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Mutant Chronicles

Breaking Radio Silence!

It’s been a bit quiet on here recently. There’s a lot of reasons for this. The main reason is the lack of time, but there’s another contributing factor: I’ve had to slow down a little.

So what’s eating my time? Put simply, work is largely responsible along with poor health and trying to do too much. I’m very much aware of how stress can manifest itself, having suffered it to a great extent last year. I’ve talked before about managing my time, but last year it really became an issue, especially as I developed discoid eczema over 75% of my body. This in turn fed my stress levels which pushed them even higher.

At the time, I was running two RPG campaigns, attending ELG, attending Leiththeatre (amateur dramatics), running ORC Edinburgh, being a “gaming ambassador”, working 9-5, and doing freelance RPG work in my spare time. I’d also just left a toxic relationship, which – although brief – had affected me more than I thought. Looking back, something was bound to give sooner or later.

Since last year, I’ve managed to strike a work-life balance. My RPG freelance work does not impinge on my day job (it never did, though). Plus, I’ve been receiving photo-therapy which has cleared much of the discoid eczema. I’ve sadly had to wind down both my RPG campaigns as found I didn’t have the prep time. I stopped the am-dram stuff as it was two nights a week, which meant I didn’t really get to stop until 10pm.

So what the hell, you may ask, has this to do with gaming?

It’s about managing expectations.

Working on RPGs and managing expectations

It’s been said to me several times that I’m “living the dream”. From a certain point of view I am, but there’s a cost involved – which I’ll come to in a minute. I love writing for RPGs. There’s a fantastic buzz to seeing a finished product with your name on it, no matter your contribution. I think there’s a lot of folk out there believing RPG writing is a dream job giving them a chance to make a lot of money doing what they love.

It’s not quite like that.

The folks that write RPGs work hard, at every level – we’re talking editors, proofreaders, artists – not just writers and designers. The full-timers have to make a living from their work, and freelancers often have to work as hard. What you put in, you get out – and the currency is time. So here’s my thoughts for anyone considering becoming a freelancer or full-time writer on RPGs (some is common sense, but…).

  • Be professional, if you want to be taken seriously. Treat it as you would any paid job. If you do get a Non-Disclosure Agreement, honour it. Conduct yourself as a business-person, rather than fan-person.
  • Hit any deadlines set. Even better, get your work completed well before the deadline.
  • You will be edited: accept it. I worked on a project with Forgotten Realms’ Elminster himself, Ed Greenwood, who told me “We ALL get edited.”- if your work is cut, deal with it.
  • Always get a proofreader, and get used to “red ink” or comments. Someone who’ll read over your work – this is less relevant for established publishers who will have their own proofreaders, but if you’re self-publishing, this is a must.
  • Treat it like a job, not a hobby. Set yourself proper goals to complete your work – milestones like “1,000 words by Friday”. Don’t be too stringent on yourself – you need downtime (see below).
  • It’s in the nature of the RPG industry (just like real-life!) that people move on to other projects and roles. While you’re working on a product, keep your loyalty to the product – not a person. There’s nothing personal in it.
  • Make sure you have some downtime to deal with Real Life™. Family, friends, films, a book…. whatever! Make sure you take some time out. If you’re going to sleep thinking about your work consistently, you’re overdoing it. Stop. Chill.
  • Do what you can, not what you want. Manage your time: to use a cliche, under-promise and over-deliver if needed. For example: I’ve been involved with almost the entire Mutant Chronicles line for 3rd edition. Much of that was indexing and caption writing, but I also helped fine-tune some of the writing and proofread. I am fine with that. Since then, I’ve found myself doing more and more on the product line.
  • Keep to the assignment. If you’ve been asked to keep to 20,000 words, keep to it. You may not get paid for any extra words. It can have a knock-on effect in layout, so be careful! If in doubt, ask. Some publishers may want to keep extra material for future products – so keep it in mind.
  • Deal with rejection. If your work has a problem, publishers will let you know. If you have to redo something, then do it. Don’t sulk about it.
  • Negative feedback is still feedback. What went wrong? So fix it, next time. Not everyone will like your work, so don’t worry about the one Dislike among a hundred Likes. Take ANY criticism and use it positively.
  • Believe in the product. You may not need to know the rules set, but turning in a half-arsed draft because you can’t be bothered with the canon is a shot in the foot. Also be preapared to talk about it on social media etc. (but honour any NDA!).
  • Invoice promptly. Budgets can be tight so make sure you invoice for either your time,  or the assigned word count.

