Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

ElsewhereRecently  I finished reading American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett, and I can’t recommend the novel enough.  An excellent story, great characters, mysterious, amusing, humorous, and touching by turns.  Well written, and didn’t feel as long as perhaps 600+ pages should!

So why am I writing about this in a blog about RPGs?

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Johannes Cabal the DetectiveWe left off last time having decided to make a version of our favourite necromancer using the D6 Adventure rules which are available under the OGL. Now, normally when I put together a character I use the rules as written, trying to figure out how to really make the character for the game. In this case, however, I’m going to make an exception. Cabal is so unique that I can’t imagine any base generation process being able to capture all that he is. So out the window with the rules, and we’ll try to stay true to form for the man, hopefully not ruining any hope of play balance in the process!

So on with the Necromancer! And I have to start with a picture…this is honestly what comes to mind for me when I’m reading. This is the Cabal of my mind’s eye…
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tumblr_static_johannes-cabal-the-necromancer-coverI fell in love with the writing of Mr Howard when I read the first Johannes Cabal novel, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer. I’ve just recently picked up a copy of the second book, Johannes Cabal the Detective, and since I’m nothing if not easily influenced I immediately started thinking on how to play this as a game.

The first question was what rules to use?
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“Hoookay,” Mike said.  “That’s bizarre.”

The door opened and three people in their late teens filed in, lead by Sandy Rey, KROK’s intern.  “Say hello to our contest winners, and your guests for the night.”

In the lead was a goth girl, with too much eye makeup and too little skin tone.  Behind her was a shaggy musician, cheap red Fender guitar strapped to his back.  The last was a hauty-looking girl, with long black hair and an air of authority.

“Hey, everybody, welcome,” Frankie said.  “Drop your stuff, and grab a chair and headphones, we’re going live in a couple of minutes.  When we go to the first song set, I’ll show you where you’ll be spending the rest of your evening…”

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The opening episode of the Horror experiment using Blood and Fear Itself.

A blonde figure appears at the far end of the brightly lit, otherwise deserted hallway.  She’s in jeans, and patterned halter, and carrying something in her left hand.  As she gets closer it becomes clear that her shirt isn’t patterned, but rather blood splattered, along with her jeans and tattooed arms.  She takes a puff on a cigarette burned low in the fingers of her right hand, in her left she holds a bloody machete.

It’s the DJ, Frankie Shock.

Her hair is more wild than usual, her eyes haunted and hollow.  Blowing smoke she drops the butt on the tiled floor in the hallway and enters the makeshift booth she and Mike had put together earlier…

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Frankie III

Posted: June 12, 2011 in Character, Horror, RPG
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Carrying on from last time, today we’ll present Ms Shock as produced for Fear Itself.

Again too, some intro notes.  I used the standard character creation rules for the system to put Frankie together here.  The first thing I noticed is that it’s a very “stats lite” system.  The first thing you do is come up with a concept and a “role”, but neither directly effects the creation process other than to help focus the character being created.

Characters have no traits per se either.  They’re a collection of skills and abilities, which are actually point pools (more on these pools later).  These are basically the only numerical traits that are associated with your Fear Itself character.

I also find the skill system somewhat anemic.  Characters get 60 points to spend in the dice pools for creation, and I honestly had a tough time finding enough skills to put dice into.  There are no “fluff” skills, it’s all “infiltration” and “filch” and “mechanics”, no “entertainment” or “sexual technique” here!

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Frankie Shock (revisited)

Posted: June 10, 2011 in Character, Horror, RPG
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I’ve decided that I really like Frankie Shock, the DJ I created for Don’t Rest Your Head.  She’s vaguely based on my favorite DJ on the station I listen to here in Ottawa, not that I know anything about the real DJ’s life but I combine what I hear with imagination, and so I get Frankie!

I’ve recreated Frankie in two different rule sets: Blood from PostMortem Studios, and Fear Itself, from Pelgrane Press.  I want to try an experiment with these two characters.  Both rule sets are for modern horror stories, but the approaches are very different.  Blood is just that, bloody!  It’s for John Carpenter, hack and slash, run from the killer type horror.  Fear Itself on the other hand, is more aimed toward investigative horror, Blair Witch and that sort of story (it is a GUMSHOE system game after all).

So my experiment is this, create the same character in both systems and then play out a game and see how the systems handle various elements.

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