Humanydyne – the system

Also posted here

Cubicle 7, those cheeky London chappies (see the entry for 23rd August 2007 ) are meant to be releasing a translation of Humanydyne, a somewhat-post-apocalyptic superhero game originally from 7Ć©me cercle (you know them, they originally did Qin).

Yes, it’s superheroes, very flexible, and it is post-apocalyptic – the moon broke up and rained hell on more than one place (London is ****ed for instance). And the city of San Sepluchro is surrounded by radiated areas (those damned superhumans).

It’s been a while and I’ve had the French version of the game and supplements for a while. It’s slow reading because I’m busy and my french is ‘poor’.

The system is called XdX and is declarative (listing only what is remarkable) and pretty freeform. To resolve an action, you roll a number of dice – seemingly any number you want between 1 and 10. To succeed in an action, you need to end up with at least one “positive” though the more you get, the better the quality of success. The system seems to say that d6 dice are standard but any can be used.

Positives – your skill levels, any pairs you roll on the dice you take
Negatives – any non-pairs, resistance from enemies skill levels.

Difficulties are also assigned by adding additional negatives. So, the more dice you roll, the greater the possible result but the increased risk of failure. The more dice you declare to roll, the faster you act in combat – your initiative score is the minimum number of dice you will roll. And rolling a 1 or 6 on a d6 counts double – not sure if that’s for both positives and negatives.

So, my query is whether or not you’d fancy the odds here? I mean, the searching for pairs smacks of ORE which is fine, but the number of negatives that might result, could easily turn success to failure.

Star of the Commonwealth

Great Britain was, at the time, in the throes of a terrible war, a world war, which assailed them from without as well as within. While bombs rained upon London and young men lost their lives overseas in the pursuit of freedom, a frontier was breached. On a private estate in the English countryside, a connection was made, perhaps even re-opened, by a small party.

The incursion took place on the 9th February 1946. A battalion of rag-tag troops, hastily constructed from a score of regiments established a beachhead and within three hours (by our reckoning) had successfully conquered the land beyond.

During the next four weeks, rationing was abolished and the United Kingdom ushered in a new wealth and independence which changed the face of the world. The curious artifact of the new conquered land which permitted this was the difference in time flow. Years could pass in the conquered land and only hours would pass on Earth. The Government wasted no time in relocating farmers and their families and inviting captains of industry to build great factories. The country focussed their efforts on manufacture and export and quickly rebuilt the failing British Empire.

And of the conquered land?

HRH Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Narnia, sported a fetching maned cloak that following Winter

Zombi: spitballing a ‘lookout’ mechanic

After playing Left4Dead probably a little too much, I’m left with the interesting problem of wanting to emulate a little of the in-game mechanic in my (and your) favourite RPG about Zombies.

I’m also somewhat inspired by the Trust mechanics from “The Mountain Witch“.

I’m looking to emulate the advantages of sticking together, of taking a risk when you know there are others looking out for you and the ability to ‘summon a saviour’ which, in Left4Dead, is handled in music, dialogue, and video graphics.

Zombi: resurfacing on

ZOMBI got mentioned on tonight.

Originally Posted by CHARLIBANANAS
I’d also say ZOMBI The earth won’t hold the dead…I was surprised to see mentioned so quickly, I have AFMBE and Savage Worlds but zombi does exactly what I want from a Zombie game, and it was cheap…Other than that WoD.

Originally Posted by BigJackBrass
Zombi is a great little game and rarely seems to get mentioned. Since I’m pushed for time I’ll just direct you to Jeff’s gameblog and his description of it as one of Five Overlooked RPGs.

Excellent. Special thanks to CHARLIBANANAS and BigJackBrass.

SinglePlayer AI vs MultiPlayer

Scott Anguish writes about Left4Dead:

The other game I just tried out today was Left 4 Dead. This is one hardcore shooter that really ramps up the ‘fast zombie’ genre. Again, you come away feeling like you’ve been immersed in the game. I’m hoping the single player mode is long lasting (I hate playing online. I think in many cases it’s a cop-out for the developer to limit the AI that they have to write. …

I guess this is a worry – single player longevity.

For me, the Single Player Game is just a training mission for the online play/multiplayer modes. In the Single Player (as with Bots on your team in the multiplayer), you lose a little of the “stupid mistake” that makes the zombie genre so appealing. Like tonight – a reasonably seasoned group took 24 seconds to die (or so it seemed) because one guy went off by himself, got immobilised quickly and while the rest were coming for him, they got picked off by the admittedly well-timed attacks of the Infected team. Hint: you need all four people.

I enjoy the stupid mistakes that humans make. I laugh out loud when we make dumb mistakes. I howl in mock pain as my survivor is dragged by the Smoker’s tongue. And I laugh when my brother (@savage_mf) blows my Hunter to bits with two shotgun blasts! It’s just good fun.

