Chaos Monks, First Session

“Chaos Monks” is a turducken of awesome. Take the Mad Monks of Kwantoom, make it a walled off city within the Yellow City at the mouth of the God River in Yoon-Suin, then use the Maze Rats rule set to run it.yoon-suin

We started out with three characters. Chi-Ling (Iris) and Paito (Simon) were counterfeiters with a well-run operation, and Tai Shiro Long (Shaun) was the street performer who was a lookout on the street outside. The authorities arrested them and threw them in the dungeon, and in the same dungeon a warlock finished his incantations scrawled on the walls of his cell and summoned a demon. In the resulting chaos explosion, only these three survived, and they were changed  somewhat by the experience.

Now when things are too orderly they feel a pressure, an irritation and pain, like tinnitus, that ebbs in the presence of chaos and swells in the presence of law. Our game starts with them camped by a shrine to the Dreaming One, a god-like kraken that lives in the Azure Sea beyond the Gulf of Morays. He squats, with a tentacled face and stubby folded wings, and near that statue the noise of Law is blessedly quiet.

cthulhu0031As for the equipment, they were heading towards being blackout drunk when a nearby pawn shop had a going-out-of-business sale, and when they regained their senses, they had a variety of treasures that they JUST HAD TO HAVE the night before–lengths of chain, handfuls of iron spikes, a packet of medicine, and so on.

Choyshu, the First Crappy Village

They stroll in to see some local grubby bullies from a martial arts school beating up on one of the monk pilgrims. Chi-Ling brashly pushed through the middle of the knot of bullies to get to the well, while the others circled around, but now they had the bully’s attention.

So the martial artist says something rude, and Tai Shiro Long just unloads on him and destroys his head with a brutal martial arts assault. Abandoning the pilgrims, the bullies whipped our their weapons and attached the chaos monks, killing Tai Shiro Long immediately.

Witnessing this death was oddly liberating and transformative to one of the pilgrims, Karasu (Shaun), who leaped into the fray. The three chaos monks slew the martial arts bullies without a scratch (if you don’t count poor Tai Shiro Long.) Karasu took Tai’s gear.

The townspeople celebrated, relieved to be free of the martial arts school bullies, and they gave the chaos monks a feast (though the mayor did observe that to prevent a ghost from rising, it would be an expensive 1 gp funeral for each corpse.) They couldn’t pay for that, but the mayor said he’d cover it if they’d help his cousin, who was the mayor of a coastal village one day’s travel away. They agreed.

A Rough Night

That night they bedded enthusiastic locals in the barn. Paito had a great night, as did Karasu–but Karasu’s lover was in a relationship with a burly woman who came after him with a pitchfork, and he managed to evade that situation while the cheating woman tried to get her lover to calm down.

Chi-Ling was not so fortunate. She woke up with no clothes or gear. Her fellow monks helped her cobble an outfit together, and asked around to find out her lover was Choy, the miller. They grimly headed to the mill-pond.

Choy was wearing Chi-Ling’s fancy clothes and practicing with her fang staff, feeling very smug about his theft. Chi-Ling charged him, but missed, and as he ran she chased him until she had him cornered–and he stabbed her right through the heart with her own fang staff.

As she fell, something snapped in Choy’s long-suffering wife (Iris), who saw this transpire from inside the house. She had enough of her cheating man! She caught up the cleaver she’d been using to prepare the duck, and ran from the house, assaulting Choy. He managed to dodge her attacks, and with a swipe, he cut her down too!

Surrounded by dead women, he felt a change come over him, a strange openness to chaos. He appealed to the other monks, he could go with them, as their numbers were down and he couldn’t stay here after this. They shrugged and agreed, eating Choy’s wife’s food before taking Choy (Iris) with them on the road (still wearing the dead monk’s fancy ladyclothes and carrying her fang staff.) Let the mayor provide a funeral for two more corpses.

Sazhang, the Second Crappy Village

They arrived at a tent settlement at a crossroads, and found it was the village of Sazhang but moved two miles inland and living in tents. They saw the mayor from the last town, but it wasn’t him, it was his cousin, the mayor of this town.

