Saturday, February 25, 2017

Goblin Princess & body guards

Goblin Princess wearing The War Tongue + body guards.
I try to balance special goblins with grunts to avoid ending up with a tribe of special goblins. Some gobs get more quirks but all of them got at least 1 or 2. I will post the grunts later on patreon.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Mutant Year Zero - Actual Play 03

Session 08
Ark projects, zone exploration and a deadly trap! 

Our Ark look like this, except that our ship have split in the middle section. 

Characters development 

  • Brando (played by Sylvain M) is still learning how to be a good boss. Ordering people around is harder than making a stand for the people. His big dream is that one day the Ark will be strong enough to dominate the zone. 
  • Clarissa (played by Annick P) have fully regained control over her instincts. Her big dream is to have a secret safe place. 
  • Fillix (played by me) is slowly learning how to sense emotions and how to shoot (because she felt helpless during the encounter with the robots). Her big dream is still to uncover the truth about the elder and Eden. She pass a lot of her time with her chronicler friend Juna to try to learn how to read. 
  • Allia (played by Dominic C) is more and more interested by our car. She still dream about making her master proud of her: Brando. 

I finally checked the equipment list in the book and I have spend around 14 bullets of gear. Basic stuff that will help us a bit: scrap binoculars, a shovel, a knife, a pair of boots, a lantern, etc. I wanted to get a scrap riffle but our Ark have no armory. So instead I had buy a jury-rigged rifle from a NPC gearhead. The big difference is that jury-rigged stuff break once you use them (except if you spend stunts on them).

I was expecting the characters to mutate like crazy during the campaign but in 8 sessions we only had one new mutation (or feral power). Since Otiak mutated and died during our second session, none of our characters gained new powers (for this to happen you have to roll 1 twice on a d6 when you use your power).

Ark development 

We finished all of our projects! But we are still a bunch of uncultured barbarians.

Brando trained our militia, Clarissa and Allia worked on our barricades and Fillix worked on the temple.

Since I was working on the temple I asked the other to check the video camera they had found in the mushroom contaminated factory. I used the batteries from the underground base and we managed to watch the footage contained in the artifact. It was a sequence showing the Elder walking out of Eden with other humans and hundreds of young children. It was us! The GM showed us a picture and we recognized some of the NPCs (nice touch!). Fillix, Juna and Allia were really moved!

The neat thing about the mutants is that they are all childhood friends, they are like a entire high school that was left to themselves. Lord of the Flies style...

Naturally this triggered my manipulative instincts, I used some dirt I had on Boss Nafta to get a new battery and to jury-rig the video camera to show the images to everyone working on the temple. Doing so I put the Boss Zidane, the rabbit seer, in charge of the ceremony and I used the occasion to humiliate the Chronicler's boss, Astrina by trusting the care of the sacred camera to Zidane instead of her. With the help of Allia I put under her nose that hiding in the Ark is a error, that we have to venture into the zone to learn the truth. I nearly felt bad for her (damn my new sense emotions skill!)

With the barricades and the militia we rolled super high to rise our warfare score but sadly, again we rolled low on our cultural development points. Having a low culture score is really starting to limit our Ark. But the Ark is getting a character of it own and this part of the game is starting to get super involving. Finishing those projects felt like a achievement.

That said I note that developing the Ark is really random, especially with the projects that award 2d6 points of development. Earning 2 points or 12 points is a big difference. So even if you build the same projects in different playthroughs, each campaign must feel different. Like for our Ark, the only cultural project we have left now is to build a museum, if we roll under 3 on our d6 we will have no choice but to explore the zone to find cultural artifacts to try to raise our culture score above 10. I like this since it build a narrative of it own if you take the time to "read the bones" of the dice results.

A big Threat! 

After working hard on our projects we went to our crappy tavern to drink some disgusting booze.

There, Thomaz the mind-terror mutant, attacked Juna, she tried to fight him of with her telepathy but he overwhelm her with his mind-terror power while telling her that they were alike with their mind powers and that should always have been together. Clarissa jumped in and tried to smash his head in a table but he unleashed his power on her making her believe she was drowning in a bag (naturally). This gave the opportunity to Fillix to close in and to use her parasitic power to steal Thomaz's mind terror power and to give him a taste of his own medicine. I went for a really nasty mind-terror and I inflicted him the hallucination that the Elder was beating him with a crowbar while telling him that he was totally worthless. That was really vicious, since the Elder is our only father  figure. Fillix felt disgusted with herself after this (well for a brief moment at least, I mean she can be quite nasty sometime).

