Saturday, October 31, 2020

Ysengrim, a Setting for Lancer Part III - Reputation and Factions

     If Lancers ever want to get gear beyond what they arrive with on Ysengrim, they’re going to have to get in good with one of the manufacturers. Unlike in most places in the galaxy, the eyes of the various corporations are occasionally focused upon the planet, so gear is guarded more tightly here than elsewhere, lest it fall into the hands of their rivals. While distant from their respective bases of power (excepting perhaps HORUS) the omninet allows the representative of the corpo-states instant access to the rest of their organization. Though certainly interested in Manna, the various contacts that serve as the face of IPS-N, SSC, Horus, and Harrison on Ysengrim are far more motivated by information, or actions being taken upon their behalf, whether that be in an official capacity during the course of the Wargames, or as independent contractors during the off-seasons. As Lancers prove themselves worthy of an organization’s esteem, their access to licenses with that manufacturer rises with their Reputation.

     Players can only use Reputation during downtime. Once a player has called in a favor, they cannot cancel or change it. PCs begin play with 1 Reputation Point with two Factions of their choice, but they can take anything they would normally be able to at character creation for free, regardless of what License Level they start at. Gear requisitioned through a Favor appears before the start of the next mission.

     A character's maximum talent points, license points, pilot triggers, and mech skills cannot increase past that of what a LL12 character would possess, e.g. 15 talents, 12 licenses, a +6 maximum trigger, and a +6 maximum for skills. Grit increases normally as license levels increase. All GMS gear is always freely available for players and never requires Rep to unlock or requisition. Once a frame or piece of equipment is given to a player, it cannot be rescinded, as they now have access to the printing codes. Re-printing a mech never requires you to spend Reputation again to purchase that mech or its systems.

     Reputation is gained by performing Tasks for various factions. Reputation is gained by all players, even if only one of them is performing the Task on behalf of the Party. Tasks fall into the following categories:

  • Small tasks are generally something that can be done in about an hour or so. Tracking down a particular file or restricted data stream. Intimidating or flattering someone into giving you something. Small tasks net the players 2 Reputation Points.

  • Moderate tasks require more risk, but can probably be accomplished in an afternoon, or a skirmish. They could include kidnapping or assaulting a person of interest to the faction, smuggling illegal materials through customs or simply destroying a high value target such as a bridge or communications center. Moderate tasks are worth 4 Reputation Points each.

  • Major are risky or involved tasks which could require days or even weeks of planning. Assaults on hardened facilities, assassination of dangerous targets such as corporate executives or lancer pilots. Major tasks grant the PCs 8 Reputation Points each. Referees are encouraged to save Major tasks for significant plot beats or other campaign defining events.

     Reputation is spent by calling in Favors with factions that you have cultivated a relationship with, through the intermediary of a Contact. Favors come in the same categories as tasks:

  • Small favors include specialized training, increasing a Pilot Trigger by +2, or a Mech Skill by +1. They also encompass information, access to restricted areas or contacts relevant to the faction. Small favors are tested at a difficulty of 10, and cost 2 Rep each.

  • Moderate favors represent instruction in a level of a Talent. They can also include direct support in the field, whether that be from terrestrial or stellar assets. Moderate favors are difficulty 11 and cost 3 Rep.

  • Major favors are the big time, a level in a license with the manufacturer that the contact represents. Beyond giving access to a new frame and equipment, they also can represent actions such as assassinations or pardons on the PCs behalf, or even being smuggled off world. Major favors test at difficulty 12 and cost 5 rep.

     To call in a favor, the character gets a hold of the contact they wish to use, then they roll a d20. The character adds their Reputation rating with that faction, as well as a pilot trigger of their choice that they and the GM deem relevant, to the roll.

