Thursday, May 31, 2012

Building a Scenario Using Sandy Petersen's Lazy Man's Guide (Part II)

Part I
Part III

Sandy Says
"Step Four - Finalize the Plot
(He jumps right into describing his own "plot," so I'm not going to replicate it here).

My Notes
Step 4
A little over a month ago, International Antarctic Research Station (InARS) finished drilling through a large ice-wall over what they believed to be a massive cave system.  Inside, they found a large well made of polished basalt and topped with a heavy stone lid.  The well has about a 50’ radius, and the lid was far too heavy to be moved by muscle power.  It also was covered with strange glyphs that none of the researchers recognized (the language of the Yithians). 

They sent out a request for an Anthropologist to come in the next research rotation.  In the meantime, they assigned the geologist, who was used to using 3d imaging software to predict where to drill in the Antarctic ice, the task of turning the photographs they had taken of the well into a flat image, and making the glyphs more clearly visible.  Doing so opened his mind to the influence of the Great Race.  While not actually possessed, he was driven mad and compelled to stop them from opening the well – which contains a Flying Polyp – at any cost. 

He initially did only small things, such as sabotaging equipment or deleting files, but once the research team settled on opening it with a large crane, he took drastic action.  He used dynamite to blow up the crane while they were lifting the seal, killing four of the twelve researchers outright and trapping two more in the well itself.  Those two were quickly slain by the polyp.

Overcome with fear, the geologist returned to the basecamp and slew the five remaining researchers and technicians.  Fully mad at this point, he contemplated suicide but the Yithians knew by probing his mind that a relief team would show up within the week and have compelled him to stay alive so that he can sabotage any of their efforts.  He has already cut out several of the systems powering various experiments.  He hopes that taking the time to get these back online will delay them long enough to keep them from going to the well.  This is the situation when the PCs arrive.

The polyp gives off low levels of a cosmic radiation, one that will eventually poison the whole station if the well isn’t sealed permanently or blown to bits or something.  This will take a while to do.  The most immediate evidence of this is the decline in the quality of radio transitions which happened at almost the exact same time they found the well.  It’s been getting worse ever since, with an immense spike around the time well was broken in the explosion.  However, the most immediate threat the polyp poses is that it might wake up.  Starting on the first night after the PCs arrive, there is a 20% chance that the polyp will awaken.  Each night thereafter, the chance increases by 5%. This continues every night thereafter until the creature either awakens or is sealed. 

You'll notice I established what happened before the investigators arrived and added a little timeline at the end.  This is not a plot so much as a setup and that's the way I like it.  Unfortunately the cosmic radiation thing - which I described as an odd tone that came over all of their radio equipment and even their Geiger counter - made them not want to go to the site.  That was a mistake on my part.

Sandy Says
"Step Five - Create the Characters

Work out personalities and "trademark" features for the main villains and good guys. In our case we have five villains, and we may as well as work out the basics for all five of them. Naming characters can be a pain. I have three techniques for getting character names for my adventures.

1) I use names of childhood friends that my players won't know.

2) I get them out of a phone book opened at random. (Only good for locals.)

3) I get them from a movie filmed in the character's nation of origin." 

My Notes
Step 5
Dennis Bullock is the geologist turned madman.  He is under the influence of Yithians, but not directly possessed by them.  His psychosis manifests as an intensely strong, even murderous desire, to keep people from releasing the flying polyp – though he is not quite sure what is even in the well.  He murdered his comrades with his hands and improvised weapons.  As such, he bears a number of scars that could easily be mistaken as the result of defending himself.  He’ll attempt to play this up and claim it was one of the researchers who died when he blew up the crane that committed the murders.  However, he isn’t a very good liar, especially given his mental state.

Graham Stark is the leader of the relief team. He’s a geologist also, but his main concern will be finding out what’s inside the well.  He’s a likeable enough fellow, but he’s a bit over-serious at times.

Fred Williams is one of the other researchers.  He’s a biologist who specializes in a type of primitive cypress tree that once inhabited Australia and Antarctica.  He’s a nice guy, but he doesn’t get a lot of pop culture references.

Mary Miller is a geologist.  He is practical and tight liped.

West Andrews is a biologist.  Kinda spacy.  Oldish.

Omar Bradley is a biologist.  Grumpy, but has a good work ethic.  Prone to making jokes about other people in a rather assholish way.

