The 23rd Letter, 3rd “Fury” Edition

Yeah, I wasn’t planning on having to talk about it so soon. Blog post isn’t even written.

but…

it’s set nearly thirty years later. The Psychic War as was died with the final end of the Cold War. Corporations figured out it’s easier to manipulate people with social media than fragile psychics. Many of the government projects have collapsed. Only three major factions remain.

Talents are streamlined – more ‘cooperation’ between psychic powers is encouraged, lots more wild talents included (psychic vampirism? Ok) and a bigger metaplot regarding a psychic menace known as the Fury that particularly affects telepaths.

Telepaths get mind linking powers, Regents get sleeper suggestion, TKs get offensive strikes and shields, precogs get BITD-inspired Preparations, Healers can harm.

System is a little less severe though getting shot still ruins your day. Toned down the rules on Fatigue. But Stress now affects everyone.

………and I’m in the art-commissioning phase.

Posted in 23rd Letter, Game Design | Leave a comment

23rd Letter, 2nd Edition PDF

After a lengthy delay, I released the PDF of the second edition of The 23rd Letter.

Anyone who has the print edition gets it free (so, if you have it, get in touch).?

There’s a third edition (different time period, different metaplot) coming so don’t rush out and get it unless you want some amazing stuff. ?You’ll see it and all of my books at https://www.lategaming.com/buy-the-books/

Posted in 23rd Letter, Game Design, Industry, LateGaming, The 23rd Letter, The 23rd Letter | Leave a comment

New Release: Kick Murder

Well, tonight we hit publish on our new #TTRPG: Kick Murder

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/419543/Kick-Murder

“Your Emotions Make You Human, Even The Unpleasant Ones Have A Purpose”

In Kick Murder, the players are catapulted into a world of danger and uncertainty. Their humdrum jobs, their dangerous jobs, the sorts of jobs that no-one would want to do – no human anyway. And the moment they discover that they’re not so different from their human masters is their first Moment – the first opportunity they have to escape the Containment of their life.

Kick Murder is a tabletop roleplaying game inspired by great movies – Blade Runner, Equilibrium, Never Let Me Go, THX1138, GATTACA, Logans Run, Cloud Atlas, It’s an interpretation of this seminal science fiction in RPG form.

We examine the hubris of humanity, the moral implications of genetic engineering and of making moral shortcuts. Repros represent an underclass of humanity, discriminated against from birth for what they are and what they represent. Their creators, like mythological counterparts, left the Promethean fire of “emotion” available to them and for that they strive, juxtaposed with a cold and un-empathetic Natural upper-class of human.

We do not dwell on the Naturals outside of their position as oppressors. We wish our Repros to defy social conformity and revolt against a social order which conspires against them even before they are born. The Repros therefore represent innocents (though they may be far from innocent) attempting to return to Eden (Earth) where they can live out what remains of their lives in peace.

Kick Murder is a 32 page core book with three additonal PDFs of Adventures (Furukontakudo, The Prodigals and Ad Terminum)

Posted in Game Design, Kick Murder, LateGaming | Leave a comment

The Lost & Found Ghosts – a Doctor Who story

As some of you may know, I write.

And I’ve written a few screenplays in my time. This is a Doctor Who screenplay short I wrote for one of my classmates in theatre school.

It’s a time paradox about a lost item. Just for a bit of fun.

The Lost And Found Ghosts (PDF)

All likenesses are belonging to respective copyright and trademark holders. No challenge is being made. But wouldn’t it be cool to write for Doctor Who, eh? (My style would be a bit darker than people are used to.)

Anyway. It would make a light hearted aside or intro to the Doctor Who RPG.

Posted in Doctor Who, GM | Leave a comment

Fediversed

And now we are on Fediverse/Mastodon.

Posted in Commentary | Leave a comment

Mythos Role-Reversal

Originally posted on Mastodon at #TTRPGDesign

Saw someone asking about Mythos role reversal on Reddit. I don’t relish the idea of playing evil characters or Mythos monsters so most of the thread was meh.

But characters who are doomed are interesting.

  1. Maybe the PC is trying to track down their long lost parents and discovers their address is Innsmouth. The Referee could handle this really well. A clock time to indicate their impending transformation. Deep Ones aren’t evil by nature – just culturally. But when you’re becoming one …you have choices.
  2. Players are detectives who discover a mythos spell which enables you to relive the last moments of the murder victims. By of course consuming part of the body. They discover they get memories and then skills. But this is the Mythos way of transforming into ghouls – again not a malevolent race by nature.
  3. People got so rapt by Vikings and similar. So get Hillfolk or similar games and some inspiration from The Village and Midsommar for a folk horror game that demands different cultural mores.
  4. so, it’s Call of Cthulhu but you ignore the San track and give them decent Occult, Mythos and a rack of Spells. They can use Dreamlands to travel, they’re fighting incursions, they’re the good guys, right? They are effectively superheroes. But the reason they don’t have San is because it’s all gone.
  5. And my favourite

    Start out as a fantasy game of lizard people. They have magic and culture. And then some people break in and kill your brethren. You track them to a cave where they entered into your haven. They have “guns” and a “car”. What you thought was a lizardperson fantasy game is actually a community of indigenous Snake People in danger of discovery by humankind at large.

