Apr 19 2019
‘Malkash’ – Jack Cohen
‘Malkash’ was serving his conscription duties in the IDF as part of the border patrol when they were ambushed in an IED explosion and a fusilade of gunfire. Malkash lay dying of his wounds when something crawled out of the darkness and began to feast on his fallen squadmates. It began to rip at his flesh as well when a backup patrol finally arrived, scaring the creature away. Recovering from his wounds Malkash found that he, now, was hungering for human flesh and went AWOL to understand his new nature.
Nature: Predator d6 – Cannibalistic
Creation: Those Who Are Made (Twist of the Nephilim)
Trio: Mind: d6, Body: d10, Spirit: d6
Mask: Soldier D4
Skills: Athletics D8, Rifle D8, Krav Maga D8
Trio: Mind: d6, Body: d10, Spirit: d6
Mask: Soldier D4
Skills: Athletics D8, Rifle D8, Krav Maga D8
Satiation: d12 – d10 – d8 – d6 – d4
Health: d12 – d10 – d8 – d6 – d4
Argot d4: You can communicate in any language that is spoken or known. Forgotten languages, runes, codes or symbols require a Mind/Mask/Argot roll to decipher, depending how ancient or obscure they are. This power even extends to encrypted files, which you can understand simply by viewing the raw data (with a roll).
Camouflage d4: You can alter your skin, hair, nails and other aspects of yourself, even your clothing, to match the colours and texture of your surroundings and hide. You add your Camouflage dice to any attempts at stealth, hiding or sneaking. This is powerful enough to render you almost invisible.
Claws and Teeth d6: You have natural weapons, long razored claws, sharp fangs, an armoured tail, spines or quills, body nodules, whatever they are you roll your Claws and Teeth as damage, just like a weapon.
d8 Constant Babbling
d6 Rippling, shifting flesh.
d4 Permanently showing claws and fangs.
Bane: Stone weapons and strikes do an additional d8 damage to you.
Armour: Leather jacket and heavy duty work trousers: 1
Cash: $400 in notes, change and gold.
Clothing: Spare socks and underwear, poncho.
Cooking: Hexamine stove with mess tins and spork.
Firestarter: waterproof case of twenty-five, strike-anywhere matches.
Food: Tinned food, enough for nine meals as well as three chocolate bars.
Light: LED torch.
Map: Book map of the country (low detail), compass.
Medicine: First aid kit, superglue, one-hundred strong painkiller tablets. Power: Solar phone-charger.
Sleeping Gear: Sleeping bag and small tarp.
Storage: Twenty fifty-litre heavy duty bin bags, thirty zip-lock freezer bags.
Toiletries: A roll of toilet paper, a bar of soap, toothbrush and toothpaste.
Tools: Lock knife, multitool, duct tape, paracord.
Water: Three two-litre bottles.
Example of Combat
Malkash is feasting on a fresh kill, deep in the occupied territories. Word of this monster preying upon the people has spread, however, and as he feasts a pair of impromptu beast-hunters burst into the house, shouting “Allahu akbar!”
Malkash has an Initiative of 14, while these men have an Initiative of 14 as well. Because Malkash is a player character, he gets to go first.
Malkash moves quickly to attack the first man, moving in and attacking them twice.
His first attack rolls 8, the second 6. The man he’s attacking hasn’t taken a turn yet, so only gets their basic defense. They roll 14 and 11, dodging both attacks as Malkash’s claws rip the air close to them.
The first man is hemmed in, in the doorway, and struggles to defend himself, letting off a couple of shots. While his pistol is a ranged weapon, he’s using it in melee combat, and so the difficulty to avoid the shots is not increased. The first man rolls 6 and 11 for his attacks and notes he has +2 defense until his next turn. Malkash rolls 6 and 11 to dodge, which means these blows actually hit, but with no additional damage. The pistols are medium calibre doing d6 damage, which, when added to 0 results in two hits for 5 damage each.
Malkash rolls his Body to reduce the damage, with an additional +1 from his battered leather jacket. He rolls a 1 (2) and a 5 (6). One shot passes through the sleeve of his jacket and the other grazes him. After reduction it does 3 damage, which amounts to a single Health level, reducing his Health die from d12, to d10 – which is now the maximum die type he can roll.