He told them that a big specimen of crabbish (crab man) had wrecked their fishing boats and trashed their houses, and now guarded their village’s strip of beach so crabs could thrive there. They agreed to sort it out–in the morning. So the mayor let them sleep in a hunter’s tent. He was their best hunter, but a snake got him in the jungle that morning, so his tent was available.

The next morning they headed to the beach. First Paito talked to the mayor, asking for rags and oil so he could make flaming arrows. The mayor gave him a sack of dirty undergarments and a bottle of oil, so Paito made some oil (and mayor) soaked arrowhead wrappings.

They saw the wrecked houses and boats, and crabs scuttling everywhere. Paito’s plan was to climb up in the highest house wreckage and cover the other two, while they lured the crabbish out of hiding by starting a fire near the waterfront using the rest of the oil and rags.

Crabbish

By Cedric Plante

 

So as Choy and Karasu walked along the waterline, Paito climbed up to the only second-story wreckage and kept an eye out. He saw the crabbish approach from the water, then breach, roaring, to charge. Paito loosed arrows at it while the other two ran to find netting in the wrecked fishing boats to help slow this thing down. The crabbish (who had gems glinting in its carapace) started battering the ruined house so Paito shot a few arrows, then slid down from the high point using his rope. As he sprinted through the wrecked village, the infuriated crabbish chased him, while the other monks were safely out of range at the waterfront.

 

Which was the exact OPPOSITE of Paito’s plan.

He ran out of village wreckage to duck through, ending the crabbish’s disadvantage to shear him in half with its massive claws. However, the other monks found netting by this point,and hurled it over the crabbish. Choy used his fancy footwork and fast hands to loop netting over broken stumps of house pylons, while Karasu flexed his mighty muscles. Together, they distracted and slowed the crabbish as it continued trying to kill Paito.

As the crabbish bucked and struggled to tear the net and escape, they sensed the ghostly hands of the fisherman who wove the net (and was killed by the crabbish) helping hold it together, aiding them as they sought vengeance for his death. (Just some flavor when the dice were lucky.)

But the net couldn’t hold, and as the crabbish furiously wrecked everything around it, they fell back for a moment before closing in for the final flurry of violence that slew the massive beast. They wasted no time in prizing the gems out of its shell.

By the time they fetched the village to enjoy the feast, the crabs had swarmed the crabbish and eaten most of it; but they were easy to catch by the bucketful, so everyone still feasted. And the monks offered up a ritual to help those slain on the beach rest easy.

The Shrine of Order

They bought bows and arrows with some of the spoils, and headed onward. One night they all had bad dreams of a very tidy shrine, and its very orderly guardian, harshing the organic churning of their thoughts with painful pattern and rigidity. As they discussed this dream in the morning, finding that they all had the same dream, the innkeeper told them about a nearby Shrine of Order with its guardian of law. They decided they needed to take a look.

warrior-of-orderA perfumed eunuch from Kwantoom was going there too, taking an important message and flanked by guards. They steered clear of him, approaching from the bog side, infiltrating and using the grappling hook and rope to climb up on the wall.

They saw the four shrine servants, and the armored champion of law doing katas in heavy armor while the bored eunuch waited to talk to him. But we can’t disrupt the schedule, can we?!

They got out their bows, and lined up to fire in ambush all at once. They loosed the shafts, which sailed through the air but were subverted by the forces of order, landing around the champion in a perfect triangle of misses!

The chaos monks just couldn’t handle it, so they scarpered down the rope and retreated into the swamp, shaken by their brush with order that overwhelmed their puny resistance.

Kwantoom

kwantoomThey arrived in Kwantoom. Ever the thrifty sorts, they headed to Kuan Loon, the trashed and poor part of the city. Trying a shortcut through a basement (they could see light on the other side, what could be the harm?) they disturbed a nest of cobras. Fortunately they were able to back out carefully, and not engage.

Karasu chatted up a visiting mercenary who was familiar with the area, asking after where they could buy makeup (because Choy Crabbreaker wanted some.) The friendly mercenary directed them to the Palace of the Red Glove, on the other side of the fighting pits.

While they headed that way, a cabbage merchant’s cart broke, spilling cabbages everywhere. They jumped back, but bumped into three seriously ugly warriors, who snarled at them in a language they didn’t understand. Karasu managed to stare them down without escalating to violence, and they decided they liked him. They gave him a medallion that matched their sword hilts; even though he didn’t speak their language (and wasn’t sure what they were) he was their new boss.