Have I missed anything? Probably. But anyhoo… I’ll be at the UK Games Expo in June. If I’m not running a game, I’ll be at the Modiphius stand (or the pub)!

UK Games Expo Games I’m Running/Ruining

Friday

10:00-14:00 Mutant Chronicles: Ice Cold in Eden
15:00-19:00 Conan (2d20): Seethers in Darkness
20:00-Midnight: Achtung! Cthulhu: A Light on the Mountain

Saturday

10:00-14:00: Conan (2d20): Seethers in Darkness
20:00-23:59: Mutant Chronicles: Ice Cold in Eden

Damnation Dossier: The Heimburg Hellraisers

The Heimburg Hellraisers first appeared in the Cartel Tactical Centre fanzine for the Mutant Chronicles. I write a column called the Damnation Dossier for CTC, under the guise of the Serenity’s Agent 😉

Compiled by Her Serenity’s Agent Sir William Heron.

CLASSIFICATION: Brickbat Lingerie

Sirs.

Upon my recent sojourn to Dark Eden during the Incident (see the Dark Eden Campaign tome, currently in preparation) I had the fortune – or perhaps, misfortune – to encounter the Doomtroopers who call themselves the Heimburg Hellraisers. At this time there are five members, all of whom were in the city of Heimburg at the time of the so-called Battle of Heimburg (see the somewhat luridly entitled “Venusian Apocalypse” tome).

By various deeds (and possible misadventures!) they came to the Cartel’s attention via Inquisitor Stark (Confidential Brotherhood Personnel file attached – ssh!), who then elevated them to the ranks of the Doomtroopers. They’re a somewhat boisterous and rambunctious lot, a tad overconfident but all-round good eggs. They fight hard and play hard. If they can’t eat, drink, or bonk it; then they’ll likely shoot it.

The Hellraisers certainly distinguished themselves on Dark Eden, even considering the efforts of all involved. These Johnnies and Jennies are worth a look for future recruitment…

As mentioned, the Hellraisers are made up of five individuals:

  • Felcity Obasanjo, AKA “Momma Bear”. NCO Sergeant with Brotherhood training in the Art.
  • Tariq Nakamura, AKA “Chatterbox”. Trooper and close-combat specialist.
  • Barbara Perez-Singh, AKA “Duct Tape”. Trooper and combat medic.
  • Vladislav Artyomov, AKA “Masher”. Trooper, heavy weapons, and Comm-tech support.
  • Natalie Lang, AKA “Junior”. Trooper and Sniper.

Felcity “Momma Bear” Obasanjo

As leader of the Hellraisers, words to describe Obanajo like “indomitable” or “terrifying” spring to mind. She’s a former beat cop who joined the military after she grew tired of the corruption within the Capitol corporate police forces. While she has Brotherhood training she seems to be dead set against following the paths of their Mystics.

She’s tall, statuesque, and a very capable Sergeant – and doesn’t suffer fools – of any kind, at all. She has some skills in the Art as a result of her early tutoring by the Brotherhood. She’s fiery, opinionated and utterly secure of her position at centre of the universe. I’ve faced the Dark Legion’s worst, but even I feel like a rookie when subjected to her verbal tirades that would make a Wolfsbane blush.

CHRONICLE POINTS: 2

ATTRIBUTES

Agility    8

Awareness         10

Coordination      10

Intelligence        8

Mental Strength               10

Personality         8

Physique             10

Strength              10

SKILLS

Athletics: 3

Close Combat: 5

Education:  1

Heavy Weapons 2

Insight: 1

Lifestyle:  1

Mechanics: 1

Mysticism:  3

Observation:  2

Persuade:  3

Ranged Weapons:  4 (Focus 1)

Resistance: 2 (Focus 1)

Survival:  2

Willpower:  3

DAMAGE BONUSES

+2 Melee; +2 Ranged.

