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“You misunderstand my devotion to fulfilling my calling in the Worker Caste with blind ignorance at your own risk, human.”

System Notes

Talking about the Babylon 5 2e rules with a friend years ago led to a the enduring belief that a Worker Caste Minbari Worker would be one of the most effective and statistically frightening characters to build.  So I built one. Reviews of the game would take jabs at it for having a Worker class sometimes, but when you dig into it you find a lot of really great and useful parts. A Worker class can be white collar, blue collar, or a performer meaning that small variations on this one class let you play the dockworker, the lawyer, and the lounge singer equally so if you are out exploring, you should hope you have a Worker to do the repair work on your ship or a Worker who is your entry to high society and myriad other possibilities.  Similarly, the Worker Caste of the Minbari is the least developed in the show, but also factors into an intriguing development of the Minbari as a whole late in the show.

In the world of Babylon 5, a Blue Collar Technician and Pilot still needs to have a high Intelligence.  After the bonus to Strength and Penalty to Charisma all Minabri have, Durvoon’s Ability Scores are: Strength 17, Dexterity 10, Constitution, 12, Intelligence 16, Wisdom 15, Charisma 10.  Additionally, Durvoon has bonuses to Initiative and Concentration. As a Worker Caste, he has bonuses to Computer Use, Operations, and Technical checks plus can attempt any Technical Check untrained.  Now, you begin to see why the Worker Caste plus Worker Class is beautiful synergy.

For skills, I started with maxing out Computer Use, Operations in both Technical and Sensors, and all three Technical skills – electronics, engineering, and mechanical.  I spread a few points around to skills like Drive and Pilot for future developments.

For feats, Durvoon picked up Spacecraft proficiency because I want him to grow into being the pilot if this crew ever were to set out as backup for one of Mia’s later in life cover jobs. The class skill of Vocation Bonus allows the character to have a bonus equal to their Class level to any one class skill – I chose Computer Use.  Between the Worker Caste bonus and the Vocation Bonus, Durvoon is not just the future pilot but also the hacker of the group if they need to get into any systems!

For Influence, Mia starts with 1D4 influence in two different influences.  Minbari Worker Caste Influence seems appropriate as does Earth Economic with rolls respectively of 3 and 2.   

Some simple weapons like a comically large wrench with which to bludgeon offending Drazi, and modest quarters for one devoted to a life of toil and Durvoon is now present.

Advancement Notes

Advancement in the d20/OGL system is a straightforward affair where saving throws, base attack bonuses, and skills all have improvements as the character levels.  Keeping the six skills listed above maxed out, I turn to adding more knowledges to remove the computer and technical penalty with Earth Alliance equipment. Workers get no new class abilities by third level, but for his general Feat I add Spaceship Dodge to keep that piloting thing going. For advancing Influence, Mia has minorly increased those original Influences to 4 and 3 respectively while adding a single rank of Influence in each Narn Economic and Centari Economic factions from his interactions in the blue collar daily bustle of Babylon 5.

Character Notes

For the Minbari, the Worker Caste ensures that the Federation continues apace.  The Worker caste builds, memorializes, and fixes the artifacts and trappings of the Minbari. Durvoon is one such Minbari.  Other interstellar governments think rarely of the Worker Caste, because it is the Warrior Caste and Religious Caste who take the spotlight.  Neither fighter nor diplomat, the Workers work. Durvoon has learned the ins and outs of Minbari technology, and is even fluent in the usage of Earth Alliance technology.  His personal achievements were part of why he was chosen as an exceptional member of the caste to live on Babylon 5 supporting the Diplomatic mission and any travelling Minbari who would come through.  

Durvoon did harbor some secrets – he found space to be thrilling.  It was in space, and when flying a spaceship that he felt most alive and most at peace with his part of constructing and tending these ships in Valen’s name.  His eyes would drift upward when on planet, in wonderment often more befitting the Religious Caste, but keeping his feet firmly planted on the ground beneath him.  Durvoon’s temper could certainly be something that flares up as he grows weary of being shunted aside – while he may agree with the decisions being made by the warrior caste and the religious caste, the decision to go to war should never be made without the voices of those who build the weapons of war and who inhabit the planets left to be targeted.

A study in contradictions, of a calm and dedicated worker who carries out his job without embellishment and the short tempered idealist who yearns to fly.  In Nakir’s, he has found those with whom he can share that even if alcohol is not in a Minbari’s diet, especially Stephen who feels a similar pull but from the human side of things.

There is a great upheaval in Durvoon’s future. For once, it isn’t about the War that is coming, but the fallout of the War in the Minbari Society.  As he diligently toils, Minbari culture is reshaped and he will be at the heart of the remaking of the Grey Council. The Council traditions are to be broken shortly, and when they are finally reforged it is with a new set of traditions where the Worker Caste is no longer the underfoot and overlooked.  Durvoon may be a leader of the Worker Caste, not quite a Satai standing between shadow and light but holding more in his hands than perhaps was planned.

 

Nakir’s Zoclao Bar Happy Hour Drinking Society Here

Durvoon Minbari Worker Sheet

 

BABYLON 5 and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Copyright © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.  The Babylon 5 2d Edition game is subject to the OGL and was published by Mongoose Publishing.

Episode 55: Statblock-a-Palooza 2!
Regular Shows

 
 
00:00 / 53:00
 
1X
 

Main Topic

 

SCP Foundation

 

Zen

Item #: 65201

 

Object Class: Euclid

 

Special Containment Procedures: While looking into Item #65201 great care should be taken. Touching or looking at the item without the proper protective gear can result in the loss, mangeling or destruction of the hands or eyes. When not being handled the item should be kept in the deep storage locker #92461. Decon level 4 needed after more then 31 minutes of contact.

 

Description: Item 65201 is a ferro-organic spike with a slight curve like a tooth. It has no wear marks like one thou. It measures 18 inches long and a radius of 2 ½ inches.

 

The members that have looked into this article claim from time to time that they can hear it call them. Or it will hum in a subsonic way when handled. There have been no recorded instances of these things ever happening. Be warned some people have been known to have negative reactions to the article after only a few minutes of working with it.

 

Joules –  De Rez (Location)

Item #: SCP-8431

 

Object Class: Keter

 

Special Containment Procedures:  De Rez itself is walled off, with a singular point of ingress.  The wall uses “see thru” holo projections to help conceal its existence. De Rez has a 8 km radius buffer zone from the edge of the area proper.  Perception filters, holograms and subtle pathing are combined with routine security patrols, trained guard animals, and various sensor nets to keep out trespassers.

 

Description: De Rez is an area about 5.4 square kilometers and home to a unique self contained phenomenon.  De Rez appears to be an area where the normal rules of physics do not apply. Outside observations describe De Rez as an area where quantum mechanics and quantum phenomenon occur on a supermacro level.  And even stranger, the quantum superposition does not collapse when being observed. The exact nature of the phenomenon is unknown.

 

Currently De Rez is not expanding or contracting.  The space/size seems to be static. Current measurements outside De Rez’s event horizon show no adverse effects to the environment.

Sensor/experimental electronic drones, organic life forms, and mundane objects that are taken past the “event horizon” of De Rez become permanently integrated into the system. To this date, nothing has been able to be retrieved.  Outside observations of any organic life forms do not detect obvious distress. More observations over longer time periods are required.

 

GaM – Performance Review – Doctor Michael Andreas (Person)

Dr. Andreas is categorized as a Solid Performing researcher.  Specifically, Dr. Andreas demonstrates above average conscientiousness and adherence to protocol.  Despite his short tenure with the SCP Foundation, Dr. Andreas shows promise regarding research into string theory and post-modern dimensional bleed.  Dr. Andreas, however, does show a need to improve his performance regarding his attendance and his punctuality. Specifically, there have been documented instances of tardiness to his work station despite his car being logged at the parking deck on time. Additionally, he has been documented returning to the SCP Foundation premises despite not being observed departing by his coworkers or supervisors.  Advise that Dr. Andreas be monitored for unauthorized research projects with contained items. Recommend a 3% merit adjustment and 1.5% COLA.

 

Shiny Happy People

 

Zen Shiny Happy People

What happens when the world as you know it doesn’t offer up much challenge? True most people will not know that feeling but for a tech man like Alexei the world has no real challenges left. But what if the challenges now are internal. Things you can not beat with money or influence? That is where Alexei is, he is a tech guru that has seen a flash of something. What is that something? The darkness inside himself or maybe the darkness of the world.

 

Trying to fix it in himself and others is not easy but if he can get the darkest evil of the world and draw it to himself then he can try to purge it from the world. Some terms get thrown around like cult or fanatics but he doesn’t let those thing bother him. And he doesn’t have to since he is going to make the world better even if he must bring a few of them kicking and screaming. Once they see the error of their ways the Shiny Happy People want to help bring more into the fold till we are all Happy.

