Fate Mini-Hack: Gonna Pop Some Tags

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It’s been a few months since we went to GenCon2016, so I thought it was well overdue that we share one of the things we tested: The Skeleton Crew RPG!

As anyone who’s been following this blog the past few years, we’ve been fine tuning one of our magnum opuses (opera?), the Skeleton Crew RPG. This supernatural adventure game has seen a few changes of the years, here’s one of our newest innovation, meant to cement the setting and streamline character creation: tags!


TAGS

A tag are a special type of aspect or sub-aspect that defines how the character of aspect interacts with the world (or worlds). They are also different from normal aspects in that they have a narrow range possibilities.

In the Skeleton Crew game, they come in several categories: Mortality tags, Knowledge tags, and Reality tags.


HOW DOES A TAG WORK?

A tag can be used in the same three ways an aspect can:

A. To aid you.

Example: If a cop with the reality tag “Natural” is following the trail of a mercenary with the tag “Natural,” she might be invoke the tag to give her a +2 to her investigation; she’ll think to look for the cigarette butts, crumbs, and other normal stuff that an immortal might forget about.

B. To grant a +2 invoke against you.

Example: A normal cop with the reality tag “natural” is analyzing an ancient clay doll; is it has secret writing on it, but the symbols have the tag “ethereal”- the GM decides that this mean they next to invisible to the human eye. If the cop player wants to investigate it further, the GM may spend a fate point to raise the difficulty of the search by +2, or to have the cop automatically fail.

C. To compel a character act in a particular way.

Example: A cop (tag: “mortal”) is escorting a djinn (tag: “immortal”) through a haunted tomb. The cop may say, “stay here, I’ll go in first.” However, the GM might compel the cop’s fear of death; this causes her to hesitate slightly. In the meantime, the GM might compel the djinn to go into the dangerous tomb alone; it has no concept of fear, even as it walks into certain doom! Now the cop is racing to catch up!

Reminder to GMs: Remember the rule that dice rolls should always result in something interesting. If a character is compelled to fail a roll, due to attempting something outside their specialty, it might result in a negative repercussion. This is particularly true if you suspect a player is intentionally attempting a task they know they’d fail at (i.e. fishing for compel points). Make sure it blows up in their face!

Ex. If a mad scientist with the knowledge tag “Science!” attempts to study a priceless haunted crown (with the tag “magic”), he might be compelled to fail; but instead of resulting in nothing, he might do something foolish, like dissecting it into bits, or handling it such a way that their adversary learns something about the scientist!


WHY ADD TAGS TO YOUR GAME?

We came up with the tags idea after several trial and error attempts:

Version 1.0 – We originally tried the Skeleton Crew game with the default Fate Core skill list, but it made certain skills cover too far of a narrative range; it seemed strange that a robot-building scientist would know so very much about prehistoric magic. It needed more specialization.

Version 2.0 – We next attempted dividing the skill list into smaller parts; notice, lore, and crafts, and others were all split into magical and non-magical equivalents. While this worked with some skills, it made others so niche that you might go an entire adventure without using them. Also, the skill list ballooned in size. We needed something in between.

Version 3.0 – The tags system lays the groundwork for a simpler skill list, but to still allow some specialization amongst teammates. It allows players with similar skill to join forces and be versatile at times, while the GM can still veto an action to provide more of a challenge, or to reign if a character steps too far from their expertise.


THE SKELETON CREW TAG TYPES – IN DEPTH

MORTALITY

bonejack-sneakA mortality tag defines what you are. It comes in three types, mortal, undead, and immortal.

Mortal – you are a creature that was born, grew, and will likely die (but haven’t yet). Your life span will either be short (half a century), or, if you’re special, a century or two. This is the tag for humans, mutants, and some demi-gods.

Undead –you are a revenant; a creature that was born, grew, died, and came back; this is most likely due to dark magic or a curse. This is the tag for vampires, ghosts, werewolves, Frankensteinian constructs, mummies and other reanimated mortals.

Immortal – you are were made, not begotten; either by a god, a creator, or by the raw forces of natural. You can be destroyed, but left to your own, you will never age and never die. You have refined yourself over the years, but you didn’t learn as a child learns; your abilities are natural to you. This is the tag for elementals, angels, demons, robots, djinns, and similar beings.

Sidebar – Which tag applies to Faeries? No two players will see faeries the same way; we encourage each group to decide how faeries work in your campaign, to best fit the view points of the those playing. We recommend you give faeries their own tag; mortals see faeries as immortals, and immortals treat faeries as mortals.

Mortality Tag Interacts with: your high concept. It helps define what you are, and how you act. Certain tags like “undead” also interact with certain types of magics and wards (ex. a holy talisman against revenants).


KNOWLEDGE

The knowledge tag defines your background knowledge and how you explain the world around you. It comes in two types: Science! and Occult.

Science! – to you, the world is a matter of rules and equations. You know that history is fixed, and that a cause always precedes an effect. This is the tag of cops, scientists, teachers, doctors, and most modern mortals.

Occult – to you, reality is an illusion that manipulated or broken. You know that history is but a dream, that sometimes you getting the desired effect is more important than understanding the cause. This is the tag of warlocks, ghosts, mediums, priests, and philosophers.

Example: Both a psychic and a medium can perceive ghosts andlibrary hubris.png emotional residue; a medium will see these phenomenon in a traditional, philosophical way, while the psychic will see the situation from a modern, analytical point of view.

Knowledge Tag Interacts with: certain skills, such as Crafts, Lore, and Operate*.

Crafts: Science! allows you to build and deconstruct mechanical devices; Occult allows you to build and deconstruct artifacts and enchantments.

Lore: Science! gives you knowledge of modern science, medicine, current events, and Earth geography; Occult gives you knowledge of ancient history, magic, and other worlds.

Operate*: Science! lets you control modern vehicles, robots, and machinery; operate lets you use artifacts, magical transports, and low-level animated servants (ex. skeletal puppets).

