Podcasts and Blogs

Main Topic

Sometimes, you lose a player, and not just a character from a game.  Someone at your table is not coming back because they moved away, can’t spend the time on gaming anymore, had a falling out with people in the group, or even die.  How do you handle that in game and at the gaming table?

 

It isn’t easy when a player leaves a game or gaming group.  This hobby is built around the friendships and personal interactions that happen at the gaming table while we tell stories with the assistance of the rules and books.  If someone is leaving because they are moving or have to reallocate their time, you may have enough time to have a story arc to finish their character’s story. If you have the time to let the story reflect the player’s departure, all the better for the group and the characters.  The characters story continues with the chapter closing for that one player, but more importantly, it lets the group itself recognize and have closure with the player’s departure. Talk to the leaving player about what they want to accomplish or how they want their character to go out – maybe it’s a blaze of glory, or maybe its a character building realization. Work with them to tell that story.

 

Sometimes, a player leaves because a conflict develops between players (or the GM) which requires a greater understanding by the GM in handling this.  It could be cathartic to take out the frustrations or animosity that exists around the table on the now departed player’s character but that isn’t always the best plan.  Fostering the additional animosity at the table could bleed back into the world away from gaming and if there is enough of a falling out to fracture the group, you need to be the judge of your table to make that call.  An off panel death or betrayal may be sufficient and when it happens away from the P.C.s view, there are always ways to change it later.

 

Finally, the hardest player loss to handle at a table is when that player dies.  The sad truth of the world is that we all will likely game with people who will die before us at some point. As the GM, you have a delicate balance to walk where the group deserves to be able to mourn and express their loss but also to keep the group together.  A slow decline in health may provide you the time to plan something out about the character that reflects the loss and let’s the group find a cathartic release or purgation by using the in-game loss as a proxy for the in-person loss. Sudden deaths, though, don’t leave you with that option.  Functionally, there are two ways you can handle it – a sudden and off screen event or a session where you as the GM work the character out of the group. A sudden off screen event can help simulate for he characters what their players are feeling and can enhance the ability for the players to sue the characters as an emotional proxy.  Opening at the scene of a fight or accident where that player’s character died can be all the cue a session needs to act as a chance to address what the players lost, even if in the voice of their characters. If you take control of the character for a session or two, do it in service of providing the character closure similar to what we discussed above.  Instead of grieving and focusing the loss into the characters, this method may help smooth over the gaming group and help the group carry on with an easier transition to a table without your missing player.

 

Stat Blocks

Zendead-

Oun

The dark passage yawns from the roots of the great yew tree. As you crawl down into the darkness the smell of old damp things and rot fill your nostrils. You crawl down the passage for what feels like hours and after a sharp turn the light from the small fire is blinding. There is just an earthen floor and diaphanous drapes hanging from the roots of the great tree above. From behind the drapes you hear the sound of something scraping on the floor. As the hanging moves you see someone start to move from the shadows.

The hand flashes forward and small pieces of something wooden bounce off of you. The person scrambles forward to grab the ones that hit you. And the light hits the middle age woman as she finishes scooping up the wood chips. She doesn’t say anything to she has them all and then motions to the earthen floor near the fire. Still silent she starts to lay the wood out which is when you see the runes carved into the chips. And she starts to tell you of the things to come and things that have past before.

The feeling as you crawl back up to the surface is like being born. Or what you think it must be like the worlds possibilities sing to you from the voice of Oun.

 

Joules-

The Playground

 

There are many stories about the playground.  Older kids whisper it’s legends and lore to the younger ones.  Usually dire warnings and the like. The stories about the playground are usually so horrible and gruesome that most kids avoid playgrounds that fit the vague description given to them by their peers.  But not all kids. I mean, who would think that a playground is something to be feared, something to be avoided?

 

The playground usually appears in vacant lots.  You know the kind of lots you stumble upon when exploring or having an adventure?  The metal swings, metal slide and metal jungle gym are surprisingly sturdy given their age.  There’s even one of those old merry go round spinners and a metal hidey cave. You remember those right?  Kind of like a habitrail for kids? And they all work just fine. Heck they’re a lot more fun than those plastic safety jungle gyms that don’t let you slide fast and you just get all static-y.  These throwbacks to bygone days are so much FUN to play on.

 

Running up and down the jungle gym, swinging on the monkey bars, and going down the fireman’s pole and slide as many times as possible.  The kids don’t notice the faint whiff of wood smoke. They mentally attribute them sweating to running around or wearing the stupid looking sweater that mom thinks makes them look so grown up (ugh!).  They start getting tired, but there’s still so much fun to be had. So they start swinging on the swings and playing in the cave. There’s so much laughter echoing in the cave that they don’t hear the faint click of the latch.  And they don’t realize that there’s no way out until it’s too late.

 

A few hours later, the playground disappears.  Leaving behind a pile of ash and the faint smell of wood smoke.  Many monsters of yore had to grow and adapt to modern times. Seems that Baba Yaga made the transition to modern day just fine.

 

Guard-a-Manger

Zap’s Inexplicable Bubbley Gum

Now available at a store near you – Zap’s Inexplicable Bubbley Gum!

You’ve heard of bubble gum, but now hear about our patent pending Bubbley gum!

This delightful confection does more than just tire your jaw and let you blow bubbles – IT IS BUBBLES!

That’s right! Act now and this inexplicable substance is yours at your convenience store!

Revel as it coats your mouth and bubbles up! Feel that effervescent fizz!

Let those bubbles escape on their own to float up up and away to everyone’s delight!

It’s fun for everyone and comes in a variety of flavors – cherry, grape, snozzberry, and Pomegranate-Lime!

Don’t wait, don’t delay, get down to the store now for Zap’s Inexplicably Bubbley Gum!

**Zap’s not responsible for any hair cuts required after use of Inexplicable Bubbley Gum**

**Warning – Do not swallow active Inexplicable Bubbley Gum**

**Warning – Do not Mix Bubbley Gum with grapefruit, grapefruit juice, carbonated beverages, salt, or soy products**

 

Lexicon

Omen   noun \ ˈō-mən \

 

Definition of omen
: an occurrence or phenomenon (see phenomenon 1) believed to portend a future event : augury

 

Origin and Etymology of omen
Latin omin-, omen

 

First Known Use: 1582

 

Popularity: Top 40% of words

Closing remarks

Zendead- Stardew Valley

 

Joules- Wapsi Square

 

Guard-a-Manger- Alabama 3 (A3), especially the debut album Exile on Coldharbour Lane. Mixes rock, electronic, blues, country, gospel, and spoken word styles.

 

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

System Notes

The Palladium Fantasy Role Playing Game was updated to Second Edition after Rifts came out and the final pieces of Palladium’s Megaversal system has been developed.  For example, the original Palladium Role Playing Game had a different style of Hand to Hand skill available to each class and was devoid of things like personal S.D.C. for the players.  The Character Class system was also modified to better map onto the rest of the Megaversal system.

If you read the write up of T-Ball’s Pack, you know that we discussed Rifts at great detail and I am going to borrow some of the same descriptions from that write up here. The PFRPG, and the Megaversal system, start from a randomly generated set of eight attributes – I.Q.; M.E. (Mental Endurance); M.A. (Mental Affinity); P.S. (Physical Strength); P.P. (Physical Prowess); P.E. (Physical Endurance); P.B. (Physical Beauty); and Spd. (Speed).  A normal human rolls 3D6, but a result of 16-18 adds an additional 1D6 to the total. If that bonus d6 rolled a 6, you could roll again for a maximum of 5D6 or 30 on any stat. The PFRPG has always offered a wide variety of races as playable options including their version of kobolds, Orcs, and my personal favorite the Wolfen. Some races roll different dice for attributes, such as the lower 2D6 for WHAT or 4D6 for Orc’s Strength. PFRPG characters have both I.S.P. (Inner Strength Points) that fuel Psionics and P.P.E. (Potential Psychic Energy) that fuels magic.  After you roll your stats, you choose an O.C.C. (Occupational Character Class) that provides the framework for your character including the O.C.C. skills, a list of “Other” skills that may be selected with bonuses, and “Secondary” skills that round out your character without bonus. Skills are expressed as a percentage to roll under, with bonuses from high I.Q., O.C.C.s, and advance by level with the character. The character gets to be rounded out a standard gear list for each O.C.C. with some extra credits to gold and personalize your equipment.

