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Meet the Party: Scum and Villainy

A washed out veteran with a knack for pushing his luck at the right moment on high stakes jobs. A illegitimate noblewoman, using her inherited charm and connections to build a shadow kingdom of her own. A grieving father, who can hold together a ship together with duct tape and prayers, but can’t do the same for himself. An ace pilot, disillusioned about the costs of war and desperate to find work after fighting on the losing side.Meet the Party brings you ready-to-play characters, complete with backgrounds and relationships, for use both in your own games and as inspiration for creating characters of your own.   Strap on your holster and fire up the engines, it’s time to be space cowboy bad guys!

Last week we went over the recent Forged in the Dark product from Off Guard Games and  Evil Hat Productions, Scum and Villainy. There was a small bit of table fiction in the beginning of the review, and it struck a chord. What followed was the groundwork for a group of smugglers, blockade runners and overall Ne’er-do-wells for profit, the crew of the Freefall.


Scoundrel – Ari “Zen” Soto

The Veteran of the Core Wars

Heritage: Imperial

Background: Military-Core Wars Veteran

Vice: Obligation – Those left behind

Look: Male, Worn Uniform

Close Friend: Battro, a bounty hunter who was a comrade

Rival: Nyx, a moneylender who is on Ari’s case

Starting Ability: Serendipitous (Your crew starts with +1 gambit when the pool resets)

Special Ability: Never Tell Me the Odds (You generate gambits on desperate rolls. You may also generate gambits even if you spent a gambit)

 

Attributes and Skills

Insight ()()()()()()

Prowess ()()()()()()

Helm 1

Scramble 1

Skulk 1

Scrap 1

Resolve ()()()()()()

Command 1

Sway 2

Special Items: Fine Blaster Pistol (or Pair 2 slots ), Fine Coat, Loaded Dice or Trick Holo-cards, Forged Documents, Mystic Ammunition, Personal Memento (italicized items don’t require Load)

 

Backstory: Ari was raised in the core, mostly taking it for granted that he was born into the center of civilization. As a dutiful citizen, it was his patriotic duty to volunteer when the core, and his zeal and his willingness to take chances earned his way up to an NCO rating. However, the fighting would take a toll on him. He watched as his comrades fell around him as a result of his risky plans, and the losses weighed on him. When he finished his tour, he felt an obligation to the families of his fallen men, and tried to raise money to send to them. However, he couldn’t find any way to do so legally, and began working as a smuggler. Working as a criminal led him to a brotherhood of a different kind, one where it was not unusual to be stabbed in the back. Looking to recreate something closer to his old unit, he began to search out for similar lost souls, ones he felt could be trusted…at least as long as the pay was good. Ari stays cool under pressure, and is doesn’t back down in a risky situation, which carries over to his ability Never Tell Me the Odds. Normally, the party can only regain Gambit on Risky rolls, but Ari can on accrue Desperate rolls as well, helping out his risky ways.

 

THE SPEAKER – Samara “Sammi” Wren

The Financier

Heritage: Wanderer

Background: Noble

Vice: Luxury – Grand Parties

Look: Female, Loose Silks, Tight Pants

Close Friend: Je-Zee, her diplomat father

Rival/Enemy: Arryn, a noble half-sibling who despises her

Staring Ability: Air of Respectability (You get an extra downtime activity to acquire
assets or lay low)

Special Ability: Favors Owed (During downtime, you get +1 d when you acquire assets

or lay low. Any time you gather info, take +1d)

 

Attributes and Skills

Insight ()()()()()()

Study 1

Doctor 2

Prowess ()()()()()()

Resolve ()()()()()()

Command 2

Consort 2

 

Special Items: Fine Clothes, Legitimate ID, Luxury Item, Luxury Item, Large Luxury Item, Memento of a Past Encounter

 

Backstory: Samara’s upbringing was…well, unconventional for the most part. Her father was a diplomat from the Core, who was almost constantly on the move. It was along the way that her Je-Zee met her mother, and took her as a paramour…something that his noble wife was not happy with. Regardless of his reasons, his popularity and charm caused him to come off as an eccentric and Samara was raised as an acknowledged illegitimate child. Her father’s ability to charm and ingratiate people rubbed off on her, and she loved the high life, always seeing the best of wherever she went. However, it became clear that stood nothing to inherit, as everything would pass to Aryn, her legitimate sibling.

