The King is Dead

Monday, July 17, 2017

Recent revelations for me about Game Mastering

I tend to go with simple, clear character sheets for one-shots.
Frankly, I don’t bother to read or listen to other people’s game mastering advice all that often. I’ve been doing this for the better part of 25 years, and I have reason to think I’m pretty good at it. I should probably stop being so arrogant, though, since the last two months have provided me with some surprising revelations.

(They’re probably not revelations to a lot of readers, but they are for me, so it’s best if I write them down somewhere that I’m not going to lose them.)

1) I GM better when I stand the whole game. It keeps my energy up, it helps me project, it helps me hear everyone, and it helps me act. My biggest strength as a GM is roleplaying NPCs, and being able to act with my body as well as my voice plays into that. Not every game session is going to provide an opportunity to play Captain Jack Sparrow, but being able to inhabit that role physically as well as mentally really pushed last Friday’s Gargoyles game to a higher level.

Oh my gods, I enjoyed hamming it up as Jack SOOOO much! I got the distinct impression that the players were deliberately pushing me to dig deeper into the role, as well. I didn’t intend Jack’s story about being hired by Demona to steal the Atlantean Praying Gargoyle stature from Marie Laveau and Jean Lafitte to be a serious red herring of any sort, so I have to assume everyone just enjoyed watching me bullshit my way through Jack’s account of how young Don Diego de la Vega stopped him.

2) One-shots and convention games based around playing pre-existing or easily-recognizable characters work better than trying to make players suss out a homebrewed or original setting in just four hours. I totally get now why Shane Hensley has been running his DC vs. Marvel game at conventions rather than Deadlands or some other Savage Setting. My Fairy Tail and Zorro games at Chupacabracon IV worked better than The King is Dead (which worked and was fun, but not as much as the others) and the Gargoyles game was a blast.

Obviously, it helps when all the players are fans of a property and know the characters, but I think I can apply this lesson to Wine and Savages original settings and other Savage Settings. For future TKiD convention games, I’m going to need to make pre-gens who are simpler to digest (which is, admittedly, hard with that setting); perhaps characters who are more obviously Casanova, Hawkeye, Mozart, etc rather than trying to give examples of the depth and breadth of the secret societies. If I run Savage Rifts®, Rippers, or similar games in the future, then I’m going to want to make the pre-gens straightforward and interesting.

Speaking of which… Years and years ago when I wanted to get into comics, I thought up an iteration of the Seven Samurai plot that would have starred off-brand variations on the classic sword & sorcery heroes: Conan, Elric, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Jirel of Joiry, etc. I should run that as a convention game using the original characters and call it Seven Swords of Sorcery. Maybe I can get Shane to play in it; we usually wind up scheduled opposite each other at Chupa, but I doubt he’d be able to resist a set-up like that. Hmm...

3) A-frame paper minis are easier to custom make than tri-folds and stay in place better if you use a penny for a base (and what base is cheaper than one cent?). It’s also easier to see the illustrations on A-frames, so any loss in arguing who has what line of sight is more than made up for by being able to see who is where quicker. We didn’t actually use the Gargoyles minis that I made, but having them at the table seemed to help ground everybody. I think the players enjoyed having an action figure of their character even if it didn’t get used.

(There’s something really satisfying about making minis, something tactile and artistically-satisfying in a painting and drawing kind of way. I somehow accidentally figured out an even better system for making custom minis in Paint.NET when I made the Gargoyles minis – and I could probably drop a step from that to make things even simpler – so I’m feeling extra proud of those unused A-frames. I wonder if I should reduce the DPI on the images, though…)

Man, I keep telling myself that I’m going to run fewer games when I go to conventions, but I keep getting inspired to run more and more games! Dagnabbit!

