Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pirates of the East Indies: Map

(Click on the picture to enlarge)
This is a map I prepared for our Pirates of the East Indies FATE mash-up game next Saturday. I've been a bit busy with it whole week, so the Dark Angels playtest will has been put on hold for the time being. The map descriptions are based on wikipedia, though embellished somewhat for a more fantasy feel at places. The names of the islands and the rulers are what they were in 1625, though most of the kingdoms have been simplified to one island.

Map Locations:

A. Ceylon: Factions: Portugal, Buddhism. Cities: Colombo (west).
Important trade-harbor with the Indian Ocean. Also the center of Portuguese power in the East Indies, fighting Buddhist majority rebels. Known as India's teardrop, Pearl of the Indian ocean.

B. Siam: Factions: Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Cities: Ayuthhaya (east)
Feudal kingdom. King Naresuan secured his throne after an elephant-duel with the Burmese king. Now 70, he seems unnaturally young, ruling the Bay of Thailand with his undying army.

C. Patani: Factions: Sultanate of Patani. Cities: Patani (east).
Ruled by Ratu Ungu, “The Purple Queen”. Economically and militarily powerful muslims.
Tributary of Siam. Matriarchal society.

D. Sumatra: Factions: Portugal, Islam. Cities: Aceh (north), Malacca (south)
Ruled by Sultan Alauddin Shah. Extremist lightbringer-scientists in the darkness of southeastern Asia. At war with the Portuguese invaders of south Sumatra.

E. Java: Factions: Dutch. Cities: Banten (north)
Dutch-controlled monarchy. Rulers are considered descendants of the gods themselves. Greatest warriors in the East Indies, but prone to in-fighting.

F. Borneo: Factions: Brunei Sultanate, Spain. Cities: Brunei (north)
Declining empire of the late Sultan Hassan. Internal conflicts about succession. Some remaining Spaniards who were not taken by the disease released from Brunei during the war with the Spanish Philippines.

G. Celebes: Factions: Dutch, British. Cities: Makassar (south)
Makassar is the center of trade in Indonesia. Fortified walls built in to the sea prevent invasion by ships. Gold mines, British factory in Makassar.

H. Philippine Islands: Factions: Spain. Cities: Manila (north-west)
Roman Catholic Christian. The western part of the Vice-royalty of New Spain a.k.a the Spanish East Indies. A trade ship comes twice a year from America, trading slaves, silk, silver and gold. Governed by the Governor-General Fernándo de Silva.

I. The Spice Islands: Factions: Spain, Dutch. Cities: No large cities.
Fighting over the islands by Spain (north) and Dutch (south). The biggest producer of spices and fish. Small islands with no central government.

J. Terra Australis Incognita: Factions: Aboriginals. Cities: None.
Has only been landed on a couple of times by the Dutch. No permanent settlements have been built by the invaders. Dry and flat and mysterious.

K. New Guinea: Factions: (formally) Spain
The world's second largest island, claimed by a Spanish explorer in 1606. No settlements by Europeans. Irrigation and farming centuries ahead of Europe. Dense populations and high rainfall. Headhunting is popular. Volcanic geology; mountains and earthquakes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rewrites & Dark Angels (Rogues Gallery II)

So I'm rewriting the game again. Most of it's just refactoring and clarifying the old text and the ideas behind it, but there are also some more significant changes. Most importantly, I'm adapting a conflict resolution system similar to Bringing Down the Pain from The Shadow of Yesterday. I've also thought about what each Skill actually means, in the process getting rid of separate tracks for Willpower and Stamina (or more accurately, making the tracks conflict specific.) A lot of overt and covert changes means that this second edition will probably be almost unrecognisable. I've taken the game offline till I'm done with the revisions.

Meanwhile, I'm going to test these changes by playing a solo game, inspired of course by the Risus Monkey's play reports, though I'll be using an extremely simplified version of the Mythic GME, with every yes/no question being a dice roll and maybe a specific random action table for each character. And probably some other random generation tables or something, we'll see.

Anyway, here's the first character in our dynamic trio (of course, the character is viable to change if I make more changes):

The Inquisitor

Jonathan Caine
[ ] Fighting: Revolver
[-] Agility: Shadowing
[+] Charisma: Interrogation
[ ] Toughness: Determined
[+] Smarts: Reading people
Hero points: 2
Dark Powers: Cinder Gaze: Can see the violence and suffering that has occurred in his surroundings in the past. Telltale: Glowing eyes.
Flaws: Can never turn his powers off. Compelled to punish the wicked.
Backstory: Jonathan Caine is the leader of the Dark Angels, a band of vigilantes whose souls are condemned for their meddling with infernal forces. Jonathan used to be a private investigator, but after unwittingly making a deal with a devil along with the other Angels, was "gifted" with the ability to see the residues of past violence. He is the most sociable of the group, though this is hampered by the his eyes glowing, which is very noticeable in the dark or in places with bad history.

