Tag Archives: indie

Independent Game Designer Spotlight & Interview: Paul Roman Martinez

Paul Roman Martinez Indie Artist/Novelist and Game Designer Image Copyright: Paul Roman Martinez

Paul Roman Martinez
Indie Artist/Novelist and Game Designer
Image Copyright: Paul Roman Martinez

Success on Kick-starter is an elusive beast.

With only 43% of all projects reaching their funding goals and Gaming projects even lower down the scale in terms of hitting their targets, some Project Creator’s have nonetheless figured out the secret elixir to success on the crowd-funding site.

One such alchemical master of the world of Kick-starter is Paul Roman Martinez.

Paul has launched not just one successful Kick-starter campaign but managed to spark the imagination of enough admirers to fund four completely unique and varied Kick-starter projects that have consistently bounded past the goal of each endeavor.

Starting in 2012 with the Graphic novel The Adventures of the 19XX: Montezuma 1934, Martinez began the first in his series of Kick-starter campaigns. The comic, a first printing of his successful web-series that he started in 2009, follows the exploits of a band of adventurers, explorers and scientists in the aftermath of the Great War as they try and change the course of history.

Adventurers of the 19xxIndie-pulp styled Web-comicImage Copyright: Paul Roman Martinez

Adventurers of the 19xx
Indie-pulp styled Web-comic
Image Copyright: Paul Roman Martinez

Fused with a mix of pulp, magic, and history, The Adventures of 19xx is a world-spanning mash-up of influences as varied as Duck Tales, Aleister Crowley, Montezuma and Indiana Jones that captures the exuberant futuristic expectations of the world in the beginning of the early twentieth century with a heavy nod towards Steam-punk.

Adventurers Circa 19xxThe Heroes of PRM Web-comicImage Copyright: Paul Roman Martinez

Adventurers Circa 19xx
Some of the Eclectic Heroes of PRM Web-comic
Image Copyright: Paul Roman Martinez

Following this initial success, Martinez delved further into the world of Kick-starter with another Graphic hardcover novel compilation of his Adventures 19XX web-series. Soaring far past his target funding, Martinez next moved into the world of game design with his Assault:19XX Game.

Assault 19xx GamePulp-styled game between the Black Faun Order and the Adventurers 19xxCopyright: Paul Roman Martinez

Assault 19xx Game
Pulp-styled game featuring a conflict between the ancient Order of the Black Faun and the heroic Adventurers 19xx.
Copyright: Paul Roman Martinez

Set in the world of his pulp comic Adventures 19XX series, the semi-cooperative tabletop game pits 2-6 players  on either the side of the good-guy 19XX Adventurers or as members of the ancient Order of the Black Faun who seek to start the next Great War through mystical means.

Martinez’s most recent Kick-starter campaign, a Bicycle playing card deck set in the thematic style that Paul has perfected over his career was successfully funded this past April and like his previous runs, demonstrates Paul’s ability to set achievable targets and spur enough interest to see that his goals are fully realized.

This continued success has allowed Paul the ability to speak with confident authority to other would-be Kick-starter aspirants. Whether talking about difficulties over Mailing, or his recently and already legendary 11 Things All Failed Kick Starter Projects Do Wrong post, Paul is definitely an artist with a pulse on the Kick-starter beat.

PRM Kick-starter AdviceImage Image Copyright: BleedingCool.com

PRM Kick-starter Advice
Image Copyright: BleedingCool.com

Yet even with all the projects he has going on, Martinez is ever the consummate respondent to backers, fans and Kick-starter aspirants. Taking some time away from his hectic schedule Paul was gracious enough to provide some insights into his inspirations and the processes that go into producing the awesome work that a Kick-starter champ has going for him:

(1) Do you consider yourself a gamer? If so what type?
I love games, but I hate labels. I don’t know why, I just can’t put a label on myself! But I do love games. Boardgames, video games, sports, death races, whatever.

(2) What lead you to being an artist?
Aaaakk! Another label! I don’t know if I consider myself an artist. I just spend too much time doing pre-press and searching for suppliers to feel like an artist. But I’ve always drawn. I still have my first drawing book I received in first grade. I never wanted to be an artist, I just couldn’t stop drawing. No matter how many times I tried, I always kept picking up a pencil and drawing.

(3) Was there a specific moment you considered a career in art?
I’m still considering a career in art, ha! Most people ask, “how can I break into comics or games?” But really the question is, how do you stay there? With every drawing I do I try and get better and develop my style. I will have a career in art as long as it keeps making people happy. As soon as it doesn’t, I will do something else!

(4) What led you to developing the Adventures 19XX series and is the era and motif your favorite genre?
A few years ago I finished college and I was considering getting a masters degree in graphic design. But I thought, what if I just came up with a master’s level project. I figured I could learn just as much and have a great portfolio to show for it. So the 19XX series just started as an experiment. I knew almost nothing about the period and I knew nothing about pulp stories. When I started doing research I didn’t even look at those early pulp comics. I wanted to read books and biographies from the 1930s and see what came out. I don’t think I have a favorite genre. Just like labels, I hate being confined to one thing!

Adventures 19xx Web-seriesPanel from the online comicImage Copyright: Paul Roman Martinez

Adventures 19xx Web-series
Panel from the online comic
Image Copyright: Paul Roman Martinez

(5) What other genres’ would you like to create in? Game in?
Sometimes I think of doing something strictly for kids. My book is fun and appropriate for younger people but to do something only for kids would free me up to do something truly positive and magical I think.

(6) Do you have a specific mythological setting/world that you most feel a kinship with, and why?
Right now I feel a strong kinship to the religious/lovecraftian/historic world my comic is set in. I’ve always been fascinated with world religions and how they interconnected thousands of years ago with a handful of prophets wandering around the Earth. And I’ve always loved the epic sense of scale that Lovecraft imparted with his tales of the older gods and the races before mankind.

(7) Are there any specific cultural histories of your own that you bring to the mix that you feel are different from the standard pulp comics out there?
There is an epic story that is unfolding in my book series that is unlike anything I’ve ever read. And part of it is simply that my books take place in a realistic chronological time. Each book takes place in a different year and the characters will actually age as the series progresses. And just like in life, some of the best loved characters won’t make it to the end of the series. Most comic books take great pains to make sure no one ever grows or changes. My whole goal is to watch these characters grow and change. Because to grow and change is life. And how can you truly capture life if nothing changes?