WOUNDS

Head 4 Torso 8 Arms 5 Legs 6 Serious 7 Critical 4

SOAK

Doomtrooper armour and Heavy Military Shoulder pads: Head 4 Torso 5 Arms 7 Legs 4

ATTACKS

  • CA-451 Gehenna Puker (ranged): Close, 2+[DS]8, Munition, Unwieldy, Incendiary 4, Torrent, Vicious 1
  • Piranha Handgun (ranged): Range C, 1+[DS]5, Semi-Automatic, 1H, Close Quarters, Hidden 1
  • Punisher Short Sword (melee): 1+[DS]6, 1H, Parry 1, Vicious 1
  • Combat Knife (melee): 1+[DS]5, 1H, Armour Piercing 1, Hidden 1

TALENTS

  • Big Boom
  • Mystic: Odabunja can cast the following spells of the Art: Blessing Contempt, Succour.
  • Rain of Fire
  • Rigorous Training
  • Sharp Senses
  • Spiritual Understanding

Tariq “Chatterbox” Nakamura

Of the entire unit, Nakamura was the biggest surprise. Although he carries himself like a Mishiman (and we know how arrogant that lot can be!), he is actually from Dark Eden: from the Crescentia Tribal region, to be exact. As a child he stowed away on board a Brotherhood ship (note to self: ascertain where this ship was – might be useful!), before disappearing onto the streets of Luna. The next decade or so is something of a closed book. Tariq learned things on what I shall euphemistically call a farm, but Tariq seems to have picked up some skills with a blade in that time…

Tariq is very quiet, but has a very dry sense of humour, and there appears to be some form of silent competition with Artyomov as to who can get away with the most outrageous prank or other clowning about. In battle he is all-business though, so Obasanjo forgives these minor transgressions. Just don’t ask her about the strange case of the regimental mascot and the laxative during the parade.

CHRONICLE POINTS: 2

ATTRIBUTES

Strength              10

Physique             11

Agility    10

Awareness         9

Coordination      9

Intelligence        7

Mental Strength               10

Personality         5

SKILLS

Acrobatics: 1

Animal Handling: 1

Athletics: 1

Close Combat: 7 (Focus 1)

Observation: 1

Pilot: 1

Ranged Weapons: 1

Resistance: 1

Stealth: 1

Survival: 1

Thievery: 1

Unarmed Combat: 1

Willpower: 3 (Focus 1)

DAMAGE BONUSES

+1 ranged; +2 melee

WOUNDS

  • Head 4 Torso 8 Arms 5 Legs 6 Serious 7 Critical 4

SOAK

Doomtrooper armour and Heavy Military Shoulder pads: Head 4 Torso 5 Arms 7 Legs 4

ATTACKS

  • PC-606 Hellstorm SMG (ranged): Close, 1+[DS]5, Burst, 2H, Armour Piercing 1, Vicious 1
  • Piranha Handgun (ranged): Range C, 1+[DS]5, Semi-Automatic, 1H, Close Quarters, Hidden 1
  • Punisher Short Sword (melee): 1+[DS]6, 1H, Parry 1, Vicious 1
  • Combat Knife (melee): 1+[DS]6, 1H, Armour Piercing 1, Hidden 1

TALENTS

  • Hardy
  • No Mercy
  • Resilient
  • Self-sufficient
  • Specialist: One-handed
  • Stubborn

Barbara “Duct Tape” Perez-Singh

Perez-Singh’s “origin story” reads like that of a classic over-achiever: high marks in everything she attempted. It was a given that Cybertronic would be interested in her. Her records showing her being gifted student, with a promising career in the medical profession within Cybertronic. She could have been Cybertronic’s media darling. Her records show her suddenly joining the military for some reason but even this Agent’s skills can’t break the encryption on those sealed files.

However: there’s something odd about Perez-Singh. She seems to veer between cool detachment when she’s dressing wounds to a murderous rage when prompted. I’ve seen her put a Necromutant’s face through a wall, bare-handed. She’s not a tall person, barely clearing 5 feet, but to see her do that… well, Cybertronic, what can I say?

CHRONICLE POINTS: 2

ATTRIBUTES

Strength              8

Physique             8

Agility    11

Awareness         9

Coordination      10

Intelligence        12

Mental Strength               10

Personality         7

SKILLS

Acrobatics: 1

Athletics: 1

Close Combat: 3

Education: 1

Insight: 1

Lifestyle: 1

Mechanics: 3

Pilot: 1

Ranged Weapon: 3

Resistance: 3 (Focus 1)

Science: 3

Stealth: 1

Survival: 3

Willpower: 3 (Focus 1)

DAMAGE BONUSES

+1 Ranged

WOUNDS

  • Head 3 Torso 7 Arms 4 Legs 5 Serious 6 Critical 3

SOAK

Doomtrooper armour and Heavy Military Shoulder pads: Head 4 Torso 5 Arms 7 Legs 4

