#RPG – Open Art Call – Comic Cover

Art only, text will be handled, so a bit of space will need to be left at the top to fit in a title.

Looking for a 300 dpi, A4, basic colour (shade and highlight) at around ~$200, but this is negotiable. Digital delivery required and payment via Paypal upon delivery, with the artist retaining rights to resale or re-use the art.

The cover is for an introductory comic, to explain RPGs as a concept to new players, parents, friends or children. Perhaps to become part of a series, depending on reception.

As such I’d like the cover to evoke the basic wish-fulfilment quality and appeal of games. Perhaps fantasy archetypes bracketing a d20, perhaps a player, looming about their character like a god while their character faces some peril. Those are my two main ideas, but I’m open to pitches.

Apply at grim@postmort.demon.co.uk, preferably with a link to any online portfolios or similar.

#RPG – Fifth Fantasy: The Lepuna – a ‘bunny-like’ race for 5e D&D

Download HERE

Lepuna are always moving, their cosy, earthy burrows a hive of raucous activity at every hour of day and night. Music is their constant companion, wine and song not far behind. They throw themselves wholeheartedly into their short lives, without reservation or regret and with an infectious enthusiasm that can exhaust or empower those around them. Life around the lepuna is, at least, never dull.

A complete character suite for player a lepuna. Racial template, subraces, backgrounds,feats, equipment and magical items.

Download HERE

Check out the rest of the Fifth Fantasy line:

#RPG – Interview with Kevin Rolfe, UK Games Expo’s Infamous ‘Gang Rape’ Games Master

THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED WITH SIGN-IN SHEETS, INFORMATION ABOUT THE RECORDING OF THE SESSION AND SHOULD HOPEFULLY HAVE A COPY OF THE FORMAL STATEMENT SOON.

Editor’s Note: There is a rumour going around that Mr Rolfe has been barred from other conventions in Europe before now. This does not appear to be true. According to Mr Rolfe he has mainly attended Dragonmeet and UKGE, running two sessions at Dragonmeet and 8 at UKGE for the best part of a decade without problems. They attended Wyntercon once, but didn’t care for it (light on the RPG element). They have not been banned from any conventions previously.

Could you summarise, in your own words, exactly what happened?

When I came up with the adventure I had two scenes in mind.

One, the lads, drunk or high outside a kebab shop at 1 am trying to get enough money together to buy a kebab and two, the lads naked, handcuffed, covered in poo being chased by men with guns, which seemed funny.

I was thinking gross out humour, Porkys, American Pie and Inbetweeners – with a bit of Trainspotting and a dash of the Carry On films, but ending with a light touch of Hostel.

To get from the kebab shop to covered in poo, I came up with the lads on tour, Club 18-30 idea.

But as with all plans, not all of it survived first contact with the players. I forgot bits, the covered in poo part for one, and missed some of the comedic beats.

The second gross out teenage comedy/horror I ran later for the UKExpo’s team leaders hit all its comedy beats and was very funny. The game was halted at 11:30 so the giant robots attacking the rave scene fell flat.

This was a mash-up of the Inbetweeners Movie and Hostel. Not the greatest scenario.

A bunch of rich guys wanted to hunt some Englishmen for sport.

  • Act 1 was the PCs trying to get the money for a Club 18/30 holiday
  • Act 2 was the arrival in Ibiza.
  • Act 3 I removed the player agency for 2 mins for a narrative segment, then continued.

The Narration:

“The tour rep gives you some shots, everything goes fuzzy.”

In my notes it states, the drug used not only knocks them out, it gives them terrible diarrhoea. Hence no clothes and sore bums.

“You wake up naked, handcuffed to each other, with sore bums, in the back of a van. Guys with guns make you get out and say run.”

The image of the Inbetweeners lads running naked over wasteland handcuffed together seemed a funny image, which is why I constructed the narrative just to get that scene. However in the post-game chat with all the players I completely forgot to talk through the bits they missed as we were all talking about the structure of shock in horror games.

