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Space Patrol: The Pilot

Pilot 150 points“I’m a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.”
Hoban Washburne, Serenity
More than anyone but the Engineer, the ship is your domain. You get the crew where they need to go, you do it fast, and you do it with style. You fly circles around hostile ships, and you’re familiar with every starport in the Federation. Some of your crew may overhear you talking to the ship, but that’s just respect. You always listen when she talks to you.

Attributes: ST 10 [0]; DX 12 [40]; IQ 11 [20]; HT 10 [0].

Secondary Characteristics: Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs.; HP 10 [0]; Will 11 [0]; Per 12 [5]; FP 10 [0]; Basic Speed 5.50 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0].

Advantages: 3D Spatial Sense [10]; Hot Pilot 2 [10]; Legal Enforcement Powers [10]; Luck [15]; Patrol Rank 0 [0]. ● A further 40 points chosen from DX +1 [20], IQ +1 [20], Absolute Timing [2], Acute Senses [2/level], Combat Reflexes [15], Contacts [Varies], Contact Group [Varies], Cross-Trained (any Piloting) [1], Daredevil [15], Enhanced Defenses (Veh…

Space Patrol: The Scientist

Scientist 150 points Dedicated researchers are found in labs on many worlds. You are something else: a field scientist looking to use your knowledge in service to the Patrol. Characters with this template are more like the investigators on CSI, using scientific expertise to solve mysteries and catch the bad guy.

Attributes: ST 10 [0]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 12 [40]; HT 10 [0].

Secondary Characteristics: Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 24 lbs.; HP 10 [0]; Will 12 [0]; Per 13 [5]; FP 10 [0]; Basic Speed 5.00 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0].

Advantages: Legal Enforcement Powers [10]; Luck [15]; Patrol Rank 0 [0]. ● A further 50 points chosen from IQ +1 or +2 [20/level], Will +1 to +4 [5/level], Per +1 to +4 [5/level], Acute Senses [2/level], Cultural Adaptibility [10] or Xeno-Adaptability [20], Eidetic Memory [5] or Photographic Memory [10], Equipment Bond [1], Intuition [15], Less Sleep [2/level], Lightning Calculator [2] or Intuitive Mathematician [5], Mathematical Ability [10/level], Patrol Rank 1-4 [5/level], or Sing…

Space Patrol: Investigator

Investigator 50 points Every member of the Space Patrol is trained in basic investigative techniques. You are a skilled detective, the one your team calls on when the mystery is too great. Whether your official duties keep you in the cockpit, the engine room, or the sickbay, you’re there to uncover what others would prefer stayed hidden.

Attributes: IQ +1 [20].

Secondary Characteristics: Per +1 [5].

Advantages: A total of 15 points chosen from Acute Senses [2/level], Contact Group [Varies], Contacts [Varies], Eidetic Memory [5] or Photographic Memory [10], Honest Face [1], Intuition [15], Natural Copper 1 [10], Sensitive [5] or Empathy [15], Serendipity [15], or Single-Minded [5].

Disadvantages: A total of -10 points chosen from Compulsive Snooping [-5*], Curious [-5*], Honesty [-10*], Loner [-5*], Obsession (Solve a personal mystery) [-5 or -10*], Overconfidence [-5*], Selfish [-5*] or Selfless [-5*], or Truthfulness [-5*].

Skills: Five of Current Affairs/TL11 (Headline News, People, or …

Space Patrol: The Engineer

Engineer 150 points Patrol teams rely on their ships, and it’s the engineer’s job to keep the ship in the best condition possible. If the crew engages pirates and the force shields overload, the engineer is there to reroute power through the secondary conduits. If the ship gets a distress call that is just a bit too far out of range, the engineer teases just a little more speed out of the engines. It’s a thankless job sometimes, but if the engineer wasn’t there to do it, the rest of the crew would be dead in space.
Attributes: ST 11 [10]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 12 [40]; HT 10 [0].
Secondary Characteristics: Damage 1d-1/1d+1; BL 20 lbs.; HP 11 [0]; Will 12 [0]; Per 13 [5]; FP 10 [0]; Basic Speed 5.00 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0].
Advantages: Artificer 2 [20]; Legal Enforcement Powers [10]; Luck [15]; Patrol Rank 0 [0]. ● A further 40 points chosen from ST +1 or +2 [10/level], DX +1 [20], IQ +1 [20], Per +1 or +2 [5/level], Artificer 3-4 [10/level], Cybernetics [Varies], Efficient (Armoury, Electrician, …

