Tuesday, April 8, 2014

HtV: Montrose Safeguard of Chicago – A Security Company

Montrose Safeguard of Chicago – A Security Company for Hunter the Vigil

Montrose Safeguard started as a private investigation firm in 1975. The company was founded by David Hagger and Samuel Bond in the city of Schiller Park (near O'Hare). Over time, the company grew to include basic security guard details and then armed officers. When the supernatural became a full-on topic, company president Emily Watson used her contacts within City Hall to go after a contract with the city of Chicago.

For their part, the city of Chicago tried to handle the accepted existence of vampires and shapechangers . To this day, the city still has no idea how to deal with the supernatural creatures. Should they be allowed to vote? What about marriage laws? Shapechangers appear to be human, but vampires are technically dead. Then comes the fact that vampires must consume blood. Does consuming blood from the living count as a criminal offense? Does it matter if the “victim” is willing or unwilling? Is killing or “dusting” a vampire the same as murder if the vampire is technically already dead? Shapechangers do not appear to have separate needs from humans regarding sustenance. However, their ability to control themselves is still vastly understood. Several cases are pending in the courts where the defendants claim to have not had control while in a changed form.

Aldermen across the city brought the problem to City Hall just as quickly as the local newscasters took the challenges to the television and public at large. The tipping point for the mayor's office was a fight between a gang of vampires and a gang of werewolves. The fight broke out during the annual A Taste of Chicago event. The brawl claimed the lives of two vampires, one werewolf, and five citizens. It also caused a mini-riot shutting down the event for the rest of the week. At this point, the mayor was forced to take action. Enter Emily Watson and Montrose Safeguard.

Emily Watson's parents are friends with the Chief of Police. Emily went to school the chief's son, even dating him their senior year of high school. While the chief's son would go on to study law at UCLA and then start his own practice in San Francisco, Emily joined the US Army and served as an intelligence adviser during the US's invasion of Panama. Emily moved back to the Chicago area once she mustered out from the Army and took a job with Montrose Safeguard. She started in management and worked her way up from there.

Emily Watson made the right telephone call at the right time, lining up a meeting with both the Chief of Police and the mayor. Within a month's time, Montrose Safeguard became the city of Chicago's answer to the supernatural challenges. Soon after, Montrose Safeguard signed contracts with Cook, Lake, and DuPage Counties plus the State of Illinois for the northern portion of the state. A competitor based in Springfield is working the rest of the state. Montrose Safeguard has two teams of investigators dedicated to supernatural incidents fed to the company via local law enforcement agencies.

Montrose Safeguard has developed several other agents who handle supernatural cases that come to the company via individuals. Most of these are related to “spooks,” ghosts, poltergeists, haunting, etc. At this time, Montrose Safeguard does not engage in the removal of incorporeal denizens.

Montrose Safeguard of Chicago currently operates out of the city of Cicero near the intersection of Cermack (22nd Street) and Cicero (Ill Rte. 50). They have an office building and a fleet of cars.


Game Play Notes:  Montrose Safeguard operates as a tier three organization in my game. The world’s citizens are just beginning to know vampires and werewolves. There are no catalogs of abilities. The company does not have tools or weapons designed to go after these new challenges. They have fewer than 20 security agents dealing with the supernatural case load. Outside of two teams of four, the agents deal with things individually, feeling their way through the cases. Once the organization can compile enough data to become a viable source of information or tools in dealing with supernatural events, the company will become a tier two organization.


The setting has put vampires and werewolves in the public eye. However, mages, fae, ghosts, etc. really have not been accepted in public. They are potentially in the game world, just currently unknown.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What I am reading, running, playing, planning, producing, and othercrazy ideas (updated as needed)

What I should be doing
Maps and layout for an adventure from Elf Lair Games
Layout on a supplement for Elf Lair Games
Writing up an one shot for Night's Black Agents
Writing up 40 different appetizers for All Flesh Must Be Eaten and potentially Rotworld
A second one shot for Night's Black Agents
A Games Day event in the South Bend area

What I’m reading

 

What I'm reading next
Whenever Craig Johnson wants to put out more Longmire books, I'm game. Until then...


