Thursday, December 1, 2011

DriveThruRPG Newsletter 1/13/2011

Otherworld Creations
As always, the Drunken Goblin has lots of cool sales going on. Two that bear pointing out, though are Super Genius Games' 25% Off Everything, going on until 1/17.

Hero 5thAt the same time, Hero Games has put ALL Hero System 5th Edition products on sale for 50% OFF!

Bring it to the Table

The Villain Class

By Scott Casper of Games by Scott Casper

The following is a preview of character class debuting in Supplement II: All-American, coming very soon, for HIDEOUTS & HOODLUMS!

Villains: If the Editor is amenable to a campaign of non-Heroic activity the players may opt to play this class, though it is best used as a foil for the Heroes under the Editor's control. There are too many examples from comic books to list them all here, but some obvious examples are the Claw, Luthor, the Joker, Dr. Sivana, and (very early in his career) even the Sub-Mariner.

The Editor may, however, wish to use the villain class for mobsters only. Levels in the villain class can be added on to established mobsters, especially those who have survived earlier run-in(s) with the Heroes – for example, a Master Criminal/3rd-level Villain, a Napoleon/2nd-level Villain, or a Fu Manchu/5th-level Mysteryman/4th-level Villain (see Book II for stacking levels onto mobsters).

The Prime Requisite of the villain is Intelligence, which must be 12 or better, though Strength must also be 12 or better. Wisdom cannot be higher than 17. Villains may be of any race, but must always be of Chaotic Alignment. They may wear any armor, use any weapons, and any magic items a Mysteryman can employ.

Saving Throws: Villains make saving throws against science and magic at +1 and against poison and missiles at +2.

XP Bonus for Intelligence: This class bonus is due to a high Intelligence attribute.
Click Here for the Villains Class Level Table

The main special ability of the Villain is the ability to survive events, such as falling a great distance or drowning, that would normally even kill Heroes. If the Villain is reduced to 0 hp by something that should be capable of killing him, but makes a successful survival roll, then the Villain somehow survived. The Editor may have to get creative with an explanation for how the Villain survived (the Villain was caught on a tree branch no one saw in the ravine and was saved from the fall, the Villain found an underwater air-filled cave before drowning, etc.), but may not need the explanation ready until the Villain is next encountered.

Villains also have the ability to disguise themselves. If given enough time and materials to prepare (typically 1d6 days and 1d6x10 dollars) a villain can disguise himself to look like anyone. The disguise does not even need to be particularly clever. Normally, a rubber mask would not fool anyone, but on the face of a villain, a rubber mask is astonishingly realistic until removed. The villain may even be wearing a second mask (or even glasses!) underneath it.

A Villain can “monologue” at any time in the presence of a Hero. So long as the Villain is talking (or the Player playing the Villain is talking), any Heroes wishing to act must successfully save against plot to interrupt. Any pause in the monologue allows the Heroes to act normally.

A Villain may also “attach” himself to a Hero and become his nemesis. When in direct conflict with his nemesis, the Villain is equal level to the Hero. For example, a 3rd level Villain is the nemesis for a 7th level Hero. On the first turn of a combat, the Villain attempts to pistol whip a Supporting Cast Character (SCC), so he attacks as a 3rd level Villain. On the following turn the Hero shows up, so the Villain sprays multiple bullets (two per turn, being an automatic pistol), choosing both the SCC and the Hero as targets. The Villain now can make both attacks as a 7th level Villain, and even has extra HD (additional hp rolled on the spot) for the Hero's counterattack. On the third turn, the Villain fails his morale save and flees. Because the Villain is no longer directly confronting the Hero, he only has his normal HD for when the Hero pounces on him from behind.

A Villain cannot un-attach himself from a living Hero once a nemesis is chosen, even if the Villain becomes higher in level than the Hero. If the Hero actually dies, the Villain may choose a new nemesis after a year of game time has passed.

Villains can invent temporarily-functioning hi-tech items, just as Fighters, Superheroes, Mysterymen, and (non-Hero) mad scientists can, as per Book II: Mobsters and Trophies.

Starting at 8th level, Villains may establish hideouts and attract mobsters to them. When the Villain is being played by a Player, the details of the hideout must be worked out by the Player and approved by the Editor.

A Villain can never kill a Hero directly. If a Villain should defeat a Hero, the Villain must place the Hero into a death trap from which there is a chance (however slim) to escape. No saving throw against plot is allowed to circumvent this rule. If a Villain is being played by a Player, the Player must invent the details of the death trap, including describing how the Hero could possibly escape from it. The Player and Editor together must then agree on how likely the Hero's chance of escaping is (typically between a 1 in 6 or 3 in 6 chance) and the Editor will roll for it.

Villains have difficulty resisting the urge to boast in front of Heroes. Every time a Villain encounters a Hero, he must save against plot or reveal his planned intentions to the Hero(es) present.

Starting at 10th level, Villains must begin competing for territory. There can only be one Villain of 10th level or higher claiming a territory no smaller than 2,500 square miles. If there already is an established Villain claiming the desired territory, the new Villain will have to fight the old one until one of them is forced to leave or is killed.

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Treasures of the Net
Matt Looks Back at 2010 (Flames Rising)

2010 is just about over, where did the time go?

This was a pretty big year for me all around, with my expanded role at OneBookShelf (the company behind DriveThruRPG, DriveThruComics and related sites). If you don’t already know, I’m the Publisher Relations and Marketing Manager for OneBookShelf. I had the chance to work some awesome publishers and travel to quite a few conventions across the country. Recently, we got a print program up and running where folks can order print editions of titles like Descended From Darkness from Apex Book Company, Laws of the Night from White Wolf and King Arthur Pendragon from Nocturnal just to name a few. This has been a busy and detailed process working with some great publishers to get this program up and running and I’m looking forward to seeing it further develop in the new year.

My role managed to cut into my review writing time a lot more than I wanted it too, which meant I only wrote a handful of them for Flames Rising this past year. Still, I did have the chance to do some fun interviews in 2010, including Mouse Guard creator David Petersen as well as Forgotten Realms authors Ed Greenwood and R.A. Salvatore. The most popular interview I did this year was with Shane DeFreest from White Wolf where we discussed The Grand Masquerade. That was a fun show and I’m looking forward to the upcoming Vampire MMO they have in development.

This was the first year we did Theme Weeks at Flames Rising and they were certainly a lot of fun. I don’t think I can pick a favorite, but Cthulhu Week was certainly fun to put together. I’m looking forward to a few new themes we have been discussing behind the scenes for next year.

We also added quite a few awesome design essays from creators of RPGs, comics, games and films this past year. Along with our previews, these articles are among our most popular content and I’ve had a blast working with very talented people to give them a chance to tell us about their creative process. You can find most of these essays in our horror articles category. So check ‘em out, some great material there.

We added some great people to the Flames Rising crew this year as well like Eric Pollarine, Nancy Greene, Decapitated Dan Royer to our list of talented contributors. Our writers have helped increase the quality of content we’re offering including reviews, interviews and articles. Just dig into the archive of your favorite part of the site and you will see some of the excellent material everyone on the team has posted over the course of the year.

What’s new for next year? Stick around and find out.

Matt M McElroy

Flames Rising

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