Skeleton Crew: Paranormal Investigation Generator

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Long time no see, brave gamers! For this entry, I thought I’d follow through on an old post I started way back on Jan, 2015: PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION TOOL – FOLLOW THE BREAD CRUMBS. This is a clue generator to help you create supernatural murder mysteries on the go; it’s ideal for FATE, but I’m sure it will be just as handy for Monster of the Week and other narrative game systems.

I was originally going to save some of it a secret for the final release; however, I thought I’d treat people to the whole thing in one go. Let us know what you think!

BREAD CRUMBS – PARANORMAL MURDER MYSTERY GENERATOR

axe creepyThe goal of the “Bread Crumbs” system is not to create a full adventure for you- like any Fate Core game, it requires some creativity of your group’s part. Rather, it’s here to help generate clues and ideas. It’s really up to you, the GM and the players, to string together the relevant bits into a narrative.

Will this fashion a masterpiece of mystery, the likes of Agatha Christie? Nope. But it’s great for your average, “villain of the week” style one shot adventure.

QUICK (AND THE DEAD) MISSION BUILDER
Part 1: The Set-up

>Before you start, make sure you create characters

>Create Urban Legends – have each player and the GM create at least one each (although, if a player’s feeling creative, don’t put a maximum.) Some of these (or all of them) may not show in the story, but it’s nice to get ideas before you start. See page XX for rules.

> Generate a Location. Go to the scene of the crime and investigate.

> As soon as you get there, start creating supporting characters. Make sure you include a Face character or two for every organization and location. (Don’t just have a random police officer be the first responder, have Carl the Chubby Beat-Cop.) These people seem incidental now, but they could end up your suspects, eye witnesses, allies, enemies, and potentially future victims.

Part 2: Initial Investigations

Your experts will take time to investigate the scene: by default, this will be using Investigate, but a character may have a stunt that makes an exception to this. If they succeed, they discover a clue aspect. This comes in one of three types: General, Sensory Clues or Corpse.

If the investigator has no particular strength, randomly generate which clue you find. However, if a character has a particular expertise, you may pick an appropriate table and roll on that (ex. a psychic might roll on the Ethereal Sensory clues; a werewolf might roll on the Smells chart).

Likewise, if the party rolls too many of one type (ex. all general or sensory), feel free to pick a different sub-chart to focus on (ex. corpse).

Succeed at a Cost – If a character wants to succeed at a cost, they might discover one clue at the cost of marring it or another clue; ex. you find a hidden symbol by tromping through the footprints; you pull the murder weapon out of the tree and, in your excitement, smudge any finger prints on it; you find a suspicious diamond earring, only to drop it down the sewer and loose it forever.

The group will likely find three clues, or one per investigator, whichever is greater.

Part 3: Further Investigations

Once the initial investigations of the crime scene itself have yielded all they can, follow through with what the players want to do. Maybe they want to canvas the neighborhood, or follow up with the victim’s apartment. Feel free to generate more clues, or come up with your own based on what you’ve got so far.

If the players are lost, feed them a lead: have a supervisor give them a suggestion; maybe a forensic scientist can analyze the mud sample more thoroughly and give you a general location; recommend they see a guest lecturer about the ancient symbol drawn on the site; stake out similar locations in case it happens again. Reward player pro-activity with more information.

When providing answers, draw connections threads between the events and aspects that are proposed (including the Urban Myths). If the trail grows cold, have the crime reoccur, or introduce someone who knows more than you (a hired assassin coming for you; a new witness; a rival to the enemy.) A good source of info is your prime suspect; in order to clear themselves, they are likely to reveal secrets that others are hiding.

Part 3.

The twist – just when everything’s going smoothly, add in a plot twist.

When in doubt, remember the Urban Legends… maybe your Mexican Standoff with the Romanian Mafia gets interrupted by Elvis and his Alien abductors.

The Reveal – The mystery is exposed. Maybe it was a creature you still know very little about, or maybe it was really Carl the Chubby Cop the whole time.

When the clues conflict:

Two agencies at work- maybe rivals who are after the same thing.

Have a forensic expert call with a test correction (changing a result after the fact)

Bad guy’s dropping fake evidence to throw you off.

Someone other than the murderer tampered with the crime scene (maybe they attempted to help, or robbed the victim); they can reveal info, but they are unlikely to volunteer it without being pressured (were doing something illicit at the time; didn’t want to be implicated in the murder.)

 

Clues

Whenever they search, they always find SOMETHING, even if it doesn’t seem important. A bent fender. A phone message from Crystal. A bar napkin. Even if they lead nowhere now, some player might make a connection you never thought of.

MAIN TREES

Roll 1dF

– Corpse Clues – 3 Types:

0 Sensory – Come in two types: Natural (with 5 subtypes: Sight, Sound, Touch, Smell, and Taste) and Ethereal (with 5 subtypes: EMPATHY, PATTERNS, ALLEGORY, SYMBOLS, AURAS)

+ General Evidence

 

 

CORPSE CLUES

Murder Weapon Chart

Roll to see what type of weapon you find at the murder site (we recommend you let the players pick a specific sub-type).


– –
Non-gun projectile – arrow, crossbow bolt, harpoon, dart, lollipop, thorn, throwing star

– 0 Burn weapon – laser (gun, rifle, surgical), electricity (super-taser, lightning rod, cattle prod), fire (flamethrower, Molotov cocktail, heat ray)

– + Gun – normal (modern bullet or pellets), or strange (round ball shot, silver / gold bullet, cannonball)

0 – Magic – voodoo doll, monkey’s paw, dispelled circle (if victim was magical)

0 0 Blunt Wound – -Club, War Hammer, shovel, hammer, wrench, pipe, bat, rock, brick

0 + Large Puncture – Sword, Spear, Axe

+ – Small Puncture – Dagger, Twisty Knife, Ninja Star, Wooden Stake, Flint dagger, kunai, ice skate

+ 0 Lacerations – Claws, Knives, Teeth, Machines, scythes, sickles

+ + Poison – weapon (dart; blade; syringe); contact poison (lips; fingers); biological (thorn; quill; bite; spray); ingested (drink; food; gas)


Damage Chart

The victim is wounded, and no murder weapon is in sight. While it will take an autopsy to verify it, you have an idea. Roll to see what type of wound you find at the murder site (we recommend you let the players pick a specific sub-type).

– – Suspected Weapon – For on the Murder Weapon chart- initial investigation suggests that it was made with that kind of weapon, but all evidence of the weapon was taken from the scene. Until you find the missing murder weapon itself, you can’t be sure!

– 0 Body torn to bit / lacerated – The body was torn. This might mean: a violent fight against someone armed with a blade; a wild animal attack; a slow torture by a sadist or interrogator.

– + Eaten – the victim shows traces of bite marks. This might mean: eaten by a creature or were-creature; a hungry undead creature such as a zombie, ghoul, or vampire. Alternatively, the victim might have died from other causes, and was found later by scavengers.

0 – Clothing torn – The victim’s body shows multiple cuts, but the victim’s clothing shows a disproportionate amount of distressing. This could mean: the target with taunted or threatened psychologically; the attacker did not have the ability or permission to directly attack the victim; the victim was a werecreature, or went feral; the victim was wearing old and worn clothing (ex. Homeless)

0 0 Part removed – part of the body is missing, or was found separated from the rest of the body. This might mean: beheaded, as with vampires; body part taken for a ritual (ex. Eyes, entrails, liver, heart); blood or fluids drained (ex. vampire, chupacabra, aliens, mummy, liche); item collected for a spell ingredient or totem (ex. Teeth, hand, ears, fingers / toes).

0 + Blunt force / broken body– The victim died from force impact, such as a cracked skull or snapped neck. This might mean: attacker had great strength; the death was an accident, or an attempt to look like an accident; the victim was attacked with a blunt weapon; the attacker was made of a hard substance (ex. Golem, robot); the victim was hit by a vehicle or large machine.

+ – Impaled – the victim was impaled by something sharp which is not present at the scene. This might be: a long weapon (ex. Sword, spear, spike, stake); from an attack or collision with an object nearby (ex. Tree branch, railing, pipe.)

+ 0 Burns – ritual, branding, rope burns, rug burns,

+ + No Air – The victim was killed through lack of access to air, such suffocation, strangulation, asphyxiation, or drowning. This might be caused by: strangled by a rope, hands, or tentacle; drowned in the harbor, sewer or pool; locked in an airtight room

 

Cause of Death Unknown Chart

The victim seemed to have died of “Natural” Causes- i.e. the underlying cause of death is primarily attributed to an illness or an internal malfunction of the body not directly influenced by external forces. (This of course, makes you even more suspicious).

When you roll a “Cause of Death Unknown,” don’t roll on the chart immediately- it will take time for the coroner to pin down the cause. You’ll get an update in a few scenes.