     If the PC meets or beats whatever difficulty is assigned to the category of favor they are testing for, they are successful and their Rep is lowered by the cost of the favor. If not, the contact refuses, but the PC’s Reputation with that faction is unchanged. Whether or not the attempt succeeds, that particular contact will be more difficult to sway until another task is performed for them, adding an additional +4 to the target difficulty for each favor being asked of them beyond the first. Extra points of Reputation beyond the normal cost of a Favor after a failure, representing the character cajoling or sweetening the deal in some way:

D20 + (Faction Reputation + Pilot Trigger + Any Additional Bonuses) vs Favor Difficulty

     For example, Cheradenine Zakalwe is seeking a Unicorn license level from HORUS. He requests a meeting with his contact Étienne de Pointre, a Parrain in the Yeux Affamés. After some wrangling, they agree to meet in person at a night club in Metzgerstadt. Cheradenine has done quite a bit of legwork for HORUS, so they have accumulated 9 Rep with the techno-cult. Étienne is a hardcase, so while normal persuasive methods won’t work, Cheradenine’s player and the GM agree that Cheradenine’s ‘Stay Cool +2trigger applies. Cheradenine’s player rolls a 2 on the die, adds his 9 Rep and his +2 trigger for a total of 13. He squeaks by against the Major Favor’s difficulty of 12 and lowers his Rep with HORUS to 4.

     Below are faction specific favors that are relevant to the major manufacturers on Ysengrim, as well as a trio of contacts for each of them. Each contact has a number of likes under their entry, which represents things they feel strongly about. Groups or Lancers that fulfill a contact’s specific desires gain a non-cumulative +2 to their next Reputation check with that contact. These modifiers disappear after a check is made against that contact, regardless of success or failure.

IPS-N Contacts

Major Sapele Kleiner, Trunk Security Coordinator

     The situation on Ysengrim from a security perspective is atrocious. Millions of visitors pour onto the planet every year, staying for a few months, the departing again en masse. While most do so through the proper channels, a substantial portion do not. Sapele Kleiner and his men are partially responsible for holding back this flood. Life-long Cosmopolitans, Sapele and his Trunk Security unit, the 289th Vanguards were assigned to Ysengrim in 5001. Operating out of the IPS-N Cutter Who’s Buying?, Major Kleiner and his team act in an investigatory and law enforcement capacity in conjunction with the Joint Operating Council and elements of Harrison Armory. In spite of the enormity of their task, the 289th boasts a 22% higher interdiction rate when compared to other Trunk Security units operating in the system. Wholeheartedly trusted by the supply corps back home, Sapele has been able to wrangle his control over IPS-N licenses and training as a means to “deputize” Lancers that he deems worthy.

     The wry humored Major Kleiner is typically quite pleasant to deal with—provided you have done nothing illegal. Law breakers will find his fatherly persona swiftly drained away as he coolly orders for their craft to be boarded, or for marines to be dropped from orbit to retrieve them for questioning. A busy man, Sapele rarely finds time to leave Who’s Buying and so is usually only available through the omninet, or through intermediaries in Trunk Security. Getting on in years, Sapele finds his posting on Ysengrim to be an obstacle to his eventual retirement. He wishes nothing more than to finish out his billet and head to Carina.

  • Desires: Information about smuggling or trafficking. Assistance against security threats. Scrimshawed mega-fauna bones.

Natessa Cozart, Star Traffic Controller

     A familiar voice to any frequent visitor to the world, Natessa is one of a half-dozen staff members on Reynard’s furthest afield station, IPS-N C3S-492. Along with her colleagues and some NHP assistance, Natessa is responsible for the majority of traffic moving in and out of the system, and is one of the first points of contact for any newcomers. Natessa’s kin were part of the first wave of settlers who came to Chanticleer and Ysengrim. Pooling their resources, her ancestors and a few other IPS-N families staked their claim by buying a controlling interest in Reynard’s star traffic system, making themselves and their descendants indispensable in overseeing the flow of goods into the region of space. As a partial owner of the transportation backbone of the planet, Natessa has access to whatever IPS-N goods she could ever dream of, and enough wealth that she can pursue any hobby. After playing at being a glitterati grew tiresome, she’s chosen to become a sponsor for competitors in the War Games fighting under the banner of IPS-N.

