This very game, especially created for infirm men, lackadaisical housewives, or dirt-encrusted, simpleton poor-folk, allows the participants to imagine themselves as brave, competent and loyal subjects of the British Colonial Expeditionary Forces, without ever having to leave the comfort of their armchairs (or perhaps more appropriately, the excrement-laden gutters that these wretched lowlifes call home). On an entirely sensible note, they also avoid the possible disintegration of their nether regions by overheated weaponry, or being skewered or butchered at the hand of moronic indigenous natives.
An introductory note from our intrepid renderer of imaginatory scribblings, and amateur Venusian Whimpthrung baiter:
This is actually a hack of the excellent world of Doctor Grordbort, as written and illustrated by Greg Broadmore, for Dark Horse comics. Its essentially a satire of the British Colonial spirit, entwined with 30s and 40s inspired science fiction. An alternative version of the 1920`s, this is a universe full of diverse and exotic creatures and intelligent lifeforms, all ready to be exploited, hunted and disintegrated into oblivion, by the plucky, adventurous and highly violent solar explorers of earth, embodied fully by the eponymous Lord Cockswain.
Step 1: Envisioning your Alter Ego
So for those cowardly souls, who wish to partake in series of imaginary violent pursuits, they will first need to determine their pretend personage - an alter ego if you wish, which they assume rather than face up to their own lives of squalor and moral degradation.
A note on the role of the fairer sex in less enlightened times: Despite this being a satire of less political correct times, female characters can rise above the expectations and inequality enforced by the typical males of this era. Women adventurers will therefore tend to be rather unusual, operating as lone agents rather than as part of the male-dominated governmental departments and forces. Consequently, they will also tend to be very good at what they do - their opponents failing to realize their true potentials.
To begin with, the players will need a concept for their chosen fictitious personages. To facilitate in the dazzling array of choices available, here are some examples to peruse:
Infantryman: These stalwart fellows are part of the British Colonial Expeditionary Force. Armed to the teeth with disruptor rifles, ray pistols, decoupler bombs and other paraphernalia, these gallant fellows gladly lay down their lives, often in particularly gruesome fashion, to bring peace to our solar system and quell indigenous uprisings with enough extreme violence they can stomach.
Heavy Shock Trooper: For those that find the life of an infantryman fails to soil their undergarments on regular occasions, they can enlist as a heavy shock trooper, the front line forces of the British army. These ill-mannered, ex-rugby playing thugs are heavily armoured and heavily armed,with high-voltage heavy-assault cannons, gas bombs and cudgels - perfect instruments for dealing serious internal conflagration to Johny Alien.
Earth Elite Force Operative: Only the Empires finest need apply as a member of the EEF. Armed with the latest high tech energy rifles and rocket propelled jetpacks, these trained killers are our last defence against the insipid incursions of the nefarious Moon Men! Their fearsome visage is likely to cause severe bowel evacuations from most alien scum, street oiks and misbehaving foreigner-types.
Tank Corps Crewman: Would would you not want to spend hours cooped up like a sweat-drenched, urine-soaked sardine, partially in control of a metal behemoth with enough firepower to blast several species into utter extinction at the push of a button! Make your choice from the lovable Gargantutherium VII, the workhorse of any armoured assault, the light weight "Greased Weasle" quick-assault tank, or the excrement-inducing 450 tonne Admiral Class Landship! Huzzah for the Tank Corps!
Pan-European Orbital Attack Force Pilot: If you want sheer raw heroic machismo and derring do, then why not enlist as a brave and most likely short-lived pilot in defence of our wonderful planet.Take on the might of the Moon Men Battle-naughts, with the earths fleet of woefully underfunded and ill-maintained ships, and delight in taking a few of these monstrous metal whales with you into fiery oblivion!
Retired Officer: Not everyone is cut out for the grime-drenched, carcass-strewn battlefields of Venus or beyond. Some are born filthy rich and thus avoid any dangerous duties, commanding far braver men, while themselves requiring scant courage or for that matter much common sense. Those idiots who manage to survive disintegrating their own John Thomas, eventually decide its must safer all round by drinking copious amounts of brandy, oiling their mechanical replacement organs, and abusing the servants. The Empire would be nothing without such chaps as these!
