[HWBS] Joe and Jane Mundane: An Introduction to Everyday People

Not everyone is born into knowledge of the supernatural; quite the opposite, in fact. A vast majority of humans that now know about the esoteric world around them came into that knowledge through events in their life that forever changed their perception. This Hidden Worlds and Buried Secrets post gives a bit of attention to the people on the street, especially those who have just come into contact with the supernatural.

The Changing Nature of Mundanity and Awareness

A character whose background includes them still being in the dark about the truth of the supernatural at the start of the first session of the campaign has the disadvantage Mundane Background. While this disadvantage remains relevant as long as you’re a supernatural ‘greenhorn’ whose knowledge is so sparse that you have no access to the skills prohibited by Mundane Background, eventually you are likely to wise up and start learning how to do things. This, of course, Continue reading

Creatures of Fallen Stars: Winged Things

The age of great passenger planes and aerial militaries is over: soaring beasts rule the skies once more. While giant insects and powered-flight reptiles may still be a thing of the distant past, birds and bats never vanished, and have now begun to flourish in new (and sometimes truly strange) forms. This post covers eight members of those lineages that dwell in the world of Fallen Stars, including two that have given up the wild blue yonder for a life on the ground.


Scientific Name: Ardea robusta Continue reading

What’s in a Name?: Looking Past the Labels in GURPS Traits

In much of our culture, names and labels are important. Names are what we use to identify things, to identity others, and to identify ourselves. In certain stories and folklore, magic is heavily influenced by the power of names. And where would things like roads, instruction manuals, and maps be without labels? Of course, names can also be restrictive: a label that makes it hard to see past it and dig deeper. Names and labels were actually a problem I had myself when I first encountered GURPS in 2011 via a copy of GURPS Horror in the local brick and mortar store. Back then, I mostly had knowledge of systems that either carefully labeled and boxed everything or the polar opposite in the form of extremely freeform systems, and the idea of having a middle ground of defined traits that were also modular and not necessarily always just what their name and description entailed was novel to me. This post is sort of a combination of “don’t make that same mistakes past-me made” and “think outside the box”; nothing groundbreaking or world-shaking for most people who know the ins and outs of GURPS, but I collected from some thoughts I had while reminiscing on the subject anyway. Continue reading

You Don’t Need to Play a Setting to Find it Valuable

Two of the most recent additions to the GURPS stable were two new hardcover-only books published late December, GURPS Mars Attacks and GURPS Discworld Roleplaying Game. I picked up copies of both and enjoyed them immensely, which leads into a topic I felt like talking about for a bit. You see, while I do love the work of the late Sir Terry Pratchett, I’ve never really considered running a game on the Disc. Furthermore, I have no history with the Mars Attacks trading card series, and came into that book as someone only vaguely familiar with the aesthetics and artwork of its source material. So what do you do with two books you don’t play with? This post is my answer to that, with a short post made up of some probably self-explanatory bloviating about why setting books shouldn’t be a no-buy just because you aren’t using the setting. Continue reading

Hidden Worlds and Buried Secrets: The Otherworld

Imagine you are wandering in the woods one day, and you suddenly stumble across a cavern you’ve never seen before. You’ve been in these woods since you were a child, and yet never once has this cavern made its presence aware to you. Strange? Yes, but not impossible when the Otherworld’s tendrils extend out into our reality. This post dives headfirst into this world of spirits and illusions, a murky borderland where you can never be fully certain that what you see is the truth.

Note: this post makes heavy use of the Facade system from the article “Mask of Humanity”, found in Pyramid issue #3-97, pg. 13 to 20. While individual skills, advantages, and modifiers are annotated, the system itself and terms such as “Facade Rating” are a focus of the entire article and thus have no specific page number listed.

What is the Otherworld?

Enveloping Earth like a blanket, the Otherworld is a space between spaces, a dimensional “warped mirror” where the features of the planet have a twisted and distorted reflection. While some areas may seem familiar enough beyond oddly bright or subdued colors and slightly misshapen features compared to what would be on Earth, others are exaggerated or inverted, such as Continue reading

Creatures of Fallen Stars: Water Monsters

Wetlands, from thick hardwood bottomland and murky swamps to vast marshes and open northern bogs, are rich habitats for wildlife. In the post-apocalyptic world of Fallen Stars, this means strange and sometimes dangerous wildlife created by the outpouring of unnatural effects from the Starfall. This post introduces  eight animals found in various locations where you have to be prepared to get your feet wet.


Scientific Name: Castor cetiformus

Creature of Origin: Beaver

Average Length: 50 feet Continue reading

Fallen Stars: Psychic Powers

While many strange phenomena arose out of the Starfall, the presence of mentally-stimulated paranormal abilities is one that is uncommon enough to still be a shock to many residents of Fallen America when they encounter it. These powers allow the wielder to manipulate mind and matter through physical and mental exertion. This post opens up the door to the mind with coverage of some of the psychic powers of Fallen Stars and those who wield them. Continue reading