     Natessa is known for being a difficult ally to court. Rich enough that she wants for nothing and secure enough in her position to not have any worries, she has to be won over by deeds or words alone. A firm believer in being an active participant in the family business, Natessa works nearly full time at C3S-492, splitting the rest of her time between lounging around her family’s satellite or seeing to their holdings on Zwiebeldorf. These pretensions towards a working class background do little to blunt the woman’s arrogance or open disdain for the other corpo-states. Natessa considers herself to be akin to local nobility and sees the Reynard system as her family’s legacy to the wider galaxy.

  • Desires: Embarrassing other corpo-states in the field. Strengthening IPS-N’s dominance of the orbitals in the Reynard system. Cats.

Akiha “Espy” Esplanade, Sleazy Merchant

     The terrestrial terminus of a smuggling ring that stretches back to Carina itself, Akiha Esplanade has the dubious honor of being an eighth generation gun-runner. Preserving centuries old criminal contacts, the Akiha family is a significant component of the illegal arms trade that supplies much of the up and coming competitors in the War Games. Espy is the public face of that family, making most of their deals personally. Having to flee from Port de Belmont after falling under suspicion of supplying rioters with arms in 4991, Espy bounced around Ysengrim and Chanticleer until the heat died down. Cultivating a web of influence during her travels throughout the Reynard system, Esplanade was a natural choice to take the reigns of the family business after the death of her father in 4999.

     Even-keeled and pragmatic, Esplanade dislikes being characterized as a criminal or death merchant. She is merely upkeeping a tradition that predates her, and will outlast her. A lack of commitment on her part is not an option, the fate of her family and countless others rests upon her cunning and ability to traffic goods without being caught. Esplanade pays out rafts of bribes every seasons to ensure that her products make it into the hands of her customers without any fuss. Her influence with both the JOC and a corrupt comm officer on C3s-492 have allowed her to operate unmolested for over a decade. For appearances, the Akiha family attempts to maintain an image as a legitimate salvage and reclamation business. Legitimate customers are informed that licenses may be incomplete or based on outdated or older product lines, while trusted confidants are taken to showrooms to see the most recent dataprints possible. Operating out of Zwiebeldorf, any excess occurrences at the Akiha’s printing facilitiy are generally written off by local authorities as a particularly good haul from the site of a War Game.

  • Desires: Blunting the power of Yeux Affemés. Furthering her smuggling ring. Punishing snitches.

IPS-N Favors

Favor Rating



Orbital Bombardment (A player can choose a hex on the map in the current mission on that player’s turn. That hex suffers a 2d6 explosion centered on it, with the a radius of 2 hexes around it suffering from a 1d6 explosion.)


Tactical Teleport (Choose a player, and another hex. That player’s mech vanishes from the original hex and rematerializes in the chosen one.)


Fortress Seed (A player chooses a 4x4 area on the map on their turn. A fort slams down onto the spot from orbit. This fort possesses the same statistics as the Drake’s Portable Bunker ability--(Size 4, 40 HP, Evasion 5)

SSC Contacts

Yuube Konnoo, Botique Arms Dealer

     Less of a salesperson than an interviewer and auditor for Smith-Shimano, Yuube acts as one of the primary gatekeepers on Ysengrim for the corporation. Never having stepped foot on the planet herself, Ms. Konnoo communicates from the safety of Chanticleer. A relatively recent arrival to the system, Yuube was sent from Elbrus Station to act as a head hunter for pilots that meet SSC standards. Tailored genetically to best negotiate contracts and other terms of service, Yuube has rapidly carved out a cadre of loyal and motivated pilots who are more than willing to work on her behalf. Eschewing wide-scale campaign engagements Yuube prefers that her sponsored competitors engage in duels or other personal scale combats. Ms. Konnoo is interested in footage and fodder for ad copy, intending to boost herself into SSC’s executive advertising division in the net decade.

     Elegant and refined, Yuube considers her words carefully before she speaks and is unfailingly polite even with infuriated. Yuube sees every meeting or interaction with a contact as a potential evaluation. Unwilling to see giving away licenses or training as a simply transaction, Konnoo wishes to have partners, not clients. Favored allies will be brought into Konnoo’s schemes, introduced to other such partners, and then used to further the schemes of the aspiring executive. Possessing an office on Chanticleer, she meets prospective clients in person (prohibitively expensive) or through through the omninet. Yuube expects monthly meetings and reports from her retainers.

