Sunday, February 28, 2021

Giant Robots for the Vampires of the Gothic Frontier

Escaflowne: The Movie (2000) dir. Kazuki Akane

Whitehack 3e just dropped and it has all kinds of goodies to take advantage of for my futuristic gothic western campaign. One of the main things I want to get sorted is the titular Dragoon. These are terrible creations of the vampiric Nobles. Giant, bio-organic suits of armor powered by a mixture of occult magicks and inhuman sciences. They were lost long ago but around the time my campaign is taking place, they are slowly being unearthed and brought out of the murky depths of legend and myth.

Being made by the occult science of the Nobles, it would only make sense that these things are gnarly. Their armor is scales of bone and thick scabbed skin, their sensors are organic clusters of eyes or tongues that flick and taste the air, and their minds are full of sin and rage. To pilot one is to be pierced by organic tubes and feeders that latch onto your veins, bones, and mind. Rather than think of them as mere vehicles you pilot, they are better thought of as beasts fused with tier pilot and 'ridden' into battle.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Rider with a Mask - A Toku Troika Background

Katsuya Terada's take on Kamen Rider

My Vampires & Dragoons campaign has been pushed back until after we get our hands on Whitehack's newest edition. In the meantime, I've been watching a lot of old Showa-era tokusatsu like Kamen Rider Black and Choushinsei Flashman. I figured it would be a fun opportunity to make some Troika backgrounds for them since The Tragedy That Begot Ternwillow opened my third eye to weird giant monster and mecha goodness with the game.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Heroic Characters in Whitehack

Atey Ghailan

After reading Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells, I'm coming away with lots of neat ideas for my games. There's a particularly neat bit on heroic* characters that can tackle obstacles that would normally take a full party of players. It's pretty minimal and is less work than applying something like Scarlet Heroes with its Fray dice and unique damage table. Perfect to steal and adapt for Whitehack!

*Heroic here has nothing to do with morals or inclinations; capability and potency are the focus!

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Vampires & Dragoons - Gothic Western Wastes in Whitehack

Yoshitaka Amano
With perfect timing, Whitehack 3e will be coming out right as I start a new Whitehack 2e game with my players! We just wrapped up our previous Whitehack campaign after almost a year and a half, but we're already itching for some more.

I've recently watched some favorites of mine: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000) dir. Yoshiaki Kawajiri and Escaflowne: The Movie (2000) dir. Kazuki Akane. Both films have been swirling in my mind. Ancient technology, strange and powerful species, apocalyptic wastes, and gothic goodness. That sounds like a good excuse for a new campaign! The following is what I pitched to my players before we threw together a session 0:


The distant future...

The dwindling shadow of the Vampires and their terrible Dragoons still lingers...

With huge bounties on their head, a class of hunters has emerged. Bounty Hunters.

In a far-future, post-nuclear waste we wander. A world, once terrified by the blood-sucking Nobles, ancient demons, mutants, and their terrible creations: the Dragoons, that is only now returning to a semblance of human control--thanks in part to the decadence and hubris of Nobles, the stubbornness of humanity, and the rise of mercenary hunters-for-hire.

But as the shadow of the past fades, new troubles stir. Haughty warlords and despotic tyrants seek to claim power and dominion over their fellow humans in a world that has only now tasted freedom. Nobles still rule the night and cling to the past by any means available, from unholy pacts to technology best left forgotten. The Dragoons, those fell suits of Dragon Armor born of Sin, towering bio-weapons all, are being unearthed after their merciful slumber.

Indeed, only time will tell if the world can finally emerge into the light, or if it falls into dark forevermore.


> Pulp genres of inspiration: westerns, sci-fi, horror, high fantasy, folklore, and occult science.


> Imagine `Castlevania` + `Fist of the North Star` + `A Fistfull of Dollars` illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano and Ayami Kojima.


> Rob parasitic nobles, overthrow tyranny, delve unholy temples, use freaky past tech and unholy magic, hunt undead horrors, make posses to ride with, and carve out your legend or die trying.

I see this as a great opportunity to play to Whitehack's strengths and expose my players to genres and art they might not have known about. Also, I can't really think of a better time to get together to stick it to corrupt and inhuman leeches at the top of a struggling society.

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000) dir. Yoshiaki Kawajiri

Whitehack has a very broad framework for character creation. Nearly anything goes. The following are just some of the ideas I had scribbled down to give my players a creative push during our session 0.

Basic Classes

  • The Strong
  • The Deft
  • The Wise

Rare Classes

  • The Brave
  • The Fortunate
  • The Species-as-Class
    • Dhampir
    • Cyborg
    • Revenant

Sample Vocation Groups

  • Revolutionary
  • Highwayman
  • Merchant
  • Raod Warrior
  • Sheriff's Deputy
  • Hunter-for-Hire
  • Vampire Hunter
  • Exorcist
  • Grave Robber
  • Rancher
  • Scavenger
  • Surgeon
  • Horse Mechanic
  • Old World Scholar
  • Shadow Templar [RARE]

Species Groups

  • Humans
  • Dhampir [RARE]
  • Cyborg [RARE]
  • Revenant [RARE]
  • Night Creature [RARE]

We also wanted to try 'Affiliation Groups as Social Class Attunement'. Not unlike using groups like 'Lawful' or 'Good' for moral attunements in more traditional campaigns, we talked about using them to represent your class loyalties.

We have:

  • The Nobility. Why would you side with their cold ilk? They care for you not.
  • The High Class. Seekers of opportunity in these fresh vacuums of power. They aspire for what they shall never have.
  • The 'Deadbeats'. The masses. The most powerful as the others are powerless without them.
Characters without such groups are simply more ambiguous and complex in their loyalties.

Whitehack really thrives with Groups. They are a potent way to just fully open the setting up to players and everyone at the table (Referee included) can be surprised by the emergent creativity. It's one of my favorite parts of the system.

Escaflowne: The Movie (2000) dir. Kazuki Akane

At the end of our session 0, we ended up with a neat group of characters and a quirky place where our adventures will start.

We have a con man on the run from his past deeds, a mutant rancher, a vampire hunter with potent contraband, and a gentleman thief who dabbles in the occult. 

I look forward to coming up with some more ideas for the various bio-weapons and weird occult nonsense that we'll stumble across. The lasers with fly, the gun blades will sing, and the dead will rise in these unholy wastes. For now, we kick off with our first session next week!

It is the year 12,090 A.D. The world has all but ended, ravaged in a firestorm of mankind's wars and madness. But from the wreckage a few humans manage to survive. A few humans... and something else.

Welcome to the Frontier. A post-apocalyptic wasteland inhabited by humans, mutants, demons and various other strange creatures. 

Our story begins in the town of Sandridge, a small ranch town in the Eastern Sector of the Frontier established a couple hundred years ago. It's not far from New Moses, the closest seat of the relatively young Revolutionary Government. It's at least close enough to have some of the Frontier Defense Force parade around and act like heroes.

It's a quiet place. The weather controllers still work and the augmented fields still deliver plenty of crops. But some nasty trouble is brewing and those who came here for an escape are in for a rude awakening!

Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2000) dir. Yoshiaki Kawajiri