Sunday, May 31, 2015

Lots to Talk About: Choicers, Cyborgs and Neo-Exodus

Well, I've got a ton of things to show you today.

First, I've almost finished with the manuscript for Packaged Nightmares: Rapists of Black Tokyo, which is the title of the Rape Pure Fight sourcebook. It'll be the first in a series of thematic shorter bestiaries for the setting. I'm just waiting on last art for that.

Second, I've got a bunch of amazing new art from Amanda Webb to preview, all of which will eventually find its way into my as yet unnamed Choicer mega-sourcebook.

Finally, as the first image on this page suggests, I've got a preview of the upcoming Psi-Watch bestiary. I've been doing some heavy work on this book over the last couple of evenings, and its rapidly turning into the "X-Men in Pathfinder" sourcebook- it's great and I'm loving it, and I'm only now beginning to give Psi-Watch its own unique character.

One of the things I did just for fun was include a cybernetic animal template that can be added to any animal (or optionally, to magical beasts and dragons of animal intelligence) that builds things like the awesomely creepy cyber-dingos pictured above. Anyway, the Cyber-Beast template isn't the core of the Psi-Watch Bestiary, by any means, but I can see it being something that's used by a lot of GMs in a lot of modern, futuristic or techno-magic settings. So here it is along with three animals enhanced by bionics: a Cyber-Grizzly, Cyber-Wolf and Cyber-Vulture.

The Cyber-Beast Template
            The quick and dirty cyber-augmentation of military working animals is a cost efficient, if brutal way of producing front-line combat ‘borgs. Simple implants slaved to an animal’s central nervous system marries feral ferocity to cybernetic durability. Cyber-animals are easily controlled by direct neural interface- a controller can induce extremes of pain or pleasure to condition a cybernetic working animal.

·        Challenge Rating Increase by +1
·        Available To This acquired template may be added to any Animal. At the GM’s option, this template may also be added to Magical Beasts and Dragons with an INT score of 3 or less.
·        Creature Type The base creature gains the Cyborg subtype.
·        Speed Increase all the Cyber-Beast’s movement modes by +30 ft.
·        Ability Scores Increase the Cyber-Beast’s STR score by +4 and its CON score by +2.
·        Senses The Cyber-Beast gains Darkvision 60 ft or their existing Darkvision range increases by +30 ft. Cyber-Beasts can perceive unencrypted radio, television and wifi signals. 
·        Attacks The Cyber-Beast’s natural weapon attacks increase to the next larger die size (from 1d6 to 1d8 for example).
·        Armor Class Increase the Cyber-Beast’s natural armor bonus to AC by +4.
·        Weaknesses The Cyber-Beast gains Cybernetic Security Risk -2
·        Standard Monster Abilities The Cyber-Beast gains the Unhealing and Cybernetic Security Weaknesses common to creatures of the cyborg subtype.

Agonized (EX)
Cyber-Beasts are in constant pain from their poorly installed and tuned implants. Increase the difficulty of Handle Animal checks made against them by +10.

Cybernetic Durability (EX)
Medium or smaller Cyber-Beasts gain +10 bonus Hit Points. Large and larger Cyber-Beasts receive an additional +10 bonus Hit Points per size category beyond Medium. These stack with the Hit Points provided by the Cyber-Beast’s augmented CON score.

Sensory Records (EX)
Data from the Cyber-Beast’s optical and aural senses is continually recorded and stored within its cybernetic memory. The Cyber-Beast’s onboard memory can store up to 24 hours of visual and auditory data. The Cyber-Beast’s visual and auditory data can be transmitted in real time to a wirelessly linked computer system or backed up to external storage. 

