Monday, May 11, 2015

Sweet Valley Hell - MONSTERS!

This is the draft Monsters section of Sweet Valley Hell. It's in raw text form for now. Check it out!


There are tons of monsters in the Valley thanks to the Hellhole. This section goes over how they work, a little of their history, and then tells you what happens if one of your players gets the Hellhole treatment? Oh. My. God. Yes, it’s true, sometimes the monsters you see are like, the monsters you know, or something.

How the skill blocks work:

Name of Monster
What they do: This is what the monster’s primary goal or action is.
How they do it: Their method of killing or whatever.
How to kill them: Pretty self-explanatory - how the player characters can kill the monster.
Powers: Any special abilities the monsters have.
Hit Points: How many hits it takes to kill or socially dominate the baddie. These are often variable - the number here is an average, and can change with the specific NPC monster.
skills: What die type they have in each skill, Fight and Sosh.


Ugh, gag me with a spoon. Not really, tho - you won’t need to, because these guys are grody to the max and totes unchill on top of that. Dead-walkers are literally dead people? They are the spirits of the idiots who got sent to Hell for doing like, bad stuff, and they kind of find a body of some variety when they crawl out of the Hellhole. Usually they’ll just grab like, a dead guy or something from a cemetery? But sometimes they get fresh meat, push the Granny outta Granny and go grocery shopping for more than just prune juice, and start murdering as soon as their body starts rotting because it doesn’t have a clean soul in it anymore.

What they do: Eat people. Ew.

How they do it: Biting, and like, tearing off limbs.

How to kill them: Headshots, and not the modeling kind. Oh, burning them works, too. Or a woodchipper.
Powers: None.

Hit Points: 5 Body, 0 Mind.

Skills: A regular dead-walker comes in at Fight: d6, Sosh: null. These aren’t the brightest bulbs in the closet. Tougher ones have a Fight of d8 or d10. If it’s like, a serial killer guy’s soul in a dead-walker body? They sometimes have a Sosh up to d8, but never higher. Groups of dead-walkers happen sometimes - see the Mob rules later on.


“See ya later, suckers!” Yeah, the vamps are tired of hearing that joke, too. They’re sometimes super old, they spread like the plague, and they really, really like blood. Vamps are your garden variety vampire, with the same needs as any old creep: blood. Humans or animals, it doesn’t really matter, but most of the jerks always want to have like, live human blood or whatever, while the practically vegan vamps stick to critters - and they totally recycle, too. They have retractable pointy teeth, can turn into bats, and they can get a tan.

What they do: Suck blood and sometimes making new vamps.

How they do it: Tricking or capturing their victims, then getting their slurp on.

How to kill them: Stake to the heart, decapitation, or cremation.


Entrance - If a Vamp has a Sosh encounter with a player character and they win and have more successes than half of the player’s available Mind hit points, they can Entrance the player and give them one Sosh-based command. Example: Laurel (vamp) Entrances Hilary, a player character, and has her tell another character, Todd that his girlfriend Allie is totally cheating on him, and it stirs up conflict in the group.
Fly - Vamps can fly, but only when they change into a bat. This makes them much sneaker, and obvs much more, uh, flighty, but they can’t use their Sosh skill at all when they do it.
Regeneration - Unless the players stake the vamp’s heart, cut off their head, or burn them to ashes (after reducing them to zero Body hit points), vamps regenerate all of their hit points after a fight is over, even if they’re reduced to zero. Basically, don’t leave their bodies laying around.
Immortality - Vamps never die, and never age past the point they’re turned, unless they’re killed in the three ways listed above.
Super-senses - Vamps all have advanced senses, so they all can hear better, see better, smell better, and pretty much anything else. Kinda icky, but really useful.
Turning - Vamps can turn a human into a vamp, too, and it just takes one bite and a quick stab to the heart. No, seriously, like, they bite a person? And then they stab them in the heart! That person then dies and wakes up as a vamp, pointy teeth and all.

