Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Creatures Rough Draft


A fantasy role-playing of the other things.

Creatures takes place in the primeval world before humankind, when one continent graced the world and the rest

was water. Here those things long thought myth still rule, hunt, and play. Creatures is an RPG of the other things

in fantasy, of dragons, chimeras, unicorns, and gryphons--as heroes themselves.

Creatures are measured by two traits and its subdivisions: Instinct, and Intellect.

Under Instinct there are Two attributes: Vigor, and Cunning

Under Intellect there are two traits: Enchantment, and Will

(Perhaps add Ferocity and Reason?)

These sub-traits (attributes) are rated from pools of 1-5 d6es where the more dice in a trait the more

effective it is.

However dice are not "fixed" solely to be used by a single attribute. A heroic creature can borrow

dice from the opposite pool--borrowing Intellect to support Instinct, and Instinct to support intellect.

Each time they do this a check mark is made in the boxes/ovals under Instinct or Intellect. There are a set of two (one red, one black)

under each trait--when all the red boxes are filled under a trait you move a die from one attribute under that trait to one attribute under

the other trait. Black boxes indicate experience earned to improve the traits in that area--whenever an adventure is completed without borrowing a die from the opposing trait a hero receives a mark in a black box, when it is filled they may add 1 die to one of the two traits above them.

As dice are lost to one side the character slowly moves towards one of two extremes: Bestial Creatures which are pure might and animal cunning--with no wonder or magic or imagination.

Dragons become dinosaurs, Unicorns become horses, Chimeras become a version of their dominant (body) animal, and so on.

As points are shifted to Intellect the creature becomes more magical, more fanciful, slowly becoming less and less real until it is simply imaginary, and invisible to everyone but their closest

friends. Once a creature moves to either extreme it is up to their friends to re-spark the magic in them, or reground them in the world so they can be played as heroic creatures again.

In addition to the traits each Creature has a health box and a Mood box, these are used when the creature faces serious risks to either and can lead to injury or even death from which there is no recovery, or to torpor--mood death, where the creature hibernates until it recovers.

Playable creatures cover the vast menagerie of non-humanoid fantasy creatures the primary examples being Dragons, Chimeras, Unicorns

and talking "Great Beasts' (animals: Wolves, Bears, Eagles, etc)

6 Dice are split between the Vigor, Cunning, Enchantment, and Will attributes.

Unicorns have +1 Vigor and +1 Will

Dragons have +1 Cunning and +1 Enchantment

Chimera have +1 Vigor and +1 Enchantment

Great Beasts have +1 Cunning and +1 Will

Chimera include: Manticores, Gryphons, Basilisks, questing beasts and other animal mixes.

Difficulties: Easy 5

Challenging 10

Hard 15

Simply roll all trait dice that are appropriate and add them together to beat the challenge.

Tasks should be assigned to the most relevant trait: Sneaking falls under Cunning, Fighting falls under

Vigor, Magic falls under Enchantment, and Arguing falls under Will.


The largest creature granted magics gift and given sentience, dragons vary greatly in size beginning as wyrmling hatched from eggs no larger than a mortal Earth beach ball. In a few weeks they grow from wyrmling to wyrm about twice the length of a horse from snout to tail. These are the dragon ages we most hear from when they're young enough to be foolish, and their appetites do not yet drive them to scourge the land.

Dragons are also the most tied to elemental forces. While other Creatures might pursue interestsin various elemental magics, Dragons are tied to such forces by their birth.


Fire Dragons begin as voracious, energetic sprites of spirit, consuming vast quantities of food and moving from topic of curiosity to topic with a mad abandon like a fire seeking to burn some new tinder. They spend early life mostly hunting Obsidian fields near volcanoes, or dwelling in lava pools or sulfur laden hot springs (the little water they find comfortable).

As they age fire dragons become more fiery, their eyes burn, their nostrils smoke. The primarymagic of Fire dragons is flame and its byproducts, smoke, ash, fire, light, all are a fire dragon's province. Fire dragons coloration varies from black as charred wood or coal to reds, yellows, orange, golds, and some flame blue. Most fire dragons have typical beast builds with four legs and two wings a long neck and tail with reptilian head.


