Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Goings On

It's been a while since I've posted anything, so I figured that since now is as good of a time as any to talk about what's been going on. First off, the video game bug has bit me again. I finally finished my play-through of Dragon Age: Inquisition. It took me over 110 hours to complete the game and the expansion packs. That's an insane amount of content! The story was much better than Dragon Age 2, which is also enjoyed, and it's got me jonesing for the next installment. I then started in on playing The Witcher 3, which so far is easily my favorite installment. The Witcher games have all been good, but falter with lackluster controls and interface, that is not the case in TW3. I highly recommend either game to anyone wanting to play a CRPG with a lot of content and a great story.

On the tabletop side, I'm splitting my time between my White Star Hack and the Savage Worlds/Rogue Space versions of Mythic Space. On the WSH front, I've changed direction a bit and starting at the base mechanics and working back from there. Most of what powers White Star is still there, but I need to tweak skills, how many points are right per class per level and how the Alternity-styled skillset works with creatures and NPC's so that the statblocks are still easy to use and build. I hope to be able to post the Character Creation section soon with the full skillset, classes, and a few example races to boot.

On the Savage Worlds/Rogue Space front, I've been working on a Species of the Concord book that serves as source for the most common species found in the Galactic Concord. I'm standardizing the information presented so that each entry flows well with each other. I've also been toying with the idea of making two sourcebooks, one for SW and another for RS, so that players of either system only have to look at one set of racial information. The fluff will be same throughout both books, however. I want to offer up both as pdf downloads, but we'll see.

In any case, with the holidays right around the corner there's no telling how much time I'll be able to devote to anything until after. Hopefully, I'll get some time to get enough put together to post of teasers.

I've also developed a love of Green Ronin's Fantasy AGE system. I've long had the Dragon Age games, and picked up the collected edition after it was released, but never did anything with it. When the Fantasy AGE Basic Rulebook was released, I checked it out as well. It wasn't until I was nearing the end of my play of DA:I that I really started to get into the game. Not saying that I'm going to switch my fantasy system from Swords & Wizardry to FAGE, but I'm wanting to kick the tires on that system to see if it plays as well as I think it does. Just what I need, another game to take up my meager free time!

Lastly, I've also been tinkering with Marvels & Mutants 2 and meshing more of Marvel Superheroes with it. However, I'm toying with the idea of standardizing powers by using ICONS power set with the rules. Both use similar enough systems that it should prove easy to do, and it will (hopefully) make generating powers easier and with fewer one-off powers as is found in MSH. I'm just in the planning stages on this ATM, and unless my oldest boy takes more of an interest in superhero gaming, this is one project that is easily cast to the back burner.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

White Star Hack Update: Characters

Now that baseball is over for the year (congrats to my KC Royals!), I'm putting in more time to working on cementing my White Star Hack rules. Today, I'm going to cover how character creation will work.

First off, use the normal attribute score generation method that you prefer. The scale of the bonuses has been changed to
1-3          -3
4-6          -2
7-9          -1
10-12  -/+ 0
13-15      +1
16-18      +2
Ever 3 points after 18 confers an additional +1 bonus

The Attributes essentially cover the same areas that they do in nearly all OSR games. However, the big change is that Intelligence dictates the number of starting skill points that a character has to spend on skills at level 1, so Intelligence will be very useful even to warrior types that typically don't need a high INT score.

Once attribute scores have been generated, you'll select your race. Races are structured much like 3E-era D&D races. There may be bonuses and/or penalties to attributes, special abilities, etc. Each race will also have access to six Broad Skills for free. Broad Skills are the gateways to more specialized skills. Purchasing Broad Skills is expensive, but there are no ranks. By purchasing a Broad Skill, a character can attempt any specialized skill (that can be used untrained) under than umbrella without an Untrained penalty, but they can only apply their attribute bonus to the skill roll.

Once the race is selected, the player then selects a class. There are 5 classes to choose from: Diplomat, Freelancer, Psion, Tech, and Warrior. Make a note of any special notes or abilities for the class and then spend skill points on skills. Each class has a list of skills that are tied to that class. Buying a rank in a specialized skill requires the character to first have that Broad Skill. So a Diplomat can't purchase a rank in Pistol without first paying the cost to purchase the "Modern Ranged Weapons" Broad Skill first, even then that is considered a cross-class skill for a Diplomat, unless the Diplomat's second class is Warrior. Purchasing Broad Skills costs 6 skill points, while class skill ranks only cost 1 point, and cross-class skills cost 2 points.

Instead of Alignments, the player will select a Moral Attitude and some character traits. These don't dictate the way the character is played, but can give the player an idea of how they wish their character to act, and they give the GM an idea of what to expect.

Once skills are set, the player then rolls for starting credits and purchases equipment.

Skills is going to be the most time-consuming part of the character creation process. Even then, compared to Alternity, the process moves much quicker since I've pared down the costs and number of points that are being dealt with.

Next up, I'll talk more in depth about how classes are structured.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


I've got a couple announcements, one minor, one bigger (at least for the direction of the blog that is).

First off, I'll be adding some page tabs to the blog that collect posts pertaining to certain subjects. In case you think you missed something, want to easily find an old post, or want to catch up if you're new to the blog it'll be a lot easier to find what you're looking for.

Secondly, and more importantly, I'm going to take a stab at creating a hack of White Star. For those that don't know what White Star is, it's a sci-fi/space opera game based on the White Box version of the Swords & Wizardry rules. I use S&W for all my fantasy gaming because it's simple and easily expandable. I like White Star as it is for the most part, but there are certain things I prefer in my sci-fi games that WS just doesn't deliver on. Really, from what I've got in mind, only the basic rules will truly be WS with many other parts of the game being greatly changed or expanded to suit my tastes.

Why am I attempting this? Honestly, it's the desire to kit bash a lot of bits and pieces I like from various systems into a cohesive whole. I like fiddling with systems, and ever since I read WS I haven't been able to shake the desire to tear into it and see if I can make something that both I and my group will really like. That desire has really derailed a lot of my other pursuits in other games...which has lead to a greatly diminished post count on the blog.

Work on what I'm going to tag as "White Star Hack" is likely to put the breaks on new Savage Worlds and Rogue Space material, but I'm not giving up on those games. RS still sees a lot of play, and I'm 99% completed with my re-grouping of the SW rules to fit my needs for Mythic Space. In fact, a lot of new material after WSH is done will more than likely sport stats for all three systems.