My apologies for the blog going quiet for the last couple of weeks (especially those of you whom Tommy Brownell directed over here). I was writing some Savage Rifts® material, a Rippers scenario that’s under review for the Savage Worlds Explorer, and my one-sheet for the Buccaneer: Through Hell & High Water Kickstarter. Now I’ve got to get to work on a mystery/urban adventure for Savage Rifts®that should also see print in the Explorer; thankfully, Robin is co-writing that one.

Wendelyn Reischel’s Facebook post about the Gargoyles game drew a surprising amount of interest, so I’ll post my GM materials from that on the blog this week. It won’t be exactly what I used, because I realized late on Friday that there was a better way of handling things and I didn’t have time to fix it before the game. Another Facebook post by Wendy about adapting favorite cartoons to Savage Worlds got me thinking about another favorite property of mine, so expect a white shadow that moves unseen to fall across the blog next week.
Yes, I put Jack Sparrow in a Gargoyles adventure. Sue me.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Savage Blue Rose: Cultural Backgrounds


As explained in the first Savage Blue Rose post, these backgrounds basically contain five of the nine character creation points characters would get if using Savage Rifts® MARS-type packages. The first four are incorporated into extra racial benefits offered as optional bonuses on top of the standard Savage Worlds-style races. 

Aldin

“A meritocratic monarchy with a long and storied history, Aldis treasures freedom, education, and diversity.”

  • +2 dice Knowledge (History) and Persuasion.

  • +2 to Common Knowledge rolls relating to art and culture. 

Forest Folk

“To be a forest folk is to live in harmony with nature, but also be hardened by the reality of life with the wild always outside your front door.”

  • +2 dice Survival and Tracking.

  • +2 on running rolls. 

Jarzoni

“Jarzon tends to deal with nature, arcane, and other potentially useful yet dangerous concepts by fighting to dominate or resist them.”

  • +2 dice Knowledge (History) and Knowledge (Religion).

  • +1 die Persuasion. 

Kernish

“To be Kernish is to endure a land of death, treachery, darkness, and oppression by any means necessary.”

  • +1 die Intimidation, Persuasion, and Stealth.

  • +2 dice Notice. 

Lar’tyan

“Hailing from the caste-dominated matriarchy of Lar’tya, Lar’tyans are used to everything having its own purpose and place.”

  • +2 dice Persuasion and Repair.

  • +2 to Common Knowledge rolls relating to crafting and heraldry. 

Mariner

“To be a mariner means the freedom of the sea, but also to be somewhat rootless.”

  • +1 die Knowledge (Navigation), Persuasion, and Swimming.

  • +2 dice Boating. 

Outcast

“Living outside other nations or cultures, they survive as hermits, refugees, or pariahs.”

  • +1 die Gambling.

  • +2 dice Stealth.

  • Brave. 

Rezean

“From a land of riders, hunters, and nomads, Rezeans seek to live in harmony with the natural world as both individuals and clans of strength and independence.”

  • +1 die Survival.

  • +2 dice Riding.

  • Steady Hands. 

Roamer

“Nomads and wanderers, they live as merchants and entertainers.”

  • +2 dice Persuasion and Repair.

  • +2 to Common Knowledge rolls relating to crafting and performing. 



Savage Blue Rose: Rhydan


So, of course, after spending all that time yesterday figuring out a way to maintain Blue Rose AGE’s neat “extra racial benefits” concept in Savage Worlds while also offering the option of cultural backgrounds, it turns out rhydan don’t receive cultural backgrounds. Of course they don’t; why would they? They’re not raised in humanoid cultures, after all.

Aha! I’ve figured it out: create basic rhydan races that are restricted to the rules of normal Savage Worlds races, then allow permissive Game Masters to let rhydan players choose from a set of species-specific extra racial benefits and a set of generic rhydan benefits. It may not perfectly match the plan for humanoids, but it will be close.

Rhydan

In addition to its humanoid races, Aldea is also populated by psychic, sapient animals called rhydan. Rhydan arise in numerous species; the following are only a selection of some of the most populous.

