Thursday, July 2, 2015

Conversion Experience: Sheriff Tubbs' Beatin' Stick

Southern Bastards #2; Image Comics; May 2014; $3.50

Earl Tubbs' daddy used to be the sheriff in Craw County, Alabama. According to Earl, he loved the county more than his own family. In his day Sheriff Tubbs was tough as nails.

     His signature weapon was a club that was always by his side. Some say that the stick was signed by Bear Bryant, legendary University of Alabama football coach. By all accounts, the sheriff swung a mean club and many law-breakers felt its wrath.

     Fast forward many years and now Sheriff Tubbs lays in a grave in his front yard. A massive, gnarly old tree grows out of it. The tree is every bit as unyielding and tough as the sheriff.

     On the night his aging son Earl plans to leave Craw County for good a bolt of lightning shatters the tree. Within the tree is none other than his daddy's club. How could that be? It's impossible! Whatever the cause, it's a sure sign that Earl is meant to stay in town in order to take care of the evil that has festered during his father's absence.

Sheriff Tubbs' Beatin' Stick
Consider the weapon an Extra. When used in combat it provides the wield one extra shift in combat, two if the wielder is a descendant of Sheriff Tubbs.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Conversion Experience: Dusty Tutwiler

Southern Bastards #1; Image Comics; April 2014; $3.50

A lifetime ago I was accepted to graduate school at the University of North Carolina and the University of South Carolina. Sometimes I regret not attending either school (I chose San Diego State), but things have worked out okay. Still, my interest in the South remains, so how could I pass up a title like Southern Bastards?

     In this first issue we learn of Coach Boss, a local kingpin who happens to be the high school football coach. In the South, football has a an almost religious aspect to it. The vehicle of this knowledge is Dusty Tutwiler, a terrified man with bloodshot eyes and a penchant for thievery. The fear evident in Dusty is an excellent story-telling device. The nastier the villain, the greater the terror he inspires in his victims.

     In Fate Accelerated, you can use Dusty as generic street-level rabble who has made a powerful enemy. He's desperate and scared, yet still retains a bizarre sense of honor.

Dusty Tutlwiler
Stoned and stupid; In a heap o' trouble

Good (+2) at: Stealing, football trivia
Bat (-2) at: Fightng, common sense

Stress: [_]

Notes: Dusty has a wad of stolen cash on his person.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Restless Dead


Those who perish in the black waters of Whitaker Cove have a disturbing habit of returning to exact hate-filled vengeance upon the living. The attacks always occur at night and target lone individuals.

THE RESTLESS DEAD
They "live" to throttle the living

Good (+2) at: Spreading terror, choking the life out of lone victims
Bad (-2) at: Pretty much everything else

Stress: [_][_]

Notes: When one of the restless dead rises from its watery grave, the event can be terrifying for anyone unfortunate enough to be present. At the start of the scene, the GM should roll 6 dice. (4 dice for its attack modified by two dice more for its affinity for spreading terror.) The attack is not a physical one, but still targets the stress track of the victim as it represents emotional trauma.

A player can defend normally, or perhaps they can voluntarily  take themselves out of the scene (earning a Fate point in the process) and perhaps dictate that they flee in gibbering, wailing terror.

Video Note: Fender Squire running through a Catalinbread Belle Epoch into a Vox AC4. One of the reasons for my prolonged blogging absence was a partial tear of my right ACL I suffered while surfing. I spent nearly 18 months rehabbing and trying to get back into form, but sadly my days in the water are over. It's been a crushing blow, but to help me cope I picked up the guitar. It's not a total loss, I guess. :)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Conversion Experience: Panda-Bot Mk V

Empty Zone #1; Image Comics; June 2015; $3.50

Today's read is a William Gibson/Cyberpunk/grim future kind of thing. It was a rather decent issue and I look forward to seeing where this series goes. In this installment of Conversion Experience, I want to share an awesome looking robot that appeared briefly. No name was listed for the machine, so apologies for my rather lame moniker.

PANDA-BOT MK V
Robotic Killing Machine

Skilled (+2) at: Breaking things and killing people
Bad (-2) at: Diplomacy, creative thinking

Stunt
Because the Panda-Bot Mk. V Makes Sudden, Violent Entrances, once per session the robot can appear unexpectedly in a scene and immediately attack a foe. In the comic, the immediate attack came in the form of broken shards of a door it had kicked impaling/bludgeoning people.

