Out of Character

"Has anyone seen my D20?"


June 2015

3 Awesome Campaigns That Never Were

I have a book of campaign ideas, Jay released some of his awesome ideas and I think they’re all worth sharing.


I once heard about a magic video store that stocked movies that never were. On its shelf was Indiana Jones starring Tom Selleck, and Revenge of the Jedi directed by David Cronenberg, and of course Alejandro Jodorowsky’s masterpiece, Dune.

I have a similar story. Only my magic video store is a stack of old gaming notes from campaigns that never were. Today I’m going to share some of them.

View original post 323 more words


Make Mine a Hero 1

I’ll be some of you thought I forgot all about Make Mine a Hero didn’t you? Well you were wrong! For those of you who aren’t familiar with it yet here’s the deal, based on your suggestions once a month I’m going to sit down and make a hero using Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition. Our new monthly feature kicks off with an original character called The Boy Imagineer, and I hope you’ll pardon me if I take a minute to explain my process concerning the creation of this character. There are so many tech heroes out there that it really wasn’t hard to come up with some inspiration for gadgets, but I came up with a weird blend of personalities based on the way the character was described to me.

I went with a blend of Superboy from Young Justice, Rusty the boy Robot, Shazam/Captain Marvel, and a dash of Inspector Gadget. With that in mind, I didn’t invest too many points into his abilities. Since he’s supposed to be a normalish ten year old boy from the 1950’s I bumped up some of his physical stats a bit to represent a youth spent doing farm chores, and I increased his intelligence largely to represent his ability to whip up inventions.

When it came to skills I wanted to keep things simple. He has a few social skills, but he’s not amazing at them. After all how convincingly can a ten year old lie? I gave him an expertise in pop culture and history because he’s been alive long enough to have a first hand account of almost a century worth of events, and he’s a kid so I imagine he’s up on what kids are into.

The fact that the character’s inventions become increasingly unreliable and the chance that they’ll misfire with each successive use meant I could hand over some crazy inventions. He’s got rocket shoes, a backpack that essentially functions as a storage device for all of his stuff, a blaster that is more powerful than a tank, gloves that give him super strength for lifting, a universal translator, a force field generator he made out of a pin wheel, and a communicator that can reach pretty much anyone, anywhere. You’ll notice all of his devices feature a ton of flaws including: Fades, Quirk, and Removable, or Easily Removable. Those flaws served to reduce the cost dramatically, they also mean his inventions are going to become increasingly less effective, have hiccups during use, and they can all be snatched off of him by bad guys.

As he’s leveled up I could see the Boy Imagineer getting more inventions, or just increasing the effectiveness of the ones that he already has. I had a ton of fun making him and I hope you guys will enjoy him too.

The Boy Imagineer
PL 10

“If he can think it, he can build it.”

Strength 0
Stamina 1
Dexterity 2
Agility 2
Fighting 0
Awareness 0
Intelligence 7
Presence 0

Athletics 4 (+4)
Deception 1 (+1)
Close Combat (Unarmed) 2 (+2)
Expertise (History) 3 (+10)
Expertise (Pop-Culture) 3 (+10)
Perception 4 (+4)
Persuasion 4 (+4)
Ranged Combat (Pop Gun) 6 (+8)
Stealth 2(+4)
Technology 3 (+10)

Immunity 1 (Aging) 1 point
Backpack: (Fades, Quirk, Removable) (Feature 1: Bigger on the Inside Extra Limbs 6 Continuous, Sustained, Dynamic Array) 6 points
Communicator: (Fades, Quirk, Removable) (Communication 5 [Effectively Anywhere] Area, Dimensional, Selective, Subtle) 17 points
Rocket Shoes: (Fades, Quirk, Removable) (Flight 7 continuous) 10 points
Force Field Generating Pin Wheel: (Fades, Quirk, Easily Removable) (Force Field 10 Impervious, sustained) 0 points
Pop Gun: (Fades, Quirk, Easily Removable)(Blast 10) 7 points
Super Gloves: (Fades, Quirk, Removable) (Power-Lifting 10 Enhanced Strength, Limited to Lifting) (25 tons)
Translator-O-Matic: (Fades, Quirk, Easily Removable): Communication 10 (Animals, Languages, Machines, Plants, Spirits) 7 points
X-Ray Specs: Senses 1 (Fades, Quirk, Removable) (Vision Penetrates Concealment) 2 points

Beginner’s Luck, Improved Initiative 1, Improvised Tools, Inventor, Move-by Action, Taunt

12 9-volt batteries
Hammer (Damage 2, bludgeoning)

Initiative + 6
Close Combat (Hammer) +0 vs Parry Toughness DC 12
Close Combat (Unarmed) +2 vs Parry Toughness DC 10
Ranged Combat (Pop Gun) +8 vs Dodge Toughness DC 20

Dodge 6, Fortitude 5, Toughness 11*/1, Parry 2, Will 7
*With force field

Motivation: Larry is motivated by an earnest desire to do good in the world and make it a better place.
Forever Young: Even after living for more than half a century Larry exhibits no sign of aging physically or mentally beyond the age of ten. Luckily his mental status helps lessen the effects of his condition, however he is constantly faced with the reality that everyone, and everything around him ages while he does not.
Weakness (Confidence): If Larry’s confidence is broken all of his inventions fall apart.


