Saturday, September 30, 2023

A Challenge!

 Happy Saturday everyone!

I was surprised to see how many hits I got on my recent Nightbane post.  More than double, maybe triple my usual traffic.  Nice to see folks are still interested in good ole Palladium Books games.  

     Today's post is a different bit of nostalgia, a good buddy of mine recently gifted me a huge collection of old Challenge Magazines from back in the day. 

Wow, remember when magazines were $3!! this was late 80's era or so.  Challenge was a gaming (rpg) magazine that featured articles for Traveller, Twilight 2000, Star Wars, etc.  I only had one or two issues for it when it actually came out, back then we mostly played D&D, Gamma World (a little Classic Traveller, and then later Rifts in early 90s) and the magazines weren't easily available in my neck of the woods (really I lived in the country so my backyard was woods, it was a 30 minute drive to get milk and if it was after 800 at night forget it). Anyways, I digress, My buddy gifted me with this stack and I started going through it, just skimming the pages and wow, these magazines are loaded with ideas and content, I've been on a sci fi kick for awhile now. D&D is fun and all, but I'm jonesing to play/run some Sci Fi gaming.  I've posted some solo stuff here,and done some sci fi solo gaming that I haven't posted about yet, but I want to run some sci fi for a group.  I think these Challenge magazines are going to be a wonderful resource. The Challenge, see what I did there? is I want to take adventures and ideas from different settings and systems in the magazines (say Twilight 2000 and Traveller, maybe some Star Wars without the obvious Star Wars) and mesh them into a series of adventures.  I think that would be fun. Mix and match and be creative. Hopefully my schedule will give me some time to make this happen.  More to come on this hopefully.  Meanwhile check out the image below by Tim Bradstreet from Challenge Magazine #37 fantastic Undead Space Marines for Warhammer 40K! WOW! The article was for having Undead Space marines in your 40K tabletop miniatures skirmish games, but I can see an awesome RPG encounter, wherein maybe a Marine ship goes through some radioactive/mutagenic cloud and turns the marines into undead horrors, the marines eventually crash onto a planet or space station or some such and now the players have a squad (or more) of Undead Space Marines to deal with!! FUN! 

  I hope you all have a blessed weekend and get to spend time with friends and family, try to get some gaming in if you can!  

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Remembering Nightbane RPG


     I happened to come across my old Palladium Books Nightbane book from back in the day.  Guess it was during the early to mid 90's, that I was an avid buyer/player of all things Palladium.  When Nightbane came out (was originally Nightspawn but Mcfarlane....)

Never heard of Nightbane? Here's a snippet from Wiki:     "On March 6, 2000, at 6:02 am, the world was shrouded in unnatural darkness caused by an extra dimensional race of demonic beings known as the Nightlords. Thousands of people suddenly transformed into monsters, but when the darkness left, they returned to human form. These shape-changers, called the Nightbane, have the ability to change to their monstrous form.

Players create and play Nightbanes, Guardians or even Vampires in order to battle the Nightlords and hopefully defeat them. Characters take on normal human form (called "The Facade") until they want to transform into their horrific monstrous form. The Nightbanes are organized into various underground factions all battling the Nightlords in their own way."

   I jumped at the change to play/run it.  Unfortunately, due to scheduling (many of us were in college and working full time jobs, circa 95 or so) I only managed to get one player for my Nightbane Campaign. 

     However, we both had a blast!! Not having a ton of prep time, I set the campaign in a city I was very familiary with: Memphis, Tennessee.  Plenty of opportunities for things to happen.  I made a few tweaks to Memphis, for one, I turned Mud Island (in real life a park/museum) into a maximum-security prison wherein Nightbane, and other troublesome folks (troublesome for the corrupt authorities and their masters the Nightlords) were kept in extreme lockdown.  

     The player was a nightbane, had randomly rolled up all kinds of cool crazy features, Nightbane characters are like supernatural mutants. that can take normal human form.  The player was trying to make contact with the local underground movement, the leaders had been taken out in a raid recently and were either killed or locked up.  The remaining underground members were laying very low.  Using local real-life bars, night clubs and even some local politicians in the campaign was loads of fun.  I also had Palladium's Beyond the Supernatural RPG.

     Palladium's books are mostly directly compatible with each other, this was before the OGL was a thing and Palladium's Megaversal system was a big appeal for GMs like me that loved to mix and match settings and things.  The player, learned (via a weird bookstore owner, based on a real person) about the local museum (also real) getting a rare tome of arcane knowledge.  Having the player's character sneak (break) into the museum, that we both had been to many times, to acquire the magical tome was loads of fun.  When the character had to run for their lives through the local park (now with supernatural elements lurking behind the old trees) it had a really authentic feel to it. 
     Another tool I used to help with my prep time, was comic books.  I had been reading Dr. Strange from Marvel, and my player was not familiar with the Sorcerer Supreme, thus I was able to pull in interesting characters, names, and refer to arcana that was pulled right out of the Dr. Strange comics. This was way before any Marvel movies came out so, my stack of comics was fertile ground to loot from.  As a GM use what you have available to make the most of your time and your campaign.  I had an issue of the Werewolf by Night comic that I pulled from as well. 

     Another thing I used to good effect in the campaign, was that it was hard to sometimes tell the good guys from the bad guys.  My player, even though he was a Nightbane, would default to D&D mode and assume all the "monsters" he encountered were villains, this led to some misdirection and at one point he even took out a leading member of the very Underground he was trying to join.  The rest of the campaign was spent with the player's character trying to undo the damage he had accidentally done and undermine the corrupt politicians that were working for the Nightlords.  He eventually restored the Underground to an even bigger role than it had been, and they were able to stage a breakout at the Mud Island (renamed Blud Island) Penitentiary.  That was the close of the Campaign.  Loads of fun!