Metagene on Amazon

Just a quick note to say, the Metagene Super Hero RPG is now available on Amazon!

Metagene is like Cutthroats’ scrappy little brother that won’t take off his cape when he comes to the supper table. Same 2d12 task resolution system that I ended up using for CC, Metagene is a rules-light, fast-playing supers game. Make a character and get punching Nazis and robots and Nazi robots in 10 minutes or less!

It’s a little pricier now, but it’s also in a nice hardback edition that will hold up well against the machinations of evil forces.

Don’t worry, Cutthroats is coming right along. Now looking into commissioning a few more art pieces. Coming soon, I think. Can’t wait!


Plague Update

The world is a scary place right now, what with a global pandemic, and many of our countries’ failure to prepare adequately, or downplaying the very real threat. Wash your hands, stay at home, and maintain social distance, folks! Order out for food if you can, and don’t hoard toilet paper!

I’m lucky in that my job allows me to work from home, but many aren’t so fortunate. We’re all scared, so be kind to one another, and if someone needs help, do what you safely can. Remember, to quote Harry Tuttle, we’re all in this together.

All that aside, a lot has happened. I just got Cosmic Cutthroats back from my editor, a talented and patient lady named Jennifer Povey, and she found and corrected many errors in the text! I’ve made a number of small fixes, and feel good about the state of the text.

I have two Cutthroats games going now, one at home and one with my online game group. The home game has gone on for several months now, and the online game is just getting started, but overall, both games are going really well.

I’m planning on commissioning some more art for Cutthroats, and if we don’t find serious issues in testing, I may be looking at publishing by end of summer. Hopefully it’ll be safe to do some travelling by then, there are a few local events I’d like to attend with a new game in tow, but we’ll just have to see how things go.

As for other games, Metagene just got released in hardback for global distribution on Lulu! That means in a few weeks it should be available on Amazon, B&N, and other sites. I’ll be appearing on a Youtube channel sometime soon demonstrating character creation as well. More details on that when I know when it’s going up.

That’s it for now. Progress!

Against Hatred

A quick post this time. This sort of thing shouldn’t be necessary, but this is the world we live in now (and in particular, the nation I live in now).

I believe that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-semitism, and bigotry of any kind have absolutely no place in our hobby.

Imperfekt Gammes has been proud to work with diverse artists and gamers of all kinds over the years. We stand against bigotry, and support all other designers who do as well.

Free speech doesn’t mean anyone has to listen, or provide a platform. If your heart is filled with hatred for some group of people, I’d strongly suggest you may find our works unappealing, and look elsewhere to spend your entertainment coin. My games have always been about freedom and love for all, with no distinctions and no biases. Where I’ve stumbled (and I have), I’ve done so honestly.

Anyone that has any questions or concerns is welcome to contact me directly; however, I think this is pretty clear. Thanks.

Kicking Cutthroat Tires

Serious playtesting has begun for Cosmic Cutthroats. I’ve been running a Hogwarts or Brakebills style game for my wife, and we’re almost 10 sessions in and it’s been a blast. The game is based in the Academia Esoterica in Uru Ulan, and some details from that campaign are in Deep Cuts.

I’m also getting ready to run a space opera game for my regular gaming group, based in the Ilion System. Info on this can also be found in Deep Cuts.

It’s tremendously freeing to be able to give very minimal guidelines to players, and trust that not only can they make Characters they’ll want to play, but they won’t be unnecessarily limited in what the game will allow. And with the freeform results from Triumphs and Mishaps, encounters often take unexpected turns.

I’m looking forward eventually to running a high-power supers game at some point, and a mid-level dungeon crawl, maybe a conversion of some classic. I also want to be sure to give the vehicle rules a workout in the space opera game, and run more full-on boss battles. Turns out Goons are pretty easy to beat if you’re a high-Awesomeness adventurer (and that’s not a bad thing!)

Having fun and making lots of little refinements. Once testing is done, I’ll be contacting a few editors I know, and commissioning a few art new art pieces for the interior. This one might take awhile to cross the finish line, but I’m in no rush. In the meantime, download and try it out yourself, or follow the link and purchase an at-cost test copy at this link.