Gene Turner is a helicopter pilot.  He is gruff but loveable.  Loves a good drink.

Dead researchers: Jeff Krempa (Team Leader)X, Stan Hower (Technician)X, Amy Milne (Geologist)X, Wayne Morris (Geologist)X, Robert Cunningham (Doctor)X, Patrick Lamb (Biologist)X, Eric Lutz (Technician)X

The Xs mean that I've placed their body somewhere in the facility or at the dig site.  You'll notice a lot of these are very skimpy, mostly because I made up a lot of them about five seconds before the game started.  At first I was a bit worried about the number of NPCs that the group was carting around with them because I was having difficulty manifesting their personalities; however later in the session some of the NPCs started to mutiny against the fact that the PCs were making decisions locked in other rooms so that nobody who might be possessed could hear, and that was pretty cool.  HÜTH joined late and took over West Andrews, who had not really been defined at that point.

Oh, I used method 1 more or less, but I slightly changed the names.  Most of them were taken from people I went to High School with or college professors I've had.

Only one more step to go, and tomorrow has maps!  I also hope to have a write up from a player's prospective before this is all over.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Building a Scenario Using Sandy Petersen's Lazy Man's Guide (Part I)

Last Saturday I ran Call of Cthulhu.  I really like CoC, but the time I've spent running it pales in comparison to the time I've spent running D&D (3.x and OS) and WFRP (2e).  Part of this is due to the fact that my long running group had multiple people in it who despise CoC.  Still, I like it a lot and it's my wife's absolute favorite game.*  However, my lack of comparative experience makes me extremely nervous every time I'm going to run Cthulhu.

The scenarios I've made that I thought worked the best I made using Sandy Petersen's Lazy Man's Guide to Constructing a Call of Cthulhu Adventure.  While I'm not claiming that any Cthulhu material I've ever produced has been particularly excellent, I thought I'd give a step by step process of how I constructed my last scenario - if only because I'm probably not going to do anything else with the notes.

Today I want to deal with Steps 1-3, which are the shortest steps in my notes.  I'll post what Sandy says to do for each, followed by what I wrote, followed by my commentary if I have any.  

There are three notes I need to make before I start.  First, this was a modern scenario.  I tend not to run my Cthulhu games in the 1920s.  I started my Cthulhu experience with the d20 version, which has surprisingly good mythos and adventure design sections even if you don't like d20 and provides information for running scenarios from 1900 - the present, breaking each decade down and discussing the adventure possibilities it possesses.  Second, I wrote these entries in order and did not go back to revise them after I contradicted them later on in the document.  When I started my notes I thought things would work one way, then as I wrote them I changed it, and during play they were even further refined.  This is how I work at all times in all places.  Third, I have omitted the part where Sandy provides his own examples.  It might be silly for me to write an article providing examples when he already provides his own example, but I actually played mine and can provide some feedback based on that.

Sandy Says
"Step One - The Situation
First, figure out an interesting situation that would be fun to get the players involved with. The easiest way to do this is to pick out a scene, or even an entire plotline, from a film or story you like. Don't worry if it's well-known - by the time we're done, your players won't recognize it. Any film or story will do - whether good or bad."

My Notes
Step 1: Researchers at an Alaskan research station discover an alien well containing a horrid entity from beyond time (a flying polyp?).  It proceeds to kill the shit outta them.

I knew I wanted to set a game in the Antarctic because I love John Carpenter's The Thing, but I didn't want to rip off the premise as much as that one X-Files episode did.  Whenever I design a CoC scenario the first thing I do is flip through my copy of the Malleus Monstrorum until I find a monster I like and then build a scenario around it.  Flipping through I saw that Flying Polyps live in giant stone wells, and I thought that would be a pretty cool thing to find in the ass end of nowhere.

Sandy Says
"Step Two - The Plot

Look at your basic situation and try to see how it can be developed into a story. What is the bad guy trying to do? Are there other important characters? If the plot unfolded without player-character interference, what would happen? To help do this, you can use some simple steps.

Substep Two/A - Who are Available as Victims?
Most Call of Cthulhu investigations have a moderate-to-high death rate. Frankly, you need to provide bystanders, villains, or allies to be killed in the stead of the player-characters.