Combat is handled by opposed D20 rolls to hit and to dodge or parry.  The bonuses available for combat come from the training, skills, and attributes of the character.  The high P.P. character has bonuses to strike and dodge in this fantasy setting while a character with a high P.S. has a bonus to damage. Similarly, Saving Throws are also on a D20 while damage is rolled on a variable number and face depending on the specific weapon.

The PFRPG has what I described as a bevy of optional random charts to determine things like disposition and family history to help flesh out your character.  I’ll be making use of those except where the underlying concept has already answered that question.

The Palladium World is a rich and well developed world with thousands of years of mythology in the setting and an immersive world for the game.  The book includes the basic history of the world, and possibly the universe, going back to the Old Ones, a difficult to describe powerful beings that seem related to the alien intelligences like the Splugorth in Rifts. The defeat of the Old Ones, the two thousand year war between the Elves and Dwarves, and the slow and inexorable rise of the humans in the past thousand get us to the PFRPG present where multiple nations stand on the verge of war, the map isn’t filled in entirely, and the heroes can yet uncover forgotten lore, history, and magic long hoped lost. Also, the Core Book provides a detailed world map of the present to go along with that history making it simple for Balama to be from the very open Eastern Territories.  

Also, if you look back at our Rift’s Card Catalog, you may see that Palladium does not choose to support fillable PDFs but is not opposed to character generation tools so long as they are not being shared widely.  In that light, the same spreadsheet style sheet converted to a PDF is being used here.

Design Notes

I am sticking with a human to make Balama Domine in the Palladium FRPG, so the eight attributes are all rolled on a 3D6 pool. To keep things similar across the different versions, I am going to apply the same stats from the D & D version of Balama to the PFRPG equivalents.  As a reminder, those rolls were 16, 12, 13, 15, 17, 14!

The obvious parallel between Dexterity and P.P. means Balame starts at a 17 there, but with the PFRPG rules she gets a bonus 1D6  and rolled another 5 upping her starting P.P. to 22. Charisma isn’t as straightforward a comparison, but I choose M.A. as the equivalent because it is the attribute that has the most impact on leadership and inspiring trust in others.  The 16 there gets a bonus 1D6 as well, bumping M.A. for Balama to 20. The remaining attributes are easily identified as I.Q. of 15, M.E. of 14, P.S. 12, and a P.E. 13. I roll twice for P.B. and Speed getting a 15 and 10 respectively to start.  The +4 bonus to Strike, Parry, and Dodge from the P.P. of 22 is going to be a great way for Balama to shine with that Long Bow.

For a Long Bow character, the easiest class to choose is the Long Bowman.  The only other class that has the ability to use Weapon Proficiency: Long Bow is the Ranger, and we already decided against that archetype.  This is a spot where the PFRPG does make character generation pretty easy – Long Bowman get Special Abilities like the Superior Bowmanship that mitigates penalties when on horseback or unsteady, increases the effective range of the Long Bow, and provides a better advancement of shots that can be fired per combat round.  The O.C.C. Skills do require Balama to have Wilderness Survival as well as W.P. Sniper, so there is going to be some amount of wilderness style to this version of Balama that wasn’t present in the others.

For her Other Skills, I looked at what sort of skills to take as a Noble, to play into the concept and background so I picked up Literacy, Heraldry, History, and General Horsemanship to demonstrate her noble birth and training.  SInce we had some wilderness and potentially sneaky components from the O.C.C. skills, I took Surveillance, and Prowl to heighten that, added Recognize Weapon Quality, and upgraded her Hand to Hand Combat from Basic to Expert. Her Secondary skills to start are Weapon Proficiency: Whip, Climb Walls, Basic Math, and Running.  With Athletics in her O.C.C. skills and Running, I went back and made the changes to her attributes.

Random Charts

The PFRPG has 9 random charts you can use in character creation to help round out your character.  These are all rolled with percentile dice and I will roll for 7 of the 9, with two already being chosen in the character background. I will see what I can do to work them into the Character write up below. 

  • Birth Order: First Born of Twins (78)
  • Height: Average (31)
  • Weight: Husky (66)
  • Age: 30 Years Old (94)
  • Disposition: Mean and Bitter, suspicious and vindictive (08)
  • Land of Origin: Eastern Territories*
  • Type of Environment: Medium to large town or city where magic and/or psionics or the supernatural were commonplace
  • Social or Family Background: Noble, could be wealthy or poor (fallen from power)*
  • Racial Hostilities/Biases: Changelings (46)

Advancement Notes

The PFRPG has the easiest advancement of the three different systems because there are the fewest choices that have to be made! The skills and Combat abilities increase accordingly, with the skills adding a set percentage per level and the combat abilities in both Hand to Hand and Long Bow Archery adding specific abilities and bonuses reflected in the sheet.  At Fourth Level, a new Other and Secondary skill are chosen so I added First Aid and W.P. Knife as the sort of things Balama may have learned or realized she needed to learn while adventuring.

Character Notes

The Eastern Territories carries as many secrets as it does fame. The Domine family’s land and lordship is a fame that also holds secrets as befits the freewheeling and varied Eastern Territories.  Hidden but not entirely hidden, the Domine lands have flourished with the more open acceptance of the magical and psionic powers of the Palladium world. Indeed, even the magical and supernatural pushed out from other Eastern Territory domains would find a home there.

The strength of the Domine lands rested on the Domine family line, and the twins born to the Lady Domine were surely a sign of blessings from the gods.  Balama and her younger brother Morino were to carry the family forward and protect their lands even as the Wolfen began to organize to the North. Balama was treated as a child, but a child of wealth.  She played outside and in the surrounding woods for long hours and even longer runs. Her talents and inclinations ran to the physical, while Morino’s ran to the magickal. They both learned the ways of a noble house and the languages of old.  They both were groomed to read herladic symbols, read the histories, and keep the books of the lands. They were to be responsible for these Lands Domine.

Despite having a safe home and a warm fire, Balama found herself ranging wider and wider from home while her brother took to studying many late nights and beginning to show the hints of magickal talent that was cherished in the Domine lands.  It was on these adventures that Balama saw her family’s military practice and saw the Long Bow fly through the air. As headstrong as ever, this was where she decided to spend her time.

Always a headstrong youth, Balama had the natural talent for getting people to believe her her, to trust her, and when she showed she had the talent with the bow as well, it was a natural that the archers taught her … no matter what the Lord and Lady may have preferred for their precious Balama.  At 16, she was allowed to test herself with a mercenary company promising to not be too involved in great battles, but to see if the taste for that life would sour in her mouth. She lied a little and was involved in some great battles, but moreo importantly her skill and leadership had the soldiers listen to her lead.  While a woman may have been a rarity in the mercenary company, Longbow proficient soldiers were too valuable to turn a single one down. Balama was distinguishing herself as someone with a bright future.

Her return 4 years later hardened her heart.  She heard her father was sick and that she was needed so she returned … and she is the one who discovered the deceit behind her father’s illness.

Morino had been replaced by a Changeling at some point … but when exactly? This storied magical race was said to date back to the time of the Old Ones in the Tristine Chronicles, and legends told of their attempts to rule over all the other races with an iron fist.  The culling of the Changelings had obviously not stuck and all Balama could think was how she lost a brother that she had always counted on getting to know later. She lost a brother in the dark of night and the foul ways of the Changelings.

She did not hesitate or listen to the creature’s pleas once it was unmasked from the salt that it could not stand.  She did not hear it’s claims to be protecting the Domine or that her father has cherished something to replace what had become of Morino.  She would not hear these lies. And she struck.