Metagene Super Hero RPG Sale

Metagene Super Hero RPG Cover -- whitborderFor my birthday, and as an early giving-of-thanks to everyone, Metagene Super Hero RPG, a 229 page, rules-light four-color supers RPG from Imperfekt Gammes, is discounted to $0.99 for the rest of November!

The 2d12 task resolution system for Cosmic Cutthroats came from Metagene originally, so if you’re interested in the former, and want a game where you can make a hero in minutes and get smashing evil right away, check it out!

The Sorcerer Speaks

New in a recent version of Cosmic Cutthroats, the story of how the interdimensional metropolis of Uru Ulan came to be, in the words of its founder himself. WARNING: Shakespeare Thorspeak ensues!

ALSO NOTE: It’s entirely debatable how in-game “true” this testament is, but it’s certainly how Ensi Abgal wishes to appear to his servants and citizens.


“It came upon a time that I, the one others call Ensi Abgal, betook myself to found a city in the stars.


“I would found a city for the purposes of studying the heavens, and learning all that is in them, and obtaining such lore as had been kept from mortals even by the Neteru themselves. I would gain this great wisdom so as to be like the great king, Gilgamesh, to conquer death, and bring the serpent’s gift to all of mankind, in the name of great Marduk, and Inanna, and Ea who is above.


“But it is only through great study and sacrifice that Ereshkigal may be denied her due, the life of mortal man, as it has been since of old, and so my task was a heavy one. I wailed and despaired, until I built me servitors, walking men of stone.


“And though they served me well, they knew not the ways of the kitchen, and of speech they had none, so I looked into the scrolls of time, the past and future, and there I found for me other servants among mortal men, that I could betake me to study all the hours of the day.


“And some were men from other worlds, with strange flesh and strange manners, but they learned what I had to teach, and betimes their sages had aught to teach to me as well. And soon my library grew into a vast temple, and soon into a walled city, an orb of light in the endless dark.


“But though the wisdom granted to me by the gods is great, and the overseers beneath me good and strict, still rogues and rebels crept in among my servants, and coin and precious incense disappear into the night. And so I relay these, my edicts, to you, the people of my city. Obey them, and you shall live long and well, in this city I built. Fail, and you will be cast down from your place as a servant into shackles, or worse, into the gaping jaws of a cold and waiting grave.


“And do not forget, even you who call yourselves ‘nobles’ and fatten yourselves at my table, in my city, you are my servant, and if you raise a hand, or bethink you for a moment to betray and destroy he who generously raised you high … woe, woe, woe to you, and woe to your children and grandchildren, for how much worse for you will it be than for them, on whom the yoke was light!””

Old School Cutthroats

Cosmic Cutthroats contains rules for randomly generating Attribute Levels, converting OSR critters to CC stats, and some stats on some old-school-sounding spells. So, how to bring it all together?

I definitely want CC to be a fusion of all that’s best in old-style and new-style games. Here are some idea how.

Setting It Up

  1. Characters start at AWE 2, Fledgling Adventurers.
  2. Randomly roll for stats, as noted in Appendix 2.1.
  3. PCs get 375 UP for AWE 2, minus 250 UP for their random stats, leaving 125 UP to purchase LS/RM, Power, and Profession Packages.
  4. The GM may wish to limit the Packages that are available based on the Campaign they want to run. A traditional fantasy, dungeon crawling Campaign might allow the following Packages:
    1. LS/RM: Humans (-12 Upgrade Points), Elves (-51 UP), Dwarves (-30), Goblins (-22), Half-Elves (-24), Half-Orcs (-9), Halflings (-22).
    2. Professions and Powers: Assassin (-77 Upgrade Points), Bounty Hunter (-67 UP), Grifter (-67), Heretic(-38) + Blessed One (Hand of Mercy) (-40), Mystic (-46) + Mage (Sorcerer) (-57), Noble (-59), Outlaw (-63), Ronin (AKA “Fighter”, -69).
  5. Spend the remainder of your Upgrade Points on Talents and Skills, and supplement with Drawbacks, as normal.
  6. Many Qualities work well for an old school dungeon crawly game. A few examples include Cautious, Creative, Curious, Devious, Faithful, Gloryhound, Greedy, Grizzled, Hedonistic, Honorable, Packrat, Rebellious, Shadow, Spiritual, Stubborn, Vengeful.

