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.

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.

Why Modern Horror?

Update: I am slowly but surely plodding through the adaptation and yes it will eventually be finished but in the mean time….

Something I realized I should explain is why? why Modern Horror? Well, internet straw-man let me tell you why. All horror-based games can be split pretty much into 2 categories; either you play as the monster (Vampire: The Masquerade and all its many spin-offs) or you are the member of a secret society / privy to secret knowledge (The Secret World MMO, Call of Cthulhu and its numerous imitators). I’m not counting Zombie RPGs since they are technically post-apocalyptic. There has never really been a game dedicated to the normal John Q. Publics that populate the vast majority of horror fiction whether it be TV, Movies or Books. That has always amazed me since the feeling of vulnerability that comes with playing as a normal human being would increase the dramatic tension of any Tale you run through.

Even in Tales where there are many super-competent types around the audience identification character is always pretty normal (Aliens is the prime example of this). So I wrote this game to fill a niche that I believe was begging for it. This even opens it up to run end-of-the-world scenarios such as Cabin In The Woods, The Bridge by Skipp & Spector, or The Mist (book not movie) for examples. I am still torn on whether I would run those sorts of Tales myself since it obviously means rebooting the campaign if the End does come.

Hopefully, next time I shall finally have the map of Inferno & Bordertown up on the blog.

Victims & Survivors : The 2 Types of Tales

If you watch or read any modern horror story you will find that you can split the environment of these stories into two broad categories; Open or Isolated. Examples of Isolated environments are easy to find; The Thing, Phantoms, Evil Dead series, the Alien series, Splinter, The Mist, Predator, etc. An Isolated environment enhances the fear of both the characters and the audience since no help is forthcoming once everything inevitably heads south. It is also much easier to keep a story tight and free of continuity or plot problems when there are less variable story elements to deal with. The Open environment type of modern horror tale is uncommon in comparison but offers much more fertile territory for Modern Horror gameplay. Examples of Open Tales would be Predator 2, Stinger, Hellraiser 3, The Nightmare on Elm Street series (yes the characters were isolated in their dreams but they lived in a large town and thus Open), The Fly (1986), Mimic, The Strain trilogy, They Thirst and any Stephen King story set in a small Maine town (most of them). There is the rare exception that operates as a hybrid of these types, Jaws being the classic example.

Another difference between these two environments are the number of survivors at the end of the Tale. In Isolated Tales there is never more than 2 survivors (sometimes none). In an Open environment the only characters in danger from the Horrors are the characters directly involved in the plot. For example, the vast majority of the population of London survived American Werewolf in London. The difference in survival rate means that if the DMs wishes to play many Isolated Tales he should never have more than 2 characters that aren’t Victims. There should also be a stable of characters a bit larger than the number of Victim players so that people can keep playing rather than finding themselves sidelined (though a low character population can prove to be great motivation for wise play and not just throwing a life away) until the next Tale starts.

As a reversal from Isolated Tales, Open Tales offer the Victim players the option to be involved in every scene. If the DM wishes he may allow the Victim players to take on the roles of any secondary characters in scenes involving the Survivor PCs. For example, one player could be playing the a sidekick-victim that is off doing research and during a scene where the other Survivor Protagonists are sweeping a sewer for Horrors he takes on the role of the City Employee guiding them through the tunnels.  Another example, would be playing the first victim that always gets offed early in the proceedings (see any Friday the 13th movie) as a means to get the story started and then the player jumps to the role of his main Victim character.

Of course, if a player intends to play 90 year old Granny Smith he isn’t going to be allowed to pump skill points into Climb and feats in Combat Martial Arts. The DM must make sure to list the Skills and Feats available to any playable NPCs. It goes without saying that XPs can be earned when playing any secondary roles (of course I did just say it…).

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…

D20 Modern Horror Combat System Part 2 – From the neck up…

Now you can see why it’s taken so long to post this info, I am trying to make it detailed and visceral while at the same time being as general as possible so these results can be used for most situations. I know this seems to add a ton of complexity to combat but remember that in Modern Horror the monsters usually target only a single body location so most encounters will require you to reference one or possibly 2 entries.  I would say I hope you enjoy my work but that just brings up too many disturbing questions…

5.6 Combat Effects by Body Part
The effects of Double Max and Crits are organized by body location with more specific effects based on the damage type. These types consist of Slice, Pierce, Crush, Gunshot, Fire, Acid, and Rip / Tear. Horrors may also have even more detailed violence than these categories in their specific descriptions, you’ll just have to wait and see…
NOTE: Rip / Tear as a damage category encompasses a number of different attack types. Ripping attacks include such things as animal claws and metal hooks. Tear attacks include bites as well as ferociously serrated saw blades.

