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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My New Campagin: Modern Dungeon Crawling with Dungeonslayers

I’ve been thinking of running an online game of Dungeonslayers this summer if I can find enough interested players. I’m going to start putting more work into this once I am done exams (end of the week), but am starting to put thought into it during my study breaks.

I’ve been a fan of modern dungeon crawling ideas since I heard about XCrawl, though I was reasonably disappointed in the book and setting when I read them (Great ideas, poor implementation –though latter books improved it a fair bit) and have done some writing on the topic.

I was looking at the dungeons posted and was thinking that it might be fun to mix things up by adding in a modern twist.

I’ve started writing up a bit of background. I’ve used some ideas from X-Crawl, some of my own and random bits from a couple of other places.

Gladiatorial matches have long been a staple of the Empire. For years gladiatorial matches have been popular on television. Recently a small arena owner, bored of traditional events set up an obstacle course filled with lethal traps and several monsters in mini-arenas. The event was huge, and the sport of Dungeonslayers was born. The mazes quickly evolved into full blown dungeons, more monsters were added, each slayer has dozens of statistics tabulated and compiled after each dungeon and managers, bookies and fans pay pour over these numbers. Slayers start in simple dungeons made of plywood, scrap metal and concrete slaying rats and spiders, and if they live eventually face demons and dragons in recreation dungeons in front of live audiences of half a million. Guns are not allowed in the dungeons as it makes it far to hard to have a live audience, but a fair amount of other things are allowed.

Dungeons would be similar to normal, but the traps may use modern mechanisms and there is of course live commentary and occasional anachronisms. Guns are not allowed in dungeons as it makes it too hard to have live audiences. I am also thinking that a a late 80s-early 90s level of technology would work quite well- TV is big, possibly some BBSes, but less gadgets and whatnot for players to want me to rule on, while at the same time being familiar enough to me to be comfortable with it. Magic replaces technology in some instances, however due to black boxing no one really cares about which is which.

Any suggestions on using Dungeonslayers for this? Ideas for me to put in my dungeons? What about converting traditional fantasy dungeons to have a live-sports feel? Heck, would anyone be interested in playing? I’ve not worked out times or medium or whatnot yet, but I can start work on that once I have preliminary expressions of interest.

Well, sorry for the long gap between posts, school distracted me for a while. I’ll try to post more regularly after exams. I’ve got my first ever blog recommendation coming up, which I meant to write up oh, a few months ago and got busy. Anyway, until 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…)

Just a short post

Sorry for the lack of posts in so long, I’ve been insanely busy with class, working from when I wake up till 2am type of busy. I will hopefully find a little time during my exam break, but really you should be looking for new posts after Christmas.

So a couple of updates:

I’ve talked to my group and they want to stick with BRP/CoC for now, largely due to liking their characters. However, I’m planning a big finally for the campaign, as one of the 2 remaining original players is graduating, and the others has a plan in mind for retiring her character. That means I am on the lookout for non-horror BRP adventures if anyone has any recommendations. Oh and they want more combat, in CoC as well. This should remove many characters very, very quickly.

Secondly…. I’ve started planning my next online game. I might run some maptools, IRC or skype or such over the Christmas break, failing that I’ll set up a play-by-post in April, after the end of 2nd semester.

Anyway the idea is…. a dungeon crawling game loosely based on XCrawl, with bonus experience for narrating your actions like a sports commentator, and a 2nd thread for non-player commentary. Since part of the game would be to please the crowd at the end of every adventure there would be a vote for the best character by the observers, with an XP bonus for amusing the audience.

To make this more silly your game states would be your stats in world, tracked the same way that they do baseball stats. My Dad likes baseball because of all the stats you can track and the weird things that happen (For example there is one play, don’t as me what it is, that has only happened 3 times. 2 of them were on consecutive days, as some player heard about it and thought ‘Shoot, I could do that’ and managed to do it the next day.)
Now instead of batting average you have BAB or THAC0, and so on (I was going to give more examples, but I don’t know baseball stats). Instead of some odd play with passes and runners you have “The last time a Young Adult Red Dragon was felled in 3 rounds by a 5th level party was back in 1996 by the ‘Sharpe Dressed Elves’….”

