Showing posts from 2016

Gen Con 2016 Trip Report

Gen Con has come and gone for another year. I went, I gamed, I had a darn good time. Let’s break it down.
Wednesday Wednesday was primarily our travel day. We set out from Pittsburgh bright and early and immediately slammed into the city’s morning rush hour traffic. Instead of sitting through probably almost an hour of traffic, we turned around and went a slightly longer route distance-wise that arguably saved us a few minutes.

Seven and a half hours and one Cracker Barrel lunch later, we arrived in Indianapolis and checked in at the JW Marriott. We headed to the convention center to get our badges and discovered just how big this year’s show was going to be. The line for Will Call stretched all the way to the end of the convention center, and it stayed that long until well after midnight.

My companions decided to put off getting their packets until Thursday morning, but I decided to wait in the line for GM HQ to get our game master badges. Let me reiterate that: there was a line for …

Voting Is Live For The 2016 Ennie Awards

The 2016 Ennie Awards are now open for voting. Go to to vote for the great gaming products in two dozen categories.

While you’re there, I hope you’ll consider voting for It’s Element-ary! for Best Family Game. I’m up against some very worthy competition, and I’m honored just to be nominated. But who knows what could happen, right?

Let's Make a Character On a Whim: GURPS After the End

I decided to just jump on the stream and make a character. Following the post-apocalyptic character I made for All Flesh Must Be Eaten, I thought I'd make a similar character in GURPS using a template from the PA supplement After the End.

Adventurers' Guild for GURPS

Here's a stat block (in the format from GURPS Boardroom and Curia) for an Adventurers' Guild in a typical fantasy kingdom suitable for your GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game.
Adventurers’ GuildMission Statement: The Guild provides services and support to registered members acting as independent explorers, troubleshooters, and mercenaries. Services include: healing, mundane or magical; magic item identification and sale; connecting parties with henchmen; room and board; transportation; and information on known dungeons, monsters, curses, etc.
CapabilitiesTL: 3Members: 3,000
Wealth: Average
Contacts: Adventure Support skills-15 [20]
Member Traits: No common traits.
Notable Resources: The Guild maintains its primary service facilities in border regions (closer to areas where adventurers will be most active), but its storehouses are located in more heavily populated central areas.
Reaction-Time Modifier: +2. The Guild relies on mundane communications (primarily riders carrying messages) when …

Let's Make a Character: Fantasy AGE Orc Mage

This week on Let's Make a Character, I made an orc mage for the Fantasy AGE RPG from Green Ronin. Be sure to tune in to the live stream at next Friday at 8:00 pm Eastern.

Let's Make a Character: Atomic Robo

I forgot to post this last Friday, but I had my third episode of Let's Make a Character. I made an Action Scientist (light on the Action) for the Atomic Robo RPG (powered by Fate Core). Check it out!

Martin Strummer, Dungeon Fantasy Bard

A few weeks ago, I premiered my live stream show, Let's Make a Character, by making a bard character for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. Here's that character, if you need a pre-gen bard for your game.
Martin Strummer 250 pointsST 11 [10]; DX 12 [40]; IQ 14 [80]; HT 11 [10].
Damage 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24 lbs.; HP 11 [0]; Will 14 [0]; Per 14 [0]; FP 13 [6].
Basic Speed 6.00 [5]; Basic Move 6 (4 while encumbered) [0]; Dodge 9 (8 while encumbered); Parry 10; Block 11.
Advantages Appearance (Attractive) [4]; Bardic Talent 3 [24]; Charisma 1 [5]; Eidetic Memory [5]; Musical Ability 2 [10]; Voice [10].
Perks: Penetrating Voice [1]; No Hangover [1].
Bard-Song Abilities: Empathy (PM, -30%) [11]; Mimicry (PM, -30%) [7]; Rapier Wit (PM, -30%) [4].
Disadvantages Code of Honor (Gentleman’s) [-10]; Gregarious [-10]; Impulsiveness (9) [-15]; Post-Combat Shakes (6) [-10]; S.ense of Duty (Adventuring companions) [-5]

Skills Acting (A) IQ [2]-14; Diplomacy (H) IQ [1]-14†; Fast-Talk (A) IQ+1 [1]-15†; Musical In…

Scene Types in GUMSHOE Games

GUMSHOE divides each scenario into a number of scenes. In each scene, the Investigators visit a different location and/or interact with different NPCs, gather clues, and in some cases deal with obstacles and enemies. To help the GM plan scenarios, GUMSHOE presents a few basic types of scene, and each game may present a typical arrangement of these scenes that form the spin of most mysteries fitting that game.

