Loosely, and probably incorrectly, that translates to ‘Black Kabbalist’. They’re one of the Hunter groups detailed in the back of Actual Fucking Monsters. The main book doesn’t go into a tremendous amount of detail, but the idea is that this order of Kabbalists and their supporters came about during WWII to deal with supernatural threats to the Jewish people that existed alongside the very human monsters we’re all familiar with.
Some inspiration was taken from 2000ADs ‘Fiends of the Eastern Front’, particularly ‘Stalingrad’, the more modern story illustrated by the brilliant Colin MacNeil.
In the modern age the Schachr Mequbbãl are a black-operations group buried deep within MOSSAD, hunting down Nazi Monsters (many of which were immortal) and new supernatural threats that abound both within and without Israel.
The practice of Kabbalah is forbidden, and said to curse one in the eyes of god, but these select few are willing to make that personal sacrifice for the sake of their people.
I’m not one for ‘sensitivity reading’, this is fiction, but it does occur to me that I know quite a few Israelis and Jews who will be far more familiar with Jewish folklore than I am. Everyone knows about the golem, but I’d like to include some other things. Anyone got anything cool to add as a ‘kickassery reader’?
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:
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nightlife has a lot of powers that can be easily recreated from the Monster Powers in AFM. Some, however, aren’t as straightforward. You can also consider these a bit of a dry-run for some additional powers in a companion book for AFM.
If you have any questions or queries about Actual Fucking Monsters, or Power or Monster Profile (or enemy!) requests. Let me know in the comments or message me on social media.
Acid Vomit You can vomit a stream of acrid fluid, out to a distance equal to your Acid Vomit rating in metres, halved. It reduces one die type of insanity every two turns (keeping the original attack roll) until it has all reacted out. A single human-sized target can be engulfed by the power.
Astral Projection You can leave your body and float, psychic and invisible, through the world. You trail a long astral tether back to your own body and can engage with other psychic and astral entities while in this form. Your die type’s maximum possible roll provides the maximum number of hours you can be separate from your body and the maximum distance in kilometres (16/36/64/100/144).
Control Weather You can exert power to change the weather around you by spending a level of Satiation. The difficulty to do this is based on the intensity of the current weather and how strongly it fits the current season and environment. If, for example, you’re in England and it is raining (a light drizzle) in the Autumn, then the difficulty to change that weather will be an unchallenging d4/d4. If you’re in the Southern US and trying to avert or dissipate a tornado, the difficulty would be a more challenging d12/d12. You affect an area around you with a radius in kilometres equal to the highest possible roll on your Monster Power die type (4/6/8/10/12 km). Stopping the eye of a hurricane or a tornado will have an effect on a far broader surrounding area, of course.
weather control you can shift the weather by one degree of intensity,
and another degree for every two points you beat the difficulty by.
To create a new kind of weather you must first reduce the current
intensity to nothing, and then build the new intensity. The default
weather depends on where you are, but is ‘the usual’. In Britain, for
example, it would be ‘overcast’.
Rain Intensity Levels: Spotting, Drizzle, Rain, Heavy Rain, Hammering Down.
Sun Intensity Levels: Bright, Intense, Dazzling, Sweltering, Heat Wave.
Fog Intensity Levels: Faint,Wispy, Misty, Foggy, Can’t See your Hand in Front of Your Face.
Takash is hiding out in a small agricultural village near the border
of Syria. The farmers there are having a rough time due to a drought,
so he uncharacteristically sets out to help. The weather is a heat
wave (d12), and while climate change is playing a role, that’s not
that typical for the area (d8). Takash has Control Weather at d10 and
Occult d8 from his Mask. He dresses it up with a little ritual,
disconcerting the locals somewhat. The weather rolls a difficulty of
12, Takash rolls 15. For hitting 12 he can change the heat by one
degree to Sweltering, for hitting 14 (two points over), he can reduce
it to Dazzzling. At least the irrigation can be more effective and he
can always try again, it’ll be easier now.
Constant draught, lightning
behind your eyes, hair standing on end, clammy skin, glowing skin,
sky blue skin and white hair.
Danger Sense Add your Monster Power die level to your Initiative. You will almost always go first. If ambushed, roll your Monster Power die type in Danger Sense and if you score four or more you are not ambushed and get your turn as normal, on your Initiative turn.
Additional eyes, sensory hairs, twitching motions and turns of the
head, frills that rise in the presence of danger, pounding heartbeat,
Demagogue By spending a point of Satiation and exerting your power over a crowd you can attempt to change or incite a particular mood in a crowd, depending on the intensity of their current mood. This works similarly to Control Weather, but the difficulty is virtually always a d8 (for the average mental resilience of a human being) plus the intensity of the existing emotion.
happy crowd at a rock concert, might be d8+d8 for difficulty. A
furious lynch mob chasing down a Monster that they think killed a
child might be d8+d12. The default mood is passive, and is d8+d8.
Fenwick is ensconced in a crowd at a football match. He needs to
feed and planned to use the cover of hooliganism and violence, but
the crowd is too happy for his liking. He rolls his Monster Power
level (d8) plus his Mind (d10) to try and sway the crowd. The crowd
scores 14, he scores 15 which is only enough to slightly sour their
mood, moving them from happy to amused.
Deep or sonorous voice,
exaggerated expressions, unnaturally large mouth, swollen head,
Direction Sense You have an infallible sense of where you are, no matter what. Not necessarily ‘where’ as in a map or grid reference, or what town or city, but ‘where’ in relation to north, south, east and west and in relation to places you are familiar with. You might know that you’re ‘about ten miles north of home’, for example, but not that you’re locked in the cellar of the Parson’s house in Chickenburg.
