Monthly Archives: October 2014

Pierce the Veil, a Pathfinder RPG #Microsetting

A 700-or-so-word #Microsetting for the Pathfinder RPG, by Owen K.C. Stephens. I’m releasing this because the Rogue Genius Games Facebook page hit 700 likes before the end of Nov 1st. If we hit 800 likes by the end of Nov 1st, I’ll release another #Microsetting at least 800 words long!
While the world didn’t end in 2012, it did… Change. The veil between our world and other realms became thin. For most people, this is just a growing realization that things that used to be urban legends – ESP, ghosts, monsters in the sewers, dragons in the lakes, zombies in abandoned towns, and sasquatches in the forests – are real if hard to explain.
But the PCs are among the group of people who fully Pierced the Veil. Known as “Percivals,” for some reason some people not only can see and recognize the new powers in the world, some can even manipulate them.
SWAT teams TRY to deal with otyughs in the sewers and cults of psychics taking over small Midwestern towns, but MOST of them are mundanes (see below), and never quite understand what they are dealing with or have the tools to do so. Small bands of Percivals mostly have to take care of such problems… although small groups of evil Percivals also cause a lot of problems.

*As a game set in 2014-2015, modern technology is available. Advanced firearms are common (and thus simple weapons, though see Modern Weapons, below).
*Magic items and material components can only be bought with gp, which is only gained through adventuring. These are magic-infused coins that only entered the world in 2012. In general, any mundane modern gear a player owns, their character can afford.
*No Item Creation feats can be selected, only gained as class bonus feats. Magic is too new for much of anyone to know how to make items with it yet. Magic items come from other realms, normally with monsters protection and/or using them.
*NPC classes cannot ever gain spells, spell-like abilities, or supernatural abilities. While magic works on them just fine, they cannot use magic items (a +2 flaming short sword is just a short sword, a potion of cure light wounds they USE is just water, but a Percival could apply one to a mundane to gain the normal effect). 99% of everyone are NPC classes, also known as “mundanes.”
*NPC classes/mundanes may never make a Knowledge check to identify any creature, spell, magic effect, or magic item. Such things are just too weird and indistinct for them to nail down details, though everyone knows magic really does exist now.
*PCs are Percivals. They may be of any humanoid PC race (though will always be treated as weird humans by mundanes), but also must also select a Percival Origin (below). They may also always make a class level check to ID creature of the same origin.

Percival Origin: The reason you pierced the veil and others didn’t is your origin. Your origin gives you a smite-evil-like power you can use once per day, but instead of applying to an alignment it applies to specific creature types. If you gain any magic items or abilities that affect only specific alignments or creatures, they automatically apply to the creature types (and only those types) dictated by your Percival origin.
>Elder Lore: In strange eons, even death may die. You may have read a book you shouldn’t have, or your father was a fishman, or an indescribable, unimaginable horror might be living in your basement. In any case, you get a smite against aberrations and monstrous humanoids.
>Asia: Your Percival power is based on some Asian cultural source, such as secret schools of martial arts, being born with the soul of an ancient hero, or having a mystic tattoo. Your smite applies to elementals and fey.
>Fringes: It may seem perfectly normal to you and your entire country, but your source of power seems odd to North Americans and a lot of the world. Be it vodoun, paganism, animal shamanism, or new age weirdness, it’s not something everyone is comfortable with (or believes in, even now), But it does give you a smite against animals, humanoids, and plants.
>Holy Roller: Your Percival power is tied to some Abrahamic religious source, be that baptism by a saint or the divine blood of Kings of France descended from Blessed Mary. Your smite applies to outsiders and undead.
>Peer: Your Percival power draws from some ancient order of knighthood or similar noble group that has ties to Western culture, be that descent from Roland or the Knights of the Round Table, or being the Archetypical Representation of Excalibur. Your smite applies to dragons and magical beasts.

>Modern weapons simple don’t work as well against monsters and Percivals.
>All PC classes and all aberrations, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, magical beasts, monstrous humanoids, plants, outsiders, and undead gain DR against firearms equal to their HD. If a creature has DR against a material or alignment, bullets that meet that condition also bypass the firearm DR.
> All PC classes and all aberrations, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, magical beasts, monstrous humanoids, plants, outsiders, and undead gain a +1 bonus per level to saving throws against non-alchemical, nonmagic items that require a saving throw. This bonus does not apply to saves against diseases and poisons.