(8) What projects/styles do you currently follow? What emerging scenes most intrigue you from an artistic standpoint and a gamers?
I like this atmosphere in tabletop games that is leading to a lot of truly unique voices creating their own games. These are games that never would have made it to market 10 years ago. Games like mine! Even independent comics have always had a way to produce a few issues cheaply to see if a series was going to work. Now with Kickstarter, the truly independent board game maker now has that same chance. I am fascinated by the way all media forms can connect now. That’s why I have a tabletop game that ties in so closely with my series. I’m trying to create something new. I want to create an entire world and story that you read and play through. I know the big corporations have done this on a larger level with hundreds or thousands of employees and dozens of executives each adding input along the way and lawyers making sure all their IP is used properly. But I’m one person. I’m one person who has control over everything. I’ve drawn every single page of my comic, colored it, wrote it, and I produced the board game. I drew every single card, play tested the game, and found a factory to produce it. I don’t know of any other single person who has done so much in such a short time by themselves. And the result is a truly cohesive vision across all my books, games, shirts, prints, and whatever else that comes along.

Paul's Most Recent and Successful KickstarterAviator themed playing cardsCopyright: Paul Roman Martinez

Paul’s Most Recent and Successful Kickstarter
Aviator themed playing cards
Copyright: Paul Roman Martinez

(9) Do you have any upcoming projects you’re working on?
I always have upcoming projects and I keep a list of projects that could potentially sidetrack me. I make a list so I can keep moving forward with the 19XX and come back to those ideas later.

But right now I just finished my Flight Deck aviation playing card project and I’m now throwing myself back into finishing the third graphic novel in the 19XX series. The book will be coming out at the same time I release an expansion for my game that will correspond to the book. When that happens the game really will become something more. A serialized story that you play through as a group. The story will become something you experience with your friends, not just read in your room by yourself. I can’t wait for that moment because it’s something I’ve pictured since the series first began in 2010. That’s when I will be able to look someone in the eye while handing them my book and say, “you have something really great here.”

***
So there you have it, some thoughts from the creative and trailblazing mind of a successful Kick-starter artist, novelist and designer.  Why not head over to his unique corner of the web, take a peek at his ongoing series The Adventures of the 19xx, pick up a copy of his Assault 19xx and,


Game Forth!

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Independent Game Designer Spotlight & Interview: Clance M. Morring – BATTLE THIS!

Image Copyright: Clance M. Morring

Image Copyright: Clance M. Morring

With the rise of Kickstarter, strategy, card and board game designers have been given access to a pool of potential customers and funding that spans the entire  globe.

This shift in public awareness has fundamentally changed the way independent companies can bring their ideas to the market, allowing everyone from sole operators to experienced creators the chance to showcase their ideas at game design.  But even with tools like Kickstarter at their fingertips, there are still some creators out there who are doing things the old-fashioned way- with boots on the ground, personal demos and play-testing.

This is the case for Clance M. Morring, whose board game is a unique take on Chess. His design fuses figurines and tactics from the  world of war-gaming with one of the oldest games around to create a particularly engaging product he calls BATTLE THIS!

Promoted as a military version of Chess, the game pits two players against one-another on a traditional Chess board with three differing types of pieces: an infantry-man, a tank and an airplane. Set-up in the classic two column starting formation of Chess pieces, BATTLE THIS! proceeds in the same turn-based order with the modified pieces of this variation each having their own methods of defeating other pieces; planes fly diagonally, infantry ‘run’ forward and creep back and sideways, and tanks target diagonal squares while moving forward at a slow pace.

At first sight, the hand-painted miniatures, which are surplus plastic army-men, tank miniatures and planes mounted on clear-colored bases along with the sparsely designed board itself carries with it a  rugged workshop feel that lacks the polish of a professionally made product typical of your average Kickstarter fare. However, what was surprising about the BATTLE THIS! was that after the about the fifth move the Gaming zone in my brain seemed to switch on and the tactical aspects of the Game jumped out at me.

The unique moves of the pieces, essentially a variation on Chess, infused the game with what I felt was a distinctive feel for the chaotic aspects of military campaigns; the fact that infantry and planes could move back and forth across the battle-field and conquer squares with lighting speed or through slow marches really gave the game individualistic flavor.

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Mr. Morring demonstrated the game itself to me recently and during the session I had the chance to ask him a few questions and get some insights into its history, and the challenges he faced as an independent designer with his first game:

Mr. Morring, when did you begin production on your game?

“I start producing my games in the months of February through May of 2012 and then I released them to the public for sale in June of 2012. So far I have made 500 games, sold 434 and is now left with 66 games to sell.”

What’s the process for getting your game, BATTLE THIS! to your customers, do you use outside manufacturers or do you do everything by hand?

“I self-publish. The entire BATTLE THIS! Board Game is hand-made and I manufacture, package, shrink warp, box and ship them from my home. My buyers are receiving the original Inventor’s copy, that may one day become a classic collector’s edition. This is one of the many reason why I am able to market and sell my BATTLE THIS! Board Game so well.

Production time: It takes me at least two days to make one set, that’s because I have to hand paint all the Brown playing pieces brown and then touch them up the next day after it dries and I have to glue all the Soldiers and Airplanes onto their bases. So instead of just hand producing one game at a time, I try to average about 50 games a week; it’s much easier and quicker.”

Where did you get the idea for BATTLE THIS!?

“My BATTLE THIS! Board Game came to me in a dream I had 20 something years ago. It was a dream about two creature like entities pitting us humans against one another; to them it was just a game but to us it was real life war. The entire rules and concept and unique strategy was given to me in this dream, thus “BATTLE THIS!” was born. Till this very day there’s no other game like it on the market and I own all exclusive rights.”

What markets have you sold your game in, what type of web presence do you have?

“The market that my board game is selling in are: Toys and Games, Board Games and Strategy Abstract Board Games. Since I had 20 something years of researching the Toy Industries and savings, it was not difficult for me at all to get into the market, it became a matter of when to get into the market, not how. After gathering all my resources for the supplies I needed to produce my BATTLE THIS! Board Game, myself, the 1st thing I did was design my BATTLE THIS! Website and BATTLE THIS! Blog Site in 2012, then I started selling my board game on my job, in my neighborhood, on the streets, in the parks, at board games meet ups, on Amazon and now on eBay. Form June of 2012 till now, I have hand produced 500 games.”

What were some of the challenges you faced as an independent game designer?

“I didn’t experience any difficulties getting my board game to market because they are originals, the problem I did encounter was how to hand produce the games. After a few trials & errors and wasted materials at a costly expense, I did manage to work it all out. Nobody was willing to help me financially and physically take on this project; I had to do everything all by myself. I received no support what so ever from my family, certain neighbors and close friends that I use to hang out with. The woman I loved made me choose between her and my game, so she ended up leaving me as well in 2011. She made it very clear, she never wanted me to start this project. Those around me said that I am 24 years late and that no one plays board games anymore. They told me that I’ll be just wasting my time, money and effort, that I’m living in a fantasy world, selling people a dream. Those who I gave so much of myself to and thought was for me, were honestly, spiritually against me. A year later, my BATTLE THIS! Board Game sales and the contacts I have made, have proven them wrong.