She tried to help her Mother for several years, but she could not bear to stay in these lands.  Her younger brother was more than able to take over the day to day affairs on their lands. And she left again, broken and bitter.  The past 8 years has seen her travel the world and hone her skills as an Archer. Her bearing is noble, even if she holds little patience for those she meets.  Her aim is true, and she has never stopped looking for more Changelings so she can finish culling them from the world. Her presence is magnetic, and others quickly follow her word. She is Balama Domine and she is on a mission to avenge.

Balama Domine – PFRPG

1 Archer, 3 Ways Overview

Palladium Books, Mega-damage, M.D.C., S.D.C., P.P.E., Triax, Xiticix, Splugorth, Erin Tarn, Victor Lazlo, and their likenesses, The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game(r), Heroes Unlimited(r), Beyond the Supernatural(r), Ninjas & Superspies(r), Rifts(r), The Rifter(r), RECON(r), Splicers(r), The Mechanoids(r), The Mechanoid Invasion(r), Coalition Wars(r), After the Bomb(r), The Mind Mage, Diabolist, Summoner, Tristine Chronicles, Dragonwright, Wolfen, Baalgor Wastelands, Yin-Sloth Jungles, Adventures on the High Seas, Monsters & Animals, and Megaverse are trademarks (Registered trademarks noted as ®) owned by Kevin Siembieda and/or Palladium Books, Inc. Any brief excerpts and descriptions of the contents of the book are done for review purposes through the fan creation of example characters.  No claim of ownership is intended or implied to the copywritten and trademarked works and marks.

Main Topic

We get to sit down with a brand new GM. After his first session my buddy Zac.

 

Insomniac Zac lives in the Chicagoland area, with his wife and son- who was born a cat, where he toiles endlessly on a webcomic, dabbles in FATE games, and watches far too much 80s horror. He has guest hosted on episodes of the movie discussion podcast “The Beta Male Experience”.

He can be found on Twitter

@Insomniac_Zac

 

Wearing the Cape

 

Closing remarks

Zendead- Serial Killers

 

Joules- Wapsi Square

 

Insomniac Zac- God hates Astronauts

 

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

Find us on Patreon

System Notes

Dungeons & Dragons is, rightly in my opinion, considered the forerunner and progenitor of tabletop role-playing games. For over 4 decades, D & D in one form or another has been at the core of the roleplaying game community and economy.  The 5th Edition represents a true iterative leap forward for the game. The basic conventions of the roleplaying game were set by D & D with ability scores, classes, and advancing levels many years back, but as the larger culture changed, D & D looked to change as well.  What was once geek culture is not pop culture, and with the rise of online MMORPGs, D & D tried to make changes to the game in the 4th Edition to streamline some of the more complicated and dense rules to open it up to a new generation and a new audience of players. The results were … mixed, but that is a story for another time.  

The Fifth Edition of Dungeons and Dragons has clearly fulfilled the promise of 4th Edition creating a straightforward gaming experience that still holds the recognizable essence of Dungeons & Dragons for us old school grognards while being accessible and inviting to a whole new generation.  I’ll admit that, despite it’s success and popular acclaim, I have had little opportunity to play 5th Edition yet. If you want to look at some of the discussion of “Basic” Dungeons & Dragons from the 1980s into the 1990s, check the Card Catalog write ups of The Callie’s Song crew. 

In case you don’t know much about 5th Edition, the Characters are made with six Abilities, a race, a class, and the much more straightforward skill system than previous editions.  Abilities are rolled on 4D6, with the lowest score dropped, and assigned as the player prefers and those Abilities are then modified by the racial choice, Halflings receiving a +2 to Dexterity for example.  Humans receive a +1 to all of their Abilities if the Variant rules are not used. The races also have other potential traits such as the darkvision of the dwarves that may be useful before picking your class. (I am an old enough grognard that I still do a double take to see races such as Dragonborn and Tiefling in the Core Rule Book). The Classes are where the most “meat” of the system lies covering a large swatch of what can be done including special features such as the Monk’s ability to deflect missiles or the Wizard’s Spells.  Skills are not just Proficient or not – if you are Proficient, when you make a check, you add you overall Proficiency bonus to your attribute bonus for the roll, like 3rd Edition’s Base Attack Bonus for combat. I am also a big fan of the use of Backgrounds which provide a shortcut to helping you flesh out your backstory with a list of possible personality traits, ideals, bonds, or flaws, but also have mechanical bonuses for your character in skills and languages. In a lot of ways, this seems to distill the essence of the old Gazetteer series through the Kits of previous editions.     

The Feats of previous editions are optional now.  If you want to use them in your game, you elect to skip Ability Score improvements to select a Feat as you level, though many of the Feats also have an Ability Score improvement included.  I am going to use this option to generate Balama so I wanted to mention it here before jumping into the design.

Design Notes

First off, I plan to start with a Human across the board so differences between the three games races are not part of the issue. With the Variant Feat Rules, that means that she will get to increase two Ability Scores she rolls by 1, gain proficiency in an extra skill, and gain a Feat at First level. Second, using the Dungeons & Dragons Core Rule Book to make a Longbow Archer gives you two options – Fighter or Ranger.  While I could have gone with a sneakier and more “nature” connected Ranger, I am going to stick with the Fighter Class for its flexibility and because I am not quite seeing the Ranger side for Balama right now; maybe she can multiclass later in her career.

For the Ability Score Rolls, we got – 16, 12, 13, 15, 17, 14! HOLY HANNAH! That is a fantastic set of roles! I can already tell you that I will be applying the Ability Score increases to Dexterity and Charisma, so after that, the resulting Ability Scores are: Strength – 12, Dexterity – 18, Constitution – 13, Intelligence – 15, Wisdom – 14, Charisma – 17. SInce I know that I am making an Archer, the bonus Feat has to be Sharpshooter because it removes the benefits of partial cover from her targets and removes her penalties at longer range.  An easy choice indeed. For her bonus Skill Proficiency, I will go with Persuasion as I see her being or becoming a leader.

Fighter’s start with a Proficiency Bonus of +2 for their rolls such as combat and their proficient skills.  Fighters have a Proficiency with all armor & shields as well as both simple and martial weapons. For the two additional skills a Fighter has Proficiency with, I’ll choose Acrobatics and Perception as generally useful skills for a rather lithe and perceptive archer.  One of the defining moments for a Fighter is choosing what Fighting Style specialty will define you; Balama picks Archery for the +2 Bonus on all attack rolls with ranged weapons without a doubt. Finally, as a First Level Fighter, Balama has the Second Wind class ability that lets her shrug off some damage and keep going in a fight.  

For her Background, I already picked a name from Turami list because the description of being tall and muscular fits the idea.  One thing to note, the D&D Core Book has the least amount of world building contained, so while you Forgotten Realms fans know this means Balama is likely from Turmish and that the Aristocratic background would be more of a wealthy Merchant family background, the book itself leaves it wide open to the player and DM imaginations. I am still using the Noble background because it fits the best, granting an additional language on top of the two Balama already had as a human, proficiency in a particular game, as well as proficiency in both History and Persuasion.  Since we already has chosen Persuasion earlier, I’ll pretend we picked Intimidation instead to keep with the leadership idea. I went ahead and rolled on the random charts for the remaining components of the Noble background:

  • Feature: Position of Privilege – Balama fits in with the upper crust of society and seems to be accepted as someone of high birth.  Even commoners seem to treat her as wealthy and local nobility will grant her an audience. A fitting reputation for the scion of one of the wealthiest merchants from the Inner Sea.
  • Personality Traits – Holds a long grudge, where once her trust and favor are lost they are lost forever
  • Ideals – Obligation.  She comes from a place and position of privilege and she holds it upon herself because of that to protect those who were not so fortunate in birth.   
  • Bonds – Family.  The Domine family is large, but close and nothing is more important than the family members.  
  • Flaws – Shame.  As an Archer, and an unmarried woman, Balama knows that she disappoints her family, though her father continues to tell her she must be true to her own calling.
  • Equipment is fairly quick and easy to determine to start as a Longbow and Studded Leather armor are the obvious components.  Glancing through the book for other weapons, I am going to go with a rapier and a whip because they will let me use the Dexterity bonus rather than Strength bonus as Finesse weapons.  This may shape some of the choices in our next systems too! Add to that an Explorer’s Pack, the signet ring of her family, and Balama is ready to explore!

