#TTRPG – Wightchester Preview – Firearms

YOU CAN READ ALL OF THIS ON MY PATREON, FOR AS LITTLE AS $1 A MONTH

Firearms

The fourteenth century was the time in which gunpowder weapons first saw widespread use in Europe, beginning with cannon and simple explosives. By the seventeenth century things had progressed a considerable way from those early, dangerous weapons.

The matchlock was the oldest form of firearm still in use during this period. Prior to the matchlock weapons were fired by directly applying a match or burning taper to a powder-strewn hole atop a cannon or hand cannon – somewhat awkward and necessiting one-handed aiming of a rather cumbersome weapon. The matchlock held a burning taper or match within a mechanism which, when the trigger was pulled, touched it to a flash-pan of priming powder which would, in turn, ignite the charge. Matchlocks were susceptible to the weather, spilled powder from the flashpan, misfires and other issues but remained in use, in the form of muskets, right through the English Civil War and its aftermath.

The wheellock was a development from the matchlock, using a spring-loaded wheel, scraping against a fragment of pyrite (or similar material) to generate sparks, which would then ignite priming powder, and in turn the main charge of the firearm. The wheellock was rapidly replaced by the snaplock, snaphaunce, doglock, and finally the flintlock, all of which used flint and steel – and sometimes primer powder – to ignite the main charge.

The final evolution of this firing mechanism, and one that would be used for two whole centuries before being discarded, was the true flintlock, first developed in 1610 and used by the elite forces of the New Model Army, typically in the form of carbines and other cavalry use firearms, due to the relative simplicity and reliability of such a gun (many were water resistant and weren’t at risk of spilling their primer powder).

Because of the slowness of reloading weapons, even the more efficient flintlock, a number of innovations were made to compensate. Weapons with multiple barrels were constructed, which could be fired one shot after another, all at once, or even in a rapid volley, one shot after another. Barrels could be clustered together to fire a devastating volley, spread out to shoot in a broad spread or mixed with close-combat weapons such as hammers, axes, swords and knives. Some even had revolving barrels, able to fire multiple shots and even of having their revolving drum swapped in and out – an early version of a magazine. Some gunfighters would wear multiple, holstered pistols, drawing and discarding (or sheathing) the pistols as they were expended and reloading them all before the next battle…

#TTRPG – Wightchester Preview – The Rise of Science and the fall of Superstition

YOU CAN READ ALL OF THIS ON MY PATREON, FOR AS LITTLE AS $1 A MONTH

The Royal Society was founded in 1660 and immediately gained the new King, Charles the Second as its patron. The Royal society grew out of the Invisible College, a looser collection of natural philosophers associated with the Rosicrucians (itself a rather opaque and possibly fictional esoteric order). It was also influenced by The Republic of Letters (made up of philosophical penpals) and other, similar, fledging societies and academies around the world. It was, however, The Royal Society that set the standard and which became the future model.

Largely made up of physicians and natural philosophers, many from amongst the idle-rich, gentleman scholars of the time, The Royal Society, in its earliest years, was made up of the giants of the New Science. Discovery after discovery came along in a rush, experiment after experiment, bringing on European science, mathematics and medicine in leaps and bounds.

Despite being one of the nails in the coffin of superstition, many of its most enlightened fellows were also enamoured of superstition or turned aside by their religion. Newton was a genius, no doubt, but also wasted a great deal of effort on alchemy and ritual magick. He even ceased progress on his understanding of gravitation because of his belief in God and a mechanistic, ordered universe. Without his superstition, he may have given us relativity many years ahead of Einstein.

In the world of Wightchester, Newton is the star of The Royal Society, his open mind and superstition allowing him to fuse mysticism with science in his attempts to understand magic and the undead, even stooping to the most unnatural experiments. Only his genius and closeness to the King gives him immunity to the prosecution and torture that awaits most other experimenters.

Some of the most important members of the society in this period include:

William Ball

A founding fellow, and the treasurer of The Royal Society until 1663, Ball was well known for his observations of Saturn, and may have even discovered the Cassini division before Cassini. Injured after a bad fall in 1660, he suffered from ill health ever-after, though this didn’t stop him having a clutch of children with his wife, Posthuma. In reality he was forced to step back from science because of his ill health and having to manage his estate. In the world of Wightchester the abnatural events have given him hope of miracles, of a cure for his infirmity, and he has returned to his studies with particular interest now moved to comets, like the ones that heralded the rising dead.

