Thursday, December 31, 2015

Necromancy as a Power

I like magic as powers. It just feels so straightforward and easy to balance (or at least to keep track of). You have the magic that you have, not some crazy spell list. If you need additional powers, you have rules for stunts. Yet I've never really been happy with just listing allies. So here is a set of powers that lets a necromancer control undead, create undead, and build up massive armies with soft limits rather than hard ones, and without too much hand-waving.

The powers given here are using multiplicative modifiers, which I recommend doing any time you use a powers system.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Wember Magic is a slow but powerful magic strongly associated with cloth. The magic originates in the hands of the weavers (who are minor mages), but the true benefactors are those who can afford their prices. Most wember items are clothing, and the effects apply to the one who wears it -- or the thing wrapped in it, as some effects are useful for objects or creatures.

Friday, September 25, 2015

With Great Power Come Great Pain

 The magic items below are not 'cursed'.  They are extremely powerful items with major drawbacks. No price has been given because the artifacts value depends on the frequency magic items show up in the campaign, and on the power the artifacts give. 

While presented as rare, one of a kind items, nothing requires them to be unique, or even special. Massed produced wandering arrows are game changing but add a great deal of flavor to a setting-- and change the way combat works.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Soul Gem Magic

Amber Soul magic is a divisive form of magic. Capable of capturing an imprint of a person, those exposed to it disagree on the morality of doing so. Some maintain that capturing a soul upon death preserves the soul forever, granting the subject an afterlife and saving them from oblivion. Others claim that manipulating the souls damages the most eternal part of a person, and view taking the imprints as slavery, grave desecration, and black magic. And then there are those who don't care who right or wrong the power is, but only how useful.

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Crawlers are long aliens with many short limbs. Their main body is extremely flexible. They like different working conditions than humans, and so they are much more likely to meet virtually than actually. While they have been described as looking like centipedes, they have large reptilian scales on their main body and their claws are bony rather than chitinous. Their internal skeleton is quite strong. The great exception to their otherwise quite vertebrate build are their four mandibles, which they use in conjunction with a mass of feelers under their head to manipulate objects.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How to use the Mystery Generator

This is a mystery generator. Or more properly, a mystery seed generator. Mysteries are not something that can be approached willy-nilly. They need to be planned out beforehand, with what actually happened, motivations, and alibis. So why did I need this generator? To get started. There are a variety of tricks, complications, crimes, motivations, and so forth that drive a mystery. And humans are terrible at being truly random. Once you have your seed, you can come up with details of the crime and the mystery.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

MH: Android as Inhuman

Monster Hunter's 5 had four inhuman templates. But the race I wanted to play the most was actually the android, given just a single box of its own and barely mentioned otherwise. So I had to make one.

The android given is actually really close to 400 points -- as they said, roughly equivalent to a hunter. I was aiming for a 200 point template. The creation actually turned out a lot more customizable than I was expecting: the android's way to mental freedom determines a lot of things about it, and I left ways to get back the traits that were dropped that an individual might feel are really crucial to their version of the idea.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Letters as Dice: Gaming Without Moving Parts

This scheme allows one to use a printed (or written, or memorized) section of text as a set of dice.  You take the next letter in the sequence, and look up where it goes in the table. If you see a dash instead of a number, move onto the next number.

This isn't so much an alternate dice system for fun as it is a way to play in cramped quarters with limited resources (no dice, no computer, no cards). Though if you want to use it for fun, go ahead ...

The Table


I have a long history of doing 'table-top' gaming without a table. It started on long walks home from school with my brother. We just used the rules by rote. We needed to get home relatively quickly (rather, 2 miles is a long walk and if you dally you never get home), so we couldn't slow down to roll dice. And our dice were precious and we would never risk them out there. So instead we build a spinner out of a piece of foam board, a protractor, and some nice, new bailing wire. This was D&D, so one roll sufficed for most purposes. The first spinner worked well enough. Then it got smashed or something, and we never could make a fair one again.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What is the techie for?

