The Scoundrelexicon

Bits and pieces of the Scoundrelexicon are painted on brick alley’s walls, carved into benches of pubs and some have even heard its wisdom screeched by ravens. You can tell that they are different from other graffiti because they are lucid and are good advice for those who have disregarded all other good advice and started a scoundrel’s life of crime in Doskvol.

No one has all of the Scoundrelexicon’s wisdom, though some back-alley scholars have begun to gather them together. Are they the work of a ghost? Are they some kind of ghostly manifestations of crews that have fallen to the unrelenting pressure and grind the scoundrel’s life demands?

blades-graffiti.png

Here are a few of them, written down here before they were painted over, sanded away or otherwise cleaned from existence:

No use telling a crew not to punch above their weight because we all do but know this: make friends above yer weight too.

 

Is eeking out a life of poverty under a bridge better than bleeding to death on that same bridge? That is the question Doskvol forces you to ask once you float down the Scoundrel’s Canal.

 

A job going to chaos isn’t a sign of a poorly wrought plan. It is a sign that you are living the life of a scoundrel and that life’s tapestry is woven with chaos, death, vendetta and time lost to cruel Ironhook.

 

Whispers make good problem solvers but bad priests.

 

Sometimes a an Iruvian dueling knife is the only thing that can pry out a bullet and sometimes the finest Imperial pistol is the only club at hand. Look at yer load with fresh eyes every time you load out.

 

Ironhook is our schoolmaster and it is a vicious, miserable educator.

 

War is bad for business but so is love.

 

When the cutter wants war seek out diplomacy and peace; when the spider wants peace make fell war.

Please add your own in the thread over at the new Blades in the Dark forum.

 

 

Art

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Old houses King & Varick Sts.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1919. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e2-8cc7-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Advertisements

SWN: The Taking of Free Trader Grandma’s Trusty Rifle

This e-mail was sent to the folks I game with after our last session, as mentioned in Episode 15 of Daydreaming About Dragons.

SWN Galaxy Breaker

XP

Everyone present take 4 XP for the past session. Good plan, good execution. Good stuff.

I knew they had a Big Fucking Gun out of the box but wasn’t sure how they’d set it up. The way you guys posed as a Veluriuan family ship really changed the way I thought that whole thing would go.
SWN Galaxy Breaker

NPC’s

Witt and I had a miscommunication about the Gudradim hunter who works for the Valerius family. She is not the traitor Strachan is hunting. She is a different person all together. Sorry for the confusion.

RIP Mubarak.

If we ever have a game where we have absences and don’t want to move on without everyone present we will play a game on board the Free Trader Mubarak, the haunted ship under Captain Agrippa Horatius.

SWN Galaxy Breaker

Beep-Boop

Mechanics I want to write-up:

  • Buying things using Astral Dragon Money (inspired by Burning Wheel’s resource dice)
  • Making tech in the lab (inspired by the Saavyhead’s Workplace move in Apocalypse World)
  • Experience point lists (inspired by Blades in the Dark)
    Ammo checks (inspired by usage die in old school D&D games)

SWN Galaxy Breaker

Loot

You got over a dozen crates containing the parts for six complete Storm armors as worn by the Guevaran Hegemony Space Marine Squads along with diagnostic support stations and replacement parts. These are the type of armor worn by Lalita Space Marines during the Battle of Forest 164 in the bloodiest battle against the Crick. There currently are not any companies nor governments producing these in this system.

In most systems using these in acts of violence without the proper paperwork is considered an act of terrorism.

Keeping these in fighting shape is really difficult. Space Marine squads have 3 Warfare Engineers for every one door-kicking devil dog wearing one of these brutal machines on the battlefield. There will be mechanics to show this.

SWN Galaxy Breaker

P.S. It looks like that armor pic (not shown above but in the link) is by Kai Lim.