So what will this hack of WS contain? Here's a preliminary list:

  • A skill system modified from the great Alternity rules. In fact, much of the game is going to be geared towards the skill system, but I'm going to change up the points and costs to limit some of the math to keep character generation and advancement flowing quickly. 
  • Race and Class separated. Racial Classes have never been a big favorite of mine, so I'm going to divorce the two in WSH. 
  • 5 classes: Warriors (I haven't settled on that name, but Soldier, Mercenary, and the like are also being batted around), Rogues (also considering Freelancer and Scoundrel), Diplomats, Technicians (I may just call them "Techs"), and Psions. 
  • Variable damage for weapons and gear drawn from many D20 sources like D20 Future.
  • Changing around how monster stats are derived. I detailed some of these ideas here in the past. While some things like creature attack bonuses might be modified, much of that will likely stand. 
  • Starship rules will largely remain unchanged from what is found in WS. 
  • Expansion of Cybernetics rules. There will be more cybergear, rules on the installation of cybergear, and on the loss of humanity. 
  • A simple mutations system.
  • Skill-based Psionics
  • More of a true toolbox feel with less overt Star Wars references. 
All in all, I hope to create something that I want to run and maybe give something that others may want to kick around as well that still feels light and fast and easy to run. While this hack will be crunchier than the White Star standard, I have no desire to bog the system down with over-complicated and over-drawn rules. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

KIC 846285

As I'm sure many of you have heard, the Kepler Space Telescope found something interesting about 1400 light years away. There is an old star that is dimming over 20% at time during the last 4 years of study. Now, when a planet occludes a star, the dip in brightness is usually around 1%, so a 20% + drop is pretty astounding. If this was a young star, then it could possibly be chalked up to debris that will likely eventually become planets, but that's not the case. So what is it? There have been theories from planetary collisions, comet swarms, to Dyson Sphere objects built by an alien civilization.

In case you don't know what a Dyson Sphere is, they are hypothetical structures that would be built around a star to collect all of its solar energy output. It's the kind of thing you'd only see in sci-fi (one was part of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation).

While the idea of why KIC 846285 is dimming so much being caused by aliens is certainly an attention-grabbing headline, I sincerely doubt that is what's going on there. Still, if it is an advanced alien society building Dyson objects, that would give me hope for humanity for several reasons. One is simply for the knowledge that we are not alone in the cosmos. The ramifications of this would send shockwaves through not only the scientific community, but religion and everyday culture as well. Even if that culture has died out in the 1400 years it took that light to get here, the simple fact that there has been intelligent life other than humans in the cosmos would be amazing to say the least. Plus, since KIC 846285 is so close (cosmologically speaking), it would make the theories of Duncan Forgan, who figures there are anywhere from 361 to 37,964 intelligent species in the galaxy right now, seem like undershots. Out of the 100,000 light years, there are 2 intelligent species within 1400 light years would certainly point that the galaxy may be more densely populated than originally thought. Lastly, it would give me hope that there is a society out there that shows that survival is possible. Survival not just against everything the universe can throw at a little ball of rock, but that survival against the odds we place in our own way can be overcome. All the petty political, social, religious, racial, and financial differences can be overcome to allow not just survival, but also the colonization of the rest of the solar system and maybe beyond. I really do think that if humankind is going to survive into the far future, it will have to be in the rest of solar system. However, we can't seem to see past our own bank accounts, our own gods, even simply the color of our own skin to realize that we're all in this together. That will likely damn us to extinction sooner than another world-killer asteroid.

Since I don't think that it is aliens (I'm leaning more on the side of planetary collision or some other giant mass spreading event), is it really worth looking at KIC 846285? Absolutely. We've found something outside of the norm. Even if alien intelligence isn't the cause that's still exciting and certainly "sexy" from the standpoint of astronomers getting to study something strange that will expand our knowledge of the cosmos. That's exciting, certainly moreso than just throwing "Aliens" into a title to get the clicks.

Still, it is fun to dream...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Citadel

The Citadel is the seat of power for the Galactic Concord. Resting in the sparsely populated Prome Cloud in the heart of the Concord, the Citadel is an ancient space station still filled with mystery and secrets left uncovered. It is the largest space station in Concord space, not including the Space Hulk, The Aegis of Time.

The Citadel was discovered by the Asari over 300 standard years ago. At the time, it was believed to be an ancient Prothean station. However, since the re-emergence of the Protheans it has been discovered that the Citadel pre-dates even the Protheans, and may be as old as the infamous Space Hulks. Attempts to date the strange compounds that make up the construction of the Citadel have proven fruitless as well.

The Citadel does have a "natural" inhabitant, the bio-mechanical Keepers. These strange creatures are a form of biological insectoid with extensive nanotech upgrades that are as much a part of them as lungs and hearts are to other species. The Keepers have never conversed with anyone, even now that the Citdael is home to millions of workers, security forces, ambassadors, and Senators. They go about their day keeping the Citadel up and running. They take no orders from anyone and ignore all attempts to communicate with them. If they are kept from completing a task, they will simply move on and return at a later time. Attempts to capture and study Keepers have largely failed as well. All Keepers that have been detained for study have gone into a kill sequence that not only destroys the Keeper, but breaks the corpse down into a gelatinous goo of base materials. Doubly frustrating is that all attempts to track the Keepers have failed as well. Their nanotech renders any attempt to track them with technology inert. Attempt to mark their shells wtih paint are also countered by their nanotech as the paint is broken down leaving their shells the original olive green in color. To date, it is unknown what the total number of Keepers on the Citadel actually is. Its also unknown if the Keepers mate or if they are clones, where they live on the Citadel, and if they are truly sentient or some form of bio-mechanical drone controlled by a central computer or even by an unseen being living in the Citadel. What is known is that they are an integral part of Citadel maintenance, and are protected by law from the current inhabitants of the station. Interfering with a Keeper in its duties and causing harm to a Keeper is met with hefty fines and even the threat of incarceration and or banishment from the Citadel.

The Citadel was not originally home of the Concord. When the Great Alliance first formed, the Sol Systems Alliance space station, Babylon 8, was chosen as a headquarters. However, once the Illithid Invasion was broken and the Galactic Concord was established, it quickly became obvious that the aging space station was going to prove insufficient for the duties of the Concord. The Asari offered the Citadel as an option grudgingly at first. The Asari had kept the discovery of the Citadel a secret for many years. Even when word about the Citadel leaked, they kept the station under strict guard, only allowing rigorously vetted science teams access to the facility. As the Galactic Concord grew, and the possibility of any planetary body being a home quickly ruled out, the Asari offered the Citadel to the Concord on the condition that they be granted a permanent seat on the Council.

The Citadel consists of six areas, five wards (Zakera, Kithoi, Tayseri, Bachjret, and Shalta), each spanning an arm of the station and are metropolises in and of themselves, and the Presidium, which houses the Senate. The Wards are each vast cities, complete with neighborhoods, shops, entertainment, and infrastructure (shipping/recieving, waste removal, etc.). The Keepers maintain the overall integrity of the Citadel, but the Concord employs workers to maintain the systems that have been installed to ensure the survival and comfort of Concord member species and visiting delegates from other stellar nations. Each Ward has a population of roughly 8 million people. An artificial atmosphere is maintained at all by the highest floors of the various skyscrapers that dot the Wards, so the streets and thoroughfares are essentially open to the void of space though kept a comfortable temperature and gravitational force for most species. Specialized atmospheres and accomodations for species that do not breathe oxygen or have other environmental requirements are provided in certain areas of each Ward.

Each Ward has its own feel, but there are some constants. Generally, the ringward sides and the edges of the arms hold the most expensive and posh neighborhoods in each Ward. Zakera is widely regarded as the safest Ward. Bachjret is generally regarded as the poorest Ward. However, each Ward has their good and seedy areas. Generally, the deeper into the Ward that you go, both long-ways and under the surface, the seedy the areas get. As it goes in most cities, the further from the light a society gets, the more the criminal element moves in.