The second man daren’t fire into the melee without taking aim, he stands in the back door and spends two actions aiming, giving him a +2 to hit, which offsets the -2 penalty for firing into melee. For his attack he rolls 11.
Malkash rolls 9, -2 for trying to dodge bullets, which puts him at 7.
The attack hits by 4 and rolls 1 damage for a total of 5.
Malkash rolls 3+1 for 4 to reduce the damage, leaving 1 – which doesn’t harm him.
Another turn rolls around, Malkash concentrates all his effort into a single, aimed attack against the man he is engaged with. Malkash rolls 8+2 for his extra actions for a total of 10.
The first man rolls 8 in defense, and is struck for 2 damage.
Malkash adds his Claws Monster Power, rolling a 6 for a total of 8.
The man rolls 3 on his body, reducing this damage to 5.
He drops two die types of health from the attack, down to d8. This first man is terrified, not having truly anticipated a monster. He tries to break off from melee, spending two additional actions for defense. He rolls 7+2, for a total of 9.
Malkash ‘defends’ himself from this with a roll of 13, getting a vicious attack of opportunity as the first man tries to break free. There’s a difference of 4 to which Malkash adds a roll of 6 damage for a total of 10.
The first man rolls 2 for his body, reducing this to 8 damage. That’s still enough for his health to drop four die types from its current d8, enough to kill him, tearing his throat out.
The second man panics, seeing his friend drop and lets fly with three shots. He scores 8, 11 and 7 to hit.
Malkash scores 12, 5 and 6 to dodge.
This means that the first shot misses, and the other two hit for 6 and 1 damage respectfully. Adding the damage die for the gun raises this to 10 and 6.
Malkash rolls his body to reduce the damage, scoring 10+1 (11) and 7+1 (8). The shots go wide, ripping more holes in his jacket.
He snarls and leaps over the table, to negate the cover the second man has. He uses his remaining two actions for two claw attacks, rolling 7 and 14 respectively.
The second man defends himself, scoring 12 and 7. He ducks under the first claw but gets hit by the second.
The claw rolls to add damage onto the existing 7, raising it to 12. The second man reduces the damage by 1 with his Body roll, reducing it to 11. As a result he takes 5 die type levels of damage, knocking him unconscious. Malkash spends a level of satiation to heal the harm he has taken, and feeds on all three bodies to replenish his satiation.
Apr 6 2019
Hi, I’m Grim. I’m an ageing gothabilly, a 20 year veteran of the RPG Industry and I freelance and self-publish. My company is Postmortem Studios.
Describe your work
Stylised and exploratory games that are focussed mostly on genre emulation. I’m neither entirely in the storygame camp nor the traditional game camp. System matters and I like to either choose or create a system best suited to the game in question.
Key to your making process?
Inspiration, whatever grabs my attention at the time. The things that interest me. That can come from films, television, comics, politics, conversation.
Favourite type of game scenario
Dramatic, high stakes, slow build up.
Character or Worldbuilding?
If I’m creating games, then obviously worldbuilding is the primary focus. Characters are for players.
Long or Short RPG texts?
Whatever’s appropriate. I tend to think these unnecessarily huge books are unnecessary. Efficient text, appropriate to what’s required, seems like the best way to go.
How to increase accessibility?
Profit margins are so low that there isn’t really a way to increase accessibility. I am currently recording an audiobook of the 5e SRD, but it’s not exactly setting the world on fire. Generally speaking RPGs are already massively accessible. They’re cost-effective as a form of entertainment, so long as you can read and do basic mathematics you can play and they’re customisable by default.
I prefer to do everything myself. I’ve had bad experiences with collaberations. Diluted vision, over-enthusiastic editing and being overridden by another participant.
How do your games distribute power amongst the players?
I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about.
How are your games dismantling colonialism?
The colonial era ended in the mid-to-late 20th century, depending how you define it and what you consider a colony. My games can’t dismantle something that no longer exists, plus – they’re games. They couldn’t anyway. Colonial era fiction and tropes are excellent sources of inspiration for games though, conflict, adventure, exploration. I wouldn’t want to cut myself off from such a rich source of storytelling.
Shoutout an underloved Creator
Venger Satanis has an outlook to games that’s somewhat similar to mine and he gets a lot of unnecessary hate for being such a chill dude.
How to make a work inclusive?
