#rpg – Actual Fucking Nightlife, Part One – Kin

Nightlife was a much underrated game, by Stellar Games (also known for It Came from the Late Late Show) with great art by my long time partner-in-crime Brad McDevitt (whose art was all over AFM and who also sells stock art through us at Drivethrurpg.

I have tried to approach the guys from Stellar Games on several occasions to seek licensing for this ‘lost’ game, but they have always asked for too much, or more commonly, been unresponsive to attempts to license or or produce a new edition (as I did with Blood!).

I figured it might be fun to provide some bare-bones rules conversions for running Nightlife using the Actual Fucking Monsters system nonetheless, it doing so would also help me explore what additional rules and ideas might go into AFM’s companion book.

So here it is, just a silly fan-blog.

Kin

The Kin in Nightlife were pretty loose anyway, rather open collections of thematic powers and weaknesses. So there’s plenty of scope to use AFM’s completely open system to recreate the Kin breeds found there.

Death and Resurrection

Unlike Monsters in AFM, you can’t outright kill Kin easily. When they die they – usually – resurrect the following night. This is detailed in the Nightlife books, but a Monster in AFM’s rules can only resurrect a number of times equal to their die type in Body (1-5 times) before dying the ‘true death’. Dying from Bane damage, or being dismembered or bodily destroyed will also do it.

General Kin Monster Powers

Ageless, Armoured, Claws & Teeth, Control Weather, Danger Sense, Direction Sense, Drain, Dreams and Nightmares, Extra Sensory Perception, Heightened Sense, Navigate Probability, Sense of Time, Speed, Techno-Invisibility, Tracking.

Vampyres

Those who are Made.
Transgression: Cannibalism/Blood Drinking
Monster Powers: Animal Magnetism, Beast Form (Bat), Hypnosis, Insubstantial, Beast Form (Rat), Beast Form (Wolf), Drain (Blood).
Possible Banes: Sunlight, Running Water, Garlic, Wood, Fire, Holy Relics.

Werewolves

Those who are Born, or Those who are Made.
Transgression: Sadism or Cannibalism.
Monster Powers: Animal Magnetism, Beast Form (Hybrid), Beast Form (Wolf), Drain (Pain), Fearsome, Heightened Sense.
Possible Banes: Fire, Silver.

Ghosts

The Neverborn.
Transgression: Cause Fear.
Monster Powers: Armoured, Camouflage, Drain (Fear), Empathic, Facedance, Fearsome, Frigidity, Insubstantial (In Ghosts, using this power makes them corporeal), Levitation, Telekinetic, Teleportation.
Possible Banes: Cold-Wrought Iron, Fire, Holy Relics.

Daemons

Those who are Born or Neverborn.
Transgression: Corruption and temptation.
Monster Powers: Body Manipulation, Drain (Life Force), Facedance, Fire Breath, Flight, Inhabit, Levitation, Telepathic Projection, Telepathic Reading, Teleportation.
Possible Banes: Flint (stone), Holy Relics, Natural Fire.

Wyghts

Those who are Made.
Transgression: Necrophagy, Necrophilia.
Monster Powers: Drain (Youth), Necrocommunication, Reanimator.
Possible Banes: Sunlight, Silver, Fire.

Manitou (Inuit – even I thought that was a bit much)

Those who are Born.
Transgression: Pranks and tricks.
Monster Powers: Animal Magnetism, Bedlam, Camouflage, Harm Transference, Heart Attack, Levitation.
Possible Banes: Fire, Holy Relics.

Animates

The Neverborn.
Transgression: Sadism.
Monster Powers: Body Manipulation, Demagogue, Drain (Life), Hypnosis, Telepathic Projection, Telepathic Reading.
Bane: Sunlight, Fire, Antipathy.

#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters – Some Clarification

Hello all,

I figure I might do a companion booklet for AFM, with some rules variations, clarifications and ideas. Ideas for longer, ongoing campaigns, ideas for playing as hunters, rather than monsters, some new Monster Powers people have suggested and so on.

If there’s something you’d like to see covered, leave a comment here on or social media and I’ll see what I can do for you here, before I fully put it together for the companion.

Here’s a few things that have come up from readers and players already…

Slippage

Apparently this wasn’t clear enough, but Slippage (the physical/material manifestation of your powers and Monster nature) kicks in involuntarily when your Satiation drops below a certain level. Place the slippage from each power in order (typically from least to most obvious manifestation) matching to each die type of satiation from the bottom up.

EG:
d4 – Cloud of Sulpherous Mist.
d6 – Fanged maw.
d8 – Red skin

Masks

Most of the time it’s anticipated that your Mask describes your human ‘cover story’, or what you do or did before you became or Monster, or besides being a Monster. Some Monsters might feel that they no longer need a cover identity or can do without one, or were never really human in the first place.