The Presidium is the central ring of the station. Most of the buildings here are related to Galactic Concord business. The Senate is housed here in the Spire, the large tower that stretches from the Presidium ring to the center of the Citadel ring. The offices of many of the senators and Concord agencies are also housed in the Presidium, as well as the homes of the Council members. As the Galactic Concord continues to grow, many agency offices and some senatorial offices have moved to the ringward portions of the Wards. The Presidium is enclosed, complete with a holographic sky (set to the Concord standard 20 hour day). The Presidium is also home to the most beautiful park space and highest end shops and restaurants in the Citadel.

Security is tight on the Citadel. C-Sec controls the flow of people coming and going at the customs offices located in several points in each Ward as well as being the everyday police force. As would be expected, the threat of terrorism on the Citadel is high, so keeping close tabs on who and what are coming aboard is a constant concern. The Concord Navy also maintains a presence in and around the Citadel. The Bastion, the headquarters of the Concord Navy, is housed on the far edge of Kithoi Ward. There are also five dreadnaughts, two carriers with full fighter squadrons, and a full battalion of troops are stationed on the Citadel as well. Add in the orbital defenses, the cannon batteries installed by both the Asari and the Concord, and the ability for the Citadel close the Wards in together for maximum protection and the Citadel is one of the most heavily defended installations in the galaxy.

Despite the security, there is a thriving criminal element on the Citadel. The marging of various cultures and societies leads to a veritable smorgasbord of vices and appetites to sake. Various gangs, syndicates, and cartels all maintain a presence on the Citadel. Smuggling in contraband is a full-time job for these organizations. Despite the best efforts of C-Sec, contraband makes it through both by the ingenuity of the smugglers and the bribes given to C-Sec customs officials.

Friday, October 09, 2015


I'm not making any promises, but it looks like I'm finally gettin out of both the heavy season of extra-cirriculuar activities and this creative funk I've been in so I should actually be posting something in the very near future.

I've been waffling a bit between Savage Worlds and wanting to take a stab at hacking White Star into something more palpable to what I like. Don't get me wrong, White Star is a great game, but there are certain aspects that don't really grab me like race-as-class and d6 for all damage. However, much like with Swords & Wizardry, White Star is the kind of game that begs to be hacked and molded into something else. I did that with S&W and I like the results, so I've been thinking of doing the same with WS. The only thing holding me back is Savage Worlds scratches my sci-fi itch better. I've never been the biggest fan of classes in sci-fi games, unless they are pretty loosely defined. Plus, I've pretty much finished my re-write/re-grouping of the SW core rules to encompass the Sci-Fi companion and other bits from other SW sci-fi games (finally, and sorry for my and my group's own use only). A lot of work went into that tome, and it's tough to just walk away from that to start on another massive undertaking. Plus, with the Savaged version of Rifts on the horizon, I have a feeling that my thoughts will be going right back to SW once that gets released.

For the time being, unless the lure of tearing apart and rebuilding White Star in my unholy image become too much to ignore, I'm going to stay the course with write-ups for species and creatures for Savage Worlds and Rogue Space. Rather than locking myself into any one set project, I'm going to get back to just writing about whatever I want. Now that the core rules are done I'm into just adding the bits and fluff to the setting, which honestly is more fun. The one thing that will tie all the posts together is that they will be focused on detailing parts of my Mythic Space setting. Some will be about creatures found on various worlds, while others may cover conversions from other systems or from comics or whatever.

I found that when I focused on converting stuff from a single source for too long, I just lost interest (like with the string of Spelljammer conversions). I had more fun when I just focused on whatever I was interested at the time (like when I converted various Marvel aliens). That's not to say that I won't go back and offer another batch of Spelljammer conversions in the future, or finally finish my post on the Tyrant Expanse, but they'll wait until I'm really into it rather than feeling like I need to do it because I said I would. (Really, Beholders are such a mechanical pain in the ass, and I've thought and re-thought about how I want to implement them both mechanically and thematically so much that I just need to step back and look at them again at a later time...maybe much later...)

I should be more active now that the summer is over, and the fall sports season is done for my oldest son. I've been far too lax in my creative endeavors, so I'm looking to exploring the galaxy once again!

Friday, August 07, 2015

Return to the Dungeon Crawl

Last week I bought the Warhammer Quest video game on Steam. While it's plagued with the actrocious idea that everything from characters to monsters to tilesets needs to be its own DLC pack, it is a fairly faithful translation of the classic (dare I say "ultimate") dungeon crawling boardgame. I've been battling my way through dungeon after dungeon in a quest for loot and levels and thoroughly enjoying every second. It got me in the mood again to look at both my own collection of dungeon crawler board games and what is coming on the horizon, not to mention the idea of putting together a dungeon crawler of my own as well.

On the horizon is Dungeon Saga from Mantic Games. It looks a lot like Warhammer Quest, which isn't surprising since Mantic makes a lot of games that are similar to many Games Workshop titles from Blood Bowl to Warhammer 40K and Fantasy. (Seriously, check them out at Mantic Games. They are the anti-Games Workshop with good games, great minis, and a company that really seems to care about their customers.) What really interests me with this game is the Adventurer's Companion that is going to contain rules for creating heroes based on figs from your own collection, no matter who made the mini. You'd never see Games Workshop do that! I'm eagerly awaiting Dungeon Saga's release next month, and I hope that it's quickly carried by a retailer stateside.

I've got a lot of these kind of games from the well known (Heroquest, Castle Ravenloft, and Descent) to the obscure (Dragonfire to an older D&D board game from the early 90's whose name escapes me at the moment) and a ton of minis from those game as well as a vast assortment of other figures from Reaper to Mage Knight to the D&D prepainted minis line. It would be great to draw up on that vast store of figures and dust them off for some crawling action. However, as it's been with deciding on what rules to use for my Mythic Space setting, deciding on which system to adapt my collection to has been tough. With Dungeon Saga still a month away, I think what I'm going to do is adapt the Warhammer Quest system into my own game.

Warhammer Quest hits the sweet spot for me in terms of crunch and ease of play. However, I am going to make a few changes to how the system works. I'm going to D20-ify it a bit. Gone will be thw WS charts. Instead, characters will have a base bonus. The bonus will be rolled against the opponent's Melee bonus +10. Much of the game still runs very much the same, however. I'm also changing up character creation a bit. I'm going with a race/class set up. That way I can have elven rogues alongside halfling clerics and dwarven warriors. Classes have set stats with the races adding in possible modifiers and a racial ability or two. Classes will have a selection of abilties to choose from at start and others for when the characters level up. The Winds of Magic still plays a huge part in both keeping spellcasters in check and adding an extra element of danger to the dungeon.

Monster stats will run in much the same way as well. Opponent spellcasters will often roll on a random table of spells to determine what spell is cast (for co-op or solo games). Many of the monster special abilities will be standardized to make the game flow faster.

I'm still knocking around ideas for how I'm going to handle treasure. I'm thinking I may simplify the charts I use to randomize magic items in S&W (which is modified from the Diablo II rpg sets). However, the idea of having a set of cards to just draw treasure from has a lot of appeal as well, even if is would mean more work on my part.

