Wednesday, October 7, 2015


I wrote a blog post about increasing the lethality of Crime Network in 2012. I want to take another stab at it here, focusing on the methods I now believe work best. These are not terribly new, as I've mentioned them before, but folks who never read the original post may find this article helpful. 

A Bit of Background
When I first designed Crime Network it was with Steve Bowden using a completely different system.  At the time it wasn't called Crime Network, it was just called Cosa Nostra. We made it pretty quick, but one thing we made sure to achieve was making the game lethal. While some of those early mechanics were rugged, they succeeded in making death an ever present threat. This book was shelved for a year or so and forgotten. 

When Bill and I started Bedrock Games, Steve was also involved and he and I agreed to convert Crime Network to the Network system. While Bill wasn't involved in the early design phase of Cosa Nostra he, was the GM for all those early playlists. So the three of us all had a pretty good handle on the concept. The game was greatly revised over the following months to fit the mechanics created for Terror Network. The flavor of the text was mostly kept the same. One major change, which I don't think Steve was enthusiastic about, and which I sort of regret, was altering the setting from Boston to Baybridge. For reasons I don't really recall, I decided it needed to be a fictional city that could be dropped anywhere in the country. Personally I think that was a bad call. Keeping it in Boston would have worked much better and all of my Crime Network campaigns have been set Bean Town and the surrounding communities. Most of the other changes though were a vast improvement because we'd learned a lot in the intervening couple of years. But the one thing that never quite fit into the Network system well was the lethality. 

Network is a fairly gritty system, in that NPCs and PCs pretty much have the same amount of health and really can't take much punishment before they start dying. So it is already quite gritty. For most genres I think this provides the right level of lethality. But Cosa Nostra, when we first ran it was LETHAL. Characters dropped like flies. The whole point was to have everyone at the table paranoid that they could get whacked in the blink of an eye. Basically, whoever got the first shot off, had a huge advantage and most sessions ended in total carnage. 

This got a bit watered down when we fit it to the system designed for Terror Network. Here are three methods for fixing that issue. These are similar to the methods I proposed in my last post but different enough that you might want to check those out as well (HERE). 

Method One: Open Damage
Simply treat all damage as open in Crime Network. This means you count every success as 1 wound, and every Total Success as 1 Extra Wound, adding them all together. So if you roll 3d10 for damage against Hardiness 5 and get 4, 7, and 8 that would be 2 wounds (as 8 and 7 both exceed 5). As an option this can be enhanced further by always adding +1d10 to any damage roll when someone has surprise. Characters in Crime Network can only take 3 wounds before dropping so this method is a good fit in my opinion. It doesn't make it a certainty but it makes it a real possibility. 

Method Two: Lethal 10s
This is an extreme method that probably gets closest to the original Cosa Nostra rules. It may not be for everyone, and it certainly is harder to do a long term campaign when the lethality is this high. But for one-shots it can work great. It can also work great if the players are down with the idea. For the right group this is an exciting alternative to normal damage. Using this method all 10s are considered lethal. If that isn't enough death, you can crank it up by combining this method with Method One.  

Method Three: Exploding 10s
This restores the original mechanic for rolling damage in the Network System. For the first three to four months when we were making Terror Network, this is how damage rolls were made. You roll the damage of your weapon (a pool of d10s) against the Hardiness of your target. You take the single highest result and if it exceeds the Hardiness Rating, you do a wound. If you get a 10, that is an additional wound, plus the die explodes, allowing you to roll for another chance to do damage (which succeeds as normal). 


As I was working Ogre Gate Inn this week it occurred to me that I usually write my modules in or around October. Living around the corner from Salem, where October is a month-long celebration, I tend to get very inspired. I also find the dry weather and change in temperature good for mental clarity, which just helps me write better. Here is a break down of each of my October modules (both published and unpublished):

The Secret of Actium
This is my unpublished Servants of Gaius adventure. It is actually one of my favorites but we were just never able to fit in into the pipeline. The first half of the module is set in Rome, with the second half in Alexandria. It begins when the players discover a beheaded body and leads them into a mystery that goes back to the last Roman Civil War. 

The Patriot Incident
Written in October, the Patriot Incident takes place on Halloween. I tried to make full use of the holiday in the investigation though the adventure itself is more procedural/thriller and not horror. This one won a Gaming Genius Award for best adventure scenario in 2011. Of all our modules The Patriot Incident is one I'd like to revise and refurbish for re-release at some point. 

