Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Anyone Can Cast Spells (via Ritual Magic) Option (OSR)


Anyone Can Cast Spells Option
For my OSR Mythos and Sword and Sorcery games I decided to come up with an option where anyone, regardless of class, can attempt to cast a spell via ritual magic. It also allows spellcasting classes a chance to cast spells of higher levels they have acquired.

The normal considerations of ritual magic apply.

For non-spellcasters to cast a Spell (or spellcasters to cast a spell above their current level or a spell not yet learned with a spell slot) the following steps must be achieved:

1. The Spell must be found or taught.
Grimoires, scrolls, writings carved on walls, mad hermits, magical lodges, etc.

2. The Spell must be in a format the caster can understand.
This could be being translated from an ancient language to one the caster understand or verbally taught by a teacher.

3. Learning how to cast the spell takes eight hours per spell level. A fifth level spell would take forty hours of study and practice to learn.

4. Casting requires time. Ten minutes per spell level. A fifth level Spell takes fifty minutes minimum to cast. The DM may require materials to be used as well.
The main cost of this type of casting is time. Time can be incredibly valuable in a dungeon or during a Mythos incident.

5. The Casting Roll.
To actually cast the Spell requires an Int check with a penalty equal to twice the Spell Level. A character with an Int of 13 attempts to cast the fifth level spell. The Spell will succeed if he rolls a 1-3 on a 1d20.

Extra casting time can increase this chance. For each full casting time increment past the minimum the caster can add a + 2 to the roll.
Four times the minimum is the most that this method can be used.
For the fifth level spell: if the time taken is 50 minutes the roll is still a 3.
If 100 minutes is taken the roll is now 5.
For 150 Minutes the roll is 7.
For 200 minutes the roll is 9.

If the Casting Roll fails:
Time and consumable materials are lost. The caster can attempt the Spell again with an additional -4 penalty to the total Casting Roll or he can wait 24 hours and avoid this penalty.

Multiple Casters:
The person leading the ritual uses his Casting Roll. For each additional caster add a +1 to the roll. The maximum bonus is equal to the Spell's level. The fifth level Spell would have a maximum of a +5 bonus no matter how many actually participated in the ritual.

Used in conjunction with extra casting time this option can really increase the chance of the casting roll's success.


Warrior Bard (OSR)

Warrior Bard (Minstrel, Skald, etc)
Prime Requ: Cha
Exp: As Magic User
HD: 1d6+2
Save: as Thief
Attack: As Fighter
Weapons: Any.
Armor: Leather and shield to use thief abilities.

Thief Abilities.
Climb Walls, Detect Noise, and  Pick Pockets as a thief of equivalent level.

Extra Languages.
The Bard  begins with half again as many extra languages as normal (round up.) For example: if the Bard  would normally get one extra, he would get two (1.5 rounded up). If he would get two extra he would get three, etc.

Read Language.
This is an important ability since words are the meat and drink of Bard s and the Warrior Bard  has no ready access to Read Language spells. He has an  80% chance to read any normal writing or language (including simple codes, dead languages, treasure maps, and so on, but not magical writings). If he tries but fails to read apiece of writing, he must gain at least one experience level before trying to read it again.

Influence Reactions.
When performing before a group that is not attacking (and not intending to attack in just seconds), the Bard  can try to alter the mood of the listeners. He can try to soften their mood or make it uglier. The method can be whatever is most suitable to the situation at the moment -- a fiery speech, collection of jokes, a sad tale, a fine tune played on a fiddle, a haunting lute melody, or a heroic song from the old homeland. Everyone in the group listening must roll a Saving Throw (vs Paralyzation in LL, etc) (if the crowd is large, make saving throws for groups of people using average hit dice). The die roll is modified by -1 for every three experience levels of the Bard  (round fractions down). If the Saving Throw fails the group's reaction can be shifted one level toward either the friendly or hostile end of the scale, at the player's option. Those who make a successful Saving Throw have their reaction shifted one level toward the opposite end of the scale.

Inspire.
The music, poetry, and stories of the Bard can also be inspirational, rallying friends and allies. If the exact nature of an impending threat is known, the Bard  can heroically inspire his companions (immortalizing them in word and song), granting a +1 bonus to attack rolls, or a +1 bonus to Saving Throws, or a +2 bonus to morale (particularly useful in large battles) to those involved in melee. The Bard  must spend at least three full rounds singing or reciting before the battle begins. This affects those within a range of 10 feet per experience level of the Bard .

The effect lasts one round per level. Once the effect wears off it can't be renewed if the recipients are still in battle. However, troops who have withdrawn from combat can be inspired again by the Bard 's words. A troop of soldiers, inspired by Cwell, could charge into battle. After fighting a fierce fight, they retreat and the enemy does not pursue.
Cwell, seeing them crestfallen and dispirited, once again rouses their will to fight. Reinvigorated, they charge back into battle with renewed spirit

Lore.
Finally, Bards learn a little bit of everything in their studies and travels. Bards have a 5% chance per experience level to know local events and history. They also use the same chance to identify the general purpose and function of any magical item. The Bard  need not handle the item but must examine it closely taking 1d10 rounds. Even if successful, the exact function of the item is not revealed, only its general nature. Since Cwell the Fine is 2nd level, he has a 10% chance to know something about a magical sword +1. If he succeeds, he knows whether the sword is cursed and whether it has an alignment ("This sword was used by the evil warrior Lurdas. I wouldn't touch it if I were you!"). This ability does not enable him to identify the sword's exact properties, only its history and background. He has no idea of its bonuses or penalties or any special magical powers, except as can be inferred from the histories.

Level 10: A Bard  can read and cast magic from magic-user (and elf) scrolls with 90% accuracy, just like a thief.

Magical Items:
Bard s may employ any magical weapons not specifically restricted to a single class (of course, the weapon must be of a type Bards can normally use). They may wear magical armor of the type appropriate to their armor restrictions. They may also use all other magic items usable by Fighters and Thieves and may use a Horn of Valhalla.

Hounds of Tindalos and Miri Nigri (OSR)

Two Mythos races I was asked to build for the upcoming new version of Petty Gods.

The Hounds of Tindalos 
No. Enc.:  1d4+2
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Fly/Swim:  240' (80')
Armor Class:  4
Hit points (HD): 25hp (5 HD)
Attacks: tongue attack
Damage: 1d8 dmg + Special
Save: F5
Morale: 12  
Hoard Class: None
XP:  920

The Hounds of Tindalos live millions of years in the past occupying the angles of existence whereas normal life inhabit the curves of space and time. They are utterly alien to life as we know it and are vicious predators of both ethereal vapor and strange matter. They do not communicate; they only hunt and destroy. If an entity physically or mentally travels to the distant past of these creatures he risks attracting their attention and inevitably becomes hunted through time and space.

The Hounds are a fearsome enemy. They are not easily defeated.  
 
Travel Through Angles
The Hounds travel through time and space using angles in our reality as doorways: any angle such as corners of rooms, ceilings, doorways, etc. The angle does not have to be large as the Hound assumes a vaporous form to travel through the angle gateways, but it must be sufficiently angled: at least 120 degrees.

When entering and exiting an angle gateway the Hound stretches and becomes vaporous. It takes three rounds to completely pour itself through and reform on the other side of an angle. 

While vaporous it can only be hit by magic weapons and spells. 

Flawless Track
Once they Hounds take notice of an individual they can track him unerringly across time and space. They will arrive at the victim's time and location at the DM's discretion and their arrival will be announced by the pouring of an ethereal vapor or smoke pouring from the angles they are sliding into that dimension through. They are tireless in their pursuit and do not give up.

Blue Ichor 
The Hound exude a thick blue ichor or pus from their bodies. This ichor, covering their body in sufficient quantities
, allows the Hound to regenerate 2 hp per round. If the Hound is submerged, lit afire, or some other means is used to wipe the coating from the Hound it does not regenerate until the blue ichor reforms over enough of their bodies. It takes 1d4 +2 rounds to sufficiently reform for regeneration.

If the Hound is grappled or the blue ichor comes into contact with a living being not from the Hound's existence the victim must make a Saving Throw vs Poison or lose 1d4 hit points. This effect lasts for 1d6 rounds and the victim gets a Saving Throw each round to avoid damage. The blue ichor can be wiped or washed off taking a full round to do so. 

Tongue Attack
The tongue of a Hound is a horrific thing allowing it to attack creatures withing 10' of its position. In addition to normal damage the Tongue drains vital fluids and life force from the victim, causing horrific wounds in its wake. 