Head (Small Body LHP)
ZERO LHP : The character is knocked unconscious until he is restored to at least 1 LHP on his Head.
DOUBLE MAX : 1. The character is immediately rendered unconscious. If Treat Injury DC 20 is performed within 1 round then he will regain 1 location HP and also consciousness. He will still be unable to perform any coherent action since he has been massively concussed. Movement at 10’ per round and no actions. This persists until head damage is healed up to 1 point. If this attack has reduced the character’s overall HP below 0 then he is now in a coma and will die in 10 minutes from a subdural haematoma without 5 rounds of uninterrupted Treat Injury (DC20). 2. Pierce, Gunshot or Crush attacks also cause 2 pts of INT damage. 3. Fire, Acid, Rip / Tear and Slice attacks will also cause 2 pts of CHA damage.
CRITICAL : Gunshot : BOOM! HEADSHOT! Yup, you’re dead.
Slice : Death Scene Inspiration – O-ren Ishii in Kill Bill Volume 1. Yup, you’re dead.
Pierce : FORT Save DC 30 or skull impaled, fail and yup, you‘re dead. Otherwise, unconscious and in a coma for 1 week. Wakes with partial amnesia (1d6 month memory loss) and 1d3 INT damage, rehab required.
Crush : SPLAT! Yup, you’re dead. Anyone within 20’ that was looking in this direction when the attack occurred must make a Will save at DC 20 or lose 1 SAN point due to the gruesomeness.
Rip / Tear : Catastrophic Contusion! Lose 1 CHA immediately, REFLEX Save DC 30 or this increases to 1d4 CHA. The massive gaping wound also bleeds profusely, lose 1d3 points from overall HP per round until Treat Injury (Staunch Wound) for a full round is performed.
Fire : Brain-B-Que! FORT Save DC 30 or head totally fried and yup, you’re dead. If save successful then brain only parboiled, lose 1d4 INT and in a coma for a week.
Acid : Spill on Aisle 9! Yeah, this pretty much defines CHA loss. Lose 2 CHA immediately, REFLEX Save DC 30 or this increases to 1d6 CHA. Anyone within 20’ that was looking in this direction when the attack occurred must make a Will save at DC 20 or lose 1 SAN point due to the gruesomeness.

Face (Small Body LHP)
ZERO LHP : The character is knocked unconscious until he is restored to at least 1 LHP on his Face.
DOUBLE MAX : Your face is a gruesome mess, you won’t lose your sight but it will be a close thing. The character is immediately rendered unconscious. If Treat Injury DC 20 is performed within 1 round then he will regain 1 location HP and also consciousness. He will still be unable to perform any coherent action since he has been massively concussed. Movement at 10’ per round and no actions. This persists until face damage is healed up to 1 point. The character will also suffer 1d3 CHA loss without plastic surgery. If this wound reduces the character’s overall HP to 0 or less then he will begin to choke on his own teeth and blood and die within 2 rounds unless someone simply clears his airway and lies him on his side to drain off anymore bleeding. Anyone within 20’ that was looking in this direction must make a Will save at DC 20 or lose 1 SAN point due to the gruesomeness.
CRITICAL : Gunshot : BOOM! HEADSHOT! Yup, you’re dead.
Slice : Death Scene Inspiration – Taye Diggs in Equilibrium. Death from shock and blood loss in blind screaming agony within 2 rounds. Even if somehow saved the character is now permanently blind and faceless (CHA permanently 3).
Pierce : In through the front, out through the back! Face impaled, do I even need to say it? Okay, fine, I will! Yup, you’re dead.
Crush : Face Pulped! The character is immediately rendered unconscious. If Treat Injury DC 20 is performed within 1 round then he will regain 1 location HP and also consciousness. He will still be unable to perform any coherent action since he has been massively concussed. Movement at 10’ per round and no actions. This persists until face damage is healed up to 1 point. FORT Save DC 20 once per eye or lose sight in that eye. Lose 1 CHA immediately, REFLEX Save DC 20 or this increases to 1d3 CHA. Anyone within 10’ that was looking in this direction when the attack occurred must make a Will save at DC 20 or lose 1 SAN point due to the gruesomeness.
Rip / Tear : Death Scene Inspiration – The Space Marine face removal in Hellraiser : Bloodlines. Same effects as Slice.
Fire : Chippendale Char Face! REFLEX Save DC 20 to be blinking during the attack. Failure means permanent blindness. 3rd degree burns to your whole face immediately incurs 1 CHA loss, failing a FORT Save DC 25 (rejected skin grafts) increases this loss to 1d3 CHA.
Acid : Death Scene Inspiration – Drake in Aliens and that poor security guard in The Fly 2. REFLEX Save DC 20 to be blinking during the attack. Failure means permanent blindness, even if the save is made that means your eyelids are fused together until you get to a hospital (temporary blindness). Severe acid burns to your whole face immediately incurs 1 CHA loss, failing a FORT Save DC 25 (rejected skin grafts) increases this loss to 1d4 CHA. Anyone within 10’ that was looking in this direction when the attack occurred must make a Will save at DC 20 or lose 1 SAN point due to the gruesomeness.

