Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

NPCs and plot hooks from your favorite TV show.

cartoon_tv_lampI’m fascinated about the creativity and productivity shown by fellow bloggers that I read on a regular basis.  My own creative spark works best when I’m riffing on someone else’s bright idea.  So, when Uncle Bear recently posted about being inspired by one of my favorite shows, Ghost Hunters that got my brain working.  This team of average people (the lead guys are plumbers for Roto Rooter) investigate the paranormal by looking to disprove the evidence.  Uncle Bear did a bang up job of deconstructing this show for mining as NPCs.

This got me thinking, what other shows could be mined for NPCs or plot hooks?

Drama shows are easy, especially if you’re playing a game around the setting of the drama or wanting to incorporate that setting into your current game.  Need a doctor? stat out House or Private Practice.  Need a lawyer? stat out Boston Legal.  Need a cop/law enforcement? stat out The Shield or any one of the CSI shows.

Comedies are good fodder as well.  If you’re in need of a bumbling repairman who thinks he’s better than everyone else at fixing things, stat out Tim “the Toolman” Taylor from Home Improvement.

Reality shows can provide good plot hooks.  Dancing with the Stars; your PCs have crashed the ball in search of clues for their quest and unless they can dance better than the society regulars there, they’ll be found out.  Survivor; an evil wizard has spirited the PCs off to an island along with the direct counter-parts to your PCs group.  Only by working together can the PCs escape but can they convince the other team to help or will your PCs sabotage their efforts.  Wife Swap; your PCs suddenly find their (insert class here) is suddenly switched out with a completely different character, how will they react?

Upcoming articles for Gaming in the Universe of…
Ghost Hunters
Mythbusters

Savage World stats for Mike Rowe and Tim “The Toolman” Taylor

mike-rowe-dirty-jobsName: Mike Rowe Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d6, Guts d8, Knowledge (Filthy Working Conditions) d10, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Repair d8, Streetwise d8, Survival d10, Throwing d6
Charisma: 2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances:  Code of Honor, Heroic, Overconfident
Edges: Jack-of-All-Trades, Charismatic, McGyver

tim-taylorName: Tim “The Toolman” Taylor Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d6, Guts d8, Knowledge (Tools) d10, Knowledge (Classic Automobiles) d10, Notice d6, Repair d4, Streetwise d8, Survival d10
Charisma: 2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances:  All Thumbs, Bad Luck, Clueless
Edges: Charismatic, McGyver

Advertisements

May 6, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, Plot Hooks from..., RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen Part 7: Rorshach

watchmencharactersThe Watchmen as reviewed by the family

Part one: Tropes from the movie
Part two: Doctor Manhattan
Part three: The Comedian
Part four: Nite Owl
Part five: Silk Spectre
Part six: Ozmandyus

The Watchmen are not super heroes (with the exception of Doctor Manhattan).  The characters in this series of articles were built using standard Savage World rules and as such can be dropped into any campaign without much difficulty.

Walter Kovacs had a very traumatic childhood.  The son of the village whore, he was picked on by the other children.  Walter developed his fighting abilities from an early age to defend himself against his childhood tormentors.  Due to his upbringing, Walter sees the world in black and white.  There is right and wrong, and he is serving the right.

The defining moment in his career came when Walter was attempting to rescue a kidnapped little girl.  Failing in his attempt to rescue the child and instead discovering only her remains and her killer, Rorshach killed the perpetrator.  Rorshach continues his fight from behind his enchanted mask.  The encounter with the rapist/murderer unhinged Walter Kovacs.  He now believes Rorshach to be the true indentity and Kovacs to be the mask.

watchmen-rorschachIf you bring Rorshach into your game, you’ll want to describe Kovacs as a non-descript background NPC and make sure he’s there whenever possible.  If and when he’s ever unmasked, your PCs can have an *a-ha* moment.