 

Advancement Notes

Advancement in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition is fairly straightforward! As you gain experience, you gain the abilities at each level of your class, including increases to your Proficiency Bonus.  By Fifth level, Balama will have added the Action Surge Feature, an Extra Attack, another Feat, and her Martial Archetype as a Fighter. I am going to take the last one first because it is the most interesting one and the one with the most words to follow.

At Third Level, Fighter’s choose what Archetype they want to follow – Champion, Battle Master, or Eldritch Knight.  The former is a rather blunt tool or raw power while the latter incorporates magickal study and spellcasting. Balama will follow the Battle Master Archetype that is described as a field of study passed down in training and complete with lessons of history and artistry.  Yeah, that fits. Being a Battle Master also adds proficiencies for the artisan’s tools listed on Balama’s Sheet. Battle Masters have special maneuvers they may use in combat for added effects and make use of a bonus die called a Superiority Die for some of those maneuvers.  Balama’s three Maneuvers choices are:

  • Precision Attack – The ability to choose to add an addition 1D8 to your roll to hit makes absolute sense for a Longbow Archer
  • Disarming Attack – You know you want to shoot the Barbarian’s Axe out of his or her hands.
  • Distracting Strike – This reflects that perfect shot that doesn’t just hit, but hits at the right time for your friends and allies to take advantage of that shot.  

For her next Feat, Balama is choosing Inspiring Leader so that we can keep going with our leader and Charisma heavy concept for her.  

We will take the statistical average for hit point increases and look at some gear that may have been found by the time we are into the 5th Level.  Magical items are much rarer in 5th Edition than in previous editions, so while I am generous, I won’t go too over the top. Maybe just a +1 Suit of Studded Leather armor, nicely ornamented and cared for as well as a handful of some consumable magical arrows and a potion of healing.  

While I spilled a lot of words on the generation and advancement, it was all fairly intuitive and quickly done.  As this is the game that set the standard against which we measure other systems, it is a comforting design to choose your race, class, and a small number of other things to really enhance and round out the character.  

Character Notes

Balama Domine is trapped between two competing drives.  One the one side, she is the scion of her family and a leading light of her cousins looked upon as the head to be of a massive trading house, but on the other side she is a strong willed and adventurous woman seeking to lead more than just trade caravans.  

Balama knew little of hardship as a child.  The Domine had more wealth than many nobles in other parts of the world, and the family never wanted for anything.  It was a blessing, a privilege, for Balama to play without care, learn without fear, and explore without reprimand. Her tutors left her with books and knowledge of the past as much as they left her with knowledge of the bow and sword. Truth be told, Balama was an exceptional child who showed all the signs of carrying on the Domine legacy. The Domine had long established themselves as traders and merchants but it was her father who solidified the family’s power through the Inner Sea acting as a broker and intermediary to foreign merchants who were less versed in the customs.  

Balama’s freedom led her towards a different path. When she was old enough to see what others faced in the world, her heart broke.  She had been given all, and she had not thought or realized what she had was not what other had. It was then, as the youth began to grow to a woman, that she started to draw apart from her family’s wishes and hopes.  She strengthened her body and mind with greater resolve pushing her family to do more for their employees, for their countrymen, for the world. Balama never bought into the laws of the world as the highest calling, and as her gaze broadened to see other countries in other parts of the world, her so too did her gaze harden.  

In light of some of the abject evil she saw, among humans, dwarves, tieflings, and elves across the planet, in light of the evil the gods allowed to persist , she chose to fight back directly.  From her position of privilege, she had access to the levers of power and with her talent in the martial arts, she could gain access by force if need be. Her noble bearing and steadfast belief in raising up those on whom the great nations and houses were built have given her a meaning and a direction few her age gain.  She is Balama Domine and she will not stand by to watch your tyranny.

Balama Domine – D and D

1 Archer, 3 Ways Overview

 

Wizards of the Coast, Dungeons & Dragons, and their logos are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the United States and other countries. © 2015 Wizards. All Rights Reserved. Seize the GM is not affiliated with, endorsed, sponsored, or specifically approved by Wizards of the Coast LLC. Seize the GM may use the trademarks and other intellectual property of Wizards of the Coast LLC, which is permitted under Wizards’ Fan Site Policy. For example, Dungeons & Dragons® is a trademark[s] of Wizards of the Coast. For more information about Wizards of the Coast or any of Wizards’ trademarks or other intellectual property, please visit their website at (www.wizards.com).

Welcome back to Card Catalog! I am going to do things a little differently this time around! This edition of Card Catalog, I will take one core concept and make that concept in three different systems to see what the system’s choices will do to that concept! Personally, I think it is fun and instructive to see how a character concept is changed or shaped by the mechanics of each system and the character generation system as well as advancing the character several levels.  

I am not a game designer, but I appreciate game design as all tabletop role players should.  Card Catalog looks not only at what sort of characters may inhabit each world, or system, but also shows how some of the character is shaped by the system.  That is why the design and character note sections are separated out for each of the posts. As a periodic break from just taking the deeper dive into a single system or setting, Card Catalog will take the time to take one character concept through several different systems and settings.

The Concept – Aristocratic Archer

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a fondness for Archers in fantasy settings.  I think that they are, for the most part, underplayed and undervalued compared to the sword wielding and focused fighting classes or the ranged superiority of magic using classes.  Looking at how a system addresses Archers in a fantasy setting can show how they are approaching certain aspects of combat, range, and what may be intended compared to the melee weapon approaches.

For this Archer, I want to focus on a Long Bow as the main weapon that symbolizes the significant specialization and power that the Long Bow historically meant.  To add some flavor to the design and really test some of the flexibility of the systems, I will make this character the scion of a noble family. If possible, I will push her to leadership and etiquette style skills or abilities that allow this concept to be an active battlefield commander.  This leadership or charisma based theme allows the character to be differentiated from others for more than just what specific weapon abilities are used. Personally, I like to have this kind of a secondary skill set or focus for most character to help me create and play a more three dimensional or fully realized character.  

The three systems will be Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, The Palladium Fantasy Role Playing Game 2d Edition, and Earthdawn 4th Edition.  To keep things fair, the character we make will be made solely with the core rulebook for each game. Each subsequent post will focus on one system and making this aristratic or noble archer  to see what sort of mechanical choices happen and how it may change this core concept.

 

Balama Domine – Level 5 Fighter
Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition
May 8, 2018

The best way to make an Archer from the D & D 5e Core Rulebook is the classic Fighter class.  The Flagbearer of Tabletop Role Playing Games successfully reinvented itself with its 5th Edition providing a way to fulfill the promise made in 4e, to open the game to new players and create a more accessible system, but retaining a core identity that still evokes the original Dungeons & Dragons game for generations of older fans.  Balama comes out well rounded because the Fighter Class is the overall combatant but there are several ways that the Archery and ranged aspect gets emphasized.

Wizards of the Coast, Dungeons & Dragons, and their logos are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the United States and other countries. © 2015 Wizards. All Rights Reserved. Seize the GM is not affiliated with, endorsed, sponsored, or specifically approved by Wizards of the Coast LLC. Seize the GM may use the trademarks and other intellectual property of Wizards of the Coast LLC, which is permitted under Wizards’ Fan Site Policy. For example, Dungeons & Dragons® is a trademark[s] of Wizards of the Coast. For more information about Wizards of the Coast or any of Wizards’ trademarks or other intellectual property, please visit their website at (www.wizards.com).