You can check out the Patriot Incident HERE in PDF or HERE in Print

The Landlord's Daughter
The Landlord's Daughter wasn't for one of our Network games, it was a Colonial Gothic Adventure by me and Bill Butler. I really enjoy this adventure, it was just released again in print not too long ago. The title was inspired by a few lies from the Highwayman song by Phil Ochs, which used Alfred Noyes' poem The Highwayman for lyrics. The adventure itself was inspired by local history in Swampscott and Lynn. I found local annals helpful when designing this one. The Landlord's Daughter is where we started to develop the investigative structure that would appear in most of our future modules. 

You can find The Landlord's Daughter HERE

Beneath the Banshee Tree
When we made Sertorius we didn't have room to include a sample adventure. We decided to release a free PDF module to complement to core book. This freed us up to make a module that was more robust than a small adventure included in the rulebook. I wrote this one with design help from Bill Butler and Dan Orcutt (Dan also served as the main editor on this project). So it was largely a team effort because we hashed out many of the major details and concepts before I wrote anything down. There was considerable thought put into Beneath the Banshee Tree and I think it shows. We wanted an adventure that showcased the magical nature of the setting and drew that into the mystery itself. The result is a perfect one-shot Halloween adventure, whether as a one-shot or part of an ongoing campaign. 

You can find the Free PDF of Beneath the Banshee Tree HERE. The Print version is available HERE

The Ogre Gate Inn
I wasn't thinking October or Halloween when I started on this one but it occurred to me this morning that I was working on a module in October right on schedule. Now that I've reviewed at it and have run it a couple of times, I can definitely see the month's influence. There is a bit of a horror thread running through it, something I played up in the last session I ran of it. Ogre Gate Inn is still in development and will probably be released early or mid 2016. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


This is a Horror Show adventure seed designed for Horror Show but intended for use with any system. The basic idea is to draw in characters from one or more existing modern campaigns for a one-shot horror show session. These can be from any genre or game system. 

Style/Budget: B Movie 
Genre: Psychological Horror/Splatter-Gore
Location: An old asylum or hospital
Universal Law: The Power of Suggestion
Threat: Dr. Woodlock

The Characters in one or more of your modern campaigns receive invitations from Doctor Peter Woodlock to attend a meeting at Lynch Memorial Hospital, room 92 of the Sullivan Building. The message lists off their various accomplishments, all in quotes, and tells them that the very fate of the universe may depend upon their skills. The doctor is a mad man testing out a new therapy and treatment to help patients overcome post traumatic stress disorder. Before the players arrive, he laces the grounds with a gas of an experimental drug that makes people more prone to suggestion. Everything he tells the party is a lie designed to see how far he can push them from their accepted reality. He has made extensive preparations as well, creating fake footage, books, etc as needed. In the light of day such evidence is obviously fake, but under the influence of the drug, they are quite convincing. He hopes to watch as they descend into madness and violence, killing themselves or one another as he conjures monsters and vicious traps through the power of suggestion. 

The Hospital Lynch Memorial Hospital has been abandoned for fifty years. Anyone who investigates the matter before hand can learn this. When and if they arrive, the Doctor informs them that their lives are a lie, that they are not even real people. He explains that they are in fact characters from television shows, books and movies. What is more he has proof in the form of DVDs, books and movie posters. He even shows them clips of actors who play them giving interviews. If they still don't believe him, he points to all their achievements as evidence (whether they merely be heroic or are beyond human comprehension). If someone is a superhero, he points out that super powers don't exist in the real world. If someone is a vampire, he explains that undeath is a biological impossibility. If someone is an ace counter-terrorist agent or super cop, he argues that only in movies does law enforcement routinely save the world or stop threat in the nick of time. Whatever genre conventions or excesses your campaigns indulge in, Doctor Woodlock uses to persuade the PCs they are not real. 

He says he realizes it is a lot to accept but assures them the situation is as he describes. He also says there is a problem. Something has gone wrong and in the last few days, they became real. And for whatever reason, it is all centered here at the Lynch Memorial Hospital. He explains that the hospital was abandoned and torn down ages ago, but that it appeared suddenly the day the PCs were brought into reality. They also detected strange energy readings coming from deep below the hospital. There is concern that they are at the epicenter of a fundamental breakdown of reality. 

Much of what he says is untrue. The hospital was never torn down, but Doctor Woodlock expects they will buy his reasoning. The bit about the energy is also false. In fact, if he is pressed on what kind of energy exactly, he may falter before finally settling on Electromagnetic Radiation. Reality is fine, whatever world the characters have inhabited up to this point exists (and the Doctor is a part of that) but he is trying to present a more mundane world to them). 

He tells them that strange things have been happening on the grounds of the hospital. That creatures from myth and legend have been appearing in the woods and that a vast network of caverns and caves stretches beneath the basement. He says that he believes this has opened a door into a reality that resembles the hells of so many different religions. He thinks somewhere on the grounds is the secret to what is going on with the PCs and he wants their help getting to the bottom of it. 

