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Arc Dream Publishing will be at DragonCon this weekend in Atlanta!

We're sharing space with our friends at Holistic Design, so look for us in booths 407/409 in the Marriott Marquis Exhibitor Hall. 

We're running a LOT of games over the weekend, including a whole series of Midnight Games featuring registered games, pickup games, and spooky midnight movies for people who just want to come hang out. 



And here's the full list of Arc Dream events at DragonCon 2009!

FRIDAY
 
1:00 P.M.—Godlike: Operation Torch
November 1942: The Allies are landing on North Africa! Every sign indicates that this landing ought to go smoothly as long as French forces don't put up a fight -- and as long as there are no German Talents around.... This scenario is a preview of the upcoming campaign book "Operation Torch" for "Godlike: Superhero Roleplaying in a World on Fire, 1936-1946." Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Allan Goodall.
 
2:30 P.M.—Games On Demand!
Numerous indie/small press games will be available for anyone interested. Sign up for games with the table custodians and play a new game immediately. Availability of particular games will be determined by the table custodians and the available game masters. Generic tickets only. Hosted by Shane Ivey, Benjamin Baugh and Scott Acker.
 
6:00 P.M.—Monsters and Other Childish Things: Sucrose Park
Designed as the ultimate daycare center, Sucrose Park looks after hundreds of kids while their parents gamble away their college tuition in nearby casinos. A corporate wonderland of rides, ball pits, arcades and costumed mascots from popular cartoons await. Too bad the owner of the park never wants anyone to leave. Ever. All the neon lights and laser tag arenas can’t hide the fact that Sucrose Park is a prison. It’s time to break out. Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Ross Payton.
 
Midnight—The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor
The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor sees doleful foundlings with murky pasts in a great, dreary orphanage filled with dangerous truths. Players together face the monstrous dangers of their new home and uncover their own forgotten secrets. Can you learn the truth of your own sad history? And can you make friends with the monster at the bottom of the well? How about the one in the rickety old mill? Or the one in the cave by the sea? Or the one. . . . Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Benjamin Baugh.
 
Midnight—Target: Planet Earth
As an alien invader, you must observe the hairless apes and analyze their weaknesses. But it's not easy avoiding nosey neighbors, snooping reporters, and the ominious Persons in Brown. And what's with the weird lights coming from the abandoned bubblegum factory at the edge of town? Target: Planet Earth! A Wild Talents game of alien invasion and futile resistance. Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Allan Goodall.
 
SATURDAY
 
2:30 P.M.—Games On Demand!
Numerous indie/small press games will be available for anyone interested. Sign up for games with the table custodians and play a new game immediately. Availability of particular games will be determined by the table custodians and the available game masters. Generic tickets only. Hosted by Shane Ivey, Benjamin Baugh, Ross Payton and Scott Acker.
 
6:00 P.M.—Godlike: Black Devils Brigade
December, 1943: Elements of two divisions failed to wrest Hill 960 from the Germans. In their first real combat mission, the job of taking Monte la Difensa now falls to the joint American-Canadian First Special Service Force. Can this elite unit -- spearheaded by the men of the Talent Section -- do the impossible and succeed where so many others have failed? Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Allan Goodall.
 
Midnight—Monsters and Other Childish Things: Sucrose Park
Designed as the ultimate daycare center, Sucrose Park looks after hundreds of kids while their parents gamble away their college tuition in nearby casinos. A corporate wonderland of rides, ball pits, arcades and costumed mascots from popular cartoons await. Too bad the owner of the park never wants anyone to leave. Ever. All the neon lights and laser tag arenas can’t hide the fact that Sucrose Park is a prison. It’s time to break out. Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Ross Payton.
 
Midnight—The Kerberos Club
The Kerberos Club is an adventure of superhero roleplaying in Victorian London. When the victims and enthusiasts of magic and bizarre science meet in an infamous club for “the Strange,” thrilling action is sure to follow. Malum Necessarium! Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games Hosted by Benjamin Baugh.
 
SUNDAY
 
1:00 P.M.—Godlike: Black Devils Brigade
January, 1944: The American-Canadian First Special Service Force are relieved from their successful attack on Monte Majo, only to learn that their relief force has lost the mountain. The Force must, again, take the last hill blocking the Allies from Liri Valley and a drive on Rome. Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Allan Goodall.
 
1:00 P.M.—Wild Talents: The Age of Masks
You want to be a superhero? No such thing. But you can be a mask, which is why you’re here. The difference? Superheroes didn’t choose to be what they turned out to be. They made the best with what they had. That’s why they died off. Masks want to be masks. Need to be. Being a mask is the greatest high known to man. The governments passed those crackdown laws, but the call of the mask is still strong.  Strong enough to call you. Let's get started. Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Ross Payton.
 
6:00 P.M.—The Kerberos Club
The Kerberos Club is an adventure of superhero roleplaying in Victorian London. When the victims and enthusiasts of magic and bizarre science meet in an infamous club for “the Strange,” thrilling action is sure to follow. Malum Necessarium! Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games Hosted by Benjamin Baugh.
 
Midnight—Delta Green: Night Shift
“A” Cell has assigned your team to protect a vital site in the interests of national security: The largest indoor retail facility in North America. It has been a long and brutal uphill battle protecting the innocent and unwary from the predators of society but so far it has been completely mundane. Your tactical response team trains with the best gear money can buy, but to what end? Tonight you'll find out...Featuring new rules for combat from the upcoming sourcebook Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity. Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Ross Payton.
 
Midnight—This Favored Land
The Battle of Gettysburg is into its second day, and something terrible is happening to the wounded men near Spangler's Spring. It's up to the PCs to investigate and stop the horror. Superhero roleplaying during the War Between the States. Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Allan Goodall.
 
MONDAY
 
1:00 P.M.—The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor
The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor sees doleful foundlings with murky pasts in a great, dreary orphanage filled with dangerous truths. Players together face the monstrous dangers of their new home and uncover their own forgotten secrets. Can you learn the truth of your own sad history? And can you make friends with the monster at the bottom of the well? How about the one in the rickety old mill? Or the one in the cave by the sea? Or the one. . . . Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Benjamin Baugh.
 
1:00 P.M.—This Favored Land
Early spring, 1863. A unique band of superpowered soldiers -- half Yankee, half Rebel -- desert from their units to hunt a dangerous common enemy in Tennessee's Smokey Mountains. Not long ago they were enemies, but now they must unite in pursuit of justice and vengeance. Superhero roleplaying during the War Between the States. Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Allan Goodall.
 
1:00 P.M.—Delta Green: Night Shift
“A” Cell has assigned your team to protect a vital site in the interests of national security: The largest indoor retail facility in North America. It has been a long and brutal uphill battle protecting the innocent and unwary from the predators of society but so far it has been completely mundane. Your tactical response team trains with the best gear money can buy, but to what end? Tonight you'll find out...Featuring new rules for combat from the upcoming sourcebook Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity. Pregenerated characters and all supplies are provided. After the game each player gets a $5 coupon for Arc Dream Publishing games. Hosted by Ross Payton.
I found a small typo in This Favored Land while filling out GenCon scenario character sheets.

In the weapon stats on page 55, the reload time for the Sharps Carbine is listed as "5*".

This is wrong. It should be listed as "3".

As manager of Arc Dream Publishing I have the privilege of working with a lot of really good games. To be honest, that's pretty much the whole reason Arc Dream exists. My partner Dennis Detwiller and I love roleplaying games; we particularly love a very specific style of roleplaying games; and we want more of those games to exist.

It can be hard to define exactly what that style is, but it usually has a lot to do with a detailed and heavily-researched approach to history, secrets that people die or kill to protect, a sense that power always comes with consequences, and action that is fast, bloody and suspenseful. It doesn't hurt if Greg Stolze and Kenneth Hite are the authors, or if I can get Todd Shearer to provide illustrations.

Then there's Grim War, a Wild Talents setting book by Greg Stolze and Kenneth Hite, with art by Todd Shearer.

It's a world with secretive cabals of magicians who summon inhuman powers from beyond our reality, and very public groups of superpowered mutants whose abilities are as dangerous as they are amazing.

Boy, is it fun.

If you know what Greg Stolze and John Tynes did in Unknown Armies, and what Greg Stolze, Ken Hite, Dennis and I did in Wild Talents, then you're a fair step toward grasping what Grim War is all about.

