Genre Emulation Feats – Noir, Fatale

Genre Emulation Feats are an idea I noodled with while running an Anachronistc Advenures campaign called “The Travellers,” where my players bravely agreed to make mundane modern day characters using the AnacrAdv rules knowing I was going to do SOMETHING with the game, but not what.

“What” turned out to be a series of world-hopping adventures that took them to different realities (Alterniverses) where different genres held sway, within which each PCs got a template giving them abilities appropriate to their role within that Alterniverse. Several of those had Genre Emulation Feats, which were designed to enforce specific tropes with that reality. GEF were more powerful than normal feats, but you only got a few, only to fit one role, and only within that Alterniverse.

each character never filled more than one role. If your roll changed, you could swap your old genre feats for new ones. I generally gave out a bonus GEF at 1st level, 3rd level, and every 3rd level after that.

These are examples of the ones the Fatale role could pick up, which certainly were not gender-specific.

A Paramour in Every Port
Prerequisites: Fatale role
Benefits: Each time you enter a settlement, you get a number of followers as if you had taken the Leadership feat (but no cohorts… ever). Your Leadership level for this is equal to your Charisma bonus, plus the bonuses you gain from Bluff or Diplomacy from feats (you add only the bonuses to one of those two skills, whichever are highest), plus the higher of the settlement’s Corruption or Society rating. For Leadership scores of Your effective Leadership has a minimum of 6 to 9, you still receive followers (1 follower for a 6, 2 for a 7, and so on). Your total followers in a given settlement never exceed your character level.
Your followers are Friendly, and their roles within the town are random. Their alignment is also random, but you know their alignment within one step (your GM tells you, and the answer will be correct or within one step). You do not need to pay for these followers gear or upkeep unless you give them full-time (40 hour/week) tasks.
Losing a follower lowers your leadership score in the same settlement by 1 until you gain your next level. each time you gain a level, you can recalculate your total followers (replacing lost ones and gaining new ones if needed).

Prerequisites: Fatale role
Benefits: When you lure a target into a secluded area where the target cannot see or hear any of its allies, any nonlethal damage the takes in a surprise round before the target acts is quadrupled. This only functions if you convince the target to move from the location where you encounter it. If any of these conditions end you cannot use this feat again on the same target until you have gotten an attitude or friendly with the target, or if the target does not realize you are the same person when you next lure it into seclusion.

Quid Pro Quo
Prerequisites: Fatale role
Benefits: You can make a Diplomacy check to ask favors of creatures that are not hostile to you, in return for you doing a favor of the same level of danger and/or cost for them first. The DC for this is 10 + x1.5 the CR of the target. This otherwise functions as a normal Diplomacy check asking for a favor.
Obviously you’d want more feats and different roles…

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More Diesel Pulp

Most of my “Diesel Pulp” figures and models are part of a specific setting I worldbuild purely as a hobby. I work on them in my (limited) spare time as something connected to many of the things I love about my hobby, without being something I plan to actually ever turn into a product. And, of course, a lot of it is left half-done…


In the background two Maginot Field Turrets (each topped by an Irregular — Sister Sanguine and Tommy Atkins), in the foreground several more Irregulars including Father Pentacaust, Buring Skill, Mister Mythic, Captain St. Louis, The Haze, Torch Singer, the Marshal , Kilroy, Pirate Jack, and Black Hood. to the far right, three members of the Iron Raptors.


The Midvale Murder Hobos are making a run for the scoring zone, with number 12, “Doomed” Dwalvitsky gripping the d-ball in both hands to qualify for the score. An ogre hits Dwalvitsky, but the dwarven halfback is just plowing toward the zone. He’s bleeding, but the Hobos’ morale coordinator, Brother Turpin, shoots out some buffs. There’s just seconds left in the segment, the crowd is on their feet, Dwalvitsky puts his head down and rushes a worg blockers, and…. Score! The Murder Hobos score! They win the Temple of Hill Giant Evil cup!

DungeonBall is a ridiculous way to play the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game to combine sports tropes in the mix of fantasy and adventure tropes. It’s a simple set of add-on rules to simulate sport-dungeon-stomping, presumably in a word where that is televised (or broadcast by crystal ball) for entertainment of the masses.

While all game rules not specifically altered by these rules work normally, no one actually dies. If you die in a game of DungeonBall, you just sit out the game as a penalty. You’re back next week.


DungeonBall plays just like a normal combat-heavy rpg session. It just has some Requirements, Positions, and Penalties.