There are two ways a DM can interpret this ability, depending on the level of lethality they wish to inject into their game. 

The first option is a Level Drain: 
The classic feared and permanent method of harming the foolish or unlucky.

The second option is a Constitution Drain: 
1d4 Constitution is lost per hit. The character is dead at 0 Constitution.
No hit points can be healed until all of the Constitution damage is healed. Constitution can be healed at the rate of one point per week of total rest. Healing magic will heal one point of Constitution per healing dice involved plus any modifiers. 
(Example: a spell healing 1d6+1 hit points would heal two Constitution points.)

Miri Nigri 
No. Enc.:  2d6+4
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
 Armor Class:  6 
Hit pts. (HD):  9 hp (2HD)
Attacks:  2 claws 
Damage: 1d3 each
Save: F2
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None. All treasure is for Chaugnar Faugn.
XP: 50

The Miri Nigri are a dwarfish race of inhuman servants,dark skinned with toadish features. They are tireless in serving their creator and god, the slumbering Chaugnar Faugn. They are sent forth to steal men and women for the vampiric hunger of their god.

The subterranean  Miri Nigri have infravision of 90'. 
Their dark coloration, natural stealthiness and small stature give them an advange when surprising opponents. They surprise on a 1-4 on a 1d6.  Their amphibious nature also allows them this bonus when in water.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

New and Revised Classes for OSR games. Plus a tiny bit of notation.


I had a guy flip out on me a couple of weeks past over 'game balance' with my postings.
So, to help clarify things, I will be posting  extra notes for classes I put on here.

The notations will involve differences in class abilities for situations in games (such as the Archer addressing game using two shots per round versus one shot per round as a basic system rule).
The distinction between the two will be pretty minimal, mostly adjustments to class abilities such as multi-attacks, special damage attacks, etc. The notations are to give a DM whom might use these classes a chance to use which version they think more appropriate for the 'balance' of their game.
Balance... such a tricky thing it can be. I've honestly never worried much about it. I've been blessed with players who are more concerned with fun than rules lawyering. 

I will also address  my revised versions of the basic classes such as my Fighter/Soldier vs the old school Fighter. My revised version gets extra attacks, and AC bonus, and extra attacks at higher levels. My revised versions are more skilled and 'powerful' than the standard classic classes and are, for the most part, intended to be used in place of the base rules classes. 

Some do not find this 'old school hardcore' but I and my players really really like their characters to be a bit more competent. That's also why I replaced the lower percentages of classes such as the Thief with my 10+1/2 level+ attribute bonus or less on a 1d20 roll. It gives them a higher chance at lower levels and mildly increases through leveling up. Again: just my preferences. Don't like it: replace it with the old school percentages. Your game, your rules.

As always, these are just my personal interpretations for my own games. 
Don't flip out. 

And so....
I also took the time to clean up the classes a bit. Prime Requisites are simplified to just one instead of two in some cases. I also removed and added a a few new abilities to help smooth the classes into more distinct roles.
For example, this version of the Assassin has less Thief skills but has gained the use of making poisons and antidotes.

Archer 

Prime Requ: Dex
Exp: As Fighting-Man.
HD: 1d6+1
Save: As Fighting-Man.
Attack: As Fighting-Man.
Armor: Up to chain and shield.
Weapons: Any except two-handed melee.
Level Limit: none.

Archer Training. 
+1 to hit with a bow. The damage works one of two ways. If you are using a rules-set allowing two bow shots per round, the damage is increased by a +1. If you are only allowing one shot per round (and it's probably a 1d6 dmg) the damage increases to 1d8
.
No penalty for unstable platform such as a horse, rolling ship deck, etc.

Sure Shot. 
-1 per range increment. 

Level 5: Long Shot. 
Range Increment increases by 50 percent.

Level 9: 
Rapid Shot. An extra bow attack is gained. 

Level 12: Trick Shot. 
Called shot penalties reduced by -2.

Level 16: Dead Shot. 
Aim for one round and receive a +4 bonus to one shot. Only one shot can be taken in that round.
NOTES: The only real difference in editions with this class is the differing number of bow shots allowed in a round. 

Assassin 

Prime Requ: Dex
Exp: As Fighting-Man.
HD:  1d6
Save:  As Thief.
Attack:  As Thief
Armor:  As Thief.
Weapons:  Any.
Level Limit:  none.

Thief Abilities. 
Pick Locks, Move Silently, Climb Walls, Hide in Shadow.

Death Attack. (completely copped from C&C)
Usable once per day per 2 levels.
If an assassin studies a victim for 3 consecutive rounds and makes a sneak attack (see below) that successfully deals damage, the sneak attack can potentially kill the target instantly. While studying a victim prior to an attack, the assassin can undertake other minor actions, but must stay focused on the target. If the target knows the assassin is present, a death attack is not possible. The victim of such an attack must make a saving
throw. If the saving throw fails, the victim dies instantly. If the saving throw
succeeds, the attack is treated as a normal sneak attack.

After completing 3 rounds of study, the assassin must attack within the
next 3 rounds to use this ability. If a death attack is attempted and fails
because the victim succeeds at the saving throw, the assassin cannot make
another attempt at a death attack in this circumstance because the victim
will almost certainly be aware of the assassin’s status as an enemy. If the
assassin attacks and misses (and the target is not aware of the attack), or
if the assassin does not launch the attack within 3 rounds of completing
the study, 3 new rounds of study are required before another death attack
attempt can be made.

NOTE: If you feel the Death Attack is too powerful for your games scale it back to a standard Thief backstab. Combined with the Poisons ability below the Assassin should still be a formidable class.

Poisons.
Given an hour of brew time, and the proper ingredients  the Assassin can create a virulent poisons. The poison can be ingested, contact, or injected as the Assassin desires. At first level the Assassin's poison does 1d6 hp damage and an extra 1d6 at levels 3, 9, 12, 15, and 18. The poison is insidious and slow; starting one hour after exposure it does 1d6 damage per hour until the available d6's of poison are used or the victim is dead. A Saving Throw is allowed during the initial 1d6 hp loss and if successful, all damage done is for half damage as the poison runs its course.

The Assassin can also make an antidote for the poison. When given it stops all damage.

Both poison and antidote have a shelf life of a number of days equal to the Assassin's level.

NOTES: This version sets itself further from the classic Thief class. This one is all about stealth and  murder and lacks many of the essential treasure finding skills of the Thief.

Barbarian (Hillman) 

Prime Requ: Str
Exp: As Fighting-Man.
HD: 1d6+2
Save: As Fighting-Man.
Attack: As Fighting-Man.
Armor: Chain and shield. May wear heavier but lose special abilities while in the heavier armor.
Weapons: Any
Level Limit: none.

Ferocious. 
+1to melee and unarmed Damage.

Pantherish Dodge. 
+2 to AC

Alert. 
Only surprised on a 1 on a 1d6.

Climb. 
As Thief.

Battle Fury. 
Once per day per level the Barbarian can make a single brutal attack on his opponent, sacrificing accuracy and finesse for sheer damage.  The attack is made at a -2 penalty to hit. If failed the Barbarian suffers a -4 to his AC due to being off balance until his turn to act in the following round. Damage as follows...

Basic rules damage: x2 damage, x3 if a natural 20 is rolled.

My Revised rules damage: It is scaled as backstab damage is for the Thief, by level.
Level 1-5, x2 damage.
Level 6-12, x3 damage.
Level 12+, x4 damge

NOTE: The damage is scaled up in my revised version to keep up with the soldier's extra attacks. The idea is the Soldier is using more skill with multiple chances (extra attacks) to hit the enemy while the Barbarian is dishing out sheer brutal damage with one shot, but only has one chance to hit or miss.

The Brute 
For Basic rules use the Brute as is.
My Revised version does Crusher damage as the Barbarian's Battle Fury. Escalating damage by level.

The attack is made at a -2 penalty to hit. If failed the Brute suffers a -4 to his AC due to being off balance until his turn to act in the following round. 
Level 1-5, x2 damage.
Level 6-12, x3 damage.
Level 12+, x4 damge

NOTE: These Brute's Str bonus applies to Str rolls not just damage as the Barbarian's does.
Whereas the Barbarian is about prowess combined with power the Brute is simply raw power. He has the advantage of slightly better hit points and does not lose his abilities in heavier armor.



Fighter/Soldier (Revised) 

Prime Requ: Str
Exp: As Fighting-Man.
HD: As Fighting-Man.
Save: As Fighting-Man.
Attack: As Fighting-Man.
Armor: Any.
Weapons: Any
Level Limit: none.

