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Welcome back to Card Catalog where we are taking a look at TSR’s Star Frontiers from 1982. The last book published for Star Frontiers was Zebulon’s Guide to Frontier Space Vol. I.  This was an attempt to rework the system for a Second Edition and address some of the critiques the original system received. It had scrapped the original percentile resolution system in favor of a column shift results table similar to the Marvel Super Heroes game. It also completely revamped the character creation and advancement process vastly increasing the skills available… this means a few House Rules to make the Ifshnit backwards compatible are incoming.  We may look at the Zebulon’s Guide version of character generation in a future Card Catalog, but for now I wanted to get into a species introduced in Zebulon’s Guide but opted against the kangaroo looking Humma in favor of the “space dwarves” – herbivorous and friendly Ifshnits from the Frontier. If you have not read the overview of the entire system and the setting, click HERE for the introduction to Star Frontiers and the crew of the ‘Bodaz G’lunk.

I am also going to advance all the Star Frontier characters with about 50XP to show how you can optimize your chances or enrich your character as built.  

House Rules

As I mentioned above, the Ifshnit were introduced in the Zebulon’s Guide to Frontier Space.  The first of their two special abilities is simple enough – they can’t be blinded because of an adaptive inner eyelid that protects their eyes.  The second is an innate second level rank in the skill of Appraisal, Gemology, or Haggling. Because the original set doesn’t have that set of skills available even as subskills for most of what is offered, I will instead use the Vrusk as an example since they have a special ability of Comprehension for social dynamics that starts at 15%.  I will peg this at 25% to start for the Ifshnit so that if an untrained human were to roll half their Personality as a base for a haggling test, all Ifshnits are inherently better than most humans.

Design Notes

For Star Frontiers, you roll a percentile which is converted to a starting attribute score for four pairs of attributes that start equal in rating. For Jorgein, I rolled 03; 68; 97; and 72 which results in starting scores as follows:

  • Strength/Stamina 30
  • Dexterity/Reaction Speed 50
  • Intuition/Logic 70
  • Personality/Leadership 55

As an Ifshnit, Jorgein will not only exemplify some of the Frontier Space ethos but also is a story hook into the Capellan Free Traders which are run by Ifshnits.  In the Ability Modifiers, Jorgein will lost 5 (-5) from the STR/STA Ability pair but add 5 (+5) to the INT/LOG pair. Next, you can trade up to 10 points between the pairs, but I think I will keep Jorgein where he is for now. This results in the following statistics:

  • STR/STA 25/25
  • DEX/RS 50/50
  • INT/LOG 75/75
  • PER/LDR 55/55

In the Home Rules Section above, we mentioned the Ifshnits’ two Special abilities – Highly Developed Sight that prevents blindness by an inner lid that automatically closes and the Innate Bartering.  As we mentioned, the Innate Bartering is at 25% and will allow them to roll to appraise the value of goods, haggle for the sale of goods, and otherwise rely on their cultural background as a trading society.  

Jorgein is going to fill the role of smart alec, or scientist aboard the Bodaz G’lunk so his Primary Skill Area is the Biosocial Skill Area.  What, you ask, is the Scientist doing with Biosocial instead of Technical? In the limited number of Skill Areas from the original Star Frontiers, the Environmental Skill in the Biosocial covers the vast majority of non tinkering Science! That means that Jorgein will have a discount or reduced cost to buy skills and skill levels of the Technical Area’s Skills.  The aforementioned Environmental Skill, which includes astronomy, biology, botany, chemistry, and geology among others, is one of Jorgein’s starting skills. For his second skill, I will have hm begin with Computers so that V’orz can focus on the Engineering and Technical skill areas.

I’ve already given Jorgein his gender as a Male Ifshnit and Star Frontiers also requires a handedness determination so I choose Left Handed.  I am leaving equipment for after I spend the 50 advancement Experience Points!

Advancement Notes

The great simplicity of Star Frontiers is that there are only two places for a character to spend experience points – abilities and skills.  The Abilities can range up to 100 and are a simple 1 XP for 1 Point expenditure. Straightforward and because the skill checks are percentile based easy to understand what your investment nets you. Skills are bought per level, from 1 to a maximum of 6.  Non-human characters can also spend points on their special abilities, but those are purchased just like the Abilities on a 0-100 scale and a 1 for 1 improvement rate.

I am going to make sure that Jorgein can complete his general requirements of being the Scientist, so I will spend the XP first and foremost to raise his Environmental Skill to Level 3 for 25XP.  A few fights happened as he was out in the world and while he is not terribly good at hitting things, he isn’t too poor with the Gyrojet Weapons Skill from the Military PSA to Level 1 for 6XP. A second level of Computer is 8 Points and a single Rank of Psycho-Social from his Primary Skill Area leave 6 Experience Points which I will use to raise his Personality from 55 to 61.

Now I am going to look at equipment, weapons, and defenses … which I may not pay too much attention to the cost because it’s a lot more fun just to get them outfitted. Also, the ship is under the Captain’s control with a Charter Letter with Streel Corp. as a reminder.  

The Gyrojet Weapon Skill is a wonderfully broad skill that includes a lot of weapons with different range increments.  Jorgein has a Gyrojet Pistol, which is a pistol that launches miniature rockets with explosive heads that will work well underwater and on lower tech planets, though he isn’t supposed to ever take it into space since explosions and spaceships don’t mix.  He also has a Grenade Launcher Rifle which allows him to fire grenades instead of throwing them, though it is rather slow. This means that sleep, entangling, and fragmentation grenades are now in his reach providing maximum utility despite being a rather suboptimal combatant.  .

For defenses, Star Frontiers provides two “slots” – a suit and a screen.  Each type chosen will shield the character from incoming damage of a particular type and eventually need repair or replacement. Similar to Kratog, Jorgein is going with the Albedo Suit and Inertia Screen as his usual defenses, though a sonic screen is appealing to our little Ifshnit here. See our previous discussion of the way that these defenses work in the Captain’s section.

Jorgein is supposed to be a bit of an explorer, so he has a bit of gear to pack even with his low Strength and Stamina.  Envirokit is needed to analyze the different planets they end up on while the gas mask, flashlight, and compass have similar obvious utility.  The solvaway is in case he gets stuck in his own Tangler grenades since likes using those. A few other pieces of gear and some ammunition round out Jorgein’s Equipment. He tends to spend his credits pretty quickly so he hasn’t gotten a large reservoir of them built up yet.      

Character Notes

Streel Co. was certainly happy to see to a qualified Ifshnit Scientist walk into the office and offer himself as an employee.  The question, though, is why? A long tradition on the rim had the Ifshnits well entrenched with the Capellan Free Traders and the Ifshnit themselves were not particularly known for enjoying megacorporate employ.  The Capellan Free Merchant’s unique charter from the UPF allowed them to avoid the Trans-Travel monopoly on interstellar travel and they don’t truly produce anything. The Capellan Free Merchants are an association of thousands of smaller merchants who work under the Capellan Free Merchant banner expressly to aoid the megacorporations like Streel.   

Jorgein seemed to fit in just fine in Streel, often being the first awake, nibbling on dried fruit, and volunteering to go over the next hill in every assignment he was given.  Jorgein is a born explorer and that carried over to his innate curiosity. While enjoying his crudite, Jorgein would ask other Streel employees about their homeworlds and their past.  What led them to Streel was always on his mind. He never gave much away in response offering tales of being lost and alone on the rim – hard to believe for the clannish Ifshnits. He wanted to see more and further than his home allowed, but didn’t the Capellan Free Merchants have a reach as broad as Streels?  V’orz Untisp was a friend who stayed curious about this seeming incongruity.

When the opportunity came to be assigned to a Chartered ship, and to perhaps take a more exploratory role in general, Jorgein’s eyes lit up and without finishing is salad, he had charmed his way onto Capt. Bodaz’s G’lunk.  

V’orz has been on the right track looking into Jorgein because the mystery of Clan Abene is where this leads.  Clan Abene is nearly gone in Rim Space and none remain members of the Capellan Free Merchants. It was Jorgein’s Uncle who put into motion this fate 75 years ago when the First Sathar War was still fresh in everyone’s mind.  The Free Merchants are not always known for the niceties of due process, and the greed that the Council of Twelve can show rivals or exceeds that of any Corporate CEO. Clan Abene’s history of scientific exploration, in the field like Jorgein or in the lab like his Uncle, meant that the Clan saw sooner what the Free Merchant’s were planning.  What became GODco and the planetwide terraforming economy wasn’t an accident – the Cassidine Development Corporation and the Capellan Free Merchants were planning it’s launch for years. Jorgein’s Uncle sat on the Counsil that quadrennium as a Free Merchant of repute. They encouraged the nascent architectural corporation on Hentz and helped it grow until the loan backed by the Capellan Free Merchants and goven by the CDC created GODCo.

While GODco claims to never terraform an inhabited planet, it is proud of its terraforming of planets and cares little for the destruction of the indigenous flora and fauna – this loss of biological diversity and the smuggling in the now wiped out flora and fauna is what began Clan Abene’s fall. The Clan, tight knit and family oriented, voted to oppose allowing GODco to continue and asked to call in the loan – the Council of Twelve refused his Uncle’s call and the heated debate that roiled the Capellan Free Merchants resulted in a half dozen Ifshnit clans banished, and in some cases, shunned by the Capellan Free Merchants.  

Streel Co poses the best chance to stop the Capellan Free Merchant’s trade in illicit flora and fauna smuggled from terraformed planets, but even Jorgein wasn’t prepared to learn that GODco may be terraforming inhabited planets.  Aboard the Bodaz G’lunk, he has seen that what his Uncle found may be frightening on a galactic scale .. but his honor doesn’t allow him to share this story and his fear is that the Council of Twelve of the Capellan Free Merchants do not still have the honor they had when Clan Abene had a seat.       

Jorgein of Clan Abene 

Star Frontiers and Bodaz G’lunk overview here. 

Star Frontiers © 1982 TSR Hobbies. All names and marks associated with Star Frontiers held by successors in interest to TSR Hobbies, Wizards of the Coast.  Wizards of the Coast, Star Frontier, and their logos are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the United States and other countries. © Wizards. All Rights Reserved. Seize the GM is not affiliated with, endorsed, sponsored, or specifically approved by Wizards of the Coast LLC. No claim of ownership is intended or implied.  

Welcome back to Card Catalog where we are taking a look at TSR’s Star Frontiers from 1982. We already met the Captain last week, so this week we will work on making the Bodaz G’lunk’s pilot,Kratog. If you have not yet read the overview  of the system, please click HERE to read the overview of the system and setting..

 

I am also going to advance all the Star Frontier characters with about 50XP to show how you can optimize your chances or enrich your character as built.  

House Rule

We will have a Notable House Rule introduced here. The original core rules do not include any piloting skills. The piloting related skills were added in the Knight Hawks expansion … But they are not for the average player character. While it likely reflects a star ship pilot as an astronaut, the prerequisite to get even the first rank is almost 100 experience points. I’m going to make Pilot its own Primary Skill Area(“PSA”) with the four skills under it so that players can get to it sooner. I will make it the same cost as Biosocial which is the most expensive of the original 3 PSAs. We will see how it works for the crew of the Bodaz G’lunk.

 

Design Notes

For Star Frontiers, you roll a percentile which is converted to a starting attribute score for four pairs of attributes that start equal in rating. For Kratog, I rolled 95; 42; 63; and 81 which results in starting scores as follows:

  • Strength/Stamina 65
  • Dexterity/Reaction Speed 45
  • Intuition/Logic 50
  • Personality/Leadership 60

I picked Dralisite for Kratog because I wanted a true non-humanoid or two and the amoeba like dad joke loving philosophers sound like a lot of fun. As a Dralisite, Kratog adds 5 to the Strength/Stamina pair and loses 5 from the Dexterity/Reaction Speed Ability Pair. Next, you can trade up to 10 points between these pairs, so I will shift 10 points from Intuition to Logic focusing on Kratog’s planning and forethought versus any intuitive improvisation. This results in the following statistics:

  • STR/STA 70/70
  • DEX/RS 40/40
  • INT/LOG 40/60
  • PER/LDR 60/60

As far as Special Abilities go, Dralisites have elasticity and Detect Lies. as sentient amoeba like species, Dralasites can shift their form and appendages around much to the chagrin of the other species. Also, because of the different way that they process sensory input, they have a chance of detecting lies in other species. This special ability may be raised with experience points in the same manner as an Ability and starts at 5.

Skills are fairly limited to start, and while there are some ideas for expanded Skill versions of Star Frontiers, I will stick with the Alpha Strike & Knight Hawks version of skills.  As I mentioned above, the House Ruled Piloting skill area will be the Primary Skill Area for Kratog. That means that Kratog will have a discount or reduced cost to buy skills and skill levels of the Pilot Area’s Skills.  For the two starting skills, the first is going to be Piloting because Kratog is the pilot. I was going to go with Astrogation in the pilot group for the second skill, but in trying to at least take some of the traditional prerequisites I instead opted to start the Computer skill from the Technological Skill Area. Kratog may not be that great in a fight but the G’lunk has gotten along without him shooting too many things.

Dralisites life cycle includes stages as male, female, and neither. I am going to have Kratog be still in the male cycle which he is maintaining through pharmaceutical means. Handedness is irrelevant to a Dralisite, or more to the point may be changed as they change their number of appendages.  With a Dexterity of only 40, Kratog is limited to 4 appendages for now, but when he has the time to prepare to fly, he does prefer 1 leg and 3 arms. I am leaving equipment for after I spend the 50 advancement Experience Points!

