Something for Halloween..the next Tale!

Well it has been awhile but I have been slowly working on the beginnings of the next Modern Horror Tale and here is a preview of … Dean Koontz’s Phantoms!

Modern Horror: Tale Two

 

Phantoms by Dean Koontz

 

Characters

The Paiges

Jennifer Paige, M.D. (Medical Professional) – 31 years old, green eyes, auburn hair. She is the GP for Snowfield and the nearby small towns. Owns a late model Trans-Am and has a mortgage on her small 2-storey home/doctor’s practice.

Lisa Paige (Teenager) – 14 years old, green eyes, auburn hair

 

The Sheriff’s Department

Sheriff Bryce Hammond (Law Enforcement)

Deputy Paul Henderson (Victim) – 24 years old; staffing Snowfield Sheriff’s Detachment during the initial incident.

 

Locations

  1. Paige’s Home and Office
  2. Mountainview Restaurant
  3. Santini Home
  4. Sheriff’s Detachment
  5. Candleglow Inn

 

Objects of Importance

The Townsfolk – 150 Dead / 350 Missing

 

Chapter Breakdown

Part One – Victims

 

  1. The Town Jail

4:20-4:30PM

Dep. Henderson thinks he hears a woman’s scream off in the distance, but isn’t sure so goes back to reading a magazine. Then he hears a man’s scream closer by and stands up and walks out of the bullpen to the front of the station. He hears movement behind him, which is impossible since the back door is locked and the station is empty besides him. He turns and draws his revolver and fires, but dies almost instantly anyway.

 

  1. Coming Home

5:30-6:00PM

Jennifer is driving back from Newport Beach Airport with her sister Lisa. She is bringing her home to live with her after the sudden death of their mother. It was caused by a massive cerebral hemorrhage, which was six weeks prior. When they first arrive the town appears completely deserted. They drive across town to Jennifer’s home. When they arrive it is silent here as well. Nothing seems amiss until they arrive in the kitchen to find Hilda Beck dead on the floor.

 

  1. The Dead Woman

6:00-6:20PM

After calming Lisa down, Jennifer carefully examines the corpse.

  • 62 year old woman
  • Body swollen as if in a late stage of composition
  • Mottling and bruising over the entire surface of her skin
  • She had been preparing dinner when she suddenly collapsed. A head of cabbage, some potatoes and 2 tomatoes are on the countertop
  • Cabbage is still chill to the touch, death happened within the last hour

Jennifer decides to call the County Seat/Coroner’s Office in Santa Mira. She finds the phone line dead.

 

  1. The House Next Door

6:20-6:35PM

Song: 3rd Symphony, Eroica by Beethoven

Jennifer decides to go next door to try their phone since she believes that the line to her home could have been cut. The Santini home is a stone and redwood house. They own a ski shop and gift store in town.

They find the front door ajar and lights on in the study and the dining room. Beethoven is playing on the stereo; the piece ends a couple of minutes after they arrive. Both of them feel alone in the house and yet watched. The dining table is set for an early dinner (one plate already had salad served on it). A full ham and a bowl of mash potatoes were already sitting in the middle of the table (both still warm). There are also 2 drinking glasses filled (one with water the other with apple juice) and still contain partially melted ice. There is a single chair toppled on the floor and a salt shaker is overturned. The serving spoon and fork are on the floor next to the upright chair at the end of the table.

After seeing this scene, Lisa recalls the legend of the Mary Celeste. Jennifer tries the phone to find the line open but no dial tone. She feels like there is someone on the other end of the line listening to her.

Lisa suggests they go to the Sheriff’s Station, Jennifer agrees despite her need to check for survivors because if there is someone in the house as she suspects then her first duty is to the safety of her sister.

Night has fallen when they exit the house. Temperatures can drop to 40-45 degrees at night at this time of year.

Light sensors have turned on the streetlights and some storefronts.

Movie : The Game – The Rules

Well, here is the final draft of the rules for Movie : The Game. I am posting here first since I didn;’t want to make you wait for the Kickstarter to be up and running (it’s a much more tedious process than I had originally envisioned).  In the next few days I shall post the Character and GD Sheets as well as the Genre Cards once I figure out how to transfer Word tabling format across to the blog.

Enjoy!

An Introduction of Sorts

Have you ever watched a terrible movie and thought to yourself; Sweet merciful crap! I could come up with a better story throwing darts at a board covered in plot points!?

Well now you can…

Dice Rolling Conventions

There are 2 distinct differences between Movie the Game and other games when it comes to rolling the dice. First is the Kitagawa Method for generating Primary Statistics. The 2nd is Pre-Rolling for Dramatic Effect.

