Courtesans: Cads & Bounders

Why should ladies be the only ones to gold-dig and exploit people? There’s a whole lot of ‘gentlemen’ who can gold-dig, work as ‘escorts’ or can simply prey upon the emotions and needs of wealthy widows, spinsters, career women and others who are keen on getting a little male attention. Ladies will buy their gentleman callers presents of course, but to truly  make a mint from a lady friend a ‘gentleman’ must make up a series of woes or excuses as to why he needs money. It’s a little more subtle and cruel than what courtesans do but is, really, essentially, the same thing.


  • Obviously, the characters are going to be male – or at least mostly male.
  • Use the male (admirer) physical attributes rather than the female ones for the characters.
  • Professions: Actress = Entertainer. Professional = Gigolo. Fallen Lady = Gentleman Bastard. Schemer = Schemer. Goldenheart = Philanthropist. Upstart = Blackguard.
  • Instead of a ‘House’ you have a ‘Club’ where the gentlemen meet to compare notes.
  • Instead of a Landlady you have a ‘Mentor’.
  • Admirers become ‘Lady friends’.
  • Archetypes: Fop = Bon Vivant. Saviour = Soft Heart. Student = Naif. Lover = Romantic.
  • Occupations: Keep any that seem like they work, otherwise the lady friend is a ‘widow of’ or a ‘wife of’ the rolled occupation.
  • Rather than the Cyprian Ball the ‘season’ ends with Pan’s Feast, a great dinner at the club which is the one time only that women are allowed on the premises and gentlemen compare their conquests and enter into drunken debauchery.

This makes for a bit more of a cruel – but comedic – game even more farcical than a normal game of Courtesans. For pointers you might want to watch films of the 30s-50s and even the Carry On films for the right sort of nonsensical.

Tough Justice: Witch Trials

See how the Duck of Taunton lives within him!

Depending who you ask the last trial for Witchcraft in England were either in the 18th Century or in 1944. Still, that leaves several hundred years where it was treated as a serious offence and one punishable – for some time – by death. Of course, there’s not really any such thing as Witchcraft so, at best they were burning delusional old women and at worst an accusation of Witchcraft was used by people to dispose of rivals or prosecute vendettas. Even so, the number of deaths were nowhere near the amount that some neopagans like to quote and seem to have been much more to do with ideas stemming from Judeo-Christian beliefs rather than prechristian ones.

Tough Justice makes for a great way to roleplay this period in history and to put yourselves in the shoes of those who risked their own reputations in defending a ‘Witch’ and those who dedicated themselves to hunting down and prosecuting Witches, either for money and infamy or for some genuine desire to do The Lord’s work – though it’s hard to tell which of these options is worse.

Much of the character creation etc is the same, use your discretion to determine jobs etc which aren’t appropriate. When conducting the trial itself bear in mind that the ‘Judge’ may not actually be a judge at all but may be a priest a bishop, a local landowner or simply a mob, torches and pitchfork in hand who want to be seen to be doing things ‘properly’.

Sex: Women were vastly more likely to be accused of Witchcraft and magic than men were, but men could be accused as well. Roll 1d6, on a 1-5 the defendant is female, on a 6 the defendant is male.
Age: Older people are more likely to be accused of Witchcraft than the young, though not by a great deal. Roll 2D6 to see which age group the defendant falls into.
2: Child
3: Youth
4-5: Young Adult
6-7: Adult
8-9: Middle Aged
10-12: Old
Profession: Roll as normal. If you want to include the supernatural roll 2d6 after you’ve rolled profession and if you get a double 6 they are a genuine Witch, in addition to anything else. Roll another dice if they do come up as a Witch and if you get another 6 they’re Satan himself in disguise! Even if they’re not really a Witch they might think they are and, thus, be guilty but that’s up to the person running the game.
Name/Stats/Good At/Merit/Professional Advantage: All determined as normal.
Offence: Witchcraft is a damning accusation and the prosecution gets a whopping +4d6 CP.

