Scenic Dunnsmouth is a re-playable adventure set in a time forgotten swamp filled with secretive, backwoods xenophobes with a dark secret. Or maybe they don't have a dark secret and it is all in your paranoid imagination. Or maybe there is a serial killer on the loose who simple THINKS there is a dark secret. Or maybe there is serial killer and a dark secret. There also might be a witch, and maybe a mausoleum. There might be a lot of things, but what is the deal with the cube?
Scenic Dunnsmouth is an adventure that is randomly generated before play using dice and a deck of cards. It naturally builds its own intertwining elements and hooks. This is an adventure you can slap into every campaign you run, even with the same groups of players. If anything it gets more hilarious and more tense the more the same group plays it.
So go get a copy now to see some of the gorgeous art Jez Gordon has filled this sucker with.
"I had a tremendous amount of fun during my ill-fated sojourn to Scenic Dunnsmouth. It's a cunning bait-and-switch of an adventure and fellow travelers should heed my warning: Whatever you think is going on, you're wrong."
Evan from the blog "In Places Deep" (or as he prefers it to be called as often as you can In Deep Places) had the following to say: "It has [Spoilers!]"
The first time I was genuinely frightened in a RPG session. It was the first time that I actually thought that the best thing I could do for my character was to just high-tail it out of there and not look back (I mean this as a compliment, BTW)
Still not satisfied? How about some quotes from people you don't know and probably never will?
Totally didn't give one player nightmares - Ryan I wanted to rinse my uterus with bleach pretty much immediately - Mel A good time that will haunt your nightmares - Josh Surreal, creepy, disturbing - Gerry
Wow? Look at those comments from people who are barely above anonymous!
Well oiled warriors wandering about half clothed in land of filth caked feudal dung merchants straight from the fevered mind of a British comedian experiencing the malaise of the seventies may seem out of place. But that is because you don't understand what Barbarians truly are.
No one questions why these physically perfect specimens walk around the lands, seemingly out of place. It is painful to do so. That is not a metaphor, thinking too much about where these beings come from and why no one seems to consider them out of place can kill you. Blood will drain from your eyes and ears in a steadily increasing torrent.
Barbarians are beings of pure chaos who appear to be physically perfect specimens that hail from some region beyond the horizon you can't place on any map. Think about that, but not for too long. Who does that remind you of? Elves. Barbarians are actually a type of elf.
They come from "Barbaria", a land of icy glaciers, or perhaps a steamy jungle, or perhaps even an ash littered volcanic hellscape. It always changes, and no one can think too long upon it. They are from the other world, like all faerie kind.
Their magic hides their origins, it grants them supernatural strength when they need it most. But like all faerie kind they have a weakness. Their magic is diminished by covering their skin. It is their appearance and pride that fuels their magics.
But you may think to yourself (which you should stop doing), Barbarians hate wizards! Oh this is true. Like all elves, their innate spells can be discerned by the prying eyes of sages and wizards willing to dissect their corpses (or vivisect their living bodies). As a matter of protection, barbarians must be aggressive in rooting out the prying eyes of wizards. To tell you they hate magic is only to keep their secrets safe.
Do not question where barbarians come from. Do not think on why no one sees through their glamour or how they perform such feats of strength. But keep your cold iron handy...
Scourge of the Tikbalang was originally written as part of the OSR Cares Package, and as promised I have had it redone with professional art and layout by Alex Mayo. Also as promised,anyone who bought a copy of the OSR cares package can reach out to me and I'll ensure they get a complimentary copy of this in its current updated form.
And in case it needs to be said I will warn people that like many things I write this has a horror element and is full of horrible things that can be unsettling.
NGR already scales very well for starship combat, but this is about making a very specific type of genre. There would be no fighter craft for instance. It would be two starships (or more) blasting each other to bits with beam weapons and torpedos.
So we'd start by establishing a ship scale versus human scale, we'll say something massive like 200. That is one point of damage to a ship is 200 to a person. Then everything just shrinks to this new normal (size mod).
So each ship has stats like a living combatant.
They have a (hull) strength
They have a (systems) health score
They have an agility (maneuverability) score
They have an awareness (sensors) score
and if they have a ships compu-tor they have an intelligence score (and probably spirit if it comes up)
The ship doesn't have a luck score, but the captain does.
They also then have inventory (with a maximum based on the (hull) strength, just like a person)
This could include armour, but also weapons, engines, cargo bays (treat like a backpack) and the like.
The most important items are power generation (and then a backup and maybe even emergency power if the ship is well stocked). These power generators provide the equivalent of a "mana pool" for any scientician on board. That is especially important as "shields" would be variants the "Bubble of Protection" spell (aka a scientific principle). That is important because if someone knows the exact variant used with a ship's shields they can "reverse polarity" and take down the shields (the trope of knowing the shield frequency).
Other things are important as well: Weapons allow for attacking, engines allow for faster movement, tractor beams (a type of weapon) would allow for a ship to make "grapple" attacks. A deflector dish would be an essential component for "scienticians" as it would be a ship scale "science box".