*The following classes are available. brawler (ACG), fighter, rogue, swashbuckler.

*The following classes are available, but only as multiclass options. You cannot select such a class until 2nd level, and such classes may never make up more than half your total class levels. Alchemist, cavalier (Peer origin only), cleric (Holy Roller origin only), hunter, investigator, medium (Occult Adventures playtest), mesmerist (Occult Adventures playtest), occultist (Occult Adventures playtest), samurai (Asia origin only), shaman, ninja (Far East origin only), oracle (Fringe origin only), sorcerer, witch, wizard (Elder origin only).

Facebook “Like” Drive

The Rogue Genius Games Facebook page is at 692 Likes!
If we hit 700 by the end of Tomorrow (Nov 1st), RGG will select a pdf with a 5-star review to make Free Forever, AND I’ll release a 700-word #Microsetting for free!

Top Ten TV Show Mash-Ups: 2014 edition

Since there’s no punctuation to speak of on my digital video recorder’s list of shows, and titles are often shortened or missing an article, some bizarre combinations can be found with careful reading. My wife pointed this out to me a few years ago, and I’ve kept a list of the best mash-up titles ever since. Here are some good examples, along with what I image the resulting show would be like:

10. Breaking Bad Black List    

A teacher with cancer decides to support his family by finding and bringing in the 100 criminals with the biggest dead-or-alive rewards…

9. Game of Flash    

I guess it would have even MORE nudity?

8. Walking Dead American Ninja Warrior

Okay, NOW we may have reached Peak Zombie.

7. Person of Interest Rick & Morty

A crime-solving A.I. would fit right in on that show.

6. Sons of Silicon Valley

A dangerous gang of computer programmers… come to think of it that sounds interesting.

5. How to Get Away With Hell On Wheels

Turns out the answer is a lot of politics, backed by a lot of gunslingers.

4. The 100 Hannibal

That’s a LOT of long pig.

3. True Detective Community

Have you found the Yellow Sign?

2. Law and Order: Gotham

The people are represented by the police who investigate crimes, the attorneys who prosecute them, and a 10-year-old-boy who will grow up to be the goddam Batman.

1. Agents of Forever

Actually, this sounds cool. Even with no description, I’d watch this show.

Free Stuff for 700 “Likes”

After a really big push that got us over 100 Facebook likes in a week, Rogue Genius Games has stalled around 673 likes for a few days. So, if you want more Free Stuff from Rogue Genius Games and me, this is the time to get out the word! YOU may have already liked us, but if you like, share, and comment on posts on our page, chances are it’ll reach *someone* who hasn’t yet hit shiny “like” button and would LOVE to do so!
If we can reach 700 likes by Nov 1st, we’ll make another pdf with a 5-star review free forever, and release a free 700-or so word ‪#‎Microsetting‬.
As a reminder, we already made The Genius Guide to Air Magic free forever (on DriveThru and Paizo), AND released a 600-word Microsetting, “Guns of Tarnation.” Check it out!
So help us help you with free stuff, and help people who haven’t found us yet know where we are!

Guns of Tarnation

I’m running a major membership drive to the Rogue Genius Games Facebook page. I challenged folks that if we got to 600 likes (from 540) by Nov 1, I’d make a pdf free forever, and post a 600-or-so word microsetting.
It took all of two days for us to pass 600, and we’re now at more than 650. If we hit 700 by Nov 1, I’ll do another free pdf and a 700-or-so-word microsetting.
For those of you not on Facebook, here is the (slightly more than) 600-word Microsetting: Guns of Tarnation!
Guns of Tarnation
A microsetting (for now, anyway) for the Pathfinder RPG rules. This is designed as a Magic Old West, so that’s how the GM should run the campaign. Winchesters & Runeblades. Magnificent Seven Wizards. The Lone 5th Level Ranger. You get the idea.
As The Duke, lord of Cattle Barons, opens up the Gateway to the West all types of adventurers -Spellpokes, Swordslingers, Native Folk, Tenderpriests, Drovers, Riflebearers, and Snake Oil Salesmen – must try to carve out settlements from Tarnation, the land of fertile plains and grasslands where no civilized folk ever lived before. But given the Weirdnesses found there, newcomers often declare:
“What in TARNATION!?”