Jonathan Goddard

A skilled physician who tended Charles the First during his incarceration, and who was present for the death of Cromwell, Goddard was also a wealthy shipbuilder and a frequent collaberator with other natural philosophers. His experiments with Hunyades in distillation inform his current work in Wightchester’s era, trying to extract and distill the essence of what raises the dead, to isolate it so that it can be subjected to proper experimentation…

#TTRPG – Wightchester Preview – The Early Modern Period

YOU CAN READ ALL OF THIS ON MY PATREON, FOR AS LITTLE AS $1 A MONTH

The Early Modern Period

The Early Modern period runs from around 1500 CE through to around 1800 CE. It encompasses a period of great change, the earliest aspects of industrialisation, the widespread use of gunpowder and the advent of genuine science as a discipline. Wightchester is set in 1667, the year after the ‘Annus Mirablis’, a time after The Restoration and The English Civil War, a year after the last major gasp of the Black Death, a time that was already one of upheaval, even without the interference of the supernatural.

Our timeline combines these real events with our fictional city, and the powers of the supernatural alongside the ever-advancing capabilities of science.

Military Tactics

As we are concerned with England, we are primarily concerned with the advances in tactics that came about during The Civil War. A large part of what won the war for Parliament was Cromwell’s creation of The New Model Army and these innovations would last beyond Cromwell and the Commonwealth, and would spread beyond England.

The New Model Army was a professional, full-time military. It was not connected to any single, particular area and was expected to travel anywhere in England, Ireland, Wales or Scotland. Its leadership was based upon merit, not station, and lords and nobles were banned from being officers within it. It was recruited from military veterans, and filled out with conscripts who shared certain political or religious points of view, allowing them to unify in common cause. Without loyalty to Crown or to Parliament the New Model Army was unfettered, but also free – as it happened – to prop up Cromwell’s dictatorship.

Standard gear and centralised planning meant that the New Model Army was (relatively) well paid, equipped and fed. Especially when compared to the patchwork levy deployed by the Royalists. At the same time a common man, who was brave and clever, could advance in the ranks, while amateurs of ‘good breeding’ were often removed from positions of leadership. The rough, common, and frequently drunken, nature of the army had the added bonus of scandalising the nobility.

The New Model Army made extensive use of elite horse troops, with regiments of horse acting with extreme discipline and dragoons armed with flintlock carbines at the very cutting edge of the technology of the time. This cavalry could move fast, reload at speed and was able to hold their nerve far more stongly than the royalists.

This cavalry was supported by massed ranks of pikemen and matchlock-armed soldiers, who could unleash devastating volleys of fire.

The footsoldiers were, in turn, supported by artillery.

Beyond their elite and technologically advanced regiments of horse and their common cause and professionalism, the main advantage of the New Model Army was in its logistics. Provisioning and pay was seen as paramount, and on extended campaigns each man carried seven days of rations and one sixth of a six-man tent (six men forming a ‘file’).

This professional, disciplined military would dictate the shape of the small, professional, meritocratic nature of the British military, though the leadership would be replaced by ‘donkeys’ in the intervening years up to the first world war.

Religious Upheaval

In England in this period, and before, religious upheaval was more the norm than the exception. The Church of England emerged in the same period Protestantism was rapidly expanding and, perhaps, made England more receptive to reformation and democratisation of faith.

Part of the reason for the English Civil War was the perception of Charles the First as being a ‘papist’ and revulsion and hatred for Catholicism ran rampant. Catholics were blamed for the Great Fire of London, Jews were subjected to abuse and pogroms and anything more exotic was simply misunderstood or dismissed as heresy.

The gilded nature of the Catholic Church and the dissolute nature of the monarchy in the time of Charles the First led to a serious backlash. Wealth was looted, radical protestants formed the core of the proto-socialist revolutionary movements and during the Commonwealth era dancing, theatre and other forms of ungodly behaviour were banned under the aegis of puritanical religion.

With The Restoration came a backlash to the backlash, a riot of colour, noise and celebration. Many who had fought in the Civil War were still dour and disapproving, many of them leaving to form their own, more godly communities in the New World.

It was a time of cults, heresies, the wedding of political and spiritual concerns and of terrible religious hatred. What witchcraft and heresy went on in the shadows must have been truly extreme, given what went on in public.

Political Upheaval

Ever since the arrival of The Black Death, Europe was subjected to political upheaval. Lords were forced to allow serfs to travel and settle, craftsmen were able to demand more in exchange for their services and more power was devolved. Not to the people, of course, but to lesser nobility and aldermen from amongst the expanding middle class. The horrendous truth was that the mass death of their fellows was of great benefit to the survivors.

This trend continued with each return of the plague, the rise in literacy and education, the democratisation of religion and the ever-expanding middle class, finding its ultimate expression – at the time – in the proto-socialist, agrarian movements and religious cults that arose. Some of these persist, even today, in radical and puritanical sects of protestantism.