Name:Walter Kovacs/Rorshach
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Guts d6, Intimidation d6, Investigation d8, Notice d6, Stealth d8, Streetwise d6, Survival d6, Taunt d6
Charisma: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances:  Heartless, Delusional, Ugly
Edges: Investigator
Gear: Enchanted Mask, Grappling Gun

May 1, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen Part 6: Ozmandyus

watchmencharactersThe Watchmen as reviewed by the family

Part one: Tropes from the movie
Part two: Doctor Manhattan
Part three: The Comedian
Part four: Nite Owl
Part five: Silk Spectre

 Ozmandyus is an easy person and a hard one all at the same time to integrate into your game.  He’s royalty in your high fantasy setting.  Or better yet, the true power behind the throne making everything work.  He is THE richest man in whatever universe you are playing.  Esy to add, harder for your characters to meet, unless they are HEROES, the type of character that royalty demands to see and be seen with.

In the back however, it’s a different story.  Adrian is the string puller.  He has access to the highest technology your world has available.  In a high fantasy setting he may even have some magical abilities.  He believes, no scratch that, he KNOWS that what he is doing is the best possible course of action for saving his world.

If your players decide to help him out they might be cast away as mere pawns in his over-arching plans.  If your players elect to oppose him, Adrian will not only have factored in their betrayal but may have figured that their “betrayal” is the best way to keep them out of his hair.

His only true friend is Bubastis, his magical a/o genetically modified lynx. 

watchmen-ozymandiasName: Adrian Veidt/Ozmandyus
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d12, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d10, Guts d6, Healing d4, Investigation d8, Notice d10, Persuasion d6, Streetwise d8, Survival d6, Throwing d6
Charisma: 7; Pace: 6; Parry: 7; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances:  Filthy Rich, Invent, Investigator
Edges: Arrogant, Code of Honor

bubastisName: Bubastis
Race: Lynx (Genetic Modification or Magical depending on setting)
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6 (A), Spirit d10, Strength d12, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d10, Notice d8
Pace: 8; Parry: 6; Toughness: 8;
Special Abilities:
  Bite or Claw: Str + d6
  Improved Frenzy: May make two fighting attacks each action at no penalty
  Pounce: Bubastis can pounce on its prey to best bring its mass and claws to bear.  It can leap 1d6″ and gains a +4 to its attack and damage.  However its parry is reduce -2 until the next action when using this maneuver
  Size: +2, Bubastis is the size of an adult male lion

April 30, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen: Part 5 Silk Specter II

watchmencharactersThe Watchmen as reviewed by the family

Part one: Tropes from the movie
Part two: Doctor Manhattan
Part three: The Comedian
Part four: Nite Owl

The Watchmen are not super heroes (with the exception of Doctor Manhattan). The characters in this series of articles were built using standard Savage World rules and as such can be dropped into any campaign without much difficulty.

Laurie Jupiter is a second generation hero who is primarily involved in the heroing life to please her mother.  She captured the attention of Doctor Manhattan when his first love began to age.  When the Keene Act was passed, Laurie happily packed up her costume and moved with Doctor Manhattan to his government laboratory.  She later leaves Doc when he begins to grow distant from her.  Laurie re-enters the sporting life to be with her new love, Dan Drieberg.

In your game Laurie is the reluctant woman behind the power.  She’s the person who keeps the wizard focused.  She is the woman who convinces the hero to go on one more adventure.  She’s the woman who is on the adventure to please her parents.

watchmen-silk-spectreName:Laurie Jupiter/Silk Spectre II/Sandra Hollis
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Guts d6, Healing d4, Persuasion d6, Throwing d6
Charisma: 3; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances:  Curious, Quirk (does not like the hero life, gets involved over the men in her life), Wanted
Edges: Attractive

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen Pt. 3: The Comedian

watchmencharactersThe Watchmen as reviewed by the family

Part one: Tropes from the movie
Part two: Doctor Manhattan

The Watchmen for the most part are not super heroes.  The characters in this series of articles were built using standard Savage World rules and as such can be dropped into any campaign without much difficulty.

Using the Comedian in your campaign is very simple.  The Comedian is a sociopath who is only considered a hero because he is employed by the government.  He is a war weary vet who has no compunctions about firing on innocents to get the job done.  The Comedian would be a the perfect mercenary NPC for your characters to meet, an amoral lout who would just as soon shoot them as work with them.  It would all depend on if your players had something he wanted or needed as to whether he’d help them or not.

comedian_watchmenName: Edward Blake/The Comedian
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Guts d8, Intimidation d8, Shooting d8, Survival d6, Taunt d6, Throwing d6
Charisma: 1; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 5;
Hindrances: Bloodthirsty, Heartless
Edges: Deadshot

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen Pt2: Doctor Manhattan

watchmencharactersThe Watchmen as reviewed by the family

Part one: Tropes from the movie

The Watchmen are not super heroes (with the exception of Doctor Manhattan). The characters in this series of articles were built using standard Savage World rules (with the exception of Doctor Manhattan) and as such can be dropped into any campaign without much difficulty.