I’ve talked about this, and written about it so much that I want to give it a try. I’ll have to write an adventure, or at least convert one as I’m not running 3.5 or 4e online, they are both way too slow. I’m thinking of some retroclone or old edition since combat goes faster, possibly with a BRP style d% skills system tacked on (Very light weight: Like a page long in total).

Well, I have to go, until next time, whenever that is, Stay Geeky.


To Combat or Not to Combat

Alright, I will confess it: I have a strange and returning urge to run a dungeon crawl. I’m tired of running Call of Cthuhlhu’s free for adventures and trying to remember a large cast of NPCs motivations and personalities, scare my players. More and more I just want to draw a big map, place a bunch of loot and monsters on it and tell them ‘go’.

I find this really odd: I’m only about as old as 2nd edition, and started gaming heavily in 2002 with Living Greyhawk, so I’ve not got any rose-coloured memories of early D&D.

Additionally I was often frustrated in my Living Greyhawk days with pure-combat adventures. Adventures where one went to point A, killed monster B and got treasure C. Isn’t that the definition of a dungeon crawl? 4e combat is more fun, but I still find that it gets boring if more then 1 hour out of 4 is spent on it. Older edition combats went much faster, but I found them more crufty and arbitrary, and rather boring in the options available.

So this leaves me wondering why on earth I want to run or play in a dungeon crawl? Is it some buried desire in all gamers? Or something I picked up from reading old editions & Dragon magazines and hearing my father’s stories growing up?

Or is me desire to organize things just manifesting in an excuse to make meticulous notes? To play in such a game so I have an excuse to make a map and keep track of every copper and such? To play in a really freeform game where I can make money by looting a dungeon down to it’s bare stone walls, using some of my treasure to set up a furniture warehouse where I can sell doors and tables and whatnot? (All of which I could keep track of in meticulous detail)?

I don’t know: If  you look through my blog several of my settings basically attempt to ‘explain’ dungeons, possibly because this itch stays in my head and gets more and more romanticized. Possibly because since I have so few readers I never get comments on the settings and keep moving on without fleshing them out since I don’t get any feedback to urge me to write more. I do think I might like this more as a PBF/PBP game, since it wouldn’t be as concentrated, letting me sit down and dungeon crawl a bit each day instead of for days on end.

So…Am I crazy? Does anyone have any advice or suggestions?

Help me make rules for my games

I want you all to help me make rules for my roleplaying games. For the players I mean, not rules to use in game.

When I set up my last PBP (Which is still ongoing at DnDorks. Oh and I’m looking for a new player if anyone is interested.) I wrote the following. (Warning: Spelling errors ahead)

Player Rules:

Player Rules:
Please refrain from:
-Be evil
-Be chaotic stupid
-Work against the party for no reason
-Be lone wolves unable to work with a group
-The character must confirm any preexisting mental disorders with the DM. I can tell you now: Serial killers will not be allowed. Star pack warlocks are encouraged to be creative.

Self interest is allowed, but downright evil is not. Your character can be an infernal warlord looking for power. You cannot however steal children in the night and sacrifice them to get it.

And after a couple of bad experiences….if you go around randomly murdering NPCs thats your choice. However there *will* be appropriate in game results.

I should also note that I don’t like cheating, but for the most part will trust players to tell me the right rules and such.

Basically all this can be summed up as: Be a team player, Don’t be a dick and I expect you to be a hero or antihero, not a psycotic murderer

Now I’m not trying to be a tyrant or anything I’ve just had players ruin a game in past, when they got bored with it or whatnot. If your bored then TELL ME WHY and I’ll do my best to fix it. Don’t light a dry field that the party is standing in the middle of on fire, lure more undead to them, and dive into wells looking of a major artifact. (Yes these are all things I’ve seen….by one player) And these are all pretty flexible. If you want to roleplay a character thats secretly evil talk to me, we can prob work something out. Same with mental disorders. If you want it for RP reasons, talk to me. Just seen a lot of players us ‘becase I’m CRAZY’ as a reason.

