Thursday, April 29, 2010

[Risus] CIZR Cryptozoologists

Submitted for your approval, some Risus characters for a modern-era “weird” campaign.

The Chambers Institute for Zoological Research

The Chambers Institute for Zoological Research (CIZR for short) is one of the premiere clearing houses of zoological data and theory in North America. Less well known is CIZR’s secondary mission: quantifiable proof of crypto zoological beasts and other anomalies. These expeditions are funded through a trust fund set up by CIZR founder Alistair Chambers at the turn of the century. Below are five of the agents who investigate these paranormal mysteries.

William Chambers

For most of his adult life William Chambers had no contact with the Institute that his great grandfather had founded. Making his fortune early in life, William retired and began the life of an avid hunter and conservationist. If you meet him in the woods you would have no idea that he was a wealthy and very shrewd businessman. William came back to CIZR when his father Trevor Chambers (below) was attack at his cabin by rival crypto zoologists. Most people who meet William think he likes his dog more than most of humanity. They’re right.

Brooding Avid Hunter who Lives in the Woods (4), Bare Knuckles Brawler (3), Wealthy and Shrewd Businessman (3), Reluctant Cryptozoologist (2)

Hook: Not much for other people.

Cassilda Albright

Cassilda was once a highly paid corporate attorney until her firm took a case defending a firm accused of toxic dumping. A cliché, yes, but the dealing she witnessed touched her conscience and she left the firm she helped build up. Soon after her exit, CIZR hired Cassilda to act as legal counsel for the Institute. She has found herself on several “unofficial” expeditions not covered by her initial job guidelines. She gets along with most people, although William has the tendency to draw out Cassilda’s more argumentative side. She also babies William’s dog way too much.

Beautiful Legal Counsel for CIZR (4), Extremely Limber Self Defense Junkie (3), Realistic Environmentalist (2), Uncontrolled Lucid Dreamer (2)

Hook: Argumentative

Dr. Trevor Chambers

Dr. Trevor Chambers was once one of the premiere biogeniticists in the Northern Hemisphere. That was the case until Trevor published several pages on subjects as Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, and the possible origins of the changeling myth. (He was never the same after his wife, William’s mother, had died.) Soon afterward Trevor was allowed to quietly dwell in the corner of the university he taught at so he wouldn’t hurt anybody. His brother soon contacted him in his retirement, asking Trevor to come and claim his birthright at CIZR.

Hyper Intelligent Biogenticist with No Social Skills (4), Animated Fortean Cryptozoologist (3), Ex Government Employee (2), Budding Master of Beasts (1)

Hook: Absent Minded

Jackson Napier

Trevor made some friends during his time with the government. The best friend he made was a cheerful young CIA assassin named Jackson Napier. When Mr. Napier tired of the assassin lifestyle, he retired from the Company and disappeared. A man like Napier grows bored rather quickly, and he was almost tempted to seek his old job back. Ennui was dispersed when his old friend Trevor Chambers called him with a job offer. Jackson is the pleasant face of any CIZR Expedition, whose easygoing charm soothes feathers rustled by the others. His past job as an assassin, though, does come back to haunt him.

Whimsical Ex CIA Assassin with a Conscience (4), Handsome Gentleman of Means (3), Collector of Interesting Gadgets (2), Amused Cryptozoologist (2)

Hook: His past comes back to bite him

Rex the Wonder Lab

To the world, Rex appears as an average black Labrador retriever who loves dog treats and chasing after birds who get to close to his porch. And this is all true. Rex is also more intelligent than an average dog, coming from a canine bloodline bred to hunt down monsters. He is protective of everybody at CIZR, but he has a definite love for his master William and Cassilda (who always sneaks him doggy treats). Any attacks or threats to either of them will result in an angry, angry dog who is a lot smarter than people imagine.

Unnervingly Intelligent Black Labrador (4), Hunter of Game on Land, Sea and Air (3), Tracker of the Unnatural (3)

Hook: Still a Dog

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Or$on Welle$: Tha Godfather of Hip-Hop

My friend Mark displayed this gem from YouTube yesterday at the FLGS last night. It's kinda funny.

Makes you think a little bit about your next game set in the 40s. Godfather Gangsta Orson Welles vs the Nazis, anyone?

Monday, April 26, 2010

There's More Than One? 1989 Underwater Menace Movies

Welcome to B-Movie Monday at the Amazing RPG Fun Pad! This week is the first entry in an irregular series suggested by my friend Gene, benevolent dictator of Fever Dream Studio. I'm also drawing from the many round robin events on the B-Movie review sites.

There's More Than One? celebrates the wonders of incredibly narrow genres that generate more than one movie. These are the times you ask "Wow. There was more than one post- apocalyptic cyborg kickboxer movie?" Or "There were how many movies about beds that kill people?" Or:

"There are how many underwater sci-fi/horror movies circa 1989?"