Doctor Manhattan is a very powerful being, one who can manipulate the reality of whatever world he is placed in.  In a technological setting the character can be used as is.  In a high fantasy setting, Doc Manhattan can be a magical being or someone who has blessed/cursed by the gods.

Doctor Manhattan does not see time the way human beings do.  He needs the companionship of a female to maintain any link at all with humanity.  If this link is severed for any reason, Doctor Manhattan will in all likelihood leave the community.  Even with the companionship of a young beautiful female, Doctor Manhattan is aloof and often forgets everyday courtesies.  Wearing clothes is something he only does when reminded.

manhattanpiconName:Jon Osterman/Doctor Manhattan
Race: Energy Based Human Analog
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d12, Spirit d12, Strength d10, Vigor d12
Skills: Intimidation d8, Knowledge (Time) d12, Knowledge (Atomic Particle Physics) d12, Knowledge (Scientific Method) d12, Knowledge (Watchmaking) d10, Notice d6, Repair d8
Charisma: 30; Pace: 6; Parry: 2; Toughness: 8;
Hindrances: Distinctive Appearance, Heartless, Clueless (as in an aloofness)
Edges: Arcane Background (Super Powers), Inventor
Super Powers: • Absorption + Transfer + Reflection (12) • Awareness (3) • Ageless (1) • Altered Form + Fall Proof + Replenish (7) • Danger Sense (5) • Duplication + Extra (8) • Energy Control (2) • Extra Actions (3) • Fearless (2) • Flight (2) • Force Control (2) • Gifted (1) • Growth (2) • Matter Control (4) • Malfunction (3) • Regeneration (5) • Telekinesis (2) • Teleport + Rapid + Taxi + Other (13)

April 21, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, DC, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of… The Watchmen

watchmen_smileyWatchmen as reviewed by the family

I debated long and hard with myself just how I was going to categorize this GitUo article.  I thought about linking back to the Super Hero introduction but Watchmen doesn’t quite fit that category.  Watchmen stands on its own and as such will be treated accordingly.

Watchmen is not a superhero story.  It is in fact a murder mystery set in a universe of costumed adventurers.  I’m not going to reveal the identity of the murderer so as not to spoil the story for those who have not read the novel or seen the movie.  This difficulty in ‘pigeon-holeing’ the story may have kept it out of the mainstream.   Honestly, I think one of the reasons for the massive drop in box office receipts is that the studio tried to market the movie as 2009’s Spider-Man.  Audiences were disappointed that what they got was not what was advertised (but that’s a whole ‘nother discussion entirely).

How would I incorporate The Watchmen into my campaign?  Let’s start with Super Heroes (Necessary Evil, Mutants & Masterminds et all), incorporate the Keene Act into your hero campaign.  Who will honor the law? and who will continue to fight the fight? 

Another option for some one shots would be to play in the actual groups of heroes as very few adventures have been recorded for The Minutemen of the 1940’s.  You could also play The Watchmen pre-Keene Act.  Want your own character? play in the new post-Watchmen Utopia.  Did Ozmandyus really create a Utopia or will he need help to keep it running.

Taking the tropes out for use in your other games, remember Watchmen is at its core a murder mystery.  Start the PCs off with the sudden revelation that one of their former comrades has been murdered and lead them on a wild chase for the clues.  Another thought is that whatever campaign type you’re are running, the PCs suddenly find themselves outlawed.  Do they continue on with the good fight like Rorschach or abide by the law like Nite Owl?  How would your PCs handle a truly horrific event like the murder of the little girl which unhinges Walter Kovacs?

I usually stat out the characters following the article.  However due to the sheer number of characters to stat, Watchmen character stats will be in part 2.

