As a supplement to my video review of the game, here’s a character and some sample play/mechanics.
Jaime Vavala, The Gutter-Blade
Truth: Loyal to my friends.
Truth: Driven by revenge.
Skills: Fight: 6, Move: 6, Study: 4, Survive: 4, Talk: 5, Tinker: 4
Styles: Boldly: 4, Carefully: 4, Cleverly: 4, Forcefully: 4, Quietly: 5, Swiftly: 5
Focus: Fencing: 5, Stealth: 4, Locks: 3, Streetwise: 3
Contacts: Urza the Fence
Talents: Flashing Steel: Second Attack at +1 difficulty if attacking ‘Swiftly’.
Gear: Fine Blade: Damage 4, Block (reroll 1d20 in defence), Melee
The rattly old cart comes to a halt just inside the city gates of Samara and the steel cage is thrown open. Huddled men, little more than skeletons, shuffle off the cart, wrapped in thin blankets. Only one man moves with any bearing or strength, a rail-thin man, looking as though he is made of coiled rope, his face thin and sallow, his eyes hollow and sunken, but full of fire.
Jaime, the gutter-blade, back from his time in the prison camps of Tyvia. One of a handful to survive long enough to be freed, in the proper sense.
Jaime draws the thin blanket around himself tighter and moves through the slushy streets, his feet numb from the ice. Two men peel away from the eel-stand to follow him.
[Gang Member Move 6, Quietly 4]
[17/15 = 0 successes. 5/8 = 2 successes]
[Jaime Study 4, Cleverly 4]
[8/12 = 1 success]
Jaime takes not of the distorted reflection in a bottleglass window, there’s someone following him. As he trudges through the slush he waits for a carriage to pass, and ducks into a side alley to try and shake off the pursuit.
[Jaime – Move 6, Swiftly 5, Stealth 4]
[10/18 = 1 success]
[Gang Member Study 4, Cleverly 4]
[10/19 = 0 successes. 1/9 = 2 successes]
It seems like the two men have been lost as Jaime darts along the alley as fast as he can, picking his way through streets that were once familiar until he finds the sign he’s looking for. Three golden balls dangling outside a basement shop. He shuffles down the steps, opens the door with a little chime and turns the sign to closed.
There is a large, burly man behind the counter with forearm hair as long as your thumb.
“Urza,” croaks out Jaime. “I’ve come for my things.”
Urza turns, surprised. “Jaime? I thought you were dead!”
“I asked you to look after my things. I want them. Now.”
Urza begins to shuffle through the shelves. “It has been a long time Jaime my friend, and I thought you were dead.”
“I paid you enough back then. I want my clothes, my coin and my sword.”
Urza shrugs apologetically and continues to rummage.
The door chimes again, despite the closed sign, and a pair of men enter, scarred and rough looking, the men who followed him.
“Hello Urza,” says one of the men. “Cadenza sends greetings. You’re not going to help this criminal are you?”
“Ah Yev, Miron, of course not, heh…” Urza raises his hands, leaving a battered old scabbard on the top of the table, the worn handle of the sword dully reflecting the lamp light.
“Now then,” says the taller of the two men. “Why don’t you come outside with us, Gutter-blade? Let’s have a nice little chat about what you got up to in prison.”
“If Urza won’t help me, I guess I’ll help myself.”
[It’s important to see if Jaime manages to attack first, he has his back to the gang members so they have the drop on him, increasing the difficulty by +1]
[Gang Members Study 4, Swiftly 5]
[10/18 = 0+1=1 Success, 2/18 = 1+1=2 successes]
[Jaime Fight 6, Swiftly 5, Fencing 5]
[6/9 = 2 successes, enough]
[Now the actual attack]
[15/20 = 0, + Complication]
[Second Attack +1 Difficulty]
[8/11 = 2 successes]
[Gang Member Defence Fight 5, Forcefully 5]
[20/19 = 0 successes + Complication]
[16/11 = 0 successes]
Jaime lashes out with his blade, moving like lightning. The first gang member throws himself back from the sharp edge, just barely getting out of the way, falling back through Urza’s window in a shower of glass and wood.
The second guard is slashed across the throat and falls, gurgling to the floor, dying on the dusty floor.
[+2 Chaos, +2 Momentum]
There’s a third man, waiting outside on watch, and now he draws his own knife and joins the fight, as the first man hauls himself up from the floor and throws himself at Jaime in a bearhug.