That's what we'll be looking at today. Each of the movies below were released in 1989 and all involved people fighting strange forces under the sea. Some you'll recognize, some you may not.

Join me here every Monday for B-Movie Monday!

Friday, April 23, 2010

[Supers] Some Scattered Campaign Ideas

I've been on a Superhero clip of late. With my tax return I picked up Supers by Simon Washbourne and pre-ordered Steve Kenson's Icons from Adamant Entertainment. This, with my love of BASH Ultimate Edition, is on my mind right now. Tooling around the net, I rediscovered some Superhero posts that I had scattered on message boards. All three involve dimension travel and alternate super earths. They can be used for campaign ideas.

Below are two posts I made for a thread entitled A Moore/Ellis like Super-Hero Campaign in a line.


"I don't understand it. A 3-subject notebook a day. He just keeps writing and writing. Just stops for sleep and eating."
"Have you read the notebooks, Doctor?"
"Yes. It's just story upon story about metas. The Justice Battilion, Paragon, everybody and more. Except he's writing as if he was watching year upon year of history . Each notebook is different-each a 'different world'."
"Did he ever say why he was spinning these tales?"
"Simple. He claims that he is helping infinity heal itself from it wounds."
"By telling stories, Sir. By telling stories of better times."

Part of a recorded discussion dealing with the mental state of former metasorceror Professor Chimera. The Professor, as you know was instituonualised after an brutal encounter with Typhon Shiva, one of the New Avatars.


Remember the disappearances of dozens of the second-tier heroes several years ago? The media followed it for a while. Blamed it on several arch-villains, but soon it was overran by other big metafights and crisises.

It wasn't a villain. It was a coordinated effort to gather those heroes for one reason--each of them are the soul survivors of their earths:

Electric Johnny--Earth 45. Thorion Applebum, Rocket Halfling--Earth Shire. Miz Turquoise--Earth ACE. The Scarlet Rebel--Earth 6. Reflex--Terra Q. Galactic--Erde 3.

And others that I know of. All great heroes on their own earths. Each one a piece of the puzzle used to build the world.

You see, 17.8 earths is not enough to create a new world. There are remnants of many other worlds scattered throughout this one. I think its for background. Sometimes it's a building, sometimes it's a book. Sometimes the remnant is a person

I think someone is trying to collect these pieces of dead realities for a definite reason. To either somehow heal this world or to ressurect the other eaths. If there is a way to do that.

Who am I? Oh. Forgot my manners. They call me The Traveler. Last survivor of Earth-Pi.


The next idea I have is the concept of the Randoms, dimensionally displaced heroes. This is one I've worked on for years. I originally posted this in the Mutants & Masterminds message board the Atomic Think Tank. The post is entitled Halfling Rocketeer!


In our year 2000, a being of great evil called the Godhead was summoned to the European island of Sterling. The summoning rent the fabric of the multiverse. As the Godhead approached the Earth, the after wake of its passage began to rip champions of good away from the alternate earths, as if to balance the evil approaching. Sir Thorian was caught up in this after wake while helping evacuate a city during a natural disaster. The woman he was saving was flung into the arms of a fellow Rocket Knight; he seemed to disappear in a flash of lightning. On the world of Lunkartor, Sir Thorian was hailed as a fallen hero.

Sir Thorian and the other heroes and heroines that appeared on Sterling began to battle the twisted minions of the Godhead alongside the weary Sterling Royal Guard and scattered European heroes. After the summoning was averted, mages tried to send the heroes back to their world, but the residual dimension energy was to great. The summoned heroes could not go back to their worlds. The Randoms, as they were named, were given identities and citizenship by a grateful nation of Sterling. Many of them formed a group called Patchwork, Inc., a non-profit group of superheroes who can support other teams in times of need. Some have joined established superteams, others have went solo.

Monday, April 19, 2010

B-Movie Monday: Ninjas!

One of the staples of my corner video store youth was the Ninja movie. Whether set in the age of the Shoguns or in your back yard, these black garbed masters of secrets fought with deadly skill.

One of my favorite cheesy Ninja flicks, Ninja 3: The Domination featuring the legendary Sho Kosugi! Thank you Golan-Globus!

The cheesy amazingness that is Ninja Terminator. It's been a long time since I've seen that one.

Americans can make Ninjas too!

More Sho Kosugi whooping ninja ass!

Join us every Monday for B-Movie Monday!

Monday, April 12, 2010

B-Movie Monday: Sword and Sandal Edition

In tribute to the new Clash of the Titans, B-Movie Monday celebrates the peplum, the sword and sandal movies of Italy! First, get an introduction/overview to the genre in this Wikipedia entry. Now lets have a spot of fun!