April 20, 2009 Posted by | Comic Books, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , | 9 Comments

Quest for the Staff of Genesis: Game Day 4-11-09 pt.2

bawbPart 1

After Rididdlethumb finally passed his test and the rest of the party finished with rebuilding the town of Egami, the entire party continued on with their quest.  Having recently recieved a vital clue they ventured on to a dungeon purported to contain the next part of the Staff of Genesis.  Reaching the dungeon the party entered.  The first room they entered contained a fountain.  Rididdlethumb examined the fountain and discovered it wasn’t water but was in fact acid.  He lost all of his rope in the discovery.

The party discovered the entrance to a secret room underneath the fountain.  Inside the room the party discovered very old frescoes depicting a Royal family though there was something familiar about them.  Other frescoes depicted the disassembling of what the party determined to be the Staff of Genesis.  Coming back up the stairs after finding nothing else of importance in the room and continued on through the dungeon.

The next room contained Orc, Ogres, Drow and Mind Flair.  The fiends all seemed to be feasting on human; Bawb, Sir Gallahad, and Rididdlethumb rushed into the room.  Nevets held back cowering at the door due to his overpowering fear of doors.  Because of his holding back he noticed Andrea shaking off a slight headache just before she vanished from view.  Nevets immediately cast a spell of protection.  The Drow bodyguards ran into the room and the unconverted Drow yelled, “Attack the traitors!” and the room went dark.

Nevets had targeted the Mind Flare at the back of the room because he knew that his Dust of the Purple Sage bowstring would cause havoc to his party if he fired near them.  Unknown to the rest of the party, Andrea had cloaked herself and made a beeline towards the Mind Flare.  The remainder of the party were engaging Drow.  Andrea killed the Mind Flare by slitting its throat, the Mind Flare’s escaping essence caused Nevets arrow to begin to bounce around the room during which it failed to explode but managed instead to kill every Orc and Oger.

Nevets then cast Continual Light.  The evil Drow had to shield their eyes and their armor nd weapons turned to dust.  The party was then able easily dispatch the remainder of the Drow (even Hawrayn’s bats and Bawb’s kitty cat helped).  Just as the battle was ending, Nevets, Rididdlethumb and Andrea’s annoying bodyguard noticed a woman enter the room from the west.  Just as Nevets thought there was something familiar about her she vanished.  Nevets and Rididdlethumb (Editor’s note try typing that name over and over) convinced the party to head back to the paintings.

Back in the painting room Nevets and R-thumb immediately noticed that the woman they saw looked a lot like the eldest daughter in the main painting.  Sir Galahad then tipped his helmet at “Andrea”.  She revealed that it was her sister we saw.  Also that her sister was after the same staff the party was searching for.  “Andrea” was not revealing much beyond that.  Nevets and a few others then heard footsteps approaching.  Nevets asked “Andrea” if there was any other way out of the room.  Andrea showed the group a secret passage.

The group exited the painting room, Andrea and Nevets stayed behind to booby trap the door to the secret passage using his D.E.T. Cord.  Hawrayn summoned spiders to spin webs in the passage way to conceal the fact the party had used the passage.  At the other end, ‘Andrea’ and Nevets booby trapped the door at the other end of the passage.  The party found themselves in what used to be a library.  All the books were piled on the floor soaked in flammable liquid.  As the party were searching the book pile they heard the explosive sounds of Nevet’s booby trap going off.

Nevets found a treasure in the pile that he considered very valuable, a book of magic recipes.  Nevets flipped through the book and immediately recognized Dust of the Star Fairies, Dust of the Purple Sage (a prime ingredient in D.E.T. Cord) and Dragon Bubbles.  Nevets quickly put the book in his pack.  The party left the library, R-Thumb walked off down the hall and found himself suddenly stuck in the floor….  To be continued next game session.

April 14, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Legacy D&D, Life near an Iowa Cornfield, Play, RPG | , , , , , | 1 Comment

RPGBN Heroes: Watchmen of the Justice Avengers – Role Call!

When the world needs saving who do you call? The Watchmen of the Justice Avengers is the RPGBN’s own Superhero Group.  This stalwart band of heroes is ready to defeat your villain, fight the injustice, protect the innocent, but more importantly spice up your hero campaign.