 

Joules Insta-Bash (Thing)

Thank you for requesting the latest copy of the “catalogue”

As a thank you for being a loyal customer, we are willing to offer you a 10% discount on the latest innovation.

 

Introducing the Insta-Bash, the latest and greatest from Popeil Brothers, Inc. A Frobozz Electric company.  This handy dandy device makes celebrations a breeze. And it’s SO EASY! Never again will you have to miss out on your own party because you’re trying to stay on top of everything.  

 

Select the type of party you want to throw.  Choose approximate size of the party (guest number and venue size), food and drink selection, duration, and celebration type.  The Insta-Bash then displays available venues, catering recommendations, and optional recommended hardware like canopies or portable patio heaters.  It also has an option to select party staffing (if required). Make your selections and the Insta-Bash does the rest.

 

The Insta-Bash coordinates with all the vendors so that everything will be ready for your special day and with the social media upgrade, Insta-Bash will also send out personalized invites to everyone on your guest list.

 

The Insta-Bash also comes with various troubleshooting and incident mitigating features and upgrades.

 

Life is a party.  So let Insta-Bash help you celebrate the fun instead of sweating the details.

 

All Sales Final.  No Refunds. By using the Insta-Bash you hereby allow Frobozz Electric access to your address, metrics, contact lists and organ donor status.  

 

nulloperations Village of Empty Hearts  [Place]

 

The village is small, remote, isolated. But these people smile wide as your party approach their border. You want to be wary, but you can’t seem to stay concerned next to the carefree nature of these people as they welcome you into their businesses and homes. You wait and wait for the shoe to drop, but not a terror occurs as you settle in the hostel they’ve setup.

 

Which is why it’s odd when you notice the strange portraits around the village. While they look like relatives of the people from the town, no one seems to care when you ask about them. Oh, they acknowledge the missing, but there isn’t a weight of concern or worry about their absence. Just hollow recognition, and in one young man, a look of pain he won’t elaborate on.


The second night in the village, in the dead of night, you watch the young man walk a path out of town. You debate following him, but he stops just on the edge of the farmland and lays down to sleep in a stone circle. The next day, his concern seems to have evaporated.

 

Empathetic Evil

 

Joules Destined Regent (Person)

Why are you crying?

Mummy don’t cry.

Don’t be sad.

Why are you crying?  This is my destiny, remember?  Born under a lunar eclipse following a solar eclipse.  I’ve been studying the ancient texts. Memorizing the histories. Following your lessons since before I was weaned.

You told me that the prophecies said I would become our country’s most influential regent, beloved by all.  I would fix our land’s problems. I would heal the hearts of our people. And I have, haven’t I? My people love me.  They live in safety, if they stay within the walls. They have full bellies, if they are willing to work in the fields or the mines.  They are free to worship whatever gods that I choose.

You raised me to be the greatest regent, Mummy.  You said following your lessons was the only way to become the ruler I am destined to be.  That everyone would love me.

So I followed your lessons Mummy.  Every day. Weapons practice. History lessons. Music Lessons. Rhetoric, philosophy, war, politics.  I’ve studied them all at your knee.

But I look at your face Mummy.  I don’t see love.

I see fear.  

But don’t worry Mummy.  You told me I am the Destined Regent.  You’ve told me this for 10 years. So I know it’s not my fault.

There must be something wrong with you.

So please stop crying Mummy.

I’ll fix you.

 

GaM HERitage BICameral IDol Escarpment [Location]

The stones are still stained with the blood of your fathers.  The town square was the place where an entire generation was wiped out by the new Kings.  The stone drank the blood from their bodies in ways no other stone will. This stone brought by the Kings in their chariots replaced the rough hewn sandstone from your grandparents generation.  The stones shattered the square into the escarpment that maintains togay, humming and glowing and constantly reminding you it is there. Every day, every week, all you see is the reminder that these stones hold onto the last remnant of your parents.  Every tear that drops from your cheek is rapidly absorbed by those same stones.

You’d go back in time if you could.  You’d stop your parents from asking for help.  The new Kings came at your parents behest. The new Kings saved your village from the ever encroaching creeping death.  They didn’t want to, but blood had to be spilled to power the stone work. The Kings explained the creeping death was their fault.  The attempt to keep the world green, to put right what they themselves destroyed had taken on its own life. The Kings in the Sky required a sacrifice to save the village from the King’s own arrogant folly, and your parents gave it freely.

 

nulloperations – The Circle of Deep Dreaming [Thing]

 

It’s voraciously hungry, that’s a truth that cannot be disputed. It wants and needs for terrors, for nightmares, for the thoughts of the darkest violence and cruelest of intentions. All are sustenance for the circle, all let it thrive and strengthen. Those who dare dream within a day’s walking journey to the ring will feel compelled to travel and slumber within its boundary. There they will experience their terrors culminated in a single awful nightmare.

 

And then it will be gone, consumed by the circle. They’ll be free of the darkness for the next turn of the moon. If this was the last intelligent being in the region, the circle too will vanish, seeking new nightmares to consume.

 

Currently, the ring resides outside a small trouble free village. The village has kept it here for twelve years, using its terror eating powers to treat the darkness within them. To free them of the burdens on their hearts.

 

Near Future AR

 

Zen –

Symbiosis

 

As the grainy resolution sharpens over the physicality of the old door the name Symbiosis comes into sharp focus. Reaching out to the door it opens with but a touch of the palm reader. The codes to get in uploaded with a thought. The room entered is white and blank. Blinking three times rapidly calls up the AR settings in the room.

 

It floods into a room full of maps and information. There is a bed and a few other real world things but not much. The makeup of the AR is changed for each person that interacts with it. In the beginning the area stays simple and as the root protocols start to learn the things you need, want and like they change to fill in those things. Symbiosis grows on and in you the more time you stay in it. Till eventually it doesn’t need the room. And when that happens the latest stage of the AI and VR interface grows to “Help” you in ways you don’t need but that it feels you want.

 

GaM – Data Germs [Thing]

The high density storage media broke our old expectations for data.  All the chatter about trinary computing and breaking Moore’s law may have been for naught, but the amount we could store wasn’t overstated.  But that’s the problem. Caches of data are left in storage crystals, no larger than a pebble. They litter the world left and right, up and down, dragging with them the data, the memories, the history they contain.  

 

Data Pollution is what they are calling it.  The seamless mesh network that runs the AR infrastructure of the world can’t keep up.  The backwards compatibility is baked into the entire world and there is too much riding on it for the corps to reverse course now.  It’s too bad for the scientists, so often early adopters, holding the blame for those memory crystals so cheaply made, so cheaply filled, so cheaply tossed.  These data germs infected our world on the precipice of technology breakthroughs … and left us swimming in a morass of the past and pains reflected on anyone who stumbles too close to a hidden germ’s broadcast.

 

nulloperations – Daemon of the Circle [Person]

 

It won’t appear without the aid of the glass. It’s not alive in the normal sense, just energy that can think, and most of what it thinks about is its hunger. The circle centers it, gives it a place to manifest in the world, but it can’t leave it. The glass lets you see it though.


Give them here, I’ll show you. Oh, you have the scanners set for low-light. That won’t help. It’s got to be on the thin wave spectrum. Yes, the same one we used to fix the cart. I told you, it’s energy. Electricity, or not. I’m not sure. The circle’s magnetic, so I think the creature is centered on that. Here put your glass back on.

 

Yes, you see it now. Big nasty thing, isn’t it? It only looks that way because we’re here though. I’ve left a camera to watch it and during the day it’s mostly a haze of electrical patterns to the lens. But to you and I? It wants to be shaped like a nightmare. That’s not one of mine though, but I can’t blame you. A giant lagomorph would spoke me too.

 

Now, come with me into the circle.

 

I know you’re scared. That’s the point. That’s why we’re here. That’s what it wants. That’s why it’s focused on you. Just step in. It won’t do anything to you unless you lie down to sleep.


This next part, I need you to be very careful. I’m going to set your glass to a different output mode. The one we talked about last night. You’ll see nothing but noise on your end, but the creature of the circle might see something in the static.

 

Perfect. Step back. It’s transfixed. We’ll get you a new glass, just let it wear it. Oh right, you can’t see it anymore, here look through mine. It’s just sitting there, affixed to the images of horror, feeding. Why are you looking to that side of the circle? What do you see? Give me my glass back.

 

Oh. Oh, there’s more of them. So many more. We need to warn the village.

