A Hero Is Born

Recent work on The Four Color Hack has slowed due to life (work, illness, et cetera) combined with Peter C. Spahn’s distracting WWII: Operation WhiteBox. Today, I refer you to an earlier TFCH post, specifically one that describes Diesel, a sample hero.

At this link right here, you can find a PDF excerpt of the hero creation rules. Major influences on hero creation include Atomic Sock Monkey’s Truth & Justice, DC Heroes by Mayfair Games, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying from Margaret Weis Productions, and Risus: The Anything RPG by S. John Ross. There are some other influences in there as well, such as (obviously) The Black Hack.

Enjoy!

December 6th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

A Pair of Allies

Have I mentioned recently how much I like Peter C. Spahn’s WWII: Operation WhiteBox? Also, here are some friendly NPCs who might help your commandos

American Ace

Armor Class: 7 [12] (Dex and combat training)
Hit Dice: 3
Total Hit Bonus: +3
Attacks: Weapon or fist
Saving Throw: 16
Special: Ace pilot
Movement: 12
HDE/XP: 3/60

Perry Webb, the American Ace, is one of many costumed operatives active during World War II who were recruited into the United States military. Perry is a skilled mining engineer and an exceptional pilot. He brags that he can fly anything with wings, and there is little cause to doubt this boast. Perry gains a +1 bonus to-hit with aircraft weaponry, and any aircraft he pilots gains a +1 to Armor Class. When he makes a strafing run, there is a 2 in 6 chance (4 in 6 for vehicles) that any character caught in the path of fire is struck by 0-3 rounds.

Ka-Zar the Great

Armor Class: 5 [14] (superhuman agility)
Hit Dice: 5
Total Hit Bonus: +8
Attacks: Weapon (+3 damage)
Saving Throw: 16
Special: Speak with animals, superhuman strength and agility
Movement: 15
HDE/XP: 6/400

David Rand is the son of British parents, John and Constance Rand, born to them in 1918 in South Africa. When he was a three-year-old, his family went a trip from Johannesburg to Cairo to visit David’s grandfather; however, they crash landed in the Belgian Congo. As John fruitlessly attempted to flag planes, David developed a bond to many of the jungle’s native animals, befriending some of them, such as Zar the Lion, who watched over this family after David rescued the lion from quicksand. Soon after, his mother died of jungle fever and was laid to rest. David grew up into adolescence with his father, learning how to survive in the jungle, as well as how to read and write. David’s life changed forever the day that Paul de Kraft, a jewel hunter, entered the region searching for jewels along the river. Paul murdered John Rand, and would have done the same to David if it had not been for the intervention of Zar, who slew two of de Kraft’s minions. De Kraft escaped. Orphaned, David was adopted as Zar’s pride and rechristened Ka-Zar.

Ka-Zar is a staunch enemy of the Nazi regime. When he learned that Nazi forces were landing in Italian-controlled Ethiopia, he led an army of animals and destroyed a Nazi airport, ruining the plot to bomb British settlements in Egypt. He and his animal army next attacked a train controlled by the Italian Fascists. Finding an Italian military camp outside of Kenya, Ka-Zar learned that they plotted to attack a British outpost. With the aid of his animal army, Ka-Zar flooded the camp by destroying a dam.

Due to ingesting a magic potion, Ka-Zar has superhuman strength and agility, which explains his AC and to hit bonus. Ka-Zar can lift about fives times his body weight.

December 4th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Nazi Super-Soldiers

And now, more gonzo ideas for WWII: Operation WhiteBox by Pete C. Spahn.

Brainiape

Armor Class: 5 [14] (heavy hide and Dex)
Hit Dice: 6
Total Hit Bonus: +6
Attacks: Weapon or fist
Saving Throw: 13
Special: Telekinesis (120 lbs), telepathy (60 ft.)
Movement: 12
HDE/XP: 7/600

Today, it is almost universally believed that Adolf Hitler commited suicide in May 1945, but this is only part of the truth. Alerted by the gunshots, Nazi doctors managed to get to Hitler’s body before he died. They placed him in a state of suspended animation using Nazi superscience while they moved him in secret away from Berlin to special labs in Tanganyika, which had been part of Deutsch-Ostafrika until the early 1920s. There Nazi superscientists removed Hitler’s brain to repair the damage done by the bullet. Unfortunately, organ failure in Hitler’s body made returning the brain to its original place problematic, and so the superscientists transplanted Hitler’s brain into the body of a fierce mountain gorilla. Years of physical therapy and further surgeries followed as Hitler’s brain grew stronger and gradually adapted to its new home.

By the mid 1950s, Adolf Hitler was ready to resume his role as Führer. What’s more, work on the time machine had been completed. Adolf Hitler entered the chrono-capsule and was displaced back to early 1941. Hitler’s goal was to convince his earlier self to put off invading the U.S.S.R. until after Great Britain had fallen. Unforeseen complications with the time travel matrix, however, damaged Hitler’s memory. Now known as Brainiape, Hitler has forgotten who he is and his mission to avert his eventual suicide, although his dreams are haunted by strange images like memories that lead Brainiape to believe that he and Hitler share some fateful future. Brainiape serves the Nazis as an agent of terror.

Armless Tiger Man

Armor Class: 6 [13] (martial arts training and Dex)
Hit Dice: 3
Total Hit Bonus: +3
Attacks: Bite or kick
Saving Throw: 16
Special: Demolitions, prehensile toes
Movement: 15
HDE/XP: 4/120

Eric Hertz worked in a mechanical laboratory in Munich, Germany. One day his arms were caught in a machine and were amputated. Surviving the experience and given reading material on how to operate day-to-day using his mouth and feet, Hertz developed a hatred of all machines and began honing his skills and working himself to his peak physical level.

