#Starfinder: Starfinder Month: Integrated Systems Environment Armour

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Art by Andrew Arzia

Integrated systems are an armament company based on the frozen moon of Gelida. Colonists there have had to deal with some of the harshest environments in the cosmos, but settled there to explore and to identify the life that exists beneath the icy crust. With every join and module a potential weakness, their environment suits are designed as a single whole with full integrated systems – efficient, but unable to be modified further.

ISEA Squad: Level 12, Cost 35000, EAC +17, KAC +13, Max Dex Bonus +7, Armour Check Penalty -, Speed Adjustment -, Upgrade Slots 0, Bulk L, Comes fitted with Gray Force Field, Mk 2 Thermal Capacitor, Radiation Buffer and Tensile Reinforcement.

ISEA Elite: Level 15, Cost 250000, EAC +20, KAC +16, Max Dex Bonus +8, Armour Check Penalty -, Speed Adjustment -, Upgrade Slots 0, Bulk L, Comes fitted with Green Force Field, Mk 2 Thermal Capacitor, Radiation Buffer & Tensile Reinforcement.

ISEA Specialist: Level 20, Price 2050000, EAC +24, KAC +20, Max Dex Bonus +9, Armour Check Penalty -, Speed Adjustment -, Upgrade Slots 0, Bulk L, Comes fitted with Prismatic Force Field, Mk 3 Thermal Capacitor, Radiation Buffer, Tensile Reinforcement, Backup Generator and Close Combat Computer (Ignore penalties to close combat attacks).

Prismatic Force Field 2 (2), Mk 3 Thermal Capacitor 1 (3), Radiation Buffer 1 (4), Tensile Reinforcement 1 (5), Backup Generator 1 (6), Close Combat Computer 1 (7)

IS Combat Picks

Primarily meant as an aid to climbing and capable of penetrating even Gelida’s super-dense ice, the IS Combat Picks have also become a weapon of choice for some special forces operatives and bounty hunters.

IS Combat Picks, Level 6, Cost 5000, Damage 1d4 P, Bulk L, Special: Analog, Penetrating, Bonus to climbing of +2/+3 (single/pair).

#Starfinder – Starfinder Month: Starships

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Unlike vehicles, Starfinder already has a pretty complete set of Starship rules, though, if you’re not careful, starship battles can be very, very one-sided with the current Starship combat rules, which probably need a bit more variability and breadth to become fully functional.

Base Frames

You could probably extend the vehicle rules I created by expanding the various tables later in the design process, in order to make truly tiny starships, though I imagine the power demands for a Drift Engine would make this non-viable.

Thrusters

Ship’s frames don’t really take into account whether they can operate in an atmosphere well or not and thrusters are the only place where the topic of take-off and landing are even broached. A spaceship with flight frame is going to find it easier to take off, land and manoeuvre in-atmosphere than a Voganesque space-brick. Applying a flight-frame to a ship should probably use up expansion bays (though can be fitted to ships small enough that they don’t have one to offer). It would apply a +2 bonus to Piloting skill rolls and AC while in-atmosphere, including a bonus to Target Lock.

  • Small – 1 Bay
  • Medium – 2 Bay
  • Large – 3 Bays
  • Huge – 4 Bays
  • Gargantuan – 5 Bays
  • Colossal – 6 Bays

Reinforced Armour

In lieu of armour designed to deflect, a ship can elect to reinforce its hull. This can be combined with standard armour of course.

  • Mk1R +1 DT, -1 TL, Cost: 7 x Size Category
  • Mk2R +2 DT, -2 TL, +1 Turn Distance, Cost: 21 x Size Category
  • Mk3R +3 DT, -4 TL, +3 Turn Distance, Cost 45 x Size Category.

System Redundancy

A ship can raise its CT by building in redundant systems, multiple conduits and routes for energy and data. This does make the ship’s EM signature much higher and is costly, but can make ships incredibly tough.

  • Basic Redundancy: +1 CT, -1 TL, Cost: 7 x Size Category
  • Double Redundancy: +2 CT, -2 TL, Cost: 21 x Size Category
  • Triple Redundancy: +3 CT, -4 TL, Cost 45 x Size Category.

