Tag Archives: Urban Fantasy

Night Shift: Jennifer the Sound Girl and Whisper

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.
AC: 6
Move: 30ft.
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.
AC: 7
Move: 30ft.
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.

There you go a couple of NPC’s for Night Shift with my own take on it. And please check out the Night Shift Kickstarter.

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Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural War


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.

An Episode About Nothing

This is fun filled episode. I know the title says nothing but it’s got a lot of little bits. See below for links and highlights.
You can listen to the episode here on Anchor.fm or subscribe on your favorite service.
Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Kickstarter.

The Egyptian Situation From Outer Time

And I grabbed up even more dice because you can never have too many dice. Just need a bigger dice bag.

Oh yeah and then there’s Feast of Legends.

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Black Magic & Haywire

So even more rants on New Bay City and Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. This week I want talk about Black Magic and Haywire. Both of these are standard tropes. How many times have read/heard something like vile arcane rituals? How about the characters are running away from the monster and the car doesn’t start? Both of those are examples. It’s not secret that I’m a fan of the Dresden Files and both of these things figure prominently in the books.
Now, Black Magic doesn’t need too much of tweak. There’s already plenty of Gifts that cause automatic Corruption or Sanity loss. However, (just based on my own interpretation) a few more should have that caveat. Namely, Cannibalize and Transfer Life. Of course, there may be more but that should be based on the Concept being used for the Character and for the Gift.
Now on to Haywire. Yes, this plays big into the Dresden Files. I also remember from Pacesetter Games’ Creature Feature. So I’m approaching this two ways. First, Gifted Characters that don’t have the Haywire Gift. It’s just a form backlash. Screw up a spell and trash everybody’s cell phone, laptop. or whatever high tech device happens to be around. And there’s the actual gift.
Haywire
This gift disrupts the use of high tech devices within medium range for PL turns. Maybe resisted with a successful Luck check.

Pretty simple actually and I’ve got a few more random thoughts to throw out there. So this campaign might be postponed a bit. We do an alternating GM thing in our group. One GM one week, then the other the next. It works and helps reduce GM burnout. But one thing we do is avoid very similar campaigns. That’s so the players don’t get confused about what’s going on and keeps the games and genres fresh. So he’s wanting to run Scion. And folks are pretty excited about it. So this may get postponed a bit. But that doesn’t mean my ideas will. So stay tuned for more. And it just may mean I start blogging about my brainstorming for another campaign.

New Bay City: Factions

I continue to work on my campaign for Dark Streets & Darker Secrets. One thing I want to talk about now is overall world setting and factions.
The biggest difference (IHMO) in this setting is that there aren’t any huge international conspiracies or group. Most of the supernatural factions hold or at least vie for power on a much more local level. But that doesn’t mean that such large organizations don’t exist. But generally the more territory a group tries to cover, the thinner their power is spread. So let’s talk about the big groups first in this post.

1. The Inquisition*: Yes, the Vatican knows about the supernatural and tries to keep things in check. With that being said, The Inquisition may be far reaching internationally, it’s also one of the smallest group. The group is intentionally kept small. It’s easier to maintain secrecy and security that way. While they get some legal leeway thanks to the Church, they don’t get that much. And generally to maintain some plausible deniability, members of the Inquisition are usually “excommunicated” or “defrocked”. The modern Inquisition isn’t a crazed fanatical organization. They are more about protecting the innocents than just hunting monsters because they are monsters. They know they are outnumbered. Inspiration: John Carpenter’s Vampires, Bloody Mallory.

2. The Wardens: Yes, I took the name from the Dresden Files. This is a loose network of civilian monster hunters. They generally work alone or in small teams. There is no real organization or hierarchy. Wardens are up to their own devices as far as financing their own operations. Compared to the Inquisition, the Wardens have a much deeper connection with the Supernatural world having contacts and informants to keep tabs on the happenings in the shadows. Because of this many Wardens also end up acting as diplomats or at least neutral parties between the local factions. If a Warden takes up permanent residence in a large city, they make it their territory acting as sort of sheriff, judge, jury, execution, and as said before diplomat. Inspirations: Grimm, Buffy, Supernatural, Lost Boys (The Frog Brothers).

3. The Network: Law enforcement isn’t totally ignorant of the Supernatural but they really can’t say or do anything officially. That doesn’t keep various law enforcement officials from various jurisdictions from sharing information and offering insight into what might be going on. The few members of the Network probably know the least, they do their best to keep too much mundane crimes with supernatural connections under control. Inspiration: Twin Peaks, True Detective, X-Files

And yes, there some specific local factions in New Bay City but that’s for the next post.

*It’s a fictional world, ok? It doesn’t reflect the real world.

New Bay City: A Partial Appendix V

Just what the hell is Appendix V? Well, us old grognards know Appendix N from the original DMG. Well, Appendix V is sort of like a list of inspirations but in this case the V stands for Video. So sit back and grab a gander at some of the video inspirations for New Bay City. I won’t go into each and every one but try to hit some of the possibly lesser know or at least one’s I like a lot.
I’d say the biggest influence is The Dresden Files. Unfortunately, the short lived series wasn’t that great. The fans did make a decent trailer.

But then fans also made some pretty shorts too.

And there’s the possibility of a reboot and Jim Butcher has confirmed it on reddit.
Of course, you can’t talk about the modern urban fantasy genre without mentioning Buffy. But remember it was movie before it was a TV series. Crap, vampire PeeWee Herman.

Lost Girl was great series at least for the first season. It did go a little down hill after that IHMO.

Hey remember this Marvel Movie? Yeah, Blade. It was a TV Series too.

Let’s head across the pond for a bit. First up, Bloody Mallory. A really low-budget French film.

But if you want something just plain awesome and higher up on the way cool list. There’s Nightwatch. This is a damned good Russian film. And this is one of those few cases where the movie is much better than the trailer.

Everything doesn’t have to be serious. Everybody knows Army of Darkness and Big Trouble in Litte China but how about some Lesbian Vampire Killers. Really.

And I’m not limiting it TV and Movies. There was (or maybe still is) an MMO called Secret World. I’ve never played it but the cinematic trailers rocked.

So there you go. By no means the complete list and may some of it inspire you as well.

Minor Psychics

I find a game and then go crazy on it. And such is the case with Dark Streets and Darker Secrets. And as I’ve said before there are a lot of ideas bouncing around inside my head. There’s redoing New Bay City and putting some gentle modifications DS&DS better fit. And in that vein, here’s the first installment. Going through my old New Bay City notes and going through the rule book, I noticed that one of the NPC’s just didn’t quite fit and I also wanted to have this option open for player characters. So the idea of the Minor Psychic took form.

First, the Minor Psychic is not an Archetype but an option that can be added onto any other Archetype except for The Gifted. This isn’t a flash bang type power. Instead the character has visions, can perform Psychometry, minor acts of divination and just get a bad feeling about a person, place, or thing. The GM can use at their discretion to give the PC’s a clue, lead, or even a warning. Heck, it’s even good to use as an adventure hook.
Of course, the players will want to actually use this too. The quick and easy method: Just make a Luck Check. If you want to go with something different, I’ve got an alternate idea. Make a Willpower Test using 2d20. If both dice fail, then no vision/nothing. If one succeeds then there’s some quick and vague visions. If both dice succeed then the character has a much clearer and more accurate vision.
Like I said before, this ability is tacked onto an existing archetype but it ain’t free. When the character’s ability manifested there probably wasn’t anyone around who could explain it to them or guide them. Therefore, the character begins play with 1d6 less Sanity than normal.
There you go and more to come. Unpleasant Dreams!