31 July 2019

The Button

"Don't press the button," the scientist screamed, "or we'll get..."
"Don't press the button," the scientist screamed, "or we'll get..."
"Don't press the button," the scientist screamed, "or we'll get..."
"Don't press the button," the scientist screamed, "or we'll get..."
"Don't press the button," the scientist screamed, "or we'll get..."

28 July 2019

Encounter Critical Resources

Encounter Critical is a science fantasy role-playing game designed by Hank Riley and Jim Ireland from Racine, Wisconsin and published in early 1978 by Battle Star Games. When first published, Encounter Critical was unusual for its realistic approach, both for setting and game mechanics. Combat system derived from deep research and actual experience, and the rules were firmly based on the principles of true scientific realism. At the same time it combined two popular settings - fantasy and science fiction - into a single game, allowing the player to choose from multiple character races including Hobling, Frankenstein or Klengon, and from six unique character classes such as Doxy or Psi Witch.
... Except not really.

Encounter Critical began as a hoax by S. John Ross of the Cumberland Games & Diversions, posted on-line as a scan of old booklet he "found". It is an affectionate parody of 70s style indie RPGs, a gonzo, funny, slightly insane and surprisingly playable game once you get used to the rules. Mr. Ross later revealed the joke and released the game for free, also gathering quite some fan following in the process.

Unfortunately, the official web page is long gone from the face of the Internet and many fan-made resources are also rather hard to find nowadays. Below I've gathered what could be scavenged from the depths of the Internet Archive, for your enjoyment:

In addition, there is a wiki that covers at least the basics of the game, the Lexicon of Vanth that expands on the setting and background information, a very nice automated character generator, a blog ring of various fan blogs, the Phasic Archives that focus on gathering art appropriate for Encounter Critical, and several issues of Phasic Fanzine.

27 July 2019

IVAN: New Dungeons

Here is a sneak peak on what I'm currently working on for IVAN.

(Click on the pictures to enlarge them.)
If you ever survived to the late game with a purse
full of gold and nothing to spend it on, this new area
should be a godsend for you. Black Market will have enough
goods to stump and shopaholic, at very (un)reasonable prices.

The old king is dead, long live the very young king.
You will be able to explore the royal castle of Aslona and
take up a quest to save the kingdom from a civil war.

You may try to talk to the emissary of Aslona, who is
already present in the current version of the game
in the grand hall of the Cathedral of Attnam.

21 July 2019

Special Senses

Alternate and enhanced senses can add interesting, non-numeric bonuses to the PCs, or a little flavour to an alien or monster. Add these to your mutation table.
Superhuman and Inhuman Senses
  1. Accelerated perception: All your senses work at inhuman speed. You need not necessarily react at the same speed, but you have much more time to observe and study your surroundings.
  2. Air-reading: You can sense the movements of air, feeling the layout of nearby area and any movement within.
  3. All-around vision: You have a 360° field of vision, and thus cannot be flanked or sneaked upon.
  4. Aquatic senses: Your sense are not dulled in the least by being underwater.
  5. Aura reading: You can see auras of creatures and recognize their virtues, vices, sins and overall morality.
  6. Chemoreception: You can taste the chemical composition of any substance.
  7. Chi reading: You can sense the flow of life energies, highlighting injuries, diseases, or powerful individuals. Undead look like black silhouettes.
  8. Clairaudience: You can recognize a single whispering voice in a shouting crowd.
  9. Clairolfactance: You can smell exceptionally well, recognizing individual scents and flawlessly tracking by smell.
  10. Clairvoyance: You can "throw" your sight to nearby vantage points or around corners.
  11. Compass sense: You can always tell the cardinal directions.
  12. Danger sense: You are always aware of danger and thus cannot be surprised.
  13. Darkvision: You can see normally in negligible amounts of light, but not in total darkness. You are blinded by any strong light (including direct sunlight), though.
  14. Deathsense: You can sense nearby injured, dying, dead and undead creatures.
  15. Echolocation: You can map surroundings through reflected sounds.
  16. Electroception: You can sense electric fields, including bioelectricity in living bodies. Works especially well in water.
  17. Empathy: You can accurately tell the emotions of others.
  18. Enhanced touch: You can feel the tiniest bumps, ripples or cracks. You could read by the impressions left by a pen, or find imperfections invisible to the eye.
  19. ESP: You can sense nearby thoughts.
  20. Far sight: You can see over great distances with telescopic precision.
  21. Foresight: You can see your immediate future. This replaces all your other senses – you can no longer taste food, but already know how it will taste. Consequently your senses cannot be restricted except by blocking your precognition, in which case you loose all your senses.
  22. Haptic sight: You can "touch" anything you look at.
  23. Heightened hearing: You can hear infra- and ultrasonic frequencies.
  24. Hydroception: You can sense the precise location of all nearby water in all its forms – rivers and puddles, vapour and fog, sweat and blood.
  25. Infravision: You can see heat signatures in the infrared spectrum. With 50% chance, you loose a random other sight.
  26. Magnetic sight: You loose normal sight, but can see magnetic waves. Metal dust offers a ghostly illumination, but solid metal will flare with unbearable brightness.
  27. Microscopic sight: You can magnify your sight to microscopic levels.
  28. Nightvision: You can see normally in negligible amounts of light, but not in total darkness. You only see in black and white, though.
  29. Pheromone scent: You can smell and understand the pheromones given off by both humans and animals.
  30. Radiation sense: You can detect the presence, amount and sources of radiation.
  31. Radio hearing: You can hear radio waves.
  32. Second sight: You can see ghosts, spirits and invisible creatures.
  33. Sixth sense: You can recognize secrets, hidden things and lies.
  34. Sylvan sight: Plants do not block your sight. You can see right through undergrowth as if through a green-tinted glass.
  35. Temporal cognition: You can detect temporal disturbances and fluctuations, time-displaced objects, fixed points in time or time loops.
  36. Tremorsense: You can sense the layout of a nearby area and any movement upon and within the earth through vibrations of the ground.
  37. True sight: You can see disguised creatures and doppelgangers in their true form, and ignore illusions.
  38. Ultravision: You can see in the ultraviolet spectrum. With 50% chance, you loose a random other sight.
  39. Wizard vision: You can see enchantments, curses and ley lines as glowing outlines, and recognize spellcasters at sight.
  40. X-ray vision: You can see in the x-ray spectrum, penetrating most materials with your sight. With 50% chance, you loose a random other sight.

Clairaudience, from Heroes

10 July 2019

Critical Mutations!

What you all need right now is a bit of TRUE SCIENTIFIC REALISM in the form of a d100 mutations table for Encounter Critical. The table is of course applicable to any other RPG, as long as it contains such wonderful skills like Consume Alien Food or Machine Friend.