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It's been an interesting journey so far. I don't think we are heading towards becoming murder hobos, or at least I don't think I am. 😮

 

Between this campaign and the last one, I've been discovering how much I missed being a player, but I'm sure my world-building GM urges will start hitting me again eventually. I regret having to miss the next game session in a couple of weeks while I roast in the desert.

 

Murgatroyd has certainly been proving to be an excellent vehicle for giving voice to Durzan's strong streak of snarkiness that I've come to appreciate in gaming with you for a while. The character has also been quite useful in two story arcs now.

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I finally got around to actually reading all the threads here. I do want to thank especially KS for making the effort to post the writeups. As much as I was invested in the development of the Here There Be Monsters setting, I have never had the opportunity to run it, let alone play in it. (I have brought up the notion to my existing gaming group, but at least a couple of them have a hard enough time grasping D&D and find Hero too intimidating.) Anyway, reading the threads here allows me the ability to at least vicariously experience it.

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I like that each of the character has a thing that they are really good at but to succeed we all have to work together. For instance, Joey has the night thing, Murgatroyd has the magic thing, Drew got the cop thing, Beretta has the gunslinger thing, and Killroy has the sniper thing and we all work together very well.

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We are actually using two of your characters @Panpiper, one of which  goes by the name of KIllroy and he has been living up to his name. He has proven to be very useful by killing many monsters and by gaining info through his scope. @King Red is playing him. The other character is Murgatroyd who has been awesome as well. Murgatroyd's cool magic abilities, confident but comedic personality, and his cowardliness all come together to make an awesome character. In a way, Murgatroyd and Killroy are kinda the opposite when it comes to personality traits, physical traits, and combat traits. Murgatroyd is being played by @Durzan Malakim

 

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4 minutes ago, Scything said:

We are actually using one of your characters @Panpiper who goes by the name of KIllroy and he has been living up to his name. He has proven to be very useful by killing many monsters and by gaining info through his scope. @King Red is playing him.

 

 

Actually Murgatroyd was also one of mine.  I seem to recall that Killroy was the first one I wrote up for that setting,

 

I have a number of check marks when creating a character, and all of them have to be met for me to be truly satisfied with the character. First and foremost is they have to have an interesting background story connotative of their personality. I also prefer for characters to not be too typical of stereotypes. They have to be combat capable in some critical role within a group, in addition to being reasonably survivable. They also need to be useful in at least some capacity outside of combat. Finally I like to ensure they at the least have a minimum of non-combat ancillary skills/knowledges appropriate to their backstory. I don't always perfectly nail those check marks, but I try.

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1 hour ago, Steve said:

Murgatroyd has certainly been proving to be an excellent vehicle for giving voice to Durzan's strong streak of snarkiness that I've come to appreciate in gaming with you for a while.

 

Now, now my snark is worse than my bite, which is why I need capable warriors to do my biting for me, but since I'm playing a wizard, the good news is I can teach you all defense against the snark arts. Once you've mastered it, I'm sure each of you will leave your snark on the game. In fact, I fully expect us all to be Raiders of the Lost Snark by next session.

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9 minutes ago, Scything said:

We are actually using two of your characters @Panpiper, one of which  goes by the name of KIllroy and he has been living up to his name. He has proven to be very useful by killing many monsters and by gaining info through his scope. @King Red is playing him. The other character is Murgatroyd who has been awesome as well. Murgatroyd's cool magic abilities, confident but comedic personality, and his cowardliness all come together to make an awesome character. In a way, Murgatroyd and Killroy are kinda the opposite when it comes to personality traits, physical traits, and combat traits. Murgatroyd is being play by @Durzan Malakim

 

Fixed it, put that @Panpiper created both Killroy and Murgatroyd.

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7 hours ago, Durzan Malakim said:

I think retconning the Supernatural Resistance back down to 5 and explaining the UV light attack as the first use of the Naked Advantages is fitting. I may as well spend the points on the effects I've already benefitted from.

 

Ring Mastery:  Variable Advantage (+1/4 Advantages; Limited Group of Advantages (IPE: Sight Group, Autofire x3, Affects Desolid (Spirits), Variable SFX (UV or Fire)); +1/2) for up to 45 Active Points of Blast (22 Active Points); OIF (Ring; -1/2), Linked (Ring of Arcane Blasts; -1/2), Concentration (0 DCV; -1/2), Extra Time (Full Phase, -1/2); Real Cost: 7 points

 

Further points pumped in over time can buy down Concentration & Extra Time. Feel free to make me a counter offer :)

 

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2 hours ago, Panpiper said:

I finally got around to actually reading all the threads here. I do want to thank especially KS for making the effort to post the writeups. As much as I was invested in the development of the Here There Be Monsters setting, I have never had the opportunity to run it, let alone play in it. (I have brought up the notion to my existing gaming group, but at least a couple of them have a hard enough time grasping D&D and find Hero too intimidating.) Anyway, reading the threads here allows me the ability to at least vicariously experience it.