Rhy-Bears

Cannot Speak: Rhy-bears can vocalize normal bear sounds, but cannot physically speak human languages.

Natural Psionics: All rhydan begin with Arcane Background (Psionics) and Psionics d4. One of their initial three powers must be telepathy (if the gaming group has access to Savage Rifts®) or speak language (if they do not).

Natural Weaponry: Rhy-bears may bite or claw for Str+d6 damage. They are never considered unarmed combatants.

No Hands: Rhy-bears suffer a -4 penalty on tasks that require the use of hands and fingers. They cannot hold weapons or shields.  

Non-Standard Physiology: Any gear and equipment a rhydan uses must be custom-built to its species. Rhydan cannot ride horses or operate vehicles.

If your Game Master permits extra abilities as outlined in the previous post, you may choose two from the following rhy-bear traits:

  • +1 die Strength

  • +1 die Vigor

  • +2 dice Survival

  • +2 dice Swimming

  • Bear Hug (as the monstrous ability in Savage Worlds)

  • +1 Size

     

 

Rhy Cats

Cannot Speak: Rhy-cats can vocalize normal cat sounds, but cannot physically speak human languages.

Leaping: Rhy-cats can jump 2” horizontally from a dead stop or 4” with a “run and go.” They add +1d6” with a successful Strength roll.

Natural Psionics: All rhydan begin with Arcane Background (Psionics) and Psionics d4. One of their initial three powers must be telepathy (if the gaming group has access to Savage Rifts®) or speak language (if they do not).

Natural Weaponry: Rhy-cats may bite or claw for Str+d6 damage. They are never considered unarmed combatants.

No Hands: Rhy-cats suffer a -4 penalty on tasks that require the use of hands and fingers. They cannot hold weapons or shields.

Non-Standard Physiology: Any gear and equipment a rhydan uses must be custom-built to its species. Rhydan cannot ride horses or operate vehicles.

Obligate Carnivore: Rhy-cats must consume meat to survive and cannot live off common traveling rations.

If your Game Master permits extra abilities as outlined in the previous post, you may choose two from the following rhy-cat traits:

  • +1 die Agility

  • +1 die Vigor

  • +2 dice Climbing

  • +2 dice Stealth

  • Acrobat

  • Low Light Vision (as the monstrous ability in Savage Worlds)

Rhy-Fen

Aquatic: Rhy-fen start with a free d6 in Swimming and their Pace in water is equal to their Swimming skill. They can hold their breath for 15 minutes before checking for drowning.

Aquatic Physiology: As dolphins, rhy-fen need liquid to carry their body weight. Rhy-fen automatically take a Wound for every day they spend out of water until they’re Incapaciatated, perishing on the next day as their body weight crushes their internal organs.

Cannot Speak: Rhy-fen can vocalize normal dolphin sounds, but cannot physically speak human languages.

Natural Psionics: All rhydan begin with Arcane Background (Psionics) and Psionics d4. One of their initial three powers must be telepathy (if the gaming group has access to Savage Rifts®) or speak language (if they do not).

Natural Weaponry: Rhy-fen may bite or headbutt for Strength damage. They are never considered unarmed combatants.

No Hands: Rhy-fen suffer a -4 penalty on tasks that require the use of hands and fingers. They cannot hold weapons or shields.

Non-Standard Physiology: Any gear and equipment a rhydan uses must be custom-built to its species. Rhydan cannot ride horses or operate vehicles.

Obligate Carnivore: Rhy-fen must consume meat to survive and cannot live off common traveling rations.

Vigorous: Rhy-fen begin with a d6 in Vigor.

If your Game Master permits extra abilities as outlined in the previous post, you may choose two from the following rhy-cat traits:

  • +1 die Agility

  • +1 die Strength

  • +2 dice Survival

  • Acrobat

  • Low Light Vision (as the monstrous ability in Savage Worlds)

  • Sonar (as the infravision mounstrous ability, save that you detect movement instead of body heat)

Rhy-Horses

Cannot Speak: Rhy-horses can vocalize normal horse sounds, but cannot physically speak human languages.

