#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters – Example Character and Combat

‘Malkash’ – Jack Cohen

‘Malkash’ was serving his conscription duties in the IDF as part of the border patrol when they were ambushed in an IED explosion and a fusilade of gunfire. Malkash lay dying of his wounds when something crawled out of the darkness and began to feast on his fallen squadmates. It began to rip at his flesh as well when a backup patrol finally arrived, scaring the creature away. Recovering from his wounds Malkash found that he, now, was hungering for human flesh and went AWOL to understand his new nature.

Nature: Predator d6 – Cannibalistic
Creation: Those Who Are Made (Twist of the Nephilim)
Trio: Mind: d6, Body: d10, Spirit: d6
Mask: Soldier D4
Skills: Athletics D8, Rifle D8, Krav Maga D8
Initiative: 14

Trio: Mind: d6, Body: d10, Spirit: d6
Mask: Soldier D4
Skills: Athletics D8, Rifle D8, Krav Maga D8
Initiative: 14

Satiation: d12 – d10 – d8 – d6 – d4
Health: d12 – d10 – d8 – d6 – d4

Monstrous Powers:
Argot d4: You can communicate in any language that is spoken or known. Forgotten languages, runes, codes or symbols require a Mind/Mask/Argot roll to decipher, depending how ancient or obscure they are. This power even extends to encrypted files, which you can understand simply by viewing the raw data (with a roll).

Camouflage d4: You can alter your skin, hair, nails and other aspects of yourself, even your clothing, to match the colours and texture of your surroundings and hide. You add your Camouflage dice to any attempts at stealth, hiding or sneaking. This is powerful enough to render you almost invisible.

Claws and Teeth d6: You have natural weapons, long razored claws, sharp fangs, an armoured tail, spines or quills, body nodules, whatever they are you roll your Claws and Teeth as damage, just like a weapon.

Slippage
d8 Constant Babbling
d6 Rippling, shifting flesh.
d4 Permanently showing claws and fangs.

Bane: Stone weapons and strikes do an additional d8 damage to you.

Armour: Leather jacket and heavy duty work trousers: 1

Bug-Out Bag
Cash: $400 in notes, change and gold.
Clothing: Spare socks and underwear, poncho.
Cooking: Hexamine stove with mess tins and spork.
Firestarter: waterproof case of twenty-five, strike-anywhere matches.
Food: Tinned food, enough for nine meals as well as three chocolate bars.
Light: LED torch.
Map: Book map of the country (low detail), compass.
Medicine: First aid kit, superglue, one-hundred strong painkiller tablets. Power: Solar phone-charger.
Sleeping Gear: Sleeping bag and small tarp.
Storage: Twenty fifty-litre heavy duty bin bags, thirty zip-lock freezer bags.
Toiletries: A roll of toilet paper, a bar of soap, toothbrush and toothpaste.
Tools: Lock knife, multitool, duct tape, paracord.
Water: Three two-litre bottles.

Example of Combat

Malkash is feasting on a fresh kill, deep in the occupied territories. Word of this monster preying upon the people has spread, however, and as he feasts a pair of impromptu beast-hunters burst into the house, shouting “Allahu akbar!”

Malkash has an Initiative of 14, while these men have an Initiative of 14 as well. Because Malkash is a player character, he gets to go first.

Turn One
Malkash moves quickly to attack the first man, moving in and attacking them twice.

His first attack rolls 8, the second 6. The man he’s attacking hasn’t taken a turn yet, so only gets their basic defense. They roll 14 and 11, dodging both attacks as Malkash’s claws rip the air close to them.

The first man is hemmed in, in the doorway, and struggles to defend himself, letting off a couple of shots. While his pistol is a ranged weapon, he’s using it in melee combat, and so the difficulty to avoid the shots is not increased. The first man rolls 6 and 11 for his attacks and notes he has +2 defense until his next turn. Malkash rolls 6 and 11 to dodge, which means these blows actually hit, but with no additional damage. The pistols are medium calibre doing d6 damage, which, when added to 0 results in two hits for 5 damage each.

Malkash rolls his Body to reduce the damage, with an additional +1 from his battered leather jacket. He rolls a 1 (2) and a 5 (6). One shot passes through the sleeve of his jacket and the other grazes him. After reduction it does 3 damage, which amounts to a single Health level, reducing his Health die from d12, to d10 – which is now the maximum die type he can roll.

The second man daren’t fire into the melee without taking aim, he stands in the back door and spends two actions aiming, giving him a +2 to hit, which offsets the -2 penalty for firing into melee. For his attack he rolls 11.

Malkash rolls 9, -2 for trying to dodge bullets, which puts him at 7.