 

Thanks! It's a bit of work but when the players are engaged, it helps me stay engaged. Maybe one day you'll get a chance to play and enjoy the fruits of your labors. 

 

Also, I certainly wouldn't mind more Panpiper characters or vignettes being submitted if you wanted to whet your HtbM whistle. 🤩

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7 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

Also, I certainly wouldn't mind more Panpiper characters or vignettes being submitted if you wanted to whet your HtbM whistle. 🤩

 

Oh oh... Damn those creative juices...  What haven't we done before?  Hmm... 

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The iconics are pretty well covered, though there is always room for more. We're a little thin on the bench for supernatural opposition, and there are some gaps in the vignettes...notably while we have an iconic (weak / starting power level) werewolf we don't have an adventure about lycanthropes which are one of the more common types of supernaturals relatively speaking. 

 

I have a norse themed vignette that was about 1/4 formed back in the day that I plan to blow the dust off soon, and I was starting to gather source material and ideas for a diabolist oriented vignette but had not actually laid out an outline for it. I was going to borrow an interesting plot idea from a comic book i read years ago, file off the serial numbers, add some HtbM anchoring...typical repackaging type stuff.

 

I have some marginalia I had been aggregating for some kind of tome of forbidden knowledge based vignette.

 

I also have a couple of notions I've been noodling around with to do role inversions...one of them is the idea of a mundane corporation secretly exploiting supernaturals to produce some must-have product and  the hunters somehow get involved to _save_ the enslaved supernats.

 

The other inversion tale is the discovery of some kind of Otherworld along the lines of Tír na nÓg and something like an Underground Railroad for supernats who are sanctioned or at risk of being sanctioned and just want to escape...posing a moral quandary for the hunters...supernats who are not evil or dangerous per se but are obviously supernatural and thus violate the Accord of Secrecy just by existing...persecute them or let them / help them escape to this Otherworld?  My current group of players are mostly still in the "shoot everything that moves" category, but I think they'll grow out of it. Even if not, something like this plotline would be a good fill for the mood of the setting. It might also tie in with the Morrigan and the Trouble with Banshees vignette.

 

If any of that sounded interesting to you or if you had other ideas I'm as always open to collaborating (co-authoring or just serving as editor as preferred). I've said it before @Panpiper, and I'll say it again...I consider you to be a co-author of the setting.

 

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14 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

Ring Mastery:  Variable Advantage (+1/4 Advantages; Limited Group of Advantages (IPE: Sight Group, Autofire x3, Affects Desolid (Spirits), Variable SFX (UV or Fire)); +1/2) for up to 45 Active Points of Blast (22 Active Points); OIF (Ring; -1/2), Linked (Ring of Arcane Blasts; -1/2), Concentration (0 DCV; -1/2), Extra Time (Full Phase, -1/2); Real Cost: 7 points

 

Further points pumped in over time can buy down Concentration & Extra Time. Feel free to make me a counter offer :)

 

This looks good to me. Depending on how our vampire hunt goes, I may want the ability to do UV special effects and Invisible Power Effects at the same time, which would require raising the variable advantage to +1/2. For the moment, having to choose one or the other seems reasonable and prevents the power from becoming an easy-mode button. 

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40 minutes ago, Durzan Malakim said:

This looks good to me. Depending on how our vampire hunt goes, I may want the ability to do UV special effects and Invisible Power Effects at the same time, which would require raising the variable advantage to +1/2. For the moment, having to choose one or the other seems reasonable and prevents the power from becoming an easy-mode button. 

 

Cool.

 

PRO TIP from  a former Mage the Ascension player:  borrow a flashlight from one of your gear-pool-having teammates for the duration of the vamp adventure and pretend like it is a forensic blacklight flashlight. Point the flashlight at things you intend to blast with your UV enhanced ring. Ghetto deniability achieved.

Image result for blacklight

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Using a UV flashlight solves one problem but creates another. While the flashlight provides an explanation why "there's no such thing as magic," it doesn't explain why a person bursts into flames and dies from a UV light, which is definitely not normal. It takes some creative persuasion to explain away vampires as just a severe form of albinism. I'm sure we're up for that challenge. I look forward to hearing our creative explanations next game. "They doused themselves in gasoline, and the UV light caused a freak spark. It's sad really. They had so much to live for."

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In defense of a flashlight, it is just as difficult to explain how someone bursts into flames spontaneously 'without' a flashlight.  The difficult explanation is not avoided by having an invisible beam power. The flashlight merely creates the illusion of a possible technological reason, however implausible, rather than one that almost by necessity, be supernatural.