Trained/Natural Fighter.
 +1 to hit and damage with all weapons and unarmed attacks.

Parry/Dodge.
+2 to AC.

Combat Expert.
Extra melee attack at 5th, 12th, and 20th.
NOTE: Melee only, not ranged. 

NOTE: This is my revised  Fighter and it will outstrip Basic rules classes. I would not use this with anything but my other revised classes to keep the fighting levels on a closer scale.

Ranger (Traditional Fantasy) 

Prime Requ: Dex
Exp: As Fighting-Man.
HD: 1d6+2
Save: As Fighting-Man.
Attack: As Fighting-Man.
Armor: Chain and shield. Will lose Move Silently while in armor heavier than Leather.
Weapons: Any
Level Limit: none.

Alert.
Only surprised on a 1 on a 1d6.

Backstab.
As a Thief of equal level. Ranged backstab within the first range increment.

Hunter.
+1 to hit and damage with ranged weapons. Includes bows, crossbows, thrown weapons, firearms, etc.

Move Silently.
As Thief. This is for outdoors only. In urban settings, crypts, dungeons, etc the chance is halved (round up.) The Ranger uses this to get in close to a prey while on the hunt.
This is halved if the Ranger is wearing armor heavier than Leather.

Track.
 10 + 1/2 level + Wis bonus or less on a 1d20. Penalties and bonuses for mud, snow, dry ground, etc should be applied by the DM. 

Revisions to the Cleric, Magic User, and Thief.
Cleric and Magic User
Make my ritual and diabolic magic options available.

Thief
I have only one addition to my Revised Thieves: The Fast Talk ability.


Fast Talk
With a bit of conversation, the Thief is able to attempt to befriend, persuade, charm, or outright con an individual to his way of thinking. After 2d6 minutes of cajoling, flat­tering, drinking, etc. the victim of the Fast Talk must make a Saving Throw. This Saving Throw has a cumulative -1 penalty roll for the Scoundrel level at 1st and every fourth level after at 4, 8, 12 ,16, and 20.

If the Save is failed the individual will give up some bit of information, do a small favor, or otherwise not hinder the Thief as long as the Thief appears to be friendly. This is not a magical effect: if the individual finds out the Thief is lying to him or some other situation arises to change his view of the Thief he may act normally.








Sunday, November 9, 2014

Frankenstein's Monster...the Original Novel Creature (OSR)

"It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! -- Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips."

The Frankenstein Monster (The Monster, The Creature)
Created from the assembled pieces of corpses and brought to life by a process of mixing natural science with alchemy....

This build is for the Original Shelly character. The Creature is far more powerful than those I have written to be used as PC's in my Created class. The original Frankenstein Monster is a unique entity;  spawned in the  terrible brilliant mind of a madman it is the first, the prototype of a new and horrific superior race which never came to be.

"Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil, as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave, or tortured the living animal, to animate the lifeless clay? My limbs now tremble and my eyes swim with the remembrance; but then a resistless, and almost frantic, impulse urged me forward; I seemed to have lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit. It was indeed but a passing trance that only made me feel with renewed acuteness so soon as, the unnatural stimulus ceasing to operate, I had returned to my old habits. I collected bones from charnel-houses; and disturbed, with profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame. In a solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase, I kept my workshop of filthy creation: my eye-balls were starting from their sockets in attending to the details of my employment. The dissecting room and the slaughter-house furnished many of my materials; and often did my human nature turn with loathing from my occupation, whilst, still urged on by an eagerness which perpetually increased, I brought my work near to a conclusion."

The Frankenstein Monster/Creature
"CURSED, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly bestowed? I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me; my feelings were those of rage and revenge. I could with pleasure have destroyed the cottage and its inhabitants, and have glutted myself with their shrieks and misery."
HD: 12
Str 18 +3
Dex 17 +2
Con 18 +3
Int 16 +2
Wis 13 +1
Chs 0 (See below)

HP: 90
AC: 15
Save: 8
Attack: +12 melee (two attacks per round)
Damage: Unarmed (1d2+7) or melee weapon (dmg+7)

"I suddenly beheld the figure of a man, at some distance, advancing towards me with superhuman speed. He bounded over the crevices in the ice, among which I had walked with caution; his stature, also, as he approached, seemed to exceed that of man. I was troubled: a mist came over my eyes, and I felt a faintness seize me; but I was quickly restored by the cold gale of the mountains. I perceived, as the shape came nearer (sight tremendous and abhorred!) that it was the wretch whom I had created. I trembled with rage and horror, resolving to wait his approach, and then close with him in mortal combat. He approached; his countenance bespoke bitter, anguish, combined with disdain and malignity, while its unearthly ugliness rendered it almost too horrible for human eyes. "

Superior to Man:
Eight feet tall and built for hideous strength, endurance and flexibility.
The Creature gains a +4  (in addition to its  normal Strength bonus) to all  melee and unarmed damage rolls, as well as to attempts to open doors. The +4 is also used as a bonus to any Strength attribute checks.

The Frankenstein Monster only takes half damage from non-magical weapons.
The Creature only takes 1/4 damage from cold (0 damage with a successful saving throw.)
It saves with a +4 bonus vs poison and disease.

The Monster heals at an astonishing rate; with full rest it regains 24 hp per day. It active it still regains 12 hp per day.

With its massive stride and superior muscle The Creature moves faster than an ordinary man; movement is 150' (50').
The Creature gains a +4 bonus to climb and stealth checks.

The Monster does not age. Unless killed by trauma or other bodily affliction it is effectively immortal.

Because of its grotesque and unnatural appearance the Frankenstein Monster  is shunned by normal men and women who are horrified by it. It effectively has a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people, even allies. This may be overcome given time and actions by the Creature.

Equipment:
Ragged Clothing.  




Monday, November 3, 2014

Victorian Gothic Playlog: London 1896 (OSR)

Our current Game!
We finished two nights of a Victorian OSR game I am DM'ing.
We are using the firearms rules, Victorian setting and classes, and everything else I have posted so far on here.

The Set Up
Three Players: One Scoundrel (James), One Explorer (Rene'), and One Physician (Edward). All fifth level. James and Rene' are both very wealthy. The Physician is not nearly so.
They are members of the Explorer's Club and have some reputation as explorers of the supernatural and strange.
Their base is in a three  story home owned by James right off the heart of downtown London, inherited from is father.
They motor around London in a steam powered horseless carriage.

Two bodies have turned up last night in alleyways in Whitechapel; both unidentified.
The PC's are called to meet with Inspector Aaron Copeland and the Coroner at the Whitechapel morgue beneath the Records building to view the bodies and consult the police.

After the events in Dracula and the player's former PC's exploits in London the existence of the supernatural is known to a select few Inspectors and Higher Ups in the London Authorities. When suspicious situations crop up members of the Explorer's Club and independant consultants are often called in to assist. The objective is to solve the crime, keep the public as unaware as possible, and protect the city.
The last thing they want is another Ripper panic as what happened when Jack the Ripper roamed the streets eight years past.

They are also informed that another consultant, a Dr. John Seward, will be arriving tomorrow.

The Corpses 
A female, probable prostitute (signs of a hard life, liquor, bad teeth, syphalis) with her left arm, clavicle, and scapula completely and surgically removed.

Two alleyways over a male, probably a Doctor or attendant, (well dressed, good teeth, no ink on hands, traces of powder under the nails) with two large puncture wounds in the neck; blood severly drained.

No identification or money on either body.

The Investigation
The PC's begin with Edward examining the bodies, confirming the Coroner's findings. He then heads to the local medical school to inquire about any new surgeons in town. That draws a zero but he does learn that distinguished surgeon Henry Frankenstein is in London to give a lecture on anatomy in two days.
James looks for anyone who might know the woman in Whitechapel but comes up empty for now.
Rene' has an artist make a detailed sketch of the woman's face to assist in the street questioning.
He then heads to the alleys where the corpses were found. Nothing is discernible in the female corpse's alley. However in the male corpse's alley the Explorer finds a gold cufflink in the trash near where the body was found. It has a stylized ankh on the face and the back has a jeweler's mark. "CM"

As night falls they meet up and retire for a meal, a drink, and cigars at the Explorer's Club.
Edward and Rene' enter the Club's library and begin to research vampire lore.
James employs a clipping agency to find any info on new surgeons or doctors in the city and all jewelers with the initials CM then returns to the Club.

