Friday, January 29, 2016

Shadow of the Sea Lord - Pregen #2 - Fairhilde Goldheart

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Fairhilde Goldheart
Level: 3 / Rogue / Mystic


Fairhilde is, at least as far as she knows, the last of her clan. While she was away studying a rare dwarfish martial art her clan's ancestral home was set upon and destroyed by trolls. If any other Goldhearts survived the massacre, she hasn't heard, and so she believes that she is the last of her clan. With no home to return to Fairhilde returned to her studies of the Way of the Stone Fists. Few dwarfs show much promise in the art, and the monks only gather enough students in any given generation to ensure the continuance of the art form and their particular philosophies. Fairhilde was a natural however, and after the death of her clan she threw herself into her studies and soon attained the rank of Wandering Disciple.

As a Wandering Disciple Fairhilde travels between all of the dwarf clans to learn the stories of their ancestors, to learn from their masters of the Way, and to attain greater skill via combat in the world above. Fairhilde has also made it a personal mission to hunt down trolls when she hears of them. Slaking her hatred in their blood is but a slight balm for her grief.

Her travels have brought her to Freeport by accident. She boarded the wrong ship, and instead of traveling to the lands of the White Cliff clan she ended up in this city of brigands and pirates. Fairhilde knows that she must earn enough gold to buy passage back to the mainland, and in that she is keenly aware that her skills can earn her that money.

Fairhilde is a student of the dwarfish Way, and as such she is used to surrendering her will to the ancestors, dwarfish custom, and the common good. She secretly suspects that she may have ended up in Freeport by will of the ancestors, though for what reason specifically she has not yet discerned, but the large number of clanless dwarfs in Freeport may have something to do with it.

Race: Dwarf
Age: 46 yrs
Sex: Female

Strength: 10
  • Health: 24
  • Healing Rate: 6
Agility: 12
  • Defense: 15
Intellect: 12
  • Perception: 13
Willpower: 9
  • Insanity: 0
Corruption: 0
Size: 1/2 (avg. build)
Appearance: You take better care of your appearance than most dwarfs
Speed: 8
Power: 2 (Rank 0: 3 per day, Rank 1: 2 per day, Rank 2: 1 per day)

Languages: Common, Dwarfish (speak & read)
Backgrounds: Keeper of the Ancestors, Wandering Pilgrim, Exile

Interesting Thing: an ever-sharp folding knife

Race & Class Abilities
  • Darksight You treat shadow and darkness within medium range as lit. Beyond medium you treat darkness as shadow and shadow as lit.
  • Hated Creature You hate Trolls and gain 1 Boon when attacking them.
  • Robust Constitution You take half damage from poison and gain 1 boon on challenge rolls to avoid or remove the poisoned condition.
  • Nimble Recovery Heal damage equal to your healing rate and move 1/2 your speed without triggering free attacks.
  • Trickery Once per round attack with +1 Boon, if you attack with a boon from this deal +1d6 damage
  • Exploit Opportunity Once per round when your attack total of 20+ and exceeds the target's defense by 5+ you may take another turn at any point before the end of the round. 
  • Roguery Talent: Magic 
  • Enlightened Defense While you are not wearing armor or wielding a shield, you have a bonus to Defense equal to 1+ your Power.
  • Iron Fist You unarmed attacks deal 1d6 damage
  • Qi Focus You can spend an action to focus your Qi, see pg 13 of the Demon Lord's Companion.
  • Qi Strike You can spend your Qi Focus to deal additional damage with an unarmed strike, see pg 13 of the Demon Lord's Companion.
Spell Knowledge
  • Battle (Intellect)
    • Rank 0
      • Augmented Attack (SotDL pg 118)
    • Rank 1
      • Close Wounds (SotDL pg 118)
      • Mighty Attack (SotDL pg 118)
Wealth: Getting By
Equipment: 3 torches, dagger, staff, basic clothing, backpack, week of rations, waterskin, tinderbox, pouch w/ 5cp, 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Story Seed - Skyward

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Stella whooped with joy, the engine of her bi-plane was purring like a great cat once more. It felt good to be up in the Blue. The two weeks on Terrace Steel Wing while Killian worked the Canary's engine over had been agonizing. She'd hemorrhaged funds to pay for the repairs, her room, her board, and all the while the best she could manage for work was low paying watch duty. 

Now though, the Canary was back soaring through the Blue, and Stella even had a contract. A strong box locked in her storage that needed to get to Terrace Green ASAP. Stella rolled her craft, noting that the engine didn't even seem to notice; she'd have to thank Killian again. She looked up at the Bright, and then rolled the craft onto its wing to get a look down; down into the deeps of the Blue and beyond that the Black. 

Stella righted the craft and set course for Terrance Green. She had a good few hours of flying to get there, and she really couldn't afford to waste fuel until she had a little more coin in her pockets. Leveling off Stella craned her neck and checked in all directions, as well as sparing a glance both to the Bright and the Black. She was alone in the Blue today, or at least alone for a good fifteen or twenty miles. She smiled broadly, today kept on getting better and better, back in the Blue, no pirates or enemy ships in sight, and she had a paying job; it was almost too good to be true.

Four hours later Stella saw a great black column of smoke on the horizon, a sooty line that got larger the closer she drew. After an hour it was obvious the smoke was coming from Terrace Green, and within the next half hour Stella grew more and more horrified as she approached the farming terrace. The buildings, all of them, were still burning, but worst, even more horrifying, was seeing the fields burn. Who could possibly bring themselves to burn arable land, and perfectly good produce. Terrace Green produced enough food to feed a half dozen other Terraces, and now it was burning. Stella circled, saw that the landing strips were clear and brought the Canary down.