I believe this omission on my part has caused the problem. The players saw something that wasn’t there and I failed to rectify this as we started discussing something else. Had one of the players raised the issue I would have remembered.

However I accept that it was my fault that I forgot.

After they ran. they had the option of a farm or the woods. They went with the farm. Had they gone with the woods they would have met the robots hiding there.

I bumped into one of the players from the group of 4 friends who played, he said he was annoyed that there were no robots, had they gone into the woods…

[Edit – Late addition/Correction]
I had no complaints from the players during the game however, I bumped into one of the group of 4 on the Sunday, who complained on Twitter.

He said, “there were no robots we were expecting robots, that’s what you did wrong.”

He did not mention anything else, just that the lack of robots annoyed the group. Now if they would have gone into the woods, they would have found robots…
[End Edit]

Did you advertise the game as a horror scenario or with an age restriction?

It was advertised as an 18+ scenario, using a darkly mature game, but the burb clearly showed it to be a gross-out teenage scenario. Something like grubby teenage lads doing grubby teenage lad things.

Did the players remain for the entire session?

Yes, we began with a chat about the systems and the dark themes within them.

When were you aware that there was a problem?

Nothing till 11ish, when I got a call about something on Twitter. In fact one of the group of four said he was looking forward to the game of Kult the following day.

Did the convention staff listen to your side of things at all?

I’d been up since 4 and had just run 12 hours of games. I was in a bit of shock so not 100% as to what was going on, only that there had been no complaint and that they were going off something that was on Twitter. I think I tried to roughly explain the scenario, but I’m not really sure what I said.

Do you intend to appeal the convention’s decision?

Yes. I’m sending them a statement with a request to remove the inaccurate press statement they put out, due to the defamatory nature of their statement.

Were any of the players under age? What about the characters?

The age rating was 18+. The players were 18+, as were the PCs.

Did the ‘gang rape of minors’ actually take place in the game and was it described as such or in lurid detail?

Not at all, both my GM notes and the recording I made of the game clearly show that nothing of the sort happened.

[NB: Said recording appears to have corrupted or failed. Which doesn’t look good admittedly, but on the other hand the sign up sheets and adventure descriptions have been retrieved, see below. A recording does exist of one of the other sessions].

It’s my understanding that while Tales from the Loop is a more ‘kids on bikes’ game, Things from the Flood is more of a horror game with more adult content. Is that right?

No, both are darkly mature games. Anyone who has read the books, knows this. Just a read through of the scenarios in Tales from the Loop shows it’s an 18+ game.

Were you aware of any convention rules prohibiting the kind of content in your game before this blew up?

I have been running roughly 8 games a year for UKexpo for nearly a decade, minus the year I had Open Heart Surgery, so had an understanding of the rules but given there was no ‘gang rape of minors’ it was not an issue.

You don’t seem quite as social-media connected as a lot of people, what has it been like for you being ‘cancelled’ in this way?

I only have a locked down Facebook that I use to keep in contact with family.

Its quite mad to think that the game of internet whispers is revolving around you. I’m reading bits thinking, ‘that never happened’. Makes you think about the fake/real news in the age of misinformation we have woken up to. Bloody insane. The pseudo death threats, and threats of violence, from clicking keys in somebody’s mum’s basement would be funny – if it wasn’t happening to you.

Some people talk as though you have a reputation for pushing boundaries and being ‘edgy’, is that fair to you?

No, I run games that have twists, or that turn genres on their heads. I’ve run every genre from Dad’s Army vs the Deep Ones to Delta Green, to Musketeers in the Hollow Earth.

Have you been able to counter these accusations anywhere or have you been prevented from doing so?

I have not really spoken to anyone. I’ve not begun to online, just yet.

Your delayed Kickstarter has been brought up and used to attack you, but I saw an update from May 15th. Do you still intend to deliver and do you have a revised timetable?

This is really a conversation between me and the backers, but my Open Heart Surgery delayed things. A full draft was dropped a while ago.