Metatopia 2015 Recap

I spent the past few days in Morristown, New Jersey, attending Metatopia, the Game Design Festival presented by Double Exposure. This is a small convention with attendance in the hundreds, but that number is overwhelmingly comprised of game designers. This includes designers of board and card games, tabletop roleplaying games, and LARPS. Following a mixer on Thursday (with catering from Raul's Empanadas Town), the con is three days of playtesting, panels, and just chatting with fellow designers, publishers, and really smart people.

I arrived Thursday afternoon and checked in at the Hyatt Morristown, which hosts the convention. The hotel has been consistently awesome all the times I've stayed. This year, they upgraded me to a studio suite room as they were overbooked for the room I'd requested. After settling into my room, I went down to the hotel bar to mingle with folks who had already arrived, like +John Adamus and +Mark Richardson. Thursday at Metatopia is the time when…

Esoterrorists Bundle at Bundle of Holding

Bundle of Holding has launched a new bundle featuring the original GUMSHOE system game, The Esoterrorists. As members of the Ordo Veritatis, you must keep cells of cultists known as Esoterrorists from raising the world's fear and unease to a level where demonic entities from the Outer Dark can enter our reality. Of course, you also have to keep your operations secret, because if people knew what you were up to, they would become very frightened and uneasy indeed.

This bundle includes both the first and second edition rulebooks as well as the Esoterror Factbook, the Book of Unremitting Horror (full of icky GUMSHOE monsters) and enough adventures to drive even the hardiest group of investigators past the breaking point.

You can get the basic bundle for just $8.95, or pledge $16 and get the whole thing. Of course, like all great Bundles of Holding this one supports a worthy charity: Cancer Research UK. Make the world a better (and saner) place in more ways than one!

Secrets of the Chi War on DriveThruRPG

Secrets of the Chi War, an expansion for Feng Shui 2, is now available on DriveThruRPG. This PDF was funded through the phenomenal FS2 Kickstarter, and it features the work of such fine designers as +Ruth Tillman+Filamena Young+Kevin Kulp, and +Ryan Macklin.

I had the pleasure of writing several sections on the Future Juncture, including "Blowing Up Apeworld." Piecing together a glimpse of Furious George's fortress-capital was a load of post-apocalyptic fun. I even found a way to work the bananas set design from the original Planet of the Apes into Feng Shui.
Secrets of the Chi War also includes looks at ancient Chang'an, 1850s Canton, 70s Harlem and Hong Kong, 80s Miami, and modern Seoul and Tokyo. Even weirder locations include prehistoric Mongolia (complete with dinosaur kung fu masters) and the mutant-controlled sewers of Future New York. It really has something for any Feng Shui game. If you missed the Kickstarter, you can pick up Secrets of the Chi War right…

Challenge Scenes

Fate Core describes the challenge structure:
A challenge is a series of overcome actions that you use to resolve an especially complicated or dynamic situation. Each overcome action uses a different skill to deal with one task or part of the situation, and you take the individual results as a whole to figure out how the situation resolves. While many challenges will take place in a single scene, some situations may stretch out over multiple scenes. If you are running a challenge like this, run scenes like you normally would. Characters perform whatever actions the need to during these scenes, and you can even work contests or conflicts in where they make sense.

If characters make overcome actions during the scene and succeed with style, players can bank the boosts generated rather than spending them right away. At the end of each scene, one player makes the overcome action required for the challenge. They can use any banked boosts on this action to influence success in the challenge.

