Podcasts and Blogs

Cyberpunk, Street Level, Mystery, Heist
Within the walled city social circles are armor. The life and times of who you trust determines if you’ll get a knife in the back or a warning of an incoming threat. Pay your dues, support the street, and the street will give back to you.

ARe U In?
Concept, Tech

It’s a hard hack of the Aug Visors. A smart network that looks up profiles, addresses, and cross checks them against known and current moods. The algorithm was made by the kids over at unit 5f-Under H, and a couple of the minders toss them creds to keep it up to date. It’s a little friendly detector; lets us know who’s level with the street and who’s an outsider at a glance. If you want in, you gotta get our votes.
Now the read is this: once a week it flushes the numbers. The movers on the network send out a list of folks they’re speakers for. Related folks get random up down votes on ’em. Folks like ya, they’re gonna up you. Deal shit and they’ll out you. Too many outs and the network bans you. Puts a mark on ya that lets everyone know you’ve been dumped hard. People around might still do business with you, but they won’t think you’re safe. They won’t cut you a deal. They won’t trust you.
Let me do an introduction, let you meet a few folks. Be kind and you’ll get the vouches. If you’re just here for a bit of work you’ll fade from the votes, and just get deleted from the network rather than banned. Cause trouble and every face you meet today is going to turn against you for the rest of your days. You’ll not be forgotten.
So, are you in?
Fitting ARe U In? In
The software is an opt in hack the locals use to track their social connections. It’s a reputation system that reflects how people treat each and the community’s general opinion of them. It’s a tool the players can use to track if they’re causing waves or if they’re doing right by the npcs around them. It’s also a way to learn who the community’s enemies are. On a micro scale campaign focused on working within a small section of a city, the tech works for an in-character way of tracking where players stand. On a macro scale campaign, versions of the software can allow players to track their progress throughout a city. When used on that scale, let players see the overall opinions of them based on groups, not individuals.

Block Deconstruction
Conflict, Scenario


The way the rumors go, the higher ups want the block. We’ve seen it before, a block gets big, gets organized, gets efficient and socially strong. It scares the big kids up on the hill. They want to slap down the ant pile before it becomes a problem. It unravels the network, it unravels social circles, it frees up block space for new projects and lets them take a firmer grip on the whole toy chest.
It always starts bigger than you’d think. Move a ton of folks from the various blocks into the offending block. Most of these folks are outsiders to the inner collective; not loyalist, troublemakers like known thieves, violent folk, folk that need help more than they need judgement. Seed that group with a couple of smart loyalists and let them work for a month or two. Needle in the social structures, find out what makes the group work, and then twist it. Break it. Make sure the walls of trust crumble down like so much hate.
And then the violence starts. And then the the big guys step in. They’re “quelling the bad” after all. They’re “helping.” Then they have one of their little thorns do something really stupid. Sometimes it’s a bomb, sometimes it’s an assassination, sometimes it’s a health panic. Just something big that justifies to all the other blocks why the big boys had to come in and knock heads to break up the band.
It’s coming. You can feel it. What can your gang do to help stop it? Or are you one of the worms helping to set all this up?
Fitting Block Deconstruction In
The undermining of a community through unrest and breaking of social bonds is a powerful and delicate scenario for players to be involved with. Using this scenario in a game, players can be situated on both sides of the fence. If they’re working with the target of the Deconstruction, they’re running a mystery game attempting to root out the dark elements in a community before their plans come into play. Players have to be careful as not to tip the scales of the conflict too far or they’ll act like a catalyst for the hammer to fall. If they’re the executioners of the plan, then they’re running a heist as they put into position different tools to break a community, but they have to careful as not to over play their hand and get caught before the hammer falls. It’s a delicate game of risk and reward, and both scenarios offer a lot of potential to the plotter style of gamers.

Wall Sentry Ortica
Person


Minding the walls between the blocks isn’t easy. Station runs, wall miners, saboteurs, they all dig at the job, dig at the place, dig at what makes Ortica alive. The walls are more than just steel and concrete. They’re slotting with living residents that have been bio-engineered to protect the borders between the blocks. These wall sentries are human in their base DNA but their augmentation allows them to traverse the walls with ease, to hear vibrations between it’s sections, to know when it’s been hurt or pierced. The sentries are, in many walls, the living antibodies of the wall.
Wall Sentry Ortica is no exception to this. Once a down and out smuggler, he was caught on his fifth run across the blockade between section 5f and 4f. It was a stupid mistake, but it cost him freedom as the wall sentries closed in on his heartbeat. They ripped him apart. Limbs, organs, they all went quick as the sentries slashed at the intruder. But the sentries that found him were smart, they knew they’d found someone who wasn’t going to be a messy fight. They found someone they could save enough of to replace one of their own. Where the wall sentries do their surgery, no one knows except them. Ortica never had a chance to object before they changed out everything had made him human, and made him into them.
But unlike the others, Ortica remembers. He knows what he was. He knows who his friends were. He recognizes. They say if you know the old codes, he’ll let you through. He’ll delay the others. But don’t play him too much. He’s got to appear in line with the other sentries. He’s got to protect himself, because he doesn’t want to find out what the sentries do to those who don’t protect the wall.
Fitting Wall Sentry Ortica In
The Wall Sentries are dangerous creatures meant to protect the barriers between the blocks. They’re deadly, violent, and unforgiving. Most don’t remember who and what they were, but every now and then there’s an exception. Ortica is one such man. Laying clues about his existence will help the players getting past the border, but make sure to stress not to overplay their hand. Ortica has to protect himself, and those who use his goodwill also want to keep him safe. He’s an expensive fast pass, and he shouldn’t be used often.