 

What I’m running



















What I would like to run or play
Investigation Special Unit #3 where law enforcement investigates the supernatural. It’s a home brew setting. One was set in Chicago, another in Miami. See WoD Y1 notes below in the Crazy Ideas section. 

Also...





What I’m playing


Crazy ideas that might make good games

 with  

Ashen Stars + Firefly where the players take on the role of Lazers trying to bring justice to the frontier. It turns the setting as is on its head. I know this. I have run 2 or 3 campaigns set in the ‘verse and can’t see doing it again without a major rewrite. I ran it straight and with a heavy Deadlands influence. Time for something different. Time for a Firefly product that actually combines sci-fi and western tropes. I have not seen Monica's book, hers may do just that. Then, there's...



World of Darkness Year One:  The characters exist in a world where supernatural creatures are coming out in public. A “year one” story line, if you will. They would most likely portray law enforcement or a private security firm hired to deal with crimes committed by supernatural denizens. This is discussed in the Mirrors supplement, but I have my own take on it. I started discussing it here and here. I could do this via old WoD, new WoD, or Unisystem.


  
 

Runaways + The Runaways + BubbleGUMSHOE
or just Runaways + BubbleGUMSHOE using Mutant City Blues to supplement powers


What's been completed
What I am reading:  Streets of Bedlam, Deadlands Noir



And here's Steve's list


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kindred and Mages for a City

In the 1990s and early 2000s I mostly GMed modern or near modern games set in the World of Darkness. For the longest campaign I ran, I pushed the setting out to the year 2013. Yes, that is last year, but at the time it was at least ten years in the future. The original notes I provided for South Bank cover the years 1992 through 2005. These pick up in 2013.


The only notes I have in a format that are easy to put online is a list of people and places of interest. Most of the latter are bars the characters visited. The people portion includes Kindred and Mages. The players were all vampire and I treated Garou as per first edition rules. Garou are the enemy and will kill Kindred on site. I only brought them in to play for the Gangrel and as combat monsters in one or two situations. Still, I struck home the lethality of a Garou by severely jacking up characters with one Garou versus a Brujah, Gangrel, and Ventrue. I do not remember how much I involved Mages. The Technocracy crossed paths with the characters. I may have planned for more, due to the Nephandi involvement or I may be misremembering something.

The game had three characters throughout the course of the three plus years I ran it. There was a fourth character for less than a year, when I had a roommate. They did not mix well with one of the regulars and it was abrasive. This was a building game and they wanted a more social game. Which, to their credit, was what they were accustomed to me running.

The game started with the turning of the characters and expanded to the characters being part of the Prince’s security teams. They would go on to fight one of my two Greatest Big Bad badass groups, one become True Brujah, one become part Immortal ala Highlander, one became an anti-tribu, and they all faced devils and angels as the world burned in an apocalypse. It was a grand game.

The tabs in the Clans section are meant to represent who sired whom. “(d)” represents deceased characters.

Thus, I present to you a listing of Kindred and Mages who populated a major city in my games set in South Bank. Some of the names are taken from White Wolf products, others are mine. It has been so long since I ran this game that I vaguely remember which are which.




Camarilla Clans
Brujah
Chris Anderson:  Primogen, 7th Generation, biker style, owns a motor-cross park
                Razor:  Member of the Primogen’s primary security team, male, Nazi symbols on leather jacket
                                Robert Brown (d)
                                                Nigel Preseton (d)
                Laurie Parker:  owns several grunge bars/clubs
                                Buzz:  club DJ
                                                Peter:  Anarch
                                                Ed:  Anarch
                                                                Beth:  Anarch
                                                                                Carmen:  Anarch
                Curtis Smith:  Handles gang activity
                                David Chang:  Contact with the Tongs
                Randy:  Contact with non-Garou shapeshifters
(Ryan Johnson:  7th Generation)
                Bruce Warschilkshy:  Handles the Unions
                Tony Volczek:  Trade Industry
                                Cole Swanson: Minor Trade Industry
                                Cliff Castle:  Major Trade Industry
Bridge Hellstrom (d):  Idealist, considered rogue by most of South Bank’s Camarilla Kindred

