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Category Archives: Savage Worlds

I decided to incorporate more Mass Battles and Sieges into a fantasy-themed game I’m running that utilizes the Black Powder Brigade characters I created. This turned into a research project on the various Mass Combat/Siege rules in several of the Savage Worlds products. Namely: Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorers Edition, Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion, Weird Wars Rome, Weird Wars II, Iron Dynasty, and Realms of Cthulhu.

Basically, both Mass Battles and Sieges utilize a quicker system that revolves around opposed Knowledge (Battle) rolls made by the opposing commanders. The breakdown of the steps into the most basic outline is:

  1. Characters perform Trait tests to determine the deductions/bonuses they contribute to the Knowledge (Battle) roll.
  2. The two opposing commanders make their Knowledge (Battle) rolls.
  3. The losing side deducts the symbolic representation (tokens) of their losses.
  4. The losing commander makes a Morale (Spirit) roll.
  5. Repeat until one side wins.

 

One thing I noticed when reviewing the Leadership Edges that affect Mass Combat and Sieges is that these Edges rarely are taken by players. In order to incorporate these Edges into a Mass Battle/Siege, I created a list of 6 effects (Edges). Instead of having these as Edges, however, I made them into a table that requires a 1d6 to use one of them. The trapping for this can be any manner of item, artifact, person, etc. that embodies the boon to the army. For example, in my game I’m running a siege where Orcs and Goblins are attacking a Dwarven fortress. The Dwarves have an item called “The Horn of Galfallen” that allows the heroes to roll once on the Boon table at the beginning of the siege.

I’ve also added tables for all the common modifiers that a GM would need to run Mass Battles and Sieges.

Mass Battle & Siege Cheat Sheet

Finally, I would recommend printing or having handy pages 16 and 18 of the Savage Worlds Fantasy Companion. Page 16 lists different ways characters can affect either the Knowledge (Battle) roll, the Morale roll, or Supplies. Page 18 lists Siege Engines and Fortifications.

Using the Dwarven defense of their stronghold as an example, here are the factors that modify the Knowledge (Battle) roll for each side.

700 Dwarves have a huge Fortification (+3) with light artillery bonus (+1). The characters must each make their Trait rolls with the results further modifying the +4 bonus. The Dwarves will use 7 tokens with another 6 tokens representing their Supply total of 6.

1,000 Orcs and Goblins are attacking the fortress using light artillery (+1), Giants (+1), catapults (+3), and siege towers (+2). The Orc/Goblin army also receives a +3 because they have 3 more tokens (10) than the Dwarves. This gives the enemy a +10 to their Knowledge (Battle) roll.

And this becomes a great opening scene for the next Savage Worlds session!

I’ve been running nothing but One-Shots lately. The thing about Savage Worlds is that there are so many great settings to play. I put in the work for developing campaigns, but everyone wants to play everything under the sun. Don’t get me wrong, though. I still love running all these cool settings even if it is just a One-Shot. But I decided to adjust my GM planning a bit and quit focusing on so much research and preparation. I’m also going to try and throw in some crazy twists to the One-Shots I run just to make them more memorable.

The next One-Shot is going to be a Weird Wars Rome game.

I found myself drifting into the black hole of information and prep work with WWR and had to tell myself to just stop. It’s only going to be a One-Shot and I needed a radical mash-up. Then it hit me.

Dwarves with Guns!

When I used to play Mage Knight I acquired numerous of these Black Powder Rebel Dwarves with firearms.

How about the Contubernium the characters are a part of go into northern Germania and run into a patrol of Dwarves with muskets? Now that’s a mash-up that would be cool to run!

Presented here are the details and character sheets for the Black Powder Brigade (inspired by and using the minis from the Black Powder Rebels). The characters are the equivalent of the Contubernium sized unit. The particular ones I made the characters for are called “The Axeheads”. Most of the other Dwarves that make up a Squad will use a mix of battle axes and war hammers, but The Axeheads use axes exclusively and bear as their symbol two crossed battle axes.

