Monsters & Other Childish Things by Wapole Languray
IntroductionOriginal SA post
Do you remember being a kid?
I'm sure you do. You remember waking up early on Saturday mornings, and sitting in front of the T.V. With a big bowl of Diabetic Crunch to watch 3 hours of toy commercials. You remember opening presents on Christmas morning, and getting that Video Game you always wanted, or that Mega Deluxe Barbie Beach-house, or maybe that was the first day you met Spot the Retriever and you loved him forever and were bestest buddies. You remember sitting next to your best friend Keith in Mrs. Picken's English class, passing notes about how Suzy Lubens was an ugly butt, but you didn't really think so and just did that cause you didn't want Keith to think you were a wimp. Yeah, you remember being a kid.
Now, do you really remember being a kid?
Do you remember that time Ryan got you in a full nelson and slammed your face into the locker till your nose bled, but you had to tell the Teacher you tripped and fell 'cause being a Snitch is the worst thing ever? Do you remember the time Becky, the prettiest girl in school, called you a fat ugly whore and you hid in the bathroom and cried for half an hour? Do you remember when Spot got hit by that car while you were walking him alone, but your parents blamed you and spanked and grounded you even though you were the saddest ever?
Do you really remember being a kid? Being powerless, inferior, wrong, stupid. All the time. Always. Nobody listens to you. Nobody cares what you say. Everyone is mean, and cruel and stupid. Younger kids are annoying and dumb, older kids are mean and dumb, your parents are embarassing and dumb, your teachers are evil and dumb, and it's hard and nobody understands.
Being a kid sucks.
Or it would, if you didn't have your Monster. Now if Ryan tries to touch you Glorbag is going to swallow him whole and chew up his bones. Now if Becky makes fun of you Glitterwing is going to tear that stupid perfect hair right out of her scalp. Now if your parents ground you, Mr. Wiggins can teleport you right out of your room and into the Mall.
Your Monster is big. He's scary. He isn't from this plane of existence. He gives other people panic attacks whenever they see him. He shrugs off bullets like spitballs. He breaks the laws of physics just by existing. He is a shambling, inhuman, horror from beyond the borders of reality whose very presence warps the universe like a lead weight on a soggy paper-towel.
He's your best friend in the entire world.
“I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to eat him.”
“Well, you did! Now what are we going to do?”
“Well . . . skip dinner, for one thing. I couldn’t eat another bite.”
“This isn’t funny.”
“It’s a little bit funny.”
“When they find out Dad’s boss got eaten, Dad is going to get fired, and then we’re going to have to move into a cardboard box behind the Sip’n’Dash, and I’ll have to share my corner of the box with Janie because we won’t be able to afford a box big enough for me to have my own space anymore!”
“You said that all in one breath.”
“I can swim all the way across the pool in one breath.”
“That’s pretty awesome. We should go swimming.”
“OK, but—hey! You distracted me!”
“I just want you to be happy. You worry about swimming all the way across the pool and BACK again in one breath, and let me worry about your Dad’s boss.”
“How? How are you going to fix this?”
“OK, give me a second . . . SMUUUUUUUUURGUAH! There.”
“That . . . how . . . Mr. Wilkins?”
“Sure! Ever since I kicked the crap out of Chameleon Pete last week, I can turn into anything I want.”
“No kidding! So like . . . you could turn into Miss July?”
“Easy peasy, my friend. Just let me eat her up, and I’m your dream girl.”
“Ah. . . . We’ll put that one on the ‘Maybe Later’ shelf, right?”
“Let’s get back downstairs before Mom starts worrying her meatloaf is cold.”
“I shudder to think of your mother’s meatloaf.”
“You just ate a full-grown CPA! With ballpoint pens and shoes and wallet.”
“He tasted like salty hot dogs.”
“I’m gonna barf.”
Welcome to Monsters and Other Childish Things.
Character CreationOriginal SA post
First, I need to get this out of the way, Monsters and Other Childish Things (From here on called MaOCT), is one of the best written RPG's I've ever seen. Not in that it is well layed out, or clear and understandable, though it is that. It's because it is genuinely entertaining to read.
MaOCT is obviously intended as a good introductory RPG for children, and it shows. The game includes two entire chapters, written by Greg Stoltze of Unknown Armies fame, explaining what an RPG is and how to run one. The introduction chapter gives an overview of the games concept and themes (Childhood, Monsters, Growing Up, Imagination, etc.), a short summary of the game rules that points you to what pages those rules are found on in-full, and the best part by far is the sidebar. Along the sidebars for the Introduction chapter is a quick “What Is Roleplaying” guide, but written absolutely amazingly. The example of play is a kid arguing with his monster about whether Morse Code is stupid or not and the ethics of eating people, even if they are tasty. The author threatens to toilet paper and egg the house of anyone who makes fun of the reader for playing an RPG. But the best section by far is this:
”Does This Make Me a Nerd?” posted:
Let’s see. You play a roleplaying game around the table with friends, snacks, jokes and fun.
A computer gamer sits alone in his room with the lights off making CG sprites kill other CG sprites.
Yeah, who’s the nerd now?
I mean, how many RPG's actually make the effort of combating the social stigma of looking like a dorkwad? Not many my friends, not many.
This is the character sheet. As you can see, there are two key points about this sheet:
1. It is one of the best examples of a character sheet fitting a game thematically I've ever seen
B. All the mechanical aspects of a character fit into half the sheet.
This is because every character, including NPC's, are defined by three things: Stats, Skills, and Relationships. That's it.
Stats and Skills
You may notice that I haven't explained the resolution mechanic yet, which normally would be a major problem in book layout, to make a character before the mechanics are explained. It isn't. They tell you about Stats and Skills first, because rolling dice is confusing if you don't know where the numbers you roll come from in the first place . Cause remember, this is for people who have never seen an RPG before!
Every human has Five stats, with three standard skills under each. You can take special skills with GM permission, which can be anything you want. The default stats and skills are:
Feet : General whole body movement
: Avoiding stuff
Kicking : Feet of Fury
P.E. : Running, jumping, climbing, general athletics
: Not weeing yourself
Wind : Health, breath, general fitness and endurance
Wrestling : Grabbing and squeezing and grappling
: Using things to stop things from hitting things.
Punching : Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Shop : Building and breaking stuff, working with your hands, arts and crafts.
: Seeing stuff, especially stuff that doesn't want to be seen
Out-Think : Problem solving and logic
Remember : Education and memory
: Be everybody's BFF
Connive : Lie, trick, play innocent, and all those other essential kid survival skills
Putdown : Yo Mama jokes
Pretty simple yeah? MaOTC uses the ORE engine, so it's Dice Pool time. All stats start at 1 dice, and you can spread 10 more around as you choose. Skills start at 0 die, and you get 15 to put wherever you want. No skill or stat can have above 5 dice.
Now that we have some numbers, it's time for what we do with them.
All Humans roll the same dice, stat+skill. Add together their Dice Pools, and roll that many d10s. You can't roll more than 10 dice in a roll, any extra's are used to pay for effects that remove dice from your pool.
When you roll the die, you're looking for Matches. These matches are written down in the format of Width x Height. So for example, you roll:
”7 Dice” posted:
3, 3, 2, 8, 3, 8, 2
Then you've got three matches, 2x2, 3x3, and 2x8. The first number is how many die are in the match, the second number is what the number on the die is. These are called Width and Height respectively. You need at least one match to succeed, no matches mean a failure. When you have multiple matches, or sets, like in this example, you pick one to use in the roll.
Which one do you pick? Well, it depends. A sets Width (How many die are in the set) determines how fast you do something, while the Height (The number on the die in the set) determines how well you do something. Making a baking-soda volcano for a science project? You'd probably want the 2x8, so that you have the best baking-soda volcano in the whole class. Running away from the school bully? You'll want the 3x3, because form and expertise doesn't count for much when Ryan's grinding your face into a dog turd. Roll requirements are in the form of Height. 1 is super-easy, 2 is normal, 3 is hard, and it goes up from there. This is also the baseline for determining roll effects. 2 is the bog-standard normal, anything above 2 is better, with above a 5 being incredible performance. An art project with a height of 2 is normal for your class, 3 is notably good, 8 would get you entered into the school art-show, and it'd probably win 1st place.
A special rule is Botching. When you not only get no matches, but get no dice above a 5, then you've Botched It. This means something especially crappy happens, and it's up the GM to determine what. Fail a roll to win a school race and you'll just lose. Botch it and you end up tripping and spraining an ankle.
Welcome to the most important aspect of MaOTC. Relationships.
A Relationship is an emotional connection to something. Anything. You can have a Relationship with your Mother of course, and your best friend, but you can also have one with your teddy-bear, or your favorite pen, or your home-town. As long as there is an emotional connection, it's a Relationship. Relationships don't have to be both ways, after all, an unrequited crush is a very important form of relationship for kids! And they don't have to be [i]healthy[i]. A stalker has a relationship with their stalkee, but it doesn't mean the stalkee has to like it. Another thing is you can't have a Relationship with your Monster, because that's something else. With your monster, you have a Bond. A Bond is a Relationship that just... exists. You can never lose it, or break it, or use it. It's a representation of the totally unconditional love between a Kid and their Monster.
Otherwise, you get 6 dice to put into your Relationships. You can have as many as you want, and there's no limit to how high you can get them. Why do you want Relationships? Because they are power. If you can tie whatever test you're doing to one of your Relationships, then you can add those dice to your dice-pool.
Getting into a fist fight with Ryan the Bully? Do you remember that pep-talk your Dad gave you about how you need to stand up to bullies? You do? Great! You can add that Dad 3 relationship to get an extra 3 die to your Fists roll to slug the jerkwad.
But if you fail a Relationship boosted roll, then that relationship suffers. It gets Shocked.
A Shock reduces your Relationship by one die. This represents the tension and dissatisfaction that has arose in the Relationship. The way you un-Shock a Relationship is with Quality Time.
Ryan kicked you butt all over the playground. Dad didn't know what he was talking about! You should have run away, but you didn't, and now you have a black eye and Mom is going to yell at you for fighting! Stupid Dad.
Quality Time is a special kind of roleplayed test, with a difficulty of 4 plus the number of Shocked die in that relationship. Succeed and you get the width of the roll's worth of die back, up to the original un-Shocked number. What the roll is depends on whatever you do during Quality Time. As long as it is an activity that will reaffirm your emotional connection to the object of your Relationship, it works.
You decide to go with Dad on that fishing trip he goes on every few weeks in Summer. You're still angry at him, but when you catch that trout and he picks you up and carries you around like you're the World's Greatest Fisherman, you just don't care about that stupid fight anymore.
Sometimes people don't want you to get Quality Time, something or someone works to upset and prevent it, so that your Relationship doesn't heal. If this is the case, then the opposition rolls against your Quality Time roll. They get however many dice are Shocked in the Relationship as bonus-die added to their roll, and you get however many dice are un-Shocked in the Relationship added to yours. If their Height is better, they succeed and you fail your Quality Time.
Your horrible little brother is jealous of how much time you spend with Dad, so he conned his way into the fishing trip. He won't leave the two of you alone, and is trying to keep you and Dad from spending any time together, the little jerk.
Relationships Shocked down to 0 dice are in Crisis. To get a relationship out of Crisis, you need to accumulate a combined Width on several related Quality Time rolls to equal the full value of the Relationship. This adds 1 die to the Relationship and gets it out of Crisis. But there is a problem. Any failed Quality Time rolls while a Relationship is in Crisis permanently reduces that Relationship by 1 die. The only way to get that back is through spending XP in Character Advancement.
Relationships also have special uses for your Monster, but I'll get into those in the Monster chapter.
The last bit is Character Advancement. While playing you get XP, which is rewarded pretty much whenever the GM decides to give it to you. One to Three is normal per session. One XP buys you a Skill Die, Two gets you a Relationship Die, Three gets you a Stat Die, and Five let's you add a Die to a Monster Location (Once again, Monsters chapter, later on.)
You can only spend XP during play if something dramatically appropriate happens, IE, you find a magic orb of Kung-Fu Mastery that lets you spend XP into your Fists skill. Otherwise, you have to wait until an acceptably large amount of time passes to raise your XP, so a few weeks of downtime where there's no adventuring going on.
“You have to whisper. We’re not supposed to be here.”
“I am whispering. Wait... is whispering the quiet one?”
“Sorry. I don’t understand why we’re here.”
“We have to steal back my journal from Becky before she reads it and realizes I have a crush on her.”
“I don’t get it. You were just going on for hours about how to tell her you like her. Now she’ll find out.”
“No! She can’t know... not this way. It would be weird.”
“Sneaking into her house while her family is at church is pretty weird, if you ask me. I’m not human, but still... pretty weird.”
“Just quit yakking and find the journal. Oh God, I hope she hasn’t read it yet...”
“Well, considering how busy she and her dinosaur have been trying to kill you these past few days—”
“How come you’re so hot for a girl who’s your sworn mortal enemy?”
“Come on. How come? Is it her devious intellect? Her manipulative charm? Her murderous vengeance?”
“I like her freckles.”
“That’s precious. I thought she was molting or something, but—wait. Did you hear that?”
“No. What did it sound like?”
“A little like a nine-ton rackasaurus walking tippy-toes behind us.”
Figured I'd ask here, but does anyone know where I can get a hold of a form-fillable or otherwise digital character and monster sheet for this game? I can't find any for the life of me, and they'd be really useful for something I'm planning later on.
Next Time: Conflicts
ConflictOriginal SA post
Time for the juicy mechanical meat of any game, the Conflicts . Now, Conflict in MaOTC doesn't just mean fights, though obviously that's a major part of it. The system also does emotional Conflict. The difference between a Conflict and a normal Test, is that conflicts cause Damage.
Now, Conflicts are split into Rounds . Rounds last, in universe, a few seconds, long enough for all parties to do a single action, in general. Rounds are split into three Phases
Phase 1: Declare
Everyone Declares their action for this round. They do this in order, from lowest to highest Brains+Out-Thinking pool. This means that the person with the highest Brains+Out-Thinking knows what everyone else is going to do that round before they say what they're going to do. What you declare to do determines what dice pool you'll use for the roll. This is also where you can declare
. To take multiple actions, you drop one die from your pool per extra action. If you use multiple different pools, you drop the dice from the smallest pool. This is really goddamn
and definitely a desperation thing, not a normal action.
Phase 2: Roll Everybody rolls their dice and pick their sets.
Phase 3: Resolve From highest Width to lowest, resolve the results. If you take damage before you get to resolve, you lose one die from your best set. This means you don't have a match anymore? Your action fails. This means speed actually really matters, and a fast enemy can basically stunlock you if you don't have wide dice pools.
Damage in MaOTC comes in two types, Shocks and Scars. Shock damage is temporary, light, short term damage. A punch in the nose, a particularly biting insult, a sprained ankle, and most “normal” injuries or emotional distress is Shock damage. Scars are the serious things. This is long-term borderline permanent damage that you want to avoid like the plague. Scars are caused by things like gunshot wounds, broken limbs, getting laughed at by the entire school, and other devastating injuries.
Both types of damage use the same formula, Width-1 is your damage, so the minimum you can do is 1, with a maximum damage on any single roll of 9. This is on a pure roll, mind, with other factors like weapons and Monster powers, these numbers can vary much more.
Now, I have to address emotional damage. For a kid, words can be worse than a million punches. Have you ever been made fun of so bad that you couldn't move? Have you been so angry that your hands wouldn't stop shaking? Been so embarassed that you just completely shut down? Words are the real weapons among children. Grownups are immune to emotional damage, unless they have a Relationship with the attacker. Some random guy on the street calls your Dad a jackass and he's not going to give a shit. His boss tears him a new one, yeah, that's some damage. In emotional combat knowledge and numbers are weapons. The more people who witness your emotional annihilation, the more damage it does. Likewise, the nastier and closer to home the insult, the better. A particularly accurate insult could even count as a Scar.
Emotional damage has a special interaction with your Monster that, once again, I'll cover in the Monsters chapter later.
When an attack is successful, it “hits” one of your character's stats, depending on the height of the set.
When you get hit, take the damage worth of dice away. If the attack does more damage than the Stat has dice, the leftover damage rolls up or down one step, until it reaches a Stat with dice in it.
If any three of your Stats get reduced to zero by Shock damage, or one of your stats gets zeroed out by Scar damage, you're Freaking Out . You make a Guts+Courage roll, and if you fail, you Freak Out. This means you either go nutso and start attacking the nearest thing, run away in screaming tears, or you go catatonic and curl into a ball, player choice. Notably, normal people, people that don't have regular experience with the supernatural, automatically have to make a freak out roll the first time they see a monster attack in an encounter.
You can also make a Called Shot by dropping one of your dice from the attack pool to set one of the remaining dice to whatever number you want. You then roll the rest of the die as normal. This will guarantee you have at least one die targeted at the location you want.
In another nice touch, the book flat out tells you to role-play your damage. Don't just lower a number and act like you're totally fine up until you collapse. If you take damage to your hands, role-play it! Did you get whacked so hard it dislocated a finger? Sprained your wrist? Did an insult make you so angry your hands won't stop shaking? Make your character more than just a paper full of numbers.
Loss and Consequences
You are out of the Conflict whenever you either fail a Freak Out roll, or when all of your stats are reduced to zero. What exactly happens is up to the player and GM to work out, but you're no longer allowed to participate in the Conflict.
After the Conflict is over, all Shock damage to a stat heals, minus 1 die. This die of remaining shock heals after a few hours to rest and recover, or after a quick healing event (getting patched up by the school nurse, getting a pep talk from your best friend). Scars don't recover at all without professional attention. If under appropriate care, you recover one Scarred Die a week, however, one of the Scarred die is permanently gone. The only way to get it back is with Character Advancement.
Worse, if you get a Stat knocked down to 0 by pure Scar damage, it is permanently lowered by 1. You can never, even through character advancement, get that lost die back. Get your Guts reduced to 0 by nothing but Scar damage, and you now can have only a max of 4 Die in that stat. Happens twice? Congrats, now you're down to 3 Die max.
As you can see, combat can be nasty . So, how do you prevent that sorta thing?
Stopping the Stuff I Just Talked About From Happening
Defending works the same as declaring an attack. You say you're going to defend, then roll the appropriate Stat+Skill combo for whatever you're trying to do. Trying to dodge an insult with Feet+Dodging? Great, you still got insulted and you look like a spaz. Should have rolled Brains+Out Think to come up with a witty retort. Defenses need to be tailored to the attack. If it doesn't make sense for the defense to actually defend against an attack, it doesn't do anything.
If you DO roll a defense that does something, then you compare your width and height to the attacker's. Your Defense roll must have equal or greater Width AND Height to stop an attack completely. If so, then every die of your set, “gobbles up” a die of the attacker's set. If you get rid of enough die to break the match, then the attack does nothing. A single defense roll can defend against multiple attacks, as long as you have Die to “gobble” with.
While your Defense roll's Width must be better than your attacker's, your Height doesn't have to be. If you have less Height than the attacking roll, you get a Flinch . This means you get to change what location the guy hits, up or down the difference between your Widths. No avoiding the damage, but you do get to determine where you get hurt.
You can also Cut and Run if things are going bad. Make a Feet+Dodge roll. Your opponent get's in a free attack while you beat feet. If you fail the roll you're hurt and still in the fight. Succeed and you've ran like a chicken-wuss and are out of the Conflict.
Great, Now I'm On Fire (This is legit the real section heading from the book)
Special attributes and status effects! Certain weapons and attacks have special extra's added onto them that make them special nasty. Let's see what they are!
For every level of aiming, you can delay an attack for up to that many rounds, and that attack gets that many die extra to its pool.
Area Every level of area gives an attack 5 feet added to it's radius. Anybody caught in the attack rolls the Area level as Area Dice. These indicate hit areas, and you get one shock per die. You can dodge the attack with a Feet+Dodge roll, which if you beat the Height of the main attack, you reduce the Area dice by the doge rolls Width. The dodge roll must be declared like any action.
Burn You take a point of Shock at the end of every round you're On Fire from the area attack. Mind, it could also be acid, nanobots, flesh eating fungus, whatever. Guts+Courage roll of difficulty 6 to put out the burning thing. Otherwise, you have to do a Guts+Courage anyway to not just run around screaming in pain.
Gnarly Every level of Gnarly adds one to the attack's damage.
Spray Spray adds one die to your attack roll for every level. If you use a Spray weapon to take Multiple Actions you can divide the multiple attack sets between several targets if they're close enough together. Everyone attacked needs to make an immediate Guts+Courage roll, fail and your next action is to run to cover.
