The Sunday Grab Bag

Back by popular demand …

From the All Amazon Band Dept.

That chick needs Mystery Men! stats, stat!

From the Moderne, not Art Deco Dept.

Saw this poster in a Red Robin and had to hunt the image down.

From the National Faux Pas Dept.

Hmmmmm.

From the Mutant Napoleonics Dept.

No – I don’t need to work on another project. Just … no.

From the One More from the Apocalypse Dept.

Probably trying to get away from the bed bugs.

From the Early Age of Motoring Dept.

Cute couple. Couple of what, I’m not sure.

From the Hey, Who’s the Barber Dept.

Watching reality TV produces the same general effect.

From the Muslim Metal Dept.

No doubt about it – this dude can wail.

Heroes of the Proletariat [Mystery Men!]

Some characters I’m working on for the Mystery Men! campaign I discussed HERE. No stats or details yet, of course.

The campaign is called Dark Renaissance. It is set in 1962 in the Shore City universe introduced in the Mystery Men! rules and features a mega-plot that covers multiple cities. The main inspiration is the origin stories of the Avengers and Justice League of America – many heroes coming together to fight a single menace and thus becoming a team.

If you would like to be a part of this game, which will played using Google + (not the hangouts), just throw me an email. My address is on the right hand side of the screen next to my picture. We already have two heroes for the campaign created – Phantomask and Orca.

Image created using Fabrica Herois.

Mu-Pan Eastern Encounter IX

4811. Banshee: A stone road extends from the river to Artuk. Those walking the road often (66% chance) come across an aged woman with lank hair, eyes sealed shut, with clawed fingers and tattered robes. The woman bears a great burden of sticks on her back and wails a mournful song, singing of terrible dooms that are to befall the people she meets. She uses the people’s names in these songs. People who ask her if they might ease her burden are given a toothless smile and handed a stick, which can be used one time as a wand of turn undead (as a cleric of 6th level). Those who do not are cursed and spat at as they pass. Once behind them, the woman throws her sticks at them, one each round. The sticks become white snakes that attack as cobras. Their venom causes a person to shift into the ethereal plane whenever they are stressed or frightened (i.e. save whenever a situation becomes tense) for 1 hour.

4921. Forest of Legs: The forest of trees in this hex gradually turns into a forest of giant, stone legs. The legs are limestone and carved from the “living rock” as some people say. They once held aloft a create limestone cavern that was apparently pulled apart in ancient times. The woodland of stone legs is inhabited by giant blue eagles and silver foxes, and a few of the legs serve as the roosts of hermits, devout wushen who seek enlightenment through the denial of comforts like regular meals and bathing.

Image from Wikipedia

Wanna Play Mystery Men?

Here’s what I’m thinking – a multi-city, multi-villain plot to do something horrendous. Just about as many people as want to can play. Either pick a public domain character or make an original up and stat him or her up with 50,000 XP. Game is set in a pseudo-Silver Age of comics in the Shore City Universe from the rulebook.

The game will be played on Google+. I’ll set up groups based on the city in which each character operates, throw out messages to that “city” in turns, allowing every hero in that city to respond to that message, and then moving on to the next turn. I’ll roll all the dice, of course.

As characters move about, their players are added to different cities, until everything culminates in the final, big scene.

If you want to participate, send me an email or comment on this post and I’ll invite you to Google + (unless you’re already there). It may take a few weeks for me to get everything plotted and underway, and I have no idea how long it will take to run the campaign. The rules, as you should know, are available as a free PDF.

EDIT – Welcome to readers of Project Rooftop! This is actually a somewhat older post that they linked to. The game is actually long out of beta testing and is available for sale as a book and as a free PDF at Lulu.com – this post refers to a campaign I am currently running on Google +. Unfortunately, that game is full at the moment, but since it seems to be going well, I will probably run another campaign in the future. In the meantime, you can click HERE to get a better idea of what Mystery Men! is all about.

Image is the golden age Daredevil made by my daughter using Fabrica de Herois, which has become a bit of an obsession for my daughter and I – many more pictures to come.

Secret Society of the Straight Arrow [MM!/Target12]

The SSSA is a clandestine gathering of super heroic marksmen in the world of Shore City. Based in a chateau in the Swiss Alps, the SSSA looks for people in need who cannot rely on the authorities in their part of the world to help them (those authorities often being the source of the distress). When such a situation is discovered, the call goes out to two or three of the marksmen, who assemble in the chateau, receive their briefing, and then undertake to complete their mission.