The Black Powder Brigade

The Black Powder Brigade comprises Dwarves who have dedicated themselves to both the study of battle tactics and the effective uses of black powder in warfare.

The structure of a Black Powder Brigade Squad

Each Squad is led by a War Mage. The typical make-up of the Combat Squad is: War Mage, Black Powder Mage, Sapper, Sniper, 2-4 Draggoons.

The War Mage has the Arcane Background of Alchemy (see Fantasy Companion). War Mages learn to harness Alchemical powers in order to boost the soldiers effectiveness in combat. This could include both offensive/defensive magic as well as healing magic. They are not trained in the finer combat maneuvers that the Dragoons study and employ, but they are trained in leadership and command of the kind that boosts morale and esprit de corp.

The Black Powder Mage is typically the second in command. They utilize the Arcane Background of Weird Science. While the War Mage can concoct the Black Powder, the Black Powder Mage is an expert on how to effectively employ it. They design, repair, and teach the finer arts of the musket and grenade to the Dragoons, Sniper, and Sapper.

The Sniper is usually a Dragoon who has displayed exceptional skill in marksmanship. They serve the squad as a scout as well as providing valuable cover fire for the Dragoons.

The Sapper is utilized to lob grenades in front of the advancing Dragoons as they form The Dwarven Shield Wall. Their skills come in handy in numerous other ways as well, though. Sappers are typically well-versed in fighting with axes and hammers and can join melee, too.

The Dragoons are the backbone of the squad. They have developed tactics that maximize their use of muskets, but they also love to leap into open melee. Dragoons in a Squad are the experts on battle tactics and not the War Mage.

New Edge: Dwarven Shield Wall

Two Dragoons use one massive shield between them to effectively fight with muskets. The War Shield is a Large Shield (+2 Parry; +2 Armor to ranged shots that hit). In addition to the shields inherent bonuses, both Dwarves that possess this Edge receive Heavy Cover while performing the Dwarven Shield Wall maneuver.

The Dwarven Shield Wall maneuver consists of two Dwarves behind a single shield rotating back and forth to provide protection while the other reloads. The first Dwarf fires on the first round. On the second round he advances the shield forward. At the end of the advance, the second Dwarf steps forward to fire and advance while his partner reloads.

There could be any number of adjacent Dragoons performing this tactic as a battle line. In a Squad, the Dragoons’ tactics are augmented by the other members and their tactics.

Here are 6 members of The Axeheads. Nevor Runecarver and Bruge Slagdrinker are Dragoons. If you want to create more Dragoons, just use Nevor and Bruge as templates and change their names.

Fargus Mithrilsmith

Brygo Ironforge

Angus Graniteskull

Hovar Stonespeaker

Nevor Runecarver

Bruge Slagdrinker

Members of the Black Powder Brigade love good tobacco. This is also practical. Pipes and cigars burn slowly so that they become a valuable way to light fuses while on the march or fighting.

P.S. I made a shield for my Dragoon.


The Last Parsec is an amazing setting with some really great adventures. It has an old-school feel that reminds me of the classic TSR game Star Frontiers.

Actually, The Last Parsec was directly influenced by Star Frontiers and Shane Hensley talks about that influence here.

Last year I ran Leviathan and it was a fun campaign. Recently, our group began running Eris Beta-V and I have to say that it is an amazing, high-action set of adventures.

We’re using the pregenerated characters from Pinnacle’s web site. I went through most of the products available for The Last Parsec and wanted to provide a possible order to do all of the adventures in.

