The Long Con

After a historically long absence from game conventions, I'll be attending GenCon 50 in Indianapolis as a special panelist with Mssrs. Tweet, Wallis, Edwards and Crane. Can't wait!

There's also a fair-to-good chance I'll be at Big Bad Con this October in the Bay Area. I'm a stretch goal! Check out their Kickstarter campaign for details.

More news on the horizon...!

Updates for 2017

Memento Mori Theatricks turns 20 years old this year!* I've been hard at work on an exciting new project. Details to come in the next few months, so stay tuned! Let's just say it's been a long time coming and I have some incredible people involved. Cross your fingers!

Also, be sure to check out the soon-to-be-ending Kickstarter for Middarmark by Thor Olavsrud and BWHQ. I helped out a bit in the development, so go me! It's a super-cool setting book for the Torchbearer RPG. And if you're in the mood for some sci-fi goodness, ask your local planetarium/science center to host SPACE STATION: THE FULLDOME EXPERIENCE!

*I forget the exact date. It originally started in 1996 as a LARP group but that ended when I left Maine to go to San Francisco. I started working on my own game design ideas shortly after arriving in SF, hence the January celebration. According to the Internet Wayback Machine, Memento-Mori.com went online in December, 1998.

Specialists in Torchbearer

Specialists

Any character that meets the minimum qualifications to train as a specialist may add +2 to their lifestyle cost in Town to train in that specialty. When a specialist earns rewards, they should be placed in either their character class (as normal) or in their specialty. When your speciality rewards meet the level requirements for the next level, gain that benefit.

Specialist benefits must be acquired in order and cannot exceed your character class’ level. If you want to change specialties, erase all your rewards in your current speciality start over at 0—you retain your existing benefits. If a specialist benefit duplicates a class benefit you already possess, you may choose which version to keep.If you lose your qualifications (for example, you re-write a wise necessary to the specialist class) you can no longer train in that speciality but you retain your benefits.

Note that some specialties list benefits described in the following Torchbearer Sagas supplements:

Use at your own risk! Highly not play-tested or approved! I'm giving these away for free but if you want to throw a few silver coins my way, go to town. I have pack space!

Help with Cash Dice

Space Station at the Boston Museum of Science

You wake up inside the cramped confines of a cryosleep chamber. You feel weak and dizzy from a prolonged period in cryonic suspension. What will you do next? Join game designer Jared Sorensen and the Charles Hayden Planetarium team as we break new ground in the Planetarium dome. Inspired by the text-parsing games of the ’80s, Space Station allows the entire audience to play a single character trying to survive a dangerous situation…in space!

Give commands, explore rooms, examine objects, and try to escape the Space Station, if you can!

For more information about the Parsely series of text-based adventure games: memento-mori.com/parsely

Due to live audience participation, it is possible that this event may contain adult language or situations.

Tickets on sale beginning Thursday, January 28 (Tuesday, January 26 for Museum members).

Part of the Cambridge Science Festival.

Extrasolar Colonization Administration Handbook

Let’s go over the bonus situation. We haven’t- Can we just talk about the bonus situation?

I see you’ve secured your ICC license and that you’re rated as a warrant officer for star freighters. Excellent. We’re in need of officers for our current run. Just sign here and we’re happy to have you aboard. I’m sure you’ve read the handbook, but here’s another copy for you to keep in your bunk. We’ll talk about the bonus situation later.

Download here: CM-Civilian-rules_r2.pdf

Goblin Shaman

Illustration by BorjaPindado

Small, filthy and incredibly ugly, most goblins live to lie, cheat, steal and murder. They prefer to victimize men, elves, humans and dwarves, but will happily turn their attentions upon each other if they have no other outlet. The shaman is often the most sickly and deranged of the tribe; the other goblins see these frailties as marks from their twisted and evil god. Sometimes, the derangement comes in the form of self-awareness …these goblins are soon killed and eaten while they contemplate existence, a few flee into the night to live a solitary life.