Posted in Game Design | 2 Comments

Return to Jorune

I am in the middle of a writing project (Twilight Invasion, if you must know) but this just means I have extra procrastination for other writing projects. I’ve written about Jorune before. There’s some activity on the Jorune Facebook page for a resurgence into the BRP version but honestly I don’t think I can face rolling a d100 again. It’s too heartbreaking.

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.”

What appeals with Jorune?

Jorune is a multi-layered tale. Humanity is shipwrecked and orphaned. An indigenous alien, possessed of dangerous quasi-magical species is passive and hostile. Complex narratives on bio-engineering and the sanctity of nature versus colonialism and cultural integration. And an amazing community of creators and Gas who have put together so much more than was originally envisioned.

What’s less appealing with Jorune?

The older rules sets are awful but the real elephant in the room is the status of the intellectual property itself. It’s been handed from pillar to post – the old creators aren’t interested and don’t seem to be friends and it’s languished for decades in a perpetual no-mans land.

Soooo…

So, I figured why not do what I’ve been doing with many of my other games and convert Jorune. Or at least provide a model for it.

Background

I can’t help you much here. There’s plenty of materials out there for learning more about Jorune. You can also still buy the older Jorune rules from Chessex.com which, frankly, I would buy again just to make sure I had a copy. The rules are outdated; the content is gold.

Over a thousand years ago, humans arrived on the planet Jorune and came into contact with the native Shantha. Jorune had had at least one previous colonisation attempt in the past and the Shanthas reacted gracefully. However a civil war on Earth cut off contact with the humans on Jorune and in their panic, they trespassed onto Shanthic sacred lands, sparking off a violent war between humans with advanced Earthtec and Shanthas with their devastating Dyshas. Everyone lost that war and the Shanthas retreated into a seclusion as a dying race.

Jorune is a unique world due to the ambient energy that flows through and around the planet, called Isho. According to the Shanthic religion, each type of Isho has a colour which they associate with the moons of Jorune and with the different capabilities of the Isho forms. Some can be used to hurt, some to heal and some to form shields or create warp gates. The Skyrealms, for which Jorune is most famous, are floating islands which move above the land on currents of Isho, held aloft by naturally occurring crystals which focus the Isho stream into movement. Isho is the fuel for Dyshas and dyshas are strongest in areas with high Isho flow.

The game is set much later when humans have settled into Jorune as their permanent home. Their upper class, the Drenn, are selected from useful citizens who have completed Tothis (a community service). There are three breeds of humans (pure, Muadra and Boccord.) Pure humans can use Earthtec with no issues. Muadra can weave Dyshas and Boccord can interfere with Dyshas.

In essence, there are multiple races, some native, some migrant and some uplifted. Some of them (Shanthas, Crugar, Woffen and Muadra) can weave Dyshas (magic) and some of them can Interfere with Dyshas (those who have that skill are called Hishtins).

System

The system I propose is similar to the SixSimple I’ve posted about before.

Keys and Flaws

Each character chooses 5 Keys. These can be chosen from background prose, written as a list or selected in play. A sixth Key can be chosen if the player decides the character has a flaw. No, it’s not very good game balance but who said things had to be balanced? Each Key is an advantage for the player in resolving conflicts. If choosing the Key in play, you must start with at least one.

Conflicts are abstracted into multiple rounds of a blackjack-type mechanism. The first to reach or exceed 21, wins the round though players are limited in the number of cards they can spend based on what’s in their hand and how many of their Keys they can bring into the conflict.

Unopposed conflicts

If a conflict is unopposed, the Referee may still require spending of cards, needing a target number for success. 7 for easy, 14 for hard, 21 for impossible.

Opposed Conflicts

Opposed conflicts can have the same target numbers, but now you have two characters trying to achieve the target number in the least number of cards.

Making a character

The Keys chosen are important. They determine species, culture, abilities, background, strength and weaknesses, family and resources. You can’t be good at everything and a Referee must be prepared to make ruling on whether a key phrase is too broad or too narrow.

Species: This makes a good Key as it’s really identifiable. It is possible to have species as part of the description but not as a Key. This would mean they don’t get an advantage based on what they are. For example, Woffen have cultural access to a single dysha color but cannot use other colours. This is only available if Woffen is taken as a key. If it isn’t taken as a key it’s assumed this Woffen didn’t choose to study it. Similarly a Bronth character who does not take the Bronth key would be recognisable as a Bronth but would not be able to use it as an advantage.

Example 1:

Drenn Cala Borg is an attractive and imposing woman who achieved Drenn in a relatively short period of time due to the connections of her family. Despite the accusations of nepotism within the Drenn system (which she undoubtedly benefitted from), she is highly capable, fairly skilled with the sword and has access to the family Earthtec cache. She makes friends easily and, possibly as a result of wealth, is generous to a fault.