The Trial
Witch Trials all hinge on hearsay, rumour and spurious nonsense. The prosecution will be attempting to sound authoritative and to scaremonger and they have a huge advantage. They can make up just about anything, plant evidence, use witnesses that hate the defendant to lie and given that you can’t really disprove magic per se it’s much more a court of public opinion and a dumb and parochial jury isn’t going to appreciate the finer points of reason, even if you are into The Renaissance or The Enlightenment.

These are trials where dirty tricks are of primary purpose and more conventional defence and prosecution isn’t so effective. Anything that the game ref decides isn’t ‘dirty tricks’ or playing to the crowd suffers a -3 CP penalty, no matter how well you do.

The Risk
Defending a Witch, and failing, will bring the defence under suspicion themselves. If they’ve done particularly badly in their defence or if the prosecution has successfully smeared them, they may well find themselves on trial for their life immediately following the first trial!

Real Magic
If the Witch is a real Witch they may use magic to try and turn things their way. The Witch can curse people with diseases, plagues, poor luck and so forth on a roll of 5-6 and can try once per phase against a different target. If it’s Satan his effects are automatic. Of course it’s also true that magic blatantly being used around a trial will also clue the prosecution and everyone else in that there really is a Witch, even if she’s not the one on trial. Any time magic is successfully used the prosecution gains 1d3 CP.

Chav: The Knifing – Fuckin’ Aliens an’ shit mang!

Image & concepts nobbled from ‘Attack the Block’.
Rent it.

If there’s one thing Chavs hate, it’s people who are different. That’s the real impetus behind their violent hatred of Bloodsuckers, Wizkids and anything and everything else in the Shadow World. If there’s one thing they’re hardwired to hate even more than the other magic(k)al denizens of the night it’s going to be extraterrestrials.

Sure, aliens exist, why not? The Shadow World has everything else in it doesn’t it? Of course, this being The Shadow World these aliens are dumb motherfuckers, just as dumb as people. Perhaps dumber. They just know how to get from one planet to another and maybe that’s not as difficult as people think, once you’ve got the knack.

The Martians from The War of the Worlds attacked the greatest city in the greatest Empire on Earth first, perhaps thinking that if they could beat them they could take out the rest. These aliens, perhaps, have the same idea and that’s why they’re landing, en masse, in the inner city at night. Unfortunately, they’re likely to run into the Chavs before they run into anything else and perhaps they’ll come off the worse for it…

These aliens are dark-furred, fast-moving and deadly, if not particularly bright. They hunt in packs like wolves but, being nocturnal have dim senses, save their sense of smell and touch which are quite acute. Weirdly, they like the taste of bile and are drawn to attack Chavs, especially once they start fighting back.

Strength 5
Resilience 4
Dexterity 4
Speed  5
Intelligence 1
Perception  2
Charm 1
Control  3
Resolve 3
Resistance 3

Athletics 4
Close Combat 4
Weird Alien Stuff 3
Stealth 4

Enhanced sense of smell +2
Enhanced sense of touch +2

Dense Body: Natural Armour – Reduce all incoming damage by 2
Frenzied Claws & Teeth: 9 damage.

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Bloodsucker: The Angst – Lolligoths

The Loligoth Clique

Bloodsuckers are pretty universal for the most part, the organisations that they’re a part of define them more than where they are in the world. Sure, there’s a few differences here and there according to local culture but usually that doesn’t manifest as any sort of huge difference. Sometimes however…

In Japan, and increasingly elsewhere, a new independent Clique has sprung up separate to the rest of Bloodsucker Society. Mostly insular the Loligoths have been unknown by the other Bloodsuckers until recently. With more and more of them turning up at conventions, clubs and other places that Bloodsuckers are known to hang out it was inevitable that there would be clashes and encounters.

