Tatters of the King: The Game Thread is Up!

Since some people have told me that they are having trouble with WordPress commenting, I decided to make a thread on DnDorks and do all character preparation there. This will let me have everything in once place, and will (hopefully) be more friendly to my phone then WordPress. Not much else to say, except that I can’t wait to hear what characters you are interested in.

Character Creation for My Tatters of the King Play By Post

Alright, here are some more details for my summer game.

I’ll be running it at http://forums.dndorks.com/ since I know the tools there, they have a dice roller, character sheets and DM tools, built in and they don’t mind me using multiple threads, PMs, or whatever for my game.

I’ll be using the Call of Cthulhu rules system, nominally from the gold book edition, but with Cthulhu specific rules taken from the CoC 6th edition book or various supplements. Don’t worry too much; The rules from just about any edition are compatible; I’ve run games with half the players using characters from 6th ed and half gold book without any troubles.

Don’t worry if you’ve not used any of these rules before; I’m willing to teach as I go, which is how I normally run CoC anyway. Character creation rules are available from DriveThroughRPG or The Chaosium webpage (Account required) with changes noted below:

You get 100 points to spread among your stats. I strongly advise not having an intelligence under 13 or Education under 14. Education must be 21 or less, all other skills must be 18 or less. No stat can be under 6, since anyone that crippled is really not fit for adventure.

Note that the Education stat represents both formal and informal education; A carpenter whom never finished high school, but has twenty years of experience would still have quite a good education stat.

We will be using the optional Education (EDU) statistic. As a result skill points are calculated differently:

Pick 6 skills that your character would use in their day to day job (Or previous job, if they have changed professions recently). You get 20 times your EDU stat to put into these skills. You can then put 10 times your intelligence stat into any skill you think your character should possess based on their past.  Also, since characters are normal humans, no skill can be over 99%.

All character concepts should be a mostly normal human living in the 1920s. The campaign is nominally set in the UK, however I’m examining how integral that is to the plot, as I don’t know much about 1920s Britain while I’ve read a few books set in the 1920s and 1930s in the US. Also note, that the wealth rules assume you are wealthy enough to afford any reasonable purchase on a short notice without tracking each purchase. If you buy cars or pay out hundred dollar bribes on a regular basis, I will inform you that your wallet is starting to feel a bit light.

Characters that are capable of interacting well with a group and the general public would be appreciated, as I’ve had bad experiences with characters who viewed murder as an acceptable means of informing a clerk that they were upset he wouldn’t give them a judges home address.

Feel free to express interest in joining in the comments below, along with any questions.

Oh, and I need one player with a medicine or psychotherapy skill of at least 50% whom has been published in the field of mental health. If that kind of character interests you then let me know.

Character Concepts in The Call of Cthulhu

I’d like to expand on my Tatters of the King Call of Cthulhu campaign. I’ll be using mostly a cut down version of the BRP Goldbook rules; Basically I’ll be taking all the wound tables out, as the last time I used them the party was maimed and crippled after the first adventure.

The hard part of making a character for the Call of Cthulhu is it doesn’t work if you don’t make a character that obeys genre conventions. Simply put: there is no sane reason why people would ever participate in a CoC adventure. A common complaint is that people make sceptics or other individuals who have no reason to seek out the things which lie beyond the world, then complain when they can’t get their characters involved. So I will put it bluntly; You need to make a character that has a reason to get involved in the adventure. Lovecraft was writing in the 1920s and wasn’t writing modern conflicted heroes. His characters were either thrust into the adventure, too curious for their own good, or obsessively driven to solve a mystery. Don’t rely on the first one; it works sometimes, but often it backfires and leaves a character emotionally uninvolved in the adventure, as they have no real reason for their character not to have simply gone home and had a nice stiff drink and forgotten about the whole mess. Even Lovecraft often had these characters trapped in a situation to force them to resolve the mystery, a situation that only works once.

Some examples of good characters;

  • A Mafia thug who witnessed one of his friends abducted from the docs in his youth; has believed in things beyond his understanding since.
  • An archeologist whom has for years been wondering at the strange trends he has seen across the art of several widely dispersed cultures.
  • An occultist, bent on proving he is right
  • A private detective, who can’t stand by when he sees people in danger.

Basically; Don’t create a shy college student that has no reason to get involved with the adventure. Also don’t create someone only motivated by money; it gets really repetitive having to pay you each time, as CoC assumes characters are already members of the wealthy upper class.