Hit Points: 5 for standard vamps, 8 for tough guys, and 10 for serious baddies in Body and Mind each.

Skills: Standard vamps run Fight: d8, Sosh: d6. Some of the smoother cats will go Fight: d8, Sosh: d8. Queens like Laurel would be hitting Fight: d10, Sosh: d10.


Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned… except it kinda does. Mostly in the like, hundreds of demons that hang around in the Hellhole, some of which have managed to climb out and be like, human looking and stuff. Demons don’t possess people initially, they make their own bodies from the ether. This means they’re typically pretty hot, and not just in the Hell way? They can possess people, though, and often do, but it’s really taxing. They have a wide range of agendas, and some could even be allies to the player characters? Some want power, some want love, some just want to watch the world burn. Like, literally, they want to make Hell take over the Earth.

What they do: Possess people, manipulate people, and pursue agendas.
How they do it: Using their demonic powers and their charming personalities.

How to kill them: Capture their soul and toss it back into the Hellhole. Capturing a demon’s soul requires an incantation (any priest should know it), a vessel (a jar, bottle, locket, etc.), and the demon’s Mind hit points to be at 0.


Regeneration - Unless the players capture their soul (after reducing them to zero Mind hit points), demons regenerate all of their hit points after a fight is over, even if they’re reduced to zero. Basically, don’t leave their bodies laying around.
Immortality - Demons never die, and can appear in a body of any age. They can only be stopped if their souls are captured, and even then, they might someday rise again from the Hellhole.
Possession - if a demon reduces someone’s Mind hit points to zero, they can possess their body. While in possession of the body, they can do like, basic stuff? But they can’t perform anything huge like, killing other people or whatever. Simple tasks, man.
Mind over Body - A demon can never be knocked out until their Mind hit points reach 0. Even if they’re completely physically disabled, they can still talk and stuff.

Hit Points: Body hit points can range from as little as 3 to as high as 10. Mind hit points never go below 5 and can go as high as 12. Demons are like, totally rad.

Skills: No demon will have a Sosh of less than d6. Like, ever. The sky's the limit, too, with that. Fight skills for demons range between d4 and d10.


Have you ever heard of like, a menagerie? It’s kind of like a bunch of animals, and that’s what there are roaming the streets of the Valley. Well, kinda. were-beasts, or shapeshifters if you want to be fancy, include run of the mill werewolves to stealthy werecougars, but just about any kind of creature works. There are two types of were-beasts: ones who were animals first, called like, therians, and ones who were humans first, called anthros. were-beasts are the result of a magical infection, kind of like, chicken pox or something? It’s totally bichen for the humans who get infected. For the animals, though, it’s more like punishment. The infection is spread by bites and exchange of bodily fluids - basically anything hotter than a kiss will spread it, so cover up.

What they do: Honestly? They just wanna be left alone. But sometimes they eat people, or maim them.

How they do it: Gnashing teeth, grody claws, and crazy serious strength.

How to kill them: Silver bullets do okay - heart and brain only, and cutting off heads only works if you, like separate the pieces? They might still get chatty, though. The hardest, but most effective method, is (like so many things) to just light it up.


Regeneration - Unless they are torched to ashes, decapitated, or shot in the head or heart by a silver bullet (and reduced to 0 Body hit points) were-beasts regenerate all of their hit points after a fight is over, even if they’re reduced to zero. In the case of were-beasts, they will even regrow limbs and reattach heads if there’s nothing keeping them apart.
Strong Body, Strong Mind - All of the were-beasts are like, super smart or strong. The Principal decides, based on the type of animal, whether the were-beast gets a bonus d6 to add to their dice pool for Sosh or for Fight. For example, a werewolf might get a bonus d6 to their Fight, while a wereraven (no joke!) might get a bonus d6 to their Sosh.
Super-senses - Were-beasts all have advanced senses, so they all can hear better, see better, smell better, and pretty much anything else. Kinda icky, but really useful.
Transformation - Any were-beast can appear as a human, a specific animal, and a hybrid form. Most newer were-beasts experience involuntary transformations, particularly around the turning of the moon, either new moon or full moon. Extreme emotion can also result in transformation.