In truth the doctor is merely interested in observing the party. His drug is effective but so much so that people affected by it will often harm themselves as they encounter phantasms created by the doctor's suggestions. As the evening wears on he encourages their delusions seeing how far he can push them before they kill themselves or each other. 

To make this work, you ought to create real threats based on the doctor's suggestions. So monsters in the woods, traps and supernatural creatures in the basement and its caverns. You can also add in more suggestions from the doctor and elaborate as needed. The idea is to create a real meat grinder for the party that stems entirely from their minds. You can occasionally throw them hints that these are their own projections but be subtle. For instance you can give one player a slightly different, possibly contradictory, description of the same monster. The drug is effective and the players shouldn't discern any problems with their senses until the next day when the drug wears off. 

Throughout the hospital there ought to be clues that can penetrate the effect of the drug, things the players can find that suggest the doctor was lying. Again you want to be subtle here if possible. And hopefully they question enough of their reality that even when presented with evidence against the doctor's story, they are not sure what to believe. 

Universal Law
The Power of Suggestion: This rule means the GM can present any supernatural, scientific or magical phenomenon as if it is real, but then later hand wave it as illusion created by the power of suggestion. For example after being warned that werewolves stalk the surrounding forests, the GM could throw proper werewolf encounters at them, effectively treating them as real, with characters suffering actual wounds, even though these are all a product of the players' minds. 

Monday, October 5, 2015


Julia Okrusko is an award winning violinist/composer, a member of the New England String Quartet,  and has appeared as a violinist on several albums. She also composed Legends: Fantasy Violin and Excalibur: Fantasy Violin, producing both through successful kickstarter campaigns. Now she has a new Kickstarter for an intriguing symphony called Dragonborn. I am a big fan of Julia’s music, and used one of her tracks from Fantasy Violin in our Sertorius preview (this year she wrote and recorded a new track just for Ogre Gate). Julia is also a gamer and much of her inspiration comes from fantasy online gaming and the worlds they create. When I found out about Dragonborn, I decided to do an interview to learn more. I was particularly interested in this project because it is a four movement symphony.

Brendan Davis: You have a new Kickstarter for a symphony called Dragonborn. Can you tell me a little about the project and what inspired it?

Julia Okrusko: This symphony is inspired by Skyrim (video game). I was captivated by the beauty of Skyrim's fantasy world, by its atmosphere, music, gaming aesthetics, and mythology. I was inspired by the role of Dragonborn, and I wanted to write a piece of music that would reflect my admiration for Dragonborn's power and missions, and share my journey in Skyrim. I feel enormous gratitude to the creators of the game for this incredible experience and inspiration.

BD: What drew you to the violin and why is it a good vehicle for these fantasy and gaming inspired projects?

JO: I have been a violinist for 25 years, and violin is the instrument which I introduced as a key element in "Legends: Fantasy Violin". I have been composing for various instruments, but violin remains one of the most important and expressive parts in my orchestration for concert music and soundtracks. In the symphony, there are numerous violin solos, and throughout the piece the violin sections are blended as live mixes, allowing it to lead the recording through multi-voice performance as parts within the orchestra. The violin is an instrument that expresses my own musical identity, and it took a prominent part in the musical texture of the symphony.

BD: What does the Kickstarter help you do in terms of funding?

JO: With the help of Kickstarter backers, the symphony can be released as a CD and digital download featuring live and synthetic instruments. Kickstarter support would allow for recording, mixing, mastering, cover design, and the manufacturing of the discs.

BD: You talk about symphonies and the sonata in particular on your kickstarter. Can you explain these musical forms and why they appealed to you?

JO: As a classically trained performer, I am actively involved in a number of musical projects featuring different styles and applications, including soundtracks, classical concerts, new academic music premieres and recordings. Through experiencing the diversity of methods in musical composition and production, I am developing the approach to musical architecture, and as part of this development I wanted to employ a musical form that could internalize the image of Dragonborn and the meaning of his presence in Skyrim. In my mind, the stylistics of Skyrim and the powers and choices of Dragonborn project an image of great and legendary organization, and as a musician, I connected this image with the musical architecture of a symphony. I was inspired specifically by the traditionally established symphony form, and I felt that an older model of musical organization would convey and support the atmosphere of Skyrim. A prominent part of the symphony, the sonata form is a large musical structure that became universal in the late 18th century. This form is centered around a tonal and thematic conflict between two subjects that are presented in the exposition part of the sonata form, elaborated and contrasted in the development, and resolved harmonically and thematically in the recapitulation. I felt that the sonata form would create a great structure for presentation of Dragonborn in the first movement, and that it would lay the proper stylistic foundation for the entire work.

BD: Dragonborn will have four movements. Can you explain the process of writing each movement and how you organize them into a complete symphony?

