How to Fix America

I’m going to do something that I very seldom do. I’m going to make an explicitly political post. I don’t do this because I’m a conservative and we are so very unpopular right now. “Coming out” as a conservative can ruin you on certain social media platforms (like Twitter).

But I do have something to say: our current government sucks. America is starting to suck. And I love America and want to “Make America Great Again.” Donald Trump isn’t the person to do this. Joe Biden isn’t the person to do this. And I don’t know what I’m going to do come November because I can’t bring myself to vote for either candidate.

I’ve been turning a few things over in my head, and I think I’ve realized something: never in history are we more primed than now to see a grassroots takeover of American politics. Black Lives Matter and its reliance on Marxism has turned public opinion against the white ruling class people. Once upon a time, if you were white you had a voice but now everything you say is regarded with suspicion at minimum, or just labeled outright wrong and racist at worst. Especially if it disagrees with Black Lives Matter.

Public trust in police has also been severely eroded. No longer seen as above reproach, public opinion regards police forces as racist and corrupt. Some would even go so far as to say they hunt black people the way General Zaroff did on his private island. If you support police, you’re racist.

A general trend on social media is destroying public enthrallment with the life of a billionaire. Nighttime soap operas like Dallas or Falcon Crest had viewers follow the life and drama of the wealthy. Police procedurals like Silk Stalkings had the two working-class homicide detectives investigate murders perpetrated by the wealthiest and sexiest elite.

But now, this life isn’t portrayed as glamorous but gluttonous. People want billionaires to just give them money. They have so much, right? So why shouldn’t these greedy leeches be forced to give the excess back to the public whom they exploited to get it?

Wait—exploited? You read that right. I’ve seen memes that posit billionaires don’t ever “earn” that money. Earning is conflated with doing actual work and receiving an actual paycheck. Which, of course, the wealthy don’t do. Instead, they sit back and enjoy mai tais on a beach while we, the common American workers, work back-breaking hours to barely put scraps of food on a folding card table (because we can’t afford a real dining room table) all to make them richer.

The fabulously wealthy are merely leeches, therefore, and they have no right to that wealth. They should have to give it back to the people who really “earned” it.

Elite members of society (especially the white elite), law enforcement, and the fabulously wealthy are now all seen as racist, violent, and parasitic Goliaths. The American blue-collar workers, especially the black ones, are seen as the downtrodden Davids.

Here is where Marx calls for the violent overthrow of the elites by the common man, and we are poised for a grassroots takeover of the government. But it doesn’t have to be violent. It can be peaceful, I think, if the right leader emerges. I use “he” to refer to this leader, but he need not be male. He just needs to be a charismatic outlier and preferably black.

Why can’t he be inside the government? Because they’ve had their chance, many of them for decades, to fix this problem. It isn’t theirs to fix; they’ve either created it or let it fester. It’s time for someone else to take the reigns.

Why black? Because it won’t be easy to counter the public perception of whites as bigoted racists who created the system to keep the black man down. It would also further the image of the outlier as someone who is truly “outside the system,” and therefore in no way contributed to it as it currently stands.

But why now? Because the Internet is the great equalizer. Just look at your favorite YouTubers and Twitch streamers. Ordinarily, to start a business and have the reach they do, you would need hundreds of thousands of dollars to invest in the product and inventory, not to mention advertisement. But these guys can start with minimal equipment and a few followers and grow to thousands through only word-of-mouth, or perhaps a little boost from social media and search engine ads.

Between Twitter, Facebook pages, and email subscriptions I have 1,656 followers for my blog. And I barely have anything worthwhile to say. Including this–most of which you are probably shaking your head in disbelief and disagreement at. If I can get followers, anyone can get followers. It’s easier than ever to become a social media celebrity. Anyone can get here with a little bit of effort and minimal advertising budget. And if you have really, really good things to say, then you can get here solely through word-of-mouth. It doesn’t get much more grassroots than that.

Politicians typically have something that the common man doesn’t: a media presence. But with social media, anyone can lead a campaign through Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube and never leave their home.