Ablative Armour

A ship can also be fitted with plates, foam, baffles and even water tanks, designed to absorb and dissipate incoming energy. This armour can be combined with other forms of armour.

  • Basic Ablation: +1 HP Increment, -1 TL, Cost: 7 x Size Category
  • Military Ablation: +2 HP Increments, -2 TL, +1 Turn Distance, Cost: 21 x Size Category
  • Advanced Ablation: +3 HP Increments, -4 TL, +3 Turn Distance, Cost: 45 x Size Category

Expansion Bays

Expansion bays are pretty well covered, but there are a few things missing that might be useful to add.

External Ship Clamp: PCU 4, BP 2
An external clamp to which a Tiny scale ship can attach and from which crew can enter and exit. The external ship is not protected and can be freely targeted by enemy vessels. This does not use up an Expansion Bay but a ship can only have a number of clamped attachments depending on its size: Small 1, Medium 2, Large 4, Huge 8, Gargantuan 16, Colossal 32.

External Shuttle Clamp: PCU 5, BP 2
As a ship clamp, but for Small vessels.

External Pod Clamp: PCU 1, BP 1
You can attach an expansion bay to the outside of your ship as a pod. This is most especially used for carrying cargo, but other pods can be attached. This acts exactly as other clamps, but the exterior pod will also need power and will have to have its cost paid. Pods are vulnerable to attack and typically have 20 ship-scale hit points. They’re considered Tiny, ship-scale, objects.

Shields

Rather than soaking up damage, a shield can be more of a ‘deflector’ shield, surrounding the ship and causing attacks to curve or deflect away or around it. These shields cannot be combined with other shields, due to interference, though a ship can have both and switch between them.

  • Deflector I: AC +1, PCU 20, Cost 6
  • Deflector II: AC +2, TL +1, PCU 30, Cost 15
  • Deflector III: AC +3, TL +2, PCU 55, Cost 23
  • Deflector IV: AC +4, TL +3, PCU 110, Cost 32

Weapons

Pretty well covered, especially if we consider the ramming rules to scale accordingly, but that brings up something else…

Ramming Prow

A ram prow is a heavily armoured ‘beak’ on the front arc of the vessel. It increases ramming damage caused by the vessel while also reducing the damage that it takes from ramming.

  • Light Ram Prow – Light Weapon +2d4 ram damage & damage reduction, DT +1 (Front arc only).
  • Medium Ram Prow – Heavy Weapon +5d6 ram damage & damage reduction, DT +2 (Front arc only)
  • Heavy Ram Prow – Capital Weapon +6D8 ram damage & damage redution, DT +3 (Front arc only)

Rams use no power and cost 1, 4 or 10 BP respectively.

A ram can be fitted with a boarding tube for boarding actions at a cost/PCU of 1, 2 or 3 respective to size.

Rams can also be powered, making them ‘jaws’ that can grip onto a ship or even ‘chew’ it. Gripping requires contested piloting rolls to escape, chewing allows a second, immediate ram attack after the first hit, but releases the vessel. You can also elect to save that attack until your next turn – so long as you are clamped on. A powered ram costs an extra 5/10/20 PCU and 2/4/8 BP.

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#Starfinder – Starfinder Month: Vehicles

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It does rather seem a little peculiar that despite having such good (for a core book) spaceship construction rules, that the Starfinder book lacks similar rules for vehicles. Certainly, the rules that are created for spaceships are fairly easily adaptable to vehicles.

To give us some kind of scale for comparison, a Colossal Vehicle is equivalent in size to a Medium vehicle. A Gargantuan Vehicle to a small starship and a Huge vehicle to a Tiny starship.

From that you can work out some baselines, keeping in mind that Starship scale weapons do x10 damage at person scale (at which vehicles operate) and are similarly tougher – generally treated as objects.

Looking at the example vehicles we can see that a Medium vehicle is considered a bike, a Large vehicle a car or buggy and a Huge vehicle a truck. From there we can surmise that a Gargantuan vehicle is equivalent to a main battle tank and that a Colossal vehicle would be the equivalent of a land-carrier or land-train (though that might be better done as individual, modular vehicles). Anything below medium size probably isn’t viable as a vehicle, though hoverboards and similar might be served in such a way, they’re probably better off considered as equipment.