Cyber-Beast, Grizzly Bear – CR 5
Large N Animal (cyborg)
XP 1,600
Init +1 Senses Darkvision 60 ft, lowlight vision, scent, perceive unencrypted radio/television/wifi signals, Perception +6           

AC 20 Touch 10 Flatfooted 19 (-1 size, +1 DEX, +10 natural)
HP 5d8 +45 hp (68 HP)
FORT +10 REF +5 WILL +2
Weaknesses Cybernetic Security Risk -2

Spd 70 ft
Reach 5 ft
Melee two claws +9 (1d8+7 slashing, 20/x2 plus grab) plus +9 bite (1d8+7 piercing, 20/x2)
Special Qualities Agonized, Sensory Records, Unhealing

Str 25 Dex 13 Con 21 Int 2 Wis 12 Cha 6
Base Atk +3 CMB +11 (+15 grapple) CMD 22 (26 vs trip)
Feats Endurance, Run, Skill Focus (survival)
Skills Perception +6, Survival +5, Swim +16 (racial modifiers: +4 Swim)

Environment cold forests (or urban areas as a working animal)
Organization solitary or pair or accompanying a master
Treasure none (possibly guarding property or valuables)

            Cyber-Grizzlies form the centerpiece of Cyber-Beast assault units, often flanked by several Cyber-Wolves. Cyber-Grizzlies are transformed into dedicated carnivores by their cybernetic conversion, their rage barely controlled by electro-shock collars and direct pain induction.

Cyber-Beast, Wolf – CR 2
Medium N Animal (cyborg)
XP 600
Init+2 Senses Darkvision 60 ft, lowlight vision, scent, perceive unencrypted radio/television/wifi signals, Perception +8           

AC 18 Touch 12 Flatfooted 16 (+2 DEX, +6 natural)
HP 2d8 +16 hp (25 HP)
FORT +5 REF +5 WILL +2
Weaknesses Cybernetic Security Risk -2

Spd 80 ft
Melee +4 bite (1d8+3 20/x2, plus trip)
Special Qualities Agonized, Sensory Recording, Unhealing

Str 17 Dex 15 Con 17 Int 2 Wis 12 Cha 6
Base Atk +1 CMB +4 CMD 16 (20 vs trip)   
Feats Skill Focus (perception)
Skills Perception +8,  Stealth +6, Survival +1 (+5 track by scent) (racial modifiers: +4 Survival when tracking by scent)

Environment cold and temperate forests (or urban areas as a working animal)
Organization solitary, pair, or pack (3-12) or accompanying a master
Treasure none (possibly guarding property or valuables)

            Cyber-Wolves are deadly hunter/killers with superior tracking abilities. Their teeth and jaw have been replaced by carbon steel and high resolution crimson camera lenses replace their natural eyes. The pain from their implants and brutal training has made Cyber-Wolves significantly more aggressive than wild wolves; they have no compunction about confronting and killing humanoid prey.

Cyber-Beast, Vulture – CR 2
Small N Animal (cyborg)
XP 600
Init +1  Senses Darkvision 60 ft, lowlight vision, scent, perceive unencrypted radio/television/wifi signals, Perception +9

AC 17 Touch 11 Flatfooted 16 (+1 size, +1 DEX, +5 natural)
HP 1d8 +13 hp (18 HP)
FORT +9 (+11 vs disease) REF +3 WILL +1
Weaknesses Cybernetic Security Risk -2

Spd 40 ft Fly 80 ft (average)
Melee +3 bite (1d8+3 piercing, 20/x2)
Ranged two +1 lasers (1d6 fire, 20/x3, 50 ft range increment)
Special Qualities Agonized, Sensory Records, Unhealing  

Str 16 Dex 13 Con 16 Int 2 Wis 13 Cha 7
Base Atk +0 CMB +2 CMD 13
Feats Great Fortitude
Skills Fly +7, Perception +9 (racial modifiers: +8 Perception)

Environment warm plains or hills (or urban as a working animal)
Organization solitary, pair or flock (3-24) or accompanying master as a working animal
Treasure none (possibly guarding property or valuables)

            Cyber-Vultures are a cheap, black-tech alternative to drones. The carrion birds adjust well to their cybernetic wings and maneuvering verners. A pair of ultra-light laser emitters is built into its keen cyber-eyes, allowing the Cyber-Vulture a ranged option. It makes a serviceable sniper against lightly armored infantry, or as a terror weapon against unprepared civilian populations.

Next up, lets talk about Amanda's art. I received a finished piece of the iconic Choicer High Priestess, Emily Nicellos (the colored image) as well as some inked and un-colored artwork depicting a new iconic Neo-Witch Midwife character and a Valkayrie streetfighter. I let Amanda design the new Midwife, and she came up with an awesome design incorporating the mokos (facial tats) that really has a lot of character. I also like the bald, vaugely Egyptian patient. That was a cool touch.