The Last Parsec Adventure Order

  1. Omariss Death Worm
  2. Unexpected Colony
  3. Beginning of Eris Beta-V
  4. One of the first missions of the EB-V campaign can be Ghosts in the Machine
  5. Continue EB-V
  6. Untimely Discovery
  7. Leviathan
  8. During Leviathan run Catch of the Day
  9. The Enigma Equation
  10. Scientorium
  11. Pranac Pursuit

 

One of the things I like best about The Last Parsec is how seamlessly it runs with Savage Worlds and the Science Fiction Companion. I’ve noticed that Rifts is very similar in adhering closely to the Science Fiction Companion and I’m thinking about merging the two somehow. It would make for a great sic-fi setting that feels a lot like Guardians of the Galaxy.

The D&D multiverse is a pretty friggin’ cool thing to role play in. With Wizards of the Coast’s rebranding of D&D with 5e’s pseudo-retro focus and feel, it’s tough to ignore what’s happening with their products. As a hard core Savage Worlds’ fan, it’s fun to keep abreast of the 5e stuff while at the same time thinking of opportunities and methods of Savaging 5e.

Several weeks ago I created a team of elite Eladrin (Elves from the Feywild) who were a commando team that were being sent into the Shadowfell. I created both 5e and SW versions of the four-person team.

As I was reading about some background on the Eladrin, I discovered an entry in the Dungeon Master’s Guide on the Eladrin as a race.

So, I went and updated the 5e sheets to reflect the feature of Fey Step.

Ranger 7

Paladin 7

Druid 7

Bard 7

I really don’t like page 2 of the D&D sheets, so I printed these and replaced them as page 2.

Quarion Pg 2 D&D

Paelias Pg 2 D&D

Ivellios Pg 2 D&D

Anastrianna Pg 2 D&D

For their basic backstory and the Savage Worlds character sheets, see this post.

The only Shadowfell-set story that has been released for 5e is The Curse of Strahd, so that would be the natural product to Savage, but let me throw out a couple of ideas.

The only product outside of 5e I’ve counted on for this campaign is the Shadowfell Campaign 4e book. The amount of information and the great map of Gloomwrought are worth using it just for that content, but the book has even more awesome stuff to help you expand beyond the valley of Barovia.

The box also comes with the equivalent of a fear deck that is great to use with 5e. You’ll need to convert from 4e to 5e, but this should help.

In Savage Worlds, it’s best to use the Horror Companion’s rules for Fear and Psychosis. You can adjust the timing of when the group has to make checks to be more-or-less in the background, or you could give difficulties and increase frequency to make it grittier.

Either way, if you use the Tarokka deck, you’ll be using a couple of decks of cards in Barovia. You could even use the Tarokka deck to deal Action cards in SW.

I thought it would be a cool storyline to have the Eladrin team travel back and forth between the Shadowfell and a location in Faerun that serves as a base of operation. My pick for this is Baldur’s Gate, which has been statted for 5e under the title of D&D Next. The campaign guide for this is robust. The campaign takes place earlier in the timeline than all of the D&D 5e book products, but remember, time flows differently in the Shadowfell; so, a long campaign in the Shadowfell after The Murder at Badlur’s Gate campaign could cause the characters to return to Faerun during the time of another, later campaign (like Tyranny of Dragons, e.g.).

The possibilities are endless with areas to explore when the bases of operation become Baldur’s Gate and Gloomwrought. A possible connection could be a portal in both cities linking the two.

And finally, here are numerous monsters from the D&D multiverse statted for SW. My go-to places to find monster stats before I wind up making them from scratch are the various bestiaries from PEG’s line-up – especially the genre-specific companion books. I also like Zadmar’s Savage Stuff and this wonderful bestiary.

Hopefully, I’ll one day run these campaigns in BOTH systems just to compare the experiences.

In the previous couple of posts, I wrote about running a Zombie Apocalypse game. One of the arguments made against running a long-term zombie game is that the mindless horde of zombies becomes predictable and boring. One way to change things up is to include a variety of zombies, as I did in my last post. But, as I thought about it, I thought it would be cool to have the virus mutate into a different strain that created vampires. This idea is inspired by the great book by one of my favorite horror writers, Richard Matheson. Of course, I am talking about I Am Legend. In the book, the apocalypse produces vampires instead of zombies. These vampires are some nasty, feral vampires that resemble rat-like creatures more than bats.

