Sep
19
2019
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Scuttle [GURPS 4e]

Scuttle

This martial art is most suitable for those game worlds where every group has their own fighting style.  Pirates in particular would be almost forced to develop something that could counter the inscrutable ways of the ninja; after all, the alternative would be to die in a hail of throwing stars.  That’s hardly profitable!

The primary weapons of Scuttle are a cutlass in the dominant hand, and a knife in the other.  Nets are also used, typically against ninja: the style encourages both dodges and trickery. Also note that a pirate with a hook hand who had been trained in Scuttle can and will use both Aggressive Parry and Hook fairly safely.  These particular techniques are even taught to pirates who still have two hands, on the principle that it saves time later.

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Sep
04
2019
4

GURPS In Nomine Revisited: Swedenborg-1

Swedenborg-1 [Quantum 7]

If this parallel could have a ranking higher than Z-10, it would — which, given the apparently unremarkable nature of the alternate, might seem odd to the casual researcher. When originally surveyed, Swedenborg-1 got misclassified as a (relatively common) alternate where parachronics had not been invented: its lack of mana was likewise not particularly noteworthy. What research was done mostly hoped to determine whether it was what echoes turn into when they hit 1998.

This fortunately meant that there were relatively few people on Homeline present on Swedenborg-1 when it became apparent that the alternate in fact was dominated by two factions of supernatural entities that not only resembled traditional “angels” and “demons:” they referred to themselves as angels and demons, and had the raw power and supposed history to back up their claims. This in itself might not have made Infinity panic, but the demonstrated proof of an afterlife (on Swedenborg-1, at least) did. Fortunately for the Secret, no-one from Homeline had actually died yet on the timeline; and a full retreat and quarantine has given the I-Cops the hope that the inhabitants remain ignorant of the universes outside their own.

At least, that’s what the I-Cops hope.

Swedenborg-1, 2008

Current Affairs

An epic war between “Heaven” and “Hell” rages beyond the notice of the mundane world.

Divergence Point

Officially: 1998, with the non-invention of parachronics. Unofficially, arguably anywhere from 14,000 BC to the Big Bang.

Major Civilizations

Western (Empire with rivals), Chinese (empire), Orthodox (Empire with rivals), Indic (Empire)

Great Powers

People’s Republic of China (Ogliarchy, CR5), Republic of India (representative democracy, CR4), Russian Republic (Dictatorship, CR3), United Kingdom (representative democracy, CR3), United States of America (representative democracy, CR3)

Worldline Data

TL: 8

Quantum: 7

Mana Level: none (standard); normal (nonstandard)

Centrum Zone: Red

Infinity Level: Z10

On the surface, the world seems normal enough; like many timelines that apparently had the lack of parachronics as its divergence point, it suffered from terrorist attacks in the beginning of the new millennium and is still dealing with the consequences of the same, over half a decade later. The USA remains the most powerful nation on the planet, although — again as usual — both the PRC and the ROI are gearing up to be rivals (in this particular alternate, the USA appears likely to eventually ally with the latter against the former). No world wars appear to be looming, but the usual brushfire conflicts over poor resource allocation show no sign of disappearing.

This is all a façade.

Infinity does not know whether or not the supernatural inhabitants of Swedenborg-1 are in fact “angels” and “demons” who serve either “the Seraphim Council” or “Lucifer;” while the theologies of the various religions remain the same in both this timeline’s and Homeline’s, the mythologies are only superficially similar. What evidence has been gathered from either of the two factions (plus a third, much weaker one, which mostly seems made up of supernatural entities usually associated with various polytheistic religions) suggests that Heaven and Hell are largely content to ignore human religions and institutions except where they might impact their own private War. While there are profound philosophical and ethical differences between the two factions, apparently members of one are capable of moving to the other — and do so on a regular basis.

The most common supernatural entities to be found on Swedenborg-1 are angels and demons. There seem to be various “breeds” of both, complete with common supernatural abilities. The verified examples of same include: lie detection, mental domination, the ability to track anyone anywhere, hyper-reflexes, entropy control, perfect empathy, emotional domination, detection of moral transgressions, forced loyalty, body possession, mind control, perfect awareness of relationships, and psychic vampirism. Sub-faction leaders (called “Archangels” and “Demon Princes” by locals; Infinity simply refers to them as “gods”) also offer a large number of specialized abilities of varying power. There are also numerous human servants, including post-mortem ones. The mortals’ (and Undeads’) abilities are usually much weaker, but still formidable.

Outworld Involvement

Normally, Infinity would simply ban all contact with Swedenborg-1 and be done with it. Unfortunately, the timeline is a place where literal miracles occur on a regular basis. If the resources there could be tapped, the payoff could be nigh-unlimited. The I-Cops thus compromise by allowing a bare trickle of researchers (as in, one at a time) to visit the timeline precisely long enough to set up particular experiments, then return. The current (indeed, only) research focus is on developing a reliable method of detecting supernatural entities; once that happens, Infinity hopes to be able to risk more missions on Swedenborg-1. Whether or not the Cabal is active on this timeline is a question of some interest to Infinity, and particularly I-SWAT (who is not so much rumored to recruit from this timeline as it is simply been assumed that such recruiting is happening).