They bought some drinks in the Palace of the Red Glove, and while Choy was getting makeup and new clothes, the bartender explained to Karasu that his new friends were hobgoblins, and he was their mercenary boss–and good luck.

Maybe it was time to return to the Shrine of Order.

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Guns of Telluria: The Rising

greater kc rpg day I ran a session of Guns of Telluria (Into the Odd) for the game day. I barely managed two players, and in the afternoon I had no players.

  • “Jeb.” (Shaun) He was recon in the army, but since he quietly left without saying goodbye, he didn’t share his name around. He was a survivor of the death run on the Soot King in Topeka; best let everyone think he died. He also had a porter, Jim Jackson, a man with a great mustache.
  • Peter Henson. (Jason) This poor bastard was experimented on by the fey, they rendered his skin translucent so they could see what was going on in there. He’s still kind of see-through, which people find off-putting.

These veterans of the Tellurian War met up and travel together, both finding some companionship in the other despite their various troubles. In September 1922, they headed to the town of Pralis–or more accurately, to the tent city called Refuge, where the inhabitants of Pralis went for about a week.

The Rising

Every two years the fish people rise out of the lake and kill everything in Pralis, torching the buildings and running amok. The town developed a response of leaving for that easily predictable weekend, then returning after the fish folk slope off under the water, safe for a couple more years.

They headed to Pralis because Peter’s twin brother Arthur lives in town. Arthur was the only one in Peter’s family who knows he’s still alive. Also, “Jeb” knew the mayor from way back, and he got a telegram that the mayor wanted his help.

Refuge

They arrived in the tent city, riding past the fire-and-brimstone tent revival led by Solomon Davis, who was preaching that this attack was just a front, and followers of Dagon (both fish-person and human like) were having big orgies under the cover of violence–he would take volunteers in to root out that abomination!

They also rode past Gabriella Turnstile’s camp. Her rich uncle’s will specified she could only take possession of the mansion and wealth if she did so during the Rising, so she was hiring defenders at $10 each (and the veterans signed on. They were going into town anyway, so why not?)

Finally, they got into the camp proper and found where Arthur’s tent was set up by his neighbors in town. He had not arrived, however. The neighbor girl, Minnie May from across the way, speculated he headed off to make sure the girl he was sweet on, a ceramics sculptor, was safe and he got caught in the Rising.

Meanwhile Jeb talked to the mayor, who tasked him with figuring out where these fish people were coming from so they could launch some sort of counter-attack when the time was right. And, also, to check on his inlaws in the stone tavern in the center of town; they fortified their place and refused to evacuate. Jeb saw the rolling armory, and met the sheriff, and was generally sworn in to help the town out.

Into Pralis

The next morning they traveled into Pralis with the fortified coach. They got a short distance into town when they were spotted by fish people, who attacked in force. Jeb was scouting ahead, but he managed to get back to the coach as Peter fired repeatedly from the cover of the coach roof fortifications. A thrown hatchet downed Peter, so Jeb grabbed him and cut a horse loose of the doomed carriage, barely escaping as his porter Jim and the whole expedition fell to the fishy grip of the attackers.

The fish people headed them off as they tried to reach the fortified stone inn with the mayor’s inlaws, the main defensible spot in town where some townsfolk stayed. Children with rifles helped snipe the way clear from the stone tower, and the veterans made it into the inn.

Finding the Twin

After consulting with the inn keeper, they determined he was okay. Before more time elapsed, they headed out through a trap door sally port to go rescue Arthur, Peter’s twin. They snuck through town, and managed to cross the bridge unseen as the fish people did some sort of weird looting through the district, building a raft with some items on it in the river.

They found the potter’s house, with a fish man inside. Jeb distracted the fish man so Peter could shank him, and they found a trap door with lots of supplies, Arthur, and the very pretty potter woman named Alana.

They thought about waiting it out there, but then horses approached. The veterans urged the potter and the twin to stay underground, and they stepped out to confront Reverend Davis and his crowd of heavily-armed do-gooders. They managed to convince the Reverend nothing untoward was happening here, and the Reverend rode on (sticking to the outskirts, not yet braving the town.)

