Special Investigations: Nightshift (Home brew setting)

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sirdrasco
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#81 Postby sirdrasco » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:31 pm

1st Congrates!

2nd if your looking for play testers where do you live?
"I say Mr. Chesterson, is that a giant ether squid following us?"
"Why yes it is Mrs. Monns."
"Well guess we should get ready to receive it."
"Blast I hate squid for dinner."
"But the cook has a new recipe.."

BlackJaw
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#82 Postby BlackJaw » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:06 pm

sirdrasco wrote:If your looking for play testers where do you live?
I'm in Ann Arbor, MI at the moment. I've got some contacts from the local gaming store, but I haven't had the best luck with random gamers from a tack-board in the past. I'm planning on trying to meet up with some random gamer types after Thanksgiving.

Back to work on the last chapter...

plotulus96
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#83 Postby plotulus96 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:04 am

So is SINS ready for download?

BlackJaw
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#84 Postby BlackJaw » Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:35 am

So is SINS ready for download?

The short answer is no.

After completing the first draft of the sample "pilot episode" I started adding artwork. I want the book to have most of it's artwork before I go back and start editing. My target page count is 100 pages include index, character sheet, etc. I'm adding art now so that when I start editing, I know how much space I have... which is to say how much I need to cut.

So far there are 33 image for the book including some half page images for chapter starts, a map, and various NPC images, but not counting symbols and the like. I'm starting the NPC/Monster chapter either tonight or tomorrow, so there will be a lot more.

Once the art is in the book, I'll need to start editing down the book, and cleaning various sections up. For example, the pilot episode I just finished will need a lot of improving, but I know what I need to do. The section on gear, and the section on New Orleans also need help, but again, I know what I need to do. It's cutting things down that will take time and tough choices.

Once the editing is done then I'll have a playtest draft, which I would really appreciate having a few people look over and try out. That's likely still weeks a way at the earliest.

Sorry this is taking so long, but I'm trying to do it right, and I have a day job so it's taking a while to get through it all.

I'm still considering applying to Pinnacle for a License on the book (once I have a playtest draft with art to show them) and making it a print-on-demand/pdf download product.

Current Details
~ 218,507 characters
~ 46,670 words
107 pages.

Recent additions besides artwork: an Episode Call Sheet print-out for aiding Directors (game masters) in play. It has areas to help track PR Draws, the current Reputation Penalty, who the Guest Star is, and big areas for mapping the clues/scenes for both the primary and secondary cases, and who the lead detective is for each case.
I've also the got the starting framework for an Investigator Cheatsheet for players. It covers a list of ideas for investigations (with skills), along with notes on what you can do with Departmental Favor Tokens, and other new setting related rules.

Artwork Samples:
All this artwork is made by me using Photoshop alterations to Creative Commons licensed photos or public domain photos. I'll list the required attributions with each image. I've been really happy with the quality of photos available, although it's hard to dig through the mass amounts of images to find what I want.

The following images I've made are not yet licensed for use by others, but with the included links to the source, that shouldn't be a big deal for someone looking to do something similar.

Detective
First image in the introduction chapter, intended to help identify the style of the setting.
Image
Attributions:
Frame: ~Brenda-Starr~
Blood: Pete R.
Detective: Lachlan Hardy

Television
Opening image for the chapter on setting rules. The "TV Format" rules are listed right under it.
Image
Frame: ~Brenda-Starr~
TV: Monochrome
Skull: ellenm1
shelf: sidibousaid60
Doll: Heungsub Lee

Shotgun Detective
Opening image from the Player's Guide chapter, where the character creation rules start.
Image
Frame: ~Brenda-Starr~
Guy with Gun: mhogan35
Belt Badge: KOMUnews

Unusual Suspects
Opening image for the NPC/Monster chapter. I really like how the base image of the lineup is female riff on the Usual Suspects scene, right down to their poses and style of dress.
Image
Frame: ~Brenda-Starr~
Lineup: Henry__Spencer

Bat + Iron Nails
Small image in the improvised weapon section that talks about finding/making improvised weapons from various materials depending on monster weaknesses.
Image
Frame: ~Brenda-Starr~
Redneck: mhogan35

Doc
NPC image for the medical examiner character.
Image
Frame: ~Brenda-Starr~
Doctor: mhogan35

Standard Issue
From the character creation chapter, talking about standard issue police gear each player starts with. It's the 1990s, so a Pager is included.
Image
Frame: ~Brenda-Starr~
Items shown are all Public Domain

BlackJaw
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#85 Postby BlackJaw » Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:39 am

Random Musings as I work my way through the book.