While Centrum knows about Swedenborg-1 it apparently fears it: once its nature was discovered, Centrum immediately abandoned all of its non-portable equipment and evacuated on the spot. Infinity is worried that at least one Centran has died on Swedenborg-1, which might mean that Homeline’s own information quarantine was doomed before it started.

Other Swedenborgs

There are currently five Swedenborg-type timelines found and identified as such.  All are Q7, and the other four known are paired interestingly. On Swedenborg-2 and -3, the difference between the Heaven and Hell factions is much more sharply defined; Heaven seems to be winning their War in Swedenborg-2, while Hell is steadily more powerful in Swedenborg-3. In contrast, in Swedenborg-4 and -5 the difference between the two factions is much blurrier. On Swedenborg-4, this has resulted in a fairly run-down alternate world; but in Swedenborg-5 the general mood is much brighter.

What Infinity does not know yet is that there are at least two more worlds that should be designated as Swedenborg. One is misfiled as Reality Taiping-3 (Q7), due to the existence and survival of a Taiping kingdom.  In reality, it is a timeline where the faction leader “Lucifer” was victorious: Infinity knows it mostly as an inexplicably degrading alternate where entropy keeps increasing in bizarre ways. The second is a world where one particular faction sub-leader was destroyed in 1008 AD instead of another: unknown to Infinity, Centrum has misfiled it as Minus One/Y/2000.12.21, and thinks of it as merely being a steampunk alternate with an odd amount of not-precisely-recognizable technology.

The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the In Nomine and GURPS systems from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.

In Nomine and GURPS are registered trademarks of Steve Jackson Games, and the art here is copyrighted by Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.

Aug
30
2019
3

Infinity Thumbnails Revisited: Maxmilian [Quantum 7]

I might be doing something more with this world at a later date, so I thought I’d put it up again in a more accessible form.

Maxmilian [Quantum 7]

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Aug
17
2019
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Professor Planck [GURPS 4e]

Professor Planck [250 pt]

Attributes [160]: ST 10, DX 11 [20], IQ 17 [140], HT 10

Advantages [122]: Appearance (Beautiful) [12], Charisma (1) [5], Gadgeteer (Quick) [50], Gizmo (3) [15], Magery (3) [30], Magery 0 [5], Versatile [5]

Disadvantages [-60]: Code of Honor (Comics Code) [-15], Curious (12 or less) [-5], Honesty (12 or less) [-10], Secret Identity (Serious Embarrassment) [-5], Sense of Duty (Humanity) (Entire Race) [-15], Trademark (Uses tech gear as a prop for magic) (Simple) [-5], Truthfulness (12 or less) [-5]

Quirks [-5]: Delusion (I am doing regular science.) [-1], Distractible [-1], Imaginative [-1], Likes Fiddling with electronic and mechanical junk. [-1], Vow (Stay optimistic and friendly.) [-1]

Skills [33]: Boxing DX/A – DX+1 12 [4], Computers! IQ/WC – IQ-3 14 [3], Diplomacy IQ/H – IQ-2 15 [1], Guns/TL8 (Pistol) DX/E – DX+1 12 [2], Inventor! IQ/WC – IQ-2 15 [6], Magic! IQ/WC – IQ+1 18 [6]*, Performance IQ/A – IQ-1 16 [1], Piloting/TL8 (Flight Pack) DX/A – DX+1 12 [3], Scholar! IQ/WC – IQ-3 14 [3], Science! IQ/WC – IQ-3 14 [3], Scrounging Per/E – Per+0 17 [1]

*Includes: +3 from Magery.

Stats [160] Ads [122] Disads [-60] Quirks [-5] Skills [33] = Total [250]

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Aug
16
2019
1

In the mail: The Citadel at Nordvorn [GURPS Dungeon Fantasy].

The Citadel at Nordvorn is Gaming Ballistic’s second third-party offering for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. Norse-flavored, of course. I’d run it at the next WashingCon, except that my schedule’s already over-stuffed.

Aug
15
2019
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Mearganta [Martial Art] [GURPS 4e]

Meargánta

Skills: Brawling, Wrestling

Techniques (Common): Ground Fighting (Brawling), Headbutt (Brawling), Kicking.

Techniques (Polladh): Aggressive Parry (Brawling), Counterattack (Brawling), Disarm (Brawling), Ear Clap (Brawling), Elbow Strike (Brawling), Jam (Brawling), Knee Strike (Brawling), Two-handed Punch (Brawling), Uppercut (Brawling).