But let's take a look at the book's introduction by Greg Stolze, just to make sure.

Grim War will debut at GenCon 2009.



History, Part One: The magicians have always been around.

Whether it was the pythian oracle, the witch of Endor, bone-pointing Aboriginal killers or voodoo-active pirates, there have always been people around who could call upon the supernatural and have it answer. There are varieties (spirit-binders, fetish-makers, animist shamans) but most forms of magic have long pedigrees.

They stayed hidden for a long time, mostly because the typical reaction of people without magic is quite violent when confronted with people who do have magic. There are all kinds of crazy stories about the Borgia popes being satanic magicians, about Pilgrim warlocks using magic to clean out the natives before being unmasked at the Salem trials, about the efficacy of human sacrifice in Central America going head-to-head with the angelic protectors of Catholic conquistadors. It’s hard to say anything for sure before the Theosophists came out into the open and Spiritualist Movement surged after World War I. But there were just enough people eager for some kind of light after the war’s darkness, hoping for contact with the Other Side and reassurance that mankind was being guided to a better place. Lots of people pursued Spiritualism, and a few things got scientifically verified.

Magic worked. It could contact dead people and provide information that indisputably demonstrated the existence of some kind of human memory after the death of the physical body.

Magic could also contact immaterial intelligences that were not and had never been human.

Summoning a spirit in Grim War.


Not everyone could do it. Two “operators” of equal education could perform the exact same rites, with only one succeeding. Common wisdom holds that some immaterial force of will is necessary to infuse the form of a spell with the energy to operate. Only those with powerful personalities seem to become magicians.

Among those who can do magic at all, the simplest sort seems to be subtle influence on the physical world.

Gross distortions of the physical world aren’t nearly as common or easy. But they aren’t impossible.

The vogue for magic lasted until a few scrappy investigators discovered that, far from being a new cultural force, there had been magicians quietly influencing politics for as long as fifty years. The calumny that magicians caused the Great War is certainly a gross oversimplification, but most people believe that there were magicians who encouraged it and spirits that greatly enjoyed or benefitted from it. As you might guess, the spirits who got off on trench warfare are not the most pleasant kind.

But magic didn’t really earn the fear and hatred of the common man until the rise of National Socialism in Germany. Based around a cabal of enchanters, the Nazis were the first openly sorcerous government. Their atrocities are now considered the primary example of what magicians do when given authority.

After World War II, the practice of ritual magic was banned in most countries, and much of the lore was lost or suppressed. While both the U.S. and USSR legally repressed the practice (after the Supreme Court decided, in The People vs. Megan Boroviak, that magic acts were separate from religion and were therefore exempt from Constitutional protection), it’s long been suspected that both sides were secretly using enchantment in their games of espionage, brinksmanship and battles through proxy nations. Indeed, a few dramatic screwups on both sides revealed to all but the most blindly patriotic that most nations were attempting, desperately in some cases, to acquire or recreate lost occult knowledge. A play on one of the words for a magical tome is one reason that the long period of covert strife between Russia and America is called the Grim Wars.

Despite the rhetoric of People for Religious Liberation (a so-called “magicians-rights” movement) that “once you outlaw magic, only outlaws will use magic,” most people abhor sorcery. Of course, laws and social opprobrium are leveled against murder, theft and drug abuse too, and an awful lot of that goes on.

Compelling a daemon in Grim War.


History, Part Two: The mutants have always been around.


A few credulous hero-worshippers claim mutation every time a myth describes someone of unusual strength or unnatural prowess. But between the research of Charles Fort (which earned him the post of U.S. Secretary for Unusual Humanity) and a few well-publicized corpses preserved with obvious traits off the baseline, it seems clear that there were superpowered mutants in the past, even if Napoleon and Ghengis Khan weren’t among their number.

They’re rare, but becoming less so. The reason for their rarity goes to the foundations of the phenomenon. There are a number of factors that need to be fulfilled before someone becomes a functioning, metahuman mutant.

First off, they need the genetic predisposition. It’s typically theorized that one person in a million has it. In a population of six billion people worldwide, that means there are 6,000 with the potential to develop a power.

Secondly, the proto-mutant has to survive into adulthood. This is less of an issue in the modern developed world, but historical child mortality rates were high.

Furthermore, activating the genes requires a great deal of biological effort. It’s like bearing a child or recovering from a massive injury. Girls who don’t get enough to eat pubesce later. Children deprived of nutrients grow up stunted. Potential mutants whose bodies are strained just trying to survive and fight off infection have no resources left for a massive change.

Even among someone who gets plenty to eat and has the potential, the powers won’t manifest if the host doesn’t accept them. They can be present, but unaccessible. Someone who is constantly praised and supported as a child is unlikely to develop low-self esteem as an adult without some serious trauma or life-changing experience, possibly not even then. Similarly, someone who lives his entire life as an ordinary man without heat vision is unlikely to try to use heat vision when he’s a theology grad student. The potential is there, but he doesn’t even suspect it. Since mutant powers typically manifest after the end of puberty (if they emerge at all), they used to be found most often in people who were already unstable, or who believed in their ability to do inhuman things, or who were in peril serious enough to jolt them out of their usual self-image.

Ironically enough, this last factor meant that many historical mutants thought they were doing magic, when in fact the ritual trappings of enchantment only gave them a framework for accepting power that was theirs all along.

Sorcery aside, historical mutants emerged in conflicts and amidst great tragedies. At the same time that Spiritualism was popularizing the practice of magic, American belief in eugenics was presenting some primitive clues about the presence of beneficial mutation. The unusual brutality of the Civil War had produced several prominent mutants (the best known being “Stonewall” Jackson, the general no bullet could touch), so American soldiers going into the Great War were psychologically prepared to at least hope they could develop some life-saving power under fire. Between the wars, the surviving war hero mutants on both sides became cultural heroes, as well as objects of intense scientific scrutiny. This process only accelerated in the Second World War, where America’s bountiful and well-defended breadbasket ensured that their well-fed soldiery had the necessary calories to fuel the development of powers, if circumstance put them in harm’s way.

Mancat, a mutant in Grim War.


Current Events


Between costumed mutants fighting at the forefront of the Vietnam War while enchanters wormed their way through Grim War espionage, the life of the average person continued remarkably free of the influence of either. That started to change towards the end of the millennium, for both of the very different power types.

The push of mutancy began when developed countries started using hormones on their herds. This increased weight gain, raised milk production, and the amounts that remained in the food products were so miniscule that they were deemed insignificant. But in the last thirty years of the twentieth century, the onset of puberty steadily crept earlier in first world nations, possibly for no reason beyond protein-heavy diets. Whatever the reason, potential mutant powers started unlocking earlier. Instead of becoming available to people in their mid twenties (with fairly developed self-images) they were at hand to teens and adolescents whose identities were fluid enough to accept parahuman power. These same adolescents were also the first generations to grow up with television, and therefore, with televised images of adored and pampered mutants exhibiting their powers.

The mutant population surged, even as many of the teens developing their powers terrified society with their poor power control, or poor grasp of consequences. The race is on to identify the genes controlling mutantcy, but even without a medical test, genetic databases can churn out lists of likely positives. Some people well into their mature years have been informed, out of the blue, that they have at least a 25% chance of being mutant-positive. This pool of potential repressed mutants have plenty of sponsorship offers from governments, corporations and other interested parties with psychological programs designed to tease power out into the open.

Some of the more secretive programs utilize the mind-bending powers of enchantment. While it had languished in the shadows, it remained popular with mafias, smugglers, intelligence agencies, terror cells, cults and other secretive organizations. As computers developed in the 1980s, some of the better-funded and scientifically-minded sorcerers began applying logical and mathematical analysis to the theory and practice of enchantment. They were able to streamline things considerably, so powerful, compact spells were available just as the Internet arrived and made keeping secrets far, far harder.

Leaks were inevitable and, with the media playing up the threat of immature wild mutants (and their rarer but just as dangerous senile counterparts), even some ordinary people started researching a few spells for self-defense. After all, being bulletproof was one of the more common mutations.

Welcome to the Grim War. This is a campaign setting for Wild Talents: Superhero Roleplaying in a World Gone Mad, and it touches on the “Company” rules from the roleplaying game Reign. You need Wild Talents to play, while the rules from Reign can move the action onto a broader level. For more about Wild Talents, see www.arcdream.com. For more about Reign, visit www.gregstolze.com.

