Monday, May 4, 2020

Chases in Faith Corps

In one of my Patreon adventures I tried my hand at a chase scene, where the Demon Hunters piled into a boat and chased after a Kraken. I had the opportunity to run it and was inspired to try and adapt the chase rules from the old Victory Games 007 James Bond Roleplaying Game. Speaking of Patreon, if you like what I'm doing, please consider supporting me on Patreon. Now I present to you...

The Bond Method

What I am calling “The Bond Method” is a combination of the Chase Track and an adaptation of the classic 007 RPG chase rules (007 James Bond Roleplaying Game pages 55-61). The characters are still performing actions trying to check off boxes or clear boxes on the Chase Track as before, it’s just those actions have a lot more going on than just a simple Overcome roll.

The rounds behave a little differently than your standard conflict rounds in the core game. There are 8 steps to every round in The Bond Method chase rules. I’ll discuss each step in more detail below.

1.       Determine the starting range.
2.       Bidding action.
3.       Highest bid wins and winner decides who goes first.
4.       Maneuver action: The side going first declares their maneuver.
5.       Maneuver action resolved at the highest bid opposition.
a.       Success – effects applied immediately.
b.      Fail – determine if there is a mishap.
6.       First side can now make an attack action or perform any other action normally.
7.       Second side declares maneuver and resolves as in Step 5.
8.       Second side can now attack or take other actions as in Step 6.

Once the second side resolves Step 8, the round ends and the next round starts again at Step 1. Repeat until the chase is over.

Step 1 – Determine the Starting Range

Ranges are divided into 5 designations: Close, Medium, Long, Distant, Extreme. In the first round, a chase cannot start at Extreme range. The distances are used to resolve attacks and other actions, and to better visualize the characters and vehicles involved in the scene.

On a typical 10-box Chase Tracker, we might split it up as below:
Note that Extreme range doesn’t appear on the track. We can just assume it’s one square to the left of Distant. If the range is set to Extreme the pursuing side must close the distance enough to get back onto the Chase Tracker on their next action, or the chase is over.

Step 2 – Bidding Action

The players and the GM take turns in a bidding war, first one side declaring a bid, then the other. The bid numbers represent the opposition that must be Overcome, with all bidding participants rolling against the highest bid opposition.

The opposition always starts at 0. Bids can be in any increment but are often bid in increments of 5.
Each player bids separately if they are separated (on foot or in different vehicles, for instance), otherwise the player controlling the vehicle bids for the group, with one maneuver performed for the group.

The GM bids for all of the NPCs involved in the chase at once, whether they are separated or not. All NPCs perform the same maneuver, though each NPC or group resolves their actions separately.

If vehicles are involved, they are given a Redline. This limits the highest opposition that can be bid safely without incurring a potential mishap. Vehicles may also have a vehicle bonus die that can be added rolling to resolve the maneuver. (More about vehicles later)

Step 3 – Winning Bidder Decides Who Goes First

The winning bidder decides which side goes first. It may be advantageous to go last rather than first, depending on the situation. The GM can decide the order that the other PCs will go, or the winning bidder PC can decide which PC will go next. When that PC resolves their maneuver, they choose the next PC to go, and so on.

Step 4 – Side Going First Declares Their Maneuver

If the PC decides to go first, they describe to the GM what they want to do and together the GM and the PC agree on which maneuver is to be performed.

NOTE: Some maneuvers may not be available due to range or other factors. If the NPCs go first, the GM chooses one maneuver for all of them.

Step 5 – Maneuver Action Resolved

The side going first now resolves their maneuver, rolling against the winning opposition bid.

  • Success with Style – the effects of the maneuver are applied immediately, and the acting character can choose to receive a boost OR advance the Chase Track one box in their direction. No Safety Roll required if the opposition was higher than the Redline of the vehicle.
  • Success – the effects of the maneuver are applied immediately. If the opposition was higher than the Redline of the vehicle, as Safety Roll is made to determine if there is a mishap. The opposition of the Safety Roll is the Safety Rating of the maneuver.
    • EXAMPLE: if the maneuver chosen was Pursue/Flee, the Safety Rating is 5. The opposition to beat for the Safety Roll is 5.
  • Tie – Acting character can choose to succeed the roll. If they do, the GM gets a Demon Die.
  • Failure – A player makes a Safety Roll to determine if there’s a mishap. The opposition for the Safety Roll is the Safety Rating of the maneuver.