This opens up the debate, what is or is not acceptable? MYFAROG? Let’s Kill the Ice Cream Man? Lover in the Ice and any of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventures? Even the Alien RPG, a game based on a film where a monster puts its genitalia down your throat to empty its seed inside you… I guess gross out teenage comedy needs to be added to that list.

#RPG – Corn Dolls and Finials

I’m not sure how familiar people are, outside England, with straw art (corn here means grain, just to avoid confusion amongst Americans).

Corn dolls or corn dollies might be a little more familiar, these are woven, folded and knotted straw shapes (or literal dolls) with a hollow centre, made – traditionally – from the last sheaf to be harvested. The spirit of the field, the spirit of the corn, is supposed to have been made homeless by the harvest, and the corn doll provides a home for the spirit until sowing season returns. When it is time to sow again, the old corn dolly (which may have wintered hanging from a cottage beam) is ploughed under so the spirit can inhabit the new field.

Corn stalk sculpture with a bit more flare, thatch finials are demonstrations of the thatcher’s art. These complex figures are advertisements for the thatcher’s craft and traditionally were made from a combination of stalks, ash and hazel. In the modern era they’re woven into and through chicken-wire (which also tends to be used to shape and protect thatched roofs as a whole).

Not only was this artistry eye catching, but sometimes they were made into straw weathervanes, rotating on wooden or metal spindles to show the direction of the wind. One claim is that the shapes of animals also act as scarecrows, stopping birds – and other animals – pilfering the straw from the roof for their nests or searching for missed grains. I must say, in my experience, most birds that perch on these figures don’t give a damn, and jackdaws seem to take special delight in perching on the ears of straw rabbits or the noses of straw foxes.

It’s probably just more marketing on the part of canny thatchers, but it is also claimed that having a thatch finial is protection against witchcraft, much as having a horseshoe over the entrance (open at the top) to catch luck.

In a fantasy setting corn dollies could provide a bonus (advantage in 5e D&D terms) to the farmer’s when they plant and reap their crops. The loss of a corn dolly to theft, arson or for other nefarious reasons, could provide an excellent plot hook for a more medieval or low magic setting. A corn spirit – bound into the dolly – could also be a somewhat powerful magical ingredient and a hard thing to convince villagers to part with.

The thatch finials, if you believe the marketing of the thatchers, could provide protection against magic while you are under that roof. Whatever the system you could grant a +1 bonus (5%) to saving throws, evasion, resistance or whatever your game system of choice happens to use.

A little bit of colour and a little bit of magic up on the roof.

#RPG – Actual Fucking Nightlife – Part Five – Magicians

Magicians can come from many different traditions, but magic is extremely rare. Magicians are simply humans with the capacity to tap into the latent flow of magic.

Magicians must take the following Monster Powers:

  • Indomitable Will
  • Dark Magic
  • Spellcasting

Possible Banes: Salt, religious symbols, painted eyes, gargoyles, mirrors, corn dollies, horseshoes, white heather, brass, candles, roosters, garlic, gemstones, cold iron, mistletoe. (Magician’s Banes typically make their magic more difficult, giving the target an extra die to roll to protect themselves).

It is not suggested that Spellcasting become a part of regular play, but a human becoming a Monster in a quest for supernatural power is a powerful trope nonetheless.

Magicians generate Satiation by performing any transgressive act, typically within the lore of whatever magickal tradition they cleave to. Human or animal sacrifice are popular ones, as are extended acts of debauchery or even taking the other path and living an ascetic and ritualistic existence.

Magicians have to spend Satiation only when performing acts of magic, though they can never store more than d12. If a Monster Power that they replicate with magic requires the expenditure of Satiation, they lose two levels.

Magicians aren’t limited by their Satiation as Monsters are, save when it comes to using their Monster Powers and they cannot starve from a lack of Satiation. The powers they replicate are replicated at the Spellcasting level and last for a number of minutes depending on their Spellcasting die type (15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours).

Magicians cannot heal using Satiation as Monsters can. Should they become a Monster, they lose their Spellcasting ability, but retain their Dark Magic ability in their new form.

