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’?
NB: Biker culture is quite different in the UK than in the US. If you are wearing the patches of a ‘rival’ club in the USA, you will more than likely get a right shoeing. In the UK… eh, not so much. Still, while you can view my ‘cut’ as a parody, I see it as a homage and as a show of respect to MCs around the world. Even so, I tried looking for a local club to get permission from, and there aren’t any, other than a little band of recreational weekend warriors. Be careful about wearing cuts or patches wherever you are, and keep the local culture in mind.
One of the things I miss about the RPG subculture is the no-fucks-given, middle-finger-extended way in which it used to embrace the childish ‘satanic’ accusations. This was done through the embracing of heavy metal and other subcultures, including that of biker clubs (MCs).
It’s not necessarily the music that I miss. Bolt-Thrower were never really any good, but going into a Games Workshop to find yourself surrounded by metalheads and bikers made you feel at home. Contrary to appearance, they were also, always, the sweetest most welcoming guys in the world. Of course, the corporate culture changes at Citadel/Games Workshop around 1990 and they stopped selling RPGs and gave the metalheads the heave-ho to project a more family-friendly appearance. More’s the pity.
Gaming, like headbanging and like joining an MC, used to have a bit of an air of danger to it even though it was nerdy as fuck. Without that culture, I’d never have found my style. I’d never have found my tribe. I’d never have seen Slayer live (and that’s a kill-or-cure life experience let me tell you). I would not have continued into goth, industrial and many of the other significant influences in my life.
I wanted to pay my respects to the lost tribe of gamers. I wanted to ground my current identity in my past. Not for nostalgia, but out of respect and as a constant personal reminder.
I first hit on the idea of making a ‘Gaming Club’ cut way back in the day, when I was a mere sprog and when AD&D was in its dying gasps. I didn’t have the money. I didn’t have the time. I didn’t have the Internet back then, though I did have a heavily patched blue denim jacket – as many metal fans did.
I was reminded of that idea when I finally deigned to catch up on ‘Sons of Anarchy’, which would have been around 2015, or so I guess. Still, I didn’t have the spare cash or the time to put into the project. Short of a few web-searches for custom patches, it didn’t amount to anything (plus I was preoccupied with Gamergate and related issues).
Most recently, two crucial things made my idle idea come to fruition. Firstly I played (and enjoyed) Days Gone and even in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse the biker culture, brotherhood and the symbolism of the ‘cut’ were a big deal in that game. Again, it reminded me of the old idea. I also had started buying cheap stuff from wish.com to add production value to my videos and my gaming. Suddenly, I could get an affordable black denim vest. I had the motivation, and it was easy to do. A quick search around Etsy and I found a place that did custom patches for a reasonable price.
Then it all came together.
It does put a smile on my face to don my ‘GC’ cut. Hopefully, it also conveys to others the sense of pride and place I have in the gaming community and its history.
The original ‘Rollin’ 20s, Lake Geneva Originals’ shirt was too complicated to turn into patches, but you can get it HERE.
was a much underrated game, by Stellar Games (also known for
It Came from the Late Late Show) with great art by my long
time partner-in-crime Brad McDevitt (whose art was all over AFM
and who also sells stock art through us at Drivethrurpg.
tried to approach the guys from Stellar Games on several
occasions to seek licensing for this ‘lost’ game, but they have
always asked for too much, or more commonly, been unresponsive to
attempts to license or or produce a new edition (as I did with
I figured it might be fun to provide some bare-bones rules conversions for running Nightlife using the Actual Fucking Monsters system nonetheless, it doing so would also help me explore what additional rules and ideas might go into AFM’s companion book.
So here it is, just a silly fan-blog.
The Kin in
Nightlife were pretty loose anyway, rather open collections of
thematic powers and weaknesses. So there’s plenty of scope to use
AFM’s completely open system to recreate the Kin breeds found there.
Monsters in AFM, you can’t outright kill Kin easily. When they die
they – usually – resurrect the following night. This is detailed
in the Nightlife books, but a Monster in AFM’s rules can only
resurrect a number of times equal to their die type in Body (1-5
times) before dying the ‘true death’. Dying from Bane damage, or
being dismembered or bodily destroyed will also do it.
Kin Monster Powers
Armoured, Claws & Teeth, Control Weather, Danger Sense, Direction
Sense, Drain, Dreams and Nightmares, Extra Sensory Perception,
Heightened Sense, Navigate Probability, Sense of Time, Speed,
Those who are Made. Transgression: Cannibalism/Blood Drinking Monster Powers: Animal Magnetism, Beast Form (Bat), Hypnosis, Insubstantial, Beast Form (Rat), Beast Form (Wolf), Drain (Blood). Possible Banes: Sunlight, Running Water, Garlic, Wood, Fire, Holy Relics.
Those who are Born, or Those who are Made. Transgression: Sadism or Cannibalism. Monster Powers: Animal Magnetism, Beast Form (Hybrid), Beast Form (Wolf), Drain (Pain), Fearsome, Heightened Sense. Possible Banes: Fire, Silver.
The Neverborn. Transgression: Cause Fear. Monster Powers: Armoured, Camouflage, Drain (Fear), Empathic, Facedance, Fearsome, Frigidity, Insubstantial (In Ghosts, using this power makes them corporeal), Levitation, Telekinetic, Teleportation. Possible Banes: Cold-Wrought Iron, Fire, Holy Relics.
Those who are Born or Neverborn. Transgression: Corruption and temptation. Monster Powers: Body Manipulation, Drain (Life Force), Facedance, Fire Breath, Flight, Inhabit, Levitation, Telepathic Projection, Telepathic Reading, Teleportation. Possible Banes: Flint (stone), Holy Relics, Natural Fire.
Those who are Made. Transgression: Necrophagy, Necrophilia. Monster Powers: Drain (Youth), Necrocommunication, Reanimator. Possible Banes: Sunlight, Silver, Fire.
Manitou (Inuit – even I thought that was a bit much)
Those who are Born. Transgression: Pranks and tricks. Monster Powers: Animal Magnetism, Bedlam, Camouflage, Harm Transference, Heart Attack, Levitation. Possible Banes: Fire, Holy Relics.
The Neverborn. Transgression: Sadism. Monster Powers: Body Manipulation, Demagogue, Drain (Life), Hypnosis, Telepathic Projection, Telepathic Reading. Bane: Sunlight, Fire, Antipathy.
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.
MetaCards are a generic system that can be overlaid on top of any other game system.
The cards provide prompts to roleplay in a certain way. The players can then represent a certain mood or perform certain actions that can provide verisimilitude for games that are designed to seem ‘real’, or thematic cues for games that are more narratively focused.
The players are encouraged to follow the cards by a small, mechanical, near-universal bonus. Decks can be customised with prompts specific to your group or campaign if you’re seeking to encourage a specific kind of roleplay. You could customise the deck to prompt players in a horror game to do stereotypical horror-movie things, or those in a romantic fantasy game to engage with the romantic preconceptions of that genre.
This is meant to be introductory, allowing you to take the concept and run with it for your own games.
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.
In this supplement for Tales of Gor you join a rebellious inventor on a quest for a mythical lost island and city. Will his technological innovations anger the Priest Kings? Will you fall afoul of the pirates that ply their trade across the Thassa? What will you discover beneath the waves, far from the politics and skulduggery of Civilised Gor?
This book also contains information on a (non-canonical) Farther Isle for you to use as a setting or base of operations for your player group.