Using City Block 5f-4

The Whole Block
The City Block 5f-4 scenario is a powder keg of social unrest. The block is finally getting structured into a recent community after the last Block Deconstruction here a few years back. The ARe U In? protocols are starting to worry the higher ups of the city, and now they’re sending in agents to try and push the culture down before they infect another block. So far, the Wall Sentries have done a good job of purging attempts to smuggle ARe U In? into other blocks, but it’s only a matter of time until someone finds the right route to spread the tool. The higher ups can’t let that happen. The Block Decon must happen now.
The players role in this scenario can vary between simple smugglers tossed into heavy events, city agents attempting to dismantle the block, or insurgents as part of the 5f-4 block organization. Danger and suspense should underlie as much of the events as possible during the team’s time in City Block 5f-4, even if the players attempt to avoid the conflict. At some point, you may even need to force their hand by having one of the factions decide that the players are their enemies. The scenario is representative of a lot of scenarios in RPGs, and reflects any large power attempting to keep control of smaller organizations within their realm. Play with them and see how far you can push the characters’ morality and willingness to see NPCs as people with desperate needs of survival.


Patreon Sneak Peek
Regular Shows

 
 
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Main Topic

Today I am bringing you a sneak peek into what I hope is something that draws more folks in to see the kinds of things we are working at for our patrons.

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The name, and some of the basic ideas, for Brique come from my own gaming experience with my randomly rolled mutant character back in the 90s, but this Brique is a chance to use the Robot Origin for the FASERIP system and to delve a little further into the darker supernatural elements of that era.   

Design Notes

Origin: Robot.  Like many other aspects of the game, Robot can mean many things! In this instance, Robot means golem or magically created entity that is not just a modification of a human (Altered Human Origin) or a vat grown artificial human. Robots in the FASERIP system have little to set them apart – they use a specific column to roll their Primary Statistics, which provides a greater range (all the way up to Monstrous) than the other Origins we have seen this far.  The Robot character starts with 0 Popularity, like a Mutant, but that is about it. A Robot can be restored after “killed” but has 0 karma. It’s quite straight forward.

Primary Statistics: As a reminder, this is the FASERIP of the FASERIP System – Fighting; Agility; Strength; Endurance; Reason; Intuition; and Psyche.  The following shows the rolls, the Rank, and the Rank Number for Chimera

  • F – 40 – Good (8)
  • A – 25 – Good (8)
  • S – 93 – Amazing (46)
  • E – 100 – Monstrous (63)
  • R – 37 – Good (8)
  • I – 52 – Remarkable (26)
  • P – 94 – Amazing (46)

Well, if it wasn’t clear from the name, Brique is going to be a Brick for sure.  We see a clearly metahuman level of strength as Amazing is in the area of the old 50 Ton press, so that era of comic characters would be someone like Rogue or on DC’s side Aquaman (though both have seemed to spend some karma into the Monstrous range since then).  Endurance of Monstrous means a really resilient and hardy body … which I will make work with the whole Brique/Brick thing. This set of rolls also provides a great resistance to psychic and magical attacks because Psyche is used frequently for that purpose!

Secondary Statistics: These include Health and Karma that are generated by adding FASE and RIP respectively, Popularity that is built from a standard base with some optional changes from the character’s history, and Resources which starts at Typical and is modified by a random roll.

  • Health – 125 (no matter what that sheet’s autoformat says)
  • Karma – 80
  • Resources – A roll on the modification chart from Typical gets us to Good.   
  • Popularity – Popularity starts at 0. Its the side effect of the robot thing described above.  

Special Abilities are rolled to create a range of powers, talents, and contacts.  There is a minimum number available, but a character may sacrifice Resource ranks for additional powers, talents, or contacts up to the maximum shown.

Powers – A roll of 58 means a result of “3/4”. The first roll means that we end up on the right track, but by the third power, I made a choice for fun:

  • Body Alterations – Defensive – Body Armor Incredible (36)
  • Matter Control – Earth (Worked Earth) Incredible (36)
  • Movement – Teleportation Remarkable (26)

With Body Armor and Earth control rolled up, we are in good stead to make this brick a literal brique but for the final power, I wanted to get a movement power but one that was not immediately obvious. Brique can develop a power stunt for riding waves of bricks and concrete later.  I decided to go for Teleportation because I think that shifting and sending consciousness through the highway, turning it into a literal information superhighway is a little amusing and the sort of tongue in cheek powers that began spreading like wildfire in the 1990s.

Talents – a Roll of 81 means a result of “3/4” so at least 3 Talents, which are trained abilities, and up to a maximum of 4 if Resource ranks are sacrificed. The book specifically allows for the Mystic Background Talent to be directly selected. This Talent is something that can allow to purchase of powers as spells later and also demonstrates some general familiarity with magickal forces which fits my conception for this character  

  • Mystic Skills – Mystic Background
  • Mystic Skills – Occult Lore
  • Scientific Skills –  Archaeology

These skills provide a definite “in” for Brique being a starting point for creepy occult stories and also to provide some mystery as to Brique’s background as well.

Contacts – a Roll of 62 means a result of “4/4”. With a lot of contacts, first we will start with some of the Mystical side. As I will be pulling these characters from my own world, let’s look at what sort of a role they may fill instead to explain how to choose them – As this is a 90s theme, a former villain is always a good option for a hero’s contact.  James Robinson’s Starman put this front and center with the work on the Shade so in that vein, I’ll use the supernaturally powered Vrykolakas who was active in the 1970s and 80s in this world and empowered by a mystical connection to the earth.  If you are a Card Catalog junky, you’ll remember the oblique reference to his attempt to recreate Chernobyl on American soil in the Atomic Avenger write up which also ties into Barracuda’s origin. Another contact is more of an human type who isn’t a being of magic but can provide endless bits of story.  Professor Li who studies archaeology and is likely at the same school that Akasha attends making this a tidy and interconnect bit of story. Brique is still not done though as 2 more Contacts are available. One of the options for the original FASERIP system was to leave contacts undefined at character generation which is similar to how you could write in more of a backstory later in a comic book.  Since I have Brique with one of those trademarked 90s dark and mysterious origins, I am going to leave 2 Undetermined so they can be revealed later and be somewhat worrisome or creepy.