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Absolutely. So here's how it works:

 

If there's a vamp already running around killing people / being obviously supernatural, from an infosec perspective the witnesses of that event are compromised. If you UV beam that vamp and that vamp burns to death where they stand the already compromised witnesses may or may not have seen something (depending on where they are looking, range, line of sight, lighting penalties, having generally low PER to begin with) but in the face of the rampaging vamp, small beans...if you happen to be pointing a "UV flashlight" at the time whatever visible light spills out of the  UV spectrum from your blast can be explained away...the compromised witnesses may now know there are vampires (or maybe it's just...y'know...one of those crazy LARPers who like to PRETEND they are vampires high on something or experiencing a psychotic break)...but they don't know there are also freaking WIZARDS and all the other stuff...and they also don't know that youspecifically, are a wizard. Compartmentalization. 

 

On the other hand if you arcane blast the vamp with a fully visible ray of magical energy...different story. Greater information leakage. It also might be MORE visible from further away and more remarkable (being a bright energy beam) than the vamp...for observers at a great enough distance the eventually forthcoming explanation of "the perp was on meth and bath salts and started attacking people" is still believable for the distant witnesses, but that doesn't square with the magical beam you shot him with. With the UV version, dude lit on fire? Must have been all those chemicals from his meth lab saturating his clothing, a stray spark was all that was necessary to set him off. The flashlight? Don't be ridiculous, flashlights don't light people on fire. Crazy nonsense.

 

Different scenario...you walk into a night club and spot a vamp just hanging out at the bar eyeing the herd. You whip out your "UV flashlight" and also blast him with your UV ring and he catches on fire. This is tricky business...technically you are wrong...you took a situation where there was no supernatural activity to cover up and introduced supernatural activity to cover up.  Technically, vampires are permanently sanctioned so you MIGHT be able to song and dance your way out of it ("he spotted me in the crowd and was trying to dominate me! self defense, honest!") but if the situation goes pear shaped you will probably be in hot water as the instigator...the smarter play would be to try to lure the vamp away from people, or get the people to leave somehow. 

 

Same situation but you blast the vamp with your normal ring; you're definitely in serious trouble because that is overtly supernatural, and creates an outright Secrecy Accord violation which will now have to be contained where there wasn't one.

 

 

The main takeaway is, this is not a binary concept...there are nuances. When in doubt, don't be the first one to open up with obvious supernatural effects. Things that are more covert and explainable offer wiggle room where you otherwise might not have any. If you make a best-attempt to respect the Accord of Secrecy and  maintain  the illusion of mundanity that most people live under, that is taken into consideration, whereas flagrant disregard will draw punitive measures to not just solve the problem but to make an example out of the offender.

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I suspect the number of eyeballs involved changes the strategies Hunters can employ. If only one person sees evidence of the supernatural then they sound like a crazy person when trying to convince normal people that magic, vampires, and wizards are real. Our own hunter backstories may actually involve being shutdown or discouraged from telling the truth for fear of being labelled crazy. It's probably more likely for Professionals since they are often dragged kicking and screaming into the supernatural world rather than being born into it in some way.

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Yeah. It is important to say that Section M isn't portrayed as being sinister. They have a job to do and sometimes that involves some unpleasant business, but they are not in the habit of offing people to keep the secret. Neither are they lily white paladins. The best word to describe them is "pragmatic"; they will do the minimum thing prudent to gain the maximal effect with limited people resources and a generous budget for off-the-books consultants in the form of hunters. In the modern era they rely heavily on licensed hunters to do most of the leg work and risk taking, while most of the actual federal agents manage things...though there are some exceptions...there are Section M field agents who deal with particularly sensitive and / or long elapsing matters where short attention spanned paid by the bounty Hunters are unsuitable or inappropriate.

 

On the other hand, a particularly obdurate person who refuses to play along once aware...character assassination / portraying the would be whistleblower as a crackpot is definitely on the table. A particularly difficult to deal with person might be incarcerated / institutionalized. Section M also has magical and psionic assets available to them in extremis, but using that sort of resource to affect the mind of a civilian requires a section chief or SAIC to sign off on and requires a lot of paperwork and scrutiny after the fact so even when it is an option it is one applied with care. 

 

Section M has to be constantly wary of an inverse form of the observers paradox...the act of trying to keep people from noticing the supernatural can itself be noticed and lead to a regression. 

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1 hour ago, Durzan Malakim said:

I suspect the number of eyeballs involved changes the strategies Hunters can employ. If only one person sees evidence of the supernatural then they sound like a crazy person when trying to convince normal people that magic, vampires, and wizards are real. Our own hunter backstories may actually involve being shutdown or discouraged from telling the truth for fear of being labelled crazy. It's probably more likely for Professionals since they are often dragged kicking and screaming into the supernatural world rather than being born into it in some way.

 

I could imagine something like that happened with Beretta in her origin story.