Vehicles created this way are much hardier than those found in the book, but that seemed more fitting somehow.

Build Points

Build Points would probably still go by tier, halved, rounding down. though this would need some testing to make sure it didn’t make things absurd, this would also set the ‘level’ of the vehicle as gear, so for most militaries etc the upper limit would be Level 6, with penalties as previously discussed when talking about weapons.

Base Frame

Land-Carrier

  • Size: Colossal
  • Manoeuvrability: Clumsy, -2 Piloting, Turn 4
  • HP: 550/Increment 100, Base Hardness: 20
  • Mounts: Forward Arc (1 Starship Heavy, 1 Starship Light), Aft Arc (1 Starship Light), Turret (2 Starship Light)
  • Expansion Bays: 5
  • Minimum Crew: 1, Maximum Crew: 6
  • Cost: 15

Main Battle Tank

  • Size: Gargantuan
  • Manoeuvrability: Poor, -1 Piloting, Turn 3
  • HP: 350/Increment 50, Base Hardness: 15
  • Mounts: Turret (1 Starship Light), Port Arc (1 Personnel Heavy), Starboard Arc (1 Personnel Heavy).
  • Expansion Bays: 3
  • Minimum Crew 1: Maximum Crew: 4
  • Cost: 10

Truck

  • Size: Huge
  • Manoeuvrability: Average, +0 Piloting, Turn 2
  • HP: 200/Increment 50, Base Hardness 10
  • Mounts: Forward Arc (1 Starship Light), Aft Arc (1 Starship Light)
  • Expansion Bays: 1
  • Minimum Crew 1: Maximum Crew: 2
  • Cost: 8

Pick-Up

  • Size: Large
  • Manoeuverability: Good, +1 Piloting, Turn 1
  • HP 50/Increment 25, Base Hardness 5
  • Mounts: Turret (1 Personnel Heavy).
  • Expansion Bays: 0
  • Cost: 4

Motorcycle

  • Size: Medium
  • Manoeuvrability: Perfect +2 Piloting, Turn 0
  • HP 15/Increment 5, Base Hardness 0
  • Mounts: None.
  • Expansion Bays: 0
  • Cost: 2

Fitting Out

Powerplant-wise we’re limited to something like…

  • Colossal Vehicles being able to fit up to Nova Ultra.
  • Gargantuan Vehicles being able to fit up to Pulse Prismatic.
  • Huge Vehicles being able to fit up to Pulse Blue.
  • Large Vehicles being able to fit up to Pulse White.
  • Medium Vehicles being able to fit up to Micron Light only.

We could also add some smaller powerplants beneath that level, say…

  • Micron Superlight PCU 30, Cost 2
  • Micron Ultralight PCU 15, Cost 1

Regarding speed, aerial and hover vehicles could retain the speed equivalent to the thrusters (and the power requirements). Land/Water vehicles would reduce the speed by 2 and the cost by 1. They should probably, also, be limited to a maximum speed of 6 (After modification).

We’re also going to need smaller drive-trains for smaller vehicles.

  • Colossal Vehicles can use M# Thrusters.
  • Gargantuan Vehicles can use S# Thrusters
  • Huge Vehicles can use T# Thrusters.
  • Large Vehicles can use LV# Thrusters
  • Medium Vehicles can use MV# Thrusters.
  • LV4 Size: Large Vehicle, Speed: 4 (20ft), Piloting Modifier +1, PCU 15, Cost 2
  • LV6 Size: Large Vehicle, Speed: 6 (30ft), Piloting Modifier +0, PCU 20, Cost 3
  • LV8 Size: Large Vehicle, Speed 8 (40 ft), Piloting Modifier -1, PCU 25, Cost 4
  • MV4 Size: Medium Vehicle, Speed: 4 (20 ft), Piloting Modifier +1, PCE 10, Cost 1
  • MV6 Size: Medium Vehicle, Speed: 6 (30 ft), Piloting Modifier +0, PCE 15, Cost 2
  • MV8 Size: Medium Vehicle, Speed: 8 (40 ft), Piloting Modifier -1, PCE 20, Cost 3.