Hit Points: Were-beasts are pretty much the heavy-hitters of the supernatural world, and they have the hit points to show it. Every were-beast, no matter how small, starts with at least 6 Body hit points. They can have up to 12. Mind hit points have the same range for anthros, but therians are typically an average of 2 Mind hit points lower than average, so they’d run from 4 Mind hit points to 10.

Skills: Were-beasts have different specialties, so like, they do different stuff? And like, depending on what kind of animal they are, they’ll have different skills? So the Principal can be super creative here. To toss examples out a werewolf would be like, Fight: d10, Sosh d6. A wereraven would be like, Fight d6, Sosh d8. Keep in mind that therians are often more vicious and less sociable.


So like, you know when you think of beings of light and energy and people call them angels? Yeah, well, angels exist, but those beings? Not angels. Archons are these totally cool beings that kind of transcend reality, and like, they’re basically untouchable. They come from beneath Hell and above Heaven and they’ve always been here, just as elements of the universe. They are super rare, but when they do show up, they bring either a lot of good or a hell of a lot of bad. The only way to beat them if they’re gunning for you is to basically convince them the world is worth saving. Good luck with that.

What they do: Grant grace or destruction.

How they do it: Self-sacrifice.

How to kill them: You can’t.


Apocalypse - They either temporarily boost the Mind hit points of everyone in the surrounding 30 miles by 2, or they temporarily lower their Body hit points by 3. This effect lasts for one session (if it happens at the end of one session, it would be effective for the whole of the next session). There is no roll, they just do it.

Hit Points: Body is irrelevant. Mind is between 5 and 10.

Skills: Yeah, dude, you can’t even imagine going toe-to-toe with these guys, so let’s just pretend that their Fight is like, infinity. Sosh, though, ranges from d6 to d10.


They clang, they howl, they shake chains. Spooky! Ghosts are, in general, pretty chill. They’re just spirits who spirited out of Hell and didn’t grab a body on the way. They’re undead, not deadly, and basically like your second cousin Lenny who won’t stop leaving his gym shoes in the hallway - kind of a pain the ass, but like, mostly harmless. If they do cause trouble, like, by causing car accidents, disrupting the peace, that kind of thing, they can be exorcised. Call your local priest!

What they do: Cause a nuisance.

How they do it: Haunting.

How to kill them: It’s more like, you know, banishment? But yeah, exorcism. Good ol’ fashioned Latin prayers.


Dead - They aren’t alive, they don’t have a body, they kind of wisp around and are generally immaterial. Oh, and they can’t be killed. Again.
Washington’s Curse - If you think they might have useful info, just ask them - ghosts cannot tell a lie.
Hit Points: Null and null again. To get rid a ghost, seriously, just pray in Latin.

Skills: None.


The holy host has no clue if there is a god, but they def want to be righteous, dude. The cherubim are one of the types of angels, and the only ones you’re likely to meet. The archangels don’t make visits to Earth, so the cherubim do the dirty work. The dirty work being Hellhole crowd control. Almost every cherubim is on the side of the good, or at least the mostly-good. One or two might have delusions of grandeur, though, so like, look out? Oh, also? When you see one, you’ll know it - cherubim have a body like Bessie the cow and faces like Janus, with a couple of sets of wings to go ‘round.

What they do: Defend the righteous.
How they do it: Angelic grace.

How to kill them: Silver cross made into a sword. In the heart. Ouch.


Regeneration - Unless the players stab them in the heart with a fancy sword (after reducing them to zero Body hit points), cherubim regenerate all of their hit points after a fight is over, even if they’re reduced to zero. Basically, don’t leave their bodies laying around.
Mind over Body - Cherubim can never be knocked out until their Mind hit points reach 0. Even if they’re completely physically disabled, they can still talk and stuff.
Immortality - Cherubim never die, and only appear as their totally rad winged form. They can only be stopped if they’re killed, and even then, they are only sent to Heaven again, and might come back someday.