*Operate – in the Skeleton Crew RPG, the skill “Drive” is replaced with “operate,” which is broadened to cover any device that cannot reasonably be covered by “lore.”


REALITY

A reality tag defines what plane or planes of reality you find yourself tethered to. Are you a flesh-and-blood human, a ghost from beyond the veil, or something in between? There are two types, Natural and Ethereal, and the dual tag, Supernatural (for more on dual tags, see below).

Natural – A natural object is something based in the mortal plane. For persons and objects that are natural, the laws of physics are consistent; if you are a person, you likely have mass and find it easy to other things with mass. When investigating a clue that is natural, it is best to observe it through the normal senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Natural objects generally have a low innate amount of magical energy, and tend to obey the laws of physics. Natural characters include mortals, robots, and revenants resurrected through science (ex. Frankensteinian constructs).

Ethereal – Smummy-ba-flyomething that is ethereal is based on the world beyond; there are many names for this, be it the afterlife, beyond the veil, limbo, the psychic realm, the etheric plane, etc. These beings are made up of magic and raw emotion, which are often indistinguishable on this level. To them, pain and joy are palpable enough to touch, while matter and gravity are sometimes hard to perceive. It is possible to have a natural object have a clue or aspect that is ethereal in nature, such as invisible writing drawn in magic on a brick wall. Ethereal beings, like most things of magic, have little regard for the laws of physics. Ethereal characters include ghosts, as well as some demons, fairies, angels, gods, and elementals.

Supernatural – Dual Tag An object that is supernatural is something that has real mass, but also carries with it strange psychic or magical properties. In this way, it can be seen and manipulated by both natural and ethereal characters, however their exact nature is sometimes hard to tell; a ghost can tell that a person has a high “supernatural quality,” but would be unable to discern if they’re a vampire, a psychic, a priest, or someone who’s just born lucky. Likewise, a supernatural character can see things that are natural and ethereal, but can only focus on one at a time. Supernatural objects generally tend to bend the laws of physics without breaking down. Supernatural characters include dhampirs, revenants resurrected with magic (such as zombies, werebeasts, vampires), spellcasters, priests, demigods, mediums and psychics.

Side Note – Holy Mass – Most daemons and angels are, in reality, ethereal beings; however, they borrow mass when they visit the material plane. Their true ethereal forms are nearly impossible to kill, but their physical bodies can be destroyed, or have be cleft from their spirits in a banishing ritual; if either is done, their souls are pushed so far into the etheric realm that they can’t interact with mortals. While in physical form, treat them as if they’re supernatural.

Reality Tag Interacts with: certain skills, particularly Notice and Investigate. Ethereal can also be invoked with other skills as well.

Notice: A Natural character will have a much easier time reacting to natural threats, or seeing hidden natural clues. Similar, an ethereal character will be more alert to ethereal threats.

Investigate: A natural character can more thoroughly investigate natural clues and clues that leave a physical trace; likewise, an ethereal character will be able to spy details that have no physical form, just as magical trails, feelings, and psychic echoes.

Ethereal Skills: The ethereal tag can also be invoked and compelled with any skill that involves the physical plane. They have less connection to matter, and thus they can invoke the tag to help them avoid physical objects (ex. for burglary when sneaking through a wall; for stealth when avoiding view, for athletics when getting past a guard; for fight when avoiding a punch). However, if they trying to interact with a physical object, it can also be invoked or compelled against them (ex. against burglary to make a stolen item slip through their fingers; with physique or fighting when pushing or punching an opponent). It can also used to help with Empathy to sense emotions; but for every invoke used to help spot feelings, make sure it is compelled to make it harder to Notice physical details.


Dual Tags

There are some instances of tags that fall under two categories; the most common of these is the Supernatural tag (see page XX).

For the most part, treat this is if the two opposing tags cancel each other out; the character is immune to unfriendly invokes and compels, but cannot compel their supernatural tag to aid in their roles.

Ex. a “natural” cop, an “ethereal” ghost, and a “supernatural” vampire are investigating a crime scene. When inspecting a gruesome “natural” blood stain, the cop could invoke her “natural” tag to get +2; meanwhile, the “ethereal” ghost investigating the same “natural” blood stain may receive an unfriendly invoke, or be compelled to notice nothing. The opposite would happen if the natural cop and the “ethereal” ghost were trying to investigate an “ethereal” psychic vibe in the air.

The “supernatural” vampire, however would be able to investigate the “natural” bloodstain or the “ethereal” psychic vibe; he’d be immune negative invokes, but could not invoke the “supernatural” tag to help his search.

Can I invoke the Dual Tag for anything?

Tags define a very specific thing about your character (generally how you perceive the world and how others perceive them); while a dual tag cannot be invoked to help with exact field related to it, it can be invoked or compelled for completely unrelated matters.

Ex. A supernatural vampire does not get a boost when searching for normal or for ethereal clues; however, she would be able to help her in a social situation, such as convincing another supernatural psychic that she ought to help them out.

Are there Dual Tags for Mortality? –

We recommend you don’t have any dual tags for mortality, unless a player wants to create an original character that straddles the line, like someone who is half-alive and half-dead. Similarly, you could treat Faeries as a dual tag for “mortal” and “immortal” (see above).

Are there Dual Tags for Knowledge?

If there were to be a dual tag for Knowledge that straddles both “Science!” and “Occult,” it would be “Alchemy.” However, we advise that GMs only allow it small groups. If there is only one “know-it-all” character in the group, it’s fine if they know Alchemy. However, you don’t want a “Science!” inventor and an “Occult” librarian to feel redundant next to an alchemist character that knows everything.


 

Tags in Action – Sample PC Type

ANGEL / EUDEMON

You are a loyal messenger to a god. If you are an angel, you serve the Great Light, and are made from light, air, and/or fire. If you are a eudemon, you serve a lesser god (like Zeus, Mardok, or Isis) and reflect the element of your master.

