Friday, March 16, 2018

Kickstarters Fulfilled

I've had several Kickstarters I backed drop their products in the last few weeks, and though some of them had longer than expected waits, I've been pretty pleased. Here's a brief rundown:

Talislanta: The Savage Land is a "prequel" to Talislanta as we traditionally have known it, written (at least in part) by Talislanta's creator Steven Michael Sechi. It's more barbaric setting loses so of the Vancian nature of the original and the various cultures are often familiar but different which will take so getting used to, but it has the creativity I expect from a Talislanta book and probably the highest production values yet.

Paladin: Warriors of Charlemagne adapts Pendragon's rules to Charlemagne's court as depicted in the Song of Roland and related Romances. I haven't dug much into this one yet, but Pendragon has a good ruleset, and this is a setting that has always interested me.

Aquelarre is the English translation of a well-regarded Spanish rpg. It bills itself as "A Medieval Demonic Roleplaying Game" which says it all really. Just browsing it, I'm really digging the wealthy of detail on the setting, broken down in easy to digest, pretty playable pieces. There are a host of classes like Muccadim (Jewish militia in ghettos) and Goliardo (licentious, worldly young monks) (the whole chargen system reminds me a bit of WFRP at first blush) and a number of monsters from Basque and Spanish folklore.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

DC at Marvel: Green Lantern--Most Cosmic Hero of Them All!

This is a follow-up to this post.


F                 RM   (30)
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I                   EX   (20)
P                  IN   (40)
Health: 120
Karma: 70
Resources: GD (10)
Popularity: 20

Real Name: Harold "Hal" Hogan
Occupation: Test Pilot
Identity: Secret
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record.
Place of Birth: Riverside, Iowa
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Central City, California
Group Affiliation: the Green Lanterns; the Avengers

Power Bands: Green Lantern's powers are derived from the power bands he wears on his wrists. He can utilize one effect per round, but can maintain up to 3 effects with a successful Psyche FEAT roll.
Energy Blasts: Monstrous rank.
Force Field: a solidified energy shield of Monstrous rank in a single area.
Flight: Incredible air speed within atmosphere, Class 3000 in space
Life Support: A life-support field, providing breathable air and protection from the elements, as well as a Monstrous force field. This field can be sustained even if he is unconscious.
Energy Solidification: Monstrous ability to create and shape solidified energy. Power stunts include:

  • Containers of Monstrous material strength
  • Carrying Monstrous Loads
  • Acting as a limb of Monstrous Strength

Phasing: Excellent rank.
Mystic Lantern: The countainer for the Green Flame energy which powers his bands is a green lantern made of Unearthly strength material. The lantern may be invisible at Amazing rank, if Green Lantern wills it.
Limitation: The power bands must be recharged in close proximity to the lantern every 24 hrs. or they lose their powers.
Weakness: Without his power bands, Green Lantern's Strength and Endurance drop to Good and Excellent, respectively.

Hal Hogan has Remarkable knowledge of piloting, aeronautics, and navigation.

History: See the previous post for his origin.

After managing to survive an all-out assault by the Baron Sinestro, Blastaar, and a force of Qwardian Thunderers from the Negative Zone, the Guardians of the Universe summoned Hal Hogan to bestow upon him greater power. His ring was transformed into twin power bands, through which flowed even greater power.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Weird Revisited: We Have All Become God's Madmen

This post first appeared in 2012.

[This view of clerics follows from my post "Apocalypse Underground"]

The clerics aren't priests. Before the underground was discovered, Man had priests--and gods whose intercession they sought. Their prayers had been in vain. The old gods had abandoned Man to the monsters.

Then the clerics came. Their gods were unyielding of personifications of law. They marked their chosen with fits, visions, and miracles of faith. Their precepts were few: Destroy chaos and evil, protect the innocent.

The monsters are (in the view of the clerics) chaos and evil manifest. The clerics wage a savage holy war against the denizens of the underground and are willing to martyr themselves in the service of their gods.

The clerics sometimes use titles of the old priestly hierarchy, but all clerical groups are cults founded around a charismatic leader who is considered strong in the faith due to the spiritual power he or she wields.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

DC at Marvel: High-Flyin' Hawkman

This is a follow-up to this post.


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I                   EX   (20)
P                  EX   (20)
Health: 80
Karma: 70
Resources: GD (10)
Popularity: 20

Real Name: Henry Carter Hall
Occupation: Inventor, adventurer
Identity: Secret
Legal Status: Citizen of the United States with no criminal record.
Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois
Marital Status: Married.
Known Relatives: Susan Sanders Hall (wife)
Base of Operations: New York City
Group Affiliation: Partner of Hawkwoman, Avengers

Winged Flight: His artificial wings and nth metal belt (Unearthly material) allow Hawkman to fly at Remarkable speed.
Avian Communication: Cybernetic circuitry incoporated into his cowl allow him to command birds at Remarkable ability.

Hawkman has Remarkable knowledge of aerial combat. He is a brillaint scientist skilled in Electronics, Physics, Biophysics. Orinthology, and Engineering. He also has the Repair/Tinkering talent, and is an armchair Egyptologist.

History: Henry "Hank" Hall, scientist and inventor, was experimenting with a metal of extraterrestrial origin that could be used to produced antigravity effects. He dubbed "nth metal" which had been recovered from a meteorite in Africa. He attended an exhibition of newly discovered artifacts at a local museum to investigate his theory that the  Ancient Egyptians had utilized nth metal in tools.