As for the dungeon creation system, I'm going to largely use my Warhammer Quest sets since that's the rules base as well, but I do have some ideas for using D&D Adventure games tiles as well.

Unlike many other projects, this one seems to be going really fast. It's a nice change of pace to work on a light-hearted, really simple game for a while. That said, I'm starting to feel the itch to get back to Mythic Space. We'll see. If I keep playing Warhammer Quest, I may stick with this for a while...

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Fantasy Flight Games Once Again Wants All My Money

Well, it's Gen Con time again and once again it's time for a crap-ton of new game announcements. Now, I'm going to delve into the news that is coming out about Savage Worlds, but since there is so damn much that has come out and is continuing to hit, I'm going to wait to post about that later. Let's just say that Rifts is shaping up nicely (even though it's release has been pushed into early next year) and there is a LOT of great SW material coming out!

In this post I want to focus on Fantasy Flight Games. FFG has always been pretty prolific, and make some really great games. Much of my board game shelf space is made up of their offerings. They have announced a ton of new games and expansions that are going to bust what little game budget I have these days. Not just bust, but obliterate. It will likely be a long time before I catch up with all of these games, but at least there's always something exciting on the horizon!

First off is the next wave of expansions for Imperial Assault. Now, the next wave hasn't shipped yet (should be soon since they've been listed as "on the boat" for nearly 2 months now, and there's a wave in between the one about to hit and the one announced this week, so there's a lot of material in the pipe for IA. This wave will add Hoth-based characters, missions, scenarios, and tiles to the game. the wave will consist of a new small box expansion that will add the tiles, 3 new hero characters (including a Mon Calamarian and a 2-1B Medical Droid), 6 snowtroopers, 3 HK Assassin Droids, 2 Wampas (!), and a SC2-M Repulsor Tank! Just like with the small box expansion that is due out soon, this one will feature a bounty hunter as well, Dengar, who will be one of the figure expansions in this wave. The other figures will be Princess Leia in her Hoth gear, Echo Base Trooper ally pack, and a General Sorin villain pack. I really like IA and hope this trend of numerous expansion waves each year continues.

Next up is new material for Descent 2nd Edition. A new box expansion, the Mists of Bilehall, Unlike other expansion sets for Descent, this one won't offer up an new heroes or expansions of class skill sets. Nope, Bilehall is all about bolstering the strength of the Overlord player. The theme for this set is creepy undead menaces. Along with a new one act campaign, the set will include new rules for Tainted heroes, 12 figures: 6 Reanimates (skeletons), 3 Broodwalkers (disease-ridden zombies covered in bugs), and 3 Bone Horrors (a sort of snake like golem made completely out of bones). This set will also introduce 3 new Lieutenants for the Overlord as well as figure expansions for each. (I've never picked up any of the Lieutenant packs. Never seemed like they added much to the game.)

There's a new edition of Runebound coming out by the end of the year (more likely early next year). The Terrain Dice are still a factor, but the game is touted as being different enough that none of the earlier material will be compatible. Only 4 heroes are included in the base game, which is a big change as well. There will be differing paths that heroes can take on their journey to complete their quest: Combat, Social, and Exploration. A hero can focus on one arena to complete their goals or mix and match the three. The combat is very, very different and one aspect that interests me. Both the hero and the creature toss or roll a bunch of tokens. Depending on how these land each can use them to attack defend power special attacks/spells and so forth. I've had a love-hate relationship with Runebound in the past. The first edition was, well, it just wasn't very fun. The Second edition was much improved, but it still just didn't grab me. I like the idea of what the game is trying to do, but it just hasn't clicked yet. That said, I am interested, which is why I'm posting about it, but this is one that I will definitely wait until I can try it out at the FLGS first.

Finally we come to the "big dog" of FFG's announcements: a new Warhammer Quest. I've been a huge fan of WQ since I first laid eyes on it back in 1996. I now own two base sets, the Catacombs of Terror expansion, and several of the expansion hero packs. That's not even counting the mountains of new monsters and heroes I've either created or downloaded of the net over the years. Needless to say, I'm a big fan of WQ, so seeing the banner across the top of FFG's homepage made me giddy like a schoolgirl. However, my hopes of a new and updated dungeon crawler with a solo component was quickly dashed by finding out this version of WQ is a card game. I should have known. There is little chance of FFG putting out a new version of WQ in the style of the original game when they have the Descent line. While I would vastly prefer the new WQ be more like the old, I am interested in this new game. I've never been one for card games beyond poker and blackjack. They largely don't interest me. However, the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game has shown me that such a game is possible and can be interesting. I have my doubts that a card game will be able to capture the same feel as the original dungeon crawler, but I will be itching to try this out once it hits later on this year (once again, knowing FFG's schedule it'll likely be early next year).

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Coming Out of the Dark

Jeesh, what a couple of months, between work, my eldest son's baseball games and practices, vacation, and more work I haven't had much time to do much of any writing lately. Honestly, while I have worked on some system tweaks for my master rules for the Savage Worlds version of Mythic Space, I haven't really felt very inspired to write. I've been in a nearly two month funk, and it doesn't show any sign of easing up. Oh well.

Part of my malaise is that damned ol' gamer ADD. I've been thinking about systems again. With the release of White Star, I've been thinking about the Frankenstein's Monster of a heartbreaker I was writing a year or two ago. There are a couple of other systems that have caught my eye as well. I'm becoming more interested in Numenera and The Strange with the Cypher System Core Rules on the horizon. My initial read through of those books left me a bit cold but interested enough to keep them on the shelf. Something has got me checking them out again. I'm still not sold on the system, but they are damn pretty books.

The other system I've been keeping my eye on is E.N. Publishing's W.O.I.N. system. Russ Morrissey is working hard on getting this out. You can check out the starter set and the ever-changing SRD at the link above. Dice pool systems are typically my bag, and the system reads like there's a lot of crunch there, but don't let it fool you. The game plays pretty damned smooth once you get the hang of it, which doesn't take long (from what I got to see during a playtest).

I did pick up and get several new board games between Father's Day and my birthday. I haven't got to do much with them yet, but I hope to soon. I now have in my collection Star Wars Imperial Assault, Dungeonquest Revised, Drakon (the new edition), Robo Rally, The Adventurers: The Pyramid of Horus, the Blood in the Forest expansion for Last Night on Earth, all but the Pretty Pretty Smash Up expansion for Smash Up, and Cards Against Humanity. Not too bad of a haul!

Friday, June 12, 2015

More Thoughts on the new Marvel Universe (SPOILERS AHEAD)

It's a very slow day today at the office, so I found myself perusing a bit reading about the goings on at Marvel and around comics in general. I've heard rumors about big changes in store for the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, and now it appears that we may have an idea of where these teams are going (or not going) once the revamped Marvel U is unveiled.

There will be spoilers ahead, you have been warned so don't cry to me if you keep reading.