Eudemons are the middlemen between mortals and the gods, and thus do not take pleasure in hurting humans; however, they have no qualms against smiting the wicked. Similarly, they can grant humans what they need, which is not always what they want (ex. an angel of death ending a mortal’s suffering).
A Note to GMs: Angels and Devils are typically portrayed as having immense power. If a player wants to playing one, have your group come up with an explanation on why their powers are limited: maybe they’re a daemon-in-training, have had their powers sealed, or have had their “membership card” revoked.

High Concept: Angelic Servant to ________

Suggested Tags:

  • Mortality: Immortal
  • Reality: Supernatural or Ethereal
  • Knowledge: Occult

Suggested Skills: Will, Fight, Empathy, Evoke*
Suggested Stunts: Pillar of Strength

Pillar of Strength – Will –  When defending against Intimidation attacks, any of your teammates who have a lower Will than you may reroll their defense roll once per turn. This stunt may only be used if you’re in the same room as the teammate, or only if you are still in the conflict (i.e. not taken out).


What Other Tags Could Exist?

The above tags work with the world of magic and mad science of Skeleton Crew, but your game might find your own.

An additional tag we considered but eventually scrapped was a tag for Provoke and Rapport- you could easily merge the two into a single, emotion-influencing skill, and add a tag dividing it into “positive” emotions and “negative” emotions.

However, adding a tag for a single skill seems to waste, but what if you also added it to Empathy? In your world, maybe characters are more attuned to emotions of a certain nature.

I don’t see the “emotion” tag being useful in Skeleton Crew, but what about a Star Wars hack? I could easily see a “light side” / “dark side” tag affecting provoke, empathy, and maybe a slew of other skills. Try it yourself, and tell us what you think!

Until next time, GAME ON!

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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 – FRIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

Standard

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.

Ecognomics of a Kickstarter

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Later this year, our group hopes to launch a grand kickstarter for

the Skeleton Crew PRG. We’ve got high hopes. We’ve got big dreams. We want to do it just right; so much so that we’re launching a second kickstarter before it, just to test the waters. I’ve read all of the blogs, heard the panels.

I am still shaking like a newb.

So, this is not a blog from a kickstarter veteran, saying how they got all-the-moneys. Rather, this is the step-by-step brainstorm, so you can see the planning process for yourself… specially, in how to avert Ecognomics.

What are Ecognomics?

Some of you might be old enough to remember the South Park episode with the Underpants Gnomes. If you’ve never seen the episode, the pivotal scene with them plays out as follows…The underpants gnomes, after amassing a large amount of stolen underpants, present their cunning business plan:

Phase 1. Collect underpants

Phase 2. ???

Phase 3. Profit

It’s a silly bit, but I’ve heard that economists and business theorists have actually latched on to it in serious lectures. Personally, I call it “The Underpants Plan,” or Ecognomics.

Who is Guilty of using Ecognomics?A lot of independent artists and creators, sadly. I’ve been on a lot of web comic panels, in which someone in the audience asks, “How do you make money?” The knee-jerk reaction from artists is to laugh, but that could be out of nervousness.

The problem is many creators think that there’s a direct correlation between Product and Profit. They have Phase 1 and Phase 3, but they fail to consider part two. Of course, at least those artists have gone ahead to think about Phase 1: a Product. I remember before the Dot-com bubble burst, some people thought you could launch a website, slap a Paypal donation button on it, and they’d be showered in money.

With Kickstarter, the same pitfalls occur. There are people who think that all they need is a product, launch a kickstarter, and you’ll have a profit. (Again, some don’t even think too hard about the product.)So, I don’t have all three phases planned out, but I’ll walk you through my ponderings.

PHASE 1 – COLLECT UNDERPANTS (Figuratively Speaking)

The first part is to clarify what the product you are selling is. With us, we’re relatively confident about this: it’s an rpg book, using the Fate Core rule system. The setting is based on our webcomic series, Skeleton Crew. Of course, there are still a few things to figure out.

Labels – This issue is mostly resolved, but it wasn’t when we started the project: we had to clearly define the genre of the setting in order to best promote it. We originally called it “Comedy / Horror,” but that didn’t seem to go over well. While there are definitely a few horror elements in the comic, and optional rules for running scary adventures, my cowriters convinced me that the “horror” tag wasn’t accurate. We’re now promoting the rpg as “Supernatural Comedy.”

Stand Alone or Supplement – Shortly into the RPG’s production, we settled on using Evil Hat’s Fate system- it wasn’t too crunchy, we (a bunch of writers) loved the story-telling basis, and the creators were generous to offer it to the Open Gaming License, making it free to use. To add icing to the cake, the Fate Core kickstarter practically exploded.

hipster elves

<hipster moment> Yeah, you heard me- we liked Fate BEFORE it was cool </hipster moment>.While I’ve seen a few kickstarters that offer to add other systems on as a stretch goal, we have decided NOT to make SC for any other system at this time (except a possible FAE side version). If your book can be so easy ported from one system to another, then how much attention did you really pay to that system?The question becomes whether to make it as a “supplement” or as a stand-alone. It’s a fat book already, roughly 350 pages. To make it a “stand-alone” book would require adding additional 100-200 pages, greatly raising the print cost. It would make it more accessible to newcomers, but most of our target audience is experienced gamers who already own the Fate Core rulebook anyway. We’re polling playtesters for their opinion. Speaking of which…

> Playtesters & edits– The last steps are to playtest the stuffing out of it, and edit the feedback into a cohesive book. Easy, right? *nervous cough*

That’s it for the Underpants. On to…

PHASE 2 – ??????

