Sci-Fi Storm

New “Bureau 13” D20 RPG manual

by on Aug.10, 2003, under Games

Nick Pollotta writes “The following is an excerpt from the new RPG manual,
“BUREAU 13: D20”, by Richard Tucholka and Nick Pollotta.
Coming September 2003 from Wildside Press, ISBN:1-59224-189-1
Permission to reprint is granted.”
This looks to be a new D20 version of the Bureau 13 RPG, of which Nick has written several novels. Read More for some of the wacky details. Imagine hunting down supernatural foes teamed up with the Boston Pops and Cher…nope, can’t…


“BUREAU 13: MOVIE MAGIC”
By ? Nick Pollotta

Incredibly, a lot of the bizarre events that you see done in the movies are actually accomplished with magic. Oh, they all started off as just dramatic elements used in films. But over the past hundred years, so many people have started to believe in them, that there has been a rift in the Time/Space continuum between Hollywood, and Hollyweird, until now the two separate planes of existence have begun to physically touch. (which certainly explains a lot of things about Los Angeles, doesn?t it?)
All of these spells are available individually in a ?Bureau 13? Magic Combat Bracelet. Or they can all be stored in the Mystic Rune of S.A.G. (which resembles a large canned ham in a spotlight), and can be easily (albeit painfully) tattooed on the back of an Special Federal Agent, or ordinary Mage. However, only one spell at a time can be accessed, and after each spell is used, the spotlight dims until the canned ham simply vanishes.
Now, these spells were created by the raw emotional rush of countless audiences, and thus they are slightly different from a normal conjure. Example: while it would only seem reasonable for an Agent to roll against their INT to defuse a bomb, using Movie Magic to defuse a bomb, the Caster would instead roll against their CHA, because it only matters how cool they appear, not how smart they actually are. Remember: this is movie magic, and only waves its hat in passing at logic.
Note: Only Millennium Knights* are forbidden to use the Mystic Rune of S.A.G., mostly because they belong to a different union.

01 – AIR VENT HIGHWAY, (previously known as: “Why Did it Have to Be Terrorists, John?”, and before that as “Sam Spade?s Coal Chute”.)
Transmutation, Level: Mage 2; Components: V, S, M; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Touch; Target Area: Individual; Duration: Special; Saving throw: Fortitude negates, can be voluntary; Spell Resistance: Yes
The Target, or Caster, can shrink down to the perfect size to crawl through an air vent that otherwise would have been impossible to traverse. However, there must be a pre-existing air vent. Their weight will be appropriately reduced to facilitate ease of passage. Lasts until the Target leaves the air vent, or they get shot.

02 – ALL HEEL BREAKS LOSE, (originally known as: “Let?s Make the Pretty Girl Trip So That We Have a Legitimate Excuse to See Up Her Skirt” spell)
Evocation, Level: Mage 1, cleric 1; Components: V, S, M; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Long; Target Area: Individual; Duration: instantaneous; Saving throw: Reflex negates; Spell Resistance: Yes
Originally designed to only effect females, this sexist spell has been rendered gender neutral by the egalitarian folks TechServ. Well done!
If the Target fails reflex save, they will trip and fall down, slightly ripping their clothing, and lose a single article of footwear. Unless, the Target pauses to put the footwear back on (or kick off the other one), they now move at half speed.

03 – ANYBODY HOLMES?, (previously known as: “Mr. Moto?s Mental Musing”, and before that, “Phil Vance Knows!” and before that, “Bulldog Drummond Strikes!”)
Divination, Level: Mage 1 Cleric 1: Components: V, S; Casting Time: Attack Action ; Range: Touch; Target Area: Varies; Duration: Concentration; Saving throw: None; Spell Resistance: Yes
Caster knocks twice on the door of a dwelling and can instantly tell if anybody is inside the structure, or not. This also works with a telephone as Ring Locate. Caster must roll against their Concentration to tell if the precise person they want to find is at the location contacted.

