ZOMBI now available on DTRPG

ZOMBI is now on DTRPG. Originally distributed in hardcopy through the US and Europe, this is the first digital version.

The first few pages of this journal have been destroyed by fire and by weathering. The actual location of the structure is unknown. It becomes legible halfway down page six.

“Though the sun overhead had been baking the skin from their backs, his men had been digging without pause for several hours. After all, they were two hours behind schedule and they were losing money with every minute that passed.”

Some pages have been damaged describing the outer defenses of the structure.

“The stone rolled away quite easily, surprising two of the men who panicked in their attempt to get out of the way. The stone rolled on, oblivious to their cries and over a mans leg, crushing it from toe to knee. I didn’t notice until later for my attention was riveted to the space the stone had left. A hole, an opening!”

“Laverne could not decipher the hieroglyphics. He would shake his head and mutter about eternal life and how there was no opposite to eternal life. I didn’t understand what he was talking about. I had what I wanted. In a few days I would be recognised among my peers with this discovery”

“Two men in the workforce have died. The first one, the man whose leg was crushed, was stricken with a strange fever that seemed to abate but an hour later he was awake again and attacking the other people in the camp. He’d managed to kill his nurse before the men subdued him. Apparently they had to smash his skull open with a spade to stop him.”

“Five men came from the village today. They spoke to the workers in private. First they herded all of us into a single tent. Maurice shot two of them before they knocked him senseless. Then have taken the charges and the equipment and resealed the chamber. They are returning now. I think we may be in hot water.”

Transcript from the journal of missing archaeologist Alain LaFontaine unearthed in Egypt, 1992. LaFontaine discovered an unknown pyramid and went missing after a workers dispute in 1907. Translated from the original French.

What if the people who were dead got up one day?
What if they got up and started killing other people?
What if the people they killed just got back up and killed some more people?
What if it had already started?
What if that day was yesterday?
Zombi is a roleplaying game set in the world of the Zombi. The Dead walk the lands, killing and eating the living. Society has fallen and the only thing left now is to break out, find an island somewhere, live a little…before then end. But there must be more than just static and deserted cities out there? Sometimes you hear the radio talk for a while, sometimes you see lights in the sky and they remind you that even as the streets are haunted with shambling, rotting monsters, humanity is out there waiting for a chance to reclaim everything.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/380498/ZOMBI

And we released the chargen and combat rules for ERIS MODERN, the system used in The 23rd Letter and our upcoming superhero game.

Posted in Game Design, Zombi, Zombi RPG | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Nor Gloom Of Night – now available on DriveThruRPG

Nor Gloom Of Night is a post-apocalyptic setting for your favourite modern RPG. Become a horse-riding agent of the Reformation States twenty years after the fall of the United States of America. The dangers out there are many; from self-proclaimed warlords to diseases long thought eradicated by modern medicine, from the people themselves to the harsh winters of the North West of North America.

You, and your compatriots, as Greycaps, are the line drawn between the rebirth of civilisation and the fall into a dark age. It’s up to you to uphold the ideals of the past and propel us into the future.

Today I released Nor Gloom Of Night on DriveThruRPG for $5/Pay What You Want.

I’d love for you to give me some feedback after a read.

Now – back to writing our superhero game and the third edition of The 23rd Letter.

Posted in Game Design, Nor Gloom Of Night | Leave a comment

T2000: A Christmas One-Shot

I’ve been asked to run a Christmas one-shot by my Friday night gaming group. I was thinking about one of the Dune intro adventures but as I’m just starting a Dune game on Monday nights, I thought to shake it up. My hard copy of T2000 4th Ed is currently sitting in another country so I’ve been watching videos and flicking through a PDF copy of the rules.

The character sheets are pre-gens that I’ve thieved from elsewhere. Let the players make their own characters as long as they’re from the same side, ideally the same unit. Group Cohesion is important.

Name Rank
STR A: HW: B, CC: D, ST: C
AGI A: DR: D, MO: D, RC: C
INT C
EMP D
HP 6, ST 4, CUF D, MO D
Name Rank
STR B: ST: C
AGI A: MO: C, RC: C
INT B: RE: C, SU: C, TK: D
EMP C: CO: D
HP 6, ST 5, CUF C, MO D
Name Rank
STR B: ST: D
AGI B: RC: D
INT B: SU: D, TK D
EMP B: PE C, ME D
HP 5, ST 5, CUF D, MO D

PLOT

Waking up. Cold. December 2000. The players wake up. They’re in the woods in Poland. A light snow has already started to cover their bivouac shelters. The forest around them is picturesque but also eerily silent. The players are remnants of several troops that were dismembered during the last push.