 

– – Undetermined – Despite the best of forensics and alchemy, they are unable to pin down a specific cause of death. If more than one victim is examined, a trend might be found!

– 0 Heart Failure / Attack- heart is unable to pump blood sufficiently.

– + Disease of the Elderly – the victim seemed to die of a disease normally common amongst the elderly, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension or Alzheimer’s disease.

0 – Stroke – the victim seemed to die of a stroke; this is either eitherischemic, due to lack of blood flow (such as blockage, like a clot), and hemorrhagic, due to internal bleeding (such as a brain aneurysm).

0 0 Disease / Infection – the victim seemed to die of a common illness, such as strep, scarlet fever, or complications from influenza.

0 + Organ Failure – the victim seemed to die of the failure of an organ: ex. Kidney, liver, pancreas (diabetes); lung failure (collapse; asthma).

+ – Allergic Reaction/ Anaphylaxis the victim died of an allergic reaction to something common, such as insect venom or bites; foods (nuts, peanuts, sesame), pollen, shellfish, wheat, eggs; poison plant (ivy, oak, sumac).

+ 0 Psychogenic death a.k.a. scared to death – Given the archaic term “voodoo death,” psuchogenic death is the phenomenon of sudden death as brought about by a strong emotional shock, such as fear. The anomaly is recognized as “psychosomatic” in that death is caused by an emotional response—often fear—to some suggested outside force. Within 12-24 hours from initial shock, their physical condition would deteriorate in response to psychological distress.

+ + No Will To Live – as unusual as it seemed, the victim seemed to have lost the will to live, and faded away. In less scientific terms, this would be called “pining away,” or dying “of a broken heart.”

 

SENSORY CLUES
We remind you give any clues given in a, “___ is ___, a bit like ____” format. (Ex. “The smell is sweet, a bit like almonds.”) That way, the investigators have someone concrete (“it is sweet”) to build a foundation on, and something vague (“like almonds”) that is vague and open to interpretation.

A good way to do this with your group is let them fill in the second half.

The smell is sweet, and a little fruity. What does it remind you of?”

Natural vs. Ethereal
Sensory clues are broken into two types, natural and ethereal. Natural sensory clues are the tangible things we and those consciously observe: sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. Natural clues tend to be based on details and the small picture. Ethereal clues are observed with second sight, an ability granted to those who are psychically or magically inclined. They tend to deal with the big picture, and can glimpse at events in the past and future.

For more on Natural vs. Ethereal, see page XX.

 

Senses Natural

Roll 2dF

– – Sight

– 0 Sound

– + Touch

0 –0+ Pick one!

+ – Smell

+ 0 Taste

+ + Strange Feeling – Roll on the Ethereal Chart.

 

 

SIGHT
The location itself appears to you be ______, much like a _______

– – Disarray – The location is in shambles. You might mean: there was a great struggle; someone was looking frantically for something; the attack was made in hot blood; the attacker was a beastlike in its savagery; one or both parties panicked.

– 0 Neat – The location is startlingly neat and tidy. You might mean: the victim was subdued without a fight; the murderer was someone the victim knew; the murderer is a master of stealth (vampire, ghost, ninja); attack was calculated and made in cold-blood; the attacker wasn’t looking for something / wasn’t a robbery; attacker was OCD and cleaned up after.

– + Phony – You can’t prove it yet, but your gut tells you something about the placement of the body and articles feels fake, staged, altered, or unnatural. This might be: a phony suicide letter or “dying message”; a half-hearted robbery; objects / evidence that looks planted; a “random” attack with perfect timing; an assailing “stranger” who knew too much; suggestion of a frame job; not the actual site of the attack.

0 – Hidden / Blind spots – The murder occurred in a spot that is secluded, dark, or obscured from others. This might mean: the murderer is a creature of the night / has night vision; the murderer is hurt by sunlight; the murderer is an ambush hunter; the murderer lured the victim into the location; the victim agreed to go into the secluded place (trusted murderer, doing a shady activity.)

0 0 In Full View – The murder happened in spot that was well light, exposed to the elements, and where others could easily see it. They might mean: there are witnesses to the event; the victim did not trust the attacker; it was unplanned (ex. crime of passion.; attacker stupid or overconfident; staged / the victim wanted the murder to be witness; ranged attack; supposed to look like an accident.

0 + Secrets Revealed – upon investigation, you find a secret way in, possibly utilized by the murderer. This might be: a hidden door; a grate leading to the sewer; a passage behind a portrait.

+ – Snap Shot – Something in the area let you catch a blurry picture of an unknown person at the scene, possibly the murderer. This might be from: the victim’s last selfie; traffic camera; ATM camera; satellite image; security camera.

+ 0 All in the Details – You find a near microscopic piece of evidence that other eyes would miss. Roll on the Sensory table to see what you find (reroll additional Sight results). It’s not much now beyond a simple smell or touch, but it’ll be more defined when the lab gets to analyze it.

+ + Seen This Before – The sight seems strangely familiar to you. This might be: you have been to this spot before; you’ve seen an identical attack before (perhaps an unsolved case!); you recognize the victim from somewhere (maybe searching the mug shots will help).

 

SMELLS

The smell is ______, a bit like _________.

– – Muskyperfumes, aftershave, cologne; animals (wet dog; skunk; cat pee; rodents); strong incenses and oils (sandlewood, patchouli, frankinsense, myrrh); tree sap; hogweed

– 0 Putrid rotten eggs (eggs, sulfur, brimstone, gas); decayed flesh; rotten wood; sour milk; bodily fluids; B.O.; poo gas; fishy (fish; poisons likes zinc phosphide, aluminum phosphide, nickel carbonyl)

– + Clean: camphor (trees, smokeless gunpowder, mothballs, old embalming fluid, turpentine, vapor rubs); eucalyptus (bug spray); mint, spearmint, peppermint (menthol, gum, candies, air freshener, cleaning products, toothpaste); pine; fresh linen; ocean breeze; lavender; dryer sheets; citrus (fruit, oil, wood polish).

0 – Floral perfume, cologne, lotion; flowers (violets, lavender, roses, rosewater); green tea; fruit.

0 0 Sweet / cloying – fudge, vanilla, almond (cyanide, marzipan), cookies, formaldehyde, rotten fruit

0 + Pungent: ammonia (cleaning agent; smokeless gunpowder; urine); pepper (pepper spray); cinnamon; garlicky (phosphorous, arsenic); onion (tear gas); mustard (mustard gas); strong alcohol (whisky, bourbon; vodka; tequila; scotch).

+ – Caustic – common Chemicals (shoe polish); aerosol (hair spray; bug spray; cooking spray); new car; poisonous (bug spray, pesticide); oil / fuel (gasoline, kerosene; lamp oil; motor oil; engine grease); acidic (hydrochloric acid, vinegar, lemon); basic (bleach, detergent, soap, disinfectant, chlorine, rubbing alcohol; methanol; quicklime; paint thinner);

+ 0 Metallic – ozone; melted / burnt metal (copper; fireworks; magnesium flare; smoking gun); burnt oil, melted plastic

+ + Smoky / Earthy – candles; tobacco; gunpowder (fireworks, guns); wood; burnt meat / flesh; incense; burnt rope, burnt hair; black tea; flash paper; struck flint; damp leaves, mud, clay, brine, minerals, rust, grass, coffee, mushrooms, mulch / fertilizer, leather, shag tobacco, seawood

 

TOUCH

The touch is ______, a bit like _________.

– – Gooey – mucus, goo, adhesive, glue, tar, syrup (honey, maple, soda), plant sap, insect / spider silk, congealed blood

– 0 Slick – oil (gun oil, lighter fluid, cooking oil, baby oil), grease, makeup, butter, snot, sweat, slimy scales (fish), ice, mold, lubricants, lotion

– + Rough – grit, sand, salt, dust, wool, sandpaper / tar paper, sharkskin, bark, hair stubble, plaster, gravel, asphalt, concrete, burlap, rock

0 – Sharp – fragments (glass, porcelain, metal shavings), splinters, shrapnel, thorns (also pine needles, nettles, burrs, prickly, cactus pins, hulls), children’s toys, toothpick, quills (bird, hedgehodges), needles

0 0 Soft / Smooth– moss / mold, sponge, wax, fabric (silk, cotton, satin, velvet, fleece), petals, natural (fur, suede, down, hair), dirt / clay, marshmallow, river stone

Bookmark – split?