If the opposition of the maneuver action was higher than the Redline of the vehicle, a second Safety Roll is required to determine if there’s a mishap.

Depending on the nature of the failure, the GM may require all other characters in the same vehicle to make Safety Rolls to avoid taking a condition.

Step 6 – Side Going First Can Attack or Take Other Actions

If the PCs went first, after the player controlling the vehicle resolves their maneuver action and the results are applied (Increase/decrease in range on the Chase Tracker, vehicle damage, etc), the other players can make Attack, Overcome, or Create an Advantage actions normally. The driving character chooses who goes first, then that character chooses who goes next, and so on. The GM may adjust the opposition for these actions according to the outcome of the preceding maneuver. For example, a maneuver success might result in an opposition reduction of 5, whereas a failure may result in an increase of 5. Depending on the circumstances, some of the actions the players choose may need to be made at the winning bid opposition.

Step 7 – The Other Side Resolves Their Maneuver

The other side now resolves their maneuver also at the winning bid opposition and the results are applied immediately as per Step 5.

Step 8 – The Other Side Can Attack or Take Other Actions

As per Step 6, for the other side.


Bidding players describe to the GM what they want to do, and the GM helps choose which maneuver fits best. As players become more familiar with this chase method, they will be able to select which maneuver fits best with their character. The maneuvers to choose from are: Pursue/Flee, Force, Quick Turn, Doubleback, and Trick. Each maneuver is explained below.

Redline – Outcomes: For all maneuvers, if the opposition of the maneuver is higher than the Redline of your vehicle

·         Success with Style – No Safety Roll required.
·         Success – You must make a Safety Roll using the Safety Factor of the chosen maneuver.
·         Tie - You must make a Safety Roll using the Safety Factor of the chosen maneuver.
·         Failure - You must make a Safety Roll using the Safety Factor of the chosen maneuver in addition to the Safety Roll of failing the maneuver.



Pursue/Flee is the attempt to check off or clear boxes on the Chase Track, closing or increasing the range between the two parties.

·         Pursuing party checks the boxes on the Chase Track.
·         Fleeing party clears the boxes.

·         Success with Style Move 2 boxes in your direction OR move 1 box in your direction and gain a boost.
·         Success – Move one square in your direction.
·         Tie – Can move one box in your direction. If you do, the GM gets a Demon Die.
·         Failure – Make a Safety Roll. Your opponent gets a boost or moves the track one square in their direction.

When all the boxes are checked, the chase is over. When all the boxes are cleared, the pursuing party must advance the Chase Track at least one box on their next action or the chase is over, and the fleeing party has escaped.

Limitations – Pursue/Flee cannot be performed if the opponent is significantly faster. For instance, a human can’t outrun a car. However there maybe mitigating circumstances, like traffic, that may make the maneuver possible.



A Force maneuver is the attempt to physically interfere with your opponent’s vehicle in order to cause a mishap or apply an aspect. The character performing the maneuver receives a bonus (or penalty) equal to the difference in scale between their vehicle and their opponent’s. For example, if a car was doing a Force maneuver on a motorcycle, it would get a +1 to the roll, whereas the opposition would increase by one if the car was attempting to Force a van.

·         Success with Style You get a boost and your opponent makes a Safety Roll, OR your opponent receives an automatic mishap and must make a Safety Roll in order to avoid another one.
·         Success – You Force your opponent to make a Safety Roll.
·         Tie You can choose to make your opponent make a Safety Roll, in which case the GM gets a Demon Die.
·         Failure – You must make a Safety Roll.
Limitations – This maneuver can only be attempted at Close range.

Quick Turn


This maneuver is the attempt to cause your pursuer to lose track of you by quickly taking evasive action like ducking into an alleyway or hiding in a cloud bank.