SWN Galaxy Breaker

 

Art

 Image taken from page 645 of ‘L’Espace céleste et la nature tropicale, description physique de l’univers … préface de M. Babinet, dessins de Yan’ Dargent’ by The British Library
Via Flickr:
Image taken from: Title: “L’Espace céleste et la nature tropicale, description physique de l’univers … préface de M. Babinet, dessins de Yan’ Dargent” Author: Liais, Emmanuel Contributor: BABINET, Jacques. Contributor: DARGENT, Jean Édouard – calling himself Yan’ Dargent Shelfmark: “British Library HMNTS 10003.d.10.” Page: 645 Place of Publishing: Paris Date of Publishing: 1866 Issuance: monographic Identifier: 002161070 Explore: Find this item in the British Library catalogue, ‘Explore’. Download the PDF for this book (volume: 0) Image found on book scan 645 (NB not necessarily a page number) Download the OCR-derived text for this volume: (plain text) or (json)Click here to see all the illustrations in this book and click here to browse other illustrations published in books in the same year. Order a higher quality version from here.

Burning Wheel GM Apprenticeship

3 players at the table. Each player chooses one pair they like.

BW battle

Knight/Squire

Situation: The dukes are going to war and your manor is right on he border of two rival dukes on opposite sides. You must choose.

Sorcerer/Apprentice

Situation: Your duke is going to war and is calling their sorcerer to their side. Your master was a trusted adviser and lived on the ducal estates but his children were raised in a religion that sees sorcery as sin. Will you answer the call?

Lady/Young Lady

Situation: The dukes are about to go to war, your castles are where these wars have historically begun and your lord is about to make a series of disastrous decisions that could get your noble house wiped from the ducal lists.

Bishop/Acolyte

Situation: The dukes are at war and you must decide how the holy knighthoods will arrange themselves so that the church will best benefit.

Criminal/Thug

Situation: Fucking dukes are feuding and your city is under siege. Gather food or make a run for it?

Bandit/Desperate Killer

Situation: The nobles are at war. The knights are busy. Time to profit.

 

What’s this now?

One person GM’s, other 2 players play characters. Rotate these roles as you come to satisfying chapter ends. All in the same world. Think of chapter-change-of-POV fantasy novels. Everyone should take turns GMing, playing the senior character and playing the junior character.

Rotate back, make sure everyone gets to play the tutor and the learner. Mix it up as needed. Things are going to get complicated. Lore for the world and an expansive list of NPC’s is going to get generated quickly.

The goal of this is to mix up the GMing so everyone gets a chance to GM for a small group. I would have never gotten the hang of running a game as dense as Burning Wheel if it wasn’t for the amazing players at my table helping me with rules questions. Right into my 20’s I told everyone I had no head for game systems.

If more people are going to GM, we have to set up games to help teach and mentor them to do so. It takes a table to run a game.

After some conversations about the mentoring that went into getting me to take up the GM’s seat back in the day and reflection on the people who have helped me get better at it over the years. I found myself wondering if we could structure games specifically so that the GM’s role is both modeled and handed over to our friends, hoping to de-mystify the process.

 

Art

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Two Armies” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1530. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/d576ac40-e6d6-0132-8b89-58d385a7bbd0

Blades in the Dark: The Last Red Maid

hanging

The Red Maids were a group of chambermaids who turned to crime. Like so many gangs, they gathered too much heat too quickly. Because their enemies were among Brightstone’s and even Whitecrown’s elite and not yet among their fellow criminals, scoundrels still speak fondly of them as both a cautionary tale and a kind of heroic tragedy.

When their crime spree was over Brightstone was said to be painted blood red. The gang’s leader, Scar, was hanged under charges of witchcraft and the rest were put in prison by an over-zealous magistrate under heavy pressure from the City Council.

Forty years later and the only surviving member of the gang is getting out, not because of any mercy but because everyone in power has forgotten.  Scoundrels all over the city want to recruit her as she leaves Ironhook. None even remember her real name, only her street nickname.

What playbook was she?

  • Cutter: Bloody Mary
  • Hound: The Wolf Crone
  • Leech: Dr. Scarlet
  • Lurk: The Old Shadow
  • Slide: The Red Masque
  • Spider: Spinner Scarlet
  • Whisper: The Red Matron

There are barroom arguments, did she kill more people on the streets of Duskwall or while serving time in Ironhook?

Notes

This isn’t so much about one character getting out of Ironhook but as something new being added to the scoundrel’s underworld that acts as a spark. This is a fun way to have gangs compete over something that isn’t too high stakes. Of course, some gangs are going to claim their gang has some lineage leading straight to he Red Maidens, making their claim on this wise old-timer more than another or perhaps she has a link to a solid score that everyone wants, some money the Red Maids stowed before they made their valiant and foolish last stand.