 

 

Closing remarks

Zendead- Torg

 

Joules- Two Lumps: The Adventures of Ebenezer and Snooch

 

Guard-a-Manger- One of the best Sci-Fi shows in years was picked up to survive on Amazon Prime! The Expanse is a fantastic show that is an adaptation of a novel series.  Reasons for SyFy not to renew it are irrelevant here – go watch it on Amazon Prime since Season 4 will be there soon enough!  

 

Null – Zee Bashew’s animated Dungeons and Dragons is a charming set of short videos about snippets on D&D5e. They cover the wonderful power that is the fireball spell, how certain spells can completely nullify certain campaign tropes, and a set of interesting (and odd) sets of concept characters.

 

Bonus link: So Many Levels: A D&D Podcast

 

Harlan Ellison

 

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

 

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Show- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Zendead- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Joules- Email, Twitter, Facebook

Nulloperations-Email, Twitter, Facebook

Guard-a-manger- Email, Twitter

 

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“I understand you’ve got some reservations, but let me assure you IPX will absolutely take care of your family back home if we can get these permits cleared today”

System Notes

Mia Cory is one of the most straightforward characters and concepts to see.  The Agent class, with its high skills and emphasis on Dexterity, is a Rogue or Thief class for the modern and future settings.  While the show didn’t get too deep into it, there were a number if large megacorporations that had immense influence within EarthGov and the Earth Alliance.  I wanted to peak at that part of the world in Nakir’s Zocalo Bar’s Happy Hour Drinking Society. IPX, or Interplanetary Expeditions, is one of the corporations that has regular contact with Babylon 5 in the setting, so I pick that as a good corporation to be trying to get something done and it fits with certain story points in the first few seasons of the show. As a general fixer or corporate spy character, and keeping in mind that this is similar to a Rogue, Mia Cory’s abilities are: Strength 10; Dexterity 16; Constitution 12; Intelligence 15; Wisdom 12; and Charisma 15. As a human, Mia has an extra feat and extra skill points but few other benefits compared to the other species.    

As an Agent, Dexterity is prioritized as well as having the highest possible skill ranks to select Low hit points are not a surprise and it comes along with high Reflex saves and a fair amount of influence spread out a bit more than the Diplomat’s.  I chose to max out the skill ranks for Acrobatics, Bluff, Notice, Sense Motive, Subterfuge, and Stealth. The remaining skill points are used for at least a base level of ranks in Appraise, Drive, Pilot, and a number of different knowledges related to the idea of the Corporate Agent.

For feats, Mia needs to make sure that combat isn’t a lost cause in this grouping so Dodge is her free feat with Improved Point Blank Shot as her first level feat.  The Master of the Craft special ability of an Agent is used to provide Skill Focus bonuses on Subterfuge.

For Influence, Mia starts with 1D6 influence in two different influences.  I’ll keep her Earth Alliance centered, so 1 in IPX as the required faction as well as 6 in Earth Economic. Her employer may not like her a lot, but she sure does have some good friends in other business circles.  

Some simple weapons, armor, and a berth in Red Sector for IPX’s corporate development, and Mia is ready to go!

Advancement Notes

Advancement in the d20/OGL system is a straightforward affair where saving throws, base attack bonuses, and skills all have improvements as the character levels.  Similar to how Vr’korl was advanced, it pays to keep those maxed out skills maxed out. I further some skills around to create a broad base of options for her job. For Class abilities, Mia picked up the Opportunist Ability that is used for Crippling Shots to try to take down opponents on those occasions that fights do break out and a bonus feat of Improved Feint (now that she has a BAB +1 prerequisite met) to work with that ability. For advancing Influence, Mia has minorly increased those original Influences to 3 and 8 respectively but also branched out into having a 2 Influence in League Economic and Criminal to help expand IPX’s reach.

Character Notes

Even in the 2230s, growing up in Australia, Earth, Earth Alliance, is a special experience.  While Earth had certainly seen more than its fair share of advancements, there was something still about Australia that never quite seemed to be on the same page.  Marsupials and poisonous creatures were part of the legacy of the continent and it has its own pride to this day. Mia Cory grew up expecting there to be wilderness, to be have something to explore, and to be able to see a horizon at all times.  

As Mia grew older, she saw that most people never looked out to the horizon; she couldn’t be like most people. Interplanetary Expeditions was always her goal.  She applied herself in school to be a desirable hire by a company known for going off world and charting new systems. The Earth-Minbari war frightened her as she was finishing school because she didn’t want to be in a warzone, she wanted to see the unknown.  She shifted her focus away from being out in the open to exploring or sneaking in more civilized areas. IPX never slowed down hiring and Mia became a proud member of the IPX family in 2252. 5 short years later, Mia was still stuck in Earthspace with only brief ventures to expeditions, colonies, or other far flung locales.

When the Babylon 5 assignment came up, she didn’t try to avoid it because she secretly wanted to be given some freedom and space in the far reaches of space.  She was already far enough down the pecking order that it was likely she would get the assignment and she has spent the past two years lobbying for IPX, doing whatever was needed as IPX assignments and expeditions came through, and making sure she was a regular at Nakir’s.  

The future is going to be a difficult time for Mia.  When the galaxy shudders into war, IPX will be hit hard since it can’t fulfill its main business purpose.  Rumors of IPX as nothing more than a front for EarthForce weapons development will surface and Mia may be less and less confident in her role with the Company. Mia will broaden out into a new class, Trader, and  use these two classes together as a cover to work as an Agent for a new employer as humanity and the galaxy enter a new age.

 

Nakir’s Zocalo Bar Happy Hour Drinking Society Here

Mia Corey Human Agent Sheet

 

BABYLON 5 and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Copyright © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.  The Babylon 5 2d Edition game is subject to the OGL and was published by Mongoose Publishing.

The Babylon Project was our last, best hope for peace. A self-contained world five miles long, located in neutral territory. A place of commerce and diplomacy for a quarter of a million humans and aliens. A shining beacon in space, all alone in the night. It was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind…the year the Great War came upon us all. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2259. The name of the place is Babylon 5.

-Capt. John Sheridan

I’ve been fiending for some science fiction lately, and the few books from the Mongoose Publishing Babylon 5 Second Edition OGL game are the first things pulled out of storage to sate me.  This is one of games where I only have a handful of books, so my artificial limits of what books to use are actually not that artificial here!

System Notes

The Babylon 5 RPG was part of the Open Game License explosion in the 2000s.  When Dungeons & Dragons 3e came out, Wizards of the Coast made a decision to release the underlying mechanics and game concepts in an open license for third party and fan development.  This is still known as the Open Game License and formed the basis for the later d20 expansions and compatibility. The underlying mechanics are therefore something familiar to many role players today – the main mechanic is to roll a d20, add appropriate modifiers, and compare the result to a difficulty or opposed roll for the result.  The attributes are ones you have seen before – Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma; Characters have levels and hit points; and the Character classes are mostly familiar.

Some of the OGL based games got really interesting in where they would deviate from the existing d20 framework to emphasize certain things about their games.  In the Babylon 5, 2e, game, the characters all have much lower hit point totals making combat far more dangerous, the starship design system to encourage the potential for fleet and fighter based combats, and the influence system that modeled how influential your character was and what sort of favors could be used to bring non-violent solutions to bear.  Similar to the FASA 1879 game, Babylon 5 puts a premium on non-combat abilities and especially on diplomacy and investigation as befits a series and license that revolves around a diplomatic space station. This importance is reinforced by the unique Influence statistic that measures how influential the character is in different circles of society which increases by level as well as potentially by actions in game. Influence is checked by taking the Influence score, adding 2D6 and any additional modifiers to compare against a difficulty to use it.  

I will be using one set of rolled statistics to make this group of characters, so with a 4D6 roll, dropping the lowest, the resulting attributes to assign will be: 12; 16; 15; 10; 12; 15

Babylon 5 Notes

Babylon 5 is a setting from the mind of J. Michael Straczynksi set on a space station in the year 2258 and proceeding further forward to 2262 and beyond.  Babylon 5 represents a diplomatic space station where representatives of the five main spacefaring races and the League of Non-Aligned Worlds can “prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully.”  As the fifth space station of the Babylon project, Babylon 5 was conceived in the shadow of the Earth-Minbari war and included the declining Centaurii republic and their former colony the Narn regime.   The mysterious Vorlons, who will play into the larger metaplot across the 5 seasons, and the multitude of species that make up the League of Non-Aligned World also gathered on this Earth built station in a crucial time in history.  The larger story of Babylon 5 is a passing of the torch story regarding these new starfaring races stepping out form the Shadows of the the precursor races and the political clashes that happen along the way. JMS has said that he wanted Babylon 5 to do for science fiction what Hill Street Blues did for police procedurals, and in a large part I think he succeeded. I could write at long length about the Babylon 5 story and a micro and macro level, but if you are already a fan you know that and if you are not, check it out today!