Gangrel
Karen Spieletreff:  Primogen, 7th Generation
                Wade Sheats:  South Bank representative to other cities
                                Kathleen Moore (d)
                Jacob Sumpter:  South Bank representative to the local Garou
                                Len Higgens:  Rep from Elkhart
                Donald Durango:  Member of the primary security team for the Primogen
                                Agnes Gallows:  Member of the second security team
                                                Luis:  Anarch
                                                                Stephanie:  Luis
George Kruegar:  Handles local wildlife organizations (parks, zoos, etc.), Sabbat mole with Vicissitude abilities
                Kathryn:  Member of the third security team, has Vicissitude
                Andrea Newman:  Controls local game preserves not already under the control of the Garou
Adrian “Ivan” Petru:  Member of the third security team, drank and Immortal and gained a
Generation

Malkavian
Samuel Tippicanoe: Primogen, often found singing and playing the piano at Singalong Sam’s
                Sandy Bouchard:  Oversees County/State jails
                                Brian James:  Eccentric millionaire, plays the “Puritan”
                Jaques St. Clair:  Oversees the South Bank Institute for the Mentally Challenged
                                Randy Bloom:  Head of South Bank’s chapters of MUFON and NICAP
                                Maye (d):  Operated from within Chinatown, actually a Nosferatu
                Morgan Tyler:  Member of security team three

Nosferatu
Simon Cielewski (d):  Primogen
                Patti Rieser (d)
                Isabella (d)
                                Ana (d)
                Timmy Smith:  Controls smaller, local colleges
                                Nicholas Voinea:  Security team two’s spymaster
(Khalid)
                Mona Swanson:  Security team one member; Arabian in origin

Toreador
Malinda Fuyakara:  Primogen, owns Club Zombie, dark appearance
                Billy Haynes:  Writer
                Kone-ko:  Runs brothels and underground casinos
                                Miles Rolstein:  Handles work for Kone-ko

Stacey Veidt:  Owner of Club Death, dark red hair, blue eyes, dresses very clean and modern
Kristina Kandler:  Owns several nightclubs, same sire as Stacey Veidt
                Evelyn Motz:  South Bank representative to Indianapolis
                                Henry Masterson:  Security team two member, involved with local kine politics
Colin Hutchinson:  Owns local theatre for the performing arts, same sire as Stacey Veidt
                Aryn Marca:  Poseur painter
                Theresa Charbonneau:  Owns a local auditorium
                                Melissa LeRousch:  pianists
Nick Meltzer:  Painter, representative from Indianapolis
Kim Drieburg:  Cellist, representative from Chicago
Robert Davis:  Jazz musician, owns three local clubs

Tremere
Louisa Markoffe:  Primogen and Chantry leader
                Jasmine Parks:  Louisa’s lover and constant companion
                Paul Roesier:  Louisa’s enforcer and when doesn’t use Aluta
                Darius Van Hoeven:  Owner of Bethlehem Theological School of South Bank
                                Nikolai Werschaft:  Owner of various occult stores
                                                Lester Summers:  Occult researcher
Wade Deka:  Spy
                Adele Panzera (d):  Acolyte

Ventrue
Ian Stewart:  Prince of South Bank (future)
                Griffith Wyman:  Handles local paper media and sports teams
                Laura Styles:  Controls police and fire departments
                Chuck MacGregor:  Oversees the gang activities not controlled by the Brujah; black hair and eyes, hangs out at
Tommy Sheehan’s Pub and Grill
Eric Morcock:  Manages security teams two and three
                Frank Drascovic (d):  Computer systems
Jordan Studebaker (d):  6th Generation, assassinated in 2010 by an unknown Kindred (Aluta)
                Terrence Friedman:  Primogen, owns some Major Trade Industry and some local media, owns The Delta Night
and does not truly like the Prince
Tara Cho:  Representative to Chicago
Sandra Colwynne:  Representative to Indianapolis
                Igor Koziol:  Handles government offices involved with business and health
Louis Toscani:  Mafia relations
                Sabrina Giovanelli:  Drug and gun sales
                Antonio Perrelli:  Member of security team three
Byron Chapman:  Representative from Indianapolis
Paul Caldone:  Representative from Chicago



Neutral Clans
Assamite
Deborah al-Muthlim Sedonia:  Chief of all South Bank security and personal bodyguard to Prince Stewart. Prince Stewar contracted the Assamite family in 2018. The most recent time a family member visited South Bank before Deborah was in 2010 to reassure the Kindred that assassination attempts on Prince Studebaker’s life was not an Assamite contract. Deborah’s contract is for five years. She typically dresses in black, skin tight clothing with no jewelry. However, she will dress up to match her Prince for social occasssions.