Having learned basic lore on vampires (the Stoker archetype) they call Inspector Copeland, warning him that the male corpse may wake as a vampire. He takes two men and head off to the morgue.
He never calls back. The PC's decide to head to the morgue to see what has happened.
They head off in the horseless carriage.

The Morgue
The Police station is lit up and is business as usual.
The Records building/morgue is dark as it is closed for business for the night. No sign of Copeland or his men.
Really concerned about the possible vampire corpse they park the horseless carriage in the side street behind the morgue and James picks the lock on the back receiving doors.

Retrieving an electric lantern from the auto they head into the dark hallway leading to the front of the building. Wooden office doors with large smoked windows are spaced down the hallway. The try the electric light switch but no response: power must have been cut. The primitive lantern only shines out to about 20 feet. James and Rene' pull knives and take the lead with the light. Edward, armed with a lever-action carbine takes the rear.

Heading towards the front of building they come to a cross hallway.
Suddenly a black clad thief with a scarf over his lower face steps out and takes a stab at James.
A nasty knife fight ensues with the thief taking the worst of it.
As this is happening two more thieves appear from out of the darkness ahead of the Rene'. He sits his lantern down and engages one of the thieves with his push dagger, both men score hits stabbing each other deeply.
Edward opens fire and misses the third thief, shattering glass in the front door clear down the long hallway.

A lantern is lit down by the front doors. A fourth thief is seen with a lantern.
The knife fights continue.
Edward let's loose with two more shots from the carbine. The third thief takes a bullet through the head and the second shot misses the thief with the lantern down the hall.

Gunshots are heard outside as someone opens up on the front of the police station. (A diversion.)

The wounded thief fighting James has had enough and retreats down the side hallway. James lets him go.
The wounded thief fighting Rene' takes a deep knife wound to the neck and collapses.
The lantern thief takes off running towards the stairwell down to the morgue, disappearing from sight.

Rene' and James pull pistols and run down the dark hallway, not taking time to grab their lantern. Heading past the fallen thieves they see both wear a medallion: the same stylized ankh as on the cufflink.
Rene' lights a match and they head cautiously down the stairs to the morgue.

The Physician on the other hand leaps to the side of the slowly die-ing thief that Rene' jacked up.
He manages to stabilize him and heal him up to zero hp's. Aha! A prisoner. In a coma...

Meanwhile, down at the morgue door: the two heroes see a faint lantern glow behind the smokey glass.
Cautiously opening the door, they see the last thief pounding a wooden stake through the heart of the male corpse lying on the slab. Not wanting to interfere, they cautiously watch as the thief then saws the man's head off.

Ignoring the female corpse with the missing arm the thief then faces the PC's.
They try to initiate conversation (hey we're hunters too!) when he whips up a Mauser pistol and threatens to shoot them if they don't leave.
After a bit of tenseness they back out the door.
They hear the thief hightail it out the back way of the morgue, light extinguished.

The PC's rendezvous upstairs.
Things have quieted down outside as the cops are out in force looking for the men who shot the windows out of the police station.

They dump the unconscious thief in the automobile and make a search of the building.
They find Inspector Copeland and his two men, fang marks in necks, nearly drained of blood, in the land records office. They quickly take them out to give them aid. As they are leaving they notice some of the land records have been rifled, bloody hand prints on drawers and a bloody thumbprint on a half drawn folder.

After checking in with the police they get the cops to leave the crime scene at the records office alone until the party an investigate and they inform them Copeland and they two officers will be cared for.
They then head back to their house.
The wounded police are carefully watched for signs of vampirism and tended for in a bedroom on the third floor.
In the basement the unconscious thief is handcuffed to  bed and cared for as well.

They stay up til dawn making plans. James telephones the police station and have them direct Dr. Seward, when he arrives there, to come to the PC's house.
When the butler and  maid awake the PC's go to sleep for four hours, awaking at ten pm to eat and freshen up.

Day Two
The clipping agency agent delivers their report: no news of. a new surgeon or clinic. There are four jewelers in London with the initials CM but the most likely is Cedric Miller in Lambeth.

Dr. Seward arrives.
Cards and quick pleasantries are exchanged as the PC's tell their tale. Seward then relates his involvement with the Dracula incident three years earlier. Assisted by Edward, Seward examines the policemen. Their relatives are contacted for a blood transfusion and they are made comfortable. The thief is still in a coma. After explaining the precautions against a vampire (garlic, crosses, mirrors) Seward takes leave of the PC's to settle into his hotel. He will meet with them later that evening.

More Investigations
The PC's head out to check on a few things.
As they do Rene' glimpses what he thinks is a large figure in black watching them from the rooftops.
Spooked, they head back inside to get their rifles. The butler is instructed to carry out the vampire proofing of the house. They stop at a local gunshop and purchase more ammo and another heavy rifle.

Rene' and James head to the jewelry shop of Cedric Miller. Cards are given. He identifies the ankh cufflink as his work. He made four pair for a Mr. Corben, address unknown. The description of the man who placed the order and came to retrieve it was given: short, red hair, freckled, rumpled clothing. It was doubtful his was Mr. Corben himself. He also viewed the ankh necklace and found an Egyptian mark on the back, probably the jeweler's mark.
The boys then headed to the British Museum where James managed to sweet talk his way past a receptionist to get five minutes with a Professor Anderson, Egyptologist. More cards are exchanged. He confirmed that the mark and the stylized ankh were symbols of a minor cult which had flourished in Cairo in the 1830's but had though to have died out over twenty years ago. He eagerly agreed to view any more objects they might find.
They then spend the rest of the afternoon getting copies of the prostitute's drawing, having tea in a small park, and walking around Whitechapel. They hit paydirt at the Ten Bells Tavern. A group of pimps know the girl as Anna, missing two days now. She was last seen getting into the carriage of a white haired gentlemen over by Stepney.
Drinks were had all around.

Edward, meanwhile, headed back to the medical college see if anything new was happening. He discovered a body had been stolen from the college. It was all very hush hush. He then ran into Henry Frankenstein in the library, reading and anatomy book and sitting next to his medical bag. Frankenstein looked startled to see Edward, he obviously recognized him though they had never met. Edward came up and made introductions and small talk, looking forward to the lecture. Frankenstein concluded the meeting by asking him if he knew of a Dr. Emil Pretoreus, of Germany, in the city. Edward did not and they parted ways with Edward heading off to study updated medical texts.
Edward noted that Dr. Frankenstein's bag appeared to contain much bulkier equipment than normal medical tools.

Later Edward received a call from the Whitechapel police station.
The body of the beheaded man had been claimed for burial.
Edward immediately headed to the station and found the following: One Dr. Pretoreus, with a letter of introduction from the Royal Surgeon's College, had collected the deceased: Andrew Kaufman, medical assistant. Kaufman had a home address in Walworth, across the bridge.

Leaving the station he headed off to find his colleagues.
He didn't make it past the dark alleyway near the station: A gigantic yellowed hand wrapped in a ragged coat reached out and yanked him into the alleyway.
Lifted into the air he faced a 7 foot tall, yellow-eyed and cadaver pallored face with black lips and snarling teeth. The bald gaunt head was covered in surgical scars.
The ragged black clad creature told him point blank to stop investigating Dr. Pretoreus or he would die.
He then hurled him out of the alley and ran away with incredible speed.

He soon found his housemates.
Edward mentioned nothing of the warning, only of the information about Dr. Pretoreus and Andrew Kaufman's address.

They stopped at the records office on their way home. They had been given access to the office where they had found the bloody hand and thumb prints on the records. Nothing had been touched by the police.
They discover that the file hanging out of the drawer is for a property, a house, in Stepney.
It was sold to a Mr. Corben. The solicitor was one RM Renfield, the same solicitor whom helped Dracula buy property around London before going mad and being replaced by Jonathan Harker.

Night Visitor
They regroup at dusk at their house, now decorated with garlic, crosses, and mirrors.
Dr. Seward and family members of the policemen arrive and the blood transfusions begin in the third floor bedrooms. After several hours the policemen feel better and the family members are sent home. Inspector Copeland's pistol is returned to him.

As they are discussing the case and tending to the policemen's meal Rene' and Seward both hear a loud thump on the peaked tiled roof. The sound was loud enough to be heard through the attic above them.

Rene' grabs his elephant gun and pulls down the attic trap door, squirming into the large junk filled room.
James has the butler bring him his shotgun and opens a window.
Edward grabs a poker and begins heating it in the fire.

