Creating Memorable NPCs: Osric the Worthy

Summerfort Sunday

Summerfort is home to a number of interesting, unusual, and colorful characters. It’s also home to a number of intentionally bland and unexciting folk. I wrote them that way to draw attention to the more exciting characters, but also to make the city seem more believable.

To illustrate this, here I present one of the major characters in A Darkness at Summerfort.

Osric the Worthy (captain of the town guard)

Personality: Uncompromising, Stubborn

Physical Attributes: Muscular, Strong Jaw, Harsh Eyes

Voice: Strong

Something to note here: each NPC in A Darkness at Summerfort has a full list of game statistics, but also a set of roleplaying statistics like those above. These quick notes are intended to give game masters an idea of how to act the NPC out, should they so choose.

About Osric

The master of Summerfort’s town guard, Osric gained his nickname by besting a gurunil raiding party alone. He’s a handsome man, even in his fifties, and a very capable fighter. Osric is outwardly uncompromising and will not sacrifice the town’s safety for any reason.

In his youth, Osric was an adventurer. As he got older, he decided to retire from a life of adventuring to start a family. His wife Lila, three sons, and two daughters live with him in a large stone house near the North Gate of Summerfort. Osric and Lila had a sixth child, a son named Zutry, who disappeared on a foraging trip fifteen years ago. Though Osric spent almost a full year searching for him, Zutry was never found again. That loss stings bitterly for both Osric and Lila to this day.

Ten years ago, the baron who owns the land Summerfort is built on approached Osric to offer him captaincy of the town guard. At the time, Osric had a poor opinion of Baron Auler, but accepted anyway. He wanted a chance to protect Summerfort, and this was the best opportunity he’d be likely to get. He has been the captain of the guard ever since.



Thanksgiving, Sales, and Æthursday!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American fans! From all of us here to all of you out there, we hope your holiday is safe and that you enjoy this time observing the traditions that you have!

On that note, one of the most American of traditions is Black Thursday and Cyber Monday. No doubt you have been inundated with sale announcements and all kinds of special deals and offers. At our Store you can enjoy 25% off everything, now through Monday the 26th! These deals come by only once a year, and only our April sale gives you more bang for your buck! Stop by the store and see our new Christmas video as well!

On that note, don’t forget to check us out on Facebook! All of our fans who have “Liked” us receive a 10% off coupon, and yes, it stacks with the 25% off coupon for the holidays, and the 10% coupon if you have won one of our Silver Gryphon poker chips at a con! If you’ve had that opportunity, you can take 45% off our regular prices!

Finally, it’s Æthursday, so we’re capping this week’s Thursday post off with something to get you into the holiday spirit, the Wereturkey!

A lesser known lycanthrope, Wereturkeys are prevalent in early American history, and the settlers of Europe had vicious battles with them. It took help from the Native American tribes in the area to teach the settlers the weaknesses of the terrifying bird/human hybrids: the naturally growing herb of sage. This war against the Wereturkeys has gone largely unrecorded in history, but remnants of it can be found in folk art, particularly in the anthropomorphization of the common turkey around Thanksgiving time. These are not attempts to be cute, but rather, they are attempts to remove the horror from the ingrained memories passed down by our ancestors.

Wereturkeys in Æther are cursed and they pass their curse on genetically as well as transmitting it like an infection through their bite. Their abilities do not manifest until the next full moon, and after that they are stronger, faster, and tougher in their human form and even more so in their wereturkey form. Wereturkeys have two forms: Human and a Human/Turkey Hybrid. The Hybrid form can curl their wings into rough hands and manipulate large objects; bows and arrows are beyond their abilities, but using weapons such as muskets and blunderbusses are terrifyingly possible.

Apply the following templates to a previously created character.

Wereturkeys have the following bonuses in Human form:

Attribute Bonuses:
Muscle +1
Reflexes +1
Toughness +1
Wits +1

Skill Bonuses:
Perception +25
Survival +25

Colossal Armor: 0/Sage
Regeneration: 1 SD / round
Weakness: Sage

Wereturkeys have the following bonuses in Hybrid form. The bonuses to their skills and attributes stack with those they receive in their Human form.