First to the Fantastic Four. I was never a big fan of the FF when I was a kid, but as I've gotten older I've developed and appreciation for what the FF brought to the Marvel U. I still think a lot of the stories are hokey and goofy, but there's a sense of wonder and innocence in the early tales that is really hard to come by today (though you can still get that feel from the Guardians of the Galaxy...or at least I do). The FF has been a cornerstone of the Marvel U pretty much since the beginning. It's hard to imagine Marvel without Reed and the gang galivanting around the world and the cosmos battling aliens, monsters, and super-villains with fisticuffs and super-science...well, get ready, the FF are about to be no more. It's no secret that Marvel has had a rough relationship with Fox, who owns the movie rights to the Fantastic Four (and the X-Men). Two crappy movies, and what looks and sounds like a third on the way and little to no desire to cooperate like Sony (who own the movie rights to Spidey) has, has forced Marvel to play hardball the only way they can: by wiping out the team in the new universe. (See the story here, but be wary of spoilers.) The book is ending it's storied run, and there will be little merchandising for the team beyond trade paperbacks. The characters will still be part of the MU (or at least most of them), but they are going to be part of different teams.

As for the X-Men, the movie rights are also owned by Fox, but unlike the FF the X-Men are still big sellers for Marvel/Disney. The X-Men will still have their own book(s), but they will be living somewhere else in the cosmos. (Read about all of this here.) This doesn't feel quite as jarring of a change since the X-Men have had an element of spaciness to it since the beginning of the Chris Claremont run, and recent events between the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy have pointed the team in that direction as well. The Inhumans are hoped to take the place of the mighty mutants on Earth however. They'll still be part of the Universe, but they won't have much interaction with it. Like the FF, Marvel is pulling the lisences for X-Men toys, models, and so on as well. So again, playing hardball the only way they can: limiting brand prominence in the comics in hopes of de-valuing the brand for Fox.

It's highly speculated that the new Marvel U will look a lot more like the Cinematic Universe. Marvel/Disney would love all of their characters to be a part of that universe. Really, the recent Marvel movies have been great, so I'd love to see what they could do with Spider-Man, the FF, and the X-Men (though other than X3 and Origins: Wolverine Fox has done fairly well with the X-Men franchise...the FF...not so much). This is among one of the things that is really kind of putting me off on the new vision of the Marvel Universe. I realize that Marvel/Disney wants to maximize profits, and they have every right to do so, and they may even be able to pull off the changes to the FF and X-Men in a way that doesn't frankly suck, but the reasons behind these changes are always going to suck and have nothing to do with the comics themselves. Good thing that Sony is allowing use of Spider-Man in small doses, otherwise there may not be a Peter Parker in the new Marvel U...which may be why there are so many other Spider-folk running about.

In the end, I really do hope that Marvel/Disney are able to one again get the rights to all of their franchises back from Sony and Fox. Many of the movies for Spidey have been alright to great (ASM2 and SM3 notwithstanding) like most of the X-Men movies have been good. It's obvious that Fox doesn't know what to do with the Fantastic Four (we'll see how the new movie goes, but it's doesn't sound promising at all), and with there not being a FF book on the racks at all, one would think that Fox will finally relent and sell the right back. Plus, the FF aren't as popular as the X-Men, and haven't been for 30 years now (if not longer), so that brand value will likely only continue to deteriorate if the next movie flops and there isn't a dedicated FF book to keep it in the public eye. Spidey will be tougher to get back since the movies make money even if they aren't always that great. The X-Men...right now Fox is doing alright with their strange universe, but we'll see what happens after X-Men: Apocalypse. As least they aren't completely screwing that up like the FF.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Rebooting Universes

It's happening again, DC is rebooting the DCU (a "soft" reboot this time, but a reboot none the less) and now Marvel is following suit. When the New 52 came along I gave it a shot, and after a the third month I realized that it's just not for me. I gave up on the DCU, and really the reboot made it easy to walk away. Really, I've always been more of a Marvel man anyway. With the Marvel reboot, I'm faced with the same situation: do I keep going or is this another good opportunity to jump ship?

I'm not really keen on what I'm seeing out of the previews for the new Marvel Universe. So far, it's really Spider-heavy. (I thought the Spider-Gwen idea was great for the Spider-verse storyline, but not as a regular character in the main universe.) Granted, we haven't seen the entirety of the new line-up from Marvel, but so far it's not really all that exciting to me. I'll give it 2-3 months to see what I think, but this may be where Marvel and I part ways (except for their Star Wars series, which have been very good so far).

I have to say that I'm more than just a little bit sad with the Marvel reboot. Marvel typically went the route of the in-story retcon. Many times, these were silly retcons, but sometimes they are done well enough that they don't annoy me. (Dark Phoenix Saga is one of my favorite Marvel storylines, which was really just a big retcon.) Still, silly or not, those story-based retcons are what I prefer because they keep the universe in tact (by and large). Marvel kept the decades of history in tact and didn't reboot the universe everytime they wrote themselves into a corner. I guess those days are least for now. After all, the only constant in comic universes is that nothing is permanent. (Although DC tripping all over themselves with just about every move they make is nearing a level of permanency rarely seen in comic history...)

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

I know, I know...

Yeesh, it's been a long time since I've posted much of anything lately. I am back home from my work detail, but I haven't had a lot of time to write...well...that's not entirely true. This last weekend I allowed myself to get sucked back into Civilization V. I played the Germans to a science victory by 1922 over the weekend, so I think that I've got that out of my system for a while...maybe...

However, I've been mulling some things over. The release of White Star has me blowing the dust off of my Alternity/D20 Modern/SWN Frankenstein's Monster of a game. Plus, I'm still dealing with a some pretty serious writer's fatigue. I don't know that I can even truly call it writer's fatigue rather than general fatigue from work, travel, home obligations, etc. that have sapped my desire to do much more of anything other than veg out when I get home. I can't say whether or not I'm going to do much work with it or just stick with Savage Worlds and Rogue Space, but we'll see.

On the gaming front, though, I ordered a copy of Star Wars: Imperial Assault (and I'm going to place an order for the first round of character packs shortly). I like Descent, which IA uses a very close version of that system. It sounds like a load of fun, plus, it's Star Wars. Even if the game stinks, I'm still getting a load of cool miniatures I can use elsewhere, not to mention game boards.

At any rate, I'm feeling the itch to be a bit more creative again. Not sure how much of that will reach the blog as opposed to just getting stuff written in general, but after the last few weeks of just nothing that's a step in the right direction.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Delays and Quandries

I've been basically nonexistent around here lately. I just haven't either had the time to write or if I had the time, I haven't had the desire. I'm on the road for work right now, living out of a hotel in Texas. While I do have my laptop with me and it's loaded with everything I'd need to churn out adaptations, I've been too exhausted at the end of the day to do anything other than lay on the bed and watch TV. I hope to get to some writing today, but we'll see. It's been a long week and I'm staring down the barrel of another long week before I finally get to head home.

