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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Her Majesty's Irregulars

So it seems I've begun to post again. Shall I recount all the thoughts, feelings, and world views that resulted in my abandoning this blog over a year ago? And then shall I follow it up with an explanatory analysis of my motivations for this attempt at beginning again? Or shall I simply continue on as as though there was no interruption, like a coma patient who finishes a sentence he started five years ago right before he lost consciousness?

I agree. Reality is boring, mystery is fun.This is a boring mystery, so I should at least break even.

To business:

Some time ago I was going to try running a Dungeons and Dragons campaign where all the magic in the world had faded away, leaving only remnants of the spells and monsters that had once shaped the land. These had retreated to forgotten corners of the globe, only occasionally breaking out to threaten, raid, and kill. The PC's would be working for a secret agency of the government created to combat these creatures, at least at the start, and any demi-human PC's would be some of the last of their kind recruited into service to help defend the clueless populace from supernatural evil. Essentially, I wanted an Elizabethan Hellboy vibe.

The Oath of Her Majesty's Irregulars:

We are the secret invisible shield
That ne'er will buckle, splinter nor yield
We strike from the shadows 'gainst all that is feared
The Eldridge, Unholy, and Unspeakably Weird

My thoughts on how they would hide and disguise themselves (intended for 4th Edition, which may not have been the best choice for this sort of chicanery):

Disguises: Every member of the HMI is trained in the deceptive arts, so all PC’s get Bluff as a bonus skill. Thus, disguises will always hold up to a cursory glance; the PC’s need only make a bluff check if they’re interacting with someone or they’ve drawn attention to themselves in some way. Checks can be made against passive insight, or a DC of the DM’s discretion (+2 bonus to check for half humans). Also left up to the DM’s discretion is whether a particular disguise would work, eg. a hat covering the ears will work fine for an elf, but not so much for a dragonborn.  Circumstances will also grant bonuses and penalties, such as whether the lighting is good or bad, the PC is drunk, etc. Success means the target buys the disguise, and the PC may interact with them normally. Failure (or not being in disguise) against any random NPC’s that aren’t already involved means we roll on the table:

1.    Target is shocked, and is unsure of how to proceed. You may make an Intimidate attack vs. Will as a free action (-2 for half humans). Hit: If Non-com or bloodied, will retreat, screaming hysterically. If combatant, grants combat advantage (save ends). Miss, or no check made: Will stand up to you, and call for help. May attack, if not already fighting. 
2.    Shrugs it off, thinks he is seeing things. May swear off drink for a while.
3.    Thinks you’re deformed human, and is put off by it. -2 to Cha. Based checks.
4.    Thinks you’re a deformed human, and is moved to pity. Will try to do something nice for you.
5.    Fear leads to anger; immediately attacks you.
6.    Recognizes you for what you are, and is a fan of the old tales; very happy to discover they are true. Will keep the secret quiet, but will otherwise act “fan boy”, following you around, asking questions, and trying to be your friend.
7.    Recognizes you for what you are, and is a conspiracy theorist. 50% chance he thinks you work for the government, 50% chance he thinks you work against the government. Either way, will tell everyone he knows about you. Only 5% chance they believe him. May try to follow you.
8.    Assumes you’re in costume. May direct you to the nearest theatre, or advise you of the correct date of Corvusnox.
9.    Wasn’t really paying attention, just caught a glimpse; you may make another Bluff check, but at -2.
10.    Just plain scared. Non-com is mute and immobilized with fear, combatant grants combat advantage against only you for rest of encounter.
11.    Is familiar with all things supernatural, and will take you in stride. May have non-human friends. If shop keep, may secretly trade in magic items.
12.    Turns out is also non-human, and will reveal it to you. Roll on “non-human” table. If a shop keep, may trade in magic items.
13.    Was on edge of madness, and has been pushed over by you. Roll on insanities.
14.    Terrified. Turns into a wailing, gibbering mess. Surrenders immediately.
15.    Enemy spy. Know exactly who you are, and who you work for. Will pretend he doesn’t notice or will feign fear (makes a bluff check against your insight) but will report you activities to his superiors at earliest convenience.
16.    Doesn’t know what you are, but is strangely attracted to it. Will hit on you. +2 to Cha. based checks.
17.    Not sure what’s happening but knows he doesn’t like it. Will keep quiet now, but will try to attack you when you’re back is turned. May try to get reinforcements.
18.    Sees what you are, claims also to be of that race, but isn’t.
19.    Immediately bolts.
20.    Devoutly religious, and assumes you are some sort of devil. Will attempt to banish you with chants, prayers, holy water, etc.

When I finally ran my first session, it ended up being a variation of the Fool's Grove Delve, heavily amended to suit my own tastes. Feedback to that one was mixed, but I still wouldn't mind trying out Her Majesty's Irregulars one day.

I think it would likely work better as an AD and D campaign, though.