The Mysterious Raft

Peter provided cover as Jeb approached the raft to see what the fish people were so happily collecting; weird, it was white dresses along with accessories like shoes and jewelry. Then Jeb was spotted, and he raced away, running after the preacher. He slowed down as needed to keep them on his trail, firing off the occasional shot to keep their interest. Then he managed to run them into the preacher’s crowd, and the fish people made short work of the zealots with the help of Jeb’s firebomb and judicious shooting.

Meanwhile Peter watched a few fish people finish loading the raft and tow it out to the lake.

They regrouped at the bridge and returned to the potter’s house to wait out the last day of the Rising.

Aftermath

When it was all over, the mayor gave Peter and Jeb $50 each (along with the $10 they got for riding shotgun on the coach.) The mayor speculated that the raft might be headed out to the stone ruins that appeared about the same time the fish people did (ancient ruins on a brand-new site.) Maybe there were clues there.

But for now, it was all over, and Arthur made them promise to stay and get some food, rest, and family time before continuing their adventures.

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A Year in Gaming, 2016

I got 94 games in, one more than last year. Maybe in 2017 I’ll hit 100! Let’s not get carried away.

The Friday Table

I wanted to get 20 sessions of Edge City in, and we sure did (right at 20.) The game has leveled out and I can see how to make it work for almost everyone at the table, so I’m going to keep that goal of another 20 Edge City sessions in 2017. If I can get more, I will.

My goal of leveling out and picking only a few games to run at the Friday table started out wildly unrealistic a few years back, then transitioned to too difficult, but momentum kept me pressing the number of games back, and in 2016 I can finally see how I might keep it down to 3 or 4 games.

My Friday table focused on Edge City and Axes and Anvils. We did have a number of other games briefly; we tried out an arc of old Warhammer, we had a couple sessions of The World Between for Fictive Hack, tried out some Dead of Night for a couple sessions, played Fictive Avengers as a present for a friend, and they helped test a couple sessions of the Black Space Hack.

Online, Running Games

Online, I ran Silent Legions for 4 arcs, totaling 16 sessions. That was going along really well and then people got busy and we didn’t schedule another arc, and we have continued not scheduling another arc.

I ran the last arc for the Unrecommendables using my Knives of Duskwall hack of Blades in the Dark, and by the time we limped across the finish line I got the feeling that game had run its course. No follow up planned.

I ran some Dead of Night online, as well as at the game table, and got a pretty good sense of how it runs. It is really structured for one shots and pacing is really tricky, so that was a great experiment but not going to find its way into the regular toolbox.

The Ghostbusters hack of Lasers and Feelings worked great, and if I had some Ghostbusters fans it would be a go-to for one shot or campaign play. But I don’t, really, so that one sits on the shelf. (This may be a good point to note that due to a crisis of confidence I went back through all the stuff I hung on the blog for people to check out and heavily pruned it back. Ghostbusters made the cut and got to stay.)

I made a hack of Star Wars d6 that looks really interesting on paper but didn’t work very well at the game table and needs either major work or a layer of dust. You can guess which it is getting.

The Black Space Hack was fun, and I have hopes it will come out in 2017.

I had some good times with Guns of Telluria, and I’m reaching the usual point in adaptation where I’m itchy enough that it makes more sense to transition to a similar rule set from the inspiration, but not use the inspiring rule set itself. Makes things cleaner for IP, and gives me a freer hand. That does set the project back some, but I was playing it more than developing it anyway, so I didn’t really have any momentum.

I must say, much of what I have from the OSR works REALLY well for Guns of Telluria. If your overall theme is poking through the wreckage left behind by a war between humanity at a WW I tech level and various fey courts, there is a lot of good stuff. Castle Gargantua, Vornheim (as a treaty city that didn’t go to war) and Barrowmaze (where Vornheim buries their rulers).  That’s just for a start.

I used Roll 20 more this year too, mostly hosting Guns of Telluria. I figured out some good techniques for using that site to bolster the effectiveness of presenting my game there. That’s always good.

I also tried Viewscream for the first time! I think everybody needs a practice run before they get a handle on how it is played, but the game is great and should get more play (in my opinion.) It is super low prep, and you basically need Hangouts and you can engage it.