Grim War, by Greg Stolze and Kenneth Hite

Arc Dream at DragonCon 2009

Arc Dream Publishing will be at DragonCon 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia, Sept. 4 – 7.

Our booth will be in the Marquis Ballrom, Exhibitor Hall 2. We're sharing space with Holistic Design, so look for their name on the maps.

Remember, you can buy any of our games at the Arc Dream website and arrange to pick up your order in person at DragonCon, and pay no shipping costs.

Oh, and we'll be running a ton of games. 

Friday, 4 September 2009

 

10:00 AM — Indie RPG Introductions (panel with Benjamin Baugh, Allan Goodall, Shane Ivey, Ross Payton and others).

 

1:00 PM — Operation Torch (Godlike game with Allan Goodall)

 

1:00 PM — Armor Soldier! (Wild Talents game with Kevin Pezzano)

 

1:00 PM — Retro Futurism (panel with Benjamin Baugh and others)

 

2:30 PM — Games on Demand (Benjamin Baugh, Shane Ivey)


Games on Demand at DragonCon

Arc Dream Publishing and Scott “Saint&Sinner” Acker are hosting Indie Games on Demand. Join us at the Open Gaming rooms, Friday and Saturday from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM.
 


6:00 PM — Sucrose Park (Monsters and Other Childish Things game with Ross Payton)

 

6:00 PM — Operation Torch (Godlike game with Kevin Pezzano)

 

Midnight — The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor (Monsters and Other Childish Things game with Benjamin Baugh)

 

Midnight — Target: Planet Earth (Wild Talents game with Allan Goodall)



Midnight Gaming at the Hilton

Midnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, we’re taking over Science Track conference room #202 in the Hilton. Join us for late-night gaming with Arc Dream Publishing and movies from Lurker Films!
 


Saturday, 5 September 2009

 


1:00 PM — Indie RPG Feedback (panel with Benjamin Baugh, Allan Goodall, Shane Ivey, Ross Payton and others)

 

1:00 PM — Operation Torch (Godlike game with Kevin Pezzano)

 

2:30 PM — Games on Demand (Benjamin Baugh, Shane Ivey, Ross Payton)

 

6:00 PM — Armor Soldier! (Wild Talents game with Kevin Pezzano)

 

6:00 PM — Black Devils Brigade (Godlike game with Allan Goodall)

 

Midnight — The Kerberos Club (Wild Talents game with Benjamin Baugh)

 

Midnight — Sucrose Park (Monsters and Other Childish Things game with Ross Payton)

 

Sunday, 6 September 2009

1:00 PM — The Age of Masks (Wild Talents game with Ross Payton)

 

1:00 PM — Black Devils Brigade (Godlike game with Allan Goodall)

 

6:00 PM — The Kerberos Club (Wild Talents game with Benjamin Baugh)

 

6:00 PM — Operation Torch (Godlike game with Kevin Pezzano)

 

Midnight — This Favored Land (Wild Talents game with Allan Goodall)

 

Midnight — Night Shift (Call of Cthulhu/Delta Green game with Ross Payton)

 

Monday, 7 September 2009


1:00 PM — Operation Torch (Godlike game with Kevin Pezzano)

 

1:00 PM — The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor (Monsters and Other Childish Things game with Benjamin Baugh)

 

1:00 PM — This Favored Land (Wild Talents game with Allan Goodall)

 

1:00 PM — Night Shift (Call of Cthulhu/Delta Green game with Ross Payton)

Registration

Go to the DragonCon website to register for any or all of our games. See you in Atlanta!
 
 

I'm very pleased to present an excerpt from the introduction of The Kerberos Club, a massive Wild Talents sourcebook of superhuman roleplaying in Victorian London.

Written by Benjamin Baugh (six-time Ennie Award-nominated author of Monsters and Other Childish Things andThe Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor) with illustrations by Todd Shearer (Delta Green: Eyes Only, Grim War, This Favored Land) and Lanny Liu, The Kerberos Club is a thorough treatment of Victorian society in its every particular, especially the incredible and sometimes awful changes that supernatural influences called "the Strangeness" come to wreak on Queen and Country alike. It gives the GM and players every tool they need to play in an era that is at the same time familiar and alien, made more of both by the Strangeness that grips it.

A 320-page softcover book, The Kerberos Club will have a cover price of U.S. $39.99. It was originally offered for pre-order at $24.99, dating back from earlier, much more modest drafts of the book, and the pre-order price of $24.99 remains in effect until July 31, 2009. On August 1, the final cover price will take effect for all subsequent orders.

I hope you enjoy this taste of The Kerberos Club.

Shane Ivey
Arc Dream Publishing




Introduction

As Victoria’s Empire grows larger and more Strange, the well-bred beasts of Science and Industry mate freely with the ill-tempered curs of Occultism and Myth, begetting uncanny marvels that demonstrate the most pernicious mongrel vigor. As Her divinity becomes indisputable, and Her government is shown how to once again properly bow to a true Monarch, the Empire teeters on the brink of chaos. The prosperity brought by Industry and the Might of Her Armies are both transformed by the Strangeness which has touched the world.

In famine-ravaged Ireland the roads to Faerie open and the wonders and horrors of the Otherworld spill out, mingling with man and politics, with magic and Church. But good English will, good English steel and brave English soldiery push into the Lands of Tears and Honey, where the old bones of the Celtic gods are home to their weird kith and kin, arisen from their flesh as it dying became starlight. Through the colony of New Birmingham, Victoria Divinus asserts her Rights and Prerogatives to the Summerlands and the Winterlands, and names as her subjects all the races of the Fae, from the least phooka to the greatest Lord.

Armies are raised against Her, and the gods and powers of old march with their human comrades, but as with the Indian Rebellion, they are smote soundly by Her legions, and the sometimes unsettling weapons of Strange origins they bring to war. Lovelace’s mechanical servants become mechanical riflemen. Albert’s gift of wolf-belts from his native Coberg becomes Her Majesty’s 13th Lupine Rangers. The skies belong to her Aero Navy and its airships carry exploding bombs and fighting-craft perfected from Félix du Temple’s Albatross design.

The pace of change is unsettling, and many have marked that which would have been witchcraft in their father’s age, and would have been deemed impossible just years previous, is now commonplace. No sooner is one innovation or uncanny revelation or Wonder of the Age accepted and become familiar than another arises, more perturbing than the last.

In January of 1860 a man sprouted whirring hummingbird wings and flew from his home in Middlesex to his offices in London as if borne by angels, outpacing the express train on his way. Slowing only to fetch down a kitten from a roof, he arrived at his place of work hardly out of breath. He was lauded in the headlines for a week, then began selling a patent Lifting Tonic promising that the “Seventeen effusions and potent compounds of exotic and mysterious origins” would grant a “lightness of step and mind which if practiced diligently would grant wings of spirit.” But at 5s 5d a bottle it only served to lighten his customers by relieving them of the weight of their silver. By the first of March, he was already defending his reputation in the courts, and fighting prosecution under an obscure Act governing the practice of witchcraft to “cause a public skeptycal in purpose to profet unjustly” — proving that there are few things so wondrous and awe-inspiring that London pragmatism can’t reduce it to its basest element.

In short, the Empire is Touched, and so too are its citizens. The wonders of Science and the horrors of its misuse walk alongside the great mysteries of the elder ages, Oriental religions and cults grow in popularity beneath the veneer of Christian England, and London, always faintly pagan even before the Strangeness, has become something else again.

The Kerberos Club: Touched by Strangeness


When Victoria rose to the throne in 1837 the Strange was upon Her already, in small ways, and it was upon her Kingdom as well, though hidden and mostly unknown. By the middle years of Her reign, when her Divinity is revealed by the bleeding wounds in her side and hands during the Indian Mutiny of 1857 — stigmata which only healed when the rebellion was put down — the Strange has entered the public consciousness, and is reported in the news. The lines between Invention, Occultism, God, Monster, Magic, Mesmerism, Science, and Industry become blurred, and there is only the thrumming engine of Progress to which society clings with white-knuckled hands. The Future is Now, and the World is remade daily. There is no shortage of news for London’s dozens of papers. By the end of Victoria's reign the pace of change and the Strange wonders she portended have become oppressive and crushing. It is impossible to bear Her gaze any longer without falling down and weeping, so She remains out of the public eye. She has made pets of Parliament, the Lords are her parakeets, singing whatever tune she wishes, and the House of Commons her beaten cur.