  • Desires: Information on other SSC executives. Advancement of her personal goals. Advancing SSC’s position in the Reynard system.

Sechen Urlani, Surveillance Maestro

     The center of SSC’s intelligence operations on Ysengrim, Sechen Urlani and her team are some of the most well informed individuals on the planet. Based out of the Smith-Shimano orbital La Buona Canzone, the Surveillance and Electronic Warfare team currently headed by Urlani is responsible for monitoring the massive amount of communications data that pours out of the area during the War Games. In the off-season, Sechen busies herself by directing her team on how best to harass their competition with the assistance of the NHP KOKOPELLI. Urlani has on occasion been needed to be reprimanded or ordered to cease her intrusion after moving far afield from operational parameters. These repeated violations have been a source of friction with the woman and SSC executives on Chanticleer, but so far she has avoided reassignment due to her strong track record and support from the rank and file of SSC’s intelligence community. The suits back on Chanticleer are right to be concerned. Sechen has been using her permissions to print licenses off the record, doling them out to friends and colleagues to ensure loyalty. If anyone comes for her fief, Sechen intends to tear La Buona Canzone apart and flee to Elbrus Station.

     Sechen has been in her position for far too long. She’s long since compiled reams of compromising material against any one of note within the Reynard system, squirreling it away for the day someone unwisely tries to move against her. Isolated amid the staggering luxury of La Buona Canzone, Sechen rules her her fortress like a Baroness, demanding obedience from her underlings. In return, she grants them whatever they wish, as long as they stay within her good graces. Only KOKOPELLI is spared from her mood swings and often arbitrary demands. Fearing for her safety and position, Sechen only leaves the orbital that she has called home when her presence is demanded by one of SSC’s higher-ups, and even then only grudgingly.

  • Desires: Blackmail material. Bugs being planted in sensitive areas. Vintage drones and listening devices.

Jernau Skaffen, Unstable Geneticist

     Somewhere along the way, Jernau lost his mind. It could have been while watching a Reticulated Sabermaw disembowel his mentor. Or it could have been when an automated water craft that he was sailing on between Yvain and Chevre was attacked by a Leviathan and nearly pulled to the bottom of the sea. Though responsible for cataloging and researching the various beasts of Ysengrim for SSC, Jernau has come to look upon them with almost religious reverence. Jernau has turned down multiple promotions within the research division of the corpo-state in order to stay in the field, close to his beloved creatures. While considered eccentric, the biologist has shown an aptitude for finding novel ways to integrate the natural wildlife of the planet into SSC’s other projects, and has thus been allowed to continue how they will. With a proven track record, and pull with the higher-ups, Jernau has made it his mission to explore the vast potential offered to humanity through the creatures of the planet. He is well-known within mech pilot circles for having an easy hand with equipment and licenses—though only because his expeditions tend to be so dangerous.

     Skaffen is mad in the way that only very intelligent people can be. He is aware that his obsession with the fauna of Ysengrim is going to end in his death (and likely the deaths of others), but he cannot help but satisfy his curiosity. Fully sublimated into an Academic view of the world, Jernau will sometimes stop a conversation in it’s tracks to ask about the source of someone’s genetic structure, or go on long and aimless diatribes about the glory of the native wildlife. Topics outside of his narrow obsessions will find him flighty and distractible. If kept from the field too long, Jernau will grow caustic and irritable. Contacting Jernau is relative easy, though subject to whatever weather conditions that he finds himself in. When forced back to civilization, Jernau keeps to his apartment in Port de Belmont

  • Desires: Interesting genetic samples. Live mega fauna specimens. Hard copy recordings of Mid 3000’s Opera.

SSC Favors

Favor Level



Dossiers (Readout on a particular subject or organization. GM is obliged to give the players either an idea of their personality while in narrative mode, or of their stats while in combat.)


Satellite Surveys (Players can see a map of the next battlefield.)


