Merry Christmas!

A_Magic_Christmas_by_DigitalPhenomMerry Christmas, everybody! Progress proceeds with both novel and game, and I intend to have a file of The Rules by Christmas for everyone interested in trying them on for sizeand giving critical feedback. I can’t talk much about the book yet, just that I’m having fun and I hope you will too when you read it. I am now talking to a New York agent (after all the searching I did before self-publishing Wearing the Cape, this one contacted me). No idea where that might lead, but it will be interesting. I hope everyone is having a similarly hopeful end of year, or at least spending this special time with family.

I’ll be busy straight through the New Year, so as a last little treat to everyone (or at least those readers easily amused), here’s a sample character for Wearing the Cape: the Roleplaying Game. I doubt she’ll appear in the finished book, but she’s too fun to leave alone until it’s her turn.



Strengths: D6 Physical, D10 Mental, D8 Social.

Distinctions: “I am the Empress of Oz.”, Disturbingly Beautiful, Powerful Sorceress.

Power Set: Oz Magic

D10+D6 Magic Control.                                         D10+D6 Magical Senses.

D10+D6 Attack Power.                                          D10+D6 Magic Resistance.

SFX: Constructs. Add a D6 and step up your Effect Die by +1 when using Oz Magic to create Assets (i.e., enchant objects or summon things).

SFX: Afflict. Add a D6 and step up your Effect Die by +1 when inflicting the “You’re A Hat.” Complication on a target.

Limit: Conscious Activation. If Stressed Out, asleep, or unconscious, shut down Oz Magic.

Signature Gear: The Magic Belt.

D12+D12 Magic Belt.

SFX: Immunity. Spend one Plot Point to ignore Stress, Trauma, or Complications from magical attacks.

SFX: Second Chance. Spend one Plot Point to reroll your Dice Pool when making any magical attempt.

Limit: Fatigue. Take D6 Physical Stress every time you use The Magic Belt or its SFX.

Limit: Gear. Shutdown Magic Belt and gain one Plot Point. Take an Action vs. Opposition to recover.

Skills: D6 Combat, D6 Mystic/D8 Oz Magic, D8 Psych.

Stress Dice: D12 Physical, D12 Mental, D12 Emotional.

History: Ozma appeared in the middle of a superscience-biological attack that triggered a host of murderous and monstrous breakthroughs–most of them accompanied by psychotic breaks. Authorities believe she is one of the officially missing persons from the attack, physically transformed into her current personae. Regardless, Ozma firmly believes she is the Ozma, the Empress of Oz, and that she was banished to the mortal world and transformed and made to forget her history by the evil witch Mombi (who did it once before). She believes that The Magic Belt found her in the midst of the attack and “awoke” her memories and powers. Naturally, the way things are in the Post-Event world, there is no way to prove or disprove her story. Since her awakening, Ozma has spent her time in a luxurious and superbly equipped lab provided by the Hillwood Academy–basically a bribe for her meekly letting herself be “supervised” while she comes of age.

Personality: Ozma is nice, with steel under the polite sweetness. Although legally seventeen years old (a guess) and physically still obviously a teen, she thinks and acts like someone much older; according to her, she is a centenarian, and she often talks like it. Although highly moral and possessing a strong aversion to violence and especially killing, she thinks like a head-of-state in exile, not a private citizen. She sees nothing wrong with temporarily transforming inconvenient people into items of haberdashery, nor using memory and personality-altering magic on evil people as an alternative to killing or imprisoning them. She is driven to increase her already potent magic powers, reclaim all her scattered “royal treasures,” and use every means at her disposal to reclaim her throne. Combined with the power she can already muster, her goals and the means she may use to obtain them frighten thoughtful people.

Powers: Ozma’s most notable (and disturbing) power is her ability, when wearing the Magic Belt, to turn living targets into hats with a twitch of her wand–such a complete and utter rupture of the Laws of Physics seriously bothers witnessing scientists. On her own she is a B Class Merlin-type; using the Magic Belt, she is an Ultra Class. In theory, the Magic Belt allows her limited control of reality in her vicinity–she has also animated statues, spoken to woodland creatures (and trees), and generally and within certain limits shown the ability to do anything inside the theme of her powers. She prefers, however, to work through enchantments, creating magic objects that are useful to others or which have more permanent effects (like the Powder of Life). Although she received basic self-defense instruction at the Academy, she is not a fighter and prefers to stay out of the field, sending the Army of Oz (currently Grendel) to fetch her treasures for her and do her fighting.