Daughters of Cacophony
Caitlen Eire:  Owner of Tombo’s, lead singer for Irish Mist, given the right to sire due to her participation in the Sabbat war of 1997
                Iva Walker:  Lead guitarist for Irish Mist, short and skinny, borne in 1997

Gargoyle
Aluta:  Serves the Tremere and blood-bound to Louisa. She killed Jordan Studebaker after Louisa decided she had had enough of his actions against her clan. Aluta has heard of the gargoyle named Angel, but they have yet to meet. Aluta plans on playing with Angel as prey and then killing Angel. She feels Angels ways of pacifism are a disgrace to the Gargoyle heritage.

Angel:  Lives in the basement of a local university, does not serve the Tremere, and is not aware of another Gargoyle being in town

Giovanni
Leo:  South Bank media liason specialist on the occult, owns a very pricey, used bookstore that is only open by appointment. Leo is also involved with the city’s cemeteries, several funeral homes, and controls the city morgue. To this extent, he has made himself invaluable to Prince Stewart.

Orazio Lamberti:  Not Kindred, but rather Leo’s ghoul manservant. He is hunchbacked and uses a cane.

Ravnos
Jan Yuri:  7th Generation, controls various breaking and entering rackets, casinos, movie theaters, pawn shops, extortionist rings, and Zekes

Sandy Yuri:  Niece-Daughter of Jan, can be found at Zeke’s, a rough and tumble biker bar

Samedi
Roger

Steven Cartwright:  Servant of the Giovanni Death Club

Bushi
Suguru Fukuda

Cruaigh
Liam O’Connell:  He once lived in this area, but has since moved away. He is rumoured to live somewhere in Michigan, but with an eye on the local activities. He still owns an old boathouse in Lincoln. The property is five acres of forest on a lake surrounded by an electrified fence.

Alasdair Ferguson

Caitiff
Markus Kuchenmeister (d):  Brujah
Christos (d):  Gangrel
Katja (d):  Brujah
Polly (d):  Toreador
Setsu-Otsuki (d):  Nosferatu
Barry Hooper:  Runs the docks, takes payments from various gun dealers and allows them to work out of his place
Mark Roseta:  Leader of security team two, an outsider even to his security team



Sabbat Clans
Kiasyd
Mary Tarbert:  Member of the Giovanni Death Club

Pander
Hawk:  Owner of Nighthawk’s Flight Service. He will take jobs from either Camarilla or Sabbat Kindred. He is a member of the True Black Hand and knows the location of the Blood Brothers who are in torpor. He is unaware of the Nagarajas’ presence in South Bank.

Nagaraja
Angelo Schatten:  Member of the Giovanni Death Club and True Black Hand, is considered rogue.

Thomas Smythe

Lasombra
Marcel Lisboa

Tzimisce
None

Antitribu Clans
Brujah

Gangrel
Henrik Hovgaard

Nosferatu
Jean Dermond O’Callahan: Killed Victor Fleming in Kokomo Station, goes by “JD”

Toreador
Malcom Morgan

Audry Graham

Ventrue
Meral Halid:  Works in the Archbishop’s office

Other Sabbat
Paul Dalsgaard:  Friend of Forcas, owns Dr. Damdhi’s Waxworks where he has Robert Brown and Kathleen Moore on exhibit as “Tragic Neo-Gothic Vampyre Lovers.” The Waxworks has been closed since 2003. There is a secret, underground hallway from the basement of the waxworks to an exit under the South Bank Mariner’s (baseball) pitcher’s mound.

Jeret Brandt:  Internet alias of “Crater-Man,” wants Pirrelli to be his mole within the Camarilla




Tradition Mages
Akashik Brotherhood
Miss Wu:  Elder, friends with Su (kitsune). Ms Wu owns several dojos in the area, most specialize in exercise and self-defense. She is a women’s rights proponent.