At the end of the last “episode” I presented in the game I ran. I thought it would a good cliffhanger for Dr. Frank von Stein to say as he’s leaving the heroes to fight his altered zombie, “Good luck! If you do survive, I’ll give you some advice. Watch out for nightfall and the Sundowners”.  Then he pops back into his armored car and drives away. Then you just let the players slowly figure out that there are vampires as well as zombies to fight.

Here are the stats I created for the Sundowners as well as their king.

Sundowners

I also created stats for Dr. Frank von Stein and the next iteration of altered dead he’s working on.

Dr. Frank von Stein

 

 

The Savage Zombie Apocalypse game I ran while camping was a hit. In the last post I mentioned that I would share some of the products I created for this game.

To begin with, I created 4 pregenerated characters and my roster of zombies to throw at the group:

Zombie Apocalypse Characters

Zombie Stats

The setting I chose was The Walking Dead (TWD). While Rick, Daryl, Michonne and the other characters from TWD T.V. series are in the Southeastern USA fighting zombies, my game was set in the same universe, but in Colorado.

I added an additional Derived Statistic to the characters’ sheets that I got from Rodney Orpheus here:

The Savage Dead

This stat is called Humanity and I like that a person can lose their humanity as they encounter or do horrible things in the game with actual mechanics tied to it. I think this adds tension to scenes where a friend gets infected and the other characters have to struggle with whether or not they will put the person out of their misery with a potential for it to affect them. Sanity can be handled many different ways, but I chose to just stick with the Horror Companion’s method of dealing with it.

Because TWD zombies have certain characteristics associated with them, I customized my basic zombies to match them exactly. However, I did savage some extra zombies because fighting the same old types of zombies becomes predictable. Each zombie lists in their Special Abilities the rules I used for how to handle infections and the chance that a wound could result in being turned into a zombie.

In TWD, everyone is a carrier of the virus and if they are killed, they will become a zombie. Being bit only accelerates the process of turning.

The other zombies I created beside a basic zombie are:

  • Hardy Zombie – similar to the basic zombie but a little faster and tougher.
  • Mutated Zombie (Frenzied) – these are more like the zombies in World War Z.
  • Mutated Zombie (Slimer) – a zombie that has additional effects because of the mutated disease.
  • Mutated Zombie (Chubbo) – a Slimer Zombie that has become “ripe”.
  • Mutated Zombie (Wailer) – basically an annoying zombie that attracts other zombies.
  • Mutated Zombie (Big Boss) – a Frenzied Zombie that happens to be a huge badass.
  • Mutated and Altered Zombie (Frank von Stein’s Monster) – the toughest mother trucker on the block.

 

The Mutated Zombies are taken from the board game Zpocalypse 2 (see previous post) except for Frank von Stein’s Monster. He came out of the WWII A!C/Dust game I’ve been running.

Before I lay out the plot it’s important to point out that I didn’t give the players any details on the world they were playing in. They had to discover for themselves that all zombies need to be taken out with head shots for them to permanently die. They had to discover the nature of the infection. It really wasn’t until they encountered Dr. Frank von Stein that they realized they were in TWD universe.

For this setting I used Gritty Damage. This also actually helps the players because there is a chance they’ll get a head shot without doing a called shot to the head.

The story opened with my In Medias Res Rules for Savage Worlds example of the pawn shop lock picking task. The only information I gave the players was that they were the only four survivors of a tiny town in the Rocky Mountains and they had exhausted their resources in the small town. They had decided to venture into the city of Castle Rock for more supplies.

After they completed the task, I used the Interlude Results Table (found on page 49 of Savage Tales 6 Zombie Run). This is a good player facing method that encourages the players to craft the backstory of how they came together.