Kitagawa Method – The player sets up 2 columns of 6 rows on a piece of paper. He then rolls 1D20 and places this number at the top of the left hand column. He then rolls a 2nd time and places this number at the top of the right-hand column. The 3rd roll is the first decision point for the player, he may place that number in either column based on which side would be most advantageous. The 4th roll must then be placed in the opposing column from the 3rd. He continues this pattern until a total of 12 rolls have been performed. At this juncture the player chooses which column to keep as his stat block for his character. For Protagonists, the other column is discarded but in the case of Victims it is kept as the back-up stat block for when the 1st character dies.

Pre-Rolling for Dramatic Effect – All Players and the GD will make 10 rolls on a 1D20 and record the results on their Character / GD Card. The rolls made by the GD are kept secret from the players, unlike the player which must reveal all of them. These numbers are then used as the players and GD sees fit to determine the results of all actions (Skills and Combat for example). Once a roll is used it is scratched off the list. All rolls must be used before another block of 10 rolls may be made.

Primary Statistics

There are 2 types of stats that describe every character in the game, Mind and Body. These are broken up into 3 Primary Statistics each; for Mind you have Intellect, Insight and Personality; for Body you have Strength, Health and Agility. The Kitagawa Method is used for generating these numbers for Main Characters and the Modified Kitagawa Method is employed for Victims and Extras.

Intellect – The raw intelligence possessed by the character and the primary attribute for all Intellectual Skills or intellect-based abilities found in the Character Cards.

Beauty – Rarely is a Protagonist in a Movie not beautiful (unless they are Uglied-Up for Roscoe Bait).

Personality – The power of a character’s Will and Charisma. He uses this attribute to determine whether he can bluff, intimidate, fool or otherwise convince others of his intent and ability.

____________________________________________________________________

Strength – The raw physicality of the character. The higher number the bigger the fist (metaphorically speaking of course). In game, this also determines the total damage points with melee weapons and unarmed techniques (equal to their Strength score + their Total Level +Stars).

Health – The character’s physical durability. For example, John McClain must be a 17 or 18 at least. In game, this means that the character can take damage in combat equal to their Health score + their Total Level + Stars.

Agility – This comprises a number of the character’s innate abilities: manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination and body equilibrium. In game, this also determines the total damage points with thrown (and projectile) weapons and firearms (equal to their Agility score + their Total Level +Stars).

Level Points and Total Level

Level Points are awarded at the end of a game session, at the end of a Scene, as directed by certain Cards and/or upon successful completion of a Roscoe Moment. This point can be spent immediately or banked for later use in Stunts or Action Set-Pieces. The point can be spent to learn one new Rank 1 Skill OR increase an existing skill by one Rank OR used as a Free Draw from the Character Deck. Obviously, this means during the course of a Movie a very lucky Victim player could graduate to Protagonist status if they purchase at least 2 Free Draws with their Level Points (this is known as an Ascended Victim).

Protagonists & Victims

Protagonists are the main characters in any Movie, as such they are written with much more depth than everybody else. Protagonists get 3 draws from the Hero Deck at the beginning of the Movie. Victims are the character actors and oh-that-guys that fill out the cast, due to their lesser importance they only draw a single Character Card. The important difference is that if a Victim dies the Player may use the 2nd set of stat rolls to create a new character on the spot (also with a single draw from the Character Deck). When Protagonists die the Player is finished in that game session, but may roll a new Protagonist if there is a sequel (and will still earn Stars for his participation in the Movie) or choose to play a Victim immediately but earn no Stars for that Movie’s completion. Captured Protagonists must be rescued (Rescue Scene) by the end of the Movie or the Main Villain of the Movie must be defeated. If neither of these occurs then the Protagonist has died.

Any Victim that survives to the end of a Movie will not be eligible to return for any Sequels, the Player must roll a new Victim or Protagonist in that case. This does not apply to Ascended Victims, they are treated as Protagonists.

To determine who plays Victims we look to real-world movie making: generally (not always, there are the rare exceptions) the most attractive or famous actors ascend to star status and character actors are usually more average in their looks and/or popularity. The Players with the most Stars earned before the start of the Movie are awarded with Protagonists first followed by everyone else in order of Beauty from highest to lowest. Uglied-Up characters use their original Beauty scores.

Protagonist Linking (Optional)

At the start of play the Protagonists (not Victims) pair up. In the case of an odd number of Protagonists the last character is assumed to start solo; Horror and Comedy always have the weakest link solo to start, Sci-Fi and Action always have the strongest character solo to start. Obvious pairs are obvious: Action Mom + Action Dad for example. Each pair and the soloist experience one Scene apiece before meeting up for all further Scenes. Victims may choose to stay as a single group or individually link with any Protagonist pairing.