What are the different types of scene that make up a GUMSHOE scenario? What should you keep in mind when preparing each type of scene? How might you improvise a scene when you need to add another element at the table?

Core “Core scenes present at least one piece of information necessary to complete the investigation and get to the climactic scene.”

Core scenes are the most important ones in any scenario. They present core clues, which point the Investigators toward other scenes (usually also core) and allow them to move forward in the scenario. In theory, an entire scenario could…

Dungeon Crate, May 2016

For my birthday last month, my friends got me a subscription to DungeonCrate.  This service is the RPG-focused entry in the current "crate" craze, where you pay a subscription fee and a box of themed stuff is sent to your home monthly, quarterly, or whatever. Well, my first crate arrived today, and I thought I'd go through it here on the blog.

Let's Make a Character: Mutants & Masterminds 2E

Tonight was another episode of Let's Make a Character. This time, I made a time manipulating speedster character using Mutants & Materminds 2nd Edition.

If you enjoy the show, follow along with my polls on Twitter and Google+, and if you want to support it, consider joining my Patreon.

My Gen Con Events

The Event Catalog for Gen Con 2016 is out now, in advance of Event Registration next Sunday. If you are digging through the listings looking for something fun to play, consider my events.

On Thursday morning, I'm running a session of Feng Shui 2nd Edition from Atlas Games. It's strongly inspired by Mad Max and the Planet of the Apes films.

RPG1684791: Apeworld On Fire
Furious George has disappeared. The New Simian Army faces civil war. Can your team of post-apocalyptic badasses bring down the ape regime once & for all?

Friday at Noon and again at 7:00, I'm running sessions of Wardens of Ouon, my Fate Accelerated setting of magical unicorns protecting an ancient forest. I never know what these sessions will hold, as I run them completely improvised.

RPG1684792 and RPG1684793: Wardens of Ouon
Play magical unicorn Wardens, and bring peace to the humans and spirits who live in the Forest of Ouon. Start by creating the map of your own version of the Forest, and then experienc…

Let's Make a Character: GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Bard

My first Twitch stream of Let's Make a Character. This week, I made a bard for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. I know the sound is crap; I'll work on it for next time. If you like it, consider supporting my Patreon.

GURPS Ultimate Zombie-Fighters: Humongous Enraged Infected (Boss)

Here's the boss zombie from the most recent session of my GURPS Zombies game. A combination of tight quarters and very poor rolls on a couple explosives meant this guy stayed up and terrorized them for a while. He relied on All-Out Attack (Double) to execute his Bellow Lungs and Mighty Roar in the same turn, partially for flavor and partially because it's a mean one-two punch. Unfortunately, the badass PCs and NPC ally were able to dodge the roar all but once. That was the only damage this guy landed, too, as he sent the NPC flying across the room to smash face-first into the far wall, breaking his nose.
I like where the zombie's resilience ended up. One PC uses an assault rifle (5d pi, RoF 15) while the other uses an axe and a hatchet (2d+7 and 2d+4 cut respectively), and they both wound up doing about the same amount of damage each turn after DR and Injury Tolerance. The poor NPC with his shotgun basically couldn't hurt this guy, though. He eventually switched to a …

My Current Gaming

I am involved in a lot of gaming right now, and I thought I’d share what I’m running and what I’m playing. I’m going to break it down by days of the week, since I have different games on the same day in alternate weeks.
Sunday A few months ago, my friend Justin moved to North Carolina for work. He asked to set up a regular online game so we could still hang out together. He’s a huge zombie fan, and I love GURPS (especially high-action GURPS), so I put together a GURPS Zombies game using the Ultimate Zombie-Fighters campaign frame in GURPS Zombies: Day One. My wife is playing two, but it’s just their two PCs and a few tag-along NPCs against the rapidly disintegrating world.