JO: The process of writing the symphony was influenced by my performing experiences—work in the orchestras where I get to play the symphonies of great composers. Until now, I have professionally experienced symphony from the point of performance, and it was this internal exploration that taught me how material can be developed to convey the intended artistic effects. I also wanted to explore the management of time within a large symphonic work—I wanted to unfold the musical material with timing that would be familiar to the flow of the game itself. The construction of the symphony is based on Allegro-Adagio-Scherzo-Finale movement layout, and each of the four movements features different atmosphere and characters that are united through instrumental and vocal motives, rhythm, and musical references. During the course of the Kickstarter campaign I will be sharing audio sketches and notes on specific elements within the symphony.

BD: What can listeners expect to hear when the project is complete?

JO: The listeners can expect to hear an original symphony in four movements for orchestra and choir, recorded with live and synthetic instruments. The musical language of the symphony employs a combination of classical music techniques and fantasy themes, sounds, and effects, to create a reflection of being immersed in the world of fantasy.


This is the campaign log for the fifth session of a google+run Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate campaign. The previous session is described HERE

Player Characters
Mofeng: A young wandering Hero who is frequently at odds with his traveling companion Zhang Wan
Zhang Wan (Bone Breaker): An unpredictable and violent martial expert who is the brother of Zhang San
Zhang San: A wandering hero and sister of Zhang Wan, more calm than her brother
Chen: A poisoner and healer known for his lazy ways. 

The party had a meeting with Stone Foot (the bandit leader who had killed the innkeeper Pei Hai and assumed control of the inn with his men). He explained that below the inn was a Tomb to General Lun and that at the end of this structure was a secret passage where the old innkeeper had started tunneling. If they continued the tunnel, it would lead to a one-thousand year old treasury known as the Emerald Empire. The problem he faced was traps. The general's tomb was ridden with traps and he had already lost several men to poisoned darts and pits. He wanted the players to help him disarm and get through the tomb, then they'd work together breaking into the treasury. 

San pointed out that if he knew the location of the treasury, they could just dig down from the surface and avoid the tomb entirely. Stone Foot said they could do that if they had the right equipment. They would need a drill to break through the rocky surface. He knew of some salt mines though the desert to the south west but said they were controlled by Li Fan soldiers (who were under the empire's authority). 

The party decided to take a chance on the mines. They travelled about 12 miles through the desert and found a courtyard house overlooking the deposits. San noticed that there were dead soldiers around the house and inside the men looked too ragged to be officials. They decided to give the impression they had a sizable force and see if they could intimidate the residence to hand over some equipment. When they knocked on the gate a man appeared and looked terrified. The players said they were  a passing army in need of some supplies. The man slammed the door closed before anyone could stop him. 

Bone Breaker pushed the door open and grabbed the man's hand. Behind the man they could see others cowering as well. Dropping to his knees the man screamed something about a Sand Demon. Bone Breaker said the Sand Demon wouldn't be a problem provided he did as he was told. 

They ended up finding a nice bamboo cable drill with a wheel. It was a bulky structure and would have to be transported on their camels in pieces. They then bullied the man further and told him to take some of his men along to help them set up the drill. The man resisted at first but gave in when threatened with the Sand Demon. 

Reaching the inn, they set up the drill and started to pulverize the ground. While most of the area was solid, there were patches of sand surrounding them. As the men worked the drill one of them went to get some water and was pulled below the sands. All the other drillers immediately ran mindlessly into the desert screaming that the Sand Demon had come. Bone Breaker went to head them off, but was pulled below the sands himself by two great claws and felt something stab him in the back, followed by a great burning sensation. Jade Priestess dove below the sands and attacked whatever grabbed him, pulling him back to the surface. 

The party returned to the inn and Chen determined that Bone Breaker was the victim of Fire Poison. Very dangerous as its effects were permanent, so quick treatment was essential. He bought Lotus Oil from a scholar at the inn and Jade Priestess administered the antidote along with a pill to speed the recovery. While Bone Breaker rested, San asked everyone in the inn about the Sand Demon. No one knew anything, but when she got to the man who was dressed as Reckless Storm he told her a story about an innkeeper who fell in love with a scorpion from the desert, how the innkeeper would lure out the scorpion by playing Bliss in a Lonely Orchard on his flute and that the two become lovers. However, the innkeeper was murdered, leaving the scorpion alone. 

There were musicians in the inn so San went to them to see if they could play Bliss in a Lonely Orchard. Their reaction was odd. She didn't quite understand it,but they clearly didn't like the idea of having their services hired. She told Stone Foot to keep an eye on the musicians and let her brother know if anything odd happened. She also told him about the story. 

Late in the night the innkeeper came into Bone Breakers room and told him that a messenger had arrived, spoken with the musicians, then left. He gathered his men and went to the musicians inn room, forcing open the door.