Wicked Fast Add Wicked Fast levels to your Width when determining the order of attack. They do not add onto your Width for damage, or anything else, just speed.
Other Stuff That Hurts
Sometimes you get hurt by something that isn't another person/Monster/Alien/Robot/Whatever. These are rules for those things.
One Area Die of damage per-five feet in the fall. Over 20 feet cause Scars if you hit something solid at the end. Feet+P.E. To absorb some damage, at 1 die of damage per Width in the roll. If you make the absorb roll, you can choose to put all the damage into your Feet.
Crashes Beep beep smash. Every 10 mph is one Area Die of damage. No seatbelts or safety devices make the damage scars. Buckle up or otherwise are protected? The damage goes down to an Area Die per 20 mph and it's Shock.
Bad Sushi(Really the name from the book) Poison, drugs, nasty stuff you stick in your gob. They have a Potency and an Interval. Interval is how often you take the damage, in rounds or time, Potency is how many successful Guts+Wind rolls you must make to shrug off the poison. You can only roll when the Interval comes up. All poisons do only 1 damage, Schock or Scarring depending on GM, to your Guts. When your Guts hit 0 it goes to your Face and moves down the Hit Locations from there.
Finding Out You're Adopted (Once again, quote from the book) Shocking emotional revelations. Guts+Courage against a GM set difficulty. Any Relationships involved get their dice added to the opposing dice pool. Opposing pool's Width-1 damage from failure.
“I’m gonna bite his face off!”
“Calm down! We’ll figure this out, we’ll find a way—”
“Kid, you got to realize something. Sometimes there just ain’t no talking to be done, and no matter how much you want things to be nice and happy and peaceful and fun, sometimes you gotta take it hard and fast to the bad place, and do something you don’t want to do. Something BAD to somebody else.”
“You make it sound like it’s something you regret.”
“Hey, I never said that. I’m totally digging on getting my chompers around that scrawny snake and chomping down like he’s a spicy Thai noodle.”
“I think you’re too into this. I’m just going to talk to Dan, and we can work something out.”
“Working things out is for big sissy girls. Growing up is all about being a man, and according to TV, what men do when bad things are going down is to race around talking on their cellphones and beating up the bad guys until they find out where the bomb is hidden. But they only have 24 hours to do it, so they never pee.”
“That’s just TV! That’s not what its like to be a man. Dad never does that stuff.”
“And how much do you respect your old man? If he whacked more terrorists, you know you’d love him more. But he pees way too often. He’d be in the can when the bomb went off.”
“You’ve taken this one to a strange place. Stranger than usual. Like, I didn’t even know you liked Thai food.”
“Spicy Thai noodles with basil is awesome. There’s this dumpster I like to hang out in on Saturday nights around 2 in the morning. They toss the old noodles in around... hey, now who’s getting off topic? Are we going over to Danny Boy’s house for some payback or not? Nobody’s got any business saying something like THAT to your sister, even if she is a big old bi—”
“Hey! All right, all right. Fine. Let’s go kick some snake butt.”
“And then, dumpster noodles!”
Next Time: MONSTERS!
MonstersOriginal SA post
Yes, it has arrived! Time to go over the rules for MONSTER creation. Okay, I'm not all-capping that anymore, it'd get old. Before we get to the mechanics and Monster making, we gotta lay down some...
Super Cool Monster Fact 1 The Bond ! Basically, all Kids have a Bond with their Monster. This means two things. First, that the Kid is the single most important thing ever to a Monster . They will do anything to make their Kid happy and to keep them safe. They aren't very good at it, but they try. Second, is that the Kid and Monster have a sort of empathic link. They can tell roughly what each others emotional state is, have a sort of shared intuition about things, and can sense when the other is either in danger, or doing something troublesome. It also has some more... violent side effects. See, the Bond is quite a bit stronger in Conflict situations.
In a conflict, any Emotional damage to a Kid is done as Physical damage to his Monster as well, the same number of dice lost to the same hit location, with the same severity, no defense from the Monster's side. It also works in reverse, when a Monster is physically wounded the Kid is emotionally wounded in the same way. As a Kid though, it's always Shocks only, and if a Monster loses all the dice in a hit location, then the kid does the same. This means that in a Monster Fight, the kids are generally on the side-lines yelling insults instead of tussling.
Wicked Sweet Monster Fact 2 They Ain't From Around Here. Monsters aren't... natural. They don't need to eat. Or drink. Or sleep. Or breathe. Cold and heat don't do anything to a Monster. They can dive to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean or go skinny-dipping in a volcano and not be bugged by it. Monsters are also... very not-human. Your buddy may know theoretical astro-physics as they relate to the nth dimensional string vibrations, but he just can't figure out toilets. Generally Monsters don't get human's, and need to be taught that “liking someone” doesn't mean you want to impale them with your ovipositor and inject your young into their lower intestine. Well... you kinda want to do something like that, but also absolutely nothing like that in any way. See how confusing it can be for an 8 foot cockroach from the 12th Dimension?
Pretty Spiffo Monster Fact 3 Monsters are master hiders... except from each other. Every Monster has a Way To Hide . Some method by which they can go unnoticed in polite society. They may shrink, turn invisible, transform into a toy, become a normal animal, some can even look just like a human. The catch is that other Monsters can always detect each other, and even their Kids can generally tell when a Monster is lurking around. Unless the Monster has some ability that let's them hide from other Monsters, but that never happens. Right?
Actually Kinda Scary Monster Fact 4 Monsters are only hurt by Weird. Mundane weapons don't hurt Monsters. They just don't. Any Mundane attack on a Monster get's an automatic 5x10 defense set. Even if the Monster decides to just take the hit, it only does Shock damage, and they recover one die a round. Mundane includes things like baseball bats, slingshots, pistols, cars, tanks, jet-fighters, and atom bombs. The exception is Weird Stuff. Even if it isn't designed to hurt Monsters, magic, mad science, aliens, and other such Weird Things naturally can hurt Monsters, and of course this includes other Monsters and their Kids. If a Weird Thing hurts a monster, they take damage like normal, and heal it at one die a day, or the width of a Face+Charm roll a day, for special care.
Now it's time for the Fun Part! I am NOT going to actually make a Monster this update, that's a special Character Creation one next time! But I will go over all the rules, and there's a lot. Monsters are special like that. So, let's get started!
Step 1 Appearance and Hit Locations First step is to draw your Monster. No really, just make a drawing. Doesn't matter if it sucks, that just adds to the realism, cause real kids suck at art. Now, circle all the important bits on it. You need a minimum of 4, and can have as many as 10. These Bits get assigned the Hit Location numbers, 1-10. You can put as many as you want on them, as long as you have at least 1 number assigned to each. Each Hit Location is worth 5 dice, which are assigned to the Bit. So, if a part has 3 Hit Location numbers assigned, that's 15 Dice. You can only have 10 dice on a Hit Location though! So, what happens if you have more? You spend them on stuff to make a Bit do things!
Step 2 Qualities and Extras This is what you spend the Dice in a Hit Location on. Qualities define what a Hit Location does, and Extras add Extra stuff to it! The Qualities are:
What your monster attacks with! Teeth, claws, lasers, magic, acid bogeys, firebreath, whatever. Does Shock damage against Weird Things, and Scars against Mundane.
Defends Your Monster uses this Location for Defense rolls. Also can be used to defend a Monster's Kid.
Useful Everything else. Flying, Super-Senses, Telepathy, Pickpocketing, Turning Intagible, Controlling the Weather, Psychic Powers, Paralytic Venom, Hypnotic Singing, Swimming, whatever. If it doesn't do Damage or Defend, it's Useful.
Sidebar Sidechat This is a thing I'm doing because this Sidebar is actually important! It's a little table of stuff that tells you your Monster's Speed, Range, and how much Weight it can carry. It's a pretty simple little thing that just assigns them to a Location's dice value. So a movement part with 6d lets you move at 64mph or 64 Yards in a round, if an attack or power is ranged at 4d then it can reach 80 yards, an appropriate part at 9d could lift 6.4 Tons, etc. It's pretty neat, and a simple way to tell how scarily superhuman your monster can be.
Now, those Qualities are neat, but they're kinda... lackluster. For added Pizzazz, you get Extras.
Yep, same as the Area effect for weapons. Each level gets you 5 feet of area effect and an Area Die of damage. On the plus side, it also effects Useful skills, but still can't be applied to defensive actions.
Awesome Available in two levels. The first level lets you set one die to any number you want before you roll the rest, basically acting as a free Called-Shot. Level two let's you change a die's value after you roll, letting you boost a sets width or make a whole new set. So, yeah, Awesome is Awesome.
Burn Identical to the Burn rules in the Conflict chapter, except other Monsters don't need to make the check to not panic when Burning and can stop the effect with any successful Action to extinguish it.
Gnarly Each level boosts the damage of this part by 1. Pretty simple.
Sharing A Monster's Kid can use any abilities of a part with Sharing on it, even if the monster is Hiding. If the power isn't obvious (Hard to hide giant claws or scaly skin) then other people can make a Brains+Notice to detect the weirdness.
Spray Spray Locations can use multiple sets to affect several targets without needing to declare multiple actions. The multiple actions all have to be done with a part or parts that have Spray though. Unlike the Weapons extra, this adds no dice and you get only one level, you got it or you don't.
Tough Removes 1 damage from an attack to a Location for every level of Tough.
Wicked Fast Yep, adds one Width for the purposes of determining action order for every level.
You can find out what other Monster's parts are and what they do with a Brains+Notice roll. Succeed and you learn the names of all a Monster's parts, and can learn the Quality, Extras, and Dice Pool for a Location determined by Height, one per Width above 1, the examined Monster's player chooses.
So that's the Mechanical half of making a Monster, now it's time for the stuff that makes your Monster more than just a fancy attack dispenser.
You need to, in as much detail as possible, nail down your Monster's personality. How they act and react, what they like and hate, what they move and think and talk like. This is because Monster's are shared between the Player and the GM. While the Player controls the Monster most of the time and always in Conflicts, the GM controls it when it is interacting with the Player's Kid, or just whenever he wants to, most likely to get the Kid in trouble to make some fun for the group. One thing to note is that Monster personalities never change. Your Monster is who he is from day 1 to day 1 billion. They can learn sure, but they can't change who they are like people can. This also has Mechanical effects! If you want your Monster to do something contrary to its Personality, or to stop doing something that is supported by its personality, you need to make a Face+Charm, Putdown, or Connive, depending, called a motivation roll. Note, Monster's will always protect their Kid, no matter what, regardless of their Personality.
Way to Hide
The unique way your Monster makes themselves unseen, unnoticed, or just unremarkable. Kid's always know where their Monster is, and can even talk to them, if they're close enough. Monsters Hiding can effect other stuff, but only in little ways that could be written off as coincidence. Doing any noticable actions or using any Monster abilities will force a Monster out of Hiding. Monsters can't hide from one another, unless they take a Quality that allows them to. Some people, generally the insane, psychic, drug-addled, or otherwise abnormally-brained, can see Monsters even when they're Hiding. They might not know what they're looking at, but it's never a good thing when someone sees your Monster, as it inevitably causes issues .
Every Monster has a Favorite Thing. It is something that they will do, to excess, whenever they have the chance. It could just be a favorite snack, or activity, or anything else. Maybe your Monster likes Vietnamese dumpster takeout, or maybe it just loves to see you smile, or maybe it likes sucking the immortal souls from people through their eye-sockets. Your monster will always indulge in its Favorite Thing if it can, unless you or the GM (whoever is controlling the Monster if it's alone) makes a Face+Putdown roll using the Kid's stats to make your Monster resist the temptation.
If you promise your Monster that you will give him or let him do his Favorite Thing though, it lets you change one die in a Face+Charm motivation roll after you roll the rest, guaranteeing a set. Welsh on the deal though, and all your Motivation rolls get a Difficulty of 6 until you make up for being a douchecanoe.
Kicking Butts and Taking Names- Monster Combat
Most of the Conflict rules are the same as in the Conflicts chapter, but with some special caveats and rules for Monsters.
Monster's use their Kid's Brains+Out-Thinking to determine action declaration, so Monsters act at the same time as their Kids do or would. Whenever a Monster gets a location reduced to 0 dice, their Kid has to make a Face+Charm motivation roll to keep him in fight, otherwise they give up. This rule doesn't apply if the Monster is fighting to protect its Kid though! In that case they'll keep going until they can't go anymore. Monster's are also knocked cold when it loses all dice in every hit location. Monsters never kill other Monsters, and will only go to unconsciousness, no matter what.
Monster's are crazy-tough though, and that will take a long time unless you utilize weak-spots. If you take out a Location, any damage that rolls up or down from that location ignores the new ones defenses, making targeting a Monster's more vulnerable parts a key aspect of the game. As the man say's :
”Benjamin Baugh” posted:
Sometimes your beast can psych out an enemy by nipping it in the tender bits, making it waste actions defending when it would prefer to be going at it like a sack of wet Tasmanian devils and liquored- up snakes.
Legging it uses a Motivation roll instead of a skill check for Monster's, but otherwise it works the same.
Now, what happens if you win a Monster Fight? Or lose, as the case may be? Well, the winner Kicked Butt . The Winner inflicts a single Scar to any location on the Loser it wants. This Scarred die is then given to the Winner, to apply to a Location, buy an Extra, or to copy a Quality from the Loser's Location in question. Or, your Monster can give you the die, to put into one of your Stats or Skills. As it's a Scar, the Loser then has to either let their kid use XP to replace the die, or go an Kick Butt itself.
When two or more Monsters team up on another, there's still only 1 Scar to go around, so expect any team-monster fight to quickly turn into a Monster Battle Royale.
If a Monster Kicks Butt so furiously that the Loser has completely lost die in 3 adjacent hit locations, then the Winner also takes a bite out of the Loser's Kid. The Winner can swipe all the Dice from on of the Loser Kid's Relationships! This is called Taking Names . The Kid isn't crippled though, he gets the Die back when your Monster uses them up. How does he do that?
Yummy, Yummy Relationships
Because of the emotional and metal connection between a Kid and their Monster, a kid can power up his Monster with their Relationship die. This adds those die directly to a Location's Pool. If that Location is hit, then those die are lost first, and translate into Shocks for that Relationship. You can use your Monster to help get them back though! Mind, if you fail a Quality Time roll that your Monster helped on, it permanently reduces the Relationship by one Die. Do it on a Crises roll, and it goes to two. Monster's can make life hard sometimes, y'know?
Okay, NOW is when you do the stuff you've been waiting to do! I'm going to be making 3 Kids and Their Monsters, 1 for each Grade Level. Two are going to be from YOU FINE PEOPLE, and the third I'm thinking up because I wanna draw a Monster too! So, here's some RULES.
”Character Creation Example Rules” posted:
1. Your Submission may be a Kid or a Monster! If you lack one, I'll make the Other!
2. No Stats! You can submit a Drawing or a short description, or both, but no hard numbers.
3. Feel free to also put how they Hide, their Favorite Thing, their Personality, and their Abilities, if you want! If not I'll just make them up!
4. Max of 3 Kid/Monster pairs per-person. I don't want one guy spamming a dozen Monster doodles in the thread!
5. Monsters don't just have to look like... well Monsters! As we'll see, a Monster can look like anything and do anything you want, within reason. I mean, one of the sample characters monster is a 15 foot Zombie Football Player made up of an entire team of normal-sized Zombie Football Players who all talk in unison and call their kid Coach. So, be creative!
Next Time: Character Creation!
Reader Submitted CharactersOriginal SA post
Reader Submitted Characters
You sent 'em in, I picked 'em! Pretty much nobody included a Kid, so shame on you! They're important too!
Appearance An adorable 6 year old blond with her hair tied back in twin ponytails.
Personality A sugary sweet little girl, who has a reputation as a “prococious little moppet”, which just means a troublemaker who's still cute.
Stats and Skills
P.E 3; Kicking; Dodging
Guts 3 Wind; Courage 2; Wrestling
Hands 2 Shop; Punching; Blocking
Brains 2 Out-Think 2; Remember; Notice
Face 5 Charm 5; Putdown; Connive 3
Mom (Mrs. Wilks) 3; Pearl Hairpin (Lucky Charm) 2; Babysitter (Joan Clark) 1; Mr. Huggleslug
Original Art by Tasoth who's way better than I am
Appearance Like a giant slug wearing a giant teddybear as a costume, then covered in Lisa Frank stickers.
Personality Big, dumb, and friendly. He just wants to be everyone's bestest ever friend! Though he is dumb so he's bad at it and constantly makes messes of stuff.
Favorite Thing HUGS!
Way to Hide Turns into a slightly damp sticker covered teddy-bear.
1-3 Bearslug Face- 7 Dice
Attacks, Useful (Acidic Spit), Spray, Burn, Gnarly 2, Tough 2, Awesome
4-5 Huggy Paws- 6 Dice Useful (Narcotic Touch), Tough 2, Shared, Wicked Fast
6-8 Fuffy Belly 9 Dice Defends, Tough 4, Awesome 2
9-10 Sticker-Slug 7 Dice Useful (Slimy Slither), Tough 3
Appearance A big kid, already on his way to juvenile obesity. Wears thick glasses, has a (small) pony-tail, and bad acne.
Personality Over-enthusiastic goofball. Modern day specimen of the Nerd species, he lacks most social grace, making up for it with a boundless love of video-games and cartoons.
Stats and Skills
P.E 0; Kicking 0; Dodging 0
Guts 3 Wind 0; Courage 2; Wrestling 2
Hands 3 Shop 3 ; Punching 0; Blocking 0
Brains 5 Out-Think 5; Remember 3; Notice 0
Face 2 Charm 0; Putdown 0; Connive 0
Mike Dorfman (Best Friend) 4; Anime Club 2; Djehuty
Original Art and Concept by Kellsterik
Appearance A giant dog with gnarly claws, a long spiked tail, shark teeth, a big dangling tongue, huge peacock wings covered in real eyes, and weirdest of all a golden pyramid instead of eyes.
Personality Extols on obscure mystical wisdom and the occult geometrical significance of the new cafeteria, encourages Kid to learn as much as possible and attain the Golden Crown of Ultimate Knowledge but is often disappointed with the subjects taught in school, addresses Kid as if they were the heir to the Pharaoh's throne being taught by a learned master scribe, seems to have a bone-deep rivalry with all cats and encourages Kid to stay away and NOT LEARN FROM THEM, becoming very hurt and envious when Kid plays with them or otherwise doesn't listen to its advice. Think the bizarre, questionable knowledge of Coach McGuirk along with his hamfisted, difficult-to-express desire to be a father figure. A Kid with a dad who disdains nerds and doesn't value learning would be a good match.
Favorite Thing Consuming written equations and scientific knowledge (ex. eating one's math homework)
Way to Hide Transforms into a big friendly normal dog.
1 Weirdly Long Tongue- 3 Dice
Useful (Eats knowledge by sticking in ear), Tough 2
2-4 Sand Blasting Gills- 8 Dice Attacks, Area, Spray, Gnarly 2, Tough 2, Awesome
5-7 Mystic Shielding- 8 Dice Defends, Tough 4, Shared, Awesome 2
8-9 Golden Pyramid- 6 Dice Useful (Hypnotizing Beam), Spray, Awesome, Tough 2
10 Peacock Eye Wings- 3 Dice Useful (Teleportation), Area, Tough
Appearance Straitlaced and dead serious. He's a blocky guy with a decidedly military look, with a square jaw, squinty eyes, and a short shaven black hair-do. He rarely wears anything but a golf-shirt and khakis.
Personality Drill Seargent meets Fire and Brimstone preacher. He's intense, focused, and driven. He doesn't take any guff from anybody, but he's a good guy, and there's nobody better to have at your back.
Stats and Skills
Feet 3 P.E 2; Kicking 0; Dodging 0
Guts 4 Wind 2; Courage 2; Wrestling
Hands 5 Shop; Punching 3; Blocking 2
Brains 2 Out-Think 0; Remember 0; Notice 2
Face 2 Charm 0; Putdown 2; Connive 0
Pastor Joseph 1; Tammy Berk (Girlfriend) 2; God 3; Adirel
Original Art and Concept by Pththya-lyi
Appearance A suit of strange armor, worn by a figure made of light and fire with six wings. He wields a flaming sword and shield in each hand.
Personality Doctrinaire and unsubtle. Tends to speak in mangled phrases from the Bible and other holy books.
Favorite Thing Smiting the Wicked.