At the exhibition, Hall surreptitiously exposed a ceremonial dagger he suspected of being nth metal to high frequency sound waves. Energy emitted by the dagger caused Hall to experience a vision of the distant past that felt like he had lived it. He was an ancient Egyptian prince who was slain along with his betrothed by a treacherous and power-hungry high priest. Unknown to Hall, two others present experienced that same vision. Susan Sanders saw it through the eyes of the Prince's wife to be, and Anton Hastor, a Soviet agent who had been monitoring Hall's research, felt he had been the high priest.

The three left somewhat disoriented, but Hastor kidnapped Sanders on her way home, planning to use her to coerce Hall into turning over his nth metal research, then kill the both of them as he believed he had done in his previous life.

Hall agreed to meet Hastor and turn over his notes, but instead donned his experimental wings and nth metal lift belt, a cybernetic helmet he had been working on to communicate with birds, and a makeshift costume. He rescued Sanders in the guise of Hawkman.

Hall and Sanders instantly fell in love. She suggested he continued fighting crime as Hawkman and had him build fight gear for her so that she could assist him as Hawkgirl.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Marvelous DC Universe

Here's a superhero rpg campaign idea: What if DC had outsourced their Silver Age revival to Atlas/Marvel? Nevermind that there is not really any reason they would have done this, but imaging what it might have been like has a lot of possibilities.

In general, I think it would mean more commie villains in the early days, more contentiousness relationships with supporting characters, and more angst for the characters themselves. This would mean re-imagining the characters that were revamped in the 50s, so Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Arrow would stay the same (at least at initial concept).

What would this do for you? Well, allow you to recreate a lot of DC characters in a Mighty Marvel manner, and give you both universes to plunder for something both fresh and familiar.

Here's an example:

Hal Hogan is an Air Force pilot, flying an experimental spy plane over Southeast Asia when he is shot down. He is captured by red guerillas and in mortal peril thanks to a piece of shrapnel lodged close to his heart! Imprisoned, he meets a strange old man named Yinsen who reveals to him a green lantern carved from a fallen star and a ring. The light of the Green Flame in the lantern stays the motion of the shrapnel and saves Hogan's life, at least temporarily. Yinsen explains he has been an agent of mysterious beings known as the Guardians of the Universe for hundreds of years, but he is too old to continue, and they directed him to choose a successor as the Green Lantern, the protector of this world. He has chosen Hogan to be that successor. Donning the ring (which must be recharged once a day with the Lantern) Hal Hogan becomes one with the Green Flame of Life. He is the Green Lantern!

Hogan escapes the communist forces and returns to America. His injury gets him discharged from the military, but he gets a job at Ferris Aircraft. The owner, Carl Ferris doesn't fully trust Hogan. He believes he was compromised during his time in communist hands. His daughter Carol, though. is in love with the handsome flyboy. Neither is aware that Hogan is secretly the Green Lantern.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Hounds of Marduk

My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues with his adventures in the world of Pandarve. Earlier installments can be found here.

Storm: The Hounds of Marduk (1985) 
(Dutch: De Honden van Marduk) (part 3)
Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin Lodewijk

The tattooed fisherman who rescue Storm, Nomad, and Ember come from a place called Pandarve's Ribs. Ember won't seem to wake up. The fisherman explains that she must have taken in some of the waste-water from the sewer, which has an intoxicating effect.

Meanwhile, the hound of Marduk they encountered previously has run far to the north. Marduk still watches through the creature's eyes. he and his servants don't know where the it was when it saw Storm, so they have no clue as to where to find him.

The fisherman take Ember to their shaman to cure her. The old man proclaims that since she is in "the sleep of Pandarve, only Pandarve's breath" can save her:

As no one can be "naked" on the Ribs, Storm and Nomad are sent off to get temporary tattoos while Ember is treated.

As days past, the hound makes its way back to its master. Marduk has an idea of what to do to allow the hound to tell him Storm's location. He transforms him into a humanoid form so he is capable of speech:

Back on the ribs, members of the Anti-Marduk group that was trying to capture Storm in the city sneak up and kidnap Ember. She awakens before they make their escape, and her cries summon Storm and Nomad. They threaten to kill Ember if Storm won't come with them.

Angrily, he agrees, and they leave the island in a small boat.


Monday, March 5, 2018

Weird Revisited: Magic from Davy Jones' Locker

This post first appeared in November of 2012. The magic items were intended for the world of Weird Adventures, but could be used anywhere.

Besides the riches dredged up from the wrecks at the bottom of Dead Man's Cove, the treasure grotto of the Phantom Diver contains several maritime magic items:

Spyglass: This brass spyglass allows the user to look back into the past as well as into the distance. 1d4 indicates hours, days, months, or years into the past; d20 indicates how many, at GM's discretion.

Diver's Helmet: This antique diver's helmet smells of the briny depths. It allows the wearer to see the shades of things that have died in the area, all the way back to the dawn of life. Spirits appear almost like neon lights, translucent, faintly glowing and colorful.

Whaler's Harpoon: This antique and somewhat rusted tool has a blade strangely unblunted by time. It's a normal weapon against man-sized or smaller creatures but +1 against large adversaries and +2 against anything bigger than that.

Walrus Tusk Scrimshaw: Yellowed tusk engraved with a swirling pattern that perhaps depicts eddies and currents. When held, it allows command of pinnipeds and communication with selkies. Hungry killer whales and sharks, however, will be drawn to anyone holding it.