 

Balama Domine – Level 5 Long Bowman
The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game 2d Edition
May 15, 2018

The Palladium Fantasy Role Playing Game reflects the specialization of a Long Bow Archer by having a specific Long Bowman class, or O.C.C., I can use.  The PFRPG 2e updated the original PFRPG to incorporate parts of the Palladium Megaversal system that were finalized after the original game was published.  It remains a classic TTRPG with a class based system and level advancement. Balama had the fewest choices for generation here, but that was because of the significant focus and benefits built into the Long Bowman class for the Long Bow and ranged combat! The PFRPG also provided the most straightforward advancement of all three!

Palladium Books, Mega-damage, M.D.C., S.D.C., P.P.E., Triax, Xiticix, Splugorth, Erin Tarn, Victor Lazlo, and their likenesses, The Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game(r), Heroes Unlimited(r), Beyond the Supernatural(r), Ninjas & Superspies(r), Rifts(r), The Rifter(r), RECON(r), Splicers(r), The Mechanoids(r), The Mechanoid Invasion(r), Coalition Wars(r), After the Bomb(r), The Mind Mage, Diabolist, Summoner, Tristine Chronicles, Dragonwright, Wolfen, Baalgor Wastelands, Yin-Sloth Jungles, Adventures on the High Seas, Monsters & Animals, and Megaverse are trademarks (Registered trademarks noted as ®) owned by Kevin Siembieda and/or Palladium Books, Inc. Any brief excerpts and descriptions of the contents of the book are done for review purposes through the fan creation of example characters.  No claim of ownership is intended or implied to the copywritten and trademarked works and marks.

 

Balama Domine – Circle 5 Archer
Earthdawn 4th Edition
May 22, 2018

Earthdawn also specifically has an Adept Discipline of Archer separate and distinct from the Warrior.  In Earthdawn, the thematically rich world was created to support and explain the tropes of existing Fantasy Role Playing by FASA connecting their Shadowrun Future with the Earthdawn Past.  While the Intellectual Property of those two games has been passed to different companies, Earthdawn is in the hands of a newly formed FASA Games that has created an improved and refined version of the original Step System. The separate Archer Discipline provides some of the focus on ranged combat like the PFRPG, but provides more overall power and utility like D & D. The advancement in Earthdawn was the most complex, but also the most customizable.

Earthdawn is a registered trademark of FASA Corp and used without license. Any use of FASA trademarks or copyrighted material is not intended as a challenge to those trademarks or copyrights. Seize the GM is not associated with and does not represent FASA Corp in any capacity, official or otherwise.No claim of ownership is intended or implied to the copywritten or trademarked works and marks.

 

Main Topic

There comes a time in every campaign where the group must face a significant decision – do we jump editions? Game companies put out new editions and whether to change the edition you are playing can depend on a lot of factors.  Here are a few to consider:

 

Does the new Edition improve gameplay and mechanics? Sometimes, new editions do improve a game! They can clean up mechanics, streamline previously complicated sections of the rules, and make the game better! Earthdawn 4th Edition is a good example where the latest version of the game makes improvements and refinements on the classic FASA system.

 

Does the feel of the new Edition match the campaign?  D & D 4th Ed was notable for many reasons one of the most significant was the very different feel that gameplay took.  It changed how the game was played and how the characters would interact with the world. It’s more MMO feel wouldn’t suit every campaign.

 

Does the feel of the new Edition match the players? Does the new edition mesh with the desires of your players? The example of D &D 4th Ed is instructive for online players who didn’t enjoy that feel in tabletop gaming.

 

Will the old Edition continue to be supported? Sometimes, editions go out of print and are no longer supported.  Sometimes, the entire game line is discontinued.

 

Is the campaign at a good place to make the change? Even if the new edition is an improvement, even if the new edition fits the tone of the game, and even if the old edition won’t be supported, avoid changing editions in the middle of an adventure.  Adjusting to the new mechanics and slightly different feel can take time, so don’t do it if you are mid-cliffhanger but wait to make a change between the “beats” of the campaign.

 

Stat Blocks

Zendead-

Al’ vez Rest

Located in an oasis along the trade route running through the Great Khamzar Desert. The massive palms towering over the height of ten men can be seen from miles away. As your caravan draws up on it the tall water canvas’ that catch morning moisture and drop it down into the underground containment system can be seen. Old broken bits of sandstone structure is still left from the fall of an empire older than most lay protruding from the sands surrounding the oasis.

As you get to the oasis proper the shade of these massive palms with leaves the size of 2 men is a relief from the oppressive heat. The great moisture tarps help to provide a level of moisture that the desert itself is without. Nestled in a quiet corner of the oasis is a workroom. The tools are all high quality while they seem old they are very nice. If taken from the confines of the room they start to deteriorate quickly. If you search before removing them you find a note that warns of this.

Taking your time will let you finish or make an item of Masterwork Quality or the equivalent. There is no roll just make the item. How can this be was it infused with magic from an ancient workman? Or was this the old workroom of a great wizard from before the waste? Maybe if you send time looking into it you can unlock those secrets.

 

Joules-

 

Guard-a-Manger-

The Felinary

There are a great number of secrets in the world, and that includes the Felinary.  They hide among the rest of the world, just out of sight in the city, or maybe hide away from the powerful kingdoms in the deeper parts of the jungle.  They focus their life around a simple and pure pursuit – the perfection of the gustatory arts.

When the Felinary are first seen, without a disguise, without a glamour, without their truth being concealed, you may be taken aback.  Their whiskers and fur betray the truth of their feline heritage. A race unlike any other on the planet, clearly derived from the companions humanity has worshipped since the Age of the pharaohs.  It is this nature that drives their culinary adventure – only the most perfect dish can satisfy their enhanced and inhuman sense. The spices must be just right, the aroma enticing, only the most sublime of flavors will prod the most jaded of them back from their slumber.

They hunt for new foods, for new techniques, and try to share them as they find what works with themselves and others.  The dark part, though, is what they want most to eat. See, the Curse of the House of Atreus may be their fault for the most flavorful of the meats that these sharp eyed and sharp clawed beings enjoy is that of a human, slowly roasted, until succulent.  And now you find yourselves invited to dinner in their world …

Lexicon

Mulct  noun \ ˈməlkt \

 

Definition of mulct
: fine, penalty

 

Origin and Etymology of mulct
Latin multa, mulcta

 

First Known Use: 1584

 

Popularity: Bottom 40% of words

 

Closing remarks

Zendead- WizKids Deep Cuts Miniature Adventure’s Campsite

 

Joules-Mike Resnick

 

Guard-a-Manger- Robotech, the Harmony Gold Compilation.

 

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

Design Notes

Instead of making every character chip in for a combined Manager and Staff background, I wanted to make a manager using the slightly tweaked creation rules from the STreet Fighter Player’s Guide.  In the tropes of the movies, you know the character who isn’t the combatant who gets dragged along and often time has the knowledge necessary to solve the problem. That’s the Manager of this Street Fighter Team!

Managers get to start with the usual 7/5/3 for Attributes.  In contrast to most Street Fighters, Mandy’s Primary will rapidly go to Mental Attributes, the Secondary to Social, and the Tertiary to Physical. 10, We will definitely prioritize Intelligence and Perception for Mandy starting with a 4 in each, leaving a 2 for Wits.  Appearance and Manipulation will get the extra points in Social as well. The starting attribute scores are therefore Strength 2; Dexterity 2; Stamina 2; Charisma 2; Manipulation 3; Appearance 3; Perception 4; Intelligence 4; and Wits 2.

Abilities is where we start to see the slightly tweaked rules – Managers have 10/8/4 to assign for Abilities as opposed to the usual 9/7/4.  While Knowledges may seem like the natural fit to start, I am going to begin with the Primary in Talents, Secondary in Knowledges, and Tertiary in Skills. In Talents, we will spread out the points between Alertness, Insight, Streetwise, Subterfuge, and the Manage Talent! Since we can only start with 3 in any ability, we will put Manage at 3, Alertness at 1, and the rest at 2.  Mandy’s fascination with Street Fighting manifests in her three ranks of both Arena and Style Lore with 2 ranks in Finance from her previous career. Finally, a rank in Drive and Security means two ranks in Bookie round out the Abilities. Her free rank of Linguistics for the campaign will be Italian.

