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THE OFFICIAL SERIES BIBLE

The Series Bible is a format for roleplaying game campaigns. Each setting is called a Pilot, like the first episode of a television series, providing enough information to get started and offering hooks for future adventures but leaving things open enough for gamemasters to take things in their own direction. All information is presented without rules system information, so you can adapt it to the system of your choice. This is a FREE reference document, usable with any Pilot.

Central Conflict

Each setting has some sort of conflict that defines the world and offers reasons for adventure. This conflict also helps to define what good vs. evil looks like within the setting. It can be as simple as orcs seeking to expand their territory and encroaching upon civilized lands, a criminal genius executing his master plan for world domination, or surviving a natural disaster. A good central conflict should provide players with character ideas, and gamemasters with inspiration for stories.

ally, an enemy, or some degree of both, just to keep things interesting. All organizations are rated on the following metrics:

Scope
The scope of an organization is defined as Local, Regional, National, Continental, or Global. This can be used to define political influence as well as geographic reach. The exact definition of each term can vary from setting to setting; regional might mean a single state within the United States, a collection of small kingdoms in a fantasy world, or a mountain range on an alien planet.

History

A brief history of the setting offers up some context for the central conflict. It tells what the world was like before the conflict happened, what brought about the conflict, and the way things are now. It can be as simple as the rise of a villain, the creation of the good guy organization, a shift in political power, or the development of new technology.

Personnel
This offers an indication of the size of the organization in terms of the number of people it employs. This is measured in terms of capability to do what it does. The terms used are Intimate, Small, Average, Large, Massive. An average organization has enough people to do what they do efficiently, like a city guard or a specialized business. A large organization is capable of doing a few things at once, like a chain retail store of a small army fighting on multiple fronts. A massive organization has enough people to do many, many things at once, like a multinational corporation with a wide array of products. Small organizations have to partner with or outsource functions to other organizations. A local restaurant relies on a butcher and a greengrocer to provide the food they prepare, for instance. An intimate organization is a very

Factions & NPCs


Every setting has organizations on various sides of the conflict. This can be as large as governments or as small as a loose-knit band of individuals. It may be fantasy races or alien species who have a stance on things. There is typically a good guy organization that the player characters can work for or ally themselves with, which helps to form cohesion of purpose and develop common goals within the player group. Theres also a bad guy organization, to prove a constant source of friction and bad guys to fight. Most settings will also have another group who can be either an

small group of individuals, like an adventuring party, a small superhero team, a group of friends, or a terrorist cell.

The Diplomacy Specialist


The mastermind, the faceman, the party leader, the talker: this is the character that gathers information, puts together plans, and keeps the rest of the characters out of jail.

Equipment
This refers to the technology level and quality of gear relative to the world. Rag-tag rebels, for instance, dont have access to the same cutting edge technology and high quality equipment as the well-funded empire. Terms here are exceptional (low), below average, average, above average, and exceptional (high). If you can walk into a regular store and buy it off the shelf, its average. Exceptional implies a whole other level or era of technological development.

The Power Specialist


The mage, the psychic, the strange superpower, the person with the rare, unusual ability that exists in the setting: this is the person that helps you realize youre not in the real world and gives the players an interesting option for their character.

Suggested Abilities
Each player character role will also list skills, powers, feats, and such to further help offer up a clear idea of whats appropriate for that role and make it easier to translate to the game system of your choice.

Implied Metrics
There may seem to be some measurements left out, but some are implied by the above. If an organization has worldwide influence and a large staff, it can be assumed that they have offices, bases, or some sort of presence all over the world. If they have a high tech level and can equip a large staff, it can be assumed that they have money; if they have an average staff, a small scope, and poor equipment, you can figure they dont have much in the way of a headquarters or a budget.

Locations & Map

Player Character Roles


Every setting will describe an array of player character roles. These can be easily translated into archetypes, templates, classes, and other defining functions for player characters found in most roleplaying games. In general, the roles defined will fall into the following categories:

Every setting will offer at least one stock location, whether thats a map of the good guy organizations headquarters, the village it takes place in, a spaceship, or something useful to kick things off. These may include maps, or may be descriptive, depending on whats most appropriate for the setting.

Big Bad, Henchmen, and Mooks

The Combat Specialist


The front line fighter, the tank, the grunt, the brute, the brick: this is the guy who can dish out damage as well as take it. Just about every game has some character function for this.

These are the bad guys of the setting, the folks who provide conflict for the player characters to overcome. Their appearance, personalities, and motivations are detailed, along with a generic block stat to give the gamemaster an idea of how to flesh them out in the system of his or her choice.