This has been a very lonely journey for me, I was surrounded by negative thinking people who had been praying for me to fail. What keeps me going, is my love for my board game, my belief in myself and the BIG picture I’m chasing after. I’m a very focused and  disciplined person who has learned to use the negative vibes as the match to light my fire and push me into my blessing.

The feedback I received, once my BATTLE THIS! Board Game has been released, are very positive. People are so impressed with the product, how it’s put together and packaged. They love the fact that the rule book is only two pages, the game is easy to learn and not complicated but challenging. For a home-made game, my customers are getting a really good quality, package fun play board game.”

What do you see as the next steps in promoting and distributing BATTLE THIS!?

 “My goal for 2014 is to have BATTLE THIS!  made as an app and into software, also to have the board game itself professionally manufactured by a Toy company. For more information about me, my journey and the Battle This Board Game, please visit my website http://battlethisboardgame.com “

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Given the hobby’s humble beginnings, its great to see that independent, self-made creators are still out there in the Gaming world, so when you get a chance, why not head over to the BATTLE THIS! website, support an indie designer by purchasing a copy of BATTLE THIS! and

Game Forth!

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Game Review (Sort-of) : Evil Baby Orphanage

Image Copyright: Wyrd Miniatures

Image Copyright: Wyrd Miniatures

A little over a year ago one of my weekend Gamer’s showed up with a card game he bought through Kickstarter. The cards were stock, the quality of the ink wasn’t the greatest, and the concept behind the game was a little odd: players had to acquire a certain number of evil babies, babies who just so happened to be historically notorious individuals, most notably among them, a baby Hitler.

To put it bluntly, the game was quite quirky.

In the time since then, in all the sessions of Evil Baby Orphanage (EbO) I’ve have a chance to play, the details of the game may have changed a bit and there may be a few expansions, special cards and supplements added in for special favor, but the overall mechanics themselves have remained principally the same (a few less babies to acquire).
Image Copyright: Wyrd Miniatures

Image Copyright: Wyrd Miniatures


It’s a light, competitive game where players are dealt a hand of cards that include toys, disciplinary actions and play-time activities for the evil tots. Up for grabs in the game are these evil babies that players are trying to accumulate. These babies are a slew of historically evil personalities like Hitler, Idi Amin, Elizabeth Bathory and Kim Jong Il.  There are more mechanics to the game but essentially the play is one of competitive de-resourcing of your opponents’ baby pool through turn-only cards and interrupts cards.  For those familiar with Munchkin, as a gaming buddy of mine once astutely pointed out, the game breaks down towards a ‘use-only-against-winning’ mentality in that it becomes apparent that players should generally keep their best cards only for the moment when it seems that another player is going to win.


The interesting thing about this game, for me anyways was that in looking back at its Kickstarter story, Wyrd Miniatures, the company behind the game, succeeded with unbelievable and remarkable gusto. From an original funding target of 5K, Wyrd managed to get over 100K!


Now, perhaps I’m a little late to the party in talking about EbO’s meteoritic success, but I’ve always been a big fan of perspective. It helps in my view to take a cumulative approach to how things transpire.


So in looking at the Kickstarter for EbO, and comparing it to the actual game-play it’s interesting to note the relative disparity between the two.


Although the game is enjoyable, there many other, more competitive and more challenging games out there, and on Kickstarter. What Wyrd Miniatures had was an interesting combination of hype and presentation. As one blogger puts it: “The concept is quirky and the art is great.”


While the merits of the game are valid, what the game really had going for it, Kickstarter wise, seemed to be the already produced artwork, the already designed game-play and the backing of a legitimate company that had been in business for a few years and thus a proven track record.


But a lot of KickStarter games have that going for them.  And a lot of them have more developed systems. The real question is, what did EbO have that the others didn’t?


In my view what they had were fans, legions of them. The idea that sparked the EbO game came from the minds of two well-known video blogging brothers: John and Hank Green (the following video is from their site):



Piggy-backing on their internet personas Wyrd Miniature designer Justin Gibbs and then fresh recruit Mack Martin built upon the concept, forming it into a wacky, quirky card game around babies who basically bit, wandered, bullied and creepily sulked their way into the minds of the fans. Spruced up with great artwork, the concept closely matched the wacky nature of the vlogging brothers and what’s more, it was built up around the idea of promoting not just the vloggers themselves, but their philosophy too.


Nerdfighters which the brothers coined, is their concept of not simply being ‘Nerds’ but taking their nerdiness to the streets. In their words, fighting against World Suck, by being composed of Awesome.


It’s a quaint idea, one that is emblematic of many of the personalities within the Gaming community. And one that clearly has business-side benefits; for instance the groundswell of fans support for a new game, the concept of which is theirs, while the implementation can be left to others. It’s a great tactic, one that crosses all industry’s; remember the 50 Cent Stock fiasco a few years ago, a little bit of personality and lot of bit of profit courtesy of celebrity. Hence the ever expanding idea of Nerd Celebrity (Will Wheaton, watch out). Ask any first year marketing major, I’m sure they’ll tell you all about this.


Basically what Wryd Miniatures did was turn a concept brought forth by the mind of a celebrity (or two) and turn it into a finished and polished product, with resounding success. And as much as Kickstarter is seen as a collaborative site by many, the steps that Wyrd did in bringing the game to market, chiefly the name brand approach, the promotion, timing of the launch (right before GenCon2012), all were a great recipe for success, and were primarily, as many have noted about Kickstarter, an early order product showcase.  I guess the real question one should ask themselves is is that in the interning year, with the amount of hype and the polish that Wyrd put in, and the results they obtained has Kickstarter, is the site any different from the larger world of already established markets at all?


Question & Game Forth!


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Classical Classes: The (Native American) Druid: Compendium

One of the most often played classes of the Dungeons & Dragons pantheon is the Druid. Based upon the historical priests of the same name from Celtish antiquity, the beliefs and practices of these real-world members of this ancient Order of mystics share a great many similarities with other tribalistic societies throughout the ages.

Native American culture had their own such versions of nature worshiping religious figures. In shaping the values and traditions of their peoples, their beliefs in magic and the spiritual truths about the world around them infused their lives with many of the concepts that their Druid and Shaman role-playing counterparts are synonymous with.

In looking at the various incarnations of druids throughout the editions of D&D, and especially with the newest playtest for DND Next still in alpha phase where so far the druid is absent (although I can certainly attest to the power of the Barbarian), I thought it might be nice to inject some real-world sensibilities into the Druid class, accompanied by a Native American perspective. Regardless of the edition of D&D these mostly cosmetic additions should be an interesting flavor to your gaming experience. They’re certainly not meant to imbalance your game hence the bonuses offered in the descriptions should only be a single point, or at most two. Hopefully these ideas will provide you and your table some added layers of character nuance. Use them, enjoy them and- Game Forth!