In those instances a standard Mask might not be appropriate. Masks don’t have to be these human identities or tasks, you can use them in these instances, like a secondary nature, or to describe what kind of Monster you are in some more explicit terms.

Example: Mr Thinner is a manifestation echo of The Slender Man. He has never been human and in addition to his Stalker Nature, he decides to take Sinister as his Mask, with the skills Intimidation, Stealth and Persuasive under it.

New Power – Dormancy

You can subside into a state of hibernation or dormancy and rest, maintaining your Satiation for longer but rendering you – to all intents and purposes – comatose until the end of your dormancy. Depending on the power level you can awake (and roll for Satiation loss) every 5/6/8/10/12 days, or part thereof decided by you when you hibernate. While dormant you are insensible (until and unless harmed) and cannot defend yourself. Your metabolic activity, body heat and so on are also virtually imperceptible during this time.

Slippage: Slabs of body fat, coated in webbing, mucous ooze, chitinous fragments.

#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters RELEASED!

Aren’t we all just a little tired of shiny, brooding, romantic, tragic monsters with their ‘woe is me’ whining and carrying on? ‘Monsters we are, lest monsters we become’. Well, fuck holding onto your humanity. If we’re going to be monsters, let’s be Actual Fucking Monsters.

Drawing inspiration from works like Nightbreed and an endless array of 80s horror flicks and their revivals, Actual Fucking Monsters is a game of monstrous creatures doing horrible things and being tracked down and destroyed for it. You don’t win, you live fast, leave a bloody swathe in your wake and then are cut down by the forces of vengeful humanity.

Is that fun?

It sure as shit is.

BUY PDF HERE

BUY POD HERE

#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters preview, Monster Hunters

In AFM the background is mostly implicit, rather than explicit. The GM and the characters will create the (unreliable) lore of the world as they play. Even so, I felt some areas needed a little more definition. Monster hunter groups are likely to play a big role in any game that lasts long enough. The Inquisition is SO played out, so I went further afield looking for inspiration…

DEEP ORG

When Monsters are hurting, they can reach out for help, just like humans do. Monsters are usually not fortunate enough to find a helpful therapist and don’t often retain much in the way of contact with their families. If they don’t learn how to be self-reliant or can’t find some other way to exorcise their demons, they may well fall victim to cults, ‘occultism’ and pseudo-religions.

Some Monsters have found themselves unlucky enough to run afoul of a particular cult. This cult, primarily based around wealth and celebrity, has long sought some way – any way – to meet the kinds of promises it has made to its members. Monsters have provided that way, along with evidence of the supernatural and a dangerous enemy.

The cult believes that Monsters are thieves of the powers and abilities that humans should have at the highest levels of the cult. They consider Monsters to – by and large – be ‘exograms’, Frankenstein’s Monsters of bad experiences and soul fragments, bound around supernatural powers that are the birthright of ‘cleared’ humans. When they hunt Monsters, it is to destroy the exograms and free the powers.

The hunters from this cult are called ‘Deep Org’ and are secret, even for a cult that loves its secrets. The Org reports directly to the Chairman of the cult and is led by The Commander – a title that replaces their identity. The Commander oversees around fifty Deep Org agents around the world all of whom have a long history of loyalty to the cult and have some military or law-enforcement experience.

Type: Human NPC
Trio: Mind: d8, Body: d8, Spirit: d10
Mask: Fanatical Cultist d4 (Cult Teaching d10, Melee Combat d8, Firearms d8)
Powers: Arrogant self-confidence is a strange idea of a power, but members of Deep Org truly believe they are superior and to an extent that self-belief makes it true. Each member can choose a +1 bonus to one of their Trio on every roll that includes it. They often also believe they have other powers, such as immunity to poison and disease, telepathy and other psychic abilities. They don’t actually have them, just believe that they do.
Gear: Deep Org has access to firearms and equipment around the globe, safe-houses and top-notch legal representation as well as several large yachts and other vessels. They tend to dress in variations of navy or marine uniforms, or nautically themed attire such as blazers and deck shoes. They typically arm themselves with heavy automatic pistols, such as the Colt .45 and carry bags, cuffs and other kidnapping equipment. Their specialised EM meters can often detect Monsters, but only with skin-to-skin contact.

#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters Preview for Supporters

Actual Fucking Monsters – the RPG of unrepentant, monstrous transgression (the cover is a fake-out) – is now finished as a rough draft, and that first draft is available to people who back me on Patreon or Subscribestar (along with a whole host of other things like disount codes).

You can back me for as little as $1 US a month, or more, and this helps give me the space and funds to pursue better games, better art, more video creation and the possibility of podcasts in the future. You get access to me for support, questions, suggestions, video topic suggestions and more.

If at all possible, please back me on Subscribestar as I need a certain amount of subscribers and a certain amount of cash to be able to cash-out from there.

#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 – 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.