ATTACKS

  • PC-606 Hellstorm SMG (ranged): Close, 1+[DS]5, Burst, 2H, Armour Piercing 1, Vicious 1
  • Piranha Handgun (ranged): Range C, 1+[DS]4, Semi-Automatic, 1H, Close Quarters, Hidden 1
  • Punisher Short Sword (melee): 1+[DS]4, 1H, Parry 1, Vicious 1
  • Combat Knife (melee): 1+[DS]3, 1H, Armour Piercing 1, Hidden 1

TALENTS

  • Field Dressing
  • Hardy
  • Heal
  • No Mercy
  • Physician
  • Rigorous Training
  • Stubborn
  • Therapeutic Caregiver

Vadislav “Masher”Artyomov

Dour. Taciturn. Tall. All words to describe Artyomov, a big lad from Whitestar; only a year older than Lang, but he’s seen a lot of things get tasty. He’s immensely protective of Lang– although he’d never admit it. Born on the painted rust of Kosmograd Spaceport, he’s no stranger to hard work, crawling over the gantries to fix various mechanical “complications” there. He came to the Cartel’s notice after a well-placed autocannon salvo destroyed a Nepharite and three Razides, standing his ground while his militia comrades ran away.

He’s a bloody good mechanic and tech, and the sodding great autocannon he carries delivers a right smack. He’s not called “Masher” for his aggression, but for his ability to create stills of alcohol. “Rocket fuel” he calls it. And it’s lethal. I’m fairly certain the Hellraisers use it to clean their weapons too. He and Nakamura have some kind of rivalry regarding who can pull off the most outrageous stunt. Currently, Artyomov has the higher ground: he inverted Nakamura’s quarters. Everything is upside down. Nakamura was asleep in there at the time. So far, Artyomov has told no one how he did it.

CHRONICLE POINTS: 2

ATTRIBUTES

  • Strength 9
  • Physique 10
  • Agility 8
  • Awareness 12
  • Coordination 10
  • Intelligence 11
  • Mental Strength 8
  • Personality 6

SKILLS

Athletics: 1

Close Combat: 5

Education: 1

Insight: 1

Mechanics: 2

Mysticism: 1

Observation: 1

Persuade: 1

Pilot: 1

Ranged Weapons: 3

Resistance: 5

Science: 1

Survival: 4

Thievery: 1

Willpower: 5

DAMAGE BONUSES

+1 Melee; +3 Ranged.

WOUNDS

  • Head 3 Torso 8 Arms 4 Legs 6 Serious 6 Critical 4

SOAK

Doomtrooper armour and Heavy Military Shoulder pads: Head 4 Torso 5 Arms 7 Legs 4

ATTACKS

  • CA-138 Deathlockdrum Autocannon (ranged): 2+[DS]10, Automatic, Unwieldy, Armour Piercing 1, Spread 1
  • Piranha Handgun (ranged): Range C, 1+[DS]7, Semi-Automatic, 1H, Close Quarters, Hidden 1
  • Punisher Short Sword (melee): 1+[DS]5, 1H, Parry 1, Vicious 1
  • Combat Knife (melee): 1+[DS]4, 1H, Armour Piercing 1, Hidden 1

TALENTS

  • Grease Monkey
  • Natural Engineer
  • No Mercy
  • Quick Draw
  • Sniper
  • Spiritual Understanding

Natalie “Junior” Lang

Lang grew up in a fairly prestigious family, retainers for Bauhaus’ House Steinberg. Groomed for a life of boring menial and clerical work, the young (!) Lang rebelled, going spectacularly off the rails and immersing herself in the designer drug culture. After a few brushes with the BLEUs, she eventually found herself banged up inside the nick. Considering her options, she opted to join the military, where she has found her niche as a first-class sniper.

Natalie is a perky and relentlessly optimistic individual who remains in what I can only describe as on a constant “sugar high”. She loves confectionery and often leaves sweet wrappers behind, despite policing her brass! She has yet to receive a nickname other than “Junior” from Obasanjo much to her annoyance, as she has yet to distinguish herself in the team. Whatever you do, don’t mention this to her – as she’ll go off on one about it.