Stars & Character Actors

When a Player acquires his 2nd Star he has a choice, to continue progression of his career as a Star or take the safer path as a Character Actor. This is a onetime choice and can never be altered by the Player with the same GD forever. If the Player chooses to be a Character Actor he can never have more than 2 Stars but never takes losses for Flops and Bombs, unlike Stars which are at the mercy of the whims of success. Yes, you become “that guy”.

Massacre Mini-Game

The last player to die receives a bonus Level Point for their Main Character.

Roscoe Moment

Any player that successfully performs a Roscoe Moment immediately receives a bonus Level Point.

Stunts and Action Set-Pieces

Stunts

Any player may elect to expend a Level Point to perform a Stunt. This immediately awards a +5 bonus to all rolls related to that Scene. A Stunt can be performed in any time-constrained or high-stress situation, anything from a gunfight to computer hacking or even emergency surgery. Dramatic or Dialogue scenes do not allow Stunts.

Action Set-Pieces

When an Action, Fight or Chase Scene is played the players involved may choose to invoke an Action Set-Piece. An Action Set-Piece requires that at least 2 players are involved and they most both spend a Level Point each. This immediately awards a +5 bonus (per player) to all DIFF rolls related to the Scene. Thus, a Scene with 3 players would apply a +15 bnous, for example. NOTE: If even a single player does not have an available Level Point to spend then no player may spend their points and no bonus is applied to any of the players!

Franchising

Movies can be spun-out into Franchises if they are successful enough and from certain Genres. Any Movie that concludes with a Total Protagonist Level Points of 5 or more and is in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Horror, Action or Comedy Genres will be optioned for a Sequel. Any Player of a surviving Protagonist may choose to continue playing that character in the next Movie with all Level Points earned so far. Each succeeding sequel requires 5 more Level Points than the previous one; the 2nd sequel requires 10, the 3rd requires 15, etc.

Reboots

If a Movie falls short of the Level Points requirement for another sequel but still earns at least as many as the previous installment then it may be Rebooted if the GD allows. A Reboot means all Protagonists start without Level Points, just the Characters and the Cards they drew for the 1st Movie.

Re-imagining

If a Movie fails short of even the previous installments Total Level Points (and has at least one Sequel) then the GD may choose to invoke a Re-Imagining. Only the Setting and Character Names remain the same. A Player may choose one Character Card to keep, all other Cards are redrawn.

Roscoe Bait

Any Movie that has at least 3 Roscoe Moments and a Total Protagonist Level Points Minimum of 10 is considered Roscoe Bait. If the Movie also fulfills one of the 3 following criteria then it is a Roscoe Nominee: 1) a Protagonist Uglies-Up for the role, 2) the Movie has a Downer Ending, or 3) it is a Romance, Drama or Biopic. If the Movie fulfills 2 of the 3 criteria then it will win a Best Picture Roscoe. Any Sequels retain the highest attained Roscoe achievement of any previous installment. Once a Best Picture Roscoe is received then all progress is reset for the subsequent Sequels.

Player Stars

Players can earn Stars that act just like Level Points but they are held by the Player not the Character and thus are transferrable from Movie to Movie. A Player can have a maximum of 5 Stars and at the end of a Movie regains all Stars spent on the Protagonist. Stars can be earned in a number of ways: 1) the first time a Protagonist survives to the end of a Roscoe Bait Movie; 2) every Roscoe Nominee the Protagonist survives; 3) all Players earn a Star if the Movie wins a Best Picture Roscoe; 4) and the first time a Protagonist survives a Sequel.

Game Director Accolades

A GD gains an extra Villain Card draw and an extra Scene Card for every one of the following accomplishments they attain:

  1. The Movie reaches a successful Ending.
  2. The Movie gains a Roscoe Nomination.
  3. The Movie is awarded the Roscoe Best Picture Award.

All of these accomplishments may be completed multiple times for an ever increasing number of card draws.

Flops & Bombs

This is what happens when the players lose the game, they end up with a Flop, or even worse, a Bomb. Flops happen when no Roscoe Moments are played during the Movie, OR if the Protagonists are not able to complete the Ending successfully. A Flop is critically declaimed and thus all Players lose 1 Star at the end of the movie. A Bomb is a critical and financial failure and costs all Players 2 Stars, this happens when the Ending can’t be completed and there are no Roscoe Moments during the entire Movie.

Skills and Ranks

All skills have 4 Ranks to indicate the degree of expertise a character has in that skill. For example, Medicine at Rank 1 means the character knows First Aid and basic pain relief, Rank 2 is paramedic/nursing training, Rank 3 is General Practitioner or Surgeon, and Rank 4 would denote such specialized training as Neurology, Radiology or Psychiatry.

