Electric Gods at BrisCon

I’m working hard on a new setting release, Electric Gods, set on a run away generation star ship overrun by self concerned A.I.

And I will be running a session for up to 6 players at Bris Con at the end of April.

The people have lived in this jungle place, between the Sapphire, the river of birth, and the Jade, the river of death, for thirty years. The local god ForSevOran has cared for the people, keeping the tribal enclave clear and plentiful of food. The great god NeThronSev has avatars among the people and sees far and wisely.

It seems that the supply of AcSticks grows thin and so ForSevOran’s power wanes, and territory shrinks. It sees the dreadful Bat People, servants of ThreatThreSevTo, multiply and begin to raid out of The Past. A crisis brews.

Do the people seek to move into The Future, beyond ForSevOran’s protection? Do they counter raid the Bat People Enclaves? One family, the Kelmin, urge a move across the Jade, into the realm of SevixNinonfi, for ancient treasures lie in the land of the dead. The Macrons, under the Mind Touched Marta, say the jungle beckons across the Sapphire, where the god ThroneTwifa seeks to breach the walls of heaven.

You listen to the council of the elders, and the Seven Voice of NeThronSev. You are the young ones, some expert humans, some born as physical or mental sports, and you glance one to the other thinking the fellowship must choose a path themselves, and the adults will follow if they are wise.

Note: It is helpful if players have a browser on their phone or device and can open https://util-space-one.w3spaces.com/augdiceroller-v5.html. This is a dice roller javascript app that knows the rules and handles the results for you, which makes for easier gameplay.

Game Master:
Danny Stevens
Session 3:
Sunday 29th April 10am – 2pm
All Us Gamers
Post ApocalypseUp to 6 players for this session

Bris Con Game Entry

Look forward to it.

Also the Cosmic Horror rules have been getting a good work out so they will be coming out in sections in the near future.

Magic n Zombies

Hello to all the new followers of this site and welcome.

The magic play test has had a bit of a hiatus as I sort out what is “structure” vs what is “too much detail”. Play tests have gone back and forth a bit with a number of different opinions offered. I’m closing in on the sweet spot.

To give myself a fun break I have gone back to producing one of my earlier product ideas for AUG, the Zombie Apocalypse Campaign. Its taking shape pretty well. A bit harder to play test because it really needs new players each time. Its getting there though.

Here is the introduction:

Just a normal day. On a walk to work. A woman comes running down the street yelling “He’s after me!” Behind her a young man in jeans and a torn T-Shirt, covered in blood, walks forward with malevolent intent on his face. You call to the policeman shuffling across the road, then notice his left arm is just a bloody, torn stump. “What on Earth?” you think “This is like some zombie movie!” Just then a car comes screaming around a corner, a crazy woman clinging to the roof. The car runs down the policeman and zooms on. This isn’t a movie.

Day Zero : Zombie Apocalypse Campaign is a role playing adventure set in a modern day town as the Zombie Apocalypse is just beginning. The players create regular folks as their characters and plot out how they would go about their day if nothing were happening. The game master then notes where in the city the zombies first appear, and tracks the apocalypse hour by hour until it intersects with the adventure player’s characters.

Then all hell breaks loose.

The players try to keep their characters and loved ones alive until the following dawn, and perhaps save some others. The world around them is rapidly falling apart, and characters that are run by the game master are trying to respond to what is going on, some with competent, and some with foolish methods. The adventurers may try and make common cause with them, or may find they are a complication to the goal of surviving.

How will you survive Day Zero?

Zombie Apocalypse Campaign : Day Zero

Its been a lot of fun. Massive encounter tables and interactions between the city alert level, zombie presence level and panicking survivor groups.

The Open Table Chassis

Having thrown together an old school style of play for running the Combat Toolkit play tests, and having 15 players regularly continuing with open table play, it seems like time to make the game structures for this type of open table into a product.

For those interested in some detailed philosophy of open table play I recommend the Open Table Manifesto.

Just as an aside, the Stealth and Investigation Toolkits are also being worked on. As with the Combat Toolkit they will be a mix of mechanics and ruling guides. We are using the Call of Cthulhu (7th Edition) RPG as a framework for play test, obviously with the AUG mechanics swapped in for the Basic Role Play mechanics.

The Open Table Chassis is a set of rules structures to allow groups of multiple players, with multiple characters to casually play with multiple game masters, potentially each with multiple home regions in a single game setting.

For this to work each play session has a single GM, using one of her home regions, and whoever is available to play, each using only one of their player characters. A fairly “board game like” rules structure is used to break an adventure down into a cycle of 3 parts.


The players have episodes in their home location where they do things covered by fairly mechanical rules: go shopping, do training, spend growth points to grow a skill, hire people to guard treasures or accompany the group on an adventure, socialize, build reputations, acquire companions and gain quests.