Back Story Elements is likely to be re-named (again) to Back Story Reveals. It's just a more apt title.

I'm toying with the idea that characters are paid 1/5 their starting funds per "episode," or to be more exact: $100. This is essentially spending money after paying the mortgage, buying food, and sending off the alimony check. Edges/Hindrances that alter funds apply, so Rich characters get $300 and Filthy Rich get $500. Poverty is brutal: you halve any existing funds at the start of each episode, then get $50. Of course characters may pickup side jobs, or get bribes from the underworld, etc. The idea is money is useful for buying non-standard police gear, like squirt guns to load with holy water, bribes for contacts, or silver to make into werewolf hunting bullets. Unlike a D&D-style fantasy game, looting corpses is not something cops do (or at least aren't supposed to do.) I may also alter the Lieutenant edge so they get double the weekly funds ($200) because their pay is better. I'd likely make this a direct +$100 so it can be reasonably combined with Poverty or Rich/Filthy Rich.

I'm probably going to cut out the entire Damaged Veil = Fear check penalty setup. It's just too blatantly taken from Deadlands. I do intend to keep the Night Shift penalty to fear checks, and I'd like to incorporate the damage to the veil in some form, but penalties to fear checks isn't feeling right to me. I'm considering some sort of modifier for monsters instead, like maybe a bonus to their check to remove Shaken? Fighting a Demon near a rift to the depths of the spirit realm is a lot more difficult than fighting one int he open or on holy ground that way.

I'm having fun with the artwork, but I'm quickly reaching the point where I feel ready to tackle editing, including some substantial rewrites of sections that aren't working.

BlackJaw
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#86 Postby BlackJaw » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:26 pm

So it occured to me last night, while waiting for my fiance's plane to land, that an Edge I'm missing is Police Chaplain. Playing a cop+preist character would be a great concept for a SINS character. The trouble is, I'm not sure what features the edge should provide. A bonus to religion checks is too obvious and too borring. I was thinking something more along the lines of some minor inherent feature from being a holyman in a setting with the supernatural... Maybe a few small things?

They start with a holy symbol and gain a bonus to using holy symbols of the faith they serve? (standard symbols force a -2 check by vulnerable monsters... what if Chaplains get to boost that by another -1? Access to a (gameplay limited) amount of holy water each episode? Technically count as a holyman for the purposes of rituals and vulnerabilities that require one. Maybe the built in features of the connections edge for your demonination? An automatic good PR draw as it's just a little harder for the rest of the police force to hate on the chaplain? Likey some but not all of the above.

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Sean-Khan
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#87 Postby Sean-Khan » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:48 pm

My view to it is pretty subtle one. Bonuses to spirit rolls to self, and when using an action to allies that accept it (persuasion, no higher than knowledge religion, +1/+2 with raise). perhaps with some requirements with acting piously - no breaking any of the commandments for the rest of the session or lose a benny, perhaps even something more harsh :) And reverend should preach about shepherds and other biblical things when using this effect. A selection of fitting lines from the bible could be included in the book to get the players started!

Holy symbol (neclace?) , and also bible I'd keep very subtle too, perhaps improved intimidation effect against certain types of monsters?

Just ideas :) What's the state of the project btw?

BlackJaw
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#88 Postby BlackJaw » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:22 pm

Update: 49,274 word, 7 Chapters, 60 pieces of color artwork.

I recently broke the magic section out into its own chapter, and included the Magic Item and Magic Ritual frameworks in it. I also changed the Veil Between Worlds rules so it no longer has anything to do with Fear checks and everything to do with summoning monsters. I also went ahead and cleaned up the Night Shift rule, so it connects to the Veil better. It still inflicts a -1 penalty on mortal's fear checks made at night in the dark, but it also now inflicts a general -1 penalty to monster actions taken in daylight. It better fits the concepts this way... oh and it still says that episodes happen at night unless explicitly stated otherwise.

My most recent work has been on the New Orleans City section, detailing a few people/places, like some criminal organizations, some magical groups, etc. I still need to add a politically connected cult to the mix before I call it done, but it's coming along rather well now.

My remaining work before having a viable playtest draft is improve the Pilot Episode adventure. I want to better integrate some of the newer content into it, so I'm going to work in some of the groups from the New Orleans section, and add in a possible ritual for the players to use.

After that it's all polish and editing... and player feedback of course. I guess I'm going to need some players.


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