The Game Mechanic: Building a better metahuman archer

Not pictured: Bow, arrows, sensible crime-fighting outfit.

The Super Archer is a highly versatile character, usually sporting a technologically advanced bow and a variety of arrows ranging from the devastating to the ridiculous. It can, however, be a righteous pain to properly capture their flexibility and potency while still maintaining some semblance of game balance.  After the jump, we’ll be grabbing the Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion and slapping together a proper powerset for this ubiquitous, if not somewhat abstract, archetype.

Continue reading “The Game Mechanic: Building a better metahuman archer”

The Game Mechanic: Wax Slugs.

All the colors of the rainbow… the murder rainbow!

Player Characters are a wildly creative bunch. Improvising a solution that inflicts the most collateral damage with the fewest resources is a mark of pride among most gamers, so today’s article is all about getting a little more bang for your buck.

We’ll be talking about Wax Shotgun Slugs, an improvised round your characters can quickly and easily make in order to accomplish a variety of mayhemjustice-related tasks with nothing but a little preparation and a few boxes of crayons. We’ll also have stats for the items in NWoD and Savage Worlds.

Disclaimer: Please, for the love of all that is holy, do not attempt to do this at home. It is remarkably easy to blow your hands/face/head clean off messing around with hand-made ammunition. Please keep it on the tabletop, folks.






Continue reading “The Game Mechanic: Wax Slugs.”

A whole bunch of games from DriveThruRPG are 20% off – here's how to get them

So you’re looking for something new to play? Maybe a nice addition to a system you’re already familiar with or something that’s totally new to you? I’ve got two things to say about that.

First, go grab the Wayne Foundation Charity RPG Pack while you still can (only available until the 18th of this month!) It’s $25 and you get $235 worth of stuff. You can’t beat that with a stick.

Second, here’s a bunch of awesome games that are 20% off. Hit up the links to see them at DriveThruRPG and then when you check out, use the code DriveThruApril (Yes, we know it’s a month out of date in verbiage, but it’s the correct code, I assure you).

These offers are good until June 14th, so take advantage of them!

In Sheep’s Clothing: a new Arcane Background for adding shapeshifters to your game.

Artwork by Pointy-Eared-Fiend. Check out her gallery for some awesome (if not occasionally NSFW) Exalted Art.

Legends of shapeshifters are incredibly common throughout human history. They vary wildly from culture to culture, and the stories have been blamed on everything from moldy rye to retained subconscious trauma at transitioning into a meat-eating species. These legends make excellent fodder for horror stories of a more contemporary nature, and have spawned countless tales of werewolves, skin walkers and even more subtle transformations, such as the transition of the good Doctor Jekyll to the nefarious Mr. Hyde.

So if you’re interested in running a campaign with such monsters, be they players, antagonists, or both, we’ve got a new Arcane Background for building your shape-changing abomination from scratch after the jump.

Continue reading “In Sheep’s Clothing: a new Arcane Background for adding shapeshifters to your game.”

Creating and Implementing Technology.

RF image courtesy of Klaus Tiedge and Corbis Images.

Do you have a piece of equipment you’ve been wanting to add to your game? Well, grab your corebook of choice and we’ll cover four basic considerations for implementing new tech into your game. I’ll be using the Savage Worlds system for this particular exercise, but the methods we’re going to go over can be applied to pretty much any RPG. I’ll go through the process of creation with you by statting out the XM25, a brand new grenade launcher well suited to a near-future game or a modern campaign based around special forces operatives . This is a pretty long article, so if you just want the stats for the XM25 for your game, scroll on down to the bottom of the piece and I’ve got it typed out there for your Control+C convenience. There’s a quick summary of the two custom tags I’ve made for the weapon just above the statistics.

The Ivory Tooth of Kostoss

Ivory Tooth of KostossLooking to spice up a game with a unique item? Behold: the Ivory Tooth of Kostoss!

The Tooth is a figurine, about three inches (eight centimeters) tall, carved from an enormous tooth. The tooth might better be called a fang, as its pointed shape clearly indicates.

Terrible rumors are whispered about the Tooth: that anyone who touches its point dies within a year, that it kills loved ones, and that it drives its owners insane.

Those who do touch it report–often with a nervous laugh–that they feel a little spaced out while holding it. It reminds them of…something.

Actually, the Tooth holds the spirit of a man who was unwise enough to double-cross a practitioner of magic. The man’s spirit is locked deep inside the Tooth, and initial contact will only result in a vague sense of distraction. Further uses of the Tooth result in the gradual ability to work oneself into fits of rage and power, as the trapped spirit is very unhappy about being trapped in the tooth, but knows no way of freeing himself.

D&D 3E, D&D 4E,
The first three times an intelligent creature touches the Tooth, the creature’s next Athletics or Intimidate check or their next attack roll is at +1. The next two times the creature touches the Tooth, the creature receive an additional +1 on the above checks. After that, they gain the Possessed condition (see below) and use of the following power:Fit of Rage (daily, free): If the Tooth is within 20 squares, your next Athletics check, Intimidate check, or attack roll is made at +3.Possessed (condition): If a character attempts to get rid of the possessing item, the item makes a +15 attack roll against the character’s Will. If the attack succeeds, the character finds some way to keep the item.

