Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Anya Belikov

Dilettante. World Traveler. International Jewel Thief. All of the above can describe the infamous Anya Belikov, known Stateside as Annabelle Rasputin. At least once a year her name, or that of an alias, crosses the headlines of newspapers worldwide after some great jewel heist. How do folks know it is Anya Belikov? She leaves her calling card - a Queen of Diamonds from any old playing card deck.

Born to privilege as the youngest daughter of very large family well favored by the Tsars, Anya developed a fondness for pretty and expensive baubles. Though she may well have purchased anything she wanted, she stole for the thrill and for the attention. Each time she was found, her family made a fuss over her and the whole matter, paying vast sums to cover up her crimes. In time, her family cast her out, tired of the constant embarrassment and risk of danger. But by this time, Anya was a young woman, and had secreted away more than enough money to see the world in style.

Now, years later, Anya keeps moving. She never stays long in any once place -- only for such time as needed to acquire some item of interest, sell off an item from an earlier heist, or simply pass on through...

...Of course, it doesn't help that she's a Wanted felon across most of Western Europe and North America and that a family of wealthy British landowners hired an independent bounty hunter to track her down and deliver her to them, personally.

Anya Belikov (WC)

Aliases: Annabelle Rasputin, Annika Belle
Race: Human
Gender: Female
Rank: Veteran (40 XP)

Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d4, Vigor d6

Fighting d6, Investigation d6, Knowledge (High Society) d6, Language (English) d6, Language (French) d6, Language (German) d4, Lockpicking d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d8, Stealth d8, Streetwise d6, Taunt d6, Throwing d6

Derived Stats
Pace: 6+1d6
Charisma: 4
Parry: 5
Toughness: 5

Attractive, Charismatic, Rich

Wanted (M), Quirk - Leaves a Calling Card (Queen of Diamonds) (m), Enemy - Thorn Blackbriar, Bounty Hunter (m)

Umbrella with a concealed blade (STR+d4; +1 to Trick Attempts involving the Umbrella), 2 Throwing Knives (STR+d4), Assorted Fine Clothing, Lockpicks, Handbag, Silk Cord, a Deck of Cards containing all Queens of Diamonds, other Odds and Ends as needed

Monday, January 14, 2008

Zombie Scenario: The Basics

I've held off over a week on this post, hoping that one of my players would get me the pictures he took of the game table as we were playing. Alas, I never received the pictures. But I still want to post something short about the scenario itself.

There were four player characters, two of whom played the characters I have on this site: the thug and the rookie cop. The other characters were a high school track coach and an old vietnam vet who worked as a streetcorner hotdog vendor. They all began the session just past a moment of crisis -- the city in which they lived had been the target of a terrorist attack which leveled the downtown area. However, that attack had been a cover for a more insidious assault. A biological weapon had been released, slow acting but very dangerous, which caused people to get feverish, fall into seizures, and then rise up as feral, bestial beings with little higher thought. Essentially, they arose as Zombies.

The police and medical communities referred to these creatures as Carriers, since they were not only infected by this bioweapon, but could infect others with whom they'd come in contact. Saliva, blood, and any prolonged or significant contact with a Carrier's bodily fluids could result in infection. The city panicked, and in moments a population nearing a million people overburdened the exits from the city.

You see, the City is an island bordered by an ocean on one side, and a massive, waste strewn river on the other. One of the last news broadcasts within the City warned against crossing the river -- it seems there were Carriers, or something worse, within the waters. The only viable exits were the bridges out to the mainland, most of which were downed with traffic, dead from accidents, or leveled in the first, explosive attack.

Of course, the government involved itself very quickly. Black helicoptors flew patterns over the city, and massive loudspeakers were set around the coastal mainland and on ships anchored in the waters on the ocean side. People were told every half an hour to make their way to the only accessible bridges remaining in the city. People were told to avoid all contact with the Carriers. People were told to leave their belongings, loved ones, and pets behind. It was every man for himself.

But a few people remained in the city. Some were police, striving to save as many stragglers as possible. Others were the old, the sick, or the insane. And some just had no flipping idea what was happening. Time wore on, the regular messages put forth from the government stated that at 8 PM, the city would be sealed. Who the hell knew what that meant?

However, the messages has stopped coming on schedule. It had been 2 and a half hours since the last one.

Thus we began. It was 4:30 PM,in an upscale neighborhood. Two high rise apartments towered over a large, wooded park, beyond which was a construction zone for a third tower. A police box, information kiosk, and snack stand stood at the north end of the park. A highway ran alongside the river, about 60 feet up a high, rocky cliff. However, this highway was still, the cars backed up a dozen deep behind an accident begun by a jack-knifed trailer truck. All of the cars were empty. As were the apartments.