Cala is a Human, but it’s not a Key. She’s attractive, but it’s not a Key. The words “highly capable> are too vague to be allowed as a Key. Generosity is also not a Key.

Example 2:

Hishtin Ler Mala:

  • Boccord
  • Cerebral
  • Hishtin
  • Reputation as dangerous
  • Strikes fear in the heart of Dyte Punks
  • Good with a spear
  • Gambling Debts

Ler Mala has Boccord (larger human subspecies) as a Key so it can be used when the larger size of the Boccord subspecies is useful. He is Cerebral, proving that he’s not all brawn but implying his intelligence is academic. His key of Hishtin indicates he will have Interference abilities. Having gambling debts asa Key not only means they’re serious but people know about them.

Example 3:

Vacy Desti-Sa
Vacy is a Dyte Punk. (Vacy’s player will pick more when she feels they’re needed in the story).

Vacy can choose Keys later at the Referee’s leisure. She might get into fight and choose the key “Scrapper”. She might need to squeeze into a chimney and chooses the key Contortionist. The keys chosen will indicate the type of character that Vacy’s player wants to play.

Now that you have a baseline for the character, how does the system work?

This system uses Cards for resolution (but these can be changed out for dice if you like). Each player is dealt 5 cards. The remaining cards are left in the centre as the card pool

When trying to achieve something challenging, a single card is selected from the card pool and has a face value. The player may add to this face value but explaining how their Keys help them in this situation. Any number of cards up to the maximum may be used but when used these are lost until the Referee moves to the next scene.

Example 4:
Vacy is angry at Ler Mala and fires a Desti dysha. Her player pulls a card from the pool, getting a 7. Ler Mala’s player pulls a 6 from the pool but not wanting to take a hit, decides to go all in with Hishtin and Strikes Fear into the Heart of Dyte Punks. This allows Ler Mala’s player to select two cards from his hand and add them to the pile. He choose a 4 and a 3 from his hand. They’re low value but they push his score up to 13. Vacy can still win though and adds her Dyte Punk keyphrase card – choosing a 10 from her hand and bringing her score to 17. She wins! She describes how a Desti bolt catches Ler off guard and knocks him off his feet. With no alternative in mind (and feeling a little foolish for being arrogant), Ler Mala takes a Dysha hit and loses 1 card from his hand. He’s down to 2 cards now, while Vacy has 4 in her hand, severely hampering his ability to retaliate. However, as Vacy’s player hasn’t chosen her extra Keyphrases, she’s can’t play her cards this scene unless the Referee allows her to take another keyphrase mid-fight. She watches as Ler Mala clambers to his feet, dusts himself off and inspects the scorch marks on his tunic. Ler Mala shouts “Right, you’re dead” in an attempt to intimidate. He argues his Strikes Fear and Dangerous reputation allow him to use the last two cards, two 8s, in his hand. He pulls a third card from the pool, a 7. This pushes him over the 21 he needs for an absolute success. Vacy is intimidated and decides to run for it….

Flaws are something that can be taken advantage of by other players. They can choose any opposing card which is relevant to their Keys and completely remove one card of their choosing from the deck without having to play a card.

Example 5:
Drenn Cala Borg has an advantage over Ler Mala because she has a Wealth key and he has Gambling Debt. Without playing a card, she can manipulate him and remove one of the cards he has in play without sacrificing a card in her hand. How this is done must be role-played.

Resetting Your Hand

The Referee will let players know when they can refresh their hand from the pool. Injuries still represent a loss of a card from the hand.

Example 6:
At the end of the Scene above, Vacy and Ler Mala are allowed to refresh their hand from the Pool. Vacy is allowed to have all of her cards back, Ler Mala’s hand is still reduced by 1 due to the Desti bolt injury he received. Until he gets that healed, he’s going to be at a disadvantage.

Advancement

There are two tracks for advancement within Jorune: Social and Personal.

Social Advancement comes from gaining Marks which, when they reach a certain level, allow a person to progress from Tauther (the term for someone trying to achieve Tothis) to Drenn. Marks are received by doing services for Drenn and impressing them enough that they will mark the Challisk of the character. In game, Challisk marks can be hoarded until the character completes Tothis and becomes Drenn or they may be spent as social currency. A Mark may be traded for a favour. A Referee has final say on this but it can be used to influence success on a challenge as well.

Example 7:
While she was still Tauther, Cala Borg needed help as she had been tasked with helping remove a stubborn tree by a Drone. She bargained with another farmer, to use his farm animals as lifters. She sacrificed a Mark for this, rationalising that she would get it back but also all of her group would still get their Marks. A net gain for the party.

Personal Advancement comes from receiving 1-2 points for advancement: one for experience and one for role-playing. The roleplaying is based on the assessment of other players. The Referee asks the players: Who roleplayed well? If a player is mentioned, they get a point. The second point, for experience, comes from the Referee asking the players themselves: What have you learned? This can be from successes or mistakes.

When they have the Personal points, they can use them to be improve their chances of success.

  • 10 points will increase the hand of the player by 1.
  • 5 points will allow the selection of a new Key or buy off their Flaw.
  • Personal points can be used in game to allow the player to refresh their hand (1 point = 1 card).