 

Consumables

Face-Paint

Item Cost: 5 Gold

Weight: –

Application: 10 Minutes

Consumable : Once daily

Requirement: Druid or Shaman Class

Most shamans and druids the world over utilize body painting to connect with nature and to represent the primal forces they wish to tap into. Tied to ceremonies and specific rituals for healing, sending and prophesying, different patterns and colors constitute different boons your typical practitioner seeks to be granted with. The styles they adopt are generally particular to the gods, spirits or animal protectors they wish to commune with.

Amongst the different tribes of North America, there were similar ideologies around what each color and marking meant, but the exact interpretations were often regional and quite specific. By having your druid character apply paint to their visage, perhaps in the morning before dawn or perhaps beneath the stars in front of a roaring campfire, small boons may be teased out of the spirit and shadow world to aid the practitioner in their daily struggles. Based on the particular patterns and colors a druid may gain a bonus to a single check, an attack or receive temporary health from applying their comportment with the essence of the primal  energies that surround them.

Chants

Tribal Chant

Frequency: Daily

Ability: Cantrip, Ritual or Supernatural Ability (Su)

Requirement: Druid or Shaman Class

The practice of religious ceremony amongst the tribes of North America was universally accompanied by song and dance. Through rich oral traditions, the entire community of a tribe or neighboring tribes could engage in these affairs that were tied to significant events in their lives. Through such expression their faith could be experienced by the entirety of their peoples. Usually occurring within sacred circles, dances and hymns were a means of rejuvenating their connections with one another and strengthening the harmony with the natural world. These events were facilitated by the tribes spiritual leaders who infused the scenes with chanting and drumming.

A druid party member, while not necessary demanding their brethren to take part in such a celebration, nonetheless has the potential to inspire renewed faith and determination in her allies. Although not as potent as the soothing words of a bard, or as commanding as the inspiring words of a warlord, a druid may mix her chanting with just enough primal energy to restore her companions with a bit of strength from the very land around her.

By chanting sacred hymns that may typically last several minutes a druid has the potential to restore the health of her nearby allies. For all those who hear her song, a small allotment of hit points, perhaps only a maximum of four or some variable amount thereof are restored. Additionally a druids chanting may grant a second chance on recovering from certain small effects a party member is under, such as nausea, fatigue, persistent damage, a mild poison or staving off the effects of a disease.

Of course gaining the ability to affect her allies with chanting generally should come about as a boon to the player through storyteller discretion, perhaps a gift from a primal entity, or small quest that has significant importance to the land a druid calls home.

dreamcatcher_207847

Image source:
http://all-free-download.com
By: Helen Barth Villareal

Charms

While not as powerful as true magical items, charms offer minor effects that primal druids and shamans can carry with them to gain small protections and insights against the world and its dangers.

Created by the druid himself, charms are designed as a means to focus the primal energies that the worshiper communes with and are infused with these primal spirits who then act as guardians and protectors to the worshiper.

While not intelligent in their own right, the spirits tied to these charms are disposed towards helping the druid provided they seek harmony with specific inhabitants of the natural world. For instance, a dream-catcher charm crafted from the shavings of an oak tree, plucked raven feathers and the webbing’s of a spider may be infused with spirits that demand a druid tend to these particular flora, mend a broken wing, and stay the hand of a home keeper who happens to have an arachnid roommate in their sights. Provided these interests are met, the most typical of these charms will then act as wards and seers on behalf of the druid.

Dream-Catcher

Crafting cost: 50 gold

Weight: 2 lbs

Additional components: 2 raven feathers, oak shavings (5 lbs worth), spider webbing (2 lbs worth)

A druid can place a dream-catcher above or near them when they take an extended rest, and the spirits imbued in this charm provides protection over the course of that rest. Warding them against evil spirits, this charm can prevent intrusive agents from entering the druid’s dreams while they sleep.

Additionally, upon waking, the druid can become aware that such machinations took place by observing the webbings of the catcher. If malign forces attempted to enter the sleeper’s dreams, a dark tar-like substance remains in the catcher’s webs.

Rabbits Foot

Crafting cost: 10 gold

Weight:

Additional components: 1 rabbit foot (left hindleg)

Frequency: Daily

While not unique to native North American tribes, this quintessential charm gifts its creator with the small amounts of luck believed possessed by its animal patron, especially when in tight situations.

When a druid fails a skill or their attack falls just short of hitting their mark, the wearer can call upon the spirit tied to the foot to grant them an immediate bonus to the failed attempt equal to their wisdom bonus. The bearer may do this only once per day, as even a rabbits luck is limited.

While a druid will generally never know much they have failed an attempt by, a wise druid will use the luck granted by the charm in the right situation.

The most difficult aspect of this charm is gaining the trust of the spirit it is wedded to and keeping it satisfied. The foot, which has to be the left hind leg of the animal, must come from a living rabbit; hence the druid may have a difficult time binding a rabbit he or she has personally assaulted. As a result, the foot is most often stolen from a rabbit trap set up by a trapper, which consequently may not endear the druid to the huntsman.

However the charm is obtained the protection of the charm comes from the animus of the living animal, and lasts only as long as the animal is satisfied, both its living self and its spirit self, meaning that an animal who meets an untimely end at the maws of a predator are the tip of an arrow, or a druid who has a succulent rabbit stew may find their boon has prematurely come to an end, often at the worse of possible moments.

Animal Companions

Cost: Class Option

Requirement: Druid Class

For indigenous American tribes animal companions and totem guides was not simply a spiritual concept but could determine the outcome of an individuals very destiny.

As such, the spiritual members of the tribe were typically closely bound to a particular animal, sometimes even as early as upon their birth. Once an individual grew to adulthood, their own character and the way they were ultimately viewed by the rest of their tribe could mirror in many ways the personalities of the animals they were assigned.

Within the tribal cultures of the North there were specific traits ascribed to various animals, with some being seen as more noble, cunning or protective than others. All animals though were considered possessed by particular quirks that endeared them as spiritual sponsors to the individuals they bonded with.

The following list includes traditionally less common choices for druid companions but that have a rich narrative history amongst real tribes and can be easily adapted to fit any particular setting.

Beaver – Adaptable and industrious the beaver imparts upon their human counterpart a tenacity to achieve anything, even and especially in the face of adversity. While in private, a druid who follows the path of the Beaver may be nervous, arrogant and possessive, the mask they show the world is one of practicality, stubbornness and resourcefulness. Those looking to embody the traits of the beaver as a totem animal might be more adapt at a particular Craft or have a finer eye for Dungeon building than others, a helpful trait that can prove useful to the party overall.