Weakness – Every good hero needs a weakness.  Brique is no exception. Since I have already conceptualized this as a golem character tied to worked and semi-worked stone and earth, it makes sense to have a weakness to Air based powers.  This will also create a neat antagonism with his teammate Akasha and his air based powers. Air based powers bypass Brique’s Body Armor leaving quite a sting at times.

Character Notes

The infamous first time the modern age of heroes started a decade ago created images everyone remembers.  The self proclaimed Demon Lord’s attack shocked the world as the city of Campaign suffered the brunt of the attack.  Whether the fell creature is really a demon and magical is something most never will know, but the fledgling group of heroes who stepped up after Praetor and Halo were beaten did include a young but powerful mage from France we now just call Sorciere.    

Why are we starting with the Campaign Crisis for Brique’s origin? Because that battle unleashed eldritch and glorious magical power that ripped across reality.  Demon Lord was beaten, and the city began to heal … and Brique grew from the city’s wound mingling with the energy of that battle. It is a fair question that has not been answered on whether someone was trying to create Brique, from here or elsewhere, or whether the specific combination caused a spontaneous combustion of a spirit of the city.  It may matter, but Brique isn’t saying.

Despite the occasional run in with a costumed hero or magical troublemaker, Brique spent several years as an urban legend in Campaign. Section Gamma put an end to that but for what reason, we still don’t know.  It was then that Brique’s connections with the magical sense of the universe began to be more apparent. Not just a golem of brick and concrete, Brique spoke eloquently with Prof. Li at Campaign University and it should perhaps come as no surprise when Vrykolakas, well past his time as a world shattering supervillain, knocked on Section Gamma’s door to speak with Brique. Vrykolakas had always claimed the draw power from the Earth, and it seemed natural for them to be discussing Ancient Egyptian society.  Barracuda and Skasha don’t know that they still have a regular tea and chess meeting scheduled monthly and it is sometimes Vrykolakas who has provided hints and favors for Nightblade.

Backing up to the formation of Nightblade not unlike how Brique sometimes describes time – the mortar sealing reality together – it was several years of quiet reflection, tea and chess, and the occasional trip to find old and buried cities before Chimera crashed through the wall of the warehouse where Brique was watching Barracuda and Gun Bunny argue over the best way to train together.  Chimera’s arrival galvanized their action against the wave of Blanks from the New Millennium Patriots. While the NMP seems quite intent on catching Chimera, there is a distance and respect that seems left to Brique from them.

Brique certainly isn’t saying why and neither are they.   

Nightblade and FASERIP overview here

Brique Character Sheet here.

Character Designs done on Hero Machine 3

TSR is a registered trademark owned by TSR Inc. TSR inc. is a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a division of Hasbro, Inc. Marvel Super Heroes was a mark and system owned by TSR. This is a fan work and is not intended as a challenge of ownership to the trademarks of copyrights of the original and respective owners.  Seize the GM is using the now no longer produced system for review and commentary and no claim of ownership is intended or implied


Dark Tides Session 9
Dark Tides Actual Play

 
 
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The ninth session of Carrion Crown

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The FASERIP System has a great way of dealing with Battlesuits and high tech heroes in the High Tech Heroes origin option! Barracuda is a concept I return to in different settings with an underwater specialist, including a Shadowrun build of him but that is a different series of posts.  Here, I am going to connect the story to some of the other stories in the previous iteration, and reflect how the 1990’s would chain origins off established characters.

Design Notes

Origin: High Tech.  High Tech Heroes are just what they sound like – characters with powers hat come from equipment and tech exclusively.  This could include characters who use magical equipment but otherwise it is an important distinction of all being external to the character.  The range of ranks for their Abilities are much narrower range with the maximum of Remarkable. They do however get the advantages of better resources, the battlesuit opportunity to modify abilities, a two rank increase in Reason, and more.  I have a fondness for them but I would doodle battlesuits for hours as kid.

Primary Statistics: As a reminder, this is the FASERIP of the FASERIP System – Fighting; Agility; Strength; Endurance; Reason; Intuition; and Psyche.  The following shows the rolls, the Rank, and the Rank Number for Chimera

  • F – 77 – Good (8)
  • A – 71 – Good (8)
  • S – 57 – Good (8)
  • E – 15 – Typical (6)
  • R – 86 – Excellent(16) – [Incredible (36)]
  • I – 71 – Good (8)
  • P – 23 – Typical (6)

Not bad for a normal human.  Absolutely brilliant and potentially one of the top minds in the world but a physically rather normal character.  I am going to go ahead and show what happens with Battlesuits. If a High Tech Hero has the Body Alteration – Defensive power of Body Armor, it can be made into a Battlesuit that hosts all of the powers.  The Battlesuit also provides for modifications on the FASE Abilities so you have a different Health in your suit. There is another column to roll that provides these shifts and here is what the Barracuda suit has:

  • F – 71 – +2 Ranks – Remarkable (26)
  • A – 56 – +1 Rank – Excellent (16)
  • S – 39 – No Change – Good (8)
  • E – 63 – +1 Rank – Good (8)

The suit very clearly has some response increases and is plugged into the neural pathways of our operator and it reduces the fatigue generated but is not built for lifting.  Definitely a recon and exploration suit.

Secondary Statistics: These include Health and Karma that are generated by adding FASE and RIP respectively, Popularity that is built from a standard base with some optional changes from the character’s history, and Resources which starts at Typical and is modified by a random roll.

