Today I present you two more characters for the Necronomicon setting. To be more precise, these are the other two PCs for the adventure "Have you seen the Yellow Sign?", along with the Det. Frank Callahan I showed in a previous post. Note that today's characters, Kitty and Martin, are normal (level 2) characters, whereas Frank was a heroic (level 3) one. You may spot a small change in the layout of the character sheet to make the image look better (as if it were a clipped photograph).
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Finally, if you go back to the ruleset post about skills you'll see I have posted a comment there, as I have decided to change the skill die.
As I did previously for the Necronomicon setting, now I compile some of the ideas I've had for adventures run in the futuristic setting of Galaxtar. See if you like them.
· COUNTERSTRIKE This adventure will feature a somewhat complex plot. An old corrupt military officer with connections to the black market is tired of that life, and devises a plan to become "respectable" once again: he'll secretly arrange a valuable alien artifact to be stolen from the military and then he'll publicly recover it and have the robbers executed. The pawns of that plan will be the PCs, a group of mercenaries, contacted to steal some goods from a civil cargo ship (actually an undercover military transport). Once done, they'll travel to a luxury resort to sell the key item to a top level smugglers; but right then an special ops team, lead by the evil guy, will arrest them and send them to a military court to face a swift judgement and sentence to death. But fortunately for them, just before their death sentence is going to be executed, another military officer "saves" them. This officer is legal, and has always suspected of the other one's black market operations. He'll save the PCs' lives with some fake executions in exchange for them uncovering the evil guy's machinations. A new mission that won't be easy, as he's been cleaning all evidences of his former activities; cleaning means killing, of course. They'll have to do quite a lot of research in the underworld to gather enough data to be able to lure the corrupt officer in a trap, having him arrested and their freedom gained.
· DOOMSDAY Not truly a sequel to the above adventure, but connected to it. The adventurers, a group of smugglers, make an hyperspace jump, but they suffer a strong deviation and appear amidst an asteroid field. Once they break free from it the ship's navigational computers will give them their situation, revealing that the asteroids are what remains of a moon collapsing on its planet. They'll also receive a S.O.S. signal from a nearby smaller moon, the orbit of which has been affected and is on collision course to the same planet. If they track the signal they'll arrive to secret military investigation facilities, where they were experimenting with a doomsday weapon; the experiment that has gone awkward. They were using the artifact from the previous adventure, an experimental teleportation device from the Ancients, joined with a ship's black hole generator. After the rescue, the PCs are already involved with this project, and will face no chance but to accept helping the military in retrieving the notes of the ancient scientist that created the teleportation prototype, so that the weapon can be upgraded before a new test is made. That means travelling to an ancient planet, avoiding being detected, and once on the completely uninhabited surface search for the laboratory. But all of the ancients' planet is guarded by powerful and strange technologies. If the PCs are successful on their mission, they may think twice about contributing to the creation of a doomsday weapon.
· DEADLIEST OF THE SPECIES This adventure will actively feature two alien species: Goualds and Dalektoids. Some rogue scientists from these races have joined in a common effort to force an artificial evolution of their two species, joining them with humans in what they expect to be the ultimate supreme race (these experiments are in no way endorsed by their authorities, who would consider them heretical and contrary to their racist believes). In order to carry their experiments they have contacted a neogi trader who's willing to provide them with human specimens. But these disappearances have not gone unnoticed by the authorities, and a group of police inspectors (yeah, those are the PCs) are commissioned with investigating them. First specimens come from the downtrodden, so that will misguide the PCs into some gang war and payback. But as the gouald-dalektoid experimentation advances they'll need better specimens to use the best human D.N.A., a fact that should allow the players to become aware that something else, and likely bigger, is going on. Either way eventually they'll come across the neogi trader, from whom information may be elicited for money and impunity. It will be up to the PCs whether they want to personally raid the secret installations of the rogue scientists, or filter the info to their races so they punish them.