Casting a spell requires a roll of Spirit+Spellcasting against a d8+d8 difficulty and three actions to make invocations and to make gestures, or to draw runes or whatever else is appropriate for their tradition.

Example: Valkyr is a magician from the nordic tradition. Having drawn Satiation from hunting and killing a bear and devouring its heart, Valkyr finds himself confronted by witch-hunters. He hurriedly locks the door and slams the couch up against it, rending his shirt, drawing blood and bellowing a prayer to Tyr and the spirit of the bear for power. The difficulty is rolled at a 5, Valkyr rolls his Spirit d10, Indomitable Will d4 and Spellcasting d4 for a total of 7. A successful cast. He sprouts claws and fangs with a value of d4, ready to help in combat.

#RPG – Actual Fucking Nightlife – Part Four – More Monster Types

These Monsters are NPC types in the Nightlife book, but in AFM they could more than possibly be player Monsters.

Asrai: Water spirits.
Monster Powers: Armour, Water Control, Dark Seduction.
Banes: Sunlight.

Bugwalkers: Swarm-Like ghosts of people killed by insects.
Monster Powers: Insect Control (and take damage like insect swarms), Insubstantial, Levitation.
Banes: Insecticide.

Data Haunts: Electric ghosts that can ride people or machines.
Monster Powers: Insubstantial, Camouflage, Inhabit.
Banes: Being outside of a body.

Edimmu: Sumerian ghosts that inhabit bodies until they rot apart, before moving on to another.
Monster Powers: Armour, Fearsome, Olympian.
Banes: Holy Relics.

Goblynnes: Evil, dark-skinned, tusked troublemakers.
Monster Powers: Camouflage, Olympian, Drain (Blood).
Banes: Cold-Wrought iron.

Gorehounds: Undead dogs, kept as pets by many Kin.
Nature: Predator d6
Trio: Mind d4, Body d8, Spirit d6.
Mask: Guard Dog d4, Fighting d6, Tracking d6, Alertness d6
Monster Powers: Drain (Pain) d4, Claws and Teeth d6.
Banes: Sunlight d8.

Hafgryr: Descendants of Grendel and his mother.
Monster Powers: Armour, Fearsome, Olympian.
Banes: Sunlight, Compulsive hatred of humans.

Kikulaluit: Beings from a lost, underground civilisation with white hair and translucent green skin.
Monster Powers: Armour, Heightened Sense (Sight), Camouflage.
Banes: Agoraphobia, Sunlight.
Constant Slippage: Translucent.

Magadon: A form of shapeshifting Indian troll who use their shapeshifting powers to defraud and con others.
Monster Powers: Facedance, Armour, Telepathic Reading.
Banes: Sunlight, Cooked or non-meat food.

Medusae: Human bodies with twisting snakes atop their head. Their gaze petrifies targets and this is how they feed.
Monster Powers: Drain (Petrification), Armour, Dark Seduction.
Banes: Their reflection.

Nakani: Native American wind spirits who subjugate and control humans.
Monster Powers: Armour, Hypnosis, Speed.
Banes: Stale or dead air.
Constant Slippage: Always surrounded by whistling.

Ogre: Maneating, hulking brutes.
Monster Powers: Armour, Olympian, Claws and Teeth (emphasis on the teeth).
Banes: Hunger for child flesh.

Pengallen: A severed head, trailing entrails that can possess different bodies and which feasts on blood.
Monster Powers: Parasite, Levitation, Drain (Blood).
Banes: Sunlight.

Rakshasa: An Indian vampire with slitted pupils and poisonous claws.
Monster Powers: Claws and Teeth, Venom, Drain (Blood).
Banes: Sunlight.

Sidhe: Light elves who have adapted to urban living.
Monster Powers: Heightened Sense, Teleportation, Armour.
Banes: Cold-wrought iron.

Shockers: The ghosts of people who died from electrical shocks.
Monster Powers: Insubstantial, Discharge, Drain (Life force – bioelectricity).
Banes: Water.

