Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Interlude 2015 #1 - Octoclaus the Santapus

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Since I am on vacation for the holidays I am going "off script" and not following my normal update schedule. Instead I am going to be presenting some holiday themed goodies. I also did this last year with a Gingerbread Dragon and Gingerbread Ninjas.

Today we start with one for Numenera. Octoclaus the Santapus is a member of the intelligent octopus races of the deep oceans. Sustained by relics of a prior world Octoclaus is immeasurably old, and possesses great powers. Among those technologies is a Temporal Prism that allows Octoclaus to exist across time and space. Nobody knows why, but Octoclaus uses the temporal prism to give gifts to noble ninth world citizens all at the same time.

Octoclaus the Santapus

Level 6 (TN 18)

Motive: reward the good people of the ninth world

Health: 18 • Armor: 0 • Damage: 4

Movement: immediate on land, short in water, or teleport almost any distance by using the temporal prism

Modifications: Speed defense as level 8

Combat: Octoclaus prefers to avoid combat and will retreat given the first opportunity. If need be he will use the temporal prism to flee in time and/or space. Octoclaus will take part in combat activities only if an innocent and good person is in trouble and needs his help, but he will prefer to save the person using the prism first, and stay in combat to fight second.

Interaction: Octoclaus prefers to reward people anonymously when possible, but will gladly converse with heroic characters.

Uses: Octoclaus may show up to reward a heroic PC or PCs, or the characters may learn of his legend and set a trap for this time traveling creature.

GM Intrusion: Octoclaus arrives to help heroic characters in a battle that is going poorly for them.

Loot: Octoclaus always has 1d6 cyphers on him at any time to give to people who make the ninth world a better place. Octoclaus also wears a strange red and white hat that has unknown properties.

Temporal Prism

This artifact is a large faceted crystal that shows a different image on each face. It is a level 10 artifact that allows the user to travel up to a year forward or backward in time and anywhere on the planet. Depletion 1 in d6.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Nuts & Bolts #58 - Atom Bomb Baby! Fallout 4 Cypher Edition (part 2)

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"War. War never ... Holy god what is that ARRRGGHH!!!"
Yeah. War "never changes" but the combatants do. So let's take a look at the things trying to eat your face. Since the Cypher System is so easy to "roll up" NPCs and creatures for I can it the high points and move onward without needing to dive deep for each line item. If a stat isn't given, it is calculated normally based on the Cypher System rules. All entries here are for a "normal" member of the species. In many cases there are tougher versions that look very similar which can be made easily by increasing the level and corresponding attributes.

Oh, and if you missed last week you can find it here.


Deathclaws are basically your standard genetic chimera mutated through elevated background radiation levels. Nothing special really. Oh, and they are the most badass killer in the wasteland. Basically just always, always, avoid these guys.


Level 8 (TN 24)
  • Motivation: As predators deathclaws attack creatures for food or for invading their territory. 
  • 2 Armor, Speed Defence to 7 due to size, Short Movement
  • Armor Rending Claws: Deathclaw claws not only deal impressive damage, but they can also bypass up to 2 points of armor. 
  • Loot: Generally very little aside from meat which can be made into steaks that grant a +1 Might Edge for melee damage only for an hour after eating.
  • Use: Deathclaws can be used to ambush characters in the wasteland or by having quest objectives exist within a deathclaw lair. 


What is there to say about Radroaches? They are everywhere, and while they are seldom a threat individually the certainly can prove a danger in groups. Radroaches are most dangerous for the radioactivity in their bite attacks that can weaken and eventually overwhelm even the most hardy of wastelanders.

Level 2 (TN 6)
  • Motivation: Scavengers looking for food.
  • 1 Armor, Immediate Movement, can cling to walls and ceilings with ease.
  • Radioactive: Every attack from a radroach will deal 1 point of radiation damage even if the physical damage is negated by armor. 
  • Increase attack to level 3 when attacking from above. 
  • Loot: Radroach flesh can be cooked for sustenance. They tend to be found in ruins where items of value may be located
  • Use: Radroaches infest ruins and also find their way into settlements as they look for easy sources of food. A single radroach is little more than an annoyance, but a swarm can become a threat.


If radroaches are radioactive annoyances radscorpions are radioactive nightmares. Heavily armored with deadly virilous poison that is also radioactive these giant insects are one of the wasteland's top tier predators.