Skills not actually known by a Character can still be attempted but there obviously is no Rank bonus to the DIFF Check and the Check also suffers a further -5 penalty.

Every Protagonist and Victim begins with 10 skills; 1 Rank 4, 2 Rank 3, 3 Rank 2 and 4 Rank 1 skill. The Player may choose any Skill he or she can think of, but the GD has final say in cases of a Skill being too broad or too specialized and may require the Player to redefine the Skill. For example, Weapons is far too broad a group for a single skill so the GD would request the Player specify such as Personal Firearms or Swords or Martial Arts Weapons. Neuropharmacology would be too specific and could be broadened to Neurology or Psychiatry.

Skills are broken down into groups based on the Primary Stat that is added to the DIFF Check; Melee Combat Skills are linked to STR, Ranged Combat Skills are linked to AGI, Social Skills are linked to the higher of PER or BEA, Intellectual Skills are linked to INT, Artistic Skills are linked to the highest of INT, AGI or PER, Physical Skills are linked to the highest of STR, AGI or HEA, and finally Manual Skills are linked to the highest of STR, AGI or INT. Most skills fall obviously into one of the categories above, if you are unsure what group a skill is from the GD has final say.

Combat

Combat is initiated by certain card draws, usually Protagonists versus Mooks or Villains. The Protagonists always shoot first unless the Scene Card states that the Villains get the drop on the Protagonists or the Villains are fighting Victims exclusively. The Pre-Rolls made by the Players at the beginning of the Movie plus Skill Rank plus Primary Stat are compared to the DIFF of their opponents, if the roll is higher than the DIFF rating then the Player hit the target and did damage. The damage done is equal to the Rank in the appropriate Combat Skill + the Strength (for melee) or Agility (long-range or fencing) of the Protagonist + Total Level. This number is then subtracted from the Health of the opponent. If this number exceeds the Health of a Mook or Villain then he dies. Health of Mooks and Villains is equal to their DIFF rating.

The GD then chooses his Pre-Rolls to attack the Protagonists in kind. The GD should always remember that he is trying to fulfill The Ending successfully so you should choose your Pre-Rolls carefully. The DIFF of a player character is equal to his Agility + Total Level + Stars. The Damage done by an attack is a single point for a Mook or 2 for a Villain (certain Cards can modify this number). Remember, Protagonists and Victims cannot naturally heal these points back during a session. On the other hand, the players remove all damage to characters at the beginning of a new session (even within the same movie).

Order of Play

The GD begins the Movie by drawing the Genre Card(s). Players are then assigned Protagonists with first choice going to players that are returning in the Sequel, 2nd choice going to players that were Victims in the previous game, and finally all remaining players. In the case of a completely new game or ties then a simple Hi-Lo roll on a D20 is used between them. The GD then proceeds to draw in order 1) The End Card; 2) Plot & Setting Cards 3) Scene Cards and finally 4) Villain Cards. The GD draws 3 P&S Cards and 3 Scene Cards. The GD also draws 3 Villain Cards but only one of them may be a Villain, all others must be either Mook or Ability cards. Any duplicate Villain cards are redrawn until the remaining cards are a combination of Mook and Ability cards. Simultaneously the Players will be dealt their Character Cards; 3 for Protagonists and 1 for Victims.

The GD plays the 1st Scene Card. He does not need to set the order of scenes beforehand but may play them as he sees fit in an attempt to achieve The End Card parameters. He draws a new Scene Card when he plays one to always maintain 3 Scene Cards in his hand. He continues to draw and play Scene Cards until he fulfills the Ending or fails. If he fails then the GD can no longer draw new Scene Cards and the Movie continues until the GD has played all his remaining Scene Cards. NOTE: GD Accolades increase the number of Scene Cards the GD holds in his hand as stated earlier.

Movie Cards

Definitions:

Hero: The Players draw from this Deck first.

Abilities: Protagonists draw 3 Cards and Victims 1 card unless they are otherwise directed by the cards drawn. A card with an F must be placed face-up when drawn. A card with a P is hidden from the GD but shown to the other Players. A card with an H is kept hidden from everyone until played. Stacked multipliers are added together not multiplied (combining 2x and 3x equals 5x not 6x for example). The GD also draws from this deck, once for each Mook and 3 times for the main Villain. Villain only cards are kept hidden from the Players until the Ability is used. Then it is face up for the remainder of the movie. In the case of P cards the GD keeps them hidden until that Mook or Villain is directly encountered by the Protagonists, then it is face-up for the remainder of the Movie. The GD deals everyone starting with himself and proceeding clockwise one card at a time until everyone has received their allotted number of cards.

