Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"A" is for "Atuu"


No. Enc.:  1d4 (2d10)
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement:  90' (30')
             Fly:  45' (15')
Armor Class:  4
Hit Dice:  9
Attacks:  2 or 1 (2 claws, or 1 wing-slash, or 1 weapon)
Damage:  1d8 +1d6 / 1d8 +1d6, or 2d6 +1d6, or by weapon +1d6
Save:  L9
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  XXII
XP:  5,900

Embracing and channeling the constant pain that wracks their bodies, the Atuu are a savage race of avians that live for slaughter and conquest.  Broad and powerful, they stand 6'-7' tall, but their impressive head crests can add another 2'-3'.  The Atuu dwell in forests (in pyramid-shaped "nest-dens") and overgrown ruins, and raid surrounding villages for slaves, supplies, and precious technology.

Their feathers are as hard and sharp as the finest metal blades.  Anyone struck with a successful wing-slash attack on a natural roll of 16-20 [not a modified 16-20 from their martial bonus] bleeds profusely, and suffers an additional +1d4 damage per round for 1d8 rounds.

Besting—and killing—an Atuu chieftan (who has an extra +2 Hit Dice) in hand-to-hand combat is such an impressive, life-changing feat that the victor gains both the Intellectual Affinity (Martial) Mental Mutation, and a permanent -3 Reaction Adjustment when dealing with other Atuu.

Mutations:  Body Adjustment, Chameleon Epidermis, Increased Sense (Taste), Intellectual Affinity (Martial), Pain Sensitivity [D], Spiny Growth (Large)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"O" is for "Octohog"

Octohog  ("Porktopus")

No. Enc.:  1d6 (2d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  120' (40') 
Armor Class:  7
Hit Dice:  3
Attacks:  3 (2 tentacles, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d4 / 1d4 / 1d6
Save:  L2
Morale:  7
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  125

Octohogs resemble their Ancient barnyard ancestors in size, shape, and coloration, but differ in that they possess, in addition to their legs, 4 10'-15' long tentacles.  These extra limbs aren't very useful for fine grasping or manipulation, but do allow octohogs to scale any surface or obstacle with ease.

An octohog's eyes glow radioactive green, and discharge bursts of Class 3 radiation.  And the creatures emit a strange, sickly-sweet odor atypical of swine.

Octohogs take an extra +1 damage per die from laser-, heat-, and chemical-based attacks, and also suffer from a crippling fear of robots.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form (Extra Limbs), Fragrance Development, Frailty ("Sensitive Skin") [D], Optic Emissions (Gamma Eyes), Phobia (Robots) [D]

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"R" is for "Repulslug"


No. Enc.:  1d2 (1d8)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  45' (15') 
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  7
Attacks:  5 (4 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d6 / 1d6 / 1d6 / 1d6 / 1d8
Save:  L3
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  IX, XV
XP:  2,890

Repulslugs are loathsome carnivores that dwell in dank, polluted environs—abandoned sewers, cesspits, medical waste depositories, toxic dumps, and the like.  They drag their corpulent, 12'-15' bodies through the muck and mire upon two sets of wicked claws, and their bloated posteriors glisten with pulsating egg-sacs.

Repulslugs not only secrete a deadly Class 13 mucus, but they can also emit sizzling beams from their three eyes.  And numerous antennae grant them uncanny sensory abilities, including the powers to both overhear and project radio wave-based communications.  Repulslugs often broadcast distress signals so as to lure explorers and treasure-seekers to their dooms.

They are immune to all known poisons and diseases.

Mutations:  Dermal Poison Slime, Echolocation, Energy Ray (Heat), Increased Sense (Hearing), Unique Sense ("Radio Sense")

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"B" is for "Brainsaw"


No. Enc.:  1 (1)
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement:  120' (40')
         —Fly:  120' (40')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  11
Attacks:  L1 (slice)
Damage:  2d6 + special
Save:  L6
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  VII
XP:  4,400

Brainsaws are enormous, carnivorous fish that reach anywhere from 15' to 25' in length.  Devious hunters, they cruise busy waterways, hoping to snag unwary fishermen and sailors with their razored snouts.  Crown-shaped nodules on their heads throb as they use their psionic abilities.