Armour

This appears to be usable as is, but you should be able to decrease from the baseline to get points back and, similarly, to buy up (or sell down) hardness. Sizes would be considered:

  • Colossal: 2
  • Gargantuan: 1
  • Huge: 0.75
  • Large: 0.5
  • Medium: 0.25

(Rounded up)

AC and TL modifiers would be the same – just at personnel scale – and you could trade up to 10% from EAC to KAC or vice versa after buying up armour.

Computers

Aren’t Essential

Crew Quarters

Generally aren’t necessary

Countermeasures

Depends on the vehicle

Drift Engines

Unnecessary

Expansion Bays

For vehicles large enough, these are viable. For smaller vehicles, more basic options should be purchasable.

Security Systems

Depends on the vehicle.

Sensors

Depends on the vehicle and its role.

Weapons

A slot can fit a weapon of that size or smaller. Vehicle mounts will typically hold Starship scale weapons of light and sometimes heavy size (don’t forget to scale the damage) or personnel scale heavy or two-handed weapons. Anything else will usually be carried by the driver or crew.

Shields

Some vehicles may well have shields but don’t forget to scale these if you do add them. Vehicles of Medium size could also mount personnel scale shields.

Example

For shits and giggles, lets make one of the monobikes from the anime Venus Wars. This is a grotesquely overpowered attack motorcycle, intended to be a tank-killer and driven (in theory) by an elite force.

So we’re looking at a tier 6 vehicle, 77 build points with one HP increase.

It’s a medium vehicle.

It needs to be overpowered for its antitank role, so we give it the full Micron Light.

It needs to be fast for its role, so MV8 Size: Medium Vehicle, Speed: 6 (30 ft), Piloting Modifier -1, PCE 20.

This bike is armoured, but it is still a bike and does still need to be fast. The best armour we could give it would be MK8 at a cost of 4 points.

We can’t increase its hardness, given that a typical conversion would by 5 points of AC to one point of hardness and this would slow it down.

As a military bike it will have a hardened combat computer of some sort to process sensors and assist with diagnostics. We fit a Mk1 Mononode.

We’ll give it Anti-Hacking security, Biometric Locks, Computer Countermeasures and a self-destruct option.

Motorcycles normally don’t have any weapon mounts, but we need to cram one on here. 3 BP gets us a Light Starship front arc weapon mount and we also buy a heavy (personnel weapon mount) for 2 BP.

We slam in a High Explosive Missile Launcher for its anti-tank role and a Tactical X-Gen machinegun.

Given all these points remaining and its antitank role, as well as its remaining power we can slap in Mk 8 Defensive countermeasures, providing +8 AC against tracking weapons. We can also give it advanced long-range sensors.

At the end of all that we still have 14 points left.

The GM, being a generous sort, allows the biker to also purchase increased hardness at the same cost as level 5 armour. That drops us to 12 points, makes the TL -2 (both types of armour).

With those points left-over the GM rules that the bike has a survival and medical kit on board and a killer paint job.

NB: Given the example of design, I think we would need to reduce the point allotment by more than half, perhaps 1/3rd, rounding down. This would force budget economy decisions. As such this bike would have to be redesigned using 51 points instead.

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#Starfinder – Starfinder Month: Themes

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Character Themes give an additional level of flavour and characterisation in Starfinder and that’s almost always good. The examples given in the base book are:

  • Ace Pilot
  • Bounty Hunter
  • Icon
  • Mercenary
  • Outlaw
  • Priest
  • Scholar
  • Spacefarer
  • Xenoseeker
  • Themeless

There’s obvious overlap with class choices, allowing specialisation or broadening of character capabilities.

For the kinds of game more suited to MotSP I’d want to see some additions.

  • Animist
  • Blademaster
  • Fanatic
  • Gearhead
  • Gunslinger
  • Hoodlum
  • Mastermind
  • Noble
  • Officer
  • Seducer
  • Sleaze
  • Zwilnik

Taking ‘Noble’ as an example…

Noble: +1 Wis

You have been bred for generations and trained since you were born for comportment and the capacity to lead. A strangely high number of interstellar societies bind themselves using tradition, and monarchies give them a strong sense of identity. Thanks to genetic engineering and technological learning tools, the ruling class can now be empowered to be truly benevolent dictators, not that it always takes. Still, you have a sagacity and an aura of command that comes from your noble birth and which gives you a great deal of influence. You can’t buy class, you have to be born to it.