Natural Psionics: All rhydan begin with Arcane Background (Psionics) and Psionics d4. One of their initial three powers must be telepathy (if the gaming group has access to Savage Rifts®) or speak language (if they do not).

Natural Runner: Rhy-horses have a Pace of 8 and roll a d8 running die.

Natural Weaponry: Rhy-horses may bite or kick for Strength damage. They are never considered unarmed combatants.

No Hands: Rhy-horses suffer a -4 penalty on tasks that require the use of hands and fingers. They cannot hold weapons or shields.

Non-Standard Physiology: Any gear and equipment a rhydan uses must be custom-built to its species. Rhydan cannot ride horses or operate vehicles.

Obligate Herbivore: Rhy-horses must consume plants to survive; they require twice a normal humanoid ration of vegetable matter per day to fend off hunger.

Size +1: Rhy-horses add +1 to their Toughness.

If your Game Master permits extra abilities as outlined in the previous post, you may choose two from the following rhy-horse traits:

  • +1 die Strength

  • +1 die Vigor

  • Brawny

  • +d4 damage when kicking 

  • +1 Size

  • Jump 2” horizontally from a dead stop or 4” with a “run and go;” add +1d6” with a successful Strength roll.

Rhy-Wolves

Cannot Speak: Rhy-wolves can vocalize normal wolf sounds, but cannot physically speak human languages.

Natural Psionics: All rhydan begin with Arcane Background (Psionics) and Psionics d4. One of their initial three powers must be telepathy (if the gaming group has access to Savage Rifts®) or speak language (if they do not).

Natural Runner: Rhy-wolves have a Pace of 8 and roll a d8 running die.

Natural Weaponry: Rhy-wolves may bite for Str+d6 damage. They are never considered unarmed combatants.

No Hands: Rhy-wolves suffer a -4 penalty on tasks that require the use of hands and fingers. They cannot hold weapons or shields.

Non-Standard Physiology: Any gear and equipment a rhydan uses must be custom-built to its species. Rhydan cannot ride horses or operate vehicles.

If your Game Master permits extra abilities as outlined in the previous post, you may choose two from the following rhy-bear traits:

  • +1 die Vigor

  • +2 dice Survival

  • +2 dice Tracking

  • Alertness

  • Danger Sense

  • Go for the Throat (as the monstrous ability in Savage Worlds)

Generic Rhydan Extra Abilities

If your Game Master permits extra abilities as outlined in the previous post, you may choose two from the following generic rhydan traits:

    • +1 die Agility

    • +1 die Spirit

    • +2 dice Intimidation

    • +2 dice Notice

    • +2 dice Stealth

    • Alertness


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Savage Blue Rose: Humanoid Races of Aldea

I own a bunch of RPG settings and systems I gotten around to playing with yet: Blades in the Dark, The Dracula Dossier, Hellfrost: Land of Fire, Qin: The Warring States, Mazes and Minotaurs, etc. The top two I really want to run or play are Blue Rose AGE and 7th Sea 2nd Edition. 

A big, big part of why I want to play those is to try out some different, non-Savage Worlds systems – I’m curious to see if Robin’s terrible luck with dice is mitigated by the dice pool mechanics of both systems – but the settings also appeal to me greatly. I don’t think I quite get Théah yet – despite it basically being an alternate-history 17th century Earth, the place feels less real, less alive to me than the Forgotten Realms – so I think I’d rather play in somebody else’s 7th Sea game than run it myself. Blue Rose’s Aldea, on the other hand, not only feels alive but also seems like a place I’d like to live.

And so, since I need my higher creative functions free for other projects, I might as well do some adapting. Blue Rose AGE is a very loose class-based system – so loose that, frankly, it makes sense to adapt the sub-classes (not the base classes) as standard Savage Worlds archetypes. While I’ll get around to that, what’s more interesting up front is adapting the races and backgrounds.

