Some time ago, Epidiah Ravachol proclaimed that Swords Without Master was the obvious and best choice for running a Star Wars roleplaying game. Having examined the thought a little further, it appears that only a few light tweaks are required to tell awesome Star Wars inspired stories using Swords Without Master. Here is my take on it: Read the rest of this entry »
The first time it happened, you were seven. Your dog, a chocolate labrador, was hit by a car. You cried the rest of the day. That night, your fitful sleep was interrupted. He came back! His face still bloody, his legs still broken; your pet crawled out of the grave and stumbled and dragged itself back to you.
Since then it has been constant struggle. The dead call to you, and you call to them. When you focus yourself and have made the correct preparations, zombies follow your commands and the other undead monsters out there begin to fall in line. However, nothing ever comes back without a price.
The Animator is a skin for Monsterhearts that takes some inspiration from the middle ground between Anita Blake‘s origin story, and Ned the pie maker. It is the kid who lost someone and never got over it; it is the power-fantasy of what they might do, what they might give up to get it back, even if what they were getting was only a shell of what they once had.
Maybe you don’t have friends, but could you be satisfied with a few rotting corpses who look up to you? Is it worth the life of a pet or a stranger for a few more moments talking with your best friend who committed suicide? This is the monster as metaphor for this skin; everyone who has lost someone thinks about how they could bring them back, or what they would give up to do it. The Animator CAN bring them back if they are willing to pay the price.
I had the privilege of playing in Hans Messersmith’s one-shot of Dust Devils at Con Bravo this summer, and it was amazing! I immediately fell in love with this game, by Matt Snyder, which was the 2002 Indie RPG of the Year“. In my search for more material for the game, I discovered that Jason Morningstar had released Frost Devils, which sets Dust Devils in Nome, Alaska during the gold rush. The pitch is something like this:
Nome, Alaska, 1901. There’s a gold rush on at the very end of the Earth, attracting every manner of ne’er-do-well and fiend from deranged Kuskokwagmiut to Wyatt Earp. And you, of course.
Frost Devils is a reskinning of Matt Snyder’s excellent game Dust Devils. It can also serve as a really solid and historically meticulous resource guide to Nome at the turn of the last century for any game.
Frost Devils also provides a great looking character sheet, and a bunch of characters who have roots in the community; however, due to the fickle nature of history, the list of movers and shakers is a little light on ladies. While not a perfect solution, I have decided to go the ahistoric route– re-writing the descriptions provided so that they are more gender neutral, and providing a couple of name options for each character.
And now to get you all in the mood to play Frost Devils, here are some postcards from Nome!