Savage Worlds: American Nightmare

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RockabillyRebel
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Savage Worlds: American Nightmare

#1 Postby RockabillyRebel » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:46 am

This is a setting idea that I've been kicking around for a while. I originally posted the idea back on rpg.net a few months ago. The only way that I can really describe the setting is Gonzo Rock and Roll Horror.

Premise:


It's the 1970's in the United States, but the time is not our own. After the death of President Eisenhower in 1960, his Vice President, Richard Nixon took office. After a plague struck the U.S., Nixon called upon Emergency Powers and has been in office ever since.

Technology and aesthetics haven't changed much from the late 50's to early 60's.

By day, life is very Leave it to Beaver. Nuclear families, tract housing, mom is in the kitchen, dad reads the paper while smoking his pipe, little Jimmy mows the lawn for money to go to the malt shop. But there is something wrong with this idealized American setting. Everyone is home and shuttered by 7, asleep by 8. Strange tales about those who venture out after dark. Some disappear, others are found mutilated, some that are lucky enough to survive tell stories about strange sightings. Creatures go bump. Aliens. Cultists. Mad Scientists. Monsters. All sorts of strangeness runs wild in the streets at night.

But there are those who stand in the dark of night to oppose it. The misfits of society. The Greasers, The Punks, The Rockabillies, The Psychobillies, The Luchadores, The Cowboys, The Bikers, Amazonian Women, and other misfits stand in the way between the forces of evil and the common man.

Setting Stuff

Magic-
The Arcane is alive and well in this setting. Ritual Magic and Voodoo is popular amongst those who serve the darkness.
However, amongst the misfits, a new form of magic has taken shape. Instead of lengthy rituals, or arcane words and gestures, The Rockabillies and The Punks have developed magic by playing certain notes and chords on their guitars. One of the most powerful guitar mages on the side of good is known as The Man in Black.

The side of the darkness can also claim a few guitar mages on their side. When 2 guitar mages meet in combat, expect epic guitar duels.

Expect Arcane Edges to deal with this.

Hot Rods-
The Greasers have always modified and tricked out their hot rods. Even more so now, that they often have to use their cars to battle, outrun, or race with the devil.

Expect rules for souping up your ride.

Luchadores-
The masked men from south of the border lend their expertise in hand to hand combat, and their long history of facing off with the supernatural also comes in handy.

Grappling Edges!

And more stuff!

Inspiration
Movies: Six String Samurai, Old El Santo Movies, Grease
TV Shows: Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Video Games: Guitar Hero Series, Rock Band 2 Intro

Last but not Least and most important:
The music of:
The Cramps, The Meteors, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, The Misfits, The Ramones, Dick Dale, Chuck Berry, Tiger Army, Three Bad Jacks, The Stray Cats, Charlie Feathers, Nekromantix, The Horrorpops, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Los Straitjackets, The Ghastly Ones, The Jim Rowdy Show, The Red Elvises, and many others.


I plan on working this setting out, then if there is enough interest, possibly release it as a PDF.

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#2 Postby Zombi Bobb » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:16 am

I'm actually designing a music-oriented RPG myself. The part I'm struggling with is making the duels unique. Did you plan to make it a trapping of savage magic or did you have some specialized rules in mind?

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#3 Postby Jordan Peacock » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:06 am

Zombi Bobb wrote:I'm actually designing a music-oriented RPG myself. The part I'm struggling with is making the duels unique. Did you plan to make it a trapping of savage magic or did you have some specialized rules in mind?


Heh. That reminds me of a Savage Worlds campaign idea I floated for my group (but which, sadly, too many of them shot down), for a "1980s sci-fi glam-rock campaign." (Actually, I got the basic idea from someone else online, so I can't claim originality.) The premise was that the PCs would be members of a space-faring glam-rock band in a sort of "fast-forward future" - set in the year 2000 (ostensibly) but from the perspective of how, say, a glam-rocker might imagine it back in the early 1980s.