The classic Hercules movie made by the amazing Mario Bava:

A collection of various sword and sandal monsters:

And the trailer for the original Clash of the Titans, featuring the work of Ray Harryhausen. Bow your heads!

Some posters:

For great roleplaying in the Peplum genre I recommend Mazes & Minotaurs. What if Jason and the Argonauts inspired Gygax and Arneson? This is the fun result. The site given has two versions of the rules: the original 1972 edition and the revised 1987 edition. There also supplements, modules and more!

Join me every week for another fun B-Movie Monday!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Crisis of Infinite Terminators

Another idea that was siting in my head...

Imagine one of the versions of Skynet destroying the Human Resistance. Without the humans to fight, Skynet (now referring to itself as Skynet Prime) seeks to increase it's technological base exponentially. So it discovers dimensional travel technology, and begins to search the multiverse for other mechanical life. Three parallel earths later it discovers another Skynet. Logically, Skynet Prime's superior technological abilities would make an alliance between the two Skynets as foregone conclusion.

The war that broke out was much greater than Skynet Prime had anticipated. And it soon involved the Skynets from other timelines.

Skynet Prime has won many initial battles with the alternate Skynet timelines. A stalemate soon developed that was only broken when the final breakthrough was found. A stray probe found the coordinates for Terminator Prime, the original timeline that all other timelines branched out from. Now each Skynet plots to reach Terminator Prime to either rule the universe or end the mechanical madness once and for all.

Ideas for alternate Skynets include:

*A world where the technological basis of the Terminators was reverse enginered by the remenants of alien invasions. From the Dalek and the Cyberman invasions of the 70s and 80s.

* On a parrallel world where the Reich overran the free world fifty years before, the Nazi's rule a terrified world. As the fires burn over the last city in the United States, a signal goes to a secret bunker deep within a secret location. A red light begins to burn in the eyes of an army of skeletal robots, and soon the Nazis will know fear...

* A world where Skynet was infected with the ramblings of a madman. The book the madman was carrying was Necromicon Ex Mortis, the Book of the Dead.

* Skynet is a giant babbage machine built after the first invasion by the Martians. It soon goes rogue, and man must fight the clockwork army that was meant to protect its creators.

* Skynet was the first bio-computer created that could tap into the limitless storage capacity of the DNA Helix. The Terminators created by this Skynet are amongst the most terrifying things man can see.

One could play this as a superheroic dimensional travel game as supers try to keep the Skynet war from spilling out into the multiverse. Even more fun could be is for the players to each play a Skynet. This is perfect for miniature or board game type play. Each Skynet would have a set amount of Hunter Killers, Infiltrator Terminators, aircraft, etc. A system would be provided to individualise each faction.

When Terminators Make War

Robocop vs Terminator: A great miniseries, the main source of this idea.
GURPS Reign of Steel: Great reference for two reasons. First, it shows one way how AIs would wage war, both hot and cold, against each other. Second, it's probably the closest you'll get to a Terminator roleplaying game.
Terminator: The main wikipedia entry on the Terminator franchise.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: The late Fox TV series, which had hints of alternate timelines and different versions of Terminators working against each other.

Monday, April 5, 2010

B-Movie Monday: Tarantino and Rodriguez's Grindhouse Turns 3

Tomorrow is April 6, three years since Grindhouse was released in theaters. After Easter dinner on April 8 I want to the cinema to enjoy this 3+ hour epic. It was made up of two movies Planet Terror and Death Proof, and four fake grindhouse trailers. It was a riot.

Enjoy some Grindhouse

Out of the two movies, I love Planet Terror. For the horror fan of today, there's plenty of blood, babes, and belly laughs. For fans of zombie movies from the 70s and 80s like me, Planet Terror has plenty of references for us. Many scenes and concepts are homages to movies like Hell of the Living Dead, Zombie, and Nightmare City. Rodriguez has done the tributes in such a way that doesn't overwhelm the movie.

Join me next Monday for another installment of B-Movie Monday!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Buffy Characters Using Risus

I have been thinking about Risus lately. This is particularly inspired by blogs such as Greywulf and his recent Risus Supers posts , Dr. Rotwang's recent Swashbuckling characters, and the fun that is Risus Monkey. The flexibility of the system and the ease of character creation means I have a bunch of characters laying in notebooks and scratch paper waiting to come out.

Here are some Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters I created about five years ago. The time of these characters is set after the Buffy finale “Chosen”. Melissa Rickow was once of the hundreds of girls and women awakened by the Slayer empowerment. As she was taking classes at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, this was problematic. Her life became more complicated when her older brother came back from his college and old family friends reappeared. And when a handsome man becomes interested in her, Melissa may be forced to kill the ritualist if the magic he wields overwhelms him.