Buffalo – The most revered animal to Native tribes, the buffalo was a symbol of fertility and abundance. They were closely associated with the earth and marriages between humans and buffalo formed the making of many a legend. To those who are blessed with a buffalo totem, leadership and the desire to maintain the health and well-being of their fellow party members should supersede all of their other desires. As such they come to hone their Diplomacy abilities more than most druids do. In return, the druid expects a firm hand in all the decisions made by her companions.

Coyote – Most tribes see the Coyote as a trickster, a shape-changer and a clown. Yet all perceive them as crucial to transforming their worlds, both the physical and spiritual ones that surround them. Druids who are chosen by a coyote companion, as it is typically the animal that chooses the druid and not the other way around, are blessed with a pranksters mentality. Amongst their companions, these jokes and pranks can become quickly tiresome, but over time their subtle prodding is revealed to be a clever way of changing ones understanding of the world itself. As such, druids with coyote companions typically are adept at Concealing objects, being subtle and maybe even borderline Thievish in nature, but they are all adept at talking their way out of bad situations, which invariably they are oftentimes the culprits of its making. However, every party ultimately comes to not only accept but value the odd wisdom imparted upon them by a coyote druid among them.

Elk – Blessed with stamina, an air of nobility and pride, a druid who takes on an elk companion is nonetheless somewhat aloof. Hard-headed at times, they display great courage and unfailing devotion, and are usually the last to seek out aid when in distress. However, even the prideful elk realizes that the cohesiveness of the party comes first, and while not always vocal about it, they always rise to any adverse challenge presented to them. To the elk druid, their ability to Endure any adversity and remain stoic is a badge of honor.

Horse – Swift and elegant, those druids who walk with a horse companion take the animals traits as valued lessons. A horse’s spirit can be both wild and fully domesticated and this duality between the life of the tribe and the desire to run free courses through these druids’ hearts. Ultimately they see the necessities of their group as the price of companionship but are always quick to find time for solitude, where their wild tendencies can be unleashed in their fullest. A druid whose totem is the horse generally places greater emphasis on Athletic and more physical skills than most.

Spider – Cunning, patient and an architect of great and deadly traps, those druids who take a spider as a companion are a much quieter, manipulative breed than their more outspoken brethren. The simple fact of choosing a giant insectoid creature as their personal guide tends to favor these druids towards more tactical concerns. Hence, intellectual pursuits like History, the Arcane arts, Forbidden or Forgotten Lore or even Religion may be a suitable passion that these druids have, quite counter to their primalistic natures. Yet these pursuits do not distract them from seeing the world as still inherently animalistic, and their more mental understanding of this can prove to be a very powerful weapon for any party to have.

Websites detailing some typical Native American Symbolism:

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RPG Publisher Spotlight: LPJ Design

Louis Porter Jr. Design

Image Copyright: LPJ Design

Since 2001 the online clearinghouse DriveThruRPG has been providing downloadable content by publishers producing material for a  bevy of genres suitable for all types of games and Gamers. Perhaps one of the most prolific of these publishers is the independent gaming company, LPJ Design, short for Louis Porter Jr. Designwho has carved out a niche for himself by developing a wide variety of action-infused alternative products since before the turn of the century.

In business since 1998 and the only role-playing game that was ‘optioned for a movie‘ before its publication, the independent role-playing company by the self-professed, and eternally self-promoting, Louis Porter Jr. has a dearth of content to suit games of all stripes and tastes. By hiring a diverse and talented pool of artists and writers, LPJ Design has produced literally hundreds of role-playing supplements that span multiple decades and genres.

One of the companies oldest lines of games, Haven: City of Violence, is a modern role-playing setting built around corporate and urban adventures using the d20 Modern rule-set. It’s basic formula, a core campaign setting that goes against the norm featuring lush artwork and action powered stories supplemented by one-off downloadable PDF files is a framework that LPJD has used successfully for most of their other product lines.

It’s an intriguing business model and one that has done the brand a great service. Serializing a core theme around single-shot PDFs, LPJ Design has been able to produce content for over a dozen separate role-playing campaign worlds, each with their own feel and flavor that is both incredibly individualized but also easily adaptable to games taking place in worlds entirely different from their original intent. Churning out these individual pieces has led to products suited for such varied backdrops as the Victorian era days of Shakespeare to one of the other core settings of the company, their futuristic science-fiction and fantasy blended world of Neoexodus: A House Divided.

Image Copyright: Louis Porter Jr. Design

Fully compatible with the Pathfinder core rules, the Neoexodus line follows the world of Exodus that is “a place of political intrigue, arcane wonder, deadly monsters, and dark secrets with infuses the landscape of the world.” Included in the setting are unique races with familiar ties to fantasy troupes like elves and dwarves, but with entirely new playable creatures like the cavian’s, dalrean’s, P’tan’s and others. What makes the setting so unique is its depth of detail, engaging artwork and expansive mechanics that add to the basic rule set. Overall it’s an entirely self-contained world, that carries with it echoes of traditional fantasy into a landscape truly unique. And from the mind of the self-proclaimed mad-man of LPJD, the world has spawned a host of unique artifacts, classes and monsters that rival their traditional counterparts; Infinite Fury, Machinesmith, Fleshwraith, Fleshweaver.

Put all these factors together and you get the basic fundamentals of LPJ Design; innovation and proliferation. Whereas the products themselves may be flying to production, leaving room for some editing here and there, one can’t deny the zeal that accompanies their publication. It’s a desire that has to date spawned four successful Kickstarter projects, hundreds of downloadable content and a host of blog posts – truly a man and company possessed of the will to push Gaming in new directions.

So when you get a chance, why not try out some of LPJ Design’s creations and,

Game Forth!

  • Catch a glimpse of a game of Neoexodus as its being played.
  • An interview with LPJD founder and prolific mad-man, Louis Porter.

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The Prismatic Art Collection: A Nice Concept

So about a year ago a Kickstarter project was funded around the idea of commissioning artwork for fantasy purposes that would be completely in the public domain. The goal of the project was also built around the desire to commission a group of diverse artists who would depict “fantasy heroes from diverse backgrounds”.

Though not explicitly stated on the Kickstarter, one can fairly summarize this interpretation to mean ethnic individuals from outside the Euro-centric male depicted norm of most fantasy artwork. The actual choice of wording for the project went as follows: “In geek culture there are plenty of Lukes, but not enough Landos or Leias.”