But I felt I didn’t quite get my point across. I had a similar bad experience yesterday and was hoping people would help me refine these so I could write them up for my next game. Now, most of these will have to be altered from D&D to CoC but I want to know if the base rules make sense before I work on them more.

Oh and I’m adding another one: No Rape. It goes under no evil really, but I thought I’d make it clearer.

Thank you for your help. Until next time, Stay Geeky.


About My Character: McCord (Serenity) [Version 2]

I posted this character a while ago based on stats someone else wrote for me a while back. Now I’ve bought the book and have been playing for a bit so I thought I’d post the updated version. The game is being run over at DnDorks if you want to take a gander.

Captain Dirk McCord
Veteran | Personality: Rough and Tumble Trader
Agility      : D10
Strength     : D6
Vitality     : D6
Alertness    : D10
Intelligence : D6
Willpower    : D10

Initiative : 2d10
Life Points : 16

Good Name (Minor)
Fightin’ Type
Trustworthy Gut (Minor)

Loyal (Minor)
Credo (Major) (Always deal straight, Never rip a man off, Never sell tainted goods)
Prejudiced (Minor) – Alliance (Bureaucrats)
Dull sense: Smell
Dull sense: Taste
Animal Handling        D2
Artistry               D0
Athletics              D6
Covert                 D6
Craft                  D0
Discipline             D4
Guns                   D6
+–Pistols D10
Heavy Weapons          D0
Influence              D6
+– Bargain D8
+–Persuade D8
Knowledge              D4
Linguist               D2
Mechanical Engineering D2
Medical Expertise      D2
Melee Weapon Combat    D4
Perception             D6
+–Intuition D8
Performance            D0
Pilot                  D2
Planetary Vehicle      D2
Ranged Weapons         D0
Scientific Expertise   D0
Survival               D2
Technical Engineering  D2
Unarmed Combat         D4

Note: The above stats include 2 Advancement Points that were spent on Influence: Bargain as its something his background should have, I just didn’t have the points for it. The dull sense struck me as something that would hurt a trader like him when he is being wined and dined as he has to be careful not to let on he can’t really taste the expensive wine, but also lets him note taste the disgusting rich man’s food he never got a taste for. Didn’t make sense not to take just one as they are tied together in the human body. I gave him Two-Fisted because I love the western gunslinger who shoots with a gun in each hand and Firefly didn’t have anyone doing that. I’m thinking given his crew his next points just might go into Discipline. If not I’d like to get Planetary Vehicle up, Looking at my character again I’d really like to get Covert specialized in ‘Conceal on Person’ or Slight of Hand, or somesuch.

McCord started out as a small trader. His home planet, Redwood, wasn’t on the rim, but it sure wasn’t a core world. He ran a small shop selling tools and did it well.  He gradually bought up some other shops in nearby towns, focusing on getting basic, good tools. He discovered he could sell basic goods such as shovels for a fortune to the outer worlds. He started buying them cheaply from his suppliers then selling them at a fair mark-up on the outer worlds. He met a lot of ship captains and a lot of grateful farmers and miners. He insisted on running his own ship a lot of the time, refusing to run any business he didn’t understand. He always made sure to do his fair share of the work, even learning gunplay to help defend his goods. Then came the war, and he stayed carefully neutral, refusing to carry goods for either side.
He survived the war, carrying food and basic goods to devastated worlds, sometimes at a loss. However, in the aftermath an alliance bureaucrat ruled that his shovels had built alliance trenches and ignored all evidence that he’d sold them to reputable local stores. His business was stripped from him and given to a massive corporation that has proceeded to charge massive prices for everything as they are now the only supplier. He asked around and found that right after they finished stealing his company that bureaucrat retired and took a job on the corporation’s board of directors. He called in some favours, scrapped up his personal savings and bought an old firefly and a load of basic goods. He found some friends and put together a crew. Now starting over on the outer worlds, he’s pretty sure the Browncoats were right, and is just a little bitter about doing so.

He carries a gun at his left ankle and a small utility knife on his right, just in case. When expectin’ trouble he carries a gun on each hip in fast draw holsters, but does not do so from day to day as he believes that tells people that your lookin’ for a fight.