In specific for this adventure I need at least one of the characters to have at least 60% in Psychotherapy or Medicine, preferably both. Additionally, all members must begin the game in London, going to a rather avant-garde play; They can be members of the upper crust of society, going to the allure of the supposedly quite risqué play, or an art critic, or anyone else who would happen to be attending a performance. Once I have some players I’ll write up the rules for character creation.

My Next Summer Game

Salutations all.

I am fully aware of how long it has been since my blog, but some personal things have kept my attention from fixating fully on roleplaying games. In fact, I’ve only DMed two games since September, and have done rather little playing. That said, I am trying to get back into the swing of things with some online playing. I’ve signed up for a GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Play-By-Post game on RPG.net, and am looking to DM a game of my own. I know my plans last summer never really came to fruition, so I’m trying to get something started a bit earlier this year. I’ve also totally changed ideas, based on my current interests.

The most likely idea I will run is the Tatters of the King Call of Cthulhu adventure series from Chaosonium. I picked it up from another gamer recently, and have been starting to read through it. I’m not done reading even the first adventure, but I’ve had very good luck with Call of Cthulhu over the past five years, and I can always switch to a number of adventures that I know are good and have run before if it turns out to not be as good as I expect.
I’m thinking of running this game as a Play-By-Post game on dndorks, due to the built in forum features (Map tool, dice roller, character sheets, character management and DM tools). I don’t really know my schedule yet, so PBP seems easier, doubly so with the issues I had running an IRC game last summer created by time zones.

The other idea I had is to take a selection of the old, free and assorted RPGs I have acquired over the years and play them on skype. We could run through the included scenarios for either a session or an adventure, depending on the enjoyment we get out of it, then podcast the results. This was just an idea I had, based on the fact I am never going to get around to playing these and now have a decent microphone and webcam. However, I suspect setting up a podcast to record from Skype is harder than it sounds, and it would be a lot of work learning a new game each week, making new characters via skype and then running an adventure in a new genre. I see this working best with either lighter games, or something like World of Synnibar which we could mock the whole way along.

Anyway, I’m going to start recruiting for the PBP, and if anyone has experience recording or podcasting games like that, drop me a line and let me know how hard it is.

Now, I’m hoping not to turn this blog into just a platform for me talking about my games, which it seems to have been for the last two summers, but I need to get back into gaming to really get my ideas flowing again.

Until next time, stay geeky.

Published in: on May 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Tangential Universe

The universe is composed of many dimensions. The simplest view of these is as cables in a bundle. At the centre of the bundle is baseline, (0,0), the parties’s home. Each universe out from that diverges slightly at some point in the past.

First come historical changes: Japan invades Russia during WWII, preventing them from using Siberian troops against the Germans; WWII never happens as Hitler died in 1929, The Roman Republic managed civic reforms that prevented it from becoming an Imperial state; China discovered America and gains access to its natural resources during the middle ages; The Egyptian Empire avoids cultural and technological stagnation and still stands in the 22nd century. In a cable this is the thin strands of copper at the center.

Further out from that in the bundle metaphor lie worlds that diverged far enough back in time so as to have biological changes: Empires of Cat-people, dog-people, Civilizations of dolphins, lands where dinosaurs roam the earth. While there are many more of these dimensions then there are of the Historical dimensions there is much less known about them due to the fact they have been far less heavily explored.  This would be the strands of rubber insulation around the copper.

Then you have the rubber coating of the cable: These are realms where things diverged back when the solar system or universe was forming. Earths locked in ice ages; earths backing in the sun; earths with CO2 atmospheres and whatnot all exist here. Very little is known about this region as exploring it is very dangerous for obvious reasons.

Beyond that lies Terra Incognita, the land unknown. This is the strange region that no one really understands. Almost no travellers have returned from here, and those that do report wildly varying laws of physics, worlds full of magic, worlds with psionic and stranger things. Most expeditions to this region have not returned, and it is thought this is because they traveled into areas in which dimensional travelling technology does not work, or areas where the laws of physics do not support the existence of human life. This is normally described as the area beyond the cable.

This is the basic outline of the universe my next campaign will take place in. I’ve given some of the ideas I am working off of before, but what with running this campaign very soon I thought it would help with the adventure to set things down on digital paper. I will freely admit that most of this is taken directly from Tangents, which is the backdrop of my campaign, but with my own ideas mixed in. I’ve started out with tangents as the base, which I’ve posted a summary of below, and then will spend latter posts documenting my divergence from this idea, including  the problems with the cable model, the fuzzy nature of individual strands, tears in the universe and how to travel using them and what the Z-coordinate means.

Until Next TIme, Stay Geeky


My Summer Game: Details Finally Decided

So here are the minutes from the character creation and setting discussion. There is still room for new players, and I will be updating this as we go.