Players in Blue Rose may choose between several humanoid races and the rhydan – psychic, sapient animals of several species. Each race has certain basic, uniform bonuses, but also – in the AGE System, at least – a set of random extra bonuses. Backgrounds, meanwhile, are sets of extra skill points grouped around cultures.

This feels to me rather like a combination of standard Savage Worlds race rules and the MARS packages of Savage Rifts®, so that’s how I’m going to approach it. Each race will have a basic template that matches standard SW rules, with a set of extra abilities that players can choose or roll randomly for that adds up to four points of a MARS package’s extra nine points. The remaining five points will go into background skill packages. If a Game Master actually chooses to run a Savage Blue Rose campaign but doesn’t like handing out extra stuff at character creation the way Sean Patrick Fannon and I do, then that Game Master can just use the base racial abilities and ignore the extras and backgrounds.

With me so far? 

Let’s start with the humanoid races, since the wide variety of rhydan species means they’ll need their own post.


Humanoid Races of Aldea

The Blue Rose setting is home to a variety of interfertile humanoid species, all of whom are heir to previous ages of wondrous magic. As such, even humans have an extra touch of magic and mystery to them. If your Game Master permits, you may choose two additional traits for your hero during character creation, choosing from the racial options below. These additional abilities need not be compensated for with Hindrances.

Children born from mixed unions of Aldean races choose one parent’s race as their basic race, but may pick additional traits from the other parent’s racial list.

Humans

As standard Savage Worlds humans.

If your Game Master permits extra abilities as outlined above, you may choose two from the following human traits:

  • +1 die Smarts

  • +1 die Strength

  • +1 die Vigor

  • +2 dice Notice

  • +2 dice Persuasion

  • Brawler

Night People

 Created as slaves of the evil Sorcerer Kings, the night people eventually rebelled and joined their fellow free-willed humanoids in the battle against their former masters. Tall and burly with ash-gray skin and small tusks, the appearance of night people still frightens some prejudiced folk, but most accept them as fellow citizens.

  • Dark Sight: Night people may see up to 15” in full darkness with no penalty.

  • Light Sensitive: Night people are Shaken for one round when first exposed to sunlight or its equivalent.

  • Strong: Night people start with a d6 in Strength instead of a d4.

If your Game Master permits extra abilities as outlined above, you may choose two from the following night people traits:

  • +1 die Spirit

  • +1 die Vigor

  • +2 dice Intimidation

  • +2 dice Stealth

  • Alertness

  • Brawler 

Sea Folk

While not water-breathers, sea-folk are certainly as comfortable in the water as otters. Androgynous and lean, the sea-folk have a blue or green tint to their otherwise human skin tones and occasionally have blue or green hair. So many otherwise human islanders have sea-folk ancestry in their family tree, that occasionally full-blooded sea-folk are born to human parents.

  • Dark Sight: Sea-folk may see up to 10” in full darkness with no penalty.

  • Dehydration: Sea-folk must either immerse themselves in water for an hour or drink twice a normal human water ration every 24 hours or become automatically Fatigued until they are Incapacitated, perishing the day after.

  • Strong Swimmers: Sea-folk start with a free d6 in Swimming and move at their full Swimming skill. They can hold their breath for 15 minutes before checking for drowning.

If your Game Master permits extra abilities as outlined above, you may choose two from the following sea-folk traits:

  • +1 die Agility

  • +1 die Smarts

  • +2 dice Knowledge (History or Nature)

  • +2 dice Notice

  • Acrobat

  • Alertness 

Vata

Descendants of the union of humankind and the eldritch vatazin, the long-lived, silvery-haired vata are divided into the pale vata’an and the night-black vata’sha. Magic runs in vata blood, leading to them being persecuted in unenlightened nations but welcome in Aldis.

  • Arcane Blood: Vata begin with the Arcane Background (Magic) or (Psionics) Edge and a d4 in the relevant skill.

