Monday, October 20, 2014

Dr. Hern's Anaetheric Lacuna

Dr. Hern's Anaetheric Lacuna (Abjuration/Planar, Cost, Persistent, Requires two other Abjuration or Planar spells): This formula disrupts the luminiferous aether, creating an airless vacuole of absolute darkness that is roughly 10' x 10' x 10'. Any individual trapped within such a vacuole takes a Consequence each round (starting with the Medium Consequence Breathless, Blind, and Freezing), and will soon freeze and suffocate in an absolute, terrible pocket of darkness. No sound, light, or energy of any sort penetrates the membrane of this void, but physical objects pass through it normally.

This casting is not infrequently used as a means of assassination. It is particularly effective in this capacity when used at night, since it can often be cast unseen directly in a target's immediate path.

If the target can see Lacuna being cast, the caster should roll CHA/Flashy +2 vs. the target's DEX/Flashy Approach. If the defender's roll is higher, they successfully evade the specific location where the caster placed the Lacuna.

A second, no less important use of Lacuna is to shield its caster from the fire of energy weapons. Because light cannot enter the vacuole - it has no luminiferous aether - the vacuole's membrane harmlessly deflects energy weapons of all sorts, scattering their rays away from the caster.

This spell was inspired by Ambrose Bierce's short story "Charles Ashmore's Trail."

Monday, October 13, 2014

Imperfect Conflagration

Imperfect Conflagration (Abjuration/Evocation, Cost, Persistent, Requires one other Abjuration or Evocation spell): A classic containment/detainment formula used by the Nexialists and many others to thwart their aggressors, Imperfect Conflagration imprisons up to five humanoid creatures within four vertical flaming walls, Each wall face is up to 3 x 3 meters in area. Those imprisoned by the walls of flame cannot pass through them to escape but are also not harmed by their proximity to the flames.

The caster rolls CHA +2 vs. the targets' individual DEX rolls. Any targets that succeed in their roll are successful in dodging out of the way of the casting at its moment of imminence.

The walls of flame first appear as a 3 x 3 meter square of flame at ground/floor level, each face of which whooshes rapidly upwards to create four flaming walls. Once erected, the walls create an impassible barrier from either direction. The area overhead is open, however, and presents a possible means of escape for creatures capable of feats of saltation, levitation, or flight.

If the floors or spaces upon which this formula is cast contain combustible materials, the space will take on the temporary aspect On Fire or In Flames until the casting AND the flames are both extinguished.

While this casting only lasts one Scene in the field, Nexialists often use this casting within their Institutes to interrogate enemies and imprison those who have persecuted their Order. Within the Institutes' meditative labyrinths, the caster can make the duration of this casting Permanent, because the formula has the ability tap into the circuits of other-planar energies circulating within these spaces.  Targets imprisoned indefintely using Imperfect Conflagration do not age or die, and will not need food or drink.

This spell is inspired by Ambrose Bierce's short story "Imperfect Conflagration."  We're reading a lot of Mr. Bierce this month of October.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Lords of Paganistan

Vampire Dice for Dresden Files!

We've had three Dresden Files Accelerated playtest sessions with our Thursday Night Group so far, with our fourth scheduled for tomorrow night. It's been fun! In earlier posts with labelled Dresden File Accelerated, I've described the Twin Cities supernatural setting we've created collaboratively. Now I'm going to give you a quick snapshot of the PCs.

The players decided they wanted to live in a commune of sorts in the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis. It's an interesting part of the city: high crime with many low income families, a bourgie corner with upper income families, a lot of renters, an increasing rate of Latino homeownership, and a significant lesbian community. And hippies and alternative types. A bit of everything really, and the largest pagany cultural festival in the metro area.