CHRONICLE POINTS: 2

ATTRIBUTES

Strength              10

Physique             8

Agility    9

Awareness         12

Coordination      10

Intelligence        10

Mental Strength               10

Personality         7

SKILLS

Acrobatics: 2

Athletics: 1

Close Combat: 3

Education: 1

Heavy Weapons: 2

Mechanics: 1

Mysticism: 2

Observation: 2

Persuade: 1

Ranged Weapons: 6

Resistance: 4

Stealth: 2

Survivor: 2

Thievery: 2

Willpower: 6

DAMAGE BONUSES

+2 Melee/+3 Ranged

WOUNDS

Head 3 Torso 8 Arms 4 Legs 6 Serious Wound 6 Critical 4

SOAK

Doomtrooper armour and Light Military Shoulder pads: Head 4 Torso 5 Arms 5 Legs 4

ATTACKS

  • Mephisto Sniper Rifle (ranged): Close, 2+[DS]8, Burst, Unwieldy, Unforgiving 3
  • Piranha Handgun (ranged): Range C, 1+[DS]6, Semi-Automatic, 1H, Close Quarters, Hidden 1
  • Punisher Short Sword (melee): 1+[DS]6, 1H, Parry 1, Vicious 1
  • Combat Knife (melee): 1+[DS]5, 1H, Armour Piercing 1, Hidden 1

TALENTS

  • Hardy
  • Quick Survey
  • Scout
  • Sharp Senses
  • Sniper
  • Through and Through

RPG Retrospective – 2016

I have mixed feelings about 2016. I reckon everybody has now. I’ve had a load of setbacks, but have also upped my “game” this year considerably. Not all of these setbacks were gaming related, but they impacted on both myself and my gaming nonetheless.

I made the official jump to being a freelancer last December (as in, HM Taxman now knows I do freelance writing). On the plus side it means I can be taken a little more seriously and can also factor the costs of doing business into my tax return (probably a minus!). I will be paying voluntary National Insurance contributions. Ethically, and morally, I don’t agree with finding ways to hide money from the taxman. We’re all likely screwed anyway, thanks to the current political climate in the UK and abroad…

OK. Back on topic. Time has also been a casualty this year for me. As well as holding down a full-time job (with extra duties and responsibilities – and pay!), the freelance work has taken a huge chunk out of my ability to devote time to the hobby. This is a natural progression of things I reckon. Last year I’d hoped to become more of a gaming “ambassador” trying to get the disparate gaming groups of Edinburgh to perhaps try to talk to one another. I’ve put this project on hold for now – I cannot devote the time to it. A number of people commented on how busy I was, but I didn’t realise how much until my health took a bit of a body blow. When something you enjoy stops being fun, stop and take a breather.

With that in mind I had to make a few changes.

Convention-wise, I didn’t go to Conpulsion, Q-CON, or others this year. I attended the UK Games Expo and Dragonmeet, but that was the only two. There’s a significant cash outlay in both travel and accommodation for conventions outside Edinburgh. The state of the pound means it’s unlikely I’ll attend GENCON or ESSEN. If I’m honest, these are actually working trips – I’m either helping setup and help on the Modiphius stall (5am start for Dragonmeet!), and/or I’m demo’ing games. There’s something very rewarding about having players come back to your games from previous years. Even more so when they buy the game based on the session you ran.  😀

I also turned in a selection of Doomtroopers for the Cartel Tactical Centre, a Mutant Chronicles/Warzone fanzine. I’m writing a regular column called the Damnation Dossier, using Her Serenity’s Agent Sir William Heron nom de plume. I’ve a loa of NPC ideas for MC.

Most of my freelance work relates to the Mutant Chronicles. I’ve done the indexing, captioning, error checking and stats for much of the line. I call it “Chroming”. It’s hard work, but the buzz you get when it’s done.. . The Dark Eden Setting book was a true marathon for all involved.

I’ve had to reduce my weekly sessions of ORC games to fortnightly. I’m running Achtung! Cthulhu Shadows of Atlantis. I’ve a good group. We spend half the time delving into history, which I’ve really come to enjoy. It’s not Call of Cthulhu as such, but something pulpier. Sadly, the enervation of time meant I had to stop running my Mutant Chronicles game, which was fun while it lasted.

Long time subscribers to my blog may have noticed that I’ve not mentioned ORC. It’s still going strong. I have simply gone to the next level. I covered this in a previous post –  see http://www.themandragora.com/orc-edinburgh-moving-on/

Goals for 2017

For 2017, I’m trying to strike a compromise. Take time to get a breather, when it’s needed. I’ve worked pretty hard over the last year (not just gaming-wise), and I’ve a better idea about what I can do. But I’ve a bunch of ideas.