  • We are going to start with the modern dungeoncrawling idea, Rune-X, and after the first adventure possibly move on to the dimension hopping game
  • Mullem is in favour of adapting a classic adventure.
  • Guns will be allowed in the crawl, but be reduced in power to avoid risk to the audiance. Therefore they will ‘count as’ bows

The character concepts:

[13:25:09] <Mark> I’d like to keep it simple. A fighter-type. Maybe with a little bit of military experience. A smattering of skills and maybe a bit of battle-magic. Someone fairly resourceful, with a focus on fighting.
Going to it for the fame and glory

[13:25:59] <Ada> So maybe I should be a combat medic.
Is having trouble adapting to civilian life, and the money makes it more lucrative then mercenary work

Quirkygirl will be making a sorcery users. She likes danger, exitement and killing things.

Some imporant exerpts:
[13:22:14] <~Canageek> As I don’t have much of a defined world, I’m going to set the game in something vaugly related to our world, but with magic and whatnot
[13:23:31] <~Canageek> It just came out of a large war, and the Emporor wants something to keep the people happy in the post-war depression as the industries retool
[13:24:05] <~Canageek> So he brought in a new form of gladiator games, which have been hugely popular
[13:24:43] <~Canageek> I’m thinking a late-60s level of technology, with some specific advances in the areas of television as the Emporor views that as an easy tool to control the masses
[13:25:27] <~Canageek> Wait, make that modern, but computers are heavily maingframe based and state owned

Update on my online summer game

So as you may have guessed from my review of Dungeonslayers, I will not be running a game of it this summer. I’ve gotten into a GURPS game on Wednesdays, but well, I have weekends free. However, I forgot how much 1.5 hours in transit and 8 hours of work a day took out of you, even if you have free time, so I’m going to have to limit what and when I’m capable of running.

1) I have been looking at what system to use. So far I’ve looked at FUDGE, ‘Warrior, Rogue & Mage’ and both Red Box Hack and Old School Hack. None of them have seemed to be quite what I am looking for, though I would like to place some FATE & FUDGE. The current front runner for my summer game is GORE. GORE was designed to be an eldrich horror game, in the sprite of another game I play a lot. However, it uses a more D&D like magic system and is freely available, so I think with some house rules it could make a good, if high danger, dungeon crawling game. Additionally, it is simple enough that I think I could convert old D&D monsters to it- Since it is % based I could just make a D&D character of the appropriate level and see what that monsters chance to hit would be, then use that.

2) I’m still interested in the following ideas from my planning post– I’m having less energy after work then I thought, so some of them are not as feasible. Basically I don’t know if I have the energy to run the Dimensional Hopper game and Tangents is definitely out- I don’t have the energy for the planning either of these would take. I’m also less sure of the Megandungeon based ones until I get my feet under me- I’m thinking I could start a standard game with smaller dungeons, and if it goes well move it into a megadungeon. On the plus side, if we use GORE then we could include guns in the X-Crawl based settings if we wanted.

I know what times I can do this at now: Friday night post 7pm, any time Saturday, or Sunday night, ending no later then 9pm, all Pacific Time. I don’t get hope from work until 6 most days, later on many, and that leaves me just enough time to shop, eat and relax a bit before I have to go to bed.  This allows me to move things along a bit, as I have narrowed down the times to the point I feel fine taking applications to join in and suggestions on what to run.

3) I think Google Wave, Maptools, IRC or similar is more my speed right now. I don’t have a webcam or a decent mic, so yeah, voice seems like a bad choice.

So yeah, there are my current plans for an online game. I’m willing to look at other free gaming systems, and if I do use GORE it will be with some houserules (Probably more skills, might use pointbuy. It has rules for gaining HP already, but I will have to look at the system more. I also might tack on a simple XP system, as ‘when you finish the adventure’ doesn’t work in megadungeons.

So, is anyone interested in playing? Leave a comment! Ask questions! Please!


Ideas for my online game

As you all probably know, I am planning on running an online game this summer. I am not officially recruiting yet, as I am unsure of my schedule once I start my job, and that seems like an important thing to know. However, I love writing out game ideas, so I thought I would set some down here.

Idea #1: “XSlayers” (Ie Dungeonslayers meets X-Crawl) I’ve blogged about this one a lot before, specifically when I first mentioned my summer game. To recap: The players are sports starts who descend into short, premade dungeons before a live and televised audience. A Master of Ceremonies runs the show,  providing live commentary, flavour and possibly altering the dungeon as the players move through it.

