Steampocalypse

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Steampocalypse
« on: September 09, 2014, 02:02:55 AM »
So, as I was sitting here bemoaning some other publishers kicking out more traditional RPGs (anything with derived stats) in a genre I'd like to play, it occurred to me that maybe I should just buckle down and come up with my own AW hack to reinvigorate some fun but dangerously tired stuff. What follows is a very preliminary, back of the napkin sort of thing. My own schedule is crazy through October but I don't think that this is an idea that's going away.

It was an age of great adventure and crushing poverty, an age of relentless expansion and skies blackened by coal fires, an age where the secrets of life and death were within our grasp, where other intelligent life found us (or maybe we found them). That all changed this morning. Maybe it was punishment for our hubris. Maybe it was an alien beam weapon but this morning the dead rose to feast on the living, or maybe great cephalopods filled the air. The Atlanteans retreated beneath the waves to be confronted by their own monsters. Even the vampires are in danger of being over run by the tide of rotting corpses. You're barricaded in your [location] but it won't hold forever. What do you do?

Think about how in Bioshock, the apocalypse already happened but in Infinite it happens right around you, how you get that one glance at this beautiful dystopia before it explodes. Mix in some wildly over the top Victorian sci-fi characters (see below), mayhem, carnage and chaos. Start off with a bang and keep that visceral feel of excitement going.

In addition to the usual stats and moves, every character starts with and describes a location in your city and most will have one or two named NPC assistants. With some Ask Questions Like Crazy, you'll have a whole first session's worth of scenery and people.

Playbooks with locations and rough sketch primary stats

The Resurrectionist - Part Angel, part Victor Frankenstein. Starts with a medical laboratory where he can experiment on. . .er. . .make people better. . .er fix. . .er heal, no really, heal people. (sharp)

The Necromechanic - Brings dead tech to life, literally. He can bottle soulfire as a power source. Of course, someone's life has to be drained to charge the battery.  Has something akin to the Savvyhead workshop. (weird)

The Captain - Of an Airship (if you must), of a space ship (if you like, although then the apocalypse has to effect aliens, too) or even of a submarine (my favorite) or maybe he even commands (although not rules) a floating city. His location is, of course, his ship. (sharp)

The Alien Princess - Is she Atlantean, Venusian? Is she a real princess or just the best of what's left behind? Grace, bearing, diplomacy and all that jazz. She can always find solace in her alien temple. (hot)

The Occultist - master of ceremonial magic and probably cult leader. Perhaps he can find something in those moldy tomes to help fight the apocalypse. (weird)

The Action Archaeologist - Don't let anyone fool you. The 90% of archaeology done in the library is the boring stuff you get the grad students to do for you. The Action Archaeologist gets out there and gets his hands in the dirt and blood and monster goop. He's found lost cities, evaded death traps and wrestled gods to bring his treasures back to the museum/warehouse. (cool)

The Ancient One - Is he a vampire? A resurrected Egyptian prince? An alchemist who discovered a formula that only works for him? The immortal is the mastermind with an army of loyal henchmen (part Dracula, part Bond villain) and an impenetrable Lair who just will not stay dead. (sharp/weird?)

Re: Steampocalypse
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2014, 02:12:47 AM »
Still in the notes phase, obviously but I wanted to toss some stuff out and see what sets people's imaginations on fire.

Stats and moves - to be narrowed down later
When you wish to convince someone with your charm and wiles roll +Sanguine
When you attempt to get what you want through application of force of arms or personality roll +Choleric
When you apply dispassionate observation and deduction, roll +Melancholic
When you keep a stiff upper lip, roll +Phlegmatic
When you contact forces from beyond the physical plane, roll Etheric

Playbooks - I'm aiming for two of each primary stat. Each one has a basic concept, a conflict that comes from it, a location with its own choices to make and an assistant. Some of them are more solid than others.

Resurrectionist
Your Victor Frankenstein, who can heal, poison and bring dead things to life. Sure you can create life, but can you trust it?
Lab and assistant - Melancholic

Nechanic
Mad scientist who uses life force (ie souls) to power things. How many souls is it worth to you to save the world?
Workshop and assistant, soul fire and tech - Choleric

Sharp
A card shark who matches wits with with demons for power (think Deadlands' Huckster or Malifaux's. . .um. . .the guy with Brilliance). Can anything good come from fighting fire with fire?
“Establishment” and Imp - Sanguine

Spiritualist
One foot in the land of the living, one in the land of the dead. When push comes to shove, which one matters more?
Seance room and spirit guide - Etheric

Action Archaeologist
Digs for (and possibly owns) ancient relics. How much of yourself is the truth worth?
Museum or Warehouse with a curator - Phlegmatic

Ancient
Cold, rational, probably undead. Humans don't trust you but the bad things are even worse. Can you find a fine line to preserve your immortal existence?
Lair/Tomb and toadie - Melancholic

Captain
of an airship or a submarine, pirate or remnants of a military fleet. How far can you trust your crew when the world is ending in fire and horror?
Ship and first mate - Choleric

Hunter (gunslinger/vampire hunter)
Whether its a lion on the plains of Africa, a dragon in the mountains of Hungary or the most dangerous game, you fellow man.
Trophy Room and Native Guide - Phlegmatic

Dreamer/Prophet - Dream Demesne and Dream Guide - Etheric - I'm actually not liking this one as much. Better to keep everyone more or less on the same plane of existence.

Alien Princess
Graceful and poised, you stayed behind when the rest of your people fled. Why?
Temple and priest/ess? - Sanguine

Re: Steampocalypse
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2014, 02:32:58 PM »
...Stats and moves - to be narrowed down later
When you wish to convince someone with your charm and wiles roll +Sanguine
When you attempt to get what you want through application of force of arms or personality roll +Choleric
When you apply dispassionate observation and deduction, roll +Melancholic
When you keep a stiff upper lip, roll +Phlegmatic
When you contact forces from beyond the physical plane, roll Etheric...

I love these stats, moves and playbooks.  keep up the good work.  If you have other stuff share it!