Although Larry Upton is physically 66 years old, has the appearance and mental state of a 10 year old boy. Grew up in the 1950s, and in 1959 was struck by lightning while hammering at a meteorite he found in a field. After that, anything he wanted to build technologically he can make in a few minutes from whatever materials are around him.
The devices look like 1950s B movie (or Gilligan’s Island) props, but all function as intended… the first time they are used. Succeeding uses are either less effective or give humorous results. The device will also fall apart if Larry’s confidence is broken.
No super strength, or super speed – just the power of a boy’s imagination, confidence, and a pocket full of 9 volts.

At the moment there’s only one other hero in the line, suggested by my friend Paul, and that’d be Speedball/Penance from the Marvel universe. If you want to suggest a hero of your own post a comment, shoot me an email, look us up on facebook and post a message. Check back next month to see who comes out on top.

Choose Our Heroes


A few episodes ago we played a quick adventure using the Marvel Heroic RPG, in fact that episode was recorded more than a year ago, but I only got around to editing in recently. Since it was released it’s become one of Out of Character’s most popular episodes so I think we need to pick it up again. However I’d like to give it a small twist. One of the benefits of the Marvel Heroic RPG is that it is meant to allow players to switch characters during and between play sessions. So I think we need some new heroes. Last time we had Thor Girl, Warlock, and Beast which was all well and good but I’d like listeners to have a say in who appears on the podcast.

So name off a hero in the comments and the most popular selections will appear in an upcoming episode of Out of Character as one of the player characters.

Gen Con

For the first time ever we’ll be attending Gen Con, and I’m really looking forward to it. If anyone who listens to the podcast is planning to go hopefully our paths will cross at some point during the convention. I’ll be participating in the Iron GM event on Saturday, so I won’t be doing much else on Saturday. I’m planning to wander the convention as much as possible and check out what goes on as I’ve never attended it in the past.

Episode 30: My Heroes

More than a year ago I took it into my head to start doing a regular podcast, and as of today that podcast has reached it’s 30th episode. Those of you with math skills will quickly deduce that we’ve hit some bumps in the road, but I wanted to something special for this episode. Whenever I record a podcast I get a bit of table talk that usually ends up being edited out. That’s what this episode is.

We discuss Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, other tabletop RPGS, and roleplaying games in general.

Some of you might wonder what’s so special about that? Well it’s the people you’re listening to. They’re all amazing and I could not do the podcast without each and every one of them. This is just my way of saying, thanks guys, I appreciate all that you’ve done for me.

Hoard of the Dragon Queen Artwork

So I asked Geoff to do some more artwork for our Hoard of the Dragon Queen campaign and it is finished, I was originally going to post all of this along with the first episode but I ended up uploading that a full month earlier than expected, anyway it’s finished and I love it so I thought I’d share it now.

D&D_Cast The party pays no heed to the obstacles that stand between them, and their destiny.

d&d_Ranger Fatima Al-Mahjalia is a ranger seeking vengeance for her murdered tribe.

d&d_Elf (1) Thres Cragsdaughter is an elf raised among a barbarian tribe of Icewind Dale, she has come south seeking the family that left her on a mountain as a baby.

d&d_Fighter Breena Stonebridge is a member of the newly formed Keepers, and a warrior pledged to smite the undead and the forces of Thay.

d&d_Bard Sarl the Slight hales from a musical tribe of goliaths, and he is searching for a new dwarf to bring home.

d&d_Tauran Kraxus Quickblade was searchingn for his father, but he brutally murdered so now he wants REVENGE!

Daily D4

Today’s Daily D4 is all about Free RPG Day, which was yesterday in case you missed it. I was stuck working throughout most of the day so I didn’t get a chance to play any games, but I did make it out to check out some of the things that were on offer. There were a ton of great quick-start rules, gaming accessories, and one-shot adventures being given away. Since I got there so late in the day I also got to snag more goodies that people who arrived earlier because these were the things that were left after the mob had been given their say. In fact I ended up getting so much stuff that I couldn’t even fit it all in a single installment of the Daily D4.

Now I’m not trying to give you all a proper summary of these systems because that would take far too long, I just want to praise a few and point out the highlights in my mind.

Valiant Universe RPG

As I’ve said many, many times in the past I love superhero RPGs like Mutants and Masterminds, DC Adventures, Bash, and the Marvel Heroic RPG. I’ve been reading comics since I was a kid so anything with superheroes can usually win me over pretty easily. When I saw the Valiant Universe RPG quick-start rules I thought it looked like an interesting take on the superhero genre so I decided to pick it up. Up until now I’ve never read anything that has been put out as part of the Valiant Universe so I feel like I can be really objective about what Catalyst Game Labs has put forth here.