First he insisted they hire out their services then demanded to know what the message was about. The leader, who went by the name of Zhen, told Bone Breaker not to interfere with their affairs. 

Enraged, Bone Breaker grabbed the man's wrist, hoping to threaten him, but he immediately detected great power flowing through Zhen's veins and withdrew. When told everyone but Bone Breaker to leave the room. 

They talked and Bone Breaker learned that the men were here to find someone, a woman named Niang (Bone Breaker had spoken with the women the night they arrived and she said she was a farmer heading to Hai'an but used a different name). Zhen said he would give Bone Breaker the services of his men, if he would convince Niang to to head to a hill in the north east at an appointed time. Bone Breaker agreed asking for more details so he could convince her. Zhen said he could not reveal much but that the woman's husband was a prisoner of the emperor and she was trying to rescue him. 

The party went out to the desert and had the musicians play Bliss in a Lonely Orchard. Soon a male figure appeared in the distance and began to dance. Bone Breaker mirrored the dancing and slowly closed the distance. When the two were close enough to see each other, the figure looked surprised and disappeared below the sands. Everyone fled back towards the inn. One musician was pulled beneath the sands but the rest of the group made it back. 

When they returned, Zhen was upset over the loss of his man and told Bone Breaker to arrange the meeting with Niang immediately. Bone Breaker sat down at Niang's table and talked to her for a while. He then said he had information that would be of interest to her, if she met him in an hour about two miles from the inn. She agreed to the meeting. 

As Bone Breaker spoke with Niang, San and Chen took the musicians to the roof and had them play Bliss in a Lonely Orchard. Again the figured appeared on a distant rock and instead of dancing it began to sing. Soon the roof was engulfed in flames. One of the musicians caught fire and fell off the building to his death. San and Chen ran down to the inn to inform Bone Breaker but when he stepped outside he saw no sign of fire. Convinced it was an illusion, he went to Stone Foot and asked him about the innkeeper's body. Eventually the bandit lead the party to where they'd buried Pei Hai and the inn staff. They recovered the body, they also found Pei Hai's flute. 

The whole group all went back up to the inn roof, this time they had Stone Foot bring one of his men who could sing the song. The musician played the melody on the flute and the figure appeared again. However this time it floated from the rock to the inn roof. Up close it looked like a normal man. When it reached them and saw the musician wasn't Pei Hai, it reached back to strike him in the chest.  

Bone Breaker asked him not to strike the man and said he had Pei Hai's body, which he pointed to. The demon took the body in its arms then asked where the killer was. Bone Breaker said if it could wait a moment he would find the murderer. 

Stone Foot inched back and tried to jump off the roof, but Jade Priestess caught him with her Arms of Silk technique. Bone Breaker spoke with him in private and asked if anyone else was involved in the murder directly. He said one of his men had helped deliver a fatal blow to Pei Hai. Bone Breaker handed that man over to the demon, which seemed to satisfy it as it promised to leave them alone. 

They then returned to the drill to resume their efforts to reach the Emerald Empire. 

This is where the session ended. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015


This is an object of power designed for Sertorius but can work in any Network Campaign. It is an ancient mask, peeled from the face of a demon, that takes over the wearer and absorbs victims so its intellect and powers can grow. 

No one knows for sure where the mask came from, but most legends say it was created when a mad priest peeled off the face of the demon Qara and fashioned it into a helmet, believing it would help his son in a coming battle. It proved far too effective, not only was his son impervious to the arrows and swords of his foes, he devastated both sides of the conflict, absorbing the life energy of the fallen to grow his own existence. 

Stopping the Mask of Qara
The only way to stop the mask of Qara is to cut off the head of the wearer. This requires making a Targeted Strike and scoring a Total Success, then doing 3 wounds in one slice. Anything less, will not cut through the neck. In truth it is often better to run and escape than stand and face the wearer of the mask.

The Mask of Qara
The mask looks to be made of metal and is shaped like a man or woman's face (there is disagreement over what sex Qara was). Once it is worn, it immediately fuses to the wearer's face and Qara's will takes over. The old person is completely destroyed, gone, a mere vessel for the will of Qara. The wearer can no longer speak and is filled with a need to kill and absorb people of talent, skill or power. 

Anyone wearing the mask gains the following abilities:

Changes: Hardiness is increased by 3. Wounds are increased by 10. Endurance becomes 4d10. 

Absorb: To absorb a person the wearer must first kill them, then it can draw the spirit and body into itself. This causes the wearer to acquire any spells, skills, health or knowledge the person has. It also increases the size of the wearer marginally, adding to the beast strength multiplier (see Beast Strength Below). Every victim it absorbs increases its Wounds by 2. 