Encounters The players should have the opportunity to have some encounters as they move. They think they’re heading south, away from Kalisz and away from the winter, away from Russia. As this is a one shot, and not part of the main plot, there should be one encounter now.

  1. Rózga. An old man wearing a green jacket, leading a goat. He has a loaf of bread in his arms, a little stale but perfectly edible. If they treat him badly, things will go very wrong for them. Everywhere they go, they will encounter little bundles of sticks. They’ll dig into their pockets and find twigs. If they treat him nicely, he will share his bread with them – which ends up being worse as it’s Rye bread, infected with ergot.
  2. The Town. They come across a small village, people fearful of strangers. The people will barter with them for food/drink/shelter. If they don’t have much to barter they will ask a favour. They want a small group of them to travel southeast to Wietun. Two men, one woman. They don’t have vehicles but they will supply a couple of pack mules. Hopefully the players agree. The woman, Jolanta, is wrapped up heavily and heavily pregnant. One of them men is her husband, Daniel. The other man is her brother Wieslaw. They may notice Jolanta wears a T shaped cross, on a chain. This isn’t the Tau cross, this is the symbol of Saint Anthony.
  3. Turo?. They see a strange figure in the woods. A long billowing sheet, topped with a horned head complete with flapping jaws. IF they shoot at it, it flees. If they chase it, they find nothing but the sheet. This is a local dressed in the local fertility deity trappings on his way to the next house to beg a glass of vodka or some fruit. He’s already quite drunk but will sober quickly and hide in the undergrowth, under the snow if challenged. If they are relentless, they will catch the unfortunate soul (Oskar) and he will be terrified out of his wits, especially if they have hurt him.

The Journey

The journey to Wietun will take 24 hours, so maybe three encounters.

Christmas Miracle The small group will travel slowly to Wietun, with encounters as usual. They won’t reach Wietun for a couple of days but the end of the second day, Jolanta needs shelter and they find a small shack where she can give birth. From then on they have noisy Christmas miracle to deal with as well. The players will have to use their medical knowledge to assist in the birth.

Wietun As the players and their entourage approach Wietun, they encounter the town’s remaining scouts. The town is filled with refugees, makeshift shelters and the smell of burning wood and food being cooked. The players will be greeted and then immediately asked if they are well. If they are uninjured they will be sent out to shovel clean snow into buckets and bring them to the fires to be melted into clean water.

The Council After a day (urban encounter?), the town council comes to the players. They offer them shelter and food for as long as they stay. This is their little Christmas miracle.

COMPLICATIONS

The Ergot is potentially the biggest complication. The GM should feed the players notes based on their perceptions.

  • If they give Jolanta any of the bread it will bring on parturition rapidly and violently
  • If they eat it themselves, they will begin to feel the effects of ergotism. Some of them will have pins and needles, some will feel their fingers on fire, others may start to see things. All will experience vomiting.
  • The hallucinatory effects of the Ergot will play up on fears, reduce CUF and it will make the encounter with the Turo? seem entirely supernatural. Players shouldn’t be told but they will fail almost every perception roll while under the influence of Ergot

If the players refuse to escort the people (or are violent), they should be run out of town and you can then just throw encounters at them until they run out of ammo and medical supplies.

If the players are unkind to the people they meet, they won’t be asked to stay. They’ll be given food and water, but asked to leave. They are outnumbered, so it will likely not turn out well if they try force.

If the medical rolls fail, the mother or child may die. If the mother dies, the child will live. If the child dies, describe how the morning comes but it never gets truly light again. Describe how what seems like snow, is actually ashes. Up ahead, the town of Wietun is burning.

MOVIE TANGENTS

  • Supernatural – draw from The Omen or The Prophecy to add a little supernatural horror/thriller
  • Alien – rather than adding Alien, add Brightburn.
  • Threads – the mother doesn’t make it, and the baby, well, it’s barely human for the thirty seconds it survives. Thoroughly downbeat.

INFLUENCES

The Nativity (c. 3 BC). Three Kings (1999). Silent Hill (2005). Threads (1984). The Blair Witch Project (1999). Kill List (2011). A Field in England (2013)

Posted in Twilight 2000 | Leave a comment

DUNE: The Trials of House Jiorj

Classic novels of intrigue and spies are ripe for exploitation in a Dune game.