I don’t think a work has to be inclusive, the focus should be on maing a good story. In trying to make games appeal to everyone, or include everyone, you can get a lack of focus and games can become homeogenous, interchangable and dull. Ironically the indie games scene which is often thought of as more inclusive, often has very tightly focussed games that aren’t at all inclusive. Night Witches, for example, is only women. Only soviet women. Only WWII. As mentioned earlier, RPGs are – by their very nature – inclusive and customisable, which is why they’ve always had a very diverse fanbase, albeit with a predominance of nerdy men.
TL;DR – RPG design doesn’t have to be inclusive, it doesn’t necessarily make for better games. People can play things other than themselves – and should. That’s the whole point.
Participate in Streamed Games?
It can be difficult due to timezones and commitment issues, but I do run them. WFRP at the moment.
How are your game mechanics and characters intersectional?
They’re not? Intersectionality descends into oppression olympics and I can’t see how game mechanics or character generation would have any crossover with intersectionality. Intersectionality would inevitably mean a dilution and dispersal of story tropes, and if I wanted to make a political point it would undermine it. The closest I get is Privilege Check, which is designed to demonstrate the flaws in intersectionality.
Favourite Tropes to Subvert?
My work’s mostly more about expressing those tropes. They’re a powerful set of storytelling tools and undermining them all the time can backfire (see The Last Jedi). The closest I get is, I suppose, trying to challenge people to examine their presuppositions, as in The Little Grey Book.
How does your environment inform your work?
I live in an idyllic countryside setting, close to the landscapes that inspired Tolkien, Lewis and Adams (Watership Down). So my work rebels as a reaction to that by tending to the post-apocalyptic, the urban, the horrific. I don’t tend to like traditional fantasy or the glamourisation of the agrarian life.
How does your identity inform your work?
I don’t really know what’s meant here. ‘Identity’ seems to mean something different to me than it would seem to to the author of this challenge. Sexuality, gender, race, these aren’t things I regard as identity. Identity – to me – is more what you do than who you are. I find the other approach rather bigoted and judgemental. My work is influenced by some of my innate traits, but that’s different to identity. I self-identify as a rebel, a libertine and a challenger of orthodoxy and that influences much more.
What are some underlying messages in your work?
Individualism, cooperation, mutualism, voluntarism, anti-identitarianism, creativity, sexuality, freedom, free-thinking.
Favourite themes to explore?
Sexuality, ethics, alternative cultures and assumptions, the primacy of fun.
A game you want to make that you think no-one would play?
Well I thought that about Gor, but it has been rather popular. I kind of think nobody will want to play Actual Fucking Monsters when it comes out, because it’s a game you always lose, but we’ll see.
What external factors do you struggle with to create?
An increasingly intolerant, authoritarian and censorious social atmosphere that insists on everything being ‘woke’, and the constant attacks, lies and misrepresentations from that sphere. I mean, just look at these questions!
How are you working to improve the RPG industry?
Resisting the incursions of censorious authoritarians, just as I did during the Satanic and Vampire Panics.
Mentoring/Being Mentored by?
I mentor a few people, I offer paid consultations for new indie RPG makers.
Favourite RPG thing to create?
A rad diversity consultant?
No such animal. Pointless parasites.
Favourite Online Community?
How do you market your work?
Who on Earth has a marketing budget in this industry? Blog posts, social media, word of mouth and obliging moral entrepreneurs.
What tools help you create?
Exciting 2019 RPG trends?
Boutique games perhaps? I’m not sure exactly in what way that’s exciting, it could be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s interesting at least.
If you were in charge of the RPG industry, what would you change?
Even more robust pushback against the moral entrepreneurs and their gatekeeping. RPGs should be open and available to everyone, but no individual game has to be for everyone.
Mar 15 2019
And the winner is (after many trials and tribulations)…
Morgyn’s piece depicting a sexy, smoky genie or djinn is now available for purchase (to support next year’s scholarship) at RPGNOW.
Don’t forget, you can also support the scholarship by buying other scholarship supporting art. There’s even a megabundle of the first 100 pieces.
You can also support monetarily during our year-end funding drives, or by donating art to be sold to support the scholarship.
Who are you? Where are you from? Where can people find your work?
My name is Morgyn McDonald, I am a 22 year old Métis Canadian Graphic Artist living in the Greater Toronto Area.