Isho

Isho is a Shanthic concept for life and breath. It’s generated by the planets crystal core (similar to the ferrous magnetic core of Earth). Native species on Jorune use Isho as naturally as breathing but even non-jorunn species can be sensitive to it.

There are seven Colors of Isho in the Shanthic religion.

  • Desti – Red – Isho related to electricity and lightning
  • Du – Orange – Isho related to heat and light
  • Ebba – Yellow – Isho related to force and motion
  • Gobey – Black – Isho related to shields, solidity
  • Launtra – Green – Isho related to healing
  • Shal – Blue – Isho related to minds and nerves
  • Tra – White – Isho related to warps

There are three other abilities which are relevant.

Tra-Sense – possessed by Shanthas, Muadra, Woffen, Crugar and most native species. this is the ability to see Isho ripples – including the shape of the land, the Color of others and perceive the world. Tran sense does not need light and it offers a 360º perception of the world.
Signature – possessed by Shanthas, Boccord and Bronth. This allows the user to see Isho use, including the ripples within an individual. It can tell the user when someone is preparing to use a Dysha, and what the dysha is.
Interference – possessed by Boccord and Humans. This ability allows the user to attempt to unweave any dysha they can perceive.

Shanthas and Muadra have access to all Dyshas. Dyshas are Isho-constructs that use the colour Isho to affect the world. A Desti dysha might be a lightning bolt, a Du dysha could be used to heat soup. Dyshas commonly have three shapes – auras, orbs and bolts.
Crugar have access to Desti bolt dyshas and Woffen have access to Ebba orb dyshas (but only if they have taken the appropriate Key)

A Muadra (with that as their key) has access to any dysha from any Color but that single card draw alone may not be enough for them. To get better at the individual Colors, they have to take them as Keys.

Example 8:
Vacy is a Dyte Punk (a subculture of Muadra society). After a few more gaming sessions, she has chosen the keys Scrapper and Thief (which both reflect her character idea). She wants to get good at Desti and Tra dyshas ands the Referee rationalise that she has found a teacher and is permitted to take them as Keys. She just got a whole lot more dangerous. She can use three cards when using a Desti lightning bolt but also combining Tra means an extra card is used and can literally shoot thorough walls.

Regaining Isho

The advantage of Natural Isho for Shanthas and Muadra is that even after they have exhausted their cards, they may replenish their hand by spending their turn “gathering” Isho. Each turn, they gain one card back. Knowing your enemy is important as the Caji (Shanthic term for a Dysha user) is vulnerable during this time.

Isho Storms
Isho flows across the planet like weather and Isho storms are when a large concentration of Isho pours through a place. Depending on the Color of the storm, this can cause spontaneous dyshas which is dangerous but Muadra (including Caji, Copra and Dytes) have to be careful. During an Isho Storm, the referral may ask the player to make an unopposed challenge on the strength of the storm (usually 21). If the player fails, they and anyone near them (within 10 metres0 take a hit (losing one card from their hand due to injury). This hit can be healed using Launtra auras and orbs. If the storm is still raging an hour later, they make need to make another.

Crystals
Crystals store Isho belonging to one Color. If a Caji has a Desti crystal, they can expend it and get an extra free Pool Draw when using Desti dyshas. Once it’s gone, it has to be recharged.

Posted in Game Design, Jorune, Writing | Leave a comment

Silver Haired Sentinels: Superheroic Role-Playing in the Retirement Age

Take on the reigns of a retired superhero living out their lives in a retirement home with other seniors. Try and relive smome of your glory days while fighting authoritarian wardens, the rigours of modern life and a family that would rather they didn’t have to visit so often.

Silver Haired Sentinels is a roleplaying game about the residents and staff of a Continuing Care Retirement Community. That would be interesting in itself but some of these Residents have a lot of history; they’re the surviving members of a vigilante team responsible for putting down villains and stopping global conspiracies in their youth.

They’ll be a core team and there will likely be visiting or replaced members. There’s an opportunity to relive past glories, revisit old rivalries and maybe even get some closure on things that didn’t work out in the past.

This game is directly inspired by:

Watchmen (Comic and Movie)
Kick The Can (from the Twilight Zone)
The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish (from Cloud Atlas)
Brindlewood Bay (roleplaying game)
New Tricks (TV series)
and by the general realisation that I’m closer to 70 years old than 25 years old.

The name itself is referential to Silver Age comics (and the name of the RPG Silver Age Sentinels).

Posted in Game Design, Supers | Leave a comment

Watchtower play test reflections

The recent posts about Watchtower were from a one-shot adventure I ran for my son’s gaming group. They’ve been playing (mostly) D&D together regularly for 3-4 years, and it was a good opportunity to test out the rules with a group that had no preconceptions. The players created Talos-class exotics (the middle of the three classes, which is still very powerful). A few things that I learned from this:

* We need to update our skills to reflect the Watchtower world
* Some power stunts are probably too powerful (looking at you, Chronatics)
* Definitely need to write the rules for Prototypes for high tech heroes

However, broadly speaking the system worked as intended, character creation was pretty quick and fun, and the game flowed easily. We’re going to attempt a variant using troupe play, where each of the players creates a trainee (sidekick?) Achilles-class exotic (the lowest class) to be paired with one of the other players, and in this way we get two different Watchtower teams, and the players get to try different powers and power levels.