Running the Game

  1. Thressa is a typical fantasy world, and it’s given some detail in Appendix 3.6.
  2. When the PCs discover a spell book, or want to learn additional spells, choose from the Sample Spells in Appendix 2.3.
  3. Thressa is a typical fantasy world, and it’s given some detail in Appendix 3.6.
  4. Some of the traps found in a dungeon are detailed in Section 6.6.
  5. Some typical monsters are found in Cosmic Cutthroats Section 7.3, and in Deep Cuts Section 3.0.
    1. Cosmic Cutthroats Section 7.3: Imp Demons, Orc Raiders, Ravenous Ghuls, Adolescent Titanium Dragon, Kaiju, Conduit Vermin (reskinned as Rodents of Unusual Size), Night Raptors, Riding Lizards, and the Ally Lodo Celestide.
    2. Deep Cuts Section 3.0: Ninjas, Throng Mind-Slaver, Voyeur Demons, Demon Prince/ss, Vampire Lords.

Optional Rules

  • Trade EDG from Qualities for Extra UP: If PCs are at full EDG, and they would gain EDG from following their Qualities, they instead gain 1/3 an Upgrade Point for every EDG they would have gained.
    • This is the same point cost as one Level of the EDG Attribute, with the Power Throttle Depletion [1 Use].
    • Since we have this calculation in hand, as an Optional Rule, PCs can spend 1 UP to regain 3 lost EDG.
  • In Old School games, PCs often gain XP for each gold coin they find. With this Optional Rule, Greedy PCs become more powerful when they accumulate great wealth, stolen from haunted crypts deep beneath the sunlit surface of the world.

Story Fragment: The Dark Sorcerer

Once upon a time … I’m sure you’ve heard this story before. But you probably don’t know how it actually ended.

Once upon a time, there was an old man who was a powerful wizard. He was powerful enough to demand favors of gods, to bargain with demons, to walk unmolested through the hells of Ninhursag, who was known in the heavens and on Earth. He declared himself a lord of the world, raised armies, and strove to conquer all.

And he did. He ruled with an iron fist. His palaces overflowed with pleasures, while the peasants and common folk lived in abject poverty, wracked by monsters. Misery and injustice were everywhere. Rats swelled into vast hordes, and ate the folk alive in their home. The sky was dark by midday. Men killed one another for a loaf of bread. 

A band of heroes arose. A mighty champion. A cunning orphan. A priestess, pure of heart. Several others. The gods, jealous, were on their side, and the demons, tired of doing the sorcerers’ bidding, paved the way before them. The old tyrant scoffed, but somewhere inside, he knew. The oracles had spoken. He strove to disbelieve, but you don’t attain to great magic by ignorance.

The heroes slew the undead by the hundreds. They stormed the inner chambers. The sorcerer’s magics failed him, seemingly by chance, when they were needed most. And when the great warrior, shining and true, raised his sword, the sorcerer fell to his knees and, without hope in his heart, but at his last resort, he asked dully for mercy, for clemency.

The sword-bearer paused, lowered his weapon. Extended his hand. He extracted an oath from the black-hearted wizard. “Make this right. Redeem yourself. Save this world from the horrors you’ve unleashed, and then, using your powers, leave this world, never to return.”

The sorcerer … had foreseen all, all but this. He couldn’t have imagined that mercy could be granted for his many sins. Unthinkable! He swore the oath, though, and he was true to his word.