And then there is the Kerberos Club, refuge for the Empire’s monsters and broken heroes, those who have gazed too long into the darkness, and those who have been Touched and remade by the Strange. Early on, the Kerberos Club guards the gates of hell, keeping ordinary folk ignorant of the Strangeness, then as the Strange becomes known, they marshal to confront those weird menaces that are too much for ordinary authorities. In the last years of Her reign the Club is at the height of its power, working against enemies foreign and domestic to bring the full force of its Strange potencies against them: The Three Heads of the Kerberos Club.

The Club welcomes any who’ve been Touched, and early on this egalitarianism is itself more shocking than the rumors of dark dealings, blackmail, pagan practice, sexual perversion, and smoking in the company of women. Within the walls of the Club’s main house on the Square of Saint James, just off Pall Mall, no member is forbidden any access or denied any privilege because of race, creed, class, color, sex, or predilection. This shocking transgression of the natural order of things might seem the hardest of the Club’s many eccentricities to accept, but it only seems this way because one has not yet seen the Blue Chamber or the Atlantis Room, or sat down at table with Doctor Archibald Monroe and heard Darwin’s theories of Speciation and Natural Selection so perfectly and amusingly explained from the lips of a chimpanzee ape. The doctor is quite proud of his waistcoats, which he has tailored by Mertoy and Sons in colors to inspire thoughts of Birds of Paradise, and a compliment will surely win his friendly attention.

The Kerberos Club is where the Strangers come to relax, have a meal, read the paper, and socialize with those who truly understand the burden , the power , and the duty that the Touch of Strangeness imparts. And of course, to engage in the sorts of dilettante meddling by which the Kerberans address some of the Empire’s gravest and subtlest threats.

Special Branch, Victoria’s steely-eyed secret police, despise the Kerberos Club, and would happily see the lot of them banged up in irons and locked in a hole where the sun never shines (assuming the Kerberan in question wouldn’t find that treatment quite delightful). But Victoria dotes on the Kerberos Club, even if She never publicly meets its officers in any official capacity. She likes Her creatures to remain strong and occupied, and some harmless exercise from rivalry can only serve the good of all. When She needs clean, fanatical, reliable, and rigid, her Special Branch will do. But when she needs a Stranger’s abilities or warped perspective — when she needs the insights of a controlled evil to understand a loosed one — then the three-headed dog is the beast she whistles for, if the clever monster isn’t already on the right trail.

There is every good reason for the club’s motto:

“MALUM NECESSARUM.”

How to Use This Book

The Kerberos Club is a setting sourcebook for the Wild Talents roleplaying game. It presents a view of the Victorian period as transformed by Strangeness, the euphemistic expression used to describe every manner of weird and uncanny influence, inspired by the gothic horror, scientific romance and fairy tales of the day, the superhero genres of the modern era, and by the real history of the period made Strange at every step, and growing increasingly so as the century progresses.

This book presents three distinct eras of play, each offering a different style of adventuring. The eras also correspond generally to the Early, Middle, and Late Victorian period, and so each has a slightly different social and political landscape. It is entirely possible to run (and frankly, would be awesome to play) a campaign from one end of the century to the other, encompassing each era and style into a single game.

Early on, the Strangeness is relatively subtle, something people may have heard about but with which most have no direct experience. In the middle, it is breaking out into the public awareness and becoming indistinct from the other wonders of the age. By the late era things have come totally unstuck, and almost nothing is too Strange to be loosed in the world.

The Kerberos Club


In Wild Talents Terms

In terms of Wild Talents’ “Building Superheroic Histories,” the world of the Kerberos Club can be defined like so:

Red (Historical Inertia): 3

Superhuman Strangers can easily change history, but a conceit of the setting is that while many of the details change, the general shape of Victoria’s century remains the same. For example, in 1861 Prince Albert, having become increasingly concerned that Victoria’s transformation is driving her mad, mysteriously vanishes so as to join an occult revolutionary society with its origins in the University of Berlin. In our reality, he dies of typhus.

Gold (Talent Inertia): 3

The superhuman are no different than the merely human in the world of the Kerberos Club. Change comes to some and not to others, and some actively fight against it. But the world itself is changing, and changing dramatically, so elements of Future Shock play into this. Can you change enough to keep up with the changing times? The rate of this acceleration itself increases as the century wears on, and the forces unleashed in the 1840s will not be put away again.

Blue (The Lovely and the Pointless): 2, Then 3, Then 5

The “Blueness” of this world increases as the Strangeness becomes more prevalent.

EARLY. In the early years of Victoria’s reign, things are BLUE 2: The Strangeness exists, and has begun to spread and infect, but it has not yet become common knowledge. What is known is generally considered unseemly, foreign, or the purview of the Great and Good (or the Base and Fallen). In this mode the Kerberos Club operates to keep a lid on these things, to see that they don’t get too out of hand and upset the delicate sensibilities of the growing middle class.

MIDDLE. In the Middle Victorian era things begin to heat up pretty seriously. The setting becomes BLUE 3, and the Strangeness can no longer be ignored. Victoria has shapechangers in Her army, and her heavy cuirassiers wear the Lorica Victoria, bullet-proof armor for rider and horse alike. Now the Kerberos Club contends openly with weird threats and menaces, and things begin to resemble a street-level superhero setting in many ways.

LATE. In the Late Victorian era things unravel, and jump right to BLUE 5 (things are briefly BLUE 4 at the transition point, but they keep changing faster and faster). In this era the Empire is like a top, nearly spun out, wildly gyrating before flying off the table onto the floor. Fleets of airships, the Hollow World explored, dinosaur cavalry, and superhuman adventurers fighting openly. Here the Kerberos Club is like a big public super-team in many respects, and their battles with malevolent Strangers can sometimes level city blocks.

Black (Moral Clarity): 2

The world of the Kerberos Club may get Stranger and Stranger, but it doesn’t get any more morally clear. It’s about hard decisions, and about consequences. In a sense, the British Empire is presented as the “good guys” in this game, in that the Kerberos Club (and its members) for the most part do their particular take on “duty” with regards to Queen and Country. Often, they find themselves forced to make choices between a little evil and a big one, or to make choices with no clear idea where the Good lies. The real history of England saw intense classism, crushing poverty, science in the service of racism, the disenfranchisement of women, sensational crime, and war war war. Add to this the reality of the superhuman. It’s a tough world, and sometimes the only thing you can be is badder than the bad man, more deceitful than the devil, and more poisonous than the snake. At the end of the day, is knowing you did your duty for Queen and Empire enough to let you look your own reflection in the eye?

Who Are the Characters and What Do They Do?

The primary assumption of this book is that players will take on the roles of members of the Kerberos Club, and one major goal in writing it has been to make this prospect as attractive as possible. The Kerberos Club is many things, but within the setting it is the vanguard against the Strangeness which is transforming the world: the Empire’s first and last defense against menaces too weird for ordinary people. As a facilitator to play, it is a perfect excuse for characters of radically different social background and class to mingle and work together as equals, something which can present a problem without this conceit in the context of the Victorian social order.

The Kerberos Club: The Night HagThe Kerberos Club is a refuge for the Strange. It counts among its members Indian mystics, fallen women, gentleman adventurers, occultists, and those who meddle with the outward limits of what is scientifically possible, seeking to transgress those limits at any cost. All its members have been Touched. As Kerberans, the player characters stand somewhere at the nexus of Hero and Monster, and as the Club becomes more public knowledge, they are equally lauded and despised. They possess unnatural abilities which defy reason and a perspective which defies morality. They cast a lurid glow that casts the period’s social landscape in sharp relief.

Within the walls of the Club’s London house all are equal and treated as such (and those who can’t adapt to this don’t long last on the Club’s rolls), but outside the walls, they find themselves thrown back into the same struggles, preconceptions, and expectations as everyone else, and subject to the mistrust and resentment of ordinary folk who envy and fear their freedom. In this way, they are both within and without proper Victorian society, subjects of admiration and envy, sometimes revulsion, but always fascination. And as much as Society would wish it were not so, the Kerberos Club is needed.