Can your gang outbid and out-maneuver the other gangs and get this elder scoundrel to try life on the streets again?

Inspired by Season 5 of the Sopranos.

 

General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “TheExecution of Cook and Coppock… Charlestown, Va.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed January 5, 2018. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c7b1c6e0-eb12-012f-a413-58d385a7b928

Questions and Hex Describe

I was talking to Alex on Mastadon and he asked me to put the following on my blog to save it from the G+calypse:

I was thinking about the classes in the game and questions to ask the players during character creation while dice are hitting the table, chips are being laid out or just when there is quiet moment in play.

Cleric
Which heresy vexes you the most?

When did you hear your calling from your deity?


Fighters
What slaughter have you perpetrated that still haunts your dreams?

When you get to hell, who do you hope is waiting for you there?


Magic-Users
How did you learn magic and what happened to the person, institution or otherworldly force that bestowed the ability to carry spells in your brain upon you?

In what way are you damned for practicing magic?


Specialist
Tell me what your character loves about adventuring.

What the hell led you to this life? Boredom? Greed? Idle curiosity?

Who taught you your skills?


Dwarf
Every dwarven family has some terrible kinstrife feud at its heart. Tell me something about yours.

What extraordinary happenstance caused your parents to rut and give birth to you?


Halfling
What do you miss most from home? What did you bring from home to make the big, cruel world seem less cold?

Why did you leave the comfort for a life of adventuring?


Elf
What have you heard about your faery home, far from this muddy shit-hole of a world (possibly heard from the eldest in your Elf enclave or a wanderer you met on the road)?

What do you hate most and love most about these humans?

What is something you regularly do (or don’t do) that is inhuman?

This is a technique that I first saw made concrete in Apocalypse World and thought it would be neat to hear a player’s thoughts on their character before the cruel LotFP world destroys, mutates and corrupts them into whatever they end up becoming.

(Editing Note: Thank you, +Jason Morningstar for the solid edits on the last Specialist and Magic-User questions.)

Alex recorded a podcast about these questions too.

While we’re here you might as well check out his site that generates hex descriptions: Hex Describe.

It made this: Hex Describe hexes.

hexes

Some descriptions it generated:


0105: The dry lands up here are the hunting grounds of a manticore called Bastard of Envy living in the ruins of an old tower.


1308: These mountains are called the Sharp Giants. Fissures lead into the depth of the
mountain and in the warm chambers below there sleeps the red dragon Red Agony of the Deeps.


2007: On one of the hills of Black Forest stands an old tower overlooking the lands below.
This is the home of a manticore called Old Hate. This is where the spring of Eurfron’s
Brooklet is.


0307: The green valley up here has some sheep and a kid called Gil guarding
them. This is where the spring of Blood Brook is.


Fun!

 

 

Finding an old, lost world…

On a whim I posted a recycled old idea, one of the ideas I sent for the old WOTC Setting Contest years ago. A friend posted an interested reply, which sent me into the depths of my Google Drive, uncovering Anthropa:

Anthropa is the fantasy world of anthropomorphic Animals, Magical Beasts and Aberrations struggling in their newfound society as remnants of humanity’s civilization crumbles around them.

Animals, Aberrations and Magical Beasts of the Monster Manual walk on two legs.  Examples of heroes found in Anthropa are the Psionic Ape Councilors of the Feathered Serpent, the Griffon Barbarians of the Black Glass Mountains and even the Rat Rogues, who skulk under the haunted cities of extinct humanity looking for hidden artifacts or just some chow. The hunter who looks for more than just a meal and a mate, the herdsman yearning for something more than merely safety and green grass, or in the Magical Beasts who rise up and fight against the Aberrations all heed the call of heroism.

Unicorn Paladins take up sword and shield against the thousand knives of Carrion Crawler Assassins. Dire Lords struggle to feed an empire of carnivores. The Feathered Serpent to the south rules a jungle empire from atop his Golden Pyramid.  Beasts act out the primal drama of their former four-legged existence while struggling with their newfound humanity.  Deer arm themselves against Wolf pack violence with the very bows and arrows that hunted their stags in the old world.  The line between hunter and prey has become complicated.  Tomb-like cities contain magic, remnants of a lost age, clues concerning mankind’s extinction.       