 

It was at one of these high life parties that she began to notice a trend of movers and shakers using the gathering for some illicit smuggling. With her wide path of travel, she was able to point some people in the right direction and she found himself with quite a few number of Favors Owed to her. It just so happened that she found herself in need of a reliable smuggler when she ran into Ari, who needed a startup and the two have found themselves in a mutually beneficial arrangement. While she often will drop off the ship to go planetside to take care of business, she enjoys being able to sneak off for something more exciting, and her trips tend to drum up paydays.

 

MECHANIC – Greeg “Grease” Kromyl

The Ship Mechanic

Heritage: Spacer

Background: Guilder

Vice: Stupor – Alcohol

Look: Male, Work Boots, Suspenders

Close Friend: Slice, a junkyard owner who gives him first shot at the good stuff

Rival: Nisa, a previous employer who fired him for drunkenness

Special Ability: Tinker: When you work on a clock with rig or hack, or when you study

a schematic, fill +1 segment.

Starting Ability: Bailing Wire and Mech-Tape: You get an extra downtime activity to repair, and the repair activity costs you 0 cred.

 

Attributes and Skills

Insight ()()()()()()

Rig 2

Hack 2

Study 1

Prowess ()()()()()()

Scramble 1

Resolve ()()()()()()

Attune 1

Special Items: Fine Hacking Rig, Fine Ship Repair Tools, Small Drone, Vision-Enhancing Goggles, Spare Parts, Genius Pet

 

Backstory: Grease grew up a spacer, learning the workings of mechanics by necessity to keep parts working on the ship. He found that he had a natural aptitude: machines almost seemed to “speak” to him as he brought them to life. With his skills, he was brought onboard the Guild as a ship mechanic. He settled down to start a family and was mostly content with his life, modest as it was.

What changed it was his son leaving to go to war. Grease begged him not to, but his son had no intention of staying in the guild with his father. In less than a year, his son was killed in combat. Distraught, Grease hit the bottle hard, breaking up his marriage and causing him to be kicked out of the guild. With no pension, and no benefits, Grease was awash when he was approached by Ari, his son’s former CO. Ari helped him sober up, and offered him a job. With stability, and someone to can alternately care for him and kick his ass, Grease has managed to return some normalcy to his life. He isn’t a huge fan of this smuggling thing, but it pays the bills and keeps him working and he can bring every dirty trick in the book from his Guild days to keep things running.

 

THE PILOT – Ren “Highball” Indigo

The Adrenaline Junkie

Heritage: Colonist

Background: Military

Vice: Addiction – Stims

Look: Ambiguous, Flight Suit

Close Friend: Choss, a professional racer who likes to share tips

Rival: Mav, a former mentor who is still fighting for “the cause”

Starting Ability: Ace Pilot (You have potency on all speed-related rolls. When you roll to resist the consequences of piloting, gain +1d)

Special Ability: Keen Eye (You have sharp eyes and notice small details many might
overlook. Gain +1d when firing ship guns or making trick shots.)

Attributes and Skills

Insight ()()()()()()

Rig 1

Study 1

Prowess ()()()()()()

Helm 2

Scrap 2

Scramble 1

Resolve ()()()()()()

 

Special Items: Fine Customized Spacesuit, Fine Small Urbot, Fine Mechanics Kit, Grappling Hook, Guild License, Victory Cigars

 

Backstory:Colonies were once a wild frontier, a place where people could make a life for themselves without the rules and scrutiny of life back in “civilization”. They might not have had much, but they were free to settle things themselves how they saw fit. The Hegemony didn’t see things that way, annexing the colonies that had been formed. Ren immediately jumped at the call.

