So I’ve always thought that the secret world setting would be fantastic for a modern tabletop rpg. And since they clearly state there are older ages with magic you could easily do a more traditional fantasy rpg and set it in one of the earlier ages. Since I am running a game atm, what I could most use are help with stat blocks for things like filth guardians and other secret world legends enemies. Anyone with 5e Homebrew experience have any critter ideas for what this would look like besides flavoring an existing creature with psychic/poison dmg for the filth effect?
I’ve actually run a few one-shot, homebrew games based in Secret World (I’m working on another), but since they are all entirely homebrew and not a tweaked version of DnD or any other system, I don’t know how much my usual methods would help. I’ll give you what I can offer, though.
Your biggest need, the thing that really seems to govern the lives and jobs of the Bees, is Anima. We use it to fight, use it to defend, use it to heal, use it to travel, use it to interact with things that mortals can’t, use it to resist the influences of the Dreamers… You may want to design a whole separate mechanic (if not a whole system) to handle Anima, because it can’t afford to be an afterthought.
What I would be likely to do in order to replicate the effects of a Filth monster of some sort on the players (assuming they’re Bees) is find a way to represent their Anima and what benefits it offers them, and then determine what effects the Filth has on an organism and how you’re going to replicate that (obviously it slowly destroys the hit points, but it also inflicts madness, mutations, drains willpower, and gives some really inconvenient strength/durability boosts to infected folks, especially after they die/turn).
My impulse is to allow players to burn their Anima to boost any of the above effects (power a spell, heal a wound, resist madness/injury), but maybe give characters playing different classes different bonuses to certain uses. (i.e. a Tank has a bonus to resist damage, etc.) They will probably have to roll every round (or other relevant time period) in order to cope with prolonged Filth exposure, because you don’t want to spend more time in contact with that stuff than you absolutely have to.
Also, figure out how you want to handle dying/getting back up. I would be inclined to make a voluntary ‘just stepping out of my body for a moment’ spirit walk a harmless, no-penalty action that just costs a little bit of Anima to activate, but a traumatic death, like in combat, and being forced to resurrect might incur a temporary penalty, since they have to expend a lot more Anima (to stick their body back together, to refresh powers, to reawaken) than they necessarily had to spare.
Figure out how quickly characters regain their Anima. Do some get bonuses to regain it faster? Are their places where it refreshes more slowly/quickly? (Think Filth-tainted areas vs. Anima wells/Agartha).
You, uh, you might also want to figure out a way to allow Bees to NOT resist the effects of Filth… since not everyone ends up with those golden wings.
Just my immediate thoughts on the subject. Hope it helps!
If you want a system that feels VERY similar (and would be easy to hack into the Secret World setting), you might want to check out Unknown Armies. It’s not the simplest system, but it’s basically TSW for tabletop.
For me, SWL is somewhere in between Shadowrun and Cthulhu Now. Shadowrun is too action & cyberpunk heavy but Cthulhu has too weak characters.
One of the closest settings would probably be modern World of Darkness (by White Wolf). Especially if you are mostly into the Transylvania part of the SWL.
The main difference is that you usually play as non-human, but you can probably set up for Hunter, which would be human “agent” fighting against the supernatural.
I’m also into playing with the idea that maybe the players aren’t bees. There are others in the world with the ability to perform magic and other great feats but are not gaias chosen.
If I think about systems / settings, Torg is probably a decent match, but I’m not sure that’s produced any longer (played it back in the nineties).
Monster of the week is a system that also would be perfect for games set in the world that you didn’t necessarily need a sweeping story for. Not everyone is a bee an not everyone is in a faction. And since it is a much more consequence centered system, you don’t get that “I’m a bee so I’m immune” thing.
I’m likely pulling alot of TSW/SWL into my MHI games.
I’ve been debating a bit about using a system like “Little Fears” or “Monsters and Other Childish Things” for a game of “The League of Monster Slayers”. (Seriously want more stuff on that club!)
Also “Monster of the Week” or even “Fate Core” or “Fate Accelerated” hacks would be good choices for a SWL TTRPG.
I’m working on SWL with gurps 4th. In the first attempt I used the magic system as basis, but I rejected it again. Currently I am testing the power system as a base.
And by the way, I finished the first two Kingsmouth missions for a Zombicide Modern Mod. It was fun.