·         Success with Style – The Chase Track clears one box and you get a boost OR you clear two boxes. The pursuers lose track of you.
·         Success – The Chase Track clears one box. The pursuer must make an Overcome roll against an opposition equal to your success roll +2 to figure out where you are.
o   If they Succeed with Style, they check one box on the Chase Track and gain a boost, having discovered you.
o   If they Succeed, they know where you are.
o   If a Tie, you can choose that they don’t know where you are, the GM gets a Demon Die. If you choose that they find you, you gain a Faith Die.
o   If they Fail, they have lost track of you.
·         Tie You can choose that the pursuers don’t know where you are, and the GM gets a Demon Die. If you choose that they find you, you gain a Faith Die.
·         Failure One box is checked on the Chase Track, the pursuers know where you are, and you must make a Safety Roll.

Limitations – This maneuver can only be performed by the fleeing party and only if the range is Long or Distant.



A Doubleback maneuver is the attempt to make a 180 degree turn back up on the pursuer.

·         Success with Style – As a Success and you gain a boost.
·         Success – The range immediately becomes Close. Pursuers must make an immediate Doubleback or Force maneuver at an opposition equal to the success roll of the fleeing character. Otherwise the range becomes Extreme prior to the next maneuver.
·         Tie You can choose for this to count as a Success. If you do, you choose whether to take a Mild condition or the GM gets a Demon Die.
·         Failure – Make a Safety Roll. The range immediately becomes Close.

Limitations – This maneuver cannot be initiated by the pursuer and can only be used at Close or Medium range.



This is the maneuver the covers everything else that can be attempted in a chase – jumping a wide ditch, popping a car on two wheels to duck down an alleyway, skiing at top speed through a dense forest, etc. The player describes what they want to do, and the GM decides whether to allow it or not. If the maneuver is disallowed, the player can choose a different maneuver instead.
·         Success with Style As a Success and you gain a boost or move the Chase Tracker one box your direction (if applicable).
·         Success - Opponents must make the maneuver at the same opposition in order to maintain the same range.
o   If your opponent fails this roll they must immediately make a Safety Roll or suffer a mishap.
·         Tie You can choose for this to count as a Success. If you do, you choose whether to take a Mild condition or the GM gets a Demon Die.
·         Failure You take a Mild Stunned condition and Make a Safety Roll. Pursuers check a box on the Chase Track.


When you fail a Safety Roll, your vehicle takes a condition. The character in control of the vehicle can choose to take a condition in place of the vehicle.

Example conditions: Cracked Windshield, Dented In Door, Crunched Hood, Broken Headlight, Smoking Engine, Taking on a Little Water, Sail Stuck, Damaged Breaks, Bent Landing Gear, No Life Jackets, Loss of Cabin Pressure.


Average vehicles have 3 aspects and can take up to 2 Mild Conditions. Exceptional vehicles can have up to 5 aspects and can take up to 3 Mild and 2 Moderate conditions.

Vehicles may have a vehicle bonus that applies to all vehicle-based maneuvers. The average vehicle does not provide a bonus. Exceptional vehicles may have a bonus of 1d6, 1d8, or 1d10. A vehicle bonus do not apply to Safety Rolls.
As mentioned before, vehicles are also given a Redline rating. Redline again is the maximum opposition it can perform safely without incurring a Safety Roll. On the next page are some example vehicle Redline ratings and vehicle bonuses.

Example of Play

Continuing with the Demon Hunters example with Chapter Kappa Five and using the Bond Method, we need to split out the vehicles from the characters as more than just a couple aspects. They need to have a Redline and maybe a Vehicle Bonus.

  • Demon-Possessed Red Silverado – Redline 20, Vehicle Bonus – 1d6.
    • Infernally Self-Healing Tires
    • Supernaturally-Tuned Engine
  • Black High-End Escalade – Redline 15, Vehicle Bonus – none
    • Bullet-Resistant Armor
    • Weapons Cache

GM: The Novus Ordo goons in the red Silverado are JUST inside of Medium range. We start at Medium range with 7 boxes checked. They’ve been waiting for you. They lurch forward, spraying bullets at you as the rest of your party just barely piles into the Escalade. 