Your team has to carry the DungeonBall (or “d-ball”).
*A d-ball is a one-foot cube with a handle in the middle of each side. It weighs 20 pounds, has hardness 50 and 10,000 hit points, is immune to anything that doesn’t affect objects, can’t be teleported or taken to another plane or made invisible, can’t be concealed (even in total darkness, everyone can see the d-ball), makes all its own saving throw (and always gets them)
*A stationary d-ball has an AC (touch and full) of 10 – it’s size adjusts perfectly for its immobility.
*It is a simple ranged weapon, with a range increment of 5 feet. It deals 1d6 points of damage. If it is thrown at you and hits your touch AC, you may attempt to catch it as an attack of opportunity (due to its easily-grabbed nature). You must hit a touch AC of 15 + 1 per square it was thrown. If it passes by you or arrives in an adjacent square you may attempt to snatch it out of the air as an attack of opportunity. To do this you must hit an AC of 20 + 1 per square thrown. If two character attempt to grab a thrown d-ball at once, they make competing Reflex saves, with the highest save grabbing it first. If they have the same result they both grab it, and are in a grapple until one of them wins a grapple check to wrest it away from the other.
*A member of your team must have the d-ball held openly in at least one hand if it is possible for any member of your team to do so. If the d-ball is available to your team, and a full round passes without some member carrying it, that’s a penalty (see below).
*If no member of your team has the d-ball held openly in at least one hand, your foes take no damage and suffer no penalties, and make all their saving throws, until your team holds the d-ball. The foes can affect your team normally. Obviously, it is to their advantage to get the d-ball away from you. You can use combat maneuvers to disarm or steal the d-ball normally.

Your team must be in the encounter.
*If the GM maps out the encounter, all characters on the team must be on that map before anyone is allowed to do anything. If a character leaves or doesn’t make it to the map, that’s a penalty (see below). If the GM doesn’t map out the encounter, all members of the team must be close enough the GM agrees they are “part of the encounter.”
*You can be on other planes for long enough to teleport, but otherwise being on a plane other than the one holding the encounter is a penalty (see below).

Each encounter runs a total of 10 rounds maximum.
*If you haven’t ended the encounter within 10 rounds, you get no points (and may lose points, see “scoring”).

To end an encounter, your team must have an active (not helpless or dead) member holding the d-ball in BOTH hands in the scoring zone.
*Every encounter has a 10-foot-square of space, usually far from where the team begins, which is the scoring zone. For the first 6 rounds of an encounter a character must stand there for a full round, holding the ball in both hands the whole time, to end the encounter. In rounds 7-10. The character just has to be in the zone with the d-ball in both hands and not dead or helpless.

Your team must be made of characters that fill the official positions (below).
No exception to this one – no characters that don’t fill a position, no team with too many characters filling limited positions, and no team that doesn’t have all the mandatory positions.


Center: The center is the only character allowed to have a character under their control. Whether it’s a summoner with an eidolon, a druid or ranger with an animal companion, a character casting charm person, a witch with a familiar, or a cleric summoning monsters, only the center may have another character under their control in this way. A team may have at most one center.

Forward: A forward cannot have any spellcasting ability, or any class-granted spell-like abilities. A forward gains a +5 bonus to movement (even in armor) and a bonus equal to half their level (minimum +1) to rolls to throw or catch the d-ball. Every team must have at least one forward.

Halfback: A halfback must have a base attack bonus equal to character level. You can multiclass, but only among full-base-attack bonus classes. Every team must have at least one halfback. You cannot have your forward also be your halfback.

Morale Coordinator: The morale coordinator (some teams use specific cheer- or coaching-based names or this role) cannot attack anyone or anything (using the definition of attack for invisibility), and cannot be attacked by anyone (but suffer traps and hazards normally). They do not threaten, but do take up their space and prevent charging through them by foes. They cannot carry, or even tough, the d-ball. A team may have at most one morale coordinator.

Shield Guard: Any legal character that doesn’t violate the rules of your teams minimums and maximums of other positions is a guard.

Spell Guard: Only the spell guard may have more than half their class levels be in classes with access to 9th-level spells. A team may have at most one spell guard. A spell guard may also be the team’s center, but that puts two limited roles in a single character.


Within the fictional world of DungeonBall, the Dungeon Umpire calls a penalty, stops all activity, explains it, applies it, and then restarts the game. Magic prevents things like durations from continuing during this time and everyone is moved back to their exact position (and momentum – even if you are falling, that action is suspended during a penalty call), so a GM running a DungeonBall game can just call a penalty between player turns, then have the game continue as normal.

Penalties are based on a team’s AP:(average party level).
Common penalties that may actually come up during the game include–

*Ignoring the Plot: If the d-ball is available to the team, and the team isn’t openly carrying it for a full round or more, all team members take 1d6 damage per APL.
*Off the Rails: If a character doesn’t make it to the encounter or leaves the encounter, all movement rates of all team members is halved for a number of rounds equal to twice the time the character isn’t in the encounter.
*Different Dungeon: If a character is on another plane for as much as a move action of time, the encounter adds a random monster equal to the group’s APL. This monster can communicate with and works with existing foes of the team.