Attribute Changes:
Aim -2 (to a minimum of 1)
Muscle +3
Reflexes +3
Toughness +3
Wits +3

Skill Bonuses:
Perception +50
Survival +50
Stealth +25

Colossal Armor: 0 / Sage
Weakness: Sage
Claws and Bite attack
Terror Gobble

Colossal Armor
Wereturkeys have colossal armor against all damage sources except sage. If a sage-coated item does damage to them, it does damage as normal.

Wereturkeys will regenerate 1 SD per round until they are completely healed. They will not regenerate wounds from sage-based weapons if the sage is still in them (i.e. a snapped off stick or stuffing). They will regenerate limbs in a week, but they cannot regenerate their head; decapitation kills them. They are instantly healed whenever they change form unless they have taken damage from a silver weapon. Changing form does not regenerate lost limbs or speed up the process, but the wound from the loss of limb will heal over and stop bleeding.

Sage is the wereturkey’s only weakness. It by-passes their Colossal armor ability and causes lasting damage. The only ways to kill a wereturkey are to destroy its heart with a sage-based weapon or to decapitate it. This is why sage is such a common ingredient in stuffing on Thanksgiving: it’s the only way to be sure.

Claw and Bite Attack
In were form, the wereturkey has claw and bite attacks. Its claws and bite each do 1D10 / 3 + their Damage Modifier in Hard Damage. Their bite can cause an infection that will turn the victim into a wereturkey on the next full moon. Bitten victims make a Resist Poison check immediately with a target of 150. If they fail, they will become a wereturkey. If they pass, they are not infected.

Terror Gobble
In Hybrid form, wereturkeys can unleash a Terror Gobble once every 10 seconds. This gobble requires all non wereturkeys within 100 feet to make a Mental Control check at a 100 difficulty. Those who fail will flee for the next 10 seconds, or until they are at least 100 yards away, whatever comes first. Those who critically fail the roll die instantly of a heart attack. Those who pass can act normally. Using the Terror Gobble is a Full Action for the Turkey.

It is possible to resist the change into a wereturkey, which happens automatically on all three nights of the full moon. The wereturkey can also enact a change at any time during the month, day or night, after they have already gone through their first full moon. The difficulty to change from turkey to man and back again is a 150 Mental Control check. There is no check required to change from man to turkey-human-hybrid during the nights of the full moon; that is free, but to change back into a man requires a Mental Control check of 150. At dawn, the change back to human is automatic and cannot be resisted.


Wellstone City Wednesday – Salvation’s Soldiers

Salvation’s Soldiers

This group, made up almost entirely of veterans from within Wellstone City, is a charity organization that picks up many causes throughout Wellstone, but takes a special interest in the homeless and the victims of domestic abuse. They are mostly well known for two events: a bike ride for Memorial Day at the end of May, and their work during the holidays. Starting on the day after Thanksgiving, these volunteers are on the corner of every major street intersection (in the safer parts of town) and at every shopping mall, ringing their bells and asking for donations.

Unlike some of the other similar organizations, none of the staff of Salvation’s Soldiers are paid. One hundred percent of the donations go to helping various shelters or for soup kitchens or other special needs groups. Very little of the contributions go to things like overhead, but the group does have a few expenses, such as uniforms, advertising, and supplies for donation collection.

One of the few charity organizations in town that the syndicates won’t touch, Salvation’ Soldiers even get a fairly wide avenue of operation from the smaller criminal elements. They are one of the most iconic groups in the city, and that is mostly due to the fact that they started in Wellstone City and they stayed in Wellstone City.


Destroying Summerfort

Summerfort Sunday

For this edition of Summerfort Sundays, I present you with a look into the history of Summerfort’s development, and give you a rundown on where we’re going with it.