Substep Two/B - How are the Players Going to Get Involved?

Obviously necessary, but often non-trivial.

Substep Two/C - How can the Plot be Prolonged?

Many possible adventures are not suitable for Call of Cthulhu because they wouldn't last long enough for a good game. More importantly, we need to have excuses to delay the villain's plot to give the player-characters time to figure out what is going on and thwart it.

Substep Two/D - Why Don't the Authorities Intervene?

This is not a problem in every adventure. Often, in fact, the authorities CAN'T intervene because the bad guys haven't done an obvious crime, or because the (the authorities) are hunting the good guys, or because it would be pointless."

My Notes
Step 2

Step 2 A: The players aren’t the only researchers at the station, and the other twenty or so provide plenty of opportunities for victims.

Step 2 B: The players are members of a research team that is supposed to relieve the previous team of duty.  Unfortunately when they arrive the other team is (mostly) already dead.

Step 2 C: Possessed/insane member of first research team trying to delay/kill the PCs, horrid weather conditions, and the desires of the research team could all work to prolong the plot.

Step 2 D: The authorities can’t intervene because of arctic storms.  Even if they did show up, the storm would prevent them from coming in any kind of force.

First, I hate the use of the word "plot" here, but I don't think that hinders the original articles usefulness as a guide.  The "possessed/insane member of the first research team" ended up being the crux of the session that I actually ran, which looking back is sort of ironic since it was originally intended to simply keep the characters busy if I needed more time.  The arctic storms got changed to high gusts of wind in play so that I could establish it as being more unnatural.  "The sky is clear, but there is this heavy wind that carries a strange tone on it."  That sort of thing.

Sandy Says
"Step Three - The Wow Finish

Every scenario should have a great climax."

My Notes
Step 3: The creature escapes from its ancient prison to destroy the entire instillation.  If the PCs haven’t figured out a way to stop it (likely dynamite), it kills them.

I actually put in a way I thought the PCs could stop it!  That's rare for me.  99.9% of the time I come up with a problem and let the PCs come up with a reasonable solution.  I think that a DM (or Keeper or whatever) coming up with their own solution can turn into what RPGnet forum-cant calls "pixel bitching."  Regardless of the source, the phenomenon is bad.

That's all for steps 1-3.  In the next post I'll deal with steps 4 and 5, and then I'll do a post dealing with step 6 (including maps!) and finally I hope to have a write up from one of my players showing their perspective on the whole deal.

*I've mentioned in numerous places that I'm more of a horror fan than a fantasy one, and my wife is the same way.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Whatever are Runes?

Runes in the World of Nightwick are not like the runic alphabets of our world.  While they possess a superficial resemblance, being angular letters often found on stones or weapons of great power, they are not nearly as regularized or coherent as those found on Earth.  Indeed, what makes the Runes of the World of Nightwick special is that they are meaningless to any other than the one who carved them.

With the exception of alchemy,* all the magical arts practiced by mankind require runes.  The incantations used by magic users to let the demons and spirits lesser men call "spells" into their brains are written exclusively in runes, as are the scrolls that are used to instantaneously invoke these same spirits.  Even the magical circles used in summoning creatures or warding off evils require runes.  In each case, the runes can only be understood by the scribe who understands them as though they were written in the common tongue.

Those few smiths who are able to imbue mundane items with magical properties have noted that runes seem to appear on these items without being carved by human hands.  It is said that when a sword, or indeed any item of power, becomes magical it names itself.  Several legends exist of weapons that glow with a strange, fairy light after being thrust into the gullet of some horrid monster.  Thereafter the sword forever bore strange letters on its blade.

The spell Read Magic is able to decipher runes for the caster, making them appear to the caster as they would for the one who wrote them.  This is often useful in the identification of magical items, since many are legendary enough that their most basic abilities are well known; however, these items may also have secret powers that have been obscured by the mists of legendry.  There exist sages who know the truth about such items and can reveal powers that Read Magic may not, assuming such powers exist.

Not all runes are visible to the naked eye.  Skilled magicians are able to obscure their magical writing, making spell books appear blank and weapons appear crude and dull.  Especially devious wizards have been known to make their Runes appear as mundane, obscuring their true topic.  At the same time, magical weapons and armor who gained sentience and power through mighty deeds rather than wizardry sometimes hide their runes as well.  Such weapons are usually diabolic in nature, but this is not universally true.