This would, perhaps, culminate in the French Revolution, but in our period the greatest expression, and the greatest disappointment, was the rise of Cromwell and the Parliamentarians. Cromwell successfully united various radical groups under his banner, and those who supported Parliament over the Crown.

Combining this unified movement against privilege and domination, Cromwell – like so many revolutionaries – failed to live up to his promise or the radical demands of many of his followers. Instead Cromwell would set himself up as a dictator and would attempt to create a new dynasty by installing his son as his successor. That did not go well, resulting in The Restoration and the ascent of Charles the Second to leadership of Britain.

As with the much earlier Magna Carta, while the King returned to the throne, royal and noble power was never as strong again, setting the stage for the constitutional monarchy system that rules the UK even today, with the Queen reduced to a purely ceremonial role.

Even so, in the period that Wightchester is set, many disaffected radicals remain, along with religious and political communes.

Baptists

The Baptists were a radical religious movement at the time. Today we associate them with established, fundamentalist churches – primarily in the United States – but at this time they are mostly still to be found within Britain. The Baptists began from a seed of Puritan separatists from Holland. Their beliefs were primarily centred around the practice of baptism, and the idea of a general and universal possibility of redemption stemming from faith, rather than works.

Despite their fellow radicalism, the Baptists were soon divided between Calvinist (Particular) and non-Calvinist (General) factions. Both expanded rapidly through a period of religious liberation in the 1640s, finding many new members amongst artisans, farmers and in the New Model Army. Both were virulently anti-tithing and against education.

The Particular Baptists hove to Calvinist predestination, and were absorbed in a desire to be respectable and well-regarded, whereas the General Baptists were more strongly evangelical and anti-clerical. The Baptists – both wings – ended up being more moderate and cooperating with Parliament, but this moderacy did not save them from repercussions in the post-Cromwell world…

#DnD – EroTech Gazetteer 004 RELEASED!

Exclusive PDF available ONLY at Post-Mort.com

The EroTech Gazetteer series expands on the world from the Tabletopless streams on Plexstorm. A – sometimes tongue-in-cheek – D&D setting of magical technology and stultifying order, where rebellion and sexuality go hand in hand.

In this issue you will find out more about the mysterious city of Vimana, learn the lore of the Khatsi (and how to play them) as well as facing a bevy of monsters, many of which have a bit of a naughty streak to them.

Check out our games almost every Wednesday, at midnight UK time, over on Plexstorm.

#DnD – The Nauga

The nauga are a rotund, waddling creatures about the size of a bear, with pointed ears, wide saucer-eyes and pointed, twitching, cat-like ears atop their heads. Their tongue constantly lolls out of their terrible jaws, tasting the air like a snake, hunting for berries, fruit, mushrooms and carrion. Dark brown in colour, and with a bald, leathery hide, the nauga is found in temperate, deciduous forests, sheltered by mountains where the high humidity helps keep their hides flexible and hydrated. In winter they hibernate, but it is not the deepest of sleeps and if roused they can be frenziedly hungry.

This foolish looking creature is almost extinct, having been hunted relentlessly for its hide, which serves especially well for making armour and waterskins.

Naugahyde Armour
Uncommon, Mundane item
Leather or hide armour made with naugahyde has +1 AC and confers resistance to cold and water effect magic. It is not considered a magical item and does not need to be attuned.

Nauga

Large monstrosity, unaligned
Armor Class: 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 66 (7d10 + 28)
Speed 40 ft.
STR 18 (+4) DEX 12 (+1) CON 18 (+4) INT 4 (-3) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 7 (-2)
Skills: Perception +3
Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages: Understand Common
Challenge: 3 (700 XP)

Special Traits
Keen Sight and Smell: The nauga has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight or smell.
Resistances: Cold (and wet, damage from the impact of water spells or effects is halved).

Actions
Multiattack: The nauga makes two attacks: one with its jaws and one with its constricting arms.
Jaws: Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 10 (1d10 + 4) piercing damage.
Arms: Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: (1d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage. The target is grappled (escape dc 14) Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the nauga can’t constrict another target.

#RPG #DND – In Memorium, Larry Flynt

A tireless free speech fighter, Flynt was a divisive figure but also very important. In a time that is ever more censorious and prudish, his death feels like a big loss – even though printed pornography has possibly never been less relevant.

His death really seems symbolic of the death of freedom that we all once shared and celebrated.

In memorium, here is Lorin Flint, adventurer, bawd, businessman and talent scout.

Special Notes:

Lorin Flint rarely goes adventuring any longer, rather he scouts for ‘talent’ for his best-selling series of erotic illusions, scrolls and live-scried sex-dungeons. He has the aesthetic taste of a colourblind magpie and is completely devoted to freedom (and hence, chaos).

