Sunday, July 28, 2019

More Fey Creatures

Here are stats and descriptions for two more creatures, the dryad and the banshee.

-Nate




Dryad
These female creatures look like beautiful women wearing scant clothing, perhaps decorated with garlands of leaves or flowers. Their hair color and complexion varies based on the tree to which each is bonded (see below for details).
Dryads live in remote forested areas, most notably in Europe but in other parts of the world, too. They are guardians of such wild places, aiding the creatures that live their while protecting against the destructive intrusion of outsiders.

Dryad
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Healing d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Stealth d6, Survival d8
Pace: 6, Parry: 4, Toughness: 5
Edges: Woodsman
Hindrances: Loyal
Special Abilities
  • Tree Bond: Every dryad is bonded to a particular tree, and suffers damage when that tree is harmed. In this way, trees should be treated as having Toughness 8, but can suffer wounds just like characters; the wound penalty applies to the bonded dryad, too. After three wounds the tree is cut down, which kills the dryad.
Gear: None.



Banshee
These fey creatures often take one of two forms, either a beautiful but very sad young woman dressed in the plain garb of mourning, or old and decrepit women. In either case they are known for their wail, which is always sorrowful but can be absolutely terrifying.
Banshees are spirits associated with death and grief. They are known to haunt ruins and old burial mounds, where they keen about the loss of life and destruction that has occurred there. Some believe that, when sighted in other locations, there presence is a harbinger of approaching tragedy and doom.

Banshee
Attributes: Agility d6 Smarts d4, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Notice d6, Stealth d8
Pace: 6, Parry: 2, Toughness: 6
Edges: Danger Sense
Hindrances: Vengeful
Special Abilities
  • Ethereal: See the core rulebook for details.
  • Wail: When a banshee wails, all characters within a large blast template must make a Spirit check at a -3 penalty; those who fail must then roll on the Fear Table (at +3) and suffer the resulting effects.
Gear: None.


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Fey Creatures

Presented here are stats for two fey creatures, for use with the Savage Worlds RPG in general, and the worlds of the Shadow Roads and The Sixth Gun comics in particular.

-Nate



Vodyanoi
These creatures have grayish skin and green hair; they look like a cross between humans and frogs. Their fingers are webbed to aid in swimming, and they have tails like fish. Sharp claws are useful for hunting prey as well as for defense.

Vodyanoi live in the water, but make lairs in adjacent land. They are normally content to leave humans alone, but have been known to seek revenge—such as by sabotaging dams or boats—when angered. Suspicious land-dwellers sometimes accuse them of drowning unsuspecting victims, but those claims have not yet been substantiated.

Vodyanoi
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Athletics d6, Fighting d6, Notice d6, Repair d4, Stealth d6, Survival d8
Pace: 2, Parry: 5, Toughness: 6
Edges: None
Special Abilities
  • Aquatic: Pace 6
  • Claws Str + d4
Gear: None





Sylph
These small creatures look like beautiful humans—most commonly women—wearing light clothing, with insect-like wings sprouting from their backs and decorations of flower petals, shells and other such natural materials adding to their beauty.

Sylphs tend to go about their lives while paying attention to humans only when necessary. They build comfortable dwellings in the branches of trees and dine on pollen, nectar, water and the like. These creatures do have a love of shiny objects carried by the Big People, and thus sometimes take things that don't belong to them.

Sylph
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d4, Vigor d4
Skills: Fighting d4, Notice d6, Stealth d10, Survival d8, Thievery d8
Pace: 2, Parry: 4, Toughness: 4
Edges: Dodge
Hindrances: Curious
Special Abilities
  • Flight: Pace 10; Size -3
Gear: Clothing, tiny sword (Damage Str + d4), miscellaneous shiny objects

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Invisible College

This post presents the Invisible College, a secret organization out of Great Britain for use with roleplaying games set in the worlds of the Shadow Roads and The Sixth Gun comics.

-Nate




Introduction
It is widely known that the English Renaissance was a time of tremendous inquiry, exploration, discovery and expression. In the center of it all was Queen Elizabeth I, who reigned for more than forty years. Much of the credit for these developments, is due to the unprecedented group of people whom she collected around herself, who worked to investigate (and exploit) the mysteries of the world in may different ways.
  • There was a particularly notable group of sailors and explorers, including Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, Henry Hudson, John and Richard Hawkins, John and Sebastian Cabot, Martin Frobisher, and others.
  • Artists, writers and architects included the likes of William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe and Christopher Wren.
  • Among the natural philosophers, none is more notable than Sir Francis Bacon, who is credited by some as inventing the modern scientific method. Indeed, his beliefs regarding methods of inquiry gave rise to the Royal Society, under the auspices of which the Invisible College secretly operates.
  • Elizabeth also retained the services of mathematician, astronomer and—some would say—occultist John Dee.
  • Finally, the queen also had dealings with the Irish ship captain Grace O'Malley, whom some refer to as the Pirate Queen, a woman who commanded castles and soldiers, ships and crews in Ireland.
In addition to their many and varied discoveries and contributions to society at large, these individuals also helped found the organization that would become known as the Invisible College. It is dedicated to investigating the occult mysteries of the world, using them to the benefit of the British Empire, and protecting them from exploitation by hostile powers.


