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[Colonial Gothic Revised] Now you have monsters

March 31, 2009

One of the deficiencies the original version of Colonial Gothic Rulebook has is that there really are no monsters included in the book to aid a GM. Yes, there are a lot of words about monsters, but the nuts and bolts of them are not there. I made sure I covered this in the first supplement, and though I am glad I did, I have always been annoyed that no monsters, or any real detail, are found in the Rulebook.

When I set out to do Colonial Gothic Revised, I made a list of goals for the revision. Here are the goals which was next to my Mac at all times (even as a virtual sticky note on the Mac Desktop):

  1. Better editing.
  2. Fix historical errors.
  3. Rules for creating monsters and monsters.
  4. Mundane threats.
  5. More advice for the GM.
  6. More advice for the player.
  7. Make it better.

These seven goals in mind, I went to work, and once done, I felt I addressed all of it. When I got the notes and comments back from the playtesters, I am very happy to learn that not only did I achieve these seven goals, I surpassed them in some cases.

What does this have to do with monsters? A lot. With monsters I wanted to build on what I did with Colonial Gothic: Secrets, but I did not want to just run that chapter and leave it at that. I also, truth be told, could not, since I was moving the game to a more current version of 12°, and I needed to revise them as well. So I created rules on how GMs can create their own monsters, and created a number of traits covering numerous aspects all monsters have. Here is how I open the chapter dealing with monsters:

Creature Basics

The world of the Colonial Gothic teems with life. This chapter is designed to help design creatures to challenge or aid your players. Like everything else in Colonial Gothic, creature design is simple and straightforward, geared toward ease of use and fostering fun roleplaying rather than realism.

Creatures are dangers in the colonies face from time to time. Creatures of all types offer challenges for GMs to base adventures on. Most creatures want nothing more than to be left alone so they only attack when threatened. Some creatures have evil lurking within their hearts and will attack no matter the situation. These evil creatures offer GMs many opportunities and pose a challenge to all.

There are three types of creatures: Mundane, Spirits and Infernal.

Mundane creatures are creatures native to the Natural World. They run the gamut from common animals to werewolves.

Spirit creatures are creatures native to other planes of existence so they have difficulty staying in the Natural World. In order to manifest in the Natural World, Spirits must expand Plasm, which is a force fueling everything these creatures do. Spirits, since they do not have physical bodies, do not have the Vitality Attribute, instead their Plasm acts as this Attribute.

The final creatures are Infernal, and, like Spirits, are not native to the Natural World. The best examples of Infernal creatures are Demons and Devils, exist in realms outside the scope of the Natural World. Infernal creatures do not have Faith, but they have Taint, which is the power that fuels them and the abilities they call upon. Infernal creatures also differ from other creatures in that they do not have Vitality; instead they have Power. Power is the force keeping them in the physical world, and any damage done to an Infernal’s Power rating slowly drives them from the Natural World back to their realm.

Ok, that is all well and good, but how do you create them. Easy.

Regardless if a creature is Mundane, a Spirit or Infernal all are created the same way–with Creature Points. Unlike Heroes and Villains, Creatures buy their Attributes, Skills and Abilities on a one-for-one basis. This pool of Creature Points allows you the most flexibility when creating your own creatures. The points available for your creature is based on their Power Level. Power Level is a simple way to figure out how strong, or weak, the monster is. For example, if you have a monster who is Weak, that gives you 25 Creature Points to use to build the creature.

Creatures in Colonial Gothic, as pointed out above, are easily constructed. Besides that attributes and skills, all creatures have unique abilities or “powers.” Not all creatures need to have special traits. Indeed, many of them will not, but traits are provided to aid the GM in creating creatures that do have special talents that differing from Heroes, Villains and Supporting Cast. Each trait has a “cost.”

Some traits are “drawbacks,” which are negative ones in that they do not provide the creature with any benefits but instead limit him in some fashion. Drawbacks grant the characters a number of additional bonus points that may be added to their total.

So what are these traits? Here is an example:

Horrific Visage

The creature’s appearance is terrifying, and those looking upon it are struck with fear and their resolve is shaken. This ability is always “on” by that, whenever your Hero comes into contact with the creature, they are effected by the creature’s appearance. The effect of this visage is the opponent must make a Resolution Test, with Failure having them loose 1 Sanity.

Cost: 5

There is a lot in Colonial Gothic Revised that I am happy with (hell I love Chapter 11), but one area that really pleases me the most are the monster rules. They are flexible, easy, and allow you to quickly create the monster you imagine. Also these rules allow you to not only create monsters such as ghosts, but normal animals like dogs.

Colonial Gothic Revised, I hope, hits people the same way it is hitting me: a progression. I love the original game, but I am so happy with what has gone into the revised version, that I cannot wait what others say when they see it.

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