The current membership of the SSSA includes Shore City’s own Swiftarrow as well as the dean of heroic marksmen and the founder of the society, The Arrow. Other members are: Spider, Marksman, Red Panther, Diana the Huntress, Scarlet Arrow, Green Knight, Gunmaster, Scarlet Arrow and Young Robin Hood. Their most persistent foe is Nazi agent Armbrust (or “Crossbow”, in English).

NOTE: These heroic stats use a modified profile inspired by Target 12. In essence, I’m experimenting with producing a Target 12 version of Mystery Men! next year, and this is the result of that experiment. In essence, Target 12 MM! would fold Constitution into Strength and Intelligence and Will into Mentality, and instead of spending XP for powers, you would spent Hit Dice, with powers arranged in levels of Heroic (costs 1 HD), Super Heroic (2 HD) and Cosmic (3 HD). Science is now purchased as a Heroic, Super Heroic or Cosmic power slot costing one Hit Dice more than a normal power of that level. Sorcery works the same, costing two Hit Dice more than a normal power of that level. Flawed powers cost 1 HD less than normal, with flawed Heroic Powers costing ½ a Hit Dice. In this iteration, Hit Dice are always D6, with the character’s Strength score being added to the hit point total.

The Arrow
Creator: Paul Gustavson (1938)

The first of the heroic archers of modern times (and the world’s third known mystery man), the Arrow is Ralph Payne, a federal agent who went undercover to more effectively fight crime. The Arrow is also a member of the Justice Foundation, based in Washington D.C.

With Target 12, I would have to modify some of the powers. In the above, the normal Super Ability power, which increases a score by +1 per 1,000 XP spent, now is divided into Super Ability I (+3 to ability score), Super Ability II (+6 to ability score) and Super Ability III (+12 to ability score), bringing ability scores from a 1-30 range to a 1-18 range.

Diana the Huntress
Creator: Burton Geller (1944)

The Roman goddess of the hunt, Diana now fights earthbound villainy with the help of her fellow gods and heroes.

Green Knight
Creator: Al Plastino (1941)

American millionaire and sportsman Denis Knight was inspired by the chivalrous knights of Arthur’s Round Table to become a modern defender of justice. His sidekick is Lance Cooper, a young lad he saved from the depredations of a vampire in the Everglades.

Gunmaster
Creator: Unknown (1945)

Descended from Kattak Po, the Tibetan monk who invented firearms, Dumas, like his ancestors before him, is dedicated to fighting the crime and violence they believe resulted from the invention of their ancestor. He is capable of communing with those ancestors, the Circle of Elders.

Marksman
Creator: Bob Powell and Ed Cronin (1942)

A nobleman, Baron Povalsky becomes a hero fighting the Nazi invaders by taking on the identity of Major Hurtz, a spy. At war’s end, he continued to fight for his country’s independence from the Soviets, and once that was secured he became a costumed crime fighter.

Red Panther
Creator: Taylor Martin & Arthur Peddy (1940)

The Red Panther, whose true name is unknown, receives his costume from a tribal chief in Africa. The costume is made from the pelt of a mystic red panther, and confers incredible abilities on its wearer.

Scarlet Arrow
Creator: Bob Powell (1947)

Alan Bidell is a champion archer and football player who takes on the identity of an ancestor to fight crime.

Spider
Creator: Paul Gustavson (1940)

Millionaire playboy Tom Hallaway becomes the archer called the Spider to eliminate crime from the world. He is assisted by his valet and sidekick, Chuck, and drives a custom sedan called the Black Widow.

Swiftarrow
Creator: Unknown (1945)

Swiftarrow is secretly John Dart, crusading editor of the Weekly Star. He uses the fighting prowess learned as a commando and his expertly crafted crossbow and special arrows to fight crime in the roughest parts of town. He is also a member of Shore City’s Golden Gladiators.

Young Robin Hood
Creator: Unknown (1942)

Billy Lackington is the scion of one of New York’s wealthiest families. A skilled archer, he decides to use this skill to fight for the poor and oppressed. His “merry men” are three local street kids, Fatso, Shorty and Freckles – also known as Friar Tucker, Little John and Big Doc. Doc died in action, but the others continue to help Billy in his crusade against evil.