  • Health – 30 / 58
  • Karma – 50
  • Resources – High Tech starts at Good instead of Typical, or may be a Typical plus roll on the chart.  I choose the latter and lucked out with a roll of 80 providing +2 Ranks for an Excellent Resources to Start.
  • Popularity – Popularity starts at 10.  With a Secret ID, I will go ahead and use the same optional rules and give Barracuda’s super heroic identity a 0 at the start because he is supposedly part of the secret organization or governmental project that has caused Nightblade to form.  

Special Abilities are rolled to create a range of powers, talents, and contacts.  There is a minimum number available, but a character may sacrifice Resource ranks for additional powers, talents, or contacts up to the maximum shown.

Powers – A roll of 27 means a result of “3/4”. This is one of the times I am going to choose the power list partially to fit the overall theme and partially to show off the Battlesuit option:

  • Body Alterations – Defensive – Body Armor Remarkable (26)
  • Body Alterations – Defensive – Life Support Incredible (36)
  • Movement – Swimming Remarkable (26)

One thing we have not yet discussed is how Body Armor works – If an attack does not exceed the Body Armor (or Force Field) rank when it attacks, it does no damage.  There are special modifications that can happen, like energy attacks have an inherent ability to ignore 10 points of body armor and some talents to let you get around them, but it just flat out stops the damage. Life Support and Swimming make sense and if there had been more powers to start, enhanced senses would make the clear choice.  

Talents – a Roll of 81 means a result of “3/4” so at least 3 Talents, which are trained abilities, and up to a maximum of 4 if Resource ranks are sacrificed. I’m not going to sacrifice any resources and will stick with 3.  As a High Tech hero, one Talent MUST be a Scientific or Professional Talent. Since I have already been choosing items for the Powers, I’ll continue that here to show a more designed result.

  • Scientific Skills – Oceanography
  • Professional Skills – Engineering
  • Other Skills –  Tinkering/Repair

Barracuda isn’t that great in a fight, with his limited strength but instead of worry about making him more competent with Talents, I wanted to lean into the backstory for why he builds, repairs, and is kept around in the Science side of things.  Engineering seems to be the best fit for him while Tinkering/Repair provides an even better bonus and his specific knowledge of Oceanography makes sense for an underwater explorer. Yes, I realize this has some similarities to Marvel’s existing character Stingray as I am getting this finished up, but c’est la vie.

Contacts – a Roll of 62 means a result of “2/4” and as I don’t want to sacrifice any Resources, that will be 2 Contacts.  One of those contacts must be the organization somehow related to the High Tech powers and equipment. The overall organization, is going to have some shadowy name that sounds like it could be a governmental or military black book operation – Section Gamma. For the other one, I am connecting his history to the Atomic Avenger from when we looked at Mutants & Masterminds so Dr. Chandler, Atomic Avenger, will be the second.  

Weakness – Using the optional rules from the Ultimate Powers Book, a good achilles heel for a hero is always useful. For Barracuda, though, it is mostly covered by being a Battlesuit and a not overly powerful Battlesuit.  I will still give him a bit of a psychological response to sensory overload partially from his traumatic experience in the origin story. It isn’t an attempt to model Post Traumatic Stress, but at the Judge’s discretion, a Psyche FEAT will be needed to avoid being overwhelmed.   

Character Notes

Life always came easily to Peter Siden.  His teacher’s called him a once in a generation mind – a child prodigy who could piece together the classroom assignments without so much as a second thought.  It made school far too easy and far too short. It meant that he was a bored teenager and bored teenagers get into trouble.

One way to solve some of the problems of a rebellious youth, even one who has an IQ that is far superior to his teachers, parents, and mentors, is to send the kid off to learn some discipline.  In all fairness, it was Peter who made the decision after the he turned 18 to enlist. He saw that making improvised pranks and science experiments at home wasn’t going to get him anywhere but trouble and the new battlesuits that were flying through the air of the 1980s inspired him.  The military saw immediately that it had a useful and talented person. It was indeed an opportunity to work on the burgeoning military-industrial complexes battlesuit programs. Peter was never the most physically capable of enlisted men but he was fit enough to make it through basic training and then the military needed something to do with him.  He was sent asea to work on the Navy’s submarines both because he was a skilled mechanic and because it meant there were fewer ways for him to get into trouble underwater.

After one of his tours onboard the submarine, Peter was sent as a liaison and researcher to a joint Defense-Energy project here Dr. Anthony Chandler was working to develop an advanced self-contained battlesuit.  Peter wasn’t the only person dispatched from the military to contribute and keep an eye on Dr. Chandler, and to his surprise it was the first time that he was around a group of people who were as smart as he was and as out of sorts as he was. While his love of the ocean and underwater wasn’t as immediately useful, his expertise in life support systems helped make several improvements along the way.

The history of the Atomic Avenger is mostly known now, though the public thinks it was grad students, not military engineers involved, but the sabotage of the lab resulted in an explosion.  One of the other assistants, seduced by power or possibly money, stole a working version of the suit in the process to become Fireflight while Dr. Chandler escaped to stop him in the original Atomic Avenger suit.  Peter woke up in a private room and was debriefed by Section Gamma.

Section Gamma has never made things entirely transparent about where their funding comes from, but the crisp look and feel of a military program is apparent and his paychecks kept flowing into a bank account far more rewarding than before.  Most of the research was lost in the explosion, almost entirely about the power generation protocols Dr. Chandler used, but several rough frames were saved and Peter set about creating a battlesuit that fit him and the ocean – Barracuda was effectively born.

Section Gamma has been busy in the past few years, with Gun Bunny falling into their laps and to avoid the interstellar incident it would create keeping it quiet as well as the mystical golem like Brique.  Peter was given the leadership role to train them and make sure that if needed, they would be ready for “whatever task we have for you, Mr. Siden.” You already heard how Chimera crashed into the warehouse on the docks where they were and not Nightblade became a real thing at that point…. But as the New Millenium Patriots repeatedly show up in their sights, Peter has grown suspicious of his benefactors in Section Gamma and what secrets they hold.