So, that’s it for now. Merry Christmas, everyone!

10 thoughts on “Merry Christmas!

  1. Note: a query to anyone who has previously played Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. How would you handle a duplicator like Jamie Maddox? You know, a guy who can literally crowd-source himself? Obviously as a Watcher Character he could be treated as a Mob–but how would you write him up as a player character?

  2. Depends on how rapidly and how extensively he can duplicate but it basically amounts to an action economy issue plus a projection issue. You already effectively have the former with speedsters and the latter with pretty much any Merlin type who can get constructs so you can probably apply the same solutions, if any. Effectively, a duplicator with 10 bodies that survives unharmed if even one of them is unharmed can be balance-identical to a speedster that can take 10 actions at once and dodge 9 attacks out of 10. A few points though;

    1) Some duplicators can avoid combat risks entirely, like Merlin/Verne types making projections. Since RPG games are supposed to have an element of risk in their combat -even perceived risk- to make them interesting, think of ways to challenge those that “camp” away from combat and send duplicates. Sympathetic magic/psionics perhaps – I remember fondly the “Eradicate” and “Quash” cards from Magic the Gathering for example; they not only destroyed a creature or countered a spell respectively but they also targeted all copies of that creature or spell even if they weren’t in play. 🙂

    2) Whether mob rules can (or even should) work depends on what the duplicator can do. For any combat-trained duplicators they aren’t enough though; one guy in full combat gear can have one of his duplicates sniping enemies, others throwing grenades or smoke pellets, a third trying to physically unlock a barred door while the fourth is hacking some files while the rest are laying cover fire. Duplicators, unlike mobs can and usually will coordinate actions effectively, if they’re at all intelligent.

    3) What are the limits of duplication? Duplicators with a gun are not an issue. A duplicator with a FGM-148 Javelin could probably take out most Atlas-types and not have to spend the $80.000 per missile to do it if he only used the launchers of his duplicates. A duplicator armed with a portable nuke or, God forbid, Verne-created weapons or Merlin-cast artifacts is going to be a nightmare.

    1. Good points. Duplicators, as I’ve used them so far, only duplicate themselves and maybe their clothes–not their entire armories. But then, I’ve only used two types so far.

  3. Fridge Logic time;

    I kind of expected Ozma to be a blonde, like Glinda the Good Witch or something. Is her being brunette creative license or a means to cut down on excessive hat production?
    (a natural consequence of the inevitable blonde-and-blonder jokes)

    1. She is blonde–that’s just the best sketch of her I could find. I think it captures her rather ambiguous nature quite nicely.

  4. If you’re still looking for playtesters, I’m getting ready to kick off a campaign for my group and would love to use WtC: The RPG.

      1. The plan is to kick off the first weekend of February. Our group consists of 5 people in their 30’s, our most recent games have been 7th Sea, Wild Talents, and Fate Core. In the past we’ve played MHR, Pathfinder, every White Wolf game you can mention but most of us have been playing since AD&D. I’ll be running since I have the most familiarity with the source material but the other players are familiar with the universe.

      2. That sounds very promising. My main interest is in in hearing back on what playtesters think of the readability of the rules as well as the “new” mechanisms” I’m introducing to the Cortex Plus system (mainly the use of multi-dice and a more nuanced use of the Doom Pool, but also a bunch of little “house rules” to reflect the feel of the Post-Event setting), and it sounds like you will have a lot of things to compare it to. I will be announcing the completion of four sections for playtesting before the end of January: The Post-Event World, The Rules, Heroes, and Guiding the Game. They will be text only, and rough but “complete”, and I will be looking for strong feedback. Post again when I make the announcement.

      3. Sounds good, we’ve done some play testing as a group previously so everyone is familiar with the types of notes to keep, etc. Looking forward to it!

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