Thursday, March 28, 2013

Black Tokyo Unlimited Preview: The Goryohime Player Race

Okay, some Black Tokyo Unlimited news..... I recently finished up Black Tokyo Unlimited: Races of Black Japan, which focuses on six races common on 'our' side of the dimensional border separating Earth from the Tatakama. Some of them are races that originally appeared in Black Tokyo II, revised and updated for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game; two of them- the Goryohime, which are getting previewed here today, and the Yurei, are all new. BTU: Races of Black Japan will feature all new, kickass Amanda Webb artwork.

Right now, it makes better financial sense to release several mid-length PDFs under the BTU banner, with plans to eventually collect the content into a single HUGE revised campaign guide. Last night, (while waiting for the last artwork for Action Galaxy)I started revising all the magic items from the original Black Tokyo for their BTU debut, and I'm adding several new items. A few of the items need major revision- particularly the Animal Play Tails and Equine Corset- all the furry/pony play stuff is going to need a major revision. Not for content, of course, but because they need to be brought more fully in line with how Pathfinder handles shapechanging and the Beast Shape spell chain.

That said, take a look at the Goryohime race, which will be major players in the revised setting.

The Goryohime
Medium Undead

            Goryohime are a race of glamorous, bright undead culled from the ranks of Black Japan’s most beautiful young girls. Choosing a special form of ritualized suicide while still in their teens, these schoolgirl undead ensure their bodies will never change, their breasts will never sag, their skin will never wrinkle, their hair will never thin nor grey. After their suicide is complete, some continue in a kind of half life, retaining ties to their mortal existence.

Goryohime might still attend the same high school or preparatory academy they did in life, cling to the same clique of friends (some of which might eventually follow her into undeath), shop at the same hip stores. The only clue to their true nature is the coolness of their unblemished marble skin, or the distinctive, instantly recognizable raspy voice of a living ghost created through ritual strangulation. Others find their new existence as undead makes their world stranger than they could have imagined while they still breathed- they might attend classes as the prestigious Hanging Academy, learning the twin arts of necromancy and seduction. Others might become demon hunters and exorcists, hunting the oni and human predators that prey on Japanese high school girls.

            At first glance, a Goryohime could easily pass for the school girl she was in life. On closer inspection, her undead nature becomes apparent. A Guryohime does not breathe, and her heart does not beat; her milky white skin is cool and smooth. The Guryohime bears the marks of her suicide; her throat is black and purple with bruises and abraded with rope burns. Their tongues are long and black, and their voices have an instantly recognizable raspy sultriness.

            Goryohime dress in the same styles they enjoyed in life, with many adopting seductively modified school uniforms as a personal statement. The race as a whole is vain, fashionable and almost stereotypically girlish. Akaname who know them claim that the race smells faintly of the urine and shit they spilled in their last dying moments, a scent they find delightful. Ordinary mortals lack noses keen enough to detect this ghostly perfume.

            Guryohime are an undead strain of humanity, which cannot reproduce, and only continues by new girls choosing the Guryohime path. The vast majority (as high as 80-90%) of all successful Guryohime are of Japanese descent, though occasionally a girl from China, Korea or even distant America or Europe might hear the dream-call of the Great Tree. Future Guryohime have erotic nightmares of hanging noosed from one of the branches of a great tree of light. These nightmares begin shortly after the girl reaches puberty. Most girls fight the Great Tree’s compulsion on their own, or drown their dreams with anti-psychotic meds, but every year dozens of girls give in to the noose-dreams. If a girl reaches her twenties without giving into the noose-dreams, they fade entirely.

            A girl who chooses to become a Guryohime instinctively knows the steps necessary to complete her rebirth into undeath- the white kimono, the brown obi, the strangling noose woven with purple thread, the prayer, the song, the final kicking away of the stool….