Finally, Louis Porter's Neo-Exodus revamp just went live on Kickstarter. This is the first project I've ever backed on Kickstarter. I know Louis, and I can trust him to put out a kick ass product on time. Neo-Exodus is his signature campaign world, in the same way Black Tokyo and Otherverse America are mine. The setting is a real labor of love for him, and it'll be nice to get a nice full color campaign guide with a bunch of new art. So if you can afford it, pledge a few bucks.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Amanda Webb's prints and comics

Hey, Amanda Webb wanted me to let you know that she just got back from a comics con in her native Michigan. She had several prints and copies of her Legends of Aukera graphic novel produced for the con, and has a few left over.

Her store front on has the comic and graphic novel, and if you want to get a hold of some of her prints, let me know and I'll put you in touch.

You might recognize a few of those prints from various Otherverse Games releases. I told her to keep be back a few of the prints- that Kitsune tea ceremony and the motorcycle girl especially and the comic.

Blessed Be,

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Robots, Rapists and Pagans

Well, what's been going on the last couple days as my state has been flooded severely? I've been inside for most of the last week, doing some work on three different projects.

The first two projects are Black Tokyo related. Two or three weeks ago, John came to me with pretty much every thing I needed to write a soucebook: a new player race, tons of NPC ideas and cultural notes, and multiple pieces of art. A little effort and polish later, and Plastic Hearts: Tetsujin is the end result.

The Tetsujin are a big, bulky race of labor robots, and make an interesting contrast to the setting's POETICA androids. If POETICA are basically Chi from Chobits, the Tetsujin are more like Bioshock's Big Daddies, albeit a little friendlier. They're a massive, imposing class of robot, but have a working class stoicism and chibi, squeaky, girlish voices and that contrast between their imposing appearance and rather gentle natures was a ton of fun to write. They're I think the sixth major robotic race in the Otherverse Games canon: they join the Star Droids, Ero-bots, Synths, POETICA and Battlechangers, not to mention the occasional fully sentient AI from Otherverse America.

The next project on deck is a fuck-ton darker. Basically its a build your own adventure module and mini-bestiary focusing on the Rape Pure Fight marital arts tournament, introduced in the Black Tokyo Unlimited Campaign Setting. It's going to be a very dark, mature reader's book, which focuses on what's basically Mortal Kombat with added sexual violence. Basically the book is going to be filled with an assortment of really nasty fucking villians the players are going to enjoy killing. I'm almost done with the text, and since most of the opponents in the book will be hominids, John Picot will be doing most of the art for this one.

Third up is the Choicer sourcebook I've been working on for a while now. I'm going to just release it as a big, all encompassing guide to creating Choicer characters, with feats, traits, and all the major Choicer-specific races (plus a few new ones) from Species of the Otherverse fully revised to Pathfinder rules. At this point, I'm going to be including Ubasti (definitely, because the big pro-choice kitties are awesome), variant race rules for Otherverse America's specific breeds of Light and Heavy Cyborgs from Polymer Path, the Fluxmind and Softling Healers (and maybe an additional Sanger creation or two?) and the Half Grey, since the majority of Half Grey on Earth live in Choicer territory. I also plan to add a new, modular race: Demi-Gods. Half human, half something else, possibly post-human, possiably the incarnate children of Pagan deities, these guys will basically blend the back story and in-game flavor of the Dreamborn Mau (who are getting abandoned as a standalone race) with the modularity and flexibility of the Military Post Humans from Psi-Watch: Black Operators.

The Choicer book will be coming later this year, hopefully before August. Not sure exactly when, because it will need a lot of art, and I"m still not satisfied with the text. One thing I want to do is make it better reflect what it means to be both pagan and feminist in 2015 and beyond, rather than just going with the vision of the world I had when I started work on it in the late 1990s, or when I first published the book in 2007 or 2008. Anyway, its somewhat a trip working on the Rape Pure Fight monster-book and this one at the same time, as one is all about toxic masculinity and the other is very female centric, or at least has a better view of what a man should be built in.