 

Advancement Notes

The great simplicity of Star Frontiers is that there are only two places for a human to spend experience points – abilities and skills.  The Abilities can range up to 100 and are a simple 1 XP for 1 Point expenditure. Straightforward and because the skill checks are percentile based easy to understand what your investment nets you. Skills are bought per level, from 1 to a maximum of 6.   

In the Pilot Skill Area, the Kratog is going to add Astrogation for 5XP which really means I feel a need to increase the Computer skill to Level 2 for 16 points. The Technical skill from the Technological Skill Area for 8 and Piloting to 2 for 10 points gets us to 39XP spent. For 6 Experience Points, I add Martial Arts to focus on a grappling and fluid form for the Drasilites. The last 5 Experience Points will go ahead into the Piloting Skill Group and give a beginning understanding to Starship Engineering.

Now I am going to look at equipment, weapons, and defenses … which I may not pay too much attention to the cost because it’s a lot more fun just to get them outfitted. Also, she has the ship under a Charter Letter with Streel Corp. that has secured their loan and employment just in case I forget to mention it later.  

While Kratog isn’t likely to hit anything, his belt does have an Automatic Pistol which Kevin keeps telling him he should learn to actually aim.  Because you get a +20% chance to hit when you fire a burst, it mitigates some of his inexperience with actual weaponry.

For defenses, Star Frontiers provides two “slots” – a suit and a screen.  Each type chosen will shield the character from incoming damage of a particular type and eventually need repair or replacement. Suits are a bit more difficult for the Dralisites to wear as they need their entire body to be unhindered which is why they keep all of their equipment in a belt based series of pouches.  Regardless, a special breathable Albedo Suit provides some protection against beam weapons, but it is the Inertia Belt that is the most important. This will protect against kinetic attacks including hand to hand combat … in which the Dralisite Pilot is surprisingly adept..This works in the same manner as the Suits and Screens described in Captain Bodaz, but for a different type of incoming damage.  

The remainder of the gear is fairly minimal because Kratog usually stays on the ship.  Or at least tries to. There is a Techkit for his repairs and technical work, a chronocom to interface with the world and the computer system and finally a Radiocom for longer range communications.  His total personal store of credits reflects that he hasn’t been spending his money since he is really more here for the experiences.

 

Character Notes

Kratog Gotark is not the first Dralisite pilot, nor will Kratog be the last Dralisite pilot.  It is a calling for the Gotark line, regardless of when they bud off and where they end up. You could call it a Driving force! Hah.  No? You better get used to the bad jokes. Kratog grew in what can best be described as a fairly standard Dralisite home. There was a great deal of thinking, a great number of puns, and an apparent disconnect between the two.

The Dralisite drive to examine, to think, to dive deeply into the observed world around them took root in Kratog who even accompanied his parents, in their Mother, Father, and Neutral life cycles, when they would pilot starships throughout the First Sathar War at the founding of the UPF.  It was a family affair for an entire century before Kratog found it time to “bud off” from his family. Heh. No?

The Gotark were a bit unusual as Dralasites go, as they maintained the family tradition that other species use more so than the other Dralasites.  While the Gotark took part in the Concourse of Dral where the planetary Dralasites would come together to debate and theorize, it was a strange smell for them all to be a single unit.  His parents had the idea that perhaps there was a unity that could be achieved by maintaining non-solo living spaces across the multiple gender aspects of life. Kratog is their best experiment yet testing his family’s quality of ideas.  After two wars, the Gotark thought is was time to see whether Kratog would prove their theory and the immortality of their philosophy. At 125 years old, he is just entering his prime … and that’s better than Choice! Heheh. Oh, still not laughing?

Kratog was able to find work fairly quickly in the wake of the Second Sathar War. IN fact, a few piloting jobs later he had not only made friends with Drichu but they met Captain Bodaz and for all she may have been rolling her eyes seemed to take a liking to them.  SHe had a ship, but no crew. They could crew a ship but needed an employer. It was the beginning of a good time by all. The Gotark seemed to find promise in this because Yazirians and Drasilites are not always the easiest to get to agree, but as Drichu and Kratog shared their jobs the theory of unit bonding bore fruit. You could say it was hanging from that tree! Groan.  You’ll laugh at one of these.

The Frilkium kerfuffle caused a serious set back to the Unit Bonding Theory, and Kratog’s life as well.  Kratog had chosen to remain in the male period of Drasilite life believing it would benefit the study, but now “he” wasn’t so sure.  Captain Bodaz made arrangements for a Corporate Charter … unexpected but perhaps the best way to move forward. The new members of the crew, replacing poor departed Drichu and Ghrilham, helped make life more interesting … and more importantly V’orz would sometimes laugh at Kratog’s jokes! It could be that mid interstellar flight, there is noone in space to hear you cry.  Sigh. One of Kratog’s jokes will land eventually.

Kratog has been withdrawing deeper into himself lately, pondering whether it is time to move on to “female” for Drasilite purposes or if the Gotark Unit Bonding Theory is truly lost.  Perhaps he is best suited to fly himself and himself alone back home.

Kratog Gotark Dralisite Pilot Character Sheet.

Star Frontiers Setting and System Overview Here.

Star Frontiers © 1982 TSR Hobbies. All names and marks associated with Star Frontiers held by successors in interest to TSR Hobbies, Wizards of the Coast.  Wizards of the Coast, Star Frontier, and their logos are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the United States and other countries. © Wizards. All Rights Reserved. Seize the GM is not affiliated with, endorsed, sponsored, or specifically approved by Wizards of the Coast LLC. No claim of ownership is intended or implied.  

This time through the Card Catalog, we are looking at Star Frontiers – the 1982 Space Opera and Science Fiction game from TSR that has never had the chance to meet it’s full potential. Despite rather streamlined rules for a 1982 game and a truly inspiring setting, Star Frontiers still is oft overlooked except by a fervent online fan base.   The first character we will look at building is the ship Captain Telinia Bodaz. If you have not yet read the overview of the system, please click HERE to take a quick look before we start the build process.

I am also going to advance all the Star Frontier characters with about 50XP to show how you can optimize your chances or enrich your character as built.  Where I use some House Rules, I will let you know and explain why I made that choice! The PDF fillable character sheets were found at Starfrontiers.info.

 

Design Notes

Unsurprisingly, the TSR game started with random Ability generation, but Star Frontiers rolls percentile dice that are then provided a standardized value instead of just what is on the dice.  For Captain Bodaz, I rolled 32; 64; 76; and 93 which results in starting scores as follows:

  • Strength/Stamina 40
  • Dexterity/Reaction Speed 50
  • Intuition/Logic 55
  • Personality/Leadership 65

As a Human, Captain Bodaz can add 5 to any single Ability, but not the entire pair, so I add that to her Personality Physical Ability as a way to reflect her natural friendly charisma and attractiveness versus any imperious or command style leading.  Next, you can trade up to 10 points between these pairs, so I will shift 10 points from Strength to Stamina to make her more resilient but not necessarily a physically strong character and also shift 5 points from her Logic to Intuition to focus more on her “guts” than her “analytics.  This results in the following statistics:

  • STR/STA 30/50
  • DEX/RS 50/50
  • INT/LOG 60/50
  • PER/LDR 70/65

As far as Special Abilities go, humans are remarkably adaptable but have no other innate species based abilities or weaknesses.  

Abilities are fairly limited to start, and while there are some ideas for expanded Skill versions of Star Frontiers, I will stick with the Alpha Strike & Knight Hawks version of skills.  The Captain’s Primary Skill Area is going to be Biosocial. That means that she will have a discount or reduced cost to buy skills and skill levels of the Biosocial Area’s Skills. For her two starting skills, the first is going to be Biosocial because she is the leader and this covers the range of communication, empathy, and social skills you want from a leader. For her second skill, I will go with Beam Weapons in the Military Group because she needs to have something to do in Combat.

This covers most of the character generation requirements because we have already decided that Captain Bodaz is female, I’ll make her right handed, and redhead leaving us with equipment to select … but since I’m giving her another 50 Experience Points, we will look at equipment and weapons in the Advancement section that follows.

 

Advancement Notes

The great simplicity of Star Frontiers is that there are only two places for a human to spend experience points – abilities and skills.  The Abilities can range up to 100 and are a simple 1 XP for 1 Point expenditure. Straightforward and because the skill checks are percentile based easy to understand what your investment nets you. Skills are bought per level, from 1 to a maximum of 6.   

In the Biosocial Skill Area, the Captain is going to increase her Psychosocial Ranking from 1 to 3 for 25 total XP.  Also, she picks up Rank 1 of the Medical Skill for a mere 5 XP. Also, she adds a single rank of Melee Weapons to use a stun baton and dabbles enough on a computer to pick up the Technical Skill Area skill of Computer at Level 1. The 6 XP to get the Melee Weapon Skill adds 10% to her chance to hit and makes it the best investment on her training for now, though she is still not a front line combatant. That leaves 6 XP.

For the Captain, it’s her Personality that matters the most and I am going to drop all 6 into her Personality to raise it to 76.  

Now I am going to look at equipment, weapons, and defenses … which I may not pay too much attention to the cost because it’s a lot more fun just to get them outfitted. Also, she has the ship under a Charter Letter with Streel Corp. that has secured their loan and employment just in case I forget to mention it later.  

With a Beam Weapon Skill, our intrepid Captain definitely has a Sonic Stunner pistol that can stun a target that doesn’t roll below their Stamina when hit.  Similarly, for heavier needs, she has a Laser Rifle on the G’lunk. Finally, a Stun Stick to try to shock and stun melee attackers sounds like a good plan. Her main weapons work around regular defenses by trying to stun opponents which can be very helpful if the defenses are not the appropriate match up.

For defenses, Star Frontiers provides two “slots” – a suit and a screen.  Each type chosen will shield the character from incoming damage of a particular type and eventually need repair or replacement. Captain Bodaz has a Skeinsuit which protects against inertia and physical attacks be they ranged or melee absorbing up to 50 points of damage before it is destroyed.  An Albedo Screen is a force field like defense that will absorb laser and beam attacks sapping power at a rate of 1 Standard Energy Unit per 5 points of damage.

A small assortment of fairly standard equipment follows! In fact, a Standard Equipment Pack is an item that is used to provide the basic adventuring gear one would expect. Additionally, the Medical skill means that the Capt. is also going to be handling some of the care and healing requirements so I grab a few items like a Medical Kit to round out her standard items.  There isn’t a line for her to have fancy clothes and other accouterments, so we will just take them as read.

 

Character Notes

The Bodaz family lived a rather fantastic life on the planet BLAH.  While the UPF was representative, it didn’t require any of the member planets have a specific government.  This means that the neo-feudal system of Yaert left those at the top in power year over year and generation over generation.  Tenilia was born in the Duchy of Bodaz at the advent of the Second Sathar War and grew up as insulated as she could be from the ongoing war.  

Sadly, for the Bodaz, Tenilia’s older siblings died in the war protecting the UPF form the slithering and sly Sathar.  It took some time for Tenilia to realize that she had become the heir to the Duchy or more precisely what that meant. Her time in her teenage years was spent learning social systems and what was expected of her as a leader.  Her time in her teenage years bristled with rebellion.

When she was of legal age, and with the Second Sathar War well and truly years behind the UPF, she exercised her noble powers in the Duchy – she appointed a Seneschal and declared that she was taking a sabbatical for the next decade. She knew enough to know she had the power to take a ship, the G’lunk, with her and that she could find her own fortune and fame without the fancy trappings her parents had left her.  It didn’t take long to find a crew, or really the first true friends in her life. She hadn’t been given the opportunity to have equals as friends growing up – peers for sure, but with the attendant social requirements that meant. Kratog, Drichu, and Ghrilham were fast friends and she learned more from them in two short years than an entire decade of training. She wasn’t sure about Kevin, but Drichu convinced her that a strong arm and a clear mind would help

Her fortune and fame appeared to be on a majestic trajectory, until Frilkium. He G’lunk had been working on the fringes of the Corporate War retrieving expensive or unique equipment left behind, selling star charts to uncharted planets, and even some light corporate espionage to fill the coffers. Frilkium appeared to be an uncharted planet near the Frontier. It was rich with biological density and didn’t appear to have any intelligent inhabitants. What none of the G’lunk crew knew was that the Frillites had buried and reclaimed the last two corporate ships with their plants.

The Frillites sprung a trap, and Telinia watched with horror as the planet’s trees and vines dragged Ghrilham away to die and Kratog could barely get the G’lunk fired up. Kevin’s injury slowed him down and was slowing them down to the excel site when Drichu gave in to his Battlerage. Telinia knew her friend wouldn’t come back and that she was losing someone else. She cried as they freed themselves from the green entanglement. The repairs to the G’lunk were extraordinary as the Frillites had been eating away as much of the ship as their vines could. Telinia could go home … Accept the money but also the responsibility of her family and title. Instead, she was not ready to give up her freedom just yet. A charter from Streel would float their repairs and give her time to plan the next stage of her career.

Telinia found new crew members to replace those she failed – though it is unproven whether their loyalties lie with Streel or her – and the Bodaz G’lunk flies again! Telinia has enjoyed the exploration and prospecting almost as much as she has been terrified of GODCo’s terraforming tech. As she looks forward, Telinia is also looking over her shoulder to Drichu’s memory and because she isn’t sure if she can trust her new crew with Sathars slithering about the Frontier space.

Capt. Tenilia Bodaz Character Sheet

Star Frontiers Setting and System Overview Here.