  • Dark Sight: Vata’an may see up to 10” in full darkness with no penalty and vata’sha may see up to 15”. Vata’sha are Shaken for one round when first exposed to sunlight or its equivalent.

  • Hunted by Kern: Vata’an are killed on sight by the forces of the vile nation of Kern, while vata’sha are enslaved.

If your Game Master permits extra abilities as outlined above, you may choose two from the following vata traits:

  • +1 die Agility

  • +1 die Smarts

  • +2 dice Knowledge (Arcane)

  • +2 dice Notice

  • +2 dice Persuasion

  • Alertness 


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Gargoyle Racial Paradigmatic Framework

Honestly, they were just too complicated to adapt as a race rather than a Framework.

 
Today is Midsummer’s Day for 2017. The best part of Midsummer’s Day is, of course, Midsummer’s Night – and the best part of Midsummer’s Night is William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream.
 

 
And the best part of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream is showrunner Greg Weisman's Gargoyles, the 1994 Buena Vista (not, officially, Disney) syndicated animated series about medieval Scottish living gargoyles transplanted to modern-day Manhattan where they fight supervillains and indulge in a lot of Shakespeare references.
 
"One thousand years ago, superstition and the sword ruled. It was a time of darkness. It was a world of fear. It was the age of gargoyles. Stone by day, warriors by night, we were betrayed by the humans we had sworn to protect, frozen in stone by a magic spell for a thousand years. Now, here in Manhattan, the spell is broken, and we live again! We are defenders of the night. We are Gargoyles!"
 
Gargoyle Abilities and Bonuses
 
It was the age of gargoyles: Over one thousand years ago, gargoyles were common throughout Earth. During this time, clans often developed adaptations to their environments. In addition to the abilities below, the player may choose an additional two points of positive racial abilities from the following options in The Tomorrow Legion Player’s Guide:
  • Semi-Aquatic
  • Armor (scaly hide or spikes)
  • Attribute Increase
  • Flight (bird-like wings)
  • Keen Sense (muzzle instead of humanoid mouth)
  • Leaper
  • Natural Weaponry
  • Pace (four-footed running)
  • Parry (responsive tail)
  • Reach
  • Size
  • Toughness

Stone by Day: Magic infuses gargoyle physiology, giving them supernatural abilities unexplainable by science. Chief amongst these is “stone sleep,” a process in which the bodies of gargoyles calcify, effectively turning to stone. The transformation is triggered by the dawn of whatever time zone or world the gargoyle is upon – regardless of whether the gargoyle is shielded from direct sunlight or not – and reverses at sunset.

While in stone sleep, gargoyles may make a natural healing at +2 roll to regenerate from wounds. Given their hardy constitutions, this usually means that all but the most deadly of wounds heal after a single night. 

Gargoyles are completely immobile in stone form, dreaming but effectively inanimate. They are immune to drowning, the elements, toxins, and suffocation and count as Objects with Toughness 12. Any damage suffered while in stone sleep is not regenerated, and the race was nearly hunted to extinction by humans smashing them during the day.

Another drawback to stone sleep is that gargoyles use it to absorb and store solar energy, and suffer the withdrawal symptoms of the Dependency negative racial trait if they go more than one day without sunlight.

Warriors by Night: Physically more powerful than humans with exceptional night vision and the ability to glide, Gargoyles are supremely adapted to lives as nocturnal hunters and warriors. 

With longer muscle fibers than humans (but just as many motor neurons), even small gargoyles are stronger and faster than un-augmented humans. All gargoyles begin with Agility, Strength, and Vigor at d10 and can advance to d12+3 without taking additional Edges. Their stout hides give them Toughness +1. Their powerful claws allow them to do Str+d6 (AP 2) damage and they never count as unarmed defenders; they also gain a +2 bonus to Climbing when scaling surfaces they can embed their claws in.

All gargoyles possess Low Light Vision.