You may choose to play an automaton character - not organic at all. As a consequence of this, your character has a Structure rating instead of Health, and cannot heal naturally - you must be repaired with an appropriate trait draw. On the plus side, they are immune to organic poisons or disease, and do not need to sleep, eat, drink or rest. Automatons do have personalities and so are programmed to respond to verbal threats or horror - draws are still required to resist these. However, unless specifically described to affect machines, mental powers do not work on automaton. They still have a Sanity rating, because their personality circuits may still be damaged. You only need to make a draw when your personality is compromised in some way. You and the Host should determine your personality and prime directives. If these are confused, a draw may be necessary to avoid losing Sanity points.
An automatons traits represent special programs, equipment, weapons or defensive qualities, based on the automatons functions.
Step 2: Choose Traits
Players must now design their characters, choosing traits. Traits can represent anything that the character can do, be it a skill, ability and power, and are each rated from -4 to +8 or even higher. For an ability, this number represents your overall level of competence - 1 is pretty good, 2 is good, 3 is exceptional, and 4 is world class. Above that is superhuman or unnatural, represented by automatons, aliens or mutants. You may define each power however you wish, as focussed or generic as you want. However, when making an opposed draw against a foe, whoever has the more focused skill may draw two cards and use the highest value.
Each character must now rank each type of trait, assigning 1 to their least important , up to 4 for their most important. You may then assign 7/5/3/1 points to traits of that type. You may also choose negative traits, which increase your available points. Each -1 penalty you take grants you an extra skill point that you can spend in any category, but you may only gain up to 4 points when doing this. Negative traits can only be applied to traits anyone would be able to do, and cannot be too focused - taking -4 in astronavigation is definitely out, but being Weak -2 or a Simpleton -4, is entirely feasible.
♠ Rational Traits: These traits been learnt through book learning and study. The more points you put into ration traits, the more disciplined your mind is. Sample Rational traits include Clever, Consulting Detective, Merticulous, Well Read, Astro-navigation, Mad Scientist, Tinkerer or Mesmerist
♣ Physical Traits: These traits have been learnt by training. The more points put into Physical traits, the hardier you are. Sample physical traits include Hardy, Strongman, Athletics, Macrami, Stealth, Pick Pocket or Bare-knuckle Fighter
♥ Emotional Traits: These are related to your state of emotion, or to affecting the emotions of others. The more points invested in Emotional Traits, the more friends and acquaintances you have. Sample emotional traits include Seduction, Empathic Sense, Artistic, Leadership or Stiff Upper Lip
♦ Inherent Traits: These traits are related to a characters natural abilities and talents - traits they were born with without any training. Sample Inherent talents include: Quick reflexes, Perceptive, Danger Sense, Artistic Eye, Natural Born Ninja and Inherited Fortune
Step 3: Secondary Traits
Each character has 4 secondary traits, which every character possesses, each related to a type of trait:
A Character`s Health rating which determines how much damage one can sustain before being obliterated, equal to your Physical Rank. Every time you take damage, your Health is reduced by 1. If you are ever reduced to zero Health, you either collapse, bleeding to death or are severely concussed, depending on the source of damage. If you are reduced to below -5 Health, you die in some painful and possibly gore-drenched manner. For npcs, they are killed in this fashion when reduced below 0 Health.
A character`s Sanity rating, equal to 3 plus your Rational rank, which determines their resistance to mental shock and horror. Anytime a character faces a terrible shock, mental torture, or face bowel-evacuating horror, they must make an appropriate trait draw or lose 1 Sanity. If you draw a Joker, you lose 2 Sanity. If you draw a Queen, you gain 1 Sanity! When this is reduced to zero, the character acts in an irrational manner, gibbers in a corner or in some way acts like a lunatic. If reduced to less than zero, the character is rendered permanently insane. "Biscuits with teeth I tell you- there coming to get me!"
A character`s Contacts rating, equal to their Emotional rank, determines how many allies and contacts they have, who start with 10 points worth of traits. You may take less than this number of contacts - each fewer contact provides +10 traits in one of your other contacts.
A Character`s Fortune rating, equal to their Inherent rating minus 1, determines how naturally fortunate they are. Each session, you may redraw a number of cards equal to your Fortune rating.