So, it would involve traveling through space and visiting oddball planets and planetoids and space stations, with the crew on tour, but of course along the way, there would be trouble ... and it would frequently have to be dealt with with the power of ROCK. (Our band would have nifty sci-fi weapon/instruments - laser guitars and sonic drums - while the lead singer would have a "beam sword microphone," etc.)

My oddball idea (my semi-original addition to the basic concept) was that we'd use Savage Worlds for most of the campaign, but for certain sequences (a "battle of the bands" against a rival bad-guy band, or else a contrived combat where "Mercurian Cyber Space Bats" attack a concert and the heroes have to fend them off with their instruments and a laser light show), we'd actually use the Rock Band game to determine the outcome of the battle. (As GM, I'd pick the song and difficulty settings. Outcome would depend upon the final score. Anyone who Fails is likely incapacitated over the course of the combat/duel/performance.)

Er ... I know that's a terrible tangent off of the original post, but I was just reminded of it by Savage Bobb's comment about a music-oriented campaign.
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#4 Postby Cutter XXIII » Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:46 am

Awesome idea, RockabillyRebel! :) I think this would make a pretty fantastic setting. I'd like to play it, that's for sure.

However, amongst the misfits, a new form of magic has taken shape. Instead of lengthy rituals, or arcane words and gestures, The Rockabillies and The Punks have developed magic by playing certain notes and chords on their guitars. One of the most powerful guitar mages on the side of good is known as The Man in Black.


To borrow a phrase...that's made of pure awesome.

Your musical inspiration list already has me picturing the possible headers for various sections in the PDF:

Mommy, Can I Go Out and...Kill Tonight?

Dark as a Dungeon

Beat on the Brat!

Rock on.
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#5 Postby MountZionRyan » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:14 am

Can I be a Beatnik Poetry mage?

my gaze
filters
through the smoky haze of the nixonian american dream
sounds of guitars and Mexican folk-singers clang against the
gong
of justice

a flower
takes flight
on dragonfly wings of gossamer and fairy dust
dead
shot down by the enemies of kindness
dead
dead

:1coolman:
Cool, man. Cool
Last edited by MountZionRyan on Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#6 Postby Count Zero » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:47 am

Cutter XXIII wrote:Awesome idea, RockabillyRebel! :) I think this would make a pretty fantastic setting. I'd like to play it, that's for sure.

However, amongst the misfits, a new form of magic has taken shape. Instead of lengthy rituals, or arcane words and gestures, The Rockabillies and The Punks have developed magic by playing certain notes and chords on their guitars. One of the most powerful guitar mages on the side of good is known as The Man in Black.


To borrow a phrase...that's made of pure awesome.


What he said. I've always thought 50s horror would be cool. You seem to have a great grasp of the tropes of the era. I'd love to see this fleshed out some more.
I even have a character in mind:
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:D
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#7 Postby Cutter XXIII » Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:17 am

Maynard G. Krebs FTW.
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#8 Postby Jordan Peacock » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:45 pm

Best of all, it should be fun to get the players to do "research" on the era to get into the proper groove. (I wonder if there's some page/reference online somewhere with a useful slang guide?)
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#9 Postby RockabillyRebel » Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:56 pm

Jordan Peacock wrote:Best of all, it should be fun to get the players to do "research" on the era to get into the proper groove. (I wonder if there's some page/reference online somewhere with a useful slang guide?)


http://www.mvhsdrama.com/50sSlang.htm

http://www.stonegreasers.com/greaser/

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#10 Postby supercOntra » Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:39 pm

That would be a great setting.

I love the .45 Psychabilly Retropocalypse game setting although the rules are OK but not great. SW would probably push it into greatness but I haven't gotten into savaging them yet, and now I might not have to :).

My main problem was that my players are kind of young and didn't have a clue what the 50's were like or even what items existed.

Playing it got me into The Horrorpops, Reverend Horton Heat and the Necromantics so get to work and keep us updated!


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#11 Postby RockabillyRebel » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:36 pm

I wasn't aware of that game. May have to check it out to mine for ideas. I'd heard of octaNe though, but never was able to find a hard copy.

An idea that I am playing around with is taking a page out of Deadlands and having certain legendary characters around as allies and adversaries, such as Johnny Cash, Bo Diddley, Elvis Presley, El Santo, Blue Demon, Mil Mascaras, etc.