After the pawn shop heist the characters were free to do some more exploring. A good tool to facilitate this is the scavenging tables found on page 40 of the Apocalypse Campaign Guide as it is customizable to the size and type of store the group is exploring.

During this part of the game I only threw Basic Zombies at them. After scavenging a couple of stores, I threw a couple of Hardy Zombies into the mix and they began to realize that not all zombies are cookie cutter zombies.

Then I threw a hoard at them. Many of the zombies were held back by fences that had been erected in the city. The great thing about this is that the fences have a Toughness rating and the zombies pressed up against the fences have a chance of knocking down a section of fence and funneling through.

As the action progressed, the characters found themselves in a section of the city surround by fences and a massive hoard of zombies pressing in. By this time I had introduced several Mutant Zombies.

And that’s when Dr. Frank von Stein arrived in an armored car blasting a swathe through the zombies. The vehicle pulled up just outside the fence and he emerged from a hatch in the top. The Doc led the players to believe that the cavalry had arrived. As they talked, he divulged that he had come from the South and the players finally gathered that they were in TWD universe from this conversation. The entire plague was all the machinations of this one, horribly mad scientist. Since starting the plague in the South, he had journeyed through the midwest to Colorado and was now creating new mutated and altered zombies more ruthless than before.

The Doc then backed the armored car up to the fence, opened a gate, and lowered the back hatch. Into the area where the players were trapped was released Frank von Stein’s Monster – the Doc’s newest creation. And the final battle was on!

Feeling particularly inspired by the posse from the Wild Die Podcast and their recent episode on Zombie-themed games, I decided to put together an on-the-go zombie game to take camping this weekend so I could introduce a few new people to Savage Worlds.

Wild Die Podcast Episode 27

To begin with, I chose the following products with which to build my game:

Apocalypse Campaign Guide for Savage Worlds (Daring Entertainment)

Campaign Guide

Savage Tales 6 Zombie Run (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)

Classic Zombie Run

I must mention a couple of other good sources for your zombie game:

The Quiet Year (Avery Alder)

Quiet Year

Wrath of Zombie (Mike Evans)

Wrath of Zombie

I also stopped by my two favorite gaming stores to find some materials. My first stop was by Gamer’s Haven where I found a board game to totally savage.

Zpocalypse 2: Defend the Burbs (Greenbrier Games)

Zpocalypse 2

It has some great tiles, wild dice, and minis to use on the fly. I threw in my zombie-themed deck of cards and dice. The dice bag and tiny Bennies came from Hobby Town.

I also liked that Zpocalypse included Wild Card zombies to use as well. I created their stats and can share those later.

And, I threw in some extra miniatures just in case I want to add more baddies to the mix.

The last thing I wanted to do was make everything compact. I went to Staples and found a nice binder with pockets.

It also has a nice front pocket just right for my Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition and The Horror Companion.

I also threw in the graphic novel Zombies: A Brief History of Decay (Insight Comics) because I like for players to have some visuals for inspiration.

The final on-the-go game is very light and easy to pack for camping!

Today we were supposed to start the Achtung! Cthulhu/Dust campaign but the session turned into more clarification on Walker combat – plus a lot of history on the settings of both Achtung! Cthulhu and Dust. So, it wasn’t a complete waste of time. In fact, because someone had the Rifts core books, we were able to further refine Walker combat. So here is version 2 which is much better having read The Tomorrow Legion Player’s Guide and having played through various situations with four Walkers.

Savage Worlds Walker Rules for A!C Dust v3

Basically, Rifts (which calls Walkers Robot Armor) does away with Top Speed and replaces it with the option to run using 2d6. This is much simpler and it is what we used for our test skirmish with T-Rex!