Before we could leave the scene, the GM drew a Threat card and Geeko the boss of the NPCs stalkers stumbled in the tavern, bleeding badly. His group was ambushed by the Hell Drivers! Dog-Face (NPC enforcer), Ratchet (NPC gearhead) and Charlene (NPC badger gearhead) were taken prisoners! (Ratchet is the NPC that Allia want to protect and Charlene is the NPC that Clarissa want to protect). Shit! I mean the Hell Drivers... This is bad.

Clarissa was ready to leave alone to rescue her badger friend/lover. But we decided to take the car and to go together. Anyway we need to recon those Hell Drivers, they are too big a menace to ignore.
So we made some preparations and the team left for the zone (Brando brought his side-kick buddy: Spoutnik, the beagle warrior).

Into the zone

With the car full of booze, we quickly traveled through the explored sectors up to the ruins of the temple of the Law of Lob. From there we went north. We passed near some crazy rams, a rot pit and we got stuck in the mud.

The travel was uneventful we discovered no artifact to tempt us to mess with some of the threats we encountered. I wanted to check the Zone Ghouls Den, but the group wanted to avoid any additional trouble.

Exploring the zone and mapping is still fun, but sometime I wish that the zone was a bit weirder, but I guess this is just a question of random rolls. We still have a lot of sectors to explore. :)

When you travel through already explored sectors there is no random encounters or new threats. At first I was a little bit let down by this, but after 8 sessions I think this is a good design choice because this put the focus on the unexplored sectors. There is so much things to do in the game, you don't want to get bog down in already explored sectors.

A deadly trap! 

So the Hell Drivers! We sneaked up to their lair, a multi-story parking lot. There was a lot of people with brightly colored hairs (I joked that we should steal this cultural technology) and many cars, trucks and buggy!

Clarissa scouted the place and learned that our friends were held prisoner in the basement of the parking. We decided that Clarissa should go alone with Allia to try to sneak in to free the prisoners. Allia is our best fighter (beside Brando) and she can fly away if things get too ugly while Clarissa can always find a place to hide to sneak out of trouble. The rest of the group will remain outside as backup.

Clarissa and Allia passed by some guards down in the basement until they found a van guarded by a hell driver. They tried to surprise-kill the guard, but with a twist a bad luck Allia rolled badly on a 10 dice attack roll, she pushed her roll only to tax herself with 3 points of damage! They wounded the Hell Driver but he banged on the Van and a gigantic women with a huge meat cleaver opened the door of the van. Inside the van: the giant woman, her assistant and our friends chained to the wall ready to be transformed into meat rations!

Scared by her bad roll and her damage points Allia really did not confident enough to take on the Boss of the Hell Riders. We panicked at the table: "Shit! Pull out! This is a TPK trap!"

Clarissa and Allia hesitated a moment but there was simply no way for them to win this fight against 3 NPC including a boss. And the two other guards from above would rush in once they ear the fight.

So they diced to abandon their friends to their fate and they pulled back. They managed to get out of the camp that quickly went into full alert mode!

We regrouped, jumped in the car and we hit the gas pedal to the ground. A scout buggy was on our trail menacing to find us and to send the Hell Riders armada on our trail! But I used my new scrap jury-rigged rifle and I managed to shoot it damn search light! The rifle broke, but still, best use of my money ever!

Back home

Oh shit we were scared, frustrated and angry! We wasted our resources for nothing and we barely escaped alive! Now what to do?? There was talk of war at the table.

For my part I was more thinking about trying to make a alliance with the Lighthouse Ark of Amazones or to try to cut a deal with the zone ghouls to try to buy back our friends if they are not already eaten.

One positive note: we rolled no casualties for the Ark.

We ended the session and we distributed the XP.

Allia spent her XP to change her role, she went to the den of Ratched to take her tools, now she was going to work on that car to become a gearhead!

Clarissa will also have to find a new NPC buddy and Annick was talking about changing her big dream.

Brando is grinding his axe and thinking about how to use our militia...

Fillix is still learning how to read with Juna. I am thinking of making peace with Astrina to become a chronicler. Or maybe I could make a deal with Zidane to become a seer... Both options are tempting.