If this were a REAL economics plan, I suspect the middle area is for revenue. For non-business folks like me, that’s “money made before factoring cost.” In regards to kickstarter, it also means, “having a variety of backer levels and add-ons, providing each backer an opportunity to spend exactly the amount of money they are willing to part with.” If the only levels are cheap, you risk losing potential profit. If the only levels are expensive, you risk it all. I’m leaving the ???? in, as it also covers all sorts of other pre- & mid- Kickstarter factors. Like most brainstorms, and keeping with the ‘YES AND’ spirit, the “????” section shall include any ideas, no matter how ridiculous. This is the “yes, we can!” section… (save the “no, we can’t. Really.” for the “Profit” section.) I’ll start with our thoughts for the kickstarter levels.Backer Levels – The first thing to consider for the kickstarter is the basic backer levels. These are the Core levels, ignoring other “throw in one more thing!” Here are the very basic, platonic levels:

  • Impulse Buy
  • Electronic Version
  • Paper Version
  • Special Edition
  • More Money Than God Version

Impulse Buy – Costs a very small amount, which is very good for people who are unsure of the product, broke, or are generous relatives who want to help but could care less about the product. For our version, I think we’re going to take a lesson from Tianxia’s fantastic kickstarter, and give anyone who pledges a small amount ($1-2) gets a copy of the rough draft Beta rulebook pdf. It’s a great way to lure impulse buyers, costs us nothing, and gives the backer a product immediately after they pledge (rather than having to wait for months until the product is finished before the backer receives anything.)

Electronic Version – A digital version- in this case, a pdf of the finished product. Fortunately, Tangent Artists is lucky enough to have a publishing miracle-worker on team, so the layout can be done in house. A pdf is beautiful thing, in regards to profit, but more on that in Phase 3. At the moment, the goal is to have a B&W book with lots of art. For a creepy setting like ours, B&W is perfect, in that it helps capture the mood, and easier on the artists. We plan to have original art by one or two artists, supplemented by art from the webcomic itself. This would likely be in B&W, although, if we’re pulling images from the webcomic, we COULD make the pdf B,W & red.

Paper Version – A physical version of the book printed and mailed. Unless we hit ALL DA STRETCH GOALS, it seems unlikely that the supplemental material will be in print form.

Special Edition – This would be supplemental material tied in directly to the product itself. Some brainstormed ideas:

Art – Prints of the art itself. (May not do this, as shipping art without creasing it is a pain). Maybe the cover art for the book?

Comics – We’re hoping to do a big compilation book of our first few issues of the Skeleton Crew Comic, in a volume called the Necronomnibus. Likely in B&W, to save cost. Luckily, this one doesn’t require much in the ways of creating a new product, which is nice, and it printing in bulk is much cheaper than individually.

-Gaming Extras – If our Kickstarter for Fate Accompli, dry-erasable Fate cards, is successful, then these would be a great add-on.

-Artsy Odds-and-Ends – Any other art-related material, such as keychains, postcards, etc. As I am not an artist, I won’t insist on these, nor will we make these a priority if there’s not demand for it.

However, I remember one kickstarter panelist, who shared a great nugget. He advised against writing new novels as stretch goals to an rpg book. This was his litmus:

– if the supplement is stand-alone (i.e. doesn’t require / build on the base kickstarter), and requires work as much work to finish as the base kickstarter, why doesn’t it have a kickstarter of it’s own?Thus, adding a stand-alone novel is way too much energy to invest on something that doesn’t add to the product. (Of course, if you wrote the novel already, that might be a different matter.)
-Rules Supplements – This is where I have even BIGGER plans and schemes. Here are some wild ideas. These would expand the current rules for new locations and subgenres. Some of the ideas we’re batting around include:

– Guest Authors – Getting outside authors to write additional material for the setting. If we can get well known authors, to draw in more backers, all the better. And while we’re dreaming the impossible dream, we even hope to PAY our staff and guest authors. This would definitely beat the old system of having writers work for free, for credit, or for reassurances that their loved ones will be returned safely (mwah ha ha).
-Adventures – One-shot adventures for players. I’ve definitely a few that I’ve run before that would be great, including Fright at the Museum and the Revenge of Blackstache.

– New Locations – A fairy-focused setting, set in the West Coast, written by our very own Rachael. Several working titles, including “Triskelion.” We’re also considering: a Road Trip Campaign book (WIP title: Highway to Hell, Globe-rotters), with scatterings of monsters from all over the USA or the world; also, a setting focusing on beings from Japanese and Chinese myths.

-New Sourcebooks – A Lovecraft book (because, as we all know, if you want a kickstarter to succeed, throw in an Old One)… the working title is “The Madness of the Color on the Doorstep of the Dark”; a sci-fi 1950s B-movie book “It Came From Science!”; a source book on ancient religions, demigods, demons, cambions, nephilim and angels; a setting in the land of Cockaigne.

-New Twists – Several ideas: Paranormal Investigators – A procedural, monster-of-the-week setting, a la X-Files & Nightstalker. Would likely use a system similar to Atomic Robo’s “Brainstorm” mechanic, assuming our version wasn’t TOO similar (Robo isn’t in Open License); a rule-set for familiars and lesser demons, with a Pokemon-esque “snatch-em all” rule set; Giant, city-smashing monsters (because: giant monsters).

-Rule Adaptations – Attempts to incorporate existing rules from other Fate Core games into SC, assuming we are not violating or infringing on any rights. These might include: Skill modes; super powers / super stunts; Fate Accelerated version.

– Supplemental Info – Languages – A guide to the many real (and fictional) ancient languages, from Rongorongo, to Atlantean, to Epoch. Might have rules, but possibly rules agnostic.

– Characters – Extra mortal states and professions that didn’t fit in our (already bulging) rulebook. We might release it by itself, or might save some of the characters to drop in with supplements that fit the theme.

-Campaign Books – Fate doesn’t really lend itself really well for pre-made campaigns, but I would enjoy an expanded setting based on the Lost Continent of Lemuria.

More Money Than God Version – Generally, these are levels that most people can’t afford, but would be fun anyway. And since we’re not throwing out any ideas here:

– Personal Touch – I, Dave Joria, will official skype / drive / fly / paraglide to your living room or game store to run a game for you.

– Commission Normal – Our artists will draw every member of your party.

– Commission – Published! – Our artists will base one of the character designs in the finished book off of one of the pre-constructed characters off of YOU.

-Comic Star – We will write and draw a 4-page comic based on your skeleton crew characters.