Rene' hears something big walking above him on the roof. He reaches up and knocks on the wood.
A large hole is smashed in the roof and tiles as a large yellow hand reaches down for him.
Rene' fires and misses with ihs first barrel. The yellow-eyed cadaverous face sneers as him through the hole.

Suddenly a loud shot rings out from a nearby alley. The Creature is hit with a massive slug in it's side, knocking it sideways with a roar. It attempts to flee but Rene' blasts it in the hip with the second barrel of the elephant rifle. With a howl it runs across the slanted roof and leaps the ten feet to the neighbors roof.

James sees the Creature leap across the way and blasts it with his shotgun. The furious and severly wounded Creature slips in his own blood on the neighbors slanted tile roof and falls three stories to the cobblestones, disappearing from sight.

Rene' pulls himself onto the roof, reloading his rifle.
James looks down and sees Henry Frankenstein coming out of the alley reloading a massive howdah pistol. James hollers that the Creature fell on the other side of the neighbors building.
Frankenstein nods and heads that way.

Rene' leaps across the alley onto the neighbors roof, slick with dark blood. He looks down but the Creature is gone, leaving a massive quantity of blood on the cobblestones. Frankenstein is there and wishes to talk to the PC's. Rene' agrees and makes his way back across to their own roof.

Aftermath
Meeting with Frankenstein, who requests a brandy, he tells his story:
He and Pretoreous were colleagues in Europe. Travelling to his family's castle they discovered a hidden copy of his ancestor, Victor Frankenstein's journal. Pretoreous poisoned Henry and fled with the journal and it's secrets.
Henry Frankenstein has hunted Pretoreous for over a year. Knowing he would return to London where he studied, Frankenstein has come to kill him, any Creature Pretoreous has created, and destroy the journal and notes once and for all.

He knows nothing about Dracula, Mr. Corben, nor any of the others.
He has been staking out the PC's house when they became involved with the dead prostitute case. That's how he recognized Edward and he saw the Creature following them during the day. He waited to trap and kill it.

And that's where we ended for now.
A Vampire. Frankenstein. A Cult. And two houses to check out.














Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Magician Class (OSR)

I wanted a less flashy spell-flinging version of Magic Users for my Colonial and Victorian games. Thus, along with the Witch, the Magician was created for this role. He has many spells at his disposal but he is hampered by the need for rituals. 
Edit: The available spell slots I originally posted were cut and pasted from an early draft. The final version has been put in it's place. All fixed and updated.

The Magician
Hit Die Type: 1d6 per level, gains 1 HP per level after 9th,
Advance As: Cleric
Attack: Magic User
Save As: Magic User
Armor Permitted: Leather
Weapons Permitted: Any except two-handed melee.
Prime Attribute (5% experience bonus): Intelligence 13+

Similar to the standard D&D Magic User, the Magician can cast more spells

Class Abilities
Spells:
The Magician casts spells as a Magic User with the following changes...

The Magician receives a extra spell slot per spell level at each level of Magician. For Example: A fourth level Magic User would have three 1st level spell slots and two 2nd level slots available. The  fourth level Magician has four 1st and three 2nd.
HOWEVER, the Magician can only cast spells via rituals.

The Magician may cast both Magic User and Cleric spells. If a spell is listed in both the Cleric and Magic User lists the Magician  uses the Magic User version.

The Magician have a chance to cast spells of a higher level than he has learned. The spell must be found via tome, scroll, teacher, or other source to obtain it. Study time is one week per spell level. At the end of this study time the Magician makes a roll of 10 + 1/2  level + Int bonus - the spells level, on a 1d20. If successful the spell is learned and can be cast as a ritual once daily. If failed the Magician must continue studying the spell for another week.
Only one spell at a time can be studied.

The Magician has the option of practicing Infernal Witchcraft.

Potions, Salves, and Charms:
Just as a WItch, a Magician may work any spell known into a potion, salve, or charm.
Potions must be drunk, salves applied to skin, and charms hidden on or in the house of the target of the spell.

Spells which compel the target to obey the caster, such as Charm, take effect as if the caster is the one who gave the item to the one who drank or used it.

Creation time is the same as for rituals and costs the daily spell slot of the spell used. The Magician is much more adapt at this form of magic and can make a number of items equal to twice his dlevel, and each has a shelf life equal to twice the Magician's level in days.

Bonus Languages:
The Magician must master many languages both modern and archaic in his studies.
He receives twice the number of beginning languages and can save the extra language slots for use after character creation. With a proper guide or teacher he can learn a new language well enough in four weeks time to speak, read, and use it for studying. This can help save a spell slot which might otherwise be used for Read Magic.

The Brute, The Musketeer, The Pirate, The Swashbuckler. FOUR new classes for your Old School Games.

Here's four classes I came up with to fill a few specific roles in our games. All have been played in a Pirate campaign and with a bit of rewording: Musketeer to Gunman, Swashbuckler to Swordsman, etc they can be easily used in other genres or eras.

The Brute
Hit Die Type: 1d6+3 per level.
Level and Attack as: Fighter
Save as: Fighter
Armor Permitted: Chainmail and sheild.
Weapons Permitted: Any but greatly prefer melee weapons.
Prime Attribute (5% experience bonus): Constitution 13+.

Brutes are vicious combatants whom dish out massive amounts of damage due to their strength and ferociousness in melee combat. Fighters have a better chance to hit and can wear better armor but the Brute makes up for this with greater hit points, intimidation and damage potential. They function best in armor and with big, brutal melee weapons. A well armored Brute turned loose on a battlefield of 1HD opponents is a frightening thing to behold..
Brutes are often the first ones boarding a grappled ship or over the walls of a castle to clear the way for their mates.

This class can represent anything from a dockside brawler to rampaging Uruk Hai berserkers on the walls of Helm's Deep.

Class Abilities
Beef:
A Brute character gains +1 to AC due to their toughness and their ability to work through pain and damage that would cripple a lesser man.

Brawn:
A Brute character gains +2 to all melee and unarmed damage rolls (in addition to their normal Strength bonus). They know where to hurt people and hit like a freight train.

Crusher:
Once per day per level the Brute can summon his inner reserves of anger and rage to deliver a brutal strike. With a -2 to the attack roll but doing x2 damage (rolled and modifiers both.) If a natural 20 is rolled the modifier is x3.

Intimidation:
The Brute's frightening demeanor and air of menace can be used to strike fear into their opponents.
The Brute can intimidate creatures with a total HD equal to his level. Thus a fifth level brute can intimidate up to five HD of creatures. Lowest level HD creatures are affected first. The creatures must be able to see the Brute's display of intimidation to be affected. The creatures are allowed a Saving Throw to avoid this effect. Those that fail suffer a –2 to all attacks on the Brute. Most will flee; only the most determined will stay and fight. This ability can be used 1 per day per 2 levels, rounding down. Thus the fifth level Brute can use this two times per day. (5/2= 2.5 rounded down to 2,)

Iron Constitution:
Brutes make saving throws against disease and poison with a +4 bonus.


The Musketeer
Hit Die Type: 1d6+1 per level.
Level and Attack as: Fighter
Save as: Fighter
Armor Permitted: Any
Weapons Permitted: Any but greatly prefer firearms.
Prime Attribute (5% experience bonus): Dexterity 13+.

Musketeers are combatants who have a great affinity for firearms. They are better marksmen than the average Soldier and are trained to care for their weapons. Their knowledge of firearms often makes them the default Armorer caring for the crew's weaponry. Their bonuses to hit coupled with bonuses from aiming and point blank range make them deadly in a firefight.

Class Abilities
Deadshot:
The Musketeer receives a +2 bonus to hit with any firearm. This stacks with aiming and point blank shooting. (See My Firearms Rules HERE.)

Fast Draw:
The Musketeer can draw, ready, and fire a firearm faster. They only receive a -2 to their shooting attacks when drawing and shooting a firearm(s) in the same round instead of a -4 penalty.

Fast Reload:
The Musketeer cuts their reload time down by one round. Thus a musket or pistol can be reloaded in one round instead of two. In a modern setting a Musketeer (Gunman?) could reload and fire a magazine fed weapon in the same round.

Firearm Repair:
The Musketeer can fix malfunctioning or broken firearms and cannon. The chance is 10 + 1/2 level + Int modifier on a 1d20. The repair time is left up to the DM based on how badly the weapon is damaged and available tools and materials to fix.


The Pirate
Hit Die Type: 1d6+1 per level.
Level and Attack as: Fighter
Save as: Thief
Armor Permitted: Any, but Thief abilities can only be used in Leather or lighter.
Weapons Permitted: Any but prefer short one-handed weapons for ship combat.
Prime Attribute (5% experience bonus): Dexterity 13+.