Techniques (Fáscadh): Breakfall (Wrestling), Choke Hold (Wrestling), Drop Kick (Wrestling), Feint (Wrestling), Head Lock (Wrestling), Knee Drop (Wrestling), Leg Grapple (Wrestling), Leg Lock (Wrestling), Trip (Wrestling).

Optional Traits:

Secondary Attributes: Increased HP, Increased Will.

Advantages/Disadvantages: Destiny (required, as long as it’s about how you’re going to die), Hard to Subdue, High Pain Threshold, Rapid Healing.

Skills: Boxing, Karate (note that Brawling will still be necessary, even if the other two skills are available).

Meargánta is a martial art that one might find in worlds where somebody can absolutely and unquestionably learn how they’re going to die.  In this particular case, it comes from a Celtic-themed culture whose members routinely receive geasa which prophesy that they will be killed by a one-handed man with an axe, or something along those lines; this encourages a certain recklessness among those fighters currently not facing their ultimate bane. Meargánta perhaps encourages said fighters to be even more reckless.  Meargánta is a martial art for the grimly stoic; and while it is not deliberately cruel, its fighters tend to be ‘dour.’

Traditionally, all Meargánta initiates are taught the basics of screaming, rushing their opponents, and striking them at very close range, with casual disregard for their own defense.  After this is learned, students of the art will concentrate on either Polladh, which teaches even more ways to hurt people directly; or else Fáscadh, is mostly about to how to have leverage and stress points do the hurting for you.  In either case (or both), defensive techniques are rarely taught. If this is the person who is going to kill you, then why prolong matters?  And if this is not the person who will kill you, why bother?  

There is no cinematic version of Meargánta.  The entire style is a cold-bloodedly pragmatic way to take full mundane advantage of a wondrous condition.  And its practitioners tend to have a personal grudge against the esoteric anyway, as befits people who more or less labor under an unshakeable curse.

The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the GURPS system from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.GURPS is a registered trademarks of Steve Jackson Games, and the art here is copyrighted by Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.

Aug
11
2019
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Sue Junkskunk [300 points] [GURPS 4e]

Sue Junkskunk [300 points]

Attributes [140]: ST 11 [10], DX 12 [40], IQ 14 [80], HT 11 [10]

Advantages [149]: Appearance (Attractive) [4], Artificer (4) [40], Business Acumen (1) [10], Charisma (4) [20], Common Sense [10], Single-Minded [5], Smooth Operator (1) [15], Social Regard (Respected) (1) [5], Social Regard (Venerated) (1) [5], Status (+1) [0], Versatile [5], Visualization [10], Wealth (Wealthy) [20]

Perks [1]: Honest Face [1]

Disadvantages [-50]: Bad Sight (Nearsighted) (Glasses) [-10], Code of Honor (Professional) [-5], Curious (12 or less) [-5], Honesty (12 or less) [-10], Obsession (“Fix all of this.”) (Long-Term Goal) (12 or less) [-10], Sense of Duty (Settlement) (Large Group) [-10]

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Aug
10
2019
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Two-Fisted Talents for Adventure! [GURPS 4e]

Two-Fisted Talents For Adventure!

Field Explorer

This Talent is for the more energetic sort of archaeologist or researcher.  It covers the skills used to get to and around the ruined temple, rather than why the temple existed in the first place — or why it’s ruined. If the GM wishes to add Gesture, Melee Weapon (Whip), and Traps to the Talent, raise the cost to 10 points/level.

Field Explorer: Area Knowledge, Climbing, Hiking, Jumping, Streetwise, and Survival.  Reaction bonus: students, people inclined to romanticism, anyone you’re currently rescuing. 5 points/level.

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Aug
07
2019
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Denver Slipstick [TL4+2]

Denver Slipstick [TL4+2] 

Description: a precisely calibrated and etched aluminum slide rule, with a reversible slide and T-bar.  The slide is actually doubly reversible; turning the slide over deosil, widdershins, and then deosil again will reveal a new set of markings that glow faintly blue and seem to be derived from alchemical symbols and other medieval occult markings.  Needless to say, the Denver Slipstick registers as magical on standard scans.

Use: Aside from the usual benefits of having a slide rule, use of the Denver gives a +1 to all Thaumatology or Ritual Magic rolls (no defaults!).

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Aug
06
2019
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Infinity Thumbnail: Mod (Quantum 3) [GURPS 4e]

Mod (Quantum 3)

This timeline has yet to be discovered by Homeline: it’s a combination of a shifted echo and the site of one of Centrum’s greatest parachronic disasters.  Centrum’s been searching for Reality Mod for some time, in fact; it has a quite romantic status among Interworld operatives. The Lost Timeline! An entire Intervention mission, exiled forever from their civilization!  But they’re probably all dead, of course. This all happened decades ago, after all.

But the Intervention mission team is still alive — well, except from the people who died for various reasons, of course.  The survivors and their children are still there, though; and still making Reality Mod safe for Centrum. As the mission team itself defines ‘safe.’  Or, for that matter, ‘Centrum.’ There’s been some cultural drift.

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