Brainsaws favor attacking beach- or ship-based prey, as upright targets allow them more maneuverability and accessibility for Dive [p. 58 of the Mutant Future Core Rules] attacks.  If a brainsaw does more than 20 points of damage with one Dive, the victim suffers the loss of a body part (weapon hand, arm, leg...or even head), as determined at random by the Mutant Lord.  It then swoops in to gobble the dismembered prey.  Brainsaws must submerge for 1 round out of every 5 airborne.

Some brainsaws have been known to work in concert with other sentient aquatic creatures, like Fishmen [p. 72], lobstrosities [p. 81], and Clamazons.

Mutations:  Mind Reflection, Mind Thrust, Precognition, Psionic Flight

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"S" is for "Scribbon"


No. Enc.:  1d6 (2d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  180' (60')
         —Fly:  30' (10')
Armor Class:  4
Hit Dice:  2
Attacks:  3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d3 / 1d3 / 1d4
Save:  1
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  VI
XP:  56

Scribbons are 3' long, primate-like creatures with irridescent carapaces that reflect a myriad of colors.  They are fast and agile, and able to brachiate through jungles both arboreal and urban with ease.  Scribbons are also found in deserts and grasslands, and they tend to congregate near herd animals in order to acquire their favorite food:  dung.

Scribbons form large (2'-3' diameter) spheres of waste and refuse that they can hurl with great force at distances up to 30'.  These projectiles not only cause 1d6+1 damage, but also make the target reek with a foul stench until it has a chance to bathe.  This odor causes all those within 20' proximity of the victim to suffer a -2 To Hit penalty on all Attack Rolls due to nausea and discomfort, and the effect is doubled for those who possess the Increased Sense (Smell) Physical Mutation.  Interestingly, those actually struck by the offal-balls are unaffected, as their own olfactory senses are overloaded and "shorted out" by the scent.

Mutations:  Natural Armor (Extreme), Prehensile Tail, Reflective Epidermis (Lasers/Light)

Maxin' and Retractin'

Correction #1.

In my previous GenCon posts, there were several instances of me misspelling The Magnanimous Tim Snider's name as "Snyder".  Sure, I got it right about half the time, but...sheesh.  My apologies, Mr. S.

Correction #2.

Also in the last of said posts, I mentioned three new books from BlackWyrm Publishing...however, I was wayyyy off as to their true number of hot-off-the-press titles.  Editor Dave Mattingly was kind enough to correct me, as he wrote:

Three? Au contraire, mon frer. We released six new books. The three you did not mention are:

) Terracide, by Haymaker author Grady Elliott ("Space Opera Noir")

The Widening Gyre, by Hero forumer Bill "teh bunneh" Keyes ("Steampunk Versus Martians")

Lux Aeternum, by BlackWyrm cofounder Ryan Wolfe ("Musketeers and Cyborgs...In Space")

My sincerest apologies, Mr. M.  Now go give him money, people!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"It's Like Armadillo Crack."

Nunda "Plates" Borgiss
Rambunctious Retrieval Specialist

Character Type:  Mutant Armadillo
Alignment:  Neutral

Level:  1
Hit Points:  53
Armor Class:  4
Movement:  120' (40')
  —Burrow:  24' (8')

STR:  16
DEX:  17
CON:  13
INT:  17
WIL:  18
CHA:  14

) To Hit / Damage (Melee):  +2
) To Hit (Missile):  +2
) AC:  -2
) Technology Rolls:  +10%
) Reaction Adjustment:  -1

Saving Throws
Energy Attacks:  15
Poison / Death:  12
Stun Attacks:  14
Radiation:  13

Mutations:  Aberrant Form ("Orb-Form"), Natural Armor (Moderate), Reduced Oxygen Efficiency [D], Reflective Epidermis (Heat)

) Claws (1d4+2)
) "Pinball Power" (-3 To Hit, 1d8+2 damage, + Knockback)
) Hand-Axe (1d8+2)
) Stun Baton (2d6+2 + Stun, 17 charges remaining)

) Infra-Red Goggles [*]
) Survival Kit [*]
) 2 Stimshots A [*]
) 1 Tin of Spam(TM) [*]

"Plates" is a fiesty female who works as an elite "recovery expert" for one Barter John.  Short (3.5' tall), squat, and stubborn, she pluckily barrels (figuratively and literally) into combat without regard for the consequences.