The attack hits by 4 and rolls 1 damage for a total of 5.

Malkash rolls 3+1 for 4 to reduce the damage, leaving 1 – which doesn’t harm him.

Turn Two
Another turn rolls around, Malkash concentrates all his effort into a single, aimed attack against the man he is engaged with. Malkash rolls 8+2 for his extra actions for a total of 10.

The first man rolls 8 in defense, and is struck for 2 damage.

Malkash adds his Claws Monster Power, rolling a 6 for a total of 8.

The man rolls 3 on his body, reducing this damage to 5.

He drops two die types of health from the attack, down to d8. This first man is terrified, not having truly anticipated a monster. He tries to break off from melee, spending two additional actions for defense. He rolls 7+2, for a total of 9.

Malkash ‘defends’ himself from this with a roll of 13, getting a vicious attack of opportunity as the first man tries to break free. There’s a difference of 4 to which Malkash adds a roll of 6 damage for a total of 10.

The first man rolls 2 for his body, reducing this to 8 damage. That’s still enough for his health to drop four die types from its current d8, enough to kill him, tearing his throat out.

The second man panics, seeing his friend drop and lets fly with three shots. He scores 8, 11 and 7 to hit.

Malkash scores 12, 5 and 6 to dodge.

This means that the first shot misses, and the other two hit for 6 and 1 damage respectfully. Adding the damage die for the gun raises this to 10 and 6.

Malkash rolls his body to reduce the damage, scoring 10+1 (11) and 7+1 (8). The shots go wide, ripping more holes in his jacket.

Turn Three
He snarls and leaps over the table, to negate the cover the second man has. He uses his remaining two actions for two claw attacks, rolling 7 and 14 respectively.

The second man defends himself, scoring 12 and 7. He ducks under the first claw but gets hit by the second.

The claw rolls to add damage onto the existing 7, raising it to 12. The second man reduces the damage by 1 with his Body roll, reducing it to 11. As a result he takes 5 die type levels of damage, knocking him unconscious. Malkash spends a level of satiation to heal the harm he has taken, and feeds on all three bodies to replenish his satiation.

#RPG #AprilTTRPGmaker – Spelunking in an Ideological Septic Tank

Introduce Yourself
Hi, I’m Grim. I’m an ageing gothabilly, a 20 year veteran of the RPG Industry and I freelance and self-publish. My company is Postmortem Studios.

Describe your work
Stylised and exploratory games that are focussed mostly on genre emulation. I’m neither entirely in the storygame camp nor the traditional game camp. System matters and I like to either choose or create a system best suited to the game in question.

Key to your making process?
Inspiration, whatever grabs my attention at the time. The things that interest me. That can come from films, television, comics, politics, conversation.

Favourite type of game scenario
Dramatic, high stakes, slow build up.

Character or Worldbuilding?
If I’m creating games, then obviously worldbuilding is the primary focus. Characters are for players.

Long or Short RPG texts?
Whatever’s appropriate. I tend to think these unnecessarily huge books are unnecessary. Efficient text, appropriate to what’s required, seems like the best way to go.

How to increase accessibility?
Profit margins are so low that there isn’t really a way to increase accessibility. I am currently recording an audiobook of the 5e SRD, but it’s not exactly setting the world on fire. Generally speaking RPGs are already massively accessible. They’re cost-effective as a form of entertainment, so long as you can read and do basic mathematics you can play and they’re customisable by default.

Favourite Collaberators
I prefer to do everything myself. I’ve had bad experiences with collaberations. Diluted vision, over-enthusiastic editing and being overridden by another participant.

How do your games distribute power amongst the players?
I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about.

How are your games dismantling colonialism?
The colonial era ended in the mid-to-late 20th century, depending how you define it and what you consider a colony. My games can’t dismantle something that no longer exists, plus – they’re games. They couldn’t anyway. Colonial era fiction and tropes are excellent sources of inspiration for games though, conflict, adventure, exploration. I wouldn’t want to cut myself off from such a rich source of storytelling.

Shoutout an underloved Creator
Venger Satanis has an outlook to games that’s somewhat similar to mine and he gets a lot of unnecessary hate for being such a chill dude.

How to make a work inclusive?
I don’t think a work has to be inclusive, the focus should be on maing a good story. In trying to make games appeal to everyone, or include everyone, you can get a lack of focus and games can become homeogenous, interchangable and dull. Ironically the indie games scene which is often thought of as more inclusive, often has very tightly focussed games that aren’t at all inclusive. Night Witches, for example, is only women. Only soviet women. Only WWII. As mentioned earlier, RPGs are – by their very nature – inclusive and customisable, which is why they’ve always had a very diverse fanbase, albeit with a predominance of nerdy men.