Oh and winter is coming! It started to snow...


Fillix learning her alphabet with Juna her semi-translucent skinned telepathic friend:

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mutant Year Zero - Actual Play 02

Session 06

I was so frustrated with my work day, when I arrived at the game table I was simply unable to roleplay. I tried to play but I was starting to troll the NPCs. So when the group left for the zone I said: look when I am in this mood I fear to sabotage things, so I will just sit this one out. My character will remain at the Ark and I will just listen to the game instead of messing up my character or the session.

So what happened in the fiction? We worked on the Ark's projects. Clarissa and Allia tried to build some barricades, but there was a work a accident and the slaves were angry and they made no progress. Brando worked on the temple and I made some deals to finish the fighting arena. We named the arena after Otiak (our first but memorable character casualty).

After that I started to spread lies to make some NPCs hate each others but I stopped myself before going too far and getting out of character. I guess it was a bad day of Fillix.

The rest of the group decided to follow a rumor about a stalker who became mad in the zone. They filled up the car we had found with booze and ventured into the zone. The group fought a giant worm that nearly destroyed the car. But after studying it, Brando spotted it weak spot and nearly killed the worm in one mighty blow.

The group arrived at a old factory contaminated with giant fibrous mushrooms. They were brave or foolish enough to venture inside to find what happened to the mad stalker and to look for artifacts.

They were lucky and they found two "metaplot" artifacts: a key card and a video camera. But Brando and Allia got infected by the spores. They felt weird on the way home but nothing happened.

Just before reaching the Ark they encountered a group of women mutants slavers armed with good quality riffles. They asked about the male mutants that we rescued in the zone. The group sent them toward a other direction. Both side were pretty suspicious of each other. Interesting.

So in the end it was a interesting session. I am glad that my bad day mood did not ruin it.

I have spend 5 xp on Juna and the trait admirer to develop what have happened between her and Fillix. I was not in the mood to explore this during this session, but still, things are building up.

Session 07

We moved our gaming night and I was in a far better mood this time.

Brando the Bear Warrior spent some of his XP to become a Boss. So now he have a new role and gang of animals. He only have 2 points of wits to roll his command skill, but I really like this character development. I am looking forward to see if Allia will also change role to eventually become free.

During the hall meeting, Zidane, the animal seer, proclaimed that the temple should be dedicated to the Elder Humans. Clarissa and Brando were not happy about this because seeing the weak humans that we have rescued from the zone cannibals made them realize that we can only count on ourselves to find our place in this rotting world. On my side Fillix tried to publicly undermine Boss Astrina and her politic of self isolation from the zone.  I also managed to get involve in the temple doctrine by showing a elder chronicle I had found in the zone: The Chronicle of Narnia. Astrina and Zidane were quite upset about this. :)

But them the earth shook and a portion of the Ark crumbled down in the earth. The group went down to see what happened. Astrina sent my chronicler lover Juna to report on the events. I tried to move Astrina away from the elder room persuading her that as the boss of the Chronicler she had to see this event with her own eyes. But she was too chicken shit to venture away from her precious elder. So I decided to remain on the upper deck of the Ark to spy on her. Since I could not sneak into the room of the elder I sneaked into Astrina's room and I stole a old photography of the elder wearing a strange yellow suit. It felt weird to imagine him young like us.

Down in the ground, the rest of the group found a old tunnel that lead to a secure high tech door. Clarissa opened the door with the key card they had found in the zone. Inside everything was old and rotten. By the time they reached the inner room, I managed to get back to them with the help of a NPCs mutant.

The central room was protected by two half disabled robots! The robots shooted at us with laser beams! Allia and Clarissa (with a amazing bow shot!) destroyed one of them but Allia went down, then Brando and Clarissa! I used my mutant power to transfer my life force to Allia. Doing this taxed me too much and I also went down but Allia was back in action! She damaged the remaining robot and Spoutnic, one of Brando's gang member finished him off. This was a close one. :)

I really like how the stats degradation really balance well itself. The robots had super dangerous weapons and armor, but they pushed it too much and it quickly degraded, giving us a chance to take them down. Clarissa also went down by pushing herself too much. We thought that Allia was invulnerable with her "shake it off" trait, but one bad roll and she also went down. Having to roll 6s for success make even the big pool of dice unpredictable. You can't really trust your abilities all the time, they will eventually fail you. It could be annoying, but this work very well with this setting.