The grassroots takeover can only go one of two ways: with violence, or with the voice of the voter.

Marxist organizations like Black Lives Matter and the Democratic politicians would contend that violence is the only way this upheaval will occur. This is why riots are still occurring so many months after the death of the man whose name they will bear when history is written. This is also why Democrats court or encourage the riots, since the people who participate are the common man that this party purports to uplift.

But I contend that we can have a paradigm shift by the will of the voter, by voting in politicians who will act in the public’s best interest and shed their own agendas and desires. This can happen, and it can happen by following the American system of government as written in the Constitution. It starts with waking up the voters and getting the establishment out of office, and then it lies in the hands of those who replace them.

Let’s replace them with the right people this time.

Watabou’s One Page Dungeon Generator

I’ve recently been inducted into the wonderful world of the One Page Dungeon, though I admit it shouldn’t be a “new” concept to me. One Page Dungeons are easier to design and with my short attention span where creative projects are concerned, time is often of the essence.

This is why I can’t say enough nice things about the One Page Dungeon Generator by user Oleg Dolya. Log into it, and it generates dungeons with a simple backstory and notes on encounters within its walls.

Unlike most dungeon generators, the output doesn’t appear to be a crossword puzzle. It looks like a human may have drawn it. There aren’t weird, random dead ends or strange twisty corridors right in the middle for no apparent reason.

If you need something fast on game night, this is definitely it.

Let’s take a look at the Lost Chambers of the Void Prince, my randomly generated dungeon, then see what we can do with it:

I love the name more than the dungeon layout. Who is the Void Prince? I wanted to know, so I free-wrote some background material:

The Void Prince is the wayward son of a once-powerful king. The king was a mighty wizard who tracked down an extremely powerful artifact. The king used mage’s disjunction to render the artifact impotent, but it destroyed all of the king’s spellcasting abilities.

Seeking a way to restore his father’s spells, the Void Prince embarked on his own study of magic focused on spells of magical disruption. He hoped that if he could understand the disjunctive effects then he could find a way to “fix” his father.

His studies consumed him, and he disappeared some time ago. The king died of a broken heart not long after. Rumors abound of lost magical chambers containing arcane research rich with disruptive magic.

What really happened? The prince made a deal with Anclagon, the dark lord of the Red Dragons in the East. Ancalgon allowed the Void Prince an audience with his private seer, an aboleth as old as the great wyrm. The aboleth showed the prince an ancient ritual that would create a flowing fountain of perfectly still water that would wash all magic off anything it touches.

The prince wasted no time in building the fountain, but it did little to further his studies. He disappeared not long after, and no one yet knows where he might have went.

The new king, brother to the Void Prince, has kept one manorhouse as an untouchable shrine, never abandoning hope that his brother will return. The property was recently taken over by a band of goblins who are using it as a base to send out raiding parties.

This background suggests a few hooks for the adventure:

  • The new king hires the PCs to clear the goblins from his missing brother’s manor
  • The PCs try to track a band of goblin raiders back to their unknown base, which happens to be the manor
  • The PCs are jumped by the goblin raiders while on an unrelated mission, defeat them, then track them back to the manor

However the PCs jump in, once they’re at the manor the fun begins. Let them find a secret passage that leads to the lost chambers.

Room 1

The goblins barred the iron door from the inside.

Iron Double Door: 2 in. thick; hardness 10; hp 60; barred (with iron) DC 30.

Large Chamber (EL varies)

This room is slightly colder than anywhere else in the dungeon. There are two exits to the left: The northern exit is barred with a wooden portcullis that has given rise to a patch of brown mold; the southern exit leads to an otherwise unremarkable corridor.

Creatures (EL 2): A few goblins await the PCs.

Goblin, 1st-level fighter: CR 1; Small humaniod (goblinoid); HD 1d10+1; hp 5; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+1 size, +1 Dex, +2 leather armor, +1 light shield), touch 12, flat-footed 14; Atk +3 melee (1d6, morningstar) or +3 ranged (1d4, javelin); SQ darkvision 60 ft.; AL NE; SV Fort +3, Ref +1, Will -1; Str 11, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 6.