 GM: Now we bid. The Novus Ordo have to close the distance and so they bid an Opposition 10. You can hear their tires squeal.
AIDAN: I floor it and attempt to take the first corner of the parking garage as tight as possible. I bid a 15.
GM: With a holler and a roar, the red Silverado attempts to use the surrounding cars as bumpers to quickly turn and gain on you. They bid an 18.
AIDAN: Fine, let’s see what they got.
GM: They’ll go first using the Pursue/Flee maneuver. Gunning after you with their Reckless Abandon discipline, they spend a Demon Die and invoke Supernaturally-Tuned Engine. They also get their Vehicle Bonus of 1d6. They roll a 17. That’s a fail. Now they make a Safety Roll against an opposition of 5. They easily make their Safety Roll with a 16. The goons raise their weapons and attempt to shoot out your tires. They roll an 11.
AIDAN: I’ll brake a bit to let the armor soak the bullets. I defend using Quick Combat & Tactics and I get a 16!
GM: Alright, the bullets splatter off your vehicle’s armor harmlessly and you gain a boost! Your turn, what’s your maneuver?
AIDAN: I’m going to do a Pursue/Flee as well.
GM: Sounds good. Remember you have to beat the winning opposition bid of 18. You also will need to make a Safety Roll since 18 is higher than your vehicle’s Redline.
AIDAN: Ok, I Quickly use Combat & Tactics, using my boost which I’m calling Adrenaline Rush, and I’ll invoke my Born Behind the Wheel aspect. I get a 21!
GM: Awesome. You clear one box! Make your Safety Roll, opposition 5.
 AIDAN: I will Carefully roll Combat & Tactics, getting a 9. We’re good.
GM: Great, your team can take actions now. Let’s start with Spencer.
SPENCER: Since this thing has a Weapons Cache, I’d like to rig up some defense mechanisms for closer combat. I’ll Cleverly use Combat & Tactics, Creating an Advantage to arm Caltrops to be deployed when needed. Shoot, I roll a 7. Sigh, I’m going to spend a Demon Die.
GM: Thank you very much.
SPENCER: 4. Good, it’s not a 1. That puts me at 11.
GM: That’s enough to create the aspect Caltrops with one free invoke on it. Charley, what do you do?
CHARELY: I begin preparing a spell to try and defang or suppress the demon in that Silverado. Essentially like the right holy symbol affecting a vampire, when it gets too close it wants to recoil.
GM: That’s awesome, and difficult but you have some time. I’m going to set the opposition at a 15.
CHARLEY: Ouch, okay I’m going to Cleverly use Mystic Arts to Create the Advantage Demon Repellant. I’ll use my stunt that gives me a +2 when Cleverly Creating Advantages to create protection spells. I’m not ready to spend a die to gain a die, so here goes… Yes! That’s 16!
GM: Fantastic. Your vehicle is surrounded by Demon Repellant with one free invoke on it. And we’re back to the top of a new round. The range is still Medium with 6 boxes checked. As you look behind you, fire erupts from below the red Silverado which is accelerating at an incredible pace. You’ve made it to the freeway and traffic is moderate.
AIDAN: I want to get over to the far right lane, weaving in and out of traffic to put some distance and obstacles between us. I’ll bid 13.
GM: They’re just going to barrel towards you and intimidate cars to get out of the way. They bid 15.
AIDAN: I look for a traffic cop turnout between the two directions of the freeway, the ones they use to cut through the median to go the other direction. I’m going to hit that hard and hope the tires on this thing can take it. I bid a 20.
GM: They’re game! You win the bid. You see your opening up ahead.
AIDAN: We’ll go first. I’m going to do a Doubleback maneuver. I’ll Quickly use Combat & Tactics, and my stunt that says once per session, when I invoke an aspect or use a free invocation I can roll twice and take the higher result. I’m going to invoke Born Behind the Wheel again. I better save my last Faith Die for next round. I roll a 15 with the reroll.
GM: Would you like to use Demon Dice?
AIDAN: Yeah, I’m going to roll 2. Here’s hoping to not rolling a 1! And… I get a 5 and a 3! That puts me at a 23.
GM: You pull off the Doubleback! Now roll your Safety Roll for going over your Redline again. The Safety Rating is 10.
AIDAN: I’ll Carefully use Combat & Tactics and use my stunt that grants me a +2 whenever I Carefully Overcome obstacles on the road. Yikes! That’s an 8.
GM: Your vehicle takes a mishap, a mild condition called “Bald Tires.”
AIDAN: Sigh. Yeah, that figures.
GM: The range is immediately Close now, and the Novus Ordo have to perform a Doubleback or Force Maneuver at a 23 or better! If they fail, the range becomes Extreme!

