Geek life and custom content for Savage Worlds
Something that I’m doing with my current Deadlands game that I haven’t tried before is creating index cards for NPCs. These are an image of the NPC, as well as their name and a brief description of their role. When they’re interacting with that NPC, I’ll put the card up in front of me in a card holder, so they can see it at all times. It’s something I’ve implemented to allow my players to better visualize the people they’re interacting with.
For my current Deadwood game, I found a bunch of graphite drawings of the main characters of the Deadwood TV show, which I’m using as one of my big influences. These were perfect for my NPC cards. I’ve found several web sites with other graphite portraits, so I’m trying to keep the look of them consistent. When I have to, I’ll use GIMP (a free Photoshop analogue), as well as a free sketch plugin I found, to make a photo approximate a graphite sketch, and then use that. The players seem to have really liked these, and several times they’ve asked for cards for NPCs they meet.
I think I’ll retain this idea for any future games I run – I like how it works out. There are a number of excellent sources for fantasy portraits, so any future fantasy games I run this will be easy for. I need to start finding portraits for my upcoming Deadlands Masks of Nyarlathotep game, as well.
Here’s a link to my current NPC Cards for the Deadwood game.
Anybody do anything similar to this? How do you help your players visualize NPCs?
Something I’ve been doing with my current campaign is using Evernote as a campaign management utility. I’m finding it very useful. It allows me to write stuff in a variety of places – at work, at home, and on my phone. I can pull up any campaign information I may need at a moment’s notice, including pictures, links, and formatted text. It’s all synchronized automatically, too, which is nice. I have different tags for different things – each PC has their own tag for subplots, for example, as well as the main villain groups, so I can filter who’s involved in what easily. If you want to try and organize your game a little better – usually a big problem for me – I’d recommend giving it a try.
Similarly, Dropbox is amazingly useful to me. I have… hm. Four devices I’m syncing Dropbox folders to? Two PCs at home, my work PC, and my phone. I’m not sure what I’d do without it. It’s where I keep the master copies of character sheets, as well as the art I’ve saved that could be useful for NPCs. If you’re interested in trying Dropbox, please use this link, so I get a little more space for referring you.
Here are the PCs for the Deadlands game I’m currently running. They’re in Deadwood, trying to sort out all the things that seem to be going wrong in town – why winter got such a powerful start so early, who’s sabotaging the town’s food supplies, what that weird howling is in the wilderness outside town, what’s going on in the Satan’s Garden Mine, how Al Swearengen has such a powerful grip on the townsfolk, why the Sioux dynamited a bridge leading into town, and why one of the gangs in Chinatown suddenly seems more powerful than all the rest. There’s a heap of trouble facing this posse.
This is the Deadlands character sheet I put together for my current Deadlands game. It’s in Excel 2007 format. There are several sheets – the character sheet itself is the sheet called “Pretty Character Sheet”, the rest is just for tracking advances and character generation and such. I hope people find it useful.
Touch of the Craftsman (Su): You can channel the expertise of your deity through your touch, granting divine inspiration on a Craft check. The target gains a sacred bonus on their next Craft check equal to one-half your cleric level. If this power is used to enhance every Craft check to produce an item, its hardness increases by 2 and it gains an additional 5 hit points. This bonus increases by 2 hardness and 5 hit points for every five cleric levels you possess (at 5th, 10th, etc). You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.
Master of Artifice (Ex): At 6th level, you gain a bonus item creation feat, either the Craft Wondrous Item or Craft Magic Arms and Armor. Once you have selected the feat, it cannot be changed. When creating items with this feat, you may use an appropriate Craft skill check in place of the Spellcraft check usually used to create a magic item.
Spells: 1st – crafter’s fortune, 2nd – make whole, 3rd – locate object, 4th – minor creation, 5th – major creation, 6th – hardening, 7th – refuge, 8th – discern location, 9th – miracle
Seeker of Justice (Su): Once per day as a standard action, you may declare a quarry, a suspect in a crime or a fugitive from justice that you intend to hunt down. You gain a +2 bonus on Bluff, Knowledge, Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival skill checks against that individual. You also gain a +2 bonus on weapon attack and damage rolls against the designated target. You must be able to identify the individual in question in some manner, either by sight or a name of some form – “the killer” is insufficient, but “Gurzon the Butcher” or any target in line of sight is enough to use this ability. This ability lasts until the target has been captured, dies, or you designate another target. This ability counts as a ranger’s favored enemy for the purposes of prerequisites, magic items, and other abilities. You may use this ability one additional time per day for every six cleric levels. The bonus granted by this ability increases by +2 for every cleric eight levels.