In combat, "Plates" is a melee machine.  She gleefully pummels foes with her stun baton (affectionally nicknamed "Twitchy"), and also loves to be lobbed by her stronger colleagues onto unexpectant foes.  Furthermore, she can tuck herself into an armored sphere so as to roll around the battlefield.  When in orb-form, she can't see her opponents very well (suffering a -3 To Hit penalty that can't be offset by her stat-derived +2 hand-to-hand bonus); however, on a successful strike with a damage roll of 6-8 on 1d8, she sends her target flying 4d6 feet away, and knocks it prone.

"Plates" can easily trundle about on all fours, and sometimes does so to trick observers into believing she's just an ordinary, non-sentient critter.

It pained "Plates" to her core to give Barter John the stockpile of artifacts (laser pistols, laser rifles, power clips, LazAb armor, a hologram projector, and more) retrieved from that ant-infested bunker.  She secretly pilfered the IR goggles, survival kit, Stimshots, and canned meat, and prays her thieving isn't discovered.

"Designer's Notes":  I put the quotations around those words because I had next to nothing to do with this entry, as Tim "Huh—Those Stats Are Kind Of Ridiculous, Aren't They?" Snider designed her and Amy Taylor gave her the personality and the pinballing.  My only contributions were adding the claws (since all Mutant Animal characters get one natural weapon), the Aberrant Form mutation (to embody the aforementioned pinballing effects derived in-game), the "real" name, and the pics.  Again, I claim NO CREDIT for the awesomeness that is "Plates"!

Also, items marked with a [*] were acquired by the group during play, and not on the original character sheet.  I included them simply because, no matter what PC she plays, Amy is greedy for loot.

"W" is for "Walverine"


No. Enc.:  1d4 (2d4+1)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  75' (25')
      —Swim:  60' (20')
Armor Class:  4
Hit Dice:  6
Attacks:  3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d6 / 1d6 / 1d10+1
Save:  3
Morale:  11
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  1,820

The size of the largest Ancient big cats, walverines are savage pack hunters with ravenous appetites and nasty temperaments.  Their slick hides ripple with muscles, and razored tusks and snaggled teeth protrude from their bristly maws.

Walverines are relentless predators (with Teleportation compensating for their relative lack of speed), and a favored tactic is to bloat and expand a prey item's mass to both hobble it and generate extra meat for the pack.  And their particular suite of Mutations makes them almost impossible to kill, so it's fortunate that they exhaust easily.

Walverines are just as comfortable in the water as on land, and are known to Teleport onto—or into—seagoing (and submerged) vessels to devour the hapless crews.

Mutations:  Body Adjustment, Density Alteration (Others), Reduced Oxygen Efficiency [D], Reflective Epidermis (Heat), Teleport, Vampiric Field

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mutants In The News — "The Coming Of...THE SWARMANOIDS!!!" Edition

Anything involving the word Swarmanoid has to be ridiculously cool...and potentially terrifying.

Just watch it.

"J" is for "Jawbreaker"


No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  120' (40')
     —Swim:  45' (15')
Armor Class:  3
Hit Dice:  4
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  2d6+1
Save:  L2
Morale:  11
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  135

Jawbreakers are armored, 4'-5' fish that inhabit murky swamps, lakes, and rivers.  They are slow and sluggish in the water, and drift lazily beneath the surface...

...until prey nears the shoreline.  At that point, a jawbreaker shifts its back fins into nimble legs with clawed feet, and springs onto the land, Surprising on a 1-5 on 1d6.  It then rushes after prey with gnashing, bone-snapping teeth.

If a jawbreaker attacks a pack animal or mount with a successful To Hit roll of 17-20, it snaps the target's leg, resulting in crippling immobility.  PCs struck on a 19-20 with such an attack suffer a loss of -4 to DEX and a quartered movement rate until the injury heals in 1d4 months.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form ("Transforming Fins")

Monday, August 15, 2011

"He Should Never Be Allowed To GM Again." (GenCon Report, Pt 3)

Late is better than never, I reckon.  And this is a long 'un.  I apologize in advance.