– City of Dreams – I will create a brand new city location just for you and your party.

– Sup it Up – I will design an entire supplement for YOU- rules, characters, monsters, settings, plot points, you name it, we make it.

– We’re Really Reaching Here – I will dress as a zombie and do a happy little dance just for YOU!

– Unholy Rites – I will build a dark shrine to your honor, and sacrifice a goat, chicken or watermelon to you, while chanting in an Eldritch tongue (and film it.)

That’s all of the odd-ball ideas I have for the moment. Next year, I’ll be crunching Phase: Profit!

Paranormal Investigation Tool – Follow the Bread Crumbs

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I’ve been working hard on a new aid for Paranormal Investigation games this week, and haven’t got a chance to make a new post. So, to kill two birds with one stone, I’m giving you a sneak peak of the work in the progress. Presenting:


THE BREAD CRUMBS GENERATOR!

researcher discovery

BREAD CRUMBS – A PARANORMAL INVESTIGATIONS CLUE GENERATOR

The 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.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Bread Crumbs system uses a principle called Apophenia, which Wikipedia defines as: “is the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.” In essence, we start the group with a crime scene. At the scene is a murder victim, killed in a specific way, an item, and a few random sensations. Let’s say you get “a bullet to the chest,” “a banana,” and “a strange sense of well-being.” What’s the connection between them?

At the start, absolutely nothing. However, as you question witnesses, follow hot leads, and uncover more clues, (ex. More bananas, and a huge pile of cash), your group can now start putting it all together.

Maybe they discover a ring is smuggling street by magically transforming them into bananas. Maybe a Love God / Goddess from a Tropical nation is luring greedy banana-republic salesmen to their death. Maybe the banana’s a red herring, planted there to by the NecroCats to frame their worst enemies, the Were-Gorilla gang!

But how do I come up with the connections? Hopefully the players will provide connections on their own, but if not, we recommend some source books on the symbolism of various objects. It also helps to brush up on your mythological beasts: if the random chart generates feathers and talon-marks, you might decide to make the monster a cockatrice and drop a few cockatrice-themed clues along the way (ex. County fair with a rooster that lays eggs.) Most importantly, keep an open-minded. Don’t pick the weirdest theory for the villains, pick ALL of the weird theories!

This also combos well with the Brainstorm system introduced in “Atomic Robo RPG.” We will be releasing a similar, Investigation based system in the near future.

QUICK (AND THE DEAD) MISSION BUILDER

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.

Generate a Mystery (see below)

Go to the scene of the crime and Investigate. Generate a Location

As soon as you get there, start making supporting characters. Make sure you include a Face character or two for every organization and location. Don’t just have a random cop, have Carl the Chubby Meterman. If the murder’s in a back alley, have the owner of the restaurant Greasy Ginny, already answering questions to one of the detectives. These people seem incidental now, but could end up your suspects, eye witnesses, allies, enemies, and potentially future victims.

The team then gets to scan the scene for clues. Each character may attempt to use an appropriate skill to survey the scene. Investigate is the best skill, but Sixth Sense can be used to pick up Sensory Clues, and certain and situations allow characters to use other skills (ex. A stunt that lets a mad scientist investigate with Science!; a smooth talker using Rapports to question witnesses; Connections to dredge up rumors from your network.)

Successes: For each Success, the group gains one clue. You can only have a total of three Evidence or Corpse clues, so any further clues must be Sensory Clues.

Succeed with Style: If a character succeeds with style, you can gain a boost to aid another player with their search, or may take an additional aspect about the crime scene- this likely not a full clue, but rather a “hunch” about the nature of incident.

Fail / Succeed At Cost: No matter how many characters you fail, you always gain at least one Clue. Alternatively, don’t forget that, with Fate, you can always Succeed at a Cost.

Example “Success at Cost”: Finding a bit of evidence by tripping over it (giving you a Consequence to show your hurt leg or hurt pride); getting contradictory eye-witness testimonials; discovering an important bit of evidence and accidentally destroying it before it can be examined closer.

Clue chart:

If your group rolls on the same twice in a row, roll twice in a row, to assure a mix of the three.

Corpse Clue – Roll on the Corpse Clue Chart
0 Evidence Clue – Roll on the Evidence Clue Chart
+ Sensory Clue – Roll on the Evidence Clue Chart

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 no where now, some player might make a connection you never thought of.

Once the crime scene and all witnesses are exhausted, try to follow the clues. Maybe a forensic scientist can analyze the mud sample, or a guest lecturer can tell you more about an ancient symbol. Dig into the victim’s past, stake out similar locations in case it happens again. Reward player proactivity 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; the critically injured victim regains consciousness with vague memories.)

The Twist – Just when everything’s going smoothly, add in a plot twist. This can be something of your own devising, or roll on your adventure’s Twist table. 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.

[SKIPPING THE CORPSE & EVIDENCE CLUES FOR NOW- GOTTA SAVE SOME FOR LATER, RIGHT?]

GIVING OUT SENSORY CLUES

The _sense__ is __(category), a bit like __example.__

This means you roll for the sense chart, then on the matching description chart, and then your group picks one of the examples in it. This gives you a definite fact (ex. It IS sweet), and less concrete suggestion (ex. “it reminds you of jasmine”). This lets you alter it slightly later if need be! Make sure you let the group in on picking the description. Ex. You can read the full list and let them pick; you pick “fruit” and let them throw ideas of which fruit it is.

For example, a roll might include “The smell is sweet, a bit like almonds.”

Which Sense?: If a character has no particular focus, roll on the following chart. However, if a player has an aspect that suggests that one sense is stronger / more appropriate than the next, allow the character to pick which one. (Ex. A psychic picking up the Sixth Sense Clue; a werewolf with the aspect “Follow Your Nose!” getting a Smell Clue.)

Sensory Clue – Sub-Chart
0 +
Another player picks one! Smell Touch
0 Sight The GM picks one! Sixth Sense
+ Taste Hearing Pick one!