I remember watching the pilot when it aired in 1993 and it was absolutely stunning for its age.  The story was deeper than expected and the special effects made heavy use of computer generated graphics through a “video toaster” that was nearly unheralded at the time. It is a story and a setting that I adore and I have to recommend that you watch it.  Babylon 5 spawned one of the first internet fandoms with dedicated websites, back when you had to code things by hand in html when the original Netscape Navigator was the best WYSIWYG tool. I’ll write this as if we are in the middle of the series, in late 2259 on the back end of the second season to give it a place and a time as a reference for those of us who are Babylon 5 Fiends.

I wanted to make a group that would be mostly aliens, and only let myself use one alien from the “Big 3” – Minbari, Narn, and Centauri – so I got to pull out the lesser used species that are part of the League of Non-Aligned worlds.  I also trended more towards the lower class and underling characters as a great way to slip them into the background of the Babylon 5 world without worrying that they would somehow change the world. Attaches, assistants, and the other characters running around the background with their own stories are just as engaging as the ones we saw on the small screen. I only gave them their standard Influence advancement in levels, but the game also contemplates providing Influence as part of the reward system with Experience after adventures, so these could be further advanced if you use them in a game at home.

Nakir’s Zocalo Bar Happy Hour Drinking Society

In the year 2259, Babylon 5 houses over 250,000 souls adrift in space.  The tensions are running high between the Narn and Centauri while Ambassador Delenn has undergone a remarkable chrysalis while on Babylon 5.  Great events are unfolding across the galaxy – the signs and portents of the coming of shadow – but not everyone can see that future fast approaching.  

In a bar off the Zocalo, Nakir Pri-Wakat accepts all comers, even the pak’ma’ra should they pay the tab, as a Brakiri seeking fortune, a group of regulars gathers to compare their weeks and days.  These junior executives and aides de camp are not privy to the decisions made at the highest levels of C & C or their governments. They found each other on the station, in a similar station in life, and have been fast friends as best they can be knowing that their respective governments may change things with the stroke of a pen.  Hurtling towards the point of no return, this unlikely group of friends and associates will leave their mark on the soon to break out War of Shadows and the formation of the Interstellar Alliance, but that is a story yet to be told.

Vr’korl – pak’ma’ra Diplomat
July 3, 2018

Everyone sees the pak’ma’ra and everyone ignores the pak’ma’ra.  They are a galactic underclass, but always with a seat at the table of the League of Non Aligned Worlds because of their systems rich supply of Quantium-40. What many don’t realize, or perhaps forget, is that even the collectivist pak’ma’ra have diplomats and Vr’korl is one of them. Vr’korl may be a carrion eater, as all pak’ma’ra are, but Vr’korl embodies the curiosity that is part of the pak’ma’ra way.  As part of the pak’ma’ra speakers whose role is to observe and speak with other races, Vr’korl came as an attache to Babylon 5 and found the same thing – ignorance, shunning, and dozens of races who look past other pak’ma’ra. Vr’korl also found friends who may hold their nose, but don’t begrudge the smell of Rmm*zzq!wwx at the bar with them.

Mia Cory – Human IPX Agent
July 10, 2018

Not everyone coming through Babylon 5 came at the behest of a government or military.  Mia is an Agent sent by IPX to Bab5. When Bab5 finally went live, IPX decided to use the small suite of offices it had leased as a political favor and actually try to recoup that investment. Mia drew a short straw to be sent to the cursed station, as Babylon 1-4 had been sabotaged or disappeared  along the way. Being at the bottom of the pecking order is never fun, but Mia has been spending a lot of time in Nakir’s with her friends, and that alone has made the trip worthwhile … and the steady supply of Grome Peetcha helps there too.

Durvoon – Worker Caste Minbari Worker
July 17, 2018

Durvoon is one of the many Minbari that you never look twice at.  In many ways, the Worker Caste of the Minbari are seen and not heard similar to the pak’ma’ra’s ubiquitous but overlooked presence.  Durvoon is a technician called to extol the virtue of toil but also of sharp and clear mind. Working alongside other Minbari on Babylon 5 in service to Ambassador Delenn and the Grey Council carries great honor, but Durvoon is not blind to the machinations of the other Castes and yearns only to feel free in either his work or in flight.  

Stephen Biggs – Human Soldier
July 24, 2018

One true statement is that a space station, and especially one like Babylon 5, will need security.  Stephen Biggs is a security officer assigned to duty on Babylon 5. A former GROPOS, or ground pounder, his military record served him well to transfer for security on a doomed space station.  Stephen wasn’t always the most responsible, and while he hadn’t made a major mistake in undistinguished career, he also hadn’t distinguished himself in the Earthforce Security Corps. Sometimes he wondered whether he would have been better off joining the Earthforce Postal Service.  He and Durvoon have found an odd sense of balance or comfort between them as they both see others reaching far higher than either of them intend to.

Tenilla- Drazi Telepath
July 31, 2018

Drazi Telepaths are not often thought of … to others races great shame and fault.  Tenilla is an attache to Ambassador Vizak using her training as a member of the Freehold’s Military Intelligence and Telepathic powers for the good of the Freehold.  Surviving the somewhat brutal upbringing in her clutch of three siblings, Tenilla followed a path familiar to Drazi legends by joining the Freehold Military. Before she could distinguish herself for direct combat, her talents fast tracked her to military intelligence. Now serving the Freehold and Ambassador Vizak aboard Babylon 5, Tenilla is slowly learning to curb her Drazi instincts to barrel through every problem head-on.

 

BABYLON 5 and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Copyright © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.  The Babylon 5 2d Edition game is subject to the OGL and was published by Mongoose Publishing.

 

“pak’ma’ra, all same, all different”

System Notes

I knew that I was going to make a few characters that would be contrary to expectations for in Card Catalog, and the Nakir’s Zocalo Bar Happy Hour Drinking Society has several of them.  First up is Vr’korl because while there was absolutely going to be a Diplomat class character in this group, the generally reviled and disliked pak’ma’ra is not the species you first think of. IN assigning ability scores, Charisma is the most important choice for a Diplomat, especially when the pak’ma’ra have a -2 for it.  The pair of 15s can go to Intelligence and Constitution while a 10 Wisdom seems to work. pak’ma’ra are generally disliked because they are carrion eaters, and also have a distinct superiority complex as they are the chosen of the gods able to eat all that crawl on the land and fly in the air. After adjusting Vr’korl’s abilities as a pak’ma’ra, the result is Strength 12; Dexterity 10; Constitution 19; Intelligence 15; Wisdom; 10; and Charisma 14.  I know that Wisdom is usually given a priority for characters like Diplomats, but the particular way the pak’ma’ra think means I want to leave that off as a sort of ingenue like quality.

In addition to the Ability score modifiers, a pak’ma’ra also automatically gains Great Fortitude, as they are hardy and able to resist most poisons and illnesses.  Because they are so often overlooked, they have Stealth and subterfuge as class skills regardless of their class as well as an additional +2 bonus, and have a bonus of +2 to Intrigue and Investigate.  

Diplomat’s are a perfect class for a Babylon 5 game if you play into the intrigue and social components of the setting.  Diplomats have low hit points, but Vr’korl will make up for that with the high Constitution, a high amounts of skills, high Willpower saves, but low combat values.  They also have a significant amount of Influence compared to other characters. I chose to max out the skill ranks for Sense Motive,Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intrigue as befitting a Diplomat which in the d20/OGL system is equal to your level plus 3 ranks.  Next, I spread out the remaining points between a wide variety of skills paying particular attention to Subterfuge, a White Collar Diplomat Profession, and Knowledge of League of Non-Aligned Worlds. The rest of the skills are sprinkled across the options available.

For feats, all pak’ma’ra have Great Fortitude, and as a Diplomat, Vr’korl will take Skill Focus Diplomacy as a first level feat.  The Diplomat’s first level Cultural Diversity Feature means picking up Skill Focus in that Knowledge of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds to know them even better.

For Influence, Vr’korl starts with 2D4 League Political Influence and rolled a … 7! Wow! For whatever reason, Vr’korl seems to get what the pak’ma’ra want or need… maybe they just want Vr’korl to leave before it’s feeding time.  

A few creds later, Vr’korl has a PPG pistol, some basic gear that isn’t too important to recount, and is one of the few pak’ma’ra with a middle lifestyle in Green sector.