0 + Rubbery – rubber, skin / leather, plastic, mummified / jerked flesh, leaves, latex (prosthetics / make-up, rubber gloves), dried goo (see Gooey)

+ – Cool – Ice, Liquid (water, rain, alcohol), metal, long dead, from cold place (freezer, ground, teleport), menthol (balm), stone, local anesthetic

+ 0 Hot – burnt (fire, electricity, steam, acid, hot sauce, magic), recently used machine (gun, engine, phone), living or recently dead human/animal, burned rubber, hot drinks (coffee, tea, cider), from hot place (indoors, oven, shower, warm car, teleport), chemical agents (hot pads, pocket warmer, MRE), electric

+ + Unearthly – Roll again for another touch. Also, whenever you touch the surface with your bare skin, you get a strange feeling or impulse. Roll on of the Ethereal chart for the sensation.

 

SOUND

An eye witness or a sound recording device (ex. Victim was leaving a voice mail) picked up a sound that is best described as _________, which might suggest _____________.

– – Growl – The sound was a growl, roar, or similar bestial noise. This might mean: the attacker or victim was some form of animal or were-creature; the victim or the attacker was overcome by instinct or emotion; the roar of a motorcycle or sports car.

– 0 Screech – The sound was a high-pitched screeching sound. This might mean: the victim was startled and screamed; the attacker or victim was some form of animal or were-creature that would make a screech, like a bat, bird, or jungle cat; sound of tearing metal or a screechy hinge; the squeal of a tire on a speeding vehicle; the attacker is a ghost, wraith, banshee or similar ethereal being.

– + Hiss – The sound involved a hissing sound, as if one or more voices were whispering. This might mean: the victim and attacker spoke first, perhaps at close proximity; one of the people involved was involved in something secretive; the victim or attacker was communicating with someone else who left the scene before the attack; the victim or attacker was communicating with someone over a phone or communication device; the attacker creepily talks to themselves; someone summoning the hissing wind; the attacker or victim was a snake creature or were-snake; someone shot silent projectiles, such as arrows or bullets through a silencer.

0 – Zap – The sound can best be described as a “zap.” This might mean: one of the people was a magic user or magical being; either party used a Taser or was electrocuted; an electrical device nearby malfunctioned, possibly due to magical feedback or sabotage; a powerful scientific device was used, like a teleporter.

0 0 Loud Voice – The sound is described as one or more voices loudly talking or yelling- it might even have caught a word or two (a name, a place.) This might mean: the victim and attacker spoke first, perhaps at a wide distance; both of the people were having normal, conversations which they didn’t need to keep secret; someone was inebriated or had little ability to control their volume; the victim and attacker were having a heated argument, or had a heated argument with a third person who left the scene before the attack; the victim or attacker was communicating with someone over a phone or communication device; someone was loudly invoking magical spells; the victim was loudly calling for helping or begging for mercy; the attack was part of a ritual that involved loud chanting.

0 + Bang – The sound is described as one or more loud “bangs.” This might mean: someone used a gun; someone used a firecracker, explosive device or exploding spell; a car backfiring; a large drum was used in a ritual; a roll of thunder; the victim was trying to alert people, but was unable to cry out.

+ – Cracking – The sound is described as a cracking, crackling or clacking sound. This might mean: there was fire or rain present at the scene (naturally or through magic); if the victim had their bones broken, they might have been done one at a time, to torture them; someone was a walking skeleton / wight, or was adorned with clacking dry bones; someone broke through wood, such as a wooden door or opened a wooden crate; a radio or walkie-talkie was only picking up static.

+ 0 Whirring – The sound could best be described as a whirring sound. This might mean: an engine or bicycle was present at the scene; someone at the scene was a robot; someone used a centripetal weapon, such as a bola, chain, meteor hammer or lasso; a powerful piece of machinery was used at the scene, as a weapon or a demonstration.

+ + Roll 1dF Again:

– Singing – The sound is best described as melodious, as if someone or something was singing or playing music. This might mean: the attacker was a siren, banshee, or fairy being, luring the victim; the victim was singing and attacked by surprise; the attacker was part animal that sings (ex. Bird); recorded music was played at the scene, possibly to cover up the sound of the attack; the attack was part of a ritual that involved singing.

0 Moan – The sound can best be described as moaning. This could mean: the attacker was a zombie, mummy or similar mindless humanoid; the victim was still alive and partially conscious after the attack; the victim attempted to cry out, but was drugged or gagged.

+ Laughter – The sound can best be described as laughter. This might mean: the attacker was a siren or fairy being, luring the victim; the victim was happy and attacked by surprise; the attacker was part animal that laughs (ex. Hyena, jackal); the attacking was a sadist, psychotic, mindless, or hypnotized; the attacker was a creepy doll (brrr).

 

TASTE (For the daring)

The taste is ______, a bit like _________.

– – Sweet – fudge, vanilla, almond, cookies, fruit, sweet metal (lead, arsenic), berries (strawberries, nightshade), syrup (soda, maple), mixed drinks, rum

– 0 Sour – citrus, sour candies, wine, sour milk / butter, acid, vinegar, batteries.

– + Bitter – soap, bitter almonds (cyanide), roots, leafy greens (spinach, grass, ivy), hard liquor, beer, coffee, tea, quinine

0 – Salty – Blood, salt, sweat, seaweed, brine, sea food, butter, soy, gunpowder / saltpeter, jerky.

0 0 Umami / Savory- meat (bacon), fish, vegetables, green tea, onion, ketchup / tomato, Worchester sauce

0 + Spicy – ginger, black pepper, red peppers (jalapeno, cayenne, pepper spray), horseradish, garlicky (onions), mint / menthol, onions (tear gas)

+ – Metallic – metal (copper, iron, zinc), canned goods (soup, soda cans), blood, electricity, medicine, absinthe.

+ 0 Chemical – plastic, petroleum (jelly, kerosene, gasoline), medicinal (cough syrup, aspirin, mouth wash, strong alcohol), poisonous (bug spray, pesticide)

++ Smoky – burned food, candles, tobacco, fuel, wood, burnt meat / flesh, incense, burnt rope

 

Ethereal (Sixth Sense)

Ethereal clues are discovered by the mystically inclined, such as ghosts, mediums, psychics, and spell casters. They are less tethered to the normal flow of time; a clue that appears “fresh” to you might be tied to an event that is a hundred years old, or even two days in the future!

Roll 2dF

– – EMPATHY

– 0 PATTERNS

– + ALLEGORY

0 –0+ Pick one!

+ – SYMBOLS

+ 0 AURAS

+ + Grounded Feeling – Roll on the Natural Chart.

 

 

EMPATHY

Through magical, psychic or scientific means (or just going with your gut), you can sense the emotional and paranormal energy gathered at the scene. You can definitely feel the ______, which might also include _______.

– – Murderer’s Presence – You feel the strong presence of the murderer- this is the true murder site, and perpetrator was here in the flesh. This may mean: murder was done up close; murderer & victim talked first.

– 0 Remote Presence – The presence of the murderer is strangely absent from this place. This may mean: the murderer used sympathetic magic (voodoo, summoned assassin); victim was wounded and staggered here; body was dropped off after death; it was a trap laid for the victim.

– + Positive Feeling –you sense that the victim or the perpetrator felt a strong positive emotion before or after the death. Examples include: love, delight, confidence, eagerness, serenity, sacrifice, release.

0 – Negative Feeling – In addition to the fear of the victim, you sense that the victim or the perpetrator felt another strong, negative emotion before or after the death. Examples include: hate, envy, jealousy, regret, despair, betrayal.

0 0 Emotionless – Other than the fear of the victim, there is a noticeable lack of emotion at from the crime sense, suggesting the murderer felt nothing or wasn’t there. This might mean: killer wasn’t present (see “Remote Presense”); the murderer was unliving (undead, demonic, robot, golem); the murderer felt no emotion (hypnotized, sociopathic).

0 + Hot on the Trail – You get readings of a vague compass direction (i.e. South; North East) from the murder site. This may mean: If sympathetic magic was used, the location of the voodoo practitioner, or the location of the summoner or puppet master; the escape route of the murderer; the path of the victim’s entrance.

+ – Echoes of the Past (Or Future!) – You are sensing latent energy of the same type found here, implying this is not the first time this kind of attack has happened! This might mean: this site has had identical murders in the near or distant past; similar attacks have happened of late in the same city; you have encountered an identical attack once before (perhaps an unsolved case!) Alternatively, you might be feeling the ripples of a future event; the killer will strike again!

+ 0 Heat of the Moment – You receive a few chaotic glimpses of the scene itself, and what the victim experience- the more you see, the more traumatic it is for you!  Roll again for another clue (Sensory or Extrasensory) – this was a sensation you felt at the time, or an item you glimpsed at the crime scene (which the murderer had or stole). You get one clue for free, but may take choose to take a Minor Consequence to gain a second clue, or may choose to take a Moderate Consequence to uncover three.