In the quick-start rules you’ll find a simple explanation of the basic rules of the system, an brief adventure called Rumble in the Bay, and stats for four characters from the Valiant Universe as well as a few NPCs. Now I don’t want to spoil the adventure for anyone whose planning to play it at some point so I won’t be providing any details about it here. I will say that one thing about this system fascinated me right away, namely the fact that the role of Game Master is replaced with what’s called a Lead Narrator, a role which is rotated between players throughout the game. You can have a fixed Lead Narrator, but it is by no means a requirement of the system which makes it really unique. I love the idea of passing of the narration of an adventure between players, and I definitely want to give it a try.

The four characters featured in the book are Bloodshot, Livewire, Faith, and Torque. As I said before I know next to nothing about these characters or their universe but the dossiers in the book give me all the information I need to understand their powers, personalities, and ambitions.

If you’re wandering through a friendly local game store and you see this quick-start pick it up and give it a look, I would definitely recommend it as being worthy of a place in the game night line-up.

Valiant Universe RPG Comic Book Play Guide_Cover

Cosmic Patrol

Cosmic Patrol is a game the jumped off of the cover of a pulp magazine from the last previous century. That may be why I love it so much and I snagged one of the copies of the quick-start rules eagerly. In this game players take on the roles of Patrolmen, essentially mankind’s only defenders in a galaxy full of meteor showers, mysterious plagues, genocidal warlords, and monsters who find them to be delicious. The characters on offer are Captain Tim “Trigeerfinger” Flash, Darjah a warrior woman from Mars who looks like she could tear through the hull of a spacecraft with her bare hands,and Sirra a computer scientist from Venus who seems trapped in a world of adventure and heroes much to her chagrin.

I love the idea of a game that builds a narrative using cues and characters that are light-hearted and fun. Much as I love science fiction it has suffered over the years from becoming ever darker and painting an increasingly bleak vision of the future. This pokes fun at the threats plaguing the galaxy and allows you to laugh at the alien ghost simian haunting the swamp moons of Saturn.

The rules also encourage players to write down their stories and share them with others in the true pulp style.


Atlantis: The Second Age Prelude to Adventure

The cover for Atlantis: Second Age Prelude to Adventure is a fantastic piece of artwork as you see a massive hydra staring down at a warrior armed only with a spear. From Khepera Publishing this stand alone product provides everything that players need to enjoy the game, and if you like it there is a core book with additional material that’s already available in stores. This is a sword and sorcery game where players survive by relying on their cunning, the strength of their backs, and the allies at their side. The book comes with five pre-made characters including Tyyawdi a human burglar, Donobey a human solider, Agathon a human saint in the service of Obatala the god of the sun, law, and love, Caerwyn a lemurian scholar, and Thalmia a triton sorcerer. There’s also a brief adventure that will allow you to test these characters and the system out if you’re interested.

This is a great product and I liked it so much I actually bought the core book along with it, just because I wanted to be able to give it a look. If you enjoy games that are filled with unique races, allow you to build detailed and intricate stories centered around your characters, and that are a bit grittier than some of the other sword and sorcery games out there this is definitely worth taking a look at.


Fifth Edition Fantasy #5: Into the Dragon’s Maw

In the most recent episode of the podcast we delved into Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition by playing the first part of Hoard of the Dragon Queen. When I saw that Goodman Games was producing material using the rules for 5th edition I was pleased as I think there are a ton of really creative people out there, all of whom can come up with unique and wonderful stories that others might enjoy as well. This adventure finds your party searching for Dragon’s Maw Waterfall, and according to local legends that very waterfall served as the entrance to a cavern that was once the home of a mighty dragon. Prophecies, the potential to plunder a dragon’s unguarded hoard, and an arduous trek through a deadly jungle sound like great things to throw at a party. Now if you’re new to 5th Edition be warned, this adventure is for level twelve characters. You could build level 12 characters easily enough, or try scaling the adventure down so that a lower level party could take a run at it, but I would advise folding it into an ongoing campaign if you’re interested in giving it a try.

Without a doubt my favorite thing about the book were the magical items in the back. There’s a manticore shield in there that aside from being a nice looking shield, can fire barbs as projectiles! Tired of finding yourself without a ranged weapon or reaching for your quiver only to find you used your last arrow on that pesky goblin? Well now you can alleviate that problem by peppering your foes with spikes. I am considering using this in our Hoard of the Dragon Queen campaign because I think it sounds like a ton of fun.


Episode 29: Hoard of the Dragon Queen Part One

We’ve taken up the task of running Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and we have a bigger party than ever before. Join Kraxus Quickblade the minotaur sorcerer, Breena Stonebridge the human fighter, Fatima Al-Mahjalia the human ranger, Sarl the Slight a goliath bard, and Thres Cragsdaughter an elf barbarian as they combat the Cult of the Dragon.

The campaign has an obsidian portal page so you can get more info on the characters or check in to see what adventures the party gets up to there as well.

Episode 28: Games of Thrones a Song of Liars and Dice Part 2

Some of you may remember a long time ago we sat down to play the Noble Houses of Westeros, an RPG of my own design. You probably thought it had been lost forever. Turns out it hasn’t. I just needed to take the time to sit down and edit another episode for you guys. Enjoy! If you want to check out the rules they’re here on the blog.

Blog at

Up ↑