#RPG #TTRPG #WeirdHookMonth – Traction

218393aff895e6f7aaec50bd80702a91--traction-dashboardsThe Hook

Twenty years after everything electrical stopped working, the chance discovery of a working traction engine in an old shed gives your family a chance to see a larger, wider world. The machine could also run pumps, agricultural machinery and more – which makes it hotly desired.

Suggested System

BRP, Twilight 2000, Interlock, GURPS.

#RPG #TTRPG #WeirdHookMonth – Parasites


The Hook

Gulped down by a bakunawa, your ship ends up in its stomach only to find a community already waiting to cannibalise your ship and take your supplies. Nobody who has tried to escape has ever managed and you have other, natural, parasites to compete with. Ones that see you as prey.

Suggested Systems

BRP, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Victoriana.


#WeirdHookMonth #RPG #TTRPG – Antidisestablishmentarianism


You’re a group of witch-finders in a Steampunk British Empire. You receive black book funding through the Church’s status as the official religion. Black Magic Industrialists are manipulating government to disestablish the Church. They must be rooted out to save the Empire!

Suggested System

Basic Roleplaying – a hard-edged system, suitable for fighting against hopeless odds (powers Call of Cthulhu).

Art by Hugo Richard


Call of Cthulhu – Lost Folklore


Trigger Warning: Tentacles (non sexual)



Legend has it this drove five editors and one art director insane.

Judge for yourselves.



Putting Skyrim into a Tabletop RPG

I’ve been playing and enjoying Skyrim a great deal, as a great many people have. One thing that I particularly like is the near total irrelevance of the levels (they’re really unnecessary, you could work stamina and health upgrades into the perks system) and the ability to customise your character simply by DOING.

I found myself wondering how you could recreate this feel on the tabletop and a couple of obvious inspirations leapt to mind. Dragon Warriors uses fixed damage in a way that would work quite well but the most obvious system to recreate a Skyrim experience on the tabletop is BRP/RuneQuest/Legend/OpenQuest and all its ilk.

You would need to change a few bits and pieces and you would need to expand the basic rules to an heroic scope by introducing a perk equivalent (Legend/RuneQuest already did this to an extent) but what I would suggest is using a skill threshold of 50% with every five points above that skill level granting a Perk point and with perks spent to provide specific bonuses and heroic qualities.

It would take a lot of work to produce Perk trees for every relevant BRP skill, but as a vague sort of thought along those lines, here’s my Skyrim character rendered into BRPesque system, though with some alterations along my own lines towards a system change I’ve also been considering. Two birds, one stone and all that…


Race: Breton
Gender: Male
Handedness: Right
Height: 5’8″
Weight: 155 lbs.
Age: 35

STR: 10, CON: 12, SIZ: 11, DEX: 12, APP: 14, INT: 13, POW: 10, EDU: 14

Hits: 3 (NB: This is the other change I was on about, all combat becomes single roll, Crit = Dead, Special = Out, Hit = Hit, Miss = Miss. Tougher characters can take multiple hits before upgrading to ‘Out’).
Toughness: 10% (35%) (NB: The single roll is a combination of hit/wound chance based on the resistance table. A character’s toughness helps protect them from harm).
Wound: 5% (NB: Weapons have a ‘wound’ value, that is their chance of scoring a ‘Hit’ as a wound. Stronger characters get a bonus).

Effort 50%
Stamina 60%
Idea 65%
Luck: 50%
Agility: 60%
Charisma: 70%
Know: 70%
(NB: Derived stats experimentally become skills, like any other) 

Bargain: 20 (45)
Etiquette: 10
Fast Talk: 20
Persuade: 30
Status: 10
Craft (Armourer): 30
Craft (Weaponsmith): 30
Craft (Enchantment): 10
Craft (Alchemy): 30 (50)
Fine Manipulation: 30 (50)
Sleight of Hand: 10
Appraise: 10
First Aid: 10
Gaming: 5
Literacy: 20
Insight: 5
Listen: 20
Research: 5
Sense: 20
Spot: 20
Track: 20
Climb: 20
Dodge: 20
Hide: 30
Jump: 20
Stealth: 30
Swim: 10

Brawl: 10
1H Weapons: 30
2H Weapons: 5
Thrown: 10
Bows: 40 (60)
Shields: 5
Light Armour: 25 (NB: Armour skills are used for putting them on under duress, and to govern armour perks).
Heavy Armour: 0

OOOOO Fortune’s Favour – Luck Reroll x5
OOOOO Charmer’s Bargain – +25% Bargain bonus
O Bow Kill +1% crit chance.
OOOO Bonus Bow Damage +20%

FIST – Wound 20%
HEADBUTT – Wound 20%
KICK – Wound 20%
SHORTSWORD – Wound 40% Iceblade: +5 wound chance, target loses an action next turn if hit, Shockblade +5 wound chance, target loses 1 magic point if hit.
Dwarven Longbow – Wound 45% (65%, Crit +1), Soul Draining – On a kill drains magic points into Soul Gems.