It was an intriguing idea, one put forth by a fellow blogger and role-player Tracy Hurley, who set up the Kickstarter for the mission which managed to garner 120% of its targeted capital of $5,000. And so a year later with the project fully funded I was curious how much of the artwork posted to the online repository for the project met this goal of an inclusive, and free, set of differing fantasy heroes.

Now fully funded and realized, the Kickstarter project has become an actual end product taking up residence at the website Prismatic Art Collection. As of the date of this posting, May 24, 2013, the collection includes close to a hundred pieces by 35 artists that range from black and white to full color. The renderings include rough, hand-drawn sketches, linear comic style artwork and anime-esque images.

Artist: Kaitlynn Peavlerbr
“Najal” © 2012 Kaitlynn Peavler, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

The artwork overall appears well done and at least to my untrained eyes, fit for personal projects and commercial ones. The bulk of the items are black and white solo line drawings depicting characters, creatures and monsters. From a pure numbers perspective the site has a total of 88 images available as of the date of this post. Now, being a mechanics minded Gamer, I decided to take a look at the break-down of this number in terms of the stated goals of the project, chiefly that blurb about “more Landos or Leias”.

From a pure raw tally of the number of pictures with certain subjects I came up with the following stats:

  1. 88 Total Images
  2. 39 Images where Women are included as the subject matter
  3. 22 Images where Women are the sole subject (included in the 39 above)
  4. 10 (or so) Images where ‘Ethnic’ Women were included as the subject matter (included in the 39 above)
  5. 5 (or so) Images where ‘Ethnic’ Men were included as the subject matter (intersects with some of the 39 above)

Given the fact that a number of the images were rough sketches that looked to be of Draft quality, there were some of these I had difficulty discerning features that could conceivable be considered ‘ethnic’ so I went by clothing more than anything else. But just looking at these numbers it seems, to my untrained eye that the numbers are somewhat, or perhaps greatly, disappointing.

One of the roughly half-dozen renderings of an apparent ‘ethnic’ male in fantasy clothing.
Artist: Jenna Fowler
“Gustav” © 2012 Jenna Fowler Attribution-ShareAlike license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

For a project set up to be fulfilled by and depicting diverse individuals, the final tally by my personal assessment yields less than half of the images are renderings of female or ‘ethnic’ persons. So what started out as a project where the usual majority of icons were expected to be replaced by truly different depictions ended up looking very much like the traditional fantasy landscape.

I mention this Kickstarter not to point out its apparent short-comings but because it echoes other sentiments I myself and others have had about the renderings within the role-playing fantasy genre. Namely the under representation of images from a diverse background. Which is why this Kickstarter seemed so promising. What is also highly disappointing is the fact that the depictions were done by a group of apparently diverse artists, which seems to beg the question, why didn’t they themselves choose to render a more eclectic vision of fantasy individuals.

This topic really came to the forefront of my gaming thoughts recently because of the chance to participate in a Dark Sun Campaign I have coming up. In designing a character for this setting I was looking into pictures to use as a profile for the Templar character I wished to build. The setting of the Dark Sun world has a distinctive Middle Eastern and African feel and I was searching for characters with this look but done in a fantasy style. I did not find many.

One place I expected to find such images was through Paizo, a company that looks to be very expansive in its depictions of adventurers but they too seemed to have a stock variety of certain male characters along with a few ‘ethnic’ female characters. When it came to varied tonal males there were however, perhaps even unfortunately, an abundance of non-human decidedly savage and, distinctively less than heroic depictions I could have chosen from with the appropriate attire; orcs, bugbears, drow, goliaths, but few say, Abbasid-like warriors. Even Paizo’s iconic Monk who I had for a long time assumed might fit a Middle Eastern affectation on closer inspection seemed less ‘ethnic’ than I had originally thought.

The indeterminable Monk of Pathfinder.
Image Copyright:
Paizo Publishing LLC

It is fairly easy to agree with the fact that fantasy depictions should model the source material as much as possible. Given the emphasis on its Tolkien-esque Western European roots, fantasy settings are very narrowly focused on the particular cultures they choose to render.

But given the fact that a setting like Dark Sun has become popular which itself is based loosely on Jack Vance’s Dying Earth series, which itself spawned so many tropes of role-playing vernacular (the ubiquitous Vancian magic), which in turn is set in a desert-like world of the future, one would think that there would be much more variety in iconic hero depictions to match the fantastic settings they inhabit.

Unfortunately even when presented with the opportunity to take on these shortcomings of the genre, the fact that a project with the stated goal of expanding these depictions still falls short, to my untrained eye it really only means that the opportunity to realize these lofty goals still exists for newcomers to the scene; pioneers or Pathfinders if you will. And while I was thrilled at the idea of the Kickstarters original game-plan, its execution still leaves room out there for individuals willing to take on this idea anew.

So if you’ve got some time, a bare minimum of artistic talent, why not pick up a pen, pencil or stylus, let your imagination run wild and colorful and try your hand at depicting some Landos and Leias of your own.

Oh yeah, and Game Forth.

  • A female blogger with their own perspective on inclusivity in the genre.
  • A trans-gendered v-logger with their own perspective on inclusivity in the genre.

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Django Unchained: An Epic RPG

Image Copyright: Columbia Pictures

Although Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained didn’t walk away with the Academy Award for Best Picture last year, the film did carry with it elements that to my Gaming eyes seemed to have all the hallmarks of a valid and engaging cinematic version of an Epic role-playing game.

But when I point this out to most people I find my understanding of the film usually fails to be greeted by anything short of complete and utter incredulity. So I thought I would take the chance this week to go about explaining just how it is that a movie set in the Antebellum South about a freed slave and his German accomplice so closely mirrors the structure of a typical gaming session and is in fact possibly one of the best examples out there of how a typical role-playing game unfolds.

First off it would help to establish a few things about the basic ideas upon which your typical role-playing game is built. Most RPGs take place in a setting of High Fantasy. From a genre standpoint High Fantasy settings are worlds that are radically if not entirely different from the real and historical one we all exist in, worlds like Dungeon & Dragon’s Faerun, Dragonlance’s Krynn, or Mistborn’s Scadrial. These worlds have timelines all of their own, filled with mystical bygone ages of make-believe kingdoms and rulers. They also have elements within them that are inconsistent with the traditional way we perceive reality, the most obvious of these inconsistencies are things like magic, but also include much more mundane differences like other humanoid races who exist alongside mankind like trolls or elves or uruk hai.

The quintessential novel of High Fantasy is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Set in the fantastic world of Middle-earth where beings of elves, dwarves, hobbits and the like use magic Tolkien’s novels set forth a universal formula upon which all role-playing games take their lead. In these works the familiar tropes of what makes a role-playing game were fleshed out in full; a group of heroes battling against the forces of evil by going on a quest, against a backdrop of fantasy elements and otherworldly beings who along the way utilized a variety of skills, swordplay and sorcery.