TL;DR – RPG design doesn’t have to be inclusive, it doesn’t necessarily make for better games. People can play things other than themselves – and should. That’s the whole point.

Participate in Streamed Games?
It can be difficult due to timezones and commitment issues, but I do run them. WFRP at the moment.

How are your game mechanics and characters intersectional?
They’re not? Intersectionality descends into oppression olympics and I can’t see how game mechanics or character generation would have any crossover with intersectionality. Intersectionality would inevitably mean a dilution and dispersal of story tropes, and if I wanted to make a political point it would undermine it. The closest I get is Privilege Check, which is designed to demonstrate the flaws in intersectionality.

Favourite Tropes to Subvert?
My work’s mostly more about expressing those tropes. They’re a powerful set of storytelling tools and undermining them all the time can backfire (see The Last Jedi). The closest I get is, I suppose, trying to challenge people to examine their presuppositions, as in The Little Grey Book.

How does your environment inform your work?
I live in an idyllic countryside setting, close to the landscapes that inspired Tolkien, Lewis and Adams (Watership Down). So my work rebels as a reaction to that by tending to the post-apocalyptic, the urban, the horrific. I don’t tend to like traditional fantasy or the glamourisation of the agrarian life.

How does your identity inform your work?
I don’t really know what’s meant here. ‘Identity’ seems to mean something different to me than it would seem to to the author of this challenge. Sexuality, gender, race, these aren’t things I regard as identity. Identity – to me – is more what you do than who you are. I find the other approach rather bigoted and judgemental. My work is influenced by some of my innate traits, but that’s different to identity. I self-identify as a rebel, a libertine and a challenger of orthodoxy and that influences much more.

What are some underlying messages in your work?
Individualism, cooperation, mutualism, voluntarism, anti-identitarianism, creativity, sexuality, freedom, free-thinking.

Favourite themes to explore?
Sexuality, ethics, alternative cultures and assumptions, the primacy of fun.

A game you want to make that you think no-one would play?
Well I thought that about Gor, but it has been rather popular. I kind of think nobody will want to play Actual Fucking Monsters when it comes out, because it’s a game you always lose, but we’ll see.

What external factors do you struggle with to create?
An increasingly intolerant, authoritarian and censorious social atmosphere that insists on everything being ‘woke’, and the constant attacks, lies and misrepresentations from that sphere. I mean, just look at these questions!

How are you working to improve the RPG industry?
Resisting the incursions of censorious authoritarians, just as I did during the Satanic and Vampire Panics.

Mentoring/Being Mentored by?
I mentor a few people, I offer paid consultations for new indie RPG makers.

Favourite RPG thing to create?
The setting.

A rad diversity consultant?
No such animal. Pointless parasites.

Favourite Online Community?
My Discord.

How do you market your work?
Who on Earth has a marketing budget in this industry? Blog posts, social media, word of mouth and obliging moral entrepreneurs.

What tools help you create?
Critics 😛

Exciting 2019 RPG trends?
Boutique games perhaps? I’m not sure exactly in what way that’s exciting, it could be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s interesting at least.

If you were in charge of the RPG industry, what would you change?
Even more robust pushback against the moral entrepreneurs and their gatekeeping. RPGs should be open and available to everyone, but no individual game has to be for everyone.

#RPG #Art – ZelArt Scholarship Winner Announcement!

And the winner is (after many trials and tribulations)…

Morgyn McDonald!

Morgyn’s piece depicting a sexy, smoky genie or djinn is now available for purchase (to support next year’s scholarship) at RPGNOW.

Don’t forget, you can also support the scholarship by buying other scholarship supporting art. There’s even a megabundle of the first 100 pieces.

You can also support monetarily during our year-end funding drives, or by donating art to be sold to support the scholarship.

Who are you? Where are you from? Where can people find your work?

My name is Morgyn McDonald, I am a 22 year old Métis Canadian Graphic Artist living in the Greater Toronto Area.

Where did you hear about the scholarship fund?

I was scrolling through my Twitter when I saw a friend of mine share your grant and I immediately jumped at the opportunity.

What made you take the leap to enter?

As a creator who has only recently started trying to get into the industry I feel like I am scrambling to apply everywhere for every opportunity I can get to gain exposure. I just want as many eyes on my creations as possible, you know?

Can you confirm that you’ve received the money?

Absolutely! Everything went smooth as butter and I received the grant without a single issue via PayPal. Thank you so much for this opportunity!

What do you intend to spend the money on?