Pagans say that it was one of the Old Gods that first gifted the ability to understand runes to men.  Which Old God is responsible depends on the speaker, and some scholars have concluded that different Old Gods revealed the same art to different peoples at different times.  The Church of Law teaches that all of the runes contained in the mind of a single human are but a single letter in the Alphabet of Law.  The Alphabet of Law is said to be an ur-language that is only dimly reflected in the divine and diabolic languages of Enochian and Crowleyan.  No human could ever hope to fully understand a language that even angels have forgotten.

*And even the art of alchemy occasionally requires the use of runes, and it is not unheard of for alchemist to label their tinctures and toxins with runes in order to obscure their function for any would-be thieves.  This is only done by the most absent minded or amateur of alchemists.  One of the first things a proper alchemist learns is how to do is recognize potions based on color and aroma alone lest he swallow something untoward.  For such experts, labels - even runic ones - are needless.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Froglings for Advanced Campaigns Part II: Vital Statistics

St. Toad during his more venerable years

Froglings are comparatively short-lived.  While a few live as old as the oldest humans, most only live to their early-to-mid 60s.  Unlike humans, they reach maturity much faster and are usually fully fit adults by age 15.  Despite this early physical maturity, Froglings tend to be brave and brash due to their lack of experience.

Frogling Characters age as described below.

Age 14 + 1d6
Age Categories: (A) 12 - 14; (Ad) 15 - 30; (M) 31 - 45; (E) 46 - 60; (V) 61 - 75

To determine the height and weight of a frogling character, roll 1d6.  On a roll of a 1-3, the modifier is subtracted from the base height weight.  On a 4-6, the modifier is added to the base height or weight.  Roll separately for both height and weight.

Base HeightHeight ModifierBase WeightWeight Modifier
Frogling Male4’ 0”1d61001d20
Frogling Female3’ 10”1d6801d20

This information is meant to be used in conjunction with either the frogling class presented here or the AEC style frogling race presented here.  A document combining both the frogling race write up and this material - as well as a few changes suggested by readers to make it more compatible with AD&D and OSRIC - may be found here or in the Documents sidebar to the right.

Froglings for Advanced Campaigns

A (Rare) Frogling Cleric

Requirements: DEX 9
Ability Modifiers: DEX +1, CHA -1
Ability Min/Max: STR 3/18, DEX 12/19, CON 8/18, INT 3/18, WIS 3/18, CHA 3/17

Froglings are frogs that walk and speak in the manner of men.  They are short, only about 4' in height on average, and range between thin and stout.  Froglings make their home in a distant, marshy country known as Hoppland; however, they are found throughout the World of Nightwick as brewers, merchants, and adventurers.  Their skin ranges between slick and bumpy, and is usually a dull green or brown - though more exotic colors and patterns are not unheard of.  They favor flamboyant clothing and jewelry in garish colors.

Like Dwarves, Froglings cannot use large or two-handed weapons but may use any other weapon or armor as indicated by class.

Froglings can leap 30 feet horizontally or 15 feet vertically.  Since their body is built to withstand leaps of this  sort, they ignore the first thirty feet of falling damage, treating a fall of 40 feet as though it were only 10.  Froglings may also swim as fast as they can walk unless encumbered.  They need less oxygen than other characters while swimming.  The effects of this must be determined by the individual Labyrinth Lord.  However, if they are in a dry climate, such as a desert, or a cold climate, such as a high mountain top, they take a -2 penalty to all actions due to their inability to function properly in such environments.

Due to the dangers lurking in their swampy home, Froglings may roll an extra die whenever the Labyrinth Lord tests for surprise.  The Frogling takes the better of the two results.

Froglings receive the following saving throw bonuses:

  • +4 vs poison
  • +1 vs wands
  • +2 vs spell and spell-like devices

Froglings are more resistant to poison than humans, and their somewhat fairy nature makes them more resistant to spells and incantations.

Froglings may select the following classes, with the indicated level limits.

ClassLevel Limit

Frogling thieves receive the following bonuses and penalties to thief abilities:

Pick Pockets-5%
Climb Walls+10%
Hear Noise+1
Hear Noise can never be greater than 1-5.