Pirates are the scourge of the seas. Seriously, their pirates. Yo ho ho and all that.

Class Abilities
Close Quarter Fighter:
The cramped quarters below decks hinder a man's fighting abilities (-2 to attacks) unless he is experienced with such things. The Pirate recieves no penalty for fighting in cramped spaces including below deck, in tunnels, etc.

Hardy:
Pirates lead a rough life and harden to it quickly or die. They add a +2 to  saving throws against disease and poison.

Thief Abilities:
Being a tricksy and dangerous lad the Pirate can Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, and Climb Walls as well as a Thief of an equal level.

He can also Backstab as a Thief with the usual bonuses and extra damage.

The Swashbuckler
Hit Die Type: 1d6+2 per level.
Level and Attack as: Fighter
Save as: Fighter
Armor Permitted: Leather or lighter. Their abilities can only be used in Leather or lighter.
Weapons Permitted: Any but prefer one-handed melee. Their usually high Dexterity makes them capable two weapon fighters.
Prime Attribute (5% experience bonus): Dexterity 13+.

Lightly armored and quick blades-men. They are fast, agile, and excellent two weapons fighters. They rely on their Dexterity for both defense and offense.

Class Abilities
Climb Walls:
As a Thief of equal level. This can also be used as the chance for maneuvers such as swinging from chandeliers and other acrobatic derring-do.

Florentine:
Can use two melee weapons with no penalty to the primary hand and only a -2 to the off-hand. In addition the Swashbuckler can choose to not take the off-hand attack and defend witih he weapon, gaining him a +1 AC bonus that round as if he had a shield.

Light on the Feet:
When wearing leather or lighter armors the Swashbuckler receives a +2 bonus to their AC.

Quick with a Blade:
The Swashbuckler is a Dexterity based fighter. He may use his Dexterity bonus instead of his Strength bonus for melee attacks.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Devil's Right Hand: The Infernal Emissary. (OSR)

"  In the year 1502 there was a peasant named Pierre Burgot who was tending
sheep while a large and fierce storm broke out. From seemingly out of nowhere
rode three men dressed in black riding upon three black horses. One of the men
called himself Moyset, tall and pale, sunken eyes with long black hair. Moyset
told Pierre he would let his hands watch over his herd and give him great
fortune if he would obey him, Pierre agreed. In the next meeting, Moyset stated
his commands, to reject a so called "god", the false virgin, the baptism and
confirmation. Burgot accepted the demands and swore loyalty by kissing the hand
of the Moyset, which was as cold as the hand of the dead."

Infernal Emissary 

No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Lawful (evil)
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 7/12
Hit Dice: 12
Attacks: By weapon
Damage: by weapon (+2 strength)
Save: C12
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: XVII
XP:  4,400

An Infernal Emissary is a representative of the Adversary on Earth. He is a recruiter of the desperate and a corrupter of souls. The single duty of the Emissary is to collect the signatures and pacts of those willing to sell their souls to Hell for power and favor.

The Emissary is dressed head to toe in black and travels on a powerful black horse. He is often accompanied by minions similarly dressed and mounted. The Emissary is marked by his allegiance to the Powers of Darkness with a pale and sinister cast and a curious and otherworldly deformity such as a coldness of the flesh, as if of the dead, or a blackened hand, as if frost bitten.

The Emissary is drawn to those who are desperate, deranged, or evil. Offering wealth and promises of fulfilled desires, the Emissary will recruit the damned if they accept the Adversary as their Lord and Master, reject all that is good and dedicate themselves to do evil, and finally to seal the pact with a kiss upon his corpse cold hand or sometimes a signet ring or other special item. The damned will be required to attend Sabbaths, to spit out the Host as given in Mass, and other heretical actions to show their rejection of the faithful and their allegiance to the Adversary.

Once the damned are in his debt, the Emissary will meet with them to give gifts such as money and special salves, ointments, or other evil charms to aide them carry out their evil. These items are often ointments to fly, salves or wolf-skin girdles to change into werewolves, poisons to sicken and kill their neighbors, or any other item to war on the faithful and sow the seeds of fear and panic among them.

An Emissary will sometimes preside over the Black Mass and Sabbath's. Dressed in goat, dog, or other animal skins, he will lead the blasphemous and horrible rituals, feasting, and revelry. An Emissary is thoroughly corrupted of soul and damned to Hell. They are evil, and there is no salvation for them.

An Emissary is always wealthy due to his power and status. He will be an experienced traveler, well networked with others who serve the Adversary, and often hold high positions in the community he lives in, using his powers, wealth, and influence to appear as a gentleman and fit into society around him.

An Infernal Emissary has the spellcasting and special abilities of a 12th Level Witch (or Cleric in Fantasy settings). He will have a number of potions, charms, and magic items a appropriate to the setting and the DM's game. If challenged by a powerful force of faith or good he may call upon his Master for aide in the form of a demon, powerful undead, or other servitor if the DM sees fit.
Due to his connections to the Adversary, he cannot be harmed by normal weapons, only those of silver and magic.

His fierce eyes are hypnotic and three times per day he can use them to Charm a victim. If the victim makes his saving throw the Emissary cannot try to charm him again for 24 hours.

Finally, the marked or black hand can be used for a touch attack three times per day. Success causes paralysis as if a ghoul had attacked the victim.

"There is a record of a child werewolf as well. He was Jean Grenier ofAquitaire. His story was more or less like that of Burgot. When his father had beat him, he ran away from home and wandered around the countryside. One evening another boy named Pierre La Tihaire took him to the depths of the woods. According to them, the Lord of the Jungle was there. He was a tall black dressed dark man upon a dark horse. The Lord got off his horse and kissed Grenier with icy lips. In the second meeting both of the boys submitted themselves to the acclaimed Lord who scratched tattoos on their thighs as brands. He brought out a wine bag and gave them a drink. He also presented them wolf skins and an ointment. The Lord taught them how to rub their bodies with the ointment before putting on the fur."

The Emissary's Steed
Especially powerful Emissary's may be mounted on a Nightmare.

Minions
The Emissary may be accompanied by minions, each dressed in black, and riding black horses if travelling or on business.
The Minions are 5 HD Fighters and will fight to the death for the Emissary.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Weird and Horror Races for Victorian and Pulp Games (OSR)

Victorian adventure, horror, and fantasy stories often have a number of non-human or near-human races in the mix. Here are a few classics and a few from more modern horror for Player's to chew the scenery with.

NOTES: A number of these races have attribute modifiers at character creation. I know not everyone likes this method but I happen to like it as helps me better mechanically flesh out the archetypes I'm putting forth here. Not all stat bonuses/penalties are equal. Some have more than others. Same with Abilities and Drawbacks. The balance shouldn't be too far off but, to be honest, I'm more concerned with fun and flavor than perfect character balance.

Attributes are still minimum 3/maximum 18 after all adjustments.
Don't like them? Simply ignore them and use the races otherwise.

Apeman

-2 Int
Brought back to civilization as adults or raised by scientists, they are remnants of a lost civilization in hidden parts of the world such as the lost city of Opar. Savage or civilized, they are fearsome in appearance and a curiosity in the modern Victorian age. Apemen are primitive, with apish features, long arms, and twisted muscular bodies covered in hair ranging from rusty red to brown and black.

Abilities

  • Berserk: If angered or attacked  the Apeman must make a saving throw or go into a violent rage attacking the source of his distress with a +2 bonus to hit/damage with melee weapons, a -2 penalty with ranged weapons, and a -2 penalty to AC. Once combat is over (the irritation is dead or has successfully fled) the Apeman must make another saving throw to calm down and not attack his allies in his frenzy. He makes this saving throw check each round til he comes out of the rage.
  • Climber: The Apeman's body is adapted to climbing as a Thief of the same level.
  • Gristle: +1 to AC from fur and muscle.
  • Inhuman Strength: The Apeman is far stronger than a human. To reflect this he gains a +2  (in addition to their normal Strength bonus) to all  melee and unarmed damage rolls, as well as to attempts to open doors. The +2 is also used as a bonus to any Strength attribute checks.