+ + Overwhelming Power – You sense an abundance of magical or paranormal energy at the site. Either the victim or the murderer had access to great power. This might mean: the victim or the murderer was a magic user, psychic, or highly magical/energy-based being (demon, eudemon, ghost, mummy king, elemental, alien, vampire lord).

 

Metaphors / Allegories

You get a generally feeling about the site and the relationship of the victim or the killer shared with someone else or the world in general. You can’t quite put it into words that the “muggles” would understand, but you can express it as a metaphor.

You’re reminded of (pick one):

– – David and Goliath; 800 pound gorilla

– 0 Daniel in the Lion’s Den; The Fox and the Sick Lion

– + Cain and Abel; The Scorpion and the Frog

0 – Samson and Delilah; Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

0 0 Maiden and the Dragon / Unicorn; Beauty and the Beast

0 + A Stranger in a Strange Land; City Mouse & Country Mouse

+ – Deal with the Devil; Tiger by the Tail

+ 0 The Lion and the Unicorn; The Lion, the Bear, and the Fox

+ + Echo and Narcissus; Nightingale and the Mechanical Nightingale

 

SYMBOLS

You get a generally feeling about the site and the relationship of the victim or the killer shared with someone else or the world in general. You can’t quite put it into words that the “muggles” would understand, but you can express it as a symbol.

Alternatively, the symbol you see might be very succinct (ex. The killer is wearing a tree amulet; the killer is a walking tree), but your predictions are seldom that literal.

– – The Tree – Tree of Life, Tree of Knowledge; Yggdrassil; sin, forbidden knowledge; growth; nature; life

– 0 The Eye – the evil eye; eye of warning; awakening; enlightenment; paranoia; angels, daemons, otherworldly beings

– + The Egg – birth; the world; hidden potential; beginnings; generations; hidden / sleeping threat;

0 – The Word – intellect; divinity; creation; power over nature; binding; names

0 0 – The Key – a secret; a traveler; a prisoner; a release; a prize;

0 + The Candle – a revelation; a mortal life; holiness amongst darkness; intelligence; masculinity; brevity; shadows; the sun

+ – The Cup – femininity; purity; sacrifice; thirst; generosity; immortality; obsession; hoarding; water; moon and stars

+ 0 The Bident / Trident – a choice; a parallel world; a schism; sin and virtue; the sea; the devil; the letter Y; war

+ + The Hourglass – death; the end of an era; change; a time table; desperation; plague

 

PATTERNS

Extrasensory people have trouble seeing all of the details, but they are good at noticing patterns. You might notice physical clues that fail to follow a normal pattern (ex. only nine fingers; someone with two wedding bands).

You also believe in coincidence, and that the universe has way of broadcasting when a number is important; if a victim has seven bills and seven coins in their wallet, has seven buttons on their shirt, and seven unheard voices, then something out there is telling you that the number seven, or will be, of great importance!

When you roll a “pattern,” create one or more mundane items (picked or randomly generated) that occur with that number. You might even pick an object that should be one number, but is a different number instead (ex. the victim has one or three pennies over his eyes instead of 2).

You feel one or more things about the location or victim related to the _________________

– – Pattern of 1 / The Circle – One – significance: one killer, or part of a coven of equals; the killer seeking to become the last; apex predator. Alternatively, it might deal with a circle; significance: a summoning circle; a warding circle; the sun; oreboros; all in one; absolute power; divine right; holiness; endless cycle.

– 0 Pattern of 2 / Ying and Yang – Two – significance: two killers; killed in a dual; first victim of two; a double-cross. Yin and Yang – significance: Two things in balance; seeking balance; imbalance; a need; an ancient fight.

– + Pattern of 3 / Triskellion – Three – significance: a triumvirate unbalanced; bad things coming in threes; two parents and a child; love triangle. Triskellion: constant motion; youth, adult, old age; birth, life, death; past, present, future.

0 – Pattern of 4 / Cross – Four – significance: four corners; four directions; four killers; four humors (ex. four bodily fluids). Cross: four seasons; four elements; four horsemen; elemental power without soul.

0 0 Pattern of 5 / Five-point Star – Five – significance: five elements; balance of material and spiritual; Five-point Star: symbol of man; fall of man, temptation (Upside-down); base power without spirit

0 + Pattern of (six point star) – wards or protection; seals (ex. sealed demons, djinns); four elements in balance. Inverted: Broken seal; number of the beast.

+ – Pattern of 7 (seven star) – seven plagues; seven days; seven virtues; seven seas; generations; seven heavens. Inverted: seven sins; divine wrath; end of a bloodline; seven hells

+ 0 Pattern of 8 (eight point star, seal of the prophets) – hexagon – the I Ching, the paths to enlightment; four elements in harmony; (compass rose) the Earth; the universe; the eight winds; Lemniscate (infinity symbol); infinity.

+ + Pattern of 9+ – Pick a number equal or greater than nine. This might include nine: the number of the hermit; the nine enemies of Egypt; cat’s nine lives; ten: the holy number of the Pythagorans; the wheel of fortune; the Kabbalist Tree of Life; twelve: the zodiac (Western; Eastern); the hanged man; the twelve Imams; thirteen: unluck; the last supper; the tarot card Death; the Aztec goddess Tlazolteotl, goddess of sin; the thirteen witches of Salem.


AURAS
It is a common belief that objects, especially living creatures, emit a subtle aura. When the light is right (not too bright, but not in complete darkness), a mystically inclined person can perceive this aura and process it as “colors.” Objects don’t generally an aura by themselves, but may contain some of the lingering energy from someone who handled them.
Thus, if the clue is the color “orange,” pick whether this is the color of the victim, a specific object at the scene, or the lingering aura of the attacker; this means that person or object handler is likely “orange” (creative, passionate, childlike). There’s also a chance that the attacker or the true murder site was bright orange, but don’t count on it being TOO literal.


Unfortunately, the aura is not a very good way to verify the murderer (even if it does tip you off to the suspect, it’s worthless in a court of law!) Harder still, the auras of people will change with their emotional state; the serial killer might have a blue aura 90% of the time, and then change to orange right before he attacks.

Box: If I can’t ID the killer, Then what good is it? – Use the aura to plan the behavior of the victim or the killer. A white killer might be very religious; an orange killer might be obsessed with their own cleverness; a straight-laced respectable victim with a red aura might have been indulging their carnal passions at night, leading you to a new location, and thus a new lead.

– – Violet Peace, idealism, spiritual wisdom, cosmic consciousness, connection to spiritual / divine; aloofness, flightiness, denial & self-denial, sacrifice. Body part: top of the head. Element: Thought.

– 0 Purple / Indigo Divinity, truth, vision, clarity, mysticism, intuition; authority sense of superiority, controlling, imagination. Body part: third eye chakra (forehead). Element: Light.

– + Blue will, purpose, communication, structure, potential, connections, business, Expression (particularly verbal); sadness. Body part: throat. Element: Sound.

0 – Green unconditional love, forgiveness, generosity, compassion, self-love, growth, fear, jealousy. Body part: heart chakra. Element: Air.

0 0 Yellow mental alertness, analytical, power, strength, flexibility, change, growth, confidence, dynamism, egocentric, emotionless. Body part: solar plexus. Element: Fire.

0 + Orange emotion, sensuality, inner child, life/death, creativity, illogical, lacking discipline. Body part: sacral chakra (naval). Element: Water.

+ – Red, passion, reproduction, grounding, survival, material concerns, stubborn, self-importance. Body part: the root chakra (pelvis). Element: Earth.

+ 0 BLACK – Darkness, treachery, mystery, passivity, disintegration, softness. Body part: Yin, Everywhere and nowhere (state of nothingness).

+ + WHITE – Light, openness, strength, clarity, activity, creation. Body part: Yang, Everywhere.


GENERAL EVIDENCE
You have found the following at the scene. Roll 2dF:

– – Weapon – You find a full weapon, or a trace of one (a bullet, a shell casing). This is possibly the murder weapon; alternatively, it could be a weapon the victim was using to defend themselves; cursed item that drew the killer to them; a rare historical piece that wasn’t stolen. Roll once on the murder weapon chart and pick an item there.

– 0 Spiritual – The victim or the crime scene has objects or symbols of spiritual significance; bears strange markings or tattoos (old, recent, or drawn post-mortem); magical circle drawn at the scene; victim wearing religious or spiritual clothing or jewelry; carrying religious icon or totem; holy water or salt. For more ideas, roll on the symbol chart (under sensory: ethereal clues).

– + Something Common is Missing – The member is robbed; alternatively, it might be something else on the victim is missing (victim is shaved; missing eyebrows; missing all IDs; member has no phone.) For more options, roll on the common object and treat it as missing.