Good thing you’ve given me some Demon Dice! They are going to attempt a Force maneuver with their discipline Reckless Abandon, of course, use their vehicle bonus, and invoke Supernaturally-Tuned Engine, Fanatical Fury, and Demon-Possessed Red Silverado… and the roll a 21. Wow, they would have made the maneuver bid, but they fail the Force. The range immediately becomes Extreme.

Your team can now take actions. Charley, how about you start us off?
CHARLEY: I’m going to radio HQ about the situation and have the Cipher redirect police attention to the red Silverado…
The chase would continue with the other side resolving their maneuver and if they don’t get at least one box checked by the end of their turn, the chase would be over. As you can see if they are successful, the chase could go on for the whole session.

Friday, March 20, 2020

DG Game Night Returns!

Join us as we play Demon Hunters: A Comedy of Terrors this Tuesday, March 24th at 6:30pm!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Demon Hunters: Fungus Among Us

My latest Demon Hunters: A Comedy of Terrors adventure! It's kind of like Color Out of Space, only it's fungus from another dimension and some serious mutational horror. But it's okay, nothing a lot of booze and Halloween Spirit won't cure.

I recently acquired the Fate Adversary Toolkit, by Evil Hat Games and wow it is amazingly useful. Since the last module, I've been doing a lot of rereading Monster of the Week and in this module I'm streamlining a few thing in light of that, and then utilizing many of the concepts in the F.A.T. I HIGHLY recommend picking up the Fate Adversary Toolkit if you don't have it already. I won't be explaining the new mechanics in very much depth so it would be good to have the book.
So what am I streamlining?

  • Threats: I won't be splitting up the adventure into 2-4 major Threats any more. Instead I will be splitting things out according to Scenes or Zones. Within each Scene and/or Zone I will list out expected DMCs, Hazards & Obstacles, Scene Aspects, Badness Table, and provide a general setup/description. Each DMC and other "adversary" type from the Fate Adversary Toolkit will have its adversary type listed, and also a Threat type and Impulse from Demon Hunters: A Comedy of Terrors. This way you'll have an idea of what each DMC wants.
  • Sinistra: I am pretty sold on these as Aspect Events from the Fate System Toolkit. In a sense, these are also a Countdown (which is detailed in Monster of the Week and the Fate Adversary Toolkit). There's only one set of Sinistra for the whole mission and they're listed as Aspects. I'll provide a description afterwards. 
  • Success States: I really love the idea of this, but I have really struggled with developing these for each scene or encounter. I am working a version of these into the Sinistra. For instance if the PCs avoid the sinistrum or prevent it altogether, add a free invoke to an existing aspect in play, or create a new one with a free invoke. Depending on how far down the list the sinistrum is, it may be more like 3 free invokes. Conversely if the sinistrum happens, the DM gets Demon Dice according to the order of the sinistra, and then immediately rolls on a badness table using those free bonus Demon Dice. I'm still playing with this. The main thing is to think ahead about what are the possible outcomes of each encounter and being semi prepared for them. Writing out the success states and the consequences has been challenging in that they often times don't happen that way I've written them at all. 

Really had a lot of fun with this one. I can't wait to hear how it goes in your groups. Let me know what you think of the new additions and format. If you like this,  I hope you'll consider joining my Patreon. Thanks!

Click to Download Demon Hunters: Fungus Among Us

What is Faith Corps?

No I didn't mean Fate Core, which is an awesome tabletop rpg system. I mean Faith Corps, which is also an awesome tabletop rpg system - based on Fate Accelerated and Cortex Plus.