Theme Knowledge (1st)
You have an encyclopaedic knowledge of bloodlines, heraldry, marriages and relationships between noble houses. When attempting a skill check to gain knowledge relating to noble (or mercantile or religious) positions, relationships or history you gain a +1 bonus. You gain Culture as a class skill, or gain a +1 bonus if it already is a class skill. You also gain an ability bonus of +1 to Wisdom.

Poise (6th)
You have the noble bearing that comes with your blood and your rigorous manners. You gain a +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate towards anyone who recognises your authority and standing (subjects, diplomats, fellow nobles etc).

Authority (12th)
Your bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate doubles to +4 and even those who do not acknowledge your standing cannot help but be impressed by you, giving you +2 to these checks against them.

Court Intrigue (18th)
You can hold court up to twice a day, officiating and meeting with people for at least an hour. At the end of the courtly session, you recover 1 Resolve point. Holding court is also a good way to gather information using Culture, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Sense Motive and Profession skills. Tests you make of these kinds during court gain a +2 bonus in addition to other bonuses.

#Starfinder – Starfinder Month: Species

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June is going to be Starfinder Month here on the Postmortem Studios blog. I’ve been thinking of doing a Machinations of the Space Princess conversion and some rules modifications for the game and that’ll be the core of what I do this month. I’ll take some suggestions too though, so if you have a picture of a cool spaceship, alien or some sci-fi gear you’d like to see statted up for MotSP or Starfinder (or both), comment with a link to the image below!

This month’s content is going to be free for everyone, sometimes – however – I paywall what I write other than a preview. If you want to support me you can do so for as little as $1 a month on Patreon or 1 token a month on Minds.com.

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Machinations of the Space Princess uses the OSR retro-clone games (versions of house-ruled old version of D&D in this case, Lamentations of the Flame Princess) to power it. So it is, very broadly, compatible with anything that is D&D derived. That includes Pathfinder and, in its turn, Starfinder.

Rather than ‘races’, I prefer to use the term ‘species’ (though I vacillate back and forth over which I use). This is doubly true, I think, in science fiction games. Race and species used to be interchangeable terms (Darwin referred to species as races) but this has altered over time to the point where referring to entirely different alien lifeforms as races feels weird.

One of the absolute joys of truly creative science fiction is the mass of different alien species that you can encounter. In writing MotSP I took this to heart and, rather than endless lists of different specific alien species I made a system that allowed you to craft individual species of alien to play, almost on the fly, grab-bagging from a set of different traits.

This isn’t, necessarily, balanced, but it does give players the opportunity to hand-craft a character from the bottom up. It can mean they’re overpowered in their particular arena of expertise, but that tends to just mean more weakness elsewhere. Other players will create alien species to suit their roleplaying desires more than anything mechanical per se. Balance tends to lead to grey, boring, interchangeable characters in any case. If RIFTS can put a street-rat alongside a power-armour wearing Glitterboy, then surely we can manage? Making games fun for everyone at the table (for different qualities of fun) is probably the main job of the Games Master.

In Machinations of the Space Princess, you got three species options or bonuses for free and any others had to be balanced by taking negative traits, lowered statistics being the default.

Starfinder’s racial options don’t exactly meet that, so it’s necessary to do a little hammering and smashing to make it work.

Androids get:

  • +2 Dex (1 slot)
  • +2 Int (2 slots)
  • -2 Cha (back down to 1 slot)
  • Constructed +2 Save against things that normally only affect living beings. (2 slots)
  • Exceptional Vision – Darkvision (we’ll drop the low-light, it seems redundant, 3 slots)
  • Flat Affect – a penalty (dropping them to 2 slots)
  • Upgrade Slot (3 slots)

If we use them as the baseline, that balances nicely with MotSP.

Humans, meanwhile would get

  • +2 to any stat (1 slot, Bonus Feat (2 slots), Skilled (3 slots).

