards, 3d-3 at 30 yards, 2d at 40 yards, 2d-1 at 50 yards, 2d-2 at 60 yards, 2d-3 at 70 yards, 1d at 80 yards, 1d-1 at 90 yards, and 1d-2 at 100 yards. Your target adds their Margery or Power Investiture+1 /2 to the roll to resist.
Improvised Weapon (9): Based on Damage 1d/2d.

Traits: Alternate Form (Human, raven, or orb of fire, possibly others); Combat Reflexes; Injury Tolerance (Damage Reduce /2; Unliving); High Pain threshold; Indomitable; Invisibility (Can Carry Equipment, Extra Heavy; Switchable); Magery 3; See Invisible (Spirits); Social Regard 4 (Feared); Social Stigma (Monster); Supernatural Durability (Damage from Weakness); Supernatural Features (Omens - cold winds and the cry of a raven); Terror 5 (Presence); Unfazeable; Weakness (Failure by 3+ on a roll to leech; 1d/instance; Quickened 6; Variable); 
Skills: Brawling-16; Intimidation-18; Occultism-14; Thaumatology-16; Stealth-14; Wrestling-14;  any number of supernatural and occult skills as the GM deems; dozens of spells at skill 18 including any Necromantic or Body Control spell and 2d "signature spells" at 20.
Class: Mundane

Notes: Truly Evil. Will negotiate, but never keeps word. -5 on Quick Contests of supernatural skills or abilities against Shamans.


Monster Hunters...
ST: 20             HP: 20            Speed: 8.00
DX: 16            Will: 22          Move: 8 or 16 (air)
IQ: 18             Per: 20           Weight: 150-200 lbs.
HT: 16            FP: 16             SM: 0

Dodge: 12       Parry: 12        DR: 10 (Force Field)


Fright Check: -6
                     
Punch (18): 2d crushing. Reach C.
Grapple (18): Reach C. No damage.
Consume Life Force (22 vs. Will): The Raven Mocker can drain the life force of anyone within 100 yards. Targets lose 5d HP and the Raven Mocker gains 5d HP. This is reduced the farther away the Raven Mocker is from his target: 5d if less than 9 yards, 5d-1 at 10 yards, 5d-2 at 20 yards, 5d-3 at 30 yards, 4d at 40 yards, 4d-1 at 50 yards, 4d-2 at 60 yards, 4d-3 at 70 yards, 3d at 80 yards, 3d-1 at 90 yards, and 3d-2 at 100 yards.
Improvised Weapon (11): Based on Damage 2d-1/3d+2.

Traits: Alternate Form (Human, raven, or orb of fire, possibly others); Combat Reflexes; Injury Tolerance (Damage Reduce /4; Unliving); High Pain threshold; Indomitable; Invisibility (Can Carry Equipment, Extra Heavy; Switchable); Magery 3; See Invisible (Spirits); Social Regard 4 (Feared); Social Stigma (Monster); Supernatural Durability (Damage from Weakness); Supernatural Features (Omens - cold winds and the cry of a raven); Terror 5 (Presence); Unfazeable; Weakness (Failure by 3+ on a roll to leech; 1d/instance; Quickened 6; Variable); 
Skills: Brawling-16; Intimidation-20; Occultism-18; Thaumatology-16; Stealth-18; Wrestling-18; and all Path skills at 18; any number of supernatural and occult skills that are setting dependent.
Notes: Use the skills listed under Rogue Witches in the Know Thy Enemy box in GURPS Monster Hunters 1: Champions (p. 16). To those who know its weakness and have the capability to endure a battle to enact it a Raven Mocker is a challenge for a whole party. Without that knowledge...it's very difficult Their Weakness is pretty straightforward: If they fail a Quick Contest of Will by 3 or more to consume a subject's life force they take 1d of injury instantly. Note: Those that enhance their Will with magicget the bonus to resist the drain of their life force normally, but the Raven Mocker gets the bonus x1.5 as an extension on its Weakness as well! For example, if a witch outfitted her party with charms that granted a +3 to their Will then the Raven Mocker would have to fail their Will roll by 9 for them to lose HP due to their weakness!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Aeon D-Team S01E01 - Castles in the Ice