Way to Hide He turns invisible.
1-2 Booming Voice- 6 Dice
Useful (Induces Fear), Area, Shared, Tough 2
2-4 Fiery Sword- 8 Dice Attacks, Wicked Fast 2, Gnarly 3, Burn, Awesome
5-7 Flaming Sheild- 9 Dice Defends, Wicked Fast 2, Tough 4
8-9 Seraphic Wings 7 Dice Useful (Flight), Tough 2, Shared
Next Time: The Janitor's Closet; GMing this Thing
Janitor's Closet and Being Somebody- GM and Sample CharactersOriginal SA post
Janitor's Closet and Being Somebody- GM and Sample Character's
Okay, I'm combining these because the GM section is going to be short! This is because it is a very good beginner GM course, and will be nothing new to most people here. Most of the section is standard good-GMing advice. Let your player's direct the story instead of railroading, tailor stories and encounters to the player's so everyone gets to shine, use the character's relationships to create drama, learn how to improv an NPC etc.
Notable, is a section about Themes . These are concepts and ideas to explore in a game of MaOTC, to give it more weight and significance to the players. Some example theme's are: Kids Are Powerless, The Back Yard is Full of Adventure, What Other People Think, School is a Microcosm, and Ch-Ch-Ch-Chaaaaanges.
They also include two One-Roll generators, one for Conflicts and one for Monsters. While I won't go into detail, these would be good for improving, especially the Monster generator so that you could whip up a quick baddy to beat on if the game is getting dull.
The bit most of you want to see, because you get to see more sweet ass MONSTERS! So let's get started.
Benny McAlyster and Mr. Crocker
Benny is a 12 year old Monster Truck fan. He wears an old beat-up leather jacket that belonged to his brother Peter who died in Iraq. Benny's a pretty smart kid, and decent in a punch-up, but isn't very sociable. His Monster is Mr. Crocker, a giant crocodile. Mr. Crocker say's that he used to be an Egyptian God, but likes Benny's bathtub better than the Nile. He talks in a slow southern drawl, and moves with an odd bouncing gait, like he's full of helium. His favorite thing is swallowing... well, anything whole, but he can spit it up again good as new, if Benny makes him.
Lucy Awai and Aumakua
A native Hawaiian of very mixed ancestry. Now she lives in a landlocked town, making her a bit of an oddity in the neighborhood. She's a bit of a tomboy, and is great at any sort of water sport. Her association with Aumakua has done strange things to her head, leading her to having prophetic visions, and even getting a crush on a boy she's seen in a dream of the future. Aumakua resembles a Great White Shark, but bigger, badder, and meaner. He's an imperious and mighty presence, but acts like a doting grandparent to Lucy. He can hide within any body of water, no matter how small, and can even swim in the Dream Sea, accessing prophetic visions and dreamscapes.
Tommy Mezlowski and Flytrap Joe
Tommy's a quiet kid. He doesn't act out. He keeps it all inside, bottled up for when he needs it. Tommy's got problems. His dad cut out when he was younger, so it's just him, his sister, and his mom. And Flytrap Joe. Joe's a giant, writhing, mass of flytrap mouths and vines, growing from fractal roots in the fabric of reality that allow him to pop up anywhere, anytime Tommy needs him. Flytrap Joe love's to help Tommy, and is sometimes over-eager to do it. He talks like a parody of a 1920's mobster, and calls Tommy “Boss”.
Daniel Jackstone and Snaketongue
Handsome, cool beyond cool, popular with everyone, best pals with even the losers, the kid with no enemies. Dan's a good kid. Dan's going places. Dan's worried what will happen when people find out about Snaketongue. See, Snaketongue wants Dan to be happy. He wants him to be popular, and powerful, and rich, and loved. So, Snaketongue hides in the reflections in Dan's eyes, using his iridescent scales to charm and bewitch, making people like Daniel. And if somebody finds out that Daniel's messing with their minds? Then they have to deal with a pit-viper the size of a school-bus.
Ralph “Dog” Jones and Mister Whispers
Dog (Don't call him Ralph), is a street urchin extraordinaire. He's a genuine good samaritan, looking out for his fellow street people, and keeping an eye out for trouble. He's got lots of eyes, cause he's got Mister Whispers. Mister Whispers is a swarm of rats. Big ones. The kind that eat cats, instead of the other way around. Mister Whispers is everywhere. He keeps an eye on things for Dog, keeping tabs on the neighborhood, and scrounging up some cool stuff and a decent meal for his kid.
Madison Kate Sinclair-Stevenson and Yog'So-Soft
Madison is a textbook over-achiever. She's in all the AP classes, clarinet in the Jazz Band, play's soccer in a competitive private league, volunteers at homeless shelters, runs for student government, organizes Spirit Week, sings in the Church choir, takes karate, and even has private tutoring on the weekends. She also sees three therapists, takes four kinds of psychiatric drug, has a prescription for an antacid, and wishes a monster would come and eater her so very very supportive parents. She'd go completely mad if not for Yog'So-Soft. Yog looks like Cthulhu's Teddy. 6 feet tall, dripping with black and unspeakable ichors. His soft paws end in great raking claws, and his button eyes are split by a torn seam filled with jagged teeth. He's a wise and philosophical old soul, at heart. He's always pushing Madison to think in new ways, particularly about herself and what she really wants out of life.
AntagonistsOriginal SA post
”Benjamin Baugh” posted:
When the Monster Under the Bed is your best friend, and the Thing That Goes Bump In the Night lives next door with your pal Jenny, what is there to scare you?
Some of these things can scare you. Some of them can kill you. Some... some just don't like you. They may be glorified monster chow, or you might never see them coming. And none of them are what they seem.
The Creepy Guy
You kids want beer? I can get you totally awesome weed. You can come to my place, and we can hang out. I got a van, I’ll give you a lift.
He drives a beat up old van, one made back when they didn't have windows in the sides. His clothes are always wrinkled and stained. He's got nicotine stains on his fingers, greasy hair that he never combs, dresses like a hobo Kurt Cobain, and smells like he rubs old blunts on his body as deodorant.
The Creepy Guy is generally found way too close to the schools, but they never do much worse than chase him off, cause he hasn't hurt anybody yet, and he's not old enough to be The Psychotic Guy yet. Generally he likes to try and get in good with kids using his connections and age to get them booze, drugs, porn, whatever they want, as long as they hang out with him. If you're creepy guy's friend, you've got an almost guaranteed supply of illicit materials, and a convenient hideout away from parents and other authority where you can do whatever you want. Cause Creepy Guy really does just want to be friends! He's a real kid at heart, a 12 year old in a 20-something college dropouts body.
But don't think he's harmless. The Creepy Guy has issues. He'll jump at being your friend, sure. But he'll never let you go. He's clingy, paranoid, jealous, has serious anger issues, and is otherwise completely insane. One wrong word and you're an Amber Alert and there's a manhunt for a white van and a dude in a stained flannel shirt.
Worse part is, you can't fight this guy, not as a Kid anyway. Dude's got a few years of hard living on him, and he could kick most newbie-kids asses seven ways from Sunday. Mind, he'd dumb as a rock. Inhaling pot, cigs, booze, and god-knows what else every day since high-school has left his brain a toasty charcoal briquette, so you could outsmart him. Though trying might just make him angry.
“Oh, but my Monster will just eat him!” you say? Sure, you could do that. 'Cept for Bugnutz.
Are you going to eat that? BUUUUUUUUUURP!
See, Creepy Guy is what happens when a Kid gets too attached to their Monster buddy, and forgets about the whole “being human” thing. He went too far into the weird, and now he's stuck there. But he still has his Monster. And boy is it a big one. See, Bugnutz is well... a bug. A big one. Big as in the size of a goddamn garbage truck. He's not that smart and way too friendly, like creepy guy. But he isn't crazy, at least no more than most monsters, and he'll do anything to see Creepy Guy happy. Anything .
And there's no way in hell a monster can fight him, not on its own. Dude has 6 Hit Locations, and not one of them has less than 6 dice and that is scary. Just those numbers give you an idea of what you can do to build your own Bugnutz, if you want a different monster for a Creepy Guy. Because besides that, he's got ludicrous extras in everything. Bugnutz, or a variant thereof, is scary as hell and can chew up a newbie Monster like old soggy newspaper.
Students, close your books for a pop quiz. Th is will count for 30% of your grade, and those failing must stay aft er class.
You ever had a teacher that was just a total bitch? Like, pure evil. She'd give impossible homework, then eat you out for not doing it. She'd embarrass you in front of the whole class for no good reason, or send you to detention for doing anything . Random quizzes with extra homework for failing, but you never learned the material, 1000 page book reports due tomorrow, and just constant non-stop passive aggressive sniping that made you want to strangle her. And nobody believed you, right? I mean, you're just a kid! Your teacher isn't evil with a capital E, you're just a lazy unappreciative brat who needs extra lessons to get your grades up! And those are always with the Bitch. And that's when she's nice. When she's not insulting you, pinching you, calling you names, and just beating at you emotionally and physically. Every second in her presence is torture, cause she knows exactly what to say to get under your skin. Ever wonder why there are people like this? Who just live to commit cruelty, after petty cruelty, that seem to relish crushing dreams and turning children into paranoid neurotic wrecks? It's because they aren't people at all.
They're Excruciators. Excruciators are... things. Things from Beyond. They naturally are attracted towards those who are closest to the Otherworld, the Weird. Psychics, lunatics, mages, and yes, kids with monsters. They feed on these beings, looking into the holes in your psyche and sucking out that sweet life energy inside. They do this by causing pain and suffering. Anguish is their appetizer, and your crushing depression the main course. They do this by replacing figures of authority. They find them, hollow them out, and wear them like a suit. One that's made out of meat. And is still alive. This hides them from both normal, and extra-normal detection. This is important, cause nobody would get near an Excruciator in its natural form. Excruciators look like someone spot-welded the Cephalod section of an aquarium together and then pumped it full of anabolic steriods. It's just tentacles and tentacles and mouths and eyes and more tentacles. In a skin-suit they're social-monsters, capable of making even a grown man cry like a little girl. Outside of it they have some scary combat stats in monster-mode, complete with acid-drooling mouths, some crazy nasty attacks, and the ability to fit through almost any opening.
Mad Science Teacher
Day 17, 23:00. Subject remains alert despite repeated amputations of dorsal pseudopodia and fin-like structures. Level of aggression remains unchecked, and administration of high doses of tranquilizer only serve to anger subject. On last amputation, subject said, ‘When I get outta here, Doc, I’m gonna eat your expletive deleted face off. Recommended course of action: Continue schedule of amputations, and add microwave bombardment to the stress-panel to measure cortical hormone response.
Man, that new science teacher is kinda a weirdo, right? I mean, sure he knows science, but why does he always have to shout the word at the top of his lungs? Like, is it some kinda tourettes or something? Plus, I doubt we're supposed to be learning “Molecular Recombination” in the 8th grade. I saw him just standing in an empty classroom when it was storming, right? And he was just laughing! At, like, nothing! When he saw me he said something about the Colbert Report, but he said the name wrong, with the Ts, so I don't think he even watches it...
The Mad Science Teacher is a Scientist. He's also a Teacher! Oh, and completely Mad. Like, really crazy. As in Josef Mengele would be all “Dude, chill out on the highly unethical experiments.” Y'know how he got the job because Mr. McCullen got in that car wreck? That wasn't a car he hit, and now Mr. McCullen's disembodied brain is running an atomic toaster. The Mad Science Teacher's Pocket Protector is made of solid titanium, because his pens are actually high powered lasers. His shoes are very very uncomfortable, because rocket boosters have no arch support. Barrel of fun, yes? Sure! Except he wants to capture your Monsters and take them apart to see how they tick. And he's got enough SCIENCE to do it! And if SCIENCE can't, then Brotron can!
Brotron the Robot
Beep! Beep! Danger, Master! Danger! Brotron Activating Defensive Systems!
He's big! He's metal! He's sarcastic! It's Brotron! A combination bodyguard/lab assisstant/ nurse/ surgical tool, Brotron is the Mad Science Teacher's faithful robotic minion. Not much to say about him honestly! He's a big clanky robot with pincer arms and a stun beam, so he can be kinda nasty. But he's a big stompy robot, so you'll see him coming.
If you will please step away from the B.E.M., Agent Grey and Agent Blue have some questions for you.
They wear nearly identical cheap black suits. They drive either old model black sedans or white utility vans with a few dozen too many antennae. They talk in a dull, constant monotone. They wear mirrored shades, even at night. They go by names like Taupe, Khaki, Beige, and Wenge, like if Reservoir Dogs couldn't afford the fun colors. Everything points to them being a joke. Until somebody dissapears, and nobody but you seems to remember them. And you start seeing more eerily identical men all the time, everywhere, following you, and then... nobody remembers you anymore either.
The Monster Investigation Bureau is the most recent incarnation of the U.S.'s paranormal and occult investigation branch. Back in the 50's they tracked UFO's and locked Aliens in freezers. In the 60's and 70's they ran MKULTRA's big brother to fight a secret psychic war with the Soviets. In the 80's it was all about subliminal mind control via pop-culture. Then they hit a big downslide in the 90's. The whole X-Files thing, combined with a general interest in government conspiracy made hiding a hell of a lot harder, and the general lack of supernatural goings on led to the MIB's budgets getting slashed and the agents going private, hunting the supernatural for profit.
With the new rise of the weird in the 21st Century, the MIB's are back in force, but this time working for both sides of the Military-Industrial Complex. They hunt Biological Extraterrestrial Merchandise (Monsters) for their corporate overlords, and to help America have that extra edge in the next Cold War, which will be soon if they have anything to say about it.
MIB's are scary. Now, you've got a lot of leeway dealing with these guys at first. They are nothing if not... unoriginal, and most will run rather than go off-script or contravene an order. So, as long as you're still in the “Observe and Avoid” section, you don't have to worry about them much, and may be able to get away with mild poking about. The problems come when Home Office decides to give them a go ahead, or you poke a bit too far in and they turn hostile. Then you're in trouble.
See, this is where I'm going to reveal a secret of the MaOTC combat system. You might think that Monsters are the be-all end-all of combat, yes? I mean, a Monster can tear anything that isn't another Monster to shreds, yes? Yes. But they pay big-time for that. See, what Monster got in power, they lose in flexibility.
If a Monster attempts an action that requires a roll, ie. Is under duress, and does not have a relevant quality, they automatically fail that roll. What this means is, that if your monster wants to use a computer, and he doesn't have a part that gives him an ability that lets him do that, like super-smarts or a robot brain, he can't. Automatic failure. Monsters can do a handful of things really really really well, but have no flexibility at all. People, on the other hand, can do anything. As long as they have 2 dice in a Stat+Skill roll, they can at least try. So, your Monster does the fighting/a handful of useful things, while your Kid does... well everything else ever, but kinds sucks at fighting, like all other People. So, got it? Monster= Strong, People= Flexible, yes? Good!
Now that I told you that, I can tell you this. MIB's don't give a flying shit about that. They break that rule in two and laugh at it. They have stats like a person, a scary as hell person, because they get 6 dice in everything. Everything Every stat and skill has 3 dice. That's all the default skills, plus special ones like Spot Weirdness and Preternatural Cool. They take damage like Monsters, not people, so they aren't getting one-shotted like most. They do damage like Monsters too, and they have some nasty weapons. Reverse engineered from the leftovers of some failed Alien invasions, artefacts recovered from lost tombs and sunken cities, and good old American Mad Science arm the MIB. Not to mention the fact that these guys come in teams, so fighting one is an oddity. Have fun!
A Wizard (Wannabe)
By the Ancient Signs and the Words Writ Upon the Scrolls of the Ebon Binding, I Abjure Thee, Beast! I Bind Thee.... Hang on... I Bind... I... Wait, let me start again. Don’t go!
Some adults are... in-tune with Monsters. They can detect them, even see them when they're hiding. Now, normally this just means that they're a fruitcake. Or really really high. But, sometimes, they manage to not have their brains melt at the revelation that their world is full of terror-beasts from beyond the Fourth Veil. This can be good or bad. See, those sort of adults generally don't leave well enough alone, and start poking into the Weird. Most just get some education, but a rare few get their hands on some genuine quantified Power. Atlantean scrolls, Aleister Crowley's Spellbook, the Necronomicon, you get the idea. Now, if they are a well balanced, decent, nice fellow, they can be a giant help for a Kid, acting as a sort of mentor and aid. Mind, if you're the sort of person who is reading the Ancient Scrolls of Krz'Kutlanga and don't immediately burn them as a blasphemy against all creation, then you're probably a power-hungry lunatic.
These guys are trouble. Big ones. They're Adults who know, really know, what's going on, kinda, and they have the real paranormal power to mess with the spooky side. They take damage like a Kid with a Monster, have Magic skills that hurt Monsters like other Monsters, and are generally really a big problem. Without magic they're a pretty fragile egg-head though, so if you can cut off their mojo, they're in big trouble. Unless they got their own Monster.
See, Wizards are a big threat to a Kid, because they want what the Kid has. A Monster. Well, they think that they are demonic servitors, Djinn, nature spirits, faeries, etc. But the point's the same, they want their own extra-dimensional horror as their BFF. And they can do it. By using the ancient Rite of Severing and Adoption, they can steal a kids Monster. The Monster won't like it one bit, but doesn't have much of a choice.
How do you get your Monster back? Well, you could kill the Wizard, but now he has a Monster, so... kinda hard. But you can Shock him. See, when a Wizard takes a Monster, they convert their existing Relationship die into the Monster's Relationship. This means that they treat their Monster like anything else that they have a Relationship with. So, it can be Shocked. Shock their relationship down to Crisis, and they lose control of the Monster. Then they're Wizard-Chow.
Next Time: Everyone Else
Everybody ElseOriginal SA post
These are the rest of them. The swelling mass of humanity. The bit players in the drama that is your life. They can be allies or enemies. They can be a joke, or serious as a heart attack. An Everybody Else can very quickly upgrade into a Somebody Important. In short, everyone that isn't a player, is here.
The head honcho of the school. Headmaster, Principal, Superintendent, whatever they're called, they rule the educational roost. Administrators who work in schools that know about the supernatural are generally a particularly savvy breed of dedicated educator. Definitely get these guys on your side, because you don't want to be their enemy.
Words or fists, the Bully has one goal in life, to hurt you. While they're more common among Elementary and Middle school, a High School bully is a big problem, as they trade in quantity for quality when it comes to pain and torment.
Like a Grownup to other Grownups. The first on the scene when things get ugly, most cops can't handle the supernatural. A few can. These guys are hard-boiled until they can crack diamonds. A cop who knows how to deal with the weird side of things can put the fear of authority into the Devil himself. Some probably have.
The girl (or guy) of your dreams. Tall, pretty, graceful, mature, kind, funny, cool, everything you've ever wanted. You can't get them out of your head, you turn into a babbling moron in front of them, and they otherwise totally dominate your life like nothing else. They also don't know you exist, and if they do you are most certainly a “good friend”. Your Crush can be a powerful motivator, and a powerful source of crippling emotional distress.
A party clown who drinks like a fish to get through the day. To Elementary school kids he's creepy, to Middle-schoolers he's an embarrassment, and to High-schoolers he's free entertainment who'll probably buy you a beer if you get friendly with him.
A more stereotypically feminine variant of the Bully, the Fashion Nazi is a pretty, generally rich, girl who's better than you in every way, but especially in fashion. Think of every “popular girl” antagonist in crappy high-school movies and you've got it. Wears the latest designer fashions, belittles and torments you because you can't afford them, and generally makes life hell. Often accompanies by a group of Giggling Mean-as-Snakes Junior Harpies.
Both scary and sad at the same time. On one hand he's a complete dorkwad, who dresses in clothes that don't fit him, uses slang he barely understands, and acts way tougher than he actually is. On the other hand he's also dangerously emotionally unstable, has a soaring inferiority complex, and his Big Bro actually is a member of a Gang. Generally best to avoid him, to prevent a familial vendetta if nothing else.
Most likely to be YOU. Ya NERD. Yeah, geeks are the brainiacs, roleplayers, computer whizes, hardcore gamers, etc. etc. etc. You get the idea. Having a Geek for a friend is a big help, 'specially if you need a computer hacked (Cracked!). Mind, be careful. Most Geeks have a pretty big vidictive streak from years of bullying, so make enemies of them at your own risk.
