The year is 1874. Fifty years ago, shortly before the start of the First Mexican-American War, pogroms exploded across the United States of North America and Mexico alike. Crowds hunted witches in droves, burning any they could get their hands on, regardless of what they'd done with their powers - and in many cases, regardless of whether they actually possessed any. Led by a woman named Adelina Mayes, witches fled the United States into the Texas Territory, nominally claimed by Mexico but in reality a place where all feared to tread. This influx of colonizing witches was not taken well by the natives, already incensed by white men's claiming of their land. The tribes of Texas united in a loose coalition, drawing on the power of the spirits they knew so well to do battle with Mayes and her followers in defense of their home. They became known as the Entwiners, for the way they fought alongside spirits and merged with them. This left the settlers caught in the middle. Trying to run ranches or farms in the midst of that war was a lunatic's proposition, at least without some form of organized defense. The Texas Rangers stepped up, trying to protect the citizenry with guts and bullets, but they were no match for war spirits and mystic witchery. At least, not until 1860, when a man named Matthias Lothgren shared his genius, giving to the Texas Rangers a vast arsenal of steam and clockwork technology. Armed with these new gifts from their powerful benefactor, the Rangers set to their task with new zeal, and a tentative peace has reigned ever since. Even when America and Mexico went to war, and went to war again twenty years later, the conflict was fought around Texas. Even its assimilation into the United States after the Second Mexican-American War has been a nominal thing. The Texas Territory is a lawless zone where a man can only be what he has the strength to be, where witches and Entwiners do battle with steampunk Rangers, grappling for the future of Texas. Will it become a haven for persecuted witches across the world? Or will the natives preserve this last holdout of their culture in the face of colonization? Or will the steady march of technology and societal progress wash both these groups away, restoring order in a lawless territory? You don't know. You don't know much about Texas in general, truth be told, because you never thought you'd be bound for it until recently. Somehow, things have changed in your life, and Texas is the answer. For whatever reason, you're either running away from something or towards something else, and that's led you to a train station in Little Rock, Arkansas, and an express for a small town called Red Gulch, deep inside the Territory. Welcome to Texas. *** Hello, and welcome to The Texas Territory, my latest poor life decision, and also my Christmas present to the ACing community in general. The game will be played here, and I think we're all regulars who know the basics of how things work. If that's not you, and you're totally new, just say so and we'll all help fill in the blanks. Essentially, this is D&D...but fantasy kitchen sink Western. First of all, let's get that character sheet going. Here's a blank copy, and I'll go through it below. Spoiler : Name: Description: Bio: Level: 1 XP: 0 HP: 10/10 WP: 10/10 Stats: -STR: 5 -DEX: 5 -CON: 5 -INT: 5 -WIS: 5 -CHA: 5 Skills: Unarmed: Melee Weapons: Guns: Explosives: Witchery: Entwining: Mechanical: Medical: Knowledge: Diplomacy: Acting: Reflex: Athletic: Perception: Resources: Sneak: Feats: Spells: Inventory: Clear as mud, right? Well, here's the breakdown. Level: 1 - This is your character level. I think everyone understands how leveling up works as a concept, yes? Well, every time you do, you get 5 HP or WP, to be divided up however you see fit. You also get 2 Skill Points(plus your INT modifier). On even numbered levels you get a Feat, and on odd numbered levels you get a Stat Point. XP: 0 HP: 10/10 - You know what HP is, but note the second number. In this game, you all have two bars for each type of health. For more information on what happens when you lose a health bar, see the New Health System section. WP: 10/10 - This is Willpower, the second type of health. It's used to defend against CHA attacks and mind-altering situations. It'll be covered in the New Health System too. To calculate your HP and WP totals, add the total score of the relevant stat onto the 10 HP you have at game start. CON for HP, WIS for WP. Stats: You begin the game with 5 in each, and 4 additional points to customize as you will. Stats cannot be moved past 10 or below 1. Your Stat Modifier is calculated with 5 as the +/- 0 baseline - as in, 6 is +1, 7 is +2, 4 is -1, etc. You gain one Stat Point every odd-numbered level up. -STR: 5 - Time for your stats! Strength covers melee combat and brawn. -DEX: 5 - Dexterity covers ranged combat and dodging, as well as sneaking. -CON: 5 - Constitution covers physical resilience and HP. -INT: 5 - Intelligence covers skill points and Witchery. For more information, see Witchery below and Leveling Up above. -WIS: 5 - Wisdom covers mental resiliency and common sense, as well as ranged damage. -CHA: 5 - Charisma