Advancement Notes

Advancement in the d20.OGL system is a straightforward affair where saving throws, base attack bonuses, and skills all have improvements as the character levels.  For skills, I kept the maxed out skills maxed out and kept spreading around the remaining skills. I recorded the Improved Diplomacy Class feature that provides a +2 bonus for all Diplomacy and Sense Motive Checks at second level, and the Strong Influence ability to make it easier to call on subsequent favors.  At third level, the second feat Vr’korl picks up is a Skill Focus in Sense Motive to further that ability. Speaking of Influence, Vr’korl’s League Political Influence is up to 11, while spreading out some basic influence into Babylon 5 Local, League Social, and even Criminal at 2 each.

 

Character Notes

On Melat, the pak’ma’ra knew only that they were the chosen of the gods, very special.  It is, after all, the pak’ma’ra way to eat all that crawl on land or fly in the sky when they die to ensure that the souls are released to journey beyond the Rim. THe arrival of these other species was … unexpected.  Vr’korl is one of the pak’ma’ra who was given the task of discovery 3 tosh ago. Every 5 tosh, or 15 Earth years, the pak’ma’ra determine what tasks each will complete on a global scale, while the individual villages and cities may do so more often.

The non-pak’ma’ra seemed to need a “leader” or “speaker” when they came for Melat and the system’s Quantium-40, so the pak’ma’ra decided that those tasked with Discovery would include those who would speak and listen with the League of Non-Aligned Worlds.  Vr’korl has been on Babylon 5 since it became operational and has been watching and listening the whole time. While not the “Ambassador” for the pak’ma’ra, Vr’korl has had that task before among the village of pak’ma’ra on the Station.

Acutely curious, strikingly intelligent, Vr’korl glides clumsily across the commercial and underground sectors of the space station and comes home to Green sector to share what is learned. The time drinking Rmm*zzq!wwx in Nakir’s had been just another extension of that task, but Vr’korl is beginning to have a sincere affection for these not so fortunate as to be born pak’ma’ra, chosen of the gods, very special.

The League Political connections means that Vr’korl will be at the center of decisions being made by the pak’ma’ra when Capt. Sheridan calls for aid and the galaxy’s power is redefined. Looking forward, the unassuming and often overlooked pak’ma’ra may be some of the purest, ego driven species around.  In the future, Vr’korl will continue as a Diplomat, looking towards Alien Empathy as a feat to further understand all these species who are not pak’ma’ra, chosen of the gods, very special. This will certainly continue along the way as a quiet character in the background of others plans who is going about the way of discovery and somehow helping the pak’ma’ra come out ahead.

 

Nakir’s Zoclao Bar Happy Hour Drinking Society Here

vrkorl pakmara Diplomat Sheet

 

BABYLON 5 and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Copyright © 2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.  The Babylon 5 2d Edition game is subject to the OGL and was published by Mongoose Publishing.

Episode 54: Suboptimal Mindset for Running a Game
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Main Topic

Sometimes your heart, or mind, isn’t in the game.  What do you do when your group is relying on you to run but you are in a suboptimal mindspace? A lot of ideas here are a synthesis of some previous topics we’ve covered, but we will try to give them some space here.

If you can, pass.  If you look back at the Co-GMing episode or the GM self-care episode, sometimes you need to let somebody else take the reins and maybe even run a wholly different kind of game.  If that’s possible – do it!

If you feel that running is the best thing to do, either go completely against what is putting you in this mindset or use it as a cathartic experience.  Similar to what we talked about when you lose a player, the gaming experience can help to process that event.

Don’t try to overdo it – your brain is already spending its energy on something else so don’t tax it too badly.  Rely on things you know – be it a story structure or recurring NPC and tropes that you enjoy let yourself slip back into the comfy pajamas game equivalent

Don’t be afraid to run a module or download a one shot.  It allows you to run a game but a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done.  Or you can see if you can put in an event that doesn’t require an extensive amount of mental energy.  In a town? How about a festival with a gladiator style tournament. The prize can be tied to your main plot or something similar.

Set a timer.  See if you can guestimate how long you’ll be able to run at a stretch.  It will allow you to set non jarring exit points and pauses. It’ll give you some time to see how you’re doing.  And it also keeps you from forcing yourself beyond what you feel you can do.

Dress to Destress.  Comfiest shoes.  Soft cotton tank top.  Kitty Kigurumi. Maybe swap out blue jeans and a belt for cotton drawstring PJ pants.  Heck, even a snuggie (don’t knock em) can help you feel comfortable. Did you just get a new pair of shoes and have to break them in?  Do it tomorrow and wear comfortable footwear.

Pet your furballs. Petting your cat or dog or, arguably, your ferret should help you feel a little better.  If you are not allergic, a little bit o f pet love could do you well. Hail his cosmic cattitude! Rally for the New Squirrel Order!

Stat Blocks

Zendead-

 

Grouper

 

In the darkness after the collapse of the world generations will pass before they can truly start to rebuild. But even then the people that will come out of it will have changed. Maybe from the fallout maybe from the shift of the poles. But for some reason mystical energy has flooded the planet. This is the world Grouper lives in. She is the truest Urban Primitive. She has made this urban wasteland her home finding relics of the lost time. Finding her in this place is possible if you have read the signs.

 

Grouper is unique in that she is trying to rebuild a society. She uses her talents and her true power to get wanders to come to find her and her tribe. Her true power is maybe mystical or maybe it is a mutation, but it is powerful. She is able to shape concrete and metal and glass into shapes that it has never been in. Also the scale is part as well. When she takes and molds the old structures of the lost age into symbols and language that you can see from outside of the old places. These tell you where you can find her or places she can find you. Do you look for her. Of course you do that watercan isn’t going to fill itself after all.

 

Joules-

 

The Witch of the Woods

 

I thought I told you, that prophelatic has a 10% chance of failure.  No Refun…

Oh you’re not the paladin.  Hmmm. Group of adventurers, I see.  What brings you to the Witch of the Woods?

Sick child?

You do know I don’t work with divine energies, right?  You’ve tried asking the church? They raised rates again.  Figures. Hieroneous acolytes will bleed you dry (eh heheh) to fund their war against evil.

I’m an arcanist, you know.  Specializing in conjuration.  And I do have a panacea… of sorts.  

I’ve used it many times myself.  And for a farmer who keeps getting the pox from the same goat… I’ve warned him so many… oh my apologies dearie.  Little distracted there.

Yes bring the boy in.  You all look capable. Mmm yes.

What? How does it work?

I told you, dearies I’m a conjurer.  I learned this spell from a teifling I met years back.  Said it was an old family treatment. Never had any issues.

What? How does it work?  (Sighs)

Well I conjure the illness out of the child and transfer it to a new host.  Then kill the new host, which banishes them back to the hells for a hundred years.  Simple.

Yes.  Back to the hells.  (Tsk Tsk.) Of course I use fiends as new hosts.  Kill the fiend, they go back to their plane and they take the disease with them.

Of course there’s a bit of danger.  You’re dealing with arcane energy. You want safe, go pay a cleric.

(sighs)

Fine.  If you must know. Here’s the risks.  If the fiend touches the old host, the illness goes back to the host and the fiend is free to go about as they please.

What?  Most diseases only need tiny fiends.  And remember, the fiend is now sick with whatever the host was sick with.  Few crossbow bolts. Bonk them on the head with a ladle. Step on them a few times and poof. Sniffles gone. Couldn’t be simpler.

Hmm?  What’s that?  You’re quite perceptive there.  Yes, the worse the disease, the stronger the fiend must be to contain it.  Now let’s take a look at the boy.

Oh. Oh my.  He is quite ill.

Well you all look powerful enough.  

Ah, don’t worry.  I can assure you that I’ll be perfectly safe.

 

Guard-a-Manger

The Clockwork Tea Set – A Mechanical Cuppa

Sometimes, a simple item is juxtaposed by a frenetic and inventive skein.  The clockwork tea set is just such an example. Each piece, not made of fine china, but constructed by the most delicate hammers and castings, moves on its own.  Under its own power, pulled from the steaming water itself, the clockwork tea set steeps, pours, and serves you your tea. Each dial, each cog, each armature so carefully and precisely moving towards its end.  

Once every month, you may notice that the tea-time is slightly off. That the brew is slightly oversteeped, not enough to ruin your cup, but as though the armature is losing it’s touch.  This passes, though, in a single day. What is it about that once a month time that throws off the Clockwork Tea Set? Is it the moon? The Tides? Magic? A clock like structure in the set itself? Does the tea set hide a secret from you? Or is it just a fancy trinket with a machinists imperfection. . .

 

Null

True Innocence

At first glance, this page appears to be torn, but as you inspect it further you notice that the top of the entry isn’t merely ripped off. The page appears to be slowly disintegrating, as if it’s being eroded away by an unseen force. Away from the edge, the copy on the entry is fading and only the bottom of the item’s description can be read. As always, ordering information is already completed with your name and exact location.
-and can bring about complete and utter annihilation. Careful, supplies are limited, and 6 of the 7 seals have already been broken. Order now to ensure safety during the upcoming apocalypse, and may the dark ether forever hold our clients in contempt.
Caution: Void in the hands and hearts of outsiders.
True Innocence. Salvation guaranteed, or your money back.
Order with caution. All purchases recorded, and authorities will be notified.