C…

Weight in Combat in the War of Ashes

+Evil Hat Productions' latest hardcover release is War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus, a Fate Accelerated-powered adaptation of Zombiesmith's "grimsical" miniatures games. I was very pleasantly surprised when I dug into the PDF of this game and saw the various new rules and systems that expand on the solid but slim FAE base.

One of those systems that I'm particularly impressed by and think can find a home in other designs is that of character weight and its impact on combat. Weight is an elegant new way to handle scale. In War of Ashes, each character and monster has a numerical rating of its overall impact on combat primarily based on size. PCs and many monsters on their scale are weight 1, while smaller creatures are weight 0. Large monsters range as high as weight 8 for the massive herbivores called foadstors.

In combat, you total the weights of each side within a zone. If one side outweighs the other by 2:1, you replace one die the larger side rolls with a + after…

Tholin, Dwarven Chipper-Shredder

Recently in +Christian Blouin's Kazad-Dum campaign, my eunuch dwarf swashbuckler Thordar perished in the maw of a purple worm deep below Moria. To replace him (mid-battle, no less), I generated a dwarven battle guard who had been with the PCs and had notably drawn blood in the previous session.

Turns out, it's because Tholin is basically a wall of muscle with a very long blade sticking out of it. Master of the dueling halberd, Tholin was relegated to the Guilt-lot due to his propensity to put fellow dwarfs in the infirmary during bar brawls. In battle, he does a ridiculous amount of damage, as the purple worm found out to its annoyance.

Of course, Tholin is currently at 9 hp after getting his halberd spike caught in the worm's flank and falling 15 feet after pulling it out. He's going to be fighting heavily on the defensive from here on out, which will limit his damage output significantly.

Tholin, Battle Guard of the Guilt-lot 352 pointsST 19 [70]; DX 14 [80]; IQ 10 […

Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition Now on DriveThruRPG

For the last few years, White Wolf and later Onyx Path have been resurrecting the classic World of Darkness starting with the 20th Anniversary Editions of Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse. These editions served as both nostalgic icons and handy compilations of the major touchstones of those games' decades-long histories. Now, it's Mage's turn.

I've played my share of World of Darkness in both of its incarnations. The two versions of Mage are easily among my favorites. But it's Mage: The Ascension that I gravitate back to when I think about favorite systems and settings. Mage is a game that says, "Believe, and believe hard, and you just might change the world." It's a game that requires you to think about how your character views reality, and it rewards you both for defining the restrictions that belief places on your character and also for being creative within those boundaries.

The 20th Anniversary Edition of Mage: The Ascension i…

Drones in GUMSHOE

Unmanned vehicles (commonly called "drones") are a crucial tool in the modern intelligence arsenal. Drones can gather still or video images, track targets from tens of thousands of feet in the air, and carry deadly payloads for when force is unavoidable.

In the right GUMSHOE games—mainly Night's Black Agents, though GMs may make them available in Esoterrorists or more cinematic Mutant City Blues campaigns—a drone serves as a source of clues for investigative abilities like Electronic Surveillance, Military Science, Photography, and even Traffic Analysis. Information from a drone can be downloaded and analyzed in nearly real-time, making an unmanned vehicle a potential source of tactical fact-finding and tag-team tactical benefits.

Eventually, an agent may want to take more active control of a drone. The most important general ability is obviously Piloting (or Driving for ground drones), which works exactly as if the agent were flying in person. (Double Tap notes that mas…

A Captain and Her Ship for Interstellar Patrol

Here's a sample character and starship for Interstellar Patrol, my FAE campaign frame of optimistic sci-fi.
Captain Maya RileyHigh Concept: Charming Commander
Trouble: Rivals in the Fleet
Other Aspects: A Lover and a Fighter; Hold It Together; Unorthodox Tactician
ApproachesGood (+3) Flashy
Fair (+2) Clever, Forceful
Average (+1) Careful, Quick
Mediocre (+0) Sneaky
StuntsBecause I sit in the big chair, I get +2 when I Flashily defend against bluffs, feints, or misdirection in a ship conflict.Because I have lover in every port, once per session I can declare that a civilian NPC is one and gain their assistance in the plot of the week.Because I am an inspiring leader, I get +2 when I Cleverly create an advantage that organizes my crew and gives them a clear plan of action. Starship EndeavorPropulsion: Space-Warp Engines
Tactical: Phase Beams & Torpedoes
Sensors: Broad-Spectrum Ultrascanners
Amenities: Close Quarters
Other Aspects: Always the Closest Ship