Mouth (Tiny Body LHP)
ZERO LHP : The character has 2 fat lips, so much so that he can not speak intelligibly until his Mouth LHP is brought back up to a minimum of 1.
DOUBLE MAX : Multiple jaw fractures! The character is immediately rendered unconscious and loses 1d4 teeth. If Treat Injury DC 20 is performed within 1 round then he will regain 1 location HP and also consciousness. He will still be unable to perform any coherent action since he has been massively concussed. Movement at 10’ per round and no actions. This persists until mouth LHP is healed up to 1 point. Even after being healed to 1 LHP the character will require his jaw to be wired shut for the next 6 weeks while the jawbone heals. During this time the character will be -2 CON due to being restricted to a liquid diet, he will also lose 1d10+10 lbs of body weight.
If this wound reduces the character’s overall HP to 0 or less then he will begin to choke on his own teeth and blood and die within 2 rounds unless someone simply clears his airway and lies him on his side to keep his swelling tongue from blocking it off again.
CRITICAL : Gunshot : Jaw-Be-Gone! REFLEX Save DC 30 or else…yup, you’re dead. If the save was successful then the character will only wishes he was dead. The bullet(s) caught the character from the side instead of from the front so instead of being partially decapitated the character has had his bottom jaw blown off. In the case of lower calibre ammunition this will be only partial removal. The character will immediately begin to bleed out at the rate of 4HP per round, a Treat Injury (Staunch Wound) check successfully made will stop the flow. The character will also lose 1 CHA for each point of damage from this attack. It will take one month of surgery and recovery per CHA point restored, but the surgery can never restore a perfect likeness to the character so there will always be a permanent -2 CHA penalty.
Slice : Jaw-Be-Gone Part Two! Reflex Save DC 30 to keep jaw attached, but still bleeding 2HP per round until treated. If the save is failed then the lower jaw has been severed, bleed 4HP per round until treated and no speech or eating until surgery can be performed to reattach. If there is no possibility of emergency surgery then the character has his CHA reduced to 3 permanently, his CON is reduced by 4 and his body weight is reduced by 20% due to a permanent liquid diet.
Pierce : The jaw is pierced from below, REFLEX Save DC 25. Failure means yup, you’re dead as the weapon drives upward into the brain. Success means loss of all Mouth LHP, the character is bleeding at 2HP per round and cannot speak until this wound is sewn shut.
Crush : The character’s jaw is broken…badly. Same effects as Double Max.
Rip / Tear : Jaw dislocated and severely lacerated. The character is unable to speak and is bleeding at 1HP per round. Until the jaw is popped back into place the character is in agony (Apply one Pain Level to the character). A single Treat Injury (Pain Relief) check will take care of the pain and the dislocation. Even after repairs the character will have great difficulty speaking and is -4 on all communication-based skill checks (Diplomacy, Streetwise, Gather Information etc).
Fire : REFLEX Save DC 30. Failure means that the character was inhaling when the blast hit him in the mouth, he has scorched his esophagus and lungs. Yup, you’re dead. Success means the character’s mouth has received 3rd degree burns to the lips, tongue and teeth/gums. -2 CHA until plastic surgery performed and the character has permanently lost his sense of taste which also causes the character to gain the mental affliction, Depression. Until the character has had a month of skin grafts and rehab he is completely unable to speak or eat solid foods (-2 CON and lose 20% of body weight). Even after repairs the character will have great difficulty speaking and is -4 on all communication-based skill checks (Diplomacy, Streetwise, Gather Information etc).
Acid : REFLEX Save DC 25. Failure means that the character was inhaling when the blast hit him in the mouth, he has scorched his esophagus and lungs. Yup, you’re dead. Success means the character’s mouth has received acid burns to the lips, tongue and teeth/gums and is bleeding 2HP per round from the open sores. -4 CHA until plastic surgery performed and the character has permanently lost his sense of taste which also causes the character to gain the mental affliction, Depression. Until the character has had a 2 months of skin grafts and rehab he is completely unable to speak or eat solid foods (-3 CON and lose 20% of body weight). Even after repairs the character will have great difficulty speaking and is -4 on all communication-based skill checks (Diplomacy, Streetwise, Gather Information etc).

Eye (Tiny Body LHP)
ZERO LHP : The character has been temporarily blinded in that eye (-2 to attack rolls, Reflex saves and visual-oriented skill checks). This lasts until 1LHP is restored to the eye, even so the character will still be at -1 due to blurred vision and will remain thusly until he has had a chance to rest and restore all LHP to the eye.
DOUBLE MAX : The eye is destroyed, no rehab is possible and the character is permanently blind in that eye (same rules apply as ZERO LHP but forever). The character loses a point of CHA until he can be fitted with a glass eye or stylish eye patch.
CRITICAL : Gunshot : Eye is destroyed. REFLEX Save DC 25 or else the bullet enters the brain…yup, you’re dead.
Slice : Death Scene Inspiration – Un Chien Andalou by Luis Bunuel. Same results as Double Max.
Pierce : Eye is destroyed. REFLEX Save DC 25 or else the point enters the brain…yup, you’re dead.
Crush : Eye crushed and permanent blindness unless REFLEX Save DC 25 is made, in which case a severe black eye instead and temporary blindness until swelling goes down (7 days – CON modifier).
Rip / Tear : Eye torn from socket and permanent blindness unless REFLEX Save DC 25 made in which case the area around the eye is severely  slashed and the character is bleeding 1HP per round and temporarily blinded until Staunch Wounds is applied. No matter whether the save is successful or not this also causes scarring for -1 CHA until plastic surgery is performed.
Fire : Eye pops from the extreme heat, permanent blindness. If REFLEX Save DC 25 is failed then the flames enter the socket and cook the brain as well… yup, you’re dead.
Acid : Eye melts causing permanent blindness and -2 CHA until a glass eye and plastic surgery is performed. If REFLEX Save DC 25 is failed then acid enters the socket and into the brain as well… yup, you’re dead.