While they cannot truly fly, gargoyles can glide exceptionally long distances after leaping from even relatively short heights. They can effectively fly at their normal Pace with a Climb of 0 if they leap from at least one story high.
 
Gargoyle Complications 

Betrayed by the humans we were sworn to protect: Even during the age when (some) gargoyles lived in peace with humans, humans feared and distrusted gargoyles. Cultural and physical differences between the two races have often made cooperation between humans and gargoyles impossible. All gargoyles suffer from the Distinctive D-Bee (-2) and Non-Standard Physiology negative racial abilities as well as the Outsider Hindrance. Cultural differences give gargoyles the Clueless Hindrance when dealing with most races (the exception possibly being the Children of Oberon).

We are defenders of the night: Gargoyles are painfully trusting with powerful instincts toward territoriality. All gargoyles possess the Loyal Hindrance and their need to protect their nests and clans (and non-gargoyles they regard as their clan) acts as a Vow [Major].

Note that gargoyles suffer no restrictions on cybernetics or learning Arcane Backgrounds.


I mean, one of these gargoyles is a wizard and another was a cyborg (in a Puck-induced dream sequence).

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ghastly Affair Antagonists V: Usurer, Warlocks/Witches, and Wrecker

In the early years of Wine and Savages, one of my obsessions was adapting Savage Worlds to Gothic Romance in the style of The Castle of Otranto, The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Monk, and other such early classics. I made some progress, but Daniel James Hanley beat me to the punch with Ghastly Affair. a charmingly horrific D20 RPG of Gothic horror in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is, frankly, brilliant and I encourage the curious to check out Hanley’s site – The Engine of Oracles – and download the free version of the game (or buy the nifty illustrated version).

Presented below are a selection of NPC archetypes inspired by the Antagonists section of Ghastly Affair – but equally suitable for The King is Dead and other Gothic settings.


Usurer
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Gambling d6, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Shooting d4, Stealth d6, Streetwise d8, Taunt d6
Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 4; Sanity: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Greedy [Major; swindles others with high-interest loans]
Edges: Rich or Filthy Rich
Gear: hidden dagger or flintlock pistol, flamboyant formal clothing
 
Warlock/Witch, good
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Gambling d6, Healing d4, Knowledge (Occult) d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Spellcasting d8, Stealth d6, Survival d4, Taunt d6
Charisma: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 4; Sanity: 6; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Outsider [Minor; unpopular with the neighbors], Vow [Minor; honor or serve some master or sprit]
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic)
Gear: ritual dagger, broom or other flying implement, poppet, psychoactive herbs and mushrooms, normal clothing
Special Abilities
  • Power Points: 10
  • Powers: banish entity,* healing, summon spirit*


Warlock/Witch, unjustly-accused
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Gambling d6, Healing d8, Knowledge (Occult) d4, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Stealth d4, Survival d4, Taunt d6
Charisma: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 4; Sanity: 6; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Outsider [Minor; unpopular with the neighbors]
Edges: Healer
Gear: dagger, medicinal herbs, normal clothing
 
Warlock/Witch, wicked
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Gambling d6, Healing d4, Knowledge (Occult) d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Spellcasting d8, Stealth d6, Survival d4, Taunt d6
Charisma: -4; Corruption: 1+ (power, Trait increase)*; Pace: 6; Parry: 4; Sanity: 6; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Outsider [Minor; unpopular with the neighbors], Ugly [Minor; strange physical blemish]
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic)
Gear: ritual dagger, broom or other flying implement, poppet, psychoactive herbs and mushrooms, normal clothing
Special Abilities
  • Power Points: 10
  • Powers: bind entity, fly, summon demon* or summon spirit*


Wrecker
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Boating d6, Climbing d6, Fighting d6, Gambling d6, Notice d6, Shooting d6, Stealth d8, Streetwise d6
Charisma: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Sanity: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Greedy [Major; wrecks boats and murders crews for money], Outsider [Minor; shunned even by other criminals]
Edges: Assassin
Gear: dagger, flintlock pistol, lamp, normal clothing



