Over at Monkey's Took My Jetpack, we've been playing Zorcer of Zo, a wonderful fairy tale RPG, and one of my favorites. I've been running the last three sessions, but Blindgeek is going to take over for the upcoming Christmas adventures.
This is my character; I'll draw him later:
Soldier Jack (aka Jack of the roads, aka Jack the Giant Killer, aka Clever Jack) is based on the English/Appalachian culture hero, Jack. I am basing him more off the Appalachian version (mostly a matter of semantics; he climbed a bean tree, as opposed to a bean pole).
Jack grew up the seventh son of a seventh son in a poor farm family in the hills of Giallo. He learned to survive by his wits ad gift for trickery. He has killed giants, tricked devils, cheated Death (capital D), and even served as a soldier in the grand army of Zo. Now he wanders the land, still seeking his fortune.
Jack is not always good, but he is never bad. Despite his roguish nature, Jack has a good heart. He has actually gained several fortunes, but he can never hold onto money. He either fritters it away, donates it to a worthy cause, or gives it to people who need it more than he does.
Jack is lanky, but not overly-tall, with brown eyes, a ruddy complexion, and shaggy brown hair. He could either be a withered 25 or a well-preserved 50. He dresses in sturdy, but well-used travelers clothes and the faded and patched old coat from the Zo military. He sold his rifle and pike long ago.
Citizen of the World
Trickster (Master +6) – Jack can lie, cheat, and steal better than anyone.
Vagabond (Good +2) – Jack knows a little bit about a lot of different places.
Soldier (Good +2) – Jack's seen his share of battle and action.
Heart of Gold (Good +2) – Jack's good nature connects with people.
Penniless (Poor -2) – Jack just can't hold onto money.
Between working on various Hex Games stuff, getting the new podcast of the ground, and failing to avoid the lure of sweet mistress Warcraft, I haven't gotten a lot of new stuff done. Add to the mix various independent RPG projects, and I fear I might be spreading myself thin (the only way I've ever been thin). Let's not talk about the holidays, okay?
I was marginally aware of the cartoonist Fletcher Hanks for some years, but it wasn't until a couple of years ago, when Leighton Connor let me borrow his copy of I Shall Destroy all the Civilized Planets, that I really gained a solid interest and appreciation for Hanks and his bizarre creations. Fletcher Hanks is the Ed Wood of Golden Age comics. It's not that he was a bad artist or writer, his imagination and creativity just far exceeded his talent. Stardust, Fantomah, and Space Smith are weird relics of the Golden Age, when the comics medium was still in its larval form, unsure of how it would develop. I love this kind of stuff.
So when Leighton asked if I wanted to help right a QAGS game based on the works of Fletcher Hanks (it's all public domain now), I leaped at the chance. The game will be called Leopard Women of Venus, and it's inspired by a single pannel of an ols Space Smith story.
Despite a number of setbacks over the past few months, I've really enjoyed working on the project. It's coming together nicely, now, and I can't wait to share it with the world.
At any rate, here are a few sketches I've done recently. I don't know if they'll all be in the book, but they're great for juicing up my imagination.
A Leopard Woman of Venus
Oh sweet merciful God, no! It's Stardust!
Webra the Spider Queen (an original character for the game)
Our group is branching off The Gutter Skypes with a new actual play podcast caled "Monkeys Took My Jetpack!" We recorded our first session this Monday. It was a Pulp-Fu Wushu game that included several special guests.
We're still getting the website and the forums set up. Hopefully we'll get the first episode posted soon. Blindgeek's been working on audio logos, and I recorded a bumper tonight. It's all coming together smoothly. I'll post more as it all falls together.
Recently, James V. West offered a groovy digest-sized collection of some of his older comics. The copy I ordered just came in the mail a couple of days a go, and I really dig it. If you like curvy barbarian women, snakes, and lots of skulls, you should really check it out.
This here's a spacegirl I found yesterday in a pile of drawings from a couple of years ago. "Why haven't I used her for anything?" I asked myself. Now she's all colored and living in her groovy sci-fi world.
I was digging through some old files the other day, and I found this. "YARRR! A Fun Little Game About Pirates" was an short RPG I started working on a year or two ago and promptly put aside. I began work on it shortly after discovering Vincent Baker's wonderful Dogs in the Vineyard, and the influence certainly shows.
Time away from a project certainly helps perspective. I'm reading through these (incomplete) rules now, and I'm actually pretty happy with them. It's got that story game feel I like, without getting too story-stick. I will very probably repurpose these rules (with changes, obviously) for Dinosaurs & Rocketships (the game I'm working on now).
Here's the YARRR! document...
YARRR! A Fun Game About Pirates.