Brian Chang:  Contemplative Warrior

David Li:  Yogi, herbalist, runs an Oriental market

Celestial Chorus
Sister Isabella:  Elder, resides at the Catholic university
Brother David:  Elder, theological professor at the Catholic university
Sister Jasmine:  Social worker based out of a junior college associated with the Catholic university
Sister Diane:  Runs the local homeless shelter, often seen working in the soup kitchen
Sister Michelle:  Hunts down evil, is not a member of the Society of Leopold

Cult of Ecstasy
Pat Mansfield:  Medievalist
Garland Navarro:  Deadhead
Elena Wells:  Club owner
Debbie Shelton:  Owns casinos, hotels, and brothels
Camile Duvalle:  Owner of Fantasy, Unlimited

Dreamspeakers
Jimmy “Red Bird” Smith:  Elder, very old and close to death, friend of the Garou
Alicia White:  Student of Red Bird’s, will most likely be asked to be the representative to the Garou upon his death
Jesse Coleman:  Student of Red Bird’s, works for the DNR, can sometimes be found at the local State Park
Lisa Wittman:  Ecologist

Euthanatos
Keith Jones:  Low to mid-grade power level, from Chicago
Darren McCloud:  Low to mid-grade power level, from Indianapolis
Sadik Kadish:  Member of the Giovanni Death Club, not a known Mage of South Bank

Order of Hermes
Johnathon Carmine:  Elder, alchemist, thinks he is the most powerful Mage in the city, no one has ever tried to dis/prove this; House Bonsigus

Stacey Wilson:  Alchemist; House Quesitor

Hector Ramierz:  Professor of history and linquistics at the local Catholic university and related colleges; House Jerbiton

Sonya Meyer:  Astrologist, odd tattoos on body and face; House Criamon

Richard Ferber:  Professor of philosophy at the local state college; House Ex-Miscellanea

Sons of Ether
Thomas “Zip Gun” Choppe:  Elder, head of physics department at the local Catholic University

Kent Dixon:  Visiting biochemist from a Big Ten university, teaching at the local state college

Christopher Wagner:  Gadgeteer

Verbena
Derek Stellner:  Elder
Aileen Thomas:  White witch, streak of white in her hair, former student of Stellner’s
Kathleen Greenburg:  Black witch, former student of Stellner’s
Aron Kelly:  student of Aileen’s

Virtual Adepts
Blake Wilder:  Elder, owns several computer firms, has ties to big money in the computer industry
Stephen Rurk:  Elder, owns several programming companies, known ofr his hacking abilities
Kathy Billingsly
Larry Schively:  Operations manager of local Tellus Enterprises, he does not realize what he is involved with

Hollow Ones and Orphans
Jules Fiorbjorn:  Elder
Amy Syrus
Marlene Jackson
Gabriel Ashcraft
Natasha Stark
Michael Tomlin
William Fischer
Kelly Burns:  Member of the Giovanni Death Club
Kimberly Allsop:  Member of the Giovanni Death Club

Ali-Batan
None



Technocracy
New World Order
Armin Khrolovich:  Reporter for national news agency

Iteration X

Syndicate
Has control of local news media and major religious charitable giving organization

Progenitors
James Wong:  Gene-engineer, has access to MIB and HIT Marks, teaches at both the local state college and Catholic university, he continues to work on his experiments with Garou DNA. He has been working on this project for more than twenty years and has come a long way. He has been cloned for the greater good of the Technocracy. He once knew the whereabouts of the Renegade pack. He had hoped to bring them into his scheme, but was unsuccessful.

Void Engineers



Marauders
Francisco:  Frank’s wife was a Daughter (Son) of Ether. One night, a raging Garou lost cub attacked their home. Everyone in the family, besides Frank, were killed. Frank was left barely alive. At the point where the Delirium should have kicked in, Frank’s unAwakened Avatar awoke. The experience drove him insane. He learned his Spheres quickly, yet was completely unrefined in his learning. He found one of his wife’s diaries from the first days of her tutelage and studied it. He was able to discern how to find other Awakened individuals, whatever the race. He also found a Talisman of his wife’s, a Peacemaker .45 revolver. He has since embarked on a mission to rid the world of the supernatural, especially Mages. He knows of many in the South Bank area. He blames the other Mages and Garou, in general, for his wife’s death. He considers Kindred a plague to society.