The Con Game

The microsetting of Summerfort was born out of a game I threw together for a convention. In the earliest days after Ingenium’s original release in 2010, I didn’t have any games to run at conventions. I’d had adventures that I ran for friends, but nothing printed and fleshed out for public consumption. Even the Ingenium core rules didn’t have a printed adventure.

So, for the first convention we went to in 2011 (which, I believe, may have been Con of the North in Minneapolis), I put together a quick two-hour dungeon dive called “A Darkness at Summerfort.” No one showed up for the adventure, mostly due to horrible event handling at the con in question. However, when I did end up running the adventure, the players had a blast. Over the next weeks and months, A Darkness at Summerfort went through numerous revisions and expansions, finally becoming what it is today. I’ll get to that in a minute.

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Breaking Murphy has been released for Wellstone City!

Have you ever had one of those days…one where nothing seems to be going right? One that starts out bad and just seems to get worse and worse? Today is one of those days. To top it off, your crew just got a call from the Boss; you have three hours to plan a bank hit, get something out of Vault Security Box 42, and get out. So far, you’ve broken a shoe lace, broken a mirror, and feel like you’re being stalked by black cats. You’ve got a bad, bad feeling about this…

This adventure takes a (potential) break from the normal Wellstone City Chronicles and uses a varient in the rules of the Wellstone City Encounter Deck to make an adventure that is literally different every time you play it. By drawing three cards at the beginning of the adventure, the Narrator determines what events happen during the hit that make this time through it unique. These three card draws can dramatically change the way the adventure runs, and even shift alliances of the PCs, so we consider it to be the “gag episode” of Wellstone City.

When drawing cards, you might get any of the following, plus other results for every single other card in the deck:

  • A bus load of kids from a local charity organization is taking a tour of the bank, unbeknownst to the PCs at the initial time of the hit.
  • The mother of one of the PCs is in the bank and recognizes the PC. She does not become one of the people already listed as one of the people in the bank; she is a new person completely.
  • The Bank Manager has a heart attack before the PCs can get the vault open and he is the only one who knew the combination.
  • The power goes out. A pelican dropped a fish into a transformer and it blew up. The city is going to need a few hours to get it sorted out.
  • A rabid bat swarm comes down out of the drop ceiling.

This adventure is filled with art from Ari Syahrazad, and comes with a map provided by Fabled Environments! A larger version of the map can be purchased from Fabled Environments, either from their store front at Drive Thru RPG and their affiliates, or get a huge physical print out from their online store at!

Add Breaking Murphy to your collection of Wellstone City Chronicles today! It is available for both the Savage Worlds and Æther systems!


Æthursday – What Makes Æther different?

A question we get asked a lot is, “What makes Æther different?” We hear it at conventions, through email, and through other channels. There are some stock answers that we give to customers, but what it really boils down to is that it makes the players think just a little harder when bullets start flying and swords start flashing. Damage in the system isn’t something to be taken lightly, not when a Long Sword does 1D10 damage and a 9mm pistol does 1D10 – 1 damage…and the typical character might be able to take four points of damage before suffering penalties and another four before death.

That might sound harsh, but it’s pretty rare to hear the statement, “don’t worry, I can take it,” from any player before they send their character into a hall way filled with bad guys with guns.

The other major change is the way we handle initiative with Æther. Actions are based on a 10-second round, and then characters get to act on specific seconds based on their Reflexes attribute. There’s more to it than that, and certain actions have precedence in the initiative stack, but by and large, initiative is static, rolling, and keeps the action moving quickly, not relying on dice to hinge which climactic event happens first.

The system is driven by skill and attributes. An attribute modifier plus a skill value plus a D100 roll gives you your skill check result, and the higher the result, the better. In a true percentile system, you generally want to roll low; skills advance closer and closer to 100 and the lower a dice roll’s outcome is, the better the character did. Æther is not a percentile based game in that respect, it simply uses percentile dice (or the rarely seen and even more rarely used D100) for skill rolls and all damage involves a D10 and usually a modifier.


It’s Wellstone Wednesday!