The players go off to role play in a world slightly artificially structured into areas of increasing risk, and with treasures to be gained, hazards to be faced, and factions to be dealt with.

Wind Down

The players return home, gain growth points for the adventure based on treasure gained, risks and difficulties, and for quests completed based on commitment of time, risks overall and encounters braved.

In a given session of play there will be one or more complete adventure cycles. Any adventure in progress when a session runs out of time comes to an abrupt end and the wind down is flicked through.

The chassis comes with some simple book keeping, tracking which characters are the primary quest bearers for which home town, and what the character reputations are there, and tracking things that may be transferred between GM home regions, like magic items, pieces of technology, or global rank.

The first Chassis will have a baked in fantasy genre. Its treasures will be coins, gems, jewels and works of art. There will be some generic sorcery and mysticism rules (aimed at eventually being used for Mists of the Carpathians) and a collection of play structures for dungeon, wilderness, ocean and city adventuring.

A second Chassis under development will have a baked in space opera genre, with aliens, high and low tech worlds, space ships, interstellar corporations and nations and super tech artifacts left behind by “the ancients”. This will be used to lay some ground work for the Shadow Over The Galaxy setting.

Fun times!

Much in the Way of Combat and Dungeons

I’m play testing the Combat Toolkit and trying to ensure that the way it gets used is explained clearly. Its difficult because of the dominance of the wargame style of the big mainstream game. I attack, I get a hit, you take hit points, you attack, you miss, I attack etc etc.

Here is a write up of a brawl from one of the play tests of All Us Gamers, I have added some “mechanics” and “fiction” labels to highlight the interplay. The Book of Struggles has most of the key mechanics in it other than the injury and healing rules:


Player Characters

Mike – Doctor with aptitude 4, combat aptitude 0

Daph – Martial artist with combat aptitude 4

Frank – Ex military Private Investigator, combat aptitude 5

(average combat aptitude 3)

Game Master Characters – Gang

2 gang thugs, combat aptitude 3

Gang tough, combat aptitude 5

(average combat aptitude 3)

Game Master Character – Non Participant

Keith, bar keeper. Has a baseball bat behind the bar and his friend Dave the policeman on speed dial.


The players annoyed the gang earlier but moved on. They are in Keith’s bar, discussing their next step in the mystery they are unraveling. The gang members have decided to rush in and give the players a good pounding to “teach them a lesson”, then leave.

GM: The front door to the pub burst opens and the gang you were having words with earlier rush in with obvious intent to attack, no weapons visible. This is a struggle with two action groups, they have surprise giving them the advantage. What is your operation?


(GM notes to herself that the thugs operation is to match up one on one and start clobbering, so they press the advantage my running at each player swinging fists hard and yelling, -2DN to them (10), +1DN to the players (13) )

Mike: I don’t want to fight, I will duck behind the bar.

Frank: Fair enough, we’ll screen Mike.

Daph: I’ll sweep up my chair as a shield.

GM: Mike, your still in the struggle unless your side advances. Weak link for group results on both sides.

The GM rolls for the thugs, its a poor result given the advantage and aptitudes:

Gang tough: Success, Thug 1: Failure, Thug 2: Dismal Failure

Success point pool 2, failure point pool 5. Group result is Dismal Failure.

The players do OK:

Mike: Failure, Frank: Success, Daph: Success. Success point pool 4, failure point pool 2. Group result is Success.

The players side advances.


GM: Ok, Mike freezes for a moment but then dives sideways behind the bar. Daph has grabbed the chair and swung it in front of the two young thugs, making them flinch back. Frank, you have got into it with the older beardy guy.

Mike: What’s the guy behind the bar doing?

GM: He has stood back away from the fight with an annoyed look on his face.


GM: The attackers have used up their advantage, its on the table. Mike is not in a struggle, Frank is in a struggle with beardy guy, and Daph you are in a struggle with thug one and thug two. Daph, what is your operation?

Daph: I want to smash Thug one out of the way, holding off thug two.

Frank: And I’m going to gut kick the beardy guy so I can help Daph.

GM: OK, Mike what are you doing?

Mike: I’ll look up at the bartender and hassle him to call the police.

Daph vs Thugs

Thug one: Extra Success, Thug Two: Success. Equates to Extra Success.

Daph: Incredible Success

GM: Its a Hot Struggle. Daph, you swing hard with the chair. It shatters on Thug two, sending him reeling toward the bar with a bloody nose, Thug one gets a hit in giving you a minor wound but you strike back giving him one too. You have the advantage now, how would you describe it?

Daph: I’m free to be in fighting stance for a good kick and balanced to easily deflect thuggish blows and turn them against my opponents.