*see Savage Worlds Horror Companion

Ghastly Affair Antagonists IV: Soldier through Thief-taker

https://engineoforacles.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/ghastly-affair-the-gothic-game-of-romantic-horror/
In the early years of Wine and Savages, one of my obsessions was adapting Savage Worlds to Gothic Romance in the style of The Castle of Otranto, The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Monk, and other such early classics. I made some progress, but Daniel James Hanley beat me to the punch with Ghastly Affair. a charmingly horrific D20 RPG of Gothic horror in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It is, frankly, brilliant and I encourage the curious to check out Hanley’s site – The Engine of Oracles – and download the free version of the game (or buy the nifty illustrated version).

Presented below are a selection of NPC archetypes inspired by the Antagonists section of Ghastly Affair – but equally suitable for The King is Dead and other Gothic settings.


Soldier, enlisted infantry
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Gambling d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d6, Shooting d6, Stealth d4, Survival d4
Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Sanity: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Vow [Major; desertion is punishable by death]
Edges: Combat Reflexes
Gear: flintlock rifle and bayonet, dagger, haversack, uniform


Soldier, infantry NCO
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Gambling d6, Intimidation d8, Knowledge (Battle) d6, Notice d6, Shooting d6, Stealth d4, Taunt d6, Survival d4
Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Sanity: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Vow [Major; desertion is punishable by death]
Edges: Combat Reflexes, Command
Gear: flintlock rifle and bayonet, flintlock pistol, dagger, haversack, uniform


Soldier, light cavalry (Cossack, dragoon, hussar)
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Gambling d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d8, Riding d8, Shooting d6, Stealth d6, Survival d4
Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Sanity: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Vow [Major; desertion is punishable by death]
Edges: Combat Reflexes, Steady Hands
Gear: flintlock carbine (as rifle), pair of flintlock pistols (if lucky), dagger, lance, saber (as short sword), haversack, champagne bottle, riding horse, uniform


Soldier, heavy cavalry (cuirassier, Polish hussar)
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Gambling d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d6, Riding d8, Shooting d6, Stealth d4, Survival d4
Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Sanity: 5; Toughness: 8 (3)
Hindrances: Vow [Major; desertion is punishable by death]
Edges: Combat Reflexes, Steady Hands
Gear: cuirass (as plate corselet), saber (as short sword), dagger, lance, pair of flintlock pistols, haversack, war horse, uniform


Soldier, officer
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Gambling d6, Intimidation d8, Knowledge (Battle) d8+, Notice d6, Riding d8, Shooting d6, Stealth d4, Survival d4
Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Sanity: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Vow [Major; desertion is punishable by death]
Edges: Combat Reflexes, Command, Rich, other Leadership Edges as appropriate
Gear: rapier, dagger, pair of flintlock pistols, maps, spyglass, haversack, riding horse, uniform


Speculator
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Gambling d6, Notice d8, Persuasion d8, Stealth d6, Taunt d6
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 4; Sanity: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Arrogant, Greedy [Major; fast-talks others into buying chancy investments for own profit]
Edges: Charismatic, Rich or Filthy Rich (sometimes)
Gear: bad wig, ill-fitting formal clothing


Tax Collector
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Gambling d6, Intimidation d10, Investigation d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Stealth d4, Taunt d6
Charisma: -2; Pace: 6; Parry: 4; Sanity: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Mean, Greedy [Minor], Stubborn
Edges: Strong Willed
Gear: accounting book, money chest, normal clothing


Thief-taker
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Gambling d6, Intimidation d6, Investigation d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Shooting d6, Stealth d4, Streetwise d8, Taunt d6
Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Sanity: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Greedy [Major or Minor depending on whether also engaging in criminal activities
Edges: Investigator, Strong Willed
Gear: club, flintlock pistol (as back-up), disguises, manacles, normal clothing