 

Lexicon

 

Node   noun \ ˈnōd \

 

Definition of node
1 a : a pathological swelling or enlargement (as of a rheumatic joint)
  b : a discrete mass of one kind of tissue enclosed in tissue of a different kind
2 : an entangling complication (as in a drama) : predicament
3 : either of the two points where the orbit of a planet or comet intersects the ecliptic; also : either of the points at which the orbit of an earth satellite crosses the plane of the equator
4 a : a point, line, or surface of a vibrating body or system that is free or relatively free from vibratory motion
  b : a point at which a wave has an amplitude of zero
5 a : a point at which subsidiary parts originate or center
  b : a point on a stem at which a leaf or leaves are inserted
  c : a point at which a curve intersects itself in such a manner that the branches have different tangents
  d : vertex 1b

 

Origin and Etymology of node
Middle English, from Latin nodus knot, node; akin to Middle Irish naidm bond

 

First Known Use: 15th century

 

Popularity: Bottom 50% of words

 

Closing remarks

Zendead- Tul Writing Instruments

 

Joules – God of War

 

Guard-a-Manger-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

 

Null – FFXIV’s upcoming patch 4.3:  Under the Moonlight

 

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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Building a speedster is one of the great challenges for game designers and players of super heroic games.  It is easy to give them a lot of speed and actions, but how do you balance that for game play? Autobahn is the newest of the characters to spring from my head is only just joined The Argonauts so she is a Power Level 10 character to work with! The one downside? I don’t have an immediate sketch of her to share for everyone to chuckle at.  

System Notes

Building a speedster is going to revolve around their speed and reaction.  I am going to jump ahead for just such a reason to grab the cornerstone powers for Autobahn to know what we are working with on the rest of the build.  In the book, there is an example combined power called ‘Super Speed” that is just Speed, Quickness, and Improved Initiative in one line. I picked up 8 ranks of that to start where Speed is the flat out running speed, Quickness is the ability to accomplish non-combat tasks faster than the eye can follow, and Improved INitiative is … well … a bonus to initiative so the speedster is more likely to go first. Thats a quick 24 points or ⅙ of our total off the bat.  

Look at the rest of the Abilities, Agility and Dexterity are the most important for the build.  Autobahn is not just a super speedster, but I want her to be poised and more dexterous than flat out fast.  Pumping those to a superhuman level of 8 will leave me mostly keeping her remaining Abilities in a normal human mix with one notable exception. Her Stamina is high for a non-brick or supersoldier and I intend to keep it that way.  A side effect of the super speed is that she will have an incredibly efficient metabolism and as such lower fatigue toxin build up. I don’t want her to stop running.

Moving back to the powers, I go ahead and put an immunity to friction to avoid having to deal with the real science of that speed as well as both water walking and wall running movement powers that are limited to when she is running.  I am also going to up her Dodge by another 8 ranks to get her as hard to hit as I can for now. While she doesn’t have much protection or toughness, she’ll maybe learn how to shunt some kinetic energy off in the future as a speed stunt to eventually buy a Protection Power. For initial offensive abilities, I add a Battering Ram power that doesn’t use her strength so she gets around having a low Strength by running really fast and slamming part of her body into her opponent, which is also a joke about the German national futbol/soccer team’s traditional attacking style.  It works well! I also throw about 10 points of Advantages in as powers because they are based on the super speed, so if she loses her speed somehow she would also lose access to things like the Instant Up and Seize the Initiative.

Similar to Titan, I have a bag of common Speedster Tricks in an Array of Alternate Effects.  These are really minor effects, but constant fun effects as well as the higher speed so she has to choose between utility and raw speed.  The Increased Quickness means that she can rearrange a room while other people are sitting in it. The Increased Speed makes her flat out the fastest character designed.  These alternate effect arrays allow for an easy way to add more powers to the character sheet such as if you use a Hero Point to power stunt an effect more than once or twice, maybe you should just buy the power straight up.

The most notable skills for Autobahn are things like Acrobatics, going back to my poise concept, as well as the significant ranks in Perception and Sleight of Hand.  Finally, her plugged in nature and social media savvy shows in the Expertise of Popular Culture and Current Events.

The Complications from Mutants and Masterminds blend the nature between the crunch of construction and the incoming character notes.  Every starting character has a Motivation and one other Complication which, if they come up in a session, may allow for Hero Points to be earned. Autobahn’s Motivation is Recognition; truth be told she is a little bit of an attention hog and loves the spotlight – the green and black costume is just the easiest way to get that. Her Complication is Phobia – specifically Chronophobia as she perceives the passage of time so differently than others she can lose control when her ability to perceive time is taken away or sped up.

Character Notes

Tick. Tock.

Tick. Tock.

Tick.

Time is passing us all by, but for Gisele Rainer also known as Autobahn, it moves far slower as she speeds across the German highway whose name she took for her own.  In the time it took you to read that sentence, Gisele was halfway across the city.

Tock.

She had already seen the reports of a fire that had broken out at an orphanage and was on the way to do what she could to save lives and get some good publicity in the process.  In what you would call a short 21 years, she had already seen over 60 years pass before her eyes. There was not time to waste after all.

Tick.

Gisele’s powers were with her from the day she was born.  A crying baby that could move faster than the eye can follow isn’t always a good thing, but her parents found ways to keep her grounded.  The benefit of being a speedy little kid is that you get through your terrible twos much faster than other babies, or much slower depending on your point of view.  She “matured” faster than other children because of how much time she spent moving at 300kph was a time she also spent thinking at 300kph.

Tock.

By the time she was a teenager, Gisele knew what she had to do.  Life moved so quickly for her and so slowly for her parents, she had to find a way to be remembered after her bright flash of time was gone.  She could run circles around anyone,literally, and so she began to see just how she could use that gift to help others and more importantly be remembered. When she saw the Argonauts fight against world conquering despots, she knew that that was how she could be remembered.

Tick.

She continued to read and follow the world, being hooked into the newest and latest events around the world.  She had an obsession to know what was happening and is a source of indescribably complicated pop culture or news stories. Eventually, everybody needs new members and after she had been running around Europe, at a casual cruising speed of 800kph, she was asked to step into the shoes of a missing Argonaut. It’s her chance to step into the big leagues and prove her worth.

Tock.  

 

Argonauts Overview Here.

Autobahn Character Sheet Here.

Mutants & Masterminds © Green Ronin Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. References to copyrighted material in no way constitute a challenge to the respective copyright holders of that material. Mutants & Masterminds, Super-powered by M&M, Green Ronin, and their associated logos are trademarks of Green Ronin Publishing, LLC. Please also see the Open Game LIcense from Wizards of the Coast regarding the use of the d20 system and underlying components that are not designated product identity of Green Ronin Publishing.
Imagery created with Hero Machine 3.

Episode 53: GM Library Part 3
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Guard-A-Manger

Poetics, Aristotle – The definitive book that describes and details the components of narrative tradition and the importance with which to address them – it is the oldest piece of literary and dramatic theory extant.  While written with the Greek Theatrical tradition in mind, it serves to this day as a blueprint for any story teller to understand how to approach an audience. The Poetics second part that dives deeper into Comedy is lost to time (or maybe not depending on certain research), but the breakdown of the parts of a story and what matters will inspire you either in agreement or in opposition to this day.

 

Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail `72, Hunter S. Thompson – A lot of games involve political intrigue and the power that congregates around them. Hunter S. Thompson provides his signature gonzo look at the 1972 election that is in many ways far deeper an insight to the human condition and experience than his more famous collection.  If you want to see not only a peek at the power structure, but also what I suspect is an iconoclastic and irreverent view our audience would find desirable. HST in a car with Pres. Nixon. You know you want to read it.

 

The Philip K. Dick Reader, Philip K. Dick – PKD has put into play decades of popular culture and futurism that you are already familiar with.  Total Recall. Minority Report. Blade Runner. All of these come from PKD stories. You need to read how these ideas came about and how they shape our conception of a popular future.  Philip K. Dick challenged the mindset of entire generations by applying his unforgettable prose to science fiction that reverberates across the years.

 

Zendead

Eastern Philosophy, Learn about thoughts and ideas from outside our Western thoughts. The lessons are different and rooted in religion as well as thought.

 

Imagica, I feel like this book was a crazy spiral of worldbuilding that shows just how crazy you can get if you let your mind run with a tangent and come back and do it again. I feel like the characters are awesome and rich and multilayered. Everything in this book can give inspiration and draw you into it. One of Clive Barker’s best works in long form storytelling.