The system we call Faith Corps debuted in the Kickstarter-funded Demon Hunters: A Comedy of Terrors RPG in 2015. It was developed by Cam Banks and Amanda Valentine, who happen to know a thing or two about rpgs, particularly Fate and Cortex and all their variants. I was getting ready to create a supplement to the Cortex version of the Demon Hunters Roleplaying Game, published by Margaret Weis Productions, but kept running into dated issues. The canon had evolved, and it started to make more sense to just create a new edition than to create a supplement to a book that was pubished back in 2008. So I pinged Cam Banks and asked if he'd be interested in designing a new game system for me. :) I think there was a "hell yes" somewhere involved.

Cam knows the world well and he asked me what I wanted the system to be able to do. Here was my list (in no particular order):
  • Be able to create a character in about 5 minutes
  • Have the feeling of character power analogous to going from Level 1 to Level 20 and back again in the same session. Essentially being able to do epic things when the conditions are right, but the consequences can still be super deadly.
  • Have a story narrative exchange economy like the Plot Point system in Cortex. I love the free-form ability to create things as a player that wouldn't normally fit into any rules.
  • Make failing fun.
  • Roll a lot of dice, because rolling a lot of dice is fun.
  • Use normal/polyhedral dice, so everyone can play.
And frankly I think he and Amanda nailed every single one. The choice was to basically use Fate Accelerated and change the bonuses or ratings to dice. We use the same set of approaches as Fate: Careful, Clever, Flashy, Forceful, Quick, Sneaky. Each approach gets a die rating, assigning the following array however is appropriate for the character: d10, d8, d8, d6, d6, d4. 

In place of skills or classes or whatever, we have disciplines. For player characters these are: Combat & Tactics, Covert Ops, Mystic Arts, Research & Development, Social Engineering, and Fringe. You pick 3 to put dice in, and the rest are treated as d4. The die ratings are d10, d8, and d6.

Next you create aspects for your character, just like in Fate. And you also create stunts. To provide the economy piece, he ported over the doom pool idea from Cortex Plus, and we call it demon dice. They're a temptation. A way to cheat with an immediate consequence. The player, after they've rolled and found out the result, can use demon dice to change the result. They're d6's, and they can add up to 3d6 on any particular roll. If they roll a demon die, the DM gets a demon die for their pool. Demon dice are always replenished every round.

Like with Fate Points, we have Faith Dice. These are d6's, and used to invoke aspects. 

There are no compels in Faith Corps. Instead players can use the Create an Advantage action to discover their opponent's Trouble aspect or conditions and invoke them to use against their opponent. They can create free invocations using this aspect too, once the aspect is known, for future use.

Instead of stress and stress tracks, we have hits and conditions. Hits are like stress. If the player attacks their opponent, and the attack roll is higher than the defend roll, the difference is how many hits this opponent takes. They have condition boxes to soak these up. A mild condition soaks 5 hits, moderate 10, and severe 15. 

I won't explain all the rules, you can buy our book for that! It does really play very similarly to Fate, using polyhedrals instead of Fudge dice, and a few other tweaks. The good news I have found with it is that it's fairly easy to convert Fate material to Faith Corps. 

Currently there is no setting-neutral version of the rules. An SRD has been talked about, but carving out the time has been a slog. This blog is meant to provide ideas around using Faith Corps, and releasing free materials for it.

I also have a Patreon where I'm creating content for Faith Corps that includes adventures for the Demon Hunters: A Comedy of Terrors setting, and adapting the rules for other settings. I am a huge nerd for 80's Saturday morning cartoon settings, and the first one I'm working on is He-Man. That'll be in the next post.

We ride!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Writing and Using Sinistra

Out of all of the content in Demon Hunters: A Comedy of Terrors, one of the concepts that confuse people the most (including some of our own writers), is Sinistra. Today I'm going to explain where they came from, how they work as written, and how to re-frame them for clearer use.