Now the Loligoths are trying to find their place in broader Bloodsuckers society or to understand if there even is a place for them in it. Many of the other Cliques are trying to lay claim to them as part of their own, the Batshit in particular are keen to draw them to their side since they seem to have independently manifested their Cloth Crafting power.

Loligoths form their own little groups of five or more to compare outfits and hang out together. It’s almost all about the costume – and posing – but for the costumes to have the best impact they must be seen and, hopefully, they will outdo the costumes of their compatriots.

The anime craze has waned a little, which is weakening them, but they’re still exposed and the Clique is spreading beyond the borders of Japan to other nations with many obsessed white-girls (and boys, or so some people think, it can be hard to tell sometimes, other times, well, Man Fae or a bearded Sailor Moon).

Loligoths tend to either conform to or to confound racist and beauty stereotypes, to be intensely body-concious or blithely ignorant of their own physicality, to be truly gorgeous or unintentionally hideous.

Clique Power: Cloth Crafting
Loligoths have the power of Cloth Crafting, which was originally thought to only be a Batshit power, it’s a source of some consternation that they know it and that they seem to have developed it independently.

Clique Weakness
Loligoths have a unique ability to attract the attention of drooling perverts. At least once per game the Games Master can, will and indeed must inflict a drooling perv upon the Loligoth player, usually a creepy anime fan or a dirty old bastard. This is usually only a minor inconvenience, but it can turn serious and stalkerish if not dealt with with a firm manner.

Clique Strength
Loligoths get twice as much bonus from any clothing that they wear that can be construed to be ‘costume’. Cosplayers who dress up as vampire characters can also become ‘Loligoths’ though they don’t necessarily like the term. This is where the few genuinely and obviously male (though bishounen) Loligoths tend to come from and since pretty much everything they wear is costume, they get a truly powerful set of bonuses.


The Agents of SWING deluxe box set is ready and available for purchase.

This is a limited and not-to-be-repeated line of only 10 copies.

2 are being reserved, one for Dragonmeet, one for Indiecon.

The price is £50 + £10 P&P.

First come, first served.

For your money you get:

A hand-distressed, liveried box-file containing:

  • One hardback copy of Agents of SWING (2nd Printing).
  • One copy of the Control Casefile.
  • Five copies of the Agent’s Casefile.
  • Tube of poker chips in red, white, blue, black and yellow.
  • Six ‘Agents of SWING’ pencils with erasers.
  • One ‘flower power’ eraser.
  • One ‘old school’ metal pencil sharpener.
  • One Agents of SWING symbol badge.
  • Enough dice for five players and Control (red, white, blue, black, yellow)
  • A unique adventure seed, written by me for each box.

Everything you need to play, right out of the box.

For purchase details contact me by e-mail
Shiny Pictures

Agents of SWING: DDT (By Ian Warner)





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The Department of Dirty Tricks (DDT)

Agents of swing villains by Ian Warner


“Good men do bad things so you can sleep safely at night.”

Throughout history governments have used deniable organisations to perform morally dubious operations. For all their claims of being better than their enemies there is no Government on Earth today that has not authorised at least one of these “Black Operations.”

As awesome as SWING are at keeping the world safe they do have some standards and lines they will not cross.

The idea of an international deniable asset that deals with dirty work for the good of mankind in general is at least as old as SWING but the history of the Department of Dirty Tricks (unfortunately abbreviated to DDT) is even more shrouded in secrecy by its very nature.

Even the cheerfully informal SWING is a lot better organised and laid out in hierarchical terms than the chaotic mesh of the DDT.

There are rumours of a connection between the two organisations some even going so far as to suggest the DDT is the legendary Section 13. Any Agent who investigates into the connection however doesn’t get far before “accidentally shooting themselves with a gun they were never issued with.” 

The DDT are supposed to be completely deniable so they are unlikely to co operate with SWING operations. However they can become a threat when their operatives go rogue which considering the nature of their operations is more than likely.