The other aspect of why I haven't written much of anything lately, is that White Star hit the e-shelves, and I've been digesting it of late. It's a great OSR sci-fi game based on the Swords and Wizardry White Box rules. It's got me considering dusting off my own combo hack of S&W/SWN/D20 Modern/Alternity. However, while I like the game and hope to get a chance to play sometime soon once I get home, I still waffle on wanting to change gears back to OSR sci-fi. On the plus side, I can eyeball the heck out OSR games. The system has long since become second nature to me. However, there's that block in my head that doesn't like a class & level based system for sci-fi. It's silly. Levels and classes work just as well for sci-fi as they do for fantasy, but I just can't seem to get past it. It would make conversion/adaptation a breeze if I switched, but I don't know that that is enough for me to make the change (again).

Still, I highly recommend checking out White Star. It's pretty heavily inspired by Star Wars, but there are a lot of homebrew classes out there now that will allow you to swap out the SW elements for a flavor more to your liking.

Sunday, May 03, 2015


I had every intention to get my first post about the Tyrant Expanse posted this weekend, but then I came down with a wicked head cold. Between sinus pressure and coughing and not getting much sleep at night, it's all I can do to concentrate enough on getting this post written. I hope to get something posted this coming week, but I've got some stuff to get done before a stint in Texas for work. I hope to be able to get some writing done while I'm in the hotel room by myself. We'll see.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

They're coming...

As I was working on the next batch of Spelljammer creatures, I realized that I needed to put out something else first to make several of the other creatures make sense (as far as to what their place in Mythic Space is). So, even though I'm not ready to post the first part of this "bridge" series, I'll leave you with this image...

Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Savage Rifts Wishlist

I'm still processing the announcement that Palladium Books' Rifts setting is going to get a Savage Worlds version. I'm really excited to see the finished product, but as a long time fan of the setting I do have some things that I hope to see. Since it's been stated that this is a multi-book deal, that takes care of my first wish: that this isn't simply a one and done deal. That would be great in and of itself, but we're talking about a line of 80+ books and even with conversion notes, it would be great to have the pros do more than just the base work for me. (I'm lazy like that.) That said here's my wishlist for the Savage Worlds Rifts line:

2 (Since #1 was referenced above). Adhere to the spirit of the setting, but not a direct conversion. Rifts is as gonzo and gonzo gets, and the power creep has been more of a power mad dash of late. If the folks at Pinnacle can find a way to adhere to the spirit of the setting without having the game turn into an arms race of what character can level a mountain right out of the gate, I'd be ecstatic. I'm all for mechs and dragons and aliens and wizards and mercenaries available for play as characters, but there's gotta be a way to balance it out somehow so someone isn't always sitting in the back just trying not to get hit with an Massive Damage Class punch or cigarette butt.

3. Speaking of MDC, and this goes into #2 as well, control the MDC/SDC nonsense. Not every new item or species or spell or cooking pot needs to deal Massive Damage. Savage Worlds already does a pretty good job with this with the regular damage/Heavy Weapon split. I hope to see that split continues to be applied in much the same way as it is in many SW settings. HW armor is the purview of tanks and mechs, not the soldier on the field of battle in power armor. HW weapons are big, bulky, and powerful, but nothing like what someone keeps in a holster on their hip.

4. Since this is a multi-book deal, I hope Pinnacle doesn't just follow Palladium's lead and follows the Worldbooks and Sourcebooks step-by-step. I hope the second book isn't Worldbook 1: Vampire Kingdoms followed by Worldbook 2: Atlantis and so on. I could see Pinnacle being able to cram a couple worldbooks worth of info into a single tome since SW statblocks for everything from races to weapons to monsters to spells are MUCH more compact than what is found in any Palladium System book. I hope that Pinnacle is able to offer the Rifts setting in their own way.

5. Print and PDF. Palladium has been putting their books out for sale in electronic format for a while, and I hope (and actually expect) that will continue with the deal with Pinnacle. I'm for certain picking up the core book in print, but most of my gaming purchases are in pdf these days. It's simply more convenient for me, and it (usually) allows me to stretch my meager gaming dollars farther.

6. I would like to see full-color books and more hardcovers if possible. Palladium does a great job keeping costs low, but it has made their books look as aged as the Palladium system. I think at least a small part of why new gamers will likely give Palladium games a pass is because they just don't look as modern and as "sexy" as many other games sitting on the same shelf that have higher production values and an overall more polished look.

7. I hope Savage Rifts is popular enough to carry through to the Dimension Books and beyond. I'd love to see a Heroes Unlimited take with the SW rules that can slide right into Rifts. (Aliens Unlimited 1 is still one of my favorite Palladium books...I'm a sucker for new aliens...) A Savage take on the excellent (I daresay even better than Rifts) Palladium Fantasy setting would be beyond awesome to see as well.

So there you have it, my wishlist for the upcoming Savage Worlds Rifts line. Seriously, December can't get here soon enough. First Episode VII and now this? It's going to be a very geeky holiday season this year!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Spelljammer Creatures in Mythic Space: Part 2


(Spelljammer MC2)
The allura are a dangerous predatory, shapeshifting species. They are reptilian humanoids in their natural forms, and they are a naturally psionic species with telepathic abilities that they use to enhance their chances of feeding well. They typically take the form that their mark (or marks) finds instantly attractive. 

The allura have been documented in several sectors, but their homeworld is currently unknown. The first documented sighting is from the ship logs of a merchant freighter found abandoned in the Uriah Beta system. The freighter’s crew were all found dead, but it appears they picked up a passenger believed to be an allura in the Galvanost system.

It is not believed that the Allura were a technologically advanced species when they first encountered other species, but have quickly become accustomed to modern technology. Sometimes ships are found abandoned that have recently accessed Elder Relays, but the crew had been dead for some time meaning that at least some Allura have being accustomed to operating starcraft. 

Allura in their natural forms are reptilian humanoids. They are about the same size and shape as a human, but they are hairless and their bodies are covered in fine, green scales that become lighter on their palms, abdomens, and soles of their feet. Their ability to shapeshift allows them to duplicate the look of another species (with a range of 4 feet to 7 feet in height), but none of that species' innate abilities. They are also a highly psionic species. When first encountering another species, they tend to try and stay out of sight and subtly read the minds of those they are watching/hunting. They discover what their prey finds attractive and attempts to duplicate that and they use social mating cues gleaned from their mind reading to further enhance the chance of getting their prey alone, where they will psychically savage their victim, draining them of their lifeforce. Nothing else is known about the allura from their homeworld to mating habits or anything else. 