Frank vs Gang Tough

Gang Tough gets Extra Success.

Frank Gets success.

GM: Another hot struggle. You lay into each other and each get a minor wound, but the tough pushes you back over your chair and you fall prone. He now has the advantage.

GM: Mike, the bartender hasn’t called the police, but he has tossed you a baseball bat.

Daph: Mike, take a swing at Thug Two and keep him off my back.

Mike: Alright.

GM: Ok, Mike and Thug Two are a new struggle. Thug Two is dazed with a serious wound. (Thug two’s operation is to rejoin the attack on Daph from behind, unaware of Mike)

Mike: I’ll just swing for his head and knock him out.

GM: Thug one appears to be trying to push you back toward Thug Two Daph, what’s your op?

Daph: I’ll press the advantage to take his momentum and throw him to the floor with it.

GM: Frank? (The tough’s op is to press the advantage and kick Frank hard while he is down)

Frank: I’ll roll to my left and stand up.

Mike vs Thug Two

Thug Two: (aptitude loss from injury, -1) Failure

Mike: Extra Success

GM: The thug needs to save against the attack, he gets a miserable failure. That’s a knock out and a serious injury. As he is already seriously injured it escalates to incapacitated.

Mike: Oops. Barkeep, maybe an ambulance?

Daph vs Thug One

Thug One: Failure

Daph: Failure

GM: A cold struggle – Thug one rushes in, Daph grabs him to throw down but Thug One pulls Daph down with him. Your both on the floor in a grapple.

Frank vs Gang Tough

Gang Tough: Failure

Frank: Failure, uses a focus which results in Extra Success

GM: Frank the beardy guy tries for a kick, but your roll avoids him and your up on your feet facing him. You have him off guard and gain advantage.


GM: The guy at the bar is on the phone, talking to ‘Dave’ and suggesting an ambulance might be a good idea.

Mike: I’m a bit worried about the guy I brained, I’ll check on him using my medical aptitude.

Daph vs Thug One

Daph: My operation is to get the guy face down in an arm lock.

GM: Ok the Thug’s operation is to push you off and stand up.

Frank vs Gang Tough

GM: The beardy guy looks like going for some kind of kick.

Frank: I’ll press my advantage and go for a straight punch at his jaw.


Thug One: Failure

Daph: Failure

GM: Cold struggle – you’re both rolling about on the floor trying to get at each other. The thug has a black eye, Daph your jacket is pushed up over your chin and getting in the way.

Gang Tough: Failure

Frank: Success

GM: You land a blow Frank, the beardy guy needs a save. A minor wound. He already has one so it escalates to painful.


GM: Frank, you can see he has been knocked about and is in some pain. He looks like he is going to run for it. Mike, your guy looks concussed. You start doing some first aid to keep him ok until the ambulance arrives. Daph and Thug One are still struggling on the floor under the table now.

Frank: if he runs for it I’ll let the main guy go and help Daph.

GM: The beardy guy backs off, and when he sees you aren’t following he runs for it out the door.

Frank: Daph, need a hand?

Daph: I’ve got this.

GM: The Thug seems to be trying to break off now, what’s your operation Daph?

Daph: I want to slam his head into the floor and knock him out.


Thug One: Miserable Failure

Daph: Failure, uses a focus but it stays a failure.

GM: you both are banged about a bit, getting caught up in your own clothes, smacking into table legs with your shins.


Frank: I’ll tap the thug with my foot and yell “Oi! Time to give up!”

GM: You can hear a siren in the distance. The Thug scrambles away from Daph.

Daph: No way! I grab him and keep wrestling.


Thug: Failure

Daph: Success


GM: Daph, you grab the thug as he rolls away and push him face down to the ground, and climb on top of him pinning him down. He is yelling incoherently.

Frank: I lean down and say “Stop struggling buddy, or she might break something”

At this point the combat struggle is over. Daph and Frank both have minor wounds. Thug one has a serious wound. Thug two has an incapacitating wound, but the approaching ambulance means he will be ok. Mike has another beer.

So anyway, we’ve been play testing this sort of battle, another we have is some guys charging into a room with swords to take on a slightly larger force, and it just occurred to me there and then. Classic Dungeon.

So I am revisiting the truly classic dungeon crawl with a new game mechanism. The nearby town is a menu for purchases and quests, and the place to return to after each delve. The dungeon is a vast maze, with levels that are harder to deal with as they get lower underground. Intelligent denizens have little fiefdoms and conflict with one another. Unintelligent beasts wander the corridors. And there are traps. Yes, old school traps, only the game rules make them interesting.

I’ve been designing it to help combat play tests but I think I will polish it up and put it out there.

Now Working on The Mists of the Carpathians Setting.