Hit Points:  Body hit points can range from as little as 3 to as high as 10. Mind hit points never go below 5 and can go as high as 12.

Skills: Cherubim rarely have Fight skills of less than d6, and can go up and up from there. Sosh skills for cherubim, however, are like humans - d4 and up.


Void are the depths of Hell, the darkest of nights, the deepest of seas. Epic, yeah? They’re super creepy little guys - typically the size of children or teens but not kids at all. They are literally Hell beasts who have crawled up to devour souls. They have these wicked big mouths with sharp, pointy, needle-like teeth. Too many teeth. Ugh. They’re not super sociable, and mostly speak in the tongues of Hell, but they’re quick and stealthy.

What they do: Devour souls.

How they do it: Bite, suck, slurp. Soul be gone.

How to kill them: They die like mortals, so you can mow ‘em down.


Devour - they literally eat your soul. If they get a bite on you, they’ll suck Mind hit points out of you by the minute, getting an extra bonus d6 to add to their Fight that always counts as a success so long as they get at least one success in their roll, including that die.
Stealth - They’re creepy, they’re crawly, and they blend into the shadows like… uh, like a shadow.
Speed - Void are totally fast. It takes one additional success to get the first hit in on them in a fight.

Hit Points: They average around 5 Body and Mind hit points, just like humans.

Skills: Void have no higher than Sosh: d8, and average around Fight: d6.

Mob Rules

When monsters get together in groups of 3 or more, they’re called a mob. So, like, when this happens? Treat the monsters as one unit, where the stats are equal to the most powerful monster, but raise their die type for their stats by two ranks. As an example, if you have six dead-walkers, and the like, strongest of the deadwalkers is at Fight: d6, the mob as a whole would be at Fight: d10. Their hit points will still be equal to the highest hit points.

It’s important to keep in mind that major NPCs should not be part of mobs and should have their hit points and rolls monitored individually. Basically, like, if they are important enough to have a name? Like, they aren’t totally mob mooks.


It would be like, totally uncool if they players couldn’t be like, monstrous. Here’s the way that works.

Players get the powers of all of the monsters applied to their character, so they can transform, possess, all that. If the monster has higher hit points and/or skill rank dice than them, they gain one hit point in each hit point set that is higher and/or one skill rank die in each skill that is higher. If it is the opposite, where the hit points or skill rank dice are lower, then the player character would lower their hit points and/or skill rank dice by one. For example, if a vampire bites a player character, and the vampire’s hit points are Mind: 6, Body: 7, and their skill ranks are Fight: d8, Sosh: d10, while the player character’s hit points are Mind: 5, Body: 5, and skill ranks are Fight: d6, Sosh: d6, then you would adjust the player’s stats to be Mind: 6, Body: 6, and Fight: d8, Sosh: d8.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sweet Valley Hell - Principal's Instructions

This is the game I'm working on during my pre-week of summer classes. This is the Principal's instructions and I'll soon be releasing the Monsters section. Enjoy!


So like, you’re in charge? Wow! You have a really good chance to make the players have loads of fun, so grab a seat and listen up.

Your first responsibility as the Principal is to like, set the scene. This is pretty cool. You get to decide who will be in the world and what the current events are. You can probably sum it up in a paragraph, and you can make a few predictions for the future. Keeping a handful of index cards or scrap paper with your notes would be a good idea, or even a notebook, and always have some blanks on hand to take down really important events and new non-player character names. Non-player characters are suuuuper important, so make up a few! You’ll need to assign them skills, too, so think about how tough and how clever these dudes are, and write down a die type for their Sosh and their Fight. Don’t stress about spending points on them, just be reasonable.

