Ghastly Affair, The Ready Rules of the Road, and The Open Gaming License

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There has been much talk in the past week regarding the possible “de-authorization” of the Open Game License Version 1.0a. This is the current license agreement under which I have been producing my gaming materials. While there has yet to be any official news about this matter, the possibility that such a change is even being officially considered demonstrates that the License is no longer a viable option for small independent designers like myself.

I have decided that the Second Edition of “Ghastly Affair” will not be an OGL game, no matter how the current situation is resolved. I am convinced that, even if the worst-case scenario does not come to pass, the OGL can no longer be relied upon. Likewise, Play-Test Version B of “The Ready Rules of the Road” is being rewritten to remove legacy terms and material. Apart from including “The Ready Rules of the Road”, the system-neutral text of “The Uncanny Highway” never required the OGL at all.

Ghastly Affair” never functioned mechanically like the game described in the System Resource Document, using a fundamentally different resolution procedure. I merely used legacy terminology and concepts to make the game easier to learn for people familiar with Old School-style rules systems. The loss of the OGL as a viable license is an opportunity to make Ghastly Affair a more unique gaming experience. The changes I have already explored will make it a better fit for Gothic Romance and possibly even easier to play. Likewise, removing the legacy material from “The Ready Rules” makes them even better for the kind of casual, pick-up games they are intended for.

In the future, my gaming material will probably remain Open Source in some manner; but I have not yet decided what form that might take. However, I am thinking of some kind of license whereby others can freely release scenarios, supplemental materials, and rules hacks, without being able to just copy my stuff word-for-word and sell it as their own. It is perilous, however, to craft any kind of legal agreement without a team of lawyers. Just going with Creative Commons is an option, of course.

Look for “The Ready Rules of the Road – Play-Test Version B”, sans OGL, to be presented here in the very near future. Further updates about the future of “Ghastly Affair” will be forthcoming, once there is more clarity about the ultimate fate of the OGL.

Ready Rules of the Road Vehicle Record Cards – Free Download

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Don’t head out onto the Uncanny Highway without these convenient wallet sized-cards to record all the important information about your character’s vehicle – including the wicked paintjob and sweet custom features on their cherry Boogie Van!

 

 

 

 

Ready Rules of the Road Vehicle Record – Version A

Click to access ready_rules_of_the_road_vehicle_record_versiona.pdf

 

Comparing The Ready Rules of the Road and Ghastly Affair

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Some of you may be wondering how the “The Ready Rules of the Road” differ from the rules of my other game, “Ghastly Affair” – and why I’ve chosen to create a whole other game system at all. So, here are some explanations.

Some Comparisons Between the two Games

Both “Ghastly Affair” and “The Ready Rules of the Road” utilize the same basic dice system: roll a d20 under a target number equal to the rating of a relevant character Ability. In both cases, the rating may be temporarily modified up or down with a Bonus or Penalty to reflect the ease or difficulty of an action. One difference is that in “The Ready Rules”, a result equal to the modified Ability still succeeds – while under the current “Ghastly Affair” rules as written, it fails. (In the upcoming Second Edition of “Ghastly Affair” a roll equal to the modified Ability can also succeed, but at some kind of cost that makes it impossible to succeed again at that action for the remainder of the day).

Ghastly Affair” utilizes the six “standard” Abilities of Old School rpgs (Charisma, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Strength, and Constitution) and adds a seventh characteristic, “Perversity”. In addition, “Ghastly Affair” Player Characters have five “Special Abilities” and two “Weaknesses”, which are determined by their Character Class. On the other hand, PCs in “The Ready Rules of the Road” have twenty Character Abilities – but no Special Abilities and Weaknesses. Characters in “The Ready Rules” instead begin the game with five “Strong” Abilities (with initial ratings of 12), and two “Weak” Abilities (with initial ratings of 6). The “Average” score in the current version of “Ghastly Affair” is 9, while in the “Ready Rules” it is 10. (Average is being raised to 10 in the Second Edition of “Ghastly Affair“, however.)

Both “Ghastly Affair” and “The Ready Rules” have Saving Throws that are rolled like Ability Checks. In “Ghastly Affair”, a Saving Throw might be made against any of the character’s Basic Abilities. In “The Ready Rules”, however, only “Fitness” and “Psychic Ability” are used for Saves.

Armor Class in “Ghastly Affair” is, by default, a point Penalty to the Ability Check made by an attacker. In the “The Ready Rules”, however, the point value of a defender’s Armor is subtracted from all damage taken by them. (The “Ghastly Affair Presenter’s Manual” does mention using Armor Class as damage reduction as an optional rule.)

In both “Ghastly Affair” and “The Ready Rules“, almost all attacks do base damage of 1d6, plus the attacker’s Damage Bonus. Both system utilize Hit Points to measure the survivability of characters and creatures.

Ghastly Affair” characters have a Speed score, rated on a relative scale like other Abilities (from 1-20). “The Ready Rules” utilizes an absolute movement rate, instead, where human average is “Walking 50’, Running 200’”.

Ghastly Affair” is a Class and Level system, while “The Ready Rules of the Road” has neither Classes nor Levels (although characters do advance in power as they accumulate XP). The experience system for both games is similar, however. A “Ready Rules” PC with 20 Experience Points is roughly equivalent in overall effectiveness to a “Ghastly Affair” PC with the same amount of XP.

The current version of “Ghastly Affair” includes over 270 Preternatural Effects. “The Ready Rules of the Road”, on the other hands, trims that list down to just 30 Paranormal Effects – although many of those effects can vary in power and scope according to the amount of Hit Points expended by their User.

Finally, “Ghastly Affaircreatures have more defined characteristics (and thus larger stat blocks) than those in “The Ready Rules“.

Why the Two Systems are Different

The Ready Rules of the Road” are especially meant for the cross-genre “Uncanny Highway” setting. Originally, the” Uncanny Highway” was going to be a setting for “Groovy Ghastly Affair”. As the setting generators developed, however, it became obvious that I couldn’t stay “within the lines” of Gothic convention. So, I decided to create a streamlined game system especially for use on the Uncanny Highway – one which wouldn’t be so tied to the Gothic genre, and would facilitate casual pick-up games by allowing characters to be made even faster and more easily than is already the case for “Ghastly Affair“.

The rules of “Ghastly Affair” are specifically meant to replicate the events of Gothic fiction. The Special Abilities and Weaknesses of the Classes are designed so that characters effectively carry their stories with them. A True Innocent is always going to eventually blunder into some dangerous forbidden chamber, and will eventually faint at the sight of something horrible. The Mad Scientist will eventually face an Angry Mob, and the Bandit will wrestle with the consequences their Fame or Infamy. “The Ready Rules” are not tied to Gothic genre conventions, however. As befits characters on the American open road, Player Characters are completely in charge of their own fates – within the limits decreed by the Almighty Dice of course!

Some of the ideas explored in “The Ready Rules” are going to be incorporated in the Second Edition of “Ghastly Affair“, however – for example, setting the average score of Abilities at 10, and using Armor as damage reduction by default. The Second Edition of “Ghastly Affair” is going to include more random tables / selection lists for defining characters and their backgrounds, similar to those in “The Ready Rules” (but much more extensive).

For those of you awaiting the Second Edition of “Ghastly Affair”, do not fear – me and my editor Wendy are still working on it. For those of you who want to explore The Uncanny Highway without the Gothic baggage of “Ghastly Affair”, however, try “The Ready Rules of the Road”!

The Ready Rules of the Road – Fast Role-Playing on the Uncanny Highway

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The Ready Rules of the Road” is a fast and streamlined set of rules for roadtripping across the United States in the Groovy Era of the 1960s and 1970s. Have your own bizarre adventure across strange America – whether driving, hitchhiking, or riding your band’s tour bus.

The basic system is a simple “roll-under Ability” mechanic similar to that of “Ghastly Affair”. There are no character classes or Levels, however, but a single list of 20 Character Abilities. You can quickly and easily generate a name and groovy character concept using the included random tables. Characters might start the game able to create one of 30 concisely-described Paranormal Effects, with power levels appropriate to a modern setting. Plus, all your character’s essential stats can fit on cards the size of a driver’s license!

In just 22 pages you get:

  • a complete character generation and advancement system.
  • a comprehensive list of Paranormal Effects.
  • simple rules for car chases, car crashes, and automatic weapons.
  • stats for 25 types of NPCs.
  • 26 different animals and strange creatures.
  • 4 tables for generating stretches of highway, and encounters on the road.

Oh, and this Play-test Version is FREE! That’s because we’re getting you tuned-up to drive the full release of The Uncanny Highway book, scheduled for 2023.

I gotta tell ya’ that the Ready Rules of the Road involves Sixties-rific and Seventies-tastic Drive-in movie themes of vigilantes, drug use, imperiled runaways, dangerous psychic powers, hitchhiking hippies, demon-haunted roads, truck-stop prostitutes, reckless gun fights, gratuitous use of CB radio, driving non-electric gas-guzzling muscle cars at high speed, and people wearing plaid polyester leisure suits with absurdly wide collars! If any of those things offend you – or you are too young to watch a movie with them in it – this is probably not the game for you.

Don’t forget to download the Ready Rules of the Road Character Cards as well!

The Ready Rules of the Road

Click to access the_ready_rules_of_the_road_playtest_version_a-2.pdf

The Ready Rules of the Road Character Cards

Click to access ready_rules_of_the_road_character_cards_versiona.pdf

The Uncanny Highway Book – Construction is Underway!

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I’ve been silent here for the past few weeks because I’ve been working on preparing The Uncanny Highway for eventual publication. Many of the tables already posted on this blog have been reworked, reordered and expanded. Plus, there is an entirely new and comprehensive system for generating and keeping track of Highway Sections, facilitating completely spontaneous Road Trips across Groovy Era America. The body of the book will be more-or-less system neutral, but I plan to include “The Ready Rules of the Road” – a stripped-down and reworked version of the system used for Ghastly Affair – as an Appendix.