Dramatis Personae
  • Alexander (played by +Daniel Dover ): 6’ 4’’, 225 lbs. Tall and muscular with a gleaming smile. He has almost iridescent white hair and faintly golden skin. Exudes a calm, quiet confidence, and moves with the grace of a dancer. Literally inhumanly attractive. He’s strong, fast, durable, indefatigable, and has some matter control powers. Cares about everybody and everything.
  • Eddie (played by +Ignus Pyre): 6’, 180 lbs. Outwardly disheveled looking, but his scruffy furs hide high quality gear underneath. Fairly average looking with reddish brown hair and a bit of stubble. Carries an enormous backpack but doesn’t seem too slowed by it, despite a slight limp, a pulls a trailer behind him made from the rear end of an old ford mustang. Honest, forthright and reliable, but won’t speak too much about his past. He seems to have a sixth sense for monsters and the dark fog.
  • Jacob “Doc” (played by +Asta Kask): 6’, 150 lbs. Kinda lanky with leathery, weathered skin and greying hair, offset by piercing blue eyes. He’s compassionate, responsible, and very careful with his words. Dreams of building a place where metahumans can live unprosecuted. Has some healing powers. Followed by a 45 pound cat, that flies and leaves a rainbow trail behind it. Yes, really.
  • Kurst “Kurt” Vetrson (played by +Antoni Ten Monr√≥s): 6’ 4’’, 110 lbs. Wears layers and layers of clothing, but underneath them he’s anorexically thin and very pale. He always feels slightly cold to the touch, but despite the layers isn’t actually bothered by the cold. Young and usually speaks fairly coarsely. Absolutely hates wendigo. Has ice powers that he doesn’t like to use because they’re not fully under his control. Good with a bow.
  • Dr. Nicodemus "Nick" Faust (played by +Hal Batty): 6’ 4’’, 180 lbs. Tall and lean. Flaming red hair, chalk white skin, and coal black eyes. Also literally inhumanly attractive, and his charms work on men and women alike. Wears a dark charcoal suit with crimson waistcoat and cravat, with a long black overcoat, even in the midst of a blizzard. Has an arrogant smile on his lips, only offset by an intensity to his eyes. Master of magic
  • King the Maine Coon (NPC Ally): a huge maine coon cat (almost 50 lbs. and 4.5 ft long) that can fly/hover (leaving a trail of rainbow colored light), go "boneless," shoot lazers from its eyes, ignore a structure's ceilings and floors (but not its walls), and other more interesting abilities. He can haz cheezburger.


The Story So Far...
Our story begins several decades after the black swan spread her wings and ushered in a new age of winter. The party are clambering up the side of a glacier, on the run from the Saviors of the Heartland, a militant group that enslaves metahumans and uses them in their crusade against vampires and wendigo. The Saviors have been after them ever since "the Incident," fur long months ago. We’re heading deep into the frozen wastes to the north, wendigo territory. Alexander has picked up Eddie’s several hundred pound trailer and is leaping up the glacier while the others trudge on behind. Growing board of the climb, Nicodemus steps round a corner and vanishes, reappearing at the top, "What’s taking you all so long?"
 We know there are about thirty of the Saviors following us, and they’re tough, like if the Knights Templar ran a Spartan training camp. Two of them are wearing old-tech battlesuits, and they’ve got two metahumans with them, one who generates lightning whips, and the other gets stronger, faster, and tougher the longer he fights. In short, this is not a fight we want. Not that we really want any kind of fight, since most of the group are pacifists, and Nicodemus just doesn’t like unnecessary effort...


Shearing Winds and Sheered Cliff
Alexander, Eddie, Nick, Doc, and Kurst
Sentinal Butte, 26°F, Light Snow
January 27th, 37 AB, 10:00am

Somewhere in what used to be South Dakota


When Alexander's player asks if there is any shelter nearby the GM rolls a natural 3. It turns out there’s a medium-sized castle that Nick was leading them to all along, and after a 19 on a retroactive reaction roll, it’s inhabitants are all his bestest buddies. Last time he was here he blessed their land to make it fertile.