 

Joules Watts

Slaughterhouse Five – I’m a huge lover of Kurt Vonnegut.  Focused on the bombing of Dresden, the story follows the life of Billy, a man who becomes “unstuck” in time.  The non-chronological style of writing in this book can be a little jarring at first. But it follows Billy’s life in real time as he becomes unstuck.  This book has a few “sci-fi” elements of time slips and aliens, but doesn’t feel like a sci-fi book. Those elements are used to serve the story. I’d recommend this book for its amazing non linear narrative.  Seeing its execution may give you some inspiration on how to handle non-linear storytelling in your own game.

 

Shaken and Neat – These are Shadowrun Novels by Russell (Rusty) Zimmerman.  Russell is a fantastic author, game designer and history professor.  (Full disclosure, Rusty happens to be a dear friend of mine.) The reason I’m recommending his writing is that he is able to take the Noir/Pulp style and use it to tell a terrific cyberpunk story.  His stories show that you can mix and match styles and genres and still tell a cohesive story. So if you have a friend who enjoys old school detective stories but is unfamiliar with cyberpunk, his novels can serve as a gateway.  He also has done some work on Earthdawn (fantasy) and other game IP. Thing is that his work is never just a “fantasy” or “Sci-fi.” He always blends it with other styles. So his writing is helpful in showing how blending is done well.

 

Nulloperations

Dragonlance Chronicles – While many RPGs follow common universal story concepts, sometimes it works to see exactly how an RPG company sees their universe. The original Dragonlance Chronicles Trilogy, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Winter Night, and Spring Dawning, helped establish TSR’s world of Krynn and what the knights, elves, and dragons of that realm are like. The stories provided many potential adventure hooks that could be tied into short or long campaigns for adventurers looking to fight it out with the minions of the dark goddess Takhisis.

 

Beyond this series, following the stories and fiction provided by RPG developers can lead to the creation of campaign ideas from even minor details while reading about a setting’s heroes. Shadowrun gives an in-game example of this as events in the Secrets of Power Trilogy cause the events of the adventure module, Total Eclipse. A repercussion of events that were impactful in the story lead to bigger trouble half a world away.

Lexicon

Cognomen    noun cog·no·men  \ käg-ˈnō-mən , ˈkäg-nə- \

 

Definition of cognomen

1 : surname; especially : the third of usually three names borne by a male citizen of ancient Rome — compare nomen, praenomen
2 : name; especially : a distinguishing nickname

 

Origin and Etymology of cognomen
Latin, irregular from co- + nomen name

 

First Known Use: 1691

 

Popularity: Bottom 30% of words

 

Closing remarks

Zendead- Infidel from Image Comics

 

Joules-Extra Sci-Fi

 

Guard-a-Manger- Preludes, Debussy – Impressionist style piano pieces that explored the nature of harmony available with the piano around 1910.

 

Nulloperations- SCP: Confinment on Youtube

 

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

Find us on Patreon

Another of the newer characters in the Argonauts that I came up with in Volume II is Titan.  A fairly expected name for a larger than human super strong brick. My one sketch is done when had only a handful of colored pencils available, but it at least gives an idea of what was in my head. 

 

System Notes

 

For the most part, designing a brick or tank character is really straightforward! They need to be strong and they need to be tough.  This is often easily accomplished in superheroic systems. In Mutants and Masterminds, the first thing to look at is the Strength and Toughness Attributes! Building out our standard brick will get us to a 13 Strength and Toughness with the attributes being otherwise unremarkable because we are spending the points elsewhere.  Trust me.

For standard and expected Brick powers, I am going to add in 2 ranks of innate growth for an

 

 obvious superhuman size and weight that makes a secret identity impossible.  That boosts the Strength and Toughness by 2 each as well, but does knock down the dodge and parry defenses. We will make the 15 Toughness an Impervious Toughness so that any attacks below 8 ranks are just completely ignored – this is the power advantage that is for the bullets literally bouncing off the brick’s skin with nary a scratch! In Mutants and Masterminds, the enhanced traits can be purchased as either the traits themselves or as powers separately.  If you purchase them as powers, you can push them and it can help define what special effect is the bases for the powers. I bought Titan’s attributes flat out in the character creation, but put a few “naked” modifiers to apply to all or part of his Strength and Toughness in his power set, like the Imperviousness for his Toughness or the Array of Super Strength maneuvers he likes to use.

Now we start to make this Brick a little bit more distinct.  I added a little speed and quickness to Titan to simulate to enhanced running speed their strength allows and added the de rigeur Leaping for faster travel.  The image of the brick making the “superhero” landing on one knee with one fist down and the earth cracking beneath them is too classic not to build in.

One thing I really like to do is build a suite of power effects in a “Brick Tricks” category of ways the Brick can use their strength.  In Mutants and Masterminds, that means using an Array of Alternate Effects! First, I know that I want to add 5 ranks of extra strength only for lifting to have the truly monumental efforts but also so that the hero can push that strength as a power which you can’t do as just the attribute.  Next, I throw in a Gorgon Stomp which is an area burst damage with a linked inexpensive Control Environment – Earth to create movement penalties with some side effects of actually tearing up the ground. To counteract his low chance to hit, a bull rush clothesline of an attack is getting added which creates an Area of Effect for his strength in a line! If he is indiscriminate, he can just barrel through people with his strength and body.  I pretty much skipped the Advantages part of this build because of how utterly Strength loaded Titan is. For his skills, I focused on Athletics and a few more ranks of combat skills to help him out. I added his Expertise in Accounting and Telecommunications as befits his background.

Finally, as the character notes will explain, Titan has been manifesting some thunder and lightning based abilities.  They are very minor compared to his strength right now, but important to some of his complications and to his overall character and story development. It amounts to approximately the difference between a Power Level 10 and a Power Level 11 character.

The Complications from Mutants and Masterminds blend the nature between the crunch of construction and the incoming character notes.  Every starting character has a Motivation and one other Complication which, if they come up in a session, may allow for Hero Points to be earned. Titan’s Motivation is Doing Good; he truly does see his powers as a way to protect the weak and vulnerable literally standing between them and harm. Meanwhile his Complication is his Family! As an over 8 foot tall and nearly 8 foot wide CPA, it is hard to hide who he is which means that his friends and family are often in harm’s way.  As a Power Level 11 character who has been through at least one volume of the comic book, he also has the added Complication of Temper – His temper is beginning to grow more and more powerful and he is struggling to keep it under control or understand where this sudden increase in ager is coming from.

Character Notes

Titan, or Babatunde Olawaye, grew up in Nigeria while it was under a military control.  It was a time of predators, both swathed in official titles and not, who took advantage of many of the Nigerian people. Babatunde was born after his father was one of the people who died at the hands of the lawless who took advantage of Nigeria’s political state. A precocious child with a distinct sense of right and wrong, he grew quickly and by the time he was ten, had easily broken 6 feet tall.  It was then that his powers were realized, when he stood in front of a jeep and stopped it with one hand.

It was not the time to question how or why these powers were blessed upon Babatunde, as he had people and family to protect.  It was a thankless job for several years, but the Global Commonwealth Agency eventually stepped in. When the ruling junta decided to expand it’s borders, it ran afoul of GCA jurisdiction and it was something that could be addressed. Babatunde saw this and saw that there was good in the world.  People could be better.

Chastened by his family, though, Babatunde only continued his heroics in disguise and in the time he could take away from his studies.   His mother was skeptical or his desire to change the world, and seemed more interested in his completion of his studies and moving to the capital for a quiet job.  

It’s hard, though, for an 8 foot tall super strong, super tough person to have a quiet job. Even in Lagos, he stood out.  Hired into a Telecom as a CPA, his company knew there was more to him, and quietly turned a blind eye to his being late to work and sometimes disappearing.  He humble demeanor and infectious laughter were his excuses … little did Babatunde know his “secret” had never been a secret. It was around this time The Argonauts became public knowledge and Babatunde again saw the GCA saving people.  He knew what was next in his life.

When Shining KNight had taken a leave from The Argonauts, and others had died, Babatunde took a chance that his growing exploits in lagos, and Nigeria, would be enough to help him help others through the Argonauts.  He was right.

Titan revealed himself publicly, though most of Lagos shrugged as it was the worst kept secret in the country.  His mother worried and fussed. His company was glad to take the publicity of having an honest to gosh Hero on the payroll for years.  Babatunde himself felt proud to stand against the evils of the world and to protect even more people than he had before.