Running For Game Day–Blades in the Dark

I ran quite a bit of standard Blades in the Dark, for 3 game days (total 7 sessions.) One of the days, I had a group of 4 in the morning, and all 4 came back and brought another for the afternoon session; that’s flattering. I look forward to the game coming out!

Games I Played

I got to play some games too. Shaun ran a session of Axes and Anvils for the Friday table. I got to check off two bucket list items this year online.

I also got to play 2 games of Blackmash with Bryan; I would like to have more of that!

I played Call of Cthulu for a couple sessions with Scott Dorward, and a session of Cthulhu Pulp. That was great, and playing with Scott online is a goal I’ve had for years! He did reduce one of the players to texting him threats during the game, which is something I haven’t seen before. Good stuff.

I also finally got to play in a game by Jack Shear online! I’ve adapted a lot of his material for other games, and adjusted it to fit my own sensibilities, so it was great to be actually in one of his inspiring games. It was D&D 5e in Krevborna for Gothic fantasy. I cycled through 3 characters across 15 sessions (only one of them died.) I can’t remember the last time I had that many sessions of a single setting in a year, so that’s pretty great.

A Bleaker Note

I just could not get a game of Lasers and Feelings together at all this year. That saddens me some, I admit.

My ability to get online games together has dried up altogether as well, in the last half of 2016. I had quite a few games I set up with a couple weeks notice that I just could not get two players together to confirm the time. All you really need are some good anchor players who want to play and have some flexibility, and then pulling in others around the edges (and them recruiting too) keeps you in enough players to play. If you can’t get and keep those anchor players, though, it’s rough out there.

I mean, I know people are busy, but you begin to wonder; is it me? Surely word of mouth about my games is good, people want in, right? Maybe not? It’s hard to get feedback from players that confirms or denies that sort of thinking.

Thanks to Players

So that transitions to a thank you to my players. Without you there would be no game sessions. Thank you for playing with me, and I hope to see you at my game table in 2017.

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One of my favorite Star Trek things ever.

Posting it here so I’ll always be able to find it.

My favorite Star Trek show is Enterprise, and I’m not sorry.

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Life Goes On

My friend Paul has been gone for four years now. My life is really different than it was four years ago.

The only things that come to mind as I reflect on that are too depressing to pass along.

Still, things loop around. When I went to the hospital with him the day before he died, I took my copy of Erdea Manor, prepping it to run. And I was in the final stages of putting out The World Between for Fictive Hack. Last night, I played The World Between for Fictive Hack run by a friend of mine. He ran an adapted version of Erdea Manor placed in Caligari in the fictional setting.

I’ve made some new friends, and deepened other friendships, but… Paul was not one in a million. Some cities have millions of people in them, and so could have several of Paul. He was the only one.

It is a deliciously dank and drizzly November day, and I realize I’m almost a month behind in specifically reflecting on his life. I lost him four years ago now. My own life has been chaotic this last month, with ups and downs. Sometimes I feel like Paul was the fourth engine on my jet; I can stay aloft with three, and fly in a straight line, but it’s a lot harder.

Next week is my first full week at the new job. As I’m settling in to a new set of circumstances even further from what Paul would recognize, I’ll bear him in mind. It’s not so much that he’s missing out on all the things I’m up to–no, it’s more that all the things I’m up to are missing out on him.

Rest well, my friend. As for me, I suppose I’ve still got some miles to go while I’m here.

Paul Memorial Portrait

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Domain Ruling Game Notes

An idea of a quick RPG based on negotiation and conflict.

First choose a frame. Clan elders of a dwarven settlement making policy decisions? An alliance of fantasy races settling disputes? A diplomatic hub where star empires negotiate treaties to end wars or settle trade disputes? A single warship’s crew, leading a rag-tag of survivors to a quasi-mythical new home?

Ratings are -1 for poor, 0 for normal, 1 for skilled, 2 for expert, and 3 for master.

Traits are Cunning, Inspiration, Organization, and Research.

Normally you roll d6 and add the appropriate rating based on the primary trait you use. However, circumstances can be bent. A good bend takes you up to d8 or even d10. A bad bend takes you down to d4 or d2.

If a total is 2 or more higher than what’s needed (status quo is 4, otherwise the opposing total, or overall scores in a group of competing characters) then you win. If the total is a tie, or within 1 of a tie, then fall back on your secondary method and roll again in the next phase, possibly adjusting the bend based on the appropriateness of the secondary method to the conflict.