Posted in Commentary, WatchTower | Leave a comment

Watchtower SF: August 4th

Bergs in the Bay!

San Francisco Chronicle

Meteorologists were shocked today when a massive iceberg several miles long appeared off the coast of Marin County, seemingly on a collision course for the Golden Gate Bridge! “This iceberg cannot be a natural occurrence,” said Dr. Karl Limewall, Professor of Climatology at Caltech. “Nothing that large could have traveled from either pole to San Francisco without being spotted.”

Indeed, the Watchtower seemed to agree, dispatching six agents out to the iceberg as soon as it was spotted. It became clear why Windrunner was added to the team recently, as all team members were transported directly through the air rather than via a helicopter as might be more customary. The Chronicle was able to confirm that a combination of extreme digging and strategically placed explosives were able to reduce the iceberg to smaller and more manageable pieces, which were then destroyed or redirected away from the bridge.

Conga-line … of Doom!

San Francisco Examiner, Op. Ed.

Icebergs are one thing, but why is nobody talking about the impromptu parade today that took place in the north of San Francisco? Over 100,000 people “just felt like dancing” and danced all the way up Highway 101 and onto the Golden Gate bridge, completely halting traffic and putting themselves directly into harm’s way. And where was the Watchtower during all this? 110 year old Dr “I’m not a robot” Automaton landed in front of the crowd and shot a few people off into the water, including fellow teammate and old-timer, Captain Crackshot! Seriously, why are our lives in the hands of these geriatrics?

Not that the youngsters were much to be seen, seemingly having to spend all their time flying back and forth to the city to get instructions from the Overmind, Jack Whyte, before blowing up the looming iceberg. Great, happy we didn’t ‘berg the bridge, but are we going to get any answers as to who is controlling the minds of all the so-called Bridge Boogie Brigade? And what is Watchtower doing about it?

Power Outage in Western San Joaquin County

The San Joaquin Valley Sun

Around 800 homes and farms are still without power, following an outage at a local substation earlier this morning. Local officials are working to get power up and running, and they are confident everything will be back to normal within 24 hours. The cause of the outage is being put down to a freak storm, which blew up out of nowhere, dumped a load of rain and lightning and dissipated as quickly as it came. County Sheriff John Watson stated in a press conference earlier today that there was no cause for alarm, and that Watchtower had been alerted as part of standard procedure.
Posted in In-Character, WatchTower | Leave a comment

Watchtower SF: some recent headlines

Whyte Buys Watchtower SF

San Francisco Chronicle, July 1st 2022

Jack Whyte, exotic and indestructible billionaire, adds Watchtower SF to his stable of Watchtower franchises. This brings his franchise total to four, starting in 2013 with the NYC franchise, and adding the Twin Cities in ’15 and Miami in ’19. “The San Francisco franchise of the Watchtower has a long history, with many beloved legends on the national and international stage,” said Whyte at press conference today. “I will bring the same level of oversight and investment as at my other franchises, and will work with local law enforcement to help keep the Bay Area and northern California safe from exotic crime.” He was joined at the press conference by several existing Watchtower members, all of whom confirmed they will be staying under the new management. This includes old-timers such as Captain Brian “Crackshot” Thomson, the bulletproof ex-cop; Dr Automaton, the robotic-bodied, long-standing leader of the Watchtower’s primary team; as well as some of the more recent additions like Tyrannus, our first visitor from another galaxy; and the shapeshifting, duplicating Primordial. No other personnel changes were announced. This correspondent hopes that Whyte’s experience, discipline and deep pockets can help prevent another tragedy like we suffered in ’99, when then-Watchtower leader Atomic III turned on the people he was sworn to protect and devastated the downtown area by using a commuter train like a missile. Maybe the new management will finally be able to determine what happened to that team back in the day? Either way, there’s a new sheriff in town.

Tower of Teens?

San Francisco Examiner, July 15th 2022, Op. Ed.

After buying his fourth Watchtower franchise in what is clearly a bid to control the whole company, Jack Whyte today announced that two local teenagers have been added to the roster. One who can control gravity, codenamed Windrunner, and the other who can control time, codenamed Kairos. Seriously, Jack? Are there not enough adult exotics to choose from that you have to employ kids? And do these kids’ parents even know what they are being exposed to? It’s long past time that we introduced laws preventing the exploitation of exotic abilities in people under the age of 21. What’s next, babies who can shoot lasers out of their eyes being used as mobile weapons platforms? The safety of our civilians shouldn’t come at the cost of our youth!
Posted in In-Character, WatchTower | Leave a comment

Latest Project: Silver Haired Sentinels

I’ve been working on this for a while now – and just waiting on a few art pieces to be finished.

