Limitless Worlds

Limitless Worlds

Saturday, October 3, 2020

FASERIP - Weaknesses


Hey all, hope you are doing well! A quick post today - I'm going to be running Blacky the Blackball's excellent FASERIP with a group soon, and I wanted to work up some Drawback rules to provide an option for the players.

FASERIP is based on the Marvel Superheroes RPG from the 80s, and it is interesting because aside from a few exceptions - like Daredevil - very few Marvel heroes have explicit 'weaknesses'. Seems to be much more of a DC thing. 

The rules are somewhat cribbed from 4C Expanded, an expansion to the original MSH retroclone. Hope you get some use out of these, as I think they are pretty neat!

Drawbacks

A Drawback is very similar to a Limit, save that the Drawback affects the whole character rather than a specific power. The line between a Drawback and a Limit can be hard to draw sometimes - for example, while Daredevil's blindness would be considered a Drawback, something like Thor's Mjolnir would be a limit. Generally if the vulnerability affects the whole character and not a specific power, it's a Drawback.

Obtaining a Drawback is optional at character creation, and it's recommended that no character start with more than one (there's nothing stopping you from taking multiple ones, but the character just becomes a headache to play). In exchange for taking a Drawback, a character can:

  • Acquire a new power of their choice at Campaign Rank -1 RS
  • Boost any existing power or ability
  • Acquire any two: 
    • Wealth +1RS
    • Fame +1RS
    • A new Specialty or +1RS to an existing Specialty
    • A new Contact
Drawback In Play

If a Drawback ever becomes relevant in play, if a player works through the Drawback or becomes affected by it, the GM may award them Karma. The amount of Karma varies on the severity of the exposure of event, but generally anywhere from 30 to 70 Karma may be appropriate.

Example Drawbacks

This is only a small sampling of Drawbacks, and players and GMs are encouraged to create their own, similar to limits.

Addiction: The character is addicted to a specific substance or activity, such as alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling and so on. If a character goes an extended period of time without engaging in the substance/activity, they suffer a -2RS to all social interaction rolls until they satisfy their craving.

Arch-Enemy: The character has a rival or enemy who constantly plans their downfall. The arch-enemy tends to be a major thorn in their side and will often come out of the woodwork at the most unexpected - and inconvenient - times.

Marked: The character has some kind of obvious marking or branding that indicates they have been shamed, punished or something similar. When the mark is visible, the player suffers -2RS to any feats of Fame.

Physical Impediment: The character has some sort of physical handicap. This could include things like blindness, deafness, lost limbs, wheelchair use, and so on. When a character must attempt a feat that involves the impediment, they have -3 RS.

Trouble Past: The character is haunted by a terrible event in their past. When encountering a situation that could remind them of this event, they suffer -1 RS to all actions until the situation is resolved or the character can 'snap out of it'.

Weakness: The character has a weakness or vulnerability to a certain substance, energy, object or stimulus. When exposed to the weakness, they suffer -1 to -5 RS (depending on the amount/quality of the weakness) to all feats until the weakness is removed from their presence.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Old World of Iron: Border Princes pt. 2 and the Borderlands


So I just had an interesting idea about the Border Princes, and I think this is how I'm going to pursue them.

I'm going to basically do an older version that I had considered in the past, previously titled the Marcher Baronies but now called the Borderlands. The Borderlands will, in fact, be very similar to the Border Princes but with a few caveats. For example, there are established kingdoms in the Borderlands - not many, but they are there. Further, the Borderlands will basically combined the Border Princes and the Badlands into one thing - parts of the Borderlands will also be inhabited by goblinoids come over from the Land of Darkness (a new area I'm going to detail), but I'm not going to delineate it into south v. north.

Where does that leave Osmanli? In relatively the same place, but I'm going to move it west to where Warhammer has Araby. This will also fill out my desire to kind of do the whole Mediterranean region. My not-Egypt isn't going to get a region, as I do not really want a Tomb Kings analogue - they will instead be one of the many kingdoms that has risen and fallen in the Borderlands. Basically, the Borderlands will be more SE Europe than purely the Balkans

Old World of Iron: Norsca and Drakenlanda


What It Is

Norsca is fairly clearly supposed to be Viking Age Scandinavia. Much like the rest of the Old World, it's kind of in the wrong time period - the Viking Age was almost half a millennium before the Early Modern Period. Norsca is very much displayed as being ruled by barbarism and barely functional at all, basically home to Chaos Warriors and not much else. The game doesn't even really mention too many heroic Norscans - except, as normal, in WFRP 1e. In early Warhammer, Norscans were definitely heroes - though still painted as barbarians, the WFRP 1e World Guide explicitly states they helped the Old World during the last chaos incursion and not the other way around. Much more Conan the Barbarian instead of wildmen of the north.

The Real World

Early Modern Scandinavia is weird because they aren't really much of a major player, at least on the surface. The end of the High Middle Ages saw Sweden, Denmark and Norway forming the Kalmar Union which lasted a little more than 150 years. After that, they split into Denmark-Norway (which was pretty stable) and Sweden. Early Modern Sweden was insane - Gustavus Adolphus basically modernized the whole country, won countless wars for the Protestants, and was by some accounts a murderous madman. Before Adolphus, Scandinavia was widely considered a backwater.

My Version

Drakenlanda (aka my not-Scandinavia) is hard to divorce from the whole viking thing because honestly vikings are interesting from an RPG perspective. However, Drakenlanda is going to be much like the Kalmar Union than something like Sweden - jarls and princes led by an elected king, similar to how Iceland had. They will basically be coming out of the viking age, partially Christianized but not unified and still mysteriously pagan. Basically imagine the Vesten from 7th Sea

Old World of Iron: Reconsidering Khazaria


This is just a small update post, but I was thinking about my last post regarding the Border Princes and Khazaria, and I had a very small revelation.