Distribute 1d4, 1d6, 1d6, 1d8, 1d8
Swashbuckling - personal combat, acrobatics, speed
Choose four (mostly) positive traits that describe your character. Can be a job, talent, character trait, relationship, or even a catch phrase.
You get to roll these dice along with your trait when the Advantage applies.
Distribute 1d6, 1d8, 1d10
Choose three (mostly) negative traits that describe your character.
Your opponent (or the GM) gets to roll this die when the Complication applies.
You get Doubloons the first time in an session when the Complication comes into play. 1d6 = 1 Doubloon. 1d8 = 2 Doubloon. 1d10 = 3 Doubloon.
Special items or equipment. Adds to relevant rolls.
Distribute 1d4, 1d4, 1d6
Choose three items.
A character's will to keep fighting, physically, socially, or mentally.
The average of the highest two of Savvy, Parlay, or Hardiness.
Can be used to...
Bump a die up a size for one roll.
Brand a condition
Are gained by...
Doing something cool.
First time in a session that an Complication comes into play (1/2/3, depending on the size of the complication).
Someone Brands a Condition to you.
You are Scuppered
Types of Characters
(Swabs) Extras: Unimportant nameless characters. Mooks. Easy to overcome. No Resolve.
(Mates) Supporting Cast: Named characters who aren't very important. Must only overcome Resolve once.
(Heroes) Star Characters: PCs and important named NPCs. Must be Scuppered by Conditions.
No character (PC or NPC) opposes you.
Take the die for the appropriate Attribute, plus any extra dice for Advantages, Treasure, Relationships, or your opponent's Complications or Conditions. The Captain rolls a die whose size corresponds to the difficulty of the task (plus any extra dice for your Complications or Conditions) If you get the highest number, you succeed! Re-roll ties.
If your one of you die is at least one die size higher than the difficulty demands, you win automatically.
Easy = 1d4
Average = 1d6
Damned Hard =1d10
Nigh Impossible = 1d12
Take the die for the appropriate Attribute, plus any extra dice for Advantages, Treasure, Relationships, or your opponent's Complications or Conditions. Your opponent does the same. Roll those dice! Take the highest number from each pool. The highest number wins! Re-roll ties.
This is used against nameless Extras. In combat, a single successful roll will take out a number of Extras equal to the number of dice you just rolled.
This is used, in different degrees, in conflicts between Supporting Cast or Star Characters. Roll dice as in a Contested Conflict. However, a single successful roll does not indicate immediate victory.
Compare the successful roll against the losing roll, and subtract the difference from the loser's Resolve.
Continue the conflict and make rolls until someone's resolve equals 0.
If that character is a Supporting Cast, they lose the conflict. In combat they are unconscious and may be dead or unconscious. In social conflict, they give in to the winner's will. In mental conflict they are burned out or exhausted.
If the character is a Star Character, the winner gets to give them a new, temporary Complication called a "Condition" with a value of 1d4. The Condition should correspond to the actions taken by the winner that round. The loser's Resolve resets to the maximum score.
You do not get Doubloons for Conditions (yet).
You aren't done yet. Your opponent is just weakened! Continue with the conflict.
If Resolve goes down to 0 again, you can give them another Condition, or bump an old one if appropriate. Resolve resets to maximum gain, and the conflict continues yet again.
If a character ever has a condition raised to 1d10, they are "Scuppered" and lose the conflict. If they are scuppered through a social or mental conflict, the character is burn out or mentally exhausted. In combat, they are unconscious, but not dead. They can, however, be killed later in the scene without rolling. That's kind of mean, though.
A scuppered character gets a Doubloon.
Conditions go away at the end of the scene.
However, you can pay the character Doubloons to "Brand" the condition, making it last the rest of the adventure. The cost of Branding depends on the size of the die. 1d4=1, 1d6=2, 1d8=3.
You cannot brand Conditions at 1d10 or higher.
At the end of the adventure, a character has the option of turning a Branded condition into a permanent Complication. He gets Doubloons equal to half the die size.
The players of my home-group have been pestering me to run Star Wars. Sadly, none of the three different published RPG system for Star Wars thrill me. I don't like the chargen system of WEG's old D6 version, nor do I particularity care for the Force rules. I don't like the level system for either of the D20-based systems. I also don't want to have my players slug through a list of 100 talents and/or feats. Saga is too minis-based too.
Chad Underkoffler's PDQ system, however (Truth & Justice, Zorceror of Zo, Swashucklers of the 7 Skies) seems like it'd work really well. S&S has shown me that it works really well for magical swashbucklers. The system has just about the level of crunch I want nowadays. The vehicle rules are stupid easy, too— something really hard to find in any Star Wars game.
So I'm banging out some rules for my players now. It's easier than I expected. By way of example, here's a few character write-ups, three guys from the movies, and a probable character from my theoretical game. I'll actually explain some of these rules changes in a later post.