Genre – This is the first card(s) that the GD draws. The GD draws the first card, if it is a Genre he owns then he follows the draw rules displayed on the card and adds up all Protagonists from all cards drawn. If the Genre Card is not one he owns then he continues to draw cards until he draws a Genre he owns, at which point he stops and adds up all Protagonists from all cards drawn. Any excess Players are assigned to Victim Characters. On the other hand, if there are more Protagonists available than Players then any time a Protagonist dies it is replaced with a newly rolled Protagonist. Once the maximum number of Protagonist is reached then the standard Death Rule applies (see Protagonists & Victims for more detail). The Players with the most Stars earned before the start of the Movie are awarded with Protagonists first followed by everyone else in order of Beauty from highest to lowest.

Villain – These cards are the enemies played by the GD against the Protagonists to attain a successful ending. Some cards may be denoted as F; these cards are to be shown to the players either as soon as they are drawn or at the first encounter with the Villain. The GD draws 3 Villain cards; the Card with the highest DIFF is the main Villain and the other 2 are Mooks. There is an infinite supply of Mooks but only a single Villain. If the Villain dies the Movie immediately ends which may cause a GD Ending failure depending on the Ending parameters.

DA & DADA – DA means keep this card and draw another one. DADA stands for Discard And Draw Again, meaning you must place the card at the bottom of the deck that it was drawn from and draw a replacement card.

Style – Applies to either an individual or the movie overall. It’s a distinctive look or tone that sets the character/movie apart from those around him or her or it. It always adds style points to actions denoted on the Card.

Timeframe – Only one Timeframe card may be drawn when setting up the Plot. The GD may choose to allow a 2nd under unusual circumstances (Always At Night & All Hallows’ Eve for example).

Death Scene – These Cards do not count against the initial 3 Draw Limit. Keep secret from the Players until a character dies, at which point it is revealed.

Setting – Only 1 Setting Card is drawn unless otherwise stated on the Card. Cards with an F are shown to the players when drawn.

Catch Phrase – Yes, you actually have to come up with one for the duration of the Movie. Make sure to establish it before you actually have to use it. The phrase must be written down and placed to the side before the 1st Scene card is played. It must be said out loud at the start of a Scene to gain the bonus it confers. Single Use Catch Phrases must also be verbally invoked though they do NOT need to be written down prior to the start of the Movie.

Improv – The Player and GD role-play out a scene in the movie, the DIFF is used for all rolls required whether it is skill use or combat. The GD wins the scene if the Protagonist fails a single roll and the Protagonist wins otherwise. The reward is one LP for every successful roll. But no reward is earned if even one roll fails. The number of DIFF checks are equal to the Total Stars of the Player, with a minimum of 2 checks. If a Protagonist wins a scene then he reduces the number of fatalities in the Ending by one. If a GD wins a scene then he increases the fatalities in the Ending by one, this does not apply to Endings with zero fatalities (obviously the Players won’t know that *evil grin*).

Chase Scene: Played against the Protagonist or Victim with the highest Rank in the required Skill. Other players may choose to join the chase and thus may attack the Villain during the Chase but the DIFF for hitting is the DIFF of the Chase Scene COMBINED with the DIFF of the Villain. Any players that join the chase suffer the consequences of failure as well.

Roscoe Moment: The DIFF roll is based on the highest of Personality, Beauty or Intellect.

 

A very long overdue update…

I have let this blog molder for far too long but now I have something to actually report! Over the holidays I purchased the 5th Edition D&D rules and I was very impressed with the new iteration. Because of this, over the coming months, I will be posting a revised version of the Magic Earth Campaign using the new rules. I also have a writing project I am working on set in the same world that I will be intermittently posting.

On yet another front, I am also finalizing the rules for Movie: The Game in preparation for a Kickstarter campaign. When I have more details I shall preview that here as well.

Once again, I apologize for the quiet period but I look forward to an active 2016 here at Still Waters of Time!

Captain Hit-Guy

It’s been awhile…

Hello everybody!

Sorry about the long delay but I wanted to do a full playtest of the Tale and the Modern Horror rules to make sure it ran smoothly. Well after months of intermittent playtesting and constant tweaking it is finally ready to post.

HOW TO USE THE TALE

This is mostly a chapter by chapter synopsis of all the playable events and character interactions within the story. I found the best way to run a session is to let the players make their own decisions and then modify the story as things change, luckily for me the author wrote a bunch of intelligent characters that took the best course of action in most situations. This lead to the players generally following the storyline without ever having read the book. Having said that, it is imperative that the Game Director reads the book at least once cover-to-cover to get a feel for the tone of the work and to fill in some of the holes that I have left in the Tale.