Languages: Common, Goblin.

Skills and Feats: Hide +5, Listen +2, Move Silently +5, Ride +4, Spot +2; Alertness, Weapon Finesse (morningstar).

Goblins, 1st-level warriors (3): MM p. 133; hp 8, 6, 9.

Tactics: The goblins will try to shove the PCs back toward the brown mold, knowing the cold might knock them unconscious. Should that happen, they won’t hesitate to beat the PCs to death the rest of the way.

Brown Mold (CR 2): Remember, approaching within 30 ft. of the portcullis deals 3d6 of nonlethal cold damage.

Wooden Portcullis: 3 in. thick; hardness 5; hp 30; Lift DC 30.

Ad-hoc XP Adjustment: Award 120% of the experience points since the goblins can and will use the mold to their advantage.

Room 2 (EL 1)

Creatures: A cadre of goblins await the PCs in this chamber.

Goblins, 1st-level warriors (3): MM p. 133; hp 7, 9, 5.

Treasure: An ornate axe, a scarf, and a glaive are hidden in a crevice. The axe and the glaive can be used as the weapons in the Player’s Handbook.

Room 3 (EL 1)

A secret door opens from the corridor into this room.

Creature: While attempting to loot the manor, Baldo was interrupted by the goblins and forced to flee to this secret room. The halfling has holed up in here for days and has run out of water and rations. He’s in pretty bad shape; barely conscious, suffering from starvation, and exhausted. He has 1 hp left.

Baldo, Male Halfling Rogue: CR 1; Small humaniod (halfling); HD 1d8+1; hp 9; Spd 20 ft.; AC 16 (+1 size, +3 Dex, +2 leather armor), touch 14, flat-footed 13; Atk +3 melee (1d4+2, rapier) or +3 melee (1d3+2, dagger) or +4 ranged (1d3+3, dagger); SA sneak attack +1d6; SQ trapfinding; AL NG; SV* Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +0; Str 15, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 5.

*+2 morale bonus vs. fear effects

Skills and Feats: Climb +9, Escape Artist +8, Hide +8, Jump +8, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +2, Listen +7, Move Silently +5, Search +3, Spot +5; Alertness.

Development: Baldo will help the PCs tackle this dungeon, as he wants revenge on the ones who almost killed him. He will thank the PCs, then take his leave to hunt down the cure to his horrid curse. He won’t talk about the curse with the PCs. He can’t be convinced to stay with the PCs once the dungeon is cleared. Baldo gains an equal share of treasure and XP if he assists the PCs in clearing the dungeon.

Room 4 (EL 2)

This room is the goblins’ treasure room. A coffin sits in the center of the room and it feels immediately chilly in here.

The wooden portcullis has given rise to a patch of black mold.

Wooden Portcullis: 3 in. thick; hardness 5; hp 30; Lift DC 30.

Brown Mold: Remember, approaching within 30 ft. of the portcullis deals 3d6 of nonlethal cold damage.

Treasure: Stolen from various victims, an everburning torch and a masterwork scimitar lie among 1900 sp strewn about as if they don’t care much about it. Which, perhaps they don’t…

If the PCs pry open the coffin in this room, they will find a jet (worth 150 gp) and a black opal (worth 1300 gp).

Throne Room (EL 3)

Creatures: Vrog Mangle awaits the PCs. He was neer the strongest nor the toughest in his tribe, but Vrog had an uncanny talent for magic and a panache that attracted followers quickly. He has spent months building this team of goblins.

Vrog Mangle: CR 3; Medium humanoid (hobgoblin); HD 2d4+3; hp 9; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 11 (Dex), touch 11, flat-footed 10; Atk +1 melee (1d8+1, heavy mace); SA spells; SQ darkvision 60 ft.; AL ; SV Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +2; Str 13, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 12.

Languages: Common, Goblin.

Skills and Feats: Bluff +5, Listen +2, Move Silently +5, Spot +2; Toughness.

Spells Known (cast 5/2): 0–acid splash, daze, detect magic, mage hand, message, read magic; 1st–expeditious retreat, magic missile.