Beast Strength (x5): Base lift is multiplied by five and the wearer can exceed the dice cap by up to 10d10 on damage rolls. As the wearer absorbs victims, its Beast Strength multiplier increases by 1 for each victim. 

Immunities: The wearer is immune to all mundane attacks. It can be slowed down or hampered by them, but never takes wounds from them. It can only be harmed by magic or sacred objects. 

Regeneration: The wearer regenerates 2 wounds a round. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015


This is a short October-inspired adventure for Crime Network. 

The PCs are instructed by the boss to whack Vincent Capuano, an informant for the FBI who is also a well-liked Capo in their crime family. Many in the family refuse to believe he’s a rat, some even say the boss wants to take him out because he thinks he’s a threat. Some wouldn’t mind a change of leadership. The boss wants it quick and easy, so there isn’t any dissent in the ranks. The truth is, Vinnie isn’t an informant, he’s a threat to the boss who just wants him out of the way. The problem is Vinnie is an undying creature of the night and no matter how many bullets you put in his head, you just can’t kill Vinnie.

The Adventure 
This adventure is all about throwing the PCs right into the heart of a bizarre scenario and seeing where it goes. Supernatural things are not usually assumed in Crime Network, so your players won't be expecting Vinnie to come back from the dead. They may make their initial hit, taking him out at a diner or something, but he comes back the next day like nothing happened. Oh, he remembers that someone tried to kill him, he may even know it was the PCs, but he acts like nothing happened. If he is able to pin it on the party, he starts sending men to kill them. You can't hold back here. Vinnie is a tough guy and knows how to take people out. If the players don't spill blood, it's their blood that gets spilled. 

Just let the game unfold naturally and react. Use Vinnie's soldiers as hitmen as needed. They can have some fights with Vinnie himself, slowly understanding his true nature (perhaps they witness him change or watch him chew down on some human meat). Again be merciless here. If he bites a PC in the neck and kills him, so be it. Even though he's already dead, Vinnie wants doesn't want to die. 

Stats for Vinnie, his crew and Angela (his mistress who turned him into a ghoul) are provided below. Read the Vinnie entry carefully as this explains his background and his abilities. 

Fit the adventure to the campaign. The boss can be the head of the crime family the party is in or maybe even a rival capo. 

Killing Vinnie
To properly kill Vinnie, he has to be submerged in holy water for several minutes (see his entry below). The players may figure this out on a wild guess but more likely they investigate things and find out from his Angela (his mistress and the woman who raised him from the dead as a ghoul) how to kill him. They might be able to figure out he is a ghoul by observing him and doing research. A priest could be a handy ally here and can probably tell them what they are up against (not to mention he can supply the holy water). 

Non-Player Characters

Vinnie was just like any other guy, he earned his keep and took care of his family. He may have stayed out late some nights, and he might have had some women on the side, but his heart was always with his family. One night he came home smelling of booze and passed out on the couch. His wife Patricia took his phone and discovered text messages from his goomah about a wild night they had in the Cape. After downing a bottle of gin Patricia put two bullets in his brain and buried him in the backyard. What Patricia didn’t know was Vinnie’s mistress is a Strega named Angela. After Patricia buried the body, Angela did some hocus pocus and brought Vincent back to life. Now he’s back like nothing ain’t ever happened. He’s got no memory of the killing and feels better than he ever has before. He does remember fighting with Patricia, and has a vague memory of her maybe hitting him or pointing a gun at him, but no recollection of the shooting itself. As far as he's concerned, he just had a bad night. 

But Vinnie’s got one small problem. He has think hankering for human flesh, and his skin is staring to look a little pallid. Oh, and he can shapeshift into different animals sometimes as well as any person or creature he’s eaten in the past 24 hours. That Strega turned him into some kind of Ghoul.

As if Vincent wasn’t bad enough, this whole Ghoul thing has really ratcheted up his temper. He earned respect from his men for a reason, he made good on his promises, rewarded loyalty and was merciless to those who got out of line. His only option now is to take out whoever is after him and get rid of the boss.

Vincent is superstitious and believes a guardian angel watches over him. Should the players kill him in any way, he chalks up his survival to his guardian angel. However if it becomes clear something supernatural is afoot, after some initial revulsion, Vinnie embraces his new nature and uses it to his advantage. Eventually he makes the connection to Angela but rather than show gratitude, he becomes resentful and spends more time with his family. 

Vinnie almost never carries a firearm. He leaves that to his men. 