Drawbacks

  • Fear of the Unknown: Apemen have a natural fear of the unnatural and strange. They receive a -2 penalty to saving throw checks vs magic. 
  • Freak: Because of his bestial appearance and mannerisms the Apeman is a freak in normal society, looked upon as a subhuman or an animal. He effectively has a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people. Some may overlook these traits however and become tolerant or even affectionate if the Apeman has earned this.
  • Primitive: Coming from a primitive society the Apeman often finds unfamiliar technology frightening and confusing. They receive a -2 penalty to rolls while using modern inventions such as firearms, vehicles, etc. Some devices such as a telephone, typewriter, etc will require an intelligence check to use properly without assistance.

Atlantean

+1 Con, +1 Int
Mutated amphibious descendants from the sunken city of Atlantis. The Atlanteans sometimes venture from their sea kingdom to explore the rest of the world. Others are exiled for crimes against their kin. The Atlantean can blend in well with normal Victorian society. The only traces of his ancestry are slight webbing between fingers and toes and a set of gills on the neck, easily covered by a high collar or scarf.

Abilities

  • Amphibious: The Atlantean can breath both water and air.
  • Dark Vision: Attuned to the murky depths the Atlanean can see in the dark up to 60'.
  • Icy Depths: +2 bonus to saving throws versus cold due to their life in the frigid waters of the deep sea.
  • Swimmer: In water the Atlantean is incredibly fast and can swim with a speed of 18.


Drawbacks

  • Dehydrate: The Atlanteans have two problems with this drawback. First: they require twice as much water as the average human to keep thenselves hydrated. If they does not get enough water they begin to dry out and will lose one hit point per hour until death. Secondly: they recieve a  -4 penalty to saving throws vs fire or heat.


The Created

+1 Dex. +1 Con
Victor Frankenstein’s experiments inspired others to experiment on the dead. Over the decades partial and flawed copies of his notes have made their way into forbidden circles of colleges and mad doctors dreaming of creating life.  From these clues a rare few discover the secrets of resurrection and the Created is the result of these experiments. Most do not survive more than a few minutes after their awakening. Those that do often go mad and turn on their creator, destroying the creator, themselves, or sometimes both. Those that do survive and escape find they are outcasts in the world. The Created are a horrific sight of a gigantic body of stitched together body parts.

Abilities

  • Ageless: The Created do not age.
  • Inhuman Strength: The massive bodies of the Created are frighteningly strong. To reflect this it gains a +3  (in addition to their normal Strength bonus) to all  melee and unarmed damage rolls, as well as to attempts to open doors. The +3 is also used as a bonus to any Strength attribute checks. 
  • Iron Constitution: Due to their inherit toughness the Created only take 1/2 damage from cold (1/4 with a successful saving throw.)
  • Massive Stride: Due to their long stride and muscle they move faster than an ordinary man. They move at a 15.
  • Spark of Life: Part of the resurrection of the Created involves massive jolts of electricity. This life spark has allowed them to regenerate damage when struck with electricity.They receive one hp up to their maximum total hp's for every dice of electrical damage done to them.

Drawbacks

  • Fear of Fire: A deep primal fear of fire still lurks in the resurrected dead brains of the Created. When confronted with fire as a weapon or a massive wall of flame the creature must make a saving throw. Success allows it to act normally but with a -2 penalty to all actions. Failure causes it to go Berserk sending it into a mindless rage attacking those who wish to hurt it or get in its way.  While berserk the creature receives a +2 bonus to hit/damage with melee weapons, a -2 penalty with ranged weapons, and a -2 penalty to AC. Once the attacker is dead or the creature has managed to flee the wall of fire it can make another saving throw to calm down and not attack anyone in its way. The creature makes this saving throw check each round til it comes out of the rage.
  • Freak: Because of its grotesque and unnatural appearance the Created is shunned by normal men and women who are horrified by it. It effectively has a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people, even allies. This may be overcome given time and actions by the Created's actions.

Demon

+1 Con, +1 Int
Summoned to by witches covens, banished to Earth by their masters, or accidentally dropped through an inter-dimensional portal Demons sometimes end up trapped in the Victorian world. All are physically twisted in some way. Many have a bestial appearance (horns, hooves, claws, toad's features; the list is endless) while others look like beautiful men or women with red skin and only a few animalistic features. All tend to scheme and crave power and dominion over those around them.

Abilities

  • Darkvision: A Demon can see in the dark up to 60'.
  • Fire Breath: 3x per day a Demon can spit fire up to 20' for 3d6 damage.
  • Horn and Claws: The Demon can make one attack with its horns or claws for 1d4+Str bonus damage.
  • Fire Tolerance: The Demon receives a +4 bonus to saves versus fire and only takes 1/2 damage (1/4 on a successful saving throw.)
  • Flight: A Demon possesses wings allowing it to fly at a speed of 18. It can fly for a number of rounds equal to it's Con score before having to land and rest for 1d6 rounds.

Drawbacks

  • Cold: Demons are vulnerable to cold attacks and take a -4 penalty on saves vs cold.
  • Freak: Demons look horrific and even the beautiful ones are bizarre and frightening to the minds of the Victorian populace. Religion and mythology have firmly ingrained the idea of the Demon as an infernal enemy and living breathing symbol of evil. They effectively have a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people, even allies. This may be overcome given time and actions by the Demon, but even this is uncertain due to the religious beliefs of many.
  • Unholy: A Demon cannot approach within 10' of a holy object, bible, holy water, or sacred ground without making a saving throw. Even then they take 1d6 damage if they come into physical contact.
  • Vow: Demons live by their word. They cannot break any vow, oath, or bargain they make unless a successful saving throw with a -4 penalty is made.

Dhampir

+1 Dex, +1 Con
Children born of a human mother and a vampire father they exist in the world of both the living and the undead. As a number of vampires have spread out across the western nations, the number of Dhampir has risen as well. They are often successful vampire hunters, able to detect undead. They are also cursed with their father's lust for blood. Many are nomads, rejected and feared if their true nature is discovered. Dhampir's appear as normal men or women with small fangs and pale skin.

Abilities

  • Bite: The Dharmpir's razor sharp fangs inflict 1d4 bonus damage.
  • Blood Healing: For every 2 hp damage the Dhampir causes with his teeth he can drink and regain 1 hp. He can only do this with living human or animal blood.
  • Darkvision: A Dhampir can see in the dark up to 60'.
  • Sense Undead: When within 30' of an undead creature the Dhampir gets to automatically roll a saving throw to sense the creature.

Drawbacks

  • Curse of Blood: When exposed to fresh blood the Dhampir must make a saving throw or attempt to feed on the source.
  • Sunlight: In the sunlight all of the Dhampir's actions are at a -2 penalty.

Ghoul

+1 Con, -2 Cha
Ghouls are men and women who have transformed into a monstrous parody of themselves either by a curse or degeneration and are compelled to eat the rotting flesh of corpses. They haunt morgues and graveyards searching for corpses to sate their fiendish desires. They often live in shabby underground tunnels and warrens beneath graveyards, away from normal society, only emerging at night to prowl around. Ghouls look like normal men and women but with unusually sharp, dirty teeth and an unsettling but hard to place oddness about their features and paleness of skin.

Abilities

  • Bite: The Ghoul's jagged teeth inflict 1d4+Str bonus damage.
  • Burrowing: The Ghoul is adept at tunneling through earth to get to their meals and to build underground warrens for their kin to hide and breed in. They can burrow through dirt at a rate of 5' per round.
  • Darkvision: Years of living underground have given the Ghoul the ability to see in the dark out to 60'.
  • Hardy: The unnatural diet and lifestyle has given the Ghoul a +4 bonus to saves vs poison and disease.
  • Rubbery: A Ghoul's body undergoes subtle changes as it degenerates from human to monster. Their bodies are pliable and slightly rubbery giving them an easier time of slipping through tunnels and small openings in tombs. It also grants them a +2 to AC.

Drawbacks

  • Curse of the Grave: Ghouls crave rotting human flesh. They must eat several pounds of it daily or begin to lose one point of Con per day until they expire. Feeding causes this damage to stop and return at the rate of one point per day as long as they keep feeding. In addition to this any Ghoul who comes near dead human flesh must make a saving throw with a -4 penalty or attempt to devour the flesh.
  • Sunlight: The nocturnal existence of the Ghoul has given it an aversion to sunlight. All daylight actions are at a -2 penalty.

The Living Dead

+1 Str, +1 Con, -4 Cha
The Living Dead are intelligent reanimated corpses with free will and a craving for living flesh. They can be the result of black magic, alchemical experimentation, radiation, and other bizarre methods. They appear as corpses with varying levels of decay. Once reanimated their rate of decay is halted by the eating of living flesh. The Living Dead, with the proper precautions, can blend into society and try to lead a normal life. At least until their craving overwhelm them and they eat their neighbors. With makeup, cologne, and poor gas lamp lighting even severely decayed ones can pass for a living human.

