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Beware the Kind Old Lady August 26, 2016 12:13

There is a legend circulating small towns in Evangless, where dastardly deeds are done. Children go missing and are never heard from again, and blood-curdling screams dominate the night. Many a townsfolk has lost hope as these somber places faced a dwindling population, until that fateful day Mrs. Goodrich arrived.

No one could quite say where she came from, only that she simply showed up in town one day wearing a modest gown of earthen colors. No one could think anything mean to speak, but something always seemed off about her. Her skin seemed dry and leathery, and yet no one could call her anything less than beautiful. She would sit at the local tavern, or mill about the town talking to the laborers. There was something about her voice; it was soothing and yet carried a hint of menace. No one could resist sharing their woes with her, as she seemed keen to listen and had plenty of sympathy to offer. This would go on for a few days, and then she would just as quickly depart without a trace. The next day, without fail, the missing townsfolk would be returned safe and sound. There would be tears of joy all around, and then the big question would be asked: What happened? This is what the survivors would say:

Locked up by a gathering of bandits, the prisoners wallow in their cells and ask themselves many questions. Suddenly the carousing would stop and the bandits would draw weapons, looking on in horror. One of the bandits had been strung up by his feet, his heart ripped neatly from his chest and stuffed in his mouth. Hushed swears would be exchanged, and suddenly another bandit would be found strung up the same way. The crowd would turn again, and one by one be thinned out by this invisible spectre. Some would try running, only to be seen moments later pinned to a wall with various sharp instruments, their heart in their mouth. The panic would rise and eventually only a few would remain: the leader and two more pawns. In quick succession the two would be dispatched, leaving the leader, pale with terror, glancing at a figure that seemed to appear out of nowhere. The scene that would follow often went unseen as the hostages would  cringe and look away, but every account recalls hearing something before the leader would meet his terrible fate: a voice  saying, “Eat your heart out, dearie.”

Mrs. Goodrich is a simulacron, designed long ago for unknown reasons. Few have been able to find out much from her, save that she is not fond of rudeness and she believes in personal hygiene before all else. Her specialties and augments can be found below:

Specialties
Soulless Blade (Frenzy): Spend 2 reflexive AP to deal a fatal effect rather than a wound effect.
Invisible Blade (Espionage): Light melee weapons cost 1 AP to use.
Phase Step (Agility): Move without being seen and unable to receive reflexive attacks unless the attacker rolls a Cunning vs your Agility.
Leave No Trace (Agility): Use Phase Step reflexively any time someone attempts to notice you.
Wall Runner (Agility): Run along walls for an additional AP cost to the move.
Staggering Strike (Overpower): For a weapon attack + 1AP, deal damage at one higher tier.

Augments
Weapon Mount
Hidden Blade

Thank you all for reading. If you would like to create a simulacron character of your own you can find the free PDF by clicking the image above! Please let me know what you think of this character concept in the comments below, and if you have any suggestions for a character build please comment as well. Until next time, Cheers and Gears!


Your Questions Answered August 05, 2016 14:13

Hello Tephra fans and newcomers alike! Today I am dedicating this blog post to answering questions posed by our community. Going forward, I will make sure to post one of these posts a month, so please ask us anything. This week I will answer some of your questions posted in our Tephra subreddit.

 

Question #1: Long Shot

Our first question comes from Lack_of_Wit: “The specialty "Long Shot" says that it doubles the range your weapon can accurately shoot to. But does that include other augments (like scopes) or other abilities that would help you shoot farther, or does it double the base range of the weapon before these additions?”

This question is among the most common, and our answer is this: Any ability that allows you to double your range is applied after you have added up your total range. For example, if you have a gnome with piercing sight and long shot using a medium firearm with a marque 2 scope, you determine your range as follows: ((Base range 100 + Scope Mq 2 100) x2 for piercing sight) x2 for long shot. Your range is now 800 with your medium firearm. Your base range is modified by the scope, so you have a minimum of 200 feet. After you have the range from your weapon, your piercing sight racial ability is an innate talent which doubles your range to 400. Finally, Long Shot is a trained specialty that boosts your range even further granting you 800 feet for you to shoot for 3 action points.

Please note the scope augment is the only augment (so far) that you can apply multiple times to the same ranged weapon. The above example is not the highest potential range a character can achieve this way.


Question #2: Squibs & Syringes

DamagedMicrobe asks: “Could Squibs, since they are alchemy, be put into a Syringed bullet from The Armsmith Expansion? If so does it just have to hit and it explodes? Or does it have to do damage and that would be it activating? Next question also involving Syringed ammo, would the contact augment get rid of the need for the ammo to do damage as long as it hit with the accuracy roll?”

I have personally addressed this idea before as I love firing explosives from my revolver. Can it be done? Yes. If you craft syringed ammunition and fill them with squib chemicals you can then fire them and explode on an enemy. Here’s the catch; unless you take the Quick Flick specialty and Instant reload (or any augments that reduce readying cost) you will need to spend the 1 action point to ready the explosive and ready it in the firearm. These can both be done with the same action point. As for the explosion, the mechanics for this will still follow the squib rules. An unaugmented squib syringe does not need to deal damage to explode since the syringe is now just a vessel. It will explode at the end of the turn it was fired unless augmented with Collision-Detonated.