) Friday Night

Friday night was the annual gathering of the Haymaker! fanzine gang, the Haymaker! Jam.  I used to write regularly for this HERO System-themed 'zine in the late 90s and early 2000s, but my participation has dropped to next to nil in recent years due to time, a disatisfaction with the direction of the HERO brand, andtruly the main reasona lack of regular superhero gaming to keep the spark burning.  I keep promising the crew that I'm going to jump back in, but something always comes up.  I'm a flake, and I owe them (yet another in a long list) an apology.

Anyhow, I had The Woman with me, and no time to sit in on the yearly gaming session. But I popped in to say howdy, and to introduce the wife.  We gabbed for a bit, and then I made my exit.  It was pleasant, and I'm glad I visited.

They're truly a great bunch of guys, and they've all paid their dues in all things HERO.  I'm honored to know them.

) Saturday Morning

Saturday marked the first real time I had to explore the dealer room, and I had money to burn.

Those aforementioned Haymaker! guys?  One is Dave Mattingly, the main man behind BlackWyrm Publishing, and one of the kindest, gentlest, and funniest individuals I've ever met.  To celebrate the release of Star HERO 6th, Blackwyrm had some new products for sale that are right up the alley of any post-apocalyptic fan.

And because their guy manning the BlackWyrm booth did such a great job suggestively selling, I bought two of their three new releases.

The Wreck Of Alpha Central was described, and I quote, as "Space Opera meets Gamma World."  As if that wasn't enough to get my money, here's the closing lines of the introductory page:

"So what happens to a world of 40 trillion people when the food shipments stop and the lights go out?  That's what this book is about."


The book has plenty unique locales, character templates, critters, and equipment, and I'm definitely going to purloin some of the "underground metropolis" bits for my own Mutant Future campaign.

I next started thumbing through Posthegemony: Terra Nomenklatura—A Roleplaying Game About Escaping From Utopia, and the salesman threw out this gem:  "It's like 'Idiocracy' meets 'Logan's Run'."

That, too, was an instant sale.  Not only is Idiocracy a criminally underrated movie, but I own several full cases of Brawndo—The Thirst Mutilator soda, and always pull out a can or two on special occasions.

(Yes, it really exists.  And, yes, it causes heart palpitations...but in a good way.)

Like most things HEROPosthegemony... is a littleactually, make that a lotdryer than what I prefer, but it's thoughtful and detailed, and atypical of most things on the shelves.  A worthy purchase.

This was the third book, all about aliens taking over the earth, and humanity having to cope. 

Next paycheck, Mr. Mattingly.

) Saturday Afternoon

I've eaten, breathed, and slept funnybooks for most of my existence, and while I love both universes, I've always been a "DC Guy" over a "Marvel Guy".

Suicide Squad is my favorite series of all time.

The Flash's Rogues' Gallery are my favorite villains of all time.  (I love them so much, I even put that possessive apostrophe in the name, even though it hasn't been officially used in about three decades.)

And I love spectacle.  The ridiculous.  The out-there.  The nutzoid.  Things that are so crazy they just might work.

I try to avoid irony, and I really try to avoid mockery.  I truly love "flawed" works, as long as they're sincere.

So how could I pass up this?  [All grammatical errors taken directly from the GenCon event listing proper.]

"Suicide Squad Story (for 6 to 10 players):  Captain Cold leads the Flash Rogues Gallery, but during a short stint with Suicide Squad he falls for the beautiful Vixen.  Theirs is a forbidden love in a violent shadowy world, torn apart by two warring factions, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim."

Sweet merciful crap.  I didn't know how it was going to work, or what to expect, but...


It had the Squad.  It had the Rogues.  And it had a song in its heart.


So, naturally, it broke mine.

The game was two tables side by side, and I was the last player to arrive.  A full crowd of nine were there, plus the GM and his wife.  Characters were already chosen, but there were still a huge pile from which to pick.

I ended up with the Weather Wizard.  Awesome.  He's my 2nd favorite Rogue, after Captain Boomerang.

And the character sheet was, 4-5 double-sided pages long.  Powers.  Bio.  Footnotes to relevant comic stories, down to the issue number.  "Deep, Dark Secret" page you weren't supposed to share with your fellows.