Metallic lines on your skin, slightly larger sense organs,
metallic pupils, bird-like twitching.
Drain (Life Force, Blood, Fear, Youth, Pain, Petrification, Heat) This replaces Life Drain with a more generic power that can be used to feed (but not regain Satiation unless the act is also your transgression) and to heal.
You must get a firm grip on your target or have direct eye contact for Petrification, then you can suck the appropriate type of energy or fluid from them. This must be a sizeable living thing such as a person, dog or cow. You roll your Trio, appropriate Skill and Drain dice and beat the target’s Body and appropriate second die. If you succeed you drain the appropriate energy and recover a level of Health.
life force does one level of damage to a target that is successfully
drained, and heals you by that amount. You will also not require any
food or drink for a day.
blood does the same as draining life force, but drained blood –
extracted by whatever means – can be stored. One health die level
is enough for one blood meal. You won’t need to eat or drink on a day
you have a blood meal.
fear causes the target to become irrationally and indefatigably brave
for 24 hours, which is something you might not want to do to a
hunter. It heals you one level and means you don’t have to eat or
drink for a day.
youth causes the target to age a number of years equal to your
Monster Power die roll in making the drain attempt. It regains you a
die level of health and you do not need to eat or drink for a day. If
the ageing process takes them past the age of seventy they take a die
level of damage for that and each five years over. If they’re already
over that age it’s one automatic level of damage and another one for
every five years or part-thereof.
pain causes the target to gain a level of Armoured, representing
their temporary immunity to further torture. They may engage in more
risk-taking and violent behaviour due to feeling invulnerable.
a target rolls Mind+Appropriate Skill for the attack (at -2 if
they’re aware of your power) and rolls damage at its die type as
though it were a weapon. Completely petrifying a person restores a
health die and precludes you from needing to eat or drink for a day.
heat works in exactly the same manner as Drain Life Force, but with
the side effect of coldness and loss of body heat.
Slippage (Youth Drain): Aged appearance, wrinkled and sunken, milky eyes, long fingers, broken yellow nails.
Slippage (Pain Drain): Pierced and twisted flesh, sharpened nails, serpent-like eyes, small horns.
Slippage (Heat): Pale flesh, vapour breath, blue skin, ice-blue eyes.
Empathic You can read the emotional state of another being, at least one that is capable of having or expressing emotion in a noticeable way. They must be within line of sight and in order to read them you make a Monster Power and Mind roll against the target’s resistance (Mind plus any appropriate training). Succeeding lets you read their overall emotion, while every two additional points of success gives you a bit more nuance or deeper reading into that emotional state.
example, while questioning someone you could attempt to read their
emotions in order to get a better angle on how to question them or
gauge their reactions. In this situation a simple success would let
you read that they were nervous (no, d’uh), while another degree of
success could allow a read of underlying reticence, holding something
back. Another degree of success on top of that could allow the
reading of the spike in emotions when a particular question upsets
Golden halo, glowing aura,
kaleidoscope eyes, deformed head.
Flight Through wings or some other manner of power you can take flight – but cannot hover, at least not for long. Your Flight die determines the maximum height and speed at which you can fly. 16/36/64/100/144 kilometres per hour or metres in height. You can carry one extra person with you, so long as your Flight die is higher than a d4.
Bat wings, angel wings, small feathers in your wake, your feet never
quite touch the ground, constant draught.
Heart Attack You can reach out towards someone and cause their heart to stop working, to spasm and fit, crippling them and doing damage to them. You must be within ten metres of the target and be able to gesture with your arm to enact the power. You roll your Power Die + Mind against their Body, if you succeed they are reduced to one action per turn for the duration and take a single die level of damage to their health. You can maintain this effect over several turns, continuing to cause damage and keeping the target relatively paralysed. So long as you continue to succeed you gain an accumulating +1 bonus to the roll each turn.
Heightened Sense One of your senses is heightened to an abnormal degree. You can add your Monster Power die to rolls relating to that sense (sight, touch, hearing, smell, taste). This can also allow you to perform remarkable feats relating to that sense, reading microfiche with the naked eye, feeling the thread count on a cotton sheet, hearing a conversation a block away, smelling the particular constituents of someone’s scent or tasting hints to the provenance of particular foods.
Distorted or enlarged sensory organs relating to the sense involved,
or additional or strange sensory organs like antennae, cilia or
Necrocommunication You can communicate with the dead. This requires the expenditure of a point of Satiation, and the presence of all or part of the deceased (a fistful of ashes is sufficient, provided it is mostly from the deceased rather than wood or something else used to burn them). Those who have died a violent or unjust death are easier to summon, while those who have died a peaceful death are harder. The relative violence and unjust nature of the death sets the intensity of the difficulty (d4-d12) while the amount of time they have been dead for determines the other dice of difficulty. D4 for days, d6 for weeks, d8 for months, d10 for years and d12 for any longer than that. Only the spirits of humans or Monsters can be raised in this way, and not if their soul or spirit has been otherwise claimed.
Reanimator You can raise the fleshy corpse of a person or animal, provided it still has sufficient muscle mass to move, even if it is old or mummified. This Zombie has d4 in everything and d4 in the Armoured Monster Power. It can perform even complex tasks, so long as its master is close by (25 metres) or so. Raising a corpse requires that you spend a level of Satiation, maintaining it in undeath also costs a level of Satiation every 4/6/8/10/12 days, depending on your die in the power. Unsupervised zombies revert to an animalistic and feral state and seek to devour living flesh. If they can kill – and feast – they can maintain their undeath for another 4 days.
Grey pallor, milky eyes, green mist surrounding you, glowing green
gaze, twitchy motions, cold flesh.
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.
‘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
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.
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.