Archive for the ‘ RPG ’ Category

The Crayola Kid Needs Your Help

Jasper, son of Laryssa and John Payne, needs ear surgery to help improve his hearing. Even with the family’s insurance, the looming bill for the surgery weighs in at more than $4,000. Laryssa and John have set up a GoFundMe page, hoping that folks of good will will decide to help a young boy and his parents. I don’t know Jasper, Laryssa, or John, but do know the difficulties a family can face because of health problems. If you can help and want to help, please do so.

And, in the interest of gaming material, here’s my Marvel Heroic Roleplaying datafile inspired by Jasper (who is the artist of the starfish dragon, on which you can click to embiggen, featured in this post).

The Crayola Kid
aka Jasper

Solo d6, Buddy d8, Team d10

Big Imagination, Intrepid, Plucky Kid

Power Sets
Force of Imagination
Big Silver Badge d6, Box of Crayons d6, Toy Gun d6
* SFX – 64 Colors. Add a d6 and step up the effect die by +1 when the Crayola Kid uses his colors to create image-based assets.
* SFX – Bang! Add a d6 and step up the effect die by +1 when he inflicts an “I’ve Been Shot!” complication on a target.
* SFX – Focus. In a pool including a Force of Imagination die, replace two dice of equal size with one die +1 step larger
* SFX – In the Name of Law. Before an action including a Force of Imagination power, the Crayola Kid may move his current emotional stress die to the doom pool. He steps up the Force of Imagination power this action.
* SFX – Gear. Shutdown a Force of Imagination power and gain 1 PP. Take an action against the doom pool to recover.

Acrobatics Rookie d6

February 23rd, 2015  in RPG No Comments »

The Terror of Toys

So, I started reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s Roverandom last night. I’ve long maintained that all good children’s stories must have an element of fear, darkness, et cetera, in them. Tolkien obviously agreed. Rover, after being turned into a toy, complains that he wants to run and bark and play. Other toys chide Rover, telling him to be quiet because the more a toy gets played with, the quicker it wears out, breaks, gets discarded and so forth.

In other words, the very thing that a toy is made for is the thing which a toy dreads.

Excellently dark.

Of course, I could not help but think of the fantasy game implications of Tolkien’s tale. In short:

1. Toys are sentient, capable of communication, and are motile. We don’t know they’re sentient because we can’t hear them talk or see them move. Toys can’t move when they’re watched, and even when not watched most move very slowly, especially if they aren’t appropriately articulated. A block of wood carved into the shape of a horse can perhaps wobble a little bit and fall over, but that’s about it.

2. Toys don’t like being played with. They want to be left alone, kept in mint condition on display on a shelf out of reach of children’s fingers.

3. Toys fear death at the hands of children. They also fear being discarded or lost, which likely leaves them at the mercy of the elements, nibbling rodents, and so forth.

Thus, the life of a toy tends to be limited and full of dread. Toys are created by thoughtless craftsmen to endure torture and eventual destruction, all to amuse children who are oblivious to the terror they inflict.

Quite understandably, many toys become quite bitter, even hateful, especially of children. Rarely, one of these toys entreats whatever powers might listen for aid, and Cro† infrequently decides to intervene. In his mercy and his cruelty, he grants the toy magical powers, almost always including the ability cast Animate Object, but in such a way that it can affect dozens of toys at the same time. Individually, few of these animated toys pose much of a threat, but acting in concert against a terrified child alone in his playroom….

†Cro, the God of Truth, Chaos, and Opposites. Cro always speaks the truth. Cro always lies. Cro stands firm against what is evil. Cro revels in evil, his hands stained with innocent blood. Cro is all things, and all things are Cro.

February 4th, 2015  in RPG 1 Comment »

Fenestra of Baleful Ectypes

The dreaded Fenestra of Baleful Ectypes, a cursed magical mirror, hangs on a mildewed wall in Myrrha, a ruined villa once home to an exceedingly wicked senator named Woodruff. A man of perverse tastes, Woodruff’s reputation for cruelty has only grown since his death. His slaves were the most frequent targets of his vile appetites.

Of these slaves, the most famous is Cloe, who Woodruff forced Chloe into being his mistress after cutting off one of her ears. As revenge against Woodruff, Cloe baked a birthday cake containing extract of boiled and reduced oleander leaves, which are extremely poisonous. Her plan backfired.

Only Woodruff’s wife and two daughters ate the cake, and all died from the poison. Woodruff had Cloe hanged by her wrists from the vaulted ceiling in the front hall so that she could see her slow, torturous death in the mirror. Shortly after Cloe finally expired, Woodruff’s other slaves revolted and killed their cruel master before escaping into the hills around Myrrha. The Fenestra functions much like a crystal ball, allowing its user to see distant places and even times. Doing so is not without risk, for the mirror’s magic taps into Vioo, that barren, dark realm that exists on the other side of mirrors and mirror-like surfaces.

For Dungeon World:

When you use the Fenestra of Baleful Ectypes, roll+INT. *On a 10+, choose 3. *On a 7–9, choose 2.