Genetic Resequencing (Redoing Talents and Skills triggers)

HORUS Contacts

Rebecca Lustigerhase, Nihilistic Socialite

     A social media darling hailing from Chanticleer, Rebecca has been suspected of HORUS leanings since her debut in 5008. The daughter of a pair of Koenig-Tekin Entertainment executives, the young woman has been running a 24/7 simulcast of her life since the age of 19. Rebecca has used this window into the world of the local glitterati as a springboard for near constant lambasting of the lifestyle that has been afforded to her by the wealth of her parents. Combining a flair for biting social critique and a teasingly sexual atmosphere, the social media environment that she has cultivated around herself has been accused of numerous acts of sabotage of the local omninet and beyond. Rebecca herself has so far managed to wriggle out of any true consequences—a fact she occasionally points out on her own stream as further proof of her own views.

     Dealing with Ms. Lustigerhase is an exercise in frustration. While she is undoubtedly HORUS affiliated due to her political leanings and occasional sharing of HORUS friendly memes on social media, she is also livestreaming at all times. Unless a fair rapport with the woman has been built up, uncouth or blunt requests will be laughed off or featured in a blooper reel on her weekly show, Bunny Time. While superficial and somewhat vapid, the woman does have a good handle on the goings on for both Chanticleer & Ysengrim, and as a fan of the War Games, she can often be found on Ysengrim in person during Game season, generally at La Buona Canzone or at a club in Metzgerstadt.

  • Desires: Boosting her personal brand or HORUS in general. Humiliating the upper brass of corpo-states. Entertaining or otherwise comedic actions in the field.

Étienne de Pointre, Les Yeux Affemés Boss

     Étienne is not a very nice man. A lifelong member of Ysengrim’s homegrown criminal syndicate known as Les Yeux Affemés, Étienne became accustomed to violence at a very young age. Helping his siblings and cousins to run protection and gambling rackets in Metzgerstadt and beyond, Étienne proved himself an able and willing criminal. Recognized for his aggressive nature and shrewd business sense, Étienne steadily rose through the ranks, eventually taking control of his gang in early 4992u. Purging any contenders to his rule through a spate of murders in 4993-94, Étienne headquartered himself in the former throne of one of his rivals, a bordello and nightclub called La Engoulevent. Maintaining the hereditary connections to HORUS and The Old Man that have made the families strong, Étienne has positioned himself as a middleman between interested Lancers and the manufacturer.

     A utilitarian and cold person by nature, Étienne is really only interested in advancing the interests of their family. Willing to meet at their club, or through cutouts in various seedy venues around Ysengrim, Étienne is surprisingly approachable. Polite and often reserved, the crime lord is even handed and fair even to those who are in their debt. Though not one to shy away from some old fashioned ultraviolence, Étienne is more likely to engage in blackmail or tainted partnerships than bloodshed. They are looking for marks, not victims. Étienne is not a believer in HORUS memes or ideology—he sees their support as merely another means to an end.

  • Desires: Blackmail material. Assassinating enemies to his family or the Yeux Affemés. Help with running protection rackets or other criminal schemes.

The Old Man, Acolyte of RA

     The Omninet is one of the greatest creations that humanity has ever conceived of. Connecting billions of souls across thousands of planets, stations and orbitals, interstellar settlement would not be possible without interstellar communications. With the good, comes the bad. Narcoalgorithms, addictive AR simulations, mind-shattering Black IC, the threats on the omninet for the weak-willed and vulnerable are numerous. On Ysengrim at least, these unfortunates are often rented out by local gangs as greeters, criers and beggars. Placed outside of businesses and apartments with their AR-rigs still attached to their heads, the burnouts are a constant reminder about what can happen when people forget the necessity of maintaining a real life. Though their realities are often bleak, many of these omninet addicts lead rich, if ultimately fake, lives in AR space. Reportedly a guru and expert on the topic of Mech design, the enigmatic figure known as The Old Man is something of an urban legend in Ysengrim’s local Omninet. An occasional commentator on live streams of the War Games, or off-season simulations, The Old Man is also notable for their fiery diatribes on the topic of NHP liberation.

