Channel Surfing, an adventure outline for Demon Hunters: A Comedy of Terrors

Channel Surfing, my first adventure outline for Demon Hunters: A Comedy of Terrors is now live on drivethruRPG for free! It’s the first adventure outline from the Omega Logfiles, a series of scenarios targetted at Omega Chapters, the oft forgotten and frequently expendable members of the Brotherhood of the Celestial Torch. The series will sit alongside both Slice of Life starters inspired by the recently kickstarted webseries and some independent adventures designed for longer play.

Channel Surfing
Tamara Backrel, a Brotherhood videomancer obsessed with horror films, has snapped after one too many late night movie marathons. She’s withdrawn into a pocket reality of her own making, dragging half her team with her. The rest have fallen prey to evils of the silver screen, released in a burst of uncontrolled magics. The Chapter, stuck on Warehouse duty, have been dispatched on pizza delivery duty unaware that their comrades have fallen to one of their own…

Download it now, for free from drivethruRPG

State of the Conspiracy: The Stuck on a Train Update

As we move into election season (in the US) it seems appropriate to update on the state of Project Cassandra, especially as I’ve set myself a goal of release on or around the week of the US Presidential elections. The short version: it’s nearly there. The longer version with a but: it’s nearly there but I’ve had some rather severe issues with creativity and motivation of late.

Right now I’m focused on two aspects, final edits and layout. The edits are coming along smoothly, the biggest issue is one of consistency. In some sections I address the reader directly while in others I’m more abstract and indirect. Resolving that shouldn’t be too hard, I just need to set aside a period where I can go through the entire document at once and ensure that I stay in a single frame of reference. Luckily for me I’m not only half way through a long train journey right now but it’s going nowhere thanks to a fallen power line. Yay.

SavedPicture-2016623125351.jpg

Layout is also progressing but at a much slower pace. After the debacle with the Tower Fall pdf compatibility I’ve gone back to the start. First up was a switch to the latest dev branch of Scribus and a new from scratch document… which of course generated some new issues that I need to investigate and address. The second half of the layout process has been artwork. At the moment I have enough that I could, in theory, complete the game and have all 4 characters illustrated if I reword their descriptions (Sarsin for example would need to be an ex-cop rather than a former member of the secret service). It’s not ideal though as that would mean losing a few images from the rules sections. I’m going to see about the feasibility of getting a couple more pieces commissioned but that will depend on how busy the artist is over the next few months and my budget.

A proportion of the artwork, however, is stock art that I’ve been able to acquire for the grand total of… nothing! For those I’m now working to edit and fade the images. Or rather I’m learning how to edit and fade in the way that I want. It’s taking a while but I do at least feel like I’m making progress and am enjoying the process. My aim is to have all the free stock art selected and edited over the next few weeks, after which I can start slotting it into place.

State of the Conspiracy: Character Layout

One of the areas of Project Cassandra I’ve always been unhappy with is the layout and presentation of the game. While I’ve always liked the typewriter style font I’ve been using the document as a whole has always looked like something thrown together in word, for the obvious reason that it was. Over the last few weeks I’ve been slowly learning how to use Scribus, a desktop publishing program that is available for free. I made the mistake of assuming it would be similar enough to word and dove right into it, trying the layout the entire game all at once. Suffice to say that didn’t really work so my focus of the last few days has been on laying out the character sheets, the initial result of which you can see below.

Character sheet comparison

The new sheet, on the right, is a vast improvement on the old one. It makes much better use of the space, with the individual sections more clearly defined than before. Most of all it feels (to me) like it is closer to something you’d find in a published RPG. There are, obviously, still aspects that need work with spacing being the main one. That’s something I’ll properly address once I have the character art in place, as I want be sure of the final dimensions of those images.

Speaking of art…

Something that drastically improved the look of the character sheet was the inclusion of some proper artwork. The piece included in the new sheet is stock art created by JEShields (who also has an RPG art Patreon here) and can be purchased from on drivethruRPG. Eventually this will be moved to within the main rules and replaced with artwork commissioned specifically for Project Cassandra, again drawn by JEShields. The first piece, of intrepid reporter Samantha Dawes, is already underway with the rest to follow once funds allow.

Anton Mikalev

eastwood-gun-2_1808554iAnton Mikalev, retired Alliance marine.

Served pre-Unification War as a marine corpsman, didn’t get called up during the war due to earlier medical discharge. Oldest child (Anna) was killed in the war after following Anton’s career choices. Wife (Lin) and son (Jacob) left him because of it and moved further into the core. Since then Anton has drifted from planet to planet, ship to ship, occasionally bottle to bottle trying to find something to believe in.

Appearance

Late 50’s / Early 60’s. Lean build with weathered face, dressed in old slacks with a dirty long service jacket. Often carries an Alliance service rifle though it spends a lot of time behind the bar of the Mine Cart on Regina.

Mental d10
Physical d8
Social d6

Medical Student
Skills: Know, Operate, Treat

Ooh-Rah
Skills: Fight, Shoot, Throw
Trigger: Hail of bullets. When you take out an NPC with a SHOOT action, take or step up a Complication to automatically take out another from the scene.

Elderly
Skills: Craft, Influence, Notice
Trigger: Old war wound. Gain 1PP when you step back your PHYSICAL for a scene as an old injury acts up.

Skills
Craft d6        Drive d4            Fight d6
Fix d4            Fly d4                Focus d4
Influence d6        Know d6 (Alliance military)    Labor d4
Move d6    (Zero-G)    Notice d8            Operate d6
Perform d4        Shoot d10            Sneak d6
Survive d4        Throw d6            Treat d10 (Bullet wounds)
Trick d4

Signature Assets
Service Rifle d8
Family photo d6 (of Anton, wife and two teenage kids)

Savage Worlds: A Few More Thoughts

As I discussed in an earlier post I’ve been playing in a Deadlands Noir game recently, powered the by Savage Worlds system and have come across a few issues with certain mechanics, namely high toughness scores and Shaken.

Having had some time to think on the issue I’ve come to the conclusion that my derision of the toughness scores was a bit harsh, after all many other games have similar situations with monsters that are easy to hit but difficult to wound. The issue in our game lay not with the mechanic but with the fact that our group was not built to take on such a monster. Had we been full of characters with a better combat build (we have two, one of whom was hampered by the natural armour the croc had) then we’d have faired much better. The second issue, that of the shaken rules, still irks me. It seems, however, that I’m not alone and it’s a fairly common complaint. With a bit of research I’ve come across a few ways to houserule shaken, the simplest of which is to replace the no action portion with a -2 penalty to actions; thus players can still try and do something on their turn while maintaining the feel that being shaken causes issues.

While I think that change will shift the game back towards one I enjoy I still doubt it’ll shift it to one of my favourite games and when it comes down to it I think I’ll probably be sticking with Cortex Classic most of the time.