Nephandi
Set of Seven
Ramiel:  Real name is unknown, but he is widely accepted as being Derek Stellner’s first student, who was lost to the Nephandi. He is an Order of Hermes-barabbi. He never had the time to develop into a certain House. He has completely black eyes.

Samiel:  Real name is Kevin Anders. He made a Pact with the Dark Ones to fix his blindness and paraplegic body. All that he must accomplish for the Dark Ones is the destruction of the Celestial Chorus and Dreamspeaker Mages of the South Bank Area. He serves as the public front-man for the Set of Seven. He is a Celestial Chorus-barabbi. He has completely white eyes.

Sameveel:  Real name is Ian Jamison. He serves as Ramiel’s advisor. He has a secret agenda. He has plans to bring forth the King in Yellow, an avatar of Hastur. He is an Euthanatos-barabbi. He has completely navy-blue eyes.

Caim:  Her real name is Tina Olson. She is a New World Order-barabbi. She has completely orange eyes.

Tumiel:  Her real name is Sabrina Elliot. She is a Verbena-barabbi. She has completely red eyes.

Forcas:  Her real name is Renee’ Kasmeerzak. She is a Dreamspeaker-barabbi. Her eyes are completely purple.

Marax:  His real name is Nicholas Wilson. He is a Void Engineer-barabbi. He has completely green eyes.

The Set of seven were the Big Bads for this campaign. They were introduced within the first five sessions and stayed until the party was able to kill them. I first described them in ways that were otherworldly and demonic. I did this, because I was not certain what they would become. In time, the abilities I wanted them to display were very much in line with Mage. Thus, they became barabbi.

Marax was killed and his soul is nowhere to be found. Ramiel is lost in Malfeas or another Nether realm. The others’ souls were placed in a glass ball. Tumiel was removed and chained to Stellner’s Umbral Realm with Stygian Metal. The others were dropped into the Set of Seven’s well of souls, which was then Hermetically sealed against man, beast, and time by Stellner.

When I think of organizations within roleplaying games that really made a game happen, this is one of my top two. The other was the “Circle of Thorns” from my WEG Star Wars game. I tend to revisit both organizations as nemesis in my games.



Places of Interest
A Taste:  Coffee house with low lights, wide spread tables, long bar, and a small stage; owned by Colin Hutchinson

Club Death:  Industrial dance club, sight of the 1996 slaughter; owned by Stacey Veidt

Club Zombie:  Loud metal, industrial, techno mix, doorman dresses as Mr. Samdhi, coffins and skeletons are everywhere; owned by Malinda (DeWinter) Fuyukara

Crossroads:  Mage-related bar, run by Zero, a former Consor

The Delta Night:  Luxurious nightclub on the upper floor of a downtown business, black tie, and name must be listed to gain entrance; owned by Terrence Friedman

The Dock:  A quiet biker bar where many weapons deals are made

Drumhoelfers:  Cheap, 1980s styled bar with pool tables

564 Club:  Traditional jazz and blues club, very pristine condition, suite and tie dress attire; serves “house wine” to Kindred

Fantasy Unlimited:  Strip bar in an old church; owned by Camile Duvalle

The Hole:  Trashy S&M club in the arts district

Hurricane:  Top 40s dance club

The Locker Room:  Huge sports bar, the building is three stories tall with at least one bar open on each level at all times, every booth or table has TV screens with large-screen TVs on all the walls; run by the Syndicate

The Lamp Lite:  Brothel in the casino district; run by Kone-ko

Luna’s:  Garou pub

Singalong Sam’s:  Piano bar with very bad singing by Sam the Man aka Samuel Tippicanoe

The Sunset Club:  A cheap venue for rock style bands, once a county clubhouse where the clubhouse, golf course, bar, and surrounding housing subdivision went downhill. 11550 South Crawford Avenue, the sign is half0lit with neon red lettering, the parking lot is filled with litter, cracks, and weeds. The exterior of the building is drab and gloomy, done in brick and stone. It is run by the Union Council, a South Bank Camarilla watchdog group

Tombo’s:  Rock style bar that plays music from the 1960s-1980s. They feature live music most nights. This bar was known as The Prancing Unicorn in the 1990s. Owned by Caitlen Eire.