Meantime, I'm doing additional work on Heavy Future, Battlechangers: Multiverse and a few other projects in the background between the main books.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Battlechangers Fantasy

So I saw a thread on the other day about Battlechangers: Ironworks. One of the commenters asked how well Ironworks plays with Pathfinder fantasy. Well, the emphasis is mostly on Battlechangers in a modern or futuristic context, but the system is flexible enough to do fantasy, and include Battlechangers in a mixed race, D&D style game.

As an example, I'll show you one of the NPCs that we'll meet in Battlechangers: Multiverse, a Gnome whose mind was uploaded into a Battlechanger body. I don't have artwork for this character yet, but basically you take the first image, add it to the second and boom, you've got Paydirt.

Paydirt, Uploaded Gnome Intellect Turned Battlechanger – CR 3
Medium NG Monstrous Humanoid (Battlechanger, Gnome) Alchemist 4
XP 800                                      
Init -1  Senses Darkvision 500 ft, lowlight vision, perceive unencrypted radio/television/wifi signals, scent, Perception +8           
Languages Common, Gnomish, Tech-FG, Terran

AC 16 Touch 9 Flatfooted 16 (-1 DEX, +7 natural)
HP 4d8 +4 hp (26 HP)
FORT +5 REF +3 WILL +2
Immune Acid, Rust Effects, Suffocation, Vacuum
Weaknesses Cybernetic Security Risk -1
Defensive Abilities poison resistance +2

Spd 30 ft
Melee +5 slam (1d8+2 bludgeoning, 20/x2)
Ranged +2 bomb (2d6+4 electrical plus dazzled 1d4 rounds, 20/x2, precise, splash, 20 ft range increment, REF DC 16 half)
Bomb useable 8x/day, 2d6+4 electricity plus dazzled 1d4 rounds, REF DC 16 half
Special Qualities Alchemy, Freeze (alt-mode only), Mutagen, No Breath, Poison Use, Swift Alchemy, Unhealing
Extracts (CL 4th Concentration +8) 
Second detect thoughts (W-DC 16), see invisibility
First -4 cure light wounds, detect secret doors, identify (prepared twice)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 4th Concentration +8)
At Will – Clairaudience/Clairvoyance (costs 2 Fuelon/use)
Str 14 Dex 9 Con 12 Int 18 Wis 13 Cha 15
Base Atk +3 CMB +5 CMD 14
Feats Brew Potion, Master Alchemist, Piloted Reflexes, Throw Anything
Skills Appraise +11, Craft (alchemy) +13, Craft (blacksmith) +11, Disable Device +11, Knowledge (arcana, nature) both +11, Perception +8, Use Magic Device +9
Alchemist Discoveries Precise Bombs, Shock Bombs
Gear alchemist’s kit, prospector’s kit (assorted mining tools, shovels, ect), , 3x potions of fox’s cunning, wand of cure light wounds
Headware – Onboard Computer
Shannix Budget
Ram Plates (1) Scent (1), Special Armor (+3 armor) (3) Spell-Like Technology (clairaudience/clairvoyance) (4)

Environment any land or underground
Organization solitary or accompanying 3-5 Freegear Rebels or named Freegear NPCs
Treasure standard (including gear)

Special Abilities

Fuelon Reserve (EX)
            Paydirt has 8 points in her Fuelon reserve. She can expend a point of Fuelon to achieve a number of results, described fully in Battlechangers: Ironworks.

Massive Strength (EX)
            Paydirt’s pneumatics and artificial musculature allows her to haul enormous weights, out of proportion to her size. Her lifting, carrying and dragging limits are ten times greater than a humanoid creature of her size. Her maximum load is 1,750 lbs.

            Piloted Reflexes (EX)
            Paydirt isn’t very accustomed to her alt-mode yet, and fights at her best with a driver. When a humanoid ally is in Paydirt’s alt-mode cockpit, anytime she are called upon to make a REF Save, she makes the save and her ally makes a Drive check. Paydirt uses the better result as her REF Save. If her driver possesses evasion, improved evasion or a similar ability, Paydirt are treated as possessing this ability while piloted.

            Precise Bombs (EX)
            When Paydirt throws a bomb, she can select a number of squares equal to her INT modifier (4 squares) that are not affected by the splash damage from the bomb. If her bomb misses, this discovery has no effect.