Star Frontiers © 1982 TSR Hobbies. All names and marks associated with Star Frontiers held by successors in interest to TSR Hobbies, Wizards of the Coast.  Wizards of the Coast, Star Frontier, and their logos are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the United States and other countries. © Wizards. All Rights Reserved. Seize the GM is not affiliated with, endorsed, sponsored, or specifically approved by Wizards of the Coast LLC. No claim of ownership is intended or implied.  

Welcome back to card catalog where we continue with our 2018 look into science fiction games and setting! It was completely unintentional, but seems to be the recurring theme this year so we will just dive right in! Did you know that TSR made a science fiction game in the early 80s??  Not the zany and madcap Gamma World, but Star Frontiers? I remember the ads in old comic books well and it looked really cool! The eighth of the games developed by TSR over the years, it has a system wholly unlike what you may expect from a game that shares the legacy of Dungeons & Dragons … and a setting that if ripe for exploration and GM world building.  The last of the Supplements was released in 1985, in what was supposed to be book 1 of a three book revamp of the entire system. Generally, we’ll look at the Star Frontier – Alpha Manual for our rules with one or two little house rules along the way using the original rule set rather than the attempted switch over later in production to a set not dissimilar to the Marvel Super Heroes FASERIP style. That was introduced in the Zebulon’s Guide to the Frontier Volume I as the beginning of a revamp of the system and setting … that never quite finished.  Besides the Boxed Set called Alpha Strike, with its Larry Elmore cover, the Knight Hawks Supplement and Zebulon’s Guide to the Frontier Vol. I provide the vast majority of the rules and settings for Star Frontiers. Less than a dozen adventures were published, most of which are now available through Drive Thru RPG!

The game has a strong fan following and even TSR and Wizards of the Coast have acknowledged that.  A brief setting blurb in the 2004 d20 Modern Expansion provided the outline of the Frontier and put the main species into d20 stats but otherwise it’s maintenance has been the province of online fans. In the past year, Wizards of the Coast reasserted the overall rights to the trademarks after Evil Hat tried to get attention to take over the setting and publish new material which has paired back some of the fan developed work but maybe means that we will see new products developed for Star Frontiers soon.  I stumbled across several Star Frontiers fan websites that has been a labor of love for Star Frontiers and I heartily recommend checking them out, including the Starfrontiers.info site that had the fillable PDF character sheet.

System Overview

Star Frontier is a classless system in it’s original form.  Yes, a classless system but also a system that relies more heavily on attributes than skills. It is a rather innovative system especially for the era in which it was released and I expect you may see some of the derivatives of it to this day! The basic mechanic is a percentile dice roll with an attempt to get under the target number determined from the Ability and Skill combinations.  

Abilities come in four pairs – Strength/Stamina; Dexterity/Reaction; Intuition/Logic; and Personality/Leadership. One intriguing part of character development is that the attributes are linked in pairs so that Strength and Stamina begin with a shared roll as Abilities that are closely related to each other.  The scores range from 30 to 70 based on a percentile dice roll that is converted by chart to a score.

Once you have then selected your species, which are not what you might expect (though several would prove to be used in later TSR games with different names), you modify your abilities and add any specific powers of the race. Humans may modify one attribute in a pair by 5 while the other three player species each receive a zero sum set of modifiers usually as a +5 and -5.  Zebulon’s Guide added three more species to choose and another NPC option for flavor.

You now customize your attributes within the pair, so that you can trade up to 10 points between Abilities in each pair, such as between Personality and Leadership.

Skills are next – Star Frontiers begins with three Primary Skill Areas – Military, Technical, and Biosocial.  Each of these Skill Areas has a number of skills grouped beneath them – from 7 Military Skills to 3 in the other two Areas.  Military skills represent combat and military training ranging from unarmed combat through Demolitions, while Technical Skills are the mechanical and technical skills used in a tech driven society. Biosocial skills are how you deal with the surrounding races and environments.  In the Knight Hawks supplement, Spaceship skills were added – these were skills that were not part of a PSA but could be added to any character meeting the prerequisites … which were steep. Star Frontiers certainly left the piloting to the equivalent of Astronauts who were over 100 XP into a character and beyond starting character reaches.  For a House Rule, I am going to make Spaceship Skills a fourth Primary Skill Area with the XP Cost of the Biosocial Skills. This keeps them the most expensive of the skills but allows PCs to get to them.

Each Character chooses one PSA as their career focus and then selects 2 skills, one of which must be from the PSA chosen.  Skill levels range from 1 to 6 and represent a +10% bonus to the needed roll when using them. For example, the weapon skills chances to hit are all ½ Dexterity + skill level, so an average success chance with one Rank is 35%.  Rounded up Ability Roll to a 50 as a result with no modifications. Half of the 50 is 25% plus the Level 1 Skill to get to 35%.

Spend your starting credits, from 250-350 total, on equipment and gear and finish fleshing out your character.

Advancement with experience points, XP, could be used to increase Abilities on a 1 for 1 basis up to a maximum of 100.  This also applies to certain special abilities of the other player species, such as the Dralasites’ Lie Detection ability or the Yazirian’s Battle Rage. The other option is to purchase increases in Skills.  Military skills are the cheapest to purchase and increase, either because the designers valued combat in the game design or maybe because there were twice as many of them as the others, requiring 6 x Level in XP to purchase, while Technical are 8 x Level, and Biosocial 10 x Level.  You get to halve those numbers in your Primary Skill Area, so 3 x , 4 x, and 5 x respectively.

The Main Book goes through a number of rules specifics, as is the way of games in the early 1980s, that provide for how to handle different situations and the bonuses or penalties that come from it. Overall, you see a system that provides a great deal of flexibility by being Ability heavy and classless, but that is also an internally consistent system built around percentile dice.  For example, we have already noted that combat is built around the standard percentile test for Star Frontiers to attack. Damage is based on the weapon, as laid out in the equipment section, which is applied against the Stamina Ability score. It is a smart design move, compared to other TSR games, to use the same score for more than one thing and prevents additional complications! Defenses are based on the equipment that will reduce damage from different kinds of attacks, but usually will use up power cells when on.  Area of Effect and pure stunning weapons have Avoidance rolls that are set forth on page 28, but again it is an Ability Roll, either Stamina or Reaction, like every other roll in the game.

Zebulon’s Guide, which effectively began an unfinished Second Edition of the game made some radical shifts to the game play.  As noted above, it had a column shift style resolution system that seemed to go back to the Marvel FASERIP system that TSR had also worked on.  It also added more express classes. While the Primary Skill Areas could be seen as a form of Classes, since Abilities were more common, they didn’t feel as constrictive .  TSR tried to expand the possibilities of character creation and did that by adding 4 “Classes” with specific skill lists they could choose and by significantly expanding the skills available to create more differentiation in characters.  The combat system was also greatly changed, though whether it was improved is best left for the players who played both back to back. It lines up a bit more with the direction that other TSR games were going in the mid to late 1980s in design.  The addition of Mentalists is also indicative of the Psionic focus or craze from the mid 1980s which, while intriguing are not going to be a system I will go into for this Card Catalog.

Setting Overview

Star Frontiers starts with a straightforward fictional setting. The Frontier Sector originally showed 17 star systems, with a total of 23 colonized planets but another 21 star systems that hadn’t been explored.  Even the planets themselves were not fully explored leaving a great deal of leeway to any Referee to write their own adventures, worlds, and settings. The United Planetary Federation made up of the four United Races had formed in the wake of the First Sathar War.

In times past, humans, the ameoba-like Dralasites, nocturnal predator Yizarians, and insectoid Vrusk had not been united in the exploration of space and the star systems. It was the Sathar that we have to thank for bringing us all together – the worm or snake like Sathar and their expansionist but devious plans required the four races to unite to repel them.  It proved the beginning of a strong, but loosely organized alliance. Nothing in the UPF Charter changes how each planet governs itself, and they range from direct democracy to autocracy, so long as the taxes are collected to keep the Star Law Rangers and Spacefleet in good stead.

The past century has seen a rise of mega corporations that control entire planets and spread their commercial interests into far flung systems.  The Pan Galactic is the largest corporation in Frontier Space, and also the most powerful. This power leaves it under attack at all turns from its competitors and the new upstarts like Streel Corp., the Greater Vrusk Mutual Prosperity Institutions, and Interplanetary Industries.  Each of these mega corps offers charters and hires on ships full of the best and brightest of the Frontier to seek glory, and more importantly riches, for the company! These Charters are used as independent contractors to undertake prospecting, exploration, and other speculative activities as often as bolstering the corporate strengths. The pirates that raid the space lanes became more and more brazen even in the face of the Star Law Rangers.  The world was becoming busy and the UPF had dispatched it’s resources to face down the pirates and and stem off a potential corporate war.

Then the Sathar returned.  Their ships larger and in greater numbers.  Their cunning and ruthlessness was on full display in the Second Sathar War.  A full decade of warfare not only strengthened the opposition to the Sathar’s involvement in conquest of Frontier space, but also brought several more species into the UPF that had been part of the Rim for centuries – the quadrapedal and scaled Osakar; Ifshnits – herbivorous and independent hirsute humanoids; and the violent fatalistic warrior Humma.  We still don’t know where the Sathar come from. We still don’t know what motivates them to expand. What we do know is that they are intelligent, patient, and ferocious.

The Frontier Space had to face an extended Corporate War after the conclusion of the Second Sathar War.  As the UPF had spent many of its resources in repelling the invaders, it was not well set up to take additional authority and megacorporations saw opportunity in rebuilding across the UPF and Rim to turn a tidy profit.  The UPF had agreed to laws and compacts that prevented mergers and limited consolidation of companies after a certain size to prevent the Sathar from having a single supply chain target, but now that meant the new companies had grown large enough to get the attention of Pan Galactic and Streel. This hot war turned into a war of intelligence and sabotage as time went on and society truly rebuilt across the different planets ravaged by the Sathar.  In time, the Corporate War went cold as as the memory of the Sathar faded. Only to see Sathar biotech controlling potential assassins on the eve of the 111th Anniversary of the UPF Treaty. Star Frontiers is thus set on the precipice of the unknown – between tense governmental relations as the UPF abuts the Rim Worlds while a Corporate Cold War bubbles just below the surface and the twice beaten back invaders have shown a new and terrifying technology to use against the UPF.  You are part of this world, part of the Military, the Civil Service, or a Private Contractor who is seeking out not only the known worlds of the UPF & Rim but finding unexplored star systems and uncharted planets exploring the Future!

‘Bodaz G’lunk Chartered Ship

In Frontier Year 110, the Rim Coalition and the United Planetary Federation are still recovering from the Second Sathar War twenty years ago.  The victory over the Sathar was hard fought, and cost both dearly in the horrors of war. The Corporate War that followed has receded to a Cold War, and that is where the Streel Corporation finds itself.  The darling number 2 Megacorporation, rivaling Pan Galactic for breadth from shrewd real estate investments, is poised to upstage Pan Galactic in the 111 Grand Celebration of the UPF next year. Slowly absorbing competitors, the Streel Corporation’s heavy reliance on Dralasite, Yazirian, and Vrusk input has positioned it well to solidify its importance in the new Rim worlds that have opened up.

That is where the Chartered Ship, ‘Bodaz’ G’lunk comes in.  

Originally, the ‘Bodaz G’lunk wasn’t a chartered ship.  Captain Bodaz had her shot at fame and fortune striking out with her crew, and for a while it was a good time and good money.  It went sideways on a planet towards the Rim a few years ago, Frilkium. The planet hadn’t been tagged as having an intelligent native species, and the Corporate War had left these unnoticed natives rather nonplussed with the invaders from space.  When the Bodaz G’lunk came around, there wasn’t much they could do. The caught the fury and ire of the plant like Frillites that were facing the poisoning and exploitation of the planet by Corporations. They didn’t all make it out alive. Drichu sacrificed himself deep in his Rage to give the rest time to escape Frilkium. The irony is that as the Corporate War has gone cold, the only way to repair the ship and get back on her feat had Captain Bodaz sign a corporate charter.   

The ‘Bodaz’ G’lunk signed a charter with Streel and is being dispatched to complete survey and exploration tasks in the Rim – tasks geared towards expanding the ownership of new planets with an eye to agricultural supplies trying to block off the GODCo Terraforming of habitable, but less lucrative, worlds backed by the Cassidine Development Corp and the Capellan Free Merchants.  It is a heady time to explore – dangers abound, corporations wage a shadow war, and every corner could hide a Sathar agent fitted with biotechnology and spying for the ever feared invaders.

Captain Telinia Bodaz
Human Aristocratic Captain
11/27/18

Ever on the charming side of things, Captain Bodaz even got away with naming the ship after herself.  Why else would you have a ship of your own if it can’t carry your name? Sure, it made sense to follow the bleeding edge of the Corporate War and pick up the literal pieces.  Left behind tech, planets that were valuable but not lucrative, and the chance to ignore the UPF’s bickering after the Second Sathar War were great. Until that gigantic misstep on Frilkium.  It cost lives, including Drichu, and while the new crew members from Streel makeup for the loss of hands, it won’t make up for the loss of her Yazirian friend and confidant.

Kratog Gotark
Irreverent Dralasite Pilot
12/04/18

Yeah.  So, have you heard the one about the Human and the stick shift? No? That’s too bad.  You’ll hear it a dozen times over on the ‘Bodaz G’lunk as long as Kratog is the pilot.  The Dralisite lives up to the species reputation for bad puns and even worse jokes, but it is worth it when the ship gets where it needs to go.  Kratog comes from a long line of Dralisite pilots, but the problem is that Kratog knows this and is maybe a bit too sure of its skills. And the puns.  The puns just hurt.