0 – Common object – coins (pennies on the eyes?); a handkerchief; a receipt; a memo; a wrapper; a cigarette butt; a newspaper; a bar napkin (maybe with a number?); a key (locker, car, mailbox, safe deposit box); an umbrella; ID; debit / credit card; briefcase; a shoe; a glove; a cross or crucifix; a book; a time piece or jewelry; a common tool (screw driver, flashlight); the victim’s car or rental; a change of clothes; a towel.

0 0 Uncommon object – you find an object that seems out of place at the scene; something to do with a niche job (pool cleaning gear; pet grooming; microscope; ballet slippers; stethoscope; casino chip; ice-cream scoop); an old document (photo, scroll, book, record); a rare object (piece or art; uncommon element; collector’s item; celebrity’s autograph); expensive item (jewelry; thousands in bonds; briefcase full of money).

0 + Biological – Feather; Scale; Fanged Tooth / Nail; Skin-like Membrane; Thick Hair (Pick a Color); Tuft of Fur (Pick a Color); Flake of Skin; Dried Blood; Fresh Blood; Mucous

+ – Environmental Clue – Dirt / Mud; Grass / Grass Stains; Clay; Dust / Sand; Sea-water / Salt; soaked shoes / pants.

+ 0 Powder / Solid Substance – Gun powder / powder burn; Drugs; rust; baby powder; makeup powder; chalk; dirt; clay.

+ + Liquid – Blood; Ether / chloroform (Note: Chloroform Inflames or “burns” the skin); Alcohol; Dark fluid – Ichor / bile; Ink / dye / paint; Makeup (powder, greasepaint, lipstick, nose wax, spirit gum.)

Skeleton Crew Necromnibus – Closet Full of Skeletons

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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.

necronom_cover_print_original

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 sc1page012suburbs. 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.

Perpetually Dark

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 bite arm“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.

ISSUE 3: MIND YOUR MANORS

Sandworms – NPC 

harvey.gifSpirits 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

Small Medium Large
Stealth +2

Fight, Athletics +1

Stealth +3

Fight, Athletics +2

Notice, Will +1

Stealth +4

Fight, Athletics +3

Notice, Will +2

Stress: 1 2 Stress: 1 2 + Mild Stress: 1 2 3 + Mild + Moderate

Stunts:

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

scissue4_cover archieA 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.

Weston o o o Shelley
o o
o o
o o
Maria

*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.

ISSUE 5: FRIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

The Doombell! – The Artifact Extra

gear doombellThe 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!

Monster Showcase – The Exquisite Corpse

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THE BACKSTORY

For this week’s Monster showcase, I wanted a monster that brought out one of Fate’s strengths: the written word. With Fate Core, words are more than a way of communicating information and categorizing one stat from another, they are the bricks and mortars upon which the game is founded.

I present you a comedy/supernatural monster, “The Exquisite Corpse.” It is named, of course, after the French surrealist party game from the 1920’s (also known as Consequences). In the game, players write down a word on a piece of paper, hide it, and pass the paper to the next player. This is continued until a complete but nonsensical sentence is formed. For example, one of the earliest recorded sentences, which gave the game its name, was “the exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine.”

THE CREATURE

Description: The exquisite corpse is an unusual undead being, consisting of several body parts stitched together dunstan creepyand reanimated through science or sorcery. It is a built for beauty rather than brute strength, and each part in the monster’s composition was carefully selected. If the handsome parts don’t quite match, this can result in a gait that is more jaunty than shambling.

High Concept: Miss-matched Charming Reanimat

  • +4  – Rapport
  • +3 – Fight, Physique
  • +2 – Provoke, Will, Notice
  • +1 – Deceive, Athletics, Contacts

Stress: 4 Physical, 3 Mental

Say What?: The Exquisite Corpse is a master of double-talk, providing pedantic answers or promises that, upon reflection, mean nothing. When others try to pry out answers and promises out of the corpse (with Provoke or Empathy), it may oppose with Rapport instead of Will; if the Corpse successfully resists, the inquisitor will mistakenly believe they have found the answer they were looking for until the end of the scene.

THE SET-UP

The Exquisite Corpse starts with only a High Concept, but will have other aspects added on to it. These additional aspects are written by the players in a random fashion. The framework for each aspect is:

The Exquisite corpse _adverb_ _verb_ the _adjective_ _noun_.

Assign each of the missing words (adverb, verb, adjective, noun) to a different player, and have them write it down where others can’t see.


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After players have written their assigned words, compile them together. Depending on the number of players, it might be best to write four or five sentences, and pick the best three; look for sentences that tell you something about the corpse’s motivations and weaknesses. Here are a few samples (I promise, these are completely random):

The Exquisite corpse tensely instructs the sudden quilt
Interpretation: he is an informed figure that takes his jobs and his hobbies very seriously.

The Exquisite corpse widely tests the frantic peace
Interpretation: she is a troll, who loves to disrupt the status quo and to sabotage negotiations for everyone; or perhaps she is contracting you to disrupt a treaty.

The Exquisite corpse easily visits the robust toad – Interpretation: the corpse is a speedy individual, who knows where to find the toads you need as a potion ingredient.

The Exquisite corpse wetly covers the complete throat – Interpretation: the corpse is not a vampire, but is still obsessed with necking.

The Exquisite corpse swiftly punishes the stiff grade – Interpretation: I don’t know what this means, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know.

WHAT LIES BEYOND

After you have an idea of what the character is like, you may want to drop the randomness. However, there’s nothing to say that you can’t continue on in the adventure this same way. For example, the term “Exquisite Corpse” is sometimes used with Round Robin stories: one author will start a composition, but leave it unfinished, passing it on to the next. The later writers are allowed to read what has come before. For example, you can try this set-up:

The exquisite corpse sits down at your table and flashes you a mossy grin. “I have a job for you… well, it’s a three part job, but I think you can handle it. First, you will need …”

Each player must:

  1. Finish the previous sentence.
  2. Add a complete sentence of their own.
  3. Start a third sentence, but leave it unfinished.

WHY DO THIS?

I feel that players want to play. As I’ve theorized in the “Can You Picture That?” blog a few months ago, anything that is playful and creative gets players to flex their muscles, and to get them in the frame of mind that this is a story that they are creating, not reacting to. I have yet to try this specific style myself, but am anxious to (I suspect it might be a fun side adventure in the latest Fate World setting, “Nest.”) If you try it out, tell us what you think!

Until next time, folks, keep on rollin’!

MANOR OF FACT – Supernatural Roleplaying with Kill Doctor Lucky

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In previous blogs, I’ve looked at plastic figures and ranked them on how well they could be adapted as characters in an RPG. In the next few blogs, I’m going to try a similar concept with a twist: I’ll be looking at board games that can be used as roleplaying playmats. More specifically, we’re looking for good ol’ haunted mansions!

This week, we’re going to focus on Cheapass Games’s Clue parody game, Kill Doctor Lucky.

Oh, he’s gonna die.

But first, a word from our sponsor!


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New Header! Pretty, no?

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The premade cards make it easy to write up NPCS, keep track of stress and turn orders, or create an aspect in a jiffy. Just a reminder, we’re launching this month! You may commence salivating.


Note: Tangent Artists did not create this image nor hold the rights to this game. We will tell you it is awesome and you should buy it.

Note: Tangent Artists did not create this image nor hold the rights to this game. We will tell you it is awesome and you should buy it.

Back to Kill Doctor Lucky! For those who’ve never heard of it, Kill Doctor Lucky is a darkly-comedic board game created by James Earnest, and first published by Cheapass Games in 1997. It is one of their most famous titles, and has been printed in numerous editions, including the original 97 version, the 2002 Directors Cut (with 2 maps), and a full-art version licensed through Titanic Games. I don’t quite know how the rights are handled, but according to their website, Cheapass Games will once again be releasing their version of the game in 2016.

What’s more, the Cheapass Games website will let you print out the 2002 version FOR FREE! (Just watch your printer settings, otherwise you might end up with a very small map.)

2002 Director’s cut Version – How Does it Rate as a Game Mat?

Objective: To have spacious haunted mansion that the characters are exploring for the first time.

I’ll be ranking the game on the following scales:

  • Structured vs. Random 
  • Mood
  • Suspense 
  • Space 
  • Extras 

Structured vs. Random?: This first criteria is more of a spectrum, as Structure and Randomness are polar opposites. The game board is already preconstructed, and there’s very little you can do to alter this (save taping over the names of the rooms and adding your own, or editing the digital file.) This would rank it a straight 10/10 on Structure, but it comes with TWO boards- which means, you can choose which version you want to play with (giving you a less rigid model.) If you wanted to be weird, if the characters are in different rooms of the house, you can flip from one map to the other- suddenly, rooms that were once on the ground floor are now on the second level! As another way to introduce randomness, should you want it, on the main map, the rooms are numbered 0-19, which means you can pick a random room with a twenty-sided die; alternatively, you can just use the shuffle the room cards and have a character mysterious walk out of one room into a random one. Structure: 6, Random 4.