If you complete an encounter, you get a number of points equal to the encounter’s CR minus your team’s APL (this can be negative), plus 1 point for each round remaining in the 1-round timer. If time runs out, you get any negative value of CR – APL, -2 more points. Your total score is the value of all encounters in a dungeon.
*This really only matters if the GM sets a target value, like requiring you to get 10 points in 2 encounters to “win,” or if multiple teams compete by running through the same dungeon as two different DungeonBall teams.

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Occam’s Rangers

An idea for a paramilitary group, perhaps for a Pierce the Veil, Guns of Tarnation, Strangefinder Modern, or No Strings Attached campaign.

Name: Occam’s Rangers
Slogan: Explore, Examine, Explain
Logo: A cavalry rider on a zebra

Purpose: Occam’s Rangers are trained to investigate the unexplained, especially those cases of unusual and mysterious events that seem to pose a hazard. Though able to defend themselves when pressed, they are modern philosopher-warriors, who take the scientific method and critical though seriously, and respect scholars as much as soldiers.

Occam’s Rangers believe extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but are also willing to be pragmatic about public safety.

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New Year. Good Luck.

There are two things I have done every Dec 31st in recent years — a retrospective about the year from my point of view, and a war-report-style description of all the fireworks I am hearing from wherever I am.
This year, I am doing neither.
My voice gets heard. A lot. Way out of proportion with its value, I suspect. And somehow, describing loud celebrations as if they were actual conflict just doesn’t seem funny or clever this year.
Instead, I open up this space for other folks. Comment about your year, if you wish.
But the universal rules of my wall remain. Keep it friendly. No insulting other people’s thoughts, no snarking about anyone who might read this. True public officials are fair game, if relevant to your whole year, but no going after other people on this thread, through either aggression of passive-aggression.
I hope you all have a better 2017 than 2016. Some of you, I hope have a MUCH better year, even while I fear it won’t be so.

Diesel Pulp Allied Troops

Diesel Pulp Allied Infantry
Top, Left to Right: US Light Infantry medic, three US Medium Infantry (anti-armor, close combat, flamethrower, all in unpowered armor), two US  Heavy Infantry (combat support, flamethrower, in powered armor), and one US “Rough House” AT2 Gun Carrier (walker equivalent of an armed jeep)
Bottom, Left to Right: two Allied Special Unit Light Infantry (Pacific Theater, the Yelling Yahoos; one with captured Japanese Death Ray rifle and one with an experimental Power Arm, both with captured Tokubetsu Kōgekitai swords), one Free Corps mercenary (European Theater, the Minuteman Militia) and two Irregulars (All-American Girl, with her Boom Gun and Tomastic Sword; and Sky King with his Jetpack, SpectraGoggles, and Colt 1911a .45).


These are for my ’49 setting I play around with as a hobby. I have shots of kitbashed walkers here and here, and talk more about the technology of the fictional setting here. and have a history of some of that tech here.

The Light Infantry medic is a rebased HeroClix
The Medium Infantry are Dust Tactics troops
The Heavy Infantry are Grindhouse Games APE suits for their Incursion game.
The Gun Carrier is a West Wind Productions Commanche battle suit
The Yahoos are rebased Heroscape.
The Free Corps is a repaint HorrorClix.
All-American Girl is a Heroclix Liberty Belle, with a modded-in gun and sword (and she’ll eventually have a US flag on her chest instead of a bell)
Sky King is a modified Lobster Johnson IndyClix (with the lobster claw removed from his chest, and Jango Fett’s jetpack from WotC’s Star Wars line)


Island of Misfit Magic Items

I kinda want to write an adventure set on the Isle of Misfit Magic Items.

“So you have a 9th level spell as a prerequisite. Oh! Are you a ring of wishes?”

“No!” (sobs) “I’m a ring of foresight. I’m a ring with literally the only 9th level spell no one cares about.”

“Well… at least you’re an intelligent item!”

“Not that intelligent. I can’t spell.”

“But you have a spell in you!”

“Yeah… but it’s ‘Foursight’!”

… Along with the Gem of Climbing, Cloak of Elven Strength, and Rope of Holding.

Seven Virtuous Feats of Charity, No. 3

I continue to look at Seven Virtuous Feats of Charity, given the season calls for virtue more than sin.🙂

Better to Give
You can create a beneficial aura for others at a cost to yourself.
Prerequisites: Charitable, Cha 13.
Benefit: You can create a beneficial aura as a standard action. This causes you to take a -3 penalty to attack rolls, saving throws, the save DCs of your abilities, your armor class, and all skill checks and ability checks. All your allies within 60 feet gain a +2 bonus to one of the following: their attack rolls, their saving throws, their skill and ability checks. each ally gets to pick it’s benefit at the beginning of its turn before taking any other actions. You do not gain these bonuses.

