Friday, January 20, 2017

The Battle to Control America Begins…NOW!

Everything you’ve heard is true.

Witches practiced black masses in the woods around Salem. Frozen alien bodies are stored in clandestine government installations. Washington D.C. was designed by geomancers to harness ley lines. The shot that killed President Kennedy was a magic bullet. Phantom hitchhikers travel the country’s highways, bound for a location no living soul should ever see. A secret war is being waged for the soul of the country. And without you even knowing it, you’re caught in the crossfire.

I am extremely proud and excited to announce the newest third party publisher contribution to Goodman Games’ Dungeon Crawl Classics RPGSecret Antiquities! Secret Antiquities is a new series of game supplements for DCC RPG. Part journal, part zine, Secret Antiquities documents Esoteric America, a weirdly historical campaign setting inspired by real American history, folklore, and urban legends as seen through the unique lens of DCC RPG. Fans of The Chained Coffin undoubtedly know I believe America is as strange a place as Nehwon, Middle Earth, or Hyperboria, and makes an exciting and extraordinary setting for adventure.

Each issue of Secret Antiquities will examine a different aspect of Esoteric America, translating myth, history, and folklore into DCC RPG terms, allowing judges and players to either set their own campaigns in this weird American landscape or to import new and exciting game material into their own DCC RPG campaign.

Secret Antiquities chronicles the occult secrets of Esoteric America and the clandestine war being waged by the forces of light and darkness for the very soul of the county and its people. Will you stand with the Uncle Sam and preserve the American Dream or will you side with his dark reflection, the Anti-Sam and work to corrupt the country into the American Nightmare? The choice is yours! Along the way you’ll encounter hoodoo priests, Thomas Edison’s forgotten inventions, the true story of the Roanoke Colony, chupacabras, frozen aliens, Men in Black sorcerers, and even stranger things (but not Stranger Things—until we get the license anyway).

The premiere issue of Secret Antiquities explores some of the patrons of Esoteric America, larger-than-life entities granted immense power by the forces of belief and veneration. These American patrons include such characters as Uncle Sam,the patron of the United States; The Anti-Sam, the patron of the American Nightmare; The Dead Rock Star, patron of fame and excess; and Stagger Lee, the patron of badasses

This inaugural issue contains seven patrons: five of which are fully described including invoke patron tables, spellburn, patron taint, and new spells, and two abridged patron descriptions with only the invoke patron tables. Although designed for Esoteric America, guidelines are given for each allowing them to be easily used in more traditional DCC RPG campaigns.

Secret Antiquities #1 is now available in both printed and PDF format via Lulu. The weird landscape of Esoteric America is calling. Are you brave enough to venture across this magnificently strange county? The choice is yours...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Uncle Sam, Patron of the United States

First Manifestation: War of 1812
Status: Active
Alignment: Lawful
The pride in and of one’s homeland is a powerful force, a fervor that rivals faith in extreme cases, leading one to believe that their native soil is nearly divine in nature. From these depths of pride and nationalism rise supernatural forces that assume the guise of the beloved land, transforming themselves into the personification of a nation, a manifestation of all that is good and noble of a populace, a guardian that stands by its beloved against all enemies. These national personifications have many guises and names.

The patron of America is widely known as “Uncle Sam,” a lanky, lean figure, white-haired and whiskered, dressed in a swallow-tail coat, stripped trousers, and a tall hat. His cheeks are red with either mirth or anger, and, while Uncle Sam is kindly to those he defends, his righteous wrath falls unflinchingly on those who would oppose his nieces and nephews both at home and abroad. Uncle Sam is both kindly and stern, bestowing gifts and comfort on those that require it and striking out furiously at the enemies of his servants.

Scholars of the occult opine that Uncle Sam is a new manifestation of a previous personification known as “Brother Jonathan,” the supernatural entity that lent his support to the patriots against the British during the American War of Independence. An opposing theory is that the two national personifications are each unique entities, and that Brother Jonathan’s power has been usurped by Uncle Sam’s ascension, leaving the previous personification a mere shell of its former self. An even darker theory suggests that Brother Jonathan may be the true identity of the dark entity known as the Anti-Sam (see p. 25).

Uncle Sam is the patron of those who desire to serve the noble aims of America, providing a haven to those enslaved, either bodily, economically, or socially, defending its shores against enemies at home and abroad, and striving to remain a beacon of hope and prosperity around the world. The servants of Uncle Sam include soldiers, social activists, clergy, Boy Scouts, traditionalists, and statesmen.