Mood: This is where the Lucky board does poorly. The basic set is, well, basic, with large empty spaces of white. This does give a GM a very blank canvas, allowing them a lot of variety (is it a well-preserved manor with residents, or a ramshackle manor barely staying upright?), but it also means they have a lot of work to do. The only flavorful elements provided by the board are the names of the room, which are not very scary, but provide a wonderful throwback to classic Edwardian manors. The boardgame version, which I do not own, has art that supports the mood better. Mood: 3/10

Suspense: To clarify, by “Suspense,” I am referring to the amount of information that is hidden from the players. With the Director’s Cut Board Game I was lucky to get about ten years ago, the board is broken into 6 different sections, giving the players information about 2-3 neighboring rooms, but nothing beyond (I’d give this Suspense: 8/10. For the other boards (the Titanic game board or the free print out version), the GM would either have to cover the other parts of the board or manipulate the image file (Suspense: 2/10).

Space: “Space” measures the practicality of the space. Personally, I found that the Kill Doctor Lucky rooms were perfect, especially in their slight variations. The majority of the rooms were big enough to house half a dozen figurines or markers with a little room to spare, making up a perfect fate core “zone.” A few rooms or hallways were just small enough that a few figures couldn’t squeeze in (which keeps it interesting), while the Ballroom makes for a dynamic scene for a conflict, requiring the heroes to scale up walls and swing on chandeliers to reach the top any adversary in the Gallery. Space: 10/10

Image by Cheapass Games. Buy it already.

Image by Cheapass Games. Buy it already.

Extras: The basic set doesn’t include too many extras (that was part of the point behind a Cheapass Game!) but it does include the cards. If you’re using the haunted mansion as the scene or a treasure hunt or a crime, you could use the various items as clues and red herrings; for example, a character digging around the nursery might find a Runcible Spoon. This would require taking out the room cards and all of the failure cards (although, you could leave in a few of the “distraction” themed failures to indicate that a character failed to find anything.) Extras: 7/10

TOTAL 38/50


What Kind of Story Can You Run with Kill Doctor Lucky?

Here’s an idea: Who Killed Old Man Miserkeister?

The city’s richest and meanest old man, Dr. L. E. “Old Man” Miserkeister, is finally dead. Despite being over 100 years old, he didn’t die of natural causes (likely too stubborn). Money would seem an obvious motive, but it not clear who would be the beneficiary; his wife passed away decades ago, and his daughter hasn’t been heard of in decades… some claim she eloped with a sailor, but loose tongues whisper about other, darker possibilities…

Old Man Miserkeister’s body he was found by his housekeeper (who only comes by once a month) in his dusty foyer, his head bashed in with a blunt object. The city forensics team have only started their investigation, but they suspect that the body was dragged, or quite possibly levitated, from another room. However, they have yet to find the murder weapon. Any officers that have attempted to investigate the many rooms of the moldy manor find themselves strangely distracted, disoriented, and driven slightly mad… almost as if something in the house, or the house itself, doesn’t want the truth to come to light. The police have turned to your team, which has experience with the paranormal, to find what they cannot. Find the murder weapon, and maybe a few other secrets along the way, and get out before you find yourself sharing Miserkeister’s fate.


That’s all for now. Join us next time for more thrills and chills!

STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF CYCLOPEAN HORRORS: THE WHITE PEOPLE

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I love Lovecraft. I have yet to read all of his works, but I have read enough to understand why his stories are a steady source for many an adventure game; what he lacked in plot, he more than made up for in world-building and ambience. His fictional world is a perfect sandbox for other authors and roleplayers to romp, play, and run screaming through.

However, even Lovecraft borrowed from those that came before him. My goal, for the next year or so, is to study some of Lovecraft’s influences. One of the first authors I’ve encountered at was Lord Dunsany (note: his full name, in all of its splendor, is Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany… yeah, you can’t make this stuff off). Dunsany is amazing, but his influence on Lovecraft is more subtle; if anything, his work more closely resembles the work of Neil Gaiman. (I might do an entry inspired by him at some point, but not today.)

I stumbled on the next influential author when I started researching fictional languages: in Lovecraft’s “Dunwich Horror,” the villainous Wilbur Whately learned “the Aklo” for certain rituals. He used these rituals to seek knowledge and predictions, seeking questions from beings “from the hill” and “they from the air.” A little digging revealed that “Aklo” was invented by one of Lovecraft’s favorite authors, Arthur Machen. Chronologically, Machen is a late Gothic writer, although some have called him one of the fathers of modern horror. His story, “The Great God Pan,” has been described by Stephen King as “Maybe the best [horror story] in the English language.” Machen invented the rituals and gestures of Aklo in the 1899 story, “The White People.” The story takes the form of a journal, written by a young girl, as she travels to hidden worlds. I found reading the stream-of-consciousness narrative is a little frustrating (it reminded me of the horror I felt reading “The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” is high school), but the concepts are beautiful. In honor of Machen, I’ve adapted his White People into this blog’s monster of the week.

THEY FROM THE AIR / THE WHITE PEOPLE / NYMPHS

Lecturers at Miskatonic University are often plagued by questions about beings of olden times, of sunken cities and old gods of the ice and sea. Some of their colleagues in England and Wales, however, have been tracking an equally old but divergent thread of inquiry. These archeologists, looking into the ritual sites of gods of the Prehistoric Britons, discovered markings unlike any subsequent language in the area. They bear a cursory resemblance to Aklo, but as this language is mostly documented in the Fertile Crescent, making any crossover undoubtedly a coincidence. Accounts from Roman scholars stationed in the British Isles speak of altars erected to gods of the sky and roaming nighttime ceremonies. The Glendower area is also rich with local folklore, with countless stories about travelers being lead astray by fairies, will-o’-the-wisps, or the devil himself. Dr. Ravensbourgh, a renowned biochemist, believes that the local phosphorescent fungi may be the inspiration for both folk tales of the last few centuries and the gods of ancient times.

However, for the sake of completeness, it would be amiss to not include one final theory: Dr. Llewellyn, a longtime colleague of mine, had recently gone missing during one of his archeological digs. He was found several days later in a terrible state of mind; he claimed that a tunnel in one of the burials mounds lead to a valley henceforth not notated on any modern map. He described creeping vines that have yet to be classified, standing stones that seemed to sing wicked songs, and many more impossible sights. He claimed that at the end of the valley was the Woods, which he said, “must not be described.” Hidden within was a pool filled with fire, attended by nymphs that whispered secrets… the closer he came, the more he understood. He said that they glowed with an otherworldly beauty… a grace so perfect that it overbore his mind and nearly burst his heart. The doctor’s condition has stabilized, but I don’t believe he shall ever be the same. If it can be believed that there are old gods that are so hideous that they can drive men mad, it must therefore be surmised that the opposite is also true: that there could be beings out there of such splendor that the human mind cannot encounter it and remain unscarred.

High Concept: Otherwordly Spawn of the Air

Aspects: Radiant White; Hypnotizing Beauty; Here and Gone Again; The Old Ways Have Power

Skills:
+3 Evoke
+2 Athletics, Empathy
+1 Notice, Burglary, Will

For rules on Evoke, see last entry: FATE HACK – EVOKE – KILLING WITH KINDNESS

Stunts:

Untouchable: If a Nymph uses Athletics to overcome a physical obstacle and ties, treat it as a success; if you roll a natural success, the nymph may move an additional zone or take an additional action this exchange (may only gain one free action each exchange).

Like the Wind: During their exchange, before taking any action, a Nymph may place the aspect “Phased Out” on itself; this is a free action. While that aspect is on it, the nymph is invisible and intangible; similarly, it cannot Attack, nor can it suffer any kind of stress, but may use or be targeted by other actions as normal. The nymph may discard the aspect at any time, and other characters can overcome the aspect with Notice.

THE WHITE LADY

The White Lady is a prominent figure in local folklore; all of her stories end in eternal bliss or in tragic deaths, with nothing in between. Her tales often pair her with a mysterious Man in Black; depending on the story, he is either her servant, her lover, her nemesis, or all three.

Aspects: Radiant White; Hypnotizing Beauty; The Man in Black Will Be Here Soon

Skills:
+5 Evoke
+4 Athletics, Empathy
+3 Notice, Burglary, Will

+2 Stealth, Deceive, Lore,

+1 Investigate, Shoot, Craft, Resources

Stunts:

Untouchable: See “Nymph”

Like the Wind: See “Nymph”

Lock On: If the White Lady uses Evoke to attack a target and succeeds or ties, place a “Drawn In” aspect on the target. The next time the White Lady attacks that same target with that aspect, the White Lady gains +2 on the attack. This is cumulative, so the attack gains +2 for every previous attack (i.e. +2 on the second attack, +4 on the third, etc.) A character may overcome a Drawn In aspect on themselves with Will, or may overcome a Drawn In aspect on an ally with Provoke; likewise, if the Drawn In character succeeds with style on a Defense roll against the White Lady, they may remove the Drawn In Aspect instead of taking a boost


AND NOW, A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:

Remember, this month we are launching the kickstarter for Fate Accompli, our original erasable notecards for Fate gamers.