In situations where rank applies, dice for authority figures can bend up one for each level of advantage. If that’s more than two, or combines with other factors to raise it above two, then the authority figure bends up two levels and the rest of the difference bends the other characters down.

(Duke Gyver is up against a knight, 2 levels lower, AND has popular support, so the Duke goes up to a d10 and the knight goes down to a d4.)

There are 4 phases: plan, discussion, implementation, and legacy.

The plan is built to have a rating of -1 to 3, and superior plans can bend the roll for the discussion phase and implementation phase. Using traits appropriate to roles, characters try to get their plan implemented (or assist others with sympathetic plans) by winning the discussion part.

If your plan is implemented, you get a renown point equal to the level of support of the body, from -1 to 3, depending on how much approval is behind it. (a little more tinkering to figure that out.)

Then you get renown again as part of the legacy phase; so, an unpopular project, botched in implementation, can be spun to come out as a renown positive to the one behind it if spin is properly managed.

Overall prestige and power are based on range bands of renown, though people are not always obligated to go up or down in rank. (Being in the wrong rank can bend your rolls,though.)

The way this works is to have tables made up in advance that involve complications for existing problems, and fresh problems. There is a 1 in 6 chance of a complication each phase (a 6 total on the roll), and a 1 in 6 chance of a fresh problem. Every phase that passes where neither happens, add +1 to the roll, until it is inevitable. So, every phase each plan and its supporters gets attention.

Each fresh problem has a “fuse” and each complication affects the length of the fuse for an existing problem.

Make sure there are lots of toys in the toybox. Disgruntled elements of the population, agitating idealists, foreign spies and saboteurs, sickness, windfalls from distant caravans, loss of key personnel, problems from nepotism, etc.

Make sure there are lots of crisis points. The volcano under our home will erupt. A plague has struck the city and is moving through it quickly. Our neighboring town was destroyed.

And each character has a fuse, too; how long can they serve before being replaced, or falling to age or illness?

Every plan a character is involved in is -1 to that character’s Organization rating for the duration. Every level of rank is -1 to Inspiration for the duration.

A session begins with a new crisis emerging, and the session ends when people are ready to stop taking turns to freeze the board (or deal with all crisis) until next time.

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“Blades in the Dark” Superpower Game Notes

Okay, so the chassis with fictional positioning remains (desperate, risky, controlled.) The failure, success with a complication, success, and critical success remains.

For superpowers, we need a frame story; an alien ship approached the Earth, tried and failed to communicate, and was hit by a massive nuclear arsenal. In the months following, a combination of the radiation and falling debris from the alien ship triggered unusual abilities all over the world. There. A single consistent point so we can expect a level of consistency for the base superpower rules.

Describing a Power

Powers must be bought, and they are described with traits in tiers. Each power gets Potency, Range, Flexibility, and Drain. For a first outing, give characters 30 points to buy powers.

Potency

  • Tier 1: something you could normally do, but now you can do it with a power.
    • Move an object, start a fire, hit someone, move faster, look around.
  • Tier 2: Something you could normally do with a special machine.
    • Move a big object, imitate military grade weapons, move like a car or plane, see through walls, telepathy.
  • Tier 3: Something you could normally do with a team and specialized machines.
    • Cargo craft, artillery, carpet bombing, space travel, resurrection.
  • Tier 4: Something humans can’t do yet.
    • Teleportation, mind control, create life, see the future.

Range

  • Tier 1: Self only.
  • Tier 2: Touch only.
  • Tier 3: 30 feet or so.
  • Tier 4: Line of sight, 100 feet or so.
  • Tier 5: 5 miles.
  • Tier 6: 100 miles.
  • Tier 7: 1,000 miles.
  • Tier 8: 10,000 miles.
  • Tier 9: 100,000 miles.
  • Tier 10: 1,000,000 miles.

A power like super strength would be tier 1, but would allow throwing objects as fictionally appropriate.

