Friday, July 30, 2010

Review: The Kerberos Club - Savage Supers in the Victorian Age

Product: The Kerberos Club - Savage Worlds Edition
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
People: Benjamin Baugh, Todd Shearer
Price: $23.99

Since I normally develop my own settings, few products give me a desire to drop my current game in favor of something new. Space 1889 is a perfect example of such a game. The concept of colonial, Victorian England in space and Liftwood ships over Mars was too juicy to pass over. Another was Solomon Kane dealing with horror in the 1600s. I forced these games upon my players for the shear joy of Game Mastering the setting. I have a new entry in that small list. A super hero game placed in 19th century London: The Kerberos Club from Arc Dream Publishing.

The reason: the Victorian Era is as rich in history and change as it is in literature and invention. The War of 1812, The American Civil War, and the Crimean War changed forever the way nation fought nation while inventions like the railroad, telegraph, photography, gas light, cars and even aircraft changed the very fabric of society. Science grew into the discipline we know today with Universities and companies devoting ever increasing resources to new discoveries. Occultism and Secret Societies became popular as it seemed there was no limit to what man could understand and do and no mystery too deep to uncover.

But inventions and advancements weren't the time period's only gifts. The Victorian Era gave birth to the literary works forming the foundation for almost all modern the RPGs, Fantasy, and Science Fiction we enjoy today. Works like:

  • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula
  • H. G. Well's The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, When the Sleeper Wakes, and The First Men in the Moon.
  • Jules Vern's A Journey to the Centre of the Earth , From the Earth to the Moon , Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days, and The Mysterious Island.
  • George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin
  • Andrew Lang's 12 "Coloured" Fairy Books

The 1800s saw the rise in power of the USA along with its breaking, remaking, and expansion from coast to coast. It was the era of the cowboy, the end of slavery, and the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

In England, it was a century of overall peace and prosperity often referred to as Pax Britannia with England being the dominant sea power of the day. In fine Savage Setting tradition, The Kerberos Club takes this history and twists it by introducing The Strangeness as an unseen force that warps and changes those it touches.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thor: The Movie Trailer

The Thor trailer that was once posted here is no more. Apparently the site housing the leaked video pulled it. I understand it's still out there on a few foreign web sites but I'll not post it here until official and authorized release hits the web.

For what it's worth, the trailer looked awesome. To paraphrase, Thor is thrown out of Asgard for being a punk. Odin dies but sends Thor's hammer to Earth. Anyone able to pull the hammer from the stone shall be the rightful heir to all England. Wait, no, that's not it. Whosoever pulls the Hammer from this crystalline mass shall wield the power of Thor.

In the mean time, Loki takes over Asgard and sends a Destroyer to kill Thor just in case Thor learns how not to be a brat and returns to take Odin's throne. Although not shown, I assume Odin comes back after Thor grows up.

Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins (Odin) star in the adaptation of the Thor comic book from Marvel. I'm not much of a Thor fan but I can't wait to see this movie.

Torstan's Maps

Jonathan Roberts is a map maker who, through pure altruism, improved the quality of my fantasy maps greatly. He's also a cartographer for Kobold Quarterly, Sunken Empires, and Adventures in the Hyborian Age

Under the name of Torstan, he contributed tile sets and maps to Maptool which either ship with the product or can be downloaded into it. His work greatly speeds the development of new fantasy scenarios through the use of drag and drop map making. I created the Ogre Bandit Lair adventure with his tiles.

Jonathan released the latest map set in a series titled Low River Map Pack. The set contains battle mat pdfs for printing and jpeg files to import into your favorite Virtual Table Top. It also contains a Maptool campaign file with the maps preloaded. You can find the entire bundle of Fantastic Maps on DriveThruRPG.

Sample Map from the Low River Collection

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Savage Space: 1889 Coming Soon

Space: 1889 and its companion Sky Galleons of Mars comprise one of the most memorable settings I've ever played. The character combat system wasn't great but the ship-to-ship rules were awesome. The book gave you atlases of Mars, Venus, the Moon, and Mercury along with the indigenous races for each planet. I fought the cursed Belgians from one end of Mars to the other and knew victory captaining the Screw Galley Texan's Pride. Now THAT was a setting!

This work, more than any other, inspired my pulp SciFi solar system for Space Nazis. Chadwick's vision of a hot and steamy Venus, a Mars in decline, and the world river of Mercury were all amazing. I admit I still love the setting after all these years.