I’m liking this game a lot. For the zombies, I’m shamelessly ripping off the Left 4 Dead video game franchise. (They’ve already encountered Hunters and a Tank modified with some mutations from GURPS After the End.) However, I’m leaning more on the survival resource-management side of things for campaign tension. Thi…

GURPS After the End: Bruce, the Hulking Mutant

Bruce, the Hulking Mutant 250 points
ST 19 [63]†; DX 12 [40]; IQ 10 [0]; HT 12 [20].
Damage 2d/4d-1; BL 72 lbs.; HP 22 [6]; Will 11 [5]; Per 10 [0]; FP 12 [0]; RP 28 [0].
Basic Speed 6.00 [0]; Basic Move 7 [0]‡; SM +1.
Advantages Combat Reflexes [15]; DR 2 (Tough Skin) [10]; Improvised Weapons (Two-Handed Axe/Mace) [1]; Signature Gear (Sledgehammer) [1].
Mutations Natural Anti-Rad 2 [12]; Thick Hide 2 [30]; Red Sight [8]; Self-Restoration 1 [21]; Super-Strength 2 [23]†.
Freakishness 18 (3 oddities, -2 reaction)
Disavantages Berserk (12) [-10]; Dependency (Radiation; Very common environment; Monthly; from Freakishness) [0]; Gigantism [0]; Gregarious [-10]; Gullibility (9) [-15]; Impulsiveness (12) [-10].
Skills Acting (A) IQ [2]-10; Brawling (E) DX [1]-12; Climbing (A) DX [2]-12; Expert Skill (Mutants) (H) IQ [4]-10; Gesture (E) IQ [1]-10; Guns (Rifle) (E) DX [1]-12; Intimidation (A) Will+1 [4]-12‡; Hiking (A) HT [2]-12; Lifting (A) HT [2]-12; Observation (A) Per [2]-10; Survival (Radi…

GURPS After the End: Doctor and Bodyguard

With the release of GURPS After the End 1: Wastelanders, I thought I'd present a couple characters built using the templates in that book. So here are a Doc (with the Learned lens, twice) and her Trooper ally (reduced from the standard template to 50% the Doc's total).
Elisa “Doc” Morgan 250 pointsST 10 [0]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 14 [80]; HT 12 [20].
Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs.; HP 10 [0]; Will 14 [0]; Per 14 [0]; FP 12 [0]; RP 11 [0].
Basic Speed 5.50 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0]; Dodge 8; Parry 9 (Brawling), 8 (Knife).
Advantages Ally (Bodyguard; Built on 50%; 12 or less) [4]; Healer 4 [40]; Higher Purpose (Heal others) [5]; High Manual Dexterity 1 [5]; Luck [15]; Reputation +2 (Skilled doctor; Everyone; 10 or less) [5]; Resistant to Disease (+8) [5]; Signature Gear 1 (Surgeon’s Bag) [1]; Wasteland Wisdom 4 [20]*; Wild Talent 2 (Focused, Mental, -20%) [32].
Disadvantages Bad Sight (Correctable) [-10]; Chummy [-5]; Code of Honor (Professional) [-5]; Cowardice (12) [-10]; Delusion (“No one wi…

Wardens of Ouon: Naming Magic

A Warden’s greatest magical power comes in her ability to manipulate a being’s True Name. While it’s impossible to rewrite something’s Name, a Warden can make subtle changes and temporary additions, altering the being’s nature for a time.

In game terms, Naming uses the create an advantage action to apply new aspects to the target. These aspects—and particularly the free invokes placed on them—represent manipulation of the target’s fate. As long as they stay on the target, the magic remains in place.

To Name a target, the Warden must speak aloud, declaring the target’s new Name. She can attempt to Name the target using any of her approaches. One Warden may Forcefully shout the name, while another may Sneakily slip the name into conversation under her breath, for example. Make a note of which approach is used to create a Naming aspect. It will be important later.