This GM knew his stuff.  I consider myself The World's Foremost Squad-N-Rogue-ologist, and this guy had the goods.  I was impressed, and totally geeking out.

(I must mention that no one picked either Captain Cold or Vixen, who were supposed to be the star-crossed, um, stars of the scenario.  This proves important later.)

Because we had so many people, he split the table into the "Rogue" side and the "Squad" side.  I sat next to a woman playing the Golden Glider, and another guy who was The (Original) Trickster.  The GM gave a bit of an introduction, detailing the comics and cast for those who weren't familiar.  The GM explained how the Suicide Squad book often lived up to its name, with a rotating cast due to injury and death.

"That's why I have all these extra character sheets," he casually mentioned.

And then the GM began to weave his tale.  It involved duplicity and treachery by other Rogues, and how our side of the table had to deal with some traitors and their scab villain hirelings stealing our gear and identities ("Franchised Rogues").  This was all well and goodand, truly, right out of the comicsbut he spent over 35 minutes on our side of the table.  The other players were bored out of their collective skulls.

During this time, the GM tried emphasizing the musical bits, adding some background music and sing-song dialogue in attempts to hit all the beats of West Side Story.  But very few people had even seen the musical, and even fewer were interested in that element, so the only thing the GM kept up was some incessant snapping.

After a bit of combatand I really do mean "a bit", because the whole thing amounted to "Roll Initiative...ok, this is what happens"to acquaint everyone with how the dice worked, he went to the other side of the table...and started in on their story for about 45 minutes.  I was able to follow it pretty well, but I had to narrate what was happening to the Golden Glider gal beside me.  She was absolutely lost, and had no idea what was going on, as she wasn't a comics fan, and wasn't really a gamer.  She just wanted to hang out with her husband...who was playing Deadshot, at the farthest end away from her.

But then things got really weird, beacuse the GM trotted out The Specials for the Squad to battle.

It's okay if you don't know anything about The Specials, The World's Sixth Best Super-Team.  They're from a delightful, little-seen movie that was what Mystery Men should've been.  I've seen it so many times, I can quote all the great lines.

But no one but me and the GM had seen the movie.

This made things even MORE confusing for everyone assembled.  And while I couldn't make everything out because of all the noise and the sheer distance involved, there seemed to be a huge NPC body count at that end of the table...despite there not being that many dice rolled.  It reached a point where even I had no idea what was transpiring.

At about the 100 minute mark, the GM was finally ready to merge the two storylines, and he set the stage for the Rogue side and Squad side to finally meet and duke it out in a secret fortress of the Big Bad.  Yes, people were bored, confused, and irritated, but still trying to get into the spirit of things, and ready to scrap to vent their frustrations.

The Rogue side went first.  We spent some prep time planning out our strategy to invade the fortress of one Vandal Savage.  We spent about 15-20 minutes hashing the plan—and roleplaying it out—until ironed out to perfection.  The time came to being our incursion...

...and not 15 seconds of flavor text later, the GM said, "Roll for Initiative."

All the Rogues rolled.
We all lost.

Then he said...

"The Top spins out from the shadows and targets you, Weather Wizard, because you're the most powerful.  He zips behind you, grabs your head, and snaps your neck.  You die instantly."

The entire table fell silent, expecting the GM to indicate he's kidding.  He wasn't.  He kept staring at me, deadly serious.

I replied, "Well, that was abrupt."  One guy barked out a laugh.

The GM then turned to the other players, and proceeded to tell them how they, too, were instantly slain.  Golden Glider was immolated, and The Trickster had his sweetbreads and spine ripped out.

And then, not skipping a beat, the GM grabbed the stack of remaining PCs and tossed them at us, and said:

"I warned you early it might get ugly.  You can pick out new character sheets if you want, or just leave."

He then turned to the other end of the table, and started up with the Squad again.

We Rogue players were stone silent.  The lady next to my left looked like she was going to cry, and the guy to my right disgustedly pulled out his iPad.  I kinda zoned out, shellshocked.  No one picked up new sheets.

Would you believe the game went on for over another hour?

The Squad ended up fighting an entirely brand new team of villains, and I didn't recognize a single one.  They had names like "The Perforator" and "The Hype" and such, and I was totally lost...and if I'm lost, then I pity anyone else playing that game.