Stock: Goblin
Class: Shaman
Order of Might: 3
Raw abilities: Will 5, Health 3
Skills: Ritualist 3, Dungeoneer 2, Alchemist 2, Cook 2, Fighter 2, Scavenger 2, Scout 2
Wise: Choose from Goblin-wise or Kaboom-wise. Choose another wise of your choice following the guidelines in the main book

Trait: Treacherous—Even these strange goblins have a black streak a mile wide. No matter their intentions, their words slip into deceit, their actions into treason. It’s like they can’t help themselves; the first thought in their heads is, “How do I get out of this?” and the second is, “…and screw over this guy?”

Starting weapon: Dagger

Starting armor: None

Alignment: Must be Chaos.

Goblin Nature questions (Stealing, Lying, Destroying)

When you see unattended belongings, is your first thought to take it for yourself?
• If you took it without thinking, increase Nature by 1.
• If your first thought is to take it but you make sure nobody is looking, you may replace your home trait with Cautious.

When caught in a lie, how do you react?
• If you would respond with another, better falsehood, then increase Nature by 1.
• If your would respond with false contrition, plead for forgiveness and spew ingratiating platitudes, you may replace your home trait with Shifty.

While walking through a forest at night, you come across a beautiful faery circle of softly glowing mushrooms, casting the woods in a pale blue glow…utterly serene and magical. 
• If you would kick, stomp and smash the circle apart, increase Nature by 1.
• If you carefully pluck a mushroom from the ground and eat it, you may replace your home trait with Touched by the Gods.

Goblin Level Benefits (1-5)

Shaman: You may wield a dagger, sling, spear, or hand axe. You may use polearms and bows as improvised weapons. You may wear leather armor. You may not wear helmets or use shields. You suffer -1s in sunlight but no penalty in dim light.

You start with a prayer: Execration. You may not learn Fury of the Lords of Life and Death. You gain the ability to memorize Chaos prayers without a test. Memorizing Unaffiliated and Lawful prayers may be done with a Theologian test (good fucking luck with that). You gain a new prayer at each level as a Human Cleric. 

In lieu of a new prayer, you may learn to craft a malicious device.

Hobnail bomb: This explosive device is designed to shred leather armor and soft tissue. Treat as an additional Alchemist factor for making a weapon. Bypasses leather armor and damages it. Against an unarmored target, grants +1s (in addition to any other effects).

• Stinkbomb: This noxious device coats its victim in an oily residue that smells really fucking awful. Treat as an additional Alchemist factor for making a weapon. On a successful hit, the target cannot help or be helped for the rest of the conflict.

Smokebomb: This tricky device billows forth dark purple smoke. Treat as additional Alchemist factor for making a weapon. On a successful hit, all actions except for Defend and Feint are at -2s for one round. 

• Flashbomb: This tricky device explodes into brilliant white light, dazing everyone in the conflict. Treat as an additional Alchemist factor for making a weapon. On a successful hit, the goblin may change to a Flee conflict. Even if the action isn't successful, the goblin impedes its opponent.

• Mushroom Cloud: This trippy device causes vivid hallucinations in those effected. Treat as an additional Alchemist factor for making a weapon. On a successful hit, roll 1d6:

1: Bad trip—the victim drops anything being carried and spends the remaining round screaming in terror. The victim cannot help or take an action for one round. If acting alone, they're at -1s as they fight on through the nightmare.

2: Confusion—the victim sees friends as enemies and enemies as friends. They shift sides in the conflict on the next action. If acting alone, they suffer -1s as they wonder why their allies are attacking them.

3: Double-vision—the victim cannot distinguish between reality and illusion. The next time they inflict damage, roll 1d6. One a 1-3, they hit an illusory target. On a 4-6 they inflict damage as normal.

4: Sleepytime—the victim passes out. Their remaining disposition is spread out amongst their allies. If acting alone, they suffer -1s as they stumble around in a stupor.