SIGHT

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

Sensory Clue – Sub-Chart
0 +
Disarray Neat Phony
0 Hidden / Blind spots In Full View Secrets Revealed
+ Snap Shot All in the Details Seen This Before

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.

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.

Phony – You can’t prove it yet, but your gut tells you something about the placement of the body and articles feels fake, 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.

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.)

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 d

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.

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 any Sixth Sense or 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 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 _________.

Sensory Clue – Sub-Chart
0 +
Floral Caustic Common Chemical
0 Metallic Foul Sweet
+ Smokey Earthy Spicy

Floral – perfume, cologne, lotion, flowers, green tea, violets (turpentine), fruit

Caustic – acidic (hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, vinegar, ammonia, lemon), basic (rubbing alcohol, methanol, quicklime, paint thinner, hydrogen peroxide), cleaning agents (bleach, detergent, soap, disinfectant, chlorine, “pine-fresh”), poisonous (bug spray, pesticide)

Common Chemical – Shoe polish, aerosol, hair spray, soap, new car, alcohol

Metallic – ozone, copper, burnt oil, melted plastic, ammonia (ex. Smokeless powder ammo)

Foul – rotten (flesh, wood, milk), bodily fluids, rotten eggs (sulfur, brimstone, gas), B.O., poo gas, fish (nickel tetracarbonate)

Sweet – fudge, vanilla, almond (cyanide, marzipan), cookies, rotting fruit

Smoky – candles, tobacco, gunpowder, fuel, wood, burnt meat / flesh, incense, burnt rope, gasoline, burnt hair, black tea, coffee

Earthy – damp leaves, mud, sea breeze, minerals, rust, grass

Spicy – pepper, garlicky (onions, phosphorous, arsenic), mustard (mustard gas), mint / menthol

TOUCH

The touch is ______, a bit like _________.

Sensory Clue – Sub-Chart
0 +
Gooey Slick Rough
0 Sharp Soft / Smooth Rubbery
+ Cool Hot Unearthly

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

Slick – oil (gun oil, lighter fluid, cooking oil), grease, makeup, butter, snot, sweat, scales, ice, mold, lubricants

Rough – grit, sand, salt, dust, wool, sandpaper, sharkskin, bark, hair stubble, plaster

Sharp – fragments (glass, porcelain, metal shavings), splinters, shrapnel, shark skin, thorns / prickles

Soft / Smooth– moss / mold, wax, fabric (silk, cotton, satin), petals, natural (fur, suede, down), dirt / clay, marshmallow

Rubbery – rubber, skin (leather, skin), 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), balms / anesthetics

Hot – burnt (fire, electricity, steam, acid, 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, teleport)

Unearthly – The substance of something at the scene seems unearthly, like it was made for unknown materials. Whenever you touch the surface with your bare skin, you get a strange feeling or impulse. Roll on the Sixth Sense chart for the sensation (if it doesn’t fit, reroll).

WILL SAVE THE REST FOR ANOTHER DAY… IF ANYTHING SEEMS A LITTLE UNCLEAR, OR YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS, ADD THEM IN THE COMMENTS SUGGESTION!

Toy Box Review- Haunted House Horror Bucket

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Today launches a new segment on the site: the Toybox Review! But first, some context: I remember reading that Gary Gygax and the early D&D team used oddball, cheap-o plastic figures as inspiration for such creatures as the Rust Monster, the boullette, and even the signature Owlbear. If you’ve never heard the story, artist DiTerlizzi retells it quite beautifully on his blog.

Likewise, I learned during some of my Masters of Umdaar playtests that players respond surprisingly well to playing with brightly colored plastic toys. You’d think the poorly cast, un-detailed faces would turn people away, but I suspect it made new characters easier to step into- I chalk it up the psychological phenomenon called “Cognitive Closure.” Even if a shape is poorly defined, the human brain is capable of filling in any missing details. Observe the triangle on the below, borrowed from this website.

closure

Riddle me this, Batman- when is a triangle NOT a triangle?

When a player spends a long campaign fine-tuning a character, they end up with a very well defined picture in their head of what the character looks and feels like. Likewise, for experienced, long term characters, detailed figurines, (the kind Reaper and Games Workshop make from metal or resin), are perfect- the level of detail reinforcements the player’s image. However, if the character is brand new, giving them a well-defined miniature, I theorize, does the opposite. The miniature reminds them, “this is a well-defined character that you didn’t design.” There are no details for the player to contribute, because that’s all been done. Alternatively, if it’s low-detailed plastic toy, the player will consciously and subconsciously fill in the details with their own imagination, making the toy into something that closer resembles themselves.

Okay, enough with the amateur psychologist mumbo-jumbo. On with the fun stuff!

THIS ENTRY

Each “Toy Box Review,” I’m going to review of a toy product and it’s contents. This week: a toy collection I randomly found on Amazon. It is the:

Exclusive 62 Piece Haunted House Monster Bucket by PSE.

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Watch as the magical lid refuses to go back on…

Before I bought it, it looked: like your standard bucket of strange, monstrous creatures. The snapshot accurately captured the final product, although I’m a little sad that two of the designs feature in the photo didn’t end up in the kit. 4/5

That's $30 of ugly shoved into a $17 tub...

That’s $30 of ugly shoved into a $17 tub…

First impression: It’s definitely a large set. At $16.99, it wasn’t exactly a bargain, but I was definitely getting my money’s worth. The color scheme is quite fun, really; the red and purple are wonderfully dark and Halloweeny. The electric blue and yellow don’t match the mood quite as well, but they provide great contrast to the red & purple, so it all works out. 5/5

The Witch: One of the pieces I immediately fell in love with was the witch figure. For this reason, I included in several of the shots, to give a frame of reference for the scale.

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Two haunted trees, ready for a night on the town.