From what I could make out, the Squad beat some villains, and then the GM launched into a big monologue...with himself.  Because he was playing both Captain Cold and Vixen, remember?

His big finale was all about him acting out the NPCs.

When all was said and done, people were pretty much running for the doors with moods varying from "Disgusted" out "Outright Furious".

It was single-handedly the worst game I've ever played...and one I wanted to enjoy the most.

While I mentioned dice plenty of times, I neglected to mention the actual rules system.  The game was billed as the old Mayfair DC Heroes (3rd Edition) game, but the GM was using his trusty 1st Edition books and screen.

I may not have played DC Heroes in over 25 years, but I'm fairly certain the entire game wasn't determined by who just straight won Initiative...and that's how all combats went the entire game.

You rolled your dice, the GM rolled his..and he ALWAYS won.  Then he told you how screwed over you were.

The game was nothing more than the GM's own personal fan-fic novel made manifest.

When we were all alone, I made some smalltalk with the GM, because I REALLY wanted to understand his goals, and his mindset behind the scenario.  I wasn't looking for a chance to belittle him or insult him; I simply wanted an explanation.

He was jovial and happy ( "I think that went really fact, I think I'll run it again next year."), and graciously shared all his notes.  [And I'm ecstatic he did, as his character sheets were brilliantly done, and I'll happily add them to my own comic/gaming files...yeah, they're that good.]

And he even let me see his overall plot sheet,  Just wow.  The story was broken down into 15-20 plot beats, with each PC (supposedly) getting some major screen time, with major DRAMA attached.  There were layers upon layers of betrayals and secrets and schemes and machinations, like...

The Top was lying to the Rogues.
Vandal Savage was lying to The Top.
Captain Cold was lying to Vandal Savage.
Amanda Waller was lying to Captain Cold.
The Hype was lying to Amanda Waller.

It was absolutely insane.  There was no way that anyone could pull that off in a 4-hour con game with 10 people.  Just no way.

Upon seeing The Hype mentioned again, I asked the GM who that last batch of villains were, as it REALLY bugged me that I didn't recognize them.

"Oh, they're my own custom villains from a homebrew 'Venture Brothers' campaign.  I liked them so much from my GenCon scenario last year, I used them again."

Uh-huh...I see.

At that point, I excused myself.  I needed a drink.

) Saturday Night

And drinks were had.  Because I am "a blogger" (*snort*) I went to a "Media Meet & Greet" in a basement bar called The House.  I hid in a corner and charged my phone for about 30 minutes because I didn't recognize a soul...but right when I was about to leave, I bumped into Tim Snider.  And that made it all worthwhile.

We got a booth and gabbed.  We swapped tales of RPGs and legendary bouts of Illuminati.  We even moved beyond the dice and talked about our jobs and families and comics, which culminated in his unabashed gushing about Sleepwalker

He single-handedly salvaged my downright awful afternoon, and I consider him to be A Truly Swell Gentleman And One Of The Good Guys.

Oh, one last thing...when walking back to the hotel, I bumped into one of the fellows (I think he played Bronze Tiger) from the Rogues/Squad game, and he happened to be cussing up a bluestreak to some of his buddies about the game.

I asked him what he thought of the afternoon, and he launched into a diatribe about how, at last year's GenCon, he had played in a Suicide Squad-themed event where our aforementioned GM was a fellow player...

...who hand-picked Captain Cold as his character.

"All he did was blast things with his cold-gun.  Time to interrogate a prisoner?  'I blast him with my cold-gun.'  Time to sneak into a building?  'I blast it with my cold-gun.'  ALL HE DID WAS CONSTANTLY INTERRUPT THE GM AND ALL THE PLAYERS BY BLASTING THINGS WITH HIS FUCKING COLD-GUN."

And then he followed up with, "Today's game was THE WORST thing I've ever played..."

...and the end of his quote titles this very blog entry.

) Sunday

Carousing with The Wife and our motley band of friends.  Let us never speak of this again.