Ear (Tiny Body LHP)
ZERO LHP : The character’s ear has been boxed, he is now temporarily deaf in that ear due to a combination of ringing and muffling (-6 to all Listen checks). The deafness will cease as soon as the ear is brought up to at least 1 LHP.
DOUBLE MAX : The ear is destroyed and the character is permanently deaf in that ear (-4 to all Listen checks). This deafness can be abated with a hearing aid but the tech is still not perfected yet so the character will still suffer -2 to all Listen checks.
CRITICAL : Gunshot : Within Ear Shot! REFLEX Save DC 25 or bullet enters brain… yup, you’re dead. If the save is successful then your ear has been shot off  and bleeding at 1 HP/round (-2 CHA and -3 to all Listen checks until plastic surgery and a hearing aid reduce these penalties to -1 and -2 respectively).
Slice : The Van Gogh Special (or if you prefer, The Reservoir Dog Treat)! The character’s ear is cleanly sliced off his head and he is bleeding at 1 HP/round (-2 CHA and -3 to all Listen checks until plastic surgery and a hearing aid reduce these penalties to -1 and -2 respectively).
Pierce : In one ear and out the other! REFLEX Save DC 25 or the point enters brain… yup, you’re dead. If the save was successful then the eardrum was perforated and the character is deaf in that ear until surgery and a month of healing can take place (-3 to all Listen checks).
Crush : Cauliflower ear! The character is deaf in that ear until the swelling and ringing abate (-3 to all Listen checks). This takes 24 hours and must include 8 hours of bed rest. If the character fails a REFLEX Save DC 20 then he is also concussed by the blow to the head and the -3 applies to all skill checks and attack rolls due to being punch-drunk. Recovery from this takes 21 days minus the character’s CON score (minimum 2 days).
Rip / Tear : Ear torn off, same effects as Slice but bleeding at 2 HP/round due to the ragged nature of the wound.
Fire : REFLEX Save DC 25 or flames cook brain… yup, you’re dead. If save successful then ear burnt off and character suffers -3 CHA and Listen checks, this will be reduced with plastic surgery and a hearing aid to -2.
Acid : Same effects as fire plus bleeding at 1 HP/round until staunched.
Note: If both ears are removed are destroyed then obviously Listen checks are impossible without proper medical attention or hearing aids.

Nose (Tiny Body LHP)
ZERO LHP : The character’s nose has been broken, applying a splint will raise it to 1 LHP only until a chance to naturally heal can occur. In the meantime, the character is bleeding at 1 HP/round and is also having difficulty breathing so performs all skill checks and attack rolls at -1 (this does not include Swim skill).
DOUBLE MAX : The character’s nose has been crushed! He is bleeding at 2 HP/round as well as -2 to skill checks and attack rolls since it is impossible to breathe through his nose whatsoever (this does not include Swim skill). He will also suffer -1CHA due to his misshapen nose once it has healed (plastic surgery can repair this damage).
CRITICAL : Gunshot : Blew your nose…clean off! REFLEX Save DC 25 to take the shot from the side instead of the front, if failed then the bullet enters the brain from the front… yup you’re dead. If the save was successful then your nose was only shot off (-2 HP/round from bleeding and -3 CHA). If Preserve Limb can be performed then the nose may be reattached but there will still be scarring (-1 CHA). If, on the other hand, the nose cannot be saved then an artificial nose can be attached instead, this reduces the CHA penalty to -2.
Slice : Nose is sliced off. Same results as a successful save on a Gunshot Crit.
Pierce : REFLEX Save DC 25 to take the stab from the side instead of the front, if failed then the point enters the brain from the front… yup you’re dead. If the save was successful then a large hole has been punched through your nose (Bleeding at -2 HP/round and -1 CHA without plastic surgery).
Crush : See Double Max.
Rip / Tear : Nose been torn or bitten off. Same results as a successful save on a Gunshot Crit.
Fire : Roasted nose! REFLEX Save DC 25 to avoid inhaling flames, failure means that the character breathed in fire and destroyed his lungs… yup, you’re dead. A successful save means that his nose has sustained 3rd degree burns, if the character fails a FORT Save DC 25 then it cannot be saved and must be amputated (see Gunshot Crit for CHA effects), otherwise he needs skin grafts and -1 CHA permanently.
Acid : Nose melted! REFLEX Save DC 25 to avoid the acid melting into your brain or else… yup, you’re dead. If the save was successful then he simply has no nose anymore (-2 HP/round and -3 CHA). The only option is an artificial nose which reduces it to -2 CHA.

Neck (Small Body HP)
ZERO LHP : The character’s larynx has been bruised and he is rendered temporarily mute until he regains 1 LHP.
DOUBLE MAX : The character’s carotid artery has been severed! The character is firing arterial spray everywhere (5 HP/round from bleeding) and will fall unconscious from blood loss in CON/5 rounds (round up). Even using Staunch Wound will require a Skill Check every round to maintain wound closure until the Medic has 5 uninterrupted rounds to stitch it closed (during which he must still make a skill check every round to maintain closure, a failed roll still allows him to continue stitching up the wound though).
CRITICAL : Gunshot : Esophagus destroyed! REFLEX Save DC 25 or … yup, you’re dead. If the save is successful then the character will still die of suffocation in CON rounds unless a tracheotomy is performed.
Slice : REFLEX Save DC 25 or decapitated…yup, you’re dead. If the save was successful then the carotid artery is severed instead (see Double Max for results).
Pierce : Throat impaled! REFLEX Save DC 30 to avoid spine and/or carotid impalement, failure means death. A successful save still means the character is bleeding at 3 HP/round from the jugular vein and renders him temporarily mute until Throat LHP are restored to full.
Crush : Larynx crushed! REFLEX Save DC 25 to maintain an air passage or else the character suffocates and dies in CON rounds unless a tracheotomy is performed. If save successful then the Crit renders him temporarily mute until Throat LHP are restored to full.
Rip / Tear : Throat torn open! No need for a tracheotomy in this case. REFLEX Save DC 25 or death. If the save is successful then carotid bleeding occurs instead (see Double Max for results).
Fire : REFLEX Save DC 25 to avoid your throat being cooked. If the save fails… yup, you’re dead. A successful save means Throat LHP reduced to 0 and the character is rendered temporarily mute until returned to full LHP.
Acid : Melty Throat! REFLEX Save DC 25 to avoid decapitation due to throat melting away, failure means death. A successful save means Throat LHP reduced to 0 and the character is rendered temporarily mute until returned to full LHP.