Nightblade and FASERIP overview here

Barracuda Character Sheet here.

Character Designs done on Hero Machine 3

TSR is a registered trademark owned by TSR Inc. TSR inc. is a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a division of Hasbro, Inc. Marvel Super Heroes was a mark and system owned by TSR. This is a fan work and is not intended as a challenge of ownership to the trademarks of copyrights of the original and respective owners.  Seize the GM is using the now no longer produced system for review and commentary and no claim of ownership is intended or implied

Interview about FATE of Cthulhu
Interview Show

 
 
00:00 / 49:09
 
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Main Topic

This evening we sat down and chatted about the new Kickstarter going on from Evil Hat.

We had in addition to the normal miscreants we also had Sophia Lagace and Ed Turner.

FATE of Cthulhu takes a unique look at the Cthulhu mythos in role-playing and provides tables a new way to approach the existential horror of Great Old Ones rising through a science-fiction lens and 5 different takes on trying to avert the apocalypse!

You can find the Kickstarter here.

You can find Evil Hat here.

And you can find Sophia online at the following: Twitter; Website

And you can find Ed online at the following: Twitter; Website

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

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Find us on Patreon

As we keep looking over the characters possible from the Marvel FASERIP system, we now turn to Mutant origins.  Akasha is a character that I didn’t have any inkling for before rolling up the random results and fitting him into this world.  Clearly, there are some kinds of powers that have shown up as implied by Autobahn’s story in the previous write up. I looked at Akasha to fill the role of holding the team onto their good origins and also having a quasi outsider stance.  

Design Notes

Origin: Mutant.  Mutants carry a lot of baggage in the system, partially because this models the 1980s Marvel comic books of mutants being feared and hated.  This origin includes the inborn powers that are not a result of being an alien and so can be quite broad when using it in different contexts. Each Origin has a different table for the range for their statistics which helps create some balance – Mutants use the same chart as Altered Humans as described in Chimera’s write up. As a Mutant, Akasha will get an extra power up to a maximum of 5 powers, his Endurance will be increased by one rank but his resources will be reduced by one rank; his Popularity starts at 0 and he has a harder time gaining popularity; and the powers should be mostly inborn and can be affected by devices and powers about mutant abilities.

Primary Statistics: As a reminder, this is the FASERIP of the FASERIP System – Fighting; Agility; Strength; Endurance; Reason; Intuition; and Psyche.  The following shows the rolls, the Rank, and the Rank Number for Chimera

  • F – 92 – Incredible (36)
  • A – 91 – Incredible (36)
  • S – 11 – Typical (6)
  • E – 95 – Incredible (36) [Amazing (46)]
  • R – 22 – Good (8)
  • I – 35 – Good (8)
  • P – 56 – Excellent (16)

That’s a pretty impressive set of statistics! I like that the Fighting and Agility are so high as this means that Akasha will have a lot of Health and I like that the hopeful positive person is hard to put down in a fight.

Secondary Statistics: These include Health and Karma that are generated by adding FASE and RIP respectively, Popularity that is built from a standard base with some optional changes from the character’s history, and Resources which starts at Typical and is modified by a random roll.

  • Health – 124
  • Karma – 32
  • Resources – a Roll of 48 means no change from Typical and as a mutant, Akasha’s Resources are dropped to Poor (4).
  • Popularity – Popularity starts at 0.  With a Secret ID, I will go ahead and use the same optional rules and give Akasha’s super heroic identity a -10 at the start just to be a cruel and uncaring GM/Judge.  

Special Abilities are rolled to create a range of powers, talents, and contacts.  There is a minimum number available, but a character may sacrifice Resource ranks for additional powers, talents, or contacts up to the maximum shown.

Powers – A roll of 53 means a result of “3/4” but as a mutant, Akasha will start with 4.  Using the random tables, here is what results we get:

  • Matter Control – Air Control Good (8)
  • Energy Control- Light Control Good (8)
  • Energy Control – Magnetic Excellent (16)
  • Body Control – Invisibility Remarkable (26)

I don’t like that second Energy Control.  It seems out of place. I am going to replace it with a different power:

  • Energy Control – Magnetic Life Support Excellent (16)

That fits better for a cohesive theme in the power set.  Air Control provides one free power stunt to start, so I am going to go with Flight so that Akasha can fly about especially as an invisible trouble maker.  The overall power levels of these powers are low, but that also means that it will be much easier in advancement to even them up as going from a starting Good (8) to an Excellent (16) is about the same amount of karma as it takes for a starting Monstrous (63) to get to Monstrous (65).  That also balances out some of the rather exceptional rolls for Primary Abilities we had!

Talents – a Roll of 27 means a result of “2/5” so at least 2 Talents, which are trained abilities, and up to a maximum of 5 if Resource ranks are sacrificed. Using the random tables, the results are:

  • Fighting Talents – Acrobatics
  • Professional Talents – Scientific – Chemistry

Acrobatics is helpful since Akasha has no armor or other ability to soak damage, unless he learns some power stunts later, so the +1CS to evasion and dodging is helpful.  Chemistry … okay. He needs a day job and being a low level chemist works.

Contacts – a Roll of 22 means a result of “1/4” so a single Contact up to a maximum of 4. Someone friendly to Akasha, but for the fun of character development, and in the spirit of comic books, it will be a contact only for his Secret Identity who is unaware of his heroics and may not support him if they knew.  His mentor from college sounds like a good one. A Professor bugging him to get to graduate school or do more with his life… actually his low resources make a good case to be a graduate assistant and work with the Chemistry Talent.

