Tag Archives: BareBones Fantasy

SHADOW OPS: Street Shaman

Last couple characters were pretty combat heavy, let’s roll up some support shall we?

Today’s pre-made is a Snake Shaman. I went total utility belt with this guy, and he’d be a welcome addition to any runner team. I’m also using him to showcase a couple things about making characters in my SHADOW OPS hack:

For starters, all Magicians use the same skill. Hermetics and Shamans are two sides of the same coin. I also didn’t bother writing up all of the totems/mentor spirits because, frankly, I’m lazy. Instead, characters who want to incorporate their ties to a mentor spirit into the games should just use them in a descriptor. For instance: this chummer is a Snake shaman. Snake was a healer, detector and deceiver of sorts. Snake also wasn’t keen on combat. At the basic level, the descriptor of being a snake shaman would imply similar personality characteristics in the character: he’s cautious, tends to his wounded comrades, and is hesitant about being caught up in combat. Although not written in the current draft, I feel a GM who wants more mechanics to totems/mentor spirits could get away just declaring +10 bonuses / -10 penalties for spells and actions that fall in line with the mentor’s personality.

Those used to SR magician characters will probably feel underwhelmed by the number of spells they can start off with here. The key thing is that A) There’s only 16 or so spells in BareBones Fantasy, and B) Those spells offer a range of effects compared to other systems.  Take Cleanse, for example. This single spell can be used to remove poisons, diseases, toxins, conditions such as blindness, etc. At level 3, it can be used to “cleanse” death from a freshly fallen comrade. Another factor here is this character in particular also took levels in Enchanter. Enchanters under the BBF rules can practically cast any of the 16 spells. The catch is: you’re doing so either in enchanting items (foci), brewing potions (or making fetishes), or at the speediest: casting runes on a person or item (which still takes a few turns to pull off.)

Lastly, for those who’ve never played Covert Ops, I’m listing the contents of the equipment packs bought. It’s so much easier at character creation to just allow packs to be acquired. I keep listing “Runner Packs” as a replacement for the Operative Pack every character starts with, although if I was running a contracted merc unit or corporate security squad, I’d probably stick to the original.

Race: Human

Street Shaman from 1st ed. Shadowrun
Street Shaman from 1st ed. Shadowrun

Origin: Shamanic Lodge Member (Perks: Shaman, In-Tuned Domain)
Archetype: Street Shaman
Mentored by Snake
The rain doesn’t phase me.
Distrusts people in business suits.

STR: 50                  DEX: 55
LOG: 65                 WIL: 60

BP: 25    DR: 5      INIT: 2   MOV: 8
Bones: 2

Magician Level 1 (Primary): 63%
Scout Level 1 (Secondary): 53%
Enchanter Level 1: 43%
Medic Level 1: 43%
Heal, Cleanse
Gear & Resources:
Runner’s Pack: PDA, encrypted credstick, commlink, etc
Medic Pack: canteen, flares, surgical instruments and tools, bandages, hypodermic needles, several doses of common pharmaceuticals, defibrillator, appropriate professional credentials, etc.
Survivalist Pack: backpack, boot knife, machete, 10 days of military-style rations, compass,
collapsible tent, compact sleeping bag, GPS system, mess kit, flares, etc.

Bullet Proof Vest, Pistol (w/ Laser Sights, 4 clips of ammo), Talismonger (Basic Contact).
570 ¥


Shadow Ops: Covert Ops in the Sixth World  is a fan tribute to the Shadowrun franchise, using a mash-up of Covert Ops and BareBones Fantasy by DwD Studios. Inspired by the streamlined mechanics and tactical play of the PC games in particular, it only seemed fitting to mix one of the biggest and best settings in the RPG industry with the fast-playing d00Lite system.

Continue reading SHADOW OPS

Early Look: “The Neumann Protocol” for COVERT OPS

The hombres over at DwD Studios continue to dish out the awesome support and new content for their games.  Some of these new releases include the Opperational Addendum series. Instead of forcing the consumer to purchase huge books of content they’d never use for that one chapter they are interested in, they’ve decided to release small expanded titles for cheap, allowing GMs to cherry pick the stuff that interests them. Next week, The Neumann Protocol will hit the information super highway, and there will be much rejoicing.