*The campaign uses the Guns Everywhere rules for firearms. This means firearms are simple weapons.
>>If a character has simple weapon proficiency and would also receive any firearm proficiency as a class feature, it instead gains weapon mastery (as the fighter class feature) with the same firearms.
*There is no multiclassing. It’s a simple world, with simple roles. Besides with the Advanced Class Guide and all the Talented Classes from Rogue Genius Games, you’ll manage just fine.
*Ability scores are point-buy. Fighters and rogues get 27 points. Gunslingers get 25. Paladins and summoners get 21. Everyone else gets 23.
*There is no alignment. All alignment restrictions are removed, no alignment is detected. However, chaos, evil, good, and law remain as descriptors for spells and subtypes for monsters.
*There are “hats.” Everyone must select if their character is a White Hat, Black Hat, or Brown Hat. While PCs are free to act however they like, the GM should have 90% of White Hats be good guys, 90% of Black Hats be bad guys, and 90% of everything else be Brown Hats.
>>Treat White Hats as good and lawful for purposes of how they are affected by spells that specifically affect a good or lawful creature differently than other creatures. This has no impact on the character’s behavior, and is not revealed by divinations.
>>Black Hats follow the same rules, but for chaotic and evil.
>>Brown Hats follow the same rules, but for neutral.
*For abilities like ranger favorite enemies and the bane feature, there are only the following categories: ANASAZI (all outsiders), CRITTERS (animals, magical beasts, and vermin), FOLKS (all humanoids, but pick a hat color each time it is selected), CREATURES of TARNATION (aberrations, constructs, dragons, oozes, and undead), and ROUGH TERRAIN (elementals, fey, and plants).
*Every character gains Plot Immunity Armor. This acts as an armor bonus to AC, but represents attacks just not hitting you because you are the hero. It does not stack with normal armor bonuses. Your Plot Immunity Armor is equal to your class level, +1 for each form of armor proficiency (light, medium, heavy, shields, tower shields) you have
*The campaign is designed to run from 2nd to 6th level. You can stop playing at 6th, or use some variant of the E6 rules commonly available.
*There is no required wealth by level. You may never get any treasure at all. Play for the fun of playing. That said, to keep you balanced with creatures of your CR, you do gain “legend,” special bonuses for being the strong-jawed heroes of the setting:
>>At 2nd level, you gain either a +1 enhancement bonus to all weapon/unarmed/natural attacks, or two bonus feats you meet the prerequisites for.
>>At 3rd level you gain a +1 resistance bonus to all saves and a +1 to one ability score of your choice. (This is in addition to the ability score increase you’ll get at 4th, like normal).
>>At 4th level you gain a +1 deflection bonus to AC.
>>5th level is the same as 3rd level. If you already had an enhancement bonus and you select it again, you either end up with a +2 enhancement bonus or you add a +1 special weapon quality that applies to all attacks it can be applied to.
>>6th level is the same as 3rd level. You can increase the same ability score, or a different one.

Birthday Plans… or lack thereof

Tuesday, October 28th, is my birthday. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
It’s not a major landmark birthday. But it is the first birthday in a long, long time where I will be away from my home town and most of my family. My birthday was generally a fairly big celebration in Norman, with the past few years focusing on “Gab ‘n Dab” events where we gathered as geeks, painted miniatures of not as we each preferred, ate Doritos and drank Mountain Dew, and enjoyed a sideboard of cakes and party foods provided by my lovely wife and anyone else who wanted to bring such things.
That’s “normal” for me, and it’s unlike to happen this year.
I have no space for such an event, for one thing. And I’m still feeling my way along socially. Those social events I have been invited to since moving, all too often I haven’t been able to attend. I haven’t really tried arranging any myself. My circle of “close” friends out here is pretty small, but my circle of friendly acquaintances is huge. I’m not sure what’s going on in the middle range between those two.
So purely practical considerations blend with social uncertainty and get the schedule I am trying to maintain poured on top… and I don’t know what, if anything, I’m planning on doing about celebrating my birthday. Under the old paradigm that would be pinned down and on everyone’s calendars by now.
I may just throw open a general announcement that I’ll be at the AKF, and enjoy whatever time I have with whoever shows up. 🙂