We explored the rest of the bunker but we found nothing of interest except some old batteries. It seemed like the bunker was never inhabited. This fueled Fillix's curiosity about the elders.

The gearheads salvaged the place and the next day we worked on the Ark's projects. We made some progress on the fortifications. Brando started to train a milice. Allia helped to build a tavern but the place is a crappy hole and our culture only raised by 1 point (on a d6 roll)

I made a 6 xp points of of 7 possible XP rewards! So Fillix learned a lot of thing. I want to tone down a little bit my selfishness and I am thinking of spending some XP on Read Emotions. I want to get closer to Juna, Astrina and the Elder. The fight also made me realize that I need a long range weapon, so I am going to spend some bullet on a scrap rifle.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Side project: drawing a whole tribe of goblins!

I have updated and reactivated my Patreon. To keep things alive there, I am going to draw goblins with quirks until I have a entire tribe of goblins (maybe around 100+ goblins). I will compile them into a zine that will include the Goblin Enchantress class. This way you can use the goblins as monsters, pre-gen funnel characters or as minions for your Goblin Enchantress!

Soul Nest

Friday, February 10, 2017

Custom character sheets for Macchiato Monsters

I played in Richie's Cryo Arabica - Macchiato Monsters Sword & Planet game with Tore. Character creation was super fun and I ended up rolling a cellular creature-character with 20 eyes!

The game session was nice, mostly exploration and interacting with NPCs. The setting being inspired by the new Prophet comics, it was super fun to imagine this alien world.

Our character sheets:

Friday, February 3, 2017

Mutant Year Zero - Actual Play

Where I go from totally not engaged to super on board with the game.

Session 01

I just wanted to roll a character to explore the wasteland. During character creation I did not want to care about who in the Ark hate or like my character or about his relationships with the other characters. I don't really know what I want to do with this character, I just want him to exist and survive for a while but the structure of the game ask us to do a lot of stuff I don't really care about right now.

Anyway I created a Fixer named Fillix of ambiguous gender (I did not know what I wanted to play). I choose all of his relationship options from the suggestions in the Fixer role. I opted for a social focused character since I always have fun while making and gaming relationships during the game. But when I created my character I was not in the mindset to come up with all kind of stuff (who I hate, who I like, what is my big dream, etc). So I just choose a bunch of stuff and I felt lost.

During the session we decided to form a hunting party to start getting more food for the Ark. There was some roleplaying with some of the NPC but I did not really care about them. Exploring the zone was interesting. I did not do much with my character except securing a lot of grub with my Wheeler-Dealer trait.

But to be fair I was not in a super positive mood when I arrived at the game table. But still a lot of stuff in the game seem neat and promising enough to keep me interested. Maybe I just need to get into a better mood.

The player characters:

  • Fillix the mutant Fixer with the parasitic power. 
  • Otiak the mutant Enforcer with the rot eating power. 
  • Clarissa the Gene Lab Alpha Cat Stalker.
  • Brando the Gene Lab Alpha Bear Warrior. 

Session 02

The game is good and well designed, but I think I am getting tired of procedural games.

I don't think that procedural games are bad its just that everyone have to be in the right mindset to care about the procedures and the set-up stuff. I prefer to encounters things first, then to see how things are going and then to decide what relationships or goals I want to build or to explore.

We voted for 3 new projects for the ark: some defenses, a fighting arena and a temple. We talked to some NPCs and we explored the zone, had a big fight and we had to deal with some more NPCs on our return.

The game asked the GM to cram so much stuff during the session, we barely had the time to play half of it. (Threat, projects, zone exploration, messing up with multiple relationships, working for your big dream, etc...)

We fought some cannibal mutants in the zone to save a group of elder-humans. During the fight Otiak mutated two time, growing up two extra arms and a crest just before dying with a spear stab through is heart. My character did not participate in the fight, but I have to admit that this was epic.

We saved the humans and this was a big thing for the Ark to see new elder-human, especially since they had a children with them (mutant can't have children). My fixer made some deals to get the human into the Ark and to keep them safe. Astrinaa, the boss of the chronicler was against their presence because she fear that the human would undermine the chroniclers authority.

The other players had a lot of fun. Personally I felt off, but I think I can adjust myself eventually. 

  • Allia the mutant slave with insect wings is replacing Otiak.