What characters do is as complex as who they are. The pursuit of personal agendas is entirely acceptable. A detective may consult on cases unrelated to the Club’s business, and a physician may seek cures for weird diseases. An inventor invents, an explorer explorers, a woman fallen to vice, free thinking and the study of the occult has plenty to occupy her time. But if one visits the Kerberos Club’s house often enough, one will inevitably be asked to look into certain things, handle certain business, have a word with this person or that. The Kerberos Club’s officers (whoever they might be) never assign jobs or duties; rather all members are obliged to look favorably upon the humble requests for assistance made by their fellows. Likewise, the characters have this same privilege of asking for assistance, information, and specialized services from other members.

The currency of the Club is favors done and favors owed, and though there is no official tally, most members are scrupulous about keeping track of who they owe and who owes them. Offers of assistance, if accepted, are indebting as well. The Club’s grand tradition of meddling in affairs which don’t concern it sees Kerberans on the trail of many menaces and threats even before an official request for aid comes down the convoluted channels separating the Club from the Queen. Such requests follow a path like Louis Pasteur’s torturously twisted glass tubing, which keeps wandering microbes from inoculating his broth while still allowing air to pass through. Communication without contamination.

Victoria’s Empire is under assault constantly from all quarters. In Ireland the Fae grow restless with the Queen’s rule, and their discontent with Her rulership mirrors that of the Irish people. In India, the legion of native gods and demons and divinities, asleep for ages, has begun stirring again, seeking new epic stories to play out upon the societies of man. In Europe, France and Prussia clash, and beyond them, Russia grows increasingly aware of its might. In the Americas, the broken Union is heading to war. Spies, anarchists, criminals petty and grand, Faerie contagion, industrial transformation, blasphemous science run amok, strife within the Church over the Queen’s apparent divinity, and all the mundane evils of poverty and desperation and injustice push the Empire to the boiling point. Assailed from without by enemies on four continents, corrupted from within by Progress run mad, it is held together only by the increasingly inhuman will of Queen Victoria Divinus.

The Kerberos Club has plenty to contend with.


The Kerberos Club, cover art by Todd Shearer



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Unless your This Favored Land game is set entirely within a city or it's an entirely military campaign, it's likely that at some point your characters will do some travelling as civilians. That brings about a couple of questions. How freely could people move about the countryside during the American Civil War? What kinds of documents were needed for travel? Were there differences in travel requirements between the Union and the Confederacy?

Travel Passes

The American Civil War was a unique affair, fought between literate people of largely the same ethnic make up, over political arguments that only partially mapped to geography. Telling friend from foe when not in uniform was incredibly difficult. Nevertheless, both the North and the South saw the necessity of restricting the movement of its citizens lest freedom of movement gave aid to spies, saboteurs and smugglers. This was made even more difficult by the fact that the United States' was founded on liberty, with certain rights and freedoms enshrined in the constitution.

Freedom of movement was not restricted until the front lines had defined themselves after the battles of Bull Run in Virginia and Wilson's Creek in Missouri. Up until then, both sides figured the conflict would be a short, sharp affair with the rebellion crushed or secession succeeding by Christmas of 1861. The rich and powerful in Washington travelled to Manassas, Virginia to view the first major battle of the war as it unfolded (and helped clog the roads when the Union army routed). Prior to that, officers moved freely from any point in the North to the Southern states as they resigned their commissions in order to join secessionist forces. No attempt was made to stop this flow of trained military personnel, or the important information about troop buildups and fortifications they took with them.

As the front lines formed, both sides saw the danger in unrestricted movement across the border, and both sides responded in the same way. In order to travel across the border, citizens needed travel passes, or "passports".

A travel pass was a document signed by an official, usually the local provost-marshal. It was an officially printed document with the name of the person to whom the pass was granted handwritten in the appropriate place. The document declared the purpose of the trip and where the person was allowed to travel. These were presented for viewing to train conductors and to any military pickets that the person might come across. Confederate travel passes were printed on the cheap, locally produced brown paper that was in common usage due to shortages.

Passes were required by regular citizens who needed to cross the lines from North to South, or from South to North, in order to show that they were not spies or smugglers. Travel passes were also given to soldiers discharged from the army, captured soldiers who were paroled, and soldiers on leave (furlough), so that they would not be picked up as deserters.

Travel Passes and the Union

The Union required a pass to travel into the South as of August 19,1861. At the same time, U.S. citizens required a passport to travel out of the country. Bureaucratically, the passes were the responsibility of the State Department, until the War Department took them over after March 17, 1862. At that point, it was no longer a requirement that citizens needed a passport to leave the country. They, of course, still needed a pass to travel into the South.

It wasn't until 1863 that the Union required a travel pass for someone to enter the Union from the South. Indeed, escaped slaves and free blacks who managed to avoid Confederate patrols slipped across the border with little fanfare. Until 1863, so, too, did Confederate spies.

Except for passes given to soldiers on leave or upon discharge, etc., the Union didn't require travel passes within its own boundaries. This was true even after the Union initiated the draft.

Passports were required of foreigners travelling into the U.S. Foreigners who declared their intention to become naturalized Americans could obtain a U.S. passport from March 3, 1863 until the act of Congress was repealed on May 30, 1866.

Here is an example of a pass issued to a paroled Confederate soldier by the Union provost-marshal in Richmond, Virginia on April 20, 1865: http://digital.lib.ecu.edu/847#

Able bodied men travelling near the army might be detained on presumption of desertion. Certificates were issued to show that the gentleman was not fit for service, or had paid a substitute to serve in his stead if he was drafted.

Here is an example of a certificate signed by a substitute (Phillip Seibert) who agrees to fight for another man for payment of $300: http://www.flickr.com/photos/littlejohncollection/3309022017/

This is a certificate issued for Albert Roxbury, stating that he is not eligible to fight. The certificate has a place to fill in the state where it was issued and the reason Roxbury is able to get out of conscription. In this case, it is because Roxbury provided a substitute (click on the image to see a larger version): http://www.memorialhall.mass.edu/collection/itempage.jsp?itemid=18564&img=0

Travel Passes and the Confederacy

The Confederacy required travel passes between the North and the South at about the same time as the Union.

On April 16, 1862 the Confederacy passed the first Conscription Act, requiring that all men aged 18 to 35 join the army, and those already serving for a one year enlistment period had to continue to serve until the end of hostilities. At that point, the Confederacy required travel passes for anyone travelling throughout the South on railroads. According to Confederate secretary of war James Seddon, this was to stop "the passage of dangerous or disaffected persons". In other words, it was deemed necessary to limit the movements of deserters and draft dodgers, with the hoped for benefit of stopping spies and smugglers. The Confederacy did not require passes for travelling on foot, or by private conveyance (horse, carriage, etc.).

Southerners didn't take kindly to the travel pass system. It reminded them too much of a similar system used by slaves travelling for their masters. They also saw it as needless bureaucracy that reduced liberty while removing able-bodied men from the front lines. They generally despised conscription and figured that men who would only fight through conscription were useless soldiers anyway. Regardless, there was little pressure to do away with the travel pass system.

Like the North, the Confederacy required passports for foreigners entering the country.

Here is an example of a brown-paper Confederate travel pass. This one was issued to Mrs. E. P. Jerroll, Mrs. S. C. Reid, and Mrs. J. S. Simons allowing them to travel to Columbus, Georgia. The document was issued April 30, 1864 by Captain M. P. Parker, the Augusta, Georgia Provost-Marshal: http://www2.gcsu.edu/library/sc/images/smallman/jerrol.jpg

As in the North, able-bodied men near an army were likely to be considered deserters or draft dodgers. In the Confederacy — due to severe manpower shortages — there was a greater likelihood that a man would be detained if he couldn't prove why he wasn't in uniform. Like the Union, though, the Confederacy had exemptions from the draft which required the issuing of certificates of exemption.

There was a so-called "twenty negro law" where a man with 20 slaves was exempt from serving. Later, this was reduced to 15 slaves. There were strategic professions which were considered as important to the Confederacy as fighting. And, of course, men could be exempt due to physical or mental disabilities, though it was not uncommon for these to be ignored. Communities could petition to have someone exempt, if they felt that the person was needed for the well being of the community. Eventually it became harder to get exemptions, as the Second Conscription Act (September 27, 1862) extended the age range to 18 to 45, and the Third Conscription Act (February 17, 1864) further extended the age range to 17 to 50.