Illuminati University Patented Self-Defense Training

Illuminati University Patented Self-Defense Training 3 points
This basic self-defense style is taught at IOU as MART102. Students learn to disarm and disable attackers by attacking sensitive areas. Ongoing practice is available through the Student Martial Arts Club as well as by fighting off over-zealous recruiters for psychological studies, escaped biotech experiments, and debt collectors.

Skills: Karate, Judo.
Techniques: Breakfall (Judo), Disarming (Judo), Evade (Judo), Eye-Rake (Karate), Knee Strike (Karate), Stamp Kick (Karate), Targeted Attack (Karate Knee Strike/Groin), Targeted Attack (Karate Stamp Kick/Foot), Targeted Attack (Karate Stamp Kick/Neck), Trip (Judo).
Cinematic Skills: Kiai, Pressure Points.
Cinematic Techniques: Presure-Point Strike (Pressure Points), Roll with Blow (Judo).
Perks: Improvised Weapons (Karate), Technique Adaptation (Disarming).
Optional TraitsPerks: Drunken Fighting.
Skills: Area Knowledge (IOU), Survival (IOU).
Techniques: Double Eye-Poke (Karate), Eye-…

A Few Rituals for GURPS Ritual Path Magic

Just a few random rituals I dredged up from my GURPS notes.
Immortality by DegreeSpell Effects: Greater Strengthen Body.
Inherent Modifiers: Altered Traits.
Greater Effects: 1 (¥3).

The ritual halts the aging process for one year.

Typical Casting: Greater Strengthen Body (3) + Altered Traits, Unaging (15) + Duration, 1 year (22). 120 energy (40 ¥ 3).
SwallowsenseSpell Effects: Lesser Sense Energy. Inherent Modifiers: Altered Traits, Absolute Direction. Greater Effects: 0 (x1).
This spell grants the subject the ability to sense the Earth's magnetic field. By orienting himself with this field, he gains the Absolute Direction advantage for 1 hour. 
Typical Casting: Lesser Sense Energy (2) + Altered Traits, Absolute Direction (5) + Duration, 1 hour (3). 10 energy (10x1). Transcribe MemorySpell Effects: Lesser Transform Mind + Lesser Transform Matter. Inherent Modifiers: Altered Traits, Delusion. Greater Effects: 0 (x1).
A single memory is removed from the subject's mind and transcribed on…

Mutant City Blues Power Sets

Here are a few sample power sets for Mutant City Blues characters, made with 40 build points using the Quade diagram and standard character creation.

“Crime Lab”: You don’t need to wait for the CSIs to run their expensive and time-consuming tests. Your mutant powers allow you to detect microscopic evidence, heat traces, and conspicuous odors. You can also work perfectly well in total darkness, see through solid objects, track suspects by scent, and manipulate evidence at a distance without contaminating the crime scene. Unfortunately, you are slowly becoming obsessed with all of the information you can gather with your gifts.

Investigative Powers: Microvision 2, Olfactory Center 3, Spatial Awareness 3, Thermal Vision 2, X-ray Vision 2.
General Powers: Night Vision 4, Telekinesis 9, Tracking 6.
Defects: Voyeurism.

“Spider-Guy”: Your mutation wrought slightly disturbing physical changes, including three-inch fangs and microfilaments on your hands that let you climb walls. Even weirder is the…

Psion: A Specialization for Fantasy AGE

Psion Some mages believe that their spells are actually manifestations of their own inherent mental power, rather than manipulations of an external energy. These mages call themselves psions and their magic psionics. Their magic can read thoughts, communicate with other beings mentally, and trap enemies in their own minds.
Psion TalentClass: Mage
Requirements: Intelligence 2 or higher and Psychic Arcana (Novice).