Hardiness 7, Stealth 9, Evade 7, Parry 8, Wits 6, Resolve 8

Key Skills
Bite: 2d10, Small Arms: 2d10, Hand-to-Hand: 2d10, Speed: 5d10 (80 feet), Athletics: 4d10, Muscle: 4d10, Manipulation: 2d10, Bully: 2d10, Lying: 3d10, Empathy: 3d10, Detect: 1d10, Crime (Gamble): 3d10, Crime (Hijack): 3d10, Crime (Extort): 2d10, Crime (Blackmail): 2d10, Organizations (Mafia): 3d10, Organizations (The Senate): 2d10, Organizations (Hells Angels): 2d10, Things (Music): 2d10, Talent (Dancing): 2d10, Security: 3d10, Languages (English): 3d10, Languages (Italian): 1d10

Rank: Captain (Capo)
Personality Type: Casanova 
Respectability: 4 
Connections: Senator Venditti (Social Protector), Bruce Bartfield (Criminal Insider-Hells Angels)

Wounds: 15

Immunities: Vinnie just can’t die. Shoot him in the head, boom, he comes back the next day. Cut him up into pieces, the bastard just regenerates over the next 24 hours. The only way you can kill him, the only way to truly take him out, is if you give him a bath in a tank of holy water. If he stays submerged in holy water for two minutes, his body disintegrates and his soul is released (probably south, but who knows).

Transform: Vinnie can take the shape of any living creature he has eaten in the past 24 hours. This means he can take the shape of a wolf or cat but also that he can take the shape of specific people.

Bite: When he’s feeling hungry, Vinnie’s teeth become sharp and narrow, perfect tools for chewing through some human flesh. These babies do 5d10 damage on a successful attack roll. They also leave a nasty infection. See Infection below.

Infection: Anyone bitten by Vinnie who takes damage is exposed to sepsis. When a character is exposed, roll 6d10 against Hardiness taking the single lowest result. If that meets or exceeds the Hardiness Score, Sepsis sets in. Treat Sepsis like any other disease, using the table below. Use of proper antibiotics provides a +2d10 to the Medicine Roll to treat sepsis. 

Angela is from Revere and it shows. She wears nails and lots of make-up, and dresses her hair up real nice, but don't let that fool you. Her father was in the military before joining the police and made sure she knew how to handle herself. Plus she goes to the gym on a regular basis and can bench more than most men. And then there is the whole witchcraft thing. 

Angela is a Strega, a kind of witch. Her mother before her was a Strega as well. She usually uses her knowledge for small things, nothing evil or deadly. When Vinnie didn't call her in the afternoon, she knew something was up and went to his house. She found his body in a quickly dug grave out back and performed a ritual her mother taught her to bring back the dead. 

Angela is having second thoughts now that Vinnie is alive. At first he spent more time with here, but when he realized what she'd done, he started avoiding her and began spending more time with his wife and kids. She is irritated enough to spill the beans on how to kill him for the right price. 

Hardiness 5, Stealth 5, Evade 5, Parry 4, Wits 7, Resolve 7

Key Skills
Hand-to-Hand: 3d10, Small Arms: 3d10, Speed: 2d10, Athletics: 2d10, Muscle: 3d10, Talent (Witchcraft): 3d10, Manipulation: 1d10, Bully: 2d10, Detect: 2d10, Empathy: 1d10, Things (Cuisine): 2d10, Things (Witchcraft): 2d10, Organizations (Army): 2d10, Organizations (Police): 2d10, Languages (English): 3d10

Wounds: 3
Connections: Lt. Steve Braude (Political Insider-Revere Police, Criminal Investigation Division)
Equipment: 22SW (registered)

Patricia Patricia is smart and loves to read. She also speaks french fluently (a point of pride for Vinnie). She was going to become a school teacher but dropped out of college soon after Vinnie proposed. She and Vinnie are from the same neighborhood and she knew from the start what it meant to be married to a guy like him. In a lot of ways she liked the respect his affiliations afforded her. She could even tolerate his girls on the side once in a while. But his infatuation with Angela was different. He was more emotionally attached to her and Patricia became jealous. When he came home late one night she looked through his phone and found text messages between him and Angela. They were explicit but what bothered her was he told Angela that he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. Patricia drank a pint of gin and fired two bullets into Vinnie's head with his own gun. Had she been sober, that never would have happened. Not a violent person by nature, Patricia panicked and buried him in the back yard as quick as she could. 

A day or so later, Vinnie strolled back into the house like nothing happened. Patricia started going out of her mind. She couldn't figure it out. Eventually she remembered rumors about angela and her mother, that they were both Stregas. Now she doesn't know what to do. She is afraid of Vinnie and thinks he is the devil in human form. She can tell he's changed. But she also feels guilty for what she did to him. 

