#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 #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 – 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 – New Stock Art Partner – Rob Necronomicon’s Dark SF&F

Welcome ‘Rob Necronomicon’ to our stable of stock artists with his two collections – Dark SF and Dark Fantasy.

These gritty, highly stylised and grim images can be yours to use in your personal and professional projects, subject to the attached license.

This art can be bought and downloaded from our POST-MORT store, or from RPGNOW/Drivethrurpg. Singles will be available on the latter site – at a higher cost than buying a bundle – on an ongoing basis.

#RPG – Soon… (soon being a relative term for me)

AFMfront

Grimdark: The Missing Material

stephen-noble-risev2

Due to a busted laptop I wasn’t able to finish D&D Month last month, the theme of which was ‘Grimdark’. To make up for that I present the missing material to all and sundry, free of the Patreon ‘paywall’ I had put up. These entries are not adjusted for the proposed ‘Grimdark’ rules, so that they’re more immediately usable to people who play 5e D&D.

Rat_SwarmCarrion-Fat Rat Swarm

A squeaking, hissing tide of rats grown sleek and huge and fat on the flesh of the dead. They have a taste for it now, and scramble over each other in their eagerness to feast – on you.

Large Beast, Unaligned
Armour Class 12
Hit Points 63 (14d8)
Speed 40 ftStr 14 (+2), Dex 15 (+2), Con 11 (+0), Int 2 (-4), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 3 (-4)Senses: Darkvision 60 ft, Passive Perception 10
Challenge 1/2 (100 xp)
Damage Resistances: Bludgeoning, piercing, slashingCondition Immunities: Charmed, frightened, paralysed, petrified, prone, restrained, stunned
Keen Smell: The Rat Swarm has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
Swarm: The swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a Small creature. The swarm can’t regain hit-points or gain temporary hit points.
Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 0 ft, targets in the swarm’s space take one attack each, Hit: 15 (2d8+6 piercing damage), or 11 (1d8+6) if at half hit-points or lower.

markus-neidel-rattenkonigRat King

A twisted little knot of seven rats, bound together by their knotted tail, a fierce and defiant intelligence radiating from their beady red eyes.

Small Beast, Unaligned
Armour Class 14
Hit Points 32 (7d6+7) When reduced to half their starting hit points, the Rat King dissolves and is replaced with three ordinary rats.Speed 20 ft
Str 5 (-3) Dex 14 (+2) Con 12 (+1) Int 5 (-3) Wis 13 (+1) Cha 7 (-2)
Senses: Darkvision 60 ft, Passive Perception 11
Challenge 1 (200 xp)
Keen Smell: The Rat Swarm has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
Telepathy: Rat Kings can communicate telepathically to any intelligent being within their line of sight without the need to share language. They can communicate with and observe other rats telepathically within a mile radius.
Intelligence: Rat Kings are about as intelligent as the moderately retarded. They have an IQ of 40-50, can understand language and perform tool-using and work tasks but struggle with more abstract or detailed thought.
Rat Control: The Rat King provides advantage to any and all rats within its line of sight during combat, including swarms. Rats and rat swarms are capable of (low level) human-intelligence actions and tool use when directed by the Rat King.
Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft, Hit: 2 (1d6-3 piercing damage).
Psychic Attack: +3 1d10+1 damage, Wisdom Save vs DC 13 or stunned for one round. The Rat King can make one physical and one psychic attack each turn.

guillem-iborra-bosc3

Hunter’s Mimic

Your arrow sings through the air and flies true. The elk lows, arrow crimson with blood, jutting from its neck. It topples and you approach, knife in hand to cut the arrow free. Then it erupts, a mass of tentacles, teeth, hooks and guts. A gibbering horror of gnashing ribs and palpitating organs, lashing itself to you and pulling you into its jaws.