Tactics: Vrog will try to soften up his targets with acid splash from a comfortable distance. If the PCs get too close for his comfort, he will daze whoever engages him, then cast expeditious retreat and withdraw from combat to fight another day. He isn’t foolish and knows he doesn’t stand a chance in hand-to-hand combat the way his larger brethren would.

Treasure: Though he can’t wield them, Vrog admires the beauty of a masterwork greatsword and a masterwork orc double axe and keeps them crossed behind his throne. Under the throne are 1200 gp.

Room 5

A dwarven urgosh, now unusable, was used to impale the skeletonized halfling in the middle of the room. In the bony fingers of the halfling is an unnaturally light rapier, built for small-sized characters.

Treasure: The halfling wielded a cursed rapier, which performs well against targets in practice, but when used against an opponent in combat, it causes its wielder to take a -2 penalty on attack rolls.

All damage dealt is also reduced by 2 points, but never below a minimum of 1 point of damage on any successful hit. After one week in a character’s possession, the rapier always forces that character to employ it rather than another weapon. The rapier’s owner automatically draws it and fights with it even when she meant to draw or ready some other weapon. The rapier can be gotten rid of only by means of limited wish, wish, or miracle.

Strong evocation; CL 15th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, bestow curse, and limited wish or miracle; Price 1,500 gp.

Room 6

The relief on this wall depicts the surrounding wilderness, and there is a distinct X marked in a nearby location. None of the PCs know what could be there (regardless of the result of a Knowledge (local) or (geography) check). The only way to find out will be to go there and see.

Fountain Room (EL 3)

The fountain in the middle of the room is the disjoining fountain that the aboleth seer taught the Void Prince to make. PCs who investigate the fountain and make a successful DC 20 Decipher Script check will recognize the runes as the language of the aboleths. While the goblins haven’t figured out exactly what this thing does yet, they recognize it is worthwhile to protect and have stationed their largest member, an ogre, to protect it at all costs.

Creature: Right now, the brutish ogre lives only to protect the fountain.

Ogre: MM p. 199; hp 27.

Tactics: When the PCs first enter the room, the ogre will hurl rock projectiles at them as he closes in toward them. When he gets within range, he will charge the most threatening PC and try to beat that PC down with his club. He will fight to the death and he will use a withdraw action to break combat if anyone appears to be moving close to the fountain and instead attack that person.

Development: If the PCs use the still waters of the fountain to clean a magic item, the item is affected as though hit by a successful mage’s disjunction spell. Unlike the normal operation of that spell, there is no saving throw for immersing an item in the fountain.

Concluding the Adventure

There are several possibilities for continuing this story once the PCs have cleared the dungeon:

  • Find out what the X marked (Room 6)
  • Help Baldo track down a cure for his curse (Baldo resists this; he’s very much a lone wolf)
  • Report the lost chambers to the king (at which time the king will urge the PCs to track down what the X marked)

Unless they pay for a legend lore or similar spell, it is unlikely that the PCs are going to discover Anclagon’s involvement. Even if they do, this adventure was designed for low level (1st-3rd) PCs and they aren’t going to be able handle a great wyrm red dragon (yet).

And that’s one example of a quick dungeon that you could come up with using this great dungeon generator. All the names and NPCs were generated with the Hypertext d20 SRD Random NPC generator with a little help from the Fantasy Name Generator. Excellent tools if you, like me, have a tough time with names.

Rainy Day Golf: A Dice Game

My usual preference in games is for more strategy over pure luck. It’s one of the reasons that I love chess so much–there’s no luck involved, just the skill of the players. But for some reason, I have a soft spot for this little game from late 80s/early 90s called Rainy Day Golf.

There are actually a couple of games called Rainy Day Golf. The one to which I’m referring is a pure dice game, pictured below.

The game includes 5d6, each representing a stroke in a game of golf. The red die is your drive from the tee, the white die is your second stroke, the blue your third, the brown your fourth, and the green die is, well, what happens on the green. Read results starting with the red die, skipping immediately to the green (and disregarding remaining dice) if ever instructed to do so.