The Warden must then roll and add the chosen approach. Opposition begins at Average (+1) and increases by +1 for each Naming …

Implant Nanodrugs for Ultra-Tech

GURPS Ultra-Tech presents cybernetic implants as meta-traits that bundle one or more advantages and disadvantages with appropriate enhancements and limitations, particularly Temporary Disadvantage (Electrical). The rules for creating ultra-tech drugs (p. B425) allow you to create drugs that grant advantages and disadvantages temporarily for the cost of a pill or injection.

Combine these two ideas, and you get drugs that create temporary cybernetic implants within a person's body. Most likely, this involves some kind of nanotechnology, and GURPS Bio-Tech gives us nanodrugs which work like conventional drugs but can do more and weirder things, so it's all kosher if you just look in enough books.

Here's a couple of implant nanodrugs to give you an idea what these things might look like.
Radio Pill (TL10) This nanodrug constructs a temporary Implant Radio (Ultra-Tech, p. 211) inside the user’s skull over the course of about 30 minutes. The radio has a range of one mile. Securi…

Space Patrol: Engineering Crewman Thomas ZL-7

Engineering Crewman Thomas ZL-7 200 points Thomas ZL-7 is a technical-model bioroid produced by the Genline Corporation. Following the standard period of training service on a number of starships, he attained his citizenship and enlisted in the Space Patrol. An accident on one of his first missions left him with a bionic arm and a commendation for conspicuous valor.

ZL-7 has the bland "average" appearance of stock Genline bioroid: light brown skin, short black hair, and grey eyes with a slight epicanthic fold. He is generally quite, focused, and slow to anger. His body chemistry does not react well to extensive or prolonged production of adrenaline, and many standard meds cause severe adverse reactions.

ST 13 [30]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 13 [60]; HT 10 [0].
Damage 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24 lbs.; HP 11 [0]; Will 12 [0]; Per 15 [10]; FP 10 [0].
Basic Speed 5.00 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0].
6'1"; 220 lbs.
Social BackgroundTL: 11.
CF: Federation (Native) [0].
Languages: Federation Standard (Nati…

Super-Archer for Fate Core

Super-ArcherAspects: Master of an Ancient Weapon; No Powers, Just Skill; Olympic Gold Medalist; Wise-Cracking Robin Hood; Check This One Out!
Suggested Peak Skill: Shoot
Suggested Other Skills: Athletics, Fight, Notice
Stunts: Far Shot (Shoot)—You can attack with Shoot up to four zones away.
PowersBow and Arrows: You possess a high-tech bow and a large supply of arrows. Since your skill with the weapon is entirely natural, powers that affect other powers (such as Power Amplification or Power Nullification) do not affect you. You may use your special effects on normal Shoot actions. In addition to traditional arrows, you have “trick” arrows that entangle targets in nets, adhesive, or some other material that can slow them, keeping them from moving to another zone until they overcome opposition equal to your roll. If you roll Shoot at -2, the target is stopped completely and cannot make any physical action until they escape.
Power Breakdown Technology Power Theme

↳Intense Training (Shoot)

It's Not My Fault He Stole Your Girlfriend, Bro

Last night, due to missing a few players for our regular game, I ran a session of Fate Accelerated Edition using It's Not My Fault, the card-based improv tool for fantasy one-shots. It was one of the best sessions of Fate I've ever run.

To start out with INMF, each player picks two of the 20 "class" cards to start building their character. Then the GM deals each player a third random card from those remaining. Each card serves as an aspect and provides a stunt and bonuses to three of the traditional FAE approaches. My group ended up with:

Beardo the Beastly, a genderfluid orc barbarian/alchemist/pirate,Boros, the dwarf merchant/warrior/con artist, andGwendolyn, the human soldier/sorcerer/illusionist. (My players added non-human races in on their own, though an upcoming expansion to INMF—It's Not My Fault I'm Fantastic—will add race cards into the mix.)
Once characters were made, I flipped over a card from each of three situation decks: Where Are You Now: "…

Space Patrol: Doctor (Ensign) Marco De La Cruz

If you are reaching One Yard Hex for the first time because of the post on Steve Jackson Games' Daily Illuminator, welcome! This blog originally started as a clearinghouse for various GURPS noodlings that had been knocking around my hard drive for years. Since then, it has turned into a more general-purpose gaming blog, but I still like to do GURPS posts whenever I can.