We began with the characters in appropriate situations. A single "Crackhead" (read, Carrier) ambled toward the food cart. From there, they noticed something strange about the person... Once gunshots were fired, other Carriers in the woods converged on the source of the sound at a full run. The Player Characters had to put down the horde of zombies without themselves succumbing to infection or without killing each other (a cop and a violent criminal in the same group, go figure). During all of this, they tried to find a working vehicle, some fuel, and clear a path to get a car through the park and back down the road to find another avenue to a bridge out of the City. The cop even managed to use his radio to try and listen for other survivors. He caught flashes of conversation from another group of people on another end of the island, and even managed once to hear another cop calling for help as he was overrun by zombies downtown (foreshadowing what was intended to come).

In play, everyone survived the fight. Although many bennies were spent to make sure that happened. Mix one part role playing, one part humor, one part teamwork, and a lot of dice luck and things seemed to go well.

Unfortunately, time was getting away from us so we could not play through the next scene of the game -- in which the PCs had to skirt the ruined edges of downtown and somehow get through a massive assemblage of Carriers clustered in the road attacking a small group of survivers. Instead we narrated as a group what we felt should happen, and everyone agreed that they survived to get on a bridge -- only to be gunned down by the military, unwilling to take any more risked of infected persons crossing over. It was my intended ending anyway, so things worked out well.

As far as game mechanics were concerned, I used a slightly modified version of the Zombie from the Explorer's Edition book, beefing up its STRENGTH to a d8, removing the Shooting Skill, and adding an ability for it to infect people.

Potential infection occurred when a character was subjected to any body fluids of a Carrier, who were generally covered in blood anyway. Exposure occurred if a character was wounded by a Carrier or exposed to its blood in a significant way (attacking it with a chainsaw, punching it repeatedly, reaching inside one, having one explode on you, etc.) and required a VIGOR roll at the end of the round. A failed roll meant the character was infected, and infected characters had to make a SPIRIT roll every 10 minutes or succumb -- falling into seizures and arising as a Carrier a minute later. Wound penalties applied to all of these rolls.

All in all, this was a fun scenario which exposed two new players to Savage Worlds and allowed three others (including myself) to play again after over a year. I definitely made one convert because of the session, and he's already singing Savage praises to other gaming groups he knows.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Zombie Scenario: Characters, Part 2

“Drunk Tank” is a self-indulgent bastard. There’s no kind way to say it. The only things in this world he loves are his vices. And his favorite vice is a good, stiff drink. A born bully, Drunk Tank is physically powerful, tough, and self assured. He grew up in a juvenile detention facility after attacking his parents with the family cat, and quickly bounced his way into the county jail after several drunken assaults. A recommendation from the judge landed him in the Marine Corps, but Drunk Tank washed out after less than a month. He’s been in and out of jail ever since.

“Drunk Tank” Markowski is tall, about 6’5”, and large, about 320 lbs, and made of solid muscle. He loves using his size to his advantage against smaller people and prefers wearing long trenchcoats or dusters, inside of which he can hide several blades and even a gun or two. He keeps to the periphery of the Biker Gang community, often riding with one crew or another for a short time – until they figure out he’s a loose cannon and leave him to face the cops after whatever nonsense he’s caused.

Hank "Drunk Tank" Markowski (WC)

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Rank: Novice

Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d10, Vigor d8

Driving d6, Fighting d8, Guts d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d4, Shooting d4, Streetwise d4, Taunt d4, Throwing d4

Derived Stats
Charisma: -2
Pace: 6+1d6
Parry: 6
Toughness: 8 (Base 6, Toughness 1, Armor 1)


Habit – Alcohol (M), Mean (m), Wanted – Assault (m)

Fireaxe (STR+1d8), 3 Knives (STR+1d4, 3/6/12, RoF1), Leather Duster (Armor 1), Sawed Off 12g DB Shotgun (1-3d6, 5/10/20, RoF1-2)

Shotgun 2 Shots

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Zombie Scenario: Characters, Part 1

A rookie cop, eager to prove himself, Jack O'Brian was nonetheless helpless as he watched his partner succumb to the Change and kill two helpless civilians. He hesitated, and his partner killed a third person, a child. Only then did Jack act, first trying to arrest his partner, then shooting him when the futility of words became apparent. A whole clip of ammo later, Jack's partner lay still...

His radio buzzing with chatter, Jack could not get word to his precinct. Feeling almost helpless, he sprinted there only to find the place swarming with Carriers. Jack shot his way inside, but was too late. Everyone inside was infected. There was no place left to go but out of the city.