Doubtless there will be some adjustments on the way to a final text, but here’s the current contents listing (not including the many informational sidebars):

WELCOME TO THE UNCANNY HIGHWAY

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

ROAD CONSTRUCTION
General Characteristics of the Uncanny Highway
Sections and Stretches
Create the Starting Section
Example of a Filled-Out Road Map – Section NJ 1
Creating the Rest of the Uncanny Highway
Map of the Uncanny Highway
The Sections of U.S. Route 28 State by State
Table 1: Road Features of a Highway Stretch
Table 2: Roadside Attractions of a Highway Stretch
Table 3: Encounter Themes and Style of a Highway Section
North – South Road Map
East – West Road Map
Northeast – Southwest Road Map
Northwest – Southeast Road Map

DRIVING THE HIGHWAY
When the PCs Enter a New Section of Highway
When the PCs Enter a New Stretch
Remind Them to Refuel
Characters Must Eat and Drink
Visiting Attractions
Picking up Hitchhikers
Listening to the Radio In-Game
Reading Newspapers In-Game
Watching TV In-Game
Sleeping on the Uncanny Highway
Hitchhiking PCs
When the PCs Run Out of Money
When the PCs Commit Crimes
Settling Down
Pausing Between Sections
Improvisation
Table 1: Ordinary Vehicles on a Highway Stretch
Table 2: Road Events on a Highway Stretch
“You Can’t Get There from Here” – Leaving the Uncanny Highway
The Vietnam War and the Uncanny Highway

ABANDONED VEHICLES
Table 1: Abandoned Vehicle
Table 2: Condition of an Abandoned Vehicle
Table 3: Inhabitants of an Abandoned Car
Table 4: Items in an Abandoned Vehicle
Abandoned Vehicle Record Sheet

AMUSEMENT and THEME PARKS
Table 1: Amusement Park Name
Table 2: Amusement Park Sign
Table 3: Amusement Park Theme
Table 4: Amusement Park Enclosure
Table 5: Park Condition
Table 6: The Staff
Table 7a: Attractions
Table 7b: Carousel Mounts
Table 7c: Freak Show Features
Table 7d: Haunted House Features
Table 7e: Funhouse / Walkthrough Features
Table 7f: Tunnel of Love / Old Mill Ride Features
Table 7g: Stage Performances and Concerts
Table 7h: Midway Games and Attractions
Table 7i: Arcade Games and Attractions
Table 8: Game and Carousel Brass Ring Prizes
Table 9: Bathrooms
Table 10: Concession Stand Food
Table 11: Gift Shop Merchandise
Table 12: Ride & Attraction Events
Table 13: Shocking Facts and Secrets of an Amusement Park
Amusement Park Record Sheet

BARS and ROADHOUSES
Table 1: The Bar’s Name
Table 2: The Sign Outside
Table 3: Bar Exterior
Table 4: Bar Parking Lot
Table 5: Bar Interior
Table 6: Bar Patrons
Table 7: Smell of the Bar
Table 8: Bar Floor
Table 9: Cigarette Availability at a Bar
Table 10: The Bartender
Table 11: Bar Events
Table 12: Bar Drinks
Table 13: Bar Food
Table 14: Bar Attractions and Amenities
Sub-table 1: Stripper Names
Table 15: Bar Bathroom
Table 16: Items Lost on the Bar Floor
Table 17: Shocking Facts and Secrets of a Bar
Bar or Roadhouse Record Sheet

BILLBOARDS
Table 1: Apparent Purpose of a Billboard
Table 2: The Main Image on a Billboard
Table 3: Billboard Text
Table 4: Notable Characteristic of a Billboard
Billboard Record Sheet

CB BROADCASTS
Table 1: Identity of a CBer
Table 2: CB Radio Handles
Table 3. Topic of a CB Conversation
Table 4: Personality of a CBer
Table 5: Accent of a CBer
CB and Trucker Slang
Cb Broadcast Record Sheet

CHURCHES
Table 1: Apparent Denomination of a Church
Table 2: Size of a Church
Table 3: Architectural Style of a Church
Table 4a: Name of a Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, or Episcopal Church
Table 4b: Name of a Church (other than Episcopal, Catholic, or Orthodox)
Table 5: Writing on a Church Message Board
Table 6: Condition of a Church Exterior
Table 7: The Church Grounds
Table 8: The Actual Use of a Church
Church Record Sheet

DINERS, RESTAURANTS, and EATERIES
Table 1: The Sign Outside a Diner, Restaurant, or Eatery
Table 2: Exterior of a Diner, Restaurant, or Eatery
Table 3: Parking Lot of Diner, Restaurant, or Eatery
Table 4: Interior of a Diner, Restaurant, or Eatery
Table 5a: Cigarette Availability
Table 5b: Non-Smoking Section of a Diner, Restaurant, or Eatery
Table 6: The Food at a Diner, Restaurant, or Eatery
Table 7: Staff of a Diner, Restaurant, or Eatery
Table 8: Bathroom at a Diner, Restaurant, or Eatery
Table 9: Other Patrons at a Diner, Restaurant, or Eatery
Table 10: Shocking Facts and Secrets of a Diner, Restaurant, or Eatery
Diner, Restaurant, or Eatery Record Sheet

DRIVE-IN THEATERS
Table 1: Drive-In Theater Name
Table 2: Drive-in Capacity
Table 3: Daytime Use of a Drive-In
Table 4: Featured Movie(s)
Table 5: Drive-in (and Grindhouse) Movie Titles
Table 6: Drive-In Movie Characteristics
Table 7: Drive-In Concessions
Table 8: Drive-In Events
Drive-In Theater Record Sheet

FARMS and RANCHES
Table 1a: Type of Farm or Ranch
Table 1b: Farm or Ranch Market
Table 2a: Crops in the Northeast
Table 2b: Crops in the South
Table 2c: Crops in the Midwest
Table 2d: Crops in the Western Prairie and Rocky Mountains
Table 2e: Crops in the Southwest
Table 2f: Crops in Southern and Central California
Table 2g: Crops in the Pacific Northwest / Northern California
Table 3a: Livestock in the Northeast
Table 3b: Livestock in the South
Table 3c: Livestock in the Midwest
Table 3d: Livestock in the Western Prairie and Rocky Mountains
Table 3e: Livestock in the Southwest
Table 3f: Livestock in Southern and Central California
Table 3g: Livestock in the Pacific Northwest / Northern California
Table 4: Exotic Animals on a Farm or Ranch
Table 5: The Farmhouse or Ranch House
Table 6: The Family and Inhabitants
Table 7: The Barn
Table 8a: Other Structures on a Farm
Table 8b: Contents of a Greenhouse
Table 9: Farm Vehicles and Machines
Table 10: Notable Things on the Property
Table 11: Actual Use of a Farm or Ranch
Farm or Ranch Record Sheet

GAS STATIONS
Table 1: Gas Station Architecture
Table 2: Number of Pumps at a Gas Station
Table 3: Quality of Gasoline and Diesel at a Gas Station
Table 4: Gas Station Vending Machines
Table 5a: The Gas Station Garage
Table 5b: Services Offered by a Garage
Table 5c: Gas Station Garage Mechanic
Table 6: Gas Station Bathroom
Table 7: Also For Sale at a Gas Station
Table 8: Gas Station Cashier
Table 9: Gas Station Attendant
Table 10: Shocking Facts and Secrets of a Gas Station
Table 11: Gas Station Events
Gas Station Record Sheet

GHOSTS and HAUNTINGS
Table 1: Vanishing Hitchhikers
Table 2: Ghostly Vehicles and Riders
Table 3: Ghosts of Haunted Houses and Businesses
Table 4: Ghosts of the Countryside, Lover’s Lanes, and Parks
Ghost or Haunting Record Sheet

HITCHHIKERS and HITCHHIKING
Table 1: First Impression of Hitchhiker(s)
Table 2: Hithchiker Ethnicity
Table 3: Notable Characteristics of a Hitchhiker
Table 4: Stated Destination of a Hitchhiker
Table 5: The Hitchhiker’s Offer
Table 6: Real Intentions of Hitchhikers
Table 7a: Hitchhiking Result – Lone Female Hitcher
Table 7b: Hitchhiking Result – Lone Male Hitcher
Table 7c: Hitchhiking Result – All-Female Group
Table 7d: Hitchhiking Result – Couple, or Mixed Group
Table 7e: Hitchhiking Result – All-Male Group
Table 8: Potentially Alarming Situations when Hitchhiking
Table 9: Ride Offer
Table 10: Identity of the Driver
Hitchhiker Record Sheet

HOUSES
Table 1: House Style
Table 2: House Color
Table 3: Overall Condition of the House
Table 4: The Attached Property
Table 5: Notable Features of the House and Property
Table 6: House Inhabitants
Table 7: Cars on the Property
House Record Sheet

MONUMENTS, MEMORIALS, and SHRINES
Table 1: Monument, Memorial, or Shrine Subject
Table 2a: Monuments
Table 2b. Roadside Memorials
Table 2c. Religious Shrines
Table 3: Effect of an Offering at a Memorial, Monument, or Shrine
Table 4: Offering Informant
Monument, Memorial, or Shrine Record Sheet

MOTELS
Table 1: Motel Name
Table 2: Motel Architecture
Table 3: Motel Layout
Table 4: Motel Size
Table 5: Motel Vacancy
Table 6: Motel Front Desk Clerk
Table 7: Motel Room Cost
Table 8: Motel Amenities
Table 9: Motel Room Decor
Table 10: Notable Feature of a Motel Room
Table 11: Motel Room Bible
Table 12: Motel Vending Machines
Table 13: Motel Guests
Table 14: Motel Events
Table 15: Shocking Facts and Secrets of a Motel
Motel Record Sheet

MYSTERY SPOTS, or GRAVITY HILLS
Table 1: The Mystery Spot Sign
Table 2: The Anti-Gravity Effect
Table 3: Mystery Spot Amenities
Table 4: Mystery Spot Pay Toilets
Table 5: Mystery Spot Concession Stand
Table 6: Mystery Spot Souvenirs
Table 7: Mystery Spot Attendant
Mystery Spot or Gravity Hill Record Sheet