Demands: Uncle Sam desires his servants to defend the true spirit of the United States of America, the golden vision of a nation where anyone can seek escape from persecution, to live their lives free from tyranny, and be granted the opportunity to make the best possible life for themselves and their loved one. He commands his servants to oppose anyone who would thwart this American Dream, especially combating the desires of his foul twin, the Anti-Sam. 

Other Campaign Settings: Uncle Sam can be used to represent a patron devoted to the welfare of any nation, realm, or other ruled region. He can be the patron saint of a kingdom or the spirit of the realm’s founder who has pledged to return in times of great need. This profile can also be for guardians of freedom or defenders of the downtrodden, making it a good basis for the head of knightly orders or heroic paladins of old.

Invoke Patron check results
These colors don’t run! Uncle Sam invests the caster with courage, granting him a +2+CL bonus on all saving throws against fear effects. The caster can bestow this bonus on as many allies as he desires in a 30’ radius by spending 1 Luck per ally.
Land of the Free. Uncle Sam sunders any and all bonds in a 20’ diameter centered on the caster. Shackles break, locks open, ropes snap, and other non-magical restraints or fasteners fail. The caster can break a single magical bond or restraint if the invoke patron spell check exceeds the spell check for the restraining spell (if applicable) or is 25+ in the case on enchanted chains, locks, or similar non-spell-created restraints.
This land is your land. Uncle Sam assists in protecting the caster so long as he remains standing on American soil. All damage suffered by the caster is reduced by a number equal to his caster level so long as he physically touches the ground. This effect lasts for 3d4+CL rounds or until the caster’s contact with American soil is broken. Note that certain places outside the national boundaries of America may be considered “American soil” for the purposes of this spell effect. Embassies in foreign nations, the burial grounds of fallen American soldiers, and similar locations should be treated as native soil for the purpose of this spell effect.
Patriot prowess. Uncle Sam grants the caster an attack and damage bonus equal to his CL for 1d10+CL rounds. This bonus is doubled if the caster is attacking enemies to the American Way of Life. It is left to the judge to determine if an opponent represents a threat to the American Way of Life, but enemies such as Communists, Nazis, anarchists, Martians, etc. likely qualify depending on the time period of the campaign.
American Knowhow. Uncle Sam grants the caster and a number of allies up to his CL a +2d bonus on a single spell check, attack roll, saving throw, skill check, or ability check of the recipients’ choosing. The bonus is lost after applied to a chosen roll or a number of days equal to the caster’s level+1d5 have passed. A creature can only be under this effect once at any given time. If this result occurs a second time while the bonus is still pending, the recipient does not gain another bonus, but the time limit is reset.
Your tired, poor, and huddle masses. Uncle Sam imparts the power to restore the wellbeing of the masses to the caster. The caster can choose a number of creatures equal to his CL×10 to affect. The chosen individuals are immediately revived, losing all negative consequences of exhaustion, hunger, thirst, and sore muscles. They heal 1 die of damage and can make another saving throw to resist any poison or disease affecting them. The caster may choose to spend up to three Luck points when imparting this effect. Each Luck point grants a +1 modifier to the hit die or saving throw roll when determining the number of hit points healed or if the poison and/or disease is resisted. This effect is instantaneous and must be used immediately when granted.
Abolish corruption. Uncle Sam removes a single form of corruption from the caster or from a single subject touched by the caster. This corruption can be either from a specific spell or from the minor, major, or greater corruption tables. This spell effect does not remove patron corruption (even Uncle Sam’s own) of any type, however. The corruption affected can be chosen by the caster or designated target if they succeed in a Luck check; otherwise the judge determines randomly what corruption trait is abolished.
Manifest Destiny. Uncle Sam steps in to aid the caster in the most efficient way possible depending on the situation. This assistance may manifest as healing his servant (and allies) fighting the good fight, unleashing righteous destruction on America’s enemies, or providing useful intelligence to overcome a problem. This aid comes in the form of the effect of a 32+ spell check of any 1st level wizard or cleric spell the caster chooses with the judge’s approval. For example, if the caster is surrounded by enemies and achieves a invoke patron spell check of 32 or more, he could petition the judge to decree that Uncle Sam unleashes 3d4+2 magic missiles as per the magic missile spell’s 32+ spell check result or grants the servant and his allies the benefits of holy sanctuary at that same level of effect. The magical effect takes place instantly regardless of normal casting time and if special conditions are usually required by the spell (spellburn, special components, etc.) they are not necessary in this case.