04 – ARNIE?S ULTIMATUM, (originally known as: “I’ll Be Back!”)
Illusion, Level: Mage 1, Cleric 1; Components: V; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Close; Target Area: individual; Duration: Discharge; Saving throw: Will negates; Spell Resistance: Yes
All noise will stop within 100? of Caster so that they can issue a bold statement to everybody nearby, or to one specific individual. If to the public, their words will echo, if addressed to an individual, a bright spotlight from above will flood the area and then focus down onto the target. Whether for Public, or Individual, everybody present can hear the Caster speak, and any threat, or promise, issued by the Caster will be absolutely believed. Even if the statement is incredibly, and obviously, untrue. (so make it good, kiddo. This may be your only chance to unnerve the enemy. )

05 ? BEER BARRIER, (previously known as: “The Clayton Moore Mambo”, and before that as “The Zorro Zoom”.)
Conjuration, Level: Cleric 2; Components: V, S, M, DF; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Touch; Target Area: Individual; Duration: 10 rounds; Saving throw: Fortitude negates, can be voluntary; Spell Resistance: No
For ten rounds, the Caster, or assigned Target, will be rendered absolutely immune to any physical damage caused by being in a bar fight, such as: struck by a chair, hit with a bottle, punched by a bare fist, or thrown head first through a glass window. However, all other weapons and offensive spells still do normal damage. (i.e. a Lightning Bolt will fry your butt. so don’t get cocky, kid).

06 – CENTRAL CASTING, (previously known as: “Vin Diesel Amuck”, and before that as “Charles Bronson Amuck”, and before that as “Errol Flynn Amuck”, and before that as, “John Barrymore Amuck”, and before that…but you get the idea.)
Illusion, Level: Mage 1; Components: V, S, M; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Touch; Target Area: Individual; Duration: 1 Seg / Level; Saving throw: None, Special; Spell Resistance: No
An exact duplicate of the Caster will charge into any dangerous situation to be vaingloriously slaughtered, thus enabling the Caster to discover where the boobytraps are located, snipers are hidden, etc. The duplicate will do nothing else, but charge into danger and look heroic. The duplicate has the same amount of HP as the caster, but has none of their Special, or magical abilities.
If nothing attacks, or harms, the duplicate, then the Caster takes 1d4 physical damage from the magical backlash of wasting the Ethereal Stuntman?s time. (thus we seriously suggest shooting your own duplicate in case of non-trouble)

07 – DRAMATIC ENTRANCE, (originally known as: “Door of Cardboard” Created by Douglas Fairbanks Snr.)
Evocation, Level: Mage 2, Cleric 1; Components: V, S, M; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Touch; Target Area: Individual; Duration: Discharge; Saving throw: None; Spell Resistance: Yes
Encountering any closed door (but not necessarily locked), the Caster can kick at it with quadruple their STR. There is 25% chance of the flying door (or pieces of the door) striking anybody on the other side doing 1d6 damage.

08 – DRAMATIC EXIT, (originally known as: “Exit, Stage Left!”)
Transmutation, Level: Mage 1, Cleric 1; Components: V, S; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Long; Target Area: Any exit or entry; Duration: instantaneous; Saving throw: None; Spell Resistance: Yes
Any physical opening that is closing will now slow to half-speed allowing the Caster more time to slip through. This includes: garage doors, a cave in, drawbridge, or the airlock on a spaceship. The dramatic ticking of a clock will be heard during the spell, but is there only to purely heighten the thrilling effect of the ‘daring’ escape.

09 – HEALING RUB, (originally known as: “Cowboy First-Aid” Created by Tom Mix and Lash La Rue)
Conjuration, Level: Cleric 0, Mage 3; Components: V,S; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Touch; Target Area: individual; Duration: instantaneous; Saving throw: none; Spell Resistance: yes
Ignoring the tremendous pain caused by doing this, the Caster or Target can heroically massage an open, bleeding, wound, or broken bone, to actually administer 1d4 of repair to the physical damage.

10 – HERO GUN, (originally known as: “Villains Can?t Count”)
Conjuration, Level: Mage 3; Components: V, M; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Touch; Target Area: Individual; Duration: Instantaneous; Saving throw: none; Spell Resistance: Yes
By using this spell, any conventional firearm held by Caster, or Target, can now fire a number of bullets equal to the caliber of the weapon. Thus, a S&W .44 Magnum can fire 44 bullets without being reloaded. This spell is especially good for Agents using a .357 Magnum, but rather pointless if the Agent is carrying a 9mm.

