This article is no longer available for free and is part of Clandestine Societies Issue One over on DrivethruRPG.
Monday, September 18, 2017
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Sorry no thanks. You could at least cut all the mini game stuff out and just offer up the RPG material as a discounted pdf or something. But no, you want people to pay for something they don't want in order to get what they do want.
By the way I was one of those who bought every RPG release that came along. Hunter Sheets, CS1, the keychains, t-shirts, etc... even the sections of the Hunter Sheets 2 book. So I'm not just some come along lately fanboy looking for something to bitch about. I'm a long time fan who is fed up with how the rpg crowd that supported the system the best they could (but you could never do releases in any sort of rational manner).
Friday, September 15, 2017
Hiding in the dark of those abandoned places that so few ever venture to explore. Watching and waiting for a lone victim to wander in to close. Razor like claws itch for flesh to sink into while their minds crave the euphoria that your terror provides them. Wanting two things above all else, your skin and your screams.
“I can't even close my eyes at night without seeing them. Those bodies, four or five of them, it was hard to tell. Piled in a corner with their skin gone. Two of them were smaller I remember that, they were probably children. There was blood everywhere. It was all over the room upstairs, practically soaking in it. Then the trails of it where I guess the thing drug them downstairs to the... pile. What? Yeah I saw it. Some kind of dead thing I think, still walking around, God it stank. It had knives or something and it tried cutting me from behind. But I had my vest on and it stopped most of it... still got twenty stitches out of it though. It was on me fast, but then the back up I called came running in the other door and it shrieked and ran off. I'll never forget that night. Or that two of them were children.” Officer Donald Haskins, Chronicle PD.
Bearing an uncanny resemblance to humans in both height, proportion and general body movements they are anything but human. Residing a rung above us in the food chain we are what they prey on. The differences in appearance set them apart if seen uncovered. Thinner limbs and center mass they look built like somebody with an eating disorder in that regard. With skin that is almost blood red, with a raw look covered in hundreds of small thorn like extrusions. Possessing no body hair, ears or lips they have a slit for a mouth and a row of jagged sharp teeth behind it. Their fingers end in claws that are flat, almost like double edged razors, and roughly two to three inches long.
However they are rarely seen uncovered except on an autopsy table in some dark back room someplace. Read the section on Physical Feeding to get an idea of how they are usually seen out in the world.
Sunlight is a bane to these creatures when they are uncovered. With skin that is easily burned they hide out in abandoned buildings and subterranean locations that still have a chance of humans making their way into (old subway tunnels, large storm drain systems, etc). Hiding in the shadows and watching from a distance when they spot a potential target you rarely see them unless they want to be seen. If there are out numbered they are rarely attacked, but then again they also don't more in groups very often. Most encounters reported are of the one on one type. It is very obvious that they possess an almost human level of intelligence and are capable of using just about any weapon to some degree.
Even when possessing a strength and speed greater than that of a typical human they still prefer a sneak attack. Everything from a straight forward hit from behind to some sort of trap, anything they can think of. Only one catch, they do not kill outright and intend to make the target suffer as much as possible before ending their life. One of the most reported methods is to immobilize the person through stunning or just by over powering them and then using some sort of restraints on them (ropes, handcuffs from previous victims, etc). Once they are unable to fight back their claws are used to slice open a long stretch of skin, then to work them up under the flesh and slowly skin the victim alive.
The skinners feed off the pain they cause in others. A necessary part of their mental nourishment. Without it they will eventually grow delusional, with emotional out of control fits of anger and an inability to sleep. At some point this will cause them to either grow bolder when searching for victims or, in most cases, to become even more seclusive until they suffer a brain aneurism which will kill them. When receiving the emotional rush of the pain they have created it acts like a drug, euphoric and never enough, leading them to drag out the tortures for as long as possible.
There is, however, one very unique and strange weakness to this. It only works when they are the cause of the pain. If someone or something else that they had nothing to do with causes the pain then there is a severe mental backlash causing a great deal of agony on the Skinner itself. The greater the pain the more it forces them back. This is also the believed reason as to why they are rarely found in groups as the attack of one would drive the others away.
This is where the skinning part comes into more importance. Those thorn like things on their skin are actually part of their digestive system. Once a person has expired they finish removing the layers of skin and then cover their body with the pieces. The thorns hold them in place like hundreds of small hooks while they also release a digestive enzyme which breaks the flesh down. This is then absorbed through pores in the skin providing the creature with substance. The process may take weeks to finish leading to encounters where people think they are being attacked by something undead as the layer of skin is rotting on the outside.