The WJA’s headquarters are located in Ayuhwa on the RPGBN Shared world project.  However with dimensional hopping abilities, the WJA are ready to help in your own campaign.  This project is not closed.  Leave me a link and I’ll add your hero to the roster.

Founding Membership in alphabetical order:
Ambrose – Home Base: The Nameless Kingdom
The Dungeon Master– Home Base: Vulcan Stev’s Database
Elder Lehman – Home Base: Unclebear
The Grey Wulf – Home Base: Greywulf’s Lair
Mad Brew – Home Base: Mad Brew Labs
Ravyn – Home Base: Exchange of Realities
Virii – Home Base: The Bard of Valiant

Founding Roster is now closed.  Your Hero can still be a member.  Just leave me a link.

April 10, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Other Systems, RPG | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of… Super Spies

spy-vs-spySpy movies reviewed by the family:
Quantum of Solace
Get Smart
The World is Not Enough

Victory Games published the James Bond RP in the mid-80’s.  When I think of gaming with super spies this is the one I remember.  Although out of print, I have found copies still for sale at online RPG stores.  I also found the basic game available as a pdf.  There is a Savage World conversion of the Victory Games Bond RPG.  Top Secret, the super spy game from TSR ceased production in 1992 before TSR was bought out by Wizards of the Coast.  Sadly I could not find any RPGs based off of The Wild, Wild West; The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; Get Smart; Jason Bourne, or any other spy genre.  I’ve heard rumors that Evil DM Productions has a Savage Worlds spy genre scheduled for this summer.

Spies as a concept are timeless.  Your side/country/kingdom is always wanting to know what the opposing forces are up to.  Going back to the Bible (whether you accept it as historically arcurate or as an example of literature), we find that Joshua sent spies to scope out the tactical situation for the upcoming battle with Jericho.

So how to include spies in your adventure, aside from running a spy game that is?  One way that I’ve always wanted to try.  If one of your players is becoming dissatisfied with their character, you could take them aside and tell them that they are a spy for the opposition.  Between you and the player start dropping subtle clues that not everything is kosher.  Don’t think this works? Star Trek Deep Space Nine went for a few episodes in which Doctor Bashir had been replaced by a Changeling.  It might be a way for the player to become interested in the character again.

Agent Barret, Stargate SG-1’s reccurring CIA Agent is proof positive that I could easily add spies to my ongoing Stagate campaign.  Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow and Nick Fury are recurring characters in the Marvel universe and could be dropped into any superhero campaign. 

Another method of incorporating spies into your campaign is to have your PCs infiltrate the opposition for a game or two.  It might be fun to see if the PCs can pull off an infiltration.

Savage Worlds stats for not one but two super spies for you to use.

james_bondJames Bond: Legendary
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d12, Spirit d8, Strength d10, Vigor d10
Skills: Boating d6, Climbing d8, Driving d10, Fighting d12, Gambling d12, Guts d10, Intimidation d10, Investigation d10, Knowledge (about whatever the scenario is) d10, Lockpicking d10, Notice d10, Persuasion d10, Piloting d8, Shooting d12+2, Stealth d10, Streetwise d10, Survival d10, Swimming d6, Taunt d10, Throwing d8, Tracking d10
Charisma: 30; Pace: 6; Parry: 8; Toughness: 7;
Hindrances:  Arrogant, Overconfident, Heroic, Quirk – Womanizer
Edges: Charismatic, Alertness, Very Attractive, Marksman, Level Headed, Steady Hands, Harder to Kill, Nerves of Steel, Trademark Weapon (Walter PPK), Connections
Gear: Walter PPK, Hi-Tech Aston Martin (with the usual refinements), whatever Q has given him for thmission at hand

maxwell_smartMaxwell Smart: Veteran
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d10, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Driving d8, Fighting d8, Investigation d6, Notice d6, Shooting d6,
Charisma: 10; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 6;
Hindrances:  Overconfident, Clueless, All Thumbs, Quirk – catch phrases “Sorry ’bout that Cheif” – “Missed it by that much” – “That’s the second biggest …. I’ve ever seen”
Edges: Great Luck
Gear: Shoe Phone, Hi Tech Swiss Army Pocketknife

March 31, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , , | 9 Comments