Where did you hear about the scholarship fund?
I was scrolling through my Twitter when I saw a friend of mine share your grant and I immediately jumped at the opportunity.
What made you take the leap to enter?
As a creator who has only recently started trying to get into the industry I feel like I am scrambling to apply everywhere for every opportunity I can get to gain exposure. I just want as many eyes on my creations as possible, you know?
Can you confirm that you’ve received the money?
Absolutely! Everything went smooth as butter and I received the grant without a single issue via PayPal. Thank you so much for this opportunity!
What do you intend to spend the money on?
RENT. Oh my gosh, rent and groceries is all it can go to at this point. I am trying my hardest to get my name out there in hopes someone might need my brand of imagery in the world of digital art and design.
Will you help us spread the word next year?
Absolutely, I would love to share the chance!
If people want to contact you to commission some work, how can they do it?
My email is MapleBaked@hotmail.com and my username is @Sokawahtik on Twitter.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I would like to encourage new artists to seek out chances to join competitions, draws and contests whenever and wherever they can. Any opportunity to share your creations is a chance to make waves! Luck and light to all.
My email is MapleBaked@hotmail.com and my username is @Sokawahtik on Twitter.
Mar 1 2019
I honestly don’t know why it’s so difficult to give away money, but apparently, it is. I had selected a winner of the scholarship but unfortunately, due to injury, they are unable to complete work and get the funds. I’m going to throw them a couple of commissions down the line, but I’m uncomfortable sitting on this money any more.
So, last call.
If you are a genre artist (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Military or other genre work) and are currently hard up (unemployed, disabled, medical expenses, in education or otherwise struggling) please get in touch, with a sample of your work and/or an entry within the next SEVEN DAYS.
Entrants, if accepted, will be awarded a scholarship/hardship grant of $500 USD in exchange for their entry, which will be then sold as stock art in the RPG industry, hopefully leading to more work and contacts in the future, as well as funding the next scholarship fund.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via social media for more details.
If I do not receive any entries by midnight on the 8th of March 2019 I will do what I did a previous year and use the money to commission works from artists offering commissions to help ease hardship (#commissionsopen, deviantart and so on).
Please share this everywhere and alert people you know who could qualify.
Mar 1 2019
It’s March, and that means mad March hares, aggressive duck sex in the back garden and the feeling that the year has finally, actually started and one should get on with things. So it goes.
There’s a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ stuff going on that is already interfering with the projects I had planned, albeit in the best way. There’s a possible new computer game project I might be writing for, a couple of guest writers for the few Gorean Adventures and the new store continues to gain traction. Actual Fucking Monsters continues at a reasonable pace in spite of the interruption – I’m currently working on a nice big section of suggested monster powers. I’m also looking to get Alice Through the Garbage Grinder edited late spring/early summer – so there’s some new fiction to look forward to.
In addition to all that I am (slowly) creating an audio version of the 5th Edition D&D SRD, which will be hosted first on my Youtube channel, and then made available as an mp3 audiobook.
Things are productive, even if they don’t necessarily look it.
First things first, do be sure and go and check out our new online store. I’d love to see the majority of our sales shift to that channel, where I’ll also be offering a limited number of ’boutique’ items, physical products, second-hand gaming material and more.
There’s a mailing list you can sign up to there too, to hear when we have something new out, like our new Metacard, roleplay encouragement system. You can also get cheeky discounts by signing up.
The ever-lovely Anna Cherry of Erinyes Angels has modelled some of our t-shirts, so look forward to seeing more of that coming along! I’d love to work with more cosplayers and nerdosphere models of all genders, so if you’d like to model or pose for other products, get in touch.
If you like the shirts, you can get them at Teespring. Anna Cherry’s not included, separate purchase necessary.
So where does that leave various projects?
- Unfortunately, the person I had pegged for the Zelart Scholarship had to drop out and couldn’t deliver a final piece due to an injury. I’ll be doing a separate update on this for you.
- Actual Fucking Monsters should be written by the end of the month, I’m not sure if I need more art for it or not, so it may be out at that time.
- I have to devote some time and energy to this potential computer game project.
- The SRD will be recorded as and when I have the time, but I do intend to see it through to the end.