The Set Pieces:The playset came with 2 large haunted trees and a castle. The trees are wonderful, even if the paint job is a bit heavy handed. I love the color on the castle, but what takes away from it is the SCALE. It’s hard to tell, but on the bottom of the skull mouth are tiny steps- meaning, it’s supposed to match a figure that would only come up to the witch’s shin. There’s even a tiny door on the back that’s equally as small. This makes the castle less useful in a st, unless it’s a “far off castle on the hill.” 4/5

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Coffin Fit

The Props: The set came with 2 wagons and 2 treasure chests. The wagons are quite obviously ripped off of a Western line, but the fact that the canvas was printed in grey plastic instead of white really adds to the Transylvania feel of it all. The two treasure chests are way too large for “treasure,” but they actually work as really large coffins. The color is great, but before I even used them, I could tell that the hinges on the lid were broken the second I took them out of the tub- they come completely off when you open it. Still, the plastic “lock” on the front actually keeps it in place when shut, so it’s not a complete wash. 4/5

The Good: This shut covers some of my favorite pieces of the set, going left to right:

IMG_0703Pitchfork: Really like this guy. Can’t tell if he’s holding a monster head, or a mask- either way, there’s a story there! I only regret there’s only one in my tub.

Witch: As I said, fantastic. Lots of energy and character in her pose. I also got a ton of her, in all colors.

Fat Things 1 & 2: I also have a lot of these things (devils?) They’re just what I was hoping to get in the set; things that are not clearly defined, but fitting the mood. To me, they kind of look like Evil Buddhas. They also have an adundance of Plumber Crack from behind, which is an… interesting choice.

Nightmare Hound: Another “no clue what they were going for” toy, but they succeeded. The creature looks like a mutated humanoid or animal that’s balancing on one foot, mid-sprint.

The Ugly – These next few pieces aren’t terrible, but don’t quite blow me away (again, included the witch for scale.)

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Some inspired by hot-wing-induced nightmares, I suspect.

Coffin-Dude: This guy almost made it to the awesome side, if not for the scale of him. Take away the coffin, and he’s tinier than everyone else. It could work, “Suddenly, the coffin opens, and the Undead Mickey Rooney creeps out of the wooden box…”

Hole-Chicken-Man: I asked for weird, and weird I was given. The purple guy in the middle is beyond description- the best I can guess is that it’s a bald rooster-man hybrid who seems happy you shot him with a cannon. Or, he’s a crossbreed between a chicken and a donut. It’s hard to tell on the photo, but he also has two random details nea his chest- they may be attempts to mold feathers, but it kind of looks like he duct-taped two small t-bone steaks to his torso. Maybe that’s why you shot him.

Robot-Guy: In a different set, this guy might have made the “Good” category, but in a box filled with devils and witches, the robot is just out of place. His design is also odd in that, instead of eyes, he has two random spikes. They are likely attempts at alien antennae, but it instead looks like a lab accident shoved a spike through the poor robot’s eye. Which, also tells a story. Also, he loses points over the fact that his base is a bit less sturdy than the others, so he occasionally tips over.

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Unstable Monsters

THE BAD: The satyr and the Hunchback figure are both fantastic, except for the fact that they CAN’T STAND ON THEIR OWN. I could go to the dollar store and find 50 different toys, some of them devoid of detail, shape, or personality, and they’d at least stand up 9 out of 10 times. These guys? Not so much. I only received one of the satyrs, but a lot of the creepy butlers. He’s definitely good enough to fix, though.

Overall: I’d give it 4/5. It’s mistmatched and has a wide range of quality, but the box said “Haunted House,” I think they delivered a product that evokes a creepy, weird setting.

DESIGN CHALLENGE:

Now, here’s how I’ll close any given “Toy Box Review”- by pulling a “Gygax.” I will take the strangest, least defined thing in the review and attempt to make it into an actual monster. For this one, I’ll use the Skeleton Crew Fate Rules.

chicken closeup

Fowl Murder

HUNTED SPIRITS

In the wild, they are a countless number of nature spirits, taking the form of trees, rocks, and rivers. Some live their long lives in the form of animals, in the shape of the bear or the duck. However, while the spirits do not age, they can be hurt and killed. A spirit of an animal that is shot may die, but it may linger on in a half-life- all kindness and mercy drained away, leaving only a spirit of vengeance. A Hunted Spirit will seek out the hunters that killed it and it’s forest friends, but will often hurt innocent mortals in it’s rage. These vengeful beings can change shape to human or animal, but the original scars remains.

High Concept: Half-Dead Animal Spirits

Aspects: Must Have Vengeance!, Always Part Animal, Nature is my Home.

Aspects:

n  Undead—weaknesses to holy magic, silver, garlic and other magical purities

n  Blood Rush—For Vampanzees, blood is both an addition and an energy source

n  Overly Curious

n  Fight or Flight

n  Bouncy Little Buggers

Commonly Level: Average (+1)

Stunts:

Shapeshift— Hunted Spirits may change shape as a free action.

One with Nature—Once per scene, a Spirit may use Wilderness instead of any other skill. If there are several spirits in the scene, instead treat instead as “once per exchange, any ONE spirit may use Wilderness as another skill.”

AVERAGE (+1) FAIR (+2) GOOD (+3)
Athletics +1, Wilderness +1
Intimidate +1
Wilderness +2
Intimidate +2

Deceive +1
Athletics +1

Wilderness +3,
Intimidate +3

Deceive +2
Athletics +2

Notice +1
Stealth +1

Stress:
No stress boxes—a one shift hit is enough to take them out.
Stress:
One stress box—a two shift hit is enough to take them out.
Stress:
Two stress boxes—a three shift hit is enough to take them out.
Aspect: Monkey See, Monkey Do

Now, I challenge you, dear readers: use the Chicken-Donut Man, the fat devils, or any other toy and make a monster of your own (no rules necessary, if you prefer text.)

Feedback to Back – Part 2

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It’s been Nearly a month after GenCon, but I am determined to finish my synopsis of the play testing. So, I’ll skip to the good parts.

