Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter Works Creeping On

I don't mind snow unless I have to excavate my driveway more than once per day. I've skipped a few gaming sessions to avoid sub-zero exposure, which I don't like to do either. Indoor projects I'm generating some progress in are my miniatures and PC games (which can be hosted online). For use with the youngsters in my family, I modified a character sheet found in my Labyrinth Lord folder. I like it because the original creator used the line art from the D&D coloring book. My changes allow it to function as one page of PC information. Normally I'd leave off encumbrance, but the kids actually like to figure out how much loot they can abscond with.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Revision of Cyberpunk Future History

The cyberpunk era is just starting if you believed the timelines posited 25 years ago. I wonder if hacker decks would end up in washing machines and be used to entertain cats like today's "smart phones". Anyway, let us have a look at the glorious gray-n-neon days ahead. Below is a timeline culled from Iron Crown's old Cyberpunk game, which lives on at the DATAFORTRESS site.

Rather than edit this completely with realistic data, I'll keep some principal aspects of the genre. There has to be artificial intelligence, a VR interface for people, advanced body mods, and decadent urban sprawls. Of course, the dated entries prior to now can be scrapped, or summarized with a "slow decline" label.

2017: Widespread robot development? Sure, you could see a drone out your window or step on a cleaning droid by then. Some may be armed though.
2020: Thank heavens the Net didn't take this long to develop. I'll substitute the creation of floating cities and a revolution in solar power tech.
2024: Really, some more interest in the space industry would make it feel like the 21st century. I'm going to wish for the establishment of a lunar outpost.
2027: Wetware is going to be awesome, unless you have crappy insurance.
2028: Wetware may result in side effects like fried brain cortex.
2031: Begin the cloning of celebrity eyeballs and livers! I'm going to go out on a limb and say the next world currency won't be BitCoin.
2032: Corporations buying out the politicians predates this timeline. I'm replacing this news with scary ocean rise and toxicity.
2035: I'm going to call the vat kids "Bioroids", like in the cyber comic Appleseed. I'll add cloned animals to this for a Bladerunner hat tip.
2039: Way too soon for deep space travel. I'll say the moon men journey to Mars successfully.
2040: Bah, corporations don't want to be responsible for their slaves.
2047: Nothing proves this is old shit like the threat of Japanese cyber-ninjas. Replaced with first AI systems and widespread synthetic food.
2048: The AI helps us make VR sim stims!
2049: The AI also helps launch neural interface networks.
2051: Rocket engineering is always going slowly forward. I'll add the creation of lunar mass drivers for cheap shipping.
2054: Better batteries mean portable beam weapons.
2061: The Japanese won't be fighting here in the States. Let us say there are Sino Alliance wars in the East. How about a space mission to Titan too?
2065: Orbital habitats will become havens, just not for a great number of folk.
2069: NO DAMN NINJAS. Molecular nanobots become a reality.
2071: The climate shift by this decade will be brutal. Say adios to coastal regions and a good portion of habitable land. Populations without access to resources are slashed.
2075: Not sure what a synaptic drug is, but this is a good year for an exploding cyborg black market and cyber terror.
2076: California Shake and Bake.
2078: Everyone still on Earth is a "prisoner".
2081: "Neuromancer" style cyberspace is part of the 2049 network.
2082: Wars in Asia grind to a halt.
2085: A comet strike is just too mean. I'm swapping that out for a solar storm that collapses networks outside of fortified zones. Old technologies are reborn.
2088: Earth corporations fight each other and start conflict with Martian colony.
2090: A new day in the wasteland!


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tech for EXPENDable Space Campaign Pt 2

Oddly, the most read posts here are on the SWN game ideas borrowing from the Battleship Yamato anime universe. Perhaps the OSR crowd looking for sci-fi material does not have enough blogs to visit. There is certainly more than enough coverage of fantasy development.

In this post, I want to revisit the pulp plot found in Avery's EXPENDABLES novels. In his books, the future explorers aren't heroic "navy men", but condemned specialists working off their sentences on unpleasant planets. Instead of leisurely exploring deep space in a fancy battleship, EXPENDables are frozen aboard an unclassified rocket with only enough gear to attempt "pioneering" on a strange ball of dirt. If the long mission is successful, then the time is deducted from their punishments. Since these worlds are at least 20 light years away, the nature of near light speed travel can make a century of "prison" time pass fairly quick.

The transport vessel shown below employs only rudimentary tech. The hibernating crew (6-8 PCs) is revived just a month before arrival, so there is no need for expansive quarters or work bays. Once in orbit, the cargo lander detaches, on a robotic mission to prepare a domed base on the surface. Finally, the crew leaves the exhausted rocket on a shuttle, to tackle the alien landscape and inhabitants. The survivors can't run for home till the Tachyon Engine has refueled, and the main computer acknowledges their success at occupation.

Designs recombined from various sources

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: The Year of +3 Notoriety

This year's thunder was provided by the gaming crowds willing to bite and be bitten. In today's market, there is a pretty clear link between low punches and high margins. Even failure, if proclaimed by enough Keyboards of Flaming, would get your product a satisfying grade of notoriety. Observe how many kickstarter rants had posts this year. When notoriety rules, anything scandalous you made before or can involve yourself in now is a bonus. There was no way that 5th Edition D&D wouldn't be a big splash; everyone wanted to know if it addressed their personal complaints about earlier versions. Hot topic morsels also make up for content that is largely re-skinned information. Drop something outrageous in 1 dungeon room out of 100, and it alone will put you in the headlines. You could say the hobby has been trending this way since the first internet forum, I guess.