Pinnacle Entertainment Group will release its own version of Space: 1889 at Gen Con this year melding my favorite setting with my favorite game system. If you're interested in learning more, you can download the free Introduction to Space: 1889 to tide you over until Pinnacle releases Red Sands to the rest of us who weren't able to attend Gen Con. (honest, I'm not grumbling.... much)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Game Glimpse: Shambles a.k.a. My LIfe as a Teenage Zombie

Ever want to explore life as a zombie? Then Shambles is the game for you.

You may think playing a slowly decaying corpse has limited RPG appeal but think of the fun of sharing your new undeadness with all your friends? Sure you have to dodge self-appointed, chainsaw-wielding zombie killers, government agents, and scientists seeking a cure but that's just part of the fun.

Shambles uses a lightweight RPG system you can play funny, grim, or gory depending on your mood and appetite for brains.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Bone Tooth Pick: 4e Supplement - Markets and Merchandise

I'll be honest. I don't get it. You're going to buy a supplement that contains what your players can buy in your game world. Granted it has all sorts of stuff about developing a currency system and two pages describing the difference between a copper, silver, and gold piece (spoiler: it's the kind of metal they're made of). While I may need to read that sort of information to go to sleep at night, it's not something I need to by to run a game.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Matt's Maps

Matt Jackson (another project ADD sufferer) is putting his half finished works up on his blog . .lapsus calumni. .  Recently he posted a science fiction map that should suit your sci fi gaming needs. Drop by and check it out.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

AP: Tearing Through A Nazi Base

Last night's game got a bit sillier than usual. The crew decided to double back to the Nazi base to activate the portal between Z-Space and N-Space. The Nazis, their numbers depleted, decide to activate their Zombie-fication device to refill their ranks with reanimated troopers.

As the characters drove towards the base in their captured Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), the Zombies swarmed over the vehicle trying to gain entrance. The characters merrily blasted at the undead through the gun ports but several zombies hung on for dear unlife. 

Space Nazis - N-Space Beastiary: Sharkmen and Porchinians

Often when you create a universe your players will step in with filler. This happened when Trevor Croft, creator of Maptool, decided to play a character from my Space Nazis campaign. Trevor's busy schedule precluded studying the rules long enough to develop a character for my setting so, from a chat conversation, I developed a Sharkman from Venus.
Trevor's requested  character was a shark with a frekkin' laser beam on its head. When I asked if he wanted anything else he said a side of ham. So I added Sharkmen to my universe along with a diminutive pig race named Porchinians. I presented the characters to Trevor who then created the racial history below.
During the game Sharshar was viscious and Sharkbait was the luckiest pig in the Solar System. I've included their character sheets below in case anyone else wishes to build upon Trevor's creation. I've also included the vast (2 paragraph) material Trevor had to work with; a planet description and a character sheet. What follows afterwards is his write-up for Sharsharharkisharhar Sharharsharkashar SharkSharkarkishark-Arr the Sharkman and his constant companion Sharkbait.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Dragon Art

In the interests of a full disclosure, I don't often enjoy art but Howard David Johnson has a great online gallery which features Dragons, Fairies, and other mythical creatures. Other topics of interests to the Virtual gamer include Greek, Norse, Asian, and Celtic mythologies as well as a wide array of fantasy artwork. I highly recommend you drop by and take a look.

His work is great fodder for tokenizing via programs like Token Tool from

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hellfrost Character: Seamus O'Thay

The following character was used in Bryan Meadows Hellfrost scenario from Triple Ace Games. I had fun with the character who played well against Matt Jackson's muscle-bound Bullwolfie character. Seamus managed to get Bullwolfie into a fist duel with three warehouse guards while he taunted the guards from the sidelines allowing their dwarf companion the chance to search the grounds for clues.

He was a good character and I'm sad I didn't get a chance to play more of him. Feel free to use and abuse Seamus as you please.

Rank/Race: Novice (0 xps)/Hearth Elf
Attributes: Agility (d8), Smarts (d6), Spirit (d8), Strength (d6), Vigor (d4),
Skills: Fighting (d6), Guts (d4), Intimidation (d6+2), Notice (d4), Persuasion (d4), Shooting (d6), Taunt (d6+2), Throwing (d4), Faith (d6)
Derived: Pace 6, Parry 6, Charisma 0, Toughness 7(2), Faith Power Points: 20
Hindrances: Major: Curious Minor: Novate, Black Sheep
Edges: AB-Miracles(Priest of the Unnamed God), Strong Willed
Gear: Arrow x40, Arrow - Armor Piercing x20, Arrow- Flesh Ripper x20, Bow, Leather Shirt, Long Spear
Powers: fear, shape change, mimic

Seamus is a priest of the unnamed god who delights in tricks and learning through hardship. Seamus follows his gods' example attempting to trick his opponents early in each combat. He believes, sometimes erroneously, that his is smart enough to get out of any situation his mouth gets him into.