Session 03

This time I had much more fun!

Once you choose goals about stuff that actually happened to your PC, things feel more real and engaging. My character is now dealing with the human refugee and the chroniclers lies and I am making moves against Astrinaa.

The session was also more focused. We played some intrigue in the ark, then we moved on to explore the zone. We made a lot of encounters. We avoided fights but we still had a lot fun. At the end of the session we arrived at the temple of the Laws of Lob, we need food, a big fight is coming...

I made a drawing of my character Fillix:

He/she is angry against the Elder and the chroniclers. His goal is to expose their filthy lies and to discover the truth about the mutants origins and the Eden. (Finding that elder-humans had to runaway from their home and that they are just miserable as the mutants rocked his world)

Session 04
The session started with a big fight in the food temple of Lob.
4 PC + 3 Healthy NPC + 8 starving NPC VS 9 ghouls.

We clearly outnumbered the ghouls so the fight was a formality and it was not super exciting. This is my third combat that I sit through because my fixer have no fighting skills. I have to find a way to enjoy this type of conflicts. I know that I can inflict doubt to NPCs but the ghouls leader rushed into melee and was quickly dispatched by our fighters.

For this session everybody took me as their buddy and I could have triggered some XP rewards by putting myself in danger but the occasion did not present itself.

After the fight we looted the food cache of the ghouls. During the night the starving mutants tried to run away with our grub but I managed to convince them that they will die alone in the zone if they dont follow us to the Ark. (They were runaways from a other ark)

We quickly back tracked through the explored tiles to regroup with the NPC gearhead that we had left behind to repair a mechanical chariot. We returned to the ark riding on the mechanical chariot fully loaded with food.

We were expecting a glorious return but instead we discovered that Johamed, one of the anti-mutant-animals bosses had taken over the Ark by sex-slaving the humans we had rescued from the zone. The Boss promised that by breeding with the humans that mutants could have babies and well things quickly degenerated from there...

The refugee mutant-animals from Gene-Lab Alpha are in hiding but they are also very upset about the treatment of the humans. I guess we can win them over.

Our cat stalker confronted one of the take-over boss but went feral and ripped him to shred. We now keep a low profile.

Meanwhile I managed to form new alliances to prepare a counter coup.

Next session: we have to make a big move against new Big Boss Johamed to free the humans and to put some pro-animals bosses in charge. We discovered two enemy factions in the zone and we have to prepare the Ark for when they will come for us. 

Session 05

A other good session. This time it was all about Ark politics and revolt!

So one of the boss took over the Ark and we had to deal with it. Fillix, my fixer made a lot of deals and pulled a lot of strings. I managed to get the rabbit seer to declare a bad prophecy about the usurper boss Johamed and I persuaded the chroniclers to issue a false declaration by the Elder that supported our claims. Meanwhile my companions armed our allies. There was also a lot of action about avoiding and fighting patrols. In the morning during the council, all of our rumor mongering exploded into a riot. Allia, the former slave of the usurper boss took care of his miserable life. Some mutants and animals died but we managed to calm everyone and to give back the power to the Ark council. Brando the bear is becoming a public hero (I want him to become a boss!). Boss Johamed's goons are now slaves and the slaves who supported the revolt will now have a chance to gain their freedom (by fighting in the Arena, but hey life is hard). New bosses will emerge, this is good, a fixer always need more bosses around.

Oh and Fillix is now dating the telepath chronicler who was sent to mind probe her two sessions earlier. (Juna tried to mind probe Fillix, Fillix shooted at her and now they are friends with advantages). Sometime you do funny stuff when you need to refresh your stats. :P
(And I finally determined the gender of my character)

Also Fillix was able to see the Elder! OMG the Elder! Now that I have some strings with the chroniclers, I want to talk with him before he die! Since we have discovered the humans, Fillix felt lied to and hated the Elder (and the chroniclers) but I think she only felt abandoned by the only father figure the Ark had. And Fillix's big dream is to find the truth about the mutants and Eden, so I am getting closer to this (well at least some parts of it).

Next session: we work on the Ark's projects! (some defenses, a fighting arena and a temple, what could go wrong??) 

We are now focusing on less of elements of the game during each session and the sessions are getting more satisfying and less procedural. Now that we really care about our Ark, it will be more fun to develop it and to work on the Ark's projects.