*Frogling clerics are extremely rare, and they are always Lawful.  The Church of Law is always very proud of these converts and heaps great praise upon them, as well as lavish benefits.  St. Toad is said to be the first Frogling to have converted.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Demon Princes of Nightwick: The Horned One

[Fair warning: this one is a bit sexually explicit]

It is written that at the bottom of the Great Void Between the Worlds their is an enormous hole.  This hole is the mouth of a great dragon whose very bowels are a series of fiery realms that serve to imprison its inhabitants. This is the Pit - the abode of demons, devils, and other creatures that once sought to dethrone the God of Law.  Now they are content to gnaw at the fabric of Creation, to unmake reality.  In so doing they hope to end the torment that has become so entwined with their very being.

Each nightmare realm, each infernal prison is host to a seemingly infinite number of damned things. They writhe and bite and scratch and bleed and howl hoping that some mortal will be foolish enough to create a link between this world and theirs.  Were a mortal to view this hellish-gullet, they would perceive these screeching hordes as a flowing mass of indistinguishable bodies.  This belies the truth, for there are demons - if only a few - that are truly individual.*

The Horned One is one such individual.  He is one of the most powerful demons known to the mortal realm. Human scholars interested in such things have termed him a Great King of Hell, likening him to Armadeus, Azazel, and others of that ilk.  This of course is to apply a lawful construct onto the very essence of chaos itself, but it is a useful shorthand.

Descriptions of the Horned One's appearance vary greatly, and some believe this is because he is able to subtly shift his form.  He is always described as a tall, male figure with large horns or antlers.  Sometimes he possess the head of a goat, sometimes a handsome man, still others an aged crone - making his form strangely androgynous despite his otherwise masculine features.  He is usually either naked or wrapped in silk cloth, though this never covers his genitals.  His skin is either silvery or black, but is always cold and shines like steel.  His body hair - or fur as the case may be - is always thick and hard as copper wire, even though it shifts in the wind and to the touch of his own hand as though it was quite fine.

The Horned One is said to have complete control over human sexuality and to know all Natural Sciences.  It is for these reasons that sorcerers are most likely to summon him.  He will cause any person to fall in lust with any other, and he is known to aid desperate men and women in fulfilling all manner of perversions and turpitudes otherwise impossible in a Lawful universe.  He will also instruct witches and wizards in the construction of tinctures, tonics, and toxins of various sorts.  The price for these services goes beyond the summoner's soul, as they must also yield to the beast's insatiable sexual desires.  Unfortunately for many, this part of the bargain is revealed all too late.

While more academic magic users call on him, the Horned One is most firmly associated with witches.  He is also called the Man of the Mass, and it is he, or more likely one of his incorporeal avatars, who presides over the terrible rites common in the Anti-Church.  His handmaidens, blind maenads said to have been mortal servants who knew his touch too many times to retain any semblance of sanity, officiate dark rituals in which infants are rolled in dough and cooked in large ovens before acting as a eucharist for a diabolically ecstatic crowd.  Anti-Bishops preside over strange un-marriages to corpses and he-goats.  It is these rituals that give Anti-Clerics and Witches their unholy powers.

Perhaps the most common ritual of all is sexual union, either willing or unwilling, with the Horned One himself.  This often occurs at the apex of Black Masses or after the demon-lord has rendered specific services for the sacrifice.  He is fond of changing his appearance in the middle of intercourse, shifting from a beautiful man to a hideous he-goat.  The Horned One cares not for age or gender.  He will copulate with any and all put before him, and his ice-cold semen has been known to impregnate men with his vile spawn.  Witch hunters will often torture pot-bellied men under the assumption that they have known the Horned One's touch.

These pregnancies are not of the sort normal to human beings, as one might suspect.  The Horned One's penis is trifurcate, capable of penetrating three separate orifices or three separate people at one time.  Any orifice thus penetrated will produce 1d3 Devil-Men in nine months time.**  These are always expelled in the most violent and gruesome way possible, but this only rarely ends in the death of the victim.  Instead, they are usually hideously scarred and disfigured for the rest of their miserable lives.

The Horned One has many minions in the mortal realm.  His most common servitors are humans, but Devil-Men and a number of Beastmen also call him master.  He is the demon prince with the most purchase in this reality, but this was not always so...