Probably payed football in high-school, likely has some sort of knee injury, hates kids. Mind, the athletes are his golden-boys, but he likely loathes normal kids. They're all so whiny and lazy and weak. Nothing but insolence and lies to get out of running a few laps. Plus, the other teachers never respect him, just treat him like a sub-par substitute. A royal menace to anybody not on the Football team.
Both the coolest and scariest dude on campus. The Hood is the typical serial troublemaker. Probably came from a rough home life, The Hood is in a permanent state of probation and suspension. While rarely actually evil, the Hood lacks any sort of restraint, common sense, or respect for law, which makes him rather dangerous. If he's your friend, he's an expert at breaking rules, committing mischief, and getting hold of things he shouldn't. This also means that he can get you into ridiculous amounts of trouble.
Yes, the Janitor. Amazingly enough, this guy is the single most important man in a school. Because he Knows Things. What is he? A man who has seen all the world has to offer? An ancient sorcerer? And alien in disguise? A godlike being? Nobody knows. But, the Janitor will always appear whenever he is needed, to clean up barf or to dispense sage advice. Sometimes cryptic, sometimes straightforward, the Janitor is always unexpectedly helpful and undeniably mysterious. For some reason every Janitor (with a capital J) has an odd resemblance to Morgan Freeman or Sam Elliot.
The BMOC, Sports Star, Prince of the School. Highest of the social strati, chances are you never even interact with the Jock. If you do it's either due to a cross-clique friendship, generally inspired by you saving his lean bacon from some sort of abomination from beyond the stars, or because he's a bullying jerk. If the former type, the Jock is a powerful ally. He can act as a shield against schoolyard cruelty, provide a ticket to the best parties, and maybe set you up on a date with one of the Cheer Squad. If he's the latter, he's basically a Bully+. All the cruelty, but with the aid of the Authority on his side. You might be able to get a regular Bully in trouble, but nobody is going to suspend the star QB.
Older Brother (Or Sister)
The wise and supportive elder sibling, who, while sometimes annoying, always has your back. Often founts of sage, if sometimes incorrect, sibling advice, and always willing to back you up against a Bully. If you want an evil asshole older sib, go with a Bully or Hood, depending on level of cruelty vs. troublemaking.
O'Malley the Anti-Drug Dog
Not-McGruff the Crime Hound. He's a guy who comes around to schools dressed like a dog in a trench coat and fedora like an old-time detective to give talks about why drugs are bad. His catchphrase is “Bark At Drugs!”, he gives out buttons, talks in a goofy cartoon voice, and is generally just your standard Public Service Announcement type mascot.
Except for the fact that he's a total and utter enigma. See, nobody knows who O'Malley is under that costume. If it is a costume. Nobody ever remembers hiring him, though they must have, right? I mean, why else would he show up at schools to give presentations? He also has this weird habit of just... appearing. You and your bud Keith were talking about where you might be able to score some weed and the guy just... appears out of nowhere, gives you a big lecture about why Drugs are Bad, and then vanishes again. Anytime anybody so much as thinks about drugs he shows up, and it's getting pretty freaky. You sometimes catch him rummaging through lockers, and just staring at kids from some shadowy corner, but you can never get close enough before he just vanishes again. One night you saw him out of your bedroom window, just standing on the street looking right at you, but he was gone by the time you reached your front door. Once, you just told your Monster to eat him, cause he was weirding you out way too much. But your Monster had no idea what you were talking about, I mean, there's nobody there .
They just don't understand. Well, at least to you it seems that way. They're severe, restrictive, blind, dumb, totally lame, and just a giant pain in the ass to deal with. So, you keep them in the dark as much as possible, so that their inherent lameness doesn't infect all the cool stuff you do.
Of course, this is all (mostly) bullshit. Your Parents do love you (at least those using this sorta template do) but yeah, raising a kid is hard. They're trying to instill a lifetime of experience into your little head, while at the same time trying to understand all the new stuff that kids these days do. Plus, they remember wiping poo off your butt, so it's kinda hard for them to consider your mature “adults”.
They might work for a newspaper tabloid, or a crappy newsite. They may run a blog for conspiracy theorists and UFO watchers, or be a professional reporter looking for the Next Big Scoop. Whatever they are, the Paparazzi are always way too nosy for their own good. A standard encounter involves having to shake a Paparazzo tail, or retrieve a vary compromising photo of Snargothrax, before he ends up on CNN.
Crazy old smelly guy who lives in the alley. Talks in cryptic gibberish, always asks for change, and is slightly scary cause you never know when he's gonna go nutso with a rusty old kitchen knife. Crazy's are generally a nuisance, sometimes a threat, and, rarely, a help. See, most Crazy's are crazy because their mind was blasted to ribbons by the supernatural. So, they can act as a sorta Weirdness Radar, able to sense freaky things going on that less... sensitive people might never know. Or they might just start ranting about how Rush Limbaugh is talking to them through their teeth and try and gut you with a bean-can.
Teachers come in two varieties. One is the burnt-out time clock puncher. These guys don't give a flying fart about “education” and see themselves as professional babysitters. Generally hate the little snot-nosed brats and just want to make it through the day without committing suicide in the teacher's lounge.
The others are the Dedicated Educators. These guys and gals don't want to educate you, they want you to learn. While oft unnapreciated, these guys will stop at nothing to take care of the kids under their care, and make sure that they leave the class better than they came in.
Obviously, most Kids don't appreciate either one, and see them generally as really terrible second-parents that just exist to keep them from doing the really important stuff, like riding bikes or making out under the bleachers.
The scariest thing in the world for mundane kids. Crazy, twitchy, probably on medication that he never takes, always angry, and one of these days is gonna bring a gun to school and teach everyone a lesson. Generally seen on a Breaking News report where people wonder how it could have happened, and what made such a nice boy do something so horrible.
Younger Sister (or Brother)
The annoying little twerp who totally embarrasses you in front of your friends, drives you totally crazy, and tags along even when they're not supposed too. But no matter what, you're the only one allowed to pick on them.
Next Time: Campaign Jumpstarts
Campaign JumpstartsOriginal SA post
Turns out that my Hiatus was shorter than I planned.
This section has several pre-made settings and themes to act as a starting place for a game. This is a very nice feature, and can really help a newbie GM get started on a campaign, and to give experienced GMs an idea of the variety of settings and moods a MaOTC game can be.
Welcome to Pluto
Pluto, California used to be your typical small cottage community, the sort of place where people who are too sophisticated for Beverly Hills go to live. Then Pluto, Outer Space got demoted from Planetary status, and that resulted in some kind of weird voodoo-style backlash on the sleepy town. Almost over-night the small town transformed into a medium-sized city, a miniaturized version of L.A., with all the crime, secrets, and weirdness of the big city concentrated down into a thick, conspiracy and scandal laden soup.
Rich and neurotic celebrities and Hollywood moguls hide away from the public eye in exclusive gated communities, class struggles between the wealthy Westside and working class Eastside turn Pluto High into a pit of petty politics and schoolyard backstabbing, the Yakuza use the town as a pipeline to funnel drugs along the west coast creating a diverse and thriving underworld, and that’s just the mundane stuff. Pluto is an epicenter for the weird, with psychics, occultists, mystics, cultists, and all the other assorted weirdoes that cluster around the rich and superstitious.
Monster Kids are seen as town misfits. They’re generally avoided and treated with suspicion. But, this makes them outsiders, free of the constrictive systems built into the city. Many citizens of Pluto use Monster Kids as a sort of free-agents and problem-solvers. A Kid with a Monster can stand to become a big wig in the town, building an arsenal of favors and an armor of prime blackmail material.
This setting is designed for High Schoolers, obviously, and is heavily based on the television show Veronica Mars , which should give you an idea of the sort of tone and adventures possible in Pluto. Popular subjects include the drug dealing underworld, deadly serious high-school politics, dealing with dark secrets of rich eccentrics, the confluence of occult persons in the town, and of course, Pluto is prime ground for some sort of shadowy conspiracy.
The Extreme Monster Fighting League
The XMFL is a weird combination of Pro-Wrestling, professional MMA, and a reality TV show. In the ring (Or reinforced electrified cage) it’s all real, authentic Monster fights, but coated in the camp-riddled sheen of a Pro-Wrestling match, complete with over-enthusiastic color commentators and a big emphasis on spectacle. Outside of the arena, Kids are the subjects of a reality show, where their daily lives are recorded, edited to look properly dramatic, and aired alongside their fights.
The XMFL gets Monster’s interested by promising them all the fights they can ask for, Kids by promising them all the money, candy, and video games their heart desires, and parents by offering multi-million dollar scholarships to high-class private academies and Ivy-league schools. People who graduate from the XMFL intact have a near guarantee of a good life at minimum, and a ticket to easy street at best.
If you get out intact.
See, the XMFL is big business, and like all big businesses, especially show-businesses; it grinds money out of people. The XMFL can break a kid, subjecting them to more pressure than any Middle Schooler can take. Y’know all those stories about child-stars turning into drug addicts and tabloid fodder? Imagine that times 10. But surviving the relentless corporate grinding of your overlords isn’t the only concern. With any business this big, organized crime gets involved. XMFL betting is a big black market moneymaker, and crooks hate nothing more than losing money. So XMFL fighters can be expected to get more than a few offers they can’t refuse, if you know what they’re saying.
The XMFL is meant for Middle Schoolers, old enough to deal with some proper-heaviness, but not old enough to be armored by the cynicism of High School. The XMFL can be played a lot of different ways. If you want something light and fun, it’s perfectly playable as an expy of Pokémon. If you want something heavier, the Speed Racer movie is a good idea for inspiration, with some XMFL fighters trying to clean up their sport and chase the threatening, but still somewhat comedic, gangsters and corrupt owners out. Or, you could go full-on crime drama, with the kids having to deal with some very serious threats from the Mafia, and having to decide whether their integrity is worth a bullet to the head. Or, if you wanted to go full-darkness, look to Hunger Games or Battle Royale for how a monster-tournament could be a very very horrifying concept.
Okay, Y’know how some people compare this to Little Fears? This is why. I’m not going to be flippant about this one. This setting is meant to be pure-strain horror. It’s about how little kids, Elementary Schoolers, deal with life when they have an invincible horror at their beck and call. It’s meant to be dark, creepy, and very very fucked up. This setting is all about abuse, alienation, vengeance, and the corruption of power. Your Monster is that in fact, not a big goofy beasty. He’s got a body-count, and it just keeps growing, and you don’t know how to stop him. Or why to stop him.
That wraps up the Campaign Jumpstarts. The next section I’m not covering, but it’s a short chapter about how to convert MaOTC to the ORE super-hero game Wild Talents, in case you want to use those rules or introduce it to an existing Wild Talents group. I’m not covering it, because I don’t own or know anything about Wild Talents. If someone else with the book wants to make a quick post about whether the suggestions are good or crap, then please do!
Now, next is the books sample adventure What Did You Get For Christmas? and I was wondering how you’d like me to cover it. It comes with several preset-characters, so the options are
A. Basically Transcribe from the book, giving us all the details from a GM’s perspective. This will be pretty quick to do, and the easiest.
B. Run through it like the players would, so that we can get a better idea of what it’d be like to play through it. This is going to take longer to write up, and may in fact be multiple updates.
Next Time: What Did You Get For Christmas? A Monsters and Other Childish Things Adventure
What Did You Get For Christmas?Original SA post
What Did You Get For Christmas?
This chapter is meant as a quick guided single-session game to serve as an intro to MaOTC. It doesn't. It's really really bad at that, and it's either really easy to completely derail, making the whole “pre-packaged adventure” thing useless, or to just be boring because your players don't do what the module says. It also assumes you're using the pre-made characters that go with the adventure, and it actually doesn't work without them. So, it's absolutely useless except as a short choose-your-own adventure game with exactly the right number of players. What it does do well is give some examples of how the various antagonists and enemies in the game could play in a real session.
The setting is a generic middle school in Anytown, USA. Your group of players have just got back to school from Winter Break. You used to barely know each other, but now you have been brought together by the shared bond of getting a Monster for Christmas.
The adventure comes with several sample characters:
David D. Davidson: The Hood
Juvenile delinquent and wannabe gangster. He's raised by his Grandma, which is the only reason he stays in school. His monster is Baby Tick-Tock, a giant porcelain baby-doll full of clockwork and extendable razor-blades.
Jane J. Johannsen: The Nut
Girl who's a... little bit more than unhinged. Her monster is The Trashman, a humanoid figure with black plastic skin and a heart of garbage.
Marvin M. Marshall: The Brain
A smartmouthed nerd and proud outsider. His monster is Connie, a flying Orthocone (Those squids with the long pointy shells) with a sadistic streak.
Peter P. Peters: The Jock
The friendlier breed of jock. His monster is The Team in I, an entire team of Zombie football players that join together to form a single giant zombie football player.
Susan S. Sherman: The Princess
The popular trendy girl who all the boys drool over. Her monster is Lucinda, who masquerades as her new-stepmom. She looks like a Texas beauty queen and is full of acidic black slime.
Walter W. Wilson: The Narc
Teacher's pet and school rat. His monster is The Watcher from The Corners of Time, a sentient smoke-cloud from another dimension.
Now that we got the cast (Remember, it assumes you play with all the sample characters) we can begin! Each “encounter” is split up into it's own little section, so I'm doing the same thing.
This is the “Meet and greet” part of the adventure. All the kids got back from Winter Break, and this is where they meet. This is the point where they establish inter-party relationships and get to know each other. They also learn that all of their other classes have brand new teachers, and somehow they all have new schedules, the same new schedule. There's also a surprise presentation by O'Malley the Anti-Drug Dog, who weird all the kids out, especially since their monsters can't see him. When they get out of Homeroom to head to their next classes, they end up...
Persecuted By The Anti-Drug Dog
While the Kids go to their lockers, which have been reassigned to be all in a row, O'Malley appears at the end of the hall. The hall is empty of other kids, and the lights start flashing on and off, with O'Malley getting closer every time it goes dark. A sudden freak thunderstorm rolls in to add to the mood of cheesy-horror. O'Malley barks out his trademark slogan “Bark at Drugs” and goofy cartoon laugh in a hollow booming voice, like a busted megaphone in a trashcan, as he slowly gets closer and closer... until either the Kids run, or confront O'Malley. If they run it just skips to the next scene, if they confront him though... he takes off his head to reveal some kid who explains that O'Malley paid him to wear the costume and walk around the school for the day. He even has an old tape-player with recording's of O'Malley's voice. If he sees a Monster he just flat passes out cold and wets himself. Either way, the Kids end up getting caught by the bell, and running into Mrs. Pale, the Assistant Principal on their way to class. Ms. Pale tuts at them, and drags them over to her office for a dressing-down.
Assistant Principal Pale's Office
When they reach Ms. Pale's office, the GM should make sure that the players are aware of how different it looks from when Mr. Rich, the previous Assistant Principal was there. It's incredibly neat, and totally devoid of decoration. The only things on Ms. Pale's desk are all the kids Permanent Records, and a large bowl of hard candy.
Ms. Pale give's the character's a vicious dressing-down, attacking them with her Putdown skill. The Kids can defend, but will have some trouble, seeing as Ms. Pale is an Excruciator. This is one of the parts where the adventure falls apart, as there is no instructions as to what to do if the Kids let their Monsters attack Ms. Pale, which means the GM is going to have to rob the players of agency, a big time nono. Otherwise, it's just an opportunity to meet Pale and get some Shock damage. It will also make the monsters royally pissed at her, and will necessitate rolls to keep them under control.
One weird thing is the bowl of candies. They're actually Excrutiator eggs, and if a kid eats one, then they'll take a 10d called shot against their Guts when it comes time to pass the newly hatched bouncy baby terror-squid. Monsters just barf.
After Ms. Pale's speech, the kids are sent on to their next class. While on the way, they pass their lockers and notice the new school Police Officer searching through their lockers. Officer Agent Taupe is a poorly disguised MIB, and this is a good time to introduce him. Next is more free-form, with several “rooms” all leading up to Lunch, which is the mid-point of the adventure.
Meet Mr. (DOCTOR!!!) Frank Stein, your new Mad Science Teacher. This is where the GM can ham it up acting like a mad scientist. Stein will scan the Monster Kids with some sort of gizmo that looks like the PKE meter from Ghostbusters. Also an opportunity to discover that Stein keeps a case of Plutonium under his desk. After this you can go to another class, or choose to skip to Lunch.
A problematic class. See, the new English Teacher is Susan's Monster Lucinda, so this room doesn't work if you aren't using the sample characters, and causes issues about how one of the character's monsters has probably been gone the whole adventure. They find out Lucinda has KO'd a Mary Kay cosmetics salesman and webbed her up with bubblegum under her desk. She wanted her adorable pink car. So, the kids now get derailed into getting this lady out of the school and to a hospital while dodging the blame. This is once again, leads to a bunch of unplanned things which is kinda, y'know, crap for a pre-planned adventure obviously meant for newbie Gms. This leads to another class, Lunch, or Billy's Candy Van and Tissue Samples if the kids go outside.
Mr. Mago is a tall skinny Canadian guy who knows absolutely nothing about American sports, but quite a bit about black magic. He makes the kids dance the Circled-Square dance of the Elder Gods. Kids get headaches and the Monsters feel queasy. If they don't want to dance, Mago sends them to take a lap, which makes the Monsters even madder.
Any classes you haven't taken come next, or the two special events, or right to lunch.
Black Vans and Tissue Samples
One of the two “outside” events. Taking advantage of the Kids being on their own, the MIBs led by Officer Agent Taupe make a move, screeching up in a big black van covered in antennas and jumping out armed to the teeth with weird gizmos. One MIB per student, wearing Monster Detecting Goggles and wielding Multi-Probes. They try to tag the monsters and kids with the probes to get DNA samples, and bail if one of them goes down or they tag half the Monsters/Kids. This is the first “combat encounter” and actually acts as a not-bad intro to the system. Afterwards you get Class, Billy's Candy Van, or Lunch.
Billy's Candy Van
When the Kids are outside, they'll inevitably meet billy, either just randomly or when he comes to the rescue after the MIB encounter. If you get into the van, he speeds away with you still in the back. He'll babble incoherently and offer candy, and if you turn it down he'll start throwing drugs at you. Some of the drugs will end up stashed on the kids without their knowledge. If the kids try and leave, Bugnutz comes out, as, obviously, Billy is a classic Creepy Guy. If Bugnutz starts getting beat by the Kids monsters, he'll grab Billy and bail out of the van, laving the kids to walk back to school for Lunch.
A character development section. Monsters get to wander around and cause mischief, and the Kids each meet a former friend from their old, pre-Monster peer group to get some development and conflict.
The Office Again
After Lunch you'll get called into Ms. Pale's Office again for a second eating-out due to shenanigans in your classes so far. This goes the same as the first Office session, except that Ms. Pale has some new different files on her desk, stamped with big red CONFIDENTIAL marks. This is another issue, as if the kids don't get a peek at these files, they won't really know what to do next in the adventure. If they do, they'll get some suspicious but vague info about the missing staff members to prompt them going to check on them.
After leaving the Office the kids are supposed to go to one of the old staff-members houses after-school. They can go to one or several, and I don't really have an issue with this section except that there's a chance they won't even realize they need to do this.
Mr. Rich's House
First is the former Assistant Principal. Mr. Rich's house looks abandoned, as Mr. Rich has barricaded himself inside, due to being reduced to a paranoid psychotic wreck. The house is full of jars of pee and empty food cans, the lawn is overgrown, trash is everywhere, it's a disaster area. Turns out Ms. Pale is living inside the body of his ex-wife, and used that to get inside and plant an Excruciator in his septic tank to keep an eye on him. If the kids try anything the beasty rips out of the toilet, and the kids end up having to fight it while dodging shattering jars of week old-urine. Ew. He'll freak out about Monsters, but will calm down, and even befriend the Kids in exchange for them helping get rid of Ms. Pale.
Ms. Ashe's Apartment
Ms. Ashe is the school Counselor, and the one who signed off on all the staff changes. All the hostile weirdness forcing her to approve of everything broke her fragile little mind and left her comatose. He's retreated into repetitively cleaning her house over and over again. She needs to be convinced everything was a hallucination brought on by her diabetes, because if she realizes the truth she'll be gone forever into Crazytown.
Coach Rodriguez's House
The house just looks a little well... melty from the outside. When the kids open the front door they find a portal to an alternate dimension where trees are made out of meat. The Kids can't go in, but the Monsters can, giving them a solo op, where they have to save Coach Rodriguez from a pack of vicous Bush-Wolves. Meaning wolves made out of bushes, obviously. When they get him out Rodriguez goes off to get annihilated on whiskey and will consequently forget the whole thing. To close the portal in his house the kids'll either have to pass a Brains+Remember of 8 to recall some mystical mumbo-jumbo Mago was muttering in Gym, or to defeat Mago and undo his magics.