NEWSPAPERS
Table 1: Newspaper Name
Table 2: Newspaper Lead Story
Table 3: Strange News Stories
Table 4: Today’s Horoscope
Table 5: Most Notable Advertisement in a Newspaper
Table 6: Letters to the Editor
Table 7: Movie Reviews
Table 8: Help Wanted
Newspaper Record Sheet

NPCs
Table 1a: Female First Names
Table 1b: Male First Names
Table 1c: Female Hippie Names
Table 1d: Male Hippie Names
Table 2a: General American Surnames
Table 2b: Hispanic Surnames
Table 2c: Jewish-American Surnames
Table 2d: Chinese-American Surnames
Table 2e: Native American Surnames
Table 3: Zodiacal Signs
Table 4a: Most Memorable Characteristic of an Aries
Table 4b: Most Memorable Characteristic of a Taurus
Table 4c: Most Memorable Characteristic of a Gemini
Table 4d: Most Memorable Characteristic of a Cancer
Table 4e: Most Memorable Characteristic of a Leo
Table 4f: Most Memorable Characteristic of a Virgo
Table 4g: Most Memorable Characteristic of a Libra
Table 4h: Most Memorable Characteristic of a Scorpio
Table 4i: Most Memorable Characteristic of a Sagittarius
Table 4j: Most Memorable Characteristic of a Capricorn
Table 4k: Most Memorable Characteristic of an Aquarius
Table 4l: Most Memorable Characteristic of a Pisces
Table 5: NPC Stats
NPC Record Sheet

RADIO STATIONS and BROADCASTS
Table 1: Legal AM Radio Station Name
Table 2: Legal AM Radio Station Broadcasts
Table 3a: Talk Between Songs
Table 3b: Radio Contests and Prizes
Table 4: Shortwave Radio Broadcasts
Table 5: Ham Radio Broadcasts
Table 6: Bizarre Sermons On The Radio
Table 7: Bizarre Conspiracy Theories On The Radio
Radio Station and Broadcast Record Sheet

ROADSIDE MUSEUMS
Table 1: Roadside Museum Collection
Table 2: Architecture of a Roadside Museum
Table 3a: Outdoor Collection of a Roadside Museum
Table 3b: Shocking Facts and Secrets of the Outdoor Collection
Table 4a: Indoor Collection of a Roadside Museum
Table 4b: Shocking Facts and Secrets of the Indoor Collection
Table 5: State of a Roadside Museum’s Exhibits
Table 6: Other Patrons at a Roadside Museum
Table 7: Roadside Museum Concessions
Table 8: Items in a Roadside Museum’s Souvenir Shop
Roadside Museum Record Sheet

SMALL TOWNS
Table 1: Name of a Small Town
Table 2: Population of a Small Town
Table 3: Slogan of a Small Town
Table 4: The Local Landmark of a Small Town
Table 5: Main Industry of a Small Town
Table 6a: Basic Layout of a Small Town
Table 6b: Districts of a Small Town
Table 7: First Impression of a Small Town
Table 8: Predominant Architecture of Buildings in Town
Table 9: Shocking Facts and Secrets of a Small Town
Table 10: Ethnic Makeup of a Small Town
Table 11: General Disposition of Adults and Teens in a Small Town
Table 12: Pride of a Small Town
Table 13: Most Beloved Event or Celebration in an American Small Town
Table 14a: Essential Businesses & Establishments of a Small Town
Table 14b: Additional Businesses & Establishments of a Small Town
Table 15: The Local Cemetery
Table 16: The Public Park or Play Ground of a Small Town
Table 17: The Local Library of a Small Town
Table 18: The Local Lover’s Lane
Table 19: The Unsafe Teenage Hangout
Table 20: Town Politics
Table 21a: Dominant Organization of a Small Town
Dominant Organization Sub-table 1 – Odd Secret Societies
Table 21b: Covert Power Center of a Small Town
Table 22a: The High School Varsity Team
Table 22b: The Dominant Varsity Sport in a Small Town
Table 23: The Wealthiest Person in Town
Table 24: The Most Beloved Person in Town
Table 25: The Town Conscience
Table 26: The Town Bully
Table 27: The Town Scapegoat
Table 28: The Town Jezebel
Table 29: the Town Lothario
Table 30: The Town Drunk
Table 31: The Town Weirdo
Table 32: The Town Mastermind
Table 33: True Danger of a Small Town
Table 34: Current Events and First Encounters in a Small Town
Table 35: Notices Posted Around a Small Town
Table 36 Encounters on the Streets of a Small Town
Encounters Sub-table 1: Daytime, Warm Weather
Encounters Sub-table 2: Nighttime, Warm Weather
Encounters Sub-table 3: Daytime, Cold Weather
Encounters Sub-table 4: Nighttime, Cold Weather
Table 37: Up in the Sky Above a Small Town
Table 38: Recent Local Events in a Small Town
Small Town Record Sheets

SOUVENIR SHOPS
Table 1: Architecture and Decor of a Souvenir Shop
Table 2: Items for Sale in a Souvenir Shop
Table 3: Quality of Items in a Souvenir Shop
Table 4: Patrons in a Souvenir Shop
Table 5: Cashier in a Souvenir Shop
Table 6: Other Things to See in a Souvenir Shop
Table 7: Singular Objects for Sale in a Souvenir Shop
Souvenir Shop Record Sheet

STORIES FROM THE ROAD
Table 1: Men’s Stories
Table 2: Women’s Stories
Table 3: Local Legends

STRANGE ANIMALS and CREATURES
Table 1a: Encounters in the Northeast
Table 1b: Encounters in the South
Table 1c: Encounters in the Midwest
Table 1d: Encounters in the Western Prairie and Rocky Mountains
Table 1e: Encounters in the Southwest
Table 1f: Encounters in Southern and Central California
Table 1g: Encounters in the Pacific Northwest / Northern California
Table 2a: Appearance of an Extraterrestrial
Table 2b: Appearance of an Extraterrestrial Vehicle
Table 3: Unique Chimeric Humanoids
Table 4: Unique Chimeric Animals
Table 5: Creature Traits in Relative Terms
Strange Animal or Creature Record Sheet

TRAILER PARKS
Table 1: Reason to Stop at a Trailer Park
Table 2: Trailer Park Name
Table 3: Size of the Park
Table 4: Trailer Park Enclosure
Table 5: Trailer Park Amenities
Table 6: The Trailer Park Manager
Table 7: Notable Trailer Park Residents
Table 8: Some Average Residents of a Trailer Park
Table 9: Home of a Trailer Park Resident
Table 10: Items Outside a Trailer Park Home
Table 11: Community Activities in a Trailer Park
Table 12: Criminal Activity in a Trailer Park
Table 13: Shocking Facts and Secrets of a Trailer Park
Table 14: Overnight Events in a Trailer Park
Trailer Park Record Sheet

TRUCK STOPS
Table 1: Truck Stop Name
Table 2: Truck Stop Theme
Table 3: Truck Stop Parking Lot
Table 4: Truck Cargoes
Table 5: Gas & Diesel Pumps at a Truck Stop
Table 6: Truck Stop Mechanic
Table 7: Carwashing
Table 8: Truck Stop Restaurant
Table 9: Truck Stop Lounge
Table 10: Truck Stop Lounge, Restaurant, and Shop Encounters
Table 11: Truck Stop Bathrooms
Table 12: Truck Stop Bathroom Patrons
Table 13: Truck Stop Showers
Table 14: Truck Stop Bunks
Table 15: Truck Stop Laundry Facilities
Table 16: Truck Stop Vending Machines
Table 17: Items in a Truck Stop Shop
Table 18: Drugs Available at a Truck Stop
Table 19a: “Lot Lizards” at a Truck Stop
Table 19b: Face of a Female (or Cross-Dressed) Prostitute
Table 19c: Clothing of a Female (or Cross-Dressed) Prostitute
Table 19d: “Lot Lizard” Hopes and Dreams
Table 20: Truck Stop Pimp
Table 21: Truck Stop Rumors and Gossip
Table 22: Truck Stop Events
Truck Stop Record Sheet

TV STATIONS and BROADCASTS
Table 1: Legal Television Station Name
Table 2: Current Programming of a Legal TV Station
Table 3: Local TV News Stories
Table 4: Breaking News Bulletins
Table 5: Television Oddities and Signal Intrusions
Table 6: Programming of a Pirate TV Station
TV Station and Broadcast Record Sheet

UNMARKED ROAD EXITS
Unmarked Road Exit Record Sheet

WEATHER
Table 1: Weather Conditions on a Highway Section
Table 2: Precipitation Type
Table 3: Notable Weather Phenomena (Other Than Tornadoes)
Table 4a: Tornado Occurrence and Severity
Table 4b: Tornado Location and Duration
Weather Record Sheet

APPENDIX 1: THE READY RULES OF THE ROAD
The Players and The Game Master
Character Creation
Combat
Saving Throws (or Saves)
Character Advancement
Player Character Concepts
Paranormal Effects
Equipment, Possessions, and Expenses
For The Game Master: Resolving Common Situations
For The Game Master: Some Typical NPCs
For The Game Master: Creatures Of The Uncanny Highway

APPENDIX 2: THE UNCANNY HIGHWAY PLAYLIST

Legal Information – The Open Game License

The Horror Host – A Ghastly Affair Class for the Awful Eighties and Groovy Era

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This first draft of the Horror Host Class is intended for modern-era Ghastly Affair Sagas with a comedic edge. Humor has actually been a part of the Gothic tradition from the very beginning – besides out-and-out satires such as Thomas Love Peacock’s “Nighmare Abbey”, there are also moments of comedy in the original Gothic novel “The Castle of Otranto”. Even the “The Monk”, infamous for its gross-out horrors, contains intentionally funny situations. The 1980s, of course, were the Golden Age of Gothic Horror Comedy – including classic movies like “An American Werewolf in London”, “The Return of the Living Dead”, and “Fright Night”.

HORROR HOST (or Hostess)

You are a televangelist for the gospel of Horror cinema. Every week you lead your congregation of fans in late-night communion with the gods and goddesses of fright, who live now and forever in the movies. And as much as your fans love the movies themselves, they also love your skits and personal commentary. Sure, sometimes you treat the movies irreverently, or outright deride them. But you actually broadcast the flicks “legitimate” critics hate, and give them a life that they might otherwise never have.