Jorgein of Clan Abene
Ifshnit Exploratory Scientist
12/11/18

Streel Corp. “offered” Capt. Bodunk several potential crew members to make up for the loss of crew when they signed her Charter, and Jorgein impressed her.  Like many of Ifshnit, Jorgein is a warm and friendly soul. As he likes to say, Ifshnit just condense all the good in the tall races to a more handy and convenient package. An oddity for sure, in that Jorgein left the Capellan Free Merchants and signed on with Streel Corp.  Streel seems to trust him, but what had him leave his old life is a mystery that even V’orz Untisp has yet to know.

Streel V’orz Untisp
Vrusk Company Engineer
12/18/18

V’orz Untirk has been quietly and competently performing what was asked of her by the Greater Vrusk Mutual Prosperity Institution.  This bug grew up as part of a Company, and part of the greater whole that the V’rusk aspire to. Both a competent poet and an inspired engineer, V’orz Untisp exemplified the hard work and focus of the V’rusk as well as the aspirational parts of the V’rusk culture to be able to quietly collect art, sip tea, and remove themselves from the hustle and bustle.  This was not to happen, though. Streel Corp bought out the GVMPI, as companies are want to do, and the new Company not only found a home for V’orz, but promoted her until she began to chafe at the attention and rules. It was the perfect time for her to be sent by Streel Corp. to the ‘Bodaz G’lunk to get away from the strictures of the new Corporation’s Rules but also to ensure that the chartered investment in the G’lunk pays off.

Kevin O’Kilkirk
Human ex-Soldier Enforcer
12/26/18

The last member of the original crew left, Kevin O’Kilkirk started his life in the UPF Fleet, but in a nearly stereotypical fashion bristled at what the authority sought of him in training.  He made it through, but didn’t last long as found himself unceremoniously discharged. The UPF may have been down bodies, but he was a grunt not a pilot and when the Corporate War turned cold, they didn’t even want to take the chance on Kevin.  Drichu took the chance on him, convincing Capt. Telinia that he’d be a good pair of strong hands and sharp eyes. Drichu paid the price for that decision on Frilkium. Kevin is still haunted, having held him as the blood seeped from his body and across the extended patagia – he couldn’t keep his friend safe and his friend chose not to be safe to save him.  He’s still here, without any other real direction to go, but he has a weight on his shoulders he didn’t before.

Star Frontiers © 1982 TSR Hobbies. All names and marks associated with Star Frontiers held by successors in interest to TSR Hobbies, Wizards of the Coast.  Wizards of the Coast, Star Frontier, and their logos are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the United States and other countries. © Wizards. All Rights Reserved. Seize the GM is not affiliated with, endorsed, sponsored, or specifically approved by Wizards of the Coast LLC. No claim of ownership is intended or implied.  

The last Wraith of the Circle was one I tried to touch upon the Heretical cults while staying grounded in the Hierarchy set up here.  One of the things about Wraith was that the characters could escape this afterlife and Transcend. The characters had to not get distracted and of course the Storyteller had to run the stories but the appeal of the Heretics was that they embodied the ideals that you could get past this limbo like existence and maybe find a better place like all those who skipped the Shadowlands after death.  Mark will at least try to get closer to that goal. An old age death, quietly in his sleep, is a start for a long and valued life that just didn’t see things as done.

I found the form fillable page Sheet, and linked to them below, but I will be including some information in the write up that didn’t fit on the single page design of the sheet.

Design Notes

Mark Kilpatrick is designed around two ideas – the first is the movement towards transcendence as he tries to resolve his Fetters but the other is the idea that the Iron Legion has a Spy division where the unassuming wraith who has an old Psyche and is sweeping the stoop is actually part of a sophisticated intelligence gathering operation. Most of the Splat Books for Wraith were the fantastic Guildbooks, but the Book of Legions that fleshed out the Legions was one of my favorite publications.  A quiet and peaceful death of Old Age left a ghost that was driven by what was done in life rather than what wasn’t – a job unfinished is different than a job never started. Accordingly, his Nature is that of Analyst, as he has spent his life and now Death looking critically at systems and finding their weak points, working towards what he saw as the most effective point of leverage. His Demeanor is Caregiver because he does project a caring about others and has spent his life working on that specific fix that helps the most people while in Death, it is his cover for sure while he spies for the Iron Legion.

While dying of Old Age isn’t disqualifying from having a strong Physical Attribute, Mark is certainly settled more into the Mental and Social realm so his Primary (7) Mental and Secondary (5) Social give him the best way to make a difference once he was past his physical prime.  His Perception and Intelligence are both going to start at 4 with a Wits of 2 reflecting a sometimes common concern for older individuals who may not adapt as quickly or have the same neuroplasticity they once did. Similarly, it is a Charisma of 4 that makes people see their own grandfather in his caring with a 2 in each Manipulation and Appearance.  While a 2 in Strength, Dexterity, and Stamina would normally be unremarkable, the 90 year old maintained himself well.

By the time Mark was done being an erudite activist, it is certain that his Knowledges will be the Primary (13) Ability category with Talents as Secondary (9) and leaving Skills Tertiary (5). As an environmental activist, Mark learned the underlying Science and has 3 Ranks with a pair of Ranks in each Enigmas, Investigation, and Occult. He was always up for a mystery and had lived long enough to believe in more than just what Science was claiming.  His familiarity with Bureaucracy, Law, and Politics helped in the Hierarchy as much as in life while the knowledge of Chinese was a remnant from his time in World War II.

In Backgrounds, we begin to really identify and differentiate our Wraiths.  I definitely want to look heavily at Memoriam and Eidolon for Mark. First, Memoriam gives him a stronger Pathos to start which helps with his concept as seeking Transcendence but also the Eidolon is like the psyche’s own defense against the Shadow.  It’s how he guards himself. Three in each of those with a single Rank in Legacy give us a strong foundation for someone who isn’t immediately tumbling down to Oblivion.

Mark’s Arcanoi are a little more difficult in looking at his design.  He certainly isn’t as heavily into the Guilds and may not need to be as focused so he may be a more effective broad based skill character.  Argos is an easy option for the movement but also the Enshroud power to hide. Similarly, Fatalism is a great way to learn about a Wraith you meet and fits well with the theme for Mark allowing him to know what is vital to fate at a moment and also the basis for a Wraith’s deathmarks. Lifeweb seems almost de rigueur for a spy type character so that Mark can sense the Fetters of different wraiths and uncover their secrets. Pandemonium may be the wildcard here which channels some of the “Wilding” and chaos of the world, or Underworld, in the Haunter’s chosen Arcanos. With two Ranks, Mark can not only cause a weird happenstance to unnerve his target, but can also Befuddle them causing them to lose track of what they were doing. The ability for a series of low level powers to be as useful as going for a specialized high Rank power is another demonstration of the well designed and thought out parts of the Wraith: The Oblivion Game.  A regret for Mark is going to be that he has not found a talent to impact the Skinlands like other Wraiths, but that is something he will have to come to terms with if he wants to let things truly go.

We now turn to Passions and Fetters for our Wraith.  Mark has as his core a pure, but nearly quixotic Love.  One of his main passions is to Clean the Springfield water basin after he saw how much ripple effect it could have for the whole community.  It is larger than him and nearly impossible but something he strove for in life and as an unfinished business kept him here in death. The darker side is the Anger which drives him to Punish and Poison the Corrupt Leaders who let the water and world get so dirty that it chokes its own people.  His Generosity lays claim to a third strong Fetter but that is to Lead the Next Generation. He lived through World War II and has a strong Never Again streak about him. Even in the Death, he is trying to keep another war from breaking out as he saw it bring only pain and suffering.

For a Rank 1 Fetter, Mark still is drawn to the Soldier’s Medal he was awarded in World War II for bravery and selflessness but which also represents for him the highest standards and ideals that the country aspires to – his idealism given form. A Rank 2 Fetter is his actual Grandson.  Because mark had only had limited time with his Grandson, the strength of the bond is more limited but the hope for the future is something that he strives for. His Rank 3 Fetter is a Park bench, bu more than being any Park Bench, it is the place he spent every Sunday with his wife, and the place she spoke her last words to him.  More than the pigeons in the park, the space was a constant and anchor across the years and decades for him. Finally, the River Basin itself ties Mark to the realm of the living. He spent his years fighting for the environment and he still fights on even after death. The river basin maintained and didn’t age in a way that his friends didn’t.

For the Virtues, Corpus is Health and all Wraiths Start with a full 10 Ranks. Willpower and Pathos both start at 5 each reflecting a sense of control and emotional fulfillment respectively. Because of the 3 Ranks in Memoriam, Mark has an additional 3 Ranks of Pathos to begin. And we then turn to Freebie Points, Merits, and Flaws.  Freebie Points let you customize your character beyond what we’ve done already. Merits are other bonuses or traits that don’t fit elsewhere and cost Freebie points while Flaws are the inverse providing a handful more Freebie points to spend. I know that I want to give Mark a Heretical Boon (2) and Reputation (2) in certain Heretical Cults even as a member of the Hierarchy.  That is 4 Points of Freebies spent right off the bat. Next, I know that Dexterity is part of the roll for the Enshroud power in Argos, so 5 points will buy a Dexterity of 3 to be a bit better at that part of his life. With 6 points left, I start taking a look at some of the Flaws that may flesh our Mark a little bit and give him some extra Freebies. None of them really fit for what I want for Mark, so I am going to concentrate on adding to his Backgrounds with the remaining 6 points.  I add an extra Rank to Legacy & Memoriam but then add 2 Ranks each for Contacts and Allies. He has expanded his web a bit and has that innate warmth from his 4 Charisma that makes everyone seem to accept him.

Shadow Notes

Now we look to designing the Shadow, a sort of mini character creation session where in the classic instructions, the Shadowguide would take over with input from the regular player.  A shadow will have an Archetype that guides the actions, Angst, 7 points of Dark Passions that subvert the Psyche’s Passions, and then 10 Freebie points to spend on these or additional powers called Thorns.

I think that The Teacher is a good Shadow for Mark.  For all he tried to help others, his Shadow could manifest in a way that it is cataloging and pushing him through lessons and mistakes to leave behind all that was good.  It is another Archetype out of the Wraith Players Guide which expanded on the Shadow Archetypes early on in the product line.

Angst is determined by rolling the Psyche’s Willpower rating against a difficulty of 6 to determine starting Angst, so it can never be more than the starting Willpower.  Here, I rolled the dice and Mark was within statistical averages so that his Shadow begins with 3 Permanent Angst.

For Dark Passions, Mark’s Shadow leans heavily on Revenge to try to Poison Everyone! They wouldn’t listen in life and now he will show them when they finally see what he was railing against.  Those 3 Ranks are not all of the Dark Passions, though, as Jealousy also drives his dark side to try to Ruin the Preservation Society he chaired in Life while Loneliness creates the desire to push everyone away and fade into a slow and solitary wasting.

That leaves 10 Freebie Points to spend.  For the Thorn Shadow Familiar, I spend 5 Points because I want the Shadow to have a little dark frog or toad that is watching Mark at all times.  With the remaining points, I give the Shadow 2 Temporary Angst to start with and increase the Jealousy Dark Passion to 3 Ranks.

Character Notes

Mark knew his time was coming close to an end.  His breathing, while not labored, had grown steadily more difficult for him.  It had been a full life and so he shouldn’t feel like this. He fought in a war, came home, raised a family, found his voice, fought for the greater good, and saw that life crest and diminish, his wife pass away into the arms of dementia, and his children begin their own lives.  He saw the world get better, and worse, over the course of his life. Just how much better had he really made it? Let’s look at the numbers, shall we.  

Mark knew that the new factory being greenlit by the City Council would undo half of his life’s work in the river basin.  He knew that the public wasn’t listening to the Preservation Society’s message. For all you had the endowment grown, you didn’t work on messaging?  I expected you would know better, Mark. His children, his grandchildren, would soon not be able to play in that basin … but his time to fight that fight was through,.  

In the Necropolis, Mark is not an unknown factor.  He quietly came across the shroud, was quietly reaped, and there were no argument that his soul belonged with the Ashen Lady’s Legion. Mark was shockingly awake … and angry.  He could still move to save the Basin, to protect his grandchildren, and hear his wife’s voice again. You were wrong about that last one, weren’t you? What else did you fail to understand?  She was left fulfilled – you were enough for her, why wasn’t she enough for you? Just like in life, Mark slipped into a routine, wherever he went. He was well liked and quickly found a way to smile and slap the disembodied backs of his fellow Legionnaires.  Minister Smeck heard reports and took notice. Before long, Mark was visited by the Masked and Shrouded Minister of Intelligence of the Legion of Iron.

Mark’s talents at blending in and his unassuming appearance were assets to Smeck and the Ashen Lady.  His selflessness was honed in war in the Skinlands and his decades of fighting for a greater identity.  It was a natural fit as the Iron Legion is quietly and competently fighting against Oblivion. Or so it seems. Mark would keep his eyes and ears out looking for things to interest Smeck and entire Legion.  Your reports might make their way to the Ashen Lady’s ears, you know – have you checked your comma splices?

He never lost hope, though.  Odd for a Wraith, but perhaps that was why an Eidolon buttressed Mark against his Shadow’s predations.  Even in the Supplicant Cult he found, he saw something worthwhile. They weren’t dangerous to the Hierarchy – they preached nothing more than to do no harm and let these weights pass off your corpus until this temporary waystation can be left behind.  They taught that hope was not dead and that Transcendance was still a way to find peace. What does the Legion think of Heretical Cults, young man? While he has quietly informed Smeck of the increase in Heretical activity, he has neglected to pinpoint just where his friends are. He has even led Zebediah on hunting expeditions to try to find these Renegades or Heretics, or whatever the Anacreons found distasteful that day.  