In that regard, I plan to write adventures down, not just have them in my head. I’ve a nice number of notebooks that contain “figments”, for want of a better word. Not just Mutant Chronicles, but Achtung! Cthulhu too. I really want to get the ideas down and out there. I’ve an idea for an Achtung! Cthulhu campign that I really need to spec up.

I’m hoping to play more boardgames: I tried to get more involved at ELG over the year, but time was limited. I backed “Siege on the Citadel” which should come as no great surprise. It’s something of a quandary, as I don’t really like competitive games, but enjoy the social aspect.

I’ve few ideas to help the Modiphius Silvershields programme. It’s early days yet, but I’m hoping that the ideas I have may give it a bit of a boost. Volunteer GMs are a resource to be cherished by games companies. I’m not talking about organised play like Pathfinder Society or Adventurer’s League, but GMs that give up their time to run their own games.

Infinity is a game I’d like to get into, after buying Operation: Red Veil. As regards the RPG, I’m an NPC. I’m not sure if I’ll get heavily into it. Way too much background fluff, and I plan to stick to Mutant Chronicles and Achtung! Cthulhu for demo purposes. I can’t really run any more games – even Star Trek, although I’ll manage a monthly sojourn to Black Lion.

Convention-wise I plan to go to Conpulsion this year, as well as the UK Games Expo and Dragonmeet. Possibly Claymore too. I’m not sure whether it’ll be as player or GM, but I’m planning to take the opportunities as they crop up. Either way, I reckon the work will be worth the reward.

One of my final reflections is that I’ve become something of a local gaming celebrity. I’m not a guru or an expert. I AM NOT A CELEBRITY. I’m a guy that has some gaming experience and can talk to people. That’s all.

Anyways: Happy New Year.

Damnation Dossier: NPCs for the Mutant Chronicles

As I’ve been working on Mutants & Heretics as well as the Dark Eden campaign, I’ve been having fun stat’ting up NPCs for the Mutant Chronicles. Here’s a couple of new NPCs:

Avena Reznik [NEMESIS]

“The pin-up of CEN” as she is known in Luna PD (although not to her face), Avena is a detective, first grade in Luna PD’s Homicide Division. No other detective in the division has such a high clear-up rate. She has featured in a number of high-profile media cases, but was once the subject of a case herself.

As a rookie Luna PD cop, Avena was captured and held prisoner for three weeks by Grigor Valentinov, the infamous “Rookery Raptor”. Starved and subjected to all manner of foul depredations, Avena somehow kept her sanity. At least, that is how the psych reports read. The autopsy reports of Valentinov state that he fell into the industrial machinery of the disused factory where Avena was being held. The post-mortem wounds were consistent with such injuries.

The truth is far darker. Chained to a a steel pipe, Avena was weak from starvation, but had worked a part of the pipe loose into a makeshift shiv she hid in her sleeve. Then Valentinov came to visit, looking forward to ending her life, whispering vile suggestions and atrocities into her ears. Unable to bear it any longer, Avena plunged her shiv into his neck.

Valentinov bled out in front of her and Avena couldn’t help but smile. Still chained to the pipe, Avena was still trapped, alone, and so very hungry… But there was fresh meat in front of her, and within reach. And at that point, Avena was lost to the Darkness, as the Black Hunger took hold. With the first bite, she was privy to Valentinov’s memories, and where the corpses of his victims were hidden.

Found staggering through the Nines by a routine patrol, she was the only survivor of the Rookery Raptor – and the press ate it up. Once she was cleared, she led Luna PD to every one of the graves of the Raptor’s victims with her “unique” psychological insights. Fast-tracked through the ranks, she quickly found her place in Homicide.

She has fallen under the sway of the Dark Apostle Algeroth, although she is unaware of it. The Black Hunger, her cannibalism, is quickly leading her down the path to damnation.  She has rationalised her behaviour by the ability to catch killers, often leading to a convenient fatality outcome. By consuming the flesh of the victims she gains insights into the identity of the killers. However, the growing urge to kill and feast on the flesh of killers is growing…

She often uses her Dark Gifts to conceal her kills, and her abilities mean she gains some insight into how an individual died. She is very careful to herself concealed from the Brotherhood and does everything by the book.