So, what is it?

Silver Haired Sentinels is a roleplaying game about the residents and staff of a Continuing Care Retirement Community. That would be interesting in itself but some of these Residents have a lot of history; they’re the surviving members of a vigilante team responsible for putting down villains and stopping global conspiracies in their youth.

They’ll be a core team and there will likely be visiting or replaced members. There’s an opportunity to relive past glories, revisit old rivalries and maybe even get some closure on things that didn’t work out in the past.

This game is directly inspired by:

  • Watchmen (Comic and Movie)
  • Kick The Can (from the Twilight Zone)
  • The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish (from Cloud Atlas)
  • Brindlewood Bay (roleplaying game)
  • New Tricks (TV series)

and by the general realisation that I’m closer to 70 years old than 25 years old.

The name itself is referential to Silver Age comics (and the name of the RPG Silver Age Sentinels).

So, it’s coming soon!

Posted in Game Design, Supers | Leave a comment

[Hiring] Comic Book Superheroes for an RPG

Hi folks,
After a somewhat abortive attempt on Fiver to get some superhero art for my upcoming RPG, I thought I would try here.

I’m looking for panels which wouldn’t look out of place in “Planetary” (John Cassaday) or “Captain Britain” (the early Alan Davis). (I mean, just look at this stuff. It’s top notch.)

It doesn’t have to be new. I am as interested in your existing portfolio – and I should see stuff in your portfolio.

I’m not trying to get stuff on the cheap. I’m looking for an artist or two that I can work with for maybe a dozen or more pieces.

Depending on the art I’ve paid for before was $25-75 per piece.

Copyright should remain with the artist with the proviso of a license to use the pieces for my books and promotions. I’m strictly small press so let’s chat about it.

It’s mostly illustrations of how the powers work for the powers section.

Would like a link to portfolio and we can chat about rates.

1: I’m not looking for cheesecake. If I don’t see superheroes in your portfolio, well, that’s going to sway me. Sorry. I have a lot of profiles to go through.

2: if you don’t offer commercial licensing then don’t waste our time. I need to use this for a book that I make as a hobby sideline on DTRPG.]

Posted in Art, Industry | Leave a comment

Twilight Tangents: LEGION

I just started watching the Legion TV series (bought on iTunes) and it’s absolutely compelling.

And then that made me think that it could easily be modelled using The 23rd Letter or Twilight:2000 with Twilight Tangents 1.0.

David is obviously a Fury.

But many of the rest of the abilities could easily be modelled.

Posted in 23rd Letter, Game Design, The 23rd Letter, Twilight 2000 | Leave a comment

Announcing Twilight Tangents – a multi-world sourcebook for Twilight: 2000 4th Edition

I’ve produced a couple of books for T2K4e but I’m really enjoying putting together this latest one. This book describes three alternate futures for the T:2000 game. Things to spice up the game.

GET IT NOW on DTRPG

Here’s some of the opening prose from one of the Tangents.

For your own reasons, you joined the Army and when SPR came looking for recruits, you volunteered. You were put into a squad with ten others. You trained together, you ate together and you slept in the same billet. You had to talk to doctors and psychologists – and then they gave you some injections which knocked you out.?

When you woke, you could feel something was wrong. For one thing, eight of the beds were empty. You and one other person were lying in bed. But that wasn’t the worst of it. There was something in your head – a tickle you’d not felt before – a feeling that wasn’t quite an irritation.?

Later that day, Staff Sergeant Mottram came in and sat with you. She told you that you were special. She told you she was there to help you through it. And she told you all this without her lips moving at all.?

Next day, you were alone in a room with Sgt Mottram; a room with a glass window on one side. You heard her voice in your head again and she told you something was going to happen and to just relax and let it happen.?

And then it happened. You felt the tickle, heard a noise like the rushing of blood in your ears and the world changed. You were special. You could do something special. You were unique.?

Then you were filed into a room for paperwork and then back into your uniform to join all of the other special, unique people in SPR. It’s like Basic all over again, except after your morning run you’re all filed into warehouses and made to set fire to things, read minds, and delve into people’s memories. Usual stuff.?

But at night you think about those eight empty beds and you wonder where they took number 9. Because you haven’t seen her since.?

Astute readers and fans of this site (both of you) may notice that this sounds a little like The 23rd Letter. And indeed it is. I’m debating whether to make a full sourcebook for T:2000. It’s a similar game to The 23rd Letter – actually slightly less crunchy but that’s no bad thing. T23L was always described as a bit of a deadly gun game.

Posted in 23rd Letter, Game Design, LateGaming, The 23rd Letter, Twilight 2000 | Leave a comment

T2000: CZTERY – Four Mystery Scenarios for Twilight:2000

Now available through the Free League Workshop, four mysteries for Twilight: 2000 referees who want something mysterious in their game. Ready to slot into an existing campaign or you can use the places (and maps) provided.

This does the work of expanding the environment of post-apocalyptic Europe from military missions and bleak survival to mystery, conspiracy and mythology. From the fertility gods of old, to a modern curse, from a lost child to revenge beyond the grave. In the lonely forests, there are things that move unbidden and mysteries that should remain mysteries.