The stats for this T-Rex comes from here, page 39: Free SW Bestiary

Our battle began with the Mickey pilot, Lt. Percy, doing a Death from Above maneuver. It was highly successful and way cool! T-Rex didn’t go down without a fight, though. He was stomped on and suffered 3 wounds. He Soaked 1 wound and I spent another Benny to remove the Shaken status. He still had 2 wounds but he has the Improved Nerves of Steel Edge, which just so happens to eliminate 2 points of wound penalty. T-Rex tore into the Mickey and actually left Lt Percy Shaken.

Unfortunately, the battle did’t last long enough for me to attempt to swallow either Captain Miner (who is a Major select, so he is technically Major Miner, ha ha) or Bodine, who were on foot. It was still a fun battle and everyone is completely up to speed on how we are going to be running Walker battles.

We also came to a consensus on how the Blood and Guts Benny will work. It can be used for one of four benefits:

  1. It can be spent as a normal Benny, or
  2. It can be spent to re-roll one Damage roll, 0r
  3. It can be spent to roll 1d6 to add to either a Trait or Damage roll in addition to other rolls (not replacing a die, but adding to), or
  4. It can be spent to gain one completely free additional Action (doesn’t incur a Multi Action Penalty but other penalties still apply).

Finally, I created a spreadsheet with three new Walkers for use with Savage Worlds. They were made to match the exact Walkers and their configurations that I have miniatures for.

Dust Walker Specs SW

So, I ran the skirmish with the Eldrazi Ruiner and I quickly realized that using walkers in combat requires a little bit of rules clarification. Thanks to the Savages on Facebook and Google+ for steering me in the right direction. Specifically, Rich Spainhour and Jon Mullenax for citing sources.

To begin with, you’ll need to fully read the section on Vehicles on pages 113-117 in the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition (SWDE) and the section on Walkers on page 58-59 of the Science Fiction Companion (SFC). Walkers are considered Vehicles and use Piloting instead of Driving. The pregenerated characters in Secrets of the Dust (SotD) use Driving, so I simply changed their skill to Piloting.

Parry for a Walker is not exactly explained in the SWDE or the SFC but the consensus with citations from Savage Rifts is that it is half of the driver’s Piloting or Fighting skill +2, whichever trait is lower. I’m not sure why it has to be the person’s Fighting skill, though. For A!C/Dust, I will be using Piloting to calculate the Walker’s Parry because it’s much simpler. Besides, I feel like a Walker Pilot in this setting would be consumed with piloting the Walker in an effort to avoid the melee attack. I could see in a futuristic setting where the Walker is piloted more like a giant exoskeleton (e.g., like in the movies Aliens and Avatar). Then their Fighting prowess translates more directly to the action of the battle and the Walker’s movements.

The next issue I encountered was how to handle deceleration. The SWDE explains that a vehicle can decelerate at twice its acceleration speed with normal braking and three times its acceleration if doing a hard stop. This doesn’t really make much sense. I think it should be that a vehicle brakes twice as fast as it accelerates, which would actually be half the distance of its acceleration speed, not double. For example, a Walker that accelerates 7 on its first turn could brake to a stop in a move of 3.5 (we’ll round to 4) on its next turn. Why would it take 14 squares to brake if it was moving at 7, yet a hard stop would take 21 spaces. The wording is confusing. This is important because Walkers might use a tactic of running, stopping, and firing from a stand-still in order to prevent the Unstable Platform penalty that firing while moving incurs. So, for the Light Assault Walker (LAW), which has an acceleration of 7, it can brake at 4 (half acceleration rounded up) and hard stop at 3 (a third of acceleration rounded up). The LAW has a Top Speed of 15; what happens if you want to apply the brakes normally to slow down? Then it seems like our numbers don’t quite work. But the principle of halving the speed does work. We’re moving along at 15 and want to brake on our next move, halving 15 and rounding up gives us 8. I have to move at least 8 spaces on my turn. I can’s choose to only move 3 or 4 yet because I have too much momentum. Then, on the subsequent turn, I can stop in 4 spaces as that is my half acceleration number. Otherwise, if you keep halving each turn, you’ll encounter one form of Zeno’s Paradox and never stop.