Friday, July 16, 2010

ENnie Voting is Open

Go vote for your favorite game at the official voting site.

Don't forget the Savages and Hero System titles and companies.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Miskatonic University

I'm a big fan of the Cthulhu mythos. Bits and pieces of it eventually make their way into almost any campaign I run. While I haven't played any form of Call of C'thulhu since its first release I do warp its creatures into my many creations. My Space Nazis campaign is a fine example of this.

I have a special fondness for Miskatonic University, home of the fighting Encephalopods.  True they've never won a pennant, bowl game, or even made it to conference finals but what can you do when half the team is down a few sanity points? 

I actually hold a degree from Miskatonic U (Go 'Pods!) in Medieval Metaphysics. True, it was through their online program but I'm told it holds the same weight as a normal degree from Mis U. Chaosium recently release the Miskatonic University Campus Guide if your interested in learning more.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2010 ENnie Nominees

The ENnie nominations are in. Voting begins this Friday (7/16). Drop by their web site to see a full list of nominees.

Sadly, only the Hellfrost Bestiary made it from the Savage Worlds game system. Its a scandal, a scandal I tell you. Good Luck to Wiggy and the other Triple Acers. Wiggy produces incredibly rich content and I highly recommend the entire Hellfrost series.

Congrats also to Hero Games for multiple nominations in the Best Interior Art, Best Game, and Best Rules category for Hero System 6th Edition and a nomination for Best Supplement titled Lucha Libre Hero, the game of heroic, horror fighting, masked, Mexican wrestlers.  Jack Black would be proud.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Space Nazis Z-Space Beastiary - Allies of Galaxia

Once the characters transit to Z-Space they'll be caught in a three-sided war between the Dark Ones, The Alliance, and Queen Galaxia's forces. This article details some of the thrall races and personalities under Galaxia's command.

Holy Hot Chainsaw Wielding Nazi Ninja Babes, Batman!

This popped up as a new product on DriveThruRPG. I pass it along with no comment other than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has been one-upped in the genre goulash department.

Check out The Chainsaw Ninjas of the SS! It's only a dollar but you need HOT CHICKS: The Roleplaying Game if, for some strange reason, you actually feel the need to play.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Space Nazis Z-Space Beastiary - The Dark Ones

If your characters make it to Z-Space they are likely to run into Dark Ones. These minions of the Elder wander Earth in search of slaves and food.  Their ancestors were banished to Z-Space when the Elders were put to sleep eons ago by the Harmonic Stabilizers. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Savage Setting - Space Nazis - The Reveal

This would be considered the GM's section of the Savage Setting - Nazi Horror from Outer Space!  The previous post is player information to give you and your players a feel for the game universe. This post contains information not generally known by the peoples of the Great Solar Alliance for the Librarians of Mars keep secrets very well indeed.

AP - The Nazi Horror from Outer Spaaaaaaaace

July 5th – One Shot Space Pulp w/Maptool

In another of my Savage Worlds Evangelism Experiences, I held an open game of Savage Worlds in a Space Pulp setting of my own creation titled The Nazi Horror from Outer Spaaaaaaace! Participants included Save newbies Worldbuilder, Captainclock, Cyroa from the Maptool Forums. After my last experience with ten players I decided less was more for this adventure.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Gods Game 2.2 - Greetings

Gûndaff's home world lay on the other side of the portal. The gateway's green border framed a forest clearing filled with green grass and tall oaks. On the other side a lone figure stood facing the portal. Gûndaff smiled and raised his hand in in greeting.
An arrow struck the ground between the old man's feet as a female voice yelled from the other side. “Gûndaff Faêrenfarr, you step one foot through that portal and I'll drop you where you stand!”
Corporal Hernandez's pistol was drawn and pointed at the voice on the other side. Gûndaff placed his hand on the gun forcing the Corporal to lower his side arm.
Friend of yours, General?”
Worse,” said Gûndaff. “A friend's insane ex-girlfriend.”