The problem is SWING tends to find itself chasing shadows when fighting off the DDTs excesses. Worst still it brews resentment between the two organisations that may well one day spill over into outright war.

SWING may have the numbers advantage but the DDT is full of some of the nastiest murderers, terrorists and criminals in the business.

Good luck Agents!

Scale: Small: Exact numbers are unknown but there are only a few hundred DDT Operatives at most.
Scope: Global: Despite being small these guys really are everywhere. Worst still they could be anyone too.
Arenas: Intelligence, Terrorism, Crime, Law Enforcement, Science, Medicine.
Aspects: We Don’t Exist, Morally Bankrupt
Skills: Secrecy +4 (Neat), Assassination and Information +2 (Hip)
Physical Stress: 5
Composure Stress: 5  
Social Stress: 5

Operative Stockhausen
“If I had wanted to kill your child I’d have just shot her and dumped her in the swimming pool. Consider this a warning. Get Wilson to call me.” 

There is no definite leader of the DDT but its most notorious member is both the main contact and the best field agent.

He appears in his late 60s but he has the vigour, resilience and dexterity of a 20 year old. There may well be something pseudoscientific or supernatural behind this but nobody has ever got close enough to find out.

He appears extremely calm and composed and even in the heat of combat barely bats an eyelid. The “classic secret agent” look of the long coat and trilby hat only serves to accentuate this creepy stoicism to the point where he is almost like an evil ghost Dick Tracy.

Little is known of his background: It is suspected even his name is false. Mossad has a Stockhausen on its list of wanted war criminals but it is unlikely that this is the same one. His old Etonion accent is one of the few things about him that isn’t false.

Name: Classified: Stockhausen is used for convenience.
Concept: Cold killer in a trilby
Aspects: A Man With A Mission, Unscrupulous, “Who are you supposed to be Granddad?”, “Come and Get me You Old Git”, Perfect Murderer, Right Place Right Time, Plays All Sides, Always Armed

+8 (Out of Sight): Fists, Guns, Melee
+ 4 (Neat): Endurance, Intimidation, Resolve, Stealth

Postmortem? This Man is Alive! (Unique): Provided his head hasn’t been completely obliterated Stockhausen can come back from the dead 4 hours after having died by spending a FATE Point.
Army of One: Enemies do not get a ganging up bonus.
Cool Hand: No penalties for shaky hands.
Accidentally Killed Himself while cleaning his Gun (Unique): Stockhausen can spend a FATE Point to rig any Murder he commits to look like a suicide.       

Stress Thresholds
Physical: 7
Composure: 7
Social: 5 

Silenced Pistol +2, Garrotte -1 (Escalates)  

Other Agents
When you fight the DDT you will not be mowing down goons in brightly coloured jumpsuits. You will be playing cat and mouse with Operatives every bit as competent as the average SWING Agent. Hell if the rumours about Stockhausen are true the DDT may even put you up against the dark side of your own personality grafted into a clone or robot body!

Ace of Hearts: The Empty Throne

Concept art for The Golden Lion Throne in Dune.

OK, so whores of the Old West isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but in rattling out Ace of Hearts I also figured that it would be a good way of representing a number of other conflicts where social skills and political capital are the currency of choice rather than violence. An obvious choice for this sort of thing is the scheming and conniving that goes on in the courts of the great and powerful. Everyone’s all politeness to each other’s faces while, at the same time, planning to stab each other in the back and manoeuvring for power.

This is a very short version of what will probably become a more full-blown article in Autopsy. These are guidelines, not a complete game substitute/replacement.

For the purposes of this example The Empty Throne, seat of power for the Imperial Dominion, rests in the capital city of Praxia, atop the Isle of Kings in the storm-tossed coast of Galdran. The Empire’s power is unmatched and unquestioned but the last emperor has died without a clear heir. The players take the place of those who are vying for the position of Emperor and seeking to gain the vacant throne for themselves. Players could take the role of spymasters, nobles, generals, court magicians, anyone who might have a shot – in some fashion – of ascending to the throne.

