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Weird

Date: Tue, 6 Dec 1994 05:35:24 -0700 (MST)


From: Ron Lundeen <Ron.Lundeen@m.cc.utah.edu>
Subject: WEIRD
To: Torg mailing list <masterbook@gojira.monsta.com>
X-Bmw: Black Marble Wombat Version 5.2.1

WEIRD
The Paranormal Reality

Weird (as in "illusion") is a reality very similar to present day


Core Earth; in fact, the residents think and act and live just as any
residents of our Earth. The history and technology are identical.
However, there are things lurking in Weird that science cannot
explain: ghosts, vampires, will o' wisps, and other creatures of the
night stalk the living and go about their (frequently) evil business
unnoticed by the general population. Perhaps your co-worker is a witch
in a coven by night; maybe that person you carpool with turns into a
monster under the light of the moon.
There are things occuring in Weird that man is not meant to see.
For this reason, there exists a psychological membrane called the Veil.
The Veil keeps the frightful, unnatural things of Weird hidden. No one
really believes in ghost, or witches, or vampires. But they exist,
lurking just out of sight beyond the Veil.
The Veil protects these unnatural creatures by masquerading their
presence. Humans will rarely acknowledge a confrontation with the
supernatural; this is the work of the Veil. If by chance you catch a
glimpse of a vampire flying high in the sky, you'll convice yourself it's
just a large bird. If you glimpse a corpse-light out of the corner of
your eye, it's just a reflection off of something. If a werewolf were to
go berserk in a local mall and run away, the authorities would chalk it
up to "mass hallucination." The papers would declare that a "madmam" was
loose, and that by all witnesses he was "big, and pretty hairy." But a
werewolf? Of course not; werewolves don't exist.
In Weird, the PCs will brush up against the supernatural, and only
they will believe it. They are unlikely to get help from local police or
media, who wouldn't believe that gargoyles are coming to life at night,
or that a dead toymaker's creations are relentless murderers. The PCs
will be facing the Unnaturals on their own. Weird is a world drawn from the
White Wolf _World of Darkness_ setting, with a bit of Palladium's _Beyond
the Supernatural_ and _X-Files_ thrown in. Weird is a world only
slightly darker than our own, but darker nonetheless.

AXIOMS:

Tech 23, Spiritual 9, Social 21

In these three repects, Weird is identical to Core Earth, and has


identical axioms. As far as these three axioms are concerned, treat
Weird as you would Core Earth.

Magic 11

This is the Magic axiom at which the "Unnaturals" are possible - ghosts,
werewolves, spectres, etc. Primitive, lengthy magical rites form the
basis of witch and warlock covens, and these rituals have power. Magical
items can exist, usually as talismans of warding or protection created by
covens. Magical "spells" can be codified, including Divination,
Apportation, rough Alteration, and meager Conjuration, but are not
particularly reliable. Curses, which are magical in nature, will have
some sort of effect.

WORLD LAWS

Law Of The Veil

This World Law defines a border between humans and Unnaturals, and makes
that boundary difficult to peer through. Paranormal creatures and events
will not be discovered, even under casual observance, in most
situations. People will simply refuse to believe they have just
witnessed a paranormal event, unless the evidence is overwhelming. There
is always some sort of explanation handy that will (just about) explain
things away. People simply refuse to believe.
The Law of the Veil states that all intelligent creatures in Weird
will be Folk (that is, normal human), or Entity (all Unnaturals).
The Law of the Veil also separates the Unnaturals from one another.
It is unlikely that any Unnatural will have knowledge of any other
Unnatural (possibly even themselves; Joe Smith may wonder why, after the
night of every full moon, he wakes up exhausted with a horrible taste in
his mouth, but he doesn't question it too deeply). A werewolf could work
alongside a doppleganger, and neither would suspect the other of being
inhuman. This aspect of the Law of the Veil is a boon to humans; it
keeps the Unnaturals of the world (of which there are a surprising
number) from working with each other to gain power and spread evil. Only
in rare cases, such as a witches' or a vampires' coven, or a circle of
mages, will Unnaturals work together.