            Relatively few would-be-Guryohime have the strength of will necessary to return as an undead girl. Most are simply lost to the afterlife and the great wheel of reincarnation. Guryohime don’t grieve for their failed sisters- they celebrate their lives, eroticize their deaths, and comfort with the fact they are promised to rebirth somewhere in the Tatakama as temple miko of the Great Tree.

Homes and Lands
            Guryohime are creatures of Black Japan’s cities, and attend school as strange, half-living students. Many still reside in their parent’s homes, or have small apartments near to their still living friends and relatives. An extremely high percentage of Guryohime make their homes near Aokigahara Forest, at the base of Mt. Fuji, as many of the undead girls ended their mortal lives in the eerily still “Sea of Trees”.

Racial Traits

Size and Type
Goryohime are Medium sized undead. As Medium creatures they suffer no special bonuses or penalties due to their size. A Guryohime’s base landspeed is 30 ft.

Ability Score Modifiers
+2 CHA.
As undead, Goryohime lack a CON score. Guryohime are physically attractive, cultivating their youthful beauty and choosing asphyxiating undeath to preserve this beauty forever.

Enhanced Senses
Goryohime possess lowlight vision.

Eased Passage Between Life and Death (SU)
Goryohime have died once, and orgasmed messily as they perished. They have no fear of dying again. Goryohime never lose a level for being raised from the dead or resurrected. They always return to existence as a Goryohime, however. Reincarnation has no effect on a Guyrohime.

If the Guyrohime casts raise dead or resurrection (or similar magic) to benefit another creature, that creature returns to life without suffering level loss or CON loss.

Noose Dreams (SU)
The noose-dreams which called the Goryohime into undeath give the girl a phenomenal insight into the nature of magic and the structure of the three realms: Earth, the Tatakama and the Black Else. Goryohime receive a +1 racial bonus on Knowledge (arcana) and Spellcraft checks. They receive a +4 racial bonus on Spellcraft checks made specifically to identify magic items from the Necromancy school.

Undead Immunities (EX)
            Goryohime have all the immunities common to Undead player characters.

Undead Player Characters
Undead player characters have all the traits common to Undead (described fully in The Bestiary), with one notable exception. As thinking beings, with true souls, Undead player characters remain vulnerable to mind-influencing effects. An Undead player character’s Hit Die, base attack bonus and base saves are determined by its character class.

Becoming a Goryohime In Game

            Unlike other forms of undead, like the Akaname and the Ubume who begin their ‘life’ as an undead creature, Goryohime live several years as a teenaged girl before accepting undeath. Over the course of a campaign, a female character with a CHA score of at least 11+ who is in the Young Adult age category might be blessed (or cursed) with noose-dreams of the Great Tree. Either the gamemaster or the player might decide that a specific character who meets those criteria begins experiencing the dreams, but the actual choice to become a Goryohime is always in the player’s hands.

            Unlike NPC Goryohime, who risk being lost to death forever, assume a player character Goryohime succeeds in the suicide-ritual and rises an hour or so after her death as an undead, still writing in her noose. The character loses all existing racial traits and race specific feats and talents, and gains the Goryohime’s racial traits. The character may select an equal number of Goryohime-specific talents and feats. She does not lose her old racial ability score modifiers, merely receiving a +2 racial increase to her CHA score.

Goryohime Alternate Racial Traits
            Chaste Goryohime (SU)
            The Goryohime followed a different path into undeath, and preformed a far crueler suicide ritual on herself. She followed the path of the Chinese Chaste warrior sisterhood. In her death ritual, she ritually severed her clitoris and sewed her labia shut with golden wire, before opening the veins in her thighs. Her undead flesh is as white and hard as porcelain, and her corpse still bears the signs of its mutilation.

            The Chaste Goryohime’s self mutilation hardens her will, and makes an apprentice member of the eternal, demon-slaying Chaste sisterhood. The Chaste Goryohime receives Combat Martial Arts as a racial bonus feat. The Chaste Guryohime receives a +1 racial bonus on saving throws against spells, spell-like abilities and other effects which specifically target the female gender.