For example, I rolled this:

The drive went 150 yards, the second shot over the green, the third was short coming back. The fourth shot dubbed and the fifth ended up on the green, where I took an excruciating 3 putts to sink the ball for a total score of 8. Golfers know that was not a great hole for me.

No strategy involved: Roll, read, move on. Nothing you do affects the outcome. But it’s great fun, especially with a group of small kids. Anyone can win the game, and kids think they have some skills if they beat you, the parent.

I probably enjoy this game as much as I do because my grandpa bought it for me. He was a great mentor, one I wish I had taken more advantage of. We both enjoyed talking about business and management strategies, as well as our mutual faith in Jesus.

With the sentimental stuff out of the way, I was wondering if there was a way to add strategy into the mix of this game? Around this time I’ve also been playing Catan Dice, which is very similar to Yahtzee. I turned over in my head how to adapt the idea of strategic re-rolls into Rainy Day Golf, and this is what I’ve come up with:

  1. You begin with 3 re-rolls for the front 9, and receive an additional 3 for the back 9.
  2. Re-rolls allow you to re-roll 1 die of your choice.
  3. You may re-roll as many dice as you have re-rolls for.
  4. Once a die has been re-rolled, you must stick with the new result even if it’s worse.
  5. If you do not use a re-roll on a given hole, you bank one additional re-roll. (EXAMPLE: You roll for the 1st hole, and decide to re-roll the red and the blue dice. You stick with this result and proceed to the next hole, where you are happy with the first try. You had 1 re-roll left going into the 2nd, but not using any allows you add another, giving you 2 re-rolls to use from hole 3 onward.)
  6. You may only ever have 5 re-rolls in your bank at the same time! (If you finish the 9th hole with more than 2 re-rolls in your bank, you will only start the 10th hole with 5 re-rolls.)

This isn’t playtested yet. That will be next on my agenda. I’ve also noticed that the dice seem to give you fewer problems the further along you read, which helps keep your average score lower. If I’m adding a re-roll element to the game, then I want to add more things you can run afoul of.

If you don’t own a set of these dice (they do come up on eBay for around $10 every so often–just make sure to search for Rainy Day Golf Dice because there are several other more popular board games with the same name), you can still use the handy chart I have up there. Just roll 5 different colored d6s and read your results!

Happy golfing!

Superheroes in Alternity: Sample Careers

Although any career path could conceivably lead a person to be a superhero, these sample careers are how the members of the Avengers started out. These all came from chapter 6 of the Player’s Handbook, but are modified to make them closer to the Avenger who had this career.

Combat Spec Careers


A member of the armed forces, a soldier can be an enlisted man or an officer. He is trained in hand-to-hand fighting, use of firearms, and is highly disciplined. He is usually not just a grunt, but an effective leader.

In addition to what is listed below, consider investing some points into Unarmed Attack and some Interaction specialty skills.

Signature Equipment: Assault rifle, battle jacket, rations, survival gear.

Skill Package: Athletics–throw 2; Armor Operation; Modern Ranged Weapons–rifle; Survival; Tactics–infantry. Cost: 30 points.

14a307adae90140f9b5fa8f47cbf7b6d0633100a_hqFree Agent Careers

Bounty Hunter

A bounty hunter tracks fugitives who have escaped justice and returns to them to the parties who are seeking them–provided those people pay the price.

The skills most relevant to a bounty hunter are tracking skills. It also helps if the hunter knows what his quarry is up to, so investing in Street Smarts is also helpful.

Signature Equipment: Bow & variety of arrows.

Skill Package: Primitive Ranged Weapons–bow; Stealth–shadow; Investigate–track; Interaction–interview. Cost: 31 skill points.


A spy has a very specific skillset, which she often puts up for the highest bidder. She can provide counterespionage or undertake assassination missions.

In addition to the skills below, you may wish to invest in Manipulation (for lockpicking) and Stealth (for sneaking around unnoticed and tracking targets).

Signature Equipment: Surveillance gear, pistol.