  • Lorin’s wheelchair is gold (orichalcum) plated and provides a +3 bonus to any rolls made that involve the wheelchair, whether for him or his assistants. These include trying to haul himself up stairs (Athletics DC 20) down stairs without falling (Athletics DC 15) or maintaining control while rolling downhill (Athletics DC 15). Lorin has to use the wheelchair because of a terrible injury recieved in a battle with a foul orc, when he was in his mid thirties. A band of hags he had wronged exploited the opportunity to curse him and make the wound permanent.
  • Lorin’s wheelchair is an actual wheelchair, not something silly like a hovering one that provides all kinds of absurd magical bonuses to the point where normal adventurers would use them instead of walking. Lorin treats stairs as impassible terrain, and anything other than a smooth, flat surface as difficult terrain – including cobblestones. With the help of an assistant he can tackle this terrain more easily, treating it as one level of difficulty lower.
  • Lorin’s wheelchair can be used to store equipment, adding 50% to the amount of weight he can carry without suffering encumberance levels.
  • Lorin’s handaxes are +2, magical, and completely coated in orichalcum, a magical form of gold that will not tarnish or chip.
  • Lorin’s chain mail is +2 and made of the same, gaudy orichalcum.
  • Lorin wears a preserved middle finger on a leather thong around his neck, this is the legendary Digitus Impudicus. Lorin, and any person or item on his person, cannot be silenced by any means while he wears the Digitus Impudicus. It would, possibly, be better used in the possession of a magic user, but he refuses to give it up.

#RPG – Wightchester Preview 2 on Patreon and Subscribestar

The second (very rough) preview of Wightchester is up, in the form of some important and relevant information about the radical political and religious forces at work in England in the 1660s. That period being the (approximate) setting and time period for the book.

Think of it as a ‘bluffer’s guide’ to the Levellers, Diggers, Ranters, Fifth Monarchists, Quakers, Baptists and others at work during the English Civil War and its aftermath.

Patrons and Subscribestars get access to such exclusive previews and material, and access to me for questions and help with their games – or anything else I can help with.

Plus you get to help and support a struggling game designer, writer, videographer and all around lovely chap – me! Hard times have meant some of my larger patrons have had to cancel their support, so I’d really appreciate even a dollar a month to take the rough edges off.

Nobody wants me to start an Onlyfans, trust me.

#RPG – Grimdark: Deadly, Nasty Rules for the World’s Most Ubiquitous RPG RELEASED!

BUY IT HERE!

(Hardcopy will be available soon, technically you can buy it now at Lulu, but I’m waiting on a quality check).

Many fantasy games, if not all of them, follow the lead given by Dungeons & Dragons, and rapidly become superheroic parodies of themselves. This has been especially true of the newer editions, since AD&D Second Edition. It’s great, but it’s not for everyone.

At least not all of the time.

There are many kinds of fantasy, and Dungeons & Dragons’ increasingly sanitised, fluffy, generic, high-escapist fantasy – dripping in magical weapons and character invulnerability, isn’t necessarily what people want.

A Grimdark game is in part made from difficulty. In this context, that has to come from encouraging the players to play tactically and carefully. To do everything they can to swing advantage in their favour. 

It’s also as much about encouraging players to deal with difficult and horrifying role-playing and decisionmaking consequences, all with less resources and power than they might be used to. It also encourages them, when necessary, to run away. 

We need to take that, lustrous, heroic, ‘fantasy-Portland’ edge off 5th Edition’s default rules-set, to amp up the difficulty and make people play more carefully. At the same time, we don’t want to just turn it into an unfair meatgrinder. 

So why not a game designer, literally known as ‘Grim’, to do it?

BUY IT HERE!

#RPG – NEW RELEASES! EroTech Gazetteer 2 and All New Autopsy Issue 2!

Yes, it’s true. You can get the new EroTech gazetteer now, but only directly from the Postmortem Studios store, or by signing up to Tabletopless.

Autopsy, on the other hand, you can buy as an electronic version, or get it in print from Lulu.com

Don’t say I never do anything for you.

#RPG – Satana Station for Machinations of the Space Princess (OSR Space Opera) Released!

Buy the PDF HERE, PoD coming soon!

A runaway space station controlled by a rogue AI.

A haven for scum, pirates, slavers and other ne’er-do-wells, squatting amidst the ruin of the fallen Urlanth Empire, right on the edge of a warzone.

100 shops, services and interesting people for your players to interact with, inspiration for hundreds of adventures and many ideas that can easily be ripped off for other space opera, heavy metal or OSR science fiction games.