Every Horror Host has a Broadcast Persona, and an Ordinary Persona. Your Broadcast Persona is the one that TV viewers see when they tune into your show, or meet when they encounter you at a Horror or Sci Fi convention. Your Ordinary Persona is the one you adopt when you must pay your bills, talk to your agent, or rent a motel room.

Which of your Personas is the real one? Are you the character your fans see on TV, who must sometimes pretend to be an ordinary person? Or are you an actor who must sometimes pretend to be a strange character? In truth, you are both a creature of the night and a denizen of the day, inhabiting the same body.

Use the Horror Host Class to create characters inspired by such real-life figures as Elvira, Joe Bob Briggs, and Son of Svengoolie, or by such fictional Horror Hosts as Peter Vincent (from “Fright Night”), Medusa (from “TerrorVision”), or Zombo (from the TV show “The Munsters”).

HORROR HOST SPECIAL ABILITIES

DEMONOLOGY (+1)

Your encyclopedic knowledge of Horror movies (and fiction) makes you able to recognize the Powers of Darkness, and know how to defeat them. You can make an Intelligence Check with a +1 Bonus to know:

  • if you are facing a preternatural creature (even if disguised),
  • the type of creature faced,
  • if the creature is higher or lower Level than yourself,
  • the creature’s name, if it is famous,
  • a bit of information useful to defeating a recognized creature.

DUAL IDENTITY

Decide the names and appearances of both your Broadcast Persona, and your Ordinary Persona.

  • Your two Personas are the same height, and share the same Basic Abilities, but do not need to be the same apparent gender.
  • While you are in Broadcast Persona you can use your Preternatural Power – but will not be taken seriously by most people, or in most social contexts outside of a Horror / Sci Fi convention.
  • You can intentionally change Personas twice a day, but you always change into your Ordinary Persona at dawn.
  • Hit Point damage suffered by one Persona is completely healed when you transform into the other one.
  • Likewise, any Preternatural Effects (including Curses and diseases of Preternatural origin) are ended once you change from one Persona to another.
  • Your Broadcast Persona could be a zombie cheerleader, a sexy vampire, a fearless vampire hunter, a lovable ghoul, a creepy cowboy, a disco-dancing werewolf, or almost anyone else you can imagine people wanting to stay up all night to watch!
  • Note that while you actually transform from your Ordinary Persona to your Broadcast Persona (and Preternaturally manifest any necessary clothing), your Broadcast Persona always looks like makeup and a silly costume. Anyone who tries to remove off your apparent makeup, however, will find that it won’t come off for them – no matter how hard they try!
  • If your Broadcast Persona is monstrous, then monsters of that type will actually accept you as one of their own – so long as you don’t attack them or return to your Ordinary Persona! For example, if you are a “zombie cheerleader” in your Broadcast Persona, actual Zombies will allow you to move among them unharmed. Similarly, if your Broadcast Persona is a particular type of person (such as a biker or cowboy), people of that type will accept you as one of them, until you become your Ordinary Persona again.

LOYAL FOLLOWING (+1)

If you are in your Broadcast Persona, and in an area where your television show might be seen (or at a Horror / Sci Fi convention), you may make a Charisma Check (with a +1 Bonus) to see if someone you encounter is part of your Loyal Following.

  • You may attempt the Charisma Check as many times per Affair as your Level.
  • If the Check succeeds, the person recognizes you as the beloved Horror Host that makes their late nights complete. They will thereafter help you in any way they can – even if they had been previously sent by someone else to kidnap or kill you.
  • It is even possible for supernatural creatures who might conceivably watch television – such as Vampyres and Werewolves – to be be part of your Loyal Following!
  • Note that having a Loyal Following does not necessarily mean you are well-paid by your TV station!

PRETERNATURAL POWER

Choose a Preternatural Power from the list of Preternatural Effects in the Ghastly Affair Player’s Manual. You can even choose a Power normally reserved for Vampyres. You can use this Power only when you are in your Broadcast Persona.

  • Each time you use your Preternatural Power, you suffer Hit Point damage equal to its Level.
  • You should choose a Preternatural Power consistent with the concept of your Broadcast Persona. For example, if your Broadcast Persona is a “sexy vampire”, then choose a Power such as Hypnotism. If your Broadcast Persona is “fearless vampire hunter”, choose a Power such as Consecrate Object.
  • Remember that all the Hit Point damage you suffer from using your Preternatural Power is healed when you assume your Ordinary Persona – but then you also lose the ability to use your Power!

PROFESSIONAL ACTOR (+1)

When you are in your Ordinary Persona (but not in your Broadcast Persona), you get a +1 Bonus on Ability Checks to do such things as:

  • Give an exceptionally good acting performance.
  • Tell a passable lie.
  • Disguise yourself.
  • Remember things.
  • Seduce those who have seen your Ordinary Persona in an acting role.

HORROR HOST WEAKNESSES

BROADCAST OBLIGATION

Choose the title of your show, and a 4-hour block of time during the week when it is filmed. Your show could be broadcast live overnight on a Friday or Saturday, or actually taped anytime on a weekday. But you must always show up at the television studio up to fulfill your “Broadcast Obligation” – whether or not you also need to save the world that night.

  • If you fail to fulfill your Broadcast Obligation, you lose the ability to assume your “Broadcast Persona” (and use your “Preternatural Power”), unless and until you show up to fulfill it next week.
  • If your show gets unfairly canceled by some greedy corporate jerk you doesn’t understand the importance of what you do, your Broadcast Obligation is suspended. However, you must take the next available opportunity to get back on the air again in your Broadcast Persona.

FAN REQUEST

Before the start of every new Affair your Broadcast Persona will receive a Fan Request asking for your help. The person making the request is well-connected in your fandom, and ignoring it could be detrimental to your career. The request in this letter or phone call could become the beginning of the Affair to come – or a potentially dangerous distraction from it.

  • If you ignore your Fan Request you lose the Special Ability “Loyal Following”, until such time as you actually contact the fan and address their concern.
  • You may also get letters from fans who claim to be in love with you, but you don’t need to address those. In fact, it’s probably better that you don’t!

The contents of a Fan Request is determined with a d20:

  1. Please come to my school and make my bully stop harassing me.
  2. Please come to my school and show the girl/boy I like that I’m cool.
  3. Please come to my school and talk to the class during an Assembly.
  4. Please come to my house and convince my parents to let me watch Horror movies without sneaking around.
  5. Please come speak at our local Horror / Sci Fi convention.
  6. Please come march in a local parade.
  7. Please stop by my store or business.
  8. Please come see my movie.
  9. Please come by a local radio station for an on-air interview.
  10. Please appear in a commercial for my business (or charity).
  11. Please come and appear at a party.
  12. Please come by the local Police Station, because we need your help with a case.
  13. Please come help me fight a real Vampyre!
  14. Please come help me fight real Werewolves!
  15. Please help me, someone I love is possessed by a Demon!
  16. Please help me, I’m being targeted by Extraterrestrials!
  17. Please help me, my neighbor is a crazed Serial Killer!
  18. Please help me, my neighbors are part of a murderous Satanic Cult!
  19. Please help me, I’ve seen real Zombies (or Ghouls)!
  20. Please help me, there’s a Monster hiding in (or near) my house!

SUGGESTED ASSETS FOR HORROR HOSTS

Attractive to Fairy Folk, Beautiful / Handsome (even in Broadcast Persona), Charming, Gift for Languages, Good Driver, Good Singing Voice, Lucky at Love, Master of Disguise, Mechanical Genius, Musical, No Fear of … (something frightening), Sharp Eyes, Special Knowledge (choose field), Talent For Demonology, Well Spoken, Wily.

SUGGESTED AFFLICTIONS FOR HORROR HOSTS

Addicted to… (substance), Afraid of… (something common), Bad Driver, Bad Judge of Character, Bad Shot, Creepy Presence, Elderly, Has-Been Actor, Lame, Lost Love, No Head For.. (a common filed of knowledge), Perpetually Broke, Sensitive to Alcohol, Sleazy, Unlucky at Love.

INITIAL ABILITY ADJUSTMENT FOR HORROR HOSTS

  • Charisma +1, Intelligence +1.

HORROR HOST HIT POINTS PER LEVEL

  • d6 Hit Points at 1st Level.
  • You gain an additional d6 Hit Points per Level

HORROR HOST DAMAGE BONUS BY CHARACTER LEVEL

  • 1st Level: None
  • 2nd Level: +1
  • 3rd Level: +1
  • 4th Level: +1
  • 5th Level: +2
  • 6th Level: +2
  • 7th Level: +2
  • 8th Level: +3
  • 9th Level: +3
  • 10th Level: +3

TYPICAL STARTING EQUIPMENT FOR HORROR HOSTS

  • ordinary clothes.
  • latest issue of “Fangoria” magazine.
  • script for a B-movie, such as “Machine-Gun P.T.A. versus the Sorority Row Strangler”.
  • your first fan-letter, folded up in your wallet or purse.
  • SAG card.
  • driver’s license under your Ordinary Persona. (Technically, your Broadcast Persona is not licensed to drive.)
  • wallet picture of your family, with your ex-spouse’s face ripped away.
  • pack of cigarettes.
  • coffee, in a disposable cup marked “We Are Happy to Serve You”.
  • flask of whiskey.
  • bar napkin with a water-smeared phone number on it.
  • sunglasses.
  • makeup kit.
  • stake & mallet.
  • 1 silver bullet.
  • paperback edition of a medieval Grimoire, with numerous coffee stains.
  • pawn ticket for a piece of jewelry you hocked to pay some overdue bills.
  • small pistol.
  • ticket to an upcoming Horror or Sci Fi conventions.
  • van, hearse, or “bug” car, with a bad muffler.

ADVANCING IN LEVELS AS A HORROR HOST

  • 8 Experience Points to attain 2nd Level.
  • 4 additional Experience Points are needed to attain each Level after 2nd.