[Fight 5, Forcefully 5, Brawl 4]
[1/20 = 2 Successes, Complication]
[Fight 5, Swiftly 5]
[7/5 = 2 successes]
[Fight 6, Swiftly 5, Fencing 5]
[3/6 = 3 successes]
[1/10 = 3 successes]
[Spend two momentum to make a counter attack]
Jaime turns with the man who leaps into him, slashing him from his neck to his navel and opening him up like the world’s least appealing string of sausages, twisting just in time to block the knife in a shower of sparks.
[+2 Chaos, -2 Momentum, +2 Momentum]
Jaime twists, using the opening from the parried knife to do a quick double-slash, back and forth across the man’s belly and thighs.
[Spend momentum for one extra die]
[Fight 6, Swiftly 5, Fencing 5]
[3/8/10 = 4 successes]
[Fight 5, Swiftly 5]
[10/18 = 1 success]
The guard groans from the slashes, blood and entrails spilling rapidly from his opened guts and opened arteries.
[+2 Chaos, +3 Momentum]
Jaime jerks the sword, spraying the blood from it and turns back to Urza.
“You spent my money, didn’t you?”
“I did. How about I clean up this mess and move somewhere warmer and we call it even.”
“Not even, but better.”
Jaime slides his sword into its scabbard and starts stripping the gang members for their boots, clothing and purses. Three members of his gang, that was a good start, but only a start.
With people starting to trickle back to work, our regular twice-a-week streamed game of Dragon Warriors has gotten a little thin on the ground. After having to had to miss a week due to illness, we had to cancel a game tonight due to lack of players.
That’s a shame.
As such, I’d very much like to extend an open invitation to anyone who’d care to join us on either our Tuesday or Saturday game slots, one or either (we just ignore the continuity error if a player can’t make it). We have space for, maybe, one or two more players.
We play from around 7:30pm UK (2:30pm EST), to around 10-11pm UK, depending how people feel. We run on Hangouts, and stream to Youtube. You don’t need to show your face – if you feel shy.
The system’s simple to pick up, and the best way to do so is to play, plus we have pregenerated characters to pick from, so all you really have to do is show up!
I intend to keep this going – running games online – into the future, long past COVID, running other games of all kinds. So if DW doesn’t take your fancy, perhaps something else will.
Drop a comment or hit me up on Twitter @grimachu or anywhere else you can find me.
As I note in the video, if you want to play The Boys as an RPG, then Aberrant is probably your best option. You should only really need the core book, but the Player’s Guide isn’t a bad idea either. Aberrant isn’t a perfect system by any stretch, but the nature of The Boys helps prevent some of the problems, and Storyteller is a reasonably familiar system to a lot of people.
If you want to make a character, here’s a quick and dirty guide:
Concept: Don’t make a ‘superhero’, make a person. Make a character based on who they were before they got any powers, and then apply those powers. Your concept should, therefore, be something more like ‘Retail Worker’ than ‘Warrior Poet’, though you can reinvent yourself later.
Nature: Again, choose a core personality trait as a normal person, without regard to status as a hero. Everyone in The Boys is flawed, broken, corrupt or abused in some way.
Damage: Every The Boys character needs a reason to hate Superheros. For Butcher it’s the death of his wife. For Wee Hughie its the death of his girlfriend. For Mother’s Milk its the death of his father and the horrendous effects of Compound V on his mother and brother. For The Female its her past status as an ‘experimental animal’. Frenchie is so insane and fucked up, nobody really knows. Damage should act like a second ‘Nature’ in play – giving The Boys motivation and a little edge against Supes.
Attributes, Abilities & Backgrounds: At this stage, just put things in as though you’re making a normal person. Don’t customise or think of your ‘Hero Hunter’ side until later.
Quantum: Call it ‘Mutation’ or something instead, but it can otherwise work in much the same way.
Bonus Points: This is where you can start thinking of your character more in terms of their role in The Boys (or a similar clandestine group). Use your Bonus Points to give you some basic competency in combat and investigation, and to raise your Quantum.
Becoming Super: All superheroes, including The Boys, trace their origins to Compound V – a material created by Nazi scientists and experimented with by all sides during the war. Variations of the drug exist, including a street version, and all mutate your DNA. The Boys are either relatively stable ‘natural’ examples, or people selected and injected with billion-dollar pure versions. Mutations and strange physical traits are more likely to manifest from experimental versions of Compound V (used by Vought-Amercan to create marketable supes) or from ‘street’ versions such as the cocaine-V cocktail known as ‘blue’. Latent abilities tend to manifest during times of stress, horror, excitement etc.