And while with elements like this Tolkien revolutionized the High Fantasy genre, he most certainly did not invent it. In fact the history of literature itself can be traced to a work of High Fantasy every bit as detailed as The Hobbit.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, a poem from ancient Mesopotamia and one of the earliest surviving works of literature known to man a powerful almost semi-divine King of Ancient Uruk (Notice the name of the City? Tolkien sure did!) battles evil forces as he goes on a series of challenging adventures. He is aided on these quests by his wild man companion Enkidu. The two of these mythical heroes encounter many supernatural and dangerous scenarios before Enkidu is ultimately cursed by a goddess and slain,  prompting Gilgamesh to journey to a fantastic underworld in search of immortality.

And so in both the Epic of Gilgamesh and Tolkien’s Middle-earth series there are unfolding themes that clearly seem to unite beneath the banner of not only what constitutes High Fantasy, but also what people have ultimately agreed as to what constitutes acceptable role-playing concepts . At their core, these stories were about companionship set against a rewarding adventure out to battle the unsettling forces of their respective worlds. And its this core concept that can be seen operating throughout the entirety of the film Django.

For starters, the film character of Django is on a quest.  Two in fact. The first concerns capturing a group of outlaws, the Brittle Brothers while the second is a more personal quest; freeing his wife Broom Hilda from slavery. Like Gilgamesh, Django is aided on these quests by a companion, in his case, the German Dentist/Bounty-hunter Doctor King Schultz. It’s Schultz who during the course of the film literally describes their undertaking as a Germanic Quest for Django’s wife. Though bearing little semblance to the actual mythology of the German Siegfried and his Brynhildr, Schultz never-the-less paints their pending journey as that of an adventure against a dragon-spired mountaintop within which lies the prize to any good fantasy-tale; a beautiful bride. 

Tarantino’s script thus reveals quite explicitly that Django Unchained is in fact an Epic Tale. What’s more, like Gilgamesh, Django’s side-kick and arguably his ‘civilizing’ companion Schultz ultimately dies during the course of the quest they are on. And just like any Epic its this relationship between adventurers that forms the core of any good role-playing session.

From a story perspective, the fact that they are battling the forces of unmitigated evil only glorifies this point even more. In any good RPG, like it’s High Fantasy genre counterpart, the bad-guys need to be completely and irredeemably bad. I can think of no worse villain’s in any Module or Campaign I’ve been in that didn’t share the characteristics of the villains in Django; slave-owning, murderous, wantonly cruel- clearly folks of the Lawful Evil alignment.  I’ve personally seen my share of gamers unquestionably put down such types for crimes far less nefarious. Who hasn’t? (I’m looking at you Dwarf fighter with the blood of a half dozen orcs on your warhammer.)

The parallels to role-playing only get deeper the more you look at Django. In the very first scene, Schultz kills one of Django’s captives, a Speck brother, and then Django himself proceeds to take not only the dead man’s coat, but also his horse. WOOT! Another instance of any good role-playing game on full display; the concept of gaining rewards or treasure during the course of play and specifically here in perfect synchronicity with what goes on during a typical session-looting the bodies! Your party kills a dragon, they get his hoard. This is the universally acknowledged course of action among Gamers as the proper way to end a combat scene- wanton corpse theft with gold and magic items proving its acceptability. Even the very profession of the Epic heroes in Django, that of bounty hunting, and its dubious moral Code of killing bad people for a reward ties into this image as that of adventurous opportunists, especially when it comes to dead bodies.

From a mechanical standpoint, Django also holds up to close inspection. Role-playing games are essentially a collection of individual characters who each have unique builds including things like skills, hit-points, armor class, experience points, et. cetera that revolve around systems well defined in advance. In this respect we have Django who clearly has traits that embody these qualities, with Dexterity arguably the most obvious stat, evidenced by Django’s skill  with fire arms (Ranged Weapons), his Stealthing prowess and his superb Riding  finesse- clearly an optimized Stat. Living in the wild, a Skill that requires Survivability or perhaps a Nature Check, practicing his Deadly Aim, and even learning how to talk his way out of a chain-gang, clearly a Diplomacy Crit! also demonstrate various character assets familiar to any RPG fan.

As for the nature of the world of Django, this is generally where my argument losses its bluster. In order for the film to be of a role-playing-esque sensibility the consensus seems to be that it has to take place in a High Fantasy setting. Indeed I myself even spelled that out above as one of the requirements for a successful game. However there are some points that can turn this perception around. 

G. R. R. Martin’s highly successful Game Of Thrones series is a fantasy epic set in a world of what is known as Low Fantasy. Contrasted with High Fantasy, its a genre that falls within the Fantasy umbrella but bases its drama on more mundane and grittier human interests with a splash of the fantastic added for good measure. These types of works of Low Fantasy are based on our own history with a mix of supernatural elements; think of a world where vampires, ghosts and alien abductors were to actually exist. And as a setting for a role-playing game this concept has already produced a huge amount of gaming material that draws upon this very idea.

Games like World of Darkness, Wizards Modern D20, Chaosium’s Cthulhu or Cataylst’s Game Labs Shadowrun all depict worlds similar to our own but within the context of Low Fantasy and all of them are systems fully and quintessentially fantasy. What Tarantino presents in Django is likewise a world very much like our own, but clearly set in an alternate one with a differing version of historical events, hence a Low Fantasy Setting, which is entirely within the realm of what constitutes an acceptable setting for an Rrole-playing game.

Unconvinced? Let’s take a look at some of the things that set the world of Django into such a secondary and Low Fantasy setting.

The film has been pointed out as including a number of historical inaccuracies both major and minor comparable to actual historic record. Most notable to critics is the inclusion of Mandigo fighting, that being the pitting of slaves against one another in gladiator like matches to the amusement of their owners. Tarantino himself gave only vague indications as to their historical goings-on but their inclusion gives the film a wavering view of history as we know it. The appearance of white-hooded Klansmen in the film also stir up cries of faulty research. Drawing their presence backwards through time by about ten years to a point when they were known as the Regulators Tarantino takes certain liberties with the timing of events to add a flair for not only cinematic but also poetic license. Likewise as pointed out to me by a gaming buddy of mine, Tarantinos inclusion of dynamite in the pre-civil war period when it was actually invented post-wartime also port the film into a world of make-believe.

This isn’t the first time that Tarantino created such a film, his Inglorious Basterds was a similar attempt at alternative history, one where the great villain of World War II died in a horrific execution style shoot out that never in fact happened in real life. And it’s clear in both films that Tarantino deliberately went for an alternate version of the past with its own internal timeline of events.