I was looking at monster hunters and realized that I had absolutely no idea how to GM or play a techie. I was unsure how to empower a gadgeteer without granting world changing superscience or Ultra tech. Then I gathered my thoughts a little, and came up with a few principles to playing a techie. And then I came up with powerful things to do with a techie that utilize these options. This article focuses on the gadgeteering aspect, not the side skills.

Monday, June 8, 2015

RPM Magic Tools:

These are a set of magic tools to make your RPM experience feel more like the fanstasy: magic tools to strengthen casting. RPM already has one method to increase the power of a mage via items: grimoires. I hope that these items will fit in with them nicely.

    Cost: These tools have costs and weights given for them. When I created them, I had a TL3 to TL4 world in mind, and assumed that wizards were wealthy. If you port these tools to a TL8 world, you can increase the cost if you wish, or simply keep them the same. You can set the costs at whatever you want -- though I suggest you use multipliers than doing completely new costs.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Permanant Rituals Calculator

The system RPM: Permanant Rituals deserves a calculator, because math takes time and that's what computers are for. Here is is. Instructions for using it are in the link. I hope you enjoy it!

Tech Level:
Number of Paths:
Minimum Skill:

Monday, April 20, 2015

RPM Enchantment: Permanant Rituals

This is yet another RPM enchantment system. This system is focused on what are essentially permanent rituals at fairly cheap prices. This system is designed for open, public magic, more akin to the public wizards and purchasable magic of a fantasy setting than the secrete magic of the Monster Hunter's setting RPM was born in. And if this all seems overwhelming, the calculator for the system is here!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monster Hunters Foe Generator

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reasons to invade earth

At the start of an alien invasion story, I always hear people say "Its not economically worth it in the first place", and treat everything as nonsense afterwards. By this same argument, its not really worth it to colonize other planets either. Which is actually an entirely valid point -- if certain assumptions are made. These assumptions seem to be pretty solid in a hard science setting. But a lot of science fiction was intentionally created with exceptions to this...

So I will detail assumptions that DO make it worth your time to take an enemy planet:

Random NPC generator

The Random NPC generator is for creating a distribution of plausible NPC scores for GURPS. Right now only 7 NPC's are created at a time due to spacial concerns. The table can be copy and pasted directly into excel if you take the whole table without the buttons. The generator is here.

I hope you find it as useful as I have. I have grown dependent on this personal (personnel) tool. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Mage Slaver Demon

Most demons rely on ignorant mages to summon them by accident, ignorant of the exact details of demon summoning (MH3 p. 17). Mage Slavers instead rely on being able to punch through the defenses of the mage who summoned them, and in fact have special powers over the mage who summoned them -- thus the term "Mage slaver". They write and distribute their personal grimoires that even informed mages will identify as a safe ritual that will let them bind the demon. Only masters of demon lore (roll at -4) will recognize specific type of demon summoned.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Saranders are massive creatures that look much like salamanders the size of an alligator, with smooth sandpaper skin, massive jaws, and a powerful tail. They have four short limbs, with the front limbs being precise and delicate manipulators. Its strange to realize such a fearsome predator is a very rational and frequently bookish being. Saranders are best at home in the water -- They can only use two hands at the same time while floating. They have gills, but can survive on land for long periods of time

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cloak and Dagger Spaceships

Gurps: spaceships is an wonderful product, and one I love. But using it with no tweaking tends to a very specific style of combat. So how do you tweak it to run a specific style?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Tree Crab

Tree crabs are arboreal beings with an alien set of senses and a fairly different set of desires from humans. They can fill many rolls in a setting, but one of the main is to establish weird physiology.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Vasic Stones: Magic as Technology

Vasic Stones are made from the foundation of the universe, and represent a unique connection between the worlds that exist. With an ordinary piece of chalk, an informed user can change the very nature of the piece of the universe they are in, drawing energy, materials, and even laws of nature from other universes. All that is required is the chalk to inform the stone correctly.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How to stat an alien species

Coming up with the idea for an alien species can be tough, if rewarding work. But so often when you decide to give it game stats, it transforms from a 3-dimensional creature into a one dimensional upgrade for a character, or even worse, ignored because it isn't an upgrade! But there are ways around this. Ways that will even help refine what it is to be alien...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Death Merchant

Death Merchants appear as clouds with varying degrees of opacity, devoid of any features but the occasional tendril. Death Merchants visit those who have a loved one who is desperately ill, declare that 'Your concern has reached us, and we are willing to make a deal'. They make an offer -- the loved one's life for their own. The deal is presented as though the buyers will die, and as if the death merchant doesn't really care which soul they get.