Step 4: Determine Assets
Assets represent expensive items of equipment or vehicles the character starts with. You gain a number of assets equal to your highest trait associated with wealth, or possible a lucrative skill or career, such as World Renowned Architect, Film Celebrity or Rich Lawyer. More expensive items cost more than one asset to acquire:
Well Stocked Laboratory/Workshop/Library (Provides a +2 appropriate trait bonus when using it)
Light Ray Pistol (+2 to attack, Speed 3)
Heavy Ray Pistol (+3 to Attack, Speed 2)
Shock Trooper Armour (+2 to defend)
Portable Contrapulatronic Device (Exhumator etc)
Small Tank (2 Assets)
Large Tank (3 Assets)
Gigantic Tank (4 Assets)
Ray-Blunderbuss (+4 to attack, Speed 1)
Small Rocket Ship (2 Assets)
Large Rocket Ship (3 Assets)
Star Dreadnought (5 assets)
Underground Lair (4 Assets)
Moon Fighter (2 Assets)
Gas-driven Gad About, Posteriotron
Moon Hater Death Beam (2 Assets)
Zeppelin (3 Assets)
Orbital Space station (8 Assets)
Sky Fortress (5 Assets)
Time Machine (4 Assets)
For example, Quimsey Sprunt, life long letch and reprobate, has decided to play a dashing space pilot, Thrust Spatchcock. Bearing this in mind he assigns his 4 trait types as follows:
Rational 1, Physical 2, Emotional 3, Inherent 4
He now has 7 Inherent trait points, choosing Lightning Reflexes 2, Sharp Senses 1, and Natural Pilot 4. He now has 5 points to spend on Emotional traits, opting for Easy On The Eye 2, and Gutsy 2, and Friends in Low Places 1. He has 3 points to spend on Physical traits, so chooses Adventurous 2, and Bash It And Hope For The Best 1. Finally, with just one Ration trait, he chooses Astro-Navigation 1. He now elects to take the Negative trait Daydreamer -2, allowing him to add 2 points into Fisticuffs.
Finally he determines his secondary traits: Health 5, Sanity 4, Contacts 3 and Fortune 3. He also starts with Assets 4 (from Natural Born Pilot). He chooses an automaton mechanic, a Goliathon 83 pistol, and his own Rocket ship
The Games afoot!
To succeed at any virtual endevour, you will require a pack of ordinary whist-worthy playing cards. Please do not use illustrated cards, depicting semi clad natives or ladies ankles. Such distractions will seriously effect ones gamesmanship, and is likely to cause house maids to feint, while serving hot scolding tea. The manufacturers of "Dr Grordborts Imaginationary Pretend Violence Parlour Game" and any affiliated company pertaining to the Grordbort estate, are not responsible for any genital burns induced by wholly inappropriate gaming paraphernalia. Please game responsibly.
As a player of this fine game, your alter-ego will, occasionally, have to perform various actions. These require a draw of a card, to which you must add an appropriate trait. If you are trying an unusual power or ability, or a skill that no one could naturally do without training, you must have at least 1 in the trait to make a draw. The Host now selects the difficulty, rated from 5 up to 20 for a practically impossible task - the average task being 5. If the final draw exceeds the difficulty, the attempt succeeds - the higher the card, the greater the result.
For example, Thrust Spatchcock is attempting to leap from a burning zeppelin, to land safely. The Host determines this to be somewhat tricky, so assigns a difficulty of 7. Quimsey needs to make an appropriate trait, choosing adventurous, for +2 to the draw, Thrust draws a 6, so just makes it. He bounces across the ground, gaining a few bruises and aches, but nothing serious.
Court cards have special significance using these rules. If you draw a Joker, you have performed a serious foul - the action dramatically fails. Perhaps ones Oscillator explodes, rendering you sterile, or you fall from a great height. In any event, your final draw total However, should you draw a Queen, it counts as a 12, and you may double your trait value if positive. If you draw a King, then the card is kept in ones hand. Redraw the card for your attempt. Kings may be used to redraw any card.
Each point you exceed the difficulty is known as your success - the more successes, the greater success
Sometimes you will need to make a draw opposed by an opponents. The Host should determine what traits are appropriate - all involved may make a draw and whoever gets the higher result succeeds, with ties going to the character with the more focused skill.