covers social skills and Entwining. For more information, see Entwining below. Skills: Skills show what you can do. You begin the game with 5 Skill Points if you have 6 or lower INT, 6 if you have 7-8, and 7 if you have 9-10. Each skill is associated with a stat, and to get your total modifier with a stat, simply add your modifier from the relevant stat to however many skill points you have invested in the skill. A skill's modifier cannot be raised past +8 at character creation - this includes the stat modifier, so bear that in mind when min/maxing your stats and skills. At Level Five this increases to +12. Unarmed: - This skill determines your proficiency in unarmed combat. STR. Melee Weapons: This skill shows how good you are with melee weapons. STR. Guns: This skill shows how good you are with ranged weapons - bows count! DEX. Explosives: This is the skill for blowin' things up. INT. Witchery: This is the skill for Witchery(see below). INT. Entwining: This is the skill for Entwining(see below). CHA. Mechanical: This is your skill for steam and clockwork tech. INT. Medical: This is the skill for medicine and healing. WIS. Knowledge: If you're a smart fellow, this is the skill for showing it off. INT. Diplomacy: The best diplomats can talk the skin off a snake. CHA. Acting: Sometimes you need to show rather than talk. Acting is used for any social interaction that doesn't involve words. CHA. Reflex: Reflexes can be the difference between life and death in a gunfight or a line dance. DEX. Athletic: This blanket skill covers swimming, jumping, running, tumble, climbing, etc. STR. Perception: It's not just good eyes, but having the smarts to make sense of what you're seeing. WIS. Resources: What you've got is what you've got, but enough haggling and the other fellow doesn't know that. CHA. Sneak: Sometimes you feel like taking pity on the enemy and avoiding them rather than assuredly murdering every last one of them. Strictly you being merciful, of course. DEX. Feats: You begin the game with two Feats. Even even-numbered level up afterward, you gain one more. Spoiler : NO REQUIREMENTS: Training Montage: Take +1 to any stat of your choice. May be taken multiple times. Mystic: Take this feat to unlock Entwining OR Witchery with 2 Spell Capacity or 2 Spells. Specify which. May be taken once per variation. Arcane Affinity: Take this Feat to instantly gain +1 Spell Capacity if you are an Entwiner, or to take a new spell if you are a Witch. If you are both, specify which discipline recieves the bonus. May be taken multiple times. Requires Mystic(Either). Quick Draw: Drawing your weapon now counts as a free action and no longer provokes Attack of Opportunity. Tough Guy/Gal: Immediately add your CON score to both of your HP bars a second time(5HP per bar minimum). Resolve: Immediately add your WIS score to both of your WP bars a second time(5WP per bar minimum). Polymath: Once per day, instead of performing a Knowledge check, you may simply state that you know the result. Requires INT 6. Dual Wielding: Reduces the -6 penalty for dual-wielding one-handed weapons to -3. Blood Knight: For every 20% of your HP or WP total that you lose, you gain +1 to damage. Once obtained in an encounter, the bonus remains even if you are later healed. Caps at +5. REQUIRES LEVEL FOUR: Blood Brother/Sister: Pick a teammate, PC or NPC. When near this character, you both gain +2 to all attack and dodge rolls in combat, and +1 to damage. Determinator: The first attack in a day that would eliminate your first bar of either WP or HP will now instead reduce it to 1. Revive: If you lose both bars of HP or WP, you may revive yourself once per day, functioning the same as a bar loss revive and returning you to action with 10HP and WP. Dual Wielding II: Removes the penalty for dual-wielding one-handed weapons. Requires Dual Wielding. Refresh: Unhappy with your spell selection? This Feat resets your taken Spells. May be taken multiple times. Requires Mystic(Witchery). Fortunate Son/Daughter: Once per day, you may use Fortune to uncover your next plot step or to avoid taking a Consequence in combat. REQUIRES LEVEL EIGHT: Iron Will: Once per day, you may select a WP-based attack made against you and declare it a miss with no roll. No Sell: Once per day, you may select a HP-based attack made against you and declare it a miss with no roll. Vengeance: When you revive from bar loss with a Consequence, you also gain +3 to your attack rolls and +2 to damage for the duration of the encounter. REQUIRES LEVEL TWELVE: More Than Human: Immediately gain +4 Stat Points. The Stat Point limit is raised to 12 per stat. Mysterious Stranger: Somewhere along the way, someone's taken an interest in you. This mysterious character never shows their face, but when the chips are down, they might lend you a hand from afar with their high-powered sniper rifle. Fancy Education: Your higher education finally pays off in a dump of 10 Skill Points. The modifier cap on all skills is raised from +12 to +14. Make My Own Luck: Once per day, you may take an automatic critical success on a roll of your choice. Also in this section, if you so choose, you may select one Weakness