Regarding your second question about the contact augment getting rid of the need for the ammo to do damage, the answer is yes. If the syringed ammo hits and does not deal damage with a contact potion, it will take effect.


Thank you all for reading! If you have any questions please comment below or visit our subreddit here. Until next time, Cheers and Gears!


Shootout at High Noon July 22, 2016 17:59

When I attended Chupacabracon in May I expected the usual con weekend: the Cracked Crew running Tephra games and generally enjoying ourselves. What I did not expect was to discover a fun new card game called Shootout. The first among us to try it out was our Fearless Leader Daniel, who promptly secured a copy himself. After a demonstration between Tephra adventures, I found myself also buying a copy.

Shootout is a simple and fun game to pick up and play, it can entertain groups of two to six people, and each game lasts about five minutes. The object of the game is to have an ideal hand of cards before a High Noon, Sun Up, or Sun Down card is revealed.

Starting with five cards, each player takes a turn flipping the top card from the draw deck and either adding it to their own hand or drawing from the top of the deck. After taking in a card, that player will then discard a card to end his or her turn. If a High Noon, Sun Up, or Sun Down card are flipped or discarded, then a standoff begins between whomever revealed the card and their chosen opponent. Victory in a standoff is determined by three types of cards: Weapons, Titles, and Familiarities. Whoever has the higher total score from one of each type of card wins the standoff. If more than two people are playing, the winner discards his or her remaining hand and draws seven cards, then discarding two. The game continues until only one remains.

In addition to the three types of cards needed to win, there are two types of special cards. The first kind of special card is used in a standoff to remove your opponent’s bonuses from one of their three cards. For example: I have a total score of 10 and my opponent has a total of 12. I notice his gun is offering a +3 bonus, so I play a Misfire card to remove that bonus from his score. I now win with my 10 against his 9.

The other type of special card has a red border and only takes effect when it is discarded outside of a standoff. These can cause you to trade cards with another player, skip your turn, or even change the result after a standoff. If the red special card is flipped over at the beginning of a turn, that player is affected by it. If these are discarded from a player’s hand, they affect the next player or a targeted player depending on the card.

This is a fun, fast-paced game that everyone can enjoy. It’s easy to pick up, set up, and play as often as you like. You can order a copy here on our website. Thank you for reading and until next time, Cheers and Gears!


Using the Ruined in your Game July 09, 2016 11:56

 As promised in the previous blog, the NPC stat blocks for the Ruined division of the Ashen Angels can be found below. These units were incredibly fun to design, not only because the aesthetic concept is something I greatly enjoy, but also because the way I imagine the Ruined fighting is something I haven’t seen a lot of in my Tephra games. I’d like to go over the inspiration and uses for these units before we get to the stat blocks.

When I first wrote up notes for the Ruined, I thought of them as knights. I wanted enemies that rarely touch the ground and charge at their opponents with devastating swords and jetpack gliders. Something that I feel has been missing in my Tephra games was a sense of three-dimensional combat, especially when fighting in the skies. I aimed for foes that would help create that feeling. The Ruined Knights fly by clanker mostly, favoring fast-paced charges to lash at their targets. Their battle style is mostly reactive, and they will simply charge at the most recent person to hit them.

The Ruined Bombers came second, and I didn’t want another NPC that simply shot a rifle or pistol. These are a group of extremists after all, and their tactics should be extreme. So I gave the Bombers (what else?) bombs. These units prefer to keep their distance in a heated battle, raining down destruction from up high. Ranged characters will have an easier time dealing with these foes, but that should not dissuade melee fighters from thinking up something creative. When it comes to fighting the Ruined, it pays off to go big.

The motivations of the Ruined are the same as the rest of the Ashen Angels; they fight to end the farishtaa oppression on their elven brethren. When including the Ruined in your sagas, it’s a good idea to expand on that exposition to give your players a sense of moral choice. Here we have extremists from an organization with a cause that some would deem noble, and yet their methods are incredibly violent and destructive. If you have players playing farishtaa or elf characters, make use of their prejudice for a more immersive experience.

And now, without further ado:

 

Ruined Knight AP: 3 PAR: 1

Elf Terrorist
HP: 25 Wnds: 12 Pri: +3 Spd: 30 ft (land), 60 ft (flying)
Brute +10 Cunning +0 Dexterity +5 Spirit +5 Sciences +0

Guard


Armored Flight Suit - medium leather armor
Eva: -1 Def: +3
Soak:  3  |  6  |  9  |  12

Actions

2 AP
Fallen Blade - heavy metal weapon
Stk: +5
Damage:  9  |  18  |  27  |  36
Note: Roll 2d12 for accuracy, ignoring bonuses and penalties.

2 AP
Aggressive Recoil (reflexive)
In response to being damaged from an attack, the Ruined Knight can make 1 move and 1 unaltered attack with its Fallen Blade against the person who damaged the knight.

