If you’ve been following my Demon Hunters or Project Cassandra posts then one thing you might have noticed is a consistent art style for the characters. That’s because the vast majority of the artwork I’ve used to date has come from a single source, James Shields (JEShields). He primarily releases his work on Patreon and drivethruRPG but every so often runs a Kickstarter for larger projects.
His latest is focused on Sci-fi stock art, what makes it unique though is that the final images will be released as a series of mix and match components. Want an alien cantina but with a giant arachnid in place of the bounty hunter? Switch them out and create the new scene. The possible number of combinations is massive, especially if you go all in and pick up each of the five packs (weapons, ships, portraits, characters and scenes) on offer.
If the art itself wasn’t enough then how about bonus backer rewards of games and supplements donated by a range of indie publishers? I won’t go over the full list but suffice to say they really boost the value of the Kickstarter.
Having done a full character in the form of the Aether Knight I wanted to turn my hand towards a simpler creature for the next release. With the Demon Hunters setting incorporating both magic and mad science it was all too easy to imagine a range of unusual and warped creatures. The Volta Cingulata, or voltaic armadillo, is the first of those, a mad science experiment that didn’t quite have the impact its creator intended.
As an opponent the armadillo is easily overlooked. Small, relatively weak and not particularly aggressive. In its favour is its armoured shell and lone stunt, which allows it a single strong attack in response to being startled.
In developing the stunt I included an option to recharge it through the use of Demon Dice. Overall I find that with the exception of invoking aspects I fail to really make use of this GM resource, especially as I’m not fond of clearing NPC conditions without an in fiction reason. So instead my aim is to start incorporating their use into stunts, to make them a little more special and unique, which led to the idea of recharging a single use ability.
Following some final tweaking the first character sheet template is now complete as is the first release, the Aether Knight. Rarely encountered on the mortal planes Aether Knights serve as guardians of the veil between worlds and, in their natural form, neutral in the eternal fight between Good and Evil. Unfortunately as so often is the case their purpose can be tainted by those willing to shed blood to fuel illicit magics. Dragged into the moral realms they are used as nigh unstoppable assassins and hunters, bound to a mission until it is completed or they are destroyed.
Aether Knights represent a significant challenge for Chapters even at the highest level and are designed to be employed by the DM as opponents that must be out-thought rather than out-fought. With their invulnerability to physical weaponry, high number of conditions and ability to bypass mild conditions when using their sword they are an opponent that no group should take lightly.
Next up, adjusting the template for minions and mobs.
The mad genius of Victor Frankenstein needs no introduction. In crafting the creature that would become his tormentor he exceeded all but the gods in giving form to artificial life. In the years since Victor’s death the Creature has walked the earth, slowly learning to control the rage that has threatened to consume it time after time. It is alone. Unique, but flawed. Patient.
Many have hunted the Creature, in the name of God and of Science and of Power but none have come close to understanding its motives. That it desires purpose. Arriving in London under the guise of a circus freak it quickly learned of Mina and her team of outcasts. A meeting was arranged and an agreement reached. The Creature would join the team and aid in combating the pervasive rise of mad technology ushered in by the steam age. In return Mina would redirect the Brotherhood, Chapters re-assigned to inconsequential locales or sent on wild goose chases. All know that the status quo cannot be maintained for long, the Creature is too well known to stay hidden forever and the longer it associates with the team the greater the risk that all involved will be compromised.
Mystic arts d4
Covert ops d4
Social engineering d8
Combat & tactics d6
Concept: Monstrous creation of an infamous scientist
Trouble: Barely restrained rage
Discipline 1: An intellect surpassing my creator
Discipline 2: Harbouring hidden hopes for humanity
Discipline 3: They may hunt me but they will never break me
Stunt 1: Because I am the brawns as well as the brains I gain +1 when I forcefully use Combat & Tactics
Stunt 2: Because I was built to surpass the frailness of mere humans I gain 1 extra moderate condition
Stunt 3: Because I have learned to live in the shadows of civilisation I gain +2 to sneakily overcome attempts to spot my hulking frame
Vulnerability: Because my inhuman visage is impossibly terrifying I automatically inflict the minor condition of “horrified” on all mortals who see me if they have never encountered the supernatural before.