from the table below. Each Weakness comes with a penalty, but in exchange you will receive some extra starting Skill Points. Weaknesses cannot be taken after initial character creation unless a pressing reason comes up. Asthmatic: Breathing's hard for you, so you become Short of Breath very quickly when you start trying physically strenuous activities. +3 Skill Points. Delicate: Being weaker than most folks, you find yourself In Tatters far more frequently than the tougher sort. +3 Skill Points. Not Right in the Head: You suffer from frequent bouts of Insanity. +4 Skill Points. Phobic: Pick a character or enemy type. Whenever you encounter them, you automatically receive Fear of that stated target for the duration of the encounter. +3 Skill Points. Bloody Mess: For whatever reason, you bleed easily and bleed heavily, which means you're often Bleeding Out. +4 Skill Points. Depressive: You get Demoralized easily. +3 Skill Points. Spells: This section is only necessary if you are either a Witch or an Entwiner. It functions differently for either, so now's the time to delve into the differences between the two magic systems. Entwining: Spoiler : Entwining is the art of literally "entwining" yourself with the spirits of earth, sky, and more. A skilled Entwiner can speak to the dead and call on the elements to wage war for him, pouring the power of his soul into every curse and summoning ritual to supercharge them far beyond what capabilities they might have at first glance. An Entwiner begins the game with 2 Spell Capacity from the Mystic Feat, plus their Charisma Modifier. Entwiners can draw from the entire Entwining spell list at any time(save those that are level-locked), and can also "burn" Capacity points on spells they cast to increase their effects. At game start, you may burn a second Capacity point on any spell. At Level Four you may burn a third and at Level Eight you may burn a fourth on most but not all spells. An Entwiner also may never perform the same enchantment twice in a row. Your Capacity resets after sleeping. Spoiler : NO REQUIREMENTS: Earth Spirit: Perform an Entwining check at a DC of 17. Success summons a lumbering earth spirit of rock and dirt to fight alongside you. Burning points adds an additional summoned spirit per point. Mist Spirit: Perform an Entwining check at a DC of 10+a modifier set by the GM based on current weather conditions. Success summons a cloud of fog spirits that harshly penalize aim and perception in a large radius. Burning points adds 1D4 WP damage to all targets per point. Rain Dance: Perform an Entwining check at a DC of 12+(# of targets). Rain spirits will swarm on a medium radius, unleashing frigid rain that deals 1D6+CHA WP damage to all targets. Burning points adds +2 damage per point and enlarges the radius slightly. Companions: Perform an Entwining check at a DC of 13. Upon success, a pair of deceased warriors' spirits will rise from the earth to fight alongside you. Burning points adds additional spirits(5/8/10). Healing Spirit: Perform an Entwining check at a DC of 10+(the target's currently taken HP damage/2). Upon success, a healing spirit will rise and merge with the target, healing 1D6+CHA of HP. Burning a point adds either another 1D6 OR causes it to restore a Physical Consequence. Burning another point provides both benefits. Hunting Spirit: Entwining check, DC10. Summon the spirit of a hunting hound. If you supply this hound with a scent, it will take off at a dead run to follow it for 3 hours, until the enchantment ends. Burning one point increases the hound's time by 4 hours, and burning a second will increase its time from 7 hours to 12. War Spirit: Upon an Entwining check at a DC of 15, a War Spirit appears and merges with the target, giving them +2 to hit and +2 damage for a full turn. Each burned Capacity point can do one of the following: Drop the DC to 11, double the combat bonuses when the Spirit merges with the target, or extend the effect for an additional turn. REQUIRES LEVEL EIGHT: Brush Fire: Perform an Entwining check at a DC of 22. Success summons a fire spirit to do battle with your enemies. Burning points adds additional spirits. Wind Walkers: Make an Entwining attack against a DC of 16+the target's STR modifier. Upon success, wind spirits will seize them by the arms, fly them into the sky, and release them for 2D6+CHA fall damage. Burning points adds 1D6 of damage per point. Power of the Ancestors: Perform an Entwining attack against a DC of 15+the target's Entwining or CON modifier, whichever is higher. Upon success, the power of your ancestors will surge forth in a great blast, hurling them back for 2D6+CHA of damage. Burning Capacity adds +1 damage and a random Consequence per point. Hands of the Forgotten: Entwining check, DC15+(# of targets). Upon success, the hands of the dead rise from below, inflicting 2D6+CHA WP damage to all hostile(as defined by you) targets within the radius. Burning points adds 1D6 of HP damage per point. Guardian Angel: Perform an Entwining check at a DC of 25. Success will summon your personal Guardian Angel, a mighty war spirit who will do battle at your side with spectral blade and bow