D20 Modern Horror – Rogues Part 2

This took wayyyy longer than I had expected. Who knew that kids, hackers and comics would take this long to write rules for? And yes you heard that right, you can now fight the Forces of Evil as a Stand-Up Comic. But I digress, I will be taking a break from the classes since the psychics are going to take some more rules before they are ready for prime-time. I personally have never liked the rules for psionics presented in any version of D&D or the D20 system so I am going to be building from the ground up on that front. In the meantime, I will be posting my take on the D20 combat system … with a decidedly bloody and violent take considering the subject matter. Well, enough of that! On to the show…

1.4.3 Juvenile Delinquent

This kid never got any breaks, whereas other kids were born with silver spoons in their mouths he was born with a shiv between his teeth (metaphorically speaking of course). Having to survive the mean streets with just his wits has made him an excellent Protagonist for dealing with Modern Horrors in all their varied and terrifying forms or formlessness (See: The Blob). Inspirations: Kevin Dillon / Steve McQueen from The Blob (Remake and Original), Rose McGowan from Phantoms, Mr. Eko in Lost (Where do you think he got his start?), all the Misfits, the main cast of Battle Royale (except “Beat” Takeshi of course) and both Gang Leaders in Stinger.

PRIME REQUISITES – The Juvenile Delinquent has to rely on his smarts and quick reflexes to compete in a world of grown-up criminals.

PROTAGONIST ALIGNMENT – Juvenile Delinquents are non-Lawful in alignment.

PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDER – The Juvenile Delinquent has lived too little to have his psyche scarred too badly but he must choose between an Anxiety Disorder or an Addiction (Alcohol or a popular local street drug).

CLASS SKILLS – All Juvenile Delinquents start with Knowledge (Streetwise) (Rank 4) and Sleight of Hand (Rank 4).
Balance, Bluff, Climb, Computer Use, Concentration, Craft (Electronic, Mechanical, Visual Art (Drawing and Graffiti only), Writing (Poetry and Music only)), Demolitions (Pipe Bombs and Molotov Cocktails only), Disable Device, Disguise, Drive (Max Skill Rank is 1 per year of age above 15 with a minimum of 1 at age 13), Escape Artist, Forgery, Gamble, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Hide, Intimidate, Jump, Knowledge (Current Events, Popular Culture. Streetwise), Listen, Move Silently, Navigate (Max Skill Rank is 1 per year of age above 15 with a minimum of 1 at age 13), Perform (All but Stand-Up), Pilot (Max Skill Rank is 1 per year of age above 15 with a minimum of 1 at age 13), Repair, Ride, Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Speak Language, Spot, Survival, Swim and Tumble.

Skill Points at 1st Level: (5 + Int modifier) x 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: (5 + Int modifier)

FEATS – Juvenile Delinquents start with 3 Feats at 1st level and then 1 feat every level divisible by 3 (3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, etc). Acrobatic, Archaic Weapons Proficiency, Alertness, Animal Affinity, Armour Proficiency (Light), Athletic, Attentive, Blind-fight, Brawl and related feats, Builder, Cautious, Combat Expertise and related feats, Combat Martial Arts and related feats, Combat Reflexes, Confident, Creative, Deceptive, Defensive Martial Arts and related feats, Dodge and related feats, Drive-By Attack, Endurance, Far Shot & Dead Aim, Focused, Gearhead, Great Fortitude, Guide, Improved Damage Threshold, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Low Profile, Meticulous, Nimble, Personal Firearms Proficiency and related feats, Point Blank Shot and related feats, Power Attack and related feats, Quick Draw, Quick Reload, Renown, Run, Simple Weapons Proficiency, Stealthy, Surface Vehicle Operation, Toughness, Track, Two-Weapon Fighting and related feats, Vehicle Expert, Weapon Finesse and Weapon Focus.