His friends and contacts in the Legions and the Heretics still answer when Mark calls.  If he could put on a kettle of tea, he would for all of them.  None of these Wraiths are too terribly bad.  They just want to go about their Death and find some meaning beyond being torn betwixt Oblivion and Insanity. Master Quillen recognizes that as much as Marshal de la Coeur.

Now, Mark is watching even more, the Wraiths in this new Circle.  He knows Zebediah, who is as upfront and unambiguous as they can be, but the Pardoner’s Society seems to hold more of Linda Mary’s devotion than the Legion, Declyn is a shifty young thing, and Patricia is constantly bristling with violent energy.  Why are they together? Minister Smeck is asking that as often as you are asking yourself. Why don’t we tell him this was a mistake of the Lady of Fate and that all of them are just renegades waiting for the forges?

 

Mark Kilpatrick – Heretical Iron Legion SpyCharacter Sheet

Wraith: The Oblivion and the Springfield Fated Circle Overview Here.

 

Character Sheet from Mr. Gone’s Character Sheets. https://mrgone.rocksolidshells.com/

 

World of Darkness, Vampire: The Masquerade, Vampire: The Dark Ages, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion, Changeling: The Dreaming, Hunter: The Reckoning, Demon: The Fallen, Mummy: The Resurrection, Orpheus, Exalted, Chronicles of Darkness, White Wolf, and their respective logos, icons and symbols are trademarks or registered trademarks of White Wolf Entertainment. ©2018 White Wolf Entertainment AB, Västgötagatan 5, SE-118 27 Stockholm, Sweden.  Seize the GM is a fan work and is not affiliated with White Wolf Entertainment. This work is made as criticism and review of the published work – no claim of ownership is intended or implied.  Please visit https://www.white-wolf.com/ or http://theonyxpath.com/category/worlds/classicworldofdarkness/ for more information.

Episode 64: How to Choose a System- Fantasy
Regular Shows

 
 

00:00 / 55:05
 

1X

 

Main Topic

Say “RPG” and most people first go to Fantasy as the setting. The first major RPG was Dungeons & Dragons, and it’s descendants continue to this day drawing inspiration directly from and often in contrast to the D & D Ethos that started this hobby’s rise to prominence.

 

Consideration the First – Setting! Do you want to play a game or run a campaign in an established Fantasy setting? First and foremost, look to see whether there is a game that is already published in that setting.  It could, as we discuss further, be uniquely suited for its purpose. If you want to play in Middle Earth, do you use Middle Earth Role Playing System, or MERPS? The Forgotten Realms are the flagship setting for Dungeons & Dragons for the last 30 years while Golarion is Pathfinder’s home.  Want to visit Westeros? There is an ASOIAF Roleplaying game out there.

 

Consideration the Second – Campaign Flavor! We’ve talked about this in other contacts before, but are you looking for high fantasy? Gritty and ‘realistic’ adventures? Is this swashbuckling piracy or tactical wargames?  Each of these choices helps make your next set of decisions about choosing a game well suited to the campaign you want to run or your players want to play. Pathfinder and Fantasy HERO are games where the crunch takes the forefront and the precisely defined abilities of each character are fit into the world. In contrast, Dungeons & Dragons 5e is much more narrative in its design creating more fluidity or play in the joints to allow more swashbuckling style adventures.  

 

Consideration the Third – Player Familiarity! How much of your group knows this campaign setting or the system you are looking at?  Way back in Episode 38, we talked about how to introduce players to new games and it seems like a good time to revisit! It’s the old chestnut of communication – do your players want to play in a game set in a particular world? You may have a great idea and drive to run a campaign in Mythic Egypt where the players would be the catspaws [ha!] of Bast in her campaign against Apep, but if the players want to sail the ocean blue it could be a hard sell.

 

Consideration the Fourth – GM Familiarity! Do you know this game? This world? Does the system and setting appeal to you?  If you are not jazzed about it, your game will suffer and your players interest flag.

 

None of these present obstacles that cannot be overcome, but all should be considered.  When we did the 1 Archer, 3 Ways Card Catalog series, you could see how each system would diverge.  

 

Stat Blocks

Zendead-  Book of Pale Light

The tapestry begins to unfold and waver in the wind. It is a thin sheet of vellum long and wide. This is just the cover to the true evil within. What could be so evil? Catching a glimpse of the cover underneath the outer cover white like the fresh fallen snow. Once you catch the glimpse of the cover the runes and sigils of containment shimmer into being, just in the range of colors you are able to see.  

The book is nothing if not simple and elegant, at least until you crack the cover open. But the scrawling text and images cover every inch of the work. The more you read the harder it gets to stop. As you read more the words spark new ideas in your mind, but where to put these thoughts oh there is a small spot open in the margin. You start to fill it and the ideas grow and blossom like a cancer in your mind and need to get put down. Here in this spot, and this spot. The Ideas won’t stop coming. The open area on your arm could hold that idea and this diagram. Here let’s put this in the book.

The book slips closed as the last of the flesh goes in. Nothing maring its wonderfully clean cover. The dried husk with its hand twitching as the owner of the book slips in to retrieve it and take it back to the lost and dangerous book collection. Till once again it finds a new helper to add to the Book of Endless Flesh or the Book of Pale Light as it is called by those uninitiated.

 

nulloperations – The Wheel of Chance
It’s divided into eight sections, each one a separate but vibrant color. In the middle of each section is a circle the width of the segment. Regardless of distance from the wheel, the face of the closest eight humanoids will appear in these circles. The expression on these faces vary from wildly happy to suspicious, to fearful and enraged.
When in the presence of the wheel, humanoids will find a compulsion to spin the wheel. If multiple people are in the room, this compulsion seems to take a turn, one by one until each person has spun the wheel at least once. Alone, the spinning wheel does nothing beyond evoking this compulsion to spin it again and again in turns. Whoever’s turn it will not want to leave the room, and often the last person must be dragged out as they claw at every surface until they spin the wheel once more.
But if a token is added to the wheel, a sigil or marker to indicate a section for the wheel to land on, the wheel becomes active. Anyone who has spun and whose presence is still on the wheel will immediately seek out the face the sigil points toward and drag that person back, so they may spin. If they land on another’s face, then the cycle continues. A new player must spin. Again, and again, until someone lands on their own face. At that point, they’ve won, and the real game can begin.

 

Guard-a-Manger – Undreaming Sigil

Memories hold fast to the form they have fixed.  Every day, every place, every one sees something that is a fixed point of emotions and weight left in this world.  Every one of you passes by something that holds the power of hearts, the powers of dreams, and terror of fear every day.  

It was supposed to hold back the darkness.  The sigil and the shield was meant to keep us all safe.  Nobody could say just how … only that it was all we had left.  Nobody could say just what it was … only that is was what was left.  A time before, but one that we didn’t know. A time before that wasn’t recorded.  Why did we think that this would work?

Because the memories held fast in the glyph.  The memories were the way. It wasn’t until the very end, when the walls fell and the planet was lost, that the truth was apparent – we had to send out memories, hopes, and fears into the sigil’s pattern.  We had to hide from the world for thousands of years.

Now, we feel it.  The sigil is reformed in these buildings and these plants.  The glyph is being brought back … to free us? Or for you to join us in our repose?

Lexicon

Verdigris  noun ver·​di·​gris | \ˈvər-də-ˌgrēs, -ˌgris, -grəs also -ˌgrē

 

Definition of verdigris (Entry 1 of 2)
1a : a green or greenish-blue poisonous pigment resulting from the action of acetic acid on   copper and consisting of one or more basic copper acetates
  b : normal copper acetate Cu(C2H3O2)2·H2O
2 : a green or bluish deposit especially of copper carbonates formed on copper, brass, or bronze surfaces

 

History and Etymology for verdigris
Noun

Middle English vertegrese, borrowed from Anglo-French verdegrece, vert de Grece, literally, “green of Greece”

NOTE: The current form reflects French vert-de-gris, with the final syllable assimilated to gris “gray.”

 

First Known Use of verdigris
Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

 

Popularity

Bottom 30% of words

 

Closing remarks

Zendead- Starfinder Corebook

Looking like a fun Sci-Fantasy interpretation of the Pathfinder ruleset. Check out Guard-a-manger’s look at this in the Card Catalog.

 

nulloperations – The Dragon Prince

Created by some of the main writers of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Fun, a little weird animation, and everyone is Sokka.

 

Remark 2: Get Your Flu Shot…

 

Guard-a-Manger- Magic Kingdom for Sale – SOLD

Terry Brooks novel starting the magic kingdom of Landover series and an excellent example of fantasy world building.  Bunion & Parsnip in particular.

 

Music is courtesy of The Enigma TNG you can find his music on YouTube or on Bandcamp

 

Find us

Show- Email, Twitter, Facebook Page, Facebook Group

Zendead- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Joules- Email, Twitter, Facebook

nulloperations-Email, Twitter, Facebook

Guard-a-manger- Email, Twitter

 

And Thanks to Merriam-Webster for our Lexicon segment

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Originally, I had conceived of this character as really stuck in the Skinlands and all of her Arcanoi revolving around that as a Proctor, or a Wraith particularly skilled with Embody.  When I was looking over my notes and rereading some of the Guildbook: Spooks, I realized that the Bully inside Patricia may be better suited to Outrage. She isn’t particularly tied into the Renegades or the Legion or the Guild but could end up going in any direction.  Or perhaps has a Mentor who is pushing her in a direction she hasn’t realized yet.

I found the form fillable page Sheet, and linked to them below, but I will be including some information in the write up that didn’t fit on the single page design of the sheet.

Design Notes

Patricia Wilson is going to tie some things together first as a contemporary of Linda’s daughter, actually a bully, but also as someone who is still focused very much on the Skinlands and the Quick.  She, even more so than Declyn, has not yet turned her attention to the Shadowlands. Pushing into a death in the 1980s, I decided to go with a failed Savings & Loan Investment peddler but one that was nearly a stereotype of 1980s excess – shoulder pads, big hair, and all.  Patricia has benefitted from her privilege, and her inner Nature is that of a Follower – she isn’t very good at leading and honestly doesn’t want to. Similarly, she protects herself with a Demeanor of Traditionalist relying on how things have always been done to insulate herself from being responsible. For her Death, I choose suicide in the wake of the S & L Failures.  She needed to fail before she got to the Necropolis so that she can realize she should try again.

Despite being a white collar financial services or real estate professional in life, Patricia has Primary (7) Physical Attributes and Secondary (5) Social Attributes.  Her Mental Attributes are Tertiary(3). She spent a decade failing upward until she got caught too deep. I think Patricia has an older established sort of feel – hence the derivative name from Patrician – so she was heavily involved in Crew when alive resulting in her 4 Strength, 2 Dexterity, and 4 Stamina.  Similarly, her 3 Appearance and 3 Manipulation let her get away with a lot of things that her 2 Charisma wouldn’t have supported. She isn’t dumb, so a 3 Intelligence provides enough insight to support her background, but the 1 Perception shows her myopic tendencies and a 2 Wits is unremarkable.

Patricia will have Talents as Primary (13) Ability selection with Knowledges as Secondary (9) leaving Skills as Tertiary (5).  Patricia is very much someone who was a bully but also someone who got to the top in less than honorable way.s She starts out with 3 Ranks in Brawl and Subterfuge backed up by 2 Ranks each in Athletics and Intimidation.  A token amount of Alertness, Dodge, and Streetwise round out her Talents. While Declyn had 3 Ranks of Computer, Patricia has 3 Ranks of Bureaucracy because she was better at greasing wheels and knowing who could make something happen than actually doing it herself.  Her 2 Ranks of Investigation and passing familiarity with Computers, Enigmas, Politics, and Linguistics (Japanese) are all that’s left for her Knowledges. A single rank for Drive, Etiquette, Firearms, Leadership, and Performance finish out the Ability choices reflecting her broad but often shallow way she skated by life.   

In Backgrounds, we begin to really identify and differentiate our Wraiths.  This one of the harder parts for Patricia but I start with a single Rank of Status to give her something like her Privilege from life, but not enough to really lord it over any Wraith. Similarly, a single Rank of Legacy, Memoriam, and Haunt also marks her as a Wraith that doesn’t have anything truly special about her. I think, however, that 3 Ranks of Mentor begins to give us something interesting.  This is a Wraith who will provide leadership, guidance, and even a little bit of their own influence in Patricia’s favor but does this Mentor want for her?

Patricia is a dilettante in many ways where she is spread thin rather than focused.  Here, I know that I want to focus on Arcanoi that have an effect on the Skinlands. Declyn also showed similar tendencies, but his Inhabit focus limits him somewhat  We’ve mentioned Outrage before, but this is focusing the wraithly powers to impact, literally, the Skinlands and sometimes Wraithly targets as well. The Guild that used it the most, Spooks, were known for threatening, or bullying Wraiths over their Fetters.  Patricia can fully and effectively move things across the Shroud more than a mere whisper actually picking up heavy objects to drop when needed. She may not be an artist, but her desire to get back across the Shroud means that Phantasm is the second Arcanos to select with two Ranks here as well allowing her to not only see but alter the dreams of the Quick.  Since Declyn was already showing an inclination for Puppetry, to do to the Quick what he can do to devices, I am going to go with Embody – what I had originally thought of for Patricia. Embody is literally forcing your Wraithly form into the world of the living. A single Rank only means that she can whisper across the Shroud, but it is a start.