            The Chaste Guryohime does not receive the Guryohime’s +2 racial bonus to CHA. This trait replaces the Guryohime’s Noose Dreams racial trait.

            Dead Daughter of the Tatakama (SU)
            The Goryohime was born and lived as a mortal girl somewhere in the endless twilight of the Tatakama. She crossed to Black Japan to begin a new existence in a world as strange and exciting as her own undead state. The Goryohime can sense the direction to and approximate distance to any Torrii Gate between realms, and receives a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge checks made to figure out how to open a sealed Torrii.

            Dead Daughter of the Tatakama replaces the Guryohime’s Eased Passage racial trait.

            Glamorous Spirit (SP)
            The Goryohime is a seductive and beguiling death-spirit. Once per day, the Goryohime can cast Charm Person as a sorcerer of her total character level. If the Goryohime engages in an hour long ritual which culminates in a second hanging, replicating her transformation to undead, for 24 hours she may choose to cast Charm Monster instead. This ritual must be witness by at least one living or Akaname character.

            Glamorous Spirit replaces the Goryohime’s Eased Passage racial trait.

            Peristaltic Magic (SU)
            The Goryohime will never forget the sensation of bladder and bowels empting in mortal death, and she uses these memories to fuel her sorcery. A Goryohime Modern Spellcaster receives a +4 racial bonus on WILL Saves made to safely overcast any spell with the Skatto descriptor (many of which are described in Spells and Gods of the Tatakama, Otherverse Games, 2012).

Even if she dies while overcasting a spell with the Skatto magic descriptor, she successfully casts the Skatto spell as if she possessed the Suicide Spellcaster feat.

            Peristaltic Magic replaces the Goryohime’s Noose Dreams racial trait.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Action Galaxy Preview: The Elasticity Talent Tree

Okay, what have I been working on?

Well, San Francisco 2107 should be going on sale at RPGnow within the next couple of days.

I've just finished another book in the Black Tokyo Unlimited line: Races of Black Japan, which features six new Black Tokyo races, written in the same format as the Tatakama races like Kitsune and Dodoma, that prefer hanging out in modern Tokyo rather than fantasy land. Races of Black Japan will be coming out a day or two after San Francisco 2107 does.

Tonight or tomorrow, I'm going to start working on some new feats and talents for Black Tokyo heroes. As I was writing up pre-gen characters for the Niishima Inn adventure, I realized that while there's a TON of new feats, most of them are slotted for mid or high level characters, and I want to include more entry level feats and abilities. I'll be previewing some of the Black Tokyo stuff later, including spotlighting some content I cut....maybe.

I've also been working heavily on Action Galaxy, and I thought I'd preview a new Powered Hero talent tree, premiering in Action Galaxy. The Elasticity tree is pretty Legion-specific, in that it's designed to allow you to build Elastic Lad (shown here) or the ever-badass Bouncing Boy.

Take a look,

Elasticity Talent Tree
Prime Ability: Dexterity

            Superheroes with elastic power can stretch and contort their limbs to incredible lengths and into incredible shapes. Others might be able to inflate into a rubber ball, bouncing around knocking out bad guys by the dozen. The Elasticity Talent Tree synergizes nicely with talents from the Shapeshifter, Warform and Reflex trees.
Elasticity is available to the following Enhancement Protocols:
Angel Helix, Chyss Experiment (this book), Galactic Legionnaire, Genetic Enhancement, Gross Out (Psi-Watch Zero Issue), Hereditary, Meta-Athlete, Metaporn Enhancile, Symbiote (Psi-Watch Zero Issue)

Elasticity I
            You can make your body rubbery and fluid at will, when you need to. Your reach in combat increases by 5 ft, and your maximum reach increases by an additional +5 ft each time you take a talent from the Elasticity Talent Tree. You may still threaten squares adjacent to you, simply by shortening your swings.
Elasticity II
Your elastic body allows you to inflate yourself at will. As a move-equivalent action, you can increase your size by one category, gaining all the bonuses and penalties associated  with your new size.