This week on Wellstone Wednesday, it’s time to meet the most powerful organization in town:

The Cabbie Union

One of the most overlooked Unions in Wellstone City is the Cabbie Union.  They are one of the most powerful groups in Wellstone because of the faces they see and the information they overhear.  Phone calls, conversations, people’s attitudes, and people’s faces; all of these things culminate into an information gathering web when the Cabbies are sitting around and talking at the end of their shifts or radioing strange happenings in.

Friends of the Union get some pretty special perks, such as no-questions-asked service, and the find-a-ride number.  No matter where they are, no matter what kind of trouble they’re in, the Cabbie Union in Wellstone City delivers prompt and courteous service to those it protects, or to those Freelancers they employ.  The Union also helps bring in people for other criminal organizations and give them cover jobs while they’re in Wellstone City.  The Union only refuses to help organizations that are openly at war with them, and it’s unwise to be at war with the Cab drivers.  They more than any other organization have their eyes and ears everywhere in the city.


Introducing Summerfort Sunday

Summerfort Sunday

Today is the inaugural Summerfort Sunday.

You might say this is a marketing gimmick designed to bring more people into the site, and you’d be right. But it’s so much more than that!

Up until now, our Ingenium product line has received very little official support. While we have a baker’s dozen of products in various states of completion for it, only the first General Talent Sourcebook has seen release. We’ve been very quiet about the rest of it, and our focus has been on supporting Wellstone City™ and Æther™.

That is all about to change, starting with today, this very first Summerfort Sunday.

Allow me to introduce to you the microsetting that will be the focal point of all adventures released for Ingenium in 2013: the border town of Summerfort.

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Æthursday! Creating new Races in Æther


One of the most common questions we get about Æther while we’re at conventions is about the flexibility of the system. What can it do, what can’t it do. Kevin usually tells people that there isn’t much that it can’t do without a little tinkering; but to be fair, he says that most systems work that way. What sets Æther apart is the ease that you can just mess with a few things and change the entire scope of the game. Add in some skills and take away some skills, tinker with the equipment list and, voila! Suddenly you turned it from a modern game into a Napoleonic era game. But the system doesn’t include rules for changing things like race, so the argument is made that it doesn’t handle fantasy well.

So let’s fix that.

Last week, we discussed how characters in Æther are 6-20 characters, meaning each receives six attribute points, twenty bonus points at character creation. That, combined with traits like walking speed, gives a Narrator a lot to play with when trying to create something as basic as alien races or different fantasy races. Assigning point values to do something like that is tricky as well, but don’t sweat it, that’s been done for you:

Points             Advantage

  • -10       +1 to an Attribute. Attribute begins at 4, plus attribute point distribution. The attribute can start play as high as 8 and advance as high as 11.
  • -5          Slower walking speed. Multipliers are 2, 5, and 8 instead of 3, 7, and 11 for  walking, running, and sprinting respectively.
  • -5          -5 bonus points at character creation.
  • -5          Height is about 7 feet on average instead of about 5’6”. Average sized creatures (such as normal sized humans) have a base 20 difficulty hitting large characters instead of a base 30, and large creatures have a base 50 to hit average sized creatures instead of base 30.
  • +5        Height is about 4 feet on average instead of about 5’ 6”. Average sized creatures (such as normal size humans) have a base 50 difficulty hitting small characters instead of a base 30, and shorter creatures have a base 20 to hit average sized creatures instead of a base 30.
  • +5        +5 bonus points at character creation.
  • +5        Faster walking speed. Multipliers are 4, 8, and 12 instead of 3, 7, 11 for walking, running, and sprinting, respectively.
  • +10       -1 to an Attribute. Attribute begins at 2, plus attribute point distribution. The attribute can start play only as high as 6 and can advance only as high as 9.

The points it refers to are bonus points, not attribute points. Attribute points remain unchanged at 6 points to distribute, it is only the 20 bonus points we’re looking at changing. If a Narrator was so inclined, it would be possible to build a race with 0 bonus points but a lot of advantages. For this example though, we’ll try to keep it as close to a 6-20 character as we can; let’s build a stock fantasy Dwarf.