The warrior ruled, with a shadowy force behind the throne, his “advisor,” who none knew to be the self-same black-hearted wizard, the one all knew to be slain long ago, with a different face. With mighty spells, the land was healed. With rituals, the people thrived. Gold was discovered in the ground. The land was united through the brief unpleasantness of war, an anticlimactic war fought without slaughter, through the mage’s profound trickery. At last, the land was whole.

On a cool crisp evening, the warrior looked the old man in the eye. They were never friends, but they’d grown to … understand one another. Perhaps there was even a kernel of respect. But … there could never be trust. The warrior told the old man, “It’s time.” The wizard nodded. It was time.

The sorcerer rose into the night sky. He left this world for the heavens, to float, meditating, in the vast nothing. What more was there? If he couldn’t have the world, what did he want? He asked himself, and for a long forever, there was no reply.

Then, an image appeared in his head, then another. He thought about green shoots pushing through thick layers of ash, to welcome shafts of the sun streaming down through darkened clouds. He thought of children born to barren women, and tears of joy. He thought of men returning from wars to family and children, hanging their swords and shields on the wall, to gather rust and dust and stories. He thought of peace, and growth, comfort, and calm. Of books and stories written about tales of dread, but written with a full stomach, under a roof, with not a rat in sight.

A vast stone swam lazily through the void next to the sorcerer He looked at it. The walls of the craters on this planetoid looked something like a crenelated castle wall. Mayhap, a home, for study. For the greatest spell. A spell to bring peace and comfort, to entire worlds, for all time.

The sorcerer willed himself to fly to his new home, and it was so. In an immortal life, there was now so much to do.

Note: This isn’t necessarily the canonical origin story for Ensi Abgal and Uru Ulan, but it’s an idea, and I like it so far. I may develop it further later on, I just wanted to post it for feedback for now.

A Game of 100 Questions

I wrote this questionnaire a long time ago, and have used it with in at least a dozen campaigns. If you’re running a point-based RPG like Cosmic Cutthroats, you might find it helpful to answer the questions before creating your character. This helps you flesh out the character concept that you’re building.

If you’re running a system with more randomized generation, it makes more sense to answer after your character is finished. That way, you’re giving context to all those random roles, weaving them together into a coherent whole. And if your game features high lethality, maybe answer one randomly-chosen question per game session. By the time you answer enough questions to get attached, your character might be strong enough to survive, at least a little while longer!


1. What is your Character’s name (first, middle, and last)?
2. Does your Character have a nickname? What is the Character’s code name?
3. Does the Character have any commonly used aliases?
4. How does the Character feel about their name; do they particularly like or dislike their name or nickname?


5. Is the Character human? If not, what is your Character’s species, subspecies, and/or race?
6. What is your Character’s height, weight, eye color, natural hair color, current hair color, and skin color?
7. Does your Character have any body modifications, such as tattoos, burns, scars, body piercings, bionics or genetic alterations? If so, describe them.
8. Is there a story behind any of the Character’s modifications (from above)?
9. Is your Character very attractive? Describe their build — are they muscular, lithe, willowy, husky, flabby, voluptuous, ripped, or what?
10. Is this despite or because of the care they take of themselves?
11. How does the Character dress, and what is their hairstyle and posture Examples: Dapper or preppie, or slacker, or slobbish.
12. What does the Character’s voice sound like?
13. What is the look in the Character’s eyes? Dangerous, daring, cunning, dull, or bewildered?


14. What is your Character’s family background? Is the Character an orphan? If so, skip questions 15-20, or explain the nearest equivalents.
15. What are the Character’s parents’ names and occupations?
16. How many siblings does the Character have, and what are their names, genders, ages, and occupations?
17. Does the family maintain contacts, or are they distant?
18. Any there any other important family members, such ans grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins?
19. What is the Character’s feelings towards each of their family members? Examples: Attachment, competition for attention, love, loathing, or even fear.
20. Are all of the Character’s relatives living? If not, describe how they died, and what effect did their death had on the Character. Was it an accident, negligence, illness, or even murder?


21. Where did the Character grow up? Examples: The suburbs, the ghettos, downtown, on military bases, on reservations.
22. Does the Character have any favorite memories of childhood, such as a playmate, a tree fort, a favorite game or toy? Instead, was it so bad that the Character usually blocks out all of their childhood memories?