Stress: [_][_]

Notes: Its attacks can be either physical (punching, kicking) or via a beam weapon that emanates from the palm of its right hand. Per the comic, the robot is capable of being reprogrammed to make it a docile servant.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Finn's Golden Sword of Battle

Available for about $25 in many comic book stores, this plastic replica of Finn's Golden Sword of Battle from the cartoon Adventure Time, is an indispensable monster slaying tool. Although it's made of plastic, in the hands of a true believer (see below) it can cause actual harm to beasties.

     In Fate, treat the weapon as an Extra and note the following text on a character sheet:

Finn's Golden Sword of Battle
     When used in melee, it can inflict damage to a monster's stress track as if it were a real sword.

     If a character does a bit of research on the topic of lethal toy swords (I suggest a Careful approach) and scores a Good (+3) result, then he or she will learn the following from a paranormal research discussion board:

     "The precedent of toy swords being able to harm malevolent creatures was set in the summer of 1979 by Joe Gibbs of Venice Beach, CA. At the time, eight-year-old Joe and other children in the area were plagued by a disturbing number of attacks and abductions targeting children. Joe and his friends armed themselves with home-made wooden swords. Joe spray painted his sword silver and tied a black bandanna around the hilt.

     Armed with their humble weapons, Joe and his friends were able to defend themselves from further predation. Joe's sword is currently in the possession of members of the "Thursday Night Fight Club", a paranormal investigating team based in Los Angeles.

     As to why the toy swords can harm monsters, it is speculated that the monsters made themselves vulnerable to attack by violating a centuries old compact regarding quotas relating to predation upon children. Because the monsters violated the "rules of warfare" so to speak, the concession was that children (and perhaps those adults who retain a child-like belief in the supernatural) could now better protect themselves."

Friday, June 26, 2015

Troubled in Their Dreams Again

When the weather turns foul, the citizens of Whitaker Cove, a quiet fishing village in the Pacific Northwest, suffer. The phenomena is well-documented in various metaphysical and paranormal journals.

     One form of torment that the residents endure are bad dreams that portend their deaths. On more than one occasion, the dreams have come true. Skeptics have dismissed such incidents as coincidence, but the wise know that it's better not to scoff.

     The next time the wind howls and the heavens open up to unleash a torrent of rain, roll appropriate dice to select one of the investigators in the campaign. Next, have that investigator roll 1d6 to determine the kind of prophetic dream he or she experiences. The nightmare depicts the character's demise, so the table below will determine the cause of death. Feel free to elaborate on the dream during play.

Bad Dream
roll 1d6
1. The character drowns in turbulent waters.
2. The poor soul is burned to a crisp in a fire.
3. A terrible car accident claims the investigator's life.
4. The PC dies from a gunshot wound.
5. A ferocious beast tears the character to pieces.
6. The investigator falls from a great height.

     The dream should factor into play at a later date. The next time the character is in a stressful situation where the key element from his or her nightmare is present, that element should be represented by an Aspect. The game master should then tag/compel that Aspect to heighten the drama.

     For example, if the investigator is having a violent encounter on a boat, the game master could add "Watery Grave" to the scene and inform the investigator that he or she is reminded of a bad dream that foretold death by drowning.

Video Notes: I found some cool footage online and recorded a guitar part over it. I think it came out okay. I'm playing a Fender Modern Player Short Scale Telecaster though a Catalinbread Belle Epoch delay pedal into a Vox AC4 tube amp.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Stuck in a Meeting Map


I'm scribbling away here in a meeting, trying to get ready for an upcoming session. My concept for a location is an observatory that looks deep into the earth instead of peering skyward. We'll see how it goes.

     Hmmm...it appears I can't spell observatory.

Ancient Observatory
Aspects: Ancient and Crumbling, Magical Telescopes

Sunday, July 20, 2014

[Planescape] Skwugs

I've been re-reading The Dinosaur Heresies by Robert Bakker. In a section discussing amphibian and reptile hunting adaptations, Bakker describes a large frog species capable of devouring rats and birds. The frogs achieve this by being effective ambush hunters. The species also has saliva that acts as an anesthetic, quickly subduing a prey item so that it can be gulped down.

     Skwugs were inspired by this section of the book as a kind of amphibious goblin, but not nearly so nasty. Like the frogs in Bakker's book, skwugs have an anesthetic saliva that they can spit at foes to stun them. Once subdued, the victims can be robbed and poked at. The saliva also has powerful hallucinatory properties.