            Shock Bombs (EX)
            When Paydirt creates a bomb, she can choose to have it deal electrical damage instead. Creatures that take a direct hit from a shock bomb are dazzled for 1d4 rounds.

            Transplanted Intelligence (EX)
            Thanks to her downloaded mind, placed in a Battlechanger chassis, Paydirt counts as both a Battlechanger and a Gnome for all effects related to race.

            Paydirt can transform into a one-person earth mover. While similar vehicles can be found in every modern construction site throughout the multiverse, this practical form and its potential fascinates Paydirt. She’s traded her Caterpillar yellow paint job for a rich purple, gold and ruby paint scheme. Paydirt can change from alt-mode to robot mode as a move equivalent action that never provokes attacks of opportunity.
Classification Medium Ground Hauler (one person mini-bulldozer)
Armor Class 19                     
Spd 50 ft (slow alt-mode disadvantage) 
Maximum Load 17,500 lbs
            Paydirt’s ram plates halve damage from falls, collisions and ramming attempts in her mini-bulldozer mode. Thanks to her off-road tires, she ignores difficult terrain in alt-mode.

            Earth isn’t the only world in the multiverse touched by the Battlechanger’s war. On one world, a young Gnomish explorer was caught between warring Freegear and Tyrakron forces. A stray shot nearly killed her, but though the Freegear couldn’t save her birth body, they were able to transport the Gnome girl into a hastily built Battlechanger chassis. The adjustment was a shock, to say the least, but soon the neophyte Battlechanger, newly christened Paydirt, acclimated to her new steel body and its gifts.

            As Paydirt, this transplanted intellect has strength and size that seems positively gigantic and heroic by gnome standards, uncannily tough alloy skin, and best of all a whole new set of sensors with which to explore the world. As a metal being, Paydirt has blossomed. She’s eagerly joined her Freegear saviors as a heroic adventurer, and is enjoying the opportunity to explore a wider galaxy than she ever dreamed existed.

            As a Battlechanger, Paydirt is relatively small, a decision her designer made to make it easier for her to adjust. Her proportions are just a little stumpy- you might even call her chibi, accurately. Paydirt’s colorful paintjob is always covered in mud, dirt and grime, and she straps hundreds of pounds worth of mining equipment and other useful tools and gadgets to her back and thigh plating. She transforms into an equally colorful, and equally slovenly one person mini-bulldozer. To be honest, she spends most of her times these days in bulldozer form, only changing to robot mode when she needs the convenience of opposable thumbs.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Answers for Andrew: Otherverse Numenera

Andrew had some questions in the comments of the last post that I wanted to answer here.

First off Andrew, thanks for the kind words on Battlechangers: Ironworks. It was definitely a labor of love. And when it finally comes out, expect Battlechangers: Multiverse and the eventual Battlechangers: Generation Two stand-alone RPG to be even more kickass. I plan to support the hell out of this race, and I'll be including content in support of these guys sporadically throughout my signature campaign settings.

Andrew asked if Battlechangers with a Primitive alt-mode could take on a magical beast form. I didn't include this option in the book, because I wanted to model Primitive alt-modes on existing Pathfinder spells, like Beast Shape and Form of the Dragon. There's not a  low/mid level spell that cleanly allows shapeshifting into a magical beast, until you hit the Polymorph spells. However, if you want to take on the form of something like a Chull or a Displacer Beast for your alt-mode, that is awesome, and you're awesome. I'd say have the character pay the 3 Shannix premium as if picking up the Monstrous Primitive Alt-Mode quality and go for it.

The tech book, which will be print on demand (POD) when it comes out is going to be tentatively titled Technology Unleashed. I'm working on it right now and should have something to send to Mark later in the week. It consolidates existing content with some new content added. I'm not adding a ton of new special materials, just because to me as a designer, keeping track of a bunch of exotic metals and the like adds complexity without adding much fun.

Finally, Andrew asks an unusual question: Will I ever publish a conversion for Otherverse America to the Numenera system (Monte Cook Games). Which is an awesome question from a guy with a Rifts avatar, because Numenera has that same beautiful craziness the best Rifts soucebooks have. Seriously, the Numenera Bestiary is one of the best RPG books (hell, one of the best sci-fi books) I've ever seen. Seriously, if you don't own it, but it! Buy it even ahead of my new releases. It's that amazing!