CLASS FEATURES – Juvenile Delinquents are the only Protagonists that may multi-class, in fact it is required when they turn 19 years old (since they are no longer Juveniles). They must choose one of two paths from that point forward. Unrepentant Juvenile Delinquents become 1st level in one of the following  classes when they level-up for the first time after turning 19 years old: Warrior Ex-Con, Rogue Ex-Con or Hacker. Reformed Juvenile Delinquents have the tougher row to hoe, they must receive training or schooling in their chosen adult career. Reformed may choose any class except the Psychic Meta-class (the DM may choose to waive this restriction). Reformed Juvenile Delinquents must age to the minimum starting age of whichever class they choose. Naturally, this means everyone else in the group must also be aged accordingly (thus they usually require agreement from the rest of the group before Reforming). Bonus Features : 2nd level Juvenile Delinquents Play Too Many Video Games and thus get a +2 circumstance bonus to all Firearms attack rolls and Computer Use skill checks. 4th level Juvies are now very good at Skipping Class and receive a +2 circumstance bonus to Bluff, Forgery and Disguise skill checks. At 5th level the Juvenile Delinquent becomes an Adrenaline Junkie; they gain a +2 circumstance bonus to all Reflex Saves and Drive/Pilot/Navigate skill checks. A 7th level Juvenile Delinquent fights like a Cornered Animal and gain a +2 circumstance bonus to all Martial Arts and Brawl attack rolls. At 10th level the Juvenile Delinquent becomes an Oliver Twisted which means all the previous bonuses are increased from +2 to +4 (Play Too Many Video Games, Skipping Class, Adrenaline Junkie and Cornered Animal).

SAVE TABLES (PHB3.5 PG.22) – Fortitude (Good), Reflex (Good), Will (Poor)

BASE ATTACK BONUS (PHB3.5 PG.22) – Average

STARTING EQUIPMENT : Juvenile Delinquents aged 12-15 start with either a bicycle or a skateboard. Those aged 16-18 may choose either a POS car or a dirt bike. All Juvenile Delinquents also start with a single simple weapon of their choice. Being Juveniles and having no real job usually they have very minimal financial resources. Wealth bonus is 5 + Level + INT modifier.

1.4.4 Hacker

Anonymous, Hacker Collectives, Netrunners, Deck Jockeys… Hackers are all these things and so much more when they are on the Net or the Matrix or the Web. White Hats work to free information for all, to knock down tyrants and catch the worst criminals on the Net (which are usually pedophiles and bankers). Black Hats on the other hand just enjoy the anarchy they can sew among the masses and to make as much money as they can using their Leet Skillz in illicit ways. Inspirations: Astrid from Fringe, the cast of Hackers (both heroes and villains), the nerdy villain in the fantastic Die Hard and Timothy Oliphant’s character in the execrable Die Hard 4.

PRIME REQUISITES – Its all about what you know and who you know when you are a Hacker so their main stats are INT and CHA.

PROTAGONIST ALIGNMENT – Hackers are anarchists by nature so they are always a Chaotic alignment.

PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDER – Hackers tend to have the behaviours and personalities of your prototypical nerd character, thus their psychological disorders follow suit. A Hacker chooses from one of the following problems: a Personality Disorder, an Addiction (Stimulants, Food or Porn), a Mood Disorder or an Anxiety Disorder (excluding PTSD and Phobia / Mania).

CLASS SKILLS – All Hackers start with Computer Use (Rank 4), Knowledge (Technology) (Rank 4) and Bluff (Rank 4).
Bluff, Computer Use, Concentration, Craft (Electronic, Writing (Computer Code only)), Decipher Script (Computer Languages only), Diplomacy, Disable Device (as long as it has network access or it works via computer), Drive, Forgery (using software only), Gamble (online only), Gather Information, Investigate, Knowledge (Business, Current Events, Popular Culture, Technology), Perform (Keyboards & Mixing Tables), Profession, Read/Write Language (Computer Languages only), Repair (computer equipment only), Research, Search, Sleight of Hand, Speak Language, Spot and Swim.

Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + INT modifier) x 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: (6 + INT modifier)

FEATS – Hackers start with 2 Feats at 1st level and then 1 feat every level divisible by 3 (3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, etc). Alertness, Archaic Weapon Proficiency (every Hacker has tried LARPing at least once), Armour Proficiency (Light) (LARPing again, duh!), Attentive, Builder, Cautious, Confident, Creative, Deceptive, Educated, Far Shot & Dead Aim, Focused, Gearhead, Iron Will, Low Profile, Meticulous, Nimble, Personal Firearms Proficiency and related feats (video games are useful after all!), Point Blank Shot and related feats, Power Attack and related feats, Quick Draw, Quick Reload, Renown (Hacker community only), Simple Weapons Proficiency, Studious, Surface Vehicle Operation, Two-Weapon Fighting and related feats, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus and Windfall.

CLASS FEATURES – All Hackers start with Jury-Rig at 1st level (see D20 Modern pg. 178). Bonus Features : At 2nd level Hackers gain the ability Computer Whisperer which confers a permanent +2 bonus to all Computer Use skill checks and Concentration checks when using a computer. This bonus increases to +4 at 10th level. At 2nd level the Hacker gains L33T Hack Attack which allows him to remotely access a secure computer over the Net without a situational modifier (Network Access has a -2 penalty to Computer Use and Internet Access incurs a further -2 penalty to Computer Use for a total of -4). 4th level Hackers can perform an Xtreem Hack Attack which gives them a +2 bonus now to Net access of a secure computer. At 5th level he may perform On-the-fly Programming which allows him to create a single use program (a virus or Trojan for examples) with no penalty due to time constraints. He may write one program per week per level. At 7th level Hackers are so good that they can now do Meatspace Hacking which gives them a permanent +2 bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information and Investigate. This bonus only applies to human interactions in person, any info gathered via computer or otherwise does not gain this bonus. At 8th level the Hacker is now a Master Programmer and can create Mastercraft software which allows that program to perform its function with the Computer Use skill in lieu of the user’s Computer Use skill (for example, a Hacker with Computer Use at Rank 13 could create a network hacking program with the same Rank in Computer Use so that anyone with a lesser ranking in Computer Use skill could use it to hack a network at Rank 13). For the Hacker himself the Mastercraft software will apply a +4 bonus to his Computer Use skill when he runs it. A Mastercraft program takes 1 day per Rank to write it and a DC25 Computer Use check must be made once a day or all progress is lost and the process must begin again. Finally, at 10th level the Hacker can perform Xtreem Meatspace Hacking which now confers a +4 bonus up from +2.