and an arsenal of magical abilities until the end of the encounter. Once per day. Burning points drops the DC by 2 and slightly buffs the Guardian per point. Spirit of Life: Perform an Entwining check at DC22 on a dead or unconscious character. Success summons a Life Spirit which merges with the target and restores them to vitality with 10 each of HP and WP. Burning points adds 10 more of each per point. Witchery: Spoiler : Witchcraft is an ancient art that traveled from Europe along with the first of the colonists. Witches, always persecuted, practice the art in secret...everywhere except Texas, where they have a chance at building a life where no one has to hide what they are. Witches study magic by rote and through books, living in a world of ancient history and worlds only they can see as a means to suborn reality under their visions. Witches start the game with 2 Spells from the Mystic Feat, + their Intelligence Modifier. Witches must "take" Spells as soon as they unlock them, and may only use Spells they have taken. A Witch may also only use the spells they have taken as many times as they have taken them - if they want to cast more than one Fireball per day, they have to take it twice. However, all Witchcraft spells only cost a single Spell point, making their higher-level abilities far more efficient than Capacity-burned Entwining powers. Just like Entwiners, Witches' spells reset after sleep. Spoiler : NO REQUIREMENTS: Cleanse: Perform a Witchcraft check at DC14. Upon success, instantly remove one Mental Consequence from the target, and heal 1D6+INT WP. Fireball: Launch a blast of flame that never misses its intended target for 1D6+INT damage. Curse Mark: Perform a Witchcraft check at DC12+the target's WIS modifier or Witchery modifier, whichever is higher. Success inflicts a random mental Consequence. Aid Mark: Perform a Witchcraft check at DC12. Success places a Mark on the target that can be consumed twice(separately or on the same roll, aggressively or defensively) for a +2 bonus each time. Repel: Make a Witchery check at a DC of 10+(# of targets within 10 yards). Upon success, you deploy a blast of power that flings everyone and everything within 10 yards out to a 40-yard distance, also inflicting 1D4+1/2INT HP damage to all of them. Compel: Make a Witchery attack roll against your target's WIS. Upon success, your honeyed words immediately inflicts 1D6+INT WP damage, with a mental Consequence if you roll full damage. Disguise: Make a Witchery check at a DC set by the GM depending on how difficult your attempted disguise is. The higher your roll, the more successful you are. REQUIRES LEVEL FOUR: Terrorize: Make a Witchery check at a DC of 14+the target's WIS or Witchery modifier, whichever is higher. Success immediately inflicts Fear of yourself on the target. Gilded Cage: Make a Witchery check at a DC of 15+the target's WIS or Witchery modifier, whichever is higher. Success creates a gilded cage of light around them that locks them in place and will implode in one turn for 2D6+INT damage. Searing Chains: Make a Witchery attack against your opponent's Reflex. Success hurls a searing chain of mystic light that catches the target in a vise-grip for 1D6+INT damage. Move action. Follow up as you will. Twisted Vision: Make a Witchery attack against your opponent's WIS or CHA, whichever is higher. Success treats them to a nightmarish vision of their darkest fears, inflicting 2D6+INT WP damage. Protect: Make a Witchery check at DC16. Success creates a shield around the target of your choosing that will absorb the next physical attack made against them in its entirety. REQUIRES LEVEL EIGHT: Time Turn: Make a Witchery check at DC 21. Success restores your target's actions to full. Move action. Revelation: Make a Witchery check at a DC of 15+your target's relevant magical or mortal modifier, whichever is higher. Success reveals all hidden targets in a large radius. Fell Fate: Make a Witchery check at DC20. Success forces the target's next action to fail(unless it is a critical success). Once per target per day. REQUIRES LEVEL TWELVE: Divine Retribution: Make a Witchery attack against your opponent's Reflex. Upon success, a bolt of lightning smites them from above for 3D6+INT damage. Roll Witchery vs the target's CON. Upon success, they take a random physical Consequence as well. Island of Dreams: Make a Witchery attack against your opponent's WIS. Success traps them in a spiraling world of their own worst nightmares, dealing 3D6+INT WP damage and inflicting the Demoralized Consequence. Mark of the Chosen: Make a Witchery check at a DC of 23. Success gives the target the "Mark of the Chosen", fully restoring their current WP bar, cleansing all Consequences, and granting the effects of the Aid Mark. Once per target per day. Mark of Disfavor: Make a Witchery check at a DC of 20+target's WIS or Witchery, whichever is higher. On success, the target immediately loses one action AND carries the "Mark of Disfavor" unique Consequence, causing critical hits on them to happen on 17+. Once per target per day. Inventory: We're operating on a common sense inventory system, since I'm running a game and not a survival