Stella dropped down off the Canary's wing and looked around in dismay. Burned bodies were everywhere. The building were either burning or charred ruins. Nothing moved but the dancing flames and the blowing smoke. There was only death and destruction here. But why?

The low droning of heavy engines powering massive vertical lift propellers broke the funerary silence. Stella spun and saw a great airship rising from Blackward. The blood red banners with inverted black triangles made her heart quail. Pirates. The Crimson Points were well known reavers of the skies. "Give us the strong box, and we'll let you live!" thundered a menacing voice from dozens of speakers mounted on the airship.

"Yeah, right," Stella muttered. She clambered up into the cockpit of the Canary and kicked the engine over. It was going to take her best flying to escape. Whatever was in the strongbox in her hold, was enough to get an entire Terrace destroyed, and that meant it was valuable. Too valuable for these pirates to let her live. She took off and immediately dove for the Black. With a little luck the Canary could lose them in the thin air of the deep Blue. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Nuts & Bolts #64 - Skyward, a Recursion for The Strange

Switching things up this week ...

I created this recursion as part of my Cypher Live discussion of Worlds Numberless and Strange this past weekend with +James August Walls and +Ryan Chaddock . Jim created Sea Lion Abby, and Ryan created Dead Drop End (forthcoming) as part of this exercise. We hope you enjoy our efforts, both the show and these recursions. 

And for my regular readers, the Story Seed you'd normally get today will post on Wednesday and be set in Skyward, please enjoy, and let me know if you would like to see more...


The skies are blue, the clouds are fluffy and white, and the wind carries with it the sound of diesel engines. Life in Skyward is lived in among the clouds. Airships, planes of all kinds, and grand floating platforms all struggle daily to stay afloat. Down below there is only madness and the Black. All around was the Blue, and above the Bright. None know what happens to those who fall into the Black, or those who try to find the ground, but neither are ever heard from again.

Skyward is a recursion of endless skies. Planes and airships traverse the blue moving between the Terraces, platforms of various sizes that keep themselves afloat by unknown means. If not for the Terraces humanity would long ago have died out. These ports contain the only known remnants of earth that allow for food to be grown, and are one of the few places where water can be reliably collected. The inhabitants use food, plant, and animal refuse to synthesize diesel fuel to power all manner of aircraft. The Terraces are also the only places where aircraft can be built, serviced, and launched. In Skyward control over the Terraces power.

The inhabitants of Skyward know that resources are finite, and that any lost ship or man is gone forever. Aerial combat seldom involves firearms, and only rarely do planes get shot down, for anything that falls into the Black is irrecoverable. Instead acrobatic flight and daredevil boarding procedures are the result, with men and women trying to hijack planes in mid-air, or larger ships using cabled harpoons to physically ensnare smaller planes.

Worse still is the well hidden fact that some of the Terraces are beginning to fail, and fall into the Black. Those in power are doing what they can to hide this fact from their people and their enemies, while also beginning to consider the need to capture other Terraces from their enemies. War is brewing in Skyward, a war over what little resources remain.

Hearsay in Skyward:
  • Land Ho! - A pilot trader has found actual land, rising up out of the dark in some far flung part of the sky. If true this could mean potential for new resources, and for a great deal of power to those who control them. 
  • From Above - Rumor has it that the Bright is becoming less so, as if something were blocking the light from above somehow. Somebody needs to fly high out of the Blue and find out what is happening. 
  • Salvage Rights - The Terrace of Iron Falcon has put out a bounty on “salvaged” enemy aircraft. Of course the only way to salvage an aircraft is to board it and kill its pilot or crew. Is the risk worth the reward? 
Level: 3
Laws: Mad-Science (diesel-punk)
Playable Races: Human
Size: apparently infinite, actually several thousand square miles
Skills: Skyward Navigation
Foci: Collects Bounties, Pilots Aircraft*, Fires a Blunderbuss**, Steals, Leads, Looks for Trouble
Connections to the Strange: Fly downward long enough into the Black and you can emerge directly into the Strange … but getting back into Skyward isn’t so easy.
Connections to Earth: Occasional translation and inapposite gates open within cloud banks high in the skies.
Trait: Graceful (+1 speed pool)
Spark: 15%
Inspirations: Tailspin, Waterworld, Mad Max, Crimson Skies, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, other pulpy tales of airships

Notes on Foci:
* Pilots Aircraft is a simple reskin of the Pilots Starcraft focus from In Translation (pg 69)
** Fires a Blunderbuss is a reskin of the Fires a Blaster focus from In Translation (pg 46)
As a note, projectile weapons tend to be resource heavy because you often cannot recover the projectiles. As a result firearms in Skyward are much less advanced and common than one might expect. Characters who take the Fires a Blunderbuss focus are some of the rare few who know how to use their weapons for best effect and are willing to deal with the high cost of ammunition and fuel (blunderbusses use a special form of kerosene infused black powder), as well as the potential for sending enemy pilots spiraling down into the Black where their planes and gear cannot be salvaged.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Last Week Today - Week of January 18 - 24, 2016

Story Seed - An Ancient Place

Nuts & Bolts - Outsourcing

Shadow of the Sea Lord - Alyse Swifthand


 +James August Walls+Ryan Chaddock, and I are doing our third episode of Cypher Live tonight, and we'll be discussing The Strange's Worlds Numberless and Strange. Join us live and ask us questions, or watch up on YouTube over at Jim's page.