What It Isnumannprotocol

The Neumann Protocol is a 20 page supplement for Covert Ops, DwD Studios’ awesome new espionage and paramilitary rpg. This addendum focuses on cybernetic implants and augmentations, and how to work them into your CO campaigns. The back story is that John von Neumann, a key researcher in the Manhattan Project, had inspired a whole field of bionic research that became blacklisted during the cold war era. The protocols live on underground and off the record, and have re-emerged in the shadow wars of our modern era.

What You Get

After the brief history of the protocols, we’re thrown immediately into the good stuff. We’re introduced to the basic breakdown of implants — all of them broken down into three categories (Prosthetic, Bionic and Cybernetic) as well as three ranks/tiers of implant: Minor, Moderate, and Major. Depending and the category and rank of the implant, you’ll have varying price tags. The price isn’t just in monetary value, but how much the body can maintain before reacting and shutting down. Guidelines for damaged parts, and rules for “cyber sickness” are also included.

Following the run down of the mechanics, we have fifteen pages filled with various implants, augmentations, and cybernetic enhancements. Fans of cyberpunk and near-future settings will recognize many hallmarks: hand claws, targeting systems, reflex implants, they’re all here. But there’s a lot more fun stuff, too: flamefingers, knuckleplating, retractable glass cutters — things any kind of covert operative would want in their arsenal. There’s even some creative takes on old staples that help add a unique spin and flavor, allowing the Covert Ops versions of these implants to stand out from other game lines in the style.

Punk Not Included

When I was whipping up my own cyberpunk games, I’ve joked time and time again that I was going to need to stop calling them cyberpunk, and instead bill them as “modern day espionage.” While the angsty “fight the system” dystopian flavor isn’t here, the cyber definitely is. Those just wanting cybernetic ninja spies kicking ass will be pleased; those wanting “d00Lite cyberpunk” should be happy here, too, though. But to be fair, there is something to be said about “cybernetic spy-fi” in its own light. Bringing cybernetics to the modern game has its own implications and plot hooks, and it’s a concept I’m excited to explore at the table.

Bottom Line

I’m impressed with the work here. For $2.99, you’ll get a PDF chock full of new implants to expand the gadgetry and arsenal of your Covert Ops operatives. Fans who’ve been wanting to make the game system their new cyberpunk alternative shouldn’t be disheartened by the more “near-modern” implied setting, and folks who’ve been wanting a hint of science fiction without the dystopian angst will be pleased as well. In short, for a few bucks you can infuse your Covert Ops game with some hard-hitting implants to raise the threat level a few notches. Get on it!

This product will be available on RPGNow this coming Monday.
If you haven’t already, go grab yourself a copy of Covert Ops!



Campsite Ambush: A BareBones Fantasy Sample Combat

Combat using the BareBones Fantasy Rules can be a bit tricky: overall, it’s a pretty simple system to pick up and run. But it’s deceptive in its simplicity and flexibility — folks who are used to more detailed systems, like D&D, get thrown off by some of the streamlined rules calls. Others probably mistake the BareBones d00Lite system for being, well, lite. I enjoy this system because it falls under what I categorize more as “rules necessary.”

Either way, I took some time today to run a mock combat session to provide an example of how a BBF combat session could go. I’m using pre-generated characters out of the rule book,  and the monsters are using base stat blocks.

Our Heroes

  • Rogue Elf Wizard – Rank 1 Spellcaster/Scholar, page 24
  • Confident Human Ranger – Rank 1 Warrior/Thief, page 25

Our Foes:

  • Two Orcs, one with a Battle Axe and one with a Longsword, page 53
  • One Bugbear, with a Mace,  page 43

The Setup:

The Wizard and the Ranger had setup camp for the evening of their journey. A rustling noise could be heard behind the tents, and the Ranger stood up with his bow ready as he made sight of a Bugbear prowler. As he brought attention to the Wizard, two orcs cams charging into the camp area when it was clear their cover was blown.