Your magic takes the form of mental powers rather than common spells.

Novice: You can perform the Mental Spell spell stunt for 2 SP. When you perform this stunt, no one can identify you as the source of the spell unless they possess supernatural senses (such as an active Arcane Awareness spell).

Journeyman: For 2 MP, you can form a telepathic bond with another creature. As long as that creature is within 1 mile of you, you can communicate with it telepathically. For an additional 2 MP, you can share its senses. This bond lasts for an hour or until the target moves further than …

Monk: A Specialization for Fantasy AGE

The Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook includes a few specializations for each of the three classes. One niche that is underserved at the moment is the D&D-style monk, a combatant who mixes discipline and unarmed technique to take on monsters and heavily armed opponents. To fill in that gap, here's my take on the monk as a warrior specialization as well as a magic item appropriate to such characters. MonkClass: Warrior Requirement: Accuracy and Willpower 2 or higher and Unarmed Style (Novice).
You have trained in esoteric martial arts that turn you into warrior who needs neither arms nor armor.
Novice: You have mastered the flurry of blows technique. When fighting unarmed, you can perform the Lightning Attack stunt for 2 SP instead of the normal 3 SP.
Journeyman: Your focus and discipline allow you to shrug off many injuries. When you wear no armor, you have an Armor Rating of 3. If you possess the Willpower (Self-Discipline) focus, you instead have an Armor Rating of 2 + your focus bon…

New Technique for GURPS Martial Arts: Grab Through Cover

Here's a technique for horror movie slashers and GURPS Action Big Guys.
Grab Through Cover* Hard (Combination) Defaults: each prerequisite skill-6. Trained by a Master halves the default penalty to -3.
Prerequisites: Brawling, Boxing, or Karate + Judo or Wrestling; cannot exceed prerequisite skills.

You punch through solid cover and then grab your opponent. Such an attack is typically unexpected (denying the target an Active Defense) and startling. The target must make an IQ roll to avoid mental stun; targets with Combat Reflexes get +6.

This technique is a combination (p. 80 in GURPS Martial Arts); the first level costs an additional 2 character points. The standard technique is Grab Through Cover (Brawling, Boxing, or Karate Punch/Cover + Judo or Wrestling Grapple/Torso), but some attackers prefer to grapple the Neck (an additional -3 to grappling skill), Skull (-4), Face (-3), or Arm (-1). As grapples, you can buy off all of the additional penalty with these variant techniques.

I…

Gen Con Report: Loot

Maybe I love shopping at Gen Con a little too much. But there is just so much to see, new stuff to check out, and designers to bother for signatures. And by setting aside money for months before the show, I was able to do Gen Con entirely with cash (not counting the hotel room).

Here's my loot from Gen Con 2015:

Fantasy AgeTitansGrave: The Ashes of ValkanaDreamhounds of ParisThe Book of AntsShadows Over FilmlandThe Esoterrorists 2nd EditionLow Life: The Rise of the Lowly (ReDredged from the Muck)The Whole Hole 01: Keister IslandLow Life Boss BlockerLow Life Misadventure DeckLow Life Playing CardsDemon Hunters RPG: A Comedy of Terrors BetaBackstory CardsDungeonmorph Cards: Cities, Ruins, VillagesAssorted dungeon features minis from Legendary Realms GamesLords of Waterdeep Mini Meeple SetFeng Shui 2 GM ScreenAssorted dice from Chessex and Crystal CasteA cool magnetic wooden dice tray from the Braincase Designs boothPatches from +Evil Hat ProductionsDark Dungeons from The Illuminerdy

Gen Con Report: Part 3

Saturday Saturday began with a little disappointment as no one wanted to play at my table at Games on Demand. Eh. Back to the exhibit hall to look at more booths.
After lunch, I went with +Jamie Stefko to see if she could get into a GURPS Red Dwarf game on generics. She did (and it reportedly was a lot of fun), and I went over to Games on Demand to say hi to +Jeremy Morgan and get her a boarding pass for my afternoon slot.
After narrowly avoiding the Costume Parade in the convention center to direct a few friends to panels, I made it back to Games on Demand to run a two-hour slot of Wardens of Ouon. With last-minute arrivals, I had a full table, including my wife and a friend. I didn't have time to re-work my pregens, so I didn't try playtesting the violence track idea I had a few months ago. Still, the players did a fine job avoiding violence on their own, despite facing an ancient, angry dragon who had lost his egg.
From GoD, the three of us joined the rest of our group for…