Mr. Jackson's House
The former science teacher is strapped into a Surgomatic machine in the basement, making it a race against time to get him free before his brain is placed into a jar, but the Kids'll have to get past Brotron the Robot first. If he gets de-brained the Kids'll have to go about finding a new body for the brain-in-a-jar, and if he gets saved he starts on the road of Mad Science himself.
Wrapping Things Up
The finale where the Kids return to school and corner the faculty. They get there to find that the Big Game that night has been set-up as a trap for them. IF they go they get into a big honking super-fight. Billy and Bugnutz crash in on a crazy rage fueled hate-bender for society, the MIBs try and keep everything calm by hosing the place down with psychotropic drugs and memory wipers while they blast everything spooky with stun-guns and shock-prods. Dr. Stein shows up with Brotron and a live Nuke to go out in Atomic Style, Mr. Mago tries to steal one of the Kids Monsters, and Ms. Pale will shed her disguise and reveal her horrific tentacled glory to the faculty.
“Just quit squirming in there! People will see!”
“How could that be worse than them hearing you talk to your backpack?”
“I don’t want anyone to know you’re in there.”
“People will just think you have a puppy or something. I WISH you had a puppy in here. Your science book tastes like butt.”
“I have science second period! Don’t eat the book!”
“What am I supposed to eat? Your Literature book just made me hungrier. And now I have to make boom-boom, too. Any chance we can hit the can before home room?”
“No, we’re late already. They assigned me to a different room, and I have a different schedule, and none of my friends are in any of these classes....”
“Sounds weird. Sounds—hey, it sounds like someone is messing with you! I could, you know, go talk to the principal for you. I’m pretty sure that’s the kind of thing that friends do for friends,
right? Like, I could pull off his limbs until he gave you back your classes, and then you could show me were to hide the body. We’d be total BFFs if we shared a murder!”
“No! No more killings! God, we’ve only known each other for like a few days, how come we’re best friends now?”
“We just are. You know how you can smell bacon cooking, and you know there’s a delicious plate of crispy, smoky goodness waiting downstairs?”
“Well, it’s like that for me with friendship. You smell like bacon, kid. And... great, now I made myself hungrier.
“Me too! I had to skip breakfast this morning, on account of what you tried to do to the cat.”
“So you understand how I’m feeling! Can I eat the science book then?”
“Well, all right. But just quit squirming.”
And that's all she wrote! After this is two excellent chapters about Gming and Playing RPGS by Greg Stoltze, but I won't cover them because, well, it'd be a bit pointless, yes? And that's the end of the Monster's and Other Childish Things Completely Monstrous (Or Pocket for the E-Book and paperback) Edition.
Next Time: Curriculum of Conspiracy
Spring Crescent Middle SchoolOriginal SA post
Welcome to Spring Crescent Middle School, the most exclusive Middle School in the world. People move across the nation for the chance of allowing their child to attend the school. It's students are famed worldwide for their scholastic, athletic, and civil achievements. It boasts Presidents, Nobel Prize winners, Fortune 500 CEOs, and Academy Award winners among its alumni. Everyone knows that success in Spring Crescent means success in Life. Spring's Crescent is a shining tower of light and knowledge in the world!
People who go there know this is bullshit.
The faculty use every cheat, loophole, scam, and exploit of the system to garner accolades and funding they don't deserve. They twist and control the Student Body into doing what they want. The students quickly learn how to be vicious, manipulative, and untrustworthy. Everyone has a plan, a plot, an angle, and they don't care who they crush on their way to the top. A Social Darwinist approach to child-rearing. Spring Crescent is a cutthroat hellhole, a prison ran by hormonal preteens and burned out public educators.
People who run the place know this is bullshit.
Spring Crescent Middle School isn't a school at all. It's an elaborate trap. A trap for Monsters. The school is designed for the sole purpose of attracting children with Monsters. The environment is fostered to crush them, grind children down, break their will and spirit so that they are easy pickings. So that the Conspiracy can take them, and use them however they want. Spring Crescent Middle School is a slaughterhouse, a roach motel for Monsters, and you've just stepped inside.
It's gonna be a hell of a year.
Next Time: The History of Spring Crescent Middle School
The History of Spring Crescent Middle SchoolOriginal SA post
The History of Spring Crescent Middle School
Founded in 1913, Spring Crescent was a perfectly normal school for perfectly normal children, until 1947, when Dr. Norman Levitt was appointed as the new principal of Spring Crescent Middle School. Not much is known about Norman Levitt. He was, seemingly, independently wealthy, rich enough to get an Ivy League education. While he did little learning of proper curriculum, he was inducted into a number of secret societies and hidden cults, where he obtained a distinct interest in the occult and black magic. Using his powers, and a healthy dose of blackmail, Levitt graduated, leaving America to tour Europe after the first World War to seek out new black magics.
While in Europe, Levitt had come upon rumors of a witch-boy in Bavaria. Finally finding the child, named only Hans in 1934, Levitt proceeded to study the strange child. While he had no parents, guardians, or even friends, Hans lived a comfortable, happy, healthy life. Weeks of observation garnered him nothing, but the intense feeling that something was not normal about the child. Eventually Levitt decided that he must force the boy to use... whatever talents he possesses. With this in mind Levitt began using black magic and mental suggestion to cause a rash of curses, all pointing to the Witch-Boy Hans as the culprit. Eventually a mob formed to take care of the Witch-Child, with Levitt hot on their heels to observe how Hans would defend himself. When the mob approached Hans' woodland cabin, they were met by a tall man in Napoleonic dress wielding a bayoneted musket. When the crowd tried to force their way past him, the soldier suddenly grew to immense size, sprouting bayonets and muskets from its body, tearing the crowd to pieces. When the mob fled, the monster picked up Hans, and fled with him into the woods.
This encounter fascinated Levitt. A skilled magician could, with considerable effort, kill a single person, but this strange creature had just annihilated an entire mob, and came out none the worse for wear! He had become determined to learn more about the strange and seemingly limitless power of these “guardian demons”.
With this in mind, he returned to America and entered the field of children's education. Using his powers, he hid is dark past, and quickly made a name for himself as an innovative and effective educator. He quickly found a position as the Principal of Spring Crescent Middle School, and began to enact his plan. First, he spent five years renovating the school, adding two new wings and making across-the-campus upgrades, payed for with blackmail and corruption. These renovations were merely a cover to allow Levitt to instal mystic wards and sigils across the school, designed to detect and counter any monster or other supernatural being entering the school.
It wasn't until 1952 that the first monster set foot in Spring Crescent. Billy and his werewolf like monster Bad were first seen by the science teacher, Bartleby Hebig. The shock of the experience drove him into a terrified stupor, turning to alcoholism and denial. Levitt soon realized that something was going wrong in his domain, as Bad continued to act, but could not pinpoint the cause of the disturbances until he managed to catch Mr. Hebig on a drunken bender one night. Levitt managed to milk the story out of the inebriated teacher, and, realizing he may need help against Billy, told him enough of the truth to get him to join Levitt. And thus the Spring Crescent Conspiracy was born.
Levitt and Hebig managed to trap Bad and separate him from Billy. Billy was expelled and locked away in a sanitarium, while Bad became Levitt's personal guinea pig. Through the 50's, the conspiracy expanded, and took care of two more monsters. One was destroyed, and the other bound to Dr. Levitt. The Conspiracy felt assured of themselves, positive that the monsters were no threat to them, until 1960, when the new incoming class had seven kids with seven monsters, all united under the leadership of one Caroline Jolly-Kidd and her monster Black Slayer.
This sparked the first Conspiracy-Kid war. Nothing happened for most of the year, with the kids ignorant of the Conspiracy, and Levitt unsure of how he would battle seven monsters working together. Eventually, a secretary named Wilma, a junior member of the Conspiracy, tried to tackle Caroline and Black Slayer, but was defeated, her mind shattered by Black Slayer's powers. His began the war in earnest, though on a limited scale. The Conspiracy harassed and ostracized the children, trying to break their spirits and make them vulnerable to the spells that would bind their monsters, while the children fought back wherever they could, foiling ever plan the Conspiracy enacted.
Eventually Levitt found a plan that would work. He developed a mystic ritual that would transfer the power of a monster into seven normal humans, transforming them into part-monster freaks under the command of the ritual master. Gathering fourteen of the lowest ranking members of the conspiracy, Levitt sacrificed the two monsters he had bound, and turned them into Gidim.
With this new army, Levitt confronted Caroline's group on the night of Graduation, determined to kill or bind their monsters. The resulting battle resulted in the near annihilation of the school in a massive fire, and the death of everyone involved except for Dr. Levitt, Mr. Hebig, two Gidim, and Caroline Jolly-Kidd. Caroline survived thanks to her monster, Black Slayer, sacrificing himself by transforming into a likeness of Caroline to cover her disappearance. She hasn't been heard of since. Dr. Levitt was crippled, and died of his wounds a year later, turning over leadership of the Conspiracy to Hebig. As per instructions, Levitt was buried in a hidden room in the school, and his spirit still watches over the school and the Conspiracy.
Since then, the Conspiracy has only grown more powerful. For more than 40 years, only a handful of monsters have escaped the school, and the Conspiracy has expanded massively. Now under the leadership of Mr. Stanmeyer, the Conspiracy has grown fat and complacent, forgetting to fear monsters.
It's time for a lesson in humility.
Next Time: Machinations of the Conspiracy
Machinations of the ConspiracyOriginal SA post
Machinations of the Conspiracy
This chapter covers how the conspiracy is organized and operates, as well as what sort of schemes they will bring to bare against the children. The Conspiracy is always led by a single person, traditionally the Principal, who is a skilled magician groomed by the previous leader. They are the only member of the Conspiracy capable of commanding the monstrous Gidim, giving him total control of the Conspiracy. With the Leader are the other members of the Conspiracies inner circle. This inner circle recruits those who are capable of obtaining some measure of supernatural power, and the members are always connected to the school in some way. These members are arranged in Cabals, who do not know anyone else in the conspiracy outside of their cabal, and some members of the Inner Circle.
While ostensibly a “virtuous” organization, dedicated to protecting the world from “demons” and “Devil-touched” children, in actuallity the Conspiracy is ran like a pyramid scheme. The Cabals are seen as disposable pawns, with the Inner Circle reaping the benefits of the Conspiracy, using it to gather Occult power.
Most Conspiracy operations follow the same rough outline:
This is how the Conspiracy makes first contact with a monster. They assign a Cabal to “soften” the child up, and to act as a sacrificial lamb so that the Inner Circle can observe the monster and child.
The Grudge: They send a Gidim, generally a fairly weak one made from somebody with a pre-existing grudge to harass and intimidate the target child, hoping to start a conflict and force the monster to reveal itself.
Monster House: The Cabal summons some sort of hostile bugaboo from another plan into an abandoned building, then start rumors about buried treasure or similar tantilazing objects within. If the kids don't take the bait, the Cabal lures or forces someone the kids care about inside the building.
The Lock-In: The administration announces a school fair/event/dance/party thing. Cabalists monitor the party and try and prod monsters and children into getting into mischief.
Now that the Conspiracy has a bead on the children, multiple cabals are assigned to wear the kids down. The focus is on breaking down relationships, turning children against their family and vice versa, and causing the rest of the student-body to alienate them, and eventually breaking any bonds that the Monster children may possess with each other.
The Trophy: A prized school trophy goes missing, and one of the kids is framed. If the other kids can't prove him innocent, he will become a social pariah.
Blackmail: The Conspiracy blackmails one of the kids parents into sabotaging one of the kids relationships, such as forbidding them from hanging out with a friend. When the relationship is destroyed, the Conspiracy reveals the parent's meddling to the child, hinting that their Monster is the reason for their parent's actions.
The Favorite: The administration promotes one kid to the head of the student-body. They attempt to corrupt him and cause him to alienate his friends.
After separating and alienating the children, the Conspiracy makes its final assault. They attempt to get one child alone and try to either bind or destroy their monster.
The Lamb: The Conspiracy lures the children away from one another, picking them off one by one, unless the other kids realize what's up.
Truce: Feigning surrender, the Conspiracy calls for a cease-fire and sets up a pow-wow, that is actually a trap.
Scorched Earth: If the kids have foiled their other plans, or are otherwise on the verge of victory, the Conspiracy goes to war. They openly attack the children at fullforce, kidnap friends and family, and unleash an army of supernatural beings to destroy the entire town if necessary. This hasn't happened though. Yet.
Something has gone south and now the Conspiracy needs to cover their tracks and disappear.
The Patsy: A cabal places the blame for supernatural mischief on a scapegoat, with the patsy generally mind-controlled into going along with the story.
Silence!: If the Conspiracy risks exposure, they start bribing, threatening, blackmailing, and disappearing people until everyone has (at least publicly) forgotten the very idea of a Conspiracy.
Betrayal: If there's the possibility of a mutiny, double-cross, or even just trying to leave, the Conspiracy reacts with extreme prejudice. The troublemaker is either “disappeared” or mind-wiped and exiled from the town.
Next Time: The Cabals and Members of the Conspiracy
Members of the ConspiracyOriginal SA post
Members of the Conspiracy
Currently there are four cabals operating within the Spring Crescent Conspiracy, each responsible for a specific task within the organization. The Conspiracy also has several independent agents operating outside the Cabals.
The Conspiracy is led by Principal Stanmeyer, the most powerful wizard in the organization. He is often encountered roaming the halls, cornering children and surreptitiously interrogating them about possible supernatural occurrences.
Stats-wise Stanmeyer is obviously a powerful magician, and is incredibly courageous with 5 Guts and Courage, ensuring he doesn't flinch away from supernatural horrors. He is also incredibly smart, and charismatic, able to easily outsmart and charm, threaten, and put-down most kids. His biggest weakness is his pathetic physical abilities, and his total lack of a Notice skill, making him both oblivious and incapable of fighting in a non-magical conflict. He also has a major relationship with the Conspiracy, and if players can shock that down, you might be able to put the entire power-structure at risk.
Order of Harmonious Diplomacy
This is the Cabal dedicated to ensuring the secrecy of the Conspiracy. They rarely interact with students, focusing instead on the Adults who could expose them.
A senior police officer who acts as the Cabals enforcer. He often makes presentations at Spring Crescent as an excuse to gather intel about the students parents.
Incredibly tough (for a human), but his main nastiness is his Agony Spell skill, which allows him to inflict pain without leaving a mark.
A bored, divorced housewife, prominent PTA member, and master hypnotist. Gwen seduces and blackmails potential thorns in the Conspiracies side, and often targets fathers of Spring Crescent students. She has a child, Todd, who hates her. While he doesn't know about the Conspiracy, if revealed he'd gladly join the resistance to screw over his mother.
Stephanie has no combat abilities whatsoever, but is a social monster, with 5s across the board in her Face category, as well as a 5 Hypnosis skill as well, giving her 10 dice in any social situation. Definitely a very scary, if indirect, threat.
The editor of the local newspaper, and mother of a former Monster kid. She was approached by the Conspiracy who “cured” her daughter, and in exchange she ensures that no news stories about the Conspiracy ever show up on the media. Betty is currently locked in psychiatric facility, her mind destroyed along with her monster.
Once again, not a physical threat, but Leuff is dangerously smart and charming. At least she has no magical skills.
A teenage photographer who acts as the Cabals eyes in the school, as well as a gatherer of blackmail material. He does this with the use of an invisibility spell, that allows him to move undetected. He also uses this to stalk girls, but is always afraid of being caught. He's nervous and shy, yet paradoxically is totally oblivious to any surveillance on himself, as he's been ignored for most of his life.
Totally useless, no threat, just has his invisibility spell and that's it. Mainly intended as a plot hook instead of an antagonist.
A former school administrator and the de-facto leader of the community. He uses this prominent position to keep tabs on the goings on in town. His only magical skill is a healing spell that he uses to keep his cancer in remission.
Once again, no direct threat, more a plot device. Could do quite a bit with his little healing spell though.
The Cabal responsible for finding and assessing children with Monsters or supernatural abilities.
A handsome English teacher who focuses on making friends with students. He has the ability to detect supernatural energies, and uses this to pinpoint targets for his “friendship”. Kids unaware of the Conspiracy and his role in it think he's the best teacher in the School, and will jump to his defense. He'll try and make friends with the players, in order to lure them into traps. He's secretly in love with Stephanie Gwen, who does not reciprocate his feelings.
Mystical detection abilities, excellent memory, and a 10 dice Connive roll makes him one scary master of deception. Once you know he's a baddie though, he loses his threat.
Spring Crecent's School Counselor, and leader of the Cabal. She works directly under Stanmeyer, and only listens to him. She detects monsters through thorough interviews, and the innate ability to detect them if they are not hiding.
Smart, Social, etc. Not much of a threat if they know she's Evil, but she can still learn about you even if you stonewall her.
A Gidim with the power of Shapeshifting. Generally poses as an exchange student, he attempts to infiltrate groups of monster children to learn about them and set them up for the fall. He can look like anything or anyone the size of a 12 year old boy, and so he can literally be anyone in the school. He spends most of his time watching students in a hidden security room through cameras, only leaving when on assignment.
No threat beyond his high Connive and his Shapeshifting abilities.
The enforcers and foot-soldiers of the Conspiracy. Most members have a short life-span.
The only human in the Cabal, he monitors the other members and makes sure they don't need putting down. He's a security officer for the school, and has a crush on Paula Ptraci, the art teacher, and fellow Conspiracy member, even though that last bit is unknown to him. He makes a point to harass children with monsters, trying to get them to sic their monsters on him. He is a master of defensive magic with little to fear from a direct attack, and seeing the monster in action provides the Conspiracy with valuable intel.
A former Metalhead high school dropout, now a monstrous undead Viking Gidim. Subsists on a diet of beer, heavy metal, and porn, and is kept on a farm in the countryside until his services are needed. He constantly projects his own heavy metal soundtrack that can be heard up to a block away.
A bog-standard combat monster. Three attacks, but only one defense part, his main strategy is to run at you really fast, deafen you with METAL!!!! and then beat the crap out of you.
Once an idealistic college student who was diagnosed with cancer. Desperate, she went to the Conspiracy for a cure. They made her a Gidim, a monstrous and mindless hawk-beast who lives on the farm with Mangler. They hate each other.
Not as dangerous as Mangler in raw damage, but her ability to fly makes her a major obstacle in the hands of a creative GM.
Edward E. Edwards
The only Gidim in the Cabal who can pass for human. A child-prodigy who skipped three grades to come to Spring Crescent. Jealous and petty, he approached the Conspiracy and demanded they give him a Monster of his own. Instead they made him a Gidim. He looks as he always did, a small serious child in a dark suit, but when angered can sprout massive tentacles from his body. Edwards is sadistic and manipulative, and enjoys torturing and playing with his targets before the kill.
Decent in a fight, but overall a utility monster, with several rather nasty side abilities that make him more than a physical threat, such as pick pocketing and the ability to see into your soul.
Neither Gidim nor Human, Luxor is an experiment in golem-making. He is hidden in a lab in the school basement, and is a weapon of last resort against a rogue monster. He appears to be a giant stone Egyptian pharoah.
Giant combat monster, can easily trounce most monsters solo. Definitely a serious team-fight, especially as he'd likely be assisted by other members of the Conspiracy.
The occult Cabal. They are responsible for all supernatural research, creating mystical items, and training other Conspiracy members in magic.
A grad student working at the local university. He uses his job and connections to obtain occult tomes for the Conspiracy. He has no loyalty towards them, and in-fact sees them as posers, but fears their power. If he thinks the players have a chance of beating the Conspiracy, he'll gladly turn on them and join the children. He has no interest in monsters, seeing them as dangerous and an academic dead-end.
Similar stats to Mr. Stanmeyer, but overall less skilled in magic, but far more intelligent. Still, don't mess with him. Will more likely be an ally then an enemy.
The highly unpleasant janitor at Spring Crescent. He lives and the basement and is obviously completely mental. He's the one who made Luxor, but most of the Conspiracy see him as an embarrassment. He's just not worth the trouble of killing though, so they mostly ignore him. Chanter is obviously suspicious, and is very bad at deflecting attention. If challenged, he hides in the labyrinthine basement, and uses magic to try and scare his attackers away. He will only unleash Luxor if his life is in imminent danger.