· EMPTY HULL A very simple adventure, which actually is little more than a dungeon crawl in space. The ship in which the PCs (a bunch of people little more than criminals dedicated to salvaging abandoned ships) travel will locate a stress signal from a sligg ship. Suddenly, the PCs' ship switches to automatic mode and approaches the sligg vessel, which is controlling it (a thing of superior technology dominating lesser one). Once the salvage crew abroads the derelict, which is pretty big by the way, they'll soon learn that there are no living beings there. The corpses of several sliggs can be seen scaterred here and there, and studying that and their injuries makes it clear there was some fighting to death for control of the ships. All the while, electronic equipment used by the PCs will begin to have random errors and reseting themselves. Occasional flickers of light in the ship's screens should add to the creepy atmosphere; and point to the presence of artificial intelligence, occupied with studying the adventurers. As it was to be expected, the robots that killed the sligg crew will finally awake and attack; fortunately, just a handful of them are still operative. Once the PCs defeat them (if they do...) they'd better leave the sligg derelict soon, before the damage caused by the blasts makes the ship explode. And once their ship, they could worse than double-check their computers' systems to avoid an artificial intelligent virus to invade it and ultimately unleashing doom upon human civilization.
· TO THE OTHER SIDE AND BACK AGAIN A military ship from the Serapis system disappears when making an hyperspace jump; neither overly common, nor unheard of. Time later, it reappears in the Myrzam system, and a three members military team, commanded by a lieutenant, is sent to investigate what may have happened. A soldier, a private, from the ship's system is invited, too. Somewhat strangely, two elite troopers from Earth join the mission, with one of them, a sergeant, taking control of the mission and surpassing the Myrzam lieutenant. I plan this just to encourage role-playing and add a bit of tension to the game. The adventure as of itself will begin with the PCs boarding the reappeared ship and investigating it. There are no humans there, but they'll find that some of the utility robots (which lack real A.I.) behave as if they had it... and very malevolent intentions. Also two weird, zombie like, creatures will appear and attack the PCs; even if they are easy to get killed, they "die" with a laugh only to reappear later. All of this is happening because of the pernicious mutative effects of the other side: the ship is now a sentient being. Before they realize they have to destroy the full ship they'll find that the former crew has gone to a nearby moon with a small human colony to evangelize them on the new "other side faith". Or slaughter them. Which is very similar, truth to be told. PCs will endure now a more thought mission to protect the innocent while battling some crazed but well trained former mates.
· FAREWELL, COLONIES In this adventure the PCs will be a group of four policemen (and a special operations policewoman). I hope to be able to create a very complex plot of economical and political conspiracies all across the human populated systems, but so far I only have some vague ideas regarding said plot; these I present here. Everything will start innocently enough at some customs, when a possible case of corporate smuggling is discovered. A team of police detectives specialized in economical mischiefs is entrusted with the investigation. It will soon turn out to be an industrial spying case, though. Moreover, the involved corporations all have strong political connections. And so, the smuggling was to cover industrial spying, which was to cover political spying. The latter revolves around the rumour of a coup de etat of Earth against the colonies. Tracking the rumour they'll find a goauld, and it would be natural to assume he's the responsible to spread a rumour that would cause frictions in the human civilization, thus weakening it. Yet even he is just a pawn, and the real conspirators are much higher in the power chain. In the end the PCs should be able to prove everything has just been orchestrated to promote independentism amongst the colonies from within them, accusing Earth of pretending to use the colonials as cannon fodder in a massive attack of conquest, and dismantle this machination; although it's unlikely its perpetrators will ever go to jail.
· HAIL TO EARTH This is a follow-up to the former adventure, but with a different group of PCs (it would be good, though, if the players are the same, for better effect). It turns out that there really was some secret Earth conspiracy to overcome the democratic governments of the colonies and create a militaristic oligarchy to prepare for war. Some radicals of Earth, tired of hearing that humans are the "last", "young" and "weak" race, are embarked in the production of a massive war starfleet, with which they plan to launch a conquest of all the galaxy, exterminating the hostile races and subduing the rest. To be able to man the ships and fight the war it's compulsory that the populations of the seven colonies enlist in the army, and a "no" won't be accepted. Among the high spheres of power, the viability of this plan is doubted, but having a bigger fleet is never a bad thing, and Earth has always consider itself the metropolis and frowned upon colonial independentism. But someone critically fumbled somewhere, letting some secret info slip, and now the mess must be cleaned. The PCs will be the responsible for this, finding the original information leaker and terminating him/her to prevent further errors. Fortunately for them, some well placed misinformation prevented an investigation carried by some colonial policemen to discover the truth; yet, their knowledge makes them dangerous, so they need to be terminated, too (a confrontation that should be fun if the players are the same of the previous game, as I suggested above).