Skill Package: Athletics–climb; Unarmed Attack–power martial arts; Acrobatics–defensive martial arts; Modern Ranged Weapons–pistol; Interaction–interview, seduce 2. Cost: 39 skill points.

Tech Op Careers


A skilled medical doctor who consults and performs invasive surgeries as a specialty, a surgeon holds sway over life and death everyday for his patients. When salves, pills, and physical therapy fail, the surgeon steps in and with a few well-placed cuts can save the day by repairing things internally.

The superhero surgeon should consider adding combat skills, such as Unarmed Attack or Modern Ranged Weapons to round out his combat abilities.

Signature Equipment: Surgical kit, first aid kid.

Skill Package: Medical Science–medical knowledge; surgery 2; treatment 2. Cost: 25 points.


The inventor is able to conceive of technical equipment, and build his designs from scratch. He is also versed in repairing all things mechnical.

Signature Equipment: Computer equipment, tool kit.

Skill Package: Knowledge–computer operation; Technical Science–invention 2, juryrig, repair, technical knowledge 2; Interaction–taunt 2. Cost: 29 points.


If it has wings, the pilot can fly it.

In addition to the skills below, consider taking some System Operation specialty skills, or perhaps some Technical Science skills (like repair) in case things go wrong.

Signature Equipment: Jumpsuit, 9mm pistol.

Skill Package: Modern Ranged Weapons–pistol; Vehicle Operations–air vehicle, space vehicle; Knowledge–computer operation; Navigation–system astrogation; System Operation. Cost: 30 points.


The scientist studies things, learns things, and knows things. It is the purpose of the scientist to be able to explain why things happen the way that they do, and if he doesn’t know he is able to find out through rigorous application of the scientific method.

Consider adding skills that would help with researching or cataloging, such as Investigate and any of its specialty skills.

Signature Equipment: Laptop computer.

Skill Package: Knowledge–computer operation, deduce; Life Science–genetics 2; Physical Science–astronomy, chemistry 2, physics 2. Cost: 32 skill points.

Building Superheroes in Alternity

Building superheroes in Alternity isn’t that different from building normal characters.

Alternity is one of the last “Old School Games” wherein advancement means very little. You gain no additional attacks, no additional hit points, damage dealt is constant between levels, and ability score increases aren’t automatic (they are, in fact, extremely costly and cannot surpass a species maximum). This means that if a level 1 character attacks a giant, slobbering monster with a sword, he will do the same damage that a level 25 hero will do to that monster. The 25th level hero, however, may have a higher likelihood of doing better damage because he has more ranks in a relevant skill.

What this means for superheroes is that the better use of your skill points is to improve your superpowers.

Follow the steps for hero creation found in chapter 2 of the Player’s Handbook, modified as follows:

Step 1: Develop a Hero Concept

The best use of the Alternity rules is to pick something that your character is known for and channel all of your skill points into maxing those things out. That means if you’re a superhero, max your powers out to the 12 rank as quickly as you can. Obviously, a superhero should be able to do other things, but you need not worry so much about mundane skills. Wise starting stats (especially reasonable Dexterity and Intelligence scores) will give a playable hero.


Let the power define your hero. Everything else can be handled with the proper starting packages defined below. How often will your hero need to fire a gun or fly a plane? Not often enough to warrant buying more than 1-2 ranks in either of those skills. Max out the superpower!

Step 2: Choose a Species

Refer to the species on pp. 20-30 of the Player’s Handbook, unless the Gamemaster is using a different set of options.

Step 3: Choose a Career

Clark Kent is a reporter. Hal Jordan, a test pilot. Natasha Romanov, a spy. Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark are both billionaire dilettantes. Steve Rogers is a soldier. Dr. Stephen Strange, a surgeon.

Your hero’s secret identity has a day job. Picking a good one will give you all of the skills you will ever need, allowing you to put the rest of the skill points you earn into improving the superpowers.

Check here for careers based upon the Avengers.

Step 4: Pick a Profession

Select a profession that logically matches the hero’s day job. Refer to pp. 30-32 of the Player’s Handbook. The Gamemaster may also allow the hero to be an Adept, detailed on pp. 6-7 of Beyond Science.