So, will I take advantage of this strategy? I really should get XOLGMOD on the G+ racetrack. I have a pinch of notoriety from contributing to a near-dead OSR magazine, and the ability to draw women in 1-100% proper armor. I'll make stuff "pay what you want", so nobody feels tainted...


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Break for Buying Miniatures

During the shopping crush leading up to December 25th, most vendors of gaming minis have excellent sales. I saved my pennies and bought figs-n-bits for my current 28mm forces. That hobby has taken over my time, since I feel compelled to prime and base products when they arrive on my doorstep.

One new vendor I tried out was Black Tree Design; they were selling random sets at half price. I jump for joy when I can find nice sculpts for less than 3 bucks a figure. Another project was making some custom dice for my SAGA viking warband. Official D6s are quite expensive so I painted my own runes.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

D6 STAR WARS Reawakened

Even though the stench of Rancor poop still circulates from the prequels, the franchise is coming back to the big screen. Yet, this post is about a freshening of the favored D6 SW rules from West End Games. Some industrious fans have compiled the essentials from the game books into a sharp-looking PDF. If you have enough rebel scum in you, I'm sure you know where to look for the data.

I attribute the power of the film saga, as a RPG setting in particular, to its intense visual design. The viewer is shown ILM's practical universe, where the tools, vehicles, and bases for most "PC classes" have been crafted. The adventure paths of alien smugglers, rebel pilots, or imperial officers are also defined, and don't demand esoteric study. Watching the original trilogy almost makes you a virtual citizen of Tatooine. When the newer prequels arrived, you could see how sacrificing real sets and characters hurt the overall impact. You can't walk through a green screen and kick a droid. Thankfully, a game master running a SW campaign has access not only to the classic D6 rules but also the wikis that fill in missing fluff from the comics, novels, animations, and video games.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Boukensha of the Unknown Release

After scanning some cartoon adventurer art, I uploaded the SotU-based game to my google drive. I put a lot of emphasis on distinct races and a chart of JRPG heirlooms for PCs. A wacky bestiary would be nice for a reverse side expansion, but I'm working on my Dungeon Siege monsters right now.


Lastly, a close up picture of the equipped Human, Half-Kitsune, Kappa, and Kotengu!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Dragonslayer's Urland - A Pictish Game Realm?

scene cut from the film?

A while ago, I made a hex map of the Isle of Skye, the shooting location for the Paramount/Disney movie. The fortifications shown on film (and on my map) don't exist yet, in the time I believe the story is set. Based on old articles and the scenes with "clerics", the time is before the turn of the 7th century. Hence, Dragonslayer is a movie about early Dark Ages sorcery, in a kingdom of the Picts/Prydyn. Although swords and spears would've been used by warriors, their home was not a tall 10~12th century donjon. Rather, the inhabitants would be fortunate to have a walled hillfort with a squat tower called a Broch. The construction style was common all along Western Europe, even in Celtic Iberia.

 
The enclaves were almost always along the coastline or near a loch. My new map of this highland province is a bit larger, and shows forts with a red flag. For D&D use, I placed skull markers for mountainous monster zones. The one on the island is a dragon lair, of course. I'd guess that the greatest population would be far to the East near modern Inverness. Clerics and monks would be traveling up from the Irish kingdom of Dal Riata (shown in orange). Now, I must choose which part of Europe I want my Bronze Age game to feature. Ancient Scotland joins Cantabria and Urashtu for contention!




Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Boukensha of the Unknown: 1 page RPG Soon

My Searchers of XOLGMOD hack strayed a bit from the original concept by keeping some basic classes. Authentic mods of SotU should follow the "monster stat block" approach, with only a few changes to mechanical rules like initiative or such. Boukensha (Japanese for adventurers) offers assorted races and starting gear that borrows from the JRPG genre. Playing non-humans and wielding weapons of the orient is to be expected. For even more flavor, there is a list of PC heirlooms that mixes D&D with console classics like Breath of Fire and Final Fantasy.

I did change how stunt/save rolls work. Non-combat tests are divided into fast or slow matters. A reflexive jump to avoid a trap is a fast (Hayai) roll, and is modified by level and armor type. Investigating a statue is a slow (Osoi) roll, and has a better chance of success if extra time is taken and help from other PCs is given.

Once I sketch some "manga" art for the center of the page, I will release Boukensha as a PDF.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Universal Erol Otus NPCS

Heroes/Victims of numerous TSR adventures, place this (chaotic?) trio in any fantasy game:

HELMETED FIGHTER
Race: Human or Young Dwarf
Fights with (1D6): Enchanted Spear from dragon hoard, Silvered War Pick, Bronze Battle Ax of Aberration slaying, Pole Ax cast entirely from life-draining martian alloy, Guardsman's iron halberd, Scimitar of 99 Ghouls.
Battle dress (1D6): Riveted Leather and horned helmet, Nothing but magic boots & belt, Centurion's Splint with eagle helm, Golden half-plate from a distant desert kingdom, Giant Badger pelts, Tribal Cloak of Speed and Ring Mail Vest.


LADY CLERIC
Race: Human or Young Drow
Fights with: Magic Morningstar and throwing dagger.
Battle Dress: Elven Mail+2 from the Underdark or Studded Leather & Shield of Reflection.
Favorite Incantation: Glyph of Warding or Cause Serious Wounds


STRANGE SORCERER
Race: Half-Elf or Elder Gnome
Fights with: (1D3) Rod of Eldritch Flame, Wand of Conjuration, Staff of Storms.
Battle Dress (1D3): Bejeweled Tunic and curled Cap of Control, Violet Robes of the Abyss and unholy skullcap, Nobleman's Silk Doublet of Resistance and Tasseled Hat.
Favorite Incantation (1D3): Mass Suggestion, Lightning Bolt, Globe of Invulnerability.