Regardless, men could still be exempt from service. Foreigners serving in the army, for instance, were not subject to conscription. This may seem odd, that a foreigner who volunteered for the Confederate army could leave the army when his enlistment was up while his Confederate-born comrades could not. It was widely speculated that the government had to exempt foreigners in order to provide a pool of men from which the rich could obtain substitutes.

Confederates had a special problem when they were paroled or discharged from the army. As the war progressed, more and more Confederate territory fell to the Union. Discharge papers — which acted as their own travel pass — were necessary to cross the lines into Union-held territory in order to go home. Such was the case of William Watson, a Scotsman serving in the 3rd Louisiana Infantry. After one year in the army, Watson returned to his home in New Orleans, which required him to present his papers to the Union provost-marshal in Baton Rouge. Without the papers, he was subject to arrest as a potential spy.

This is an example of a certificate of exemption issued in the state of Texas on December 27, 1862. It was issued for John Vogle, a 38 year old wagon maker (an exempt profession): http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/exhibits/civilwar/documents/1862/draft_exemption_dec27_1862.html

The Provost-Marshal

While travel passes could be issued by high-ranking army officers (generals, usually, or their staff), and by state governors, most passports were issued by a provost-marshal.

The provost-marshal was a military officer whose duties spanned those of a morale and discipline officer, a chief-of-police chief, and a magistrate. The provost-marshal was responsible for preventing straggling, rounding up deserters (from both his army and the opposing army), and for detaining prisoners-of-war, but his sphere of influence also extended into the civilian arena. The suppression of looting fell to the provost-marshal. So, too, did the control of civilian establishments in the vicinity of an army that might hurt discipline and troop effectiveness (i.e. hotels, saloons, and brothels). What today would be considered counter-insurgency duties were the responsibility of the provost-marshal: he was allowed to conduct searches and seizures of private residences, arrest those accused of spying, and curtail movement by issuing travel passes to citizens. He was also the official to whom citizens bore their complaints.

Every army had a provost-marshal. So, too, did military departments and military districts (the temporary regions the country was carved into during the war). Troops — often under-manned regiments — were assigned to work under the provost-marshal as the "provost guard".

To receive a travel permit, a petition had to be mailed to the local provost-marshal or presented to the provost-marshal's office in person. At Petersburg, Virginia, for instance, a provost-marshal office was set up at the train station to handle the issuance of travel passes for passengers changing trains.

There was very little transparency in the issuing of cross-the-lines travel passes. Neither the Union nor the Confederacy issued guidelines as to who was considered "dangerous" and should not receive a pass, and who was considered "safe". Furthermore, it was left up to the discretion of the local officials as to who should receive a pass and under what conditions. Some officials required petitioners to take an oath of allegiance, while others did not. Some officials carefully poured over every petition, while others were mere rubber stamps.

Still others were willing to hand out travel passes for the right price. Such was the case of Brigadier General John Henry Winder, the provost-marshal of Richmond, Virginia. While he was the chief counter-intelligence officer in arguably the Confederacy's most important city, he was notoriously corrupt. Anyone could get a travel pass for the sum of $100, regardless of their character. One Union spy received a travel pass after purchasing a new uniform for Winder. Winder employed rowdy and unsavory men to do his bidding. It was said that his offices were "repulsive by the smell of whiskey".

Few Confederate travel pass applications survived the war and the burning of Richmond, but a good sample of Northern petitions survived. Most of the people applying for cross-border passes were women intent on seeing family members in Southern states. The typical petition included a declaration of the woman's loyalty to the Union, often accompanied with a written character reference. This was even the case when the woman was trying to travel South to join up with her husband, though the petition didn't explain why the husband was now residing in the Confederacy. Other petitioners needed to cross the border to seek medical attention, search for missing family, or to retrieve the bodies of a dead relative.

It was trivially easy to obtain a pass for Inter-state and intra-state travel within the Confederacy. All one had to do was apply in person at the provost-marshal's office. Unless there was an obvious reason to suspect the petitioner was a spy, the worst that could happen was the petitioner would be denied. Even if someone didn't have a pass when asked to present one by a conductor, the punishment was simple removal from the train. If the person was without their pass while the train was in motion, they would be removed at the next stop.

The men who enforced the regulations were often self-serving with an inflated sense of importance. Texas senator Williamson S. Oldham relates a story about a trip home to Texas from Richmond. While changing trains at Mobile, Alabama a lieutenant almost refused him access to the train. Oldham had refused to dump an arm load of blankets and cloaks on the platform in order to produce his pass at the lieutenant's immediate request. Soon after, the lieutenant refused to let an old man — a Mr. Conrad, a congressman from Louisiana — board the same train. Mr. Conrad had a pass from Brig. Gen. Winder in Richmond, but the lieutenant forced him to obtain another pass from the local provost-marshal.

Travel Documentation and Game Play

The travel pass is a versatile GM tool. It's not needed for military adventures — a soldier's written orders serves that purpose. For civilian and spy adventures, it can be anything from a major plot complication to a minor detail that's hand waved away. PCs can get them easily, or their reputations can make them all but impossible to obtain. Even if they have a pass, they are at the mercy of the soldiers who enforce the rules. The PCs could easily find themselves thrown off a train in a remote, hostile town at a moment's notice, or they could arrive at their intended destination without incident.

Things get more serious when it comes to avoiding conscription. Do the PCs have the paperwork exempting them from the draft? Maybe they meet a local provost-marshal who's behind in his quota of new soldiers. He might grab them and drag them to the nearest army assembly depot with or without documentation. Truly unscrupulous patrols looking for shirkers and deserters could snatch, and destroy, exemption certificates, shoot any troublemakers, and slap the rest into leg irons.

This is an era without centralized databases, and with a chaotic bureaucracy. The GM has a lot of leeway as to how easy or how difficult it is for antagonists to check the PCs' credentials. The closer they get to a war zone, the more they're going to need an official document, or a Gift-enhanced substitute.

References

Jewett, Clayton E., and Oldham, Williamson S., Rise And Fall of the Confederacy: The Memoir of Senator Williamson S. Oldham, CSA (University of Missouri Press)

Taylor, Amy M., The Divided Family in Civil War America (UNC Press)

The Editors of Time-Life Books, Spies, Scouts and Raiders: Irregular Operations, part of the Time-Life Books "The Civil War" series
(Time Incorporated)

Various, The Photographic History of the Civil War, Volume IV (The Blue and Grey Press)

Watson, William, Life in the Confederate Army (Louisiana State University Press)

Arc Dream GenCon Events (by Allan Goodall)

I noticed last night that the Arc Dream events are now on the GenCon event list. Below is the list of Arc Dream sponsored events, sorted by game system and then by time slot (all times given in 24 hour time).

To pre-register, you will have to go to the GenCon web site, set up a user name on the site, and register online.


Call of Cthulhu/Delta Green

Delta Green: The Night Shift - A-Cell has assigned your team to protect a vital site in the interests of national security: The largest indoor retail facility in North America. Your tactical response team trains with the best gear money can buy, but to what end? Tonight you'll find out... Featuring new rules for combat from the upcoming source book Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity.

Start Time: 8/13/2009 16:00

GM: Ross Payton

Event ID: RPG0906123


Delta Green: Black Cod Island - A Miskatonic University biology researcher has disappeared, and clues point to a bucolic Haita island in the Pacific Northwest. Can your agents, under cover and without official sanction, find the truth and bring the victim - and themselves - back alive?

Start Time: 8/14/2009 14:00

GM: Shane Ivey

Event ID: RPG0906129


Delta Green: The Night Shift - A-Cell has assigned your team to protect a vital site in the interests of national security: The largest indoor retail facility in North America. Your tactical response team trains with the best gear money can buy, but to what end? Tonight you'll find out... Featuring new rules for combat from the upcoming source book Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity.

Start Time: 8/15/2009 10:00

GM: Ross Payton

Event ID: RPG0906124


eCollapse

eCollapse: CorteZoneShot - What is the world's last media mogul hiding in her Everglades swamp property? Four of her enemies want to find out. Armed only with their wits, their grudges, their black-market biotech implants, and a bullwhip soaked in gasoline, they're determined to get answers. Or, if they don't get answers, at least get some revenge. A game in the eCollapse setting.

Start Time: 8/13/2009 12:00

GM: Greg Stolze

Event ID: RPG0906130

Note: The Game is listed as using 2nd Edition Wild Talents as the game system.