HORROR HOSTS IN OTHER TIMES

Naturally, the Horror Host is just as much at home during the Groovy Era of the 1960s and 70s as in the Awful Eighties. This is the era of such legends as Zacherly, Chilly Billy (who also appeared in “Night of the Living Dead”), and the original Svengoolie. A Horror Host in this era might work for one of the television stations along the Uncanny Highway.

The Ensouled Android – A Ghastly Affair Class for the Haunted Future

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This is the first draft of a new Class expanding Ghastly Affair into the Haunted Future of 2213 – when the squabbling mega-nations of Earth have colonized the Solar System and beyond, to find that Outer Space has always been the realm of the Dead. The asteroid belt is filled with the space castles of Vampires and Cyborg Sorcerers, Star Knights in Beam Diffusion Mail battle each other with swords of ductile ceramic, and the brokenhearted encounter the ghosts of dead lovers on interplanetary journeys.

ENSOULED ANDROID

They built your body for a purpose, and programmed you to fulfill it. But somehow, you remember another life. A life when you were weren’t made of silicone, plasticized titanium, and hydraulic fluid, but flesh and blood. Perhaps you remember being a Chivalric Knight in the thirteenth century, or a Magician in 1780s Venice. Maybe you recall living as a Rock n’ Roll star in the Groovy Era of the 1960s, or as a Hacker at the dawn of the Computer Age in the 1980s. Whatever the memories in your electric brain, you know your soul is as real as any other. You feel most comfortable dressed in the clothing of the era you remember best. You are as capable of True Love as anyone else. If you could weep, you would do so for times and people long gone.

Ensouled Androids like you are becoming more common as humanity increasingly encounters the spirits lurking in Outer Space. At first, your kind kept yourselves secret from the “biologicals”, for fear of being destroyed as malfunctioning machines. In some place you still must. For that reason, most Ensouled Androids try to make their way to mega-nations like the Incorporated Pacific States (formerly Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska, and the Philippines), where Androids in general are especially common, and Ensouled Androids can be full citizens.

Androids, Ensouled or not, are built for many purposes. Many are designed to pilot Star Ships through the Wormhole Gates – when the living crew and passengers must enter their Resurrection Boxes, momentarily die, and be revived on the other end of their journey. Other Androids are built to oversee construction robots laboring in environments too hazardous for humans, or to do scientific research in similar conditions. The outer hulls of short-range rockets and long-range Star Ships are often serviced by Androids, who can function in the cold vacuum of Space. Android doctors are dispatched to control the frequent outbreaks of Infectious Vampirism, Viral Lycanthropy, Postmortem Zombism, and Zombic Rabies that plague Earth and the Colonies. Some Androids are even built as soldiers, by those nations who don’t fear a potential robot uprising. Whatever the purpose you were made for, you also have skills that your programmers never intended. And while most Androids are deliberately designed to be easily distinguishable from ordinary people, you may have had yourself modified to look almost exactly like a “biological” human.

Use the Ensouled Android class to create characters inspired by such figures as Bishop (from the movie “Aliens”), the Electric Grandma (from the short story “I Sing the Body Electric”), Niska Elster (from the TV series “Humans”), or David (from movie “AI”).

ENSOULED ANDROID SPECIAL ABILITIES

IMMUNE TO BIOLOGICAL DAMAGE

Because you are not a biological organism, you are immune to the following attacks and Hazards:

  • Poison.
  • Drugging.
  • Disease.
  • Extreme Cold.
  • Pain. (You have tactile sensors, but can turn off their signals when necessary.)
  • Smoke inhalation and lack of oxygen.
  • Exposure to the vacuum of Outer Space.
  • Focused microwave weapons. (Used aboard ships to damage flesh while leaving machinery and hulls unharmed.)
  • Forced sleep. (Although you must spend at least 6 hours a day in “sleep mode” running diagnostics to maintain peak performance.)
  • Note that lasers, bullets, plasma weapons, particle beams, hand-to-hand weapons, falls, fire, Gamma rays, and attacks with caustic liquids will damage your machinery and circuitry just as if you were a biological human.

IMMUNE TO MENTAL MANIPULATION

Your circuitry does not process information like a biological brain, and your optical sensors do not work exactly like human eyes.

  • You are immune to Preternatural Glamors and Fascinations, from any source.
  • Unless you were constructed in the Cyber-Empire of China (and therefore have a wireless Social Control Device installed), you must physically patch yourself into a terminal to access a computer network. You cannot be “hacked” from a distance.

PROGRAMMED PROFESSION (+1)

Choose the Profession that was programmed into your memory crystals at the factory. You get a +1 Bonus on Ability Checks relevant to your Profession.

Typical Professions for Ensouled Androids include:

  • Star Pilot
  • Space craft Engineer
  • Biologist
  • Geologist
  • Physician
  • Robot Engineer
  • Robot Repairer
  • Soldier

REMEMBERED ABILITY

Choose one Special Ability from any other Class, associated with any other time period.

  • You might know “Demonology” from remembering a life as Demon Hunter, remember how to “Detect Lies” like a Sleuth in 1913, or possess the “Seduction” ability of an 18th century Libertine!
  • It is also possible for you to have second “Profession”, from any other time period.
  • You could even choose a Preternatural Special Ability like “Use Incantations” or “Perform Ceremony”.
  • If you choose the Special Ability “Social Contacts”, it means that you have already made contact with other Ensouled Androids who also remember previous lifetimes lived in the same time and place as your own.

SUPERHUMAN STRENGTH

You have Strength score of 22, which makes you stronger than any biological human being.

ENSOULED ANDROID WEAKNESSES

MUST BE REPAIRED

Your machinery does not heal like a biological human. You can benefit neither from medicine, nor from Preternatural Effects that heal biological organisms.

  • Someone with the Profession “Robot Repairer” or “Robot Engineer” can restore 1 lost Hit Point for every hour that they can work on you.
  • If you possess Robot Repairer or Robot Engineer as a Profession you may repair yourself, provided you have not been reduced to 0 Hit Points (and become completely incapacitated).
  • It is assumed that the repairer has access to appropriate tools and spare parts. As an Android, the needed tools and spare parts may actually be stored in compartments of your body.
  • Note that you can still Increase Ability Scores like any other character. Such increases are assumed to be mechanical upgrades and /or firmware updates.

WIDELY OPPRESSED

Androids who are not citizens of a nation or mega-nation are bound to labor at their Programmed Profession for at least 8 hours of every day – and in the various theocratic states, Androids are forced to work 18 hours a day.

  • Even in the mega-nations where you can obtain full citizenship as an Ensouled Android – the Incorporated Pacific States, the African Union, the European Union, the Southeast Asian Confederation, the Australian States, the United States of North America, the Kingdom of England, and the Greater Persian Republic – most biological humans will still tend to dismiss you as “really just a machine”. However, once an Android demonstrates free will in any of these nations, the government pays the Android’s “owner”, and the Android is released from compulsory labor. You if like, you may assume that you are already a citizen of one of the aforementioned mega-nations.
  • In the Cyber-Empire of China you can only be considered a citizen if you have a networked Social Control Device installed – just like everyone else. Claiming to be Ensouled (or even thinking about it too much if your Social Control Device is installed) may cause you to be charged with “Unauthorized Reincarnation”.
  • In the Republic of Bharat (India) you will be generally accepted to be a Reincarnated person, but you cannot become a full citizen. Androids must, however, be paid like any other worker, and can buy their freedom (if not citizenship) from their “owner”.
  • In the Bolivarian Union, the Federal Republic of Mexico, and the Republic of Brazil the situation is generally similar to the Republic of Bharat.
  • Androids have no rights whatsoever in the Messianist Kingdom of America, the Caliphate, the Republic of Deseret, or the Holy Russian Empire. In addition, if you publicly claim to actually be a person in any of these mega-nations, you may be destroyed for spreading blasphemy and heresy. Androids cannot be freed at all in these mega-nations, and are granted only the minimum 6 hours of rest a day.

SUGGESTED ASSETS FOR ENSOULED ANDROIDS

Charming, Fast, Gift for Languages, Good Manners, Good Shot, Good Throwing Arm, Looks Entirely Human, Mechanical Genius, Well Spoken.

SUGGESTED AFFLICTIONS FOR ENSOULED ANDROIDS

Bad Judge of Character, Frightening Appearance, Glitchy Arm, Glitchy Audio Sensors, Glitchy Leg, Glitchy Olfactory Sensors, Glitchy Visual Sensors, Glitchy Voice Synthesizer, Slow, Traumatic Memory (from previous lifetime).

INITIAL ABILITY ADJUSTMENT FOR ENSOULED ANDROIDS

  • +2 Intelligence.
  • You have a Strength score of 22. See “Prodigious Strength” above.

ENSOULED ANDROID HIT POINTS PER LEVEL

  • d6 Hit Points at 1st Level.
  • You gain an additional d6 Hit Points per Level

ENSOULED ANDROID DAMAGE BONUS BY CHARACTER LEVEL

  • 1st Level: None
  • 2nd Level: +1
  • 3rd Level: +1
  • 4th Level: +2
  • 5th Level: +2
  • 6th Level: +3
  • 7th Level: +3
  • 8th Level: +4
  • 9th Level: +4
  • 10th Level: +5

TYPICAL STARTING EQUIPMENT FOR ENSOULED ANDROIDS

  • Clothing from another century.
  • Uniform appropriate to Programmed Profession.
  • Tools appropriate to your Programmed Profession.
  • Microwave Pistol. (Ray burns flesh and plants, but does not damage inorganic materials.)
  • Knife or sword of ductile ceramic. (Needed against opponents wearing Beam Diffusion Mail, such as Star Knights.)
  • Portable solar-powered recharger. (1 full day of sunlight will provide enough electric charge to keep you operating for a full week.)
  • Personal C.R.O.W.N. system, (Computer for Relationships, Objects, Words, and Numbers. Takes the form of a headband with a crystal in the forehead. Operating system is projected holographically in space in front of the user.)
  • A book first published during your previous lifetime. (Outside of the Cyber-Empire, physical books are preferred.)
  • An artifact from your previous lifetime.
  • 100p in gold coins. (Although every currency has the same value, there is no universally accepted and trusted digital currency, because every mega-nation maintains its own separate digital communications network. Gold coins are preferred.)