 

In the beginning, the colonies held their own pretty well, and Ren made a name as a sharp pilot and a hardened veteran. However, as the war dragged along, supplies and manpower began stretched thin, causing them to resort to more desperate tactics: raiding civilian shipping as pirates. It was too much for Ren, who was shocked at how far things had gone, prompting a quick exit from the cause.

 

Work was lean after that. There wasn’t much call for new pilots for the Hegemony, especially ones with murky backgrounds, most fellow veterans weren’t on speaking terms. Ren actually encountered Ari at battlefield graveyard, each set to mourn each other’s side. Ari was putting a crew together, and wasn’t picky about history, as long as neither side asked too many questions. Ren is a keen eye in the cockpit, and knows how to get the Freefall crew out of sticky situations.


How They Interact

Ari: Samara is, for now, a bit of an uneasy partnership. She comes from a life of luxury that is absolutely alien to him, and it boggles his mind that she can step from that life to that of a criminal. It is uncomfortable to be in her pocket like this, but he can’t deny that work has been coming in a great deal more frequently.

 

Ari still has a soft spot for Grease, mostly out of guilt for the loss of Grease’s son, and that guilt causes him to turn a blind eye more often than not. Ari knows that the drinking is a problem, but he can’t bring himself to be too harsh…for now. It isn’t just Grease’s own life that he’s risking now.

 

There’s something intensely familiar about Ren, eyes that light up with a dark thrill. Ari’s heard people describe something similar about himself and it surprised him to find that there were others like him. There’s always wariness between them, but Ari can’t bring himself to hate Ren. Both of them have done things they would rather not talk about, and as much as he might enjoy a confidant, he’s letting things lie for now.

 

Samara: There’s something charming about Ari, the almost perpetual half smirk and a willingness to make the play for the greatest reward, no matter the cost. He makes her feel like a faker at times, which makes her want to step into the action more. She could do worse than having a dashing scoundrel by her side the next time Arryn wants to make things personal, and she’s happy that she can rely on Ari to pull together and manage the crew.

 

Grease is a drunk, and she cannot be too far away from him. She had attempted to convince Ari to cut the man loose, but then she saw the change in maintenance expenses. She doesn’t know how (especially with the cost of booze), but the man is a genius at cost cutting while keep the ship up and running. She’s giving him a pass, but if he slips, make no mistake, she wants him gone.

 

Ren is quite a thrill to ride with! Samara has no idea where Ari found him (or her?), but Ren has made a few crazy stunts in flight. She would be willing to cozy up to Ren, except for the fact that Ren seems to always be glaring daggers in her direction. She can’t remember doing anything particularly bad, and Ari has been particularly tight lipped about it. He has assured her that it won’t be a problem, and Ren seems perfectly capable.

 

Grease: Ari is a good kid, and someone who he owes a great debt to. Ari disagrees, but the death of his son is Grease’s own fault for being unable to stop him from enlisting. The man needs to stop torturing himself…that’s Grease’s cross to bear. Ari gets on him for his drinking, but it’s mostly affectionate, and it is a bittersweet reminder of his old family.

 

Samara is a damn fine woman. She’s far too young for him of course, and she very clearly has no interest in an old codger like him, so it’s strictly an academic observation. He might be a drunk, but he’s seen enough of the signs of a hustler when he sees one. After all, he’s been a mark more times than he can count. It’s a strangely comforting thing to see that she is just like the rest of the, no matter what airs she puts on, and the extra creds she brings in are no joke.