Jack O'Brian is a young cop with less than a year on the force. He's struggled to find his place and questioned too many of his decisions up to now. But he knows he has to help people get out, help people survive long enough to get to the world outside. He can hear the sporadic radio chatter, see the occasional chopper flying overhead. Surely there must be a way.

Jack O’Brian (WC)

Race: Human
Gender: Male
Rank: Novice

Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6

Climbing d6, Drive d6, Fighting d6, Investigation d4, Knowledge (Law) d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Shooting d6, Stealth d6

Derived Stats
Charisma: 0/+2
Pace: 8+1d10
Parry: 5
Toughness: 7 (Base 5, Kevlar 2, +2 More versus Bullets)

Authority, Fleetfooted

Loyal (m), Cautious (m), Vow - Police Oath of Office (M)

Kevlar Vest (Armor +2/+4 v Bullets, Negates 4AP, Torso Only), 9mm Pistol (2d6 AP1, RoF1, Semi-Auto), Baton (STR+d4), 12g Pump Shotgun (1-3d6, RoF1), Handcuffs, Flashlight, Portable Police Radio, Police Cruiser (Abandoned and out of fuel)

9mm 17 Shots
Shotgun 6 Shots

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Authority (New Edge)

New Edge

Authority – Grants a +2 bonus to Charisma in those situations where persons favorable to authority would react positively. Furthermore this edge allows a measure of authority over persons within a defined jurisdiction, allowing – within the bounds of the law – an authority figure the right to search, detain, or arrest private individuals and to use appropriate force toward those ends.

However, authority is accompanied by responsibility. A character with this edge is often subject to orders and accountable to a specified code of conduct. His behavior may be held to some measure of scrutiny, and failure to live up to such responsibilities may be met by temporary, or even permanent, revocation of the privileges of his authority.

Most characters with the Authority Edge are provided assistance from within the power structure granting said authority. Generally, this comes in the form of standard gear. The character is accountable for any use of such gear, and irresponsible use of such equipment may land the character in trouble.

For Example:
Jack O'Brian, a Chicago Police Officer, is assigned a Police Cruiser (a Large Sedan), a side arm (9mm Pistol), a baton, a shotgun (12 gauge; kept in the car), pepper spray, a Kevlar vest, handcuffs, a police radio, and a uniform. If Officer O'Brian uses the gun assigned to him, he may be called upon to account for every bullet fired.

Persons with the Authority Edge may also attempt to requisition additional equipment or obtain the help of others with jurisdictional authority similar to their own. The difficulty varies depending on the nature of the request as well as the type of campaign being played. Requisitioning gear generally requires a successful Persuasion roll for routine requests (in Jack O'Brian's case, extra ammo or calling in an additional unit for backup), or a raise for more serious requests (drugs for an undercover operation; calling a SWAT team).

Authority can be a very potent edge; it should not be treated lightly. Characters are subject to increased demands on their time and high levels of accountability for their actions. A character with a lackadaisical attitude or general negligence runs the risk of losing their privilege or even having the jurisdiction turn against them (e.g. a dirty cop investigated by Internal Affairs).

This edge may be selected one additional time within a particular jurisdiction, representing an increased level of Authority. This allows a character some measure of superiority over others with jurisdictional authority at a lower rank, and grants a +2 bonus to rolls requesting additional equipment or support. Alternatively, this edge may be selected for a different jurisdiction, so that a character is empowered by the law in more than one range of jurisdictions.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

"The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men..."

Well, so much for posting a new cluster of characters for a generally 19th century setting. Much of my play group has agreed it would be cool to have a one-shot session of Savage Worlds so some of them who have not yet played the game might see what it is like. Since they are easy to run and generally fun for different types of roleplayers, I am going to put my players through a zombie scenario. I have to keep it simple, and I think a definite goal is in order just to keep them on a forward-thinking path. There needs to be something for the combat junkies, something for the problem solvers, something for the social players, and some kind of back story leading up to the beginning of the game. Perhaps I'll post an outline of the scenario after it is run. Perhaps not.

Anyway, I am going to switch things around a little in light of the short game. Since there will be some pre-built characters available to the players (if they don't feel like making their own), I figure I'll post them here over the next few days. I want to keep the characters almost archetypal, with a short logline sufficient for describing their basic nature. Right now, I am leaning toward:
  • A young, rookie cop
  • A street thug
  • A petty thief
  • A grizzled old mechanic
  • A kid
  • A college student
Unfortunately, I'll probably have to post them without pictures at first.

Some of my players rather enjoy "Boss Fights", so I may toss in one Superior Zombie who is also a Wild Card for the climactic scene of the session. If I do, I'll post that too.