Law of Curses

When a curse is uttered in Weird, it is likely to have immediate


effects. A bag lady could curse a rich man who rebukes her to lose every
penny he has, or a vampire might curse a human to shun the light of day.
Frequently these curses will have an effect, though it is shielded by the
Law of the Veil; if a computer whiz is cursed to "have all machines shun
his touch," then he'll run into a string of bad luck with computer
viruses and power surges. Nothing supernatural will be acknowledged.
Curses can be difficult to adjudicate in game terms. To throw a
curse, a character must generate a Spirit total against an attribute or
value of the target decided by the GM. A rich man cursed to poverty
would defend with his Business skill, perhaps, and a fighter cursed to
weakness would defend with his Strength. If no applicable attribute or
skill can be determined, the victim defends with his Spirit attribute.
The following modifiers apply to the bonus number of all curses thrown
(most of these are aquired from TSR's Ravenloft supplement, Oaths of Evil):
Curse is Highly Justified (in the eyes of the curse thrower) +1
Curse is Justified (in the eyes of the curse thrower) +0
Curse is Unjustifed (even in the eyes of the curse thrower) -1
Curse thrower is emotionally charged +1
Curse thrower is of Gypsy blood +3
Curse thrower is a woman +1
Curse thrower is a man -1
A Human is cursing an Unnatural +1
An Unnatural is cursing a Human -3
Curse is highly dramatic (and often rhymes, or is poetic) +2
Curse mentions game mechanics -6
Curse includes broad prohibitions ("never fight," "revile
the light of the sun," "lose all loved ones," etc. A
curse should hamper, not restict, to be more punishing) -3
Curse is not tailored to the victim for the situation -3
Curse does not include an escape clause -3
Curse is uttered as the curse-thrower dies +6
These modifiers should be judged by the game master, to encourage
curses that are hampering, but interesting to play. A wealthy character
who refuses to pay a pittance to a bag lady may be "cursed to gain not a
penny until he gives freely to a needy child." The severity of the curse
will depend on the success level achieved. In most cases, a curse will
have little or no game mechanic effects, but should instead be roleplayed.

Law of Confrontations

The Law of Confrontations simply means that Possibility-rated people


(specifically, the Storm Knights) will come into contact with the
supernatural more often than ordinary people. They will also have
greater cause to believe in the supernatural occurence, although those
around them may not. This World Law is simply a story device to explain
why, whenever the characters adventure in Weird, they encounter the
supernatural or Unnatural creatures.

USING WEIRD

Being so similar to Core Earth, it is possible to place Weird as a


pocket dimension of Core Earth. The most powerful Unnatural in Weird is
the Vampire Lord Karras Bloodmoon. Lord Karras is actually familiar with
many dozens of Unnaturals, from ghosts to werecreatures, and is
recognized by most Unnaturals as a superior. This is perhaps due to the
large obsidian pentacle he wears on a chain around his neck (if you wish
to make Lord Karras a High Lord, then this pentacle is Kobarec, his
Darkness Device).
The Law of the Veil extends even to the boundaries of the realm.
The storms around Weird are almost nonexistent, and the mealstrom bridges
are nearly invisible (actually, masked by the Law of the Veil). Weird is
as secretive an invader as Nippon Tech, and could have encompassed large
areas of land before its presence is discovered by the Storm Knights.