Take Them Alive (Su): At 8th level, you gain the ability to infuse yourself with merciful energy as a standard action. Any weapon you wield while using this ability gains the Merciful special quality, dealing an additional 1d6 damage with each hit and converting all damage you deal into nonlethal damage. You may use this ability a number of rounds per day equal to your cleric level. These rounds don’t need to be consecutive.
Spells: 1st – command, 2nd – zone of truth, 3rd – blood biography, 4th – discern lies, 5th – mark of justice, 6th – geas, 7th – sequester, 8th – discern location, 9th – soul bind
Justice Subdomain – Redemption
Touch of Regret (Su): Your touch calls to mind all the pain the target has ever caused and overwhelms them with the horrors they have inflicted on the world. The target must make a Will save (DC 10 + half your level + your Wisdom modifier) or be dazed for one round. A target that succeeds at the save is staggered instead of dazed. You may use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier. This ability replaces Seeker of Justice.
Alternate spells: 1st – sanctuary, 2nd – calm emotions, 3rd – crushing despair, 5th – atonement, 9th – miracle
Justice Subdomain – Retribution
Vengeful Aura (Su): At 8th level, you gain the ability to radiate an aura of vengeance that covers you and your allies. Anyone damaging you or any of your allies within 30′ of you takes 1d6 points of divine damage and is sickened for one round as long as they are also within the effect of the aura. They may make make a Will save for half damage (DC 10 + half your level + your Wisdom modifier). A successful save also negates the sicken effect. Activating this aura is a swift action. You may use this ability for a number of rounds per day equal to your cleric level, though they need not be consecutive. This power replaces Take Them Alive.
Alternate spells: 1st – divine favor, 3rd – pain strike, 6th – spell turning, 7th – phantasmal revenge
Moonbeam (Sp): You can project a ray of moonlight for your outstretched hand at a target within 30′. You must make a ranged touch attack to hit your target. If you hit, the ray deals 1d4 points of damage + 1 point for every two cleric levels. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.
Light of the Moon (Su): At 6th level, you can infuse allied weapons with the moon’ essence. While this power is active, you shed silvery moonlight as brightly as a daylight spell. All weapons carried by allies within 30′ of you are enveloped in this moonlight, and counts as silver and magical weapons for the purposes of penetrating damage reduction. Activating this ability is a swift action; you may use it for a number of rounds per day equal to your level.
Spells: 1st – hypnotism, 2nd – owl’s wisdom, 3rd – guiding star, 4th – moonstruck, 5th – dream, 6th – cloak of dreams, 7th – shadow walk (must be cast at night, called moon bridge by the faithful), 8th – scintillating pattern, 9th – etherealness
Silver-Tongued Haggler (Su): Whenever you make a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Sense Motive check, you can, as a free action, grant yourself a bonus on the roll equal to 1/2 your cleric level (minimum +1). You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.
Fortuitous Businessman (Su): At 6th level, when you use the Profession skill to earn a living, you earn double the usual amount (a number of gold pieces per week equal to your check result). Additionally, when you are attempting to buy or sell items or goods, the community you are in is considered one size category larger for the purposes of gold piece base limit, purchase limit, and available items. If you are already in a Metropolis, increase each of these values by 50%.
Spells: 1st – comprehend languages, 2nd – eagle’s splendor, 3rd – locate object, 4th – treasure stitching, 5th – secret chest, 6th – guards and wards, 7th – greater scrying, 8th – sympathy, 9th – miracle
Trade Subdomain: Greed
Treasure Sense (Su): At 8th level, you can sense the presence of precious metals and gems within 30′. This allows you to automatically determine the direction and get a rough estimate of the size and type of treasure. However, you cannot determine any supernatural properties that the items you sense may have. This ability is not blocked by physical objects, but can be foiled by anything that would prevent a 3rd-level divination spell from working. Noticing the presence of such treasure is automatic, but determining direction and amount is a standard action. This ability replaces Fortuitous Businessman.
Alternate spells: 1st – ant haul, 2nd – retrieve item, 3rd – create treasure map, 5th – covetous aura
I’m putting this together because I wanted a place to write down ideas for my games, as well as a permanent home for any custom content I post – I’ve written several things over the years that have just been living in my Dropbox public folder and only show up if you happen to search through ENWorld archives, and I figured they might get more exposure if I gave them a more permanent home.
This blog will primarily be devoted to Pathfinder and Savage Worlds content. I have a Pathfinder setting I’m slowly fleshing out for use, mostly as a thought exercise and because I like tinkering with mechanics. I’m also starting the planning stages of adapting the Complete Masks of Nyarlatholtep to Deadlands using the Savage Worlds system. I’m a born tinkerer, though, so I’ll be changing a substantial amount of the adventure to fit into my preferences and the Deadlands setting.