Initiative: At the start of each round, all characters involved roll a number of dice equal to their initiative ratings, and pick the highest results. Since the Wizard and Ranger have an initiative of 2, they were able to roll 2 dice and pick the best. The monsters attacking them, meanwhile, only had 1 die each.
1 - Initiative

So as we can see, the initiative order here is:

  • Orc w/ Axe – 9
  • Ranger – 8
  • Bugbear -7
  • Wizard – 5
  • Orc w/ Sword – 3

The Axe-Orc makes no waste of time, and having initiative runs in to drive his axe into the Wizard. When performing any action in this game, you make a percentile roll versus your related skill rating — rolling equal or under results in a success. Orcs have a 50% attack skill, and he rolled a 41, so the Axe Orc succeeds. Now, the subject of any kind of opposition is allowed a Resistance Check to overcome attacks, spells, inflicted conditions etc. In the case of combat, the Elf gets to roll a DEX Check to dodge the attack. She rolled a 68 versus a DEX of 55 – she fails to dodge.

2 - Axe vs Elf

Armor in this game provides Damage Reduction (DR) that soaks physical attacks. So while the Axe Orc his for a roll of 15 points of damage, the Wizard only takes 10. This is subtracted from her 25 Body Points, leaving her with 15.

Next up is the Ranger. He takes a move to position himself to fire his shortbow at the Bugbear. All characters get to move a number of spaces equal to their MOV rating as a free action. He takes a shot at the Bugbear (with a Ranged Warrior skill of 68%) and rolls 22 — a Critical Success! Anytime doubles are rolled, they are considered criticals. The player has their choice of results — double damage, ignore defenses, disarm the foe, etc.  The Ranger’s player decides to deal double damage. The Bugbear rolls ridiculously over their DEX check (failing to dodge), and the ranger rolls 16 points — for a total of 32!
3 - Ranger vs. BugbearAfter the DR is factored for the Bugbear, the remaining damage is still a few points over his BP total. The ranger had managed to kill him in a single shot! Feeling saucy, the Ranger then decides to take a second action and open fire on an Orc. For each additional action during a turn, you take a -20 peanlty to your skill.
3a - Ranger vs. AxeLooks like he rolled over his penalized skill. Oh well. Time for the Wizard’s turn. Already at a penalty (her attempt to dodge the attack previously in the round has already given her a -20 penalty) she’s decided to move behind a tent for cover. Wearing Elven Chain, she can only move half of her Movement (since she lacks the STR to wear it comfortably.) Luckily, she just barely makes it. (She could have opted to sprint, but wanted to perform another action.)  In addition to moving, she’s casting Heal on herself. She gets 2 dice worth of heals today, and has decided to spend them both on her.

4 - Elf HealsShe succeeds on her casting check (even with the penalty… she lacks an armor penalty because Elves get to cast in any armor without consequence) and manages to heal herself for a total of 12 points. She only needed 10, so she’s back to her max Body Points.

The Sword-Orc takes his turn, swooping in on the Ranger who’s over extended himself a bit. He makes a swing on him, and when he goes to roll his DEX check (normally 74) he’s already at a -40 Penalty (since this is his third action this round.) 5 - Sword vs. RangerThe Orc-Sword rolls 13 points of damage, which comes out to 10 since the Ranger has a DR of 3 from his studded leather armor.

So at the end of the first round, we have a dead Bugbear, and injured Ranger, and a Wizard out of heals for the deal… along with two Orcs who are still unharmed. Time to roll initiative again.

6 - Initiative Pt. 2The Rangers gets first move, the Wizard second, and then the Orcs get to carry out their actions. The Ranger spares no time moving close to his ally, firing off a shot at the Sword Orc in the process.

7 - Ranger vs SwordHe manages to wound the Orc but is far from finishing him off. The Ranger could choose to attack again, but decides he wants to hold on to his actions for defensive checks. The Wizard steps up, and decides to use her Charm spell to cause their foes to flee in terror. Since both Orcs are barely within range of the spell, she decides to cast on both of them (giving them a +5 bonus to their WIL checks.