Water dragons begin as serpentine, legless amphibians who spend most of their time in the water chasing brightly colored bits from the bottom of seas, lakes and streams. As they grow a bit slower than most other dragon breeds they use the water (and its lack of threats to anything their size) quite often as their home and hearth. Water dragons are often collectors with a bit of a mischief spirit, they canrun deep and thoughtful, but are often a bit more cold and distant than other dragons. Water dragons of Wyrm age or older are equally happy in air or under water, and as they age they develop more aquatic traits--fins and beards of catfish, the ability to sense life by its inner spark in the dark depths, bioluminescent spots as patterns across their scales. Their magic is water in all its forms, from rain, to ice, to steam. Water dragons grow to be the second largest kindred of dragons.

Water dragon coloration varies as much as the fish of the oceans, often silver or opalescent white with greens, blues and others common. Most water dragons have serpentine builds with at least two legs, but often four. Wings are not common and tend to be more fin like. Water dragons also tend to have over sized heads with tendril-beards and fin crests.

Air Dragons

Air, or Sky dragons begin as wyrmlings with massive over sized wings that don't fit their vastly smaller bodies. The smallest of dragon-kind
throughout all ages they still have impressive wingspans. Air dragons unlike Fire dragons are night "flighty" instead they tend to go with the flow, accepting things more readily and lightly without the desperate abandon fire dragons possess. As they age air dragons often become more air adapted, streamlined features like narrow faces, and wings designed for soaring or diving. They do tend to have strong legs throw themselves into the sky and to pounce prey both ground based as well as flying animals to eat.

Air Dragon magic tends to manipulate air and weather, they can conjure storms, or toss out gusts or deadly to flying creatures windshear, as well as manipulate gases. Air dragons are often light green, or light blue, some come in white or gray and few number get deep blue of the night sky. They have more birdlike builds with thin forearms and heavy back limbs and massive wings often with narrow head and fins or ridges that aid them in flight.

Earth Dragons

The Earth Dragons are born wingless, many are serpentine and legless but not all. They have a mix of behaviors at the wyrm age from ponderous and calm to sneaky and snakelike. This may have to do with their hunting methods and need for patience in waiting for prey, they are not flicker fast like fire, or sleek swimmers, or agile aerial acrobats. Instead they stick as close to the ground as possible. The few who grow wings and can fly often do so only in short leaps and do so low to the ground (these sorts are fond of Mountain terrain). Most of those that remain wingless prefer sand, or forested landscapes where they use caution in hunting and adapt to there environment somewhat more broadly than the other dragons. Many earth dragons develop spines, or furred animal like traits, or even shells or armor like various other animals.

Earth dragon magic is slow to act, but terrible when it is unleashed, it can command plants, or rocks, shape stone or mud, and crack open the very crust of the earth. It can burrow or call up a sandstorm. Earth dragons coloration often begins as brown, but may darken into black of peat soil or lighten and shift to greens and browns of trees, or red-gold of fallen leaves, or sandy metallic hues of bronze or brass for desert dwellers. Earth Dragons builds are often beast like but quite a few are serpentine as well, those types have either no legs or stubby legs clinging close to the earth element.

Do all dragons breath fire?

No, only fire dragons breath fire, and even then it is an aspect of their magic a focused and powerful effect to be sure. Other dragons if they wish to exhale powerful elemental forces may adapt their magic to fire blasts of stone scouring sand, lightning or hurricane force wind gusts, or even scalding steam. Any dragon can expel magical energy this way, but it is likely to fit their elemental connection.

Do all Dragons Fly?

No, some do some don't. It depends on the player's choice and the type of breed they choose.

Do all Dragons eat meat?

Yes, they are predators, and they eat a LOT of meat as they get bigger and bigger. Only nasty corrupted dragons (not the focus of this game) would eat sentient animals.