Savage Worlds Stats

AttributesAgility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d10, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d8, Psionics d10, Shooting d6, Stealth d10, Streetwise d8

Gear: Allura can use their Shapechange ability to mimic clothing, but many will be armed with easily concealable weapons like pistols and blades should they be forced to fight. 
Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 7 (1)
Special Abilities

  •  Tough Flesh: The scaled flesh of an Allura conveys a +1 bonus to Toughness.
  • Shapeshifting: The natural ability of the Allura to change their forms is nearly perfect, but there are always slight clues that something is amiss. Anyone attempting to spot imperfections in an Allura's disguise can do so with a Notice check, but with a -2 penalty. Allura can change from one form to another (solely humanoid forms) in 1 round. 
  • Psionics: Allura are all powerful psions. They have 50 power points and can have any powers the GM see fits. However, they all tend to have the following no matter what: Confusion, Farsight, Invisibility, Mind Reading, and Speak Language. Most tend to stick to defensive powers, but some will have powers like Havoc, Blast, or Bolt.
  • Psychic Vampire: Without the victim knowing it, being in close, even intimate, proximity with an Allura is a dangerous contest of wills. An Allura feeds with physical contact. When touching their prey, Allura enter into a contest of wills. Both parties make a Spirit roll. If the victim's roll is lower, his/her Spirit die drops by 1 die and they become Fatigued. During the next round the contest is rolled again, but this time with the lower Spirit die (fatigue penalty does not apply). Each lost roll lowers the victim's Spirit and applies another level of Fatigue. If the victim's Spirit is completely drained before reaching Incapacitation, then the victim is immediately rendered unconscious. If the victim wins a roll, he/she becomes instantly aware that something is wrong and gains a +2 bonus to any further Spirit rolls (if the Allura is still touching the victim). Incapacitated victims will die if they do not receive medical attention within an hour of becoming unconscious. Most Allura will simply kill their prey at this point. Lost Spirit returns with a day's rest. 

Rogue Space Stats
DRM+2 TP SZ MV Bipedal (40’) AR DM HP SP *

Gear: Allura are usually armed with a laser pistol and/or a knife. 
Shapechange: Allura can naturally change their shape to look like another species between 4-7 feet tall. Anyone attempting to see an Allura for what they are can attempt an Acquiring roll against TN13. 
Psionic Vampire: Allura drain Empathy with a touch. When making contact both the Allura and the victim make Empathy rolls. If the Allura wins, the victim's Empathy bonus decreases by -1. This roll is made each round until either the victim wins (now fully aware that something is wrong) or he/she is dropped to Empathy -2, at which point the victim falls unconscious and will die within an hour if medical attention is not given. Empathy will return to it's normal state with a day's rest. 
Psionics: Allura are powerful Espers. They all have Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, and Telepathy powers, and many have 1 or 2 others as well. These powers are used as if the Allura has an Empathy of +3. 



(Spelljammer MC2)
Aperusa are a near-human species of space-faring vagabonds that travel in small convoys of 2-10 ships not unlike the Quarians. They would all be dead if not for the timely intervention of the Bothans, who helped nearly 60% of the population escape to safety when their sun went nova and destroyed their world. Since then the Aperusa have traveled the galaxy in ships large enough to modify into living quarters for large family groups, not too much unlike the Quarians. Unlike the Quarians, however, Aperusa immune systems have not devolved to the point that they need to live in spacesuits, likely because they are not as meticulously clean as the Quarians, and they regularly interact with other species.

Aperusa look much like humans of Baltic descent. They are dark-haired, swarthy, attractive people. They tend to act flamboyantly and dress in clothes that accentuate that flamboyance. Their ships are usually after-market craft bought used and heavily re-purposed. Anywhere from one family to entire clans of 50 members or more are found on an Aperusa craft. Unlike the Quarians, the Aperusa do not congregate into a fleet of ships that travel together. At most three or four Aperusa craft will be found in a convoy. Once a standard year, they gather at a set point, usually in some little traveled, yet inhabited system to trade, arrange marriages, and to celebrate for a couple weeks before splitting up and moving on again. 

Aperusa culture is very sexist, with males having all of the power in a clan. Women are caregivers and little else. One important caveat is that women who are psions are revered. They may not be official leaders of the clan, but the fear of their powers makes their opinion highly regarded. This view of females extends to women of other species as well. Aperusa males will often attempt to take advantage of women that see their lifestyle as "romantic". Some women do become one of the "Umbra" a society of Asperusa women who are adept in seduction, secrets, spying, and upon occasion assassination. Still, even though this is a very exclusive order, they have little say in Aperusa politics. 

Aperusa have a reputation for being rogues and even spies. This makes them an unwelcome sight in many systems, though they rarely get into any severe problems with local authorities. Still, they tend to avoid systems and sectors known to be openly hostile to their kind or with a very authoritarian reputation.

Savage Worlds Stats
Adaptable: Aperusa start play with one free Edge.
Charismatic: Aperusa are a gregarious lot, gaining them a +2 bonus to Charisma.
Psionic Phobia: Aperusa are fearful of those with psionic powers. They start play with the Minor version of the Phobia Hindrance when dealing with those they know to have psionic powers, even among their own kind.

Rogue Space Stats
Archetypes: Aperusa can be Scoundrels and Technicians and add +1 to either Acquiring or Repair. 
Charismatic: Aperusa are very personable. They gain a +1 bonus to any Empathy rolls made when trying to entertain or charm others. 
Psionics: Aperusa can become Espers, though they have a slightly less of a chance than regular humans. Any power is possible, but powers like Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, and Cloaking are the most common. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Spelljammer Creatures in Mythic Space: Part 1

This is the start of what is going to be a long series of adaptations from the two Spelljammer MC's. Unlike Al-Qadim, which was rooted in Middle Eastern folklore, Spelljammer creatures were designed from more sci-fi origins even if they are used in a decidedly "fantasy" setting. There are a LOT of great creatures in those to Monstrous Compendiums that can easily be adapted to a sci-fi/space opera setting.

(Spelljammer MC1) 
Aartuk are primitive creatures that hail from Vortiss III in the Volis Solani Cluster. They are religious fanatics that believe that warfare is the ultimate form of religious expression. Vortiss III is a lush, Earth-like world in a system that isn't overly hospitable, so it is a prime candidate for travelers passing through to scrounge for natural resources or to simply set down and make repairs or take a break. However, due to the aartuk's nature, the Galactic Concord strongly advises avoiding the world. Off-worlders are one of the only things that seem to unite the constantly warring clans, as they see aliens as a more worthy foe than each other. To date, no fruitful contact has been made with any aartuk. 

Aartuk are a form of sentient vegetable. Shaped somewhat like a starfish and is covered in a rubbery bark that looks somewhat like spiked leather. Each of their five arms ends in a suction cup that allows them to climb sheer surfaces. Also, each suction cup houses pseudopods that allow for fine manipulation of objects. The sixth appendage is the long, snake-like neck. The neck can coil in and out of the center of the creatures. Aartuk heads are oblong in shape with a wide mouth surrounded by sensory organs that allow it to sense vibrations, smell, and see infrared light. Aartuk cannot see visible light. 

Aartuk tribes each have their own genetic makeup that grants them a different shade of bark. Tribes never co-mingle and only time tribes have any dealings with one another is during the many wars that rage between them nearly constantly, or if tribes join forces to attack off-worlders.  They see war as an artform and are therefore constantly working towards "perfecting" their art. 

Aartuk tribes are led by an Elder. Elders are larger, older, and better warriors. When an Aartuk becomes an Elder it undergoes a biological change. They gain the ability to use psionics. (Although some xeno-biologist argue that the Elders are already psionic-capable, but tradition dictates that they cannot use their powers until they are made Elder, if ever.) The Elder is the final say in all matters of the tribe, from where to move to, to which tribes they will war against. 