Nick greets the man at the door, a certain Mitchell Poole, as an old friend, introduces his allies, and asks if they can go inside, but before he does so Eddie interrupts. "Nick, can I talk to you for one second?," "Eddie, anything you have to say can be said right here, I have no secrets from my friends." Which is a blatant a lie as possible without actually being untrue. Eddie goes on to explain that they’re being followed by some very nasty men, and the others chime in. Fortunately, last time he was here, Nicodemus set up an illusion that renders the whole structure invisible when desired, an illusion in which the inhabitants have total faith, and the rest of the party has precisely none. Kurst performs some counter-tracking, with some complimentary skill rolls from Alexander and Jacob, rolling a critical success to cover the party's tracks, and a critical success to lay false ones. (Success by 17 and 19 respectively, even with a -9 to do it quickly.)

Image result for castle room multiple fire placesThey’re led into a common room with multiple fireplaces, Eddie and his trailer through a separate, bigger entrance, helped by a couple of children, who he hands little wooden toys that seem to come to life. Once inside they’re fed multiple delicious meat buns, of which Kurst eats the lion’s share. There are a couple of pregnant women, and Jacob goes over to inspect them, make sure everything’s okay. Eddie begins to inspect every inch of the castle, to make sure it’s sufficiently well built, worried that we’ve put these people in unnecessary danger. Alexander cautions him to rest, so he is best prepared in case the Saviors do see through the illusion, but Nick tells him that this is Eddie’s way of resting, of putting his mind at ease.

A young girl with a mass of frizzy red hair sits down opposite Alexander, mimicking his posture. He carefully takes a pebble from the ground and places it between his two great hands, after meditating for a second, he opens them, revealing a sparkling gem, which he gives to the child. Meanwhile over in the other corner, Nick is putting on a far flashier performance with some magic. Jacob’s cat (or perhaps he’s the cat’s Jacob), is also showing off, hovering around and leaving its trail of rainbows (I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I hate you Christopher ~Hal) (It's okay, Hal. It's goingto get so much more memetic before I'm done. You'll be lucky ifI don't give it Snatcher (Cheezburgers) ~Christopher.)

Eventually all of them get some rest, Eddie up in a little sniper’s nest he’s made for himself. He only needs a couple of hours sleep, and somehow knows exactly when the Saviors are going to arrive, so when there are only two hours left, he wakes us all up. Eddie, Alexander, and Kurst all head up to the roof to see if the Saviors go on by, which, after a tense moment, they do. 

Eddie uses Clairsentience to follow them out to the end of the false trail at the other side of the glacier, when it starts snowing heavily, they look very frustrated. From inside castle, smugly sipping brandy, Nick does the same with a quick spell. Then with a second spell he creates the illusion of a scent in the area, the scent of blood. A few seconds later, there’s a woman’s scream. A few of the Saviors go off to investigate and they’re dragged under the snow, where a slow, crimson stain begins to spread. More and more of them were ripped to shreds, as the wendigo attacked, attracted by the smell of blood. Far away, inside the castle, Nicodemus smiles.

With his Clairsentience, Eddie also saw all of this, but the only ranged sense he can’t project is his sense of smell, so he didn’t know the cause. He mentioned to Alexander and Kurst that something was wrong, they were being slaughtered by wendigo. Alexander promptly leaped off the side of the building to go help, followed by Kurst, who wanted nothing more than to tear a wendigo apart, and Eddie limped along behind.


Blood on the Snow
Alexander, Eddie, and Kurst
Sentinel Butte, 21°F, Heavy Snow
January 28th, 37 AB, 6:00am

North of Poole's Palace


When they arrived there was just one survivor, a young boy, severely wounded, who Alexander picked up and sprinted back with. Meanwhile, Kurst pelted the wendigo with silver arrows, driving them off now that they’d eaten their fill. He then went over to the bodies of the few wendigo that had been killed, and began to slash at them until they reached the consistency of mincemeat. However, the smell of blood was starting to get to him, and a change came in his eyes, he ripped an arm off one of the bodies, and began to chew on it… Or at least he thought he did, seeing what was about to happen through his scrying spell, Nick projected an illusion into Kurst's mind to make him think that’s what he was doing, when in reality it just looked like he was eating an invisible sandwich.

Image result for cabal blood sceneEddie eventually managed to calm him down, and Kurst went to recover his arrows… and rolled a 3, getting all of them back, along with all of the Saviors’ equipment in tidy, carefully arranged packages. Meanwhile Eddie built a sledge to carry all this gear, and the two of them began to make their way back.