Games involves groups of people though, and if there is only one ship involved (unlike say a fighter squadron) then there needs to be something for everyone to do. As such there would be several positions in the ship, all of whom have different choices and responsibilities round to round.
1.) The Captain
The captain has the least to actually do, but that is offset by having everyone else refer to the player as "Captain". The captain is the only one who can use their luck points for the ship as a whole. If they have leadership, the ability will transfer even to PC's.
2.) The Helm
The helm makes the decisions (ultimately, even if disobeying orders) about movement and defending the ship. They also make any stealth checks to keep the ship hidden. An important note is that if the Helm makes the ship "Defend itself" every station on the ship must use an action to "defend itself" (much like riding a horse). Probably one of the most active roles. Parkour and Guard would both be useful skills.
The Comm officer controls scanners (making spot checks) as well as ship to ship communications (appeals) and possibly hacking (scientician power). Most bard and rogue powers are useful as well.
The Weapons officer makes the attack rolls and picks which weapon or weapons to fire. Pretty obvious role, and while somewhat limited also possibly one of the most sought after (who doesn't like exploding things?) An important note is that "disarming" can still happen in ship to ship combat, that is how you would take enemy ship components/inventory offline. Most warrior powers are great, but so are some scientician powers.
The Engineering post is responsible for using SCIENCE! and for repairing damaged/disarmed components of the ship. Scientician and Rogue powers are really useful.
Anyone else (like a doctor) would be interacting with the crew more than the ship itself.
As you are potentially aware, I use NGR for science fiction and it works pretty well. You just lose the "magic classes" and its smooth sailing. But I've been watching classic Star Trek, The Forbidden Planet, and similar media lately due to other reasons and that implementation of Sci-Fi NGR falls a bit flat (even if it does fighter combat amazingly). The gap is the "Science Wizard" like Mr.Spock. So, to fill in that void the following class can replace the wizard and priest classes (being a super science themed amalgam of both).
In the far retro-future, generic scientific equipment and fancy sounding technobabble allow gifted individuals to seemingly break the laws of physics in ways that require you to trust their assurances that they are in fact not wizards. Be you Spock or the Doctor, you have a trusty "science box" that lets you pull off seeming magic.
Scienticians improve SCIENCE! Modified by Intelligence
1.) Research (Based on Sage)
This works much like Sage for wizards. The scientician may disassemble a device or specimen to learn the "scientific principle" behind it. If they simply examine it they may learn what is affecting the device or specimen. Use the Sage power from wizards. "Interesting, it appears this device uses gammatron radiation to render its wearer invisible to scanners"
2.) Polarity Reversal (Based on Anti-Magic).
This is a SCIENCE! version of counterspells, dispelling, or making wards (in this case temporary devices, such as an anti-position pill), except for "scientific principles" instead of spells. Requires a "science box" and power. "We've been hit by their tractor beams, our only hope is to reverse the polarity on our shields and trigger a tachyon pulse collapse"
3.) Hacking (Based on Exorcism)
The scientician can use comm systems to attack an enemy ship or mechanical device (overloading fuses and power sources). This is an appeal that deals damage. While manning the comms, a scientician with hacking adds their own SCIENCE! modifier to rolls to prevent hacking. "They've breached our firewalls with polymorphic worms based on a neural net. We've got to set off all of our logic bombs now if we want a hope in hell to purge the system"
4.) Vulnerability Exploit (based on Fervour)
The Scientician deals bonus damage to high science devices and creatures (such as ships) by analyzing weak points and targeting them with modified beams or similar buzzwords. For every cumulative point of SCIENCE! the scientician gains a damage bonus. "Their positron matrix is hidden behind their heat vents, modulate your beam frequencies and we'll bypass their defenses"
5.) Rational Mind (Based on a minor merge of Dogma and True Belief)
The scientician is not easily fooled by charlatans and has a steely intellect that prevents panic. The scientician suffers -2 influence/stress on any appeal and adds their SCIENCE! modifier to their awesomeness score. "Illogical, you are simply pretending to be the devil using a cloaked ship" Personal Item: The Science Box (based on Talisman)
Every time a new "Scientific Principle" is learned the scientician may attempt to improve their "Science Box" by rolling connectors on the 2d6. For every benefit level on the Science Box the scientician may reduce the power cost of "applied science" (ie spells) that are created through it. It works like a talisman basically.
How does SCIENCE! work?
Wizard spells are renamed "Scientific Principles" and work much the same (except they are not weaker the more people know them, but they are vulnerable to "Polarity Reversal" if others know them). So instead of a spell called "Rihalto's Mystic Bolt" you might have a "scientific principle" called "The Rihalto Paradox" that acts much the same. Spell components become "exotic materials" and the mechanics are the same.
The major difference is "Cost", instead of a mana pool the science requires generic sci-fi "power", usually from a ship, or from a "Science Box". A "Science Box" is a requirement for a scientifican to use most of their powers. On a ship it could be a deflector dish, while on an individual level it might be a sonic screwdriver or a tricorder. Finally instead of a grimoire, a scientician will have a "databank" that may be built into the same device as the "science box". Losing your databank is a big deal.