Weakness – Using the optional rules from the Ultimate Powers Book, a good Achilles heel for a hero is always useful. Darkforce or shadow energies should be his downfall.  It is a good oppositional set up that works well in comic books! This is an energy allergy or weakness so his powers don’t work against it creating the classic light versus dark set up.

Character Notes

Navin’s parents were good people and they raised their son to be a good person.  Navin grew up knowing that his parents wanted not only the best for him but the best for all of the world, even if they kept a secret or two from him.  What good parents wouldn’t keep something about the world back from their kids?

One thing they skipped over, though, was that Navin came from a long line of powered individuals and that that history carried its own weight.  The world was still trying to make sense of what was or was not true – powers that originated before Doughboy just lead to questions and distrust. To what extent did our past get shaped by these powers, and to what extent are they even human?  Being alone in the 90s in the U.S. saw a great deal of opportunity for Navin’s parents, but also a great deal of stress. They constantly fought between the idea of hiding because of their past but also establishing their identity – an immigrant’s dilemma.

The one thing they did not question was the way they encouraged and pushed Navin to get an education.  Education was the silver bullet, it was what would let Navin make his own path and way. Navim was bright, maybe not the brightest in his class but diligent and applied himself.  He was in many ways a leader in his high school, and college proved no exception. Sure, he may have had his own moments like Gyges, even Plato asked what an invisible man would do, but he was by far a good person.

The problem is that Navin is restless and unsure.  He could lead his students, make friends, and was otherwise a character almost from central casting playing sports, studying, being well liked … but his hidden powers gnawed at him.  Instead of taking his undergraduate work in chemistry and going out into the wide world, he decided to stay in school and prolong having to make that choice. He became a graduate assistant, enrolled in post-graduate work, and instead of sleeping started to practice with his powers.

Dumb luck can only described what happened next – He was on the docks, practicing flight and pushing the winds around when the New Millenium Patriots cashed through the building across the docks.  Chasing Chimera, they had managed to make a bigger mess of things then they wanted as the warehouse they smashed had a trio of powered individuals ready to leap to Chimera’s aide. Barracuda, Brique, and Gun Bunny wasted no time laying into the attacking NMP Blanks.  Navin couldn’t stand by – the call to adventure roused in him … and he joined the fray.

Christened Akasha afterwards, he has been working with Nightblade to opposed the NMP and other factions at the behest of whoever is giving Barracuda his instructions … and funding.  They have some ties to the college Navin still attends, but Dr. Simonson is getting suspicious. Akasha is the voice of moderation and reason often, somewhat of an “All-American” kid in their oddball bunch and that sometimes leaves him feeling more alone than ever before in his life.

Nightblade and FASERIP overview here

Akasha Character Sheet here.

Character Designs done on Hero Machine 3

TSR is a registered trademark owned by TSR Inc. TSR inc. is a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a division of Hasbro, Inc. Marvel Super Heroes was a mark and system owned by TSR. This is a fan work and is not intended as a challenge of ownership to the trademarks of copyrights of the original and respective owners.  Seize the GM is using the now no longer produced system for review and commentary and no claim of ownership is intended or implied

Regency Fantasy, Military, Political,

Thrusting the party into a larger conflict is often the nature of a campaign. Dragons, deities, and ancient legends take work and effort to defeat. But what of conflicts more on the mortal scale? When nations wage war the party can find themselves acting as agents of the crown; spying, being diplomats, or just trying to be disruptive to supply lines. Where they fit in during a country’s conflict can lead them to glory, or doom.

Baroness Honora Bierkas
Person
The land bearing the title of Bierkas has been in the family’s hands for eight generations. As the kings and queens have passed the throne, the Barons of Bierkas have served them with their magical talents. Honora was no exception to the family’s legacy and spent her youth mastering the arcane arts at the capital before returning home. Now, decades later she sits at the head of the line, oathbound Baroness to protect her the sworn land her family has been granted and to protect the region from those looking to invade.
Baroness Honora Bierkas is a strong woman who upholds the nation’s traditional values. Loyalty to her oath, her station, and the schooling has brought her prestige along the eastern annex of the kingdom’s border. The Bierkas region profits from her knowledge of the seasons, her instinct in recognizing the mystical properties of the lands her forebearers protected, and now profits from her green craft in the woods. Many a spy has been caught from her tree sentries, and more spirits of the wood join her cause daily.
But the Barony lies far from the capital and the wonders of the court. Though the Bierkas are loyal and good servants of the crown, Honora’s influence ends at the territory of the Earl guarding the border to the north and south of Bierkas. This stifled growth has prevented the region from growing as large and influential as the Baroness’ dreams, and rumors have sprung up that the magic the Baronness weaves into the land is to do more than just protect the kingdom from invaders. Some say she’s bonding it to her entire line so that it can never be taken from her.
Fitting Baroness Honora Bierkas In
The Baroness of Bierkas is a watchful ruler. She’s very protective of her lands and her people. Though she does not have the royal ear, she does everything she can to protect her family’s investment in the land. This includes creating points of synergy within the region to focus her and her family’s magical power. Consider any building of importance to the region as giving Honora and any other Bierkas a natural boost to appropriate magical skills and attributes. Honora is concerned with anyone coming to her Barony from the capital, and will take great measures to ensure visitors will be guided to her estate. Once in her possession, she will draw out their reasons for their interest in her lands before allowing them to proceed. Royal decrees do not impress her this far out from the capital.