This game is set in the Valley in the year 1994, right after the Hellhole opened. Everyone knows about the Hellhole, but not everyone deals directly with it - most people, honestly, just try to keep it a secret from anyone outside of the Valley. The main players in town are Azazel, a demon with aspirations of mayorhood, and Laurel, the queen of vamps, who has tons of minions crawling around the town. The player characters are all seniors at the local high school.

Non-Player Characters (NPCs)
Coach Wilson - the coach of the Stallions, the football team of West Valley High. Stubborn, funny, and surprisingly caring, this guy knows the students better than anyone. He also supports the Fillies, the cheerleading squad. Fight: d8, Sosh: d6
Mayor Andersen - the town mayor. He’s prickly and like, really doesn’t like kids. His politics are pretty ace, though, so he’s not too bad to have in power. Unfortunately, he has little social klout. Fight: d6, Sosh: d6.
Lindsay Golden - the mayor’s right hand, and the power behind his words. Without her, the mayor has no chance of keeping his political position. Fight: d6, Sosh: d10.

(see the Monsters section to skill up Azazel and Laurel.)
Shelley Winters - a local reporter who knows way more about the Hellhole than anyone else, and no one is quite sure why. She is friendly and useful, but kind of creepy, really. Fight: d8, Sosh: d8.

There’s your starting setup. You can create more NPCs on the fly, just make sure you write them down so you can bring them in for later scenes.

Running the game should be pretty chill. What you want to do is try to encourage the players to have a good time, while like, not forgetting to make them feel like the bad guys are a real threat. Pull from media resources to get the feel just right if you want to, y’know, like TV shows and books. The players’ enjoyment comes first, so be okay with flexing your story a bit - don’t get too attached to the plot and forget about having fun.

In the player’s instructions you can find an example of play, and for what you are doing, things go about the same. FYI, fights are over when the baddies are knocked out (at zero hit points), or when they or the players retreat. What you need to know is how to build your dice pool for Fights and Sosh encounters. It’s easy!

The Principal gets an allowance just like the players do, based on how many players there are in the game. You start with two Pops and $100, and then for each player in the game, you get one Pop, and $200 in Daddy’s Money. You spend them just like the players do.

Remember, you’re representing like, bad guys, superiors, and people in power, for the most part (sometimes you’ll be other teens or whatever, too, but they should be pretty breezy for the players to deal with). You want to make it a challenge without ripping any hearts out… unless you’re representing something that like, rips hearts out.

Sweet Valley Hell doesn’t have like, totally strict scene framing. This is kind of cool, but makes things a little tougher when you’re in charge? You’ll want to try to keep players focused, and the best way to do that is by keeping it interesting. If an in-character conversation starts to die down, move on and come back to it later if you need to. If a fight seems futile or boring, call a retreat.

Retreats are simple: the baddie backs off and gets away. You’ll want to give the players a Pop for this to make up for it, but it’s just a good way to keep the villain active without like, totally boring everyone? So keep it in your pocket, just in case.

The Principal’s agenda is on-point, man. You want to:

Give the players a good time.
Creep people out.
Make the baddies feel real.
Encourage players to build the fiction.
Create a good story.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sweet Valley Hell - A like, Hellhole in the Valley

This is the game I'm working on during my pre-week of summer classes. I'm hoping to write up the Principal's instructions and the monster section over the next couple of weeks. Enjoy!



“Oh. My. God. Did you see the dagger that Azazel was carrying last week? Did you know it like, devours souls?”

“No way!”

Yes way. It was totally rad!”


So like, in this game, you play valley gals and guys in this totally sweet alternate universe where a portal to Hell has opened up in the Valley. There are like, really rad monsters, demons, and dead-walkers roaming the ‘burbs and like, magic is a thing. It’s bitchen.

Most of the time, you’ll be hitting up the mall and hanging with your friends, so sosh skills are like way important? But, you’re gonna find out how dangerous it really is living on the edge of Hell, too, so whether you’re into football or cheerleading, rock those abs.