 

Grease feels uncomfortable around Ren. Ren is notoriously tight lipped about the past, but over time it’s become obvious that Ren has some kind of military experience. There’s something…wrong about the terms Ren uses though, ways of saying things that don’t sound like the way his own son and Ari describe them, which means there’s a good chance Ren was on the other side. Grease hasn’t brought it up with him. Maybe he doesn’t want to know…maybe he knows how he would react if he knew for sure.

Ren: It’s a bit odd working with someone on the other side of the war, but Ren can see the same regret and loss in Ari. Both have been pretty disillusioned with their respective sides, which makes for fair cooperation. His plans are usually a lot of fun, and he lets Ren do some crazy stunts in the process, so there are definitely worse bosses.

 

Samara is a walking, talking embodiment of everything Ren hates about the core worlds. As far as Ren can tell, she doesn’t do anything but swan around in fancy dresses and go to parties, and yet she brings in more coin than anyone in the crew. The way Ari tells it though, that extra coin is what keeps the ship afloat and in repair after some of Ren’s own “forceful” maneuvers push it to the limit so for now Samara is a necessary evil.

 

Grease tends to make Ren feel guilty. It was easy to fight the Core when you hated them, but seeing the family of the other side and their sorrows has a nasty side effect of reminding you that they are human. The man clearly is going through some issues going by the booze on his breath, but he is free enough with his drinks, even when he is at his wariest.


The Freefall

CF-350 Series Scarab-class Freighter

Size: Freighter (Medium, can land on planets)

Starting gambits: 3

Crew Reputation: Honorable

STARTING SYSTEMS
Crew quality (0/3).
Engines (1/4). Installed: Jump Drive

Hull (2/5). Installed: Cargo Hold, Smuggling Compartments.
Comms (0/4). Installed: None.
Weapons (1/2). Installed:Particle Cannons

STARTING UPGRADES
Auxiliary: Galley.

Training: Insight.

Particle Cannons

False Ship Papers

 

The Freefall is mainly equipped to run deliveries, smuggle items and break blockades. While not completely street legal, they boast a pair of Particle Cannons to chase off persistent pursuers. If they need to go somewhere they shouldn’t be allowed, their False Ship Papers are useful for sliding past customs.

The Future

There are plenty of ways for the future to go, but there are definitely some tracks laid. The crew of the Freefall will acquire more group experience for taking on delivery and smuggling jobs, and while they are free to take on a whole host of other challenges and puzzles, the first few sessions at least will likely steer them in that direction. Samara’s contacts will provide plenty of work, at least to start, and will be likely to continue as long as good work is done. But crews who make good money don’t stay anonymous for long, and there will be rivals and law enforcement aplenty to keep them on their toes.

 

However, their most dangerous enemies may be themselves. They are all interconnected by the mutual needs of the situation but there are definitely fault lines. This could help develop the characters, and help them get over their issues…or it could split up the team. The only way to know is to play!

The Independents: Seven Wonders

How did the children from Narnia cope with adulthood?  How does a dystopian society rise, and how does it fall? What happens in your village when the heroes are away? What would you sacrifice to save your family? Who protects your home when you’re not looking? What’s it like to voyage into a black hole? What do heroes talk about on the eve of a decisive battle? Seven questions need seven answers, and seven story games provide them. This time out The Independents are going to be exploring a wide range of themes, settings, characters, and framing devices as we check out the story roleplaying game anthology Seven Wonders from Pelgrane Press!

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The Independents: Scum and Villainy

“Easy does it friend.” Ari raises his hands as Marx levels his gun. He raises his voice again across the hanger. “You wouldn’t want to do anything hasty now. I’m sure there’s room to negotiate here. All we want is to get paid, and the artifact is yours.” Already the situation was looking bad. Marx, the supposed buyer they were set up to deal with, chose to bring his own group of thugs, and it seemed like their idea of negotiation involves bullets.