The War of the Glass Dragon
Conflict
A war of succession, the conflict between the two siblings of house Coelmunr began when the elder child gifted their parents with the Dragon of the Midnight, a sculpture crafted from raw mage stone. It’s shimmering glass like surface hid the gift’s true purpose; to serve as a magical focal point for mages loyal to the elder child’s claim of succession. When the statue ruptured in the middle of the high court, dozens of the loyalists to the crown perished, as did several of the elder Coelmunr’s parents and several siblings. Only the youngest child survived by being ferried out of the country. Both children bear their father’s name of Nazerai.
Now the younger Nazerai stands with a foreign army at his back ready to invade the kingdom. Lords within the realm are taking sides and territories are being accounted for. The conflict promises to be violent and disrupt the lives of the average citizen. Already the king has ordered all magic users with elemental prowess to the capital to join the ranks of the new rifled soldiers. Mystical goods for aid and growth are being rationed as the new medics began to brew their tinctures for the expected injuries and death of war. It is said even the demons of the dark realms have inched closer, eager to cross the borders of the world with the growing smell blood and conflict.
Fitting The War of the Glass Dragon In
This is a conflict of two advanced powers clashing in open warfare. It’s a time of rising technologies during the age of the line infantry and smooth bore firearms mixing with the ancient arcane arts that once were the determined power in the land. The players, especially those with magical talent, will be expected to join sides in the conflict if they’re in any way involved with the politics or business of the kingdom. Magical characters that show combat capabilities may be granted small titles and land if they promise to serve the kingdom and aid in protecting the new line soldiers. Conjurers and elementalists are specifically sought out as the barrier between the realms have thinned after the destruction of the Glass Dragon artifact, and demons and elementals can make quick work of those not gifted with magic.

Shards of the Wyrm
Thing, Artifact
They say the Glass Dragon rested above the throne of the first kings, a symbol of their control of the supernatural world and ability to bring peace to the kingdom. But like the names of those kings the sculpture passed into myth and legend for over a millennium. When it was discovered deep in the crypts of the fallen god many doubted it was the genuine article, but it was enough to convince the great lords who sought to change which king was sitting on the throne. When the statue shattered and killed all those who claimed the crown that day, its legend became clear as the protection is offered was lost to the land.
The barrier between worlds is thin and portals can be easily opened to draw in denizens of other realms. Now these portals linger once opened, and creatures not bound to a summoner are slipping in. That is, unless the ritual involves a shard of the Wyrm. The shards still hold properties of the Glass Dragon, and can be used to seal gateways between the realm and the others. Further, as embodiments of the magic of the kingdom, they offer spikes in magical energy to those who have called these lands home for generations. In the hands of Barons, Earls, Dukes, and Counts, even those without the gift of magic in their line find themselves touched by the gifts of the mystical realm.
The trade of the shards has begun to get violent. Mages seek them to adorn themselves with the shards as rings, pendants, or tokens on the ends of wands and staves. The market has grown dangerous and even the most cut throat thieves have begun to avoid it. Only the desperate or blind still take work involving the remains of the statue.
Fitting Shards of the Wyrm In
The remains of the sculpture are powerful. Their innate ability to lock out a region from extra-planar beings alone makes them a useful magical token. But the power they grant someone of the blood of the kingdom is far more dangerous. If the players are foreigners to the land, letting them have a shard is a good way of drawing them into the events of the kingdom. They’ll find themselves hounded after by mages and members of the court looking to gain power or prestige from possession of the artifacts. Play up the insane drive these people have for the tokens; make the players fear the idea of letting it be known to others they have even the smallest shard. If the players are members of the kingdom, be careful how much of the sculpture you let them have. The shards are powerful in the hands of those of the blood, especially royal blood.

Using Shattered Crown
The Whole Block

The Shattered Crown scenario is a about a bloody conflict of succession between siblings of the line of Coelmunr. The event that started the war occurred ten years ago, with the destruction of the Glass Dragon sculpture within the main court. Many great houses lost their leaders, and the destruction of the literal and symbolic protector of the realm has had terrible repercussions. The barrier between the worlds is thin, and a bloody black market has been born with the trade of the shards that might help seal the land again. The distant nobility, the Barons, Counts, and Earls along the border, deal with the initial invaders as well as serving host to the standing army of King Nazerai the Fourth. These men and women have become desperate as the crown’s conflict destroys their lands and brings ruin to their fortunes.
It’s a good place for adventurers to find work. Both sides of the conflict will have use for spies, diplomats, and soldiers. Both sides also want the shards of the Glass Dragon to help prove their claim to the throne. Setting a campaign around getting their pieces could serve as a good plot device wrapped around the war. Keep in mind this campaign is designed to be set during a regency era campaign. Knights and robed wizards have given way to musketeers, privateers, and nobility wielding arcane arts under formal doctrines.

Dark Tides Session 8
Dark Tides Actual Play

 
 
00:00 / 37:38
 
1X
 

The eighth session of Carrion Crown

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Normally, you look at the leaders first, but for this Card Catalog, as I am making one of each of the kinds of origins for the FASERIP system, I am just going to go down the order they are listed! Chimera is a character that ended being a really good connection to some of the larger metaplot of the world you have seen in the previous write up with Mutants & Masterminds and showed a classic Altered Human Origin. In working on my 1990s design and feel, I made sure to have a character like this lacking a costume, but with fatigues and bandoleers. Expect more pouches moving forward.

Design Notes

Origin: Altered Human.  Altered Humans are one of the broader origin types in the FASERIP book.  While the obvious origin includes things like human experiments it can also be anyone who was a normal human who came in contact with something larger – magical training or weapons, cyborgs, and more can all be Altered Humans.  Each Origin has a different table for the range for their statistics which helps create some balance. Altered Humans can range from Feeble to Amazing to start with 60% of the potential results ranging from Good to Remarkable. As an Altered Human, Chimera will be able to raise any one primary ability by one Rank at character generation.  The other origins have more complications.