Baron Albertus Beechworth IV arrived in London six months ago from Australia to raise capital for expanding the prosperous mining town bearing his name. At least that’s what the socialites and high flyers of London were led to believe for Albertus is nothing more than a con artist. The Baron, as he prefers to be called, lives day to day, lie to lie, driven to bigger and bolder cons by the blood of his infernal ancestors.
The big con fell apart while trying to offload a batch of so-called meteor alloys to an undercover Winnifred. If her ability to reform the lump of metal into cuffs around his hands hadn’t already scared him senseless the fact she described him of smelling faintly of brimstone would have. He’d heard the tales repeatedly as a child, of an ancestor who’d made a deal they couldn’t keep and been possessed by the devil in return. Stories meant to scare children with an inclination to lie to their parents. Now here was this woman who could smell the corruption of his lineage. Perhaps it was a sign to change, to make the biggest con of his life… convincing himself that he could somehow manage to redeem his soul.
Mystic arts d4
Covert ops d8
Social engineering d10
Combat & tactics d6
Concept: Charming descendant of demons
Trouble: Eternally damned by the sins of my ancestors
Discipline 1: Why lie when you can be creative with the truth
Discipline 2: Debauched darling of high society
Discipline 3: Connoisseur of the five-finger discount
Stunt 1: Because snake oil doesn’t sell itself I gain +2 when I flashily create advantages based on lies, half-truths and pseudo-science gibberish.
Stunt 2: Because demonic essence flows through my veins I roll d8s instead of d6s when rolling demon dice (the DM adds d6s to their pool as normal)
Stunt 3: Because all the best cons require careful planning once per session I may create an aspect with 2 free invocations by describing how I arranged it via a brief flashback
Nobody asks to be a werewolf, least of all a promising initiate of an ancient magical order. Life tends not to ask though, which is how Winnifred Peakes found herself barricaded into the Chancer’s Hand saloon during a siege that lasted close to a week. Night after night the werewolves breached the barricades, taking with them the townspeople a few at a time. Amongst them was her tutor, the senior Allomancer assigned to begin her training.
Winnifred was critically wounded on the penultimate night of the siege but made a miraculous recovery thanks to the werevirus now cursing through her system. Since the siege she has kept the virus (mostly) in check through magical talent and sheer force of will but it has left its mark, with each wound healing over in vicious scars that take weeks to fully fade.
Leaving the West behind her she travelled to London in search of her Order only to be cast out by the elders who were meant to train her. Without the means to return home it wasn’t long before she crossed paths with the Brotherhood. While the Chapter report listed her only as an independent talent Mina pieced together the data and recruited her into the Undesirables in return for occasional access to the Brotherhoods mystical archives. Winnifred may have forsaken by her Order but all that means is she’ll have to teach herself.
Mystic arts d6
Covert ops d8
Social engineering d4
Combat & tactics d10
Concept: Werewolf of the Wild West
Trouble: Branded with the scars of my past
Discipline 1: Forsaken initiate of the Iridium Order
Discipline 2: Survivor of the Chancer’s Hand siege
Discipline 3: Barroom brawler with a bite
Stunt 1: Because I am cursed by the werevirus I may clear one minor condition per turn by spending a demon die
Stunt 2: Because I can smell danger I get +2 to quickly overcome traps and ambushes
Stunt 3: Because I ain’t from around these parts once per session I may effortlessly distract an unsuspecting individual by playing into the stereotypes associated with the Wild West
Vulnerability: Because my pain only makes the beast stronger if I take a moderate or severe condition I must make a Forceful + Mystic arts roll (difficulty 10) to prevent myself from releasing the animal inside. If I fail I clear all my conditions, treat everybody as an enemy and must fight until an opportunity to escape presents itself.