     The skwugs are native to the Outlands near the Great Spire. They reside in a marshy area and mostly keep to themselves. They worship a gigantic purple toad in the middle of the swampy area and try to appease him with the items they steal from passers-by. He bestows his favor upon them by devouring a dozen of their number each full moon. The toad then belches a mighty hallucinogenic cloud that engulfs the entire tribe.

SKWUG
Alignment Neutral
No. Appearing 4d4
Armor Class 6
Move 6
Hit Dice 1-1
Hit Points 3
THAC0 20
No. of Attacks 1
Damage 1-2 (bite)
Special Attack Poison (see below)
Special Defense Leap (see below)
Size Small
XP Value 30

     Poison Attack: Skwugs can spit a gob of saliva up to 30' at a single target with a +4 to hit. The target must save vs. poison or fall to the ground paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds. The poison is quite potent, so after the paralysis wears off, the victim will trip balls for 3d6 rounds. Roll on the hallucination table below. (1d6)

     1) Victim thinks he can fly. He begins running here and there, flapping his arms wildly. Kaw kaw!

     2) Victim loves everyone and everything. Many bro hugs given.

     3) Victim's consciousness is elevated and many truths of the Outer Planes are revealed. A permanent +1 to Intelligence is gained.

     4) Non-stop giggling and laughing ensues. The victim struggles to take things seriously from that point forward. A permanent -1 to Intelligence is sustained.

     5) Victim emerges from a stupor and can now speak with giant frogs, skwugs and bullywugs. Ribbit!

     6) Victim strips naked and wants to swim with his new friends. Watch out for leeches.

     Perhaps there is a market for skwug saliva?

     Defensive Leap: A skwug can leap 3" in an instant, a technique it often employs to escape danger.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

[Planescape] Denizen of Pandemonium

I was reading about the howling madness of Pandemonium in my old Planescape box set. It's an infinite network of tunnels. Through it whips a screaming, insanity-inducing wind. It's always dark. Desperate lunatics scramble through the madness, slaughtering at will and violating one another in unspeakable ways.

     It's not unlike real life. Like Gaza, Ukraine or Iraq.

     Below is a filthy, deranged resident of Pandemonium. His horns and tail speak of an Infernal bloodline. With tieflings, you never know.

     Denizen of Pandemonium: Armor Class 9, Hit Dice 1. Hit Points 5, No. of Attacks 1, Damage 1d6+1 (spear), Save as Fighter 1, XP Value 20, Alignment CN(e)

     Upon meeting the party or lone PC, the denizen will pursue one of the following courses of action:

     Roll 1d4
     1) aggressive fornication
     2) incoherent babbling
     3) cannibalism
     4) murder

   

Friday, July 11, 2014

[Savage Worlds] Spider Billy

All new arrivals find themselves standing in the middle of a two-lane highway with thick woods on each side. It's dark and bitterly cold. Lurking nearby is a rotten little fiend the locals call Spider Billy. He makes his home in a miserable little shack cobbled together from sheets of metal siding and wood pallets. When he hears someone out on the road, he rushes out to give chase.

     Spider Billy appears to be about 13 or 14 years of age. His has freakishly long arms and legs. His eyes are black and he's covered in filth. His greasy hair is about shoulder length and he grins maniacally with a mouth full of jagged teeth. His appearance is extremely unsettling, so a Fear check (Spirit roll) is in order. See page 97 of the SW Deluxe Explorer's Edition.

     Billy carries a broomstick topped with a jagged blade. He loves to skitter after new arrivals, poking and prodding them with sadistic glee.There's no reasoning with Billy. He's out of his damned mind so it's fight or flight. Please note that an encounter with Billy need not be lethal. He has no reason to fight to the death. Billy simply loves to terrify and will quickly retreat - or not engage at all - when faced with superior foes.

SPIDER BILLY (Wildcard)
spindly little freak

Attributes
Agility d8
Smarts d4
Spirit d4
Strength d6
Vigor d8

Derived Statistics
Pace 8"
Parry 6
Toughness 6
Charisma -4

Edges and Hindrances
Edges: Fleet-footed
Hindrances:  Mean (m), Ugly (m)

Skills
Climbing d8, Fighting d8, Intimidation d6, Stealth d10

Equipment
Bayonet (Strength + d6)/Parry +1/Reach 1-2