We now turn to Passions and Fetters for our Wraith.  After she took her own life, Patricia realized how angry she was.  One of her two main fetters if Crash the Mortgage Bubble (Revenge).  She sees the existing mortgage bubble and speculation as a reflection of her own failures and wants to see the banks take the same hit S & Ls did.  Her daughter, Kathryn deserves protection as well but Patricia has this at it’s core as Protect Kathryn (Pride). She sees her daughter as a way to build on her future in the Quick and showing that she did accomplish something. Her emotions are not straightforward because Save the Springfield Mission Center (Guilt) would look to be about protecting the less fortunate and those who lost their homes, but it isn’t for Compassion or Love, but for Guilt for causing some of the problems that underlie the Mission’s existence.  As I kept Patricia to three Passions, I will also keep her to three Fetters with the most important one being a Rank 4 Fetter to the actual S & L Building where she worked, she lived, she ignored Kathryn, and eventually she died. Despite not showing Kathryn enough love in life, she is a Rank 3 Fetter but as Kathryn heads towards middle age, she won’t be around forever. Finally, Patricia is one of those people who never left her youth behind and still clings to her identity as a college athlete – a Macon blade from Crew that still hangs in the college from when they won also still draws her to the Quick as a Rank 3 Fetter.

For the Virtues, Corpus is Health and all Wraiths Start with a full 10 Ranks. Willpower and Pathos both start at 5 each reflecting a sense of control and emotional fulfillment respectively. The Rank of Memoriam provides an additional starting Pathos for Patricia.  Finally, we get to Freebie Points, Merits, and Flaws. Freebie Points let you customize your character beyond what we’ve done already. Merits are other bonuses or traits that don’t fit elsewhere and cost Freebie points while Flaws are the inverse providing a handful more Freebie points to spend. I like to use Freebie points to make a real impact on Arcanoi,especially because they are only 5 points compared to the supernatural advantages of other games where they were 7.  I will take Outrage to 3 Ranks to to let Patricia use the violent expression of Stonehand Fist to damage the Quick and the Dead alike. Since she is a violent character, I take her Brawl to 4 Ranks, but leave her Dodge at 2. She is going to need Linda Mary’s help quite often. There are 8 points left, and the potential for Flaws to increase that. Patricia didn’t learn her lesson in life, so the Overconfident (2pt) flaw seems apt. Similarly, her strong emotions make me think the Bright (4pt) Merit is a good one which provides for a stronger Skinlands presence making it harder for her to avoid ghost hunters.  I’ll finish spending the Freebie points by making Patricia quite stubborn – buying 3 more Ranks of Willpower.

Shadow Notes

Now we look to designing the Shadow, a sort of mini character creation session where in the classic instructions, the Shadowguide would take over with input from the regular player.  A shadow will have an Archetype that guides the actions, Angst, 7 points of Dark Passions that subvert the Psyche’s Passions, and then 10 Freebie points to spend on these or additional powers called Thorns.

The Bully is the obvious choice for Patricia’s Shadow.  She was a bully and deserves the same to come from Oblivion after her.  This is an archetype that could be misused in play and often served as an example of being careful about not letting a player who was abusive have control of a  Shadow in play. We will move forward with that note in mind for future players – it is a game; abuse is not acceptable even if you are playing a Shadow in Wraith. Patricia’s Bully has to show that she is better, or stronger, than the other Wraiths around and that she isn’t going to back down.  This Bully will remind Patricia when she isn’t acting, when she isn’t being forceful, when she hasn’t taken control.

Angst is determined by rolling the Psyche’s Willpower rating against a difficulty of 6 to determine starting Angst, so it can never be more than the starting Willpower.  Here, I rolled the dice and Patricia was very unlucky because of the 6 dice that I rolled, it resulted in 4 Permanent Angst to start.

Mirroring the Guilt in Patricia’s Psyche, the Shadow Passion of Destroy the Wilson Home (Guilt) is significant because her family kept their home when so many others lost theirs. It’s been even worse in the last few years as she saw the foreclosures again push people to the brink while Kathryn remained safe.  Her Anger also manifests in knowing the executives who didn’t die deserve to be brought over … and Moliated into Oboli or otherwise face themselves the same way she did. It isn’t revenge, but Anger that is motivating this Shadow.

That leaves 10 Freebie Points to spend.  First, I want to give her Shadow Infamy, which is the dark reflection of Memoriam.  There are still being who remember her name and her role in their family’s tragedies so 3 Ranks of it is a good start.  For one Freebie Point, I even up the Dark Passions so they are 4 each and then spend 2 points on Shadow Trait so the Shadow can buy a 5 Rank of Strength to bolster its use of Outrage.    

Character Notes

The numbers didn’t lie. Patricia was responsible for for a lot of families losing everything they had.  The Savings & Loans system was on the way out – everybody knew that in the 1980s but until the legislation passed, a lot of people made a lot of money taking advantage of the loose oversight and limited capitalization of these Thrift Institutions.  They didn’t have the will to do anything.  You just showed them what you could do.  

It started as a kid for Patricia – little Becky Johnson was her target.  Pulling her hair and pushing her down. It didn’t matter if she cried, Patricia liked that rush and feeling of power she got.  I’ve been with you the whole time. Without her Mom to answer her crying, Patricia just laughed at the poor girl.   In college, she didn’t get any better. Tall, strong, and with an athletic disposition, Patricia could bully men as well as women and her professors sometimes just let her pass so her temper, and her family’s money, wouldn’t cause problems.  The world of Finance seemed like a fun time in the late 1970s, and the rise of the “Me” Generation suited Patricia just fine.

She married, had a daughter, and went to work in banking and finance.  The cracks in the Savings & Loan Institutions were showing and Federal regulation was being discussed.  That didn’t stop Patricia from forging ahead and convincing S & Ls besides her own to invest in speculative land deals.  To put the money of hard working blue collar members into what can only be called a developers pipe dream. Raked in the money hand over fist! You showed all those boys laughing at you! Time spent at the office making money was time not spent with Kathryn.  Time not spent with life.

Until it crashed.  A lot of people lost their way.  A lot of people lost their houses.  A lot of families lost everything.

Patricia found her conscience that day. And her shame.  She jumped. She landed. Her caul was ripped off and Stygia was her new home. A normal Reaper hadn’t found her, but instead she was Reaped by Cynthia, just Cynthia.  Known as one of the older wraiths in the Necropolis, few understood why she was regarded well by the Hierarchy. Because she is a BOSS like you. But she took Patricia under her wings and led her to the Hierarchy.

Quietly working in the Legion, a clerk pushing the equivalent of paper; a nobody who blends in with the rest of the corpus of ghosts.  Away from them, though, Patricia reaches across the Shroud to see her daughter. She speaks to her in her dreams. She dreams of holding her one more time. And sees Kathryn doing the same things she did.  See’s the Granddaughter she never held bullied at school. She needs to toughen up if she wants to get ahead.

This Circle she has been pulled into, almost pushed by Cynthia, is like nothing she has seen before.  Here broad shoulders, not needing the shoulderpads from her blazer and teased hair set her apart from the less concerned members.  Zebediah already stood out as a hero, much as there are any in Death, while Linda Mary is Pardoner – everybody needs a Pardoner but does she know what Patricia did?  It’s time for Frank perhaps to help Patricia but is that what Fate had in store for them all?

 

Patricia Wilson – Forlorn Spook Character Sheet

Wraith: The Oblivion and the Springfield Fated Circle Overview Here.

 

Character Sheet from Mr. Gone’s Character Sheets. https://mrgone.rocksolidshells.com/

 

World of Darkness, Vampire: The Masquerade, Vampire: The Dark Ages, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion, Changeling: The Dreaming, Hunter: The Reckoning, Demon: The Fallen, Mummy: The Resurrection, Orpheus, Exalted, Chronicles of Darkness, White Wolf, and their respective logos, icons and symbols are trademarks or registered trademarks of White Wolf Entertainment. ©2018 White Wolf Entertainment AB, Västgötagatan 5, SE-118 27 Stockholm, Sweden.  Seize the GM is a fan work and is not affiliated with White Wolf Entertainment. This work is made as criticism and review of the published work – no claim of ownership is intended or implied.  Please visit https://www.white-wolf.com/ or http://theonyxpath.com/category/worlds/classicworldofdarkness/ for more information.

In designing this Circle for the Card Catalog, I knew I needed a character to give a little insight into Renegades and a recently deceased character.  The Hierarchy may have come from a place that Charon thought was noble, but even his Shadow influenced him. The Hierarchy should always be a mixed bag of corruption but noble intent; a macrolevel reflection of the fight between the Psyche & Shadow.  In that vein, the Renegades are the iconoclastic rebellious wraiths who see the authoritarianism, soulforging, and corruption as a bigger problem than the bulwark against Oblivion Stygia claims to be. That isn’t to say that Renegade bands aren’t also potentially flawed or subverted by Spectres.  Declyn is a character built around the populism of the U.S. political movements and the discontent seen across the entire spectrum with existing political structures. He is primed to be a Renegade.

I found the form fillable page Sheet, and linked to them below, but I will be including some information in the write up that didn’t fit on the single page design of the sheet.

Design Notes

Declyn is recently Dead.  He only has a few years under his Death and has been startlingly well received since then.  I focus on a “Hactivist” type because it also lets me play with a few other parts of the Wraith game.  Specifically, since Linda is our entry into the Guild culture and world, Declyn is a way to look at the Renegades.  As a Hactivist, he also shows a reason to focus on the Inhabit Arcanos below. His Nature is Critic – at his core, Declyn is about finding holes and flaws in the world around him.  His Demeanor is Bravo. In Death, as in Life, Declyn would show off and puff himself up as a way to preemptively shield himself. His Death is one of Mystery – He doesn’t recall his death and the Coroner says Natural Causes, but neither the Skeletal nor Grim Legion appeared interested in claiming him.  He belongs to the Legion of Paupers.

Unsuprisingly, Declyn has his Mental attributes as Primary (7), but it is his Physical Attributes as Secondary (5) leaving Social Attributes as Tertiary (3).  I know last week Linda was also a Primary Mental character, but Zeb was Primary Physical so I’ll roll with it. I will focus Declyn on raw Intellect so a 3 Perception, 4 Intelligence, and 3 Wits gives him a broad utility.  For his Physical Attributes, I go with a 3 Strength, 3 Dexterity, and 2 Stamina. I am leaning a little into the stereotypical hacker with the low Stamina, but I like him as a wiry and flexible guy over a tough guy. Finally, he wasn’t that great a people person but he could get his way: 1 Charisma, 3 Manipulation, and a 2 Appearance.   

Knowledges will definitely be Primary (13) and a similar method as the Attributes for Talents to be Secondary (9) and Skills as Tertiary (5). Three Ranks of Computer is a given, but add to that 3 Ranks of Politics and Investigation.  I will round that out with a single Rank in Bureaucracy (so he understand the Politics or reasoning behind certain things but doesn’t understand how to work within the system to affect change), Enigmas, Law, and Occult. For the Talents, I spread 2 Ranks each to Athletics, Brawl, and Dodge because I want him to be a little bit scrappy.  A single Rank each of Alertness, Intimidation, and Streetwise rounds out his life pretty well. For his Skills, 2 Ranks of Firearms and one each of Etiquette, Repair, and Stealth. I was tempted to give him more Repair, but I like him less attached to his gear.

In Backgrounds, we begin to really identify and differentiate our Wraiths.  I start with two Ranks of Notoriety – as a new Wraith who is exceptional with Computers, he is going to set himself apart very quickly amongst these restless dead.  Status (Renegades) is going to provide the reflection of his actions on behalf of the Renegades under the nose of the Hierarchy! Needing a place of his own to hide, 2 Ranks of Haunt helps and then a single rank of Relic.  

Similar to Linda, I’m going to load Declyn up for his primary Arcanos – Inhabit! Inhabit allows Declyn to … well Inhabit inanimate objects and in the modern age is geared very much towards the computer age! There are older version of the Art which predate this but it is what matters to the newly dead! Declyn will be able to disrupt an electronic device by passing through it, transmit himself across the SKinlands by riding along the telephone and internet connections of the world, and even take control of machines from across the Shroud! His closeness to the SKinlands leads me to finish his Arcanoi out with Outrage and Puppetry at one Rank each! He can only barely move items in the Skinlands through Outrage, but he is able to reach across the Shroud there as well! Puppetry is the Ghostly Art of possession and he has begun to explore that!  

We now turn to Passions and Fetters for our Wraith.  Having grown up a little guy and then having found meaning in his life fighting against a corrupt system, I am going to start with a Passion to Fight Injustice against the LIttle Man (Pride) at 4 Ranks from his background and his own fights.  Similarly, he took something from his life and has transitioned it in Death to Topple This Corrupt Regime (Anger) at 4 Ranks. Not only did a Corrupt System win when he died, but he was thrust into the middle of another Corrupt System. Finally, his last Passion is 2 Ranks of Find a Place to Belong (Love).  He may be well recognized and garnering acclaim and attention while Dead, but he doesn’t really fit in with the Renegades. Maybe he should be part of this system, corruption and all. For Fetters, and because I want Declyn to have some very insecure Fetters, I start with a Rank 3 Battered Laptop. This is something that may not last much longer with planned obsolescence and it could get thrown into the dump at any moment.  How does he protect it? From his political hactivist background, a Book called the “Neo-Anarchists Guide to Super Delegates” anchors him to the Skinlands reflecting where some of his anger and his passions were focused during the end of his life. A 2 Rank Fetter that is the Polaroid of his Parents matches up with the 2 Rank Fetter of the Row House where he grew up.