Idea #2: “Megaslayers” This is very similar to idea #1, except that the players move through a large megadungeon. A megadungeon is one of those giant, many levelled complexes with perhaps hundreds of rooms in it, where the players will never truly “clear” it: New monsters will move in, old ones will leave, and monsters may well migrate as the players kill others and create vacuums within the dungeon. This is set in the same world as number 1, but instead of being a short sports event this is a weekly show. Players still are in a modern setting, but instead of being in a small dungeon 1-page dungeon style affair they are in a long megadungeon, and thus can play monsters off against one another, retreat to the surface, will have to rest in the dungeon and conserve resources.

Idea #3: “XSlayers Classic”  This would be like idea #1 except that instead of going through an adaptation of a one-page dungeon or something short that I cook up the part will go through an adaption of a classic adventure. Probably an old TSR adventure, but I can take suggestions provided players promise not to use out of game knowledge to their advantage. This could very well branch into “Megaslayers Classic” if a longer adventure like the Temple of Elemental Evil is chosen to.

Idea #4: Straight up Dungeonslayers: If the modern-reality TV dungeon idea is not popular then I could go with running a traditonal fantasy version of Dungeonslayers.

Idea #5: “Dungeonslayers Classic”: If people like the idea of mixing Dungeonslayers and classic D&D adventures, but do not like the idea of the modern-dungeon crawling then I could do that to.

Idea #6: “Megadungeonslayers” Again, Megadungeon+Dungeonslayers but no modern.

Idea #7: Dimensional Hoppers: Another idea that I have blogged about before, this game would involve the players travelling across dimensions in search of a way home. Each dimension will be part of a slightly different genre and tech level for a highly episodic feel, but with (hopefully) continuing characters. I would be using a variant BRP system.

Idea #8: Dungeonworld/The Sargasso of Dungeons: Really I can’t think of much to add to this, except that I’d probably use Dungeonslayers, or if I can’t get support for that something like Warrior, Rouge & Mage or a retroclone. This one could be modern, fantasy or some combination of the above.

Idea #9: Tangents. I recently found the Tangents book for Alternity and discovered that it has a really cool adventure series in it. I would be willing to run this with the caveat that players either have to make their own characters or use a premade one from the adventure, as I don’t have enough experience to help them with it as I do the other systems.

I think I’m the most interested in running #1,#3 and #7, followed by #4, #5, #8 and #9, but if I get a bunch of enthusiastic players for any of them I think I’d catch the enthusiasm myself pretty quickly. Also it should be noted that while I listed a bunch of megadungeon ideas they all rated pretty low on my list: This is likely because I’ve not run enough dungeons yet to create a good atmosphere in most of them, and have them react organically to events in the dungeon. The Sargasso would be an inherently random place, so I think it might work more easily… That isn’t to say I wouldn’t try, which is why I listed them. Ideas which I really like, but am unsure I could run, like this idea I have for a game set on a Spacehulk/Sargasso of Death setting I haven’t listed, as I am sure I could run it, but can’t think of a system I am comfortable enough with and that has enough creatures for me to stock it with.

So, does anyone have any feedback on these ideas? Would anyone be interested in playing in one of them? Questions on bits of the setting that seem unclear? Just want more details on one or more of them? Please leave a comment!

Until then, or next time, Stay Geeky!


[Let me tell you about my character] Dick Chandler

Back near the start of my blog I posted up a character I was using for Ada’s Serenity game. I meant to post more characters, but I’ve been DMing pretty exclusively. However, to keep myself sane I joined a Call of Cthulhu group playing via Google Wave. Anyway, here is my character: I started with a concept, then rolled stats. Since I rolled so badly the DM let me boost them up to the point buy value, so I tweaked them to fit my vision. I added notes on him as I wrote it, which is why they are scattered throughout the statblock. I’m a bit worried that I’ve spread my skills a bit thin, but if we do more than one adventure it should work itself out as I’ll increase them more quickly.

Richard (Dick) Chandler

Summary: Dick Chandler is a cop who fell from grace after refusing to let a murderer walk. He now works in Arkham as a private dick, spying on cheating spouses, running background checks and whatnot. Lately he has been growing bored due to a lack of challenge, and melancholy as he feels he misses the feeling of making the world a little safer, one killer at a time. (more…)

More BRP Advantages

I’ve realized that it would be very easy to churn out some more advantages for BRP by looking over what sorts of things other rules systems offer. I think this will also help me when it comes time to convert monsters and such from those systems (Mainly D&D) into BRP for my dimensional travelling campaign.

Also it should be noted that I say BRP, but we don’t use a lot of the tables and such and generally follow the version in CoC much more closely: Our initiative system is also generally counterclockwise around the table. Therefore if I miss anything please let me know and I will try and fix it.