  • +1 Toughness (-10)
  • -1 Appearance (+10)
  • Reduced Move (+5)
  • Small Stature (-5)

The character starts off at a Toughness of 4 instead of 3, and it can advance to 11 instead of 10 as well as start at an 8 maximum instead of a 7. Appearance starts at a 2 instead of a 3, and it can advance to 9 instead of 10 as well as starting off at 6 maximum instead of 7. Dwarves are shorter and move slower, having walking, running, and sprinting multipliers of 2, 5, and 8 instead of 3, 7, and 11. Finally, Dwarves, being smaller than Humans, are harder for Humans to hit than normal, and likewise, Humans and Human-sized targets are easier to hit for Dwarves.

On top of all of that, Dwarves start off at 6 attribute points to distribute and 20 bonus points, just like a standard Human.

The Narrator may wish to do some additional tweaking such as adding in the ability to see in the dark as if it were day light (-10 points) or being able to see in low light as if it were daylight, (-5 points). These might be balanced out by being hindered in full day light (-5 points, -10 to all skill checks requiring sight), or being blind in full sunlight (-10, -50 to all checks in bright light, -10 to all checks in dim lighting). For every yin, there is a yang, and for every advantage, there is a disadvantage. As long as everything is kept neat and orderly, there is literally nothing you can’t do with character creation!


Wellstone Wednesday and some Announcements

Greetings! We’re still working on a few things here at Silver Gryphon on a tech-support level, so please be patient as we navigate this switch over to the new server host. In the mean time, we’re still posting content and we’re still working hard on a number of things, and we’ll hit them all quickly here.

Dice Kickstarter
It’s been a while since we’ve updated this and we were hoping to have dice…today. Since that’s the past tense you can correctly guess that Kevin doesn’t have them yet. There was a mistake at the machine shop that created the casting insert for the percentile d10s, and the casting insert isn’t working. It is being machined from scratch and is being made a priority, and casting the remaining dice will be made a priority at Crystal Caste. There will be updates to those who have pledged for the Kickstarter. Looks like we’ll be shipping about 8 weeks behind where we wanted to be, but hey, we’re still looking at getting them out! Dice bags are almost done, the Calligraphy is done, and address labels are made up. We’re very excited to see this one come to a close, and as soon as it does, we have news about our next one!

The website transition is still on-going. We have a few email issues to sort out, but that should be done by the end of Wednesday, so hopefully if you’re reading this, it’s already been addressed. The store is up, but with some issues, and we’ll get those ironed out over the next few days.

Wellstone Wednesday!
This week for Wellstone Wednesday, we’re talking about the wellstones themselves! These columns of rock do not appear to be native to the island that is named for them; they are an especially hard basalt, and they are almost cylindrical, being a few feet across to a few hundred yards across. Most of them are 100 yards long, but there are some that have been discovered to be several hundred yards tall, extending deep into the stone that makes up the island. They don’t appear to be in any discernable pattern through the island.

What are they? They are whatever you need them to be. In a game that focuses on the Wellstone City Chronicles as written, they aren’t anything but part of the backdrop. In a game that focuses on supernatural creatures, magic, or superheroes, they could be a major focal point of the plot. Maybe they’re prisons of supernatural beings, maybe they serve as a focus for supernatural energy. Maybe Wellstone City was an outpost of Atlantis and the wellstones are what’s left of their power generators or some other technology remnant.

They are everything, they are nothing. Maybe there is a pattern to them, maybe there isn’t. Maybe they used to be an ancient calendar, like Stonehenge. Maybe they’re what are left of a massive support structure for ancient aliens that used the planet as an outpost. Maybe the ancients found a way to super-cool volcanoes and Wellstone Island was their testing ground for advanced weapons/technologies. Maybe each Wellstone houses an ancient Cthulhonic Horror. Perhaps they will be sundered during the breaking of the Bowl Seals as foretold in the Book of Revelations. Maybe they are just there.


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