Alia – Mechanical Goddess

Sculpture by John Duncan Fergusson

Saw this sculpture on Wikipedia today, and it inspired me. Looks like an appropriate goddess for the mechanical men who run about in NOD.

Goddess of Sun, Wisdom, Harmony, Dance
Neutral (LN)
Worshiped by Mechanical Men, Sages, Engineers, Royalty
Carries no weapons

Alia is the sun goddess of the mechanical men. The mechanical peoples have a different relation to the Sun than living creatures. They require no warmth, and do not eat, but they do require light and recognize its central place in the scheme of things. To the mechanical men, Alia is a goddess of reason and harmony, and her priests are usually Lawful (LG) or Neutral (LN) as a result. Her role as a slayer of darkness/evil or bringer of new life is underplayed by them, and instead she is conceived as more of a wise woman, holding a combination of a salon and grand ball, in which the other heavenly spheres dance and commune. Her priests, therefore, are skilled at dancing and are more sages than warriors, though they acknowledge the need to combat Chaos (Evil), as it attempts to disrupt and wear down the mechanical universe, of which they are microcosms.


Cleric 4 (Clerics of Alia only)
30 ft. range
1 minute duration

Harmonious action permits all allies within the spell’s range to move and act in perfect harmony while engaged in melee combat. The cleric chooses one enemy target in particular. Each of the cleric’s allies, in addition to making a normal move and melee attack, can make an extra melee attack at a -5 penalty on the cleric’s chosen foe, provided that foe is within their range.

Apocalypse 1898 – I’m No Fool

Wow – within a day my last post becomes one of my most popular posts ever. I’m no fool, so it’s time to milk this a bit.

Apocalypse 1898 is the working title. Good / Bad / Whaddya think?

I’ll use a variation on Target 10 for the basic rules.

Here is my outline so far:

Ability Scores
Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Charisma; roll 3d6 for each to determine the score (will run from 1 to 9).

Each ability score is tied to several “skills”. For each ability, based on your score, you get to pick a number of these skills as “class skills” so to speak (i.e. you add your character’s skill bonus and ability score to them when your testing them, as opposed to just adding your ability score.

Score / No. of Skills
1-3 / choose one skill
4-5 / choose two skills
6-9 / choose three skills

In addition, you choose one additional skill from your highest ability category as your specialty (an additional +3 to tests)


Strength: Pugilism, swordplay, resist disease, resist poison, resist pain and exhaustion, wrestling, breaking and bending, leaping, climbing, swimming

Dexterity: Archery, throwing, gunplay, legerdemain, duck and cover, lock picking, riding, creep silently, lurk in shadows

Intelligence: Scholarship, decipher codes and languages, invent device, concoct formula, appraise value, discover clue, survival, pilot ship, occult knowledge

Charisma: Size up opposition, play instrument, sing and dance, command, charm, suggest, resist domination, trickery

Roll 1d20, add bonuses – penalties – try to meet or beat a 10 (i.e. Target 10)

Difficulties impose a -3 penalty (cumulative) on a roll – determined by Ref, but I’d give some examples

Other Stats /Abilities
Hit Points: 1d6 per point of Strength (+3 for specialization with any combat-oriented skill)
Equipment: One roll on random equipment chart per point of Charisma
Armor Class: 5 + Dex + armor bonus
Languages: One per point of Intelligence (or 2 slots to become literate in a language)

You can start at one of three “levels”

Novice: Has a skill bonus of +3 and 3 luck points
Veteran: Has a skill bonus of +6 and 1 luck point
Master: Has a skill bonus of +9 and 0 luck points

As always in Target 10, luck points are used to get automatic successes on rolls, or impose automatic failures on your opponents. You can also trade them for things like extra equipment

This may change as I delve into the period literature, but for now …

Human: Gets 1 extra luck point
Freak: Get one mutation (see below)
Invader: Str -2, Int +2; gets “resist disease” as a bonus skill

The mutations are going to be inspired more by PT Barnum’s freak show than by what you find in most mutant games. Things like bestial appearance, horrific appearance, gigantism, pinhead, etc. No death rays. All of them would have a boon and a drawback attached to them.

