Sunday, May 6, 2018

Horror Set Pieces: Children of the Night (Fate Accelerated)

Listen to them, the children of the night.
What music they make!

- Bram Stoker, Dracula
As the release date of the Fate Horror Toolkit draws closer and my excitement grows, I decided to write up some more bits and bobs to use in a Fate Accelerated horror campaign. Animals forced to do the bidding of evil powers is a classic horror trope. Using the same idea behind the mob of angry villagers from last time, here are some of the children of the night ready to confront a party of supernatural investigators.

Pack of Wolves
Aspect: Pack Mentality
Skilled (+2) at: Nocturnal Hunting, Tracking by Scent, Keen Hearing, Howling
Bad (-2) at: Diurnal Activity, Resisting the Master’s Call
Stress: ⬜⬜⬜ (6 wolves)
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack. - Rudyard Kipling, The Second Jungle Book (The Law for the Wolves)

Cloud of Bats
Aspect: Night Hunters
Skilled (+2) at: Flying, Echolocation, Obscuring Vision, Spreading Disease
Bad (-2) at: Light and Fire, Diurnal Activity
Stress: ⬜⬜⬜⬜ (50-100 bats)
Clip their wings? Man, could you just shoot their damn heads off? And don't miss. - Jimmy Sands, sʇɐ𐐒 (1999 Destination Films)

Horde of Rats
Aspect: Roiling Mass of Teeth and Claws
Skilled (+2) at: Squeezing through Tight Spaces, Seeing in the Dark, Swimming, Spreading Disease
Bad (-2) at: Light, Detecting Rat Poison, Cats
Stress: ⬜⬜⬜⬜ (50-100 rats)
For on every side of the chamber the walls were alive with nauseous sound—the verminous slithering of ravenous, gigantic rats. - H.P. Lovecraft, The Rats in the Walls

Swarm of Bees
Aspect: Hive Mind
Skilled (+2) at: Stinging, Flying, Pollination, Making Honey
Bad (-2) at: Smoke and Fire, Bears
Stress: ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ (~500 bees)
Nearby there was an apiary. Dozens of hives, filled with hungry bees. They smashed the hive and stole the honeycomb and smeared it over his prone, naked body. Candyman was stung to death by the bees. - Professor Philip Purcell, Candyman (1992 PolyGram Filmed Entertainment)
Not the bees!!!!!! - Edward Malus, The Wicker Man (2006 Warner Brothers)

Plague of Locusts
Aspect: Retribution from Above
Skilled (+2) at: Flying, Deafening Chirping, Blotting Out the Sun, Destroying Crops and Wooden Structures
Bad (-2) at: Birds, Pesticides, Ultrasonic Interference
Stress: ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ (~1000 locusts)
Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them… - Revelations 9:3

Scourge of Mosquitoes
Aspect: Bloodsucking Parasites
Skilled (+2) at: Flying, Biting, Swamps and Jungles, Malaria
Bad (-2) at: Avoiding Getting Swatted, Insect Repellents
Stress: ⬜⬜⬜ (~100 mosquitoes)
It is astonishing how much worse one mosquito can be than a swarm. A swarm can be prepared against, but one mosquito takes on a personality—a hatefulness, a sinister quality of the struggle to the death. - F. Scott Fitzgerald, On Booze

Infestation of Flies
Aspect: Common Nuisance or Sign of the Devil’s Presence?
Skilled (+2) at: Flying Backwards, Biting, Dodging Fly Swatters, Landing on Food
Bad (-2) at: Windows and Screens, Fly Paper
Stress: ⬜⬜⬜ (~100 flies)
You never walk alone. Even the devil is the lord of flies. - Gilles Deleuze
Flies are the dead man's revenge. - George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords

Swarm of Scarab Beetles
Aspect: Flesh-Eating Defenders of Ancient Egyptian Tombs
Skilled (+2) at: Desert Environments, Stripping Flesh to the Bone, Spreading Disease, Rolling Dung Balls
Bad (-2) at: Fire, Cold
Stress: ⬜⬜⬜⬜⬜ (~500 scarab beetles)
All people who enter this tomb, make evil against this tomb and destroy it, may the scarabs descend upon them and feast upon their flesh until only their bones remain as a warning to others. - Ancient Egyptian Curse of the Pharaohs

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Horror Set Pieces: Angry Mob of Villagers (Fate Accelerated)

One of the things I like about Fate Accelerated(FAE) is the ability to treat a group of nameless mooks as a single unit effectively treating the group as a single character. In fact, many Fate Core GMs prefer to use the mook group rules from FAE instead of the rules for mobs found in Fate Core. These groups of mooks are comprised of a single aspect, a short list of things they are good at (+2 bonus) and things they are bad at (-2 penalty), and one stress box for every two individuals in the group. If you need more in the crowd, just use more than one of that group (although I suppose you could increase the number of stress boxes instead but then they would only get one action per exchange). It makes designing nameless NPCs easier and reduces bookkeeping.

One of the staples seen in classic horror films (especially Frankenstein movies) is the angry mob of villagers armed with torches and pitchforks. They find safety in numbers to go after someone (usually the monster) they would never dare confront alone and are usually more of a hindrance than a help if not an outright danger to themselves and others. Below is one such angry mob of villagers (lederhosen optional).

Angry Mob of Villagers
Aspect: Torches & Pitchforks
Skilled (+2) at: Starting Fires, Safety in Numbers, Shaming Others
Bad (-2) at: Planning Ahead, Dwindling Numbers, Being Shamed
Stress: ⬜⬜⬜ (6 villagers)

Friday, April 20, 2018

Carnacki the Ghost-Finder for CRYPTWORLD

William Hope Hodgson's occult detective Thomas Carnacki returns again tonight, this time as a player character for CRYPTWORLD by Goblinoid Games. For those who aren't familiar with this roleplaying game, CRYPTWORLD is a retroclone of the original 1984 CHILL RPG from Pacesetter Games. It's definitely old school but still a lot of fun. I'm a huge fan as you can see by a lot of the content on this blog.