Avena is a statuesque 6′ 2” black woman, with dark-blonde hair (which she keeps close-cropped and short) and has striking blue eyes. She dresses like most of the Luna PD in functional clothing – although it is of the highest quality, owing to corporate sponsorship. She also fronts some CEN ads for beauty creams, appearing as a women of twenty-something years old. She is older than that, but no one has looked at her personnel file to affirm this. Her “diet” allows her to appear far younger than she is.

Avena can easily become part of the Investigators’ world. They may know her from the CEN broadcasts, or she takes a personal interest in their investigations. She is the ideal a rookie Luna PD looks up to. She may even be a mentor to one of them.

Avena works closely with Manny Leibovitz (see below) who knows her appetites and sees her as one of his best “customers”.

Attributes
Strength Physique Agility Awareness
10 9 10 12
Coordination Intelligence Mental Strength Personality
9 8 8 8
Fields of Expertise
Combat Fortitude Movement Senses Social Technical
EXP FOC EXP FOC EXP FOC EXP FOC EXP FOC EXP FOC
4 2 2 2 2 1 5 3 3 1 2 2

Soak: Ballistic Nylon Trenchcoat, Heavy Civilian Shoulder Pads: (Head 0, Torso 1, Left Arm 2, Right Arm 2, Legs 1)

Wounds:

  • Head 3
  • Torso 8
  • Arms 4
  • Legs 6
  • Serious 6
  • Critical 4
  • Mental 8

Attacks:

  • Piranha Handgun (ranged): Range C, 4+[DS]3, Semi-Automatic, 1H, Close Quarters, Hidden 1
  • Dagger (melee): 3+[DS]4, 1H, Armour Piercing 1, Hidden 1

Special Abilities

  • Personal Dark Symmetry (4)
  • A pound of flesh: By consuming a pound or more of a corpse’s flesh as a standard action, Avena can learn who the corpse was and sees the last moments of the corpse’s life.
  • Black Hunger: After suffering a Repercussion in combat, Avena enters a berserk, cannibalistic fury, gaining the Braindead special ability. In this state, she gains one bonus Momentum on all Close Combat and Unarmed Combat skill tests, but all attacks against her gain one bonus Momentum as well. When in this berserk state, she must devour her foes as well. After killing a creature, Avena may stop to feed. She can feed for up to three turns, regaining [DS]3 wounds at the end of each turn. Under normal circumstances, this is voluntary, but if she has succumbed to the Hunger, she must feed as often as possible, for as long as possible, and it will only stop feeding if she is attacked – at which point, she will attack the creature that interrupted her feeding.

Dark Symmetry Spend

  • Dark Gifts: Avena can use the following Dark Gifts as a Heretic of Algeroth: Call Karnofage, Dark Curse, Dark Ward Painless, Summon Malignant, Swift Portal, Swift Shadows of Unrest.
  • Call Karnofage (Dark Soul): By spending two Dark Symmetry points, the Heretic summons a Karnofage, calling one lurking in the vicinity. The Karnofage appears within Close range of the Heretic, and may not act during the turn it is summoned. Multiple Karnofages may be summoned, increasing the Dark Symmetry point cost by two for each additional Malignant summoned. The Karnofages remain for as long as the Heretic concentrates on this Gift – as soon as he stops concentrating, the karnofages vanish, scuttling into shadows. See Dark Soul for more info on Karnofages.
  • Summon Malignant of Algeroth: By spending two Dark Symmetry points, the Heretic summons a Malignant, calling one lurking in the vicinity, or summoning one from one of Algeroth’s abyssal realms. The Malignant appears within Close range of the Heretic, and may not act during the turn it is summoned. Multiple Malignants may be summoned, increasing the Dark Symmetry point cost by two for each additional Malignant summoned. The Malignants remain for as long as the Heretic concentrates on this Gift – as soon as he stops concentrating, the Malignants vanish, scuttling into shadows or vanishing in a sulphurous cloud. See Dark Soul for more info on Malignants of Algeroth.
  • Swift Shadows of Unrest: This is one of the few Gifts in Algeroth’s pattern that is not directly martial in nature. It was given by Muawijhe, as a way of spreading discord, though Algeroth’s followers more commonly use it as a distraction before a battle. By spending one Dark Symmetry point. The Heretic produces a cacophony of screeching and terrifying murmurs, followed by a maelstrom of vaguely humanoid shadows. They can be directed to assail any the Heretic wishes to impair, so long as he is able to see them. The shadows are terrifying figments, appearing to claw at their victims, yet while their touch is chilling and uncomfortable, it inflicts no harm. While this Gift remains in effect, the Heretic can spend a Free Action to direct the shadows to assail a living, intelligent creature within Medium range. That creature must attempt a Willpower test with a difficulty equal to this Gift’s difficulty or suffer a mental assault.