Aside from the historical differences between the film and the actual past, there are also structural differences in the way things work in Tarantino’s Django compared to our own world. The most obvious display of this and one that seemed to irk some viewers of the film concerned a scene at the end of the movie when Django shoots the plantation owners sister and rather than tumbling backward, she flies sideways into another room. This may seem like a deliberate and Tarantino-esque fluke of excessive violence but it’s actually rather in keeping with other elements of incredulity within the world of Django. For one, the shooting skill of Django himself is entirely beyond the bounds of anything a normal human being could be said to be capable of especially given the state of firearms of the time. While these may be brushed aside as simply elements of a movie, its clear that the intent was to create a world of fantastic happenings, that runs counter to normal perceptions of what human beings are capable of thus creating a setting that is different but similar enough to our own world to be called Low Fantasy.

And just like G.R.R. Martin, Tarantino creates a Low Fantasy world within which mythical heroes embark on a transformative journey. For Django this is the metamorphosis from being that of slave into that of a smooth talking Epic figure complete with seemingly mystical, if brutally effective, powers. Clearly, a story about a character who Levels, both in terms of skills, and damage output, another quintessential quality of role-playing. And he developed them on a quest with his companion, fighting evil to get to his long lost love in a world different from our own, with its own rational center of physics.

A Low Fantasy Epic.

And a perfect setting for a Role-playing Game.

All the elements are there, and leave it to a progressive thinker like Tarantino to twist them all together.

Want more proof? Take a look at the following character build, a simple enough Pathfinder mock-up based off of the Gunslinger Character Class, an obvious acknowledgement by a Role-playing Publisher that agrees that Gun-men have every bit of a place alongside the likes of wizards and warriors in a role-playing game… although in this case I used a Low Fantasy Point Buy of 10…

DJANGO
------------------------------------------------
“I count two guns, friend.”

Male human gunslinger (mysterious stranger) 17
CG Medium humanoid (human)
Init + 9; Senses normal; Perception + 11
------------------------------------------------
DEFENSE
------------------------------------------------
AC 22, 17 touch, 15 flat-footed
(+5 armor,+6 Dex,+1 dodge)
hp 117 (17d10+11)
Fort +10, Ref + 17, Will +9;
------------------------------------------------
OFFENSE
------------------------------------------------
Speed 30 ft.
Melee unarmed +0 (1d4/x2)
Ranged revolver +17/+12/+7/+2 (1d8/x4)
------------------------------------------------
STATISTICS
------------------------------------------------
Str 10, Dex 24, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 16
Base Atk +17/+12/+7/+2; CMB +17; CMD 34
Feats Dodge, Extra Grit, Gunsmithing, 
Improved Initiative, 
Improved Precise Shot, Iron Will, Mobility, 
Pinpoint Targeting, 
Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Quick Draw, 
Rapid Shot, Shot On the Run, 
Weapon Focus (Revolver)

Skills Bluff +23, Diplomacy +9 (+11 vs. slavers), 
Handle Animal +11, Intimidate +16 (+18 vs. slavers), 
Knowledge (Engineering) +8, Knowledge (Local) +6, 
Perception +11, Ride +23, Sleight of Hand +16, 
Survival +15; Armor Check 0

Traits Enemy of Slavers, Freed Slave

Languages English

SQ deeds (bleeding wound, clipping shot, deadeye, 
dead shot, expert loading, evasive, focused aim, 
gunslinger dodge, gunslinger initiative, 
lighting reload, menacing shot, pistol-whip, 
slinger’s luck, startling shot, targeting, 
utility shot), grit [char](5), gunsmith, lucky, 
stranger’s fortune

Combat Gear alchemist’s fire (4), 
amulet of bullet protection, 
belt of incredible dexterity + 4, 
far-reaching sight; 
Other Gear +5 leather, 
revolver (2) with 4 cartridges, 
hat, scarf, smoked goggles, tobacco (4), 
travelers outfit, gunsmiths’ kit, 
wanted poster bill, waterskin, 
light riding horse, 200 dollars

But of course, like Gilgamesh, Django didn’t quest alone…

DR. KING SCHULTZ
------------------------------------------------
“My good sir, perhaps we got off on the wrong boot.”

Male human bard 2, gunslinger 9
CG Medium humanoid (human)
Init + 8; Senses normal; Perception + 7
------------------------------------------------
DEFENSE
------------------------------------------------
AC 22, 17 touch, 15 flat-footed 
(+4 armor, +6 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 57 (9d10+2d8+8)
Fort +8, Ref + 18, Will +10; 
(+4 vs. against bardic performance,
sonic, and language-dependent effects)
------------------------------------------------
OFFENSE
------------------------------------------------
Speed 30 ft.
Melee unarmed -1 (1d4-1/x2)
Ranged revolver +10/+4 (1d8/x4)
Bard Spells Prepared 1st – Adoration,
Anticipate Peril, Charm Person, 
Undetectable Alignment
0 (at will) – daze, flare, know direction,
mending, prestidigitation
------------------------------------------------
STATISTICS
------------------------------------------------
Str 8, Dex 23, Con 8, Int 15, Wis 9, Cha 14
Base Atk +10/+4; CMB +10; CMD 25

Feats Deceitful, Far Shot, Gunsmithing, 
Improved Initiative, Iron Will, 
Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot, 
Rapid Shot, Quick Draw, Weapon Focus (Revolver)

Skills Bluff +20, Diplomacy +16(*calculated bribe),
Disguise +15, Handle Animal +11, Heal +6, 
Intimidate +9, Knowledge (Engineering) +11, 
Knowledge (History) +11,  Knowledge (Nobility) +8, 
Perception +7(+8 vs. surprise), 
Perform (Oratory) +9, Ride +16, 
Sense Motive(*Performance) +9, Sleight of Hand +18, 
Survival +11(+12 vs. tracks); Armor Check 0

Traits Calculated Bribe, Bounty Hunter

Languages English, French, German

SQ bardic knowledge, bardic performance, cantrips, 
countersong, deeds (deadeye, dead shot, 
gunslinger dodge, gunslinger initiative, clear, 
pistol-whip, startling shot, targeting, utility shot), 
distraction, fascinate, grit (5), gunsmith, 
gun training, inspire courage, nimble +2, 
versatile performance, well-versed

Combat Gear alchemist’s fire (4), 
belt of incredible dexterity + 4, 
far-reaching sight; 
Other Gear +3 quilted cloth, 
coat pistol with (6) fire arm bullets,
revolver (2) with 4 cartridges, 
rifle with 2 cartridges, hat, pipe, tobacco (4),
travelers outfit, gunsmiths’ kit, waterskin,
light riding horse, 12,000 dollars

Game Forth!

Any other builds for the Epic Hero Django and Dr. King Shultz from other systems you might have a suggestion for?

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