Kasathas:

+2 Str (1 slot), +2 Wis (2 slots), -2 Int (1 slot), Desert Stride (2 slots), Four Armed (3 slots), we remove Historian and note it as being more of a species trend, give them their natural grace (4 slots) and, needing to balance them out, give them ‘Inscrutable’, which works much like Flat Affect.

Lashuntas:

+2 Charisma (1 slot), gendered stat bonus (2 slots), gendered stat penalty (1 slot), and we give them their at will power (choosing only one) OR their 1/day power and their limited telepathy. We lose the Student ability.

Shirrens:

+2 Con (1 slot), +2 Wis (2 slots), -2 Charisma (1 slot), Blindsense (2 slots), Limited Telepathy (3 slots) and we drop their Cultural fascination, give them communalism but double their Charisma penalty, because bugs are gross and communalism seems vital to the species ‘hook’.

Vesk:

+2 Str (1 slot), +2 Con (2 slots), -2 Int (1 slot), Fearless (2 slots), Natural Weapons (3 slots). We drop the Armour Savant and give them Low Light vision and a -2 penalty to Charisma, rounding us out at 3.

Ysoki:

+2 Dex (1 slot), +2 Int (2 slots), -2 Str (1 slot), we give them their Darkvision and Moxie as being the most defining traits (taking us to 3 slots), give them a -2 penalty to Charisma (vermin freak people out) and replace Cheek Pouches, which are lame, with a gnawing ability (double damage to inanimate objects, even with weapons).

This leads to a grittier game that would be more compatible with MotSP materials. Another option would be to give characters in the game four character options, some – like humans – will gain more versatility and power, while others still won’t be at their full, normal, Starfinder potential.

A human in this version might get another instance of a free feet or the affects of Skilled, twice.

A sample species from Machinations, converted to Starfinder, are the Urlanth. The Urlanth are a matriarchal species that once ruled most of the known galaxy. Taken over to Starfinder they would have:

  • 3 trait version
  • +2 Charisma
  • Skilled – Urlanth women start play with two additional skill ranks and every level thereafter.

4 trait version

  • +2 Charisma
  • +2 Wisdom
  • Skilled – Urlanth women start play with two additional skill ranks and every level thereafter.

Base Starfinder Equivalent

  • +2 Charisma
  • +2 Wisdom
  • -2 Con
  • Skilled – Urlanth women start play with two additional skill ranks and every level thereafter.
  • Urlanth women start with an additional feat.

#Starfinder – Starfinder Month – Introduction

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June is going to be Starfinder Month here on the Postmortem Studios blog. I’ve been thinking of doing a Machinations of the Space Princess conversion and some rules modifications for the game and that’ll be the core of what I do this month. I’ll take some suggestions too though, so if you have a picture of a cool spaceship, alien or some sci-fi gear you’d like to see statted up for MotSP or Starfinder (or both), comment with a link to the image below!

This month’s content is going to be free for everyone, sometimes – however – I paywall what I write other than a preview. If you want to support me you can do so for as little as $1 a month on Patreon or 1 token a month on Minds.com.

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So what we’re going to do, to start with, is we’re going to go through the Starfinder book, chapter by chapter, doing some modified rules and some sexy, sleazy, swords and sci-fi twists.

You can expect balance to be thrown halfway out the window, racial options to be thrown wide open, some potential new classes and feats for your characters to take. You can also expect the armour and weapons ‘levels’ to be fixed in a way that – at least to me – seems less retarded, some new starship options and combat rules and psionics and tech magic.

You’ll also see some new religions and whatever the heck else turns up in my fevered little brain while I’m working away.

You can also consider this a dry run for a potential Starfinder version-book of Machinations of the Space Princess.

#WeirdHookMonth – Luck

raqee-najmuldeen-photo-dodgedThe Hook

After an encounter with a grumpy magician, you are left cursed with good luck. Yes, cursed, because while everything you do seems to come off flawlessly, everyone around you suffers terrible luck to compensate. Somewhere out there is your opposite and to end the curse you must meet.

Suggested Systems

Unknown Armies, Mage the Ascension, D&D, Pathfinder, Legends of Anglerre.

Art by Raquee Najmuldeen