· COLLATERAL DAMAGE This had to happen. Xenos are too efficient killing machines. Weapon development is a too lucrative business. Scientists are too absorpted with their researches to care about security issues. Add all them together and you'll have this adventure, in which a research carried in an orbital station made to turn the xenos into living weapons has gone awkward with the bugs breaking their confinement and killing everyone. The self-destruction worked fine, but not before some survivors managed to escaped... impregnated. Now a containment crew of special operations agents, the PCs, is sent to take care of the mess. They'll have to track the landing place of the tainted escape pod and follow the signs of the new xeno infestation up to a rural area, where it has spread surprisingly quick. In top of that, a hürn will enter the game, too, because the xenos for the experiment were originally taken from them, and they are not pleased. His mission is to get rid of the xenos and punish the humans. If the PCs play well their cards they may get some help from the hürn regarding the infestation (despite knowing that truce will end soon); but it's more likely they'll have to confront him. Anyway, once the infestation is seemingly controlled, the climax will come with a new menace, as the military intermediary of the experiments has gone crazy and has started to worship the xeno queen, helping her to flee from Earth aboard a military ship. It's up to the PCs to chase them and finish this incident for good.
This has taken me longer than expected, and has been much harder. Yet, here I can present you with three sample characters, one for each of my settings. With these sheets the sketchy ruleset I have in my mind is finally coming to fruition. I'm posting them in the hope that seeing a real example will help you better understand some of the points I've not been able to explain correctly. And I'd expect to ignite your imagination, too.
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As you can see, this time I have updated the design of the blog. Nothing too fancy again, as I want to keep it dead simple to navigate and use. Just two main variations: First, I have stretched it, because I think no one still uses a 800x600 resolution. I'm pretty certain that 1024x768 is the new minimum nowadays. Second, I have inverted colours and use a black background with white text. As my posts are usually long pieces of text (sorry!), I've decided to follow the recommendations to make reading from a screen safer for your sight. I've tested everything on different resolutions, etc, and seems to work just fine. But if you're experiencing any problem, please post a comment here and I'll try to solve it as soon as possible and to the best of my knowledge.
Also, I have included more links in the appropriate section. Those are sites I frequently visit and companies I buy products from. You may want to check them.
Lastly, I've made some minor editing in some old posts here and there, and added a comment in this one: Arcade Ruleset VI. If you've got nothing better to do, you could have a look at those older posts.
Unless otherwise stated, these classes are for human characters. There are four main categories for classes: warriors, which includes barbarians, fighters and rangers; magic-users, comprising of druids and wizards; holy men, which are clerics and paladins; and finally rogues, which includes bards and thieves. For non-human, we have the following standard classes: elf ranger, dwarf fighter and orc barbarian.
· BARBARIAN: A primal warrior, an unleashed powerhouse, a barbarian is a powerful foe. Most barbarians come from uncultured, almost primitive, cultures, such as Nhorbar; but there are also those that come from advanced kingdoms but proudly retain the old ways of war. Barbarians disdain armour and self-preservation: for them, the best defence is a good attack, and they happily charge into their enemies, crushing them before they have the chance to react. There's even a certain brutal beauty of seeing a barbarian hack his enemies to pieces; or so the brave warriors from the north say. Their abandon may make for short lives, but that won't matter a barbarian, because all he hopes for it's to die in a blaze of glory. Fighting alongside one can be dangerous, but fighting against him is deadly.