Medium Monstrosity (shapechanger), neutral
Armour Class 10
Hit Points: 58 (9d8+18)
Speed: 40 ft in disguise, 0 ft when ’emerged’.
Str 17 (+3), Dex 12 (+1), Con 15 (+2), Int 5 (-3), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 8 (-1)
Skills: Stealth +5
Damage Immunities: Piercing
Condition Immunities: Prone
Senses: Blindsense 60 ft, Passive Perception 11
Challenge 2 (450 xp)
Shapechanger: The Hunter’s Mimic can use its action to transform its appearance into that of a deer or similar prey animal, or can freely assume its monstrous form without using an action. It reverts to its monstrous form if it dies.
Clutching: The Hunter’s Mimic clings on to anything that touches it with myriad tendrils and rasping teeth. A Huge or smaller creature clutched by the Hunter’s Mimic is also grappled by it (escape DC 13). Ability checks to escape this grapple have disadvantage.
False Appearance: While Hunter’s Mimic retains its animal form it is indistinguishable from that animal.
Grappler: The Hunter’s Mimic has advantage on attack rolls against any creature it has grappled.
So Many Teeth: Melee weapon attack, +5 to hit, reach 10 ft, one target, Hit: 8 (1d10+3 piercing damage, plus 4 (1d8) slashing damage.

min-nguen-min-castle

Baseline Zombie

A shambling creature, raised by an unnatural plague to seek the flesh of the living.

Medium Undead, neutral
Armour Class 8
Hit Points 22 (3d8+9)
Speed 20 ft
Str 13 (+1), Dex 6 (-2), Con 16 (+3), Int 3 (-4), Wis 6 (-2), Cha 5 (-3)
Saving Throws: Wis +0
Damage Resistances: All damage types save those that specifically target undead.
Damage Immunities: Poison
Condition Immunities: Poisoned
Senses: Darkvision 60 ft, Passive Perception 8
Languages: –
Challenge ¼ (50 xp)
Headshot: A player can aim for the head, incurring a -5 penalty to their attack roll, but the damage is not reduced by the zombie’s damage resistance.
Grab: Melee Weapon attack, +3 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target, hit 1 bludgeoning damage and grappled (escape DC 14).
Bite: Melee weapon attack on grappled target with advanntage, +3 to hit, reach – grappled target, hit 2d6+1 slashing damage and a chance of infection, Constitution save DC 13.

Zombie Plague

When someone is bitten by an infectious zombie they must make a DC 13 Constitution save or contract the disease. The DC increases by +1 for each individual bite they take during an encounter – so keep track. Each hour the infected individual must make a DC 13 Constitution save (unmodified) or suffer a level of Exhaustion, starting from level 1 as the disease takes hold. Each failure advances the Exhaustion level by 1, each success reduces it by one. If it is reduced to zero then the disease is shaken off. If it gets to 6 then the infected person dies, and rises in 2d12 turns as a new zombie. If a character severs their bitten limb, the DC is reduced to 10.

The following are templates you can add to the zombies in order to customise them. Each one applied raises the Challenge level one level (¼ becomes ½, ½ becomes 1, 1 becomes 2 and so on). Every two increases, raise the zombies hit dice by 1.

Fast Zombie

Move +10 ft
AC +1

Attacks +1 to hit

Rotten Zombie

The zombie gains the following effect:
Squishy Guts: Each time the zombie is struck, anyone within 5 ft of it must make a Dexterity Save against a DC of 13 or suffer 1d4 acid damage and a chance of infection equal to a bite.

Dry Zombie

Increase the Zombie’s hit dice by one and its AC by 2.

Fungal Zombie

The zombie is symbiotically intermingled with a fungus or mould, its fruiting bodies erupting from the rotting flesh. Choose a fungus and give the zombie one of its special effects (EG Shriek, from Shrieker fungus).

If you cannot choose a generically mouldy corpse gains 1 hit dice and a secondary poison attack from its bites and grapples. DC 13 from a bite, 10 from a grapple, or suffer the poisoned condition – though this will pass with an hour or so’s rest.

Skeletal Zombie

+5 ft Move
+2 AC
+1 Attack

Fat Zombie

+1 Hit Dice and +4 HP per Hit Die (instead of +3).

Reduce all incoming damage by 1, after applying damage resistance.

Intelligent Zombie

Increase the Zombies Intelligence by +1. It can now use simple weapons in a haphazard fashion, instead of grappling – if it so chooses. Also increase the Zombie’s perception rolls by +1 – including Passive Perception.

Virulent Zombie

Increase the DC of the Zombie’s plague by +4