Thursday, March 31, 2016

Campaign Gnats; Or, How I Ended Up Ordering a Copy of Mystic China

Anyone else get these? You're going about your life, perhaps running or playing in a game (or both, as it so happens at the moment), perfectly content. And then something sparks a small flame in the back rooms of your brain, the fire spreads to engulf everything, and before you know it you're buying a copy of Mystic China...

This is how it went for me in the aforementioned-case:

Monday, 8:32 PM: Hears a snippet of Zamfir's "The Lonely Shepherd" and thinks of Kill Bill.

Tuesday, 10:45 AM: Listens to Kill Bill, Volume I soundtrack.

Tuesday, 12:50 PM: Walks to co-op to get lunch, thinks about how Kill Bill is the best Ninjas & Superspies movie ever made.

Tuesday, 4:40 PM: Thinks about how Mystic China was a pretty cool book, and I never really gave it a fair crack because it came out right around the time I was moving away from playing Palladium games.

Wednesday, 2:30 PM: Listens to Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).

Wednesday, 4:14 PM: Starts thinking about the possibilities of a Mystic China game set in 1970s-era Hong Kong.

Wednesday, 11:32 PM: Orders a copy of Mystic China.

Of course, all this ignores the fact that (a) I have no desire to run the Palladium system as-is; (b) I'm not terribly interested in trying to do any system conversions at the moment; most importantly, (c) I'm currently happily preparing to launch an Achtung! Cthulhu campaign this weekend and really have no time, interest, or energy to put towards something else.

Ah well. Mystic China will provide a few evenings of enjoyable reading, if nothing else. And perhaps one day...

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

[NPC] Timothy Cratchit, Steam Lord of Britain (Castle Falkenstein)

Image via Ghost Train Games

The Man in an Iron Suit

Athletics [PR/GRT]*, Connections [EXC], Courage [GD], Exchequer [EXT], Fisticuffs [PR], Marksmanship [GD], Physique [PR/EXC]*, Tinkering [GRT]

*The first rating is when out of his steam-powered suit, the second rating for when he's strapped in.

As President of Scrooge & Cratchit Amalgamated, Timothy Cratchit is one of the most powerful men in Britain, ranked among the informal capitalist cabal called "the Steam Lords" - men who exert their wealth and influence from behind the scenes in order to all but govern their homeland and its vast imperial domains.

Cratchit is a direct beneficiary of the industrial might of his many holdings, for, with legs stunted and atrophied, a back twisted and weak, he usually goes about in a great iron suit he ironically calls "Tiny". The suit gives him the ability to walk, run, and even leap great distances, and helps him breathe comfortably. Without his suit, he is weak and feeble; with it, he is the physical match for any man on Earth.

What most folks don't know is that when he was but a little crippled boy, Cratchit (known affectionately in those days as "Tiny Tim") was taken in by his father's employer, a Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge. A notorious miser most of his life, Scrooge seems to have experienced a change of heart in his twilight years, and elevated his clerk, Bob Cratchit, to full partner in his money-lending firm. Cratchit's savvy acumen expanded the business into a variety of fields, most notably the burgeoning industry of steam-tech.

When Bob Cratchit died a mere two years after Scrooge, his son Timothy, whom Scrooge had taken under his wing as a sort of protege, became the majority shareholder in the company and undertook a ruthless program of expansion and consolidation, one that elevated him to the rank of Steam Lord.

Now entering his middle years, Cratchit is as generous and kind to his immediate family, including his "Uncle Fred" (Scrooge's nephew), as he is ruthless and cutthroat to everyone else. He is not one to cross.
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