In exchange for the skills, the Manager only knows 4 Techniques and 3 Special Maneuver points to start. That makes it easier for sure on this part where a little block, a little punch, and a few athletics are quickly disposed of. That means the starting Techniques will be Punch 1; Kick 0; Block 1; Grab 0; Athletics 2; and Focus 0.

Her starting maneuvers are simple- Jump(1) and Elbow Smash(2)! Because Managers do not get a formal “Style” for Street Fighter purposes, they are limited to buying Special Maneuvers that are available to “Any” style at that point cost.

Backgrounds get an enhancement for Managers as well starting with 8 instead of five.  Staff and Backing at 3 are good starts and Contacts of 2 quickly deal with the starting 8 points.  I plan to spend some more in the Freebie point section, but for now this will be a good start. The Backing is definitely internal and coming from her company, running the whole Stable, for the Team and the Staff reflects not just Transmarco provided employees but also independent contractors Mandy has signed for the purpose of the improving Palladion

It isn’t clear how much Renown a Manager should get, so I will put it at 2 with one point in Glory and Honor.  She won’t really have much chance to increase it since she shouldn’t be doing a lot of direct fighting, but we’ll record that anyway. Similarly, her starting Chi is 1 and Willpower 4 reflecting a lower total characters more likely to use those disposables in combat.  

With 5 Freebie points, I’ll raise Mandy’s Dexterity to 3 making her a bit better than most. Next, I am going to push her Manage to 4, add a rank of Computer, and a single Willpower rank for the next 5 Freebie Points.  The last five all go into Backgrounds! We add another 1 rank of Staff, 2 more ranks in Contacts, and 1 Ranks in Allies. Mandy has great connections that she uses to her fullest to get Palladion fights, cover the logistics of travel, and handle all those unglamorous things that go into trying to make it as a professional fighter. I decided not to give her Resources, or an independent source of wealth, but have her reliant on the Backing from her employer and to give her something to hold over the Team members.  

 

Advancement Notes

For fun, though, we are advancing the entire Team a bit to show how to develop the characters with Experience.  50 Experience gives us plenty to work with especially if we are not looking too deeply at Maneuvers and fighting! There are a smattering of skills Mandy needs to have or improve on to really fit into this Street Fighting World.  With experience, we can look to 1 Rank each of Intimidation, Investigation, and Mysteries (2XP each). Both Leadership and Publicist will go from nothing to 2 ranks as she learns how to boss around stubborn street fighters as well as what needs to happen to get the word out. (4XP each). Raising Subterfuge to 3 will also be a big help to Mandy. (4XP). Both Intelligence and Wits can get raises to 5 and 3 respectively further improving her managerial talents. (24XP).  

After enough fights, Mandy learns a combo for Block to Elbow Smash that can catch even Street Fighters unaware. (4XP).She should probably work on her Stamina and Blocking, but instead she has gotten better at hitting things raising her Punch Technique to 2 (3XP) as is her sometimes fiery way. That leaves us with a single XP with which we will raise her Chi to 2 even though she has no specific use for it just yet. (1XP)

 

Character Notes

Mandy seems like an All American Girl in so many ways.  She grew up in a suburb, had loving parents, got good but not too good grades in school, and went to college.  A small liberal arts college suited her well and she found a place where her natural intellect flourished and was challenged.  She completed college with only a minimal number of youthful indiscretions tha inevitable come from the folly of youth.

Mandy landed a good job using her English degree to proof and prepare grants for a non-profit.  It wasn’t necessarily challenging, but it was rewarding in its own way. She took the time here to go back to school and found a Masters Degree in Public Finance to be a fun addition to her skills.  From there, she went to work for another school as their Finance Manager. It was harder work than she had before and it certainly put her through her paces … but she couldn’t help but feel like she was not really living up to her potential.  She was facing ennui and boredom as she approached 30.

Things began to change for her when she fell in with the Circus Club at the School.  She started to take Circus Arts classes and learning how to use the aerial silks. It was freeing, liberating for her.  The bruises were worth it even when she had to answer awkward questions. She felt more at home than she had before. This was the gateway to Street Fighting.  

One of her fellow club members asked if she had ever seen the fights and unwittingly she went along.  When she realized it was an underground fighting ring, she expected a dark, dingy, and frightening experience.  While it was dark and a bit dingy, the fights were not so brutal or intimidating as she expected. There was a bit of class to this after all.  Mandy was hypnotized by the different styles of the Fighters and began spending more and more time sneaking off to watch the fights and taking her vacations to visit famous, or infamous, arenas around the world.

Her hobby eventually became too much to bear.  She had to get closer to the action. Putting her best foot forward, she left her job as a public finance manager and joined Transmarco, Inc.! She was eminently qualified from a technical standpoint to handle finances and logistics for teams, but it was her unabashed love for the Circuit and how she could spout off on the history of different styles that sealed the deal.  It may have taken another year or two before she got her first team, but Mandy is ready to take Palladion as far as she can.

It’s odd for her because she is nearly a decade older than everybody except Gunther.  The two of them sometime commiserate about the folly of youth where Mandy is often the Team Mom to Gunther’s Team Dad.  It seems like they are getting exciting and interesting assignments, like that one with the Count, but something isn’t quite right for her to put her finger on. It is in the quiet moments when she gets the most excited.  The quiet moments let her focus on being part of this hobby and joy that consumed her. In the quiet moments, Mandy grins the widest.

Mandy Sheet Here.

Palladion Overview Here.

Fillable Character Sheet from SFRPG.com

Capcom, Street Fighter, Final Fight, Metro City, The World Warriors, and the names and likenesses of the World Warriors are trademarked, copywritten, or both to Capcom Co., Ltd. The Storytelling System or Storytelling Game system are copyright White Wolf, Inc. This is a noncommercial fan work and no use of these copyrights or trademarks is meant to be or intended as a challenge of ownership.

Main Topic

NPCs are the bread and butter of GMs allowing us to flesh out a world and spur character development and interaction with our players. With that in mind, how do you go about fleshing out NPCs, especially on the fly?

 

First, remember to take notes as needed or delegate that to one of your players so you can keep it consistent.

 

Think Archetypes not stereotypes – When making characters on the fly for the PCs to interact with, be careful to avoid falling into stereotypes.  These are cheap ways to describe a character, but all too often end up derivative and sometimes insulting to the players.  Even in fantasy settings, avoid too many gruff gold-obsessed dwarves and instead look to archetypes to give you direction. Think about central casting ideas so you have a template for what would matter to a merchant, but deviate every so often.  Is this person a Hero, even if a low-level security guard?

 

Choose one or two distinguishing physical characteristics – Once you know what the basic contours of the NPC, pick a distinguishing physical feature or two when you describe them to the PCs.  It can be as simple as a redheaded and freckle-faced appearance or as subtle as a slightly shabby and oversized coat. Don’t be too specific or too subtle – this is to create a mental shorthand for you and the players to remember the NPC.

 

Choose one or two distinguishing interaction characteristics – By the time they get to speaking with the PCs, you need to know one or two interaction quirks that will set them apart.  One great example from Shadowrun is Max Foley’s constant use of the phrase “Amiright”. It is distinct (and infuriating). Do they only talk to certain characters because they are prejudiced against specific races? Are they upbeat and memorable?

 

A red headed dwarf with freckles at the guard shack who speaks with a valley girl voice is like totally more memorable than that lame-o gruffy mcgrufferson dwarf at every other guard post.  

 

After the session is over, remember to collect and collate these NPCs because recurring NPCs are a lot of fun and when you make memorable one, your PCs will seek them out again and again. Keep track of the name, location, archetype, physical quirks, interaction quirks, and any notable relationships/interactions with the PCs.  That’s a pretty short list, but you can expand on it if you are so inclined.