That's it for my GenCon adventures, and I hope they weren't too boring or annoying.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"B" is for "Barkrunner"


No. Enc.:  0 (2d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  195' (65') 
Armor Class:  3
Hit Dice:  3
Attacks:  1d4+1 (kicks)
Damage:  1d6 per kick
Save:  L2
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  95

Stalking grasslands and open plains, barkrunners are gangly, multi-legged creatures that stand 8'-12' tall.  They attack in simple and brutal fashion—they chase down prey, and then stomp it to death.  Once a barkrunner has made a kill, it straddles the corpse like a hen does an egg and uses the "roots" on its underbelly to lap up the nutritive mash.

Their thick hides make excellent armor and barding.  And powder made from grinding a barkrunner's flowery growths provides the Quickness Physical Mutation for 1d4 hours...but at the cost of gaining the Reduced Oxygen Efficiency Disability for the same duration.

Mutations:  Animal Limbs (Legs), Free Movement

Mutants In The News — Soylent Green Edition

This article has made the rounds on various fringe sites, but the main source seems to be a South Korean scandal rag.  I leave its veracity up to the reader, but apparently...

...Chinese pharmaceutical companies have a popular new product on the market:  stamina-boosting pills made from the remains of human infants.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mutants In The News — Glowworm Edition

Courtesy of the BBC...

"What makes the newly created animals different is that their genetic code has been extended to create biological molecules not known in the natural world.

"Just 20 amino acids are used in natural living organisms...but [they] have re-engineered the nematode worm's gene-reading machinery to include a 21st amino acid, not found in nature."

The researchers go on to say that they could "introduce into organisms designer proteins that could be controlled by light."


Worms controlled by light. 

Sure, it starts there...but then you end up with worms that do the light-controlling...that happen to be 9-foot long, carnivorous, winged, and damage-resistant!

Jim Ward is like Nostradamus, only he gave us his prophecies a boxed rpg set.  And yet again, we ignore his warnings at our own peril.

"If You Can Dodge A Wrench, You Can Dodge An Armadillo." (GenCon Report, Pt 2)

Here's more of my belated musings from GenCon.  Blame The Man, as he's had me workin' like the dickens.

) Thursday Night

Every GenCon Thursday, at 9pm, I play Illuminati as hosted by the Rogue Judges.  Yes, I sometimes do Friday and Saturday nights, too, but Thursday is my night.  I've done this for almost every year that the show has been in Indy, and over that time, we've developed a crew of regulars that I only see at this specific timeslot.  There's Joe, the referee.  And Vince.  And Ed.  And George...who, whether he knows it or not, is my arch-enemy, because he wins more than I do.  Sure, we see other faces (and The Woman is slowly earning her place, as she's joined us twice now), but it's mainly us Big Dogs who've been the game since it was packaged in little ziplocked baggies.

I don't know their last names.  I don't know where they call home.  I don't know their stories.  All I know is that we're A Cabal Of Some Of The Best Godsdamned Players You'll Ever Encounter Who Only Meet Once A Year In A Land Far From Home...and if that doesn't sound perfect for Illuminati, I don't know what does.

(Oh, yeah.  We actually do have something else in common besides our love of the game, and that something is "The Incident".  "The Incident" involves the only time I've ever played a boardgame where the cops were seconds away from being called due to a not-truly-justifiable-but-pretty-understandable-all-things-considered homicide.  Buy me a beer some time, and I'll regale you with the tale; print just doesn't do it justice.)


And, yes, I lost again this year.  I hate you, George.

) Friday Morning

Friday was All About Armageddon.  The Woman and I signed up for both of The Esteemed Tim Snider's Mutant Future games, which were scheduled from 10am-2pm and 4pm-8pm.  We're that committed to wasteland ramblin', and since I'm the GM of our current MF game, this marked the first time I actually got to play it with my spouse.  Kinda cool.

While Mr. Snider and I have chatted briefly on the ol' Web, this was my first time to meet him...and I was instantly smitten.  Big smile.  Hearty laugh.  Jaunty hat.  Bitchin' 'stache.  But best of all?  Hawaiian shirt.  I've been known to wear them myself a time or two—ok, ok...they're pretty much all I own, even for work—so I'm uniquely qualified to say that man can dress to impress.