Note that the Tooth is more than willing to possess multiple people.

FATE The first three times a person touches the Tooth, the person may re-roll their next die roll, as long as that die roll involves raw physical might or intimidation. The next two times a person touches the Tooth, they gain a +1 on the next die roll that involves combat, raw physical might, or intimidation. After that, they gain the aspect Possessed by the Tooth, and gain +1 on all die rolls that involve combat, raw physical might, or intimidation (even if they are not touching the Tooth at the time).However, if a character possessed by the Tooth tries to get rid of it, the character must succeed on a roll at a -2 penalty. If successful, the character gains a Fate Point.
Savage Worlds The first three times a person touches the Tooth, the person adds +1 to their next Intimidation roll, Strength-based roll, or attack roll. The next two times a person touches the Tooth, they gain a 1d4 on the next Intimidation roll, Strength-based roll, or attack roll. After that, they are considered to possess the Tooth, and gain +1d4 on all of the above die rolls (even if they are not touching the Tooth at the time), but gets the Possessed hindrance:Possessed (Hindrance) If a character possessed by the Tooth tries to get rid of it, the character must succeed on a Spirit roll at a -2 penalty. If successful, the character gains a Fate Point and gets rid of the Tooth.

Heavy Metal in the Orient – Book Review of Iron Dynasty

EDIT: We have our free PDF winners! Congratulations to Malcom and Will!  I’ve already sent you the code for a free download.  -Ben

The large shapes crashes through the countryside, a fiendish combination of metal and bamboo. It is a kikai, a machine built for one purpose: to destroy all that its pilot wishes to see destroyed. Your hand tightens on the hilt of your katana. You spring forward.

 A few well-timed leaps send you up the back of the monstrosity. The creation pitches and bucks below you, the pilot attempting to dislodge you. You will not be denied. The moonlight flashes off your blade as it plunges through bamboo, past metal, and into the neck of the pilot. A spray of blood covers the cockpit. As the kikai falls, a smile crosses your lips.

Pain rips through you…

Your companions find your cold form the next morning, broken beneath the wreckage of the kikai. As one, they salute you, and being the funerary rights. Though your spirit has passed, your sacrifice was not in vain. One less kikai in the world means more lives saved.

If the above text intrigued you, then Iron Dynasty: Way of the Ronin is a game that you seriously need to check out. Reality Blurs went out of its way to create a full, vibrant setting in which some awesome samurai/gun/mech action can happen, all using Savage Worlds. Full disclosure, this review is being written based on a PDF copy of the book that I received for review purposes.

When I first heard about Iron Dynasty, back at GenCon 2010, I was intrigued. I mean, the idea of Samurai Steampunk just sounded cool. When I had a chance to look at the book, I was sold. The game is set in the Bright Empire, an empire divided. The classic trope of twin brothers divided due to inheritance issues is used very well as the basis of the conflic that lies at the center of this game.

The short version of the story is that Karasu, the brother denied the inheritance, was exiled. In exile, he grew to rule another kingdom, but never forgot what he truly believed to be his. He traveled back to his homeland and struck a deal with the Oni-Kaji, created the Ikusa Kikai, and took back the kingdom that was rightfully his. This was the beginning of the Iron Dynasty. (As an aside, if you liked my abbreviated version of the events, you should read the history at the beginning of the book).

With the attack on the kikai, the world changed. Technology was introduced into a sword-bearing society, and it is in that world, a world of conflict between old and new, that the game sessions take place. Any walk of life that you can think of in a feudal Japan-type setting is available as a character background, from Warrior to Craftsman, from Engineer, to Peasant. Some areas hold tightly to the old ways, with castes and firm hierarchies of rank. Other areas have embraced the change that guns and technology bring, realizing that might can make right, and that the efforts of an individual can change their station in life.

The rules do a good job of supporting all of these ideas as well. New Background Edges let you express your heritage and outlook on life well. And, as you might imagine, the Combat, Ki Power, Professional, and Social Edges do a good job of helping you continue to mechanically express your character as you level up. Savage Worlds has a lot going for it as a generic system, but it often needs good tweaks to make a given setting feel original and differentiated from other Savage Settings. Iron Dynasty does a very good job at this.

Similarly, the setting information is rich, allowing for a variety of stories to be told therein. The thing that is true throughout is that the stories will be of a certain type, usually. If you’re not looking for a samurai movie, with amped up blood spatter and a dash of anime, then you’d be better off not looking at Iron Dynasty.

Reading the book is a pleasure, at least in the PDF. I assume that the good layout and good font choices would hold up in a print version as well.

Overall, this is a Savage Setting that I can completely recommend, if you’re looking for this kind of setting in which to game. This is the kind of setting that scratches a particular itch, and if you’re not looking to have that itch scrated, then move on to something else. If, however, you want to find out what it’s like to face down a 15 foot tall bamboo mech, with nothing but a sword and your wits, then this is the game for you.

Final Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars. High marks, all around. Iron Dynasty is published by Reality Blurs and was written by Sean Preston.

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