Stat Blocks

Zendead-

Jacobson

 

There is a man sitting at a back table in the coffee house. His fairly nondescript in his sport jacket and jeans. Not out of place in a university campus, though none of the other customers in here are university students or faculty. He looks to be in his mid 50’s with a horseshoe of hair that is light brown in color. He sports a close cropped beard and mustache. Why do you even notice him you ask?

Well you aren’t sure why you noticed him at first. Then the little things come more into focus. You notice that his phone is sitting near his hand but you don’t recognize it. As you look closer at the man himself you notice his jacket is embroidered with something that is not a pattern that sits still. You are sure it has moved since you saw him the first time.

What is going on? You aren’t sure. It seems like things don’t seem quite right now there almost looks like a heat shimmer around this man. You are not sure how but you are right in front of him. He looks up and you see the machinery in his eyes whirring into place. The voice that comes out next is smooth and cultured. “Welcome my name is Jacobson what can I help you with today?”

 

Joules-

The Mathomancer

Most people will ignore the weird,quiet guy; counting on his fingers and muttering to himself.  You really shouldn’t. I’d also recommend that you learn how to count in binary, octodecimal and hexidecimal.  It’s probably going to save your life in the future. Or at least give you a head start in booking it in the other direction

 

“Learn Binary?!” I hear you ask. “Why should I learn Binary?”

There’s too much to explain, so I’ll just sum up.

 

With the emergence of magic and the surge of technology the eventual merging of the 10 (little  binary joke there) became a foregone conclusion.

They’re called “mathomancers” colloquially and they are truly terrifying.  You see, all information that’s in the universe can be encoded in ones and zeroes.  Off and on. Yes and no. These Mathomancers are able to see all existence as a string of binary numbers. (As an aside, some more esoteric ones can see the world in base 8 or base 16… keep your electronics FAR away from those guys).  And through magic and willpower, they can change the string of numbers to whatever they want.

 

Perceiving the world as a string of ones and zeroes and having the ability to manipulate those strings puts a person on level with the gods.  Logic dictates that no human should have that kind of power. Mathomancers as a rule of thumb are creatures of almost pure logic, so hopefully common sense may be part of that mental package.  But since their emergence is quite recent, data proving this hypothesis is sadly nonexistent.

 

So if you see an individual muttering to himself and doing strange counting things with his fingers, back away slowly.  And if you get a message on your pad showing only the number “4,” count yourself lucky, immediately apologize then run like hell.  

 

For those that are unaware, you can count in binary on your fingers.  The number four is represented by an extended middle finger.

 

Guard-a-Manger

Paulie

 

Everybody needs a friend, and Paulie is just the man you need! He’s a little bit older, a little bit more worn, maybe around 50, but he doesn’t ask questions.  His salt and pepper beard is almost as memorable as the spiky mohawk he still sports. The most memorable thing about Paulie, though, is the twinkle in his eyes.  He veritably lights up every time you come around and he slaps you on the back always coming in for a hug.

 

His black leather jacket is weathered and studded with patches of bands and places long since gone.  Nevertheless, he flags down a round of beers and genuinely wants to know what has been happening in your life.  It’s hard to say why you trust Paulie so much, but he hasn’t let you down yet and seems to have no intention of doing so.  In fact, he can make some calls, show up with a van, or even give you a couch to crash on if you need it.

 

One day Paulie calls you up.  He actually seems a little panicked.  He didn’t know where else to turn. His day job is looking at him as a possible source of some problems.  He works remotely from home as a cutting edge computer programmer … and the code he develops for his employer has just shown up in a competitor’s product ….

Lexicon

Bijou      noun bi·jou  \ ˈbē-ˌzhü \

 

Definition of bijou
plural bijous or bijoux
1 : a small dainty usually ornamental piece of delicate workmanship : jewel
2 : something delicate, elegant, or highly prized

 

First Known Use: 1668

Origin and Etymology of bijou
French, from Breton bizou ring, from biz finger

 

Popularity: Top 40% of words

 

Closing remarks

Zendead- Polyhero Dice

 

Joules- Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep

 

Guard-a-Manger- Cyborg 009: Call of Justice

 

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

Design Notes

I wanted to touch some on the unfulfilled promise of the game and took a little deeper dive into a Duelist flavored build.  While Duelists are mentioned from the first book as one of the three Divisions and some weapons are given stats, Duelist maneuvers are never fleshed out or developed.  It required some house rules to work but that was easily doable because the game encouraged creation of new styles and maneuvers. When we get to the house rules for Duelist Techniques, I’ll explain what I did.

Once again, we start with Physical Attributes are the primary, but this time we focus on Dexterity for a significantly quick character at the expense of Strength. Marching across the sheet, Social Attributes are secondary with Charisma and Appearance getting bumps and a flat set of Mental Attributes for the Tertiary set.  The starting attribute scores are therefore Strength 2; Dexterity 5; Stamina 3; Charisma 3; Manipulation 2; Appearance 3; Perception 2; Intelligence 2; and Wits 2.

For his Abilities, we will go with Talents primary again but make Knowledges secondary and Skills tertiary.  The first thing in Talents is to get three ranks in Cooking for her background as a cook. Following that with two ranks in Instruction reflects the need to teach newer cooks what to do on the line.  We round out the Talents with a rank each in Alertness, Insight, Streetwise, and Subterfuge. In Skills, two ranks of Leadership follow the Cooking background with a rank each in Security, Stealth, and Survival. Her knowledges are two ranks in Medicine and Science plus an extra rank in Linguistics from her job as a Cook and two more ranks of Investigation to reflect her curious nature. With her free rank in Linguistics plus the additional rank taken, she also speaks Spanish and Portuguese

For starting Techniques, we are going to stretch them a little thinner than the others because we are also using the Knife Technique as a Duelist.  Two ranks each in Punch, Kick, and Knife leave us with just enough to know how to Block and how to Move to start. That means the starting Techniques will be Punch 2; Kick 2; Block 1; Grab 0; Athletics 1; Focus 0, and Knife 2.

With Western Kickboxing, we’ve got a nice array of starting maneuvers including my favorite – Flying Knee Thrust! We will add a Double Hit Kick, Spinning Backfist, and Jump maneuvers to the starting options. For combos, we start with Flying Knee Thrust to close the distance into a Double Hit Kick as a dizzy combo which you can see unfold in your head as you read this..

As a Duelist, we also have a Spinning Back Slash maneuver, which is the Spinning Backfist maneuver using the Knife technique.  For the House Rules I am using, if you choose a maneuver for your weapon use that is the same as a maneuver you already have (and it fits what you Style), I let you buy the maneuver for a single additional power point. If you are buying a duelist maneuver without having the non-weapon based maneuver, it is full price.  This is similar to the progression available for the Dashing Punch followed by Dashing Uppercut maneuvers. The weapon Technique replaces the primary Technique, usually Punch or Kick, for prerequisites. We will use this more as we go with advancement.

The two most important backgrounds for Georgia are going to be Contacts and Allies.  She is going to be able to call people up and hear things like others won’t from her background and connections.  In debating between increasing her contacts and giving her a low level of resources to start, I went back and forth until ending up on increasing the Contacts to three for more interesting roleplaying potential.

Despite appearing to be similar on the surface to Georgia, she is actually split like Gunther with 2 Honor and 1 Glory to start.  You have to keep your word in the food industry and she has a reputation of doing just that, even if it comes with a side of truth telling everybody doesn’t always want to hear !

For the Freebie points, I’m going to max out Willpower first. With the remainder of the Freebie points, I will raise her Wits and Strength to Three each to just keep things well rounded and be able to focus on Techniques or Maneuvers with the Advancement XP.