Gen Con Report: Part 2

Thursday The day began with the State of the Hat Panel, featuring a number of folks from +Evil Hat Productions and Hat-adjacent. I was there to say hello and mention that I wrote Psychedemia. We heard some updates about previously announced products: Bubblegumshoe is in layout, for example. Then came announcements for new products. I'm especially excited about Fate Accessibility by +Elsa S. Henry, a supplement for bringing disabled characters into your game as well as making your game friendly to players with disabilities.

That panel kept me from getting lost in the mob waiting for the exhibit hall to open, but I was able to hit the hall for a bit. I picked up Fantasy Age and Titansgrave from the +Green Ronin Publishing booth, which I understand sold out very quickly. My wife also picked up the Dragon Age corebook, which is a thick, gorgeous tome that compiles and expands on the content of the three boxed sets. I'm a fan and like to collect signatures, and +Chris Pramas was k…

Gen Con Report: Part 1

I am back from Gen Con 2015. This year's con was amazing, the best in the last few years. I'm interested in seeing the attendance numbers. I would be surprised if there were less than 60,000 people, yet the show didn't feel any more crowded than last year. (As I wrote this post, the official numbers were released: 61,423 attendees, with 197,695 turnstile.)
Wednesday Wednesday was travel day. I attend Gen Con with friends, and we typically carpool from the Pittsburgh area. This year, our group included one member who flew in from Boston, so the trip began with picking her up from the airport.

The drive to Indianapolis generally takes about 7 hours including a stop for lunch. We also throw in a stop at a large outdoor sports shop in West Virginia because it's along the way and who wants to go to West Virginia if they don't have to?

I had left much of my game prep to the last minute this year, so I took advantage of the ride to complete the last few pregenerated chara…

My Gen Con Schedule

Gen Con 2015 rapidly approaches. I'm doing a few public-facing things this year, so if you're looking for me (for some reason), you can find me at the following space-time coordinates.
State of the Hat (SEM1583059) Thursday, 10:00-11:00 AM Embassy Suites : Ambassador I
I'm sitting on this panel with a bunch of other cooler folks who work for Evil Hat. I probably won't have much to say, but if you enjoyed Psychedemia, I'd love to hear about it. Stealing Roswell (RPG1575240) Thursday, 7:00-11:00 PM Marriott : Marriott Blrm 4
This is my TimeWatch game of time-criminals trying to make off with the wreckage of the Roswell crash. It is currently sold out, but it's not uncommon for sold out games to have empty seats when it's time to start. If you're really interested, show up with generics. Games on Demand (ZED1581420, et al.) Friday, 10:00 PM - Saturday, 12:00 AM; Saturday 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM; Saturday, 4:00-6:00 PM Marriott : Marriott Blrm 6
I'm offering…

World of Metal and Bone and More Iron Edda

Last year, I had the pleasure of designing a game of epic Norse fantasy Powered by the Apocalypse for the Iron Edda Kickstarter by Exploding Rogue Studios. That game, Iron Edda: World of Metal and Bone, is now available in PDF through DriveThruRPG.



In related news, Exploding Rogue has just launched a new Kickstarter to expand the world of Iron Edda even more, with another game book and a novel. While I'm not involved this time, I encourage you to check out the project before it closes on August 1st.