Flexibility

  • Tier 1: Do one thing in one way.
    • Fire eye beams straight ahead.
    • Mighty super-punch.
  • Tier 2: Do one thing, but applications may be creative.
    • Fire eye beams straight ahead, but may bank them off reflective surfaces, or sustain a pivoting beam.
    • Overall super strength.
  • Tier 3: One power but different plausible applications.
    • Eye beams can focus to be armor piercing, blunt to do bashing damage only, split to hit multiple targets, parry incoming attacks, cut or weld metal, or modulate frequency to defeat an energy shield.
    • Super strong body also allows for super toughness, and allows for super jumping.
  • Tier 4: One energy source allows a suite of powers.
    • Eye beams can allow rocket-jump flight, adjust to provide power to machinery, soften to hypnotize foes, trickle hard light into a lock to pick it, and bathe an area in trap-detecting energy.
    • Super strong body also highly resistant to diseases, and protects against many kinds of energy attacks with its native virility, and it extends a load-bearing force field to heavy objects lifted so they don’t break apart.
  • Tier 5: One energy source allows experimentation to try to develop new powers spontaneously.
    • The eye beams can reveal the dimensional trail of an intruder and match energy to open a gate to follow. They can suffuse the eyeballs of a corpse and reveal their last vision. They can draw the temper out of metal so it becomes brittle and crumbles when struck.

Drain

Add up all the tiers so far. Every 5 points (3 rounds up to 5) costs 1 Drain when activated. If a power has Potency 2, Range 3, Flexibility 3, then that’s 8, so that’s 2 Drain. It would cost 1 to go down to 7, which would round down to 1.

Drain need not be every round a power is active necessarily; it’s fiction first. If it seems like the power is established and can be maintained, that’s fine; a complication is a fine time to charge more for continuing use of the power.

EXAMPLES

So, put it all together. Jane wants “Teleport” as a power, that’s Potency 4 and Range 6, so she’s already at 10. She wants to be able to take people and try the occasional stunt, but not get crazy with it, so she goes for Flexibility 2. That is 12 tiers, so 2 Drain, and she wants to lower it by 5 so it only costs 1 Drain to use. “Teleport” at Potency 4, Range 6, Flexibility 2, and Drain 5 costs her 17 points.

Harvey wants “Regeneration” as a power, that’s Potency 4 (could be less to heal faster and negate the need for medicine and surgery, but he wants like magical healing power) and Range 2 (so he can share it with those he touches.) Flexibility is Tier 3 so he can try to cure cancer and maybe even fix mental problems as well as patch up broken bones and burns. Drain is 9 to cost 2 per activation, and he buys off 7 to drop it to 2, which rounds down to free to use. Cost is 16 points.

Stress and Power

So there’s a stress track with 9 points, and a Power track with 9 points. (Special abilities, and maybe some starting point adjustments, allow these to be raised or lowered by up to 5 each. Details for later.)

Stress functions with the Blades of Doskvol alternative Resilience method.

Power can be handled by powers that recharge, or regaining 1 per 4 good hours of sleep or 8 hours of light activity. Soon enough there will be drinks and equipment that can accelerate that regeneration, and maybe be consumed in the field for more power.

When using powers, they are fiction-first as everything else. Complications are creatively applied when things go sideways. To try and coax a power into doing more than it was meant to do, or finesse work for blunt power, etc., then that costs a stress and possibly more Power to activate; it is negotiated.

Players who want to channel complications may note a “glitch” that their powers (or the whole character) suffers from. This might be mandatory. It provides a default way to interpret complications on the fly.

The “Attune” ability helps sense other supernatural power, sense information from looking at a power in action, get a handle on a power that’s slipping while being used by the character, and maybe detect traces of other power used in the area recently.

Overall Structure

So you have these super powered characters–now what? The “heist” is replaced by crisis points, where there is an attack or a natural disaster and they are involved in repelling the danger and restoring status quo as best as possible.

Down time projects can include working on technology, diplomacy, contract negotiations, study of self or others, relationships, investigations, and so on.

Ongoing Development

Can they develop existing powers or manifest new ones? There should be a suite of special abilities that can be taken to allow cannibalizing powers, making them cheaper, adding to one tier or another, and so on. These would not be written on the sheet, but when taken, they would allow adjusting existing powers.

Also, there would be setting-appropriate special abilities to further round out characters.

Playbooks would not be necessary, though suites of powers could be developed to be dropped in for quick readiness.

It’s sketchy, but it could be tested and further developed.

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