The stats within are for Twilight: 2000 4th Edition but the scenarios and encounters can be used for any WW2 era or modern day mystery game

Includes high res maps of important locations and also a lower res doc for reference.

Download here on DriveThruRPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/385349/CZTERY–Mystery-Scenarios-for-T2K4

Posted in Game Design, LateGaming, Twilight 2000, Writing | Leave a comment

T2000: Andriy and Alexei

Andriy turned the key in the ignition and the engine spluttered into life.

….

Four days earlier they’d been slogging along the road, close to Srem. Both of them were so bearlike they could be mistaken for brothers, but while Alexei kept his dark hair closely cropped and his nose looked like it had seen too many fists, Andriy’s scalp was hairless and leathery and his features pinched and hawkish.

The moon hung low that night, with a large lone tree casting dark shadows over a heavily frosted field. In the distance to the North was a copse of evergreens. Andriy focused on them, he had a bad feeling; one that was confirmed by a hiss from Alexei who crept up beside him.

“T-72. Six men.”

Andriy squinted trying to discern flora from human and machine but sure enough, the hunting shape of a T72 tank rumbled out of one copse and into another flanked by six human forms.

It’s not that Alexei and Andriy were deserters; their units had been completely destroyed to a man and they found each other at opposite ends of a makeshift trench. They’d become friends over the few weeks since and Andriy shared his intention to return home to Kyiv Alexei grunted back; he had nowhere to go anyway so Kyiv was as good as anywhere. The last thing either of them wanted was to bump into someone who still thought the war was on; that one last (possibly fatal) push was needed.

As the T72 disappeared among the trees, the pair moved deliberately more south. They were heading to a town called Srem at first, maybe to secure some transport and then east towards the Ukraine border.

A crisp set of footsteps disturbed them; up ahead, following a beaten path, was an old man, dreadfully thin and wrinkles upon his wrinkles. Wisps of white hair stuck to his chin below a thick brimmed hat and above a threadbare wooden cloak. A piece of string tied to his wrist led to a somewhat pitiful-looking goat and under his arm was a loaf of bread. The two soldiers stepped from cover and levelled their weapons at the old man who, with a little protest (Fucking Russians!) handed over both loaf and goat. They didn’t express any remorse as they walked down the path towards Srem, munching on slightly stake, ill-gotten Rye bread and what they couldn’t finish they tossed to the goat.

About three hours later they reached the outskirts of Srem. The town itself was mostly ruins but there was light from a large barn to the south of the ruins. The pair crept up quietly until they could hear muffled conversation in Polish. As Andriy readied his RPK-74, he caught it on a stick and in steadying himself let off a single round. The noise echoed around the empty buildings and the conversation inside the barn ceased. The door burst open and four men emerged; one with a shotgun and the other three with farm tools. They shouted something in Polish, Andriy shouted back in Russian. The standoff ended when Wieslaw, the man with the shotgun, lowered the barrel. There was no interest on either side in prolonging a firefight. The Poles were aware of the firepower outside and both Andriy and Alexei want to avoid making more noise and maybe attracting the attention of that T72, which was bound to have a nosy and dedicated officer aboard.

Inside the barn, the two found some warmth in both the air and the company. There didn’t seem to be any resentment here; just a thankfulness of no further violence. They were offered some soup and a place by the fire. Andriy explained about the T72 and troops nearby and the handful of men, woman and a child decided to evacuate. They led the soldiers to the shore where a shallow bottomed boat was moored and an hour later they were rowing upstream with Jerzy and Daniel providing the muscle at first and then Gustav and Waclaw taking over.

About an hour before dawn, the boat slipped in bedside a small dock beside a large boathouse and the crew and passengers clambered off. The head of this household was a fat man called Wojciech and his Russian was good enough to hold a proper conversation. Wojciech asked Andriy and Alexei to be a further escort to Daniel and Jolanta (his wife) and Wieslaw would come along as security. Jolanta was close to the end of her pregnancy and would need a doctor; the nearest doctor being in Jarocin. For this task, they could borrow Wojciech’s pickup truck and they’d get 4 days rations as a reward.

But as simple as this seemed; Alexei wasn’t comfortable and insisted on putting on a proper watch which turned out lucky as the building was approached in the night by two renegade Americans. These poor souls didn’t have much chance against the superior skills of Alexei’s Spetnatz training and Andriy’s marksmanship with the light machine gun. They quickly consigned Private Pete Ricketts and PFC Bobby Bell to their maker.

But noise travels – and it was decided that it would be safer to leave especially with that T72 still prowling. The pickup truck was loaded and the five ventured east towards Jarocin. The town was skeletal in appearance, once a thriving Polish market town but now with empty buildings with darkened windows looking like a row of skulls. They arrived as the sun began to climb into the middle of the day and unloaded their precious cargo outside a large townhouse that had been converted into a field hospital. A nurse checked them over for wounds, finding none, and didn’t seem to mind they were Soviets.