For the Virtues, Corpus is Health and all Wraiths Start with a full 10 Ranks. Willpower and Pathos both start at 5 each reflecting a sense of control and emotional fulfillment respectively.  Finally, we get to Freebie Points, Merits, and Flaws. Freebie Points let you customize your character beyond what we’ve done already. Merits are other bonuses or traits that don’t fit elsewhere and cost Freebie points while Flaws are the inverse providing a handful more Freebie points to spend. I am going to raise Declyn’s Inhabit to 4.  Remember that in Wraith 5 is the maximum rank for an Arcanos and no books ever published greater rankings marking Declyn as truly exceptional to have a Rank 4 this young in Death. Similarly, I raise his Computers to 4 Ranks and pick up a Computer Aptitude Merit. That puts Declyn at 8 Points spent so far. I think I will add to his dissonance by giving him 2 Ranks of Status in the Paupers Legion further embedding him in the Corrupt System in front of him. A quick scan through the Renegades book doesn’t reveal any Renegade specific merits or flaws, so with 10 Points spent, and no Flaws yet, I turn back to Declyn’s sheet.  

Flipping back through the Wraith Players Guide, I decide that Echoes of the Past for a full 3 Point Flaw fits Declyn.  All his Arcanoi are about interacting with the Skinlands and he hasn’t let go yet so the idea that things are noticeable in his Haunt when he is there fits. I then add three more Ranks to his Willpower, as a stubborn and scrappy Wraith and put his POlitics Ability at 4 as well.  

Shadow Notes

Now we look to designing the Shadow, a sort of mini character creation session where in the classic instructions, the Shadowguide would take over with input from the regular player.  A shadow will have an Archetype that guides the actions, Angst, 7 points of Dark Passions that subvert the Psyche’s Passions, and then 10 Freebie points to spend on these or additional powers called Thorns.

Declyn has been searching for acceptance, both at a macro level evidenced by his life and death, and the micro level shown by how he clings to his childhood in his Fetters.  The Parent is the appropriate Shadow for him. The Parent will accept Declyn and try to protect him reminding him that it’s love is unconditional no matter how many faults he has.

Angst is determined by rolling the Psyche’s Willpower rating against a difficulty of 6 to determine starting Angst, so it can never be more than the starting Willpower.  Here, I rolled the dice and Declyn was lucky because of the slightly below average 2 Permanent Angst to start.

The Shadow Passions for Declyn play into both The Parent’s own nature and the other themes Delcyn has thus far – first his Shadow pushes Declyn to Leave the Fight to Someone Else out of Sadness and almost Hopelessness with 3 Ranks.  Similarly, for comfort Declyn’s Jealousy feeds the Passion to Buy in and Reap the System’s Rewards at 4 Ranks. Abandoning what he strove to fight for, or even buying in to a system he claimed to hate would take him closer to Oblivion … and perhaps being a Renegade is a system no better than the Hierarchy.

That leaves 10 Freebie Points to spend and with that below average Angst roll, I am going to dump them all into raising the Permanent Angst to 4.    

 

Character Notes

Nobody ‘blogs’ any more, but this is the only way I can record what I know.  This computer is all I can reach from where I am. That’s okay, dear.  I am sure that this will be just fine even if you can’t find a better place to write.  My name is Declyn and I am Dead.  

I don’t know what killed me – natural causes but what does that mean when you are young and reasonably healthy? There there.  I can help you find out what happened.  That is just the start of the real story.  Growing up in a row house, my parents being taken away when I was 10, all I have left is a polaroid You have me too Declyn.  Never forget that I won’t leave you no matter what you do. I was good … am still good with computers.  I can still reach them even being a ghost, or wraith, or whatever I am.  It didn’t take too long for me to see that the world had lost it’s way. At the least, our country had! Corrupt politicians who couldn’t hear what someone like me or like you needed were making all the choices.  And you just had to do something, didn’t you? I am still here, even though you couldn’t make a difference. I got caught up in the moment and the anger.  

Now I’m Dead.  I don’t know why. And the systems here are even more Corrupt Dead than alive! You just had to do something, didn’t you?  You didn’t learn your lesson when alive? A Hierarchy with Legions of the Dead tries to put their fascist stamp over everything. They enslave Dead who can’t speak for themselves, hammer them into this soulstuff that becomes part of their cities.  Centuries dead ‘Anacreons’ lord over a City while Deathlords in Stygia can’t bring themselves to even care about those of us down here! It’ll be alright, Declyn.  Let me take care of you.

The Pauper Legion, the Hierarchy faction that claimed me, loved that I could hop into a computer and do things like this.  The Hierarchy’s own law, the Dictum Mortuum, forbidding Ghosts from coming here to the Living was ignored by those with power…. Just like the living world. I do enough for them that they don’t ask.  I found Wraiths like me, Wraiths like you! You found some little friends? I am so proud of you! These are the Renegades of the the Dead. People who know that Freedom is how we fight Oblivion. Oblivion? Yeah. There is this entropic force of death and doom slowly creeping into the Dead and we are all trying to stop it.  Stygia started as something to protect Wraiths against it … but power corrupts.

I’m deep cover for the Renegade Band, a gang of Wraiths trying to undercut the Empire that controls these Shadowlands. They know me as D-l33t. Probably too close for comfort but it’sll do.  You never were the brightest, were you? The Legion looks the other way because I help them play their games in the Skinlands.  Anacreon Lorenzi has a strange look he gives me at times, but he’s a nearly 100 year old Ghost of an Italian immigrant. What does he know? You really don’t see it do you?

The Pardoner, Linda, she seems to be a good one but that’s something I didn’t tell you.  We all have a dark side pulling us towards Oblivion. Pardoners are ghosts like Linda who help keep that side at bay … but it means they know what’s in your soul. I don’t know if she sees the masked face of Ovid, the Renegade head here when she Castigates me.  Taking a page from the Deathlords hiding their face behind masks, Ovid has been more than one Ghost, I can tell. I know he’s planning something big, but I don’t know what yet. They’ll tell you if you are needed.

I don’t know what the Fates are up to, but this Circle I’ve been forced into is a powderkeg.  Linda knows too many of our secrets, Zeb’s a Hierarchy stooge who just wants to cut loose, Patricia can’t keep her own story straight, and Frank should have been one of us.  You can’t convince him? Oh well.  Your talents can’t be for everything. I’ll see where this goes, and get across the Shroud to type this out … don’t forget to read this. And share it.

Please.

 

Declyn – Renegade Artificer Activist Character Sheet

Wraith: The Oblivion and the Springfield Fated Circle Overview Here.

 

Character Sheet from Mr. Gone’s Character Sheets. https://mrgone.rocksolidshells.com/

 

World of Darkness, Vampire: The Masquerade, Vampire: The Dark Ages, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion, Changeling: The Dreaming, Hunter: The Reckoning, Demon: The Fallen, Mummy: The Resurrection, Orpheus, Exalted, Chronicles of Darkness, White Wolf, and their respective logos, icons and symbols are trademarks or registered trademarks of White Wolf Entertainment. ©2018 White Wolf Entertainment AB, Västgötagatan 5, SE-118 27 Stockholm, Sweden.  Seize the GM is a fan work and is not affiliated with White Wolf Entertainment. This work is made as criticism and review of the published work – no claim of ownership is intended or implied.  Please visit https://www.white-wolf.com/ or http://theonyxpath.com/category/worlds/classicworldofdarkness/ for more information.

Episode 63: Horror Themes in Other Games
Regular Shows

 
 

00:00 / 56:48
 

1X

 

Main Topic

How to incorporate Horror Themes into other non-Horror games?

 

Fantasy – Resource Restriction and isolation are strong ways to introduce the element of horror to a Fantasy Game.  You may want to reference Episode 61 about house rules, but when a Fantasy setting character is trapped away from their usual resources, and can’t just Teleport away, horror themes are simple to add.  Being stalked by a creature that is well suited to the island environment, while you are trying to keep up with enough food & water becomes frightening.

 

Super Heroes – There are a lot of Super-Mages in superheroic settings, and the obvious horror introduction can come through Magic, especially if it is a setting where the Magic is unknown and unknowable.  Mechanically, powers that “break the rules” are useful for these sorts of Cthonic horrors. In HERO system Parlance, Transforms and AVLDs that bypass normal defenses with awkward special effects or Psionic based powers in Heroes Unlimited can be used to frighten players when their normal defenses can’t be used.  

 

Sci-Fi – Sci-Fi tropes include the sort of body horror that comes from nanite based body snatchers and the loss of humanity.  2001 is one excellent example of how to incorporate horror into Sci-Fi in a subtle way while Event Horizon ends up quite the opposite. The inhumanity of the AI Alice in the Resident Evil movies is a way to use parts of the Sci-Fi Horror entries and the human frailty in the Espionage genre.

 

Espionage – The horror themes that flow from low grade cults and humanity’s own failing can easily be used in an Espionage or other modern game.  Scientists that go too far, cults that have corrupted a local town’s leadership, the banality of bureaucratic evil can all create horrifying stories and themes.

 

Stat Blocks

Zendead- Dead in the Water

It’s a deep feeling of dread that takes over you.  The rolling and dank cloud of mist and fog envelops you and your entire ship.  It is a feeling you have not felt before as every breath you take, each breath of life that you draw in, sucks your life force back out.  You are Dead in the Water as the very hunger of the sea claims your life.

It’s been around for so long that the maps will even track the patterns of this bank of fog’s movement’ they are sold in every port.  It’s very existence is known and feared. It’s origin, though, is lost in time. Lost to the depths of the very tears that make up the sea.  Only a great sadness and loss can fill the basin of the world, and only your sacrifice on the waves will ever bring that sacrifice to a close.

 

Joules- Akasha

Ashaka.  The name spoke barely above a whisper.  Her name is synonymous with oblivion.

Ashaka the cold. Ashaka the primordial. Ashaka the unmaker.

 

No one knows her true origins.  There are rumors she was once a sublime dancer and warrior whose hypnotic movements would immobilize a target before she took his head.  Others say she is a rogue goddess. Banished from paradise because the Old Gods feared her. No one knows for sure. But it is said, in hushed tones, that she turned her own power on her past.  Obliterating it. Thus severing any ties to the world of men and the realms of gods. Erasing all of her prior existence. Removing her thread of fate from the fabric of the world.

 

And this is why she is feared.

 

For what is it that defines a god?  What is it that makes us human?

The lives we live.  The deeds we do. It is the past that shapes the future.

 

Akasha is has none of this. Her memories unmade, her past nonexistent.  She has never experienced existence. And thus cannot understand it. Therefore it has no value.  She sees all of history, all memory as extraneous. For a life lived can be weighty. The past can be a heavy burden.  Memories can suffocate a man.

 

So out of a strange sense of benevolence she seeks to ease our burden.  Eliminate our history. Leaving us to drift aimlessly through a universe in which we never existed.

 

Guard-a-Manger – BYTE_M3_F@NB0Y.CSV

Great.  Another spreadsheet in the old email.  Another excuse to make charts and tables for some meeting you’ll never be invited to attend.  Another chance to actually dig into the bits and pieces of the job but never get the credit.

But this is different.  Somebody has a sense of humor with “Bite Me Fanboy” as the File Name.  You don’t think about it. It’s from Chad down in Accounts Receivable, so you know it ought to be fine.  Maybe he got his girlfriend to put it together for him and he hasn’t even realized that the name is a bit of a joke at his expense.  You open it … and it seems empty. Until you notice a window quickly opening and closing almost too fast to see.

You call IT.  You made a simple mistake, sure, but everybody gets phished now and again these days.  At least you caught it, right? Right? Surprisingly, IT comes back with a clean bill of health.  They are sure the computer is clean and the system is fine. Weird. Even weirder is when Chad asks you help with a presentation … and do it with him to the middle management.

Things are going great. Chad is being friendly and the bosses like your work.  There is even a bank error in your favor where they pay you back for overcharging your account for the past two years.  Chad may have slipped up and gotten himself in hot water with HR, but you weren’t at the office that day. Luck has turned around for you.

Chad’s ex even came into your life.  Getting coffee one morning, she took a bit of trip and while you caught her, she spilled coffee on your jacket. She insisted on getting your number and paying for the dry cleaning.  How could you say no? She was … enticing. Long, black hair pulled tightly in a ponytail, like it was slicked to her head and those sparkling green eyes drew you in. A quick beer and a quick bite, and it starts to turn to something more.

Her love of water and swimming is almost as enticing as that slight accent she has … Greece when you finally ask her where she is from … as she pulls you close in the tidal pools if the beach

 

Lexicon

Liniment   noun lin·i·ment | \ˈli-nə-mənt

 

Definition of liniment
1: a liquid or semiliquid preparation that is applied to the skin as an anodyne or a counterirritant

2: a liquid that is rubbed on your skin to relieve pain or stiffness in your muscles

 

History and Etymology for liniment
Middle English, from Late Latin linimentum, from Latin linere to smear

 

First Known Use
15th century

 

Popularity
Bottom 40% of words

 

Closing remarks

Zendead- Paul E. Cooley

 

   Get out and Vote if you are able to.

 

Joules- Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro

 

Guard-a-Manger- The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (Hammer Films) – Crossing Martial Arts with Horror, Hammer Films teamed up with the legendary Shaw Brothers for this critical flop of a movie.

