It’s the last week of the Night Shift Kickstarter and yes I’m only a backer and yes I’m still ranting about it. But this one has got me excited and, heck, it’s my blog sooooo.
I’ve already did a little overview then some NPC’s and a whole rant about the genre. This time I want to a deeper dive into the Quick Start and the Kickstarter. Let me say this first. This is based on the Quick Start and things I’ve seen, bit of speculation, and a whole lot of opinion. If anything is inaccurate then just post in the comments.
Most of the mechanics are familiar if you’re used to old school games. Heck even newer editions the base mechanics are familiar. Six stats, classes, AC, HP, and so on. It does use descending AC but in a way that makes it understandable to those who aren’t used to it. There aren’t Saving Throws per se but instead you just Attribute checks. In that way you see some of the DNA of both Castles & Crusades and dare I say it 5E. Now one of the really old school things is the skill system.
Like old D&D, the skills are all percentile based. You know like the old Thief class. While I understand the design philosophy of keeping with some of the old ways, I’ve always preferred a skill system that is more unified with the other mechanics of the game. But this is really a no brainer when it comes to tweaking. Just take those percentages and divide by 5. Take that as a modifier, roll a d20 and get better than 20. No problem. This was even mentioned on the chat held by the designers. Of course, somebody will say that you have to do it as written. Sigh. Doesn’t affect the math of the game. It’s a personal preference of mine. And speaking skills. Spell casting is a skill too. That’s one thing I really like over the Vancian system that we’re so used to. Now one thing that’s bug me in old games is that there thing that every character is going to try but is some other class’s skill. Most notable is sneaking around. For those situations, Night Shift uses the Rule of Two. Basically, 2 in 6 chance to get away with it.
So what about classes? Well, the easiest three are the Veteran, the Survivor and the Spell Caster. If you want very rough equivalents to your standard fantasy classes then you’ve got Fighter, Thief, and Magic-User respectively. Then there’s the Sage. I dunno but it put that almost in the Bard type wheel house for equivalent. They are the font of knowledge and all that. Then there’s the Psychic/Medium class that good with spirits and for the life of me I can remember what it’s called but that’s not in the Quick Start. So this one really doesn’t have any similar type class. Then there’s the Chosen One. You know what mean. One in every generation. The one foretold in prophecy and so on. Based on what I’m seeing in the Quickstart, it looks like the design has some bits from both the Monk and the Paladin. Now this is my guess but it works for the genre. Of course, there’s got to be races right? Yeah there are but you won’t a super human supernatural. From what I’ve read, the character basically starts with an XP deficit to earn those extra abilities. There is a stretch goal for a totally point buy system.
So what about weapons? This goes all the way back to White Box. Everything does a d6. I know some one will it’s not realistic. Two things. First, it still is a fantasy game. Second, it makes the character more important than the gear. It gets really bad in modern games when there is an alleged gun expert at the table who argues over every mechanic. Sigh. But then who says you have to do modern. With little or no work, a GM could do a campaign probably any where from Ancient Rome to the Near Future. And even a wider range is they want to do a little more tweaking.
Now, I know a lot of this stuff has been said before and I even posted some of this in my first rant about the project. So please just take a look over on Kickstarter and give it chance.
And really folks. I can’t wait to get the full game write up those two guys. Thanks for stopping by.
I did say that I’d do something gameable next for my crazy rants on the Night Shift Kickstarter. So here you go. But let me give you a little background first.
My personal urban fantasy setting is New Bay City. You can read a bunch more about it here. The recent work on it is for Dark Streets & Darker Secrets but along came Night Shift so I’m considering that system too. It all depends on when I get to run it again which will probably be after I run Frog God Games The Blight. In a nutshell, New Bay City is a fictional town in east Texas on the Gulf. It’s part Houston, part New Orleans, a little bit of San Francisco, and a whole bunch of Sunnydale.
At first I was going to do these two characters as PC’s but I just don’t feel confident that I can do it well based on what I know about all of the mechanics of the game. So heck. They’re NPC’s. So make them NPC’s. And that’s one of the many cool things about old school games. NPC’s and monsters don’t have to follow the same rules as player characters. So without further ado, here’s Jennifer and Whisper.
Jennifer the Sound Girl (Fledgling Vampire)
Jennifer has an interesting back story dating back to the first I ran New Bay City. It was the very first adventure where the PC’s where tagging along with the crew of a documentary about a famous serial killer. They end up facing off against said magically empowered serial killer. Jennifer was a no name NPC, just the Sound Girl. She was supposed to be just another slasher victim. But no. She was the only NPC to survive. She became sort of the party mascot for the first run of the campaign. Unfortunately at the end of that campaign, she was kidnapped and forcibly turned into a vampire. During the second run of the campaign, she turned into a key provider of information to the player character about the local vampire factions and the party scene and since it was mostly the same group of players. They were glad to see her back.