I hope everyone enjoys the first Tale of Modern Horror!

I will post both the Tale and the Horrors of the Modern at the top of the page.

It’s been awhile…an Update!

Well, I have finally gotten to the point where we can start to play-test my game. And I have already decided to make a few changes, I want my game to have the flow of a movie or tense novel so I will be posting a few neat ideas that came up during various conversations with my play-testers. It seems to me that RPGs are too much like a game of craps and need to be more like a game of poker. I shall explain further once I have ironed out a few details. In the meantime, can anyone tell me how many times a player is required to roll a D20 during an average gaming session?

Stinger Begins… The Cast

Hello everyone, I apologize for the delay but work and family have been a priority the last few weeks. Be that as it may, I have finally gotten the cast of characters roughly completed. There may be a few additions later but this is close to complete. I would also strongly urge anyone that wishes to DM this Tale to first find a copy of the original work by Robert R. McCammon to better familiarize yourself with the story and characters. Enough stalling, everyone say hello to the denizens of Inferno and Bordertown!

Note: Ex-Cons, Ex-Cops, and War Vets in this Tale are not actually ex-anything. By the end of the story they will be though.

PS: Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert! WOOP WOOP!

Characters
The Locketts
Cody Lockett – Leader of the Renegades Gang (Juvenile Delinquent). 18 years old, 6’ tall and lean with curly blonde hair cropped short on the sides and left shaggy on top, with grey eyes set below thick blond eyebrows. Has a sharp nose and chin. Distinguishing feature: Wears a silver skull pendant earring in his left earlobe. Owns a red Honda 250cc motorcycle with a maximum speed of 70mph, comes with a pair of leather aviator goggles.
Curt Lockett – Father of Cody Lockett and a drunk (Victim). 42 years old with muddy grey eyes sunken into a nest of wrinkles in a square-jawed, boney face with a narrow, chiseled nose. Has a wiry build with wide shoulders and narrow hips, his hair is dark brown, shot through with grey and thinning on top. He wears it in a stiff Vitalis-frozen pompadour. Owns an old dark brown Chevy with rusted bumpers and a bashed in passenger door.

Criminals
Mack Cade – Crime Boss of Inferno (Victim/Ex-Con). 33 years old with ice blue eyes and thinning pale blond hair. Owns a silver-blue late model Mercedes. Wears a Rolex with diamonds in the dial on the left wrist and a gold chain with “Mack” engraved on it on the right wrist, has a number of gold chains hanging around his neck as well. 2 diamond studs in his left earlobe. Always wears his gold-tinted aviator shades. Armed with a pearl-handled .45 automatic with an extra clip.
Typhoid & Lockjaw – Mack Cade’s guard Dobermans. (Typhoid Aims for the Groin, Lockjaw Aims for the Throat)

The Hammonds
Jessie Hammond – Local Veterinarian (Field Researcher / Biologist), wife of Tom and mother of Stevie and Ray. 34 years old, 5’5” tall and lithe with a farmer’s tan, short-cut dark brown hair and green eyes. Owns a sea-green Ford pickup.
Tom Hammond – High School Social Studies Teacher (Scientist / Historian), husband of Jessie and father of Stevie and Ray. 37 years old, 6’ tall and slim with a bit of paunch around his waist, thinning light brown and light brown eyes behind glasses. Worked for 11 years at W.T. Preston High School. Owns a late-model white Honda Civic.
Stevie Hammond / Daufin – 6 year old daughter of Tom and Jessie / escaped alien slave and rebel leader (see Daufin description for details). 6 years old, 3’2” tall with auburn hair and green eyes (her eyes turn blue when Daufin takes over her body).
Ray “X-Ray” Hammond – 14 year old son of Tom and Jessie (Hacker). Student in Grade 9 at W.T. Preston High School. 5’4” tall, 115lbs and scrawny, cropped light brown hair with orange-dyed spikes and light brown eyes behind coke-bottle glasses.