For the campaign presented in SotD we’ll only be using Light and Medium Walkers. Even though the Walkers aren’t Heavy class Walkers, they are all still Large as regards rules that use the term “Large”. This means that where the SFC talks about Large Walkers can never take more than 2 wounds from a single attack, this applies to the Walkers in SotD.

When a walker is struck, the attack has the potential to knock the Walker over. When a Walker suffers a hit that meets or exceeds its Toughness, the first thing a Pilot does is make a Piloting roll. If they fail this roll then they have to roll on the Out of Control table (SWDE pg 117). Even if the Pilot succeeds, this still qualifies as a Shaken result. The Pilot is momentarily stunned from the attack and has to make their Spirit roll. Technically, though, the Shaken is applied to the Walker.

If the attack entails wounds, then the Pilot must make a Piloting roll for each wound or else the Walker falls over. In addition, each wound entails a roll on the Critical Hits table (SWDE pg 117). Each wound also inflicts a -1 penalty to the Piloting rolls so long as the Walker is still upright and functional (much like the penalties for wounds affect Pace and Trait rolls).

Also in the SFC is an entry on Ejection Systems. For our WWII Walkers, we’ll be ignoring this futuristic feature. The Light Walkers are open cockpit and are ridden more like a motorcycle than being in an enclosed cockpit. For our purposes we’ll be having the Pilot take falling damage when one of the Walkers goes down. But, there are two types of falling damage: high speed (1d6 per 5” of speed, SWDE pg 115) and low speed falling damage (1d6+1 per 10”, SWDE pg 101). To make this easy to use we’ll be using the Walkers Top Speed. If the Walker is moving more than half of its Top Speed up to its Top Speed, use high speed; if it’s moving at or below half of its Top Speed, the damage is low speed. This should take into account the height of the Walker too. For all of the Light and Medium Dust Walkers it’s much simpler to just use 2d6+2 for all of their low speed falls. When a Walker does fall, use a d12 and read it like a clock face to determine which direction it topples. A Walker also suffers Xd6 damage to itself (where the X is its size) when it falls over.

Some common modifiers that come into play with Walkers includes:

  • Walkers in motion are Unstable Platforms and incur a -2 Attack penalty (Firing a machine gun from a moving Walker incurs a -4 penalty. The Edges of Steady Hands and Rock and Roll would offset these penalties).
  • Moving targets incur a -1 penalty per 10” of speed.
  • The LAW has a Top Speed of 15 which incurs a -2 handling penalty (none of the other Walkers in SotD can go fast enough to incur this penalty.
  • Driving through rough terrain at over half of Top Speed requires a Piloting roll at -2 per round.
  • A Walker can move up to half its Top Speed in reverse. Driving rolls while in reverse suffers a -2 penalty.
  • Every difference of 2 in Size between Attacker and Target affects the Attack rolls by 2.

Some maneuvers of note that come in handy:

  • Hard Stop: No penalty but Piloting roll must be made in order to stop at a third of the current speed.
  • Bootlegger Reverse (-4): Stopping while pivoting the Walker around 90-180 degrees.
  • Avoiding an obstacle (-2 or -4 for difficult turns or pivots).
  • Stomping: Any creature or vehicle half a Walker’s size or smaller can be stomped upon. This is an opposed roll using the Attacker’s Piloting skill versus either Agility, Piloting, or Driving. If the Walker Pilot wins, the damage is Str+2d6. (Size and strength are given in the SFC as Light is Size 6 with a Strength of d12+4 and Medium is Size 8 with a Strength of d12+6).
  • Death from Above: The Allied Medium Walker (Mickey) is the only Walker in SotD that can perform this maneuver since it can jump. This, again, is an Opposed roll. A success equals damage to the target but a failure means the Walker suffers damage (see SFC pg 59).