Basically, I'm not sure I like Khazaria too much. I don't know too much about Scythia or the Huns, plus they are also in the wrong time period as well. Hungary, which I cited, was basically at the time a fully Westernized empire with little left of the steppe nomad influence. Steppe nomads did exist however, and most of them lived in parts of Russia as cossacks. Plus like I said, the Balkans were possessed by the Ottomans at this time too so there wasn't really a Border Prince analogue

So I'm going to roll Khazaria into my not-Russia, known as Ruthen. Kind of similar to Kislev in all honesty, plus the Border Princes are so non-cultural it's not a huge loss. To keep with the number of nations though, I plan on doing something fun basically involving a not-Caribbean or not-Sartosa of tropical pirate isles off the coast of Europe.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Old World of Iron: Border Princes and Khazaria

What It Is

The Border Princes is Warhammer's analogue to the Balkans - but with really near zero relation to Earth's Balkans. Warhammer doesn't have a Byzantine Empire expy, so the Border Princes is basically just a borderland to separate 'civilization' from the Badlands. The Balkan analogy is really found in the Prince's beginning as crusader states, a kind-of Constantinople in Barak Varr, and just the concept of balkanization. Really, it's just an excuse to give a region for players to establish a little kingdom should they get to such a high level.

The Real World

During the Early Modern period, the Balkans were going through a really rough time. The Balkans were the seat of the Byzantine Empire for literal centuries, but with the sacking of Constantinople most of it fell under the suzerainty of the Ottomans. You just need to do a glance at history to see what a terrible time this was, especially with the oppression of Greeks and Jews. What wasn't controlled by the Turks was basically controlled by Venice. The only thing kind of going for the Balkans was Hungary, who was actually pretty powerful at the time (until they got eaten up by the HRE).

My Version

I'm going to make my Border Princes something less violent and oppressive, and it fills a niche that Warhammer lacks to an extent. Khazaria (working name) is going back to the earlier Balkan history of nomadic steppe cultures such as the Huns, Bulgars, Yakuts, Magyars, Cimmerans, and Scythians - a nation of horse lords lead by khans/khagans. I was mostly inspired by this by games like Mount & Blade, the Ninth Age's Makhar Steppe, and settings like Artesia. A similar region exists in Warhammer in the Eastern Steppe, but I'm going to strip out all the Hobgoblin Khanate stupidity and make it purely human.

Khazaria is made of steppe people, but it's NOT Mongolia. Mongolia is not really the focus of the setting, but you can assume it's 'over beyond the mountains'.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Old World of Iron: Bretonnia and Couronne


What It Is

Bretonnia is fairly obviously Early Modern France - kind of. Bretonnia is if France and Arthurian Legend had a child, which is honestly not too far off from reality. Early Bretonnia, as in WFRP 1e Bretonnia, was far more explicitly JUST France without much of the knightly attitude or even the Lady of the Grail. In fact, the Lady of the Grail isn't even mentioned in the early days of Warhammer - it only came about when they became a fully fleshed-out army.

The Real World

Funnily enough, the France/England crossover has basis in real history - just look up the Angevian Empire and the Norman invasion of England. Again, like Araby in the last post, that kind of thing was roughly 300 years before the height of the Early Modern period. In real life, France was doing fairly well for itself despite them being one of the only nations in Europe still practicing extensive feudalism. Good ol' Louis XIV would fix this and help usher in the Ancien Regime, which was the height of France's imperial power until that little 'revolution' happened.

My Version

Couronne, as my not-France is called, would hew a little closer to what original WFRP had - explicitly Early Modern France without the mysticism/fairy-tale angle. They are keeping their rivalry with Aquilla (my not-HRE) and their decadent nobles and knights and feudal fiefdoms, but no 'fantasy Space Marines' here. Religiously, I'd keep France not-Catholic instead of forcing in a weird local hero cult type thing.

Old World of Iron: The Badlands and Osmanli


Well, I couldn't stay away from Age of Iron, turns out. Good thing is however that I think I have an interesting way to do it/look at it. My goal is to go back to the very EARLY days of the setting when it was called the 300 Years War and keep the setting focused on Early Modern Europe.

However, I have a different approach. I'm going to take the dozen regions I consider in the Old World in the Warhammer setting, discuss their origins, and then discuss what their REAL WORLD counterpart was like during the 15th-17th century - and make the region closer to that in the Age of Iron setting.

The first place I wanted to focus on was The Badlands.

What It Is

The Badlands are ostensibly the 'goblinoid' area of the Old World. Though there are more goblinoids running around in the Dark Lands, that region has really been overshadowed by the Chaos Dwarves. Geographically, the Badlands is roughly analogous to the Middle East, though not really in a cultural sense. The Marshes of Madness and Morgheim don't have a real direct analogue as far as I know aside from something resembling a Romani homeland, but they could be considered similar to Judea or the Kingdom of Israel at a stretch. Again, that's mostly historical rather than cultural.

The Real World

By the Early Modern Period, the Ottoman Empire had basically conquered all of the Near East aside from Persia - even claiming ownership over Arabia. The Ottoman Empire does exist in the Old World, but 'Araby' is in the region the Almohad Caliphate was roughly 300 years prior (being northwest Africa). It's also reduced to a minor player, when in reality the Ottoman Empire was the most powerful empire in Europe.

My Version

My Badlands would thus be replaced with Osmanli - a fairly straightforward Ottoman Empire perhaps mixed with some Arabic and Persian elements to resemble caliphates of old. The goblinoids in the Badlands would basically disappear. I like the idea of goblinoids being a spread out, unconcentrated force of nature rather than a force of 'othered' barbarian invaders. When greenskins appear, it should be less like an invasion and more like a plague.