In the game, you’ll see demons - some are friendly, others are, like complete jerks? I mean, what is their problem? Then, there are the monsters - you know, dudes and chicks who are like, not human and stuff, and they range from vamps to werecritters to like, other creepy stuff. Last are the dead-walkers. They’re like zombies or whatever, but most of the time they’re totally grody and used to be like, murderers, so you gotta watch out.

When you start the game, you get like, anywhere from 4 to 8 points to build your character’s skills, depending on how hard the Principal (the like, person running the game?) wants the game to be, or how long after the Hellhole opens they want it to be. You have two skills: Sosh and Fight. Life is simple in the Valley, so don’t bum anybody out by making it complicated. Your skills buy you die sizes in your skills. The first point in a skill buys you a four-sided die. This is like, sooo lower than average. So you can spend another two points to buy up to a six-sided die. Each die up costs two points, so if you wanted to start the game with a six-sided die in Sosh and an eight-sided die in Fight, you’d spend 3 points in Sosh and 5 points (3 for six-sided and 2 to move up to eight-sided) in Fight. This makes you a little tough for fighting and pretty average in social situations.

Your hit points are on your character sheet. There are both Body and Mind hit points. You only get 5 of each unless you get a magic boost. 

Each player (like, you guys) starts with these things called Popularity Points (We’ll call them Pops, because yeeah) and duuuh, some of Daddy’s Money! Pops are really cool because you can spend them to increase the size of your dice when you are rolling against the baddies. Daddy’s Money buys you more dice to roll! The dice you buy are equal to the die size that your base die is or to the size that is bought with Pops, so like, if you buy your base die up to a ten-sided die, all of your dice you buy with Daddy’s Money would be ten-sided. Sweet!

Each session of the game, you get a bit of each of these - kind of like, an allowance or something. Along with setting the difficulty of the game with the skill points, the Principal will decide how many Pops and how much of Daddy’s Money you get. Typically you’ll start with two Pops and, since Daddy’s Money only comes in hundreds, like, $400? Each die you add with Daddy’s Money will cost you $100. Cha-ching! If it’s going to be an extremely long game or the Hellhole is going to bite you hard, the Principal might up it a bit. You can always gain more Pops by doing sweet things in game, like risking your life for another player or a bystander, or maybe like, doing something epic. Daddy’s money, though, only comes once a sesh.

Fighting demons, monsters, and dead-walkers is pretty rad. You like, run up to them, or try to trick them, or something like that, and then you grab a die from the table - a like, six-sided one sometimes, or bigger. You can change the size of it and totally add more dice.

You’ll roll the die and the Principal (the like, person running the game?) will roll a die or a couple of dice to represent the monster (find more on that later), and you compare them to see who has the highest numbers, and how many of them. The roller who has the highest number on a die wins, and the loser takes hits equal to how many dice show a number higher than their highest.

So like, if you’re rolling against a vamp, and the Principal lays out like, four dice - all six-sided - based on the vamp’s powers? You put out the same number of dice, using your base die (In this case, for your Fight skill), which you buy up to an eight-sided die, and then some added ones. You both roll. You get a 6, 8, 3, and another 3. The vamp’s results are 4, 5, 3, and 2. You win because you have the highest number - 8. They take 2 hits because you have two dice (6 and 8) higher than their highest number (5). Bam, bam! You kick ass.

Social situations are simpler, because bystanders and non-player characters (like your BFF or your Dad or your Coach) mostly have skills equal or lower than yours. If you’re going up against them, this is normally a time you can be pretty chill, unless it like, means a lot. If you’re in a social situation with a demon or a monster, it rolls like the Fighting scenes, except you use your Sosh skill. Dead-walkers can’t be reasoned with - they’re raw and stupid, just filled with rage.

You’re ready to start the game. The next part of this is for the Principal’s eyes only - like, seriously, dudes, you don’t want to be totally uncool.