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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Semi-Victorian Look for a Cortex Character Sheet

Last night there was nothing on the idiot box that I really wanted to watch, so while reruns of NCIS played (still enjoyable even in reruns), I noticed my copy of the Cortex rules on the shelf beside my recliner and decided to put together a (sort-of) Victorian looking character sheet.

It doesn't go with any current projects, it's just one of those, "Oooh, Squirrel!" moments that I have from time to time.  :D

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My Employers are very cool. . .

For ages, I've been buying a new spiral bound notebook whenever I start a new project, and I've wound up with large numbers of these things around the house, usually with notes that could relate to whatever new project my GM ADHD has led me to, but they've not been organized, and half the time I forget to even write on the outside of them what is inside.

Now, bearing in mind that I work as a graphic designer for a printing company, I feel a bit stupid for just having come to the conclusion yesterday that what I need are some specialized binders, marked to where I can easily locate them (because I also have lots of 3 ring binders that aren't labeled either :P)

I put together three covers for 2 inch binders for the three most common genres that I work on (I named the Sci Fi one Stars Without Number rather than generically calling it SciFi, because I like both the name and the game) and asked our plant manager to have the bindery guys put me together a set of binders.

The artwork I used is hijacked from various PDF books that I own, or from innumerable places on the internets and none of it is my original artwork, I don't have permission to use it and I'm not challenging anyone's copyrights.  I chose the art to use these for my own personal use and because I liked the images.  Consider it a compliment and a tribute if your artwork is here.  (there, that's my feeble attempt at a legal CYA statement)

Below are the results.

Stars Without Number Worlds Phang-Shu and Zulu

I'm slowly creating some worlds for Stars Without Number, using the random generation tables found in the book.  I really like these tables.  As I roll results, I start thinking of things that will work with them.

I'm working today, but it's mostly babysitting our plotters while I run out a figurative ton of display covers for a client, so I've got a bit of free time as I work.   I did the following two worlds.  I've not done an extensive history or background for either one yet.  I'll just be posting the basics that I've gotten from the tables and after I've detailed a sector, I'll go back and work on histories and relationships between worlds in the sector.




Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ubiquity NPCs for the Shattered Moon Game

I ran my Ubiquity powered version of the Shattered Moon setting this past Sunday in the conference room at my office.  I had four of our normal usual players :P.  The characters played were Delman Stevens, Dutch Maroni, Jack Wagner and Professor Malloy.

I started them off on board a Tramp Steamer sailing up the coast of Africa from Cape Town to Casablanca.   Somewhere southish of Liberia, a sudden and eerie storm blew up.

All of the players had their characters head for safety down below, so I was unable to have anyone washed overboard, however, when the ship struck the inevitable rocks and began to sank, the player of Delman Stevens managed to roll NO Successes on a Dexterity check and slammed his head into the bulkhead, getting tangled up in his hammock as a bonus.

Everyone managed to get off the ship, Delman getting hoisted out of a hatch (and sliding down the tilting deck into shark-infested waters where he regained consciousness).   The players for the Professor and Dutch were late arriving, so I had the others make their necessary rolls for them.  The Professor fell off the ship and was washed ashore, being found shortly before the player arrived.   Dutch, being difficult to stun, managed to follow Jack Wagner and they both jumped into the waters and swam for the dimly seen shore as the ship slipped farther down into the waters.

The trio recovered a few random items from the debris on shore (I had printed up a whole stack of cards and reached into them at random every time they found something.  They got lucky, most of the stuff they found was quite useful).

After seeing purple lightning hit the same spot half a dozen times in the distance, and seeing (or not seeing as they insisted) large tentacles come up out of the water around the sinking ship, Jack, Dutch and Delman stumbled into some nearby trees and built a rough lean-to, gathered some coconuts and settled in to sleep.

While Delman stood watch, he managed to make friends with a small tribe of monkeys, one of whom threw a can of pork and beans at him.     He had Dutch take over the watch after a few hours, who, since he had no player present to guide him, fell asleep on watch.  The group awoke in the morning sunshine, with monkeys curled up next to them.