5: Imaginary friends—the victim is surrounded by an "army" of cartoon-like critters. For the next action, the victim has 1 disposition (any remaining dispo is distributed to the victim's animal friends). If acting alone, they suffer -1s as they shout orders to their non-existing allies.

6: Bloodlust—the victim becomes enraged and gains the Angry condition. Their next action is changed to Attack. If a new round, they must choose Attack as their first action. If acting alone, same thing.

Winter Phase

Winter is coming, as they say, in less than a month.

Now is the time where we give thanks, say prayers for the dead and hang up our swords, packs and canteens until the snow melts and the frozen waters thaw.

Torchbearer Sagas: The Wanderers will remain unavailable while the adventurers rest up for the winter. But fret not! They will return, sooner than you think...and with new friends.

- J

Torchbearer Halloween: Human Skinchanger

Human Skinchanger

You’re a fierce hunter-gatherer from a primitive society. Be it from primordial energies, malevolent curses, magical potions or feral unions, you possess a mystical link with the world of beasts. Over time, you will learn to channel their abilities and take their forms. But as your power grows, so will the madness within.

Raw abilities: Distribute 8 points between Will and Health; Health may not be higher than Will.

Skills: Hunter 3, Fighter 2, Mentor 2, Scout 2, Scavenger 2, Survivalist 2

Special skill (choose one at 3): Criminal, Haggler, Pathfinder, Survivalist

Trait: Bestial—Even when in human form there’s something not quite right with you. Your nails and teeth are sharper, you stature is hunched, your arms and legs corded with ropy muscles. Your eyes gleam with feral light and you lose your temper far, far too easily.

Weapons: Dagger, battle axe, hand axe, spear, shield, bow, sling

Armor: None

Level benefits

Level 1
Skinchanger: You may wield primitive weapons (dagger, battle axe, hand axe, spear, shield, bow, sling). You wear may not armor or helmets. You possess one animalistic feature stemming from your Bestial trait.

Level 2
Savage: While angry, you may attack unarmed at no penalty. You may use your Bestial trait even when angry.
Catlike: You able to move swiftly, surely and silently through the wilderness. +1D to tests involving speed, stealth or balance.

Level 3
Fury
: When angry, your unarmed attacks are at +1s and your armed attacks are at +1D.
Awareness: Your senses become preternaturally acute, giving you +1D to any test involving perception (such as scout tests to spot ambushes, hunter tests to track game, etc).

Level 4
Berserker: While angry and facing an opponent with a higher Might, increase your Might by +1.
Soul link: Test your Will against a beast’s Nature. If successful, you wrest control of its body while your body slumps into a comatose state. While in control of the beast, you have its Nature, descriptors, Might and weapons. You may only test using the beast's Nature while in this state but you may not gain passes or fails. You may return to your body at any time but this severs the link. While comatose your human body is still susceptible to the Grind but your "borrowed" beast form is not. If you die while linked, the soul link is severed and your own soul is left to drift away, bodiless and forever lost.

Level 5
Shape of Rage: Choose a single beast form of Might 4+. Make a Health test with an obstacle equal to the beast’s Might to transform. If angry, you may immediately take on that form without making the test. Worn clothing is damaged during this transformation. While transformed, you have access to that beast’s Nature*, descriptors, Might and weapons. You may return to human form at any time except if angry. Recover from angry by testing your human Will as normal.
Wild Shape: You may take the form of any beast with Might 3 or lower by making a Health test. The obstacle is equal to the Might of the beast. Whatever form you choose, you’ll gain access to that form’s Nature*, descriptors, Might and weapons. There is no limit to the amount of time you may spend in this form but you may only return to human form after making one test.

Warning: While transformed you lose access to your gear, skills, human Nature descriptors and level benefits unless noted otherwise. Regardless of which benefit you choose, Nature tests in beast form do not advance human nature — they remove your passed tests. If you have no passed tests and you make a successful Nature test in beast form, your human Nature is taxed by 1. If your human Nature score ever reaches 0 while in your beast form, you are trapped in that form forever.