 

Music is courtesy of The Enigma TNG you can find his music on YouTube or on Bandcamp

 

Find us

Show- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Zendead- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Joules- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Nulloperations-Email, Twitter, Facebook

Guard-a-manger- Email, Twitter

 

And Thanks to Merriam-Webster for our Lexicon segment

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Linda Mary Johnson, the reborn Pardoner, could be my favorite of the characters for this Circle of Wraiths.  One one hand, she is a subversion of existing tropes, but she also fills a distinct role in the Circle both as a Pardoner who can help Wraiths manage their Angst and as an connection to the still extant but nominally underground Guilds.  

I found the form fillable page Sheet, and linked to them below, but I will be including some information in the write up that didn’t fit on the single page design of the sheet.

Design Notes

While Linda Mary Johnson, or just Linda for short, is going to have a good nearly 60 years of Death under her belt, I am not going with an Old Soul style background for her. I am looking more closely at the Pardoners Guild for Linda and the chance to see what different kinds of directions I can take the Castigate Arcanos. Pardoners are the confessors and psychoanlaysts of the Wraiths and their ability to help control and manage Shadows is why even know there is a knowing nod whenever a Wraith hangs out an Iron Lantern without saying they are a Guild member.  Linda’s Nature, then, needs to reflect in some way how she will fulfill that protective or caring role for other Wraiths. Because I don’t plan to use the actual castigation method of flailing for her Castigate, I go with the Follower Nature. She is many ways is happy helping others and never knew when alive or now dead how to move herself forward. Her Demeanor is similar, and is not a surprise for someone who was part of the 1960s U.S. culture – she presents herself as a Traditionalist and uses that as her shield.

She was a picture perfect stay at home PTA housewife and mother.  A housewife and mother who was growing bored but didn’t have long enough left to live to face that dear.  She died a violent death from a horrible car wreck and was claimed by the Grim Legion after much haggling.

Linda’s Primary (7) Attribute section will be Mental, followed by Social as Secondary (5), and Physical as Tertiary (3).  She never was very active even in Life. Her keen eye is best reflected with a 4 Perception and a 3 in both Intelligence and Wits.  She is more likely to have noticed something than to have figured it out on her own, though she is no intellectual slouch. She is, in my head, a bit of a Trophy wife and so her Social Attributes reflect that with a 3 in both Charisma and Appearance but only a 2 in Manipulation.  She was charming, warm, and a bit of a looker but not very good at tricking her way out of a traffic ticket. Physically, she was a dainty lady with only a 1 Strength and a 2 Dexterity, but raising a few kids left her with a 3 Stamina just trying to keep up with them.

For her Abilities, Skills will be Primary (13) with Talents as Secondary (9) and not a terribly schooled person so Tertiary (5) Knowledges. Obviously, with the description so far you won’t be surprised to see 3 ranks in Etiquette, but I am also going to put 3 Ranks in Crafts and Meditation.  Crafts for Linda covers the myriad household duties that were expected, such as the cleaning, the sewing (especially the sewing), and the decorating that came with being a housewife The Meditation isn’t something she knew she had learned so much as something she found when doing the housework. Her ability to reconnect with herself when she was able to shut out the outside world helped her get along as far as she did. Finally, 2 Ranks in Drive means she can drive a stick shift and the 2 Ranks in Leadership come from her time helming the Springfield High School PTA. In the Talents, 3 Ranks of Empathy is apparent but also will be helpful as a Pardoner as will her slowly growing attempts at being sly with 3 Ranks of Subterfuge.  A rank of Dodge and 2 of Expression round that out while a smattering of Politics (also from the PTA), Occult, and Enigmas are all her Knowledges hold.

For her Backgrounds, I start with Status (Pardoners) to reflect her full membership and acceptance into the Guild at 2 Ranks.  I also add 2 Ranks of Eidolon, which is the Wraith’s higher purpose that can help fight the Shadow, a 2 Point Relic Martini Set that is going to matter a great deal, and a single point of Haunt so she at least has a ghostly apartment to call her own for Castigation purposes.  

With the Pardoner background, I’ll start with three ranks of Castigate, but then a Rank each of Fatalism and Usury.  Pardoners use Castigate to quell and control the Shadow, in themselves and in other Wraiths! Linda not only can see what a Shadow is offering a Wraith, but with time and effort can strip Angst from a Wraith treading too close to that line.  Fatalism, primarily he domain of the Oracles and the Lady of Fate, is just a small bit of Linda’s abilities but still the Fatalism power to see the Deathmarks of other Wraiths marks her as an unusual Wraith herself. Where Castigate deals with the Shadow and it’s Angst, Usury can allow Corpus and Pathos to be used for different purposes.  Here, Linda can lend or steal Pathos from others. Linda very much is a caretaker in the making but one who has been touched with some terrible destiny it would seem.

We now turn to Passions and Fetters for our Wraith.  I have written Linda’s Passions fairly broadly. Because she has a bit of a dilettante background, I have given her some broad Passions that she could refine and change in play.  Linda is very much rooted in self discovery of herself after her death. I only put 3 Ranks in each of the following Passions – (Jealousy) Build a Legacy in the Land of the Dead; (Generosity) Inspire Excellence in your Circle; and (Self-Sacrifice) Bear your Friends Burdens.  She has only a single Rank in (Love) Comfort the Bullied Children. You can see how even negative emotions can be used in the Wraith: The Oblivion system to provide a dramatic impetus. Linda doesn’t necessarily come at this unlife she has from the best of places but she could be on her way there.  For Fetters, there is an almost cliche 3 Rank Fetter in her preserved wedding dress. It just carries so much of what she found herself defined as in life which is paired with where she started defining herself. A 3 Rank Fetter in her Annotated PTA Handbook is the flip side of the Dress where she created meaning versus where she was given meaning by society.  Similarly, the aging school cafeteria she helped get built provides a 2 Rank Fetter while the Ouija Board that opened her eyes to the possibility beyond death is a 2 Rank Fetter as well. There is a lot of danger for her moving forward as these are all things that could easily be destroyed in the Skinlands and she isn’t necessarily paying that much attention to them.

For the Virtues, Corpus is Health and all Wraiths Start with a full 10 Ranks. Willpower and Pathos both start at 5 each reflecting a sense of control and emotional fulfillment respectively.  I’m looking at some Freebies to spend on the Memoriam Background, so I will go ahead and add that 6th Rank of Pathos now that comes along with it.

Finally, we get to Freebie Points, Merits, and Flaws.  Freebie Points let you customize your character beyond what we’ve done already.  Merits are other bonuses or traits that don’t fit elsewhere and cost Freebie points while Flaws are the inverse providing a handful more Freebie points to spend. First, I am going to raise Linda’s Charisma to 4 because several Castigate Arcanos use Charisma for the die pool.  Next, I will add a second Rank in Usury which will allow her to transfer her own Corpus to another Wraith to heal them. I add a rank of the aforementioned Memoriam Background which is her plaque in the cafeteria that thanks her for raising the money.That is only 11 points so far leaving me with 4 points plus any Flaws that make sense.   Digging into the Pardoner Guildbook, there are several traits that appeal to me including the alternate Arcanos art for rank 1 Castigate called Attunement which makes it easier to Castigate particular Shadows over the long term and the Storm Warning 1 Pt Merit. Using the Wraith: The Great War notes, by learning Attunement as the Alternate Art, the Basic Art may be picked up for a single Experience Point but I will go with 3 Points to start it as if it were the “Basic Abilities” that come before an first Rank.  Yes, Alternate Arts *can* be confusing, but just go with it for now. That’s another 4 points and is my total of 15. We need to turn to flaws to see if any jump out for Linda.

Flipping through the Wraith Players Guide, I am first drawn to Life Saver – a 3 Point Flaw that means Linda wouldn’t take a human’s life or send a Wraith to Oblivion.  Perhaps it’s her nurturing nature, or her chance to stare down Shadows with Castigate, but this one appeals to me. I am tempted to add Easily Sensed as well which is another 3 Point Flaw that causes more disturbing inthe Skinlands if Linda is ever present. Even dead and passed on, she still isn’t really accepted.  With these 6 Points, I will add a 4th Rank in Empathy, another Willpower Rank, and increase the rankings for both Haunt and Eidolon as backgrounds.

Shadow Notes

Now we look to designing the Shadow, a sort of mini character creation session where in the classic instructions, the Shadowguide would take over with input from the regular player.  A shadow will have an Archetype that guides the actions, Angst, 7 points of Dark Passions that subvert the Psyche’s Passions, and then 10 Freebie points to spend on these or additional powers called Thorns.

For Linda, her Shadow is less blunt, and more critical perhaps in what you might see as a passive-aggressive manner.  The Rationalist is a perfect archetype for this slowly explaining and nonconfrontationally going through your every day.  

Angst is determined by rolling the Psyche’s Willpower rating against a difficulty of 6 to determine starting Angst, so it can never be more than the starting Willpower.  Here, I rolled the dice and Linda’s Shadow has a slightly above average 3 Permanent Angst to start.

The Shadow Passions are also broad and more vaguely defined but this also allows the Shadow to meet them with the same facility as Linda’s Psyche. As a mirror of Linda’s attempts to care for others, her Shadow is focused on Getting Ahead at the Expense of Others (Jealousy).  This has the same core emotion of one of Linda’s Passions, but shows how it can be twisted into something that wants to betray the Pardoner’s oath. A similar emotion is Envy which implores the Shadow to Undercut Other’s Legacy.  These two obviously can feed each other but one is about trying to pull herself ahead while the other is only focused on bringing someone else down. Finally, a single Rank of Prepare the Children for a Tough Life (Love) is an abusive reflection of motherly love.

That leaves 10 Freebie Points to spend and I know one Thorn will be Bad Luck for 3 Points.  It is just too easy for her Shadow to undermine her because things went wrong, even if not her fault. I also think that I will keep the Shadow straightforward here – another Permanent point of Angst for 5 Points and starting off with 2 points of Temporary Angst to fuel things is a pretty good bulwark against this high Eidolon Pardoner.  

 

Character Notes

She was late getting home again and it ate at her.  She knew that Peter expected her home quickly after letting her go to the PTA meeting.  Strange, isn’t it? That he didn’t quibble with your evening outings?  He seems like he enjoyed having you out of the house.  It wouldn’t be long before Katherine was in High School and she had to make sure that the school district and the schools were going to take care of her.  Maybe running for school board would be something she could do?

It’s hard to see, late at night, her car scarcely keeping on the asphalt in the warm rain.  It’s hard to see, late in life, when everything seems to be spinning faster and faster.  You felt it then, didn’t you? It was Guilt.  Let us ask ourselves, however, what was it you were guilty over? She didn’t see the muscle car on the side street, but the driver saw her.  She was too caught up in her own mind and keeping her car on the road to hear the engine rev as he bore down on her.  

Linda woke up, even in death, from that dream.  She could recount the moments that ticked up to her death and her Reaping.  She didn’t know how confused the Reapers were when trying to find her Deathmarks … for who should claim her in the Hierarchy.  You were aimless in life, dear.  Why would Death have any more of a home for you? Eventually, ti was determined that there was Violence at Linda’s death, though she still doesn’t know why.

It was a nice service for her.  Her husband widower was there as were her two children.  Even her fellow PTA members showed up. It was a testament to a suburban white picket fence life … one that Linda had never really known what to do with. Get married, as an attractive young woman.  Her husband would bring in the money to support a family so all she had to do was keep the home and the kids. It was a simple life.  Yes.  Quite simple,  You do see where you were already slipping even then? Linda was bored.

Martini lunches with her neighbors and fellow housewives were something that she grew to love … and her leadership in the PTA became something that is remembered.  You were better at raising money for that cafeteria than cleaning the house, weren’t you? She even felt guilty coming home so late.  She felt guilty she couldn’t have stayed at the meeting longer.

Fate’s hand brought her to the Hierarchy, but more importantly it brought her to the Pardoner’s Society. Her fingers showed the beginnings of a black stain showing for all to see that she had a gift for Castigation. Perhaps we should look at what sort of darkness you touched in your life to come to your Death with that gift? Her inculcation to the Pardoners was complete when she was shown the truth that the Guilds still existed.  Her natural skill to forge a connection with the Relic Martini set she still clung to marked her early as destined for great things.  An Ablutionist, a Pardoner seeking to obliterate the Shadows in us all, her method did not lend itself to confessions or flayings. She made drinks.  And you talked. And you cried. And she refilled your glass. Her Iron Lantern hanging meant that she was ready to sit on the couches of her haunt and hear you and me out.   

Quietly doing her job for the Legions, overlooked by Anacreon Kidson who was newer to the Necropolis than she was, until her fated past was revived.  A bit uncomfortable – she knew Patricia was her daughter’s age and suspected there was more. Zeb had been to her before … professionally. Linda doesn’t know why she was chosen. And likely never will.

 

Linda Mary Johnson – Reborn Pardoner Character Sheet

Wraith: The Oblivion and the Springfield Fated Circle Overview Here.

 

Character Sheet from Mr. Gone’s Character Sheets. https://mrgone.rocksolidshells.com/

 

World of Darkness, Vampire: The Masquerade, Vampire: The Dark Ages, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion, Changeling: The Dreaming, Hunter: The Reckoning, Demon: The Fallen, Mummy: The Resurrection, Orpheus, Exalted, Chronicles of Darkness, White Wolf, and their respective logos, icons and symbols are trademarks or registered trademarks of White Wolf Entertainment. ©2018 White Wolf Entertainment AB, Västgötagatan 5, SE-118 27 Stockholm, Sweden.  Seize the GM is a fan work and is not affiliated with White Wolf Entertainment. This work is made as criticism and review of the published work – no claim of ownership is intended or implied.  Please visit https://www.white-wolf.com/ or http://theonyxpath.com/category/worlds/classicworldofdarkness/ for more information.