Lately, though, Babtunde’s gregarious laughter has lately grown darker.  He has felt his anger beginning to rise up in the back of his throat, and a streak of viciousness is forming. At the same time, a crackle of lighting will play across his skin when he is under extreme duress, and a clap of thunder to deafen those around him has left him as shocked as his opponents. It was in a recent battle with Totem that has given Titan the most pause.  Totem smiled, in the way only the animated and fanged head of a dead animal can, and told Titan to ask his mother if the deal she made with Sango has come due.

Argonauts Overview Here.

Titan Character Sheet here.

Mutants & Masterminds © Green Ronin Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. References to other copyrighted material in no way constitute a challenge to the respective copyright holders of that material. Mutants & Masterminds, Super-powered by M&M, Green Ronin, and their associated logos are trademarks of Green Ronin Publishing, LLC. Please also see the Open Game LIcense from Wizards of the Coast regarding the use of the d20 system and underlying components that are not designated product identity of Green Ronin Publishing.
Imagery created with Hero Machine 3.

Episode 52: Healthy Practices for Long Term Gaming
Interview Show

 
 
00:00 / 1:03:47
 
1X
 

Main Topic

Here is where we get to be Game-Mom and Game-Dad to tell you to take better care of yourselves! Long Term Gaming means taking better care of yourself and to have some over all, and table specific, healthy practices. A quick disclaimer – we are not licensed medical or health professionals! Please consult an appropriate professional for medical and health advice.  

 

Overall

Nutrition –  Understanding that there are people who have specific medical dietary requirements that may differ, good gaming means having a well balanced diet which means you need to have a balance of fruits, veggies, carbs, and protein in your lead up to the game.  Yes, you can use vitamins and supplements, but overall eating real food to get these nutrients is best. This is a long term goal because it goes to your mental and physical energy level and well being. There are lots of conflicting research and studies about the *best* diet out there, but as a general rule of thumb, the old balanced diet that comes from whole foods will do you right.

 

This includes hydration.  Make sure you have enough water, and not just a lot of drinks that will do nothing more than have you more dehydrated! Tea, coffee, alcohol, all those lovely things are not sufficient for this purpose.  Drink your water.

 

Short term, while you play, include for sure both carbs and protein.  Your brain needs both to function well and when you undertake intellectually intensive activities you will find yourself craving them.  An unhealthy, but delicious gaming snack is a nicely loaded pizza! If you want to be healthier, hummus with a plate of pita and a bowl of fruit can keep your table going for a long time.

 

Sleep – You’ve heard it before, and you’ve scoffed before just like I have, but a regular sleep schedule is going to be good for your health, mental focus, and energy.  To the best extent you can, try to get your sleep on a regular schedule and listen to your body when it is tired. You should probably be getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night, but that’s an aspirational goal for me too. Also, shut off your electronic screens before you get in bed! The particular light of our electronic devices seems to interfere with melatonin production and then the quality of our sleep. Chemical stimulants are *not* a proper long-term substitute for sleep.  If you want the neuropsych on that, we can provide it in person.

 

Short term, make sure you have good sleep the night before you game so that you are fresh for the game and ready to roll your d20s! If you only game irregularly, make this when you break that schedule and recover later, but if you are gaming on a regular basis, like you lucky weekly players out there, schedule your times to keep all of you healthy and rested.

 

Physical Exercise – We’ll refer back to the disclaimer with nutrition and overall that you should consult and listen to the appropriate licensed medical or health professionals about your personal activities.  Some level of activity is good for you! This doesn’t mean you have to become a gym rat or a power walking fiend, but getting enough movement every day to help counteract our often sedentary work environments will do wonders for your overall health, energy, and mental focus.  When you add to that the fact that a lot of our hobbies involve being sedentary around a table or on a computer, this becomes doubly important.

 

Short term, if you are doing serious exercise that results in that ever so pleasant burn of muscle growth the day or two after your exercise, schedule your workouts so leg day isn’t leaving you sore sitting down the whole time!

 

Posture – This is similar to exercise, but we have to make sure we take care of our posture.  Check your work area, and make sure that your layout is ergonomic and working with your body.  Keep your computer monitor elevated enough so that you don’t have to look up or down the entire time you are staring at it.  Stretch your shoulders back out, by rolling them from front to back every hour 10 times to help counteract the shoulders rolling forward from being too hunched over the computer.  Or get a weight lifting/resistance exercise plan going to strengthen your shoulders and neck. For the love of all that is worth praising, stop holding your smartphones by your navel and tilting your head down to stare at it! You are increasing the effective weight and stress on your neck; hold your phone higher so you can read it more comfortably.  

 

Short term, catch me at a Con and i’ll demonstrate, but check the show notes and recommendations for a well regarded technique for posture.

 

Other Healthy Traits – Self care means keeping an eye on your own needs.  If you are required to take medication, set your schedules and and reminders to make sure that you are on your recommended schedule.  If you need to have certain foods, make sure that you have them ready (and if you are playing rather than GMing, let your GM or host know that you have some dietary requirements).

Stat Blocks

Zendead-

Nothing right now I have been going crazy with fixing the website.

 

Joules – Tabula Rasa, Inc

Do you remember when you were young, and reading Philip K. Dick’s “We can Remember it for you Wholesale”   It’s a literary classics with deep dives on the the amorphous nature of memory and reality. But honestly, the idea of having full realistic adventures downloaded into your brain was just a cool concept. Well, we here at Tabula Rasa, Inc. have brought this concept to mankind for the first time.  Tabula Rasa is a hospice/convalescent enterprise that promises that your remaining time on this planet will be your greatest adventure. Terminal residents are able to spend their final moments on this earth living through a tailor made experience just for them.

 

When admitted to our facility each resident is given full brain scan and psychological workup.  This helps our storymakers build the ideal final adventure. Then each resident is brought to their dedicated sensory tank.  We make sure that all end of life paperwork is taken care of with the assistance of our on site legal advisors before the resident is wired up to the simulation and then submerged in the tank.  And the simulation starts.

 

Our residents are able to spend their final moments pain free and completely mobile inside their own unique neural adventure.  And real time updates allow our storymakers to adapt the experience, so that our residents are able to finish their adventure before they pass away.  Death once said, “HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN.” So what we offer, at the very end, is the opportunity to be the quintessential human.

 

Almost every convalescent home promises dying with dignity.  We at Tabula Rasa, Inc. promise dying with humanity.

 

Guard-a-Manger- Codex Scientia

Every once in a while, you will come across a compilation, a data store, a newfangled “book” that holds wonder and promise.  More often than not, that promise is in the form of a new story or idea that captivates and delights the most imaginative parts of your brain.  Then there is the Codex Scientia.

The Codex Scientia isn’t really a book or data chip but a passkey into existing knowledge.  You see, while we collect so much data about our lives today, in the starfaring future of the Codex, the government and companies collect it all.  The codex is a backdoor key into a program that crosschecks and collates all the different databases in the known system. All the stories that are being told in real time in real life at your fingertips.  All the secrets laid bare for you to dig through, soak in, and seek out.

 

A nondescript slip of paper or data entry gave you this key, this almost magical font of knowledge, but every time you access the Codex, it’s owners come one step closer to finding where you are.  What you don’t know can kill you when it comes from beyond the edge of the system and has been laying its plans out with the Codex for the past century.

 

Nulloperations- Catalog : The Elevator Call Button

A faded and torn piece of paper reveals a page of the notorious catalog. On it you find the listing for…

 

The need for vertical movement comes as a necessity when exploring lost ruins, deep caves, or the sunken towers of the antediluvians. The modern world provides with the elevator call button; a wonderful device that can bring forth an ascending carriage regardless of the structure. Yes, with this device firmly placed against a wall, the service button will manifest a doorway into a box of tile and steel. The lift attendant will provide professional courtesy to applicable empty spaces above and below their bound and tethered work space in a polite and friendly manner.

 

Caution! Do not attempt to operate the lift yourself. Do not disobey the lift attendant’s commands. Do not attempt to call the otherworldly beings who are known only as maintenance. No help is coming. No help is coming. No help is coming.

 

The elevator call button. Up, up, and away.

 

Order with caution. All purchases recorded, and authorities will be notified.

Lexicon

Primal  adjective  pri·mal \ ˈprī-məl \

 

Definition of primal
1 : original, primitive
2 : first in importance

 

Origin and Etymology of primal
Medieval Latin primalis, from Latin primus first

 

First Known Use: 1604

 

Popularity: Bottom 50% of words

Closing remarks

Zendead- Kypton on SyFy

 

Joules-Jekyll

 

Guard-a-Manger- The Alexander Technique is a method of movement and posture that helps you move in a more comfortable and relaxed manner.  While some of the underlying health claims about The Alexander Technique are not supported by research, it will help you with posture and stress.

 

Nulloperations- I’m alive again

 

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

Find us on Patreon