Think about the plot of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Continue reading

Posted in Dune, GM | Leave a comment

DUNE: The Landsraad

The Great Houses or Houses Major are the most powerful and important houses with voting right in the Landsraad. Their number was not fixed; they varied in history with political and economic fortunes, and depended to some degree on the strength of the Empire’s basic institutions: there were as few as 35, and as many as 157. all other, lesser houses belonged to “circles of the empire,” each.

The Legate

The leaders of the Great Houses and Major Houses seldom attend the Landsraad High Council, preferring instead to send Legates or “ambassadors”. The heads of Houses Minor and Nascent Houses, in contrast, often appear in person as it represents an opportunity to meet more powerful patrons.

Legates are often Mentats – enabling them to keep track of the many factors and numbers they need and working the probabilities.

Nascent Houses

The first step for a House was to get recognition within the Landsraad. This was a process of gaining influence and money, of trading favours for a sponsorship. Once the Petition to the Council is made, the House has to follow up with commitments and repay favours before they are accepted. In reality, this is done in word only. Most new Houses enter the Landsraad owing huge debts to their sponsors and, of course, brand new enemies.

House Minor

The Minor Houses are vassal to Major Houses and Great Houses and therefore part of their voting bloc. Voting with their patron house will be expected and any votes going against their patron would be met with severe retribution. An effective Legate might use this as an opportunity to switch allegiances.

House Major

The Major Houses have considerable influence, with the resources of an entire planet behind them. They are the main focus of the “circles of the empire”. They’re powerful enough that they might be able to ignore the dictates of the Great House blocs. They might even be able to make a name for themselves standing out against their patrons.

The Great Houses

Those houses with the highest influence, the greatest military strength or the most wealth create their own voting blocs within the Landsraad. Their Legate is surrounded with an entourage of Envoys (referred to as Whips) who spend their days coaxing and chiding their voting blocs and trying to bring in new influence.

The Moot

Four times a year, the Moot is held. It lasts up to a month and is all about the politics of the Landsraad.

Due to the complexities of Imperial Life and the Landsraad, usually only one vote is taken per Standard Day. The rest of the time is negotiations, conversation, reading the Proposal and Counters.

The morning starts at 5 am, beginning with Prayer and Dedications. After this is completed (usually lasting an hour), the Legates disperse for refreshments and to confer with others.
At 10 am, the First Reading Begins. This is followed by the Second Reading.
At noon, the Legates again disperse, breaking for lunch, which is again an excuse for conversation, for bullying and for instruction in the circles.
At 5 pm, the Vote takes place. After the significant preamble of the day, the Vote itself is almost instant with multiple Mentats counting the results. After the vote, the Legates again break for refreshments. This is the Reward or Retribution phase when Legates and their Envoys find their vassals and remind them of their vote.
At 7 pm, the results of the Vote are presented to the Emperor who will either Accept or Refuse them. It’s uncommon for the Emperor to refuse a Vote result, but not unheard of. As most Votes end in the most frustrating stalemates, the Emperor is seldom even present for this part of the Moot and instead his Delegatus is a stand-in.
At 10 pm the Moot is dissolved for the Day. The Vote results are disseminated to the Empire.

Scenario Ideas

What are ways you can get players involved in the Landraad and the High Council.

Come to the Moot

The Players House Leader or Legate is attending the Moot because there’s an important vote, maybe their own sponsored Bill (Privata Libellum). The Players are the escorts, the administration. They’ll be involved in the intrigues at their level as well as those at the higher and lower levels. BGs will be informed the way the BG wants a vote to go and to influence their Legates. Plenty of opportunity for intrigues.

Fix This

The vote isn’t going to go well. There are some Vassals who aren’t towing the line. Some of them just disagree with it while some of them are being courted by other major houses to influence the vote. Their Legate is clear:a list of names and only couple of hours to fix it.

Truth and Consequences

There’s an attack on the entourage. The Legate had signalled their intention to vote a certain way and someone doesn’t like it. The enemy could be a rival house, or even a liege house. The severity of the attack depends on the outcomes. The Vote involved could be important or it could be entirely trivial – it’s not about the vote – it’s about the message the attack carries.

Retribution

The Vote went the wrong way and the Legate wants blood. Punishment, murder are all on the table. Vassals beware!

Posted in Dune | Leave a comment