Recruited by the Nazis, Hertz’s teeth were filed into steel-hard fangs via surgery and special treatments with radioactive calcium. His feet were surgically modified to become exceptionally agile. As a result, Hertz’s toes almost have the same dexterity as human hands. He was extensively training in unarmed combat, and his feet and fangs are deadly weapons. As Armless Tiger Man, Hertz is an assassin, cannibal, and saboteur.

December 3rd, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Nazi Superscience!

If you still haven’t purchased your copy of WWII: Operation WhiteBox by Pete C. Spahn, you need to hurry up. Seriously. Do you want the Axis to win? I think not!

Since I’m not a big fan of historical accuracy in games, even games based on history, I think the niftiest parts of OWB are the mini-settings. Why fight normal Nazis when you can match wits and trade bullets with Nazi cyborgs, occultists, and space aliens. When you purchase your copy of OWB, don’t read through the book in the order its words are written. Skip ahead to the mini-setting section and gape in astonished awe at Nazi superscience, Nazi occult, and Nazis in space.

Speaking of Nazi superscience…

Nazi War Wheel

Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Points: 66 (HD 11)
Movement: 12
Attack: Flamethrower (x2), Heavy Tank Gun (x6)
Modifications: Communications, Firing Ports (x4), Reinforced Hull (x3)

The War Wheel was invented by Professor Merson, who defected to the Nazis, although it was widely believed he was abducted. The War Wheel went into action in May 1940. Its interior compartments remain level due to highly advanced gyroscopes.

Brain Drain

Armor Class: 4 [15] (advanced materials and Dex)
Hit Dice: 4
Total Hit Bonus: +4
Attacks: Weapon or robot fist
Saving Throw: 15
Special: Mind control
Movement: 12
HDE/XP: 5/240

Brain Drain’s real name is Werner Schmidt. He is a Nazi scientist who was injured during the crash of an alien vessel. Unable to save his body, Nazi doctors transplanted Schmidt’s brain into a advanced robotic body based in part on alien technology. Free from the limitations of a human body, Schmidt developed the ability to telepathically control minds.

December 2nd, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Drats! I’m Late Again!

Another excerpt from my draft one document for The Four Color, this time talking about the inclusion of hero-focused subplots.

Subplots

A Subplot is a story within a story. It occurs during an Issue, but a Subplot is not the main focus that the Issue. Subplots give the Writers and Editor a chance to explore the more mundane facets of a hero’s life. The use of Subplots puts the Writer in the driver’s seat for determining the elements of his hero’s Subplot.

The Writer’s Outline

Preparing a Subplot to present to the Editor requires answering a few questions.

What Is the Conflict? Subplots must have some sort of conflict, but those conflicts seldom involve actual combat. Instead, the conflicts tend to be personal or interpersonal. Diesel missed his last date with Irene because he was saving a busload of children, and Irene is displeased with being stood up yet again. Diesel has promised her that he’ll make it up to her. What sort of comedy of errors might ensue?

What Introduces the Conflict? Your hero becomes aware of the Subplot somehow. Does Diesel bring Irene flowers as an apology only to be roundly rebuked?

Who Else Is Involved? Are any other heroes part of the Subplot? If so, what do those heroes (and their Writers) know about the Subplot before it begins? Also, what non-hero characters are involved, and what roles do those non-hero characters play? Keep in mind that while a Subplot does shift the focus to a specific hero, it’s generally bad form to leave the other players sitting around with nothing to do for too long. More on this below under The Editor’s Outline.

How Might the Conflict Resolve? It helps to give the Editor an idea or three about expected possible outcomes for a Subplot. A Subplot with only one possible outcome is possible, of course, but a degree of uncertainty can increase dramatic tension and make for a more satisfying resolution.

The Editor’s Outline

Once the Editor has received a Subplot outline from a Writer, the Editor must review the proposed Subplot, keeping in mind questions such as these:

How Does the Subplot Fit? Perhaps the most important consideration for the Editor is how easily the Subplot can fit into the current Issue. Diesel trying to keep that important date with Irene might be a great idea for a Subplot, but if Diesel is currently trapped in the Dimension of Rage, it could be really difficult justifying shifting focus a bit toward his dating problems. If the Subplot does fit the current Issue, develop some idea about how the Subplot will interrupt or mesh with the main action of the story.

Will the Subplot Be Fun? The second most important question relates to fun, and that includes fun for everyone at the table, not just the Writer of the Subplot. As mentioned above, it’s bad form to expect the other Writers to be passive spectators to someone else’s fun. For example, years ago, I GMed a short-lived superhero campaign. One of the heroes was a surly, rebellious teenage girl with fabulous powers who skipped school and snuck out of the house to fight crime. We started one session with a Subplot about her parents staging an intervention. The other players took on the roles of the girl’s concerned parents, her pastor, and a professional psychologist. For about ten minutes, we played out our own episode of Dr. Phil, and fun was had by all.

Who Else Might Be Involved? The Writer should have already given the Editor some idea of which heroes and non-heroes might appear in the Subplot. Did the Writer forget anyone? Is there someone who ought to make an appearance that the Writer probably didn’t even consider? If so, add them.

What Do I Have to Prepare? Consider how much prep work needs to be done before the Subplot can be used in the current Issue. Plan accordingly.

December 2nd, 2016  in Product Development No Comments »