After a breakfast of Pork and Beans and coconut, the group managed to scare off a wild boar, find a few more useful items (including another half dozen cans of pork and beans), and find the Professor.

Traveling further into the island, they encounter a huge hole leading into the depths of the earth, a cliff face with a huge skull carved from it, lava running from one eyehole and into the hole in the ground.

Climbing up onto the plateau, they avoid some of the local wildlife and hear jungle drums and automatic gunfire.

To shorten the story a bit (I know, too late), they find Cannibal Natives, Thugs of the Thule Society, a rival Archaeologist, and the Mentor of Professor Malloy (who is being forced to help while the thugs threaten his lovely daughter).

Convincing the Cannibals to help them against the Nazis Thulians, they rescue the girl, head into the nearby caves where the professor is leading them to the Atlantean Weather Control machine that the Nazis Thulians want to control themselves.

The players stumble upon a shortcut through the complex, bypassing the traps the other group is having to navigate and crossing over a river of lava to reach the back door to the Weather Control machine just as the bad guys are arriving at the front door.

A brief but very pulpish fight leaves our heroes victorious.  They set the Maguffin to self-destruct and make haste for the Thulian boat, leaving as the island explodes and sinks in Bondian fashion.

I wrapped it up with them arriving ashore in a small trading post on the Liberian coast as their boat finally sinks from the beating it took when the island exploded.

Below are images of the character handouts I gave the players, plus the ones for the two unchosen characters.

oh, and the 'Attitude Track' and Resolve score are a mechanic for social conflict that I lifted from Rogue Games Shadow, Sword & Spell Game


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Running a game set in my Shattered Moon Setting

Both of our M&M GMs are unavailable this Sunday, so I asked our crew what they thought about my running a one off set in the Shattered Moon setting.  They were up for it and asked for me to do it using Ubiquity, as my last campaign they all played in was powered by Ubiquity.

I gave everyone the option of creating a character background or using pregens.   I received one background by the deadline I set and the following are the backgrounds of the pregens I'll be making available to them. . .

You are Roger Ballew, but you introduce yourself as Rango.  You have achieved some fame back home
in Tennessee as a horse trainer, and have spent a small amount of time in Arizona training horses for
a wealthy rancher.  Mr. Purvis was the one who asked you if you’d be interested in visiting South Africa and training some horses for his friend Mr. Haedaeker, on his ranch outside Cape Town.
You have spent the last few months there and decided it was time to leave and see what else you could
see before you had to head home.   You managed to get a ride on this old steamer and have spent the past few days hanging over the rail, watching the coast of Africa slide by.



==============================
========

You are Professor Carl Malloy, formerly of Harvard University.  You had been on the teaching
staff for a year when you made the mistake of sharing your theories about Atlantis with a
colleague, Professor Thelma Moore.  She not only was rude enough to laugh at your theories and
dismiss them outright, but then she began a campaign against you with the board of Regeants.

You were ‘encouraged’ to take an extended sabbatical and do some field research to either prove
your theories or to (and you felt this was the consensus of the board) come to your senses and
remember that you are a man of science, not some yellow journalist.

You’ve been following the trail of information where it took you, and most recently spent some time
studying some old ruins outside of Cape Town, South Africa.  They yielded some interesting inscriptions and you are headed towards Casablanca and then possibly into the Atlas Mountains, if you can get enough funds to outfit a small expedition.



======================================

You are Mongo the Magnificent, acrobat extraordinaire and world traveler.  The circus you were
most recently touring with was performing in Cape Town, South Africa when several of the clowns
got caught picking pockets among the rubes while in town.  You barely managed to escape the
police as they raided the circus yard, and you gave every last cent you had on you to the captain
of this smelly Trawler that is heading north up the coast of Africa.  You heard someone say that
the boat was making landfall in Casablanca.  Perhaps you can pick up some kind of work there,
or at least perform in the streets and caf├ęs to make enough coin to buy passage somewhere better.