Chimera are creatures born of the first chaotic spark of magic, unlike dragons they are less elemental and more primal, they are as if magic is trying to find the best combination of other things to thrive in the Mythic Land. Chimera made up of what may often seem a mis-matched collection of other animal parts. Bodies of horses, insects , bears, lions, with heads of goats, birds,dragons, lions, deer usually not matching the original body, and then legs and tails from other animals. Some Chimera may seem mostly normal but with extra heads or extra limbs but they are something often unique to behold. Most Chimera's begin as a live born creature that slowly grows to full size in a time period based mostly on the largest species that makes up its parts. Chimera's magic seems to be based on chaos in principle, but often is individually adapted.

Some for example with dragon parts tend to "breath fire" albeit their mastery of magic tends to be limited.Some species of Chimera breed true creating numerous subtypes: Gryphons for example are a chimera with a feline predators body, head and forelimbs of a predatory bird, and the birds wings. Since the parts are matched --being only two species that seem merged into a single new one. Gryphons for example have been noted that include the classic Eagle/Lion mix, as well as Cheetah or Leopard and Hawk, and Owls and Tigers among other numerous variants. All Gryphon can fly and have magic related to protection or defense.

Basilisks are another known species that breeds true that appears like a reptilian hen or rooster, they have magics specializing in poisons/toxins and other lethal effects, being one of the smaller chimera they seem to take umbrage with the other sentients, although more fall to corruption than Gryphons, most remain on the side of good.

When creating chimera player's should pick their favorite animals, or favorite ones they want to be mixed, and create something fun.
Chimeras personalities are shaped entirely by the choice of the players and can be as similar or dissimilar to the basic animals as possible. Attributes for Chimeras should represent what form the player chooses--a pygmy owl/house cat gryphon may need to have high cunning and will to represent its behaviors, but low vigor to represent its small size.

Great Beasts

Great Beasts are magically enhanced normal animals, they grow to giant size, and much improved wisdom and intellect. They are like all creatures capable of speech. Though normal animals do not tend to produce Great Beasts, rather they seem to be a large group enhanced in the past that continue to reproduce. Great Beast magic tends to be thoughtful, often tied to the animals nature, a Great Eagle's magic will differ from a Great Wolf, which will differ from a Great Tortoise. They tend to take twice as long to grow from newborns or newly hatched to the young adult stage. Many great beasts have pelts, skins, or other markedly beautiful, luxurious, or unique features. Such as a Great White Tortoise or a Great Wolf with fur like the midnight sky, or the Great Lion with a mane of gold. Unlike Chimera these creatures other than their
unique feature and exalted size (at least twice normal size) they appear very much like their mundane kin.


The last of the truly remarkable and widespread creatures of the Mythic Land, Unicorns appear as horses but with cloven hooves and with
a single spiral horn that rises from their brows. Despite what may seem like a relation to Chimeras, Unicorns are far more consistent and reliable. They are born like other mammals and raise their young together in the herd. Young Adult Unicorns often separate from the heard to investigate the world for a time. Unicorns magic varies with the herd, many herds focus on protection, some on knowledge gathering magics, and others still on whatever may be seen as best for the herds survival. Healing is particularly common as well as purification of corruption.

Do Creatures of the Mythic Land get along?

Mostly. Though rivalries and conflict exist there is a social truce of sorts between the sentient. The players assume the role of those on the side of light striving to work together in spite of those rivalries to hold back the dark and its corrupting power.

What Do Creatures of the Mythic Land, Do?

Play with each other as children and young adults, explore the Mythic Land, Fight things corrupted by or spawned from the Dark, as well
as make choices about the future of the Mythic Land by examining their own nature and striving to maintain a balance between Intellect and Instinct.

The Mythic Land

The Mythic Land began as all such places, in the mists of the dim unremembered past beyond the fog of the most ancient
and lasting memories. What the Creatures of the Mythic Land know is that once the world was water and as land
rose and the first things legged and finned moved ashore a spark of power flushed across the land. The magical rush of power
exploded out from the heavens and washed the land in eldritch waves that warped the land, and the sea, it changed and aged and became different than it might have been without that spark, and in that flush the first things upon the land and the endless things below were touched by its power and a few, a precious few became more, became alien, became aware.

They were the first Creatures of the Mythic Land.