SAVE TABLES (PHB3.5 PG.22) – Fortitude (Poor), Reflex (Poor), Will (Good)

BASE ATTACK BONUS (PHB3.5 PG.22) – Average

STARTING EQUIPMENT : All Hackers start with a Smartphone, an eReader or Smart Tablet and either a high-end gaming rig or a high-end laptop. Wealth bonus is 10 + Level + INT modifier.

1.4.5 Entertainer

He or she or he-she makes a living from entertaining the masses. Whether that’s through their acting skills, musicianship, sense of humour or mystifying sleight of hand they never expected to be fighting horrible Evil, they just happen to be ion the wrong place at the wrong time. Inspirations: The Six-String Samurai, Thor Mikkelson, The Charlie Daniels Band, Tenacious D, Harry Houdini, Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale in The Prestige and Charlie Pace from Lost.

PRIME REQUISITES – The Performer’s CHA is vital to his success and depending on his specialty he will also require a good DEX (Musicians and Stage Magicians), INT (Stand-Up Comics and Stage Magicians) or WIS (Good Actors need insight into human emotion and the human condition to succeed).

PROTAGONIST ALIGNMENT – Entertainers can be any alignment.

PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDER –  Entertainers, as true with all artists, are sensitive / eccentric / tormented. Thus they have a wide variety of disorders to choose from and when they reach 10th level they have the misfortune of going a bit crazier for their Art. At 10th level Entertainers choose a 2nd Psychological Disorder to add to the first. The following Disorders are available to choose from for Entertainers : an Anxiety Disorder, an Eating Disorder, an Impulse Control Disorder, a Mood Disorder, a Somatoform Disorder or an Addiction (a Drug of choice, Alcohol, or Sex).

CLASS SKILLS – All Entertainers start with Knowledge (Popular Culture) (Rank 4). The Musician starts with one of the following Perform skills at Rank 4 : Keyboards, Percussion Instruments, Sing, Stringed Instruments or Wind Instruments as well as Perform (Dance) (Rank 2). The Actor starts with Perform (Act) (Rank 4) and Diplomacy (Rank 2). The Stand-Up Comic starts with Perform (Stand-Up) (Rank 4) and Knowledge (Current Events) (Rank 4). The Stage Magician starts with Sleight of Hand (Rank 4) and Bluff (Rank 4).
Balance (Actor and Stage Magician only), Bluff, Climb (Actor and Stage Magician only), Computer Use, Concentration, Craft (Visual Art – Musician and Actor only, Writing – All but Stage Magician), Decipher Script (Stage Magician only), Diplomacy, Disable Device (Stage Magician only), Disguise (Actor and Stage Magician only), Drive, Escape Artist (Stage Magician only), Forgery (Stage Magician only), Gamble, Gather Information, Handle Animal (Actor and C&W Musicians only), Hide (Stage Magician only), Intimidate, Jump (All but Stand-Up Comic), Knowledge (Arcane Lore – Stage Magician only, Art, Behavioural Sciences – Stand-Up Comic only, Business – Actor only, Civics, Current Events, History – All but Musician, Popular Culture, Streetwise, Theology / Philosophy – Stand-Up Comic only), Listen (Musician only), Move Silently (Stage Magician only), Navigate, Perform, Pilot (Actor only), Profession, Read/ Write Language, Read / Write Language (Sheet Music – Musician only), Repair (Musician only), Ride (Actor and C&W Musician only), Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand (Actor and Stage Magician only), Speak Language, Spot, Swim and Tumble (Actor and Stage Magician only).

Skill Points at 1st Level: (5 + CHA modifier) x 4
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: (5 + CHA modifier)

FEATS – Entertainers start with 2 Feats at 1st level and then 1 feat every level divisible by 3 (3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, etc). Acrobatic (Actor and Stage Magician only), Aircraft Operation (Actor only), Alertness, Animal Affinity (Actor and C&W Musician only), Archaic Weapon Proficiency (Actor and Stage Magician only), Armour Proficiency (Light) (All), (Medium & Heavy) (Actor only), Athletic, Attentive (Stage Magician only), Blind-Fight (Actor and Stage Magician only), Brawl (Stand-Up Comic and Stage Magician) and related feats (Actor and Musician only), Cautious (Stage Magician only), Confident, Creative, Deceptive (All but Musician), Defensive Martial Arts only (Actor only), Dodge only, Educated (All but C&W Musician), Endurance, Exotic Melee Weapon Proficiency (Actor and Stage Magician only), Focused, Frightful Presence (Actor, Stage Magician and Hip-Hop / Heavy Metal / Punk Musicians only), Gearhead (Musician only), Great Fortitude, Heroic Surge (Actor only), Improved Initiative (Musician and Stage Magician only), Iron Will (Stage Magician only), Lightning Reflexes, Low Profile (Musicians only, cannot be the “Face” of the band), Meticulous (Stage Magician only), Nimble (Actor and Stage Magician only), Personal Firearms Proficiency only (All) and Exotic Firearms Proficiency only (Actor only) and all related feats (Hip Hop Musician), Point Blank Shot only (All) and related feats (Actor Hip-Hop Musician only), Power Attack and related feats (Heavy Metal / Punk Musicians only), Quick Draw (Actor and Stage Magician only), Quick Reload (Actor only), Renown, Run (Actor and Musician only), Simple Weapons Proficiency, Stealthy (Stage Magician only), Studious (Stage Magician only), Surface Vehicle Operation (Actor only), Toughness (Musician only), Trustworthy, Vehicle Expert only (Actor only), Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus and Windfall.