History
The Invisible College was founded during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England, at her command and with the influence of the notable explorers, artists and other people mentioned above. Eventually an offshoot of the group, the Royal Society, would become something of a public face for continued investigation into scientific matters, while the College would continue secretly delving into matters of an occult nature. As mentioned above, the time of her leadership was tremendously productive, during which many different discoveries took place. 

The Invisible College continue to thrive under the reigns of James I and Charles I, both of whom continued their patronage of the College. A major disruption occurred, however, during the Puritan Revolution. That was when Charles I was beheaded, and rulership passed to Oliver and then Richard Cromwell. Like many of their Puritan associates, they had little tolerance for the—according to them—heretical study of magic. That brought on five years of activity more secretive than the College's usual discretion, conducted without official sanction or financial support.

Matters seemed to settle after the Restoration, when Charles II was put on the throne. The College continued to operate in secret, but once again had authoritative and monetary aid. There was a notable incident in the American colonies, however, at the Massachusetts colony in the New World. There, Puritan settlers—who'd left England due to intolerance following the Restoration—accused a number of their fellows of practicing witchcraft. Indeed, nineteen of the accused were even convicted, sentenced to death and executed for their crimes. Although many historians believe the incident was due to some kind of mass hysteria, at least a few had been engaged in the study of magic.

A real test of the College occurred during the reign of King George III, who was mad. During his reign a schism erupted between those British citizens in the Americas who were loyal to the Crown and those who sought independence for the colonies. This led, of course, to the American Revolution, which saw the Crown lose control of its people in the New World. Some of those colonists who had had dealings with the Invisible College even pressed to found their own organization dedicated to magical investigations, which in 1789 came to be the Black Stars. During the War of 1812 agents of the Invisible College attempted to recover some of their lost assets, including during attacks on Washington, DC and New Orleans.

The Enlightenment brought about many notable scientific discoveries, and also a period of great skepticism regarding magic. That is just fine for the current members of the Invisible College who continue working to protect Great Britain—once again under the reign of a powerful queen, Victoria—from possible harm caused by eldritch enemies.


Bases of Operations

The maintains its headquarters in the heart of London, using a museum of cultural history as its front. This building is three stories in height, with steps leading up to the front door (1). Inside there is a lobby for receiving visitors (2). Small niches are filled with comfortable chairs and tables for those who need to rest (3), and doors lead into stairways that lead from floor to floor (4). Twenty-two different open rooms (5) provide space for displaying non-magical items, usually with a particular theme for each area. Finally, an atrium in the center of the building (6) is lit from above by skylights, and surrounded on the upper levels by a railing.


The repository's underground level is something else entirely. Hallways lead around much of the interior (1), and there are garderobes (2) and storage closets (3) throughout the place. Two sets of stairs (4) lead up to the above-ground levels; they are kept locked at all times. There are small private rooms, which double as offices, for junior (5) and senior members (6) of the organization. In the middle of it all is the mess hall (7). Two bunk rooms house the guards (8), and there is an armory stocked with weapons (9). Toward the rear of the facility is the kitchen (10), along with a well-stocked pantry (11) and the cook's quarters (12). Several holding cells are located in one corner (13), and there is even a room for interrogating—some would even say torturing—prisoners (14). Opposite them is the library (15), attached to which are the Headmaster's quarters (16) and a secret chamber for holding items of particular value (17). 


Treasures of the Invisible College
It goes without saying that this organization possesses numerous magical treasures. Their library, of course, is filled with various grimoires (from page 40 of The Sixth Gun RPG), along with more mundane texts. They also have an onyx mirror (similar to the one depicted in “South of the Border”)—in fact, the very one that formerly belonged to John Dee. This is a good opportunity for the GM to introduce other relics, too, depending on the desires of the players and the needs of the campaign.




Personnel
The following individuals inhabit the Invisible College's Repository.