Elf CastShe succeeds in her casting, and despite them receiving a bonus they still rolled in the 70’s — causing both of them to flee in fear! She rolls, and it’s determined they are under the effect of this spell for seven rounds! The GM rules by the time this tapers off, the Orcs will be lost in the woods, and decide those two aren’t worth the trouble.

Final Word

This is just a taste of what BareBones Fantasy combat can be like. There are rules for stealth movement and backstab maneuvers, enchanters can cast runes that trigger spell like effects, Leaders can actually boost party morale and tactics in a variety of ways… it just goes on! But what I presented here showed the meat of the d00Lite System. I hope folks who haven’t been sure about it have enjoyed this play by play, and newcomers find this post useful


New Project: “Sigil & Shadow”

I’m happy to announce a new gaming project I’m working on for DwD Studios!

Sigil & Shadow is a “BareBones RPG of Modern Horror and Urban Fantasy.” It will use the d00Lite System (the same featured in BareBones Fantasy and Covert Ops,) and like those titles will be released under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA License. 

I plan on keeping the spirit of the system — if you’ve played any other d00Lite title, you’re already familiar with the bulk of the game mechanics. Even though you’ll see a lot of overlap from both Covert Ops and photoBareBones Fantasy, I’m doing more than just mashing the two together.  The biggest addition will be the approach for designing “Creepers” (our term for supernatural characters) — instead of forcing players and Game Masters into a specific set of powers and lore, we’re going to provide a fast and easy toolkit for creating whatever “thing that goes bump in the night” you want. It’ll be a system for both the GM to create archetypes and templates for their game world, or to let players invent their very own type of supernatural character. Much like the spell system from BBF, you can expect a broad power listing for you to skin appropriately to your mythos.

There’s also a couple more new mechanics on the workbench currently: a “Terror & Sanity” mechanic, as well as a system for magical rituals that any character can be a part of. All I can say at this time is I’m doing my damnedest to make sure these aren’t unnecessary tack-ons, and instead take advantage of existing systems. Expect to see Moral Code and Descriptors having a bit more use in game play.

Feedback Challenge: The Shades

Want to help out in the development? Here’s your first shot: The Shades. “Shades” are metaphorical, blanket archetypes that represent the source of both the power, and burden, of a Creeper.

  • The Hungered is all about dependency and addiction: the powers and nature of the Creeper centers entirely around a need. The classic example is a Vampire’s thirst for blood, a zombie’s craving for brains and flesh, a succubus desiring pleasure or the “Boogey Man” feeding on nightmares.
  • The Devoted receive their powers from external beings — cultists of Elder Gods, Faustian pacts with Devils, a shamanic oath to an ancestor spirit, or even a fanatical zeal to an ancient cause. The price of power is devotion, offering, and even sacrifice.
  • The Hosts also receive their power from another being, but said being is living within them. The relationship can be symbiotic or parasitic in nature, but almost always the person struggles living with an alien mind. Demon possession, Houdinistic Loas, spirits of murdered relatives and even avatars of ancient gods seeking a vessel are prime examples of what empowerss the Hosts.
  • The Afflicted, lastly, are those who never had a choice in what they’ve become. To the Wolfman cursed with lycanthropy, the loner born to a demonic bloodline that chose to awake in him, the occult scholar whom in his hubris learned too much, or even the creature that woke up into existence on a laboratory slab — these Creepers struggle to conceal their nature from those who cannot comprehend, nor tolerate, their afflictions.

The fact that there’s potential overlap is intentional: our goal is to accommodate the varied folklore and mythology throughout the world. A werewolf may very well be aligned with The Hunger, forced to seek out prey under the full moon. Or perhaps he’s a host to a demon that drives his beast form.

What I’m wanting to see is if someone can punch holes in this logic. Is there a fifth, or even sixth archetype I’m missing? Do one of these need to be re-evaluated? I’d love to hear from you.
Leave your thoughts in the comments.