Armbrust (Crossbow)
Creator: Fred Guardineer (1943)

Armbrust is a Nazi agent who often battled the Marksman during the war. He is now an agent of the Fascovia dictatorship.

Information and image from Public Domain Super Heroes Wiki.

Mu-Pan Eastern Encounter VIII

No, all that Target 12 jazz doesn’t mean I’m not still writing the next hex crawl. Here are two more sample encounters …

4604. Cherik, Chan of the Sea: The pleasure barque of the suzerain of the Jade Sea, a sinuous dragon called Cherik, often visits this hex due to its exceptional beauty. The barque looks like a hemisphere of coral-colored metal that can achieve whatever depth its master desires. The hemisphere is 200 feet in diameter and fitted with a massive couch of gold. Two dozen aquatic gargoyles held with 80-ft long bronze chains surround the barque at all times as its protectors. A school of web-fingered mermaids with grey-green skin and billowing crimson hair entertain Cherik and feed him delicate morsels plucked from the sea. Cherik is usually accompanied by his ministers, a brass dragon called Noger and a copper dragon called Kipchech.

A secret door beneath the couch holds a small treasure of 9,685 gp in coins stamped with a spiral pattern and a suit of cursed haramaki-do -3.

| Cherik, Ancient Gold Dragon: HD 12 (96 hp); AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d6), 1 bite (3d8); Move 12 (Fly 24); Save 3; CL/XP 15/2900; Special: Fire (90-ft cone, 30-ft wide at base) or chlorine breath (cloud 50-ft long, 40-ft wide, 30-ft hide, save or die), spells as 8th level shugenja.

| Noger, Brass Dragon: HD 7 (42 hp); AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (3d6); Move 12 (Fly 24); Save 9; CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Fear or sleep breath.

| Kipchech, Copper Dragon: HD 8 (48 hp); AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d6), 1 bite (2d10); Move 9 (Fly 24); Save 8; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Spit acid or breathe slowing gas.

4740. Colossal Skeletons: In a dry cave obscured by tall trees there are three colossal humanoid skeletons. In life, these creatures must have stood 40 ft tall. The bones appear to made of crystal clear glass. Touching a bone brings on a vision of doom that lasts only a moment. For the rest of the day, the person who had a vision must pass a saving throw each time they go into combat or suffer a -2 penalty to hit and make saving throws during that fight.

Image from HERE

Target 10!

When I started writing Space Princess, I decided I wanted to do a really simple game – thus four ability scores, four classes with three “levels” each, etc. When I came up with 1800 – American Empires, I decided to use the same rules concept, and then again with Mutant Truckers of the Polyester Road, especially because MTotPR was going to be a mini-game for NOD. As I played with the concept, I came up with an easy system I’m calling Target 10 – all tests (skill tests, saving throws) and combat involve rolling 1d20, adding a modifier and trying to roll a ’10’ or higher to succeed. The following excerpt shows where the rules stand at the moment. They were written specifically for American Empires.

Tests
A test is a roll made to determine whether an action succeeds when the outcome of the action is in question. Every action made in a game does not need to be tested. Getting dressed in the morning, for example, does not require a test. Of course, getting ready in the morning and out the door in 10 minutes or getting dressed with two broken arms might require a test of dexterity.

A test is made by roll 1d20, applying modifiers (see below) and trying to roll “10” or higher.

Man vs. Man
When a test pits one person against another (or one creature against another), the test is modified by comparing the relative skill and raw ability of the two opponents. Each opponent calculates their Test Value (TV). A character’s TV is equal to their modifier in whatever ability score governs the test. If the character possesses the skill being tested (see Classes above), they also add their skill value to the TV. Situational modifiers, as determined by the Referee, might also apply, but should never be higher than +3.

Compare the acting character’s TV to the opposing character’s TV. The difference is the bonus or penalty applied to the acting character’s test roll.

When two characters are both trying to “act”, the character with the higher TV always rolls their test first. If the TV’s are equal, defer to the character with the greater skill. If the skill values are equal, defer to the character with the higher ability score. If the ability scores are equal, flip a coin.