The first game was "Gimme Shelter".  Only 4 of us showed out of the sold-out 6 slots, but that wasn't a problem, as our other players were a delightful married couple who knew how to slang dice.  The 4 PCs we picked were:  a speedy and distracted Mutant Human, a burly Geologian, Plates the Mutant Armadillo (played by The Wife), and Android #7718, or "Bill" to his friends (Me).  [Good thing I wasn't Android #58008, as that nickname would've been awkward.]  Our mission was simple:  follow a map and loot a bomb shelter.

Almost immediately, we ran afoul of a pigman ambush, and combat ensued.  Plates and the Geologian got right into the thick of things by pulling the ol' "Fastball Special"...

...but it failed spectacularly with a roll of 2 on the die.  It was still awesome, though, and everyone was tickled so much that we riffed for a solid 5-10 minutes.  And the hilarity didn't stop, because Plates then decided she could pinball around the battlefield by tucking herself into a sphere like a certain kaiju.... 

I gotta say, Mr. Snider is a helluva sport for letting his players run amok.

After that, we raided the shelter.  Vines were chopped.  Ants of all varieties were slain.  Armadillos were again thrown.  A beaver/goldfish was rescued.  Canned Spam ("It's like armadillo crack.") and laser rifles were looted.

The final scene was the team being sent to investigate a fortress hidden inside a crumbling mountain that resembled human faces...

I can't wait until next year's game.

) Friday Afternoon

More mutant mayhem ensued, this time with the "Dead In The Water" scenario.  We had a total of five players this time, with us rounded out with a trio of veteran gamers who'd been hacking-'n-slashing together for decades.  One was a big, cuddly guy with the hearty laugh.  Another was the quiet and kinda uptight guy with the dark eyes.  The third was a twangy, eye-twinkling guy that you wouldn't trust with your wimmenfolk.

We were essentially playing with these guys:


This event was a special treat, as Mr. Snider had a delightful surprise up his sleeve—he presented The Woman with a sheet for her own personal character from our own game, Penelope The Craw.  (Sure, she was scaled down a bit, but all that really meant was that she had fewer debilitating mutations than usual.)

You should've seen the look on my wife's face.  She lit up like a 6-year old girl who got a unicorn for her birthday.  She was so happy, in fact, that she started doing a "Penny The Craw" dance throughout the session, which was basically her wiggling side to side in her seat and snapping her hands like pincers to a beat only she could hear. 

Big, big ups to the Mutant Lord.

I picked Kordor the Mutant Owl, who—no offense to our gracious GM—was hilariously sucky.  His mutations were Control Light Waves, Precognition, and a Phobia, described as follows:

"PC is deathly afraid of the dark.  There must be a light source at all times, or he flies into a panic."

Soooooo...that meant I could dissipate light to create darkness...but then have a crippling freakout afterwards.  (Sure, sure...I could also disrupt lasers and become invisible, but it's much more fun to gripe.)  And the precog thing was just weird—especially in a con—as I didn't want to disrupt the event on the "Meta level".  But my concerns were baseless, as the one or two times I used the power, I'd just stone col' take psychic feedback damage...

...because my Magic-8-Ball-Sense only said things like:  "You will soon be devoured by carnivorous seagulls."

My Magic-8-Ball-Sense was a dick.

The game ended up being even more fun than the first, mostly because Rakish Guy played Snapthistle, the thorn-slinging Mutant Plant, as a be-sarape'd, cigarette-hanging-from-his-lower-lip'd hombre right out of the Spaghetti West.  The Snapthistle handle vanished almost immediately and was replaced by a better moniker, The Plant With No Name.

Waterlogged zombies were killed.  Polluted seas were sailed.  Underwater bases were raided.  Giant monster eyeballs were ruptured.  It was an amazing, amazing game.

And here's some context-free quotes from the session:

) Penny The Craw:  "Is there a lot of fire on that island?"
) Mutant Lord:  "Well, I did say it was called 'The Island Of Fire'...."


) The Plant With No Name:  "He doesn't like me.  I banged his daughter."


) Penny The Craw:  "I'm hiding behind SCIENCE!!!"


) Everyone:  "WHO WAS THAT MASKED PLANT?!!!"

Again, be sure to check out The Savage Afterworld blog for more GenCon coverage.  Mr. Snider details plenty I didn', he has pics of my glorious mug over there.

Whew.  That catches us up to Friday night at 8pm.

More to follow.