Once they are finished and their meal is dead they will generally drag it off to some other section of their chosen lair. Usually the furthest point away from where people usually enter from. They are absolutely not interested in doing any other kind of clean up at all. Blood is left where ever it hit the floor and even bits and pieces are left lying about. They simply wait for their next food source as they soak the in warm feeling of their emotional feeding for several days.
Monday, September 4, 2017
Ah Vampire the Masquerade. What could arguably be considered one of the most influential games outside of Dungeons and Dragons on the RPG hobby and industry. From helping bring in a flood of fresh blood in during the slump created by the Magic the Gathering explosion to making some think in new directions of how a game could be set up. While a far step away from the story driven games of today it still set a ball rolling in that direction.
Around here gaming was at a super low. Most groups had dried up and vanished, a local game shop was about ready to give up RPGs all together. Only a few die hard Dungeons and Dragon fans really kept it flowing. Vampire changed all that. People I never thought would be interested in gaming were suddenly buying up the books and giving it a try. It become a common connection between groups besides dungeon crawling. Plus it was published by a smaller company and made people look towards other small companies to see what they were producing.
It was a win for everyone at that time.
Anyways the latest version of the classic is the 20th Anniversary Edition from Onyx Path. Today it's the Deal of the Day over on DrivethruRPG and well worth picking up. Nine bucks for a massive pdf and even the print costs are pretty decent.
PICK IT UP HERE at DrivethruRPG.
PICK IT UP HERE at RPGNow.
Also be sure to check out those POD costs for a dead tree edition or some of the other 20th Anniversary Edition material they have released.
Sunday, September 3, 2017
Modern day magic item six pack. It's been a while since I've done a six pack so here we go. What few game mechanics that are given will be for the WaRP (aka Over the Edge) game system from Atlas Games. Have fun.
I very nice silk necktie. Usually of whatever particular style is in at the moment. When one puts it on and ties the knot themselves it creates an illusion around the wearer. Everybody else sees them in a very high fashion suit, perfect cut and fit. However only living people see the illusion, cameras and such do not.
The 'Oh Shit' Button.
What appears to be a small two inch by two inch by one inch thick solid box with a single button on it. No other markings, no way to open it and nothing will show up inside using any sort of scan. However if the button is pressed all alarm signals with a 200 foot radius will go off. Some nearby phones will even self dial 911.
A well worn car key with no specific car manufacturer logo printed on it. It will unlock any vehicle door and work in any key driven ignition.
The Stop Watch
What appears to be a simple non-digital wrist watch with a leather strap. There is an extra button on each side that are unusual and seem to serve no purpose. However when one presses both in at the same time while staring at the watch it will cause time to freeze in the area around them. This will last as long as the wearer is looking at the watch face, one look away and it breaks. So they have to use peripheral vision to move around. The more complicated the movement the harder it is to not break eye contact. Only works once per month. Trying to use this at any other time simply cause no effect what so ever.
Stethoscope of Health.
Looks like a regular Stethoscope but when anyone with a medical trait uses them they can hear a whisper in their ear when checking for a heartbeat. The voice is telling the user of any potential health problems and injuries the person they are examining may have.
The Spinning Signal Soak.
A small wooden top. Much like that a child would play with. The wood is unpainted but worn and a strange unknown writing goes around it's surface in black ink. While spinning the top cancels out every single electronic signal within a 200 foot radius. Cellphones, wifi, laptops, all of it. The devices will still work but cannot connect to any network at all. Each use costs one Psychic Point and it can be used any amount of times per day. Once spun it will stay spinning for a D6 of minutes, for each additional Psychic Point put you add another D6 to the roll.
For another game of modern day magic mayhem check out Urban Arcana over on DrivethruRPG.
Friday, September 1, 2017
But following him on social media and forums over the years one thing became very clear. He loathes the people who make up his customer base. Constantly making fun of nerds and fanboys over and over. Then his treatment of the backers for his Far West Kickstarter.
Now he just stepped up a bit more and showed how much he hates the fact that some companies are letting them release material for their systems.
Now besides him trying to wrap it up as 'it hurts you for doing this' it boils down to 'it MAY hurt me making money using your system'. What is especially ironic is that he seemed to do rather well using the D20 OGL for his stuff for years. You know that system that anybody could release stuff for. Which is just like what he is describing as bad. That movement that helped rejuvenate the hobby that was slumping pretty badly.
But now, oh no, that is a terrible idea.
The more I see coming out of him the happier I am that I stopped supporting his products. Not like it would be hard nowdays looking at how much his company has released lately. I'm just surprised that more folks aren't throwing up their hands and turning their backs on him. Especially because no matter how good his stuff is there are others out there releasing material that is just as good AND they aren't being dicks.
Lost Artifacts of Greyghast A 5e Magic Item Compendium now available in pdf and print at DrivethruRPG.