They decided on a group identity for their commune: The Lords of Paganistan, a motorcycle gang of magical bounty hunters. They fit right in with this neighborhood. Now Dresden Files Accelerated uses Mantles as the template for different classes of supernatural beings, and Weight Classes as the scaling system for the disparate power levels that we see in the Dresdenverse. Our players decided to play the first Weight Class up from Mortals, which is called Unnatural. The PCs are as follows:
  • Fred Silverbloom, High Concept: Badass Biker Turning Into A Bug. Fred's Mantle is Changeling: Troll Blood. He is good at fighting but needs to avoid being touched by cold iron. His Trouble is The World Is Not Your Ashtray. He gets really mad when people pollute.
  • Lotus, High Concept: Consulting Psychic; Trouble Believes Everything. Lotus is a trip. She has the Mantle Minor Talent: Cassandra's Tears. Lotus has visions of the future that she can't control. Her other aspects include Let's talk it out, Commune with Nature, and Embrace the power of "and." She is the most hippie-like of a hippie bunch. 
  • Juice, High Concept: OCD Aspiring Beat Poet. Juice has the Mantle Psychometrist, which means that he can read objects by touching them. First GM ruling in the first session? Whether dead bodies are objects. Trouble: Organic Vegan Only. Juice wears gloves because meat eaters have touched so many things. He doesn't like the contact residue of animal screams that rubs off on the objects that meat eaters touch.
  • Draka (aka Donald), High Concept: Bounty Hunter, Trouble: Drinks Too Much. Draka's Mantle is an Einherjar, one of the honored dead who have been returned to the mortal world and who is gifted with battle skill. He always has on a duster jacket (that should be an aspect for him!) and wears a sword under it. 
Next time, I'll tell you about the PCs adventures against Minneapolis' Evil short sale gurus. Realtors make great monsters!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Enkidu FerJabbersSake

Enkidu FerJabbersSake is my first character for 5th edition D&D. Yesterday, I posted the backstory for this character at The Everwayan. I thought it might be fun today to translate him for Fate Freeport Companion.

Keep in mind that a beginning character for the Fate Freeport Companion is significantly more capable than a 1st level D&D character.

Enkidu was originally created for a new western continent in the Forgotten Realms setting. But he'd work well in Freeport or Razor's Coast - really in any setting with a colonial port city and a wilderness where indigenous groups clashing with settlers from across the seas.

Although I originally wrote Enkidu as a grudging worshiper of Bahgtru, the orcish god of idiot strength, this version of Enkidu taps into 13th Age's Icons cosmology.

Enkidu FerJabbersSake

  • High Concept: Hulking Half Orc Ranger
  • Trouble: A taste for human males
  • Icon Relationship: Conflicted Relationship with the Orc Lord
  • Aspect: My missing Half Orc brother
  • Aspect: Surprisingly handsome
  • STR +3
  • DEX +1
  • CON +2
  • INT 0
  • WIS +1
  • CHA +2
  • Favored Enemy: Because I have not forgiven my own goblinoid-kind for enslaving my little brother, I take +2 to my STR Skill when Attacking orcs or goblins.
  • Half Orc Smash!: Because of my great size and physical prowess, I take +2 to my STR Skill to Overcome an Obstacle where might can help.
  • Natural Explorer: Because I have lived all my life in the forest, I take +2 to my WIS or INT Skills to Create an Advantage in this environment.
  • Rough Trade: Because I am ruggedly handsome, I take +2 to my CHA Skill to Create an Advantage with someone likely to be attracted to me.

STRESS TRACKS: Physical - 3 boxes, Mental - 2 boxes

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Skeletizer

Moche Dancing Skeletons

The Skeletizer (Curse/Necromancy/Planar, Cost, Permanent, Corrupting, Requires two other Curse, Necromancy, or Planar spells): Once used exclusively in necromantic religious rituals requiring a willing target, The Skeletizer is now  a casting in wide use for the creation of living dead for a variety of purposes including military operations and labor in dangerous environments (such as zones with high radiation or a vacuum).