RENT. Oh my gosh, rent and groceries is all it can go to at this point. I am trying my hardest to get my name out there in hopes someone might need my brand of imagery in the world of digital art and design.

Will you help us spread the word next year?

Absolutely, I would love to share the chance!

If people want to contact you to commission some work, how can they do it?

My email is MapleBaked@hotmail.com and my username is @Sokawahtik on Twitter.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I would like to encourage new artists to seek out chances to join competitions, draws and contests whenever and wherever they can. Any opportunity to share your creations is a chance to make waves! Luck and light to all.

My email is MapleBaked@hotmail.com and my username is @Sokawahtik on Twitter.

#RPG – Company Statement on Zak Smith

People are asking anyone and everyone with even the slightest historical or current connection to Zak Smith to denounce him, due to allegations made against him by his former girlfriend, Mandy Morbid and two other women in a Facebook post. These allegations are serious, and if true we denounce his actions as would any decent human being.

If true.

At Postmortem Studios we strongly believe in the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The basic logical principle that underlies this – the burden of proof – is also a foundational basis of science and we do not believe things without evidence. All we have, at present are accusations.

We also believe in the right to reply, which Zak has not yet exercised.

In light of the absence of facts or an admission of fault (at point of writing), we cannot consider him guilty, nor treat him as such. That said we had no plans to work with Zak in any case, and this is in part due to personal differences and obnoxious behaviour towards us on Zak’s part.

Of course, being obnoxious doesn’t make you guilty of anything else.

This situation does, of course, throw up all sorts of other issues, but they’re more properly addressed elsewhere.

In short, we don’t know if the accusations are true, and while we will no longer be defending Zak we do not believe a mere accusation is sufficient reason to censor and deplatform everything anyone has ever done, nor to punish their associates and co-authors for his, alleged, actions.

Zang.

#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters

I’m currently working on a couple of things, Metacards (systemless RP prompts to encourage roleplay and verisimilitude) and Actual Fucking Monsters, my spasm of disgust against the humanisation of monsters and the ‘pussification’ of vampires, werewolves and other monstrosities, inspired in part by Nightbreed (Cabal) and intended as a reaction to the lack of actual fucking horror present in most modern horror RP, TV series, films and so forth.

Rules can only do so much, the way you play a game – or are encouraged to – can also make a huge difference. In the advice section I lay out five ‘pillars’ that are meant to guide playing Actual Fucking Monsters.

Push the Envelope
Every player, including the Games Master, should be seeking to push the envelope of horrific and stomach-churning action that takes place in the game. In a time when so many games are bending over backwards to be overly considerate about people’s feelings and to protect them, this is meant to be like a roller coaster or a horror film. It’s meant to terrify and disgust each other – for fun.

There are Consequences
Everything you do in the game will come back to bite you on the arse in some way. You eat a child to fill your satiation? The mother tracks you down, even when the police give up. People see your monstrous visage and it goes viral on the internet. The sheriff comes after you, then the state police, then the feds, then monster hunters and witch burners. Everything you do comes back.

There is no Redemption
This isn’t a story about redemption or a cure. There is no spiritually pure path and probably no insight into the lore of your people. It is a downward spiral into despair and death and an inevitable bad-ending. This is Near Dark, not Interview with the Vampire.

Everyone is Awful
Nobody is good or pure or nice in this world. Every cop is a womaniser, a racist or an alcoholic. Every parent beats their children or never sees them. Every friend is a betrayer, every lover will cheat on you, everyone is out for themselves or out to get you. If you scratch the surface there’s nothing but darkness beneath.

Everyone Dies
There’s no ‘winning’ in this game. There’s no grand adventure. The world is reactive to everything you do and eventually, it all catches up to you. That’s the story here, and you ‘win’ by being an antihero, transgressing morality, pushing buttons and dying a spectacular death.

#RPG – Postmortem Studios Update Jan-Feb 2019

Don’t forget you can get discounts on our work by subscribing to support us at Patreon, Subscribestar or Minds.com.

Firstly and most importantly we are seeking entrants to the Darkzel Art scholarship

Hello everyone, I hope you are all doing well? It’s lovely and snowy here for the first (and possibly only) time this year. We don’t get that many snowy winters any more so I’m enjoying it as much as possible.

It’s a new year and that’s usually a time of setting out plans and ideas. So I’m going to do just that.

Firstly and most importantly we are seeking entrants to the Darkzel Art scholarship.

DARKZEL SCHOLARSHIP

We have a $500 fund to give away to a deserving genre artist. That is, anyone in art education (college or university) or hard-up in some way (functionally homeless, transitioning, long-term unemployed or otherwise struggling. If you’re not sure if you qualify, you almost certainly do).