* You see what is transpiring at the place you want to view.
* You see what is transpiring at the time you want to view.
* You do not take -1 forward the next time you use the mirror.
* You do not attract unwelcome attention.

For Swords & Wizardry:

The Fenestra of Baleful Ectypes functions much like a crystal ball. Its user may see what is transpiring in whatever location he desires to see, over a considerable distance and even through the veils of time. When a user taps into the scrying powers of the mirror, he must make a saving throw. Failure means the mirror’s magic ripples uncontrolled, and the user attracts the attention of one or more of Vioo’s wicked denizens. Certain spells and other precautions may be used to prevent being seen through the Fenestra. Usable by: Magic-Users.

December 26th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »


Few villains inspire as many lurid tales as Chernubles of Munigre, which is odd considering how little is known of him. Munigre cannot be found on any reliable map. Chernubles’s crimes are so many and varied as to be contradictory. Piecing together commonalities, we learn that Chernubles possessed the strength of four beasts of burden and that he never cut his hair. Consequently, his black hair reached the ground, sweeping it behind him as he walked.

Munigre’s descriptions seem even more improbable. This benighted realm is said to be a desert waste. There the Sun never shines, and no rain ever falls. No plants grow there. The rocks that litter Munigre’s barren terrain are all completely black. Given these details, and assuming their accuracy, many claim Chernubles was a devil rather than a man.

Numerous tales about Chernubles also speak of Grammimond, the villain’s magic sword. Several enchanted blades have been called Grammimond, but perhaps a black, gold, and silver scimitar has the strongest claim. None who have seen this Grammimond in action have reason to doubt its power. Most who have wielded this Grammimond have regretted their association with this sword.

When you attack with Grammimond in melee, roll+STR. *On a 10+, you deal your damage +1d6 to the enemy and avoid their attack. At your option, you may choose to do +1d8 damage but an ally is exposed to the enemy’s attack or has something unfortunate happen to them. *On a 7–9, you deal your damage +1d4 to the enemy, but choose 1.

* The enemy makes an attack against you.
* The enemy makes an attack against an ally.
* Something unfortunate happens to a nearby ally.

December 8th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

They Who Want In

The provenance of They Who Want In, a cursed painting depicting a slightly grotesque doll and an expressionless boy standing in front of a door composed largely of glass panes, has long been a mystery. Unconfirmed reports say an obscure artist named Gaspar Laurence painted the image. Laurence can neither confirm nor deny these reports as he died after a massive stroke while an inmate at the Binkley Asylum for the Criminally Insane in the late summer of 1963. The painting hung for a time in the swank apartments of actor Bradford Hughes. Hollywood legend has long claimed the painting inspired Rod Serling to create Night Gallery, which aired for four years on NBC. (“The Cemetary”, part of Night Gallery‘s pilot, featured a frightening painting that possesses characteristics attributed to They Who Want In.)

When Hughes committed suicide in 1976, the painting appears to have vanished. It was next reported in the possession of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Feldman, who claim to have found the painting in an antique shop while on vacation. They purchased the painting as a gift for Alice Feldman, their ten-year-old daughter. Little needs to be said about the horrific murder-suicide at the hands of Mr. Feldman followed by the arson that destroyed most of the Feldman home but somehow left the painting intact. The case is quite famous, and it has been thoroughly documented by no fewer than three authors.

Resourceful investigators may discover that Gaspar Laurence was born Gaspar Peruggio. He emigrated to the United States from Florence, Italy, shortly after World War II, changing his name in order to break from his past as a Nazi collaborator and dealer in stolen art and artifacts. He was also an avid occultist who had extensively studied several tomes related to the Mythos. In one of these tomes, Laurence learned dark secrets that enabled him to paint portals leading to and from realms of madness and despair. They Who Want In is one such painting.

At night, the painting draws on the psychic energies of those in its proximity. It stores some of this energy, and uses the remainder to create potentially terrifying effects. Anyone who spends more than an hour near the painting must make a POW versus POW struggle. The painting has 18 POW. If the victim fails this struggle, he loses 1 point of POW, which the painting converts to a Magic Point, and the victim must then make a SAN roll. SAN loss from this effect equals 0/1d4.

When the painting has accumulated 3 Magic Points, its deadlier effects begin to manifest. Those in proximity to the risk POW loss every 2d6 hours. The painting also spends Magic Points, always at night. The painting’s powers and their Magic Point cost are summarized below.

1 Magic Point: Cause a figure in the painting to move. Anyone viewing this risks 1/1d4 points of SAN.

2 Magic Points: Cause several figures in the painting to move and make noise. Anyone experience this risks 1/1d6 SAN.

3 Magic Points: Cause either the doll or the boy to leave the painting and assume corporeal form. Anyone encountering either creature risks 0/1d4 SAN, unless they know the creature’s origin, in which case they risk 1/1d6 SAN. Treat either creature as a ghoul. If killed, the figure reappears in the painting.

3 Magic Points: Become immune to fire and slashing damage until the sun rises.

5 Magic Points: Teleport itself to a different location. Stories say that at least once the painting has used this power to return to torment its owner after the owner had tossed the painting in a river.

December 3rd, 2014  in RPG No Comments »