You better watch out: Festive monsters for your Christmas dungeon crawl

Season's Greetings by Jo Chen via DeviantArt

It’s December, my weekly Unknown Armies game has had its annual Christmas special, and I’ve been listening to a reading of Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather.

As a result of one or more of these things, I’ve found myself thinking about a dungeon crawl that drops a band of adventurers in a wintry ice fortress and pits them against an evil Santa Claus and his Christmassy minions. Here are some monsters that might populate such a dungeon crawl, which you can use for a game of Dungeon World if you’re so inclined.

Enjoy…

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Fate of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Part 3: When the evil Shredder attacks (one-shot adventure)

The TMNT surrounded by Foot Clan by blackbat
In this third part in my series about adapting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) as a roleplaying game, I outline a one-shot adventure and a handful of featured NPCs. (In part 1, I explained why I was using the system from The Three Rocketeers, a World of Aventure for Fate Core. In part 2, I produced character sheets of the four main characters to use in a campaign.)

Although I made a big deal about making the character write-ups flexible enough to apply to multiple versions of the characters, in this post I largely throw that out of the window in pursuit of a different goal: streamlining and simplicity. This involves featuring one main threat (the Shredder), focusing on one main plot hook (Splinter is kidnapped), and cutting out everything that doesn’t support these (sorry, April).

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Fate of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Part 2: Heroes in a half-shell (player stats)

Four Ninjas and a Reporter by samuraiblack from DeviantArt

In my last blog post, I said that I’ve been pondering how to run a roleplaying game based on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT). I want my game to have the four main turtles as player characters, and getting those characters right is vital for the game to work.

In this blog post, I adapt the four titular protagonists of the franchise to the rules of The Three Rocketeers, the World of Adventure for Fate Core that I am using for the TMNT game. Write-ups for these heroes, in the form of proto-PCs (incomplete characters that can be customised by players), are included at the end of the post, along with PDF character sheets. Feedback is welcomed and encouraged!

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To Me, My X-Men: Mutant Pathways for Smallville RPG

x_men_lineup_by_americanninjax_reordered
The Heart, the Leader, the Rebel, the Specialist, and the Hammer (for example).
Edit of an image by Matthew Humphreys

One of the best parts of the Smallville RPG is its character creation system, Pathways. Pathways is a lot of fun, and it lets players collaborate to produce an entangled web of characters for the game to come.

Players do Pathways by following the instructions on the Pathways Chart. The chart is an incredible piece of roleplaying design. You start at the top, and each row is a stage of the character’s life journey. At each stage, players choose options for their character, and those options list Traits that go on the character sheet.

The Pathways Chart in the Smallville Core Rulebook is specific enough to its source material that it can be used to produce the cast for a game modelled on the TV show Smallville (as shown in the rulebook’s example), and it is also generic enough that it can be used to create a cast for any similar Superpowered Teen Soap Opera.

Sometimes, however, the default Pathways Chart is not the right tool for the game you want to run. If the gaming group has an idea for a campaign that isn’t Smallville, but is more specific than a generic Superpowered Teen Soap Opera, going through the default Pathways Chart may be too long or too confusing, especially if the players haven’t played Smallville before. That was the case for my Worthington Academy game (in which the player characters are alternate versions of the X-Men in a British, Hogwarts-style boarding school).

Here, I present an X-Men-themed Pathways Chart that anyone can use for their own games. It should hopefully facilitate a game based on that setting, and provide a shallower learning curve for new players. Enjoy! Let me know what you think!

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CAMELOT Trigger: The Green Knights of Io

Orc Brute Trooper by rickyryan on DeviantArt.

CAMELOT Trigger is a setting for Fate Core that takes the characters and themes of Arthurian legend and gives them all the trappings of an interplanetary sci-fi mecha anime. In other words, it’s a setting composed of pure awesome. It was written by Robert Wieland and released in Fate Worlds Volume Two: Worlds in Shadow.

I’m about to play in a CAMELOT Trigger campaign, and as a big geek for the tales of King Arthur, I came to the first session a little over-prepared. Here are some of the character ideas that I took with me to character creation (and fleshed out since). They are all based on characters from the original legends, mainly the Orkney Clan and their supporting cast. If you use any of them, or if you like them, or if you have any other feedback, please let me know!

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Monster Mash Meets the Martians: It’s TinyFate Adventures, come and join the fun

Yesterday, I finally introduced some of my non-gamer friends to roleplaying. It was a long time coming. They’d known I played for a while and they were excited to try it out, but I felt a fair amount of pressure to make their first roleplaying experience fun enough so that they’d want to play again.

I think I can say that my mission was a success, and that we’ll definitely be playing again. In fact, I’d recommend the game we played as a great introduction to new roleplayers.

This is Monster Mash Meets the Martians, a TinyFate adventure.

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Fastball Special: Creative teamwork in Fate

Fastball Special from Astonishing X-Men #6. Art by John Cassaday.

I’ve talked a lot in the past about making sure that groups of player characters in an RPG work well together as a part of character creation (here here here here), but what about working well together during play?

Team moves

Hero teamswhether from comics, movies, TV, or wherever—constantly have their members working together in interesting and creative ways during fight scenes. Combatants switch opponents, or provide covering fire, or make a distraction so that an ally can get the drop on an enemy, or even (as in the Fastball Special, pictured above) hurl an ally at an enemy.

Most RPGs are pretty terrible at modelling team moves like these. (Which is not to say that other RPGs don’t do teamwork, as anyone who has played D&D without a healer knows.)

Fate Core, on the other hand, has teamwork moves written right into the rules of the game.

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