Fate at the ENnies, 2015

Last year's ENnies were heavy with nominations of Fate games, so it would have been hard to follow up with as many this year. Still, there are two strong contenders on the slate.
Atomic Robo RPG Evil Hat's big Fate release of the last year, Atomic Robo is a phenomenal game and a gorgeous product. It is one of the best expressions of Fate Core I've seen, and it benefits from the vast library of  comic art and a layout by Jeremy Keller and Adam Jury. Atomic Robo is nominated for Best Family Game and Best Game. It has a stronger chance in Family Game, being up against D&D5, The Strange, and Firefly for Best Game. Mindjammer I haven't read Mindjammer, by Sarah Newton, but what I've seen of it is impressive. It's been well-received by the Fate community, and it's a good-looking book. Mindjammer is nominated for Best Rules and Product of the Year. Mass Effect I feel that I have to mention the controversy that landed with this year's nominations. When the …

Cyberpunk Weapons

Melee WeaponsBarbo: Several Brazilian megacorps market disguised knives called barbos ("barbs"). The blades are superfine, and the knife is hidden in any number of items, from a hard computer case to an oversized belt buckle. TLWeaponDamageReachParryCostWeightSTNotes 9Barbosw-1(2) cutC,1-1$3600.55 orthr+1(2) impC-1――5[1, 2]
Notes: [1] The weapon is superfine by default. The effects have been included in the table. [2] The weapon is disguised as another piece of equipment. FirearmsSmartgun Electronics: All firearms below include a laser sight, a HUD link, a recognition grip, and a diagnostic computer. These electronics are powered by a B cell which is included in the weight of the firearm (but not the price). PistolsKanakawa Daimyo: This magnum pistol is fine (accurate). It comes with two accessory rails standard (one above the barrel and one below). It includes an integrated Tiny computer and comes factory loaded with targeting software.
A variant, the Shogun, includes a Fast …

*World at the ENnies, 2015

It's a sparse year for *World games at the ENnie Awards.
Monster of the Week The only nominee Powered by the Apocalypse is the revised edition of Monster of the Week published by +Evil Hat Productions. I talked about it briefly when it came out, but I still haven't gotten the chance to check it out. Since it's also one of only a handful of Evil Hat products nominated, I wish it luck. Unfortunately, it's up against D&D 5th Edition Player's Handbook for Best Rules, so it doesn't have much of a chance.

GUMSHOE at the Ennies, 2015

As I did last year, I am going to talk about some of the many nominees for this year's Ennie Awards. Voting opens on Saturday, July 4.

Today, I'll look at the nominees relevant to GUMSHOE system games, starting with the only actual GUMSHOE game product on the list.
Dreamhounds of ParisDreamhounds of Paris explores two worlds: Paris in the 30s, home to the Surrealist art movement; and the Dreamlands, Lovecraft's realm of fantastic horror. +Robin Laws gives you everything you need to portray the historical Surrealists as they discover their ability to shape the Dreamlands in pursuit of their goal of worldwide psychic revolution. +Kenneth Hite and +Steve Dempsey throw in their own insights into the occult world of 1930s France and round out the book.

I'll admit, I haven't read this one. I'm not much of a fan of the Dreamlands or Surrealism, so the subject matter doesn't exactly jump out at me. Dreamhounds of Paris is nominated for Best Interior Art and Best Se…

RPG Geek One Sheet GUMSHOE Contest

RPG Geek and +Pelgrane Press Ltd are sponsoring a contest for GUMSHOE system adventures that fit on a single sheet of paper. Designers have until July 18 to create an adventure for any GUMSHOE system game. Winners will receive prizes on RPG Geek plus Pelgrane store vouchers, one of the previous Pelgrane Bundles of Holding (for the first prize winner), and gift certificates to +DriveThruRPG.

I have an idea brewing, if I can find the time in the next month to put a submission together. I'm looking forward to seeing what all the other designers come up with, including which systems are the most popular (though I have my guesses).

Journeyman's Cup Concludes!

The final episode of +Nathan Paoletta Journeyman's Cup season for World Wide Wrestling has aired, and a winner has been declared. You can watch the video here or at YouTube.