Today I spent some time thinking about what other RPG systems I want to feature in this series of blog posts. Right now my short list includes Fear Itself/GUMSHOE, The Window, Masque of the Red Death (AD&D 2nd Edition), and Icons Superpowered Roleplaying (because I think Carnacki in a supers RPG would be awesome). Here's tonight's offering for CRYPTWORLD:

Thomas Carnacki, Ghost-Finder (CRYPTWORLD)

Profession: Occult Detective Education: Self-taught in matters of the supernatural
Nationality: British Place of Birth: Appledorn (South Coast England)
Age: 45 (1913) Year of Birth: 1868
Sex: Male Height: 5’ 9” Weight: 176 lbs
Hair Color: Brown Eye Color: Brown Features: Moustache
Residence: 427 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London

Strength (STR): 48
Dexterity (DEX): 56
Agility (AGL): 52
Personality (PER): 60
Willpower (WPR): 62
Perception (PCN): 72
Luck (LUCK): 38
Stamina (STA): 62

Unskilled Melee: 53 = (STR+AGL)/2
Penetration Bonus: 0
Current Stamina: 62 Stamina Recovery Rate: 5/round of rest
Wounds: 14
Current Willpower: 62 Willpower Recovery Rate: 10/hour of uninterrupted sleep

Humanities [History] Specialist: 82 = ((PCN+WPR)/2) + 15
Investigation Expert: 95 = ((PCN+WPR+PER)/3) + 30
Languages [Ancient Texts] Specialist: 82 = ((PCN+WPR)/2) + 15
Photography Specialist: 79 = ((PCN+DEX)/2) + 15
Preternatural Lore Master: 122 = ((PCN+WPR)/2) + 55

Pistol [Revolver]: 56 (DEX) Range Modifier: -7 Ammo: 6 ROF: 4 Reload: 2 rounds

Electric Pentacle
Carnacki tells his haunted tale after dinner.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Carnacki the Ghost-Finder for Dead of Night

Carnacki by M. Wayne Miller
Yesterday I began a series of blog posts featuring William Hope Hodgson's occult detective Thomas Carnacki written up as a player character for some of my favorite RPGs starting with Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE). One thing that came up in the G+ discussions was how much FAE exists in the language space and how you don't really need to know the rules of the game to understand who the character is and what they can do just by reading the character sheet. In fact, I was able to pull directly from the FAE character write up when building the next incarnation of Carnacki presented below.

Dead of Night is in my opinion a brilliant yet very underappreciated rules-lite horror roleplaying game from Steampower Publishing. It's meant more for one-shots rather than full campaigns with each session played being essentially a horror movie (although sequels with the survivors are possible). Character creation is fast and easy (it didn't take me very long at all to come up with the stats below) and the game is designed to keep GM prep to a minimum. It features a very clever tension mechanic that paces the game in a way reminiscent of the tension buildup/release/repeat model found in all good horror movies. Thanks to a series of "dials" the GM can tweak, Dead of Night is equally at home doing slasher flicks, Hammer Horror, Asian horror, Lovecraftian horror, psychological horror, and even black comedy. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend checking it out. Here's what a Dead of Night player character looks like:

Thomas Carnacki, Ghost-Finder (Dead of Night)

CONCEPT: Renowned Occult Detective Practicing the Empirical Method

Identify: 6 / Obscure: 2 / Occult Detective: 9
Persuade: 5 / Dissuade: 5
Escape: 4 / Pursue: 6
Assault: 2 / Protect: 4 / Electric Pentacle: 8 / Saaamaaa Ritual: 8


BAD HABITS: Apprehensive and Irresolute at Times

Monday, April 16, 2018

Carnacki the Ghost-Finder for Fate Accelerated

Carnacki by VoteQuimby
I thought it might be a fun exercise this week to stat up one of my favorite literary occult detectives in several RPG systems I like just to see them side-by-side. I want to not only re-familiarize myself with the game mechanics of these systems but to compare and contrast how each system handles different facets of the character. I've chosen William Hope Hodgson's Thomas Carnacki for this purpose as I've recently revisited the collected Carnacki stories while embarking on a personal project to trace the roots of the occult detective archetype in fiction, a genre that includes such notables as Dr. Martin Hesselius (Sheridan Le Fanu), Abraham Van Helsing (Bram Stoker), Dr. John Silence (Algernon Blackwood), and Jules de Grandin (Seabury Quinn). Hodgson's Carnacki stories are now in the public domain (first published in 1913) and you can read them at Project Gutenberg.

First up is Fate Accelerated Edition from Evil Hat Games:

Thomas Carnacki, Ghost-Finder (FAE)

High Concept: Renowned Occult Detective Practicing the Empirical Method
Trouble: Apprehensive and Irresolute at Times
Creature of Habit
State of the Art Gadgets
Extensive Occult Library

Careful +2
Clever +3
Flashy +0
Forceful +1
Quick +1
Sneaky +2

Because Carnacki invented the electric pentacle, he gets a +2 when he Carefully defends when within the device’s protective circle against spectral manifestations.

Because Carnacki studied the Saaamaaa Ritual and an ancient text known as the Sigsand Manuscript, he gets a +2 when he Cleverly creates advantages when confronted by supernatural influences.

Because Carnacki possesses a sixth sense, once per game session he can choose to go first in a physical conflict with the supernatural.

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