Manny Leibovitz [Trooper]

Manny is a familiar sight to many of Luna PD, as he works for the Coroner’s office. He also maintains the nearby crematorium, where the bodies of homicide victims are disposed of after autopsy.

A cheery individual despite his vocation, Manny has a sunny disposition. Slightly overweight, he dresses smartly no matter the circumstances. He wears thick glasses, and is near-blind without them. He is a stickler for paperwork and procedure, almost to a fault, as many rookie PD officers find out.

Manny’s cheerfulness hides his dark and ghoulish side-line. He sells access to bodies. He doesn’t care what happens to a corpse as long as he gets paid. Over the years he’s been paid to alter autopsy records, lose forensic evidence, provide body parts to heretics, and cremate bodies without death a certificate. Some Luna PD Detectives have used him to frame would-be killers. Heretics may also use his services to dispose of their victims. There are also those like Avena Reznik whose appetites run to more sophisticated or depraved levels.

Manny is the kind of character the Investigators could encounter a lot in their investigations. He is the clean-up crew after the shoot-out, the pathologist on the scene. Discovering Manny’s secret will come as a shock to the Investigators.

Attributes
Strength Physique Agility Awareness
8 7 8 8
Coordination Intelligence Mental Strength Personality
7 10 8 8
Fields of Expertise
Combat Fortitude Movement Senses Social Technical
EXP FOC EXP FOC EXP FOC EXP FOC EXP FOC EXP FOC
1 3 1 1 1 3 1 2 1 2 1

Wounds: 5

Soak: None

Attacks:

  • Scalpel (melee): 1+[DS]3,1H, Armour Piercing 1

Special Abilities

  • First Responder: Manny is knowledgeable about human anatomy, and may re-roll a single d20 when making a Treatment or Medicine test, but must accept the new result.

Taking a breather!

It’s almost the end of summer here in Edinburgh. The leaves are already coming off the trees, and the Festival is finally ending. After a rotten personal start to the year, things have – by and large – sorted themselves out.

I’ve found it necessary to de-clutter, and got rid of some of my gaming collection earlier in the year. Thankfully, to people who will use them I hope. In a strange twist of fate this led indirectly to me being interviewed for a piece on RPG collecting, which I hope to see soon online.

ORC Edinburgh goes from strength-to-strength, although I find little time to organise things as much as I did. I’ve now lost count of the number of GMs running games. I am sticking to running both the Mutant Chronicles and Achtung! Cthulhu games. I’ve also set up some of the members as Moderators. Games Day was a great success with around 30 gamers turning up to play. We hope to repeat it again at some point but it’s not something I want to organise alone.

I went down to the Games Expo again this year. had a lot of fun working on the Modiphius stand, although I didn’t get to demo any Achtung! Cthulhu. It was far more focused on board games this year, with only a few RPG companies in attendance. I did get the chance to snag a slipcase of 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu there. I could have got it signed but it completely slipped my mind. AUGH!

I’ve pretty much gone off board and wargames for the time being. I don’t have enough space in the flat to store them, or to paint and assemble minis. I’m working longer hours and the freelance work I do eats up a lot of my time (but I love doing it).

I’m largely resigned to the fact that my days of being able to play games during the week are now over. Work has become pretty challenging, so I’m never really bored. Getting my work/life balance sorted has been a bit of a tightrope this year.

Mutant & Heretics

Mutant & Heretics

One of the high points of my year so far is getting my name on this little beauty of a book. Listed as a proof reader on most of the range and have also been logging the errors, writing the captions, doing the stats, and compiling the indexes.

Coming up

I’m working on the final book in the Mutant Chronicles Kickstarter, the “Dark Eden” campaign, which I hope to complete this week (or at least the bit I’m working on!).

I also plan to write up some sample Heretics and the adventure, “A Life in the Day” for the Mutant Chronicles.

Both Achtung! Cthulhu and Mutant Chronicles games will resume (I took some time off from MC). I’m hoping to begin converting Shadows of Atlantis to 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu soon.

I’m hoping to be at Dragonmeet this year too. Better get organised!

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