WEIRD TEMPLATES

It is possible to play either humans or Unnaturals from Weird. An


Unnatural will usually have an Advantage and a Drawback. Often these are
specified by the type of Unnatural, and all are usually drawn from the
Orrorsh sourcebook. Some examples are:
Werewolf: Advantage - Resistance to Normal Weapons (wolf form only)
Drawback - Severse Weakness to Silver (wolf form only)
Vampire: Advantage - Elemental Alteration (mist)
Drawback - Stymie Condition (daylight hours)
Fairy: Advantage - Animal Control (specify a forest animal)
Drawback - Severe Weakness to Iron
Note that NPC Unnaturals, like Horrors, may have many Advantages and
few or no Drawbacks. PC Unnaturals must take one of each. In addition,
if the PC Unnatural is a shapeshifter of some sort, he must take the
Shapeshifting skill from the Orrorsh sourcebook, and abide by the
restrictions specified there. (Other Orrorsh-specific skills, such as
Occult, Swami, and True Sight, do not exist in Weird, and no Unnatural
has a Fear Rating or True Death or Perserverance).
Three templates are printed below, to pass along the feel of Weird
characters.
TOYMAKER
Dex 9, Str 8, Tou 8, Per 11, Min 10, Cha 10, Spi 10
Tag Skill: Scholar (Toymaking)
Equipment: 9mm Luger (dmg 15, Tech 20, 3-10/25/40), Leather Apron (TOU+1),
various tools and toy parts, $20.
Background: You are well past your prime at 71. Your father came to
America from Germany, determined to give his family a new life. You
learned how to be a toymaker from him, as he learned from your
grandfather. You delight in creating simple mechanical toys, like
puppets and dolls and clockwork soldiers. These mass-produced plastic
toys like "Transformers" just don't have the personality toys did when
you were younger. Occasionally you've found your toys tend to. . .get
away from you, and you can always attribute the problem later to a faulty
spring or loose fitting. But sometimes it seems your toys full of
"personality" acquire a personality of their own. . .
Personality: You are a soft-spoken old man who tends to get nostalgic
about the "old days." But you can be serious and down-to-earth when
necessary. You love children, and delight in giving them little gifts.
Quote: "Now, back when Roosevelt was President. . ."

COMPUTING PARAPSYCHOLOGIST
Dex 10, Str 8, Tou 9, Per 10, Min 10, Cha 11, Spi 9
Tag Skill: Computer Science
Equipment: Laptop Computer, Pocketknife (STR+2/16), various books on
spirit lore and ghosts, lots of Life Savers.
Background: You were always a whiz in school, especially around
computers, and you're doing well as a college sophomore. But you're
convinced that there's more "out there" than meets the eye. you've gone
out of you way to study up on unexplained phenomena. You want to be like
Egon in Ghostbusters, if you can find the ghosts to face.
Personality: You are young and friendly. You get along pretty well with
everybody. You do tend to get overexcited, and moody when things don't
turn out how you want, but you have an unquenchable zest for life.
Quote: "I'll go in first."

CURSED GARGOYLE
Dex 11, Str 12, Tou 13, Per 8, Min 7, Cha 7, Spi 8
Tag Skill: Flight (but see below)
Natural Tools: Claws (STR+3/15) Hide (TOU+3/16) Wings (speed value
9, but see below)
Advantage: Attack Form Resistance, Firearms/Explosives
Drawback: You are heavy (Weight value 14, roughly 1400 lbs) and big
(about 7'6" tall) with large wings. This reduces your mobility a great
deal (can't fit in most cars, will fall through weak floors, etc.)
Background: You were just a stone gargoyle atop a downtown building
until a few years ago. You're not sure how you came to life; one day,
you just did. You would soar above the city at night, loving the freedom
of flying. You hid from the "humans," who kind of frighten you despite
their small size. You accidentally killed one a few weeks after coming
"alive," and she swore you'd never fly again until you killed one of your
own kind. The curse was powerful; since that day you've been completely
unable to fly, and been forced to hide in alleys and dumpsters. Humans
are starting to frighten you less, and you feel you might be able to
befriend some of them, but what you'd do then you're not sure.
Personality: You are a lot like a child, have been "alive" only a few
years. You are self-conscious of your appearance and your size, and
avoid large crowds of people. You'd love to be able to fly again, but
you've never met another gargoyle, and you're not sure if you would want
to kill another (who might be the only one in the world to understand
you) to be able to fly again. You figure you'll cross that moral dilemma
when it comes up. You're kind of big, and kind of dumb, but until you
can find a friend, you're all that you've got.
Quote: "I not gonna hurt you."

Let me know what y'all think!

Ron

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# It ought to be easy, ought to be simple enough #
# Man meets a woman and they fall in love #
# But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough #
# And you've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above. #
# - Bruce Springsteen, "Tunnel of Love" #
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