Mask of Krosis – Armour 10% Halve perception skills, +20% Fine Manipulation, Craft (Alchemy), Bows.
Fine Hard Leather Armour – Armour 15% -5% Physical Skill penalty.

Other Tips for Skyrimming Your BRP

  1. Average damage on hits, only circumstances (surprise/backstab) or criticals/special hits increase damage. Standard hit – average damage, Special hit damage +1, Critical hit double damage. EG: Longbow – 6/7/12 – Perks can increase this)
  2. Magic Points regenerate at one per turn, specific spells in specific fields draw hit and damage from skill, specific effects to specific skills.
  3. If you wanted you could introduce Stamina Points (from Con) that could be used to power more powerful physical/attack Perks. Also regenerating one per turn.
  4. Let people increase their HP/MP using Perks as well as by increasing stats.
  5. Don’t forget blessing bonuses, magic item bonuses etc, though these tend to be basic and workmanlike unless attached to epic and legendary items.

The Laundry: Black Dawn Eureka

I’ll be running some games of The Laundry soonish and the running theme that I’m going to tap into is the informational substrata of the books. The idea of mathematics and informational structures tapping into higher and lower dimensions and bleeding through into the ‘real’ world. Magic, in The Laundryverse, is the manipulation of information to invoke effects, similar to ideas such as description theory or simulated universes.

Of great concern in The Laundryverse is the potential for information to travel quickly through the internet or for nasty things to be invoked more easily as computing tools become more powerful and more ubiquitous. People have been able to cast ‘magic’ for centuries however, using their minds, pencils and paper and various theatrical tools. As information technology has expanded, so people’s access to information has expanded. There’s another factor that has ramped things up though, there are simply more people in the world, over six billion.

Six billion human brains, capable of processing at 100 petaflops, exposed to an informational soup  of books, film, television, random inspiration, lessons, fashions, perceptions. Simply by chance new information structures that press at the thinning barriers of reality are going to turn up and this is only going to be more the case the more people are exposed to information. We’re bombarded with information from all sides whenever we’re awake so, like the chemical soup that lead to self-replicating proto-cells this informational soup is going to turn up informational replicators. Supernatural Memes. Informational life that can perpetuate itself by imprinting itself on other minds.

The Laundry refers to the threat of these spontaneous Supernatural Memes as Black Dawn Eureka.

Common forms of these memes turn people into ‘zombies’, vectors for the meme to be passed on to others. This can manifest in extremely simple ways or can be more complex, manifesting as cults or nascent religions. Black Dawn Eureka incidents are extremely hard to contain and control and can threaten to spread very, very quickly.

The following stats are for a simple supernatural meme, a spontaneous idea that infects and subverts minds.

Alter the statistics of an infected person as follows:

STR +1 (Emotional context and limiters on behaviour are lessened. They are no stronger, but they don’t hold back).
CON +1 (Damage registers as information, not pain, making the infected tougher).
POW +1 (The infected are tapped into the informational dimension and are imbued with leaking energy and will).
DEX -1 (The meme is informational and not used to being physical, it is uncoordinated).
CHA -1 (The meme is simplistic and incapable of truly complex thought).
INT 1/2 (Divide by 2 and round up – the overwriting causes damage to the existing mind).
SIZ – (Unchanged)
EDU 1/2 (Divide by 2 and round up – overwritten mind causes loss of memory).
HP +50% – (See Con)
SKILLS 50% (Divide by 2 and round up, due to neural damage)

The infected attempt to pass on the meme by expressing it to others. In this instance by gibbering nonsense and repeating the key phrases and concepts over and over. This is rolled as resistance using the infected’s Cha Vs the target’s Pow or Int (Whichever is highest). Once infected the target slowly loses their individual mentality and becomes another meme vector.

It may be possible to cure the infection with electro-convulsive therapy, surgically induced amnesia or extremely high doses of psychoactive drugs that disrupt the normal processing of the mind.

For inspiration, and just because it’s brilliant, you should watch Pontypool

Meanwhile, just be careful of any ‘bright ideas’ or ‘sudden realisations’ that you have.