Kill Doctor F-Bomb - Dr. Francis Zuckerman is a scumbag. A handsome scumbag. A rich, successful scumbag who is poised to become mayor, unless he's stopped by the enemies he's left penniless, disgraced, heartbroken, and seething for payback. Reborn as "The Surgical Strikers," crime has a new enemy! At least, Francis Zuckerman's crimes do. An eCollapse game using a new system!

Start Time: 8/14/2009 12:00

GM: Greg Stolze

Event ID: RPG0906131

Note: The game is listed as using the Smear of Destiny system.


Godlike

The Black Devils Brigade: Daring To Die - December, 1943: Elements of two divisions failed to wrest Hill 960 from the Germans. In their first real combat mission, the job of taking Monte la Difensa now falls to the joint American-Canadian First Special Service Force. Can this elite unit - spearheaded by the men of the Talent Section - do the impossible and succeed where so many others have failed?

Start Time: 8/13/2009 10:00

GM: Allan Goodall

Event ID: RPG0906119

Note: This is currently listed as Wild Talents. It is actually Godlike.


Operation Torch - November 1942: The Allies are landing on North Africa! Every sign indicates that this landing ought to go smoothly as long as French forces don't put up a fight - and as long as there are no German Talents around... This scenario is a preview of the upcoming campaign book "Operation Torch."

Start Time: 8/13/2009 12:00

GM: Kevin Pezzano

Event ID: RPG0906136


The Black Devils Brigade: Repeat Performance - January, 1944: The American-Canadian First Special Service Force are relieved from their successful attack on Monte Majo, only to learn that their relief force has lost the mountain. The Force must, again, take the last hill blocking the Allies from Liri Valley and a drive on Rome.

Start Time: 8/14/2009 10:00

GM: Allan Goodall

Event ID: RPG0906120


Operation Torch - November 1942: The Allies are landing on North Africa! Every sign indicates that this landing ought to go smoothly as long as French forces don't put up a fight - and as long as there are no German Talents around... This scenario is a preview of the upcoming campaign book "Operation Torch."

Start Time: 8/14/2009 10:00

GM: Kevin Pezzano

Event ID: RPG0906137


Operation Torch - November 1942: The Allies are landing on North Africa! Every sign indicates that this landing ought to go smoothly as long as French forces don't put up a fight - and as long as there are no German Talents around... This scenario is a preview of the upcoming campaign book "Operation Torch."

Start Time: 8/15/2009 10:00

GM: Kevin Pezzano

Event ID: RPG0906138


Leviathan

A Bad Day at Saint Pantyhose - For the nurses and doctors at Saint Abadios' Memorial Hospital in Chicago, days are rarely good. ODs and gunshots are their bread and butter, and the Friday after a big Bulls win is always hectic. But though they're prepared for the occasional madman or mystery disease, this Friday 'Saint Pantyhose' is going to face a national nightmare. Can the E.R. team hack it?

Start Time: 8/15/2009 12:00

GM: Greg Stolze

Event ID: RPG0906132

Note: The game system is listed as "One Roll Engine (Leviathan).


Monsters And Other Childish Things

Sky Maul - Most times, it's a blast when you're a kid with a super-powerful monster for a best friend. But being stuck on a plane on a field trip out of the state is not most times. When weird trouble crops up at 30,000 feet, can you and your monster save the day without getting in even worse trouble with teachers and parents?

Start Time: 8/13/2009 14:00

GM: Shane Ivey

Event ID: RPG0906128


Pastoral Manor - The perfect rural retreat, a happy farm and pastoral paradise. But beneath this shining exterior lies a seething underworld of scheming and malevolent talking animals. Every animal that lives more than a year on the farm's land becomes intelligent. Many of them want to revolt against the cruel Lord of the Manor while others seek to oppress their fellows. Viva La Revolution!

Start Time: 8/14/2009 10:00

GM: Ross Payton

Event ID: RPG0906121


The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor - The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor sees doleful foundlings with murky pasts in a great, dreary orphanage filled with dangerous truths. Players together face the monstrous dangers of their new home and uncover their own forgotten secrets. Can you learn the truth of your own sad history? And can you make friends with the monster at the bottom of the well? How about the one in the rickety old mill? Or the one...

Start Time: 8/15/2009 16:00

GM: Ross Payton

Event ID: RPG0906125


Sucrose Park - Designed as the ultimate daycare center, Sucrose Park looks after hundreds of kids while their parents gamble away their college tuition in nearby casinos. A corporate wonderland of rides, ball pits, arcades and costumed mascots from popular cartoons await. Too bad the owner of the park never wants anyone to leave. Ever. All the neon lights and laser tag arenas can't hide the fact that Sucrose Park is a prison. It's time to break out.

Start Time: 8/16/2009 10:00

GM: Shane Ivey

Event ID: RPG0906122


Wild Talents

The Age of Masks - You want to be a superhero? No such thing. But you can be a mask, which is why you're here. The difference? Superheroes didn't choose to be what they turned out to be. They made the best with what they had. That's why they died off. Masks want to be masks. Need to be. Being a mask is the greatest high known to man. The governments passed those crackdown laws, but the call of the mask is still strong. Strong enough to call you. Let's get started.

Start Time: 8/14/2009 16:00

GM: Ross Payton

Event ID: RPG0906126


Armor Soldier! - The mecha pilots of the EuroRussian Union are used to turning captured technology against their enemies in the Asian Federation. It's no surprise that when they discover a massive creature inside a wrecked alien starship, they find a way to bring it and its incredible powers under control. But when its alien masters come searching for their lost ship, will humanity put aside its own wars long enough to face them?

Start Time: 8/14/2009 16:00

GM: Kevin Pezzano

Event ID: RPG0906133


This Favored Land: Horror at Spangler's Spring - The Battle of Gettysburg is into its second day, and something terrible is happening to the wounded men near Spangler's Spring. It's up to the PCs to investigate and stop the horror. Superhero role playing during the War Between the States.

Start Time: 8/14/2009 18:00

GM: Allan Goodall

Event ID: RPG0906115


Target: Planet Earth! - As an alien invader, you must observe the hairless apes and analyze their weaknesses. But it's not easy avoiding nosy neighbors, snooping reporters, and the ominous Persons in Brown. And what's with the weird lights coming from the abandoned bubblegum factory at the edge of town? Target: Planet Earth! A game of alien invasion and futile resistance.

Start Time: 8/15/2009 10:00

GM: Allan Goodall

Event ID: RPG0906116


The Missing - In a world gone mad, Talents are the ultimate activists, men and women dedicated to fighting the Power with superpowers. As you set out to uncover corruption in the well-defended heart of a massive multinational organization, can you be sure there's no treachery in your own team? "The Missing" is a modern-day adventure for new and veteran players alike.

Start Time: 8/15/2009 14:00

GM: Shane Ivey

Event ID: RPG0906127


Armor Soldier! - The mecha pilots of the EuroRussian Union are used to turning captured technology against their enemies in the Asian Federation. It's no surprise that when they discover a massive creature inside a wrecked alien starship, they find a way to bring it and its incredible powers under control. But when its alien masters come searching for their lost ship, will humanity put aside its own wars long enough to face them?

Start Time: 8/15/2009 16:00

GM: Kevin Pezzano

Event ID: RPG0906134


This Favored Land: Crescent City Crescendo - In Yankee-occupied New Orleans, the players must stop a bomb plot that threatens to shatter the fragile peace. Superhero role playing during the War Between the States.

Start Time: 8/15/2009 16:00

GM: Allan Goodall

Event ID: RPG0906117


Armor Soldier! - The mecha pilots of the EuroRussian Union are used to turning captured technology against their enemies in the Asian Federation. It's no surprise that when they discover a massive creature inside a wrecked alien starship, they find a way to bring it and its incredible powers under control. But when its alien masters come searching for their lost ship, will humanity put aside its own wars long enough to face them?

Start Time: 8/16/2009 10:00

GM: Kevin Pezzano

Event ID: RPG0906135


This Favored Land: Deserters - Early spring, 1863. A unique band of superpowered soldiers - half Yankee, half Rebel - desert from their units to hunt a dangerous common enemy in Tennessee's Smokey Mountains. Not long ago they were enemies, but now they must unite in pursuit of justice and vengeance. Superhero role playing during the War Between the States.