Abilities

  • Eat the Flesh: The bite of the Living Dead (1d3+Str bonus damage  allows them to feed on living flesh. They regain 1hp for every 2hp devoured.
  • Immune: The Living Dead are not affected by Sleep and Charm spells.
  • No Biologic Functions: They need not eat, drink, sleep, or breathe. They are immune to poison and disease.
  • Nonvital Organs: Their nonfunctional organs and dead flesh make them harder to damage. +2 to AC.

Drawbacks

  • Curse of the Flesh: The Living Dead is cursed to crave the flesh of the living. It must eat at least 4 hp of living flesh by dusk each day or begin to crave to feed. When this happens the Living Dead must make a saving throw when sighting any live creature (humans preferred) or attack the living to devour its flesh.
  • Unhealing: The dead body of the Living Dead does not naturally heal. It must repair itself by consuming living flesh.

Serpentman

+1 Dex, +1 Int
Their ancestors ruled the primordial world before men became men. Hiding in tunnels and secret places in the earth the Serpentmen have existed along side mankind, waiting for their chance to reclaim their lost glory and empires. Modern Serpentmen are adept at blending in with mankind either by magical disguise or stealth and trickery, often using minions as their public face. They view humans as inferior 'monkeys' and most desire nothing short of ruling the world by gaining knowledge and power. Theirs is a tradition of powerful magic and sorcery; it is not uncommon for Serpentmen to belong to magic using classes.

Abilities

  • Climbing: The Serpentman's sinewy body and limbs allow it to climb as a Thief of equal level.
  • Darkvision: The Serpentmen can see in the dark up to 60'.
  • Poison Resistance: Serpentmen have a natural +4 save bonus vs poisons.
  • Poisonous Bite: The Serpentmen have a nasty fanged bite dealing 1d4 damage. In addition, 3x per day, they can inject venom with the bite. Damage is 2d6, save for half damage.
  • Magic Resistance: Serpentmen have always dealt in magic and the blood of powerful sorcerers run in all of their veins. +2 bonus to saves vs spells.
  • Scaly Hide: The scales of the Serpentmen give them a +1 bonus to AC.

Drawbacks

  • Cold Blooded: Serpentmen do not tolerate cold very well. They have a -4 penalty to saves vs cold.
  • Freak: Serpentmen are walking snake-men. They are a horror to the average man or woman who will most likely run screaming or try to kill it if discovered. They effectively have a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people, even allies. This may be overcome given time and actions by the Serpentman, if he can treat the people in question as more than lab monkeys or food. 

Victorian Robot

+2 Int
These rare creations are the result of advanced, often far ahead of their time, inventors and scientists who have managed to create self-aware machines. Running on steam, clockworks, and sometimes radioactive materials the Victorian Robot is self-aware and a true oddity and marvel of Victorian Science. Although they are viewed with curiosity and often mistrust and fear from society the Victorian Robot often seeks approval and a sense of self-worth.  For convenience and to mimic humanity they are often humanoid shaped metal constructs.

Abilities

  • Armor: The Robot is sturdily constructed. +4 bonus to AC.
  • Hands of Steel: The Robot does 1d6+Str bonus in unarmed damage.
  • Hardened: The Robot receives a +4 bonus to saves vs fire and cold.
  • Immunity: The Robot is immune to Sleep and Charm spells. 
  • No Biologic Functions: They need not eat, drink, sleep, or breathe. They are immune to poison and disease.

Drawbacks

  • Freak: Because of their odd appearance and origins they are looked upon as property by the majority of society. They effectively have a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people. This may be overcome given time and actions by the Robot, especially if it can convince those people that it is more than a talking garbage can.
  • Power Source: Because of their relatively primitive construction (compared to modern machines) the Victorian Robot must replenish its power source once every three days or it will begin to lose one point of Con per hour until it reaches 0 Con and shuts down. After shut down it can be reactivated with proper fuel and regains Con at the rate of two points per hour. 
  • Repairs: Victorian Robots do not naturally heal but must be repaired. The mechanic must make an Int check each hour to repair 1d6 hp for that hour of work.

Werewolf

+1 Con, -1 Cha
Werewolves are men or women who are afflicted with the curse of transforming into a raging wolf-man on the three nights of the full moon. They can control the change on other nights, changing at dusk and back to human at dawn. They appear normal, but a bloodthirsty beast resides in their soul, waiting to burst free and kill anything around it. They are damned and most cannot live with the guilt of their monthly rampages and attempt to confine or imprison the Beast when it manifests. Often they come to a point where they kill themselves. Others embrace the Beast inside and in their madness become evil predators in their human form as well.

In Human Form
Abilities

  • Alertness: The Werewolf is only surprised on a 1 on a 1d6.
  • Change at Dusk: On non-full moon nights the Werewolf can choose to change into his Wolfman form at dusk. He is in control during this time, unlike during the full moon. He must stay in this form until dawn.
  • Pentagram Mark: The Werewolf has a +2 bonus to saves vs magic.
  • Track by Scent: The Werewolf can follow a scent trail on a 1-4 on a 1d6.

Drawbacks

  • Animal Panic: A Werewolf cannot come within 10' of an animal or that animal must make a saving throw or try to flee in panic from the Werewolf.
  • Curse of the Full Moon: Werewolves, on the three nights of the full moon, become agitated as the moon begins to rise. They are irritable and twitchy, often uncomfortable in clothing and around others. Once the moon reaches its zenith the human form undergoes a monstrous change. Over the course of five rounds the human form sprouts hair over the entire body, the joints twist and reform as muscle and bone are increased, the nails and teeth become monstrous claws and cruel fangs, the ears elongate, and the eyes become wolfish as a short muzzle dominates the face.
  • They regain their human form upon the rising of the sun. A Werewolf cannot fully remember what it has done in the form of the Wolfman The memories are spotty as if from a half-remembered nightmare.

Using its Berserker ability the Wolfman will viciously attack anyone it sees until its victim is dead or the beast is driven off. It will make no distinction between friend or foe. It will ravage anyone in its way. Those who are bitten by the Beast and survive are cursed to become Werewolves upon the rising of the next month’s full moon.

In Wolfman Form
-2 Int, -2 Wis
The Wolfman has the same HD that he did in human form. Add +2 hp per HD for the new hp total.
These hp are subtracted from the human form's total when he changes back at dawn. This may bring him below 0 hp.
Attacks are at +1 per HD, as any normal monster.
Saving Throw is the same as human form.
Cannot use any class abilities in this form.
Cannot speak in this form.

Abilities

  • Alertness: The Wolfman is only surprised on a 1 on a 1d6.
  • Berserker: If angered or attacked  the Wolfman must make a saving throw or go into a violent rage attacking the source of his rage with a +2 bonus to hit/damage and a -2 penalty to AC. Once combat is over (the opponent is dead or has successfully fled) the Wolfman can make a saving throw to come out of his rage and not attack his allies in his frenzy. He makes this saving throw check each round til he comes out of the rage. On nights of the full moon, the Wolfman can use this ability at will. 
  • Bite and Claw: The Wolfman can attack with two claws(1d6+Str bonus each) or one bite (2d4+Str bonus.)
  • Inhuman Strength: The Wolfman is far stronger than a human. To reflect this he gains a +2  (in addition to their normal Strength bonus) to all  melee and unarmed damage rolls, as well as to attempts to open doors. The +2 is also used as a bonus to any Strength attribute checks. 
  • Pentagram Mark: The Wolfman has a +2 bonus to saves vs magic.
  • Regeneration: The Wolfman regenerates all damage but silver at a rate of 1 hp per round.
  • Runner: The Wolfman has a movement of 15.
  • Supernaturally Tough: The extra bone and muscle gives the Wolfman a +2 bonus to AC.
  • Track by Scent: The Wolfman can follow a scent trail on a 1-4 on a 1d6.
  • Weapon Immunity: The Wolfman takes 1/2 damage from all sources except silver or magical weapons. These do full damage.

Drawbacks

  • Animal Panic: A Wolfman cannot come within 10' of an animal or that animal must make a saving throw or try to flee in panic from the Werewolf.
  • Freak: He's a huge werewolf. He'll send the average man or woman into a screaming panic or a catatonic coma. Wolfmen effectively have a Charisma of 0 when dealing with normal people. This may be overcome given time and actions by the Wolfman.