=========================================

You are Raymond “Dutch” Maroni, you coulda been a contender.  Instead, you are working as
a grease monkey on some smelly tramp steamer sailing up the coast of Africa.  You had a promising
future as a boxer, you were making a name for yourself in New York and then you accepted that
fight in Boston.  Your opponent was a Mick who called himself “Boom Boom” O’Malley.  Turned out
Boom Boom had something loose in his head and when you hit him with your uppercut and he
went down, he didn’t get back up.   The boxing commission and the cops cleared you, but you will
never forget the look of horror on Stella’s face or on the face of O’Malley’s family.   You left the
country, hiring out your strong back and your mechanic skills while you seek some form of
redemption for what you did.  Maybe something will turn up for you in Casablanca.

===============================================

You are Detective Delman Stevens, of the Boston Police Department.  You’ve been a Detective for
three years, having worked your way up from walking a beat.  You take pride in the fact that you are
an honest cop and a good cop, in a city where both are a bit hard to find.   Your boss, Chief O’Hara,
assigned you to deliver a fugitive to South Africa, which you did a few days back.  You sailed over on a
Steamer that was delivering Cotton from Georgia to Cape Town, but the Chief gave you a ticket
voucher for the Cunard lines for a Steerage passage from Cadiz, Spain back to New York City.
The Cape Town police chief got you passage on this Tramp Steamer that is heading to Casablanca,
and told you it shouldn’t be difficult for you to get to Cadiz from there.
You’ve been enjoying the sea air as you travel up the coast of Africa. 
 ============================
=============================

The following is the background for the fellow that submitted one.  it's going to give us two 'cops' but they have a very different feel, so I'm leaving Detective Stevens in the pick choices.

Jack Wagner was a cop. But not just any cop. Jack was the cop in his precinct. He breezed through the Academy due to his past military experience and hit the ground running. At only two years in the force he had more commendations and medals than most officers with 3x as much tenure. At 3 years he made detective. 4 years ... he was the go-to-detective for all the hard cases that came across the police chiefs desk. For 6 years Jack grew into the consummate lawman. He knew procedure, he knew investigating, and he knew how to catch the hard criminals. It was at his 10 year mark, where he had just won the city's annual firearms competition for the tenth straight year, when a case came across his desk that no other detective in his precinct, or the city for that matter, could catch. They called him 'The Clown Killer'. His victims were usually all young girls. The deaths were brutal, bloody, and heinous. At every scene there was a small clown doll sewn into the victims skin and a note taunting the police. Jack took the case with every intention of catching this maniac by weeks end. He had friends and family with young children and it hit close to home. It would end up being the case that changed his life ... for the worse.

The case ended up consuming him for the next 2 years. Over the course of that time there were 10 more victims attributed to The Clown Killer. Each one hit Jack harder and harder. His inability to capture this brutal killer weighed more and more heavily after each body was found. It began to affect his work ethic and he began to drink. It was only through meeting a woman named Sarah Monroe and falling in love that Jack got a bit of his old swagger back and began to really zero in on the killer. Unfortunately ... Jack had long ago gotten the attention of the Clown Killer. Jack had gotten far closer to capturing the psycho than anyone had ever gotten before. Now ... it seemed he was closer than ever. The Clown couldn't have that. In retaliation ... The Clown broke his own trend of going after young girls and zeroed in on Sarah. Jack's love interest. In a showdown of epic proportions The Clown brutally, and publicly, killed Sarah Monroe before Jack could rescue her. Her death devastated Jack and he immediately resigned from the force. He then began a long stint of drifting ... just moving from place to place ... taking odd jobs here and there ... trying to escape his past ... escape his pain. Through the bottle or through the miles. Either way he didn't care.

It's here that he finds himself on a tramp steamer heading to Morocco, Casablanca. He almost couldn't remember why the hell he was on the ship. The only thing was that he knew there was a job waiting there for him. He needed cash and his unique skills were highly valued in international circles. Protection/bodyguard details, black ops work, tracker, investigator  ... whatever you needed Jack would do for the right price. Whatever kept him in the booze and constantly moving. It was the only way to dull the pain.
I'll post images of the completed character records after Sunday's game, and a brief overview of what happened.