That said I doubt I'll ever do an official conversion guide. For one thing, Monte Cook is a huge fish, like a primordial barracuda, and I am merely a tiny, obscure little indy-RPG carp. So I doubt I'd ever get official permission to publish something like that, and definitely not as a for-profit book. Of course, if by some chance Monte Cook or his staff is reading this and has a different opinion, I'd be ecstatic to hear it.

However, I don't really think a conversion guide is necessary. Numenera is so rules-light a system that you can probably do half the work yourself. For example, the "X" is a "Y" who does "Z" descriptor system for character creation could very easily be converted to build the iconic characters of Otherverse America. Maybe you'd need some new qualities here and there, but most of the work is in the description itself.

For example, here's probably all the work I'd really need to do on an Otherverse America hack of Numenera:

"Dr. Julie Riddle is a (pro-choice) (Nano) (with shapeshifting hands)."
"Hiemdall is a (heavily armored) (Glaive) (who defends his allies)."
"The Ghost of Babies past is a (terrifying) (Glaive) (who kills women)."
"Fairfax Dacoveney is a (charismatic) (Jack) (who leads armies)."

Blessed Be,

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Mecha of May

Okay, I just put Battlechangers: Ironworks up for sale at, with a cover price of about 8 bucks. It came out beautifully. Not only was I able to commission some truly outstanding art for this book, I was able to find some excellent robot artwork on Shutterstock to round out the book.

So Ironworks came out stunningly well illustrated, and was one of the most fun projects I've written in a while. The whole thing is a love letter to Transformers, especially the current IDW comics.

I'm really hoping that this goes to number one on RPGNow and counting on you folks to make it happen.

What's next?

More fucking robots.

John Picot fucking loves robots, and not a single word in that phrase is exaggeration. He just sent me a 90% complete manuscript featuring a new mechanical race called the Tesujin for Black Tokyo, as well as tons of art for the book. That means you'll be seeing the Tesujin fairly soon- this is a race John had been pushing me to include for a long time, and it begins our introduction of overtly cyberpunk elements to Black Tokyo. So if you've been wanting to run a porntastic Major Kusanagi vs The Overfiend type campaign, gear up for it.

Meanwhile, I'm putting the finishing touches on a print on demand compilation of all my tech books, titled Technology Unleashed. I'll send the manuscript and art files on that one to Mark in a couple more days and he can get to work laying that beauty out.

After the techno-crunch is said and done? I'm in the mood for some more Otherverse America, Heavy Future and Psi-Watch stuff.

Blessed Be,

Friday, May 1, 2015

Upcoming Projects: Battlechangers, POD Technology Book and Choicer Stuff

Well, this morning I just got the approval images for the last couple of pieces of art  I'll need for Battlechangers: Ironworks. James Shields, who does business under the JEShields banner, and has put out some kickass sci-fi stock on RPGnow, will be doing a few robots for me.  As soon as I get the high rez images, I'll lay this book out and put it up.

Expect Battlechangers: Ironworks to be available on-line by middle of next week. I'm going to be taking a couple of days off from both my hospital job and my RPG writing to visit San Antonio this weekend, so I doubt I'll have the book ready this weekend.

After that, I'll be working with Mark Cathro to get our POD titles up and running. The first book will be an as yet untitled technology guide, which consolidates all the content from The Polymer Path, Advanced Arsenal, Advanced Armory, Advanced Edge and Advanced Equipment in one huge, crunchy package.I'll be using existing art for this one, mixed with some new stock, so expect the POD tech book relatively soon. Right now, as I wait to layout Ironworks, I'm going through the combined text, fixing little errors and inconsistencies where I find them, as well as adding additional content. I want to have at least 8K-10K additional words in this print edition, maybe more.

As it stands now, this project is a 65K word beast. Basically, it's everything you need to turn the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game into Shadowrun in one ready to eat can.

After that, I'll be putting out the Choicer feats/traits/powers book and doing some more work on Otherverse America in the coming year, as well as doing some additional POD products.

Any suggestions on what POD titles to work on after I get the tech book done?
Leave 'em in the comments.

Blessed Be,