Guard (Novice)
These individuals are tough and dedicated to protecting the members, activities and secrets of the Invisible College. Fourteen guards man the repository.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d8, Fighting d8, Healing d4, Notice d4, Repair d4, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Swimming d6
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 6, Toughness: 6
Edges: Brawny
Hindrances: Loyal
Gear: Functional clothing, sword (Damage Str+d6), pistol (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6, RoF 1).

Guard Sergeant (Seasoned)
Those guards who've gained some experience are given positions of command over their fellows. There are three such in the repository—one in command of each guard squad, and the old cook.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d8, Fighting d8, Healing d4, Notice d4, Repair d4, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Swimming d6
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 6, Toughness: 6
Edges: Alertness, Brave, Brawny, Improved Block, Marksman
Hindrances: Loyal
Gear: Functional clothing, sword (Damage Str+d6), pistol (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6, RoF 1).

Junior Investigator (Novice)
Each of these magical adepts is relatively new to the practice of match, but definitely not unskilled. They specialize in discovering information, either through books and interviews or by questioning the dead in a given location. Eight of them serve in the Repository.
Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Investigation d8, Knowledge d8, Notice d8, Shooting d4, Spellcasting d8 Streetwise d6
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 2, Toughness: 5
Edges: Arcane Background (Sorcery)
Hindrances: Curious
Special Abilities
Power Points: 10; Powers: Detect/conceal arcana, dispel, grave speak
Gear: Functional clothing, magical accouterments, pocket pistol (Range 5/10/20, Damage 2d6, RoF 1).

Senior Investigator (Veteran)
Those field agents who've proven that they can track down relics and lore—and survive the dangers inherent in doing so—are promoted to positions of greater autonomy and authority. Sometimes they even lead their juniors on assignments that require more personnel, too. There are currently four of these individuals in the Repository.
Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Investigation d8, Knowledge d8, Notice d8, Shooting d4, Spellcasting d10 Streetwise d8
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 2, Toughness: 5
Edges: Arcane Background (Sorcery), Investigator, New Power x3, Power Points, Rapid Recharge
Hindrances: Curious
Special Abilities
Power Points: 15; Powers: Boost/lower Trait, deflection, deflection, detect/conceal arcana, dispel, grave speak
Gear: Functional clothing, magical accouterments, pocket pistol (Range 5/10/20, Damage 2d6, RoF 1), grimoire.

Chief Investigator (Legendary)
Description
Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Investigation d8, Knowledge d8, Notice d8, Shooting d4, Spellcasting d12, Streetwise d8
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 2, Toughness: 5
Edges: Arcane Background (Sorcery), Connections, Ghost Sight, Improved Rapid Recharge, Investigator, New Power x5, Noble, Power Points x2, Power Surge, Rapid Recharge, Relic Hunter
Hindrances: Curious
Special Abilities
Power Points: 20; Powers: Armor, boost/lower Trait, deflection, deflection, detect/conceal arcana, dispel, drain power points, grave speak
Gear: Functional clothing, magical accouterments, pocket pistol (Range 5/10/20, Damage 2d6, RoF 1), grimoire, other relics at the GM's discretion.


Plot Hooks
The Invisible College could be involved in all of the following business.
  • This organization could be an employer, ally, rival or outright enemy for PCs who themselves are pursuing magical relics and lore.
  • To that end, they could pop up during scenarios involving lost treasures, especially “Buried But Not Dead,” “Restless Spirits” and “South of the Border,” along with “Bad Medicine,” “Beyond the Veil” and “Unfettered.”
  • It's especially likely that they'd have to work together if they and the PCs discovered a powerful group or creature that posed a truly serious threat to the world.
  • There is a deep sense of competition between agents of the College and “those bloody Yanks” who work for the Black Stars.
  • They have a similar relationship—and one with even less respect—to the Knights of Solomon, whom they regard as dangerous.
  • Some of this group's agents might pose as wannabe cowboys, particularly ones who want to invest in cattle ranching, in order to conduct occult business in America.
  • The College has conducted numerous exploratory missions in the past, not all of which returned; the PCs might find the wreck of one such vessel, along with any relics or lore that it still contains.
  • Such was the case, in fact, with one College operative who used the pseudonym Prospero and who was skilled in binding spirits to his will.
  • Given their ability to communicate with spirits of the deceased, they are also quite good at digging up previously lost evidence.
  • When they need to communicate with each other over long distances, be it by letter or telegram, agents use an elaborate system of codes.
  • Should one or more of the PCs be captured by the College—or if they want to steal relics or texts—the PCs might decide to stage a daring raid on the Repository.
  • Of course, if all of the PCs were captured, then making an escape could be a means of overcoming what had been a crushing defeat.