Trail of Cthulhu on Bundle of Holding

You know the deal with these Bundles of Holding by now. For the next two weeks, you can get the resurrected Trail of Cthulhu Bundle from April 2014. Inside, you'll find:

the Trail of Cthulhu rulebookthe Stunning Eldritch Tales adventure collectionthe Keeper's Resource Book and Screenand Four Shadows, a collection of music by James Semple Beat the threshold price ($22.98 at this very second), and you'll get even more: +Robin Laws' brilliant Armitage Files improvisational campaignBookhounds of LondonThe Book of the SmokeArkham Detective TalesRough Magicks And I can tell you that at least one more title will be added later. If you buy now, you get it then. A portion of proceeds go to Cancer Research UK. Pick up this amazing deal and help save some lives.

Situation Aspect Cards for Fate on DriveThruCards

Keep Track of What Matters in Every Scene The most interesting and dynamic scenes in any Fate system game feature situation aspects, features of the environment or the situation that provide advantages or deliver complications. The GM can introduce these elements by design or add them on the fly, and players can create them through character action. Most GMs end up carrying around index cards or sticky notes to keep track of all of these aspects.
With Situation Aspect Cards, you get 40 pre-generated aspects that can be applied to a variety of situations. These span four categories: environmental conditions, personal conditions, social conditions, and dangers. Each aspect card is double-sided, with check boxes to represent free invokes gained through the create an advantage action — one box on the front side if you succed, or two on the back if you succeed with style. You also get 4 blank cards to create your own situation aspects.
With the addition of clear plastic card sleeves (not …

Ordered Challenges

For many challenges, it doesn’t matter in what order the characters complete each of the component actions. In an ordered challenge, however, actions must be completed in sequence. Failing an earlier task may make later ones more difficult or even change what actions are available.

An ordered challenge works much like a normal challenge, but it adds two special types of action: lynchpins and breakpoints. The success or failure of a lynchpin alters the difficulty of any action made after. Breakpoints open up or shut down later options in the challenge. Tasks that wouldn’t be affected by a lynchpin or breakpoint can be attempted before or after either one.

When you conduct an ordered challenge, you can still call for rolls in any order, but you must be aware of when your lynchpins and breakpoints should occur. An ordered challenge may be composed entirely of these actions, or it can be an otherwise freeform structure with the addition of one or more ordered tasks.

When you add a lynchpi…

Quick Power Sets for GURPS Supers

Here are a few quick sets of powers for GURPS supers characters. These were originally designed for a super-powered SWAT campaign, for characters built on a 175-point SWAT officer template.

Kinetic Energy Projector: You create force fields and bolts of kinetic energy. These grant you considerable defensive and offensive capabilities. Fine control is tiring, however.

Crushing Attack 6d (Armor Divisor, 2, +50%; Double Knockback, +20%; Energy Projection, -10%) [48]Impaling Attack 3d+2 (Energy Projection, -10%; Rapid Fire, RoF 7, +70%) [10]DR 12 (Energy Projection, -10%; Force Field, +40%; No Signature, +20%) [90]DR 8 (Costs Fatigue, 2 FP, -10%; Energy Projection, -10%; Force Field, +40%) [48]Energy Projection Talent 1 [5]Telekinesis 6 (Costs Fatigue, 2 FP, -10%; Energy Projection, -10%) [24]
Note: Impaling Attack bought as an Alternative Attack. 225 points.

Phaser: You can shift your body (and equipment up to BL) out of phase with normal matter. You can disrupt electronics (and nervous syste…

Wild Talents and the One Roll Engine

Watching the season finale of The Flash reminded me of this article I wrote for the Arc Dream blog a few years ago. It was the first in a series of articles detailing power sets for superhero characters built in the Wild Talents system. For a time, I was seriously into ORE. I even started a Google+ community for the system when that functionality first became available. I technically still moderate it, though it doesn't get much traffic and I haven't posted anything to it myself in a long time.

My first full exposure to Wild Talents in particular and the One Roll Engine in general came when I picked up a copy of the Wild Talents Essential Edition on the last day of Gen Con in what must have been 2008.

I had heard about Godlike and the crazy dice system +Greg Stolze had created, but I hadn't read that game, as the realistic World War II setting didn't jump out at me for superpowered gaming. But the Essential Edition was sitting on the corner of a booth across from where…