You can work magic with this skill, but you must take it as a specialty.

There would be a list of magical operations with a Difficulty Class (DC) for each – like the psychic abilities in Space Princess. Maybe you would be required to have training in one to use it – perhaps you have as many “spells” as you have points of skill.

Character Packages
I’d probably include some sample character packages – if nothing else for use as quick NPCs. All of them would assume a “4” in three ability scores and a “6” in the fourth

Adventurer/Adventuress – explorers, doers of great deeds – Nellie Bly comes to mind

Gentleman/Lady – the gentry, educated and charming
Athlete – John L Sullivan comes to mind
Cowboy – Teddy Roosevelt, Buffalo Bill
Magician – Madame Blavatsky
Inventor – Tesla, Edison

An example might be …

Cowboy (Veteran)
STR 4: Pugilism (10), Wrestling (10)
DEX 6: Duck & Cover (12), Gunplay (12), Riding* (15)
INT 4: Discover Clue (10), Survival (10)
CHA 4: Play Instrument (Guitar or Harmonica) (10), Resist Domination (10)

Gangster (Veteran)
STR 4: Climbing (10), Pugilism (10)
DEX 6: Creep Silently (12), Legerdemain (12), Lurk in Shadows* (15)
INT 4: Appraise Value (10), Survival (10)
CHA 4: Resist Domination (10), Trickery (10)

This would probably be restricted to a few giant versions of animals – giant rats, giant spiders. Would replace Novice/Veteran/Master with Small/Medium/Large and otherwise use the same ability scores and a bunch of skills (common sense here, not using the same rules as character creation), with some special abilities added in where necessary.

The setting is New York. The game would describe the different boroughs and neighborhoods in the post-invasion setting. The main goal would be survival – food and water, not being beaten and robbed – as in “Warriors … Come hither and play!” type stuff. Of course, build up a reputation, a small army, some Invader weaponry and maybe you can knock down the doors of Tammany Hall and start running the joint.

To Verne or Not To Verne – That is the Question
The comments on the last post suggest people want some full scale Victorian Jules Verne sci-fi in this game. I’m not opposed to it, but it may occupy a separate chapter so people can either play a grim and gritty (though slightly tongue-in-cheek) romp through Victorian post-apocalyptic New York City, and others can include various sci-fi modules to make the game more in the steampunk vein.

Otherwise, the only “scientific romance” elements are going to be the surviving invaders and their weapons, and the supernatural abilities (which could be included as an add-on module as well, since some might prefer not to play Cabalists and Cowboys).

Sunday Grab Bag – Better Late Than Never

Busy day – yard work and family time. Here are a few oddities I found this week …

Golden Age of Weird Department

With a splash page like this, how bad could the story be?

Russ Nicholson is Awesome Department

Nothing clever to say here – he just is.

Smoking Airship Department

Yeah, this baby will show up in a Campaign Sketchbook in a future issue of NOD. Dreadnaughts of the Endless Blue maybe. It would be aerial dreadnaughts in the late colonial period – I’d put them in Victorian space, but somebody beat me to that idea.

Looking for Cheap Hits Department

When you’re looking for page views, you can’t go wrong with Power Girl. But honestly – this is one of my favorite depictions of the character ever. Image by Chris Samnee, via Comic Twart, a site you must, if you love your eyeballs and want to give them a treat, follow now!

My Daughter is a Mad Genius Department

Playing with Fabrica Herois tonight, she created Angel-Devil. Is she a saintly savior or a devilish demon … or BOTH!?! Now we just need to work out some Mystery Men! stats.