Note: the new Skills just mean that for a [-] you roll two dice and take the worst one and for a [+] you take the best of two. A [ ] is just a single die. I found that rolling 3 dice was causing some discrepancies as well as making it hard to evaluate probabilities. Any similarity to FUDGE dice is coincidental :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Random Adventure Location Table

Here's a slightly anachronistic random location table for 20th century urban adventure:

Roll a d100
01-02: Graveyard
03-04: Fortress
05-06: Library
07-08: Cathedral
09-10: Dungeon
11-12: Warehouse
13-14: Tower
15-16: Apartment
17-18: Airship
19-20: Asylum
21-22: Hospital
23-24: Mortuary
25-26: Ship
27-28: Park
29-30: Casino
31-32: Bar
33-34: Motel
35-36: Vault
37-38: Mansion
39-40: Mausoleum
41-42: Cave
43-44: Docks
45-46: Train Station
47-48: Train
49-50: Restaurant
51-52: Slums
53-54: Sewers
55-56: Carnival
57-58: University
59-60: Prison
61-62: Garden
63-64: Apothecary
65-66: Opium den
67-68: Factory
69-70: Mine
71-72: Laboratory
73-74: Ruins
75-76: Bridge
77-78: Island
79-80: Theater
81-82: Alley
83-84: City Square
85-86: Hideout
87-88: Observatory
89-90: Brothel
91-92: Zoo
93-94: Shop
95-96: Bazaar
97-98: Tunnel
99-00: Undercity

Note that these are pretty broad. The locations should be customized according to the faction that lives there. For example, a Mechanist clocktower is different from the city guard's watchtower. By comparison, it might not be Opium but dreams that are consumed in the den. And a Zoo is just a collection of animals (for whatever purpose.)

For extra madness, roll twice for the same location.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Glyphs are powerful symbols that some scholars (particularly the collectors known as glyph scribes) believe are a remnant of the long lost First Language or the language of the Gods. Each glyph is a geometric form much like a word, and like our words consist of letters, glyphs consist of curves and lines, angles and points.

A glyph has the power to shape reality. Just scribbling a glyph on a surface is not enough to unlock its power, but a process known as binding is required. This often takes the form of a ritual where the glyph is usually branded or carved into the target object or creature. The rite of binding always requires the glyph to be drawn with human blood. This ritual is taxing on the binder, draining the binder's energy and willpower, and most glyph scribes only bind about one glyph per month, and never perform the act of binding lightly.

Glyphs are hard to translate, and often contain convoluted and alien ideas and themes. They seem to have a limited sentience, increasing with the power of the glyph. People who have taken multiple or particularly powerful glyphs as tattoos or brands always seem to inevitably have their personalities corrupted by the glyphs' will. Doubly troubling is the fact that glyphs seem almost impossible to remove, once bound.

In game terms, each Glyph is a Dark Power. Furthermore, no glyph is simple or without side-effects. For example, one of the most popular glyphs of fire is the Glyph of Burning Wrath (aka "an all-consuming flame of undying hatred"), which tends to bring the ones marked by it back from the dead as Ember Wraiths; soot black corpses with an unquenchable rage towards the living.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Zombies are an rpg staple. Here's the Hunters' version.
I'm still experimenting with stat-block formatting so bear with me here.

Fighting 1d6
Agility 2d6
Charisma 0d6
Toughness 3d6
Smarts 1d6

Willpower 0

Edges: Grappler (+1 to attacks made while grappling), Surprise attack (+1 to avoid notice when approaching target), Undead (+1 when resisting disease, poison, etc.), Life sense (+1 to determine if there are living things nearby)

Special: Zombies have no Charisma at all. Zombies don't have Willpower and are immune to social attacks and succumb automatically to applicable mental attacks. Zombies do not sleep and never tire. Zombies only die from hits to the head or spine.

All Fighting roll Criticals made against a zombie automatically kill it, even if not used to cause Damage.

Infectious bite: Any living creature that is bitten by a zombie (meaning its attack's Effect is at least 1), takes a Diseased Condition equal to the attack's Effect. They also must immediately roll Toughness against the disease. They must thereafter do it at the beginning of every scene. If they fail, they die and are turned into a zombie in d6 turns (not rounds).