     Few would guess that The Old Man is one of the burnouts that has been rented to the local Yeux Affemés. Most days he is set outside a dilapidated hotel in a back alley of Metzgerstadt, propped up against a wall with a sign hung around his shoulders imploring passersby to give alms to the poor. He mutters to himself occasionally, craning his head from one side to the other as the weight of his AR-rig fatigues his neck. Though capable of speaking to those in front of him, The Old Man’s dreamlike responses make him a poor conversationalist. Seekers of his wisdom are advised to find him in the digital halls of his cyberashram. There he holds court with those interested in attaining glory in HORUS’ name.

  • Desires: Advancing the cause of NHP liberation. Demolishing the enemies of HORUS in a public manner. Engaging in long, philosophical debates about the nature of struggle.

HORUS Favors

Favor Level



Hidden Cache (Choose a hex on the map. Moving a friendly mech to that hex allows that pilot to regain all spent charges for all expended Limited systems, one time)


Old Man’s Sermons (The next Boot Up made after a Shut Down to return a cascading NHP to normal is a Quick Action rather than a Full Action)


Zero Day Exploits (Gain a +1 to all hacking rolls and checks for the next 3 missions)

Harrison Armory Contacts

Victor Neslon , Grizzled Recruiter

     Descendant of Hercynian refugees and a veteran of multiple Wargames under under an HA license, Victor Nelson built a name as a skilled and steady-handed lancer before his retirement. Victor was considered an ideal recruiter for Harrison’s burgeoning presence on the planet, and now acts as the liaison between the Armory and the Mercenaries who flock to the planet for the Games. Nelson suffered horrific injuries during his time as a pilot, and for appearances he chooses to use obvious and somewhat crude cybernetics. While ostensibly a civilian, Victor is in close communication with elements of Harrison’s local Acquisitions & Management team, and he has enough influence with them to requisition nearly whatever he would like.

     Boisterous and prone to yarns about time as a competitor within the War Games, Victor realizes that his glory days are long behind him and likes to try and live vicariously through younger pilots. Immensely proud of his contribution to the the Armory, Nelson sees himself as a gatekeeper between Harrison and those who are not worthy to serve it. Though easily dismissed as a yammering old man, he has an eye for spotting diamonds in the rough in the dross that are the local Mercs. Victor does most of his work out of an old spaceport bar in Port de Belmont named The Lighthouse, but during the War Games he often switches to working out of one hunting lodge or another in order to follow the action.

  • Desires: Long, involved war stories. Attacking the enemies of Harrison Armory. Fulfilling contacts taken out with the Armory.

Captain Ximena Campos, Overachieving Quartermaster

     One of cogs in the vast and complex machine that is Harrison Armory, Captain Ximena Campos has the unenviable job of helping to ensure that the Armory’s research campuses, contracted mercenaries and security forces on Ysengrim never run out of supplies. A third generation Ysengrimmite, Ximena’s family has been part of Harrison’s Acquisitions and Management team since the corpo-state’s takeover of Port de Belmont. Rising through the ranks of the local officer corps, Captain Campos cut her teeth during the labor riots of 4991, and was seconded to the supply division after displaying a flair for in-field coordination with the city’s VISHNU administrative NHP. Operating in tandem with VISHNU, Ximena oversees processing and distribution of Harrison licenses and gear for approved personnel.

     Acerbic and with a caustic sense of humor, Ximena has not gotten to her position on the back of her personality. Intensely driven and concerned with results, non-commissioned officers under her suffer from an unusually high, though not unacceptable, burnout rate. More at home among distribution drones and Schedule 2 printers than people, Ximena takes bitter pleasure in calling VISHNU her closest friend. Not a fan of the concept of time off, Captain Campos is most easily reached through a representative of the Acquisitions and Management Team, or failing that, by messaging VISHNU directly and imploring the vain NHP for help.

  • Desires: Retrieving lost or stolen Harrison property. Maintaining law and order in Harrison territory. Guarding Harrison shipments or supply dumps.