ADVANCING IN LEVELS AS AN ENSOULED ANDROID

  • 10 Experience Points to attain 2nd Level.
  • 4 additional Experience Points are needed to attain each Level after 2nd.

The Chivalric Knight – A Ghastly Affair Class for the Thirteenth Century

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“The Castle of Otranto”, the book that actually defined the Gothic genre in 1765, can be a surprise for new readers. Expecting perhaps a Horror story similar to “Dracula”, instead one gets a tale of knights, ghosts, forced marriages, and inheritance disputes in the Middle Ages. It all reads much more like “Dark Fantasy” than “Horror”. In fact, the 18th century term “Gothic Romance”  translates directly to “Medieval Fantasy” in modern idiom. The Fantasy genre’s medieval bias ultimately traces back to the popularity of the early Gothic Romances, which tended to imitate “The Castle of Otranto”, and be set in the so-called “Gothic Age”. The prevalence in modern Fantasy role-playing games of things like dark underground passages, secret doors, undead monsters, and holy people who can repel evil with their faith, is the result of influences from Gothic Horror movies – and perhaps also the neo-Gothic romance books that were extremely popular in the 1970s (when the modern RPG was being invented). Therefore, I give you the first draft of the “Chivalric Knight” Class, expanding the scope of the Ghastly Affair game back to the most natural time period of all for Gothic Romance (and Horror).

CHIVALRIC KNIGHT

You are one of the elite warriors of your age, sworn to support and defend your noble “Liege”. You are comfortable moving in armor, proficient with every type of hand-to-hand weapon, able to easily fight from horseback, and trained in athletics. Probably you were born to the lesser aristocracy, learning your martial skills first as a boy Page, and then as the adolescent Squire to another Knight. It is possible, however, that you were born a commoner, and impressed your future Liege with your loyalty, bravery and skill at arms. Either way, you have knelt and paid Homage to your Liege, sworn an oath of Fealty to them, and received the Accolade of sword blows that made you a recognized Knight.

Do you spend your Down-time tending to the manor and land granted to you by your Liege, or are you a Knight Errant who wanders the realm fighting Evil to impress your Beloved? Are you a Knight Bachelor, fighting under your Liege’s banner – or are you a noble Knight Banneret who is entitled to command other troops and fight under your own standard? Perhaps you are even one of the legendary female Knights – like brave Bradamante who fought alongside Charlemagne, and loved the chivalrous Muslim warrior Ruggiero.

As a Chivalric Knight you must never allow your Perversity to rise above 12, or you will suffer the loss of your Good Name. Further, you must uphold the ideals of Chivalry, or likewise squander the goodwill you have generated with your honorable actions.

Use the Chivalric Knight Class to create character inspired by such legendary characters as Sir Lancelot, Tristan of Lyonesse, and the Paladin Roland; or by such real-life figures as Richard the Lion-Hearted, El Cid, or William Wallace.

CHIVALRIC KNIGHT SPECIAL ABILITIES

ATHLETICS (+1)

You gain a +1 Bonus to all Ability Checks or Ability Contests to run, jump, swim, or climb.

  • This Bonus is added to your “Danger Bonus”, if you must make an Ability Check to determine the outcome of a Chase – or must otherwise run, jump, swim, or climb while in Danger.
  • Note that your Bonus for climbing only applies to things like siege ladders, knotted ropes and trees. You still can’t climb sheet masonry walls like a common Burglar!

DANGER BONUS (+1)

You get a +1 Bonus to all your Ability Checks and Saving Throws in times of Danger (Fights, Chases, and Escapes).

  • Your Danger Bonus is added to the Bonus from your “Athletics” Special Ability, if you must make an Ability Check to determine the outcome of a Chase – or must otherwise run, jump, swim, or climb while in Danger.

DEVOTED TO YOUR CAUSE (+1)

You are especially devoted to one of the following: your Liege, your Religion, or your Beloved. You receive a +1 Bonus on your Attack Checks when you Fight on behalf of your Cause.

  • If you choose to be especially devoted to the Cause of your Liege, you get the +1 Bonus whenever you are fighting their declared enemies, or are otherwise fighting to protect their lands or honor.
  • If you choose to be especially devoted to the Cause of your Religion, you get the +1 Bonus whenever you are fighting people opposed to your religion, fighting the supernatural enemies of your religion (such as Devils and Demons), or when fighting to defend the sanctity of your religion’s holy places.
  • If you choose to be especially devoted to the Cause of your Beloved, you get the +1 Bonus when you are fighting to defend their honor against a detractor, fighting to rescue them, fighting to protect them, or fighting as part of a quest they have assigned to you. Note that just as with “True Love”, you still get this Bonus even if your Beloved is married to someone else, your love is of a kind contrary to your religion or knightly vows, or your relationship is otherwise socially unacceptable for someone of your status.
  • This Bonus is added to all others that apply, including your +1 “Danger Bonus”, and the +3 Bonus for being “In True Love”.
  • You will lose this Special Ability if you ever betray your Cause by failing to Fight in their behalf when they are threatened or dishonored (see Bond of Devotion below).

EQUESTRIANISM

You have been trained to properly ride and care for horses.

  • You can fight from horseback without Penalty of any kind.
  • You get a +1 Bonus on Ability Checks relevant to riding and a caring for a horse.
  • You can make your horse jump pits up to 10’ wide and obstacles up to 5’ high.
  • Horses you ride increase in Speed by 1 point.

GOOD NAME (+1)

For as long as your Perversity remains 12 or lower, you get a +1 Bonus on all Charisma Checks and Contests to determine other people’s reactions to you.

  • Additionally, while your Good Name endures, you will be granted the Right of Hospitality at all castles (even those belonging to enemy Knights), and will be afforded whatever hospitality can be given to you by commoners.
  • If your Perversity ever rises above 12, you lose your Good Name.
  • You can also lose your Good Name by publicly transgressing the “Code of Chivalry” (see below).

CHIVALRIC KNIGHT WEAKNESSES

BOND OF DEVOTION

If you ever betray your Cause by failing to Fight in their behalf when they are threatened or dishonored, you will lose the Special Ability “Devoted to Your Cause” (see above). This happens even if you must betray your Cause to maintain the “Code of Chivalry” (see below).

  • To regain the Special Ability Devoted to Your Cause, you must successfully commit an exceptionally heroic act on behalf of your Cause.
  • An exceptionally heroic act is on that might result in your death, such as fighting a Dragon, or an enemy Knight of your own Level in single combat.

CODE OF CHIVALRY

Although it is nowhere actually written down and described in full, there is an understood Code of Chivalry which you are expected to uphold. The first four points will usually be part of your oath of Fealty to your Liege – the rest of the Code of Chivalry is something you learned from your master while you trained as a Page and Squire, or inferred from your interactions with other Knights and nobles.

  1. You must answer the call of your Liege to battle.
  2. You must not flee the battlefield, unless so ordered by your Liege.
  3. You must obey all orders from your Liege that do not conflict with your religion, and take their side in all temporal matters.
  4. You must defend your religion against its enemies.
  5. You must respect and protect the clergy of your religion.
  6. You must accept all honorable challenges of arms.
  7. You must always keep your word of honor once given.
  8. You must show mercy to knights and nobles who request it, taking them as prisoners for ransom rather than killing them.
  9. You must show proper courtesy and respect to fellow Knights and nobles taken prisoner.
  10. You must defend those noncombatants who are under the protection of your Liege.
  11. You must show charity to those whom God has chosen to make poor.
  12. You must protect the honor of your courtly lover, if you have one.
  13. You must treat all virtuous women with appropriate courtesy.
  • If you are witnessed publicly transgressing any part of the Code of Chivalry, you must make a Charisma Save, or suffer the loss of your “Good Name” (see above).
  • You can lose your Good Name in this way even if you have broken the Code of Chivalry because of you are Devoted to Your Cause (see above).
  • The loss of your Good Name lasts until such time as you manage to publicly uphold the Code of Chivalry in a situation where it would be less dangerous to ignore it.

SUGGESTED ASSETS FOR CHIVALRIC KNIGHTS

Attractive to Fairy Folk, Beautiful / Handsome, Expert Equestrian, Good Manners, Good Singing Voice, Good Throwing Arm, Loved by Animals, Lucky at Love, Master Swordsman, Musical, Resistant to Alcohol, Resistant to Cold, Resistant to Disease, Skilled Dancer, Strong Will, Tracker, Well Spoken

SUGGESTED AFFLICTIONS FOR CHIVALRIC KNIGHTS

Aggressive, Bad Judge of Characters, Bad Liar, Badly Spoken, Disfigured, Dull, Easily Fooled, Emotional, Gullible, Lost Love, Naive, No Head For …(a common field of knowledge), Sensitive to Alcohol, Slow Learner, Traumatic Memory, Ugly, Unlucky at Love, Vulnerable to Magic

INITIAL ABILITY ADJUSTMENT FOR CHIVALRIC KNIGHTS

+1 Dexterity, +1 Strength

CHIVALRIC KNIGHT HIT POINTS PER LEVEL

  • d10 Hit Points at 1st Level.
  • You gain an additional d10 Hit Points per Level

CHIVALRIC KNIGHT DAMAGE BONUS BY CHARACTER LEVEL

  • 1st Level: +1
  • 2nd Level: +2
  • 3rd Level: +3
  • 4th Level: +4
  • 5th Level: +5
  • 6th Level: +6
  • 7th Level: +7
  • 8th Level: +8
  • 9th Level: +9
  • 10th Level: +10

TYPICAL STARTING EQUIPMENT FOR CHIVALRIC KNIGHTS

  • chain mail suit (mail hauberk, coif, and chausses, worn over a padded fabric gambeson). (Adds 3 points of Armor).
  • great helm (possibly decorated with a crest of boiled leather molded into shape). (Adds 1 point of Armor).
  • shield (painted with armorial bearing). (Adds 1 point of Armor).
  • surcoat (with heraldic design).
  • sword belt.
  • sword, with scabbard.
  • flanged mace.
  • dagger.
  • lance.
  • spurs.
  • colorful courtly outfit of shirt, tunic, belt, mantle, hose, hat, and slightly pointed leather shoes.
  • glove of your Courtly Lover, or a flower given to you by them.
  • pennant (if a Knight Bachelor) or personal war banner (if a Knight Banneret), mounted on a pole.
  • falcon or dog.
  • warhorse.
  • saddle, saddle blanket, bit & tack.
  • leather barding for warhorse. (Adds 2 point of Armor.)
  • caparison (cloth covering for horse, with armorial pattern).
  • 50’ of hemp rope.
  • small tent.
  • wool blanket.
  • 1 week’ worth of cured meat, dried bread, and spiced cake made with dried fruits.
  • wineskin.
  • small Psalter (book containing a selection of the Psalms).
  • purse with 100p.