I’ve been really enjoying Left4Dead. Scott now has me looking at Mirror’s Edge to see what all the fuss is about!

Get Carter

I started this evening sitting down to watch The Bourne Identity on ITV2 but as it happens they run ad breaks every 18 minutes and I’m reminded why I hate linear television. The content is either shit or broken up by advertising breaks.

I attempted to remedy my ennui by putting on “The Descent” though I figured it might be better for another night and I opted to go for a film I’ve not seen in years, ‘Get Carter‘ starring Michael Caine. I only just found out they remade it in 2000 with Sylvester Stallone. Sounds like a sick joke.

Carter is a hard nut though it’s kinda tender when he first faces his brothers corpse. Everything is so run down, raining, allpaper peeling, paint layered upon paint upon paint. His niece is working at Woolworths, a bastion of sixties Britain (which just went into administration). Everyone looks pasty, malnourished and it’s amazing when you see some of the actors we take for granted in their youth. Britt Ekland, on the other hand, looks radiant.

I’m watching it now for inspiration for CONTROL. Makes me want an electric shaver and a kipper tie šŸ™‚

Left4Dead, on Expert

“It’s a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, I can’t be held accountable for my actions!!!!”

Some of us (me, Savage_MF, kinnygraham and Pulse4333) have been playing this in the evenings and I must say it’s probably the best FPS I’ve played in a while due to the need to be co-operative rather than selfish.

And it has Zombies. So it’s win-win as far as I’m concerned.

Jorune Revisited

After a long hiatus, I’ve decided to revisit Jorune.

From Wikipedia

“Skyrealms of Jorune was based on a science-fantasy background (of the planetary romance subtype) created by Andrew Leker, initially for a school writing assignment. The setting was somewhat comparable to the Barsoom of the John Carter novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, in that it was a barbaric fantasy world populated by sword-wielding heroes who encountered strange alien beings and technologies.”

Jorune, first edition was published in 1984 (which means that next year it will celebrate it’s 25th Anniversary). I was first introduced to the game by John (a friend who has moved on) and from then I developed a deep and long-lasting love for the game. It inspired me more than Tekumel, left me hungering for more and irked me when I discovered that due to personalities and high claims on the value of the intellectual property, Jorune would never again be printed in another edition. (Reviews on

Second edition boxed sets still show up every now and then and Chessex still have a stock of the books they published:

SRP 02000 Skyrealms of Joruneā„¢ RPG $20.00
SRP 02001 Sholari Packā„¢ (Joruneā„¢ GM Screen & Modules) $16.00
SRP 02010 The Sobayid Atlasā„¢ (for Joruneā„¢) $16.00
SRP 02100 Innocents of Gaussā„¢ (Joruneā„¢ Module) $10.00
SRP 02101 The Gire of Sillipusā„¢ (Joruneā„¢ Module) $12.00
Call 888-243-7739 if you want to order any.

For my weekly group I’ve been toying with many ideas what to run. First of all a GODLIKE game seemed right as it would give me my superhero fix. Secondly I considered a 1950s era superhero game inspired partly by Warren Ellis’ Planetary. But at the moment my heart is set on running Jorune – converting the system to BRP (using Nick Middleton’s BRP rules as a basis and Cthulhu Dark Ages as the medium). It’s similar enough, and yet different to, the other games we have been playing. (The group is heavily slanted towards BRP-based games – we’ve played RuneQuest, Delta Green and Gaslight so far over the last two and a half years).

Jorune never really caught on though it seemed more popular than some culture games insofar as it managed to have an entire computer game created for it.

So, what have I done?

Firstly I’ve created a Jorune character sheet, (front and back) which is in PDF format and can be downloaded. I’m not challenging copyrights here – just enabling some gamers. While a character sheet is only a start and not a destination by any means, it’s going to be the first thing that my players experience – other than the Tauther guide – that is!

And where can you find more information?

I’d start with the Jorune Yahoo Group. Move quickly on to And the have a look at Robert Dushay‘s and SholariJames‘ pages.

I’m going to give it a go. I need to do more work on Jorune BRP I think but it’s a starter for 10.

23rd Letter RPG

The time is now.

Psychics exist, not many, but enough – enough to worry those in power, and interest those who seek power. Governments and Corporations fight over them. The Network provides an imperfect refuge for those that escape the clutches of those who would abuse them or their powers.Thousands are maimed and killed each year by the Corporations and Governments. Some do this for power, some for defence, but they all do it, – for the next war will be fought with the mind – and the victor will control the destiny of the human race.

Stock currently 100+


Not the first time I’ve been Left4Dead

From the Wikipedia page for Left4Dead
Left 4 Dead is a co-operative, survival horror, first-person shooter game by Turtle Rock Studios.
“Left 4 Dead puts four human playable or AI-controlled Survivors of an apocalyptic pandemic against hordes of aggressive “Infected” (zombies). These Infected are controlled by an AI that dynamically balances difficulty and mood depending on the players’ progress and situation. In an alternate game mode, human players can control up to four different monsters with special abilities and cooperate to stop the Survivor players.