Cavalcade of Stuff

A few random bits and pieces today. I’m trying to get some traction on finishing Mystery Men! and writing the Mu-Pan material, but mostly working on the conversion of Tome of Horrors and writing encounters/lairs for all the beasties therein. Lots of fun, but lots of work as well. Currently up to mid-“S”, have until end of March to finish. Pray for me. Sending HCC #3 off to the Frog God today (if I don’t forget to). So, enjoy some random junk …

My wife was quizzing my daughter on ancient China, and one question about what the called the trade route from China to the west had as a possible answer “The Polyester Road”. Brainstorm.

Imagine post-apocalypse America. In this case, the apocalypse in question is a new ice age. The planet is colder and drier. Canada is under a sheet of ice, the U.S. Midwest is a sand sea desert and the Mississippi a mere trickle. Two population centers survive in North America. On the west coast you have folks living and farming from Southern California into Mexico, with almost all farmland going to grow food. On the east coast, you have large settlements from Virginia to Florida, with the most powerful and wealthy settlement being the city-state of Kinston (in what we now call North Carolina). Why is Kinston so powerful? They alone know the secret of making polyester. Yes, for societies that now wear two hundred year-old rags and animal pelts, that have to push all their resources into growing food, there is no more valuable material than polyester, the fabric of kings. Since the destruction of the Panama Canal, it has made economic sense for the merchants of California & Mexico to make their way across the Void Zone at the heart of North America along the famous Polyester Road to Kinston.

I’m picturing the well-to-do in leisure suits, the legions of Kinston in fiberglass/polyester armor, the city-state ruled by the Lords DuPont, etc.


That would be French singer Sylvie Vartan with Kong on the Champs Elysees. I can’t tell you the last time I had a chanteuse sit on my stomach in the middle of the street. Them big guys get ever’thin’. Via Kippage – NSFW


Nathanial Clark, “I approach the cavern.” Via Super Punch.


Freeride Mountain Biking, via Super Punch.

Ice Glacier Caves, via Super Punch.

Blue Arabian Desert via Astro_Soichi, my favorite astronaut.

The Human Planet from the BBC. Honestly, if I could pack a billionth of the wondrous-ness of this video into Nod, I’d be a happy man.


Perhaps my most aptly named file. Via Super Punch. Yeah, I like Super Punch.


Victorian Nurse-Bot by Doktor A. via Super Punch. Looks like the automatons I pictured running the Empire of Vex in the PARS FORTUNA setting.

Mecha-Rust Monster

Chris Burdett just posted his interpretation of the rust monster. Posing the question “What kind of monster has a propeller tail?”, he decided it had to be some arcane-mechanical creation.

I thought it was a very creative interpretation of the original, so I had to share for the benefit of folks not following his blog (and if you’re one of them, what are you waiting for – follow him already!)

Articles I’m pondering or working on – Gods of Mu-Pan (of course), Seven Samurai (a run-down of seven famous samurai from Mu-Pan, along with some ideas on customizing the class) and the Mechanicians, a new race/class for Pars Fortuna. Stay tuned, gentle reader.

Oh – and regarding the gods of Mu-Pan. I’m thinking of two options – one is to use Ampersand-ized versions of Chinese and Japanese gods, the other is to use Ampersand-ized versions of the Gods of Pegana, with a few real gods and goddesses thrown in for good measure. Any preferences out there? Mana-Yood-Sushai just sounds right for Mu-Pan.

Deviant Sunday – C Walton Edition

CWalton does a lot of work, conceptual and otherwise, for the good folks at Privateer Press, publishers of the Iron Kingdoms setting that mashes fantasy with steampunk and giant robots. I never played or owned anything from the Iron Kingdoms, but I did have a soft spot for the art, which, though a bit outside my wheelhouse, was always infused with a sense of fun and passion. Oh, also, the Satyxis are just plain cool. Enjoy.

Not a brand of vacuum cleaner built by an ancient Germanic tribe …
The reference in the title is completely lost on me. Image makes me think of a steampunk drider (a reference that is lost on probably 99% of the population of the Earth).
Kinda Gamma-Worldy, this one – or RIFTSy
Sorry, close as I could get to Red Sonja this time around