Melissa Rickow

A recent Activated Slayer, Melissa is a reluctant but deadly foe of the demons that haunt the Fox Valley of Central Wisconsin.

Reluctant But Ready Vampire Slayer [4], Beautiful Chemistry Whiz (3), Buddhism Enthusiast (2), Calm Surveyor of the Situation (1)

Hook: Still Unsure of Her Strength and Prowess

Christopher Rickow

Christopher was a promising college athlete until he suddenly dropped out to help his sister. He has no other monster slaying abilities other than a strong right hook and a collection of odd knowledge.

All Around Charismatic Athlete (4), Overprotective Older Brother of the Slayer (3), Master of Odd Jobs That Help Pay the Bills (2), Closet Sci-Fi Movie Fan (1)

Hook: Risks Himself Unnecessarily for Others

Leland Rickow (L’Lor of Tarn)

When Melissa and Chris’ parents died mysteriously, a demon clan repaid a debt to the Rickow family. A Tarnian Master of Arms was sent to protect the Rickow children. Fighting vampires and demons regularly is a bonus.

Tarnian Master of Arms Sworn to Protect the Rickow Children (4), Silent But Deadly Bodyguard (3), Stone and Mineral Collector (2), Master of Mirth (1)

Hook: Makes Normal People Uneasy Even When Appearing Human

Megan Reynolds

Megan followed Chris when he left college, hoping to score a great human-interest story (and maybe more). What she stumbled upon was the secret war of the Slayers, and her curiosity was set afire.

Plucky College Reporter (4), Reluctant Scion of Old, Old Money (3), and Ex-Cheerleader Whose Flexibility is Surprising (2), Fencing Club Captain (1)

Hook: Ridiculous Curiosity

Philip Wentforth-Smythe IV

Philip is the youngest member of the Wentforth-Smythe family on sabbatical in the United States. He comes from a long line of magicians who touched both white and dark magic. He interest in the Slayer is part professional, part personal.

Brooding Aristocrat Far Away From Home (4), Master of Esoteric Ritual Magic (3), Cultural Adept Traveler (2), Emotional Recluse (1)

Hook: Rigid Code of Personal Conduct

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fiction: Later, In Ultronic City

This is a piece of fiction I intended to submit for a netbook, but real life had intruded. I never submitted it. So here it is, a little superhero fiction for ya'll.

Later, In Ultronic City

Thrasher had never seen anything like this before. Some magic-using quack calling himself Mr. Crowley had got a hold of The Dark Passages of Allerac and had ripped a hole in reality. The mystic mojo stuff was way over Thrasher’s head. Well, let Doc Miracle and Penumbra and the Weird Squad deal with patching up time and space. Thrasher was an old school brawler like his old man, and Mr. Crowley had given him plenty of things to hit.

The Justice Brigade had its hands full. The zombie things had begun to pop up all over Ultronic City. Any touch or grab would drain the life force of victim and leave them in a coma –like state. It was almost as if they were gathering the energy to do something dangerous with it. Even the Justice Brigade Reserves were called to help evacuate the City.

Now, here in Silverton Heights, Thrasher joined Lasher and Brickhouse to try to contain the zombie things until the mystic guys had done their work.

“Got this area covered, kid,” rumbled Brickhouse in his gravelly voice.

Suddenly, the zombie things broke through the technomantic barriers developed by Redfist and the Blacksmyth. They swarmed the massive mutant and tried to take him to the ground. As Brickhouse fought these zombie things, Thrasher could see his friend’s red brick skin begin to fade to gray. Then the fight was over, and the good guy didn’t win.

The zombie things turned as one and started for Thrasher and Lasher. For the first time, Thrasher noticed that all of the zombie things looked the same. They had yellow eyes, wearing nothing but brown rags. Bald head, skinny with skin the color of clay. They murmured or moaned something continuously that you couldn’t quite make out.

Thrasher glanced over at Lasher. Everybody teased the pair about how their names sounded alike. It was coincidence, he always said. They had become junior members of the Justice Brigade at the same, and, Thrasher admitted, there was an attraction. Maybe if they survived this, he would...

“If I’m going down, I’m going down fighting,” Lasher interrupted his thoughts as she extended her Cyberlashes. A familiar hum filled the air as they charged to full power.

“You got that right, sister!” Thrasher yelled as the zombies advanced.

He really hoped that the Weird Squad got this settled soon.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's Day--Now With More Weird Al

I was going to compose a lengthly discussion on the ramifactions of magic gates on the fractious nature of the dungeon architectual and ecological design. It would have been really cool--and informative.

But then I decided to just show some Weird Al Yankovic videos. Enjoy.