Inferno Authorities
Celeste Preston – Owner of Preston Ranch (Entertainer / Musician (Singer)) and widow of Wint Preston the founder of Inferno. 53 years old, 115lbs white-haired with a wiry and petite frame. Owns a lemon-yellow convertible Caddy.
Tania & Miguel – Maid and Groundskeeper of Celeste Preston (Survivalists but with no resources)
Sheriff Ed Vance – Sheriff of Inferno (Ex-Cop). 53 years old, 5’10” and over 230lbs with beady light brown eyes and a comb-over of light brown hair. He wears lizard skin cowboy boots.
Danny Chaffin – Deputy to Sheriff Vance (Ex-Cop). 22 years old
Leland Teal – Night Deputy, middle-aged and pot-bellied with a face like a weary weasel.
Keith Axelrod – Night Deputy
Johnny Brett – Mayor of Inferno as well it’s Fire Chief. 49 years old and barrel-chested. He used to be the shift foreman on the rock crusher at the copper mine before it shut down. On the take from Mack Cade.
Doris Brett – Wife of Johnny Brett (Victim)

The Jurados
Rick Jurado – Leader of the Rattlesnakes Gang (Juvenile Delinquent), brother of Miranda and grandson of La Paloma. 18 years old, 5’9” with a dark bronze muscular build and  jet-black hair and eyes. Distinguishing features : Wears a white fedora with a snakeskin hat band and carries a jade handled silver-bladed switchblade, “The Fang of Jesus”. Owns an old black Camaro.
Miranda Jurado – Sister of Rick Jurado (Entertainer / Musician (Singer)). 16 years old with jet-black hair cut to her shoulders. Tawny eyes set in a high-cheekboned, oval face. She is 5’6” and slender. Wearing a red-checked blouse and khaki trousers, black sneakers, and a small silver chain and heart that lies in the hollow of her throat.
“La Paloma” Jurado – Grandmother of Rick and Miranda Jurado (10th level Victim / Survivor). Mid-80s in age, 5’1” and very thin with long flowing white hair.

Rattlesnakes Members (All Juvenile Delinquents)
Carlos “Zarra” Alhambra – whip-wielding member of the Rattlesnakes, rail-thin.
Chico Magellan & Petey Gomez – members of the Rattlesnakes
Paco LeGrande, Juan Diegas & Ruben Hermosa – Junior members of the Rattlesnakes
Sonny Crowfield – daytime assistant at the Texaco and Rattlesnake member. (Victim). Lean build, shoulder-length black hair and deep brown eyes always with a sullen expression. Lives in a shack near the auto yard, he collects animal skeletons and has a stash of Molotov cocktails and dynamite as well.
Pedro “Pequin” Esquimelas – School senior and member of the Rattlesnakes
Chris Torrez, Diego Montana & Len Redfeather – School seniors and members of the Rattlesnakes
Maria Navarre, Tina Mulapes & “Animal” – Seniors and female members of the Rattlesnakes
Ramon Torrez – Rattler and next-door neighbour of Rick Jurado.
Joey Garracone – Rattler member from 2nd Street.
J.J. Melendez & Freddie Concepcion – Rattler members that live on 3rd Street.

Teachers & Students
Julius Rivera – Principal of Preston High School
Mrs. Geppardo – History teacher at Preston High School. She is white-haired and cockeyed.
“Sarge” Dennison – Brain damaged (plate in his skull) janitor at Preston High School (War Veteran / Army with full-blown PTSD). In his early sixties with very cross-cropped white hair, a moon-shaped face with deep lines and brown age spots. He has an unmistakable indentation at his left temple. His right leg folds up at the knee joint like an accordion. Has an imaginary dog named Scooter.
Mr. Odeale – Shop teacher at Preston High School
Robby Falkner & Mike Ledbetter – Freshman nerds (Hackers)
Billy Thellman – Student

Military Personnel
Colonel Matt Rhodes – Webb Air Force Base commander (War Veteran / Air Force). With a hawk-like profile he is tall and lean with grey eyes and a black crewcut going grey at the temples, he is tanned and fit. Wearing aviators, well-worn blue jeans and a beige knit shirt. Has worked for 6 years with the Bluebook Project. Investigated a UFO crash 3 years ago in Vermont and another one in Georgia last year. He and the military have theorized that Earth is near to a galactic “super-highway”.
Captain David Gunniston – Aide to Col. Matt Rhodes (War Veteran / Air Force). Tall, lean and pale-skinned with close-cropped light brown hair and matching eye colour. Freckles across nose and cheeks. Wearing a blue Air Force uniform and cap.
Jim Taggart – Helicopter pilot for Col. Rhodes (Victim)

Renegades Members (All Juvenile Delinquents)
Nancy “Nasty” Slattery – punk rocker and senior at Preston High School and member of the Renegades (Juvenile Delinquent). 5’10” with a lithe figure and a tall platinum blonde Mohawk.
Joe “Tank” Taylor – Senior and member of the Renegades. Always wears a beat up football helmet painted in camo. 6’ tall, 200 lbs with a craggy face and deep-set black eyes. His brother, Mitch, died 2 years ago when he ran his Mustang head-on into a train while high on coke. 2 girls and Mayor Brett’s son also died that night. Owns a camo-painted 4×4 pickup truck.
Will Latham, Mike Frackner, Bobby Clay Clemmons & Davy Summers – Seniors and members of the Renegades
Jack Doss – Senior and member of the Renegades