Step 5: Assign Ability Scores

Follow the directions on p. 32-34 of the Player’s Handbook. If the Gamemaster allows mutations or cybertech, refer to chapters 14 or 15 in the Player’s Handbook respectively to equip your hero.

Step 6: Purchase Skills

Skills are less important in a superhero campaign, because the superpowers should define the hero and form the backbone of all of his actions. Therefore, selecting a good starting career package means you’ll never have to put points into improving what you began with.

Unarmed Attack–brawl or power martial arts and at least 2 ranks of a specialty skill in Modern Ranged Weapons are key to a hero’s survival in the tough, high crime urban environments that we find our superheroes. Therefore, even if the starting career package doesn’t include those skills, consider putting a few points into them.

Refer to Chapter 4 in the Player’s Handbook for a complete list of skills.

Step 7: Select Perks & Flaws

Refer to the perks and flaws detailed in chapter 5 of the Player’s Handbook. Consider checking Chapter 1 of Beyond Science for additional perks or flaws that could improve your hero’s use of FX.

Step 8: Choose Attributes

Refer to chapter 7 of the Player’s Handbook for ideas on how to play your hero.

Step 9: Complete the Hero Sheet

Refer to pp. 38-41 for directions on completing the hero sheet.

Avengers: Alternity Wars

capt_marvelWith the fervor surrounding superhero movies thanks to the recent releases of Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, I thought I’d use it as an excuse to revisit my first (and still one of my favorite) role-playing game system, Alternity.

The twin jewels of the Alternity game design was modularity and setting-independence. Alternity was a ruleset first, not a setting so you could create any sort of place you could imagine. It had rules for environments and hazards related to the environment. It had rules for creating distant planets. It had tables to generate random star systems.

The rules were modular as well. If you set your game on earth, you could ignore all the rules for extreme environments. If you built a Victorian-era steampunk game, then you could ignore the rules for modern firearms and bulletproof vests, as well as the chapter on computers. If you didn’t want mutants or cybernetic enhancements in your campaign, then you could ignore those rules as well.

beyond_scienceThe modular design also made it possible to rewrite rules as necessary. The final chapters of the Player’s Handbook and Gamemaster’s Guide gave rules for psionics, cybernetics, and what the game called “FX,” or “special effects.” Things that were beyond the ken of ordinary science. The FX rules got rewritten by Sean K. Reynolds as part of the Dark Matter campaign setting, then later released as a stand-alone guide book called Beyond Science: A Guide to FX.

The rewritten rules saw the FX functioning closer to ordinary skills, with a broad skill tied to a core ability and specialty skills with a much more narrow application. The old way had the player design her own specialty skill without a broad skill, and then estimate the cost based on a table considering several factors. It could make learning a single spell or having a single superpower cost as much as 20 skill points.

The new rules allowed for more versatile characters, but there was still typically a steep, steep cost to build a character. The initial skill points depend on a character’s Intelligence score, and average Intelligence leads to 35-55 skill points. Superpower broad skills cost 9 points, and each specialty skill costs between 2-4 points for the first level. That means that you could spend 11-14 points for a single superpower, which in some cases could be half of your allotment of starting skill points.

With superheroes on everyone’s mind, this month I will lay out a way for fans of the vintage Alternity RPG to create a superhero campaign. The Alternity Personalities column will feature my version of the Incredibles. At the end, you should have in your hands a playable campaign.

Stay tuned!

Hero Quest Quest Pack #4: Adventure in Arcania

What is the next logical step after the one-page dungeon?

An interlinked campaign of adventures.

The one-page dungeons that I’ve already put up, both the HeroQuest adventures and the ones from last year that showcased the Shrines map pack, formed a loose story. Each adventure was its own story, but it had running subplots that made it part of a larger narrative. In this case, however, each Quest is a “level” of a larger dungeon. Each Quest is not its own story. The full story’s main plot requires each Quest to tell it.