Big Bad
This is the head bad guy. The players might not even know he (or she) exists at first, and they certainly wont start off going straight at him. The Big Bad is typically as powerful as, or at least smarter than, all of the player characters put together. The defeat of the Big Bad usually indicates that the campaign, or at least the section of the campaign defined by the Pilot, has come to an end.

The Skill Specialist


The thief, the rogue, the hacker, the utility belt: this is the person whose skillset is a combination of knowledge and manual dexterity.

Henchmen
The Big Bad usually has at least one second-incommand, at least as powerful as any individual player character. The players may be misled into believing the Henchmen is the Big Bad at first, because he (or she) is the boots-on-the-ground, get-the-job-done front line supervisor of any evil scheme. The do the stuff the Big Bad cant be bothered getting their hands dirtied with.

something thats over their heads to acquire, or because theyve failed on their own. Again, this could be part of a good guy organization or a neutral third party.

The Cavalry
The cavalry takes one of two forms: the supporting cast combat specialist who arrives in the nick of time to save the player characters bacon when theyve suffered a beat down, or the medic who arrives just in time to keep them from dying so they can fight again another day. The cavalry might be an ally from the good guys, a rival hero, or even a group of mook-level bads there to offer support.

Mooks
These are the seemingly endless, easily defeatable, ultimately disposable bad guys in the setting: the orcs, the stormtroopers, the Nazi soldiers. Individually theyre no real threat, but in numbers they pose a challenge to the player characters. They tend to run away, or fall down and play dead, or flat-out surrender when the Henchman or the big Bad are defeated.

Stat Block

Supporting Cast
Each Pilot also provides allies who work with the player characters. As with the villains, they are given a physical description, a personality, motivations, and a stat block that can be fleshed out in the system of your choice. The basic ally types provided in a Pilot may include the following:

Each supporting character, both villains and allies, comes with a basic stat block that indicates 3 or 4 abilities they have, along with a descriptive phrase of how good they are at that ability. The phrases are Exceptional (l0w), Below Average, Average, Above Average, and Exceptional (high). These translate easily into most game systems. If, for example, the game system of your choice has abilities ranging from 1 to 20, with 10-11 being average, the scale might look like this: Exceptional (l0w) Below Average 7-8 Average 10-11 17-18 Above Average 13-14 Exceptional (high) If your game uses a die pool and, say, 3-4 dice are average, 1 die is poor, and 6 dice is the maximum, you can work it out. The same for systems that use a variety of die types; if a d6 is average, a d4 is poor, and a d10 is really, really good, you can translate NPC stats from the Series Bible to your system with little work. The reason for the descriptive block stat is not only so people can use the Pilot with a variety of systems, but so the gamemaster can work within the guidelines to really make the supporting characters his or her own. 3-4

The Authority Figure


The person with direct or indirect power over the player characters, possibly their boss in the good guy organization or the head of an allied organization like the police, the military, or the government. This person gives the player characters missions, and can act as a liaison to other useful resources,

The Gear Hookup


This is the person who can supply equipment, weapons, magic items, gadgets, and other fun toys to the player characters. They might be working for the good guys, or they may be a neutral third party.

The Intel Source


This is the person that can find out things for the characters, either because they dont have the skills to do so themselves, because they need

Plot Hooks and Rumors

These are instant adventure ideas that the gamemaster can flesh out. They can also be treated as mere rumors that could be true, false, or some combination of the two. Each Pilot will include around 10 to 12 plot hooks and rumors, each a single sentence long. Types of things found will be: o Secrets about the central conflict, who knows them, and how the characters can learn them Rumors as to the identity of the real Big Bad, and how it can be discovered Rumors about what the bad guys are really up to, and how the characters can head them off and stop them Leads on where to find more information about the central conflict that could change everything Deadly missions the characters can undertake Information about supporting characters that may affect players relationships with their allies Various story ideas that tie into the setting, some expanding beyond the central conflict

Bibliography

Every Pilot includes a bibliography listing books, comics, movies, television shows, and even other games that are useful in helping to capture the feel of the setting and offering up inspiration. Examples are: o The Compleat Shemp -- Another fine Asparagus Jumpsuit publication that deals with creating supporting characters, including some of the archetypes discussed here. A great companion piece to this document or any Pilot. TVTropes.org a friend of mine has referred to this site as LEGO blocks for screenwriters, but it works for other creative ventures as well, including RPG setting design.

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Asparagus Jumpsuit
Asparagus Jumpsuit is Berin Kinsman (formerly known as UncleBear) and his wife, the artist Katie Kinsman. Visit us at asparagusjumpsuit.com THE OFFICIAL SERIES BIBLE is 2012 Berin Kinsman. All rights reserved. This is version 1.1 of this document, released April 6, 2012.