CLASS FEATURES – Entertainers start with the feats Creative and Confident at 1st level. Bonus Features : Actors gain Unlimited Access (but at 2nd level not 1st), Royalty, Winning Smile and Compelling Performance as the Personality class (see D20 Modern pg. 184-185 for details). Musicians are very similar to Bards from classic D&D and thus their Class Features reflect this (all these abilities require the Musician to use his favourite instrument or sing if he is a Singer) (PHBR3.5 pg. 29-30). At 2nd level the Musician gains the Countersong ability. 4th level Musicians gain Inspire Courage, 5th level Musicians may Inspire Competence. At 7th level they can Inspire Courage +3 (which upgrades to +4 at 10th level). At 9th level they can sing a Song of Freedom. At 10th level the Musician learns the secret of the Brown Note : A single attack action that will allow him to incapacitate and humiliate EVERYONE within hearing range of his instrument or voice (depending on what his primary instrument is) for 5 rounds. The Musician makes a skill roll against his primary Perform skill, to this roll he adds his level. The total is used as the DC for a Fortitude save that everyone in hearing range (except the Musician himself) must succeed at or suffer the consequences. On a failure the victim looses all sphincter control; he simultaneously vomits, urinates and defecates. Anyone hit by the Brown Note can move at half-speed (full speed without pants) but not attack or defend for 5 rounds from the humiliation and the pain caused by sphincter control loss. Brown Note may only be performed once per week per level.
Stand-Up Comics at first blush would seem to be an incompetent Protagonist to fight the Forces of Evil … until you see the true power of laughter! All of the following abilities may be performed once per day per level (unless otherwise stated). At 2nd level a Comic gains the ability to Induce Laughter : anyone that can understand the language of the Comic within earshot will be affected, enemies gain a Will save (DC based on Perform skill check + Comic’s Level). The good cheer gives all allies a +2 to attack rolls, skill checks, and saving throws. The enemies hear painful puns that give a -2 to the same rolls. This effect last as long as the Comic continues cracking jokes, he can perform no other actions other than defend or move while doing so. The bonus to allies increases to +4 at 5th level when he can get a Belly Laugh. At 4th level he can perform Dripping Sarcasm, these cruel barbs cause the penalty to increase to -4 for enemies. At 7th level he can perform Gallows Humour which gives all his allies a +2 to damage rolls. Induce Laughter restrictions apply to this power as well. This increases to the Full Rickles at 8th level when it increases to +3. Finally, at 10th level the Stand-Up Comic gains the knowledge of the ultimate comedy secret, The Killing Joke. Yes, it does what it says on the can, once per week per level the Comic may target a single enemy and drop him dead on the spot with the most vile offensive put-down imaginable. This Joke is specific to the target and will have no affect on anyone else. The target must be within earshot, at least vaguely understand human concepts of humour, have a standard brain and circulatory system and understand the spoken language (yeah, so no joking Cthulhu to death). The Comic must have at least basic background information on the target (DC 25 check against either Knowledge (Streetwise, Civics, or Current Events), whichever is most appropriate). The Joke is a full round action and incurs a Will save on the target (DC is once again based on Perform skill check + Level). If the check fails the target immediately drops dead.
Stage Magicians can perform Cantrips (see PHBR3.5 pg.192 for a list), at 1st level this is Universal school spells. At 2nd level they gain access to the Evocation and Illusion schools. 4th level gives access to Enchantment and Transmuting schools, 5th level gains access to Necromancy, Conjuration and Abjuration. 7th level Stage Magicians can cast Divination Cantrips as well. All Stage Magicians may cast Cantrips (Level + INT bonus) per day. At 8th level the Stage Magician gains access to a single school of 1st level Wizard spells (see PHBR3.5 pg.192 for a list) of his choice, he may cast from any of these spells using the same formula as for Cantrips per day. Take note that all of these affects are achieved using modern tech not magic, if the Protagonist is completely cut off from the vestiges of civilization then the DM must adjudicate whether the Stage Magician can find the requisite ingredients to perform his tricks.
At 10th level the Stage Magician becomes a Houdini, he now gains a permanent +4 circumstance bonus to Sleight of Hand, Escape Artist, Move Silent, Hide, Listen, Bluff and Gamble. He also doubles the damage of all his Spells and all saving throws against them receive a -4 penalty.

SAVE TABLES (PHB3.5 PG.22) – Fortitude (Good), Reflex (Good), Will (Poor)

BASE ATTACK BONUS (PHB3.5 PG.22) – Average

STARTING EQUIPMENT: Musicians start with a mid-priced version of their primary instrument. Stage Magicians start with a number of different chemicals and reagents to perform his magic show and eventually Cantrips. Wealth bonus is 10 + Level + CHA modifier.