 

Incident #1, Section M agent: No, those weren't really zombies, Ms. Colt. They were actually the unfortunate victims of a bioterrorism incident that the government would prefer you keep quiet about due to national security concerns.

 

Incident #2, Section M agent: Magic? Aztec curses? Come now, Ms. Colt. Your ex-boyfriend was actually doped to the gills on a mix of PCP, steroids and amphetamines that we found in his apartment when we searched it. That's why he was able to ignore being thrown off the roof of a three-story building, getting hit across the face with a crowbar and being shot twice in the chest at point-blank range with the .38 revolver your fiancé was using before he was murdered. The bullets that went through your ex's body must have somehow managed to miss his vital organs. You don't want to sound like a crazy person and keep talking about cursed knives, now do you?

 

Incident #3, Section M agent: There are no such things as vampires, Ms. Colt.

Beretta Colt: That's the best you've got? You were far more eloquent in our past encounters.

Section M agent: It's been a very long night, Ms. Colt. So just be a good girl and don't talk about this incident, for your own safety.

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13 hours ago, Steve said:

I could imagine something like that happened with Beretta in her origin story.

 

Incident #1, Section M agent: No, those weren't really zombies, Ms. Colt. They were actually the unfortunate victims of a bioterrorism incident that the government would prefer you keep quiet about due to national security concerns.

 

Incident #2, Section M agent: Magic? Aztec curses? Come now, Ms. Colt. Your ex-boyfriend was actually doped to the gills on a mix of PCP, steroids and amphetamines that we found in his apartment when we searched it. That's why he was able to ignore being thrown off the roof of a three-story building, getting hit across the face with a crowbar and being shot twice in the chest at point-blank range with the .38 revolver your fiancé was using before he was murdered. The bullets that went through your ex's body must have somehow managed to miss his vital organs. You don't want to sound like a crazy person and keep talking about cursed knives, now do you?

 

Incident #3, Section M agent: There are no such things as vampires, Ms. Colt.

Beretta Colt: That's the best you've got? You were far more eloquent in our past encounters.

Section M agent: It's been a very long night, Ms. Colt. So just be a good girl and don't talk about this incident, for your own safety.

 

I'm tempted to let this stand because it's funny, but given that Ms. Colt didn't just passively survive those events but rather killed her way out of them, she would have been increasingly likely to be sat down and given "the talk", definitely by the time she was due vamp bounty money. 

 

I actually wanted to talk to you at some point about revealing that so many supernatural events happening to one person wasn't really a coincidence and that it turns out she's really a trouble magnet of some kind. Possible future evolution of the character.

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1 hour ago, Killer Shrike said:

 

I'm tempted to let this stand because it's funny, but given that Ms. Colt didn't just passively survive those events but rather killed her way out of them, she would have been increasingly likely to be sat down and given "the talk", definitely by the time she was due vamp bounty money. 

 

I actually wanted to talk to you at some point about revealing that so many supernatural events happening to one person wasn't really a coincidence and that it turns out she's really a trouble magnet of some kind. Possible future evolution of the character.

 

Incident #3 (continued)

Beretta Colt: Be a good girl?! Don't say anything?! I'm covered in (bleep)-ing blood and gore! Again!! Why does this (bleep)-ing (bleep) keep happening to me?!! I thought I left all this (bleep) behind in college! That guy has (bleep)-ing fangs! He almost tore out my throat before I got a hold of my dad's gun and emptied it into him!

Section M agent: (sighs) All right, Ms. Colt. I guess, given your history having to forcibly deal with several such events head-on, you've earned the truth. You might want to sit down for this...

 

I could understand her being a trouble magnet. Maybe I should revise her Complications somehow? A Hunted of some kind? A Social Complication?

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We could represent something like that as a Complication, but I'd prefer Complication + something else. I'd want to work it into the story directly, and then represent it as a bundle as a combination XP / complications over cap story award so that it came with some pro to go with the con. Will feel "earned" and add to what makes the character special / notable. Might coincide with a between-Arc bump similar to what we did between Arcs 2 & 3.

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12 hours ago, Killer Shrike said:

We could represent something like that as a Complication, but I'd prefer Complication + something else. I'd want to work it into the story directly, and then represent it as a bundle as a combination XP / complications over cap story award so that it came with some pro to go with the con. Will feel "earned" and add to what makes the character special / notable. Might coincide with a between-Arc bump similar to what we did between Arcs 2 & 3.

 

That sounds fine to me. I enjoy adding depth to characters that makes plotline sense.

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I'm planning to run a session Saturday 6/15 at 5pm in the back room of AtEaseGames. Steve can't make it due to vaca, as mentioned last session. As far as I know everyone else can?

 

Anyone who cannot make it please sound off here...

 

Thanks! 

 

Your Friendly Neighborhood GM.

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