Commander Keziah Salazar,  Mercenary Commander

     Leader of the Harrison aligned free company known as La Ganso Salvaje, Keziah and her unit have been fixtures in the War Games for the last seven seasons. Seen as one of the most talented Lancers and officers currently competing, the distinctive silhouette of Tejon, Keziah’s Tokugawa is an object of fear for those foolish enough to lock horns with her. Favored by the Armory for her ferocious record on the field, Keziah’s Gansos have been suspected of involvment in “off-season” work for Harrison on a few occasions, most notably in the assassination of a trio of IPS-N executives while they were big game hunting in northern Chevre. Investigated repeatedly by the Joint Operating Committee, any charges against Commander Keziah or La Ganso Salvaje have been stymied by Harrison’s member on the ruling council.

     On the surface Keziah seems like nothing more than a braggart, but that façade hides a calculating mind with a talent for skullduggery. Fully embracing her role as a gladiator and killer for hire, Salazar wants nothing more than to make herself indispensable to the Armory. The Gansos or anyone else in her life are just a means to that end. She dangles training and equipment in front of any potential clients, doing whatever she can to best advantage herself in the process. During the season Keziah will undoubtedly be somewhere in the field, hunting down her targets and celebrating the joy of war. In the off-season Keziah can be found in the rougher parts of Port de Belmont, either seeing to some mission provided to her by HA, or at a lancer bar called The Old Post.  

  • Desires: Help with murdering specific targets. Supporting her Mercenary company. Schmoozing with Harrison Executives with her.

Harrison Armory Favors

Favor Level



Overflowing Magazines (Choose a Limited System. That system starts with double the usual number of charges for the next mission)


Legionary Support (At the beginning of the next mission, the players have the help of 3 Tier 1 Grunt units on their side.)


Superior Calibrations (During the next mission, any time a player rolls a Systems check, they can choose the better of the two results)

And that's a wrap for this section folks! Most of the broad strokes are done, all we have left is a one-shot set on Ysengrim itself to help kick your campaign in the setting off.

Art is not mine, and will be taken down at its owners discretion. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Things to do in D&D After You're Dead Part III - RESURRECT DEAD ON PLANET JUPiTER

     Death happens in OD&D, a lot. In my previous articles I laid out some new ways in which players and referees can deal with PC death within their games. In this article, I am going to tackle the most prominent solution that D&D historically has had towards the problem: Resurrection. While it has understandable roots, the whole process always seemed trite to me. If you have a big, dramatic death, or even a darkly comedic one, it is completely undermined by how I've seen many groups handle raising a dead PC. A priest of the necessary level of potency is found, they are paid off, and perhaps a short scene in which a character comes back to their body is played out. That of course is assuming that a Priest of sufficient puissance isn't already one of the PCs. It makes everything feel cheap if you can simply haul the two halves of your party's unfortunate Specialist back to town and get them put back together after a pendulum blade has sliced them in twain. Sturm's sacrifice for the Companions of the Lance would be meaningless, as would the deaths of Achilles or Hector, if they could simply be brought back without any meaningful consequence.

     We'll start with the text of the original Raise Dead spell from OD&D:

     Raise Dead: The Cleric simply points his finger, utters the incantation, and the dead person is raised. This spell works with men, elves, and dwarves only. For each level the Cleric has progressed beyond the 8th, the time limit for resurrection extends another four days. Thus, an 8th-level Cleric can raise a body dead up to four days, a 9th-level Cleric can raise a body dead up to eight days, and so on. Naturally, if the character’s Constitution was weak, the spell will not bring him back to life. In any event raised characters must spend two game weeks’ time recuperating from the ordeal.

     While there are several implied costs and requirements in the spell's description, there are only three which are clearly delineated the text itself; the body must not have been dead for more than four days unless the cleric is of high level, the raised character must rest for two weeks, and it only works on a few races, notably leaving out several races which would become PHB standards. While there is a mention of characters with low Constitution not being able to be raised with the spell, no hard and fast numbers are given. These suggestions would grow into the later tables that would show up for Raise Dead and other similar spells in AD&D, but they never really varied from the base assumption, with the exception of the Reincarnate spell.

     How do we make this more interesting?Again, there's a lot of implication in the text but not a lot of detail. Having some direct and unsubtle consequences for the raising kf the dead would make for more roleplaying opportunities. In that spirit, here's a Resurrection Complication Table:


Resurrection Complications


Came Back Wrong. Increase the subject's Int by 2, reduce their Cha by 4. Animals will never trust the character.