While inflated, your body forms into a spherical shape, de-emphasizing your limbs, to a degree you choose. You can either suck your limbs entirely into the rubbery mass of your torso, or leave them mostly extended. When you first inflate, you may choose to suffer a penalty of -1 to -4 on attack rolls (which is in addition to the size penalty, if any). For every point of attack penalty you suffer, you gain Damage Reduction 2/slashing or piercing, which stacks with DR from other sources, such as Tough Hero class levels.
Prerequisite: Elasticity I

You gain the Constrict special quality.
Prerequisite: Elastic Skills, Elasticity I

Controlled Bounce
You can control the path of your bounce. You still move in a straight line when boncing, but each time you impact and change directions, you can choose the direction traveled, in addition to the original direction of travel
Prerequisite: Elastic Bounce, Elasticity II, Elasticity I

Elastic Bounce
Your body takes on the consistency of hard rubber. You become immune to bludgeoning damage and falling damage. For every point of HP damage a bludgeoning impact would normally inflict upon you, you are sent bouncing 5 ft in a random direction. You move in a straight line. If you impact a wall, or other obstruction, you are sent bouncing in a new random direction. Do not calculate damage (and thus additional bouncing distance) for these secondary collisions to make game-play simpler.

This bounce is not considered a move action, and does not count against the Elastic Powered Hero’s total movement for the round. You can use this chart to randomly determine direction of travel. Any creature struck by the Elastic Powered Hero during their bounce suffers damage equal to the Powered Hero’s unarmed strike (REF Save 10 + the Powered Hero’s DEX modifier + her class level for half damage).

1 NW
2 North
3 NE
4 West
Original Position
5 East
6 SW
7 South
8 SE

A super strong battle robot punches Spring Queen in the face with a big metal fist-slam that would of inflicted 2d4 HP on an ordinary human, and the dice say the robot inflicts 6 HP worth of damage. That’s 30 ft worth of bounce. Rolling randomly, Spring Queen is knocked south in a straight line. She flies 15 ft before slamming into a bulkhead, and then moves 10 ft to the west before hitting a computer console, and finishes out her bounce with 5 ft of movement to the west again.
Prerequisites: Elasticity II, Elasticity I

Elastic Ladder
Thanks to your super-long elastic legs, you can stride right over obstacles and reach high places with ease. You can stretch upwards a number of feet equal to your enhanced melee reach. Your size does not change, but you can walk right over most low level obstacles, pull yourself easily to higher levels, or walk along rooftops.
Prerequisites: Elasticity I

Elastic Skills
Your super-elastic body provides you with a +2 racial bonus on Acrobatics, Escape Artist and CMB, which increases by an additional +1 each time you take a talent from the Elasticity Talent Tree.
Prerequisite: Elasticity I

            Elastic Slap
            When you want to hit someone, you swell your hands up to the size of large dogs, and slap your opponent into submission with elastic fists. When making a melee attack with natural weapons, you resolve the attack as a melee touch attack.
            Prerequisite: Elasticity I

            Elastic Tangle
            You can trip up unwary opponents with your grotesquely elongated legs, fingers or other body parts. As a swift action, once per round, you can create a number of squares of difficult terrain at any point within a radius equal to the augmented melee reach provided by your Elasticity. These squares need not be contiguous, but they must all be within range.

            Spring Queen (DEX 17) is trying to slow down a horde of Time Scum, and decides to use this tactic to create three squares of difficult terrain. She has 4 talents from the Elasticity tree, giving her an enhanced melee reach of 25 ft (5 ft base + 20 ft). Spring Queen to create the three squares of difficult terrain at the entrance of the room she’s in, in a straight line, with the most distant square being about 20 ft from her current square. With a thought, she turns her lower body into spandex-clad spaghetti and succeeds in tripping up the Time Scum.
            Prerequisite: Elastic Skills, Elasticity I

Monday, March 18, 2013

Action Galaxy Preview: The Demolisher of Worlds (CR 15)

One of the projects I'm working on now, in the background as I collect art for Black Tokyo Unlimited, is Action Galaxy! This will be a plug-in option for Galaxy Command (I've been in a GC mood this year, and done tons of work for the setting.) that transforms it from a pulp sci-fi starships & aliens adventure setting into something that's much more of a riff on the Legion of Superheroes. Think of it as another lens you can view the Galaxy Command campaign through.