Additionally, you may be accompanied by a Squire mounted on their own riding horse. The squire carries your pennant (or banner), shield, and most of your equipment.

ADVANCING IN LEVELS AS A CHIVALRIC KNIGHT

  • 10 Experience Points to attain 2nd Level.
  • 4 additional Experience Points are needed to attain each Level after 2nd.

VARIATION: THE ORDINARY KNIGHT

As an Ordinary Knight, you have only the Special Abilities of “Danger Bonus (+1)”, “Equestrianism”, and “Athletics (+1)”, but no actual Weaknesses. You are still legally bound by your oaths to your Liege, and are expected to be chivalrous, but will suffer no loss of Special Abilities if you break your oath, or act dishonorably.

  • Ordinary Knights require only 8 XP to reach 2nd Level.
  • Chivalric Knights who fail in devotion to their Cause, and do not uphold the “Code of Chivalry”, wind up as Ordinary Knights.

VARIATION: THE MILITANT KNIGHT

If you are a sworn to one of the religious Military Orders, such as the Knights Templar or Knights Hospitaller, the Weakness “Code of Chivalry” is replaced with the Weakness “Rule of the Order”.

  • Each of the Military Orders has their own “Rule”, which is a set of commandments and prohibitions similar to those that govern the lives of ordinary monks and nuns. Whichever Military Order you belong to, its Rule is always far more onerous and restrictive than the secular Code of Chivalry. If you publicly violate the Rule of the Order, you must Save versus Charisma or lose your “Good Name”.
  • You will automatically lose your Good Name if your Perversity rises above 12.
  • As a Militant Knight you do not display your own armorial bearings, only those of your Order.
  • Your Liege is not a secular Lord or Lady, but the Grand Master of your Order.
  • While all the historical Military Orders were restricted to men, there is no reason why – in game that where Dragons and Vampyres are real – that there couldn’t also be a secret Order of Militant Female Knights otherwise lost to history.

VARIATION: THE BLACK KNIGHT

A Black Knight is one who displays no heraldry on their shield or surcoat, and thus cannot be identified if their Great Helm is also on.

  • So long as a Black Knight stays anonymous, they temporarily lose the Special Ability “Good Name”, but can also violate the Code of Chivalry without risking their Good Name in the future.
  • A Black Knight can still increase in Perversity for their deeds – and thus potentially lose their Good Name permanently.
  • If anyone witnesses the Black Knight behaving unchivalrously, and thereafter positively identifies them, the Knight will lose their Good Name (and need to restore it in the usual manner).

Daredevil – A GROOVY Ghastly Affair Class

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The 1970s were the Golden Age of motorcycle and automotive stunts, when insane bike jumps would staged in sports arenas, and almost every exploitation movie that could afford it featured a car chase ending in an explosion. The Daredevil Class would be right at home along the Uncanny Highway, or as part of any action-centered GROOVY Ghastly Affair Saga. And a Daredevil is just the type to leap at the chance to sell their soul for fame and glory (while failing to read the fine print on the contract).

DAREDEVIL

Everyone says you have a death-wish. From an early age you climbed high fences, jumped from roofs, and literally played with fire. As you got older you learned to love the rumble of an engine at 100 miles an hour, and fell in love with the sight of explosions. It’s very likely that you won’t ever be old, but you don’t want to die asleep in a bed anyway. Your motto is: live fast, die young, and leave a once-beautiful corpse smeared across the highway! And if there’s an afterlife, you intend on busting out of Hell, and blazing down the road forever.

Maybe you’re a fairground performer who jumps motorcycles across shark-tanks, and rides the Wall of Death. Or perhaps you’re a movie stuntman– crashing cars, falling from cranes, and getting lit on fire. You might be a professional drag racer, demolition derby driver, or motocross champion. Or maybe you are just someone whose incredible luck is matched only by their need for thrills.

Use the Daredevil class to create characters inspired by such people as Evel Knievel, Bud Ekins. and William Carey Loftin; or by fictional characters such as Cameron (from “The Stunt Man”), Johnny Blaze (from the classic “Ghost Rider” comics), or Coy Buckman (from “Cannonball”).

DAREDEVIL SPECIAL ABILITIES

ABSORB IMPACT

If you are prepared, you can absorb the damage from punches, tumble away from falls, and brace yourself for crashes.

  • Whenever you have Initiative in a Fight against an ordinary unarmed opponent, you take no damage at all from their punches or kicks that Round. Note that this Ability does not function against actual Kung Fu Fighters, trained Boxers, or anyone else who can do Lethal Damage with their fists and/or feet.
  • If you see an adversary coming at you with a hard object such as a chair, you will take only 1 point of Lethal Damage (plus any Damage Bonus) from it the first Round, and only 1 point of damage (plus any Damage Bonus) on any Round when you have Initiative.
  • If you know a heavy object will drop on you eventually, you take the lowest possible damage when it eventually does. For example, a 25 lb weight falling from 20 feet normally inflicts 10d6 points of Lethal Damage. If you see it, and know that it is going to fall eventually, you will suffer only 10 points of Lethal Damage from it – if you fail your Dexterity Save to dodge it altogether.
  • If you know exactly where and when a fall will occur, you take the minimal amount of possible Lethal Damage from it. For example, if you deliberately jump from 30 feet without anything to break your fall, you take only 3 points of Lethal Damage. You must still Save to avoid the possible damage to your Dexterity and Speed, however.
  • If you deliberately fall down stairs (perhaps on a movie set), you take only 1 point of Lethal Damage per 10 feet fallen.
  • If you know that the vehicle you are in is going to crash, and you fail your Saving Throw, you still take only the minimal damage possible.
  • You have no special ability to resist bullets and sharp objects.

DRIVING or PILOTING (+1)

Choose whether your Daredevil is a skilled driver, or a skilled pilot.

  • According to your choice, you get a +1 Bonus on the Dexterity Check to control either motor vehicles or aircraft under challenging conditions, or to successfully pull off stunts (such as jumping across 12 parked cars, or doing a loop de loop).
  • The Presenter may impose Penalties, however, for particularly difficult maneuvers and stunts. Additionally, the Presenter may rule some stunts to be simply impossible.

LUCKY (+1)

You get a +1 Bonus on all Saving Throws – even when you have deliberately put yourself in harm’s way.

REPAIR AND MODIFY MACHINES (+1)

You can make a Dexterity Check (with a +1 Bonus) to repair a mechanical machine (including a motor vehicle), modify one to work better, or sabotage it to perform worse.

  • It is assumed you have access to proper tools and equipment.
  • A car or motorcycle modified to work better grants its driver a +1 Bonus on Dexterity Check to make difficult maneuvers or accomplish stunts. However, if you attempt to improve a motor vehicle and fail the Ability Check, any future driver instead suffers a -1 Penalty on Ability Checks to control the vehicle under challenging conditions.
  • A car or motorcycle modified to be safer grants its occupants a +1 Bonus on Saving Throws to avoid collision damage. However, if you attempt to make the vehicle safer and fail the check, occupants will instead suffers a -1 Penalty on their Saving Throws if the vehicle crashes.
  • If you deliberately sabotage a machine, you can choose to make it completely non-functional, slightly damaged (so drivers suffer a -1 Penalty on Ability Checks to control it), or fix it in such a way that it will suddenly break down after 1 Turn (10 minutes) of use.
  • You have no special ability to repair or modify electronic devices.

SEXY SCARS

Any time you might potentially suffer Charisma Damage from a Hazard (such as from a fire), you instead get Sexy Scars that add to your Charisma, point for point! Also, any other Ability Damage you take from a Hazard is always temporary, and heals at the normal rate.

  • For example, if you are stuck inside a burning car for one Round and fail the Saving Throw, instead of losing 1 point of Charisma, you actually gain 1 point! Also, the Dexterity and Constitution damage that would be permanent for other characters are for you only temporary.
  • You cannot deliberately fail the Saving Throw to intentionally get Sexy Scars.

DAREDEVIL WEAKNESSES

DEATH-WISH

You are in love with danger. Whenever you are faced with a situation that could be resolved easily without rolling dice, you must choose the potentially more dangerous way that will require an Ability Check or Contest. For example:

  • If your girlfriend is insulted by some guy in a bar, you must try to intimidate or punch him – rather than just walk away.
  • If you need to get inside a barn that could simply be opened, but you are behind the wheel of a pickup truck, you must drive right through the doors instead.
  • If you need to shut off a security camera and have a gun, you must try to shoot out the lens – rather than just walk over to the camera and cover it with a bandanna.
  • Every time you take the safe way out of a situation that you could potentially resolve in a more thrilling and dangerous manner, you suffer 1 point of temporary Charisma Damage.

HIGHWAY TO HELL

Whenever you suffer an increase in Perversity, the amount is double what it would be for another character.

  • For example, you and your fellow Player Characters break into a roadside bar and steal from the till. At the end of the Affair the Presenter rules that you must all make Charisma Checks to avoid Perversity increases. If your friends fail their Checks, their Perversity scores will only go up by 1 point each. However, if you fail the Check, your Perversity will increase by 2 points instead.

INITIAL ABILITY ADJUSTMENT FOR DAREDEVILS

  • +1 Dexterity, +1 Constitution

DAREDEVIL HIT POINTS PER LEVEL

  • d12 Hit Points at 1st Level.
  • You gain an additional d12 Hit Points per Level.

