Welcome, readers! So, Halloween ’15 has come and gone, and I know what you’re thinking: not a single supernatural-horror themed entry?! This is particularly egregious, considering one of Tangent Artists’ works-in-progress is Skeleton Crew, an RPG based off of our original comic series. Why didn’t we post something with that?
The honest reason: a few months ago, we decided to take the rulebook back to the drawing board. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good RPG, but we feel we can make it even BETTER. If the Fate System is all about telling a story, then that’s what we’re going to help players do; instead of giving fans a fat splat book filled with stats and figures, we’re going to create a book that helps you tell your story!
Speaking of stories, we’re proud to have a new product at our Tangent Artists booth: the first Skeleton Crew Necronomnibus! This massive tome collects issues one to five of Skeleton Crew into a single book.
In honor of this milestone, I thought I’d come up with a TA Tabletop entry with FIVE little extras that you can use in your next Fate game, one for each issue.
SKELETON CREW ISSUE ONE: DEATH AND TAXES, BUT MOSTLY DEATH
Kingship Manor – Extra
Kingship Manor is a decrepit mansion located in the Jacobian Heights suburbs. It would likely be condemned by the Board of Health, if any of them had enough of a spine to go inside it. In 1884, the manor was been built by the Kingship family, a well-renowned circle of occultists; all but one of the Kingship family members are dead, but their spirits and shadows of many others linger on inside the walls.
Special Rules – Kingship Manor is a location with several situation aspects, including:
Rotting Boards & Creaky Doors – This counts as an obstacle whenever anyone attempts to move between zones.
Bleeding Walls & Ghosts Over Your Shoulder
Big House – Let’s Split Up, Gang – Can be compelled to split the party
Stunt – Gives You the Creeps – The house has the ability to make you shiver in your boots and see things that shouldn’t be there. Once per session, the GM may use the Manor against the occupants; treat this as a create an advantage or attack roll with Provoke or Intimidate +5,which is defended with Will; roll to attack each person separately. Timing: the GM may choose to attack all of the group members in a single turn (ex. when they first enter the manor), or may chose decide to toy with them one by one (ex. If used to attack, the house deals mental stress. If used to place an aspect, the aspect may be invoked by the GM to cause the PC to see something horrific, or to be drawn in by a hallucination.
Old & Busted – The house is not likely to come crashing down around your head, but it is definitely in a fragile state. Any of the interior doors or walls may be broken through with a Physique roll of 5 or higher. This does not apply to walls leading outside and the basement walls (which are made of thicker material).
ISSUE TWO: HOW WELL DID YOU KNOW YOUR FATHER?
Revenants – NPC
[From the notes of Avi Bashevis]
“During our research expeditions, we have encountered numerous beings that have seemingly “returned from the grave” (although I still theorize this to be a death-like coma state – see Appendix B). Some of these beings sustain physical and mental characteristics from their previous life, but many of these beings suffer radical alterations; it is almost as if they suffer severe mutation. For lack of a better term, I call these altered beings “revenants.” Unlike humans I have classified as “vampires” or “werebeasts,” which share common symptoms and modifications, no two revenants are exactly alike. Most are in a frozen state of composition, still maintaining their flesh- some even look completely alive if not examined closely. However, this is the only common trend I could find; Sample 1A had limbs that stretched like rubber, while 1C had detachable body parts that float on their own. Sample 4A grew eyes in random parts of his body, while sample 5B had skin grew over her entire force, blocking her eyes completely. I am in the process of conducting research to discern whether these variations are caused by the conditions of their death, their burial, or by some factor they were exposed to in life.”
In the Skeleton Crew universe, “revenant” is a catch-all term for any undead monster that doesn’t fit well into any of the traditional monster rolls.
Here are some rules for creating revenant NPCs
High Concept: Supernatural Fleshy Undead Mutants
Aspects: Driving Hunger (for food, revenge, etc.)
Always Get Weird
Mutated Skills: When creating a Nameless Revenant NPCs, do not plan out their skills ahead of time. Instead, the first time that a revenant uses a skill (to either do an action or defend against one), roll 2dF and add +2 – this is the Revenant’s value for that skill; (for the sack of the action, do not roll the fate dice a second time, but treat it as revenant rolled a +0). Record the value on the revenant’s character sheet.
Example: Weston pulls back his fist and swings hard at a revenant; he rolls 1, plus his fight value of +2. The revenant defends with Fight (which it has not used yet), rolls 2dF and adds +2; it rolls a +2 on the 2dF, for a total of +4. This means the revenant has a Fight of +4 from now on. For this exchange, it’s treated as if Weston rolled Fight +2 plus +1, and the revenant has Fight +4 plus +0.
To keep things simple, once a revenant has recorded five or six skills with a value of +1 or higher, you may treat all other skills as +0.