I'm working on monsters right now. The top image depicts the Fatal Five, and among them, the Persuader, who's physics-defying, ultra-powerful axe is one of my favorite comic book weapons. Beneath is John Picot's render of the "Demolisher", my knock-off version of the Persuader and his axe. The Demolisher art was actually a rejected image from San Francisco 2107, among John's first pass at an Asatru soldier. I decided the image was too evil looking, and too barbaric for a Choicer hero, but it's still a cool image, and perfect for a 35th Century supervillian.

The Demolisher of Worlds 
(CR 15)
Large CE Monstrous Humanoid (Psionic)

XP 51,200
Init +0 Senses Darkvision 60 ft, Perception +14
Languages Galactic Common, WARSTAR, Italian, a few others

AC 21 Touch 9 Flatfooted 21 (-1 size, +12 equipment)
Damage Reduction 10/magic
HP 20d10 +180 +20 hp (310 HP)
FORT +17 REF +12 WILL +14
Immune Ballistic, Cold, Fire, Poison, Radiation, Suffocation

Spd 40 ft
Melee +30/+25/+20/+15 psycho-kutter (2d8+10 slashing, 20/x3 plus vorpal)
            Or +30 psycho-kutter (4d8+10 slashing, 20/x3 plus vorpal)

Str 31 Dex 11 Con 29 Int 9 Wis 15 Cha 11
Base Atk +20 CMB +31 CMD 41
Feats Cleave, Deadly Stroke, Dazzling Display, Great Cleave, Great Fortitude, Intimidating Prowess, Shatter Defenses, Toughness, Vital Strike, Weapon Focus (psycho-kutter)
Skills Climb +22, Intimidate +22, Knowledge (streetwise) +11, Perception +14, Survival +14
Gear Prototype Psycho-Kutter, Demolisher armor

Environment anywhere he can kill lots of people
Organization wading alone in a pool of blood 5 ft deep
Treasure double (the deadliest sword in the galaxy plus lots of drugs)

Special Abilities

Bloodthirst (EX)
            The Demolisher is a sociopath, pure and simple. Every time he drops an opponent to 0 HP or fewer, the rush of pleasure-chems and adrenaline allows him to recover 10 HP, which cannot take him past his normal maximum HP total. In addition, if the Demolisher is suffering an ongoing effect that hinders his effectiveness, he may make an additional saving throw to negate the effect after making a kill.

Psycho-Kutter (SU)
            In addition to using the Psycho-Kutter as a standard melee weapon, the Demolisher can also use it to cut through universal forces, disrupting the laws of physics in the immediate range. The Psycho-Kutter has enough power to disrupt the laws of physics up to 8 times in a 24 hour period before its micro-nuclear power cells need to recharge.

As a full round action, the Demolisher can cut through a physical force, resulting in the following effects. Note that the Demolisher’s unique prototype Psycho-Kutter has capabilities that standard Psycho-Kutter’s lack.