Hardiness 3, Stealth 3, Evade 4, Parry 3, Wits 6, Resolve 9

Key Skills
Hand-to-Hand: 0d10, Small Arms: 1d10, Speed: 1d10, Athletics: 1d10, Muscle: 0d10,  Reasoning: 2d10, Detect: 3d10, Empathy: 3d10, Things (Literature): 2d10, Languages (English): 3d10, Languages (French): 3d10, Languages (Italian): 1d10

Wounds: 3

Vinnie's Crew (6 Soldiers)
Vinnie has a crew of 6 soldiers, each described below: Vinnie has six Tommy Cento Russo, Rick "Dumb Bastard" Spinelli, Jimmie Fists, Billy the Hitman, Victor "Canary" Carlo, and Danny "Karate Kid" Di Luzio. 

Danny is a fast talker and good with his numbers. He acts as a sort of adviser to Vinnie and is a prime candidate for consigliere should Vincent become the boss one day. Despite years of karate from his youth, Danny can't fight worth a damn so the crew calls him The Karate Kid. However, he ain't bad with a gun.

Hardiness 5, Stealth 5, Evade 5, Parry 4, Wits 7, Resolve 7

Key Skills
Hand-to-Hand: 0d10, Small Arms: 3d10, Speed: 2d10, Athletics: 1d10, Muscle: 1d10, Reasoning: 3d10, Manipulation: 3d10, Lying: 3d10, Finance: 3d10, Crime (Embezzle): 2d10, Crime (Gamble): 2d10, Crime (Fence): 2d10, Organizations (The Police): 2d10, Places (Boston): 2d10, Places (New York): 2d10, Places (Providence): 2d10, Places (Lowell): 2d10

Rank: Soldier
Personality Type: Brain
Respectability: 2
Flaws: Black Belt (-1d10 to Hand-to-Hand)
Expertise: Lying-Tall Tale
Equipment: M9 Glock (unregistered)

Wounds: 3

Victor is wide and muscular. He lifts in his spare time and occasionally competes (his big claim to fame is nearly winning the Mr. Universe Championship in 2011). They call him Canary because he can he can sing like Andrea Bocelli and his grandfather was in fact an opera singer. He is also Vinnie's driver and muscle. 

Hardiness 5, Stealth 5, Evade 5, Parry 4, Wits 7, Resolve 7

Key Skills
Hand-to-Hand: 3d10, Small Arms: 3d10, Medium Arms: 2d10, Speed: 1d10, Athletics: 3d10, Muscle: 3d10, Endurance: 2d10, Crime (Kidnap): 2d10, Crime (Assassinate): 2d10, Crime (Armed Theft): 1d10

Rank: Soldier
Personality Type: Brawn
Respectability: 2
Expertise: Hand-to-Hand-Unarmed
Equipment: 44 Mag (Unregistered)

Wounds: 3

Billy is a hot-head from Malden with an appreciation for the fine art of silencing rats. He is unusual in that he doesn't really look much like a mobster. He could almost pass for a WASP the way he talks and dresses. No one knows where he picked these traits up, but he works them to his advantage. Most people lower their guard around Billy. 

Billy is actually second generation Italian, unlike most of the crew who are 3rd or 4th generation. His mother is from Abruzzo and he speaks the language fluently. 

Hardiness 5, Stealth 5, Evade 5, Parry 4, Wits 7, Resolve 7

Key Skills
Hand-to-Hand: 2d10, Explosives: 2d10, Small Arms: 3d10, Medium Arms: 3d10, Speed: 3d10, Athletics: 2d10, Muscle: 2d10, Endurance: 2d10, Crime (Kidnap): 2d10, Crime (Assassinate): 3d10, Crime (Armed Theft): 2d10, Crime (Arson): 2d10, Languages (English): 3d10, Languages (Italian): 3d10

Rank: Soldier
Personality Type: Brawn
Respectability: 2
Expertise: Italian-Abruzzo Western Dialect
Equipment: Garote, Rem7005 Sniper Rifle (unregistered)

Wounds: 3

You can use the same stats for Tommy, Rick and Jimmie (just note that Rick's Wits are a 4). They are the mediocre members of Vinnie's crew. He frankly doesn't care much if they live or die. He's all smiles when they are around, but he knows the crew will be stronger without them. 

Hardiness 6, Stealth 4, Evade 4, Parry 4, Wits 6 (4 Rick), Resolve 6

Key Skills
Hand-to-Hand: 2d10, Small Arms: 2d10, Medium Arms: 2d10, Speed: 0d10, Athletics: 1d10, Muscle: 1d10, Endurance: 2d10, Crime (Kidnap): 1d10, Crime (Armed Theft): 2d10, Crime (Hijack): 1d10, Languages (English): 3d10, Languages (Italian): 1d10

Rank: Soldier
Personality Type: Brawn
Respectability: 2
Expertise: Italian-Abruzzo Western Dialect
Equipment: 22SW (unregistered)

Wounds: 3