Jennifer was never trained in the use of her vampire powers so she isn’t fully aware of what she can do. While she hates her current existence, she’s compensated by adopting the party all night, sleep all day life style. What else is a vampire going to do? She does her best to keep a low profile and doesn’t to get involved in of the machinations going on between the supernatural factions in the city. She really just wants to get on with her life and be as “normal” as possible.
Hit Dice: 4
Special: 2 attacks (claws, bite), when Jennifer attempts any of the “standard” vampire powers (expect blood drain type power) use the Rule of 2 for her chance of success.
Whisper the Hot-Tempered Sorceress
Whisper comes from the second time that I ran New Bay City. We were using the Dresden Files RPG and one the players wanted his character to have girlfriend. Cool, so what do you want? I dunno but make her interesting. So here’s what we ended up with.
Whisper is a street-smart spellcaster who puts on an air of being cool and tough but she’s really a closet nerd. She’s one of the regulars and the Four Horsemens D&D Game. (Note: Not those Horsemen. This is four buys that were inspired by the Lone Gunmen from the X-Flies.) Whisper’s biggest problems are that she can be insanely jealous and she has a really bad temper. Her bad temper even influences her magic and she’s gain a reputation that she may be a powerful spell caster, she has very poor control of her magic and is known for causing more than her fair share of collateral damage.
Hit Dice: 5
Special: Attack: by weapon or Firebolt! (ranged attack) (2 in 6 chance of starting something else on fire if she hits; 4 in 6 if she misses). Spells(Spell Casting: 75%)*: 1st Level: Read Languages, Light, Protection from Evil, Detect Magic; 2nd Level: Hold Person, Phantasmal Force; 3rd Level: Monster Summoning
*Note: I used Swords & Wizardry as my source for spells for her. So I’m not sure if the quantity of spells match up with Night Shift.
I don’t often shill Kickstarters. Usually, my various feeds are filled with them but then one comes along that gets me excited and I don’t hear that much about it. So well. I’ll just do my own little rant here. Now, the financial stake I have in this is that I’m a backer. Yes, I’ve chipped in my hard earned dollars and no one has asked me to do this. Now on with the show.
Yes, I’m talking about the Night Shift Kickstarter again. So let me give the low down as I see it.
First, it runs on old school mechanics. The best parts even like the no strict rules for every darned thing and the flexibility and familiarity we all know and love. My opinion on this is driven by the Quick Start rules on the Kickstarter and the actual play report over on the Cross Planes blog. Go read it for yourself. And there’s more previews coming out at co-author Tim Branna’s The Other Side Blog.
So mechanics aside, why am I excited? Well, I like adventurous urban fantasy (not the emo whiny goth stuff). The mixture of the mundane and magical is just en extension of another genre that I happen to like and that’s pulp. Just mull that over. Over the top action. Better than normal characters. And substitute 1930’s techno-babble with magic and pretty much good to go. And if it’s not your thing then cool.
Now I’ve had my go around with lot’s of different systems. From the ancient Night Life RPG, to the World of Darkness and I even looked and still own that d20 train wreck that was Monte Cook’s World of Darkness or as I called it McWoD. I’ve scribbled down some notes to try using Savage Worlds. While I’ve got both the Buffy and Angel RPG’s, I haven’t played them yet. And, of course, my last go around with the genre was Evil Hat’s Dresden Files RPG.
Now to present day, I’m still on the look out for a good old school take on urban fantasy. I’ve grabbed up Dark Streets & Darker Secrets Heck, I even wrote a little supplement for it. While it scratches my old school itch, there can always be more. Just like I can like and support Swords & Wizardry, Old School Essentials, Basic Fantasy, and Dungeon Crawl Classics. I can like more than one game of the same style and genre. One of my points is that I can take some little bit from one game and throw it into another. Which is something I do all the time.
So with that rant. Go ahead. Check out the Kickstarter, the Quick Start Rules, and the blog posts of others.
OK. Yeah I mentioned this briefly on the podcast but I figured what the heck. How about another little shout out. Because yes I do have a soft for Urban Fantasy. And this one has me excited. Yeah another one.
Let me give you a little run down on the system. It’s old-school inspired. It’s uses descending AC but not in the way you’re probably thinking. Attack roll are d20+Ability Mod+Attack Bonus+AC. Yes plus AC. So low AC is better. You need a 20 to hit. Pretty simple for the new folks to understand that whole descending AC thing. Skills. Yep got those. IHMO, you really need those for modern settings. But just like the old school Thief, they are percentile based. Weapon damage. Oh that’s a d6. So very White Box. Oh yeah and class and levels.
So what about setting? It looks to be pretty generic urban fantasy/monster hunters. A good thing they are doing is spelling out options for how gritty or cinematic you want the play to be.
I don’t have any insider info but hey, they did release a very simple and preliminary quick start. So what are still doing here? Go check out the Kickstarter.