He's also a fair magician, but besides a 10 dice Shop skill, he has no other notable abilities.
The oldest member of the Conspiracy. Well, technically. Technically in that she isn't the oldest member, unless living is a stipulation, and she is only technically in the Conspiracy. In actuality, she is furious over the elevation of Stanmeyer, who she thinks of as an arrogant punk, over herself. This though, is no surprise, as Flavis couldn't run a book club, let alone a secret cabal of secret cabals. While ostensibly the school librarian, her full time job is making people miserable. She is petty, vindictive, hateful, sadistic, and all around a totally unpleasant individual. She hates the Conspiracy almost as much as she hates everyone else. She couldn't give less of a shit about keeping the supernatural under wraps, and will openly confront kids with monsters or powers. She'll offer them power and mystic aid if they help her take revenge on those who have angered her (everybody), but will not take no for an answer. Even a polite refusal puts you at the top of her shit-list. The only person she doesn't loathe is Derek Forster, who she has a crush on. Obviously this isn't reciprocated, or known about by anyone but her, yet she will still wreak havoc on anyone who tries to flirt with him.
She has all her Brain stats and skills maxed out, and 5 dice in Putdown and Connive, as well as 5 dice in all of her magic skills, maker her the strongest outright magician in the Conspiracy. Her preferred modus-operandi is good ole curses, which can be anything from a freaky-friday bodyswap, to inducing madness, or even banishing you to another dimension. Ms. Flavin is as dangerous as the rest of the Conspiracy put together, and is only kept minor by her pettiness and lack of real ambition.
On the surface, a painfully dull math teacher, but underneath a multiple doctorate holding super-genius. He discovered the Conspiracy when they stole his nephew Nicholas' monster, sending the child into psychotic breakdown. This prompted Greenacre to start investigating, leading him to the Conspiracy, where he was semi-forcibly recruited in an offer he couldn't refuse. Now he's being groomed by Stanmeyer to take over leadership of the Conspiracy, but is having apprehensions about the damage they are doing to children by taking away their monsters, even though he believes that monsters are a danger to the world. If the players could convince Greenacre that monsters aren't a threat, then he could be turned against the conspiracy. He will give the kids a chance, always giving children the benefit of the doubt, and letting them try and prove themselves good before condemning them.
Ovverall a super-genius, and very brave, but worthless in all other fields, including magic, which is only 2 dice across the board.
A highly experimental Art Teacher and sorceress, who believes that artistic students could be used as a sort of mystic battery, and is trying to set up a ritual that would drain the magic from seven gifted art students into herself. This is forbidden by the Conspiracy, due to the difficulty of clearing up the disappearance of seven children, but she may go through with it anyway. Otherwise, she enjoys using her students as guinea pigs, especially giving them supernatural abilities and watching how they use their gifts.
Smart, Social, good at Shop and with her Hands, and a 9 Dice Artistic Magic skill. She's obviously made to be a good story-ending boss, as a part of a longer campaign.
Independent Conspiracy Members
These are the members who exist outside of the Cabal structure, and have the power to operate almost autonomously.
Stanmeyer's right-hand man and chief enforcer. Publicly, a much hated social studies teacher, called Screwhead by his students. In actuality he is an Excruciator who works with the Conspiracy, and works with them in an uneasy alliance. Phillips wishes to rule the school, so to speak, but fears the Conspiracy’s ability to bind him. Only Stanmeyer and Flavin have the raw power to beat him one-on-one, as he is more than able to defeat even the strongest Gidim on their own. If he ever got an edge over the Conspiracy, he would quickly turn on them and try to take over the Conspiracy himself.
Statwise he's an Excruciator beefed up with 2 levels of Awesome on every hit-location in Monster-mode.
The Spirit of Doctor Levitt
The spirit of the Conspiracy's founder, transformed in death into something totally inhuman. He spends the majority of his … afterlife slumbering, but sometimes awakens to deliver portents and orders to the still living members of his organization. Nobody knows what Levitt's Spirit really wants anymore, and he is totally inscrutable.
While pretty scary, Levitts Spirit is mostly insanely tough, and would require one hell of a beating to go down in any reasonable manner thanks to at least Tough 3 on every hit location.
Next Time: The Mystic Wards
The Final PushOriginal SA post
The Final Push
Due to comments showing interest in Curriculum, I'll be finishing the book in one giant honking MEGA-UPDATE
The conspiracy has seven mystic wards, created by Dr. Levitt, scattered around the school. These Wards are the most powerful weapon the Conspiracy has it its war against the monsters. Only Mr. Stanmeyer, Mr. Phillips, Mr. Greenacre, and Ms. Flavin can activate and control the wards, but Mr. Stanmeyer would instantly know who activated them, so the others rarely do it without a very good reason.
These wards are primarily hidden througout the school in areas that would be difficult to get to and destroy. Locations such as a mural near the front office, on the back of a library shelf, inside the faculty lounge, and on top of the flag-pole. While destroying six of the wards would be fairly easy, if the players are good at stealth, the seventh ward is a bitch and a half. It can only bee seen in a special mirror, under the light of a full moon. The mirror is guarded by the spirit of Dr. Levitt and is hidden in a room only Mr. Stanmeyer can find and access. Good luck getting that one.
The wards themselves look like a six-inch in diameter sigil of various occult symbols, and are immune to mundane vandalism, requiring mystic means to destroy.
Most of the time the wars are in Passive Mode . In this mode, they have a chance of detecting a non-hiding monster, every 5 minutes. The chance is a base of 2d, and going up one every time a monster uses one of its powers. Once detected, Mr. Stanmeyer automatically knows where the monster is, and what it looks like, and can teleport to the school building to better utilize the wards. The wards also serve to protect the building against supernatural damage, meaning any attempt by a Monster to damage school property will simply bounce off.
Once the wards detect a Monster, they go into Active Mode . In this mode they can be used to find a monster, even when it is hiding, and can track the monster wherever it goes on campus. In addition, the wards make all monsters in the school take a 2d penalty to their primary offensive power as long as they are on school grounds.
The wards also have three offensive powers that Mr. Stanmeyer can use to directly effect a monster. Malefactor's Gaze causes hundreds of eyes to grow out of the walls and stare at the target, filling the monster and its kid with feelings of rage, hatred, and envy. This causes a 5d shock attack opposed by the kids Guts+Courage, and if he fails the kid loses 1d whenever he tries to influence his monster, for the next 24 hours. Tranquil Meditation is essentially a Monster-Tranq dart, a 6d attack that reduces the width of all their actions by 1 for the width of the attack roll in minutes. The final ability, Demonic Purge, is a straight 8d Scarring blast of mystic flame, used as a last resort to kill a rampaging Monster.
Allies Most of these are already covered in the Members of the Conspiracy update, but here are two non-Conspiracy affiliate allies the players can recruit.
Former Monster-friend and leader of the first group to oppose the conspiracy. Caroline grew up as a disillusioned youth, eventually falling in with the 60s and 70s hippy movement. She became an apprentice to a genuine shaman, who taught her magic. She has now returned to Spring Crescent to put an end to the conspiracy once and for all. She's a fairly powerful mage, a tough old bat, and is generally a good person to have on your side in a fight. Personality-wise, she's a classic old-school Revolutionary hippy.
Rusty the Ghost
The ghost of the school Janitor who died in the big fire of the first Conspiracy/Monster war. He's sympathetic to the kids, and will help them out with some low-level poltergeisting and advice and intelligence rendered via-Ouiji Board seances. His biggest help is the fact that he can go anywhere in the school he wants, and is totally undetectable by the Conspiracy. In fact, they don't even know he exists.
The rest of the book is pretty-much just GM advice about how to run a Spring Crescent campaign that wouldn't be interesting to relate. The book does have several class schedules for every possible situation including early-dismissals and two-hour delays, a big list of possible classes the players could attend, and a map of the school with all the rooms labled.
The Regular Class Schedule
The Sample Classes List
An Unreadable Map of the First Floor Cause This Thing Is Pretty Big And I Don't Know How To Get It Out Of The PDF At Reasonable Size
Overall, I think it's a nice book. If nothing else you can just use the final few pages to make your own School, and the default setting is nice and interesting. The biggest critique I could make is that overall, it feels sparse. The book really needed to flesh out more members of the conspiracy, elaborate on some notable students, and otherwise populate the school and the surrounding town to a better degree. A GM wanting to run this setting would have to make a ton of original characters, because otherwise everyone you meet is going to be in on the Conspiracy.
If anybody wants to cover the other Monsters and Other Childish Things adventures, Sky-Maul and Road Trip, please do! I'd look forward to reading them!
Next Time: Bigger Bads
Useful Stuff for MonstersOriginal SA post
“That thing is pretty big.”
“You said it. BIG.”
“I’d even say huge.”
“You know what’s the worst thing about something that big?”
“I can think of a few things... ”
“It’s like being really close to a high-school kid, and seeing all the pores gaping open and oozing grease or clogged up with black ick and bulging with gunk. Even from all the way over here, I can totally see how gross that thing’s skin is.”
“That’s a pretty weird thing to be grossed out by, for a shiny, green, iridescent mantis the size of my dad’s car.”
“Yeah, but SHINY. I do not ooze gunk, except from my warpglands, and that’s totally rad gunk."
“Well, I don’t leak gunk either.”
“Not yet. When you get to high school, they do something to your face. I’ve been studying humanity, so I figured out how it works. They drill out your pores so they leak, they poke your larynx so your voice comes out all broken and weird, and they make you grow a completely tragic, wispy little mustache, possibly through the use of exotic radiation. Also, they make you smell like yak butt, but this is possibly some kind of scam to get you to buy body spray, or so the television leads me to believe.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t hear any of that.”
“I just discovered something even more horrible about a creature that big than how easy it is to see its goopy pores.”
“The size of its dumps.”
“Oh dude, I really did not want to go there.”
“Well we’re going to have to. It just dropped a duke on our neighborhood, and everybody is visiting from out of town.”
“This is the worst Thanksgiving ever.”
Introduction and Chapter 1: Fiddly Bits: Useful Stuff for Monsters
Bigger Bads is the only true “expansion” to Monster's and Other Childish Things. The book massively expands the base game, improving existing rules, adding tons of new ones, a new character type, a new campaign jumpstart, and tons of new enemies.
I have to say, flat out, that if you want to play MaOTC, you need to get this book. It provides so much new depth and usefulness that I really couldn't justify not buying it at the same time as the core-book.
This is the first chapter, and I'm rolling it into the intro because it is so short. It's basically a rules Errata, expanding on and improving the system in the base game.
Pushing and Shoving
These are rules for somehow messing with your opponent to keep him from doing something. Distract him, tangle him up, trip him, blind him, cause confusion, etc. This action cannon cause damage or otherwise remove the target from combat. The Player and GM must work out what the player is doing, and what the effects are when he succeeds before the roll. The effects last for Width-1 rounds.
Monsters do the same thing, but they need a Useful power that applies.
Examples include: Confusing a robot with a logical paradox, tripping the Bully chasing your best friend, throwing dust in the eyes of a hall monitor, dropping a cargo net on a Zombie Pirate during a Ghost ship swordfight, etc.
Just what it says, helping each other out with rolls. You Declare your intent as per usual, and roll the relevant dice-pool for however you want to help another player. The person you're helping adds your rolls Width in die to their action next round. You can also do this to yourself, to “set up” an action for next round. If you're doing it to yourself, you don't need to explain what you're setting up to do, until you declare your action next round, where you have to justify to the GM why your setup action can help the one this round.
Monster's cannot do Helping Hands. They lack the innate ability to cooperate and work together in teams that humans have. They're also kinda dumb and would just mess it up if they tried. You can add die to a Monster's roll, they just can't add theirs to yours.
Examples include: Adding injury to insult, holding a baddie still for your Monster to chomp on, pitching in on an intense study session, help stabilize Gigatron 1.
New and Revised Extras
New extras for your Monsters and some changes to old ones.
Doesn't actually do anything, but part of the Bigness rules. Essentially, you need to take it on every part for every level of Bigness above 1. I'll explain more when I reach that chapter, but to give a basic idea: Bigness 1=Normal person= No Big required; Bigness 4= Giant-robots and Multi-story buildings= Big x 3 on every part.
A defensive extra. If your defense roll with this part beats an attacks Width
Height, then you gobble the dice as normal, and can perform an attack with the same Dice Pool as the original attack. Each extra rank lets you bounce back another attack, or the effects of an extra. For Example: If attacked by a 3x4 attack with Gnarly x 2, and you roll a 4x6 on Defense you get to make a 3x4 attack right back at your target. If you have Bounce x 3, you could also reflect both levels of Gnarly, doing a guaranteed 2 damage to your opponent instead of taking the 2 damage like you would if you only had Bounce x1 or x2.
Each rank makes a location totally immune to a specific something. No upper limit, but the immunity has to be
. You can be immune to fire, not all physical attacks.
Used by the new Farness rules, useless otherwise. I'll explain it when I get to that chapter.
Only applies to Useful powers. Increases the Width of a successful roll per level when determining how well you do. Cannot be used to establish initiative, that's still Wicked Fast.
Allows a power to hit a second adjacent location (next Hit Location up or down), as long as the target is the same Bigness level as you. If there's a choice, the target picks which part takes the hit. Splash does not ignore Toughness, so it isn't as good as the rollover from hitting a 0 die location. No limit to how many times you can take.
Extra's that got some shiny new rules.
You can now buy however many levels of Awesome you want (with GM approval). Each extra level lets you set another die before you roll, and the second lets you instead set the die after the roll. So, 1= 1 before, 2= 1 after, 3= 1 before 1 after, 4= 2 after, etc.
A less broken version of Spray. Each rank in Spray allows one additional set to repeat your action. So instead of always using all your sets rolled, you can only use your Spray rank in sets. Spray 1= 1 additional set, Spray 2= 2 additional sets, etc.
Super Special New Rule for Awesome Games That Should Be In Every Game Ever If you strike a dramatic pose and shout the name of your attack, you get to trade dice from the pool you roll into Gnarly levels if the hit connects. Note, YOU have to do it. Not you character, YOU. YOU have to stand up, strike a pose, and shout a nonsensical attack name at the top of your lungs. YOU at the table. Oh, and you can't do the same pose/name twice. You have to come up with a completely new pose and name every time you use this rule.
Next Time Chapter 2: Threats: Bad Things Happening to Good People, or, Menace, Peril, Danger, and A Thousand Biogenic Murder-Monsters
Bad Things Happening To Good People, Or, Menace, Peril, Danger, and A Thousand Biogenic Murder-HamstersOriginal SA post
Chapter 2: Threats: Bad Things Happening To Good People, Or, Menace, Peril, Danger, and A Thousand Biogenic Murder-Hamsters
Two quick notes before I begin this section.
1. Yes, the images look weird. Fact is, they all have those rounded corners and I'm too lazy to go into GIMP and edit the white bits into transparency.
2. I am going to start including more direct quotes from the book. This is because I don't think I've gotten through one of the big strengths of the main MaOTC books, which is the phenomenal writing. I don't mean the story or characters, though those are also great, I mean how the book is actually written. These books are just plain fun to read.
With that said, now to the content itself.
Threats are anything you have a conflict with that isn't an NPC. In other words, if it isn't an individual that can be statted out at a person or a Monster, or you don't want to write up a full statblock, then you use a Threat.
Threats do not have to be literal or individual. A swarm of Robo-bees, a squadron of Gibbering Cultists, a wildfire, and a classroom full of laughing children can all be statted as Threats. Threat statting is pretty simple. They consist of a dice-pool, some Qualities, and Extras. Essentially they act like a Monster but with only one Hit Location. Because of this Threats don't have the 10 dice limit in their pool, and can have as many dice as they want.
The dice pool on a Threat can be dialed to meet your needs, but a good guesstimation is the number of kids in the scene plus the number of monsters plus an arbitrary number like... oh... let’s say four. So if you’ve got three kids and three monsters, then the Horde of Angry Kittens has 10 dice. And if you turn your scaly buddy loose to melt them with acid, then... well, that’s just sick. Kitties, man. Kitties.
Threats get their actions declared before any Players or NPCs, and use every set they roll every turn. If they declare more than one action, then they drop a die from their pool as per Multiple Action rules, but still get to use all their sets.
A Menagerie of Menace: Sample Threats
Escaped Ebola Monkeys
Cute adorable, playful little monkeys whose very touch makes you shoot blood out of your every orifice. They're not actually malevolent, but geeze don't they get into everywhere! And don't get them angry, or you'll have a swarm of deadly viral monkeys tearing your now violently hemorrhaging face off.
Snakes! Why Did It Have To Be Snakes?
The plural of “snake” is “snakes” and the plural of “snakes” is OH NO OH NO OH NO THEY’RE CLIMBING UP MY PANTS! You know why you can’t trust snakes? No arms and legs.
You can’t trust nothing without arms and legs. They’re crazy jealous of limbs. Limbs, and body heat.
The Collapsing Building is Now On Fire
The building is on fire and it was probably your fault. This is the first non-punchable Threat. So, how do you fight a flaming building? Well, a Feet+P.E. Roll to dodge flaming debris would work like an attack, reducing the Threat's dice pool. This would simulate your group getting to less and less dangerous parts of the building, until they “defeat” the threat which would result in them reaching a safe area.
The less competent and more disposable branch of the MIB. While MIB's are elite monster fighters and generally savvy and dangerous guys, the Grab-Squad are cannon fodder and cleaup crews. Their main job is to distract and contain BEMs so that the real MIBs can line up their Particle Entangler Cannon.
Accidentally ate some Excuciator eggs? Enjoy hordes of tiny evil squids swarming out of your toilet a few days later. They're aggressive, mean, fast, small, and smell like your septic tank. Worst is they can squeeze into even the smalles spaces, LIKE YOUR EARS. They aren't big enough to wear a proper skinsuit, though. Mind if something small enough got near one... just saying, Mr. Tiddles
been acting funny recently...
I wasn't make those up. They're both bees and robots. That's pretty much it, they fly around and sting you, just like real bees, but they're a lot harder to squish cause they're made of robot. Also you can do neat stuff like give them stings that do things other than hurt, like loading them up with Monster tranquilizers, or LSD if you're feeling especially imaginative.
The Robo-Bees can fly around and send back pictures and signals to their evil overlord that he can watch on his big screen in high-def, or on his fancy new UltraPhone that he constantly takes out to show how hip he is. Jerk.
The Mean Kids
Like a pack of hyenas, but without the mercy of killing their prey. The Mean Kids are a group of little shits who make your life an endless torment. The problem is you can't really FIGHT them, it's a little overboard to kill someone just cause they're being a jerk. But, they can make anybodies life an endless hell of misery and torment, with their Threat being stretched out for months of repeated harassment, social ostracism, and general put-downs.
Traversing The Treacherous Nighttime Rooftops Of Our Fair City
An example of how a threat can be related to a task. The important thing is that a Threat is persistent, ie. takes more than one roll to overcome, and can cause damage or otherwise hinder the players. In this case it's a confusing layout to get them lost and loose tiles, sharp ledges, poky antennas, and other detritus to scrape them up. Not to mention what happens if you fall.
Possessed Toy Factory
A once regular toy factory until an overworked third-shift manager summoned Pushn'shuvgoth, the Black Goat Behind the Cubicle Divider. Now it's a hideous nightmare factory, pumping out Chucky style killer dolls using demonic machinery and the worlds most evil printer.
The Seven Stars Secret Kung-Fu Brotherhood
The SSSKFB (Siskafub) is an ancient order of martial arts masters trained in the Seven Stars Foot Fist style, who constantly seek the Chosen One, a prophesied leader who will help them defeat their arch enemy Siskafus (The
Stars Secret Kung-Fu
). The problem is that they're incredible gullible and trusting, and so find themselves used as mooks for various bad-guys, because rice and saffron robes aren't free.
They’ve got the martial arts choreography and wire-fu of a Yuen Woo Ping movie,
and the dialog of a bad American dub. On the plus side, their soundtrack is by the Wu Tang Clan.
The Goo That Ate the Cafeteria
Like somebody dumped out the cafeteria dumpster and then gave it life. Nobody knows where it comes from, because no mad scientist or dark sorcerer worth his labcoat/flowing robe would ever make it. Possibly Agnes the Lunchlady is smarter than she looks. Or the lime-jello actually
radioactive. In any case, it's a giant blob of nasty cafeteria food given life. It sqlorps around eating anything it can get its grey hotdog and wilted lettuce hands on. It's so nasty not even Monsters'll eat it.