Dungeon Tours – So far, at most of my games, the average age of players was 20ish, and the gamers were pretty green. Even before I started my game of Dungeon Tours, a caper / construction game set in a Fantasy-Adventure world, I could tell this would be different. The average age around the table was older than me, and some had probably GMed before I even knew what an rpg WAS. When picking characters, they opted out of picking the silver-tongued Bard (though I reminded them it was a game about running cons.) One gentlemen in particular, sighting opposite of me, worried me the most. Pre-game time, I barely got a NAME out of him.
The second the game started, I realized that my fears were unfounded. The stern-faced individual (we’ll call him the Rogue, after his character), immediately livened up, and took gentle charge of the operation. The party immediately jumped into it, and quickly founded a loathe/hate relationship with the drunken noble serving as sucker client. The built a piratical adventure, featuring everything from fake musical puzzles, real graverobbing, fake trapdoors (that they might have forgotten to make “fake,”) and using a cannon as a tactic in contract negotiations.

dungeon map

No doubt, the star of the show was the taxidermied bear-boar composite fake monster, who was named “The Jeff.” I asked for an illustration, and they did not disappoint.

the jeff

  Feedback: Most of the feedback, it seemed, could be handled by GMing it better, it appears. I had forgotten one of my own rules, and as such, the board was littered with free invokes, making the game far too easy. The players, all of whom were new to Fate, were unsure of where my new rules started and where the old rules began. In the future, I’ll try to distinguish, “you’re testing THIS” before set-up.
Masters of Umdaar – for those who don’t know, this was a game I’d been working on since last spring or so. We signed up for GenCon, including 2 sessions, and then, to make a long story short, Umdaar was picked up by EvilHat as a supplement in the Fate Adventures and Worlds Patreon.

Premise: Masters of Umdaar is a pulp sci-fantasy, in the strain of John Carter of Mars, He-Man, Krull, Flash Gordon, and other corny but thrilling adventures. The game features a lot of random elements, including a random generator to create the adversarial race. This chart was originally a d6 chart, but I took the trouble converting it to 4dF chart. It was spick, it was span…

…it was on the laptop, back in the hotel. Dag. So, I took my buddy & GMing-guru’s advice, and I had them pick random animals out of a bag- I had brought with me an extensive collection of plastic toy dinosaurs, fantasy army-men, and other toys that I had purchased at Toys R Us and the Dollar Tree. One session had them facing off against a Mutoats (four-armed, mutant goatmen), the next group against the sneaky Centauripedes (insectoids that were Humanoids from the waste up, and centipedes from the waist down.) The final arena also featured such random threats as Megarats, cyborg Rozebras, and Lazerwolves (with robotic lazers on their tails, of course.) To keep the game under 2 hours, I had them on the rails for the whole adventure, (heck, the tunnel didn’t even have any forks), but they both tackled it in completely different ways. I never noticed how well Fate Core & FAE lends itself to cinematic adventures: If a player wants to overturn a fiery basin, climb a random chain, or swashbuckle from the ceiling, Fate makes it fast and easy.
Feedback: All seemed very positive. I’d love to test out a game without the “rails” given the chance.

SKELETON CREW – This was our last game of GenCon. After this game, we’ve got a 10 hour trek home, before I start a brand new job the next morning. I love GMing, but we’re all ready to go home. During set-up, Vince Salzillo, head of Double Exposure, comes over and says, “I’ve got some great guests lined up for you.” We don’t doubt that he’s got a good group, but I just nod, smile, and thank him. It would seem that the Vince-man does not exaggerate.

The event starts up, and Vince starts the game selection process. It’s on the far end of the hall, so us playtesters only hear every third word. Suddenly, I hear him drop my name, and he points in my direction. He asks me to wave, but being the goofball I am, I start waiving both arms, a la one of those fan-blown figures outside of a car lot. He then announces to the room who will be joining the game: Rob Donague and Fred Hicks of Evil Hat. I drop to the floor (only half of it acting.) Let us be brief and say that my thoughts were no longer on going home.

The group testing at the table was probably the perfect mix you could hope for for a playtest: two people (a couple) that had played rpgs, but never Fate; a young gentleman who had played it a litter (who was also a super-helpful aide for Double-Exposure, taking a much earned break); and two pros (Fred & Rob, who kinda invented the system.)  I introduced the system basics, and passed around the character sheets. The couple picked Peek-a-boo and Weston Peese respectively (and she even spoke in a little pre-schooler’s voice), and the aide took on the geeky hero-in his own mind Zomboy. Fred asked for a simple character (it’d been a long con,) and took on the role of Caomh Culainn, the Wight Berserker, while Rob gave the Mad Scientist Doc Turnell lots of life and even more melodramatic volume.

What was tested?: Our tweaks to the Fate Core system aren’t too elaborate, especially in a simple pick-up game. Our skill mode didn’t seem to cause too much confusion (one exception, noted later), and players seemed to really enjoy the “Round 0” effect, which lets players set up the conflict before punches are thrown.  Steve and I were both really pleased by the Team Spirit teamwork system, which we had only conceived of the night before. Previously, players had interpersonal aspects and a team concept- but that was the first time we had merged it onto a Team-Character Sheet. Rob and the Aide picked the interpersonal aspect of “Former Enemies,” which meant the Rob would constantly bellyache how the Doc (in his more megalomaniacal days), had been thwarted by the idiotic Zomboy… to which the aide would play Zomboy as a dumber and dumber still (it was a vicious cycle).  We had hoped to test “The Final Round,” but with a 2 hour playtest, we had to concede the fight before I would have liked.

Feedback – Rob had a question with one of the skills (Engineering) which I later got a chance to clear up… hopefully the full rulebook explains it better than I can. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the dry-erase Fate Game Aids. Learning from Dungeon Tours, I tried to make very clear from the beginning what they were being tested on, and several players seemed interested enough to sign up as playtesters.

Speaking of which, guinea pigs players are now allowed to sign up for the Skeleton Crew RPG beta test. Submit a form, and receive a FREE copy of the BETA test next month!

https://tatabletop.com/skeleton-crew-playtest-sign-up-sheet/