Toucan Liquor Stand:  Tropical themed bar whose owner is a very gay Satyr

Location location location

Places of note for future game inspiration:

Hashima Island (Battlefield Island) - portrayed as being off the coast of Macau in Skyfall, actually part of Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan

The city of Ordos in Mongolia - built for one million, populated with ~25,000

Abandoned 6 Flags New Orleans - inspired a level within L4D2

The Cincinnati subway line - begun and never finished

Pripyat - featured in the Call of Duty video games and the movie Chernobyl Diaries

Also, this page on abandoned places around the world, courtesy of Wikipedia

Friday, February 14, 2014

Streets of Bedlam: A Savage World of Crime + Corruption quick review

I just finished reading Streets of Bedlam from FunSizedGames. Once again, Jason L Blair delivers product worthy of the genre for which it is designed. If you are looking for a noir or neo-noir game without all the magic and superheroes we often see in rpg products today, this game delivers. 

This game was produced as a Kickstarter project. I did not back it. I picked it up later based on word of mouth and having enjoyed prior works by Jason L Blair.

Streets of Bedlam uses the rules from Savage Worlds. This is a good fit and Jason provides new and interesting Edges and Hindrances for the setting. By using Savage Worlds, he's also set it up for GMs to drop in magic and superheroes, if they want to do so. 


The materials provides examples and samples culled from the neo-noir world of comics, books, and movies, making it easier to step into the game. The company website provides further digital enhancements for the game, including archetypes, Five Story Drop a scenario/story book, soundtrack, and a dice and dice bag combo. 


I think games in this setting can suffer from "more than one hero" syndrome. After all, most noir fiction features a hero, femme fatale, and sidekick at best. To account for that, Jason has provided rules for just such a game! However, I think a group that does character creation together can easily overcome "more than one hero" and a GM who plays to the Edges and Hindrances can easily create a campaign for the group.

Streets of Bedlam believes in the "investigators must gain all pertinent clues in every scene" methodology which fans of GUMSHOE are familiar with using. However, SoB goes a slightly different direction in that Jason L Blair provides a method of feeding the players clues that are spot-on and clues that are misleading. This prepares GMs to think about providing misleading information or information that gets the players to the end result in a different manner. After all, this is neo-noir, not everthing should come easy to the characters. There is a clue sheet at the end of the book to help GMs make proper notes about which clues are good or bad.

I really enjoyed was the sample scenario:  The Things We Do for Money. In the text, interviews with NPCs includes text written as the answers to potential questions from the PCs. This really makes the scenario much more fluid, more usable for any group encounter, and gives the GM flavor text to allow them to change up how the different NPCs come across to the players. 

All in all, this is the best Savage Worlds game I've seen in a long time and another feather in the cap for Jason L Blair and FunSizedGames' hats.

Page Count:
Credits and Intro:  16 pages
Setting:  27 pages
Character Creation:  68 pages
New Rules:  34 pages
Sample NPCs:  62 pages
Sample Scenario:  44 pages
Wrap up:  5 pages

Friday, February 7, 2014

Trailers for Film Friday: Sinbad, Helix, Vampires, and a whole passle of zombies, including the Walking Dead

A handful of trailers today for you. First up, we have Sinbad the Fifth Voyage which I understand will have a limited release today. After that, a surprise for many of my friends, a trailer for a Syfy tv show:  Helix. Next up, there is From Dusk til Dawn the tv series. Yes, this is a thing. So is a series take on Guillermo del Toro's book The Strain. I did not care for the writing in the book. I'm hopeful the tv series is not as dry. Zombies of the Living Dead is a low budget film with a style of its own. Buck Wild is the next film mixing comedy and zombies. It's no Shaun of the Dead. It's also not a British film. And for anyone who missed it, I end this post with the super bowl commercial for season four episode nine's Walking Dead episode with is due up this Sunday.

While there is no trailer for it here, if you aren't watching HBO's True Detective, you are missing out on something good. Twisted, jacked up, Lovecraft-referencing goodness.



Sinbad:  The Fifth Voyage



Helix


The Strain


From Dusk til Dawn the series




Zombies of the Living Dead


Buck Wild


Walking Dead