Using this quick sheet in conjunction with the tables on page 117 of the SWDE should be sufficient to run the Walkers in SotD.

After reading through “Secrets of the Dust” (SotD), I couldn’t wait to jump in and start playing. Before that, however, I need to talk about prepping the campaign. To begin with, there are a couple of issues that pale in comparison to how cool and pulpy the first adventure “Perchance to Dream” is. There is another adventure called “Destroyer of Worlds”, but I doubt my group will play it. The reason is because the setting goes back in time to before WWII and I really want to get from the Dreamlands in the first part back into the happenings and intrigues of WWII. But this will largely depend on which direction the players wish to go. Plus, SotD doesn’t present any of the Dust baddies like Frank von Stein and the Blutkreuz monsters and I will likely start statting out some of those guys.

Blutkreuz

The even more minor issue is that there is one plot hole. At the beginning of the adventure, the A!C investigators are supposed to go to the Dust universe and then into the Dreamlands, but the book also says that the only connection between the Dust and A!C worlds is through the Dreamlands. That’s okay, though. We’ll correct this in our plot.

For a fuller review see this: A!C Dust Review

In my campaign I’m having my players have two different characters at the outset of the game – one in each universe (A!C and Dust). Play sessions will go back and forth until the two groups meet up in the Dreamlands at which time the players will have to decide whether or not to continue this or mix the groups somehow. For the Dust characters, players will choose from the six pre-generated Ranger characters that are presented in the SotD appendix.

The A!C investigators are going to be German double agents that are recruited to help Majestic. For this first couple of sessions for these characters, I will be running the A!C supplement called Kontamination. It is an interesting adventure that requires very little alteration for our purposes and also presents pre-generated investigators that the players can choose to run.

The plot includes a Nachtwolfe plot using the machine invented by Crawford Tillinghast in the Lovecraft story “From Beyond” to drive Allied soldiers mad. The only change we’re making is to have the visions of the Beyond be of the happenings of a future as presented in the portion of SotD called “Congratulations! You’ve Brought on the Apocalypse!”. This should clue the investigators into a reason to warn the A!C version of Dr. Lowbeer. We’ll cover this again later on, though.

To begin things, I wanted to give the players a test of the world and show them the vibe that using Dust miniatures on Lovecraftian-type horrors brings. In order to do this, I created an encounter with an Eldrazi Ruiner from the Magic the Gathering universe. This actually comes from the miniatures board game called “Arena of the Planeswalker” expansion “Battle for Zendikar”. This can be used within the Dreamlands as a random encounter if the Keeper wishes. Here is the set-up with four Rangers (2 on foot and 2 in walkers). They are ready to roll their Spirit dice as they first behold the Eldrazi Ruiner.

And here are the stats for the Eldrazi Ruiner and the spawn Eldrazi Scions.

Eldrazi

The road map for the first several sessions of the campaign are as follows:

  1. Begin in medias res with players using the Ranger team from Dust up until where the group enters Celephais (Episodes 1 -3 in SotD).
  2. Plot shifts to A!C universe in 1944 in the early days of the Battle of the Bulge with players using their A!C investigators (Kontamination entire adventure). At the end, the characters will be recruited by Sergeant Miller (Majestic agent) which leads to Dr. Lowbeer sending the investigators into the Dreamlands to meet up with the Dust Rangers in Celephais.
  3. After the 2 teams meet, the NPC Mironim-Mer will be encountered in Celephais in order to add more sandbox-style opportunities for the group to choose from. This encounter is called “Lemon Sails” and is included in Call of Cthulhu’s Dreamlands supplement. The group could very well split back into two groups: one group helping Mironim-Mer and the other group continuing to search for the USS Eldridge elsewhere.

Coming up next will be the summary of play through these initial stages of the campaign.