Whatever began the spark, whatever forces gave magic to the Mythic Land, also gave the means to some of the Creatures to dabble in its power to tap there primal natures, and its power to make things happen. This is what separes the Mythic Land from other worlds where small brained massive lizard like creatures hunt for prey, where small mammals squeak and squirm beneath there feet, and the first feathered things take flight

No, the world of creatures is young, born anew of the spark, and blessed with the age of imagination born of the magics of the land.

Yet in magic as all things there is a dark side, those who reach beyond the spark for power into the long night of the void and who are warped by the Dark, outside the world. The Dark is the enemy of all things touched by the spark, of all life itself that can create, it is the essence of corrupt entropy.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hearts & Souls Print

Someone else did this I saw on so I thought it a good idea to share, pardon the blurriness, I am not familiar with the digital camera I used.

Front of Book:
Free Image Hosting at
Free Image Hosting at

Back of book:
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Interior of book:
Free Image Hosting at

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Lulu and Print

Lulu seems to have worked things out finally for H&S Print, I'm hoping no more hiccups occur.

In other news I've run H&S for a friend and he keeps demanding more--he even had me over to game and his wife joined us along with another member of our regular group. She seemed to enjoy it as much as him. Which makes me glad to GM for people who appreciate, only bad thing is I've used up my ideas for two adventures in running them one "long" session. However I planted the seeds for a future one and hopefully will have my full crew back and can introduce a recurring villain to oppose them.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hearts & Souls Review

A Review of my superhero RPG: Hearts & Souls

A New Blog.

I've used a Livejournal for some time to talk about gaming. I plan on using this as a mirror to that (so others may comment) on my design rambles.

-First Up: Ace Playtest.
ACE, stands for Action Card Engine, its a card driven RPG I've been working on aimed at allowing fast, easy mecha role-playing. Whether the mecha IS the character (Braireous from Appleseed, Optimus Prime from the Transformers), or the mecha is an addition to the character, I want them to be handled identically in terms of mechanical resolution, stats, etc. Now there are some slight differences I've found a nead to account for, but for the most part the playtest is working smoothly.

The setting I'm using for ACE is Vast Frontiers, a space western setting where mecha are called "slingers", and the rough and tumble frontier has its share of "gunslingers" eking out a living on the edge through violence.

The current group is two players one a young, thoughtfully played yet hyperkinetic go-getter who after helping out got deputized by the sherriff. The other is an older man with daughter who was hired because of his "history of violence" as the sherriff, there are reasons they hired the most violent man they could find who wasn't psychotic, the catch of course being that due to his wife's death, and his daughter's existence, he's way less violent than they "wanted".

They being the Mayor and his corporate masters for "Hangman's Gulch" an asteroid field with miners, bandits, and others lurking in the rocks, as well as the planetary colony below filled with 'dirt' farmers.
Mecha in the game are used for a variety of purposes, cargo handlers, repair walkers for vacuum, mining, farming (replacing tractor/ox and so on. The catch of course is virtually no-one owns "new" mecha--the slingers are all cast offs from The Line.

The Line is a hyperspace transit system which uses a tuglike "Line Engine" to haul cargo and passenger pods between explored locations--utilizing fixed jump points to ease transition to and from hyperspace. For a fee anyone can buy a berth on a "passenger" pod (often barely pressurized cargo pods) for a massive fee one can attach a whole pod. Individuals may own spaceships, but the cost is exorbant, and usually only found in very succussful groups (criminals may have a jumpship for outlaw banditry, and Line-robbing.)

Because most slingers are modified from Repair units off the line, none of integral weapons, most are heavily rekitted to new purposes, including violence by local engineers or gunsmiths.

So far the new system of handling "straights" (cards played that give a bonus beyond the initial value because they closely match the task at hand) is smooth if a bit fiddly. But no more so than the trumps from Saga which inspired them.

Right now I'm using a custom deck, but I may try and go back to using a slightly modified standard card deck. The main issue is that I've got is the 'Glitch' suite used like a bit of a wild card for triggering setbacks. I've got five suits, a standard deck only 4 (and a standard deck has too few cards for play if you have 5+ players with multiple card hands.)