Primary Statistics: As a reminder, this is the FASERIP of the FASERIP System – Fighting; Agility; Strength; Endurance; Reason; Intuition; and Psyche.  The following shows the rolls, the Rank, and the Rank Number for Chimera

  • F – 80 – Remarkable (26)
  • A – 73 – Remarkable (26)
  • S – 72 – Remarkable (26)
  • E – 30 – Good (8) [Excellent (16)]
  • R – 94 – Incredible (36)
  • I – 25 – Good (8)
  • P – 67 – Remarkable (26)

Well, the dice rolls certainly clustered there around the 61-80 result for Remarkable.  This makes all 4 of those, and then the Incredible, very much past the abilities of normal humans which works for the origin I have in mind.  To make her into more of a Generasupe, I am going to raise her Endurance from Good to Excellent so that she excels around the board.

Secondary Statistics: These include Health and Karma that are generated by adding FASE and RIP respectively, Popularity that is built from a standard base with some optional changes from the character’s history, and Resources which starts at Typical and is modified by a random roll.

  • Health – 94
  • Karma – 70
  • Resources – a Roll of 77 means Increase 2 Ranks, so from Typical to Excellent(16) resources for Chimera.
  • Popularity – Popularity starts at 10 and as Chimera has no Secret Identity because she is without a history, I am going to give her the optional 10 point bump for that. If it ever comes out how much she is hanging out with mutants and aliens in Shadowblade, she could lose some of her popularity.

Special Abilities are rolled to create a range of powers, talents, and contacts.  There is a minimum number available, but a character may sacrifice Resource ranks for additional powers, talents, or contacts up to the maximum shown.

Powers – A roll of 53 means a result of “3/4” so Chimera starts with 3 powers and may decide to sacrifice some Resources to get up to 4 maximum powers.  Using the random tables, here is what results we get:

  • Resistances – Resist Disease Good (8)
  • Distance Attack – Stunning Missile Incredible (36)
  • Body Control – Shapeshifting Monstrous (63)

Now you see where the Chimera concept came from.  Chimera’s Altered Human origin with shapeshifting and the generally superior primary abilities mark her as a good candidate for genetic splicing, unstable genetic splicing at that which is why the shapechanging is so strong. The Distance Attack could be out of place, and I don’t think I want wads of shapechanging flesh tossed at opponents, but instead of rerolling I am going to make that equipment based. Shape Shifting is also a great power to have to develop Power Stunts if we revisit how to advance characters with karma.   

Talents – a Roll of 27 means a result of “2/5” so at least 2 Talents, which are trained abilities, and up to a maximum of 5 if Resource ranks are sacrificed. Using the random tables, the results are:

  • Fighting Talents – Martial Arts B
  • Professional Talents – Journalism

Martial Arts B is the catchall coverage of offensively minded styles like Boxing or other striking disciplines providing a Column Shift (CS) to her FIghting when making attacks.  I like that for Chimera, but I am not sure about journalism. I think I am going to go with something else. I like the Artist talent because the idea of a lost shapechanger finding meaning in artistic expression is a good one.  

  • Professional Talents – Journalism Other Skills – Artist

Contacts – a Roll of 37 means a result of “1/4” so a single Contact up to a maximum of 4.  For this, I am going to make a choice of a Criminal World contact for Chimera. This bridges the gap between her Origin and experimentation and where the story picks up to form the Nightblade.   

Weakness – There is a provision for weaknesses and triggers in the Advanced Players Manuel because every good player needs something to help round out the character.  I think there is a good psychological weakness here where if Chimera is being restrained or constrained, she could lose her cohesion – a kind of claustrophobia that triggers her powers in an unpredictable way.  

Character Notes

Chimera doesn’t know any other name for herself.  She can remember only flashes of childhood, only bits and pieces of something left behind.  The closer she gets to today, the better she remembers, but there are times she wishes she didn’t.  Experiments don’t usually let their subject remember them but she can.

She doesn’t know why they chose her.  She doesn’t recall what set her apart, if anything.  What she does know is that they changed her. She is stronger, faster, and sharper than most humans.  She has the ability to do great things, but that wasn’t enough. Whatever they did to her helped her become a true chimera – stuck between different forms.  Her ability to shift her shape wasn’t something they expected. That was what helped her escape – and what helped her start running.

She learned, as she ran and hid, that she was being chased by a group called the New Millenium Patriots.  This shadowy group had, in one form or another, been trying to manipulate the world affairs for the last century.  The Global Commonwealth Agency had stepped further into the light with the new Argonauts, but that didn’t cover the darker corners of the world, and that is where Chimera was hunted.  She found a bit of protection from her hunters working as hired muscle in organized crime circles – it helped to cloak here in someone else’s power and to this day, she can call on Golden Eagle from when they spent time hired together – yeah he’s an amoral mercenary with a battlesuit but he is good to his friends.  

Chimera’s luck did run out.  The New Millenium Patriots rushing towards the new millenium had hastened their attempts to capture her and they nearly succeeded.  Crashing through the docks and warehouses as hired super powered thugs came after her, the NMP’s Populist Majority Troopers, she managed to stumble onto Barracuda, Brique, and Gun Bunny.  It was all dumb luck that a lost amnesiac shapeshifter would stumble into a secret government project that helped fight back and save her. Akasha heard to commotion and showed up to save lives … the hopeful fool her is.  

Since then, Nightblade is being sent on missions that seem to run into NMP far too often for Chimera’s tastes.  Barracuda receives the missions from his liaison though they have more latitude than it seems. Something about these missions is fishy as they are almost always overseas when the NMP had never seemed to focus that much around the globe before.

Chimera Character Sheet

Nightblade and FASERIP Overview Here

Character design done on Hero Machine

TSR is a registered trademark owned by TSR Inc. TSR inc. is a subsidiary of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a division of Hasbro, Inc. Marvel Super Heroes was a mark and system owned by TSR. This is a fan work and is not intended as a challenge of ownership to the trademarks of copyrights of the original and respective owners.  Seize the GM is using the now no longer produced system for review and commentary and no claim of ownership is intended or implied