The common infected encountered during the game are fast and agile, weak individually but overpowering the survivors with numbers. Besides common infected there are five boss infected, whose mutations grant them special abilities that make them much more dangerous.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing Left4Dead over the last couple of days – there’s something really satisfying in playing one of the ‘boss infected’ and stopping the PCs from reaching their safehouse. The music is excellent and really adds to the atmosphere. I’ve written up some statistics and additional rules for running a Left4Dead game using the Zombi rules and I’d love to hear your thoughts on them.

The stats for a basic zombi are:

GunPlay:0 CloseCombat : 5
B&E Action: 3 Stealthing: 3
Movement: 5 Awareness: 5
Scrounging: 0 Persuasion: 3
Survival: 3 Medical: 0

Modified Rules for Left4Dead:
Fast Zombis:

Rule: When someone comes within sight or hearing range of a Zombi it will run at the source of the noise and climb over objects to reach the source. This is especially dangerous where car or building alarms are concerned – the Zombi is especially attracted to these sources of noise, something that can be taken advantage of when a grenade is retrofitted with sound and light emitters. Zombis move at normal humans speeds.

Ganging Up:

Rule: When large numbers of zombis gang up, they will attempt to beat, hit or bite the survivor. Zombi attacks are simple closecombat attacks but if a PC is attacked by more than 4 zombis, then they have their panic rating reduced by two for every 4 zombis present – this can be very serious if attacked by 10+ zombis. A GM will roll the attack once for four zombis involved in the attack and if the result is a hit, add one point to the damage score. e.g Four Zombis attack a Player. They score a hit and roll once for damage, (1d6/3)+1 giving a result between 2 and 3 points of damage. If eight zombis make the same attack, it is treated as two groups of four. The only defense against this is a Shove which is a CloseCombat attack made by the survivor against the group. Only one group of four can be shoved at any one time and this requires that the Survivor make a successful CloseCombat attack taking into account his reduced Panic rating. There’s an advantage to keeping your back to a wall.

Fire Damage:

Rule: All zombis are severely affected by fire and even a small blaze will cause 1d6 damage per turn.

The most common boss infected is the Hunter, who has a pounce attack that pins survivors to the ground and renders them unable to defend themselves while the Hunter attacks.

Rule: The Hunter can leap up to sixty feet ( 20 metres ) in any direction. If it makes a successful Movement, then it will land on a Survivor within range and pin them. The only defense on this is assistance from other Survivors (or shooting the Hunter first by winning initiative). Once pinned, the Hunter does not need to make CloseCombat rolls to successfully hurt the Survivor but inflicts 1d6/3 every turn.

The Smoker has a long, grasping tongue which can capture survivors and drag them away from their teammates.

Rule: The Smoker may make an Awareness roll to ensnare and drag a Survivor up to thirty feet (10 metres). The survivor may again only be released through the intervention of another Survivor. Once ensnared, the Survivor is helpless against other attacks (from other Zombies) and after 1 turn of dragging, will also be attacked by the Smoker itself for 1d6/3 per turn.

The Boomer, a bloated infected whose vomit and bile attract the common infected and temporarily blinds the player.

Rule: A successful Movement roll means the Boomer has successfully vomited over every Survivor within 10 feet (3 metres). If shot, the Boomer will explode and coat everyone within the same range in his foul-smelling bile. The Boomer only has 5 hit points so this can happen easily. Once covered in the bile, the Survivor’s panic rating drops by a full five points for two turns as the liquid distorts vision. The bile will also attract every Zombi within a kilometre (half mile) to the Survivors (GMs will likely roll 2d6+6 to see how many show up.

The Tank is a huge, muscular infected and the most difficult to kill. The Tanks can knock the survivors back a distance and throw objects in the environment or large pieces of earth.

Rule: The Tank’s CloseCombat Score increases to 10. It may also pick up rocks and anything to hand and throw them using it’s Movement score with a range of 100 feet (30 metres) doing up to 1d6 damage. This may be dodged. The Tank has thirty hit points and will therefore take a lot of gunfire to take down.

The Witch is not aggressive, unlike the other boss infected. She will not attack the player unless provoked; by loud noises, lights or being near her. However her attack is the most damaging, on all difficulties her attack will knock down a player in one hit and on the expert difficulty is instantly fatal.

Rule: The Witch has Movement 10 and CloseCombat 10. She also has 30 hit points. But she will not move unless there is loud noise within 10 feet (3 metres). She will then attack doing 1d6 damage per successful hit.

Terms (Left4Dead, Hunter, Smoker, Boomer, Tank and Witch) and contexts used in this post are likely trademarks of Valve Software and is not meant to infringe. The game is $49 on Steam and also available in good games stores worldwide.