* While these are most commonly demon princes, there are also numerous "individual" demons of lesser power.  These are commonly employed as familiars or guardians by foolish magic users who think they can control such forces.

** It is rumored that other demon lords can create Devil-Men by different means.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Unfocused Thoughts: Medieval RPG

A few months ago I was thinking about cobbling together a d% system made up from bits and pieces of my favorite rule sets - WFRP 2e, BRP, Mongoose Traveller, etc.  I wanted to make the end result be an rpg, most likely only for personal use, where you play in Southern France c. 1200. 

 I've done quite a bit of research in that region, and quite a bit on some of the more... I guess the word is "supernatural" elements that would go along with that setting: miracle stories, the Devil, and necromancers.  I hadn't turned any of that into game mechanics, but I had turned the stuff on necromancers into two pretty good article-length papers and two FLAILSNAILS characters (Philip the Bloody and Eustace of Sark).

I wanted to make something like Cthulhu Dark Ages meets Warhammer but with way more Satan.  Yesterday Cole showed me this.  Having done a bit of research at theRPGsite, RPGnet,* and at various other places around the internet, I was able to more or less determine that this was basically my dream game.  There is just one problem: it's in Spanish.

I never took Spanish - I had French in high school and Latin and Greek in college - and my wife's is too rusty to be able to do much with the preview pdf.  Barring divine intervention, my best option is probably to follow the advice of Brian Gleichman found here.  Restated for convenience it's "Look at the product you're salivating over, list the things you think are cool about it or imagine it contains, and then make your own version based on your perceptions of the product."  It's a great deal cheaper than buying a $23 pdf that's in a language I can't read.

So here are some of my thoughts on how I'd do such a thing.

  • My first thought is to do a hack of WFRP, which is my favorite system ever published.**  However, I think WFRP characters might start a little lower on the totem pole than I'd like for this.  Something more along the lines of BRP should do it, but I definitely want a % system.
  • Either way I'm using WFRP-style criticals.  I even use those in D&D nowadays.
  • I'll need to make period-specific equipment charts regardless of the system I use.  I'm thinking of going with c. 1200 - 1250 for reasons that will be made clear below, but it seems to me that HarnMaster might provide some armors other than "mail" and "leather" that I might want to include.
  • My dream would be to be able to do full Mongoose Traveller style event tables for character generation, but that's probably not gonna happen.  Those things are hard.
  • Still I want something that represents what your "job" is/was.  Maybe BRP-style professions are the best way to do that.  Maybe WFRP ones are.  It'll depend on the base system.
  • Magic is probably the thing that will need the biggest overhaul, but I kinda suck at doing magic systems.
  • That brings me back to the reason I want to set it in the early 13th century: the nigromanticus.  The first reference to "necromancers" or - more accurately - "black magicians" appear in the early 13th century and I definitely want demon-summoning scholars in this.
  • My preferred type of magic system can be summed up as "crossroads and slaughtered goats," i.e.ritual magic with a decidedly Satanic cast.
  • I'm also big into mixing magic with neoplatonism.  Magic works by tapping into platonic forms, in a Christian context the "thoughts of God," and making reality more readily reflect the divine concept you want it too.  Wanna make something catch on fire?  Tap into the form of fire.  Want to heal someone?  Temporarily grant them the state of pre-fall man - which last until they become aware of sin.
  • You can achieve that multiple ways: have demons do it for you/teach you how to do it, have God do it for you, do it via old pagan stuff, or do it by combining things that already tap into those forms - i.e. alchemy.
  • Now I need mechanics for all that, which kinda sounds like a nightmare.
  • Most "enemies" would probably be people, but there would certainly be isolated pockets with "monsters" in them.
  • The aforementioned "monsters" are likely to be things found in medieval bestiaries such as unicorns (with the heads and bodies of deer and elephant feet of course), cynocephali, dragons, etc.  They will be interpreted in the weirdest and most Satanic way possible whenever appropriate.
  • I'd probably set any campaign I'd run somewhere in France (likely in the Languedoc), but that's just do to familiarity with the place.
That's it for now.  I'll probably have more thoughts on this in the near future, since it's actually something I'd been working on for a while.  The discovery of Aquelarre is what prompted me to do a blog post about it.

*Read the comments to get a fuller sense of the product.  Also: what's up with weird capitalization stuff in RPGs?

**Well... that I can read anyway.