Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Dark Places & Demogorgons: Japan-90s Fan Hack, The Otaku

Dark Places & Demogorgons has really got my creative juices flowing lately, so I have been piecing together a small fan hack for the system. If you aren't familiar with Eric Bloat's fantastic game, I encourage you to check out his website: Eric has a plethora of work he has created for the OSR and a lot of it is cross compatible within house (think of the Palladium Megaverse). These pieces often utilize S&W White Box or The Black Hack, which are easily modifiable for your old school game of choice.

This particular game—DP&D—conjures themes from strange fiction, Lovecraft, and the supernatural 80s. It's the silhouette of kids on bikes with the heart of kung fu pop-culture and The Breakfast Club. Think of the television show Stranger Things played out by high school students.

The particular fan supplement I'm introducing today has the tentative title of Japan-90s. This setting and accompanying character options keep the quintessence of the original strange adventure but move the backdrop from rural America to Japan: otakus, kendokas, bosozuku gangs, lolitas, phantoms, and shogi students.

I'll be rolling out more supplemental information this year as I work on developing it. The first piece I have to present is the Otaku:

(Art Commissioned from Ishali Perez. Check out her great work at


There are hobbyists and then there are Otaku: the super fans! Since childhood you have been inexplicably drawn to your obsession. Others don't always understand, but they can appreciate the enthusiasm and vigor that you use to pursue that which you love. Where you struggle with social skills, you more than make up for it with expert knowledge in your field of obsession.


LEVEL 1: Automatic Skills: Art & Music, Knowledge (Specific Obsession*), Video Games, Computers, -2 to Charisma

LVL        CHARACTER ADVANCEMENT                                                                   
2             +2 to  Courage Savings Throws                                                                
3              Based on Obsession*
4              +2 to Terror Checks                                                                                   
5              One of Us – Seasoned fans can automatically detect when they 
                interact with a person that shares their obsession.

School Outfit, Hoodie, Glasses, 100 xd6 dollars, Obsession Equipment*

During character creation, Otaku's choose or roll their fandom from the chart below. At level 1 they receive the listed equipment and at level three, the listed advancement feature.

D(10) OBSESSION                               
1 Anime & Manga                                
2 Photography
3 Video Games                                     
4 Cosplay
5 Military / Police Paraphernalia       
6 Trains & Railraods
7 Robots                                               
8 J-Pop
9 Computers                                         
10 Actors / Voice Actors


1 – Anime & Manga                                                                                                   

Starting Equipment: Quality Art Set

Level 3 Advancement: The Otaku is an amateur mangaka and can sketch accurate pictures of objects, scenery, and people. The character makes art checks at an additional +2 when drawing from life or recalling from a recent memory. While creating any pencil or pen art, the mangaka can choose to roll with disadvantage to create a superior result. Success on such a roll will yield a striking or exceptional piece.

2 – Photography                                                                                                         

Starting Equipment: Professional Camera

Level 3 Advancement: The Otaku is a competent photog and is proficient at framing scenes, using lighting, perspective, and vantage. Any check related to the craft of photography is made at an additional +2. This bonus is not exclusive to the Art & Music skill (crime scene investigation and analysis may include many elements a photog is knowledgeable of).

3 – Video Games                                                                                                       

Starting Equipment: One Game Console of Choice, Personal Computer

Level 3 Advancement: The Otaku is obsessed with playing video games and has improved hand eye coordination when using related implements. When performing a skill check that involves a joystick, controller, keyboard/mouse, or wheel, the Otaku receives a +2 modification. The Otaku gains a rank of the ranged weapon skill.

4 – Cosplay                                                                                                                

Starting Equipment: Sewing Kit & Makeup Kit

Level 3 Advancement: The Otaku loves to dress in cosplay and attend conventions. Any character using a prop, costume, or disguise made by the Otaku rolls to deceive with a +2 bonus. In addition, Cosplay Otaku's attack with improvised weapons at a +1 bonus. See mom and dad: swinging around fake, poorly balanced weapons all day does have its advantages after all!

5 – Military / Police Paraphernalia                                                                            

Starting Equipment: Military Fatigues, Choose: Antique Military Rifle or Military/Police Sword

Level 3 Advancement: The Otaku knows how to identify and maintain military and police equipment. Any weapon, armor, clothing item, or accessory used by M&P (historic or modern) gains an additional step of usage dice (max d20) when serviced by the Otaku. Servicing an item requires 30 minutes of time and a work bench or other appropriate work area. To service an item, the Otaku must pass a medium Knowledge (M&P) check.

6 – Trains & Railroads                                                                                               

Starting Equipment: Quality Model Train, Local Route Maps, Japanese Travel Book

Level 3 Advancement: The Otaku knows the Japaense transportation operation inside and out and has memorized every train route in his or her prefecture and its adjacent prefectures. General (Knowledge), computer, or perception based checks to locate public establishments (government buildings, stores, recreational areas, temples, etc) within these prefectures are rolled with advantage and replaced with Knowledge (Train & Railroads). Train routes of other prefectures can be learned and similar bonuses can apply with significant time and effort (determined by the GM). Otaku's automatically know the cheapest way to reach a located destination by rail, as well as the quickest.

7 – Robots                                                                                                                  

Starting Equipment: Toolbox, Gundam Model, Robotech VHS Collection

Level 3 Advancement: The Otaku is obsessed with real world and fictional robotics. The character gains a rank in the mechanics skill. MacGyver – Once per session, the character can expend a survival point to scrap together the parts necessary to jury-rig a small contraption. The actual modification requires a mechanics roll with difficulty determined by the GM.

8 – J-Pop                                                                                                                     

Starting Equipment: Karaoke Machine, Dance Clothes, Band Poster

Level 3 Advancement: The Otaku is a super fan of Japanese Pop Culture Music! The character gains the dancing skill (or an additional rank if already trained). When dancing or singing to a pop culture song, the Otaku receives an additional +2 bonus. Pop Culture fans are despised by other niche music communities and suffer a universal -2 to persuasion and intimidation checks when dealing with people associated with them.

9 – Computers                                                                                                           

Starting Equipment: Powerful PC, High Speed Internet, User Handle (like Acid Burn or Zero Cool)

The Otaku is obsessed with building and optimizing computers. The character gains the electronics skill (or an additional rank) which is expanded to include computer assembly and hardware installation. When successfully making a check with the computer skill to recover data, find a specific file, bypass a firewall or log in screen, or in general hacking, the Otaku accomplishes the task in half the normal amount of time.

10 – Actors / Voice Actors                                                                                        

Starting Equipment: Studio Microphone, Sound Mixer

Level 3 Advancement: The Otaku is obsessed with acting and voice acting. When making a persuasion check that requires a dramatic presentation, display of emotion, or imitation, the Otaku receives a +2 bonus. This bonus is increased to a +3 if the persuasion takes place over the phone or from out of sight.