This post is part of a series detailing my notes for a Patrol campaign as found in GURPS Space. The Patrol is the investigative bureau of an interstellar Federation, tasked with solving interplanetary crimes, fighting smugglers and pirates, and generally keeping the spacelanes safe. If you want to see more from this series, check out all of the posts here (or click the Space Patrol label at the end of the post).

Doctor (Ensign) Marco De La Cruz 200 points Marco De La Cruz was born with two gifts: a burning curiosity and a talent for medicine. After a brief career as a medical examiner on Mars Colony, he joined the S…

Space Patrol: Lt. Commander Lakshmi Undatu

Lt. Commander Lakshmi Undatu 200 points Lt. Commander Undatu is an attractive woman of medium height. Her features mix Indian and East African traits, including dark skin and straight black hair which she wears in a regulation bun while on duty. Undatu always sports an easy, friendly smile, and she has an air of approachability that makes most people instinctively like and trust her. In a crisis, though, the smile falls away and Undatu takes charge immediately, setting others to their necessary tasks.

Her natural command ability and rapport with her fellow Patrolman has earned her promotions and a number of commendations. At the relatively young age of 31, she has been granted command of her own Patrol ship, SPS-2997 Kiran Bedi.

ST 10 [0]; DX 11 [20]; IQ 13 [50]; HT 11 [10].
Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs.; HP 10 [0]; Per 14 [5]; Will 15 [10]; FP 11 [0].
Basic Speed 5.50 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0].
5’6”, 121 lbs.
Social BackgroundTL: 11 [0].
CF: Federation (Native) [0].
Languages: Federation Stan…

Queen Elsa in Fate Core

The Fate More: From Bits to Books Kickstarter is underway, and one of the books being funded is Venture City, a compilation of the Venture City Stories PDF and an expansion of the power creation system called Venture City Powers. Venture City is a brilliant take on supers in Fate Core, coupled to a sandboxy cyberpunk setting, but the power system is versatile enough to do other kinds of powered characters as well.

As an example of how you could use Venture City outside of the included setting, I present to you Queen Elsa from Disney's Frozen.

Queen Elsa of ArendelleAspects: The Snow Queen; Conceal, Don’t Feel; Saved By My Sister’s Love; Strangely Persistent Creations; Frightened and Jealous Neighbors
Skills: Great (+4) Will; Good (+3) Resources, Shoot; Fair (+2) Contacts, Deceive, Empathy; Average (+1) Lore, Notice, Provoke, Rapport
PowersIce Control: You have the power to create snow and ice out of thin air. You can create a patch of ice that fills your zone or an adjacent zone. Y…

Space Patrol: The Ranger

Ranger 150 points The Rangers are a division of the Patrol trained in search and rescue as well as combat on dangerous or unexplored planets. Most Rangers operate singly or in very small groups, acting as “marshals” on new colonies and responding to emergency calls to outlying settlements. Often, a Ranger will be assigned to a Patrol ship with a more conventional crew to provide expertise in frontier investigations. These rugged officers earn the grudging respect of their more spit-and-polish counterparts through skill, tenacity, and grit.
Attributes: ST 10 [0]; DX 11 [20]; IQ 11 [20]; HT 11 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Damage 1d-1/1d+1; HP 10 [0]; Per 12 [5]; Will 11 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Basic Speed 6.00 [10]; Basic Move 6 [0].
Advantages: Legal Enforcement Powers [10]; Luck [15]; Outdoorsman 1 [10]; Patrol Rank 0 [0]. ● A further 30 points chosen from ST +1 or +2 [10/level], DX +1 [20], IQ+1 [20], HT +1 or +2 [10/level], Per +1 to +3 [5/level], Will +1 or +2 [5/level], FP +1 to +4 [3/l…