It is the middle of the 1400s. Vlad III is on his way to becoming Vlad “The Impaler”, Dracula and voivode of Wallachia as he leads Ottoman forces into that realm. There is much struggle ahead of him before he can gain that exalted position.

Against this backdrop the players become characters in a mist shrouded region of Transylvania, where there is much conflict between Noble Factions, the landed Boyars and the Church powers. Teutonic princes, Transylvanian Saxons and Knights Templar each have their secret plans. The Romani peoples, favoured for their skills as musicians, sadly also find themselves a favoured class for enslavement. Beyond the quiet rural areas creatures fey and fell lurk in the wilds, dragons (Dracul), giants (Uriași), werewolves (Vârcolac) and the dread vampires (the Strigoi or the much feared Moroi). The mountains are the source of sorcery, a power slowly fading from the world. Some may master this, and much which lives in the mountains or the deep woods is changed by its power.
The source book being developed describes a forgotten region in Transylvania, the political intrigues of the region, how to create your own factions and major characters for your campaign, and how to throw together encounters and adventure situations for players to engage.
The magic system builds on the skill system in On Aptitude adding sorcerous specialisations and professions, and the character sorcerous power pool. It includes magical conflict, including the ability to posses, using the mechanisms from the Book of Struggles. Those with sorcerous power and much skill may make items imbued with magic and a will of their own. Here are two examples:

The Gloves of Elaine

The beautifully embroidered, burgundy coloured, velvet gloves have the name “Elaine” stitched into their cuffs. They enhance the aptitude of the wearer by 2 whenever using agility to perform actions with their hands.

The enchantress, Elaine, was a woman of the Southern Teutons. Her powers allowed her to make fine miniatures of blown glass, stitch fine tapestries, and to emblazon enchanted coats of arms and symbols on her husband’s armour that aided in his defence and his presence.

20 years ago Elaine was murdered by her husband’s rival, Burn of Anglevise, while Elthic the Red was on crusade. The gloves seek revenge against Burn and his family, wishing to drive the master to steal from them, weaken their armour and weapons, make their surroundings unpleasant, or assist their foes in bringing them down with improved weapons, armour or alliance seeking presence.

The Horse Stick

Durriken the Horseman crafted this stick from a tree deep in the forest where the wild and most hot blooded stallions would stop to drink during the winter migrations. He carved a handle in the likeness of a wild horses head with a flowing mane. The rest of the stick he left in its natural form. The stick, when used to lightly touch a horses cheek or stroke its neck would enhance the wielder’s ability to calm and befriend the animal.

Although Durriken was a Roma leader of much renowned he fell in love with the daughter of a landed man in the township and their son, Remus Pangratiu, became a Boyar who resented his Gypsy lineage. He inherited the horse stick but spurned it, secreting it away.

The youngest of his seven grandsons, Gabriel Dragan, works as apprentice to the Pangratiu stable master. He has his great grandfather’s affinity for horses and has discovered the horse stick among the brick a brac of his late mother’s possessions. The stick has whispered to him and he found himself wielding it on horses he was breaking and has discovered its power.

The stick is urging Gabriel to leave his civilised surrounds and seek a life in the wild woods.

So Serious Work Begins

Work has been ongoing for this setting for some months but it is now starting to take shape. There has been some play test adventures already which are helping to flesh things out. There is still a way to go, we will keep you posted as it develops.

Production Plan 2

When you use an agile development process production plans may not last long. Production Plan 1 was ok but here is where we are at on the eve of the On Aptitude Kickstart.

Our collection of core modules looks like being:

  • On Aptitude – character definition and development and necessary additions to action process
  • The Book of Struggles – handling conflict like combat, chases, computer hacking etc.
  • Of Wealth and Treasure – character and corporate possessions, assets and the power of wealth
  • Us and Them – factions and their behaviour in a low prep manner
  • Time Wise – pacing and time management structures for your games

And beyond the core there are now three settings to choose from for development:

When the Plague Came A flu like plague that sweeps the world turns out to have worse consequences as many survivors become murderously paranoid or rabid.

Shadow Over the Galaxy Mankind settled the farthest reaches of the galaxy 3,000 years ago. As the immortals of the core worlds fall into more conflict with the provinces, something lurking in the dark between the space lanes begins to cast its shadow over civilisation.

Time Roads Atlantis built a massive network of roads between eras, securing its domination over a 4,000 year stretch of history. Then the chaos wave smashed through the network, wiping Atlantis from history leaving the history we now know in its place. There are a few pieces of time travel technology and surviving time roads to be exploited by the survivors and those that stumble into it.

The Kickstarter will allow backers to vote on which of these three settings will get developed first. Only backers votes will be used to make the decision. I will obey their choice.