Well, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Old Skull Publishing’s games. I’m working on a couple of things for Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells and Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. Well, the newest game Dark Streets & Darker Secrets is running on Kickstarter with three days left. It’s a quick Kickstarter with a planned quick fulfillment. That’s because the text is already done. So check it out and back it if you want.
I ranted during the most recent episode about “The Next Campaign”. Well, this week I’ve some more time to think and go down a couple of Internet wormholes and digging through depths of the hard drive and then dark places of “The Closet” to find all my own notes for New Bay City. New Bay City is my own urban fantasy setting. It’s a fictional city on the Texas Gulf Coast that’s sort of a combination of Houston, New Orleans and Sunnydale. I’ve done two full blown campaigns there. One with World of Darkness and then with the Dresden Files RPG. I also did a couple of one shots. A rather ill fated attempt to use the Hero System and another Savage Worlds using some reskinned East Texas University stuff. So yeah. I know the place and it evolves to match whatever game system that I happen to use.
So it’s time to start reskinning and doing some little rules tweaks. So stay tuned for that. Possibly some new Archetypes. Maybe? A few other little things. Right now they’re bouncing around inside my head. Those posts are coming as the ideas come together. But right now. Check out the Kickstarter. I mean damn you even to read the rules before you back it. How cool is that?
Yes, that’s a click bait style headline. But it’s that time. This is a sort of what’s up and what’s next. And I’m not sure what’s next but I’ve got some ideas. Too many but here’s the main ones. But if you are weary of reading, just hop over and listen to basically the same rant on Playing It Wrong.
Zweihander: You can swing stick without hearing about this one. I many do something standard or maybe kit bash into a Bronze Age Grim & Perilous style game.
Runequest: Well, see above but with Ducks.
Maybe 5E: Who knows? Saltmarsh is coming out. Maybe WOTC won’t screw it up. Or maybe go way off track and do some odd mashup of Spelljammer and Planescape.
Old School never leaves my mind. DCC Lankhmar should be in my hands sometime. But then so should Tegel Manor. I made a little comment on MeWe about an idea of kitbashing Tegel Manor, The Blight, and Midderlands. That could be interesting.
The Great Savage Worlds Pirates Vs Cthulhu game. I think that title says it all. But then thinking about it….see Zweihander.
And then there’s the Return to New Bay City, my urban fantasy setting. I’ve ran it with World of Darkness then Dresden Files RPG (FATE). But I want to do with something else. I’ve thought about Savage Worlds but Old Skull Publishing just had to do a Kickstarter for Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. So that’s bouncing around inside my head. I’ve already backed and so should you. I’ve seen the previously publicly released text and it looks great. If you like Sharp Swords and Sinister Sorcery then yep back it. If you’ve seen the recently Indiegogo fulfillment and publication of Solar Blades & Cosmic spells then go for it. The system for Dark Streets is much closer to Solar Blades. These are good games. Simple and efficient rules. Easy to tweak to your liking. Have a just an awesome feel and vibe about them. Really, check any of those out and check the Kickstarter.
So there you go.
When I originally started this blog, the idea was to do just content and put all the rants and every else on the other (now dead) blog. But since I’ve moved domains and consolidated, I figure what the heck. So the plan it to add in a weekly rant about whatever I happen to feel like ranting about. Don’t worry folks, I won’t completely loose my mind. So up first, there’s some folks that deserve your lunch money (in no particular order).
Maximum Mayhem Dungeons: Palace of the Dragon Princess: I’ve backed Dark Wizard’s other Kickstarters before. Yeah, I know I did miss a couple but each one has been cool and just right amount of crazy (sometimes bordering on gonzo). Now, $10 for a PDF may seem a little steep but their adventures have had a cool OSR vibe and their monster book, Monsters of Mayhem, is pretty darned awesome. Note to self, get a hard copy of this sometime.
Next up: There’s Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. So if you’ve been to this old blog in the past, you know I like crazy stuff, I fell in love with this game’s predecessor, Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells. This going to be a fun and simple game. I’m so ready to go all crazy on it. For $15, you get the PDF and an “at cost” coupon for the soft cover.
And finally there’s Uncle Matt’s D&D Studio’s Patreon. Once again this is something that quickly ranted about before and it’s well worth ranting about again. First, Matt Finch is pretty darned cool guy. While I’ve only a few interactions with him online, each has been calm, cool, professional, entertaining, and educational. Yes, that sounds like I’m a gushing fanboy but there’s a couple things I may disagree on but that’s neither here nor there and not really worth going into or even worrying about. It’s nothing he did so don’t try to dig up dirt. It’s all me. Plus I would if there was one book that started my path to the OSR, I’d have to say that it’s Swords & Wizardry Core. After watching a few of the interviews and actual play episodes (Hey there’s OSR and 5E in the same world), I was hooked. It was enough for finally make a Patreon account.
Here’s the link to the Youtube Channel in case you want to see for yourself.
There go. Three folks who deserve your lunch money.