Cast on a willing, living subject, The Skeletizer shifts the target's living flesh into a planar adjacency where it remains until the casting is either dispelled, or the missing meat is gobbled up by an other-planar entity that happens by the adjacency. (The knowledge of this possibility is usually withheld from the target of the casting.)

The target becomes an Undead articulated skeleton with Free will and normal intelligence. Such a being is undetectable using technologies that sense living organisms but can be easily detected using Divination castings such as Detect Magic, or Planar spells such as the Eye of the Nexus. The target also becomes immune to poisons, the effects of weapons such as death rays, and the Overkill effects of Annihilators.

Use of this casting is a Major Infraction, but that doesn't people from using it. Quite the contrary. The Skeletizer has the strange name it does because the casting is often incorporated into pseudo-technological items that appear to be energy projectors, or into wands, deaths-head style rings, and pins.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Historical Gaming

Yesterday, +Evil Hat Productions asked G+ folks to say who they'd like to play a game of Fate with, if they could travel anywhere throughout time for the game. My first thought - still my preference - would be to play with folks from my current group - as well as my friends Boris, Amon, and Mark. Play maybe 10, 15, 20, or 30+ years ago.

We have quite an age spread in our group - from late 20s through 50s - and some of us started gaming in the mid-'70s. So it would be kind of fun to game with our current group when we were all around 14 or 15, maybe in the mid-70s with EPT, D&D White Box, or Black Box Traveller. This would of course require a certain amount of shuttling of people between different locations in spacetime.

If I couldn't run that game, - well, then, maybe a gaming group made up of different members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.  A few of the key players and their styles with Fate:
  • Lenin needs to be there for sure.  He has a keen eye for opportunities and openings. He'd be the most consistent user of the Create an Advantage action. Some of the Aspects he came up with were really funny and creative, like this one: "Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country."
  • Alexandra Kollontai for sure. Not just because she's the only woman available, I mean just read her bio. Left her husband and child to study Marxism. A Leader of the Left Opposition. That's two big Aspects right there. 
  • Trotsky. Incredible revolutionary orator and supreme military tactician of the Red Army, he always leads with the Attack action using his Flashy Approach. He's a power gamer but even worse, he's a rules lawyer and always picking fights with the GM and other players. Even when they know he's right a lot of the other players won't help him because they think he's a contentious asshole. 
  • Bukharin. A conservative player, Bukharin always thinks he's playing the long game. Truth to tell, he probably does have an extra Stress Box and one additional Moderate Consequence. A cautious player, he rarely takes advantage of any Aspects on the table. A philosopher, he does some of his most intriguing work once he's been Taken Out.
  • Stalin. Of course, everybody knows he's Trouble with a capital "T" don't they? He's another power gamer, but unlike Trotsky who likes modern art and jazz, Stalin is conservative about everything. Stalin is the OSR dude at the table: for him, everything's about rulings, not rules. Nobody takes him too seriously at first. Lenin has to do a rewrite on Stalin's paper on the National Question, the first draft is so crude and stupid. But Stalin has a way of winning in the end. His M.O. is the social Attack using his Sneaky Approach. Most of the time when he Takes Out someone, it's an NPC doing it for him. A lot of his victims just think Stalin doesn't know, or that It's some kind of mistake. More players exit the game because of his play behavior than because of anything else.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Reading Ambrose Bierce

Every Fall, either right before or right after Halloween, the Second Foundation Reading Group  in the Twin Cities picks a horror/supernatural-themed author for discussion at a session of our reading group. This year, we've chosen Ambrose Bierce. I've read about 60 pages worth of his ghost/horror/supernatural stories so far, including two of the ones that mention Hali, Hastur, and Carcossa. I am really enjoying this author.

If you're local and a fan, please join us on Sunday, November 2 from 2-4 to discuss the works of Ambrose Bierce. We'll be meeting at the Parkway Pizza on 4359 Minnehaha Avenue S. in Minneapolis.