The Threats, Agendas, Sinistra, and Missions in this game are a reskin of the Fronts and Threats system found in Powered by the Apocalypse Games like Apocalypse World, Dungeon World, and Monster of the Week. As described in Apocalypse World 1e (p.137):
A front is a set of linked threats.
In DH a front is a Mission. Threats are still Threats, and Sinistra are Countdown Clocks or Countdowns in the other systems.

In testing out adventure generation, what I really liked about this system was the explicit process, and how it prepared you to GM ad hoc in your game. It gave you motivations and goals for all the characters, and by thinking through the story from the Threat's point of view, establishing what would happen if no one interfered.

Each individual Threat could provide a new scene or subplot.


I think the fact that the Mission/Front itself has its own Countdowns, and then each Threat had their own Countdowns (which may or may not be similar or the same as the the overall countdown), it gets challenging trying to differentiate between a Threat Countdown and a Front Countdown. (Or in DH terms, Mission Sinistra vs Threat Sinistra).

Sometimes there's a clear separation. In the Burnout! Mission in the Demon Hunting Guide A771: An Impractical Guide to Mission Planning pp. 24-25, we see the difference demonstrated:

Mission Sinistra
An Uber pulls up down the block from the crime scene and disgorges a group of rowdy young adults who disappear into a seemingly abandoned warehouse.
Inside, on the tightly-packed dance floor, club kids are combusting at an alarming rate. Inexplicably, the glassy-eyed throngs of dancers meet each immolation with cheers.
A crowd forms around the door to the women’s bathroom as a rumor spreads that someone is passing out free Roulette inside.
Up in the VIP lounge, the VIPs down handfuls of Roulette to force a flameout and spark the next phase of Eel’s plan.
Xiuhcoatl bursts through the center of the dance floor, summoned by the human sacrifice of Roulette’s victims.
Xiuhcoatl escapes the warehouse to set the world aflame.
Threat Sinistra
Club kids arrive and Bull lets them through. If they don’t look like they’re going to take Roulette, he won’t let them pass.
11:00pm. Some club kids leave the Firesnake Lounge and burst into flame in the alleyway or at home.
11:25pm. Bull stops letting club kids out of the lounge. “Sober up!” is his excuse, but he keeps them in as offerings and to prevent them from causing attention outside on the street.
11:59pm. Local police arrive to investigate missing persons. Bull does not let them in. They attempt to arrest him, and he murders several of them just as Xiuhcoatl breaks free.
Going into this much detail prepared me for all kinds of contingencies when the players intervened, but it was challenging to differentiate the Big Bad's Threat Sinistra (not quoted above) from the overall Mission's Sinistra. It should be noted that most of these Sinistra didn't come to pass, and I didn't refer much to them during game play. That said, I was prepared for any direction the story would go because I was more confident in the goals and steps to achieve those goals for my characters.


To write Sinistra this way, start by thinking of the overall story as you picture it in your mind, from the perspective if the players do not intervene. What goal (we call them Agendas in DH) will the big bad achieve? What will that mean for them? What are the major events or milestones that have to happen (Sinistra), in chronological order, so they can achieve that goal?

Then, identify your major Threats. Who are the main characters the player characters will face that are a threat to them? Will each Threat set up a different scene? Threats can also be locations (Danger Zones), or systemic conditions or situations (Scourges). You can treat these just as you would treat a Demon Master Character (DMC).  Start by thinking about which Threat the players will face first.

With your first Threat identified, zoom in with your imagination to that Threat's perspective. Given the Mission's Sinistra, what is the ultimate goal of this first Threat? Sit at the right hand of the Big Bad? Kill as many people as possible in a single location? Prevent anyone from getting to the Big Bad? Like with the Mission Sinistra, in chronological order, think of the major milestones or events that will happen, or need to happen, for the Threat to realize their Agenda? There, you have your Threat Sinistra. Rinse and repeat for your other Threats.


In practice, I have met very few people who plan out their adventures at this level of detail. Writing Sinistra can be a lot of work and take a lot of time, only to probably not even to have them come to pass. Sure, I felt prepared, but was it worth the effort?

Sometimes. I find this approach still very helpful for campaign planning. Stories that take a lot longer than one or two sessions. Dungeon World talks more about this idea. For one-shots, or missions that last two or three sessions, it might be overkill.