11 – HITCHHIKER REX, (previously known as: “Running Board Rumba”, and before that as “Stage Coach Sticky”. Created by some crazed putz {that?s Hollywood slang for ‘dang fool’} of a stuntman who dove onto runaway train, got hit by a blast from the steam whistle, fell off to be run over by the wheels, and plummeted off a bridge to land on a burning dynamite factory that then exploded. The poor fellow later died of Emphysema.)
Transmutation, Level: Mage 2, Cleric 2; Components: V, M; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Touch; Target Area: Individual; Duration: Special (D); Saving throw: Reflex negates, can be voluntary; Spell Resistance: Yes
Subject vs. Will to stick to the outside of a speeding vehicle as if the chassis/hull/fuselage was flat ground. Caster can only be removed if they are killed, rendered unconscious, or the vehicle comes to a complete halt. Caster can move about the Target vehicle at will, and leave whenever they wish.
This spell will not be negated if the Caster leaps off the target vehicle to land on another moving vehicle. However, doing so cancels all of your health insurance.

12 – JUNGLE YELL (originally known as “Wiessmueller?s Warbling Wail”.)
Illusion, Level: Mage 1, Cleric 1; Components: V; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Special; Target Area: individual; Duration: Discharge; Saving throw: none; Spell Resistance: no.
Caster will start beating their chest and issue an incredibly loud cry that will echo outward for one (1) mile per level. Stone walls, concrete barriers, and even Prismatic Spheres will do nothing to slow the advance of the magical audio wave.
No stun damage will be done to anybody/thing standing near the Caster, and no actual words can be used, it will merely be an inarticulate shout. However, this yell can be used to allow friends to know the Caster is still alive, and where to find them. On the other hand, this yell can also allow the enemy to know the Caster is still alive, and where to find them.
The sonic spell will last until the Caster stops beating their chest, or runs out of breath. (average three minutes).
Warning: there is a 10% chance of every living animal within range of the cry rushing to be near the Caster. However, the Caster will have no control over these creatures, and may be promptly eaten.

13 – LAST BULLET STANDING, (originally known as: “Pressure Makes Diamonds”)
Evocation, Level: Mage 2, cleric 1; Components: V, M; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Touch; Target Area: Individual; Duration: Discharge; Saving throw: none; Spell Resistance: Yes
The Caster will receive a +10 to Hit, but only if this is the last bullet they have on them at the time. This is not the last bullet loaded into the weapon, but the very last round of live ammunition carried upon the Caster, or stored in the vehicle you are driving in at the time. Spell is permanently negated if Caster disposes of any spare ammo in a cheesy attempt to artificially invoke LBS.

14 – MAGNUM FRISBEE, (previously known as: “Duck, Superman!”, and before that as: “The B Movie Boogey”)
Evocation, Level: Mage 1, Cleric 1; Components: V, S ; Casting Time: See below; Range: Touch; Target Area: 1 weapon; Duration: instantaneous; Saving throw: None; Spell Resistance: No.
If the Caster has no more ammunition, they can throw their empty firearm at the Enemy. Regardless of the size of the weapon, it will only do 1d6 damage. However, the thrown firearm bypasses all magical defenses, and/or physical defensives used by the Enemy, such as: a suit of armor, bulletproof vest, or even reverse missile. Only a Prismatic Sphere, or a registered screenplay can stop the thrown firearm.
Caster must still make a successful ranged attack. The invoking of the spell includes: the actual casting, and the throwing of the weapon, accompanied by the appropriate insult. Example: “Eat this, Bug Boy!”

15 – THE RULE OF THREE, (originally known as, “False Excitement Generator” Created by Max Sennet?s idiot nephew.)
Enchantment, Level: Mage 1, Cleric 1; Components: V, S, M; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Medium; Target Area: Individual; Duration: Discharge; Saving throw: Yes, see below; Spell Resistance: Yes.
If the Target fails a roll against their CHA, their vehicle will require three attempts to start the motor/engine before it finally catches. During each attempt, the Target will become more and more terrified, until once the motor catches, the Target needs to roll on their DEX to see if they fumble and turn the engine/motor off.