FateAccompli_KickStarter_Banner_V2

Here’s two snapshots of our kickstarter video.

The normal cards, they are le fail.

The normal cards, they are le fail.

Bask in their glory. BASK!

Bask in their glory. BASK!

More updates coming soon!

SKELETON CREW – FRIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

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Last week, we gave out a slew of pre-made characters. This

You'll jump! You'll swoon!  You'll demand to see the manager!

You’ll jump! You’ll swoon! You’ll demand to see the manager!

week, we’re going to give you a full adventure to run. This one was inspired by the first Skeleton Crew comic we ever wrote (if you’re a player, no peeking, as there are spoilers!) I’ve used it at many conventions, it can generally be run in a little over 2 hours. Enjoy!


SKELETON CREW – FRIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

This is a Skeleton Crew RPG pickup game, designed for 2-6 players. The PCs start with 20 points of skill, with a cap of Great (+4). While some of the skills and aspects are provided for the players, Fate is a very much a “make it your own” kind of game, so we have left some parts blank. For filling in aspects, the GM will start the game by asking a few questions, to see about the character motivations and connections. Any open skills or aspects can be filled out before the game, after it starts, or even near the end. GMs are encouraged to let players switch out skills, even mid-game, and not to worry too much about the retroactive changes. Reminder: if they decide to gain more Physique or Will, it will give them extra Physical Stress or Mental Stress. Keep this in mind.

THE SET-UP

Read aloud: You’re New Manchester’s premier team of Monster Hunters and paranormal investigators. You have tangled with plenty of underworld criminals, and have made many enemies, but you’ve also recruited a handful of allies. One of them, known as the Nosy Shadow, just heard that the necromancer Deadringer is hitting the Schmitzonian Museum of Natural History tonight. You head there as fast as you can, hoping you can beat him there.

As you pull up to the Schmitzonian Mall, you recognize the building- it’s the one with the giant banners advertising their touring exhibit, “The Mummy of Amon-Khee-Sunkhel.”deadringer comical scared

As the crewmates pull in closer, they see the skinny Deadringer at a broken window, slipping himself through. He sees you coming up, curses to himself, “Oh, fudge me!” and climbs through awkwardly.

POTENTIAL PCS

For a list of pre-made PCs, see last week’s blog post. If you want to reverse the gender of any of them, go ahead- Shelley can easily become “Sheldon” or “Percy”. It’s your game!

PRE-GAME QUESTIONS

TEAM ASPECT – Your Team aspect is “Monster Hunters”

The GM should ask the players the following questions- these will help shape their aspects and relationships for the upcoming game. If the same player tries to answer more than one or two, make sure you allow other players a chance to answer some.

  • Best Mate – You (A) consider another character your best mate in the whole world- you have saved each other’s necks so often you’ve lost track. Character B – write an aspect describing your strong feelings towards A (love, trust, disgust, etc.)
  • Former Enemy – You (Character A) find yourself on a team with a former enemy (Character B.) Write your feelings towards this character. Do you trust ‘em? Character B: do you mistrust A back? Is there an ulterior motive behind your cooperation?
  • Superiority Complex – You (Character A) consider character B to be your biggest rival- according to you, B thinks he’s SOOO much better than you, and you’ll do anything to prove that you’re the best. Character B: Is A your rival too? Do you feel like A is better than you, and you likewise have to prove your worth? Do you actually feel superior, but don’t feel the need to prove it?
  • Love in the Air– You (Character A) are head over heels in love with character B. Character B: write an aspect showing your acceptance of this love, or your knowledge / lack of knowledge about it.
  • Ulterior Motive – You (Character A) secretly or overtly want something that only Character B can give. Does B know information about a secret treasure? Does B have an ancient artifact that you’re eager to pull from their dead fingers? Character B: Do you know of A’s objective, or do you only have vague hints?
  • Love Gone Sour – You (Character A) used to be in a romantic relationship with Character B, before it crumbled; OR, Character A had a relationship that was disrupted, thanks to Character B. Write your an aspect reflecting your interpretation of the events.
  • Like a Son / Daughter– Between you (Character A) and Character B, there is a paternal / maternal bond. Pick which is the father/mother figure, and which is the son/daughter figure (age might be a good indication.)

Team Chemistry -The Chemistry aspect describes how the group members view each other. If you want, this can explain hint at a mutually shared past. Here’s a few examples:

  • Trusted: Band of Brothers / Old War Buddies
  • Familial:  Childhood Friends / Test Tube Experiment Siblings
  • Awkward: Thrown Together / Distant Co-workers / Amateurs & Old Pros
  • Competitive:  Confederacy of Rivals / Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend
  • Hostile: Every Man for Himself / If We Get Chased, I’m Tripping You

Note: For 2 hour games, this section can be skipped. If so, here’s a recommended pre-made Team:

Team Name: Skeleton Crew

Team Concept: Monster Hunters

Team Chemistry: Second Family – Love & Brotherly Hate

The following section contains spoilers of what’s ahead, and should be viewed by the GM Only – players, back off!


“Fright” Story Structure:

  • Act 1 – The Foyer / Vampanzees Attack!
  • Act 2 – The Hall of Sharp Pointy Objects / The Orb of Kao!
  • Act 3 – The (Empty) Mummy Exhibit
  • Act 4 – The Dinosaur Exhibit / Rex Awakens!

ACT 1 The Foyer

End Goal:

  • Story: Players are to dispatch or placate the vampanzees
  • OOC: Players are to become accustomed to rpgs (turns, skills, declaring actions,) and Fate system (combat, aspects, stunt & invokes). If possible, also introduce compels and consequences.

Players should enter the building after Deadringer- common ways include climbing in through the window (athletics) or breaking down the solid door (physique).

The first room is the main hall of the museum.

Once you get in, you see Deadringer at the other end of the hall, about to slip into the first exhibit.

I’m going to get the mummy. If you have a problem with that, you can talk about it to- my army of vampanzees!”

Deadringer pulls back his cloak an reveals a cluster (hardly an army), of vampanzees- namely, vampire chimps, complete with tiny fangs and short black capes.

vampan hate

At this point, players should brainstorm what the main hall is like. I recommend a large Woolly Mammoth model in the center of the room. Other ideas could include a gift shop, an info kiosk, fire extinguishers, lighting fixtures, etc.

Vampanzees – Mob
High Concept – Vampire Chimps
Aspects: Overly Curious; Bouncy Little Bastiches; Fight or Flight
Skills : Fair (+1) rating in Athletics.
Stunt: Clamber – If a Vampanzee is in a mob of 2 or more Vampanzees, it can make Attacks with Athletics. (If NOT in a Mob, it will generally join another mob or run away!)
Stress: No shift boxes— one shift of harm is enough to take them out.
(Note: The number of vampanzees are handled like mobs- each one is weak as heck, but add up to a threat if not divided. There are is a mob of 3 per character.)

Alternatively: Have only 2 vampanzees (which will be weak,) but invoke their aspects a lot- this will demonstrate the players how invoking works. 

Initiate Combat – Roll for Notice (Reminder: Zomboy & Caomh have stunts that give them order bonuses).

Determine the objectives & stakes: Vampanzees, for their part, want to scratch you, drink your blood, and maybe eat a few fingers, until they’d grow bored with your bodies.

Phase 0: I recommend you institute Phase 0, especially with a new group. One the first exchange, characters are not allowed to make Attacks- instead, they can only Create Advantages or Overcome.

Possible Compels to consider: Vampanzees are very curious. Weston has trouble with Light. Amon-anda might has trouble is the Vamps act in a particularly nasty way.

Once the vampanzees are cleared, players can follow Deadringer down the hall.

ACT 2 – The Hall of Sharp Pointy Things

End Goals:

  • IC: Characters reach the end of the hall, which is best achieved by disabling the Orb of Kao.
  • OOC: Characters have experience with a non-combat obstacle, and test out a Challenge.

(Note: In a Short, 2 Hour session, this section is less necessary to the plot- the number of successes can be reduced as time dictates.)

As you leave the main hall, you get a closer look at the exhibit Deadringer escaped through: “The Hall of Sharp Pointy Objects.” It seems a poorly thought out exhibit, with display items ranging from historical, like ancestral knives and spears, to mundane and random, like bent pipes and jagged rocks. Really, someone should be fired for this.