Feb 12 2019
People are asking anyone and everyone with even the slightest historical or current connection to Zak Smith to denounce him, due to allegations made against him by his former girlfriend, Mandy Morbid and two other women in a Facebook post. These allegations are serious, and if true we denounce his actions as would any decent human being.
At Postmortem Studios we strongly believe in the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The basic logical principle that underlies this – the burden of proof – is also a foundational basis of science and we do not believe things without evidence. All we have, at present are accusations.
We also believe in the right to reply, which Zak has not yet exercised.
In light of the absence of facts or an admission of fault (at point of writing), we cannot consider him guilty, nor treat him as such. That said we had no plans to work with Zak in any case, and this is in part due to personal differences and obnoxious behaviour towards us on Zak’s part.
Of course, being obnoxious doesn’t make you guilty of anything else.
This situation does, of course, throw up all sorts of other issues, but they’re more properly addressed elsewhere.
In short, we don’t know if the accusations are true, and while we will no longer be defending Zak we do not believe a mere accusation is sufficient reason to censor and deplatform everything anyone has ever done, nor to punish their associates and co-authors for his, alleged, actions.
Feb 8 2019
MetaCards provide a means to encourage roleplay and verisimilitude in your TTRPG games.
MetaCards are a generic system that can be overlaid on top of any other game system.
The cards provide prompts to roleplay in a certain way. The players can then represent a certain mood or perform certain actions that can provide verisimilitude for games that are designed to seem ‘real’, or thematic cues for games that are more narratively focused.
The players are encouraged to follow the cards by a small, mechanical, near-universal bonus. Decks can be customised with prompts specific to your group or campaign if you’re seeking to encourage a specific kind of roleplay. You could customise the deck to prompt players in a horror game to do stereotypical horror-movie things, or those in a romantic fantasy game to engage with the romantic preconceptions of that genre.
This is meant to be introductory, allowing you to take the concept and run with it for your own games.
Feb 6 2019
I’m currently working on a couple of things, Metacards (systemless RP prompts to encourage roleplay and verisimilitude) and Actual Fucking Monsters, my spasm of disgust against the humanisation of monsters and the ‘pussification’ of vampires, werewolves and other monstrosities, inspired in part by Nightbreed (Cabal) and intended as a reaction to the lack of actual fucking horror present in most modern horror RP, TV series, films and so forth.
Rules can only do so much, the way you play a game – or are encouraged to – can also make a huge difference. In the advice section I lay out five ‘pillars’ that are meant to guide playing Actual Fucking Monsters.
Push the Envelope
Every player, including the Games Master, should be seeking to push the envelope of horrific and stomach-churning action that takes place in the game. In a time when so many games are bending over backwards to be overly considerate about people’s feelings and to protect them, this is meant to be like a roller coaster or a horror film. It’s meant to terrify and disgust each other – for fun.
There are Consequences
Everything you do in the game will come back to bite you on the arse in some way. You eat a child to fill your satiation? The mother tracks you down, even when the police give up. People see your monstrous visage and it goes viral on the internet. The sheriff comes after you, then the state police, then the feds, then monster hunters and witch burners. Everything you do comes back.
There is no Redemption
This isn’t a story about redemption or a cure. There is no spiritually pure path and probably no insight into the lore of your people. It is a downward spiral into despair and death and an inevitable bad-ending. This is Near Dark, not Interview with the Vampire.
Everyone is Awful
Nobody is good or pure or nice in this world. Every cop is a womaniser, a racist or an alcoholic. Every parent beats their children or never sees them. Every friend is a betrayer, every lover will cheat on you, everyone is out for themselves or out to get you. If you scratch the surface there’s nothing but darkness beneath.
There’s no ‘winning’ in this game. There’s no grand adventure. The world is reactive to everything you do and eventually, it all catches up to you. That’s the story here, and you ‘win’ by being an antihero, transgressing morality, pushing buttons and dying a spectacular death.
Feb 5 2019
Welcome ‘Rob Necronomicon’ to our stable of stock artists with his two collections – Dark SF and Dark Fantasy.
These gritty, highly stylised and grim images can be yours to use in your personal and professional projects, subject to the attached license.
This art can be bought and downloaded from our POST-MORT store, or from RPGNOW/Drivethrurpg. Singles will be available on the latter site – at a higher cost than buying a bundle – on an ongoing basis.