sim. You're assumed to have anything anyone could consider basic supplies with you at all times - ammunition, food, tents, etc. If you're unsure whether it counts, ask, and I'll probably accept moderately good fast-talking on most anything. The point is to have fun, not get hung up on how many bobby pins each PC can have. Make sure your bio justifies anything that might be considered outlandish! And be aware that there may well be certain missions where this is NOT true. If you're all captured and searched, for example, you won't have all the equipment you would under normal circumstances. Or if your campsite blows away in a storm and you have to fish it all back together. As far as weapons go, I'm willing to grant a weapon with a 1D6+(appropriate skill modifier) damage scale to anyone with a relevant combat skill. This would be a revolver for anyone with Guns, a knife for Melee Weapons, or some weak fragmentation bombs for Explosives. Unarmed, by definition, has no weapons, though you can RP whatever brass knuckles, boxing gloves, hand-wrap, or anything else you particularly want. You can substitute if your RP more fits a small bow than a revolver, or a hatchet than a knife, but if you want to have a weapon with different stats, your bio will have to justify why you have higher-tier weapons on you. I will accept a character having multiple weapons, so long as you exercise a reasonable degree of common sense. A gun-centric character having a backup knife for melee combat is acceptable. A gunslinger with two revolvers is acceptable. An explosive-hurling madman with a gatling cannon up his sleeve is not. I'm hoping we all know the drill here well enough that I shouldn't have to get involved. The New Health System: I've revamped Health for this game, taking a cue from Injustice. Each character now has two health bars(except mooks, naturally). Upon losing the first bar, your character is put into a dazed state where you can take no actions, and you also take a Consequence. I'll talk about those in just a minute. As soon as your next turn rolls around, you can end your dazed state and revive yourself, but at the cost of an action. However, every successive turn you remain down adds another action for you on the turn when you rise, to a maximum of four total actions. You'll still have to spend one on waking up, but it might be wiser to bide your time depending on the tactical situation. The same logic applies to your Willpower bar. For RP purposes, you aren't physically dazed, but are lost to the world as you grapple with what you're doing and why. Consequences are what happens when your body or mind are pushed too far. When one is inflicted on you, which will most often happen because of losing your first bar of HP or WP, you will receive one of the five consequences for the appropriate bar of health, determined by RNG. Consequences require medical or theraputic help to overcome, or certain Entwining or Witchery abilities. Spoiler : Physical Consequences: Crippled Limb: -1 to STR and DEX, and special penalties for actions that use the limb in question. Concussion: -1 to INT and WIS, penalties for anything involving seeing/hearing. Bleeding Out: Until you receive medical attention, you take 2 damage every turn. In Tatters: Your body's been pushed to the limit. You will now take additional physical Consequences much more easily. Short of Breath: You lose one action per turn for the remainder of the encounter or until you receive medical assistance. Mental Consequences: Demoralized: You take a flat -2 penalty to all actions. Fear: You become phobic of the enemy who claimed the last bit of HP from your health bar(or enemy type if appropriate), inflicting a -5 penalty to all offensive or defensive actions you take involving this character. Insanity: As you lose your grip on reality, your second action every turn will now be randomized. Fragility: Your mind's been pushed to the limit. You will now take additional mental Consequences much more easily. Migraine: -1 to INT and WIS, penalties for anything involving seeing/hearing. Sets: As you venture through the Territory, you'll stumble not just across items of use on general terms, but specific unique loot items with histories and special perks. These items tend to be stronger than the regular versions of themselves, but their true strength comes when they are combined. These loot items are grouped into Sets, and uniting the pieces of a Set provides scaling bonuses depending on how many pieces you have found. A fully-assembled Set can radically alter the way you play, and even a partial Set can offer significant bonuses. Stay on the lookout for Set pieces as you wander the Territory! I think that covers just about everything. I'm reserving the next post for the database and anything else I can think of. Sessions will be hosted Thursdays at 3PM EST. Looking forward to the game! I reserve the right to rebalance absolutely anything at absolutely any time. I reserve the right to add new Feats and Spells as they occur to me. I reserve the right to a GM's share of any candy you may or may not obtain as part of preparing for gameplay sessions of The Texas Territory.