This prize money will be distrubuted (preferably by Paypal) at the end of February. So you have until the 28th of February to submit your argument as to why you should be supported, and a sample of your art.

Some quick guidelines:

  • Any submissions need to be 300-600 dpi and 1/4 page (US Letter or A4).
  • Black and white or colour is acceptable and will not affect your chances.
  • Awards are decided on a combination of talent and necessity.
  • You MUST be a genre artist, that is SF, fantasy, horror and so forth.
  • You may submit multiple pieces.
  • Your art will be re-sold as stock art, giving you exposure (I know…) and the opportunity to work with other RPG companies, as well as helping to fund next year’s prize.
  • If you want to help you can donate art in support of the project, donate money for next year’s fundraiser and you can spread the word.
  • Entries and additional information grim@postmort.demon.co.uk

POSTMORTEM STUDIOS WEBSTORE


Yes, I’m going to be talking about this a LOT.

I have a brand-shiny-new web store set up at POST-MORT.COM which you should all bookmark and to which I’m going to try and drive more and more sales to get out from under the censorship problems and cost associated with using third parties such as Onebookshelf.

I’m also hoping to provide a home for risque, edgy and other badwrongfun material on my site while taking a relatively small percentage (compared to existing sites). This is not a ‘doors thrown open’ thing, but feel free to approach me if you make horror/risque/edgy or otherwise thematically appropriate material (audio, video and fiction/non-fiction too) and we’ll see what we can work out.

WORK PLANS

Last year was a bit piecemeal, which got a fair bit done – more than I would otherwise have managed – but wasn’t especially satisfying.

I’ve also learned to be a little bit less of a control freak and to let other people play with my babies. The Gor adventures that have resulted – built around skeletal outlines and ideas from me – have sold fairly well, and paid for themselves in terms of the extra cost incurred to make them. That being the case I’m likely to continue in that vein, and perhaps open up other support material projects to others.

I don’t want to write cheques my arse can’t cash, so anything that isn’t ‘done’ or ‘in production’ you can’t guarantee to happen any time soon. That said…

Complete or ‘In-Process’

  • Fantasy/Satire Novella: Alice through the Garbage Grinder
  • Horror/Death spiral RPG: Actual Fucking Monsters
  • Video Education/Advice Course: Grim’s Guide to RPG Publishing
  • Videocast: Inappropriate Characters (this will continue to be built this year)
  • More adventures for Tales of Gor.
  • Metacards: A roleplaying and verisimilitude enhancement system for any RPG.
  • Regularly streamed games at Postmortem Video, probably starting with Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4th Edition.

Almost Certainly Upcoming this Year

  • Modern Horror RPG: BLOOD! 3rd Edition.
  • Kung-Fu and Sixguns RPG: Setting Sun.
  • Grimdark – A set of ‘hardcore’ and nasty rules for 5e D&D.
  • As yet unnamed, necropolis ‘megadungeon’ for 5e D&D, this will be crowdfunded.
  • Thematic ‘RPG Tools’ sets – dice, dice tray, dice bag etc along particular themes and styles.

OPPORTUNITIES & SERVICES

There are opportunities to work with or for Postmortem Studios on various projects and services or assistance that we can offer.

Opportunities

  • We are looking for writers familiar with the D6 system (OpenD6, WEG Star Wars) and the Gorean works of Jon Norman to continue to provide engaging and knowledgable supplementary material.
  • We need t-shirt models to help with promotions and sales of our line of apparel and would like to have more cooperation with cosplayers and the broader nerd-sphere fanbase.
  • Got a game to promote? Want to discuss topics around RPGs, games, nerd media or want to argue with me about them? Great, get in touch and we’ll do a livestream to talk about these things on Postmortem Video.
  • Artist? We can help you sell your stock art to the RPG publishing community.
  • Sell edgy/dark/risque or gonzo games or fiction? We’re looking to add you to our storefront.

Services

  • Basic editing/readability service.
  • Book trailers and video advertisements for your games/books.
  • Voiceover work.
  • RPG Industry/Game Design/Sales consultancy.
  • Freelance writing, copy writing, game design.
  • Ebook covers – Many people create very simplistic covers with terrible font choices and don’t make the most of the art they use. Even five minutes of professional oversight can give you a much more attractive and professional looking cover.

#RPG – Market Research – Thematic Play Sets

What would you be willing to pay for a complete, coordinated set of RPG accessories/tools?

Would include:

  • Complete polyhedral dice set (Metal)
  • Dice bag
  • Foldable rolling tray
  • Deck of cards
  • Tokens

ANSWER HERE