23. What is your Character’s job?
24. Why did the Character choose that job? What qualifications does the Character have for the job?
25. Where did the Character go to train in that occupation? A college, armed service, or trade school?
26. Has the Character ever changed jobs? If so, describe any important former positions, and why they left, or were fired.
27. What is the worst thing about their job, in the Character’s opinion?
28. What is the best thing about the job, in the Character’s opinion?
29. Are they loyal, or would they jump ship for better wages — or even for worse ones?
30. What is the Character’s dream job? Describe the employer, the job position, salary, colleagues and underlings, and duties.


31. How tight a handle does the Character keep on their money (free spender, or miserly)?
32. Is there one kind of product that they have a special weakness for spending lots of money on?
33. Does the Character pay their bills on time?
34. What does the Character use for transportation — an old junker, or a classy new jobber?
35. What sort of dwelling does the Character live in? Examples: A house, an apartment, a trailer-house, a mud hut, a cave, or a refrigerator box? Provide a simple (at least 1 sentence) description of the interior.


36. Does the Character have any friends? If so, names and a short (at least 1 sentence) description of each, noting any ‘best friends’ or former romantic interests.
37. What do the Character and each of their friend(s) have in common, and what is different between them?
38. How did the Character and each of their friend(s) meet?
39. Does the Character have any pets — now or in the past? If so, what kind, and what were their names, and why were those names chosen.
40. What sort of pets does the Character prefer? If any, state what reasons do they give for liking them.

Significant Others

41. Is your Character currently in a significant relationship with a member of the opposite sex? Note if it is a possibly long-term relationship.
42. Is the relationship sexual, platonic, true love, or any combination?
43. How did the Character and their S.O. meet?
44. What is your Character’s sexual preference?
45. Is the Character’s philosophy ‘love the one you’re with’, ‘faithful ’til the end’, or ‘as long as we have an understanding’?
46. What is the Character’s dream mate, in appearance, personality, etc. The description will show how shallow or deep the Character themselves are.
47. Has the Character ever been, or are they, married, and to whom? If they are no longer so, note when that was, if it was a legal, religious, or common-law marriage, when it was broken off, and why.
48. Does the Character maintain contacts with any ex-girl/boyfriends or ex-spouses?


49. What are the Character’s moral/ethical beliefs?
50. Their spiritual/religious beliefs?
51. Do they adhere to a specific philosophy, or are they freewheeling?
52. How committed is the Character to these beliefs — would the Character die for them, or kill for them?
53. Are they generally good, selfish, indifferent, or evil?
54. Was the Character raised with a specific philosophy, and do they accept or reject it?
55. Does the Character believe in an afterlife, and how do they plan to get there?
56. Does the Character struggle with their faith, or are they strong and committed?
57. Does the Character attend any kind of religious services regularly?
58. How does the Character feel about: violence/killing, extramarital sex, sexual orientation, sexual deviancy, religion, stealing, lying, gender roles, use of torture, loyalty and trust?

Legal Status

59. What is the Character’s relationship to the authorities?
60. Have they ever been convicted of a minor crime? A major one?
61. Is this despite or because of the care (or lack of) they take in dealing with the police?
62. Are the crimes cleared or outstanding?
63. Is the Character currently wanted, on probation, or have bounties on them?


64. If the Character travels (or could travel), where to? How often? With whom?
65. If the Character participates in or even watches sports, which ones? What style — hardball or softball, touch or tackle?
66. What TV genres, books, magazines, musical styles, movie genres, or computer games do they enjoy? Favorite card, board, or war games? Do they cheat?
67. Does the Character use any recreational drugs? Examples: tobacco and/or alcohol (give specific brands if they are that particular), marijuana, or any others.


68. Does the Character support the current national administration? Why or why not?
69. Does the Character count themselves part of any particular political movement or party? Or is the Character anarchist, radical, absurdist, or monarchist, democratic, Machiavellian, socialist, hegemonist, imperialist, or apolitical?
70. Is there some political alignment that they absolutely cannot stand, or find laughable?