· FIGHTER: In Ajsalium there's never lack of fights. But you must do much more than enter a fight to deserve the title of "fighter". A fighter is also more than just a soldier. A true fighter is someone who soughts to reach always higher levels of martial prowess, and test them in battle against formidable foes. A fighter can't just imagine life without violence and conflict, and is ready to accept them as a way of life, forever sacrificing a peaceful existence. No wonder this psychology has prevailed in Ajsalium given its dark past and uncertain future; in fact, maybe it's because of this toughening of the soul that mortals were able to rival their fiendish enemies. Although fighters tend to be loners at their heart, they are willing to cooperate with others as they understand the tactical advantages of it, so they commonly join parties of adventurers. With them they can keep on fighting, honing their skills until they become legendary heroes; or they may die in a damp corridor, their corpses to serve as a warning of the dangers ahead.
· RANGER: Rangers are the scouts and spies from ajsalian armies, trained to survive alone in the wilds or to leave without a trace in the cities. Loners by nature, rangers soon take to the woods and become hunters or trappers; if they hone their skills enough they may attract the attention of the military, whom can put their abilities to other uses. Yet the individualistic nature of rangers usually makes them abandon their careers and either establish themselves as hermits or join a group of adventurers and quest all around the world. A ranger is always a valuable mate not just for his understanding of the wilds, a place that becomes the second home of most adventurers, and not just for his hunting skills, but also for his tracking ability and good fighting prowess. It's interesting noticing that rangers can still employ much of their knowledges in urban areas, and some even consider themselves urban rangers, in the constantly evolving world of Ajsalium.
· DRUID: Druids are the keepers of the Old Faith: way back in time, humans paid devotion not to the gods, but to Nature itself and every aspect of it. It was believed that there was power everywhere, and it was true, because everything was impregnated by magic. Druids are magic-users, but very different from wizards, because the former have a religious respect for magic, considering it a divine bond that merges the world and its inhabitants together. And despite the fact that religion has changed a lot since the naive old days, and today only god worship is approved, druids keep their simple and naturalistic spirituality. They seek to maintain the natural balance, a pro-active neutrality that often makes them despise the so called "progress"; something that has relegated them to the frontiers of the world. But in no man's land, theirs is the voice of Nature.
· WIZARD: Dragons brought magic to Ajsalium. It's a force that impregnates everything and unites the world. It may be invisible, but still it's there. And wizards learn the ways to manipulate it, and thus, manipulate the world. Wizards are amongst the most ambitious people in the world, as they seek what's considered the ultimate power, the power of the spell, that which equate mortals with immortals. Of course, that is not an easy task to accomplish, and learning the winding ways of magic takes long years of hard study. Only the very disciplined, centered and even stubborn, can hope to achieve a good mastery of magic. That's not the type of people that get along well with others, as they're usually introverts and rather egoistic. The disrespect with which they treat magic puts them at odds with druids; and their lack of faith in the gods does the same with clerics. But nobody will be such a fool as to anger a wizard without good reason, because everybody knows magic is the most formidable weapon.
· CLERIC: Clerics are the ultimate believers; the life of a cleric is devoted to being a perfect mirror of his god. They go far beyond the standard obligations of a devout person, self-imposing a strict code of conduct based on the ethos of a god. For this they can expect the gift of being personally heard by a god, and being rewarded with power, including the holy power over life and death. It is this what grants them important political power, and the basis from which Churches were built. In them, clerics are the focal points, whereas priests, zealous people that conduct masses but lack the true powers of a cleric, are their backbones and the ones who truly constitute the hierarchy. Only old clerics will settle long enough for them to hold some place in a Church, with younger ones travelling in an unending mission of evangelization in the name of their gods, showing their power through their deeds and smashing their enemies.
· PALADIN: A paladin is a shining beacon of light amidst the darkness of the world. They are considered living saints by many, and dangerous fools by others; and both may be right. A paladin feels he must become a perfect embodiment of some virtue, such as valour, love, light, honour... and defend it with the sword, a strong arm and a stronger heart. It's the abstract approach to the divine what differentiates them mostly from clerics, as their faith is of a different kind. And it's what explains why they don't belong to any Church; although all of the latter try to befriend the paladins and give them shelter and support, if only for the popular estimation they (usually) have. Yet no paladin will stay anywhere for long, for they can't never overcome the impulse to search for new lands to cleanse, and fight the darkness till death claims them. Unfortunately, in Ajsalium there's never a shortage of deeds and quests for them to perform.
