40K underhive gangs. I don´t know about you, but I cannot say (or write) the word without pictures of brutal men forming in my mind, short haired or bald, muscle-packed and tattooed, with a mean gleam in their eyes and a dastardly grin on their faces. They are the kind of people that survive by either being the meanest son of a gun around or by belonging to the meanest bunch of such within the next two klicks around. And to achieve the one or the other, one needs to be as tough as nails and as brutal as a slice with a glass shard.
The legends and myths of old greek and other ancient civilizations are full of heroes and anti-heroes who have abilities and powers beyond the pale, powers which were often the result of kinship to a god or half-good, a gift of one or something that had been stolen from them. Our more modern stories, like the adventure and fantasy novels (and comics) of the pulp-area, feature such powers as well, but their relation to gods and tribe totems is a more blurred one.
So why should we as GM, as the storytellers of our time, not use such mighty powers as well?
Mutant Future(tm) is mostly known for the wacky mutations and retro-scifi items. But some of the equipment in the „Technological Artifacts“ sections are actually everything but far out and may be easily adapted to more serious SciFi or Cyberpunk settings. One of those items is the Light Rod.
The following is a quote from the (available-for-free) Mutant Future(tm) core rules:
“These rigid 3’ long plastic rods are filled with two chemicals which, when combined by pulling a tab on the rod, glow brightly and intensely. Colors range from vibrant orange to fluorescent blue. The glow provides general illumination, but no heat, to a 50’ area for eight hours. A light rod can only be used once.”
To me, that sounds like a cheap solution for a temporary need of (colored) bright light. The following are ten examples of how these might be used in a given game world. I found out that those little details help the immersion of the players a lot.
Post-Apocalyptic GM´s, take note: those will give you a hint on where your players may find a stash of those items, and why!
Lamentations of the Flame Princess and some other OSR games suggest to use (slightly) alternate versions of our own world as backdrop for adventure games. This approach has a lot of advantages, as everybody is able to read up on a given area via wikipedia.org or other websites like this one (for the Tudor Area). And the real world was (and is) a grim-dark place for sure: there was the 30-years-war in Germany, the reign of the black plague in Europe, life in Paris during the time of musketeers was filthy and cruel, the “northmen” still were vikings as the first christian missionaries arrived, the Conquistadors were terrible savages in their own right, etc. Using the real world leaves a GM with a problem in regard to one class, so: clerics, due to their healing spells.
Time for another release. This time I leave the post-apocalypse and the weird realms of dark-fantasy behind me for a while to enter the Kingdom of Vanilla Fantasy in order to release Codes of Conduct.
This title provides you 35 possible principles for (guess what?) codes of conduct. A GM that wants to create a special “code of honor” for a PC class or an NPC caste (or complete fantasy folk) may use them for inspiration, players who want to flesh out a personal code of behavior for their PC (either as part of a “disadvantage” or for the roleplaying experience of it) may do so, too.
Some of the entries include [optional suggestions] (always written in brackets, like those in the example). Those should be filled with something that fits the game world and the character in question. Below you will find the first 15 principles, so that you get an idea what this is all about.
The world of the micro-RPG Fleshscape (which I wrote about in my last post)is a rather special one, and it thereby does not look ripe for adaption at first. But I think that the idea and (most of all) the basic economy of this weird world may be useful for an odd session or two in other RPG as well.
Lately, a pay-what-you-want Micro-RPG named „Fleshscape“ caught my attention. The eight page PDF contains a few rules and an interesting idea: the player characters slip into the role of leaders of a primitive nomad tribe (think „stone age“ here, or “early Native American civilization”) in a world where the whole of the surface is a grotesque landscape of living, impossible flesh, organs and bodily fluids.