At the end of the hall, you see Deadringer place a large black crystal ball on the floor. He rushes out the door, and the orb starts emitting a thick smoke. The smoke seems to coalesce into spectral hands, which start reaching out and feeling the objects around them. There is also a high-pitched melody emitting from the orb, like the lullaby from a music box.

Any attempts to approach the orb will result in the hands grabbing random sharp objects and throwing them in the character’s direction. I recommend one free “jump back” into the safety of the doorway, giving the characters time to plan their approach.

Orb of Kao – Challenge

High Concept: Crystal Music Box of Doom

Experts will recognize the sphere as the Orb of Kao, a soul catcher from Ancient Egypt (they’re pretty rare, which makes the fact that Deadringer found one a little surprising.) It protects itself with ghost hands, and plays a haunting melody that hypnotizes anyone close enough to hear it.
Aspects: Egyptian automated sentry; Souls trapped inside; Made of hard glass

Challenge parts:
1. Dodge the Attacks- Recommended Difficulty – 2. Recommended Skills: Athletics
2. Avoid the Siren’s Call – Recommended Difficulty – 4. Recommended Skills: Will
3. Crush the Sphere – Recommended Difficulty – 6. Recommended Skills: Physique.

Taking Turns: Each challenge should be tackled by one character at a time.

1-3 Characters: You may have one character attempt all three challenges (as they run the gauntlet), or may have characters tag in. You may also consider lowering the difficulty of the later challenges by one or two points.

4+ Characters: We encourage each challenge be tackled by a different character, as they divert one part of the orb’s defenses, letting the next character tag in. If having over 6+ characters, considering raising the difficulty of the lower level challenges by one or two points, or consider adding a fourth challenge.

Extra characters: Any character that is not tackling a challenge may do ONE following:

> Make one attempt to use create an advantage to create an aspect.

> May use the teamwork rule to add +1 to any skill rolls, provided they are at least Average (+1)in it.

Special Rules:
Black Smoke – Any attempts to attack the orb from the Hall entrance without first doing challenges 1 & 2 will be blocked by thick smoke, but a shooter may assist with other attacks (by adding +1 through teamwork or by creating aspects), or may shoot it if that character or other have already beaten challenges 1 & 2 (ex. a character getting close enough to shoot it at close range, or throw it out of the fog)

Outside the box: If players want to attempt to get the orb some other way, go for it- just write up a 2-4 part challenge for them to overcome. One group used a hypnotized Vampanzee to run the gauntlet, after using illusion powers to convince it that the orb was a banana.

Failure: If a character fails to overcome challenge one or two, don’t forget that they can succeed at a cost- this might mean they stumble through a challenge, but have some negative boosts, aspects or consequences to hinder them the next challenge or scene.

Victory: If the orb is destroyed or overcome, the characters can safely go to the next room. There is also a “broken orb” aspect which the players can exploit.

Act 3 – The (Empty) Mummy Exhibit

End Goals:

  • IC: Players realize that the mummy remains undisturbed, and that Deadringer is casting something in the next hall.
  • OOC: Nothing major. If players want to prep themselves, allow each player a chance to prep once.

You run into the exhibit of Amon-Khee-Sunkhel, and find it- strangely quiet. At first glance, it appears that nothing is disturbed.

When the players get tired of searching, lead them to the next room. Any magic users may wish to pilfer the exhibit for talismans of mild power. Characters can also steal prop weapons or search for ancient weapons.

Act 4 – The Dinosaur Exhibit / Rex Awakens!

End Goals:

  • IC: Defeat or subdue Deadringer and the Skelesaurus.
  • OOC: Players become familiar with Consequences, and fighting a character with multiple stress boxes. Against the T-Rex, players will hopefully see that stacking up Advantages is a good strategy for muscling through its tough hide.

You follow the (trail of magic / smell / maniacal giggling) to the next exhibit. It’s marked: “Mesozoic Marvels: In the Time of the Dinosaurs!” As soon as you come in, you can feel the crackle of ozone in the air. In the corners of the room are four mismatched candles, with hastily squiggled chalk circles. In the rear of the chamber, Deadringer has sprayed a chalk circle around the massive Stegosaurus skeleton.

Aha! So, you know, I was going to resurrect the mummy, and then I saw the dinosaur exhibit, and then I thought, ‘That’d be a great idea,’ and then I was like, ‘I don’t know… it’s late, Deadringer, and you always make bad decisions when it’s late,’ and- well, to make a long story short, taste my Skelesaurus!”

dinosaur feast kill

Cue a Conflict.

Stakes: Deadringer- if he succeeds, he & the dinosaur break into the night to wreak havoc on New Manchester.

Once more, ask the players what’s in the room, and Roll for turn order.

Phase 0 –If you’re doing another phase 0 (no attacks), during Deadringer’s phase 0, he does the following:

Deadringer raises his Doom Bell and starts to cackle maniacally. “You think that stegi’s the only dinosaur I’ve prepared? Face the terror of my fleet-feeted- my fleet flooted –Oh, to heck with it. Arise Velociraptors!”

From the room arise half a dozen velociraptors, each a staggering… two feet tall.

Oh, Poo, they look bigger in the movie.”

The raptors run around the floor, nibbling on everything and getting underfoot. At the moment, they’re directed at you, but given time, they’ll likely get in EVERYONE’S way.

The raptors are an Aspect that cause an obstacle when moving from zone to zone (recommend Difficulty 2). Deadringer has a free invoke on the raptors, but any player can invoke it. Once a player has overcome the raptors, they won’t bother that player again for the rest of the scene. Players may also attempt to dispel or whoop the raptors completely (recommend Difficulty 4).

Skelesaurus Dinosaur – NPC
High Concept: Terrifying Undead Skeletal Stegasaurus
Aspects: Massive spiked tail; Don’t make it mad; Vegan at heart.

Skills:
+5 Physique & Fight (With 5+ players, make it +6)
+4 Intimidate, Wilderness
+3 Will, Notice

Stunts:
Stand & Take It – Skelesaurus can use Physique to defend against Shooting attacks
Monster – Skele gains +3 from Invokes instead of +2.

Deadringer – NPC
High Concept: Skinny little Necromancer
Aspects: Derives Power from the Doombell; Kind of a Weenie; Vengeful

Skills:
+5 Shooting (Death Magic)
+4 Athletics, Mythos
+3 Sixth Sense, Deceit, Notice, Intimidate, Will

Stunts:
Necromaniac: As long as he has his Doombell, Deadringer can create advantages themed on blood, spirits, bones, shadow, or anything else. These summoned forms can be invoked to help him as normal.
Slippery Devil – Deadringer gets +2 to Athletics when using Overcome to avoid being pinned down or held.

Skeleton Crew: Don’t Hate the Playtester, Hate the Game

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sc open beta events

The Open Beta for the Skeleton Crew Playtest ends in a little over a month. (It’s not to late too squeeze a few more into the playtest, if you know any who might be interested. Share the documents with your friends, or better still, give them the link to our website, so they can join in the test themselves.)

If you find yourself at one of the following cons, give us advanced notice, and we would gladly arrange time to run a game:

  • Ravencon – Richmond, VA – April 24-26
  • Tidewater Comiccon – Virginia Beach, VA – May 17-18
  • Awesomecon – Rockville, MD – May 29th-31st
  • DC Capcon – Washington DC- June 19-21
  • We can even see if we can arrange an over-the-interwebs game!

This week, we’ve posted all of our pre-made character sheets. While creating a character can be one of most enjoyable parts of an rpg, we know that it can make one-shot games hard to arrange. To help you out with your games, we’re sharing our pre-made sheets with you–if you want to run a one-shot game, just print them off, and you’re good to go!

Below Average: If you open the sheets, you’ll notice that the nearly all of the Average (+1) skills are left blank. That’s intentional! We’ve found that giving players that extra little space gives the players more flexibility and creative input. When I run these games at conventions, I laminate the character sheets, and have players write them in with dry-erase markers. (Speaking of dry erase, you DID see our kickstarter for Fate Accompli launching in July, right?)

Enjoy the following ready-to-run characters!

SC Character sheet Abby Normal– Librarian

SC Fate Character Sheet Amonanda- Mummy Sorceress

SC Fate Character Sheet Bulldawg – Gangsta Werewolf

SC Fate Character Sheet Caomh Culain – Wight Berserker

SC Fate Character Sheet – Doc Turnell – Mad Scientist

SC Fate Character Sheet – Peekaboo – Small Medium

SC Fate Character Sheet – Shelley Turnell – Frankensteinian Construct

SC Fate Character Sheet – Weston Peese – Vampire

SC Fate Character Sheet – Zomboy – Teen Zombie

SC Fate Character Sheet- Blank