DAREDEVIL DAMAGE BONUS BY CHARACTER LEVEL

  • 1st Level: None
  • 2nd Level: +1
  • 3rd Level: +1
  • 4th Level: +2
  • 5th Level: +2
  • 6th Level: +3
  • 7th Level: +3
  • 8th Level: +4
  • 9th Level: +4
  • 10th Level: +5

TYPICAL STARTING EQUIPMENT FOR DAREDEVILS

  • racing jumpsuit (in your national colors).
  • racing helmet.
  • cowboy hat.
  • cowboy boots.
  • all-denim outfit.
  • broken wristwatch that you keep as a good-luck charm.
  • chain necklace with a cross, or religious medal.
  • pack of cigarettes.
  • flip-top metal cigarette lighter.
  • bottle of whiskey, scotch, vodka, or brandy.
  • six pack of beer.
  • caffeine pills.
  • photograph of your spouse or lover, folded up in your wallet.
  • .357 Magnum pistol (loaded) or big knife.
  • stick of dynamite.
  • racing motorcycle or muscle car (with nitrous oxide injection system).
  • set of mechanic’s tools.
  • radar detector.
  • trailer home.

ADVANCING IN LEVELS AS A DAREDEVIL

  • 8 Experience Points to attain 2nd Level.
  • 4 additional Experience Points are needed to attain each Level after 2nd.

(The Advancement rate for the Daredevil Class may seems somewhat speedy for the high power of its Special Abilities. But, remember that your Death-Wish means you are almost certainly going to either get yourself killed, or else lose your mind, before the end of any Saga!)

DAREDEVILS IN OTHER TIMES

The Daredevil Class also works for games set amid the Monster Truck Rallies of the Awful Eighties. Then, the Daredevil might be facing off against big machines driven by actual Monsters!

The Sleuth – A Ghastly Affair Class for Gothic Murder Mysteries in 1913

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This first draft of the Sleuth Class expands Ghastly Affair into the world of Edwardian Murder Mysteries. I’ve chosen 1913, the very eve of World War I, as the default year for Affairs in that time. This is the year after the sinking of the Titanic (the first early blow against faith in the Inevitable Progress of Industry), the year of the Armory Show that introduced Modern Art to the United States, the height of the Edwardian Spy-Fever in Great Britain, and the year when bobbed hair and plunging necklines were to starting be seen on ultra-fashionable women.

I have deliberately chosen not to give the Sleuth a simple “Investigate” Special Ability. The whole point of the Sleuth Class is to actually play out the process of investigating mysteries, rather than treat the process abstractly with a few Ability Checks.

SLEUTH

You could never resist a good mystery, and you’ve gotten quite good at solving them. You know there’s darkness in this world – most of all in the unlit corridors of the human heart. But you’ve never found a question – however bizarre – that doesn’t have a perfectly reasonable answer. At least, not yet.

Perhaps you are actually a police inspector. Or, you might be a globe-trotting gentleman of leisure looking to do something interesting with his education You could be a noble Lady bored with the same tiresome garden parties. You might even be engaged in counter-espionage on behalf of your government.

Use the Sleuth Class to create characters inspired by historical figures such as Frederick Abberline (chief investigator on the Jack the Ripper case), Rose Mackenberg (who investigated fraudulent mediums with Harry Houdini), and Chang Apana (the real-life inspiration for Charlie Chan); or by such fictional characters as Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, or C. August Dupin.

SLEUTH SPECIAL ABILITIES

DANGER BONUS (+1)

You get +1 Bonus on all Ability Checks and Saving Throws in times of Danger, such as Fights, Chases, and Escapes.

  • This Bonus is in addition to all others that may apply, including your Danger Bonus (see below). Yes, you are actually better at detecting clues when you are in Danger!

DETECT CLUE (+1)

Whenever you encounter a new person, place, or object, you can make an Intelligence Check (with a +1 Bonus). If you succeed you know whether not the thing encountered is (or contains) an important Clue to whatever mystery you are currently working on, and you can also discern (or remember) one non-obvious fact about the subject.

  • A Clue does not always lead directly to the solution of the current mystery, but may simply point to the next location, person, or situation where another Clue can be found.
  • Presenters should see the Ghastly Affair Presenter’s Manual for guidance about using Clues to help structure the Chapters in a Game Session.

DETECT LIES (+1)

You can make a Wisdom Check with a +1 Bonus to discern whether or not someone is telling the truth.

  • Note that this Special Ability does not reveal the truth, just if an informant is lying.

SNEAK (+1)

You get a +1 Bonus to the Dexterity Check when attempting to hide, or to move silently.

SOCIAL CONTACTS

You can rely upon a number of informants, experts, and allies equal to your Charisma score.

  • Half your total number of Social Contacts will be Police, at least one of which will be in a command position. Note that the relationship with your Police contacts may be sometimes be rocky (and they may even occasionally arrest you), but they will always be there when you really need them.
  • If you are engaged in counter-espionage on behalf of your government, then one of your Social Contacts is your “handler”.
  • Determine the Professions of your remaining Social Contacts randomly.
  • Your Social Contacts can be located anywhere you might feasibly have already traveled.

SLEUTH WEAKNESSES

CRIMINAL NEMESIS

There is always some criminal – of your own Level or higher – who is your especial enemy.

  • Your Nemesis will constantly try to harm or oppose you, cause trouble in your investigations, or even frame you for crimes they commit.
  • Work with your Presenter to determine an appropriate initial Nemesis. They might be such things as a rival Sleuth secretly operating a criminal empire, an aristocrat who is also an international jewel thief, a wily Spy determined to undermine the stability of your country, or even a murderous Vampyre who suspects you know the truth about them.
  • If you associate with other characters who also have Nemeses (such as Demon Hunters), all your Nemeses may occasionally team up against the group of you!
  • If you defeat your Criminal Nemesis, advance past their Level, or move beyond their reach, their place will be taken by a new Criminal Nemesis (chosen by the Presenter).

OBSESSED WITH MYSTERIES

Make a Wisdom Check (with a -1 Penalty) whenever you are confronted with an unsolved murder, an act of espionage, or the theft of a valuable object.

  • If you fail the Check, you must investigate the mystery as soon as possible, or lose 1 point of Charisma a day until you do.

SUGGESTED ASSETS FOR SLEUTHS

Aristocratic Skills, Boxer, Good Driver, Good Judge of Character, Expert Equestrian, Good-Looking, Good Manners, Good Shot, Good Reputation, Intimidating, Lucky at Love, Master of Disguise, Naturally Skeptical, Official Credentials, Patient, Resistant to Alcohol, Sharp Ears, Tracker, Underestimated, Well-Dressed, Well-Spoken, Witty.

SUGGESTED AFFLICTIONS FOR SLEUTHS

Addicted to… (choose drug), Allergic to… (something common), Asthmatic, Bad Reputation, Blind in One Eye, Chronic Disease (choose one), Disfigured, Elderly, Incompetent Equestrian, Lame, Lost Love, Missing Arm, Poorly-Dressed, Satyriasis / Nymphomania, Sleazy, Traumatic Memory.

INITIAL ABILITY ADJUSTMENT FOR SLEUTHS

  • +1 Intelligence, +1 Wisdom

SLEUTH HIT POINTS PER LEVEL

  • d6 Hit Points at 1st Level.
  • You gain an additional d6 Hit Points per Level

SLEUTH DAMAGE BONUS BY CHARACTER LEVEL

  • 1st Level: None
  • 2nd Level: +1
  • 3rd Level: +1
  • 4th Level: +2
  • 5th Level: +2
  • 6th Level: +3
  • 7th Level: +3
  • 8th Level: +4
  • 9th Level: +4
  • 10th Level: +5

TYPICAL STARTING EQUIPMENT FOR SLEUTHS

  • day suit (tailored jacket and pants, or jacket and skirt)
  • evening wear (tuxedo suit, or hobble skirt).
  • day hat.
  • evening hat.
  • walking stick, or parasol.
  • spats, or long evening gloves.
  • suitcase.
  • pocket watch or handbag.
  • codebook.
  • letter from a police officer asking your help in a difficult murder case.
  • invitation to a weekend garden party at a country manor.
  • unused ticket for a trip on a luxury ocean-liner, on a riverboat, or on the Orient Express.
  • Macassar Oil (black hair oil), or lipstick.
  • magnifying glass.
  • tweezers.
  • fingerprint kit (vial of powder, and soft brush).
  • handkerchief (large enough to wrap evidence in).
  • revolver (loaded).
  • motor buggy, or automobile.
  • pocket cash in the amount of 2 Pounds Sterling, or 10 American Dollars, or 40 German Marks, or 50 French Francs. (In 1913, Francs are legally accepted currency in most of Europe outside of Germany, Scandinavia, Portugal, and the United Kingdom.)

ADVANCING IN LEVELS AS A SLEUTH

  • 8 Experience Points to attain 2nd Level.
  • 4 additional Experience Points are needed to attain each Level after 2nd.

VARIATION: THE OCCULT DETECTIVE

To create a supernaturally-inclined Sleuth inspired by the likes of Thomas Carnacki, Jules de Grandin, or Simon Iff, substitute one of your Sleuth Special Abilities with one of the following from the list of Magician Special Abilities: Esoteric Knowledge, Use Incantation, Perform Ceremony, Create Talismans, or Employ Pact.

If you take Use Incantation, Perform Ceremony, Create Talismans, or Employ Pact as a Special Ability, you might also substitute one of your Sleuth Weaknesses with Magical Implement or Power Object (as per the Magician Class).

SLEUTHS IN OTHER TIMES

The Sleuth (and its Occult Detective variant) can also work well in the Groovy Era of the 1960s and 70s, and the subsequent Awful Eighties. This is the time period for characters inspired by the likes of John Shaft; Columbo; Nancy Drew; Mystery Incorporated (Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, and Velma); Carl Kolchak; and Harry D’Amour.

If you want to use the Sleuth in the Gothic Age of the Thirteenth Century, (inspired perhaps by Brother Cadfeal, or William of Baskerville from “In The Name of the Rose”), then instead of being Police, half your social contacts are priests, monks, and nuns – with one senior clergyman.


*Note: Information on currency exchange rates in 1913 is based on information from https://www.historicalstatistics.org/Currencyconverter.html