The Luchacabra Fighters
Chupacabras have one hell of an inferiority complex. They get no press outside of crappy Syfy “monster hunter” shows and Mexican tabloids, are compared to actual mangy dogs, and nobody has even bothered to do a convincing Chupacabra hoax which is obviously the biggest indicator of cryptid fame. Plus, “Goat Sucker”? That's like, the worst name
. So, they decided if nobody will
them respect, they'll
it. So, a bunch of Chupacabras got together, learned the noble fighting art of Lucha Libre, and now go around the world wrestling more famous and likeable monsters into submission with flying arm-bars and the Goat Slaying Grand-slam.
Farness: I Can Melt Your Face From All The Way Over HereOriginal SA post
Farness: I Can Melt Your Face From All The Way Over Here
In the base game, there really isn't a “distance” considered. The Monster Might table gives a rough distance category for Monster powers, but it really isn't important and is treated as an abstraction. Now we get some proper rules for considering how far away stuff is.
Farness is considered in relative distance, not absolute. It only matters how far away from you the thing in question is in an abstract concept, not how many 5ft move squares there are. Farness comes in seven steps:
When you are making a scene where Farness matters, pick one as the Default Farness , the point on the scale which is the “default” for the conflict, so that everyone knows the Farness and you only have to keep track of changes. The action in a scene should generally revert back to the Default Farness whenever possible, to keep from confusing people.
Remember, Farness isn't an actual measure of physical distance. Two people standing on opposite sides of an empty parking lot might be a 5-6 Farness, but the thing is, so could standing on opposite ends of a cluttered attic. It doesn't matter if they're a foot from you if you've gotta do fancy parkour stunts to actually get to them. The Default Farness can change as the scene progresses, but you shouldn't switch all the time, or there's no point in it.
Hey Can You Hear Me Jerkwad
A little side category to expand on using the Put-Down skill in a fight. Insults and other social combat techniques work as far as the target can hear you, but Farness 5 is generally considered to be the maximum an unassisted human voice can reach, though out to 7 is possible with a megaphone or a hacked concert sound-system. Y'know, if you ever wanted to emotionally damage a helicopter pilot.
Some especially sensitive kids have realized an iPod loaded with songs by Gore Grinder and Cannibal Clown Apocalypse played at well-above the recommended volume is sometimes a better defense than eight-inch bone plates all over their backs. At least until the enemy stops hurling insults and starts hurling Tibetan throwing axes.
How Far Can His Pus Glands Squirt?
Range for Monsters work a bit different than for everybody else. When you're not in a Conflict, you use the Monster Might table value for a powers range. When you are in combat though, you're limited to 2 Farness default. Wanna reach out further? That's what the Range Extra is for. Every rank of Range means a power goes one more Farness category in Conflict, and two steps up the Monster Might table outside of Conflict. The Area Extra also extends the range, allowing you to affect people out to the Farness level equal to the number of Area ranks you have. Problem is that Area affects everyone in that range, so be careful you don't blow something up you shouldn't. Also, if the Area rank is greater than the Default Farness, than everyone not explicitly further away gets hit.
Getting Closer (or Farther)
You can move up or down 1 Farness on the scale for free whenever your Action that round resolves successfully. If you fail your action, you move after everyone else has resolved theirs. If you want to move further, make an action roll where you can move the Width in Farness steps. Want to move and attack? Multiple actions are needed. If there are any ties, then you compare Feet+P.E. Pools/ the Monster's movement-related location pool.
These rules can also be used to simulate high speed pursuits. The Farness in the case of a chase scene represents how close the Chaser is to the Chasee. The goal then is for the Chaser to get to 1 Farness, while the Chasee wants to get over 6 to escape. Otherwise all the rules are the same for a Conflict. What this means is that unless one of the parties takes actions to specifically just move, then the two parties keep equal pace, as in a running gun-battle.
Children Fly For Free!
In a Chase scene, Kids can ride their Monsters no matter what. This is because half the point of having a Monster friend is getting piggy back rides from a six foot flying dolphin made of living chrome. This means the Monster does the moving, and the Kid can use their action to do other stuff, like throw rocks, scream insults, make a motivation roll to convince their monster to go around the Fruit Stand, etc. These rules work the same as riding in a car or similar vehicle as a passenger. If the going get rough the Kid may need to make some rolls to stay on their monstrous mount, and if they eat it they need a Motivation roll to convince their Monster to keep up the chase/fleeing instead of stopping to go back for them.
“You came back for me.”
“I told you to keep running! We needed to catch that guy!”
“Yeah, I know. But my people have a saying: leave no man behind.”
“First, I think it’s the US Marines who say that. Second, I’m a girl.”
“Yeah... and technically, the literal translation of my people’s expression is ‘never leave good meat for the ungrateful enemy to gnaw’ but you lose the poetry that way, and it’s really about loyalty and camaraderie and junk. It’s hardly at all about cannibalism.”
“I’m once-again in awe of your people’s way with words. Lean down so I can hop on.”
“Sure, dude, just don’t fart on my exoskeleton this time.”
“Again: GIRL. And I never fart.”
“Take it from the guy who sleeps under your bed. You, dear friend, fart.”
Next Time: Bigness
Bigness: My Pal LeviathanOriginal SA post
Bigness: My Pal Leviathan
“All right, I have a plan.”
“Lay it on me, hepcat.”
“I’m trying to resurrect some vintage slang so I can be cool when other kids pick it up.”
“Believe that I say this with love, but if you keep saying ‘hepcat’, you’ll never be cool. Ever. Even if you were frozen in a glacier for a thousand eons of time, you wouldn’t be cool.”
“How about ‘daddy-o’?”
“Stop. Just stop.”
“Fine. Way to harsh my mellow. Just tell me the plan.”
“I got the idea when it pooped on the school. We can’t hurt the monster on the outside. The army couldn’t hurt it with bombs. So we need to get INSIDE. Where he keeps all his squishy and vulnerable organs and such.”
“How did him pooping on the school give you that idea?”
“Well, we can’t go in through the mouth. All those teeth? No thanks. We need to get inside through safer way...”
“... without teeth...”
“...and the best way has got to be...”
“...don’t say it...”
“...right up his...”
“...seriously, don’t say it...”
“.. Boom-Boom Chute.”
“You use the phrase ‘BOOM-BOOM CHUTE’ seriously, and you think saying ‘HEPCAT’ means I’ll never be cool?”
“Well, hepcat, I think you just lost the right to have an opinion on anything I say. Ever.”
Here we are, the Bigger part of Bigger Bads . These rules combine Farness, Threats, and a bunch of new stuff together into a single city-annihilating package. This is because, when you start messing with things that can use radio towers as toothpicks, a standard statblock loses its usefulness. Multi-story tall baddies end up less an enemy, and more a location . Crawling around inside Combine-R's machinery is more like navigating a skyscraper than fighting a baddie. Mind, it's a skyscraper that constantly changes shape and is full of high explosives and sawblades and electricity and then the mecha-scarecrows show up and suddenly it's a full on session just to make it to his knee. So, how do we handle rules for Bigness? With a Bigness Rating:
Bigness 1 (Normal Size)
Me, you, Scruffy (the Dog and the Janitor, Monkey Aliens from planet K, Clowns, Ms. Spidnik, etc. This is where most stuff Kids deal with falls.
x1 Speed/x1Range/x1 Mass
Bigness 2 (Big)
Elephants, Bulldozers, T-Rex, the Alien Queen, Giant Ants, and the Iron Monger from the first Iron Man. Big enough to go “Wow that's big!” but not shockingly so.
x2 Speed/x2 Range/x10 Mass
Bigness 3 (Bigger)
Blue Whales, King-Kong, the Gundam, and most horrible sea-monsters. Things in this category are generally bigger than your house, but still don't tower over multistory buildings. This is about as big as you can get without seriously having to break the laws of physics.
x4 Speed/ x5 Range/ x100 Mass
Ultraman, Mazinger Z, the American Godzilla from the terrible flick with Matthew Broderick, Cthulhu. This is the level where you either need some good technobabble or black magic to explain away being this big. Biggest things generally stand taller than your typical multistory office building, but could still hide in Manhattan if they crouch down.
x8 Speed/x10 Range/x1,000 Mass
Bigness 5 (Biggerest)
Godzilla, the SDF Macross, Jormungandr the World Serpent, Your Mom. These are the big ones. The Super-Monsters. These guys range from being able to eyeball the Empire State Building observation deck to being the size of a small city with legs.
x8 Speed/ x10 Range/ x10,000 Mass
Now, how do we actually use the Bigness Rating? By calculating the Bigness Differential or BigDiff . This is the difference between two monsters Bigness Ratings. The BigDiff doesn't matter when two monsters of the same scale are tangoing, because Scale really doesn't matter when everyone is in the same weight-class. According to the BigDiff:
The Smaller Character
Gains Wicked Fast equal to BigDiff on all Hit Locations
Gains Awesome equal to BigDiff on all Hit Locations when attacking or Defending against the bigger character
Gains Awesome equal to BigDiff when using small size to do, and I quote, “tricky things”.
Gains Tough to all Hit Locations equal to BigDiff
Gains Gnarly to all Hit Locations equal to BigDiff
Attacks to smaller characters get Splash equal to BigDiff
Can move the BigDiff in additional Farness each round.
What about a monster so huge it’s more like scenery than an arch-enemy? If the BigDiff is 3 or more, instead of running it like a fight between the whole giant monster and the smaller characters, everyone can jump onto one of the big character’s locations and stage a scene there—a fight, a chase, whatever. The location where the smaller characters are riding is treated like a Threat with dice, qualities, and Extras as normal, and with additional dice equal to twice the BigDiff. It’s then handled in play just like a Threat, while the real action goes down on the scale of the characters atop it. Getting swallowed sometimes works this way, and you can stage scenes inside the big critter’s innards.
Roughly this means that it's easier to hit bigger things, and dodge their attacks, but big things are a lot harder to hurt, and if they do hit you, it hurts a hell of a lot more. This means smaller guys are going to need more guerrilla tactics, overwhelming numbers, and sneaky tricks to take out something bigger than them, while the big-guy has to rely on smashing stuff real good.
And I'll Form The Left Arm!
Time for rules for GIANT ROBOTS . Giant Robots work just like Monsters, with hit locations, Powers, Extras, etc. The difference comes if you're piloting or otherwise controlling a giant robot. In that case, if an action isn't covered by the Giant Robot's powers, you roll either the dice pool of whatever relevant Hit Location is doing the action, or a pre-determined Stat+Skill roll, whichever is lower.
He pilots his remote mech with his Hands + GameBox Epic Win dice pool of 8d; but if he fires up the Tele-A.P.E.’s 6d weapons pod to spray a room full of shoo-spiders with high-velocity narcotic paintballs, he’d only roll six dice because that’s the weapons pod’s total dice pool and it’s lower than his own dice pool. (“These controls suck!”)
Relationships are just straight added to the dice-pool, and work normally.
If you want a robot to be a combiner, then each component robot becomes a Hit Location on the gestalt Bigger one, and the combined robot must be one or two Bigness ranks larger than the components. You use the largest dice-pool in a component mech for that Hit Location, and each individual player rolls the dice that their Hit Location uses.
Next Time: Weirdness
Weirdness: Why Are You So Strange?Original SA post
Weirdness: Why Are You So Strange?
Your friends have cool monsters and they have crazy adventures and stuff. What do you have Other than the symbiotic infection with superhuman Mi-Cells which lets you jump over cars, and shoot atomic fire from your mouth? Other than that? Yeah, nuthin. Being a Weird Kid sucks.
Who are these... Weird Kids? They're normal kids, just... with something extra. They have to deal with homework, and bullies, and grades, and crushes, just like every other kid. But, they also have to deal with the alien fungus slowly replacing their biology, the fact that they're half space monkey and are expected to carry on the family legacy of destroying all humans, that after that car accident their crazy uncle replaced most of their body with high tech prosthesis and now they have a fusion reactor for a stomach. Weird kids are torn between the normal, and the very very ab-normal.
Weird Kids are the second type of character you can play in MaOTC, besides a Monster Kid. Weird Kids have the same strengths and weaknesses as Monster Kids, with their resistance to Monster damage, and their ability to cause Monster style damage Obviously, Weird Kids don't get Monsters, both because they'd be way overpowered in-game, and because it'd give them too much spotlight hogging ability. Instead, they have Weird Skills .
Weird Skills are a Monster Power that works like a Skill. You use assigned dice in a pool to buy Qualities and Extras, just like a Monster Power, but it works like a Skill. It must be tied into one of your attributes, and when it's rolled, the dice pool is Stat+Weird Skill. Simple enough, right? You get 7 Weird Dice to put into your Weird Skills. The first Quality is free, just like Monster Powers. The catch is, you can't get more Weird Dice by getting XP. Instead, you gotta pay a totally different price.
See, Weird Skills always have a Power Source . This is the source of your Weird Skills. Your Space Monkey ancestry, Mad Science bodyparts, the alien fungus, a book of magic spells, etc. These Power Sources come part and parcel with the thing that defines a Weird Kid. Weird Relationships .
See, when you make your Weird Kid, he has to have at least 1d in a Weird Relationship. That is, a relationship tied to his Power Source in some way. You can have up to 3d in a Weird Relationship at creation, and for every die you have in your Weird Relationships total, you get a Weird Skill die too. That's how you increase your Weird Skill die, with Weird Relationship die. Weird Relationships otherwise work like normal ones, except you can only add their die to Weird rolls. Groo the Elder God isn't gonna help you with your homework, though your Dark Pact may help with clobbering Squiglor the Abominator. The catch is how you get more Weird Relationship die.
You get them by torpedoing your Normal Relationships. Every time you permanently lose a die in a Normal Relationship, you get a die to put into your Weird ones. So, buy Normal Relationship Die with XP, Shock it down until you start losing Die, get tons of Weird Relationship Die, profit! So, why on earth make it so damned complicated, when it's just a roundabout way of getting XP to Weird Die. Well, I'll let the man tell you himself:
This really weird kid keeps making friends... and leaving them all terrified and mentally unstable in order to get more powerful. Does that kid sound like a nice kid? Like a hero? Ha! He’s probably got a big chair with buttons on the armrest and a white cat to stroke while laughing maniacally and plotting to take over the world.
Tank every normal relationship you have, and pretty soon you get a reputation as some sort of manipulative psycho, or at least a total freak. Plus, who says that Groo the Elder God is on your side? Just cause you get your powers from him doesn't mean he isn't manipulating you into bringing about the end of the world. People with just Weird Relationships don't end up with healthy mental states, and the book flat out tells the GM to fuck with people who try to do that power-gaming type shit. You can do it, but you won't get away scott-free.
Mind, that isn't the only downside to getting tons and tons of Weird Die. I mean, you could carefully balance growing your Weird Relationships and your Normal ones, then what's the downside to Weird Skills?
Easy, you're a goddamn freak of nature . Yeah, probably didn't realize that did you? Well, it's kinda hard to hide the fact that you have scales instead of skin, and don't even think about the extra pair of arms or the tail. The difficulty of someone to notice how much of a horrible mutant you are is 10 minus the number of Weird Skill Die you have. So, the Weirder you are, the more likely someone is to notice you. If that person is someone you have a Relationship with, and they don't know about it already, the Relationship takes a Shock equal to the Width of their roll to notice your weirdness. When you try and patch it up, then you have a Difficulty equal to your Weird Skill dice on your Quality Time rolls. And also every single social roll you make with that person . Yeah, even just talking to someone who knows your a weirdy is harder. It gets even worse if you finagle having over 10 die. Then the other guy gets a bonus to noticing you for every dice over 10 you have, and you get a penalty the same number for trying to patch things up. Fact is, once you have over 10 Weird Skill die, you're barely human anymore and better just drop out of polite society before someone finds the torches and pitchforks. This sucks Space Monkey-Nuts, and that's just the mechanical penalties! Don't forget the mobs, MIBs, U.S. Army, Mad Scientists, aliens, evil Wizards, and all the other sundry villains who're gonna come gunning for your head once your secret gets out. Plus, you'll never get a date with Tod Hansen now.
So, it's generally smart to take only a few Weird Skill Die at a time. This is just fine! Any of your 7 starter die/ die from Weird Relationships you have, you don't have to use them . If you don't want to assign them to a power... don't! They're there forever, and you can add them to a Weird Skill whenever you want! This is great for good ol' Dramatic Power-Up moments, to save the day and thrash the bad guy! Heck, if your “coming out” is heroic enough, maybe people won't immediately turn you over to the government for dissection!
Now, obviously Weird Kids are going to have wildly different power-levels than Monsters, so generally you should either be ready for some number-fudging if you're running a mixed game, or have just a Weird Kid party. This isn't exactly hard, especially as there's no shortage of possibilities. Want to make a Harry Potter-esque Magic School game? How about a Percy Jackson style Scions of the Gods thing? Gunnerkrigg Court? X-Mex? Teen Titans? Hell, make Spider-Man if you want! Weird Kids got a lot more flexibility for settings than Monster Kids. I mean, how many stories can you think of with ensemble casts wielding super-human abilities?
Okay, now, that wraps up all the new Rules the book adds! The rest of the book is the Monster Manual-esque section, which takes up nearly half the 100 page book, and a new Super-Hero/Japanese Giant Monster themed Campaign Jumpstart.
As such, this being the halfway point of the book, I'd like my faithful readers to tell me what you think so far, either of the book or the entire Monsters and Other Childish Things line so far! Hell, half the fun of this is seeing other peoples reactions to the stuff in the book, so please chime in! For those of you more interested in World Building and Lore, stay tuned! The rest of the book is chock full of it!
Next Time: Agonizing Antagonists Part 1
Agonizing AntagonistsOriginal SA post
Agonizing Antagonists Part 1
That's right! It's the Monster Manual section! This takes up a good half the book, and is absolutely packed to the brim with content, so it's gonna take a while, and there will be tons of images and quotations within, to ensure maximum transmission of awesomeness. Let's begin!
Your (Hot) New Stepmom (From California)
“Now, I want you to know, I’m not trying to take your real mom’s place, or boss you around, but... we just need to see a few little changes on your part, to make thinks a bit smoother, ok? First, we need to move your room to the basement, so your Father and I can have a yoga room facing the Eastern Sun. Also, you’re a vegetarian now.”
A hippy homewrecker. The divorce was bad enough, but now your Dad had to get a new wife to go with his sports-car and hair-plugs. Now you're on an all vegan diet, and don't think you can cheat because she can smell ground beef at 50 yards. Your room has been totally rearranged to accomadate “Positive chi flow”. The house is full of wildflowers and sunshine and you're almost out of allergy medicine. The worst thing is she's just so invested . She's taken over your life, and because she's half your dads age and a hell of a lot curvier than you real mom, he's not going to say a thing. You pray for school lunches. But she always packs.
Now, not much of a “Bigger Bad” yes? I mean, come on! An annoying parent? Why do you need a book to help you make that! I mean, it's not like
Your (hot) new stepmom (from California) is indeed hot and from California, but she’s also living under an assumed name while fleeing a federal rap for engaging in “herbal civil disobedience” to the tune of seven tons of primo Humbolt County skunky bud.
Oh. OH. Yeah, turns out your new mom used to be a dealer for a Mexican Cartel. She either turned informant or just ran, but either way some guy named Big Jefe has a straight razor with her (real) name on it. So, kick her to the curb right? Sure! Except, she really does love your old man. And she also genuinely cares for you. So, chances are, you're gonna end up in a Monster/Cartel war on your front yard. This added life experience also makes her savvier than most adults, and she's a lot more likely to notice her new child’s more suspicious activities, particularly if those activities like to eat the neighborhood pets.
Agent C. Occupant
“I’m deep cover, kid. Strictly black bag wetwork and recon, assassination, and counterespionage. I’m the one who cut the deal with Saddam against Iran, and then suckered him when we invaded. What? Iran? It’s in the Middle East. You ever read a newspaper? Jeez, kids today. Anyhow, how about a couple of bucks so I can get loaded... er... get something hot to eat?”
He's the guy your parents told you to stay away from cause he's got diseases. He lives in an abandoned construction yard, tells rambling nonsensical stories about being some sort of secret agent working for the government, hits people up for booze money, and thinks that the Centaurian lizard-men are going to invade from the sewers, which is why he refuses to use toilets.