In many cases, the outcome can be determined with a single test roll. In some cases, a Referee can require multiple successes to finally succeed, usually no more than 3. He might even a bad consequence if either or both parties rack of too many failures.

Example: Two venturers, Juan and Susan, are trying to sway an Apache chief to cement an alliance with their country. This requires a test of the Negotiate Treaty skill.

Juan has Skill 9 and Charisma 12 (+1), while Susan has Skill 6 and Charisma 18 (+4). This means Juan has a TV of 9 + 1 = 10 and Susan a TV of 6 + 4 = 10. Since the TV’s are equal, there is no modifier to either character’s test roll. Since Juan has the higher skill, he tests first.

The Referee decides it will be more exciting to require three successes to sway the Apache chief. Moreover, he rules that if the two together rack up four failure before either has succeeded, the Apache chief will call off the negotiation and have both venturers killed.

Juan’s first test roll is a “4”, indicating one failure. Susan now rolls an “11”, a success! Three more failures and the Apache chief loses his cool. Juan now rolls a “7”, followed by a “9” for Susan – two more failures. Juan rounds it out with a “13” and Susan with an “8”. That does it – their arguing has angered the Apache chief, who finds neither of them worthy of an alliance and summons his braves to take them into the desert and bury them to their necks in the sand.

Man vs. Nature
Whenever a test pits a character or creature against the natural world – for example, shifting a heavy boulder or predicting the weather, the actor’s Test Value is compared against a Test Value of 1 to 10 chosen by the Referee. In most cases, the test value is “5”. Nature, in these cases, does not “act”, and therefore does not make a test roll. A Referee can still require multiple successes to succeed and can still impose consequences for multiple failures.

Luck Points
Luck Points are a simple mechanic that allows groups of characters of differing skill levels to adventure together without the more skilled completely dominating play. A Luck Point can be spent to automatically succeed at any test, or, in the case of combat, to ignore an opponent’s success.

Luck Points can be earned while exploring (see Occurrences below), but a character can never have more points of luck than they started with. In other words, low skill characters can never have more than 3 luck points at one time, mid-skill level characters can never have more than 1 luck point at a time and high-skill characters cannot have any luck points at all – they have to rely on their skill alone to survive.

Combat Tests
Combat occurs whenever two or more creatures or characters seek to do violence upon one another, whether their aim is to kill, disable or knock unconscious. Combat is conducted in “rounds”. A round is roughly one minute long. During a round, a character may declare how his character is moving and how (or if) they are acting.

The first step in running a combat round is for all players to declare their actions for the round. Possible actions are as follows:

Movements: Advance, Charge, Flee, Hold Ground, Maneuver, Stand and Withdraw.

Actions: Defend, Disarm, Grapple, Kill, Negotiate, Subdue and Trip.

Other actions are certainly possible – a player need only be limited by their imagination.

The next step is to determine the order of play. Each person involved in the combat rolls 1d6 and adds their dexterity bonus. The highest score goes first and play proceeds through the remainder of the scores. In the case of a tie, movement and actions are considered to happen simultaneously. This makes it possible for two combatants to kill one another during the same round of combat.

The acting character then rolls a combat test (see below).

Movements

Advance: And advancing combatant keeps their guard up and moves forward 3 paces.

Charge: A charging combatant goes full speed ahead (and damn the torpedoes!). They move at triple their normal speed (i.e. 30 paces for humans). A charging character does not add their dexterity bonus to their defense score during the round, but adds double their strength bonus to their attack score.

Flee: A fleeing character runs at full speed (i.e. 30 paces for humans), turning their back on their enemy. If they go after their attacking opponent in combat, their opponent’s attack is automatically successful.

Hold: A character that holds does not move at all, unless forced to move by an opponent’s attack.

Maneuver: A maneuvering character attempts to maneuver their opponent into a certain position by the way that they attack – maybe driving them back towards an open pit or maneuvering so that the character gains the high ground or places their back against a wall. When a maneuvering character attacks, they score no damage, but do move their opponent 3 paces in whatever direction they like.

Stand: Whether the character was sitting or lying down at the beginning of combat or they were knocked down, this movement puts them back on their feet. A character cannot stand if they are being attacked.

Withdraw: A withdrawing combatant keeps their guard up and moves backward 3 paces. They may still attack if their opponent is advancing.