Nightmare Blackguards conspire with Yeth Hound Sorcerers on moonless nights. The Dire Lords mercilessly hunt Herdsfolk for food as they did when they walked on four legs. Aboleth use their stolen memories of the old world to scheme and enslave. Driders and the Panther-like Displacers pour out of the Underdark reaping sacrifices for their Spider-Queen. Beasts twisted with an evil lust for power gather in their rotting fortress, Tarrasque.

There still exist provincial herdsfolk who foolishly believe that Unicorns are tales told by drunken Horses and that Dragons are myths. Nonetheless, former Wizards’ familiars teach the magicks of their now dead masters. Some say this Arcane meddling is unnatural and will bring the Doom of the Humans upon all of Beastkind.

Anthropa allows its players to bring their favorite mundane or mythical animals to vivid life. It is a fantastic world of high adventure that invokes the work of Brian Jaques’ Redwall, Robert Adam’s Watership Down and Stan Sakai’s Yusagi Yojimbo while putting their textures and themes in a high fantasy context. Sword and sorcery meets hoof and horn.

I had forgotten this thing existed, hadn’t touched it in 6 years.

lion v unicorn

The picture above is from a scroll from the Dire Lords hunting grounds. See how they depict the unicorn as the extinct humans depicted them in their ancient tapestries, 4-legged and full of herd-fear.

I kind of want to use Knave to play it. Maybe species just allows you an Advantage Die under very specific circumstances or a special power.

Predator: When chasing an enemy or a group you gain an advantage die

Prey: When running from an enemy or looking for an ambush you gain an advantage die

Carrion-eater: When you eat the dead they tell you a secret

Familiar: Start with an advantaged extra roll on the arcane items table (roll twice, take your preferred result)

Unicorn: You can use your horn to Cure Poison as many times per day as your Wisdom bonus +1.

 

Don’t throw anything away.

Be kind to your past self.

Don’t go extinct.

Not bad for an off-hand tweet I wrote up because I couldn’t sleep.

 

 

 

Art

Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “T U V.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1911. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/6b26eaac-2bb6-1da7-e040-e00a18062258

 

Exiled by the Emperor (Inspired by Renegade Crowns)

The Emperor and the Grand Theogonist have found your family guilty on charges of being Chaos Tainted.  Your house is exiled, sent to the lawless Borderlands due to Sigmar’s mercy. At best you will establish your ducal house as a Border Prince and maybe marry your children back into the Empire. At worst your house will fall under bandits, orc or Chaos Cults that all flourish in the Borderlands.

Duke

exiled-duke-character-sheet

  • Write a Belief about the first thing you want to get done to insure your family’s survival in the Borderlands.
  • Write a belief about something you will ask of your wife to help you lead the family.
  • Write a belief about Chaos and how you feel about it upon being exiled from the Empire or about how you will make sure your children survive out here.


Duchess

exiled-duchess-character-sheet

  • Write a belief about how you will have to model change so that your family survives this dangerous transition into this dangerous place.
  • Write a belief about something you will make sure your children learn so they survive.
  • Write a belief about something your family needs to acquire to help them flourish and become established as a Border Principality.


Eldest Son

eldest-son-character-sheet

  • Write a belief about a heroic deed you want to accomplish to prove to your parents that you are not a child anymore.
  • Write a belief about something you will learn so you will be more valuable to the family.
  • Write a belief about being protective of your sister as she becomes more martial or about how your sister has protected you in the past.


Eldest Daughter

eldest-daughter-character-sheet

  • Write a belief about something ancient and dangerous that you want to seek out and learn more about in the Borderlands.
  • Write a belief about something you need to teach your brother before he gets himself killed.
  • Write a belief about something you need to learn from your mother or father to survive the Borderlands.

This is inspired by Renegade Crowns, a fine tool for creating your own Borderlands sandbox. There were those lines in Dune where Lady Jessica talks about becoming a renegade house. I always liked that idea and thought it would make a fine set-up for a game.

https://flic.kr/p/jYYKTx

12459219513_16661beb6d_o