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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shadow Squad of Syracuse!

"Shadow Squad of Syracuse!" is a Dark "Superhero" Role Playing Game that uses Jason Morningstar's game system "Dungeon Squad!" for it's mechanics. This is a well reviewed pick up role playing system that is billed for kids but works well for any age group. I have basically developed it for my "Shadows of Syracuse" Campaign setting that I have been working on for years to help get it out there. This is a work in progress so check back to this post for updates (whenever I can manage it).

Disclaimer: "Shadow Squad of Syracuse!" is a fictional setting and story that takes place in an alternate history of Syracuse, New York. All persons and entities in it are fictional. No assertions, similarities, or implications about any actual persons or entities are intended and none should be inferred.

For the rules to to Dungeon Squad!, click the title of this post.


SSoS! is a fantasy Role playing game for several players who assume the role of characters in the story/setting and one player (called Game Master or GM) who is responsible for providing the setting and storyline, fairly moderating the rules, and portraying what the players' characters experience in interacting with the each other, non-player characters and the setting.


Syracuse . . . a city of old ethnic communities and refugees relocated from all parts of the world, struggling with hard economic times, low jobs, and urban tensions. But unknown to most of the citizens, Syracuse is also in the center of five Elemental Circles of Power and at the crossroads of powerful ley lines. It is also under the protection of the intergalactic space pirate Imperium and seen as an imperial reserve. Finally it is at the basis of the Axis that connects the cosmos to the realm of the ancient ones who wait for the opportunity to return to power. The fate of the cosmos turns on what happens or will happen in the city.

The impact of these strange forces tends to go unnoticed, thanks to the effort of various secret organizations who wish to be the ones to determine how these influences will be used. Behind them are the machinations of more uncanny factions from eldritch realms, deep space, and other dimensions. But many ordinary citizens have in one way or another been "touched" be these forces. They have received special abilities but also have become hunted by these organizations. No one dares reveal there hidden nature. Finally all seek to understand the ultimate role the city will play in the final destiny of the universe and beyond.

In SSOS!, players play native born citizens who have been "touched", known, if known, as the Touched. For them their new abilities are both a blessing and a curse, forcing them to live in the shadows and develop a secondary set of survival skills, forcing them to take unusual steps to find a way to live in the city. They join with others working odd jobs or anything that will help them live and hopefully understand what is happening to them.


Characters are native born citizens of the city from one of the ethnic neighborhoods in town such as Solvay, or Tippery Hill, or Grant Ave. But they also experienced something that imbued them with strange powers, something they ate or encountered or which happened to their parents and was inherited. Each player must provide and origin story that includes there original neighborhood, the event in which they have been imbued, and how the made it through their teens and survived until young adulthood without capture or death while living in Syracuse.

Characters have three attributes: Toughness (TUF), Attunement (ATN), and Streetwise (STW). The event that gave them there abilities also always affected them physically to some degree and direction or another which is measured by TUF. This is useful for strength, health, and close combat. The event also connected the character with the ultimate flow of destiny to a certain degree, wiring their thought and intuition to anticipate the way things will go which is measured by ATN. This is useful for magic and psionic power. Finally, the life of trying to preserve oneself from detection and harm has helped them cultivate a certain sensibility and skill set measured by STW. This is useful for picking locks, sneaking around without getting caught, and using diplomacy or intimidation to get information or cooperation. The player, consistent with his story assigns one each of a d4, a d8, and a d12 to each attribute. The larger the die the more likely the character will be successful in that area.

The character also picks two powers or devices from the list indicated. A device is a power that anyone can use or lose. These are the powers that came as a result of being "touched". Assign a d10 to one and a d6 to the other.

Each character must also choose a weakness from the list indicated. This is a downside of being "touched".

Powers and weaknesses may gained or lost (or not) because of damage, powers, encounters, or training but this is up to the GM. A player may wish to acquire a new power or device by training or researching but he must announce this and spend whatever resources he has to sufficiently work toward this. The GM then tells the player when the training or research is complete. He may require a saving through to see if it is successful.

A player then calculates both his hit points and will points. Hit points indicate how much damage the character can take before they are "written out of the saga" either through unconsciousness, death, or insanity. Will points reflect the player's will to power and determination to live life on their own terms. Will points may be spent before a turn to grade a dice roll +1 rank. or re roll the dice after a roll to get a different result, or to exchange for money or resources to train or research, or can be lost if a player rolls "1" twice in two consecutive rolls. Will points can be gained if either the player or the GM invokes a player character's weakness to damage his chances in the game in some way, or if the GM wants to reward the player for good roleplaying or contribution to the game, or if the player rolls the max number on a die two consecutive times.

The starting number of hit points for each new character is 10 + half the number of the die assigned to TUF. The starting number of Will Points of a character is 2 plus the sum of the numbers of the dice assigned to ATN and STW divided by 4. (HP = 10 + TUF/2, WP = 2 + (ATN+STW)/2)

Example: Pauli grew up in Solvay when the town was bathed in a meteorite shower that consisted of crystallized alien tissue which desolved and concentrated in some parts of the area and was assimilated into Pauli's body. The result for Pauli was that he developed psionic abilities. He reluctantly allowed himself to be recruited by the MIB (Men in Beige), the city's own security agency that seeks and utilizes the psi gifted, in order to survive.

TUF: d8
ATN: d12
STW: d4

Telekinesis: d14
Psion Blast: d6

Weakness: Photo-sensative, psionics are less effective and/or reliable in direct sunlight.

14 HP, 6 WP

More coming later.