By a Roaring Fire
Alexander, Eddie, Nick, Doc, and Kurst
Sentinel Butte, 9°F, Heavy Snow
January 28th, 37 AB, 9:00am

North of Poole's Palace

Back at the castle, Alexander had returned with the injured boy, and brought him to Jacob, who performed first-aid, assisted by Alexander. He also used some of his healing power, and between them they managed to stabilize the him. Jacob then attempted to regrow the boy’s arm, rolling an 18, but 3 Karma later, that became a success, and the arm was restored. Then after another healing roll, he managed to cure the wendigo virus that the kid had been infected with, before heading off to crash. He’d spent a lot of Fatigue Points.

We ended it there.


After Action Report (Hal)
This was a great first session, the team seemed to work together really well. I think there’s a lot of things I personally could have done better, but you live and learn. For example, rather than an illusion I could have just improvised a Telesend to message Kurst and try and snap him out of it that way, and with Natural Leader and a high level of the Mastermind! Wildcard (which mostly about leading) I’d stand a very good chance of managing. I also didn’t spend a single point of Karma that session, even though I have a lot. We didn’t need them in the end, but spending them to make some Illusion rolls critical successes would have made us a lot safer.


After Action Report (Christopher)
Like Hal said - this was a good start. It wasn't where I was planning to go, but so few of my games do. I was rather pleased with how everything just seamlessly melded together. This will be the fourth campaign in the same setting that has benefited greatly by my long lead time for character creation and formulation. That extra month of making things work so there are no surprises nearly ensures a game will not flame out rapidly. 

Having to come up with various odds and ends on the spot kind of sucked - but I'm competent enough switching gears that ("I'm better when I move!") that didn't cause too much trouble. It's clear to me that the players want to push survival for themselves into the background and really push "We have powers and should use them for the greater good" to the front. If that's the case I'm planned for this and can easily accommodate them. Overall, no plan survives first contact with PCs.

I'll need a few more sessions to really gauge what is going on and readjust my story arcs from there.


Session Soundtrack
"All Along The Watchtowers (Instrumental)" by The Forest Rangers ft Gabe Witcher (as the session "closing song")
"Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" by Drowning Pool (when Faust sets up the Savoirs)
"White Winter Hymnal" by Fleet Foxes (as the session "opening song" when the PCs are trekking across endless snow)
"My Hero" by the Foo Fighters (as Alexander leaps off the building rushing to help the Savoirs)"Nyan Cat" by Sara Jane
"Too Much Blood" by The Rolling Stones

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Carpe Blogiem: Open Call to Players, the Son of the Open Call


Like the previous calls (go there and read said info) I'm looking for 1-2 permanent players for games on Monday nights and alternating Tuesdays (every other Tuesday) from about 7pm to about 12am EDT. Email me with the tag [PLAYER] and [AEON]

I'm also looking for 1-3 "guest star" players who I can pull in for different games at different times. Email is the same but use the tags [GUEST PLAYER] and [AEON].

If anyone is interested in joining the Aeon Think Tank for world design email me (as above) with [AEON] and [THINK TANK].

You can read the session recaps here and check out the Aeon tag on my blog for more info. Webcam and mic are required for players. Detailed character history is required for players. Understanding of past games/setting is useful for players, but required for the Think Tank.

Thanks to anyone who's interested!


(Note: The reason I've sent out a call is I've had two players bow out because of Life(TM) - which sucks - and while both are now in my guest player pool - I need to get two more regular players.)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Hurt Locker: Outrigger Fantasy Airship


Whether it’s Dungeon Fantasy or a typical fantasy campaign, having access to an a means of getting from one place to another is almost required. Usually this would take the form of pack animals, wagons, or traditionally ocean- or river-going sailing vessels. But for some settings, such pedestrian means of conveyance simply will not do. Sometimes you need a freaking airship. Using the Spaceships line to create such a vessel is no small task, so I’ve done some of the work for you...

...if you'd like to read more, consider becoming a patron!

Note: the link to the actual content for patrons is here.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

GURPS101: More Psychic Healing Powers for Psionic Powers


Like previous installments, here are a few new powers for GURPS Psionic Powers. For GMs who split Psychic Healing into Psychometabolism and Biokinesis the Anamorphosis power belongs in the former in GURPS 4th edition. The only real issue (and it’s the same issue that all worked frameworks have) is that there are just never enough powers...

...if you'd like to read more, consider becoming a patron!

Note: the link to the actual content for patrons is here.