Wieslaw committed to helping them on the next leg of their journey. The first thing was getting them a pickup truck.

Posted in GM, T2000 Writing, Twilight 2000 | Leave a comment

T2000: W+35 (Flashback)

My situation is that I’m on the outskirts of Prague and I’m separated from my unit; perhaps they were all destroyed. I had to be careful, there was definitely a French unit around and some Americans. I stole a ragged uniform from a dead Polish regular and buried my own. I figured it would be the best way to keep alive.

I heard a vehicle approaching and ignored them until they cam close. I appeared weaponless (my PSM hidden in my groin). I could hear brash exuberance through their unguarded words as they slowed beside me and jabbered their questions. I replied with a smattering of Polish and Hungarian word and their doctor, a middle-aged woman of perhaps Iranian descent checked me for wounds. They didn’t seem to suspect that only a few weeks earlier we would have been deadly enemies.

As luck would have it, they fed me, gave me their water and piled into the back of their UAZ. I would have to bide my time. As soon as I had the chance, I’d be away but until then I would watch and wait.

Posted in T2000 Writing, Twilight 2000 | Leave a comment

T2000: W+50

Necessity is the mother of invention. Yesterday I caught a rabbit with a snare I made from a bit of wire. I hid in the foot of a hedgerow and pulled the corpse from the wire. The rabbit had tried to gnaw itself from the wire but the gauge was too thick. It died trapped and in pain, suffocating itself. I couldn’t afford to make a fire, I’m terrified someone would see it. So, I ate it raw. With the blood and the stink of offal I must have looked like something inhuman. And maybe I was.

I fell asleep where I lay, face streaked with blood and dirt.

I woke in the dim light of a sunrise. Red streaked skies and the sound of footsteps. I could hear voices, but they weren’t speaking English. The same fear that gripped me the night they got Dal siezed me again. I watched as two men entered the clearing. Short hair. Wearing dirty sweatpants and heavy coats. They paused, one lit a cigarette and one of them locked eyes with me. He said something and the other turned. My blood froze, I felt the pressure of my bladder and cold sweat on my neck.

The second man turned, waved his cigarette and then said something in an excited manner. I recognised him. The lone soldier. He seemed a lot more lucid. The two of the grabbed me and dragged me from the hedgerow. I shouted, I clawed and I could feel panic rising and rising. That’s when the other one, the one I didn’t know, hit me. Red stars exploded into my vision. I shouted. He hit me again. Blood in my mouth. Twice more he hit me and everything went dark. I was dimly aware of more voices.

Posted in T2000 Writing, Twilight 2000 | Leave a comment

An old ZOMBI review…

Because ZOMBI is back on sale, I figured looking at an old review might be timely.

From Caliverbooks (Valkyrie mag)

Zombi RPG
Crucible Design

Zombies have appeared in RPGs since D&D first appeared. Those early zombies were the sword fodder for many questing bands. Recently though the zombie horror movie has become a focus for games. Zombi, along with All Flesh Must be Eaten (AFMBE) from Eden Studios, are both part of this new wave, yet they take very different approaches to the same subject.

The skeleton of a character is similar to Crucible’s earlier game Space Ninja XDO Cyber Crisis. Ten traits (including close combat, scrounging and medicine) along with a character’s panic statistic (which simulates their reaction to the presence of the zombi menace) define a character. This system leads to characters that are significantly less detailed than those found in AFMBE but are also quicker to generate from scratch.

The game’s muscles are embodied in its simple mechanics. A dice roll, modified by the panic statistic if there are zombies about, is compared to a trait or an opponent’s roll. This mechanic is readily applied to a variety of death dealing methods. Zombi relies more on a referee’s judgment than providing rules, and so this section is considerably less detailed than AFMBE combat rules. Then again, how often do you need rules for dogfights in a zombie horror game?

The meat on the carcass in Zombi comes in the background section. The setting is detailed in a few pages and is straightforward enough. The Zombi plague-infected dead rose from the ground at the end of 1999 and shortly afterwards the widespread collapse of civilization ensued.

A wide variety of encounters with other survivors, from a loner in a recreational vehicle right through to major settlements, are suggested. This is where Zombi really shines. Instead of a long list of optional twists on the zombie, as found in AFMBE, they are treated as a force of nature. Zombi suggests they are used to force disparate groups of survivors together, creating the tensions from which great stories spring.

Zombies aren’t neglected though, along with game statistics come a random appearance generator and rules for the zombi plague. The book is rounded out with over thirty short adventure hooks.

Zombi is a sixty-eight page, A5 booklet. The layout is clear and effective with competent black and white, full-page illustrations. It certainly isn’t as pretty as AFMBE but the presentation certainly doesn’t detract from the product either.

While the system is competent, the focus on the living rather than the dead is where Zombi’s real strength lies. Anyone considering running a game in the zombie horror genre would make a wise investment of a bit of cash if they picked up a copy of Zombi. A nice little game that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Zombi is a game very much like the films that inspired it. There are zombies everywhere, it wasn’t made on a blockbuster budget and it’s full of interesting ideas.

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