Also I like the idea of putting relics into the game as well. Stuff likeBuddy Holly's Strat, or Elvis's Pink Cadillac[/url]

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#12 Postby supercOntra » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:56 pm

Download the PDF from DTRPG or somewhere, it's only a few bucks and will give lot's of inspiration. .45 is set in the 50's and is more of a B-movie thing whereas from your description your will be darker, which I like.
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#13 Postby Emiricol » Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:06 am

Not listed at DTRPG :(

LOVE this idea, by the way. It is inspiring me to convert Necromunda to 50s greasers. I'll call it Stone Greaser Bopping. Maybe.

Sigh. More ideas than time as always.

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#14 Postby OSIAdept » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:25 pm

My god that just sounds like pure awsomeness.

I would reconmend watching Rock and Rule for that sci-fi glam rock feel. plus the music is good.

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#15 Postby supercOntra » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:13 pm

"Eyes without life…sundered heads…piles of carcasses…these are pleasing words to me"

http://www.savageslaine.com

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#16 Postby solabusca » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:23 pm

OSIAdept wrote:My god that just sounds like pure awsomeness.

I would reconmend watching Rock and Rule for that sci-fi glam rock feel. plus the music is good.


As noted, Rock n' Rule would be great for a glam-rock version of this game.

I'll also recommend octaNe as a potential source of inspiration!

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#17 Postby RockabillyRebel » Sun Apr 05, 2009 4:05 pm

Alright, has been a while since I have gotten to post any updates on this, or actually to even work on this, but here is something to chew on.


Arcane Background: Guitar Magic
Arcane Skill: Play Instrument (Spirit)
Starting Powers: 3
Power Points: 10

Amongst the misfits, a new form of magic has taken shape. Instead of lengthy rituals, or arcane words and gestures, The Rockabillies and The Punks have developed magic by playing certain notes and chords on their guitars.

Amp Overload/Broken Strings:
When a guitar mage rolls a one on his Play Instrument skill, he may be rocking out a little too hard. Either his amp overloads and ceases to funtion, or his guitar strings break. He cannot cast another spell until he either plugs into a new amp, or restrings his guitar.

Spell List:

Armor
Barrier (known as Ring of Fire, suggested track, Social Distortion's cover)
Blast (known as Great Balls of Fire, suggested track, The Misfits' cover)
Bolt
Boost/Lower Trait
Burst
Deflection
Dispel
Entangle
Fear
Light
Obscure
Puppet
Smite
Stun
(I still gotta come up with clever names for the spells)

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#18 Postby Count Zero » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:06 pm

I don't know exactly how I got back to this thread, but did you ever get this fleshed out? I'm lookin' for inspiration itchin' for a reason to buy some Atomic Cafe minis! ;)
Last edited by Count Zero on Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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#19 Postby SavageGamerGirl » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:08 pm

This also reminds me of Damnation Decade, for d20 Modern.

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_i ... 20321&it=1

Your take on the idea brings more of a sense of the continuing paranoia of the Cold War, whereas Damnation Decade is more of a groovy disco-era near-apocalyptic game.
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#20 Postby RockabillyRebel » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:24 pm

I am finally going to start running this setting pretty soon.

The Horror Companion, HawaiianBrian's V-Mod's, and Clint's Modern Martial Arts have been covering a lot of the things that I wanted to cover, and I've come up with a few new edges for the setting.

I've also decided to make 1957 the turning point of where history starts to change. Why 1957? Well... that is when in the real world Francous Duvalier aka Papa Doc became president of Haiti. He was an interesting character in the real world, and even claimed to be the Voodoo Loa of Death, Baron Samedi. Savage it, and say that he indeed was Baron Samedi... well... having a Voodoo God of Death walking around the planet is bound to mess things up.



Also have a few figure flats available for download:

The first set is Punks, Greasers, and Biker Gals.
Second set is Biker Guys, Guitar Mages, Nerds, Jocks and Cheerleaders

http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=35286
Last edited by RockabillyRebel on Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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