Victory Points & Game Length

The standard in Ace of Hearts is to play for Players x5 victory points. This is great for the short, sharp, vicious rivalry of the girls in the old west but for The Empty Throne you probably want a longer, more strategic game so I’d say at least Player x10 would be a better way to go.


  • The Palace is the seat of power, to not be seen here is not to be taken serious (Place 10 chips on The Palace)
  • The Golden Lily is a place where the great and the powerful may go to indulge their vice, whatever it might be. Many back room deals are done here (Place 5 chips on The Golden Lily).
  • The Merchant Quarter houses the great trading houses of The Empire and their support, while distasteful, is vital to anyone seeking the throne. (Place 5 chips on The Merchant Quarter).
  • The Cathedral is the seat of the priestly orders. While officially above such petty things as politics, in reality they can swing things one way or another by making their approval or disapproval implicitly obvious. (Place 3 chips on The Cathedral).
  • The Thieves’ Isles form part of the rag-tag band of rocks that seems to follow in the imperial isle’s wake. The people here exercise little power but can be… useful. (The Thieves’ Isles starts with 1 chip).

Angels & Devils
Players can make these up themselves, though I’ll provide for random drawing in the expanded article. Some examples might include:

  • Angels: Beloved of the people, devout, skilled duellist, dripping with gold, honourable.
  • Devils: Keeps the old religion, bastard son, impoverished house, foreign, honourable (yes, that can be both).

Again, a full set of these would have to wait for a complete article in Autopsy. So instead I present an alternative to using the card draw.

Each player makes up five of their own crises, writes them down on a piece of paper and folds it, placing them in a pot. Obviously you’re going to create crises that can be solved with your Angels and backstory, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll draw one of your own crises to deal with or that it’ll bear any resemblance to the crisis you made up by the time it can get to you.

Some examples of crises might include:

1. The Emperor had a bastard son that nobody knew about and he is trying to make his own claim to the throne. If people believe him, if people follow him, then you will not be able to claim it for yourself.

2. The Emperor’s journal says damning things about all of you and has fallen into the hands of the Bard’s Guild. All your chances could be dashed to pieces if they start to sing songs or tell tales from the dead Emperor’s memoirs.

3. The Courtesan, Lady Amshaar, has the ear – and other body parts – of many of the most influential courtiers at court. She knows this puts her in a position of power and influence with regard to the succession and has been making overtures that she’s willing to put her weight behind the right candidate, if he can win her favour.


The full and proper announcement – with some pictures and so on to whet your appetite – will come on Monday. They’re all 95% prepared now though so I can tell you precisely what you’ll get for your money.There are only ten sets. One is being saved for Indiecon and one for Dragonmeet leaving eight for general sale.

  • Hand-distressed and SWING liveried blue box containing…
  • Enough dice for five players and Control (red, white, blue, black and yellow).
  • Poker chips for FATE points (same colours).
  • Five copies of the Agent’s Casefile for your players.
  • One copy of Control’s Casefile for Control.
  • Six Agents of SWING branded pencils.
  • Pencil sharpener.
  • Flower Power Eraser
  • Agent’s of SWING badge.
  • Individual adventure seed, unique to each box.

General Update

For some reason I always thought this picture was from Whoops Apocalypse because to me, it just looks ridiculous.

Let’s give you a general update on what’s going on here at Postmortem.