This is all a deception.

Awan: World of Floating Islands

Land of Floating Islands, Awan is lit by one sun and two moons, though the light almost never penetrates to the surface. Most of the vegetation on Awan floats through supernatural means, each at a different height. The native life of Awan consists mostly of giant insects and 6-limbed vertebrates -- hippogriffs and dragons should be considered to have the classic body plan.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Linus von Yorben

An example of how to build a character using the ISWAT templates:

1) I'm going to build a suave swashbuckler. He's a combat character, but he'll really excel at moving around, and have good social skills. ISWAT uses him for his ability to be blunt and stir things up without revealing the secrete, and for his ability to make daring escapes afterwards. We'll call the guy Linus von Yorben.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Infinite Worlds Templates

The greatest problem in playing GURPS is the heavy character investment time. The classical solution is character templates. The best 'ready to use' templates are the uniform point instruction sets found at the beginning of each series. They seem especially useful for doing one shot games, or introducing players.

I am a huge fan of infinite worlds. The Setting allows me to do so much, and it really explores what gurps is. That said, the classic ISWAT campaign isn't something that you can put up fast, character-wise... until now.

This system is aimed at being able to create ISWAT style characters rapidly. It does this by having a number of templates (or lenses, if you choose) that can be put together quickly and then filled out.

Here is the index to the system

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Alternate Added Traits for RPM

RPM is a very useful and intriguing magic system, because it can do most anything. However, some parts of it scale better than others. One of my favorite quotes is the observation that it takes as much energy to blow up the planet as it does to turn yourself into a ghost for 10 minutes. A few more observations follow:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Sample IQ Qualities Costs

This was created in order to save you doing math. The sets are arranged by their spread (by how many numbers are the same and how far apart they are. Some are given names for convenience.

Quality Example Pricings

The hardest part of the quality system is the pricing. Here are a few examples worked out so you can get a feel for it.

Joe Plumber

As a simple example, lets consider Joe Plumber, a very capable handyman man who doesn't get or like people or book learning. He has:

Splitting up IQ: Qualities

IQ is an extremely wide category -- it covers everything from building a boat to passing yourself off as someone else to solving complex math equations. This was fine when Gurps was a game about combat: it was the 'everything else' category. And in a game thats still overwhelmingly about combat, its still works fine. However, it struggles when it tries to focus on a game that isn't all about combat or other physical activity. The way this shows up tends to be in IQ being too cheap and IQ being too broad. A classical example is the wizard who has to sink lots of points into IQ to cast spells and then causally puts a single point into fast talk and becomes the de facto face man.

One of the first things to do in this situation is to start charging 20 points for IQ rather than 20 points for IQ+will+per, and to encourage talents. This was a solid effect of lowering general IQ, but keeping the specialities of the character intact. This is sufficient for a lot of concepts, particularly concepts useful to PCs. It breaks down after the talent reaches a certain size though: a 15 point talent is rarely competitive even with the expanded 20 point IQ -- though some do exist. This becomes particularly apparent when trying to stat very round characters (like a real life person).

My solution is called Qualities. IQ has been split up into six broad 'qualities' with a seventh that can spawn additional supernatural uses.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Slimy Grubbers

Slimy Grubbers are secretive water loving fae that build expansive networks of gates. They are not usually enemies of those studying the supernatural, but annoying opportunities.

Slimy Grubbers are small fae, most of them reaching no less than 3 feet high. They have slimy, cold, amphibian skin, long spindly fingers, ugly faces that have 'beards' consisting of loose skin, large vertically flattened tails, and beady eyes. They live in the depths of pools, fountains, and other bodies of water where things are frequently lost -- they have a fascination with things that mortals loose. They often snatch such objects up and carry them away to their nests -- where the rightful owner is quite unlikely to ever see them again.