The other thing I didn't take into consideration when writing this section for DH was that Apocalypse World is a VERY different setting and play style than DH. That said, even the AW team decided to simplify their system with Apocalypse World 2nd Edition. They still have Threats but they don't even talk about fronts anymore.

So, since my Patreon Campaign is all about building and writing adventures, I started researching again and found myself really drawn to DH's more grown-up cousin, Monster of the Week by Evil Hat Productions.


MotW Terms Conversion to DH Guide:
  • Mystery = Mission
  • The Threats = Threats
  • Mystery Countdowns = Mission Sinistra
I'm just going to assume you have familiarity with this game. If not, click on the link above and pick it up. It's awesome.

Monster of the Week adventure creation feels more geared towards one-shots or shorter missions that take two or three sessions to complete. Obviously this makes sense given the name! These Mysteries are structured very similar to an episode of Supernatural or Scooby-Doo. 

When examining the Mystery Countdowns, they still write them out in full sentences, describing the events in concise detail. They are written in progressive order (Smoke, Fire, Inferno, Ash) and still from the perspective if no one intervened.

The Threats in MotW do not have their own Countdowns, but do still have a type and driving motivation.

Testing this out, I still found that while I felt prepared for the adventure, I still didn't have a clear idea for the consequences or ramifications of Countdowns/Sinistra coming to pass or thwarted/avoided. For a game so heavily reliant on Aspects, I turned to the Fate System Toolkit, also by Evil Hat Productions.

ASPECT EVENTS (Fate System Toolkit p. 46)

An aspect event has two components: the event list and the crescendo aspect. The event list is a series of things that will happen, leading up to the crescendo aspect. Think of the crescendo aspect as what will happen if the players don’t intercede. A good event has three to six aspects plus the crescendo aspect.
... Here’s an example:
• Explosions and Fire!
• A Rash of Murders
• Citywide Panic
• Under Terrorist Threat
• Three Hours to Detonation
• Smoking Crater
Structured with similar progression as the MotW Countdowns, but written as Aspects, I found these to be more useful with more opportunities for Demon Dice and Badness Tables.

In the adventure I've written for September, Demon Hunters: Irish Exorcise, I wrote MotW-style Sinistra as Aspect Events. I'm trying out that for each Sinistrum that comes to pass, it is introduced as a scene aspect and the DM gets progressive Demon Dice, depending on where in the order of Sinistra it falls.

For example:
  • More Mutilations (1 Demon Die)
  • Zombie Sheep Attack! (2 Demon Dice)
  • Nunja Warzone (3 Demon Dice)
  • Farmhouse Massacre (4 Demon Dice)
  • The Demon Escapes (5 Demon Dice)
Granted The Demon Escapes isn't a very good aspect, but it caps out the events. The DM can immediately roll those dice on a Badness Table. If the Demon Hunters thwart or avoid a Sinistrum I would grant Faith Dice, or free invocations, clear a mild condition, or giving a boost, depending on the situation and level of Sinistrum.


Forced Sinistra: The DM pays Demon Dice to force a Sinistrum to come to pass.
Badness Tables: Use Sinistra when writing Badness Table entries.
Hybrid Approach: Consider writing the Sinistra as Aspect Events as above, but as a header. Then in longer form explain what happens.
Threat Aspect Events: Return to the original structure, but instead of written out Sinistra, write them as Aspect Events.

As always it's up to you what works best for you. The ideas presented here are certainly not new or the only ways. What have you found that works for you? What ideas from this post, if any, will you try in your next adventure? Post your answer down in the comments.
Also, what other topics would you like to hear more about?
  • Creating Threats
  • Doing Mad Science
  • Creating Full-Scale Rituals
  • Utilizing Zones
  • What else???
Thanks everyone! Patreon subscribers, your new adventure drops tomorrow. I look forward to hearing what you think of it and how it plays out in your games. If you'd like to join my Patreon, click HERE!

Chases in Faith Corps

In one of my Patreon adventures I tried my hand at a chase scene, where the Demon Hunters piled into a boat and chased after a Kraken. I ...