Chill of the Grave. The character's body provides gives off minimal heat, and their lips are always blue or purple. The PC receives a -1 to all reaction rolls. Spells or abilities that have the ability to detect living creatures have a 50% chance of failing on them.


For Vengeance. The character gains +2 to all rolls in pursuit of taking revenge on the being, or organization that was responsible for their demise. All other tasks gain a -1 penalty. This effect ends if the PC kills all of those involved.


Glimpse the Dead. The subject's trip into the afterlife has given them the dubiously useful ability to see (but not speak or interact with) the intangible dead. The dead know when they're being observed.


A New Perspective. Having seen beyond the veil, the PC sees the world in a different light. If your game uses alignment, they shift one step (e.g. Lawful to Neutral, Evil to Neutral, Neutral to Chaotic)


Like a Bat out of Hell. The character found themselves in some place of torment in the afterlife, whether they deserved it or not. They can sense the presence of fiends and other creatures of the lower planes with a successful Save vs Magic (use a DC 15 Wisdom Save if using 5e). The fiend is aware that it is being watched.


Fire Walk With Me. A presence has attached itself to the character during their trip to the Beyond. While the PC largely maintains command of their body, 1/week the inhabiting spirit can try to wrest control away for a few moments, based on its personality. Roll 1d4, 1: Furious, 2: Romantic, 3: Gluttonous, 4: Covetous. When the GM deems appropriate, they can ask the PC to make a save vs Magic (or a Charisma save if using 5e) or have the spirit take control for 1d3 rounds.


Already Saw the Ending. It was not their time, and the character knows it. They saw their true demise while they were in the waiting room. This knowledge imparts a character with a bravery bordering on madness. 3/day, the PC can re-roll any saves or check based around fear or morale, but mast take the second result even if it is worse.


Splintered Soul. Though the spell was able to bring the character back, their soul had to be bound to an object, which must be protected as their link to the land of the living. The object must be small enough to be held within a character's hand, and non-perishable.


Success. Nothing strange or otherwise eerie happened to the character while they were dead.

     This is all assuming that the PCs are able to revive one another in the first place. Simply spending some cash, or even just having access to the spell without some sort of challenging circumstances again makes the process feel tawdry. If the players have to leg it out like this every time they want to bring some beloved PC back, they're going to be a lot more careful. Here's a few conditions upon using the Raise Dead spell:


Resurrection Conditions


The Stars Must be Right. The necessary spheres must be in alignment, or the raising cannot occur. The party may need to consult with an astrologer or other expert on the stars.


Descent into Hades. Finding an entrance to the underworld, the party sneaks past whatever guardians dwell at the gate and convince the dead PC's spirit to come back with them.


A Life for a Life. The Raise Dead spell can only be cast if another life is taken first. The killing need not be performed by the Priest, but rather someone with a personal connection to the dead.


Games with Death. Tracking down a psychpomp, the party convinces the spirit to retrieve their friend. The spirit agrees, but only if the party manages to best them in a game of skill or chance.


Beseech the Gods. Bringing their dead friend to a temple or another site holy to a deity, the party asks for their direct intercession. The deity almost certainly extracts a favor for their aid.


(Un)Holy Burial. Taking to the body to a site of weighty significance, the party buries the corpse in the eldritchly charged ground. While they do come back to life, they have to roll twice on the 'Resurrection Complications' table.


Faustian Bargain. Striking some sort of contract with a fiend or celestial, the party secures their release from the afterlife. The price demanded will be high.


The Artifact. An item of great power must be a located as part of the spell's components, such as the Flower of Youth, Peaches of Immortality or a Finger of the Monkey's Paw.


An Arduous Ritual. The spell must be performed under exacting and taxing circumstances; It could take the form of continual chanting and wailing for a day and a night, or the construction of a sacred pyre around the body.


A Necessary Cost. The character was dead for too long, or perhaps the damage to their body was simply too extensive. While the Priest can bring them back, they first need to put their body back together as best they can. This may require digging up some fresh graves.