A reader emailed me about the Quest Pack series that I had posted at Agin’s Inn over 20 years ago. He and his group had completed the original three and he had wondered if I had ever made the promised sequel.

At the time, no. But I wrote it for his group and I hope that they enjoyed it. Over the last few weeks, I re-released the Quest Packs that led up to Adventure in Arcania, my most ambitious Hero Quest idea ever.

And today, Adventure in Arcania is here. Don’t get too excited. The resulting Quest Pack is nothing like what I envisioned. I plotted something akin to Baltar’s Staff, a Quest from Agin’s Inn that played like a nonlinear computer RPG. I added nontraditional boards and other components. Call it Baltar’s Staff on steroids.

But I crapped out and never completed it. Then, through this site, a reader contacted me and explained he had downloaded my other original Quest Packs and wondered if I had ever made this one. I wound up stripping it down to the required parts and setting them like traditional Quests in a Quest Pack in order to actually complete it.

Download the PDF here!

Hero Quest Quest Pack #3: Ograk

What is the next logical step after the one-page dungeon?

An interlinked campaign of adventures.

The one-page dungeons that I’ve already put up, both the HeroQuest adventures and the ones from last year that showcased the Shrines map pack, formed a loose story. Each adventure was its own story, but it had running subplots that made it part of a larger narrative. In this case, however, each Quest is a “level” of a larger dungeon. Each Quest is not its own story. The full story’s main plot requires each Quest to tell it.

A reader emailed me about the Quest Pack series that I had posted at Agin’s Inn over 20 years ago. He and his group had completed the original three and he had wondered if I had ever made the promised sequel.

At the time, no. But I wrote it for his group and I hope that they enjoyed it. Over the next few weeks, I will re-release the Quest Packs that led up to Adventure in Arcania, my most ambitious Hero Quest idea ever.

There were three types of monsters in Hero Quest: undead, Chaos Warriors, and orcs. Since we’ve seen a giant skeleton and a giant Chaos Warrior, that just leaves the greenskins without a representative. Take a guess what the Heroes face in this Quest Pack.

Download the PDF here!

REVIEW: Savage Encounters: Villains & Lairs

Available: DM’s Guild

Villains & Lairs is the perfect product to review first for the blog since I absolutely love villains and everything to do with villains. Just the other day I was texting my wife about villain quotes.

Hero quotes get all the fame: “Hasta la vista, baby.” “For Aslan!” “There must be some mistake. I’m not a–I’m Harry. Just Harry.” “Yipee ki-yay, mother f**ker!”

But some villains have excellent quotes as well. Why aren’t these more famous? “Even when you have nothing to lose, you still can’t do it. You’re weak. And I’ve outgrown you.” “If God were a villain, he’d be me.” “I never wanted the throne. I only wanted to be your equal!” And my favorite: “Let the mayhem begin.”

Bet you can name the owner of every hero quote. Can you name any owners of the villain quotes?

But I digress. The point of this post is to review an RPG supplement. However, I wanted to establish my love of villainy and all things villain. After all, how many people do you  know who can name all of the James Bond movie villains from memory? There is no one better qualified to give an opinion on this product. Continue reading “REVIEW: Savage Encounters: Villains & Lairs”

Hero Quest Quest Pack #2: Warnoc

What is the next logical step after the one-page dungeon?

An interlinked campaign of adventures.

The one-page dungeons that I’ve already put up, both the HeroQuest adventures and the ones from last year that showcased the Shrines map pack, formed a loose story. Each adventure was its own story, but it had running subplots that made it part of a larger narrative. In this case, however, each Quest is a “level” of a larger dungeon. Each Quest is not its own story. The full story’s main plot requires each Quest to tell it.

A reader emailed me about the Quest Pack series that I had posted at Agin’s Inn over 20 years ago. He and his group had completed the original three and he had wondered if I had ever made the promised sequel.

At the time, no. But I wrote it for his group and I hope that they enjoyed it. Over the next few weeks, I will re-release the Quest Packs that led up to Adventure in Arcania, my most ambitious Hero Quest idea ever.

Next up is Warnoc, the giant Chaos Warrior.

Download the PDF here!