  • Cut through Light, creating darkness in a 30 ft radius. Not even darkvision can see through this darkness, which lasts for 1 minute.
  • Cut through Gravity, creating a low gravity environment in a 60 ft radius. This effect lasts for 1 minute.
    • Alternate Effect: Completely nullifies gravity around one creature of Size Large or smaller. This causes the creature to fly upward at a speed of 100 ft for 1d4 rounds before gravity reasserts itself and they fall. Has no effect on flying creatures.
  • Cut through Luck, which renders all enemy creatures incapable of using action points for any reason for 1d6 rounds; during this time, they suffer a -5 on attack rolls made to confirm critical hits.
  • Cut through Loyalty, which affects a single creature within 60 ft of the Demolisher, and acts as Dominate Monster cast by a 20th level sorcerer.
  • Cut through Time, which slows all creatures within a 60 ft radius for 1d4 rounds, with the exception of the character wielding the Psycho-Kutter.
  • Cut through Hyperspace, which prevents a specific starship which is within 2 space scale squares (1,000 ft) and visible to the Psycho-Kutter’s wielder from entering hyperspace for 1 minute. This ability can only be activated in hard vacuum.
  • Cut through Dimensions, which has a 25% chance of releasing a random prisoner from the Argonite Wraith Zone. If a prisoner is released, there is a further 25% chance that it is an Argonite Wraith Zoner, not a living creature. In either case, the initial attitude of the freed prisoner is helpful towards the person who freed it.

Vorpal Psycho-Kutter (SU)
The Demolisher’s Psycho-Kutter has the vorpal quality. On a natural 20, it severs the opponents head from their body, usually resulting in instant, spectacular death.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Coming Soon: San Francisco 2107

San Francisco 2107
            San Francisco is one of the largest, most important alpha-cities on the planet, and represents the heart and soul of the Choicer Covenant. Home to more than 15 million citizens, the vast majority of them Choicer and proud, San Francisco is the greatest city along the pagan-dominated Crimson Coast. It’s a city hardened by three decades of civil war, and given new purpose by the emergence of a new faith. San Francisco was home to the first post-human strike squad, to the first Neo-Witch Midwife, to the first Choicer soldier… and to the next generation of Choicer superhuman.

            San Francisco is your city.

The Choicer Player’s Guide
            The Choicer Player’s Guide dramatically expands on the options or Choicer heroes found in the Otherverse America Campaign Setting and takes things in a slightly different direction than Frontlines of Choice. Frontlines of Choice focused heavily on the secular side of Choicer culture, this focuses on the religious. The Choice Player Guide emphasizes pagan powers, pagan ideologies, pagan factionalism….and pagan heroism.

            Originally intended as a standalone release, The Choicer Player’s Guide was absorbed into San Francisco 2107. Most of the themes and concepts explored by these new feats, powers and starting talents are directly tied to San Francisco’s history. The result is the ultimate guide to both a place and a culture, a thorough examination of what it means to be Choicer at the dawn of the 22nd Century.

Inside You’ll Discover:
  • A complete guide to San Francisco and the Bay Area, at the dawn of the 22nd Century. A fictional city that will take you weeks to completely explore!
  • Plot hooks and story ideas in every paragraph!
  • Dramatically expanded cultural files and complete histories for the most common superhuman races of the Choicer Nation: Cyborgs, Half-Grey, Softlings, Ubasti and more!
  • Details of the defunct RAINBOW strike squad and hints of its rebirth.
  • Tons of non-rule info and character ideas for playing Choicer Neo-Pagan heroes from any faction: Ásatrú, Bastians, Dianic Rite, Eleusinian Cultists, Strega and more!
  • A huge selection of new feats and starting talents to let you build Ásatrú or Gardnerian heroes, not to mention more information on the Choicer military and the Woven Circle!
  • New Choicer-exclusive weapons, gear and ultra-technology! 
What you just read is the sell-text for San Francisco 2107, which I just finished laying out last night, and just sent off to Mark for posting to Expect this book within the next couple of days. It tops out at 169 pages of gaming goodness.

I'm proud of how this book came out. It's attractive and very art heavy. Yeah, I use stock and some reused images, but considering my art budget it's lavishly illustrated with a preponderance of new artwork. Comparing it to some of the superhero and sci-fi games I've bought on RPGnow recently, some of which are by much bigger publishers than myself, it holds up well.

Anyway, I think you'll like it as much as I do.
Blessed Be,