Start Time: 8/16/2009 10:00

GM: Allan Goodall

Event ID: RPG0906118


Arc Dream Event Grid

A list of the Arc Dream events, by date and time.

Thurs. Aug. 13, 10:00 - Godlike - The Black Devils Brigade: Daring to Die

Thurs. Aug. 13, 12:00 - eCollapse - CorteZoneShot

Thurs. Aug. 13, 12:00 - Godlike - Operation Torch

Thurs. Aug. 13, 14:00 - Monsters and Other Childish Things - Sky Maul

Thurs. Aug. 13, 16:00 - Delta Green - The Night Shift

Fri. Aug. 14, 10:00 - Godlike - The Black Devils Brigade: Repeat Performance

Fri. Aug. 14, 10:00 - Godlike - Operation Torch

Fri. Aug. 14, 10:00 - Monsters and Other Childish Things - Pastoral Manor

Fri. Aug. 14, 12:00 - Smear of Destiny - Kill Doctor F-Bomb

Fri. Aug. 14, 14:00 - Delta Green - Black Cod Island

Fri. Aug. 14, 16:00 - Wild Talents - The Age of Masks

Fri. Aug. 14, 16:00 - Wild Talents: Armor Soldier! - Armor Soldier!

Fri. Aug. 14, 18:00 - Wild Talents: This Favored Land - Horror at Spangler's Spring

Sat. Aug. 15, 10:00 - Delta Green - The Night Shift

Sat. Aug. 15, 10:00 - Godlike - Operation Torch

Sat. Aug. 15, 10:00 - Wild Talents - Target: Planet Earth!

Sat. Aug. 15, 12:00 - Leviathan - A Bad Day at Saint Pantyhose

Sat. Aug. 15, 14:00 - Wild Talents - The Missing

Sat. Aug. 15, 16:00 - Monsters and Other Childish Things: The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor - The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor

Sat. Aug. 15, 16:00 - Wild Talents: Armor Soldier! - Armor Soldier!

Sat. Aug. 15, 16:00 - Wild Talents: This Favored Land - Crescent City Crescendo

Sun. Aug. 16, 10:00 - Monsters and Other Childish Things - Sucrose Park

Sun. Aug. 16, 10:00 - Wild Talents: Armor Soldier! - Armor Soldier!

Sun. Aug. 16, 10:00 - Wild Talents: This Favored Land - Deserters

Why We Fight (by Shane Ivey)

Why We Fight

Willpower Rewards in Godlike and Wild Talents

 

Willpower is a crucial currency in both Godlike and Wild Talents. In Godlike, where it’s simply called Will, you earn it most often for defeating enemy Talents and for saving your allies’ lives. In Wild Talents it is fueled by motivations, the Loyalties and Passions that define each character. In both games Willpower reflects morale and characters’ ability to persevere despite obstacles and threats. The GM awards it when a character achieves critical goals. The amount of the award depends on the scope of the achievement.

 

The standard Willpower award for a significant accomplishment in the game is one point: You get a point of Willpower for a single act of heroic risk that succeeds, or for spectacular performance under stress (in other words, rolling a set at height 10 with normal dice).

 

For a more substantial achievement, a couple of new guidelines might be useful.

 

First, award a number of Willpower points based on how substantially the achievement supports one of your motivations—its SIGNIFICANCE.

 

If the achievement lasts beyond the current round, award bonus Willpower points for PERSISTENCE.

 

If the achievement benefits a large number of characters, award bonus Willpower points for SCOPE.

 

Awards for Significance

 

1 Willpower: A minor but direct benefit or advantage to one of your motivations.

 

2 to 3 Willpower: A moderate benefit or advantage to one of your motivations.

 

4 to 5 Willpower: A major benefit or advantage to one of your motivations.

 

Awards for Persistence

 

+0 Willpower: Immediate benefit—the current scene.

+1 Willpower: Short-term benefit—the current game session.

+2 Willpower: Long-term benefit—multiple game sessions.

+3 Willpower: Permanent benefit—it will last until other events change it.

 

Awards for Scope

 

+0 Willpower: It benefits only you or a small group of characters.

+1 Willpower: It benefits a town or organization.

+2 Willpower: It benefits a city or a large organization.

+3 Willpower: It benefits an entire country or civilization.

 

Willpower Penalties


Just as you can earn Willpower by fulfilling your motivations, you can lose it—sometimes a lot of it—by failing one of your motivations. A catastrophic failure calls for a Trauma Check in Wild Talents, or a Cool + Mental Stability roll in Godlike. That’s what you get when you try to save a buddy’s life but he gets blown away in your arms, or when terrorists launch a devastating strike on the hometown where you’ve invested a chunk of your Base Will as a motivation.

If the disaster is not quite that disastrous, take another look at the Significance, Scope and Persistence numbers. But this time they add up to a penalty. An event of moderate (2 or 3 Willpower), long-term (+2), city-wide (+2) detriment to your motivation might cost you 6 or 7 points of Willpower.

Green Crush, from Grim War.
In Wild Talents settings such as Grim War, Willpower comes in very, very handy. Just ask Green Crush.

Hey guys.

Just a note: we’re busting ass on Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity. We’re working hard to make it as good as Eyes Only.

There is a TON of content in this book. We’re in the layout and art phase, all writing is done. The Cult of Transcendence is HUGE (212 pages in manuscript form) and the others don’t trail by much. In any case, this will be a honking book.

Everyone trust me, we’re working like warhorses to get this book out.

Here’s what the table of contents is shaping up to look like:

-Black Cod Island
-The Disciples of the Worm
-The DeMonte Clan
-M-EPIC
-The Cult of Transcendence
-Appendices:
--Agent Background Options
--Combat Options
--Stress Disorders
--DNA Analysis
--Running Delta Green Investigations

Here’s a preview of the DeMonte Ghoul Clan; yet another significant threat for DG.

The DeMonte Clan
By Adam Scott Glancy

New Orleans. N’awlins. The Big Easy. For nearly three centuries the Crescent City has curled in a bend in the Mississippi river, surrounded by bayous, swamps and marshes. Over those years the city has flown the flag of every power in North America; the French, the Spanish, the English, the Confederacy and the United States of America, and not once has the city been destroyed by war. When cotton was king, the white gold flowed out of New Orleans by the ton to fill insatiable appetite of Europe’s textile mills. The rich families of New Orleans siphoned off the cotton trade, growing fat like leeches, but they are not the only ones who have grown fat of the fortunes of the city. There are others.

And where the patrician planter families grew fat on the city’s good fortune, there is one family, the DeMonte Family, which has grown fat on the city’s ill fortune. The DeMontes came to New Orleans just after the Haitian slave rebellion, fleeing the machetes and night raids. The DeMontes were among the New Orleans’ richest inhabitants, and also the least conspicuous. And where others have figuratively fed on the fat of the city, the DeMonte clan’s feedings have been of a far more literal character.

Cultes Des Ghoules
Francois Honore-Balfour, the Comte D’Erlette was the wrong choice for recruitment into the Paris Ghoul Cult. He did possess many of the qualities the cult members were looking for: wealth, position, a depraved and perverse nature, and a sociopathic level of selfishness. Unfortunately, the Comte was also an exhibitionist who could not truly enjoy his perversions and obscenities unless he could force others to witness them. Hence, he penned his infamous book Cultes des Ghoules in the year 1703, and distributed it through underground channels across France.

The result of this incredible act of psychotic conspicuousness was that the French authorities cracked down on the cult in a series of raids across the country. The arrests and trials would have scandalized French society from the aristocracy to the landless peasants had not the French King, Louis XIV, the Sun King, acted in secret.

The hundreds arrested were tried and sentenced by secret courts and incarcerated in prisons and madhouses, often under false names. Some of those arrested were so inhuman that they were not deemed suitable for treatment by the courts, but were instead disposed of as one might deal with a dangerous animal. The backlash against the cult was so intense that the power of the Paris Ghoul Cult was broken forever. However, not every member of the cult was brought to justice. Some of them crawled back under Saint Innocents Cemetery or into the catacombs under Paris. Some fled to neighboring nations, particularly to Bavaria and the Netherlands, but for some of the more prominent members of the cult, Europe was too hot.

In order to hide, they were going to have to flee to a more remote location. In the case of the DeMonte family, that meant a journey to the New World...