Sanity and Madness

71. Is the Character plagued with any specific doubts about themselves?
72. What does the Character fear most about the future?
73. Does the Character believe fanatically in only the tangible (materialist), or in a bit of the supernatural, or do they believe anything they’re told?
74. Does the Character get along well in society, or are they handicapped by any eccentricities they have?

Combat Style

75. How does the Character perform in combat? Fast and furious, slow and measured, deceptive and misdirecting? Describe a typical combat scene.
76. Does the Character talk, scream, giggle, sing, or growl in combat, or are they deadly silent?
77. Does the Character train in any specific fighting style or martial art? If so, mention why they chose that art, and their degree of proficiency in it.
78. Is there some weapon the Character prefers, either a specific weapon (grandfather’s Musashi sword) or a class of weapons in general (Colt .45s)? Mention why the Character has such a preference, and their degree of proficiency with it.
79. Is there some flashy, tricky move or weapon kata that they love to use? Examples might include wide flourishing disarms, trips, swiftly slashing their initials on the enemy or their belongings, or clipping off buttons or armor buckles.
80. Does the Character prefer sneakiness and subterfuge, brazen attack, or a combination, with grand, intimidating entries? State if the Character has any degree of skill with stealth.


81. What is the Character’s attitude towards death? Examples: Scared, transfixed with horror, morbidly fascinated, uninterested, or totally unafraid.
82. How would the Character want to be disposed of once they pass on?
83. Does the Character believe in an honorable death for all, or are murder and assassination justified to them?


84. Is the Character an introvert or an extrovert — shy or outgoing?
85. How does the Character solve most interpersonal problems? Examples: Looking up possible solutions in a psychology textbook, brazenly ignoring – or confronting — the problem, seeking neutral arbitration, lying and sneaking their way out of it, or conscientiously speaking the truth.
86. What is the Character’s attitude towards life itself? Examples: It is a battle that goes to the strong, a training grounds for some final battle at the end of time, an enormous test set up by the gods, a joke, a joke in very poor taste, just a bit better than death, worse than death?
87. What is the Character’s prize possession? Mention how they acquired it, from whom, when and what significance it holds for them.
88. The Character has discovered someone breaking into their house; what do they do? Examples: Kill the intruder instantly, talk to them, scare them away, capture them and torture them, or cower under the bed with a broomstick.
89. How does the Character accept the following: compliments, flattery, gifts, charity?
90. How does the Character accept the following: being ignored, insults, requests for charity?
91. Is the Character prejudiced about any one species, race, gender, culture, or sexual orientation, and if so, why?
92. What sort of foods does the Character enjoy? If any, mention if they are capable of cooking, and how well.
93. The Character is asked to go to a formal function, a fancy wedding, for example; how do they spend the majority of the reception? Examples: Eating cake and/or finger foods, talking, dancing with friends, or with strangers, people-watching from corners, or slipping out early.
94. What is the Character’s favorite saying, or a good, illustrative quote by the Character?
95. What song (or band/performer, or music genre) best evokes the mood that would fit the Character’s personality — and would they like the song?
96. Who are the Character’s heroes, and if there are none in the game-world, who would they be in our world?
97. What is your Character’s attitude towards luck/chance/fate/destiny? Do they even believe in luck? Are they pessimistic or optimistic? Do they see themselves as pessimistic or optimistic?
98. What are the Character’s dreams for the future? A wife, a dog, three kids, and a house with rose bushes and picket fences; a series of wild adventures crossing the globe, punctuated by carousing and spending sprees; touring the world in a ship, rubbing elbows with the elite, ridding the world of crime and evil once and for all, becoming a god, or what?


99. How does the Character’s abilities fit into the hero group? Does the Character have the super-strength to keep enemies from the party’s weaker members, or the telepathic talent to tie their teammate’s minds together?
100. How will the Character fit into the Campaign? What adventures does the Character’s background make possible?