Saturday, November 18, 2017


Below are some of my house rules I've used to good effect in my CRYPTWORLD games. I'm sharing these so other Crypt Masters (CMs) can give them a try and decide if they appeal to their tastes. Feel free to pick and choose (or totally ignore).

In CRYPTWORLD, the number of skills a Player Character (PC) starts with is randomly determined by rolling 1d10 and consulting the table of p. 11 of Chapter 2: Characters. While this works perfectly fine, it always felt a little too random for my tastes, especially considering that the starting number of paranormal talents has a little more verisimilitude to back it up by linking the values of Basic Attributes (specifically PCN and WPR) to the number of paranormal talents a PC can access. Below are three alternate ways of determining a PC's starting number of skills I have used, with my personal preference being the last.

1. All PCs start with 5 starting skills (the average number of starting skills rounded up). Recommended for games set in the modern era and beyond.
2. All PCs start with 4 starting skills (the average number of starting skills rounded down). Recommended for games set in earlier eras.
3. Starting skills are determined by a PC's PCN (Perception) score. Note that with this method Basic Ability scores, profession, and one profession-related skill must be determined BEFORE selecting other skills in the character creation steps. PCs determine number of starting skills from the following table:

PCNStarting Skills


Steve knows!
Who doesn't love a good bar fight? Smashing a beer bottle on the bar and wielding it like a knife, or throwing a bottle of Jack Daniels at someone's head? And during the zombie apocalypse, sometimes you need to protect yourself by grabbing whatever is handy to use as a makeshift weapon, be it baseball bat, 9-iron, or garden pitchfork. You could even break the blade handle off of an office paper cutter and use it like a machete. Here's a quick rule of thumb I like to use:

Any character may use an appropriate object not normally classified as a weapon as an impromptu melee or missile weapon using their Unskilled Melee score or DEX score (for missiles) at a -20 penalty modifier. If they have a relevant Combat Skill (e.g. Dagger/Knife when using a broken bottle, Short-handled Weapons when using a baseball bat, Sword when using a office paper cutter blade handle as a machete), the penalty to their Unskilled Melee score or DEX score is reduced to -10.

So there you have it, feel free to give these for a spin the next time you break out CRYPTWORLD. If you do, please let me know what you thought in the comments, or feel free to share some of your own CRYPTWORLD house rules. Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 25, 2017

CRYPTWORLD Burial Plots Now On Kickstarter

Just a quick post to boost the signal for Goblinoid Games' latest Kickstarter for Burial Plots, a compilation of five adventures for the CRYPTWORLD horror roleplaying game. Written by Tim Snider, these adventures are also compatible with the original 1984 Pacesetter edition of the horror roleplaying game CHILL*. If you are a fan of CRYPTWORLD or just looking for some great horror adventures to adapt for your own horror campaign, please check it out!

And don't forget to visit Tim Snider's blog The Savage Afterworld for a closer look at the origins behind these original adventures!

*CHILL is a trademark of Martin Caron and is used here without permission. No infringement on this trademark is intended or implied. Goblinoid Games and CRYPTWORLD are not affiliated with Martin Caron or CHILL.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

New Cryptworld Skills: Combat in the Victorian Era

And we're back!

This blog has been on hiatus for far too long. It's time to get back to work now that summer is about to transition into fall, and Halloween is just around the corner. To get things started, I've returned to my mission to bring you new rules for injecting a little Hammer Horror into your CRYPTWORLD games. Hammer Films produced such rich and colorful productions with beautiful period costumes and atmospheric sets I can't help being inspired to recreate that same feeling when I run my games.

Today I have not one but three new CRYPTWORLD skills, this time focusing on combat. While I tend to lean toward the Victorian age in my own games, these new skills could certainly be used in other historical eras including modern times (albeit a bit eccentric). You might have some trouble getting a swordstick past the TSA though...

Exclusive: No
Base: (Str+Agl+Dex+Per)/4
Check: Specific

The swordstick (or cane-sword) is by all appearances a typical men’s walking stick or cane that conceals a rapier-like weapon within. By the late 18th century, carrying a sword in public became increasing less socially acceptable and practically unheard of by the Victorian age. The swordstick allowed gentlemen trained in the art of swordsmanship to carry the weapon on their person without appearing uncouth. The sword parasol is a variant of the swordstick preferred by women of the Victorian era wishing to conceal their socially unacceptable (for the period) knowledge of swordsmanship.

Having the Swordstick skill is not required to use the weapon, but it takes 1 round to withdraw the sword from concealment within the cane. Those possessing the Swordstick skill do not suffer this penalty.

Stick Fighting
I said "Good Day", Sir!
Exclusive: No
Base: (Str+Agl+Pcn)/3
Check: Specific

Stick fighting is a martial art where any type of wooden stick is used as a weapon. Examples include staffs, canes, walking sticks, even umbrellas and parasols. It does not include fighting with heavier wooden weapons like clubs or maces (see the Short-handled Weapons skill instead).