16 – STEALTH WALK, (originally known as: “No Comment, Please!” Created by Greta Garbo.)
Transmutation, Level: Mage 0, Cleric 0; Components: V, S, M; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Close; Target Area: 100 ft Radius; Duration: 1 Hour; Saving throw: None; Spell Resistance: Yes.
Every microphone within 100 feet of the Caster goes dead for an hour. Velvet ropes and a red carpet are no longer needed as components.

17 – SUMMON NOTHING, (originally known as: “Heroes Don?t Double-Park”)
Conjuration, Level: Mage 2, Cleric 1 ; Components: V, S, M ; Casting Time: Attack Action ; Range: 1 destination; Target Area: Length of vehicle + 5 ft; Duration: instantaneous; Saving throw: None; Spell Resistance: Yes.
If driving in a vehicle, or riding on a horse or similar animal that needs tethering, the Caster finds an empty parking space directly in front of where ever it is they wanted to go.
This spell does not work in Manhattan. Sorry.

18 – TABLE SHIELD, (originally known as: “John Wayne?s Magic Hat”)
Transmutation, Level: Mage 2, Cleric 2; Components: V,S,M; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Touch; Target Area: Single Item; Duration: 1 round / Level; Saving throw: None; Spell Resistance: No
Caster enhances any ordinary table into a shield with the hardness of tank armor. Gives +6 defense with 40 points of hardness. Last one round per level. This also works on garbage can lids, car doors, and sofa cushions. Item has normal weight, mass and smell. (so think twice before holding that hotel sofa cushion in front of your face.)

19 ? UBER UNGER, (originally known as: “Felix Unger?s Phobia”, and before that as “Emergency Tidy”.
Transmutation, Level: Mage 1, Cleric 1; Components: V, S, M ; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Touch; Target Area: Individual; Duration: instantaneous; Saving throw: None; Spell Resistance: Yes.
The Caster, or Target, will run stiff fingers through their hair, and will instantly become spotlessly clean, shaved, shampooed, etc., and their clothing will be neat, patched and freshly laundered. If bald, the Caster or Target rubs their face vigorously to achieve the same result This has no effect on wounds, poison, or disease, but the Target will look absolutely spiffy. Weapons will not be reloaded, or magical items recharged.

20 – UNQUENCHABLE, (originally known as: “Mariam in Nepal”.
Previously thought to have been created by Humphrey Bogart, but no, he just had a cast-iron stomach.)
Conjuration, Level: Cleric 1; Components: V, M; Casting Time: Attack Action; Range: Touch; Target Area: individual; Duration: Special; Saving throw: None; Spell Resistance: No.
Target will stay perfectly sober and in control of their mind and body no matter how much intoxicating liquor, or illegal narcotics, that they consume. The spell will last until the Caster dispels the effect, or accidentally burps.
Afterwards, Caster will be asleep for one (1) hour with a blistering headache. Friends & Allies: please have black coffee and aspirin ready. Enemies and Foes: have a large Chinese gong ready to strike, or maybe something on the stereo from an early CD of “Guns and Roses”. Although “Whitesnake”, and “Vanilla Ice”, are also good for torture.

*Millennium Knights: This is an advanced class of the “Bureau 13” Bard/Soldier. These combat musicians prowl the nightclubs and concerts halls of the nation looking for supernatural evil.
Every wonder why rap stars always carry huge crosses and so many guns? That is because most of them are Bureau 13 agents hunting ‘fangbangers’. So knuckle up a gat, homie, it?s time to rock!
Known ‘Millennium Knight’ Teams: Charlie Daniels Band, Donnie & Marie, and The Boston Pops.
Known Solo ‘Millennium Knights’: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Ringo Starr, Cher, Brittany Spheres, and, of course, Puffy the vampire slayer.
-END-

Author Bio: Nick Pollotta has written over a dozen RPG novels for: TSR, FASA, WoTC, and TriTac Games. His “Bureau 13” trilogy of novels, based upon the TriTac RPG, have been translated into several languages, and have sold over two million copies worldwide. The long-awaited fourth Bureau 13 novel, “Damned Nation” is scheduled to be released April 2004.
Sadly, his knowledge of HTML code is minimal.



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