Sooner or later, a scrap is bound to occur. Then its time to bring out the ray-blunderbuss, and kick some alien arse. Combat is carried out in combat rounds. At the start of each combat, every combatant needs to make a draw, adding a trait related to quick reflexes, or speed. Their result is their Initiative for the entire combat, although you may, at any point, use an action to redraw your Initiative.
During your turn, you may draw 2 action cards which determine what you can do each round. Grunts and Mooks get 1 action card, and more experienced characters gain 2 or more. If a player has a trait which would indicate they are fast, then they gain + 1 action card for each full 4 points in that trait (no more than 4 in total). Each action card is drawn face down. You may do one of the following with each card:
- Move up to the cards value in yards, plus an appropriate trait
- Draw a sword or reload an weapon
- Make an attack or use a skill
- Clamber over table or climb through a window
- Redraw your Initiative
- Defend against an attack (draw extra cards to defend)
If the action requires a draw, turn over your card. You may even combine cards - draw all cards and use the best result. If the cards have matching suits, you may add the cards values together.
Attacking a foe
To make an attack, which can be anything that attempts to defeat a foe, you will need to make a draw, adding a relevant attacking trait, such as Fisticuffs, Rayguns or Gunnery, plus any bonuses from weapons. The target then attempts to defend against the attack, plus any bonuses from any armour they are wearing. They draw a card adding whatever trait is most suitable. Whoever gets the higher draw total succeeds, with ties going to the more focused skill. The target reduces their Health by half the amount you exceed the targets results by, rounding up.
You may attack multiple times, but no more than the weapons speed value:
Unarmed (-2 Attack, Speed 4)
Dagger, rapier, knife (-1 Attack, Speed 3)
Sword, sling, bow ( Speed 2)
Two handed weapon, grenade, crossbow (+1 Attack, Speed 1)
Light Ray Pistol (+2 to attack, Speed 3)
Heavy Ray Pistol (+3 to Attack, Speed 2)
Ray-Blunderbuss (+4 Attack, Speed 1)
Gun Turret (+6 Attack, Speed 1)
Moon Hater Death Beam (+10 Attack, Speed 0)
Tough Skin, shield, Leather armour (+1 Defence)
Shock trooper armour, light plating (+2 Defence)
Heavy Plating, Gas-driven Gadabout (+3 Defence)
Characters generally recover 1 point of Health and Sanity after a decent nights kip. If they are reduced to zero, however, they will need to spend time recovering at a hospital, or sanitarium, which may take a week or more.
With soothing words, blood-letting, or experimental brain surgery, someone may attempt to help a patience recover faster. This requires an appropriate draw against an average difficulty (5)- if the draw is successful, the patience recovers 1 point of Health or Sanity for each 3 successes you gain, or part thereof. If, however, the draw is a Jack, the patience loses 1 point of Health or Sanity. This may result in killing the patient, or turning them into a gibbering loon.
Bestiary of the Cosmos
Here are a sampling of creatures and opponents to delight and amuse. As a guide fro creating your own beasts, a creatures size determines its basic Health rating - the Host may adjust this value, depending on how strong or weak the creature is:
|6" or less (1/2 Lb or less)||1|
|6" to a foot (1/2 to 1 lb)||2|
|1-2 feet (1-10 lbs)||3|
|2-5 feet (10-100 lbs)||4|
|5-7 feet (100-500lbs)||5|
|7-15 feet (500lb to 1 Tonne)||7|
|15-25 feet (1-10 Tonnes)||9|
|26-50 feet (10-50 Tonnes)||11|
|50-100 Feet (50 -100 Tonnes)||15|
These Venusian quadrupeds stand around 6 foot tall, 18 feet from tail to head, and weigh from 3 to 4 tonnes. These large omnivores will occasionally stalk slow or stupid prey, or feed on carrion. They can trundle along at a reasonable pace, and possess an impressive , if intriguing mouth parts, which seem to act like a swiss army knife when attempting to eat various Venusian wild life
Traits: Stalking -2, Multiple-eyed 3, Stomping Charge 5, Slow Reactions -1, Tough Skin 3, Vicious Mouth Parts 4