His accent is an odd mix of normal and high’ falutin speech since he was born speakin’ one way and spent a lot of time speakin’ the other so as not to be taken as a bumpkin.

Possessions: Unpaid: Last Chance: A Firefly class ship (well technically. It was at one point anyway). The DM has stated it has basic gear such as spacesuits and a big winch. His pilot discovered the weapons a few months after they took off and he’s not sure how he feels flying an armed ship.


  • Gun Cleaning Kit
  • Patch Tape
  • Purification Crystals
  • Drink, Good Whiskey (2)
  • Ballistic Mesh
  • Knife, Combat (belt)
  • Knife, Utility x3 (Misc pockets + belt)
  • Pistol x2 (A small revolver, left ankle, concealed), Other in cabin or vehicle he’s driving…just in case (Stole that idea from the book Casino Royal where Bond keeps a longbarrel 45 in his car for ranged shooting: No game effects but I liked the idea)
  • Derringer (In case he has to go to some fancy shindig where carrying guns is impolite but allowed)
  • Commpack, Long Range
  • Compack, Short Range, x6
  • Distress Beacon
  • Microtransmitter x6
  • Laserlight Mist
  • CuttingTourch
  • Scarpware x4
  • Scrapper’s Gel x4
  • Tool Kit, Basic
  • Tool Set, Electronic
  • Tool Set, Mechanics
  • Formal Wear (Very shiny, 40 credits, could easily pass at any Alliance company even if the fashion is a year or two out of date now he dressed conservatively enough that it is unlikely to be noticed. Think black business suit but western). He paid extra at the time to make it last.
  • Newtech Pistol (x2, revolver, longbarrel) (+1 damage, Makes fancy Weerrrs and Clicks when cocked or fired. [Yes, I made sure the DM would let it werrr and click like in the show….yes I was willing to pay extra for that.)
  • Medical Supplies, Emergency.
  • Immunization Packets (12)
  • Large Hovercraft

Cash: 91.4 credits.

The gun has a story: He was working a deal and some hotshot corporate executives took him out and whined and dined him. Took him shooting and gave him this fancy gun. Well he was a young trader and long story short he wound up with several tonnes of lead tained ‘silver’ cutlery. Never figured out what to do with it, still has most of it in a storage facility somewhere as he bought it from his company to ensure it never entered circulation. He has kept the gun around as a reminder ever since. That and its a damn fine gun, easy to maintain, takes normal ammo and packs the punch of a mule’s kick. This is based in part on a story a businessman told me once (Only it was a knife and he figured out they were trying to wine and dine him and was not fooled.) I can’t wait for the cutlery to show up in the plot..hehehe.)

Edit: Almost forgot: His reason for learnin’ to use a gun so well came up in game when told someone didn’t believe reavers existed.

“He undoes the button at his cuff and rolls up the sleeve of his nice blue shirt. As it slides up you can see a horrible puckered scar sliding up his forearm. Was about ten years back now, when I was a welp just getting started out. Made myself a bit of money dirtside and wanted to start trading into the black. Was riding on a tramp liner named the Marie Celeste looking to set up some trade routes on the rim. Next comartment over was a squad of Alliance troops being sent to some to some backwater or another. I played cards with them a time or two, good men. Three days out of Buthers world we were attacked. They hit us out of nowhere, cut through the side of the hull. Sloppy, air leakin’ from a bad fast sealjob. They tore through the luxury compartment and….” McCord shudders. “I was lucky, in last class with the Marines ‘tween me and the Reavers. Some of us that knew which end of a gun to hold went forward to help. Those weren’t met I was fightin’ they were beasts. You shot them once they got back up. You shot them twice they slowed down. We learned how to shoot them in the head pretty gorram fast. Was barely enough. Not many people who fought survived. Me, handful of marines, couple a’ others. They didn’t get past us though, all the women and young’uns survived. Mostly they used captured guns same as anyone, but some…some used blades. Serrated blades, so it don’t cut clean. They leave puckered scares.” *lets his eyes fall to the scar on his arm*