  • Over and above everything else I really want some people to help with volunteering. So please go and check out THIS post. A good number of people said they’d like to help with demos and things but I’ve only had a couple of bites so far. I’ll try to make it worth your while as best I can. Primarily I’m after people who attend cons and so on and can do games there, but people involved in online gaming via sites and products like Infrno are also sought. I just don’t have the time to do this kind of stuff AND promote, layout, write and everything else. I’m essentially at the very limit of what I can do as a one-man-show, even with the part-time help of a few kindly people.
  • I’d remind you I’m also looking to hook up some deals with other small publishers and direct deals with hobby stores. You can read about that HERE.
  • You can get the cool, groovy, hardcopy version of Cthentacle on proper, awesome cards. More info HERE.
  • I’m concentrating on shorter projects and products for the most part. So there should be a steady flow of ‘stuff’ while longer stuff comes together bit by bit.
  • Big projects currently being worked on are PROJECT, a semi-secret project called Gilder and a social-gaming project I can’t get into too much.
  • Supplementary material for Courtesans and others are in the works, which I’ll have to layout, but that does mean they should be coming along fairly soon.
  • Additional SWING material is in the works, Nefarious (the villains supplement), and Gosh, Spies! (young girl investigators and spies). There’ll be more along as we move forward and likely more adventures, given Snake Eyes has done well.
  • Autopsy 3 will be the last themed and regular formatted Autopsy magazine. After that we’ll be going landscape and using it to polish up and extend blog articles – as well as extra articles – collecting them together and giving them some polish to make them more worthwhile and available for people.

Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Wormlings

I’ll probably end up writing a few of these and these are sketchy first-pass concepts for what might end up being a ‘book of monsters’. Not a bestiary, but rather a book of strange and individual creatures with attached legends and lore to inspire their use in one-off adventures.


The old miner coughs a sticky black mess into his handkerchief and leans closer.

“‘Course, the real reason the baron closed the mine ain’t got nuffin’ to do with the gold being tapped out. There was plenty down there last time I was down in the depths. That ain’t it at all. Times of yore there were many peoples besides the ones you know, more than the elves and the dwarves and the short-folk. As man rose up they retreated, into the Earth, into the woods, into the dark and hidden places but you search too far, you dig too deep and sometimes you’ll find them.”

The wrinkled old man unbuttons his shirt, his skin puckered and sagging like a turkey’s neck. Even despite that you can see the crude scars and toothmarks that pock his skin. “They came out of the dark and the deep and they made it darker and deeper. They swallowed up men twice my size in moments and cut them to pieces, dragging them into the earth to their deaths…” He sighs and looks wistfully into the fire, his eyes losing their glitter. “…at least I hope so.”

He turns back to you and buttons up his shirt again, the log fire crackling and sparking as he does so. “We collapsed the mine, but they’re still down there. Riddling the mountain with their tunnels like maggots. It’s only a matter of time before they dig this far and then… and then you’ll all know.”

The ground seethes and wells up like a great boil and then collapses back with a scent of wet earth. Darkness writhes like a living thing out of that pit and amongst it can barely be seen glittering eyes, sharp teeth and pale, serpentine white limbs that writhe like maggots in the dark. A tide of darkness and teeth unfolds from the earth, spilling like a living fluid in every direction and devouring everything before it.

Wormlings attack en masse as a great, cohesive group. They attack under cover of their darkness and in overwhelming force. They die easily, but there’s always more of them. You can beat them back but they well up from the ground in greater and greater numbers from the black stones that mark their home in the Earth. They undermine and tunnel, creating pit traps, dragging their enemies down and never attack senselessly. Wormlings are a force of nature, their numbers and their strangeness in the dark is what makes them a terrible foe, not their individual strength – which is lacking. They’re as merciless as the tide and know no language, trade, surrender or deal.


AC: 14
Hit Dice: 1d8 (5hp)
Attack: +1
Movement: 120′ surface, 10′ burrow.
Number of Attacks: 2
Damage: 1d4 (hooked bronze daggers).
Morale: 8 (Even when driven off, they only
Special Abilities: Unnatural Darkness, surrounded by writhing, living shadow that grants +2 AC in the dark and can only be dispelled with artificial or magical light.