Actions

Defend: A defending character increases their DV by dexterity bonus (i.e. they double their bonus) or +1, whichever is higher.

Disarm: A character trying to disarm an opponent does not roll damage against them on a successful test; rather, they knock whatever they are holding (weapon or otherwise) from their hand. The item flies 1d6 paces in a random direction. A disarm attack is made using the attacker’s RAV instead of MAV.

Grapple: A character trying to grapple an opponent does not roll damage against them on a successful test; rather, they lock their opponent in a hold. A creature or character locked in a pin suffers a -1 penalty to attack and defend, and must make a grapple attack of their own to break the hold.

Kill: A character trying to kill scores normal damage against an opponent, and that damage can reduce the opponent’s hit points below 0, killing them.

Negotiate: A negotiating character attempts to engage their opponent in conversation, usually to buy time or simply stop an unnecessary combat from occurring. Only venturers have the ability to negotiate in combat. With a successful skill roll, they keep their opponents from attacking for one round, provided they are not themselves attacked.

Subdue: A character trying to subdue scores normal damage against an opponent, but that damage cannot reduce the opponent’s hit points below 0, leaving them unconscious for 1d6 turns.

Trip: A character trying to trip an opponent does not roll damage against them on a successful test; rather, they knock the opponent to the ground. A creature or character on the ground suffers a -2 penalty to attack and defend.

Combat Tests
Combat tests work like other tests – one compares two values to determine if there is a bonus or penalty on the roll and then rolls 1d20, applying the modifier. If the roll is a “12” or higher, they succeed.

Where most tests use a characters skill + ability modifier, combat tests use three values:

Melee Attack Value (FIGHT) = Hit Dice + Strength Modifier + Weapon Bonus

Ranged Attack Value (SHOOT) = Hit Dice + Dexterity Modifier + Weapon Bonus

Defense Value (DEFENSE) = Hit Dice + Dexterity Modifier + Armor Bonus

When attacking with fist, feet, claws, bites or hand held weapons, the attacker compares their FIGHT to the defender’s DEFENSE to determine the bonus or penalty to their test.

When attacking with thrown items, spittle, pistols, muskets and bows, the attacker compares their SHOOT to the defender’s DEFENSE to determine the bonus or penalty to their test.

As with regular tests, a bonus cannot be higher than +10 and a penalty cannot be lower than -10.

Situational modifiers can also be added to a test roll, as determined by the Referee. Situational modifiers can include a bonus for higher ground, sun in the eyes, etc. They should not amount to more than a total modifier of +3 or -3.

Example: Captain Cole, a soldier, is locked in combat with a leatherstocking named Francois. Captain Cole has Hit Dice 6, Strength 15 (+3), Dexterity 12 (+1) and he is fighting using a Saber (+2). Francois has Hit Dice 7, Strength 14 (+2), Dexterity 15 (+3) and he is fighting using a Knife (+1). Neither gentleman is wearing armor.

Captain Cole has a FIGHT of 6 + 3 + 2 = 11 and a DEFENSE of 6 + 1 = 7.

Francois has a FIGHT of 7 + 2 + 1 = 10 and a DEFENSE of 7 + 3 = 10.

When Cole attacks Francois, he compares his FIGHT of 11 to Francois’ DEFENSE of 10, indicating a +1 bonus to attack.

When Francois attacks Cole, he compares his FIGHT of 10 to Cole’s DEFENSE of 7, indicating a +3 bonus to attack.

Damage
Damage is rolled with 1d6, adding the attacker’s Strength modifier if using a melee weapon or Dexterity modifier if using a ranged weapon. In either case, an ability penalty cannot reduce damage below 1.

Ending Combat
Combat continues, round after round, until all combatants on one side are either dead, unconscious or have fled.

Deviant Friday – Jeff Axer Edition

Jeff, or JayAxer on DeviantArt, has a really beautiful sense of color and line – flowing and bright and inviting. He does a lot of “furry” art, which isn’t really my cup of tea, but I can’t deny the talent and the creativity even with those pieces. I’d love to see him illustrate a revised edition of Talislanta.

Chaotic: Ahnem Colours

Tech Armor Fighter

Masked Female Fighter

Desert Cavern

Chaotic: Ylinne Colours

Chaotic: Kemmosh Colours