Level 6 (TN 18)
  • Motivation: Insectile predator looking for a meal
  • 5 Armor, Short movement, can burrow and travel underground
  • Radioactive: All attacks from a radscorpion deal 1 radiation damage in addition to normal damage.
  • Deadly Venom: A quick attack with the radscorpion's tail deals normal physical and radiation damage. Injection of venom requires a level 7 might defense roll. Failure deals 5 points of Speed Damage and 2 additional radiation. Success deals only 2 radiation damage.
  • Ambush: A burrowed radscorpion can pop up from under the ground and ambush prey increasing the difficulty of its attack by 1 level.
  • Loot: Radscorpion tails contain their venom sacs which can be harvested to use the poison on weapons or by certain people to craft various drugs with. Some wastelanders also eat radscorpion meat and eggs which have been known to provide a slight resistance to energy based attacks for an hour after consumption (+1 armor for energy only).
  • Use: Radscorpions are solitary predators who can be encountered in almost any part of the wasteland. 

Mole Rats

What do you get when you take an annoyance like radroaches and give them the ability to burrow and ambush? You get mole rats, which are really annoying. Thankfully they also taste great! Probably. 

Level 3 (TN 9)
  • Motivation: Scavengers looking for food.
  • 0 Armor, Immediate Movement, can burrow and travel underground
  • Radioactive: All attacks from a mole rat deal 1 radiation damage in addition to normal damage.
  • Ambush: A burrowed mole rat can pop up from under the ground and ambush prey increasing the difficulty of its attack by 1 level. They often do this in groups leading to terrifying encounters.
  • Loot: Mole rat flesh can be cooked for sustenance which also grants a slight resistance to radiation (+1 armor for radiation) for an hour after eating.
  • Use: Mole rats mostly attack creatures that enter or near their lairs.

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Super Mutants

Supermutants are the result of the Forced Evolutionary Virus (or FEV for short) on humans. They are big, strong, tough, and often times dumb. They are also dangerous as heck. Probably second only to Deathclaws on an average basis. These are a good mid to late game menace as they scale well with individuals varying from "standard" to "brutes," "masters," and eventually "behemoths" that are progressively larger and more dangerous.

Level 5 to 9 (TN 15 to 27)
  • Motivation: Supermutants want to convert other people into supermutants by exposure to FEV. Also they have been known to make a meal out of ... anything it seems. 
  • 0-2 Armor depending, Short movement
  • Loot: Supermutants may use nearly any kind of weapon, from basic pistols and rifles to super sledges and Fat Man Launchers.
  • Use: Supermutants are sterile and reproduce by capturing humans to subject to the FEV. Supermutants also often take over key locations. 

Feral Ghouls

Feral Ghouls are the result of ghoul degeneration as a result of excessive post-ghoulification radiation exposure. The continued exposure to radiation slowly rots a ghouls brain until eventually they are reduced to an almost animalistic state commonly known as feral ghouls.

Level 3 (TN 9)
  • Motivation: Mindless ferals that attack any non-ghouls.
  • 0 Armor, Immediate Movement, 
  • Radioactive: All attacks from a feral ghoul deal 1 radiation damage in addition to normal damage.
  • Blitz: Feral ghouls can make a short range movement at the start of a combat and immediately attack thereafter. The round following a blitz they are prone and cannot attack as they must stand up. 
  • Loot: Feral ghouls often carry random bits of their former life. From ammo to teddy bears.
  • Use: Feral ghouls can be found most anywhere and attack any non-ghouls they encounter. They are seldom found alone, and are often found in packs of three to six.


Synths are androids. The oldest are crude and look more or less robotic, while the most advanced are bio-machines that are nearly indistinguishable from human. Appearance aside they are essentially human-like opponents, capable of wielding any of a variety of weapons and wearing armor. Instead of providing stats I suggest that you use the various NPC options in Chapter 17 of the Cypher System Rulebook with a single modification. I would add a point of armor on top of any they have to reflect the more robust nature of their artificial construction.