Powers: Characters who form part of The Boys (or similar teams) should limit themselves, at least to start with, to physical Mega-Attributes. The only scaling we really have to compare to is Butcher’s comment to Hughie that Compound V makes you 10-15 times stronger – at least in terms of the pure version. That doesn’t fit neatly into Aberrant’s categories, but Aberrant does seem to better fit that strength as we see it in the comics.
All characters should start with at least Mega Strength 1 and Mega Stamina 1.
Mega Dexterity is another good option and Frenchie appears to exhibit Mega Perception at times – though this may be an affectation related to his madness.
- Suggested Enhancements for Mega Strength would include – Crush and Lifter. From the Player’s Guide, Irresistable Force and Precision and Thrower.
- Suggested Enhancements for Mega Dexterity would include – Accuracy, Enhanced Movement, Physical Prodigy and Rapid Strike. From the Player’s Guide, Perfect Balance.
- Suggested Enhancements for Mega-Stamina would include – Durability, Hardbody and Resiliency. From the Player’s Guide, Health, Immovable Object and Tireless.
Most characters in The Boys won’t have other powers, this would be an exception rather than the rule. Some powers are more acceptable though, and shouldn’t necessarily be quibbled with.
These might include: Armour, Boost, Invulnerability and extras like Impervious, Armour Piercing (applied to Mega Strength) and so on.
Gadgeteering is also possible in this setting (as Tek-Knight shows) but isn’t tied to powers and can’t do anything truly outlandish. GM discretion is going to be very necessary there.
Suggested Starting Power Suite
- Mega Strength 2 (6 points)
- Mega Stamina 2 (6 points, 12 total)
- Mega Strength Enhancement: Crush (3 points, 15 total)
- Mega Stamina Enhancement: Durability (3 points, 18 total)
- Mega Stamina Enhancement: Hardbody (3 points, 21 total)
- 3 additional dots in Attributes (1 point, 22 total)
- 12 additional Ability dots (2 points, 24 total)
- 5 additional background dots (1 point, 25 total)
- 4 additional Willpower Points (4 points, 29 total)
- 2 additional Quantum Pool (1 point, 30 total).
It’s March, and that means mad March hares, aggressive duck sex in the back garden and the feeling that the year has finally, actually started and one should get on with things. So it goes.
There’s a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ stuff going on that is already interfering with the projects I had planned, albeit in the best way. There’s a possible new computer game project I might be writing for, a couple of guest writers for the few Gorean Adventures and the new store continues to gain traction. Actual Fucking Monsters continues at a reasonable pace in spite of the interruption – I’m currently working on a nice big section of suggested monster powers. I’m also looking to get Alice Through the Garbage Grinder edited late spring/early summer – so there’s some new fiction to look forward to.
In addition to all that I am (slowly) creating an audio version of the 5th Edition D&D SRD, which will be hosted first on my Youtube channel, and then made available as an mp3 audiobook.
Things are productive, even if they don’t necessarily look it.
First things first, do be sure and go and check out our new online store. I’d love to see the majority of our sales shift to that channel, where I’ll also be offering a limited number of ’boutique’ items, physical products, second-hand gaming material and more.
There’s a mailing list you can sign up to there too, to hear when we have something new out, like our new Metacard, roleplay encouragement system. You can also get cheeky discounts by signing up.
The ever-lovely Anna Cherry of Erinyes Angels has modelled some of our t-shirts, so look forward to seeing more of that coming along! I’d love to work with more cosplayers and nerdosphere models of all genders, so if you’d like to model or pose for other products, get in touch.
If you like the shirts, you can get them at Teespring. Anna Cherry’s not included, separate purchase necessary.
So where does that leave various projects?
- Unfortunately, the person I had pegged for the Zelart Scholarship had to drop out and couldn’t deliver a final piece due to an injury. I’ll be doing a separate update on this for you.
- Actual Fucking Monsters should be written by the end of the month, I’m not sure if I need more art for it or not, so it may be out at that time.
- I have to devote some time and energy to this potential computer game project.
- The SRD will be recorded as and when I have the time, but I do intend to see it through to the end.