The aura ends at the beginning of your turn unless you take a move action to maintain it for 1 round. The bonuses end immediately when the aura ends, but you continue to take the penalties for 1d4-1 rounds.

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Seven Virtuous Feats of Charity, No. 2

I continue to look at Seven Virtuous Feats of Charity, given the season calls for virtue more than sin. 🙂

Pay It Forward
You can pass the benefits of some abilities to those in greater need.
Prerequisites: Charitable, Cha 13.
Benefit: When you are the target of a beneficial spell or effect from a source other than yourself or your possessions, you may choose to pass the benefit to an ally within 30 feet that could be a legitimate target of the effect (the orignal source need not be in range of the new target, but if the effect only benefits humanoids you could not pass it to a non-humanoid target). You must do this when you first gain the benefit, and it requires a swift or immediate action.
In most cases you must pass the full benefit, but if you are healed (even of ability damage) and receive more healing than is needed to take you to your maximum, you may use this ability to pass the excess to an ally within 30 feet as a swift or immediate action.

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Warrior Bunnies of the Dark Borough

Before today, I never wrote down the rules for the simplest RPG I ever designed.

It was when my father was in rehab for a couple of months, his last effort at getting over his alcohol addiction. While it’s not germane to the story at hand, I’ll note he got sober, and stayed sober for a year or so before he began his long, final slide. I value that time with him very much.

As I recall, the place was called Valley Hope. Families would come in for a week of therapy and counseling toward the end of a patient’s stay. I was early in my freelance career, so I could manage that, as did my mother and (IIRC) my sister.

During a group session we talked about what we did, and I mentioned I was trying to start an RPG-writing career. One of the other people there, who had obviously had a much, much rougher life than I and was early in the rehab process, approached me after group to ask what a roleplaying game was. I explained, and they said they’d love to try that, but obviously we couldn’t because I didn’t have any games with me.

But I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

So I said I could run a game, it’d just be *very* simple. The interested person got another patient and we spent most afternoons playing. They both said the only thing they could imagine being other than themselves were bunnies, and felt convinced there was no way that could be in an rpg.

I mentioned not only Watership Down and Rats of Nimh, but that I had personally seen enormous rabbits in a friend’s huge yard drive off cats and dogs. They loved that idea, but knew nothing about country life.

So, I created a super-quick setting, inspired in large part by Rock N Rule, where household pets survived the death of mankind, and involved into urban societies. They both played bad-ass bunnies in the worse urban section of Pet City, known as the Dark Borough (yes, another bunny reference), who were out to take no shit from anyone.

The rules were simple. I’d establish a situation with a short narrative. Then each player would describe one response in turn, then I’d describe a complication, then we’d repeat until the scene was ended.

We had no dice, so we flipped coins. Everything had a 50% chance of success — tails your action works (they WERE bunnies), heads it doesn’t. They each had a single specialization (for one, it was combat. for the other, it was jumping). For your specialization, you got to flip twice and you succeeded if either was tails.

It’s worth noting that after the first session, a member of the staff watched a game, then asked we only play in the public lounge, which had staff in it 24/7. Given how delicate my two players were, I think that only made sense.

The rules developed a little. The simplest task needed only one success, modest tasks three, complex ones 5. We tracked them with hashmarks. A complication would remove a success (but they outnumbered me two-to-one on actions, so failure was extremely rare if they worked together), or create a weakness (forcing you to flip twice and win both times in order to succeed… but only for one round). Some equipment got found — I remember the Thumper, a grenade launcher, because of the Disney reference, but I think a magic ring and a magic mirror in a makeup compact also showed up, though I don’t remember details. I think the Thumper let one coin flip count as two successes in combat, and the mirror allowed you to open a new scene where you learned something useful if you got three successes… but those details are at best vague and I may be filling in blanks with more recent ideas.

Over seven days we played 8 or 9 times, once during each lunch break and once on some evenings. They both seemed to love roleplaying. I honestly think they needed a way to talk through victories while their own lives were fraught. I meant to stay in touch, but we only exchanged a letter or two while they were in rehab, and nothing after that.

But it was a pretty good campaign. They uncovered a spider mobster conspiracy to convince pets to live near webs, and to eat homeless pets. they beat it, making their dark, grim home just slightly safer. I hope I did more good than harm.

And it showed me that if what a group *wants* is to all work together to have a good time, with no concerns about balance or genre emulation or a lot of more advanced design concerns, nearly anything will work for the rules.

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