Mirelurks are heavily mutated crabs. They are heavily armored, but slow. The

Level 4 (TN 12)
  • Motivation: Predator looking for a meal
  • 15 Health, 3 Armor, Short movement, can burrow (but not travel underground)
  • Radioactive: All attacks from a radscorpion deal 1 radiation damage in addition to normal damage.
  • Loot: Mirelurks rarely carry any notable goods but mirelurk meat and eggs are a good source of nutrition and have been known to contain trace amounts of stimulants that can grant +1 Speed edge for an hour after consumption.
  • Use: Mirelurks are quasi-communal predators who can be encountered near bodies of water, often protecting clutches of eggs buried in mud or sand.

Glowing Enemies

Glowing enemies come in many shapes and sizes; from the mildly alarming (at least after the first one) Glowing Radroach, to the downright pant-browning Glowing Deathclaw (seriously Fallout 4, that was not cool). Glowing enemies show up among normal members of Ghouls, Deathclaws, Mole Rats, Radroaches, Mirelurks, and possibly Radscorpions (I haven't seen one yet, but I expect it's only a matter of time). Glowing enemies add the following to their normal template:

  • Increase level by 1
  • Increase Health by 6 points
  • Add the Radioactive trait or increase the damage of the Radioactive trait to 2 points of radioactive damage

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Alternates Rules for Radiation Damage

My friend +Jeremy Land suggested a couple of other ways to deal with radiation damage. I think both are even more dangerous, but they are cool so I'm including them here. All credit goes to him on these two methods:
  • Instead of reducing a single Pool's maximum by 1 (i.e. Might, followed by Speed, then Intellect), reduce each Pool's maximum by 1 per point of radiation damage.
    • Marc's Thoughts: This is obviously way more threatening, and may actually be better, but as GM you'd also need to make sure to provide more RadAway and/or more opportunities to use medical treatment to remove radiation to compensate.
  • Or, another way to do it is to add a Radiation score: Once it reaches your lowest Pool's maximum, you're always impaired; once it reaches your middle Pool's maximum, you're always debilitated; and once it reaches your highest Pool's maximum, you're dead.
    • Marc's Thoughts: This is fairly similar to the above, but with a little less bookkeeping. It's also very deadly, but maybe that isn't a bad thing. As above radiation removal would need to be more carefully doled out to avoid this being too deadly.
Next week I'm going to tackle 'bots and a few stragglers and odd-balls. In addition I can address any questions or comments that may come up to this or last week's post.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Story Seed - Dereliction

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"Father, where do these stairs lead?" the young girl had asked.

"They go to the worlds beyond. You know that the world we live in is artificial; a great cylinder in space that the fore-bearers built to save us. They knew that such a world may see its population grow beyond its means, and so they provided portals to worlds beyond. When our people grow too many we send some of them away through the portals..."


The woman's heart beat in her chest, not from the strain of the climb, but from the strange anticipation. She had looked at these stairs for years, as a child and a young woman, knowing that what lay beyond them was truly outside of her world. She craned her head upward, seeking to catch a glimpse of the end of the stair as it twisted seemingly across the great O'Neill Cylinder.

She was ready for this, but at the same time there was a sadness in her mind. Her family were the keepers, they alone retained the knowledge of the operation of the portals. In recent years the population had once more jumped beyond the means of their home to sustain. She would ascend the stairs and open the gateway and allow those chosen to flee this world to pass through the portal.

She nurtured great curiosity about what lay beyond the portals. What did this unknown worlds look like? What new explorations and strange sights did they hold? She wished she could travel beyond.

At last she reached the end of the stairs. A simple arch of stone, the gateway showed nothing more than a superb view of her home. She reached out, touched the archway, and watched as a curtain fell within that simple shape; a curtain that showed the nighttime sky of some world not her own, of rolling fields of grasses and of a sky filled not with the arching land of their world, but twinkling lights and strange orbs.

It was too much. The woman made her decision before she had even realized it. She stepped forward, and passed beyond her world.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Last Week Today - Week of December 7-13, 2015

Story Seed - Raiders

Nuts & Bolts - Atom Bomb Baby! Fallout 4 Cypher Edition (part 1)

Story Seed - The Heart of Darkness


If you're free this evening please come and watch as myself, +James August Walls and +Ryan Chaddock discuss how to use the Cypher System for playing games in the galaxy long long ago and far far away of Star Wars!  Starting at 9 pm eastern we'll discuss how to mash up one of our favorite RPGs with one of our favorite media properties.

Want free dice? Course you do! Sign up for a chance to win here: Easy Roller Dice Giveaway