· BARD: Seeing them in their colourful clothes and cheerful playing you wouldn't imagine them crawling in the darkest corridors of forgotten dungeons, would you? But you'd be wrong. A bard is, first and foremost, the ultimate hedonist, but a consequent one: he's ready to put his life at risk in a quest for strong emotions. It is from the raw flush of adrenalin that his odes come. When a bard sings about desperate struggles against horrid monsters, he knows what he's talking about. And a good bard, who's a master of his arts, is able to transmit those emotions to their spectators, up to a point where he can give hope to the desperate and valour to the coward; truly there's magic in their music. Bards also join adventuring parties to travel around the world, meet new cultures and learn from their traditions, later to re-tell them elsewhere. Thanks to them the world is a richer place.
· THIEF: Swift hands and disdain for the law define a thief. Beyond that, everything is possible: from idealistic revolutionaries that steal from the rich and give to the poor, to ugly faced thugs that break the fingers of the enemies of "the guild". As long as you can make a living and it doesn't seem like proper work it's fine. And what better promise than an ancient tomb full of gold for anyone who finds it? And when you have problems with the law wherever you go, keeping on moving is a good idea. Thus it's common for thieves joining other adventurers, beneficial both to them and their mates. Because even though you'll always have to keep an eye on your possesions, a thief's numerous and varied abilities can be helpful: unlocking doors, disarming traps, entering supposedly impenetrable fortresses, getting funds when things are tight... A thief is a jack-of-all-trades , and proud of it.
· ELF RANGER: Given that elves have accepted the inevitability of their demise it's rare to see one outside the limits of their domains (Vidolgreen, Rintölle and Yanathanil); the very few that leave them are likely to be rangers. An elf ranger is charged with patrolling their woods and make sure no enemies penetrate them. Elf rangers are legendary archers; in fact, legends go as far as suggesting that elite rangers practice a weird magical archery unknown to other races. This active duty make them less passive than the rest of their kind, and some may go as far as deciding the best way to protect the inner peace of elven sanctuaries is to patrol the frontiers and beyond them. Yet, it's very rare for an elf to leave his land, and when they do so is just because given their long lifespans travelling for a couple of decades seems like a mere moment. They learn as much as they can about the current situation of the world and later go back to spread the word amongst their elders.
· DWARF FIGHTER: Dwarves have a fame for being stubborn and unshakable; and when it comes to war, they know how to make them into two martial virtues. Dwarven fighters are soldiers, heirs of a millennia long military tradition that has imbued its tactics in them almost innately. Perfectioned by long years of continuous training dwarves can built phalanxes as impenetrable as a stone wall. But lately they've been charged with another duty, for the mines that are the core of the dwarven race are getting depleted. Young and intrepid fighters are now discreetly searching across the world for new ores and a place for their people to settle, far from the ancient mountains of Eternock and Drakpac. They are slightly more common to see than an elf (or an orc), but yet most humans will die without ever seeing one. The minering knowledge every dwarf has makes them capable prospectors, and their fighting abilities ensure their survival.
· ORC BARBARIAN: Most humans, and elves, and dwarves, think that orc and barbarian are synonymous. Orcs themselves couldn't agree more. Orc society is primitive, compared to that of the other major races, as it's based on savagery; and that is translated into the behaviour of orcs, who are feral warriors. But unlike human barbarians, there's little in the field of honour and courage for orcs, being replaced for sheer brutality and animalistic aggressiveness. For all of this, and more reasons, orcs will never be accepted amidst mankind, so you can only expect to see one near the orc territories of the Isles of Broken Spine and Nhorbar (or very cosmopolitan and tolerant cities such as Lonjhumar). If he's not up for hire as mercenary he may join a party of adventurers of dubious morals.
Lastly, I admit that in my original sketches, there were more classes. Those ones have been eliminated so far just because I know myself well enough to know that unless I keep the development of the game small and easy I'll never finish it. But should I release the completed rules someday, next expansion would include those classes, which are the following: for humans, martial artist, sorcerer, witch hunter and duellist; for elves, wizard and wardancer; for dwarves, cleric and inventor; and finally three "overpowered" classes, for races whose natural talents make them perfect for specific roles: half-dragon paladin, half-infernal wizard, and half-ogre barbarian.