Tougher Revenants: For tougher and named NPCs, you might include a higher bonus (2dF +3), a wider swing (3dF + 3), or allow the GM to pay Fate Points to reroll the value.
Sandworms – NPC
Spirits tend to haunt areas where the veil between our world and the next are thinnest; likewise, there are other beings that slip through other dimensional cracks, including sandworms. Sandworms are alien serpents that start off small, but can grow hundreds of feet long. They are carrion eaters by nature, but will eat decaying veggie matter or hunt fresh meat if desperate enough. They are expert burrowers, using dimensional portals to hide in solid rock or in impossibly small spaces.
High Concept: Extradimensional Striped Serpents
Aspects: Drawn to Warm Dry Places
Sneaky, not Smart
Fight, Athletics +1
Fight, Athletics +2
Notice, Will +1
Fight, Athletics +3
Notice, Will +2
|Stress: 1 2||Stress: 1 2 + Mild||Stress: 1 2 3 + Mild + Moderate|
Ambush Hunter: If a Sandworm is making a surprise attack (ex. From a hiding spot, has a hiding aspect placed on it), it may add it’s Stealth skill to its Fight skill for that turn.
ISSUE 4: MIND YOUR MANORS -pt. 2
The Love Triangle – Scene
A love triangle is a unique type of social contest. It can be adapted for any number of characters, but for this demonstration, we’ll start with three.
In this example, we’ll start with three characters: Maria, Shelley, and Weston. In the comic, there were two characters (Maria and Shelley) who were attracted to the third (Weston), but do not feel bound to this this; there’s nothing to say that you can’t have all three be attracted to each other.
In a love triangle scene, each character will attempt to use their skills to draw in a potential romantic partner, or sabotage another relationship. In the tracker below, every two characters are connected by three boxes. During each exchange a player may attempt to Lure or Sabotage; treat these as an overcome rule against active opposition. To lure, use an appropriate social skill, such as Rapport, Deceit or Evoke*; the target defends with Will. If you succeed, tick off one of the boxes in between your character and theirs.
*To see more on Evoke, see entry “Killing with Kindness.” The finished SC RPG will likely involve a version of evoke (working title: Incite).
If your character fails, then no boxes are ticked off (alternatively, if you have no boxes ticked off, you may “succeed with style,” which ticks off a box on the tracker of every characters connected to you- obviously, you’re charming but your aim needs work!) If you succeed with style, gain one box and a boost as normal.
To sabotage, you use different social skills, such as Provoke, Intimidate, or Deceit; pick a filled-in relationship boxes, and target one of the two characters on that track (that character defends with Will). If your sabotage attempt is successful, than uncheck that filled box- it becomes empty again. Also, if you succeed with style, you may also fill in a box connecting one of those two characters to you (your lies are drawing one of them in). However, if you fail by more than two points (i.e. the defender rolls +2 higher than your roll), you uncheck one of the boxes connecting you to the defender (or, if there are none, fill in an empty boxes connecting those two characters together); obviously, your underhanded tactics are not impressing them.
The Doombell! – The Artifact Extra
The doombell is a small bell once belonging to the dread necromancer Frida Feiertag, who was as brilliant as she was lazy. Instead of having undead servants lazing about the house and trying to summon them with a bell, she found it simpler to just create an artifact that raised servants right on the spot. Most of the undead zombies and skeletons it raises are too dumb to carry out complex tasks, but have a very low chance of turning on their master (always a plus). It can also serve as an alarm clock to long powerful-but-sleeping undead creatures, like mummies and liches, but these figures feel no sense of loyalty.
Special Rules: Any enemy* armed with the doombell may use it to summon forth one or more minions as an action; once per scene, the user may roll their Will plus 4dF- this are Summon Points. With this result, they can either summon a mob of NPCs or a single nameless NPC. A mob will include one mob member for each Summon Point, each with two skills (Fair +1 each) and one stress box. An NPC will have one skill equal to the number of summon points, two skills at Summon Points -1, a mild consequence, and stress boxes equal to the Summon Points -2. Create a high concept and an extra aspect describing the nature of the summoned minion. If the summoner is defeated or concedes, any remaining minions fade away; if not, they will linger around.
Ex. Deadringer has Willpower +3 and rolls +2, for a total of 5 Summon Points. He can create a mob of five NPCs (ex. +5 Fight, +5 Will, 5 Stress), or a single NPC (+5 Fight, +4 Physique, +4 Will, 3 Stress Boxes [a 1, a 2, and a 3] + Mild Consequence).
*By default, this item can only be used by enemy NPCs; however, if a PC manages to steal it, they can learn to use it as a stunt. If so, they can only use it once per session, and the Summon Points are equal to HALF of the PC’s Will + 4dF, rounded up. (Ex. If you roll a total of 5, you gain 3 Summon Points.) Any minions created will return to the aether after any long scene in which they participated.
That’s it for this entry. Until next time, folks, game on!
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