My previous two posts are here, and here. However, I have collected all of the advantages into one place for convenience, including the ones below.

If a character successfully completes an adventure without managing to raise any skills they may choose an advantage. A player may forgo attempting to raise skills to choose an advantage. The advantage gained must (if possible) be related to something the did in the adventure or in the past.

Note: I’ve changed this to ‘or the player is unhappy with the result’ as there were a time when the player only raised 1 skill (out of 10 or so they rolled for) and another when another player raised 3 skills…by one point each.

I have also given one these out in a case of exceptional roleplaying (The player acted out a fear of zombies without missing an opportunity for 4+ adventures over 2 years. This wasn’t a required phobia or anything, they just decided that after that many close calls and that much sanity loss they had one. So I have them “I know it’s weakness” vs zombies after they rolled a series of exceptionally good shots against several zombies.) Experience for RP is a long tradition in D&D, so I figure this works just as well.


“Practice as if you are the worst, perform as if you are the best.”

You gain +10% to perform feats of athletics; Jumps, running, climbing, vaulting and so on.

Deceptively Small:

But Pete is 6’2″! How did he fit through that little hole?

You ignore 20% of penalties for working or fighting in a confined space. You also gain a 20% bonus when attempting to fit through narrow spaces, and can fit through any space a small, though normal, member of your race could, regardless of your actual size. (For example a 260 lb, 6’2″ human with this feat could fit through any space that the 5’0″, 120 lb scout can).

At home in the dark:


You can ignore 20% of penalties that stem from operating in insufficient light (Twilight, emergency lighting, torchlight). You can ignore 10% of penalties stemming from total darkness.

Island of Tranquility:

Keep it down out there, I am trying to operate!

When performing complex actions you may ignore 20% of any penalties due to distractions (Nearby combats, ongoing artillery barrage, younger siblings)

Hard as Nails:

Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mister Cowboy?”Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.”

You gain 1 hitpoint.

I am a bush:

Don’t move or they will find you, don’t move or they will find you…

You gain a +10% bonus to Hide checks while completely immobile.

Sensor? What sensor?

“Saw my junk, missed 12″ razor blades”

You may conceal items in such a way as to negate the bonus to locate it granted by 1 form of technology.Under normal circumstances this will take 1 hour, though particularly sophisticated devices could take longer or they may only be partially negated (DM’s discretion.) Multiple methods may be guarded against, though there is a cumulative 5% chance per additional method guarded against that you will negate all your previous work. The DM rolls this in secret.

For example: Adam wants to conceal a sample of Fledge he is using to bribe an informant in his suitcase . Knowing that it will go through a chemical scanner, he places it with several masking agents, negating the bonus the scanner gives the agents searching for it. If his suitcase is x-rayed then this bonus will not help, though he could spend another hour packing it in with similar looking herbs and spices to negate this bonus.

Fast Reader:

I don’t see letters, just shapes. It saves time.

You count your intelligence score as being 1 higher when calculating the time it will take you to read a tome

Seeker of the Forbidden:

Madness takes its toll…

Requirement: Either: 10% in Cthulhu Mythos or Blasphemous Knowledge OR Sanity less than 40.

When reading a tome that drains sanity or that was written by someone insane you count your intelligence score as being 3 points higher when determining the time it will take you to read it. When determining the time it will take you to read a normal work your intelligence is counted as being 4 lower.

Special: If your sanity rises above 40 and you do not have at least 10% in Cthulhu Mythos or Blasphemous Knowledge the bonus from this feat drops to 1 point of intelligence, however the penalty to read normal works is removed. This lasts until your sanity drops below 50.

Special: If you have both a sanity score lower than 50 and 10% or more in Cthulhu Mythos or Blasphemous Knowledge then the bonus rises to 4 points of intelligence. However, the penalty rises to 5 points when reading normal works.

Nothing suits me like a suit

What? You are saying high heels are not practical monster hunting cloths?

You never take penalties for impractical clothing. You however still can take penalties for wearing inappropriate clothing in social situations, or the lack of some article of clothing

Limitation: This advantage will not let you breath in space without a spacesuit, or avoid mosquito bites without appropriate clothing. You could however survive in the arctic in a loincloth, if the time\expense were taken to prepare as normal then *fur lined* loincloth could ‘count as’ cold weather gear. in the same way as high heels can ‘count as’ appropriate footwear.

Authors Note: The purpose of this feat is to allow Swords & Sorcery or B-movie style ridicules outfits. Please use it to that end and not to try and get away with not outfitting your character or somesuch.