Toxxix: Mutated, toxic-waste humans who have been altered by radiation or chemical waste.
Monster Powers: Acid Vomit, Fearsome, Olympian.
Banes: Fire, cannot eat non-rancid or non-polluted food.

Trolls: Hulking, thick-skinned, cannibalistic monsters.
Monster Powers: Armour, Olympian, Regeneration.
Banes: Sunlight.

Ubo: A form of Japanese vampire, often dressed in white.
Monster Powers: Armour, Beast Form (butterfly), Claws and Teeth.
Banes: Sunlight.
Permanent Slippage: Wears only white – if at all possible.

Withered Men: The revenants of homeless people who die from exposure.
Monster Powers: Ageless, Armour, Drain (Heat).
Banes: Cold.

Skinthieves: Predators made of wires and hooks that skin their enemies and wear them.
Monster Powers: Facedance, Armour, Claws and Teeth.
Banes: Ripping and tearing.

Suckers: Lamprey-headed and necked creatures.
Monster Powers: Armour, Claws and Teeth, Drain (Life Force).
Banes: Sunlight.

Tapefaces: Those who survive being skinned by skinthieves occasionally become creatures of their own.
Monster Powers: Armour, Drain (Heat), Heightened Sense (Touch).
Banes: Salt.

Zipperheads: Gimp-masked monsters that ‘unzip’ to extend tentacles and feed.
Monster Powers: Camouflage, Drain (Life Force), Armour.
Banes: Saltwater.

#RPG – Actual Fucking Nightlife – Part Three – Humanity (Ew)

Actual Fucking Monsters is explicitly NOT one of those games that uses Humanity as a gauge for anything, you can lift the system directly out of Nightlife if you do, actually, want to use it. I’ll offer an option for a different style of Humanity gauging system in a companion pamphlet for AFM.

Actual Fucking Monsters is explicitly NOT one of those games that uses Humanity as a gauge for anything, you can lift the system directly out of Nightlife if you do, actually, want to use it. I’ll offer an option for a different style of Humanity gauging system in a companion pamphlet for AFM.

If you choose to include ‘Humanity’ in AFM, against all reason and every warning and insistence I give, then fair enough.

***

Your Humanity has no meaningful impact on the game, most of the time. Humans can, themselves, be monsters of the non-supernatural kind and find ways to excuse, rationalise or ignore the most horrific things that they do. Nonetheless it has a die-rating, as with Health and Satiation and if your Games Master chooses to be a bastard, they can limit your social die rolls to a maximum of that die type.

Rather than having a rating, or a Judeo-Christian morality structure, this is about how your character manages to live with themselves. You set a ‘red line’, something that you will not do, starting with the least objectionable thing you might be able to think of.

If you ever cross that line, you get a chance to rationalise your actions to the Games Master and then roll your Mind die plus Nature die against your Spirit plus current Humanity die. If you succeed, you modify your red line to be looser, but keep your Humanity at the same level. If you fail, you modify your red line to be looser, but drop your Humanity one die-type.

Monsters that lose all their Humanity become ‘Maniacs’ and their monstrous nature fully erupts. Their Mind drops to d4 and their Body is stepped up by a number of dice equal to what was lost (even going into die multiples). They become an NPC and go on a rampage.

Example: Croen is recently made and despite being a blood-drinking horror, he has set the red line that he will ‘Never kill’. The circumstances being what they are in AFM, he’s soon put in a position where if he doesn’t shoot this shotgun wielding loon, one of his friends will die. He pulls the trigger and the man dies. Croen tries to rationalise this as being ‘Self defence’ and to modify his red line to ‘I will never kill except in self defence’. He rolls his Mind d8 + Nature d6 for a total of 6. While his ‘Humanity’ rolls d12+d8 for a total of 11. He fails to fully rationalise this, but shifts his red line to the d10 level and has lost a bit of his Humanity.

You could also kitbash this system for a Sanity system, with gradual stages of madness.