Characters with the Stick Fighting skill at the Expert or Master level may choose to use the unarmed combat results key instead of the armed combat results key to reflect their training and ability to “hold back” their blows. This determination must be made during the declaration step of the Sequence of Play. All others including characters without the Stick Fighting skill may only use the armed combat results key. Anyone fighting with a stick may still make a called shot.

Dry Clean Only!
Exclusive: Yes
Base: (Str+Dex+Agl+Per)/4
Check: Specific

The art of fighting with a cloak was developed by various sword fighting schools during the Renaissance but saw a resurgence in popularity during the Victorian era when one did not walk around armed and armored in polite society. Cloaks may be used to deflect sword blows, cause confusion, obstruct an attacker’s vision, and entangle opponents. Characters trained in this skill are able to entangle their opponents with their cloak, cape or coat.

A cloak has no effect except on a “C” result. A “C” result indicates that the defender has become entangled in the cloak. As long as the defender is tangled in the cloak, they must make a general Agility check each round to remain standing. If they fail the check, they immediately fall down and are considered “on the ground” until they stand up—which also requires a general Agility check. The entangled defender may use no melee skill in attacking, and they defend in melee on column 1 while entangled. See the notes on the Bola in the core rulebook for the defender’s chance to free themselves (or be freed); the same rules apply.

At the Expert or Master level, characters with this skill may also use their cloak, cape or coat as if it were a small shield shifting their defense column one column to the right. All restrictions for shield use apply normally: protects against only two attacks per round and offers no protection from firearms or paranormal attacks.
Steampunk Tony Stark or Pulp Sherlock Holmes?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

New Cryptworld Unsettling Power: Automatic Writing

One of my favorite things about CRYPTWORLD are the unsettling powers, little supernatural abilities for things designed not necessarily to harm the PCs but add flavor, mood, and atmosphere to encounters and trigger fear checks. They are also a lot of fun to design, and I have a few in the recently released MONSTERS MACABRE supplement for CRYPTWORLD and here on my blog that came about from my horror movie viewing. I have to admit to watching horror movies lately through a CRYPTWORLD lens and actively looking for moments that would make great unsettling powers.

Here is a new unsettling power for your CRYPTWORLD games expanded on from the Ghost entry in Chapter 7: Things.

Spirit Writing
Automatic Writing: This power allows an undead thing (typically a ghost) to communicate with the living by temporarily taking control of a character’s hand to deliver a written message or warning. This usually requires the presence of paper and a writing implement such as a pen, but a planchette and spirit board (commonly called a ouija board) may be used instead. This costs 10 WPR per minute. In extreme cases, a knife or other sharp object might be used to carve a message on a surface like a wooden table or a wall at a cost of 10 WPR per round. All written communications resulting from this power will appear to be in the handwriting of the thing using the power. The hand of the character chosen (left or right) will be the same dominant hand the undead thing had in life.
I've got to say "hello" to an old friend...

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

New Cryptworld Skill: Psychiatry

Halloween is fast upon us, so it's time to celebrate with some new content over the next few days! Up first is a new skill for CRYPTWORLD based once again on a skill found in the original Pacesetter CHILL roleplaying game. My version of Psychiatry presented below includes the NPC sanity determination from the original skill, but I've added a little something extra for dealing with the results of fear checks. As always, this skill is not intended to be a factual representation of psychiatry but to emulate the conventions found in horror movies that touch on madness instead.

For added flavor, characters that take the Psychiatry skill may also be interested in taking the Hypnotism skill presented earlier on this blog as well.

Tell me about your early childhood...
*† Psychiatry
Exclusive: Yes
Base: (Pcn+Wpr+Per+Luck)/4
Check: General

Psychiatry is a medical specialty that encompasses the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Characters with the Psychiatry skill are medical doctors referred to as psychiatrists although they were commonly called alienists from the late Victorian era up until the early 20th century when the term fell out of use. This skill may only be taken if the character has the skill Medicine at the Expert level.

A character with the Psychiatry skill may attempt to mitigate the result of another character’s fear check. After a character makes a fear check, a psychiatrist can immediately make a general Psychiatry check to prevent the character from running away (or hiding) and improve their fear check result by one category. For example, failure on the fear check becomes an S (scared) result, an S result becomes an L (loathing) result, an L result becomes an M (misgivings) result, and an M result becomes an H/C (heroism) result. Failure on the general Psychiatry check means the psychiatrist has had absolutely no effect on the victim’s fear reaction. Unlike the Medicine skill, a psychiatrist may not use Psychiatry for self treatment.

Straight Jacket Required
This skill may also be used to determine if a seemingly insane NPC patient is in fact telling the truth about a supernatural encounter with a thing, or merely making up stories, rambling incoherently, or hallucinating. After a character with Psychiatry spends 1-5 hours (1d10/2 rounded up) with the patient, the CM makes a general check for the PC in secret. If the check fails, the PC is convinced only of the patient’s insanity whether they truly are insane or not. Success reveals the truth as determined by the CM: the patient did indeed experience a supernatural encounter with a thing and is quite sane (or perhaps was driven insane as a result of the encounter), or the patient is completely insane and their persistent belief in or deception about having an imaginary encounter with a supernatural being is symptomatic of their mental disorder.
This Nice Padded Room Awaits You...