 

Advancement Notes

For fun, though, we are advancing the entire Team a bit to show how to develop the characters with Experience.  50 Experience gives us plenty to work with. The first several purchases are all for techniques, bringing Block, Athletics, and Knife up to 3 each for 9XP, 9XP, and 6XP respectively. Adding the Axe Kick (8XP) and a Spinning Slashes (12XP) based on the Spinning Knuckle maneuver gets us to a total of 44XP. The last few XP will go into Abilities where I believe she is well served with two ranks in Interrogation for 4XP and raising her Awareness to two ranks for 2XP.

The Axe Kick provides a high damage signature maneuver she can use without needing to drop her knife or knives while the Spinning Slashes is a worthwhile signature for her weapons and lets her evade projectiles while using it.  The Axe Kick provides a really good 10 Damage Pool for a relatively low strength character that can be used without Willpower of Chi expenditures and can be used while also using the Knives. The Spinning Slashes is based off of Cammy’s Spinning Knuckle maneuver that not only has a great ability to cover distance, provides two damage resolutions, but also can evade projectiles like fireballs and sonic booms, but does cost Willpower to use. For now, she hasn’t learned how to use it without the knives, but that is something she could ease into later.

 

Character Notes

Some people are destined to end up as a Street Fighter … others merely end up as a Street Fighter. Georgia is one of the latter, never one thought to be part of that drive, that determination, that type of world.  Georgia’s life was for lack of a better world mostly normal. She had her friends and her world; she made mistakes and had triumphs. Growing up in South Carolina made for a pretty good life for her. Georgia took her mother’s love of cooking and was making a life of that, despite her lack of formal training.

Then she received a cancer diagnosis.

It wasn’t easy, but she came through it.  Being nearly broken by cancer gave he a chance to put things back together.  She paid more attention to what she actually ate, started exercising to keep her strength up, and let her hair down figuratively.  Embracing life fully after the cancer was in remission, Georgia found out that she actually liked exercising and easily fell into Kickboxing as a way to get even more out of life.

Surprisingly enough, she was talented and driven in her Kickboxing and started to make a name for herself when she started fighting.  Her previous life had some basic self defense training, but this was something different, something special now that she saw life a bit more brightly.  The knife skills she was taught as an aside, starting with how to disarm a knife wielding attacker, ended being easily folded into her skills. Being a cook, holding a knife came naturally to her.        

It wasn’t long before the hard charging cook wanted more of a challenge than she found on the line.  Cooking was fulfilling and bringing her family’s lowcountry recipes – ask her to make Shrimp and Grits if you get the chance – to more people was invigorating.  It wasn’t as invigorating as the Street Fighting circuit. With a great story, and striking look, it was easy to find someone putting a team together.

She had already made a lot of friends doing this, so maybe she could make some money too.  Being added to Palladion gave her the chance to make a name for herself while still able to have some protection and friends. She finds herself constantly ribbing Gunther, as his Team Dad persona is just asking for a rebellious kid.  She and Bombastic also tend to be the ones to get into trouble, but glory is glory and a party is a party for now! Emanuel may be a kid, but that kid has a good head on his shoulders so Georgia’s sticking with it for now.

In the ring, Georgia wears a two piece ensemble with slightly loose fitting pants giving her a full range of motion for her kicks with a top inspired by a chef’s coat with it’s double breasted buttons and three quarter sleeves.  The yellow coat over the checked pants are pretty bright and hard to miss while she keeps her hair cut short, and tattoos that peak out from the edges of the coat.

Georgia Sheet Here

Palladion Overview Here.

Fillable Character Sheet from SFRPG.com 

Capcom, Street Fighter, Final Fight, Metro City, The World Warriors, and the names and likenesses of the World Warriors are trademarked, copywritten, or both to Capcom Co., Ltd. The Storytelling System or Storytelling Game system are copyright White Wolf, Inc. This is a noncommercial fan work and no use of these copyrights or trademarks is meant to be or intended as a challenge of ownership. 

Main Topic

Every game has that moment – a player calls or texts and work, life, or just general malaise prevents them from making a game.  What do you do? What do you do?!

 

We’ve all been on Actual Play podcasts and those losses are felt distinctly when recording.  The first question is what to do with the character and the second whether something needs to be done with the player.  For the character, you need to have them take a step back at the least without a player there to control.

Send the character on an errand or scouting mission

Befuddle the character with a magical or pharmaceutical enfeeblement

Turn the character into an NPC for a night

Time Hops

Ignore it entirely.

Each of these options has its pluses and minuses.  The scouting mission or errands allows the character’s continuity to continue and lets the group accomplish something “offstage, but is difficult when in the middle of an encounter.  Befuddling a character is fun but works best if the rest of the players get to undertake a way to free that PC by next game. The NPC for a night is a good option when you are in the midst of a fight, but doesn’t give much in the way of role playing strengths for the other characters.  Finally – ignore it and the character. Meh.

 

For the player – is it truly a once in a blue moon event?  If so, there isn’t much to worry about. If it happens regularly, you may need to make some adjustments.  Can you change when the game is scheduled with the whole group to minimize the interruptions? Is there something about the game that the player is not enjoying any more?  This is where our repeated calls for communication with the players come in. Talk, ask. Listen.

 

Stat Blocks

Zendead-

Salcik the Great- Have you ever seen a specimen of physical perfection? Well feast your eyes on Salcik the Great. Is he well no but he is fit. Why is he out here? That is not something he is likely to ever tell you the truth about. Has his last contract ended well? Very possible but then why is he out here so far from civilization all alone.

Salcik is a man in his late 20’s standing just over 6 feet tall. He is well muscled but not without flaws. His armor is battered and dinged. His sword is the only thing that seems to not have been a hand me down. How did he get here? Does he want to be doing anything else?

 

Joules-

 

Guard-a-Manger

Hraknoth’s Fruitcake

Mmmm, it is the time of the year for fruitcake.  As the temperatures drop, that particular combination of preserved fruit, baked goods, and hard liquor has few rivals!  Hraknoth is a famous ork whose fruitcake is legendary – first because few orks actually take up baking; second because he distills his own orkish whiskey aged in charred barrels of elven wood; and most importantly because of its magical properties.  

 

We all know that fruitcakes when doused in brandy and liquor will keep their nutrition for years, but Hraknoth’s has been around for decades.  Every year or two, a new group finds it …. And eventually has to eat some of it. It is delicious – a masterwork of fruity, rich, and intoxicating flavor that will carry you through a cold and chill night.  Strangely enough, each morning it is complete no matter how much you ate, so long as one crumb is left. An eternally regenerating fruitcake.

 

The insidious part, though, is that it grows on you.  No, no. Figuratively. You crave the fruitcake. You want nothing but the fruitcake.  It is the only thing that tastes remotely right …. And you understand why the orkish tradition is to eat only a bite at a time, not a slice.  The wisdom of the orks may have come too late for you but there is a way to break this curse, this insidious drive, this compulsion.

 

Can you eat the entire fruitcake in one sitting with no crumb left behind?

 

Can you?

Lexicon

Dauphin    noun, often capitalized  dau·phin \ ˈdȯ-fən , ˈdō- ; ˌdō-ˈfaⁿ \

 

Definition of dauphin
: the eldest son of a king of France

 

Origin and Etymology of dauphin
Middle English dolphin, from Anglo-French dolphyn, from Old French dalfin, title of lords of the Dauphiné, from Dalfin, a surname

 

First Known Use: 15th century

 

Popularity: Bottom 40% of words

 

From 1350 to 1830, dauphin was the title given to the eldest son of a king of France, or the heir apparent to the French crown. The title was established by the royal house of France through the purchase of lands known as the Dauphiné in 1349 by the future Charles V. The Dauphiné was a region and former province in what is now southeastern France. It was sold to King Philip VI of France and ultimately became a grant of land to the eldest son of the French king, who assumed the title (dauphin) attached to the land. The area had a quasi-independent status until it was annexed to France in 1457.

Closing remarks

Zendead- The Orville on Fox

 

Joules- The Nonary Games

 

Guard-a-Manger- Carmina Burana by Carl Orff

 

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