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The Independents: Monster of the Week

A dark shadow lurks at the edge of town. Bodies with strange markings have been found throughout the city. Strange omens appear in the skies. Who will face these grim threats? A blue collar warlock, pulling out his street smarts as much as his arcane knowledge? A girl once given a “gift” by a faerie godmother, that helps (and compels) her to action? The last member of a defunct Order, sworn to stop Nazi experiments of the same? The roaming hunter, traveling from town to town to find the creature who killed his brother? The government agent who has stumbled into something larger, and can’t look away? Together, they will find out…why all these different monsters always seem to arrive like clockwork on one day of the week. It’s uncanny. This is Monster of the Week!

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Kickstarter Wonk: August, 2018

Just when you thought it was safe to go back on Kickstarter . . . the lazy relaxed summer of June and July has given way to the insanity of a pre-GenCon product push! There were over twenty Kickstarters of new games, and even after picking out the second editions of recent games (Reign, Geist) and games we’ve already covered, it was still tough to narrow it down to just ten! The ten here represent games that do something new, whether it be through new mechanics or new ideas for settings. There are also a couple revivals, which are more than mere second editions due to long absences from publication as well as dramatic rules revisions. All in all, this set of ten Kickstarters represents a swathe of games that are giving us something new with rules, genre, or format.

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Time Travel: Paradoxes as Improv Practice

Time Travel is a daunting mechanic for any GM to attempt to incorporate in their game. While using time travel as a platform for historical settings and conflicts can be fun, eventually your players are going to ask “wait, what happens if we show Beethoven a recording of his Fifth Symphony before he writes it?” or, even more problematic, “can I go kill my grandfather?” These are questions which, for the sake of the integrity of the concept, can’t be left completely unanswered (though you can probably tell the player trying to kill his own grandfather to drop it before something bad happens). The good thing is that time travel as a game concept leans heavily on improv, and does so in a way that can be very helpful with developing your improv muscles in a fun, non-game breaking way. That’s because with time travel, you can come up with whatever consequences you want…the players already have the mechanism to fix it.

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Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game 30th Anniversary Edition Review

A long time ago in a Tabletop RPG company far, far away . . . West End Games released its Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game. The game would go on to produce two full editions (plus one revision of 2e) and more than one hundred sourcebooks and adventure supplements, but as with most things time eventually moved on. West End Games closed up shop, the Star Wars RPG license transferred to other companies and other systems, and the fans of the original SWTRPG were left to carry the flame as best they could. Now, however, Fantasy Flight Games has brought it back into the light with Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game 30th Anniversary Edition!

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City of Mist Review

The smoke from the hookah lounge downtown swims through the place, heavy and sweet. At a back lounge sits a bald man with a gold hoop earing who knows just what you need to do to get what you want…if are able to ignore the literal fire flickering in his eyes. In the Industrial District’s meatpacking plant, a grizzled old timer working the graveyard shift wonders how life passed him by, noting with some curiosity how his skin didn’t break on that saw, when he slipped and ponders why all the leftover animal parts always seem to vanish when he takes a nap on the job…and why he just gets hungrier whenever that happens. In the financial district there is a business guru who, despite his age, always seems to be in exceptional vigor and with an improbable knack for turning seemingly useless investments into gold…and nobody seems to know how long he’s been here? It’s like he’s practically immortal. But lots of strange things happen in The City. Once its inhabitants were wide eyed and agape, but now they’ve seen it all…or so they like to think.

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No Place Like (The Party’s) Home

When someone says the word ‘adventurer’, the picture of a steady home life is not often one of the images called to mind. The dusty road, the shadows between the megascrapers, the space between the stars, these are most often the places that adventurers spend their time and make their fortune – or lose everything. While being an adventurer, or really any type of player character. almost universally involves going where others won’t either physically or mentally, I think there’s something to be said for breaking the mold and giving them a tavern, a ship, a base, a business, a home. While it might not be the one they were all born to, a party of adventurers with a place of their own can certainly turn it into a place that makes them feel like they belong.

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