 

Ruined Bomber AP: 3 PAR: 1

Elf Terrorist
HP: 20 Wnds: 12 Pri: +3 Spd: 30 ft (land), 60 ft (flying)
Brute +2 Cunning +5 Dexterity +10 Spirit +3 Sciences +0

Guard


Armored Flight Suit - medium leather armor
Eva: -1 Def: +3
Soak:  3  |  6  |  9  |  12

Actions

2 AP
Explosive Launcher - heavy metal weapon
Acc: +5 Range: 50 ft Radius: 10 ft
Damage:  20
Notes: If the accuracy roll misses a target, the explosive is fired to the nearest space that avoids the target. This may be chosen or rolled for using modified blind lobbing rules. (Give each potential square an assigned number on a 12-sided die.)
Targets may spend 1 AP reflexively  to resist the explosion with a Dexterity roll. Every tier above Tier 1 reduces the damage by 10.
Targets that fail to resist this explosive are pushed back from the center by 10 feet.
Explosive Augments: Collision-Detonated, Extended Blast Mq2, Knock Back Mq2

1 AP
Target Lock
The Ruined Bomber takes aim at their next target, gaining +3 to accuracy for the next attack.

 

Ruined Jetpack Glider (Clanker)

Wounds: 24
Evade: +1 (when evading an attack on the Glider)
Lose 5 ft of speed for every 5 damage dealt. Destroyed if brought to 0.
Augments: Flying, Efficient Movement Mq1, Improved Construction Mq1
Using a found Jetpack Glider requires a tier 2 Sciences roll.

 

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy using the Ruined in your games, and if you’re a player I hope you enjoy fighting or befriending them. Give us your feedback in the comments below and let us know how your Ruined games go. Until next time, Cheers and Gears!


Ashen Angels: the Ruined June 22, 2016 16:21 1 Comment

The strife between elves and farishtaa is well known. While many elves simply try to make the best life they can for themselves, some take up arms and fight their oppressors. These individuals brand themselves the Ashen Angels, marking themselves with wing tattoos across their backs. Seen as freedom fighters, rebels, and terrorists, the Ashen Angels take extreme measures to unseat the farishtaa leaders, believing that they can create a better Dalvozzea for all elvenkind.


In an effort to take down the farishtaa council, some members of the Angels have taken to the skies. These elves don specially-crafted winged packs and engage in daring, dangerous dogfights with farishtaan forces. Wherever they go, they leave ruins in their wake, earning them their malevolent monicker: the Ruined. These fallen angels show no mercy and will fight to their last breath. The Ruined employ many tactics during airborne engagements, favoring seemingly randomized attack sequences. Unfortunately, the only people to figure out the grand pattern in their attacks have all been rendered dead silent.

The Ruined trace their origins to the one known as the Valkyrie: an Ashen Angels operative who was captured, tortured, and forced into farishtaa conversion against her will. The operation was botched, and she became increasingly volatile. After fleeing her captives, she returned to the Ashen Angels, swearing to bring them into a new age of warfare. The Vakyrie leads the Ruined with an iron fist, inciting fear into her foes and enraging the public into riots with her vicious propaganda.

If you want to play a member of the Ruined: be warned, people don’t look favorably upon them. You can grab the Auto-Wright or Manual Wright specialty (from page 236 the Playing Guide) with the Aerial Propulsion and Lift augments, or the Flight augment in order to take to the skies with the Ruined. Outfit yourself with a cannon or some explosives, and you too can leave ruins in your wake.

Thank you for reading! If you liked the Ruined, use them in your Tephra adventures for an extra dose of chaos. Tune in next week for completed stat blocks and a look at the Valkyrie. Until next time, Cheers and Gears!


Convention Time! June 16, 2016 11:23

This weekend is going to be a blast! Not only is it a convention weekend, but it’s right in my own Houston neighborhood. Comicpalooza is happening this weekend, and from previous experiences it promises to be an enjoyable one.

Getting back into the convention scene has rekindled my creative spark, and this weekend I look forward to running all sorts of new adventures I’ve written up. I’ve found I enjoy running thought-provoking mysteries and adventures with unexpected twists. While Tephra’s combat is a blast, I get the most excited when the combats are interspersed among a great storyline. When I offer a mystery and a trail of clues, I’m in my zone. Watching the players’ reactions as they discover something they didn’t expect is one of the many reasons I enjoy running games.

If you look on the Comicpalooza schedule you will find two games scheduled for each day. We’re also open to running unscheduled games for those interested - feel free to come on up and ask! We will have our newest products up for sale (and may even use them in our demos).

The d-Infinity Indie Game Awards will also be announced this weekend. If you haven’t voted for the Narrator’s Accomplice, now’s the time! Just hit this link and click vote.

The convention has been a great event in the past, filling up the massive George R. Brown center with all sorts of attractions: arcade games, comic books, artist panels, and even the occasional Time Warp. There’s no shortage of things to do and people to see. Drop on by and say hello.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or con memories you’d like to share, please comment below. Until next time, Cheers and Gears!