Residents of Inferno
Bess & Tyler Lucas – Owners of Sweetpea and the Lucas Ranch (Victims). Bess is 58 years old and wiry with grey hair and bright blue eyes set in a pretty heart-shaped face. Tyler is in his early sixties, big-boned, leathery skinned with a mane of white hair. He is retired from Texas Power and is a semi-successful writer of western novels. Sweetpea is a 8 year old golden palomino.
Vic & Arleen Chaffin – Parents of Deputy Danny Chaffin (Victims). Vic is the owner/operator of the Ice House.
Dodge Creech – Insurance salesman (Victim). Owns a faded red Buick. Has horrible taste in clothes and a mouthful of bright white capped teeth. Rotund with a round face. Big fleshy man in his early 40s with a broad, ruddy-cheeked face with baby blue eyes and thinning red hair.
Ginger Creech – wife of Dodge Creech
Red Hinton – Resident of Inferno, owns a pickup truck.
Mavis Lockridge – Owner/Operator of the Boots N’ Plenty shoe store.
Cecil Thorsby – Owner/Cook of the Brandin’ Iron Café. Balloon-bellied.
Sue Mullinax – Waitress at the Brandin’ Iron Café, dating Danny Chaffin. Big-hipped, big-boned blonde woman that wears too much makeup and has gentle, childlike brown eyes. (Entertainer / Musician (Singer))
Dr. Earl Lee “Early” McNeil – Town doctor (Ex-Doctor / Surgeon). Red faced, shoulder-length white hair but bald and age-spotted on top, a white beard and bright blue eyes. A big-boned and big-bellied man wearing an over-sized green scrub shirt and jeans with patches on the knees. Owns a bright red dune buggy.
Mrs. Santos – Nurse at the clinic.
Mrs. Murdock – Nurse at the clinic.
Mrs. Bonner – Nurse at the clinic.
Mrs. Stellenberg “The Cat Lady” – widow living across the street from the Locketts. (Victim)
Stan Frazier – Neighbour of the Locketts. Big-bellied Texan.
Mr. Nolan – Owner of the bakery
Jimmy Rice – Old-timer
Ida Younger – Owner of the House of Beauty
Tammy Bryant & May Davis – Busybodies, Tammy has mouse-brown hair.
Noah Twilley – Owner of the Inferno Funeral Home (Field Researcher / Coroner OR Victim). Slender and pale with straight black hair lank and going grey.
Ruth Twilley – Mother of Noah Twilley (Victim)
Mr. Kennishaw – Manager of the Warp Room Arcade
Jack Blair – Bartender at the Bob Wire Club
Harlan Nugent & Pete Griffin – Regulars at the Bob Wire Club (Victims)
Hal Clutching & Burl Keene – Regulars at the Bob Wire Club (Victims)
Laurie Rainey – Clerk at the Paperback Kastle (Victim)
Mr. Luttrell – Owner of Inferno Hardware Store
Mr. Diaz – Owner of  Inferno Shoe Repair (Victim)

Bordertown Residents
Xavier Mendoza – Owner of the Texaco Gas Station and a bright blue tow-truck. Husky, white-haired man in his mid-50s with a large white mustache.
Lazaro Mendoza – Uncle of Xavier Mendoza

Religious Leaders
Father Manual LaPrado – Priest at Sacrifice of Christ Catholic Church (Holy Man / Catholic Priest)
Father Domingo Ortega – Assistant Priest (Holy Man / Catholic Priest)
Reverend Hale Jennings – Reverent at Inferno Baptist Church (Holy Man)

Long Time No Type

Well, its been almost 3 months since I posted last and I felt I should end that silence with an explanation for my extended hiatus. After the final push to finish Modern Horror the Game, I was creatively burnt out and just couldn’t bring myself to work on the lengthy task of adapting my first Tale for the game, add to that work and family demands and it seemed as if all that time simply slipped by (…like sands through the hourglass?). In the last couple weeks I have finally been putting pen to paper and fingers to keyboard and have started to bring all that material together. I should have something to show you within the week, at the very least the map of the town of Inferno and an initial breakdown of the cast of characters so the wait is almost over.

Not only will you have the Tale to look forward to but I shall also be posting a more detailed examination of the role of the Victim Meta-class both for players and DMs. I have come to the realization that the Victim is more than a gimmick in my game but can also be used as a driving force in the plot of any Tale. I will explain further in due time…