The thing is, it's all true. Well, except for the whole toilet lizard invasion. That's cause it's actually monkey -men. He really is a Top Level Secret Agent of... someone. He doesn't remember who. His brains been scrambled, rewired, mindwiped, brainwashed, microwaved, and concussed so bad he's lucky to remember what species he is. The fact he drinks Old Man Sapp's Hand Blended Sippin' Whiskey by the gallon doesn't help matters.
But when the fog clears, he’s heck on two legs, and could scissorkick James Bourne in the face while judo-chopping Jason Bond into unconsciousness.
Agent C. Occupant takes his name from a piece of mail he found in his pocket, and is constantly on the search for who this “Current Occupant” fellow is. Normally he's a harmless hobo, unless you know his sordid secret, and can convince him that you're in an “Operation” and could use his support. Do that, and he's on your side and willing to do just about anything. This is a combination of ingrained loyalty brain-programming, and a soft spot for kids. The problem is if he gets the idea that you're an enemy, cause then you're boned. He'll pursue your destruction with single-minded and government trained efficiency. Somewhere he learned how to hurt Monsters, so even your big angry buddy could get his tail whupped by Occupant.
“Are you like going out with somebody else? You’re always like
sneaking away and like doing stuff with somebody. Who is it?”
You did it. Despite aliens and mad scientists and black magicians and extradimensional horrors and the fact that your best friend is a six-foot leech with a british accent, you got a Gir/Boyfriend! Yes, you lucky dog you, get to enter the hallowed halls of “A Couple”! You get to hang out with the “cool” kids, have a convenient reason to go to the movies, get invited to real parties, don't have to worry about prom, and best of all sometimes there's makeouts! I mean, what's the downside? Well... they aren't going to be so thrilled about the whole “Dissapearing for long periods of time”, i.e. having adventures. And they aren't too thrilled about your old friends, I mean theirs are so much cooler, don't you want to be cool and not embarrass them by hanging out with the freaks and losers? Plus, Monsters are a jealous breed, and they might not take kindly to you spending all your time with someone who isn't them.
But still, not an issue, right? I mean, she's mildy annoying at worst, I mean really, how bad could having a Clueless S.O. Be? Well, if they find out about your Monster/Weird Powers, congrats! They're either a raving lunatic or go full on Van Helsing and start learning how to fillet Space Leech. So, y'know... don't let her know about the supernatural if you know what's good for ya.
Sidekick the Eager Hostage
“Oh no! Captured AGAIN!”
He's a walking danger magnet. He's the guy the baddies take hostage, or use as hero-bait, or booby trap, or pick as their human sacrifice, or is used as a guinea pig for the mutagen, or...
Sidekick is a younger kid, one or more grade categories below the party, who tags along with the group. He calls everyone with supernatural powers/ Monsters “Sir”, regardless of gender, and generally worships the ground you walk on. Conventional wisdom dictates that he's an annoying little twerp, except then it'd be easy to ditch him. The problem is he's just so very very helpful . He always remembers to bring batteries for the flashlights, a pen and paper for taking notes, donuts for long stakeouts, a bike when you need a quick getaway.
Sidekick is basically a greed-trap. He makes the PCs lives more convenient, but in exchange constantly drags them into trouble by being a constant victim. He adds complications to complications, and it's damn hard to tell the little guy to bug off, even if it's for his own good.
Ever had a bad day? Not an actually bad day, I mean, nobody died, you didn't lose your job, you didn't get in a car crash, you didn't get robbed, but a bad day . You wake up just late enough that you don't get your morning coffee, then you have to sit next to a guy with way too much B.O. on the bus cause you left your lights on and now your car battery is dead, then your boss gives you just enough work that you have to take a short lunch, then the printer doesn't work, then the A.C. breaks and it's like 400 degrees and you're sweating like a pig, then the bus home breaks down and you get home an hour late and you missed your favorite T.V. Show, and you burn dinner, and then your home A.C. won't turn on so you have to suffer through a long hot night and it was just the worse day . Everything went wrong, everybody was annoying and short tempered, every bit of bad luck you could think of happened, it just was a terrible day.
If so, thank the Grumps. The Grumps are a monster who come from a realm of cold rain and lumpy cream of wheat. The escape to our world because the only thing that makes a Grump grumpier than being a Grump, is seeing people not being grumpy. They don't exactly enjoy making us miserable, as a Grump never enjoys anything, but they do feel a type of satisfaction from ruining a day. Kinda like the accomplishment that comes from taking a really big poo.
They're natively invisible and incredibly hard to detect. They use their invisibility and Grump-Aura to ruin peoples day. They're not evil , not really, just total jerkwads. They do every petty and annoying thing they can think of to make you miserable. They'll steal your keys, wee on your floor, unplug your electronics, crash your computer, hide your socks, make fart noises at inappropriate times, mess with the A.C., and generally be a total nightmare.
When you can see them, they take the form of swarm of tiny old men, smoking horrific cigarettes than cloak them in a thick grey fog. One of the Grumps in a swarm has a heart, to share among the swarm, that gives them the ability to feel sorrow and regret for their victims, and will make pleas for mercy and compassion if they are found out. These are complete lies of course, Grumps are still all jerks, only this on specific jerk makes you feel bad about squishing them so he's a super -jerk.
Colonel Brodie Block
“I CAN’T BELIEVE WHAT I’M SEEING! NINE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS IN STATE-OF-THE-ART MILITARY KABOOM, AND YOU LET A BUNCH OF KIDS KICK YOUR KIESTERS? YOU MAGGOTS MAKE ME SICK! NOW GET YOUR SORRY BUTTS BACK IN THOSE GIANT ROBOTS AND BRING HOME THE WIN, OR SO HELP ME YOU’LL BE GUARDING PENGUINS AT ICE STATION ZERO BEFORE THE DAY IS DONE!”
Colonel Brodie Block is the head of BOOK, the U.S. Government's answer to the supernatural. A veteran of the Secret War and Nixon's infamous Plutonian “Police Action”. He's an infamous hardcase, a tall, strapping man in his mid-50s with a grey crew-cut and a lot of scars. Colonel Block is brutal, uncompromising, and communicates only by YELLING ALL THE TIME.
Project BOOK liaises occasionally with the MIBs (“BUNCH OF PASTY MEATPUPPETS!”), and has more than a few Mad Science Teachers in BLUE BOOK (“GOT TO KEEP AN
EYE ON THE CRACKPOTS IF YOU WANT TO STAY THE SAME SHAPE ONE DAY TO THE NEXT!”), and even some Wannabe Wizards in RED BOOK (“ROBE-WEARING WEIRDOES SMELL LIKE HIPPIES!”). Of all BOOK’s divisions, Block likes BLACK BOOK the best, because BLACK BOOK is his elite fighting force of giant robots and stomping A.P.E. armor. “GET OUT THERE AND BLAST THAT THING A NEW WOW-WOW HOLE, YOU BUNCH OF MOMMA’S WET CANDY KNICKERS!”
Block gets called in when the supernatural gets too public for the MIBs to handle. The modus operandi is to roll into town in a convoy of 18 wheelers and humvees, bully the local authorities into submission, set up a central command post (Preferable somewhere the players don't want it to be) and starts a slow evacuation of the town due to a “chemical spill”. In actuallity this is an excuse to run everyone through Etheric Trace Locators and empty the place out for MIB and BOOK squads to look for spooky stuff.
If nothing is found within 72 hours Block packs up, moves on, and skins somebody alive for wasting his precious time and even more precious American tax dollars. If not, well...
“ROBOTS! NO BETTER WAY TO DEAL WITH MONSTERS THAN WITH ROBOTS! GIANT ONES!”
He unleashes the full force of BOOK on the hostile (or misunderstoon) beasties, which of course, means tons and tons of GIANT ROBOTS. On the plus side, Block isn't an inherent villain. See, he'll gladly recruit the players into a top-secret Monster Fighting Task Force for the purposes of whomping things when GIANT ROBOTS didn't work. He doesn't care about age at all, and BOOK's chief science officer is a nine year old girl named Becky Archer. This also means he doesn't give kids a break, and will gladly give them a solid steel robo-punting before locking them away in a BOOK affiliated Universities basement, due to recent budget cuts making secret mountain bases an impossibility.
“HOW DO THOSE STINKING BUREAUCRATS EXPECT ME TO PROTECT THIS COUNTRY WITHOUT SECRET BASES UNDER MOUNTAINS?”
Block also has a prototype Thunderbolt 20 I.T.C.H.I. A.P.E. for his personal use.
Next time: More Agonizing Antagonists!
More Agonizing AntagonistsOriginal SA post
More Agonizing Antagonists
Yep, even more! From here on things start getting pretty silly! We also have our first Weird Kid Power-Source, sample Weird Kid powers scattered through the book. Fun!
Monkey Aliens From Planet K
“You have unmasked us! But you will not win—not while we control the power of MECHA Mi-Go’Jirra!”
When the Monkey Aliens found out that the star of the distant Planet K was dying, the loaded up into the Moonship, packed all their space-CDs and murder-bots, and set off for a distant world. A world rich in resources, orbiting a young star, and full of useful and interesting paranatural space-event vortices (Monsters). It's just too bad that it's full of weird bald people, and the air is just too clean . So, it's time for some renovations. First step: Kill All Humans.
The Monkey Aliens journeyed from Planet K via D-MAT Portal, a one way one shot teleporter carried to Earth via rocket probe. Through this they sent the best of the best Space Monkey Infiltrators. They have been trained in all aspects of human culture. They have super-advanced technology. They possess the ability to hide among us by looking just like a human. How can we ever stop these perfect infiltrators? How shall we ever find them!?
Well, look for the chain smoking guy in a leisure suit. Yeah, turns out all the Monkey Aliens cultural knowledge was gathered back in the 1970s, so they wear jumpsuits, have bad pomps and bowlcuts, and just love their giant sideburns. Their slang is out of date, they don't know what's on TV nowadays, and they generally just missed everything after Disco died. Plus, they need to maintain the worst personal habits to survive. See, Planet K is a horribly polluted hellhole, and Earth is too clean and healthy to live in. So, they need to smoke three packs a day, eat nothing but fast food and processed cholesterol, and sleep in dirt taken from nuclear test-sites and glow-in-the-dark clock factories for that healthy radiation. Plus, they can't hide their evil attitudes. Monkey Aliens sneer and insult and act like giant nasty jerks all the time.
"If you see a glowering guy dressed for disco stuffing his face with a Big Barn Double Cheesy, an Amish-Sized Spud Sack, and a Great Chug-a-Lug while smoking and laughing mockingly as he reads a copy of Green Lifestyle, you might have found yourself a Monkey Alien from Planet K. Or just a regular, fashion-challenged human jerkwad."
Their method of operation is to sneak into human society, particularly the corporate world where total mercilessness and easy access to laser cannons make for quick advancement. They then try and “prepare” humanity for invasion by promoting environment destroying policies to make the planet more comfortable for the Monkey Alien invasion. The Monkey Alien's most dangerous technology is their bio-mechanization, which allows them to make a robotic duplicate of anything they can get a tissue sample from. Due to this, they love to grab tissue samples from giant monsters, make a giant remote-control robot version, then send it off to soften up humanity with disintegrator beams and warp-missiles.
Non-lore wise they're a giant homage to all the evil aliens in the 60s and 70s Godzilla movies that would dispatch some giant monster to smash humanity into submission. The Monkey Aliens also make a good Invasion of the Saucer Men style plot, but overall they are very very silly.
Playing a Monkey Alien
One curious outcome of the Monkey Aliens long-term invasion plan is that they've started to have little Monkey Aliens. These Monkey Aliens grow up among normal humanity, and are filled with their races hatred of all things Earthly. Except, they don't really see why . They've never seen Planet K, or listen to Space Monkey music, or eaten authentic Space Monkey food. They've never breathed the polluted air of Planet K while looking up from a branch of their Home Tree toward the Dark Star and really feel the hate . They end up acting more surly and midly cruel, more a schoolyard bully than a cackling villain. If some Earth kids could make friends with such a Monkey Alien, then maybe they'd realize that Earth really is rather nice just the way it is...
Playing a Monkey Alien just means you have some pre-determined Stat and Relationships to make you appropriately Space Monkey-ish. It's a nice way to play something different from a normal Kid, especially when combined with:
Weird Kid Power Source: Monkey Alien Tech
These are scattered throughout the book, and are pretty much sample templates for making a Weird Kid, in this case a Monkey Alien kid.
Most Monkey Alien tech is disguised as normal (for Monkey Aliens) clothing items, and will disintegrate into dust if a filthy hu-mon attempts to use it. This means that only Monkey Kids can be use the tech, generally stolen or wheedled away from their Parents. What Mr. and Mrs. Monkey Alien will think when little Ooklor isn't disintegrating his classmates may be a problem.
The first suggested thing is an all-Location Immunity to “Ick”, representing a Monkey Aliens ability to breathe poisonous smog while rolling around in toxic waste and raw sewage and feel only mildly sticky. The others are more specific:
Multiples Super Suit
A shiny grey jumpsuit that can change to look like any item of clothes. It provides super-strength and some body armor, for the Monkey on the go.
: A clunky retro-LCD watch that is actually a miniature computer. Better than an iPhone, though not as cool looking.
Giant gold rimmed sunglasses shamelessly stolen from Jumpsuit-Era Elvis. They shades allow you to convince people that you are the coolest dude in history, cause social damage by making them feel horrible about not being as cool as you, and short circuiting their brains to freeze them solid in case they still think you aren't cool.
A pair of High-Top Chuck Taylor sneakers with tiny concealed rocket thrusters in the sole. Good for flying, or giving a rocket-powered boot to the dangly parts.
Fly Eye for The Monkey Guy
The less-social variant of the Basilisk Shades, these are thick coke-bottle nerd glasses that can deploy tiny laser-armed fly-bots to scout out stuff for the Monkey. Also can pick up satellite TV.
Robotic ticks the size of the family dog. I mean a real dog, like a Labrador, or a Husky, not some little Chihuahua or something. They're pretty big. Anyway, they're used by the Monkey Aliens to control giant monsters. They crawl on the things, drill into their skin, and pump them full of mind-control chemicals and neural shocks so they Monkey Aliens can drive them like giant city-destroying RC cars. If you try and climb up on the monster to smash 'em, they come out looking for a fight. There's hundreds of them, and while they don't have weapons they do have drills designed to penetrate skin that regularly bounces off Sidewinders, so imagine what it'd do to you. They aren't much of a threat though, as their built in combat programming is dumb as a rock. The biggest problem is when Gargantua tries to scratch where you're standing.
Thunderbolt 10 A.P.E.(a.k.a. The Thundermonkey)
“This is Goodall to Monkeyhouse, Goodall to Monkeyhouse... enemy engaged, Monkeyhouse. Repeat: enemy engaged. And... well, Monkeyhouse, let’s just say they’re the ones flinging the poo this time. And it is on fire.”
Designed by kid genius Becky Archer to act as Project BOOK's anti-monster muscle, the Thundermonkey looks like a 15 foot tall steel gorilla covered in high-powered weaponry. They are only deployed in critical emergencies, as they cost as much as a fleet of private jets just to transport. A Thundermonkey is more than capable of going toe-to-tentacle with any monster solo, and BOOK likes to have at least a half-dozen on any Op where Monster-Fighting may occur.
These one-man tanks do have some... flaws. Big ones.
"Because of the cost-cutting measures, layoffs, outsourcing, and overuse of off-the-shelf technology to get the A.P.E. completed under contract and under budget (so the managers of Gnukill Enterprises could have their annual meeting in Aruba), the machine is... quirky, almost like it has a mind of its own. It has more known bugs and needs more patches than Windows Vista Special Beta Edition. It’s a finicky machine to say the least."
The end result is something like a Ghetto-AI, with programming so shoddy it loops right around to near-sentience. Every A.P.E. has their own “personality”, which evolves at a rapid pace. This engenders them to their pilots, and every Black BOOK ace pilot takes pains to customize and care for their A.P.E. like it was their best friend... or Monster. The A.P.E's personality is determined by a random roll every month of game-time to illustrate their developing personality, with such possibilites as an A.P.E with an interest in turning tins of corned-beef into lovely home decorations by painting them with images from old romance movies.The end result is that you can use an A.P.E like a pseudo-Monster, for Kids who want a giant robot-buddy instead of a monster one.
There is also a single Thunderbolt 20 I.T.C.H.I. A.P.E. Reserved for use by Colonel Block. The I.T.C.H.I. Has all the same powers as the Thunderbolt 10, but in a smaller package. The result is something less like a walking tank, and more like Iron-Man style power-armor.
Not going into detail here, it's Bugnutz from the core-book, but restatted to use the Bigness rules. Not much to say.
Killdozer: The Dozer That... KIILLLLLLLLLLLLS
”Built from steel salvaged from WWII Nazi submarines, haunted by the ghosts of the workers who died in a tragic factory fire, and then brought to life in a freak cosmic event as Earth passed through the tail of an especially inauspicious comet. Or something. “
Yes, YOUR DREAMS. He is literally a giant bulldozer who can Freddie Kruger himself into your subconscious. Just instead of twisting your fantasies into nightmares, he smashes stuff. Cause, y'know, he's a bulldozer.
Agents of INC
“Don’t worry. With my trusty Neo-Energizer, this beasty won’t be much of a threat!”
Trained in the arts of Neo-Ninjitsu, wielding the mighty size-altering Neo-Engergizer, they are the champions of Neoscience, doers of right and good, fighters of evil monsters, they are... the Inflatable Ninja Corp! Well, at least that's what everyone else calls them.
Invented by kindly super genius Dr. Ro Gobi, the Neo-Energizer allows a normal human to grow to be several dozed feet tall, able to fight rampaging Giant Monsters on their own scale. The Agents are all straight shooters, idealistic young men and women who set out to make the world a better place by whomping evil in the face. This can be a bit of a problem for Monster Kids, as they have a very black and white view of the world, meaning they're going to take some convincing to not just step on Mr. Squiggles.
They're obviously a fusion of Ultraman and the Power Rangers, and that gives you an idea of how to play them. I mean, imagine of those goobers from Angel Grove acted like that in the real world! Their annoyingly whitebread perfect heads would just explode.
So, You Have Decided To Purchase A New INC Neo-Energizer
Show players a gadget that can make them bigger than their house, and they'll be bugging you to get one, so they gave some rules for the things. They work pretty simple, you hold up the Neo-Energizer (it's a baton the size of a flashlight), shout “GO!” and poof! They're giant! For a bit.
When you have a Neo-Energizer, for every hour it charges (Solar power baby! Gotta be green!) you add 1 “Energy Dice” to a pool, up to 10. When you activate the Neo-Energizer you roll the Energy Pool. If you don't get any sets, it didn't work. If you [i]did[i], you get Bigness equal to the Width of the set, and it lasts for the Height in rounds/minutes.
Mind, there are other ways to get big, but they're not as convenient. BOOK has developed two methods of its own to try and phase out the buggy A.P.E. system, but have had some issues. The first is the Dimensional Engine system. By using a contained black-hole, they can make a soldier equipped with a specially designed exo-skeleton 2 Bigness categories bigger as long as the D-Engine is running. The problem is that it takes up the trailer of an 18 wheeler, needs to stay a within a few hundred feet, and drains the power of an average size nuclear reactor.
Another path is the failed Macroclone Biogenically Intensified Grunt, or MacBIG. This is basically a giant-sized clone of you, but with a cockpit instead of a brain. You climb up their noses, jack your brain into their skull-cockpit, and you control them like your own body. The project got axed due to being crazy expensive, causing sypathetic damage to the pilots (MacBIG gets hurt, so do you), and just being nasty. Plus, the test pilots got sick of being called Booger Troopers.
The last way is the Mystical Ritual of Ascendancy, which turns you into a mystically-powered giant! The downside is that you can't get un-Giant, so you'll need to buy some really big pants.
Weird Kid Power Source: Neoscience
Lets play a junior Agent of INC! Or just somebody who mugged an INC Agent and stole their stuff. Obviously all INC agents get a Neo-Energizer, though some have been exposed to an experimental process that lets them get big without one.
It's fancy karate stuff. Punch, Kick, it's all in the mind!
The aforementioned inherent growability. No time limit, but it takes 6d (one for each Hit Location) per-Bigness level you want to reach.
Neo-Fiber Fighting Suit
A super-tough and stylish spandex ensemble made for Monster fighting.
A multi-wave communicator built into your skull. It can broadcast, or intercept, communications on any wavelength you can imagine. Useful for calling Mom, and for phone-tapping.
Really really really hard punch. May explode.
Next Time: Even More Agonizing Antagonists