Savage Worlds Stats
Common Aartuk: AttributesAgility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d8, Fighting d8, Notice d8, Stealth d10, Shooting d8
Pace: 4; Parry: 6; Toughness: 8 (2)
Special Abilities

  • Tough Hide: Aartuk bark is tough and conveys a +2 bonus to Toughness. 
  • Pellet: Str+d4 damage, range 4/8/6, ROF 1
  • Gooey Tongue: Instead of firing a pellet, an Aartuk can shoot out it's sticky tongue at any target within 5". This attack is made like a Shooting roll. If successful, the victim is essentially under the effects of the Entangle power until he/she can pass a Str check to break free. Each round that a victim is captured by their tongue, the Aartuk can fire a pellet normally and pull the victim 1" closer. Once in melee range, the Aartuk can make two attacks on the victim (without penalty) instead of firing a pellet. 
  • Infravision: Aartuk halve penalties for darkness when battling living targets. 
  • Wall-Walker: Aartuk can scale sheer surfaces at their Pace. 
  • Natural Camouflage: When standing still in their natural habitat, an Aartuk imposes a -2 penalty to anyone attempting to use the Notice skill to spot them. 

Elder Aartuk (WC): AttributesAgility d8, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d10
Skills: Climbing d8, Fighting d10, Notice d8, Psionics d6, Stealth d10, Shooting d10
Pace: 4; Parry: 7; Toughness: 10 (2)
Special Abilities

  • Tough Hide: +2 bonus to toughness
  • Pellet: Str+d8 damage, range 8/16/32, ROF 1
  • Gooey Tongue: Instead of firing a pellet, an Aartuk can shoot out it's sticky tongue at any target within 5". This attack is made like a Shooting roll. If successful, the victim is essentially under the effects of the Entangle power until he/she can pass a Str check to break free. Each round that a victim is captured by their tongue, the Aartuk can fire a pellet normally and pull the victim 1" closer. Once in melee range, the Aartuk can make two attacks on the victim (without penalty) instead of firing a pellet. 
  • Infravision: Aartuk halve penalties for darkness when battling living targets. 
  • Wall-Walker: Aartuk can scale sheer surfaces at their Pace. 
  • Natural Camouflage: When standing still in their natural habitat, an Aartuk imposes a -2 penalty to anyone attempting to use the Notice skill to spot them. 
  • Size +1
  • Psionics: Elder Aartuk have 15 power points that they can use with following powers: Armor, Burst, Smite, and Stun.

Rogue Space Stats
Common Aartuk: DRM+2 TP SZ MV Hexapedal (20’) AR DM HP SP *

Pellet: L damage and S range. 
Gooey Tongue: Instead of firing a pellet, an Aartuk can fire it's sticky tongue at a target within 30'. If the attack hits, the victim is entangled in the tongue. A successful Fighting roll against TN 7 will break him/her free (roll at the start of each of the entangled character's turns). Entangled characters suffer a -2 penalty to all Fighting rolls and cannot move. Each round that an Aartuk has a victim entangled, they can fire a pellet as normal while moving the victim 5' closer. Once in close combat range, an Aartuk pummels the victim with its arms. 
Wall-Walker: Aartuk can climb walls at their full MV rate. 
Camouflage: When standing still, an Aartuk in his natural habitat conveys a -2 penalty to an Acquiring rolls made to spot them. 

Elder Aartuk: DRM+3 TP SZ MV Hexapedal (20’) AR DM HP SP *
Pellet: M damage and M range. 
Gooey Tongue: Instead of firing a pellet, an Aartuk can fire it's sticky tongue at a target within 30'. If the attack hits, the victim is entangled in the tongue. A successful Fighting roll against TN 7 will break him/her free (roll at the start of each of the entangled character's turns). Entangled characters suffer a -2 penalty to all Fighting rolls and cannot move. Each round that an Aartuk has a victim entangled, they can fire a pellet as normal while moving the victim 5' closer. Once in close combat range, an Aartuk pummels the victim with its arms. 
Wall-Walker: Aartuk can climb walls at their full MV rate. 
Camouflage: When standing still, an Aartuk in his natural habitat conveys a -2 penalty to an Acquiring rolls made to spot them.
Esper: Elder Aartuks are Espers. They roll their powers as if they have a +2 in Empathy. Common powers for Elder Aartuks are: Cryokinesis, Electrokinesis, Psychic Blast, and Pyrokinesis. 

(Spelljammer MC1)
The Albari are a space-faring species from an unknown world. Their egg-shaped ships appear throughout the edges of charted space. Sometimes they offer trade of strange and wondrous goods, other times they attack ships, and space stations without provocation. 

Albari are an avian species. They stand around 3 to 4 feet tall and have strangely humanoid faces with wide beaks and slanted, beady eyes. Their bodies are covered in short, oily feathers that range in color from pure white to sooty gray with males tending to have lighter shades. Even though they only stand around 3 to 4 feet tall, their wingspans are an impressive 9 feet. The crook of their wings are equipped with small hands, and their can use their feet to manipulate objects as well. 

While contact with the strange, avian creatures has been made several times, it is unsure what to believe about them as they tales they tell about their origins conflict greatly, even among crew members of the same craft. What is known is that they are a psionic species, and fairly powerful ones at that. Where their homeworld is located is anyone’s guess as they have appeared all over charted space. 

The albari have been listed as a threat by the Galactic Concord, and even frontier stations and independent colonies have standing orders to shoot on sight in many cases. Still, there are those that are willing to deal with these infuriating beings if they are encountered in the mood to trade; still, weapons are still kept close by should an albari’s mood change. 

Savage Worlds Stats

AttributesAgility d4, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Notice d8, Psionics d10, Shooting d6

Gear: Albari are typically armed with a Laser Pistol, but they tend to rely on their psionic abilities.
Pace: 4; Parry: 4; Toughness: 4
Special Abilities

  • Claws: Str+d4 damage
  • Flight: Pace 12" with a Climb of 0"
  • Size -1: Albari stand around 3 to 4 feet tall. 
  • Psionics: Albari are psionic beings. They have 40 power points and have access to any powers the GM wishes, but they all have ConfusionInvisibility and Teleport powers, which  the last two are not typically available in Mythic Space. 

Rogue Space Stats
DRM+1 TP SZ MV Flight (40’)/Bipedal (20') AR DM HP SP *

Gear: Albari are usually armed with a Laser Pistol. 
Psionics: Albari are powerful Espers. They make their power rolls as if they have a +3 in Empathy. They all have Cloaking, but they also have an additional power as well. 

It must be cold in Hell...

...because Rifts is being licensed as a Savage Worlds setting!!!

I've made it no secret that I love the Rifts setting. It's wild, crazy, makes no sense, and is totally and completely kitchen sink. It's the kind of setting you don't think too much about, you just jump and and enjoy the ride. However, I really dislike the Palladium system. It works OK for Palladium Fantasy, but I've never cared for it for Rifts. I've had a lot of fun with the setting in spite of the system, never because of it. Now that Pinnacle is putting out a Savaged take on the setting (read the press release HERE) I finally have a chance to enjoy a setting I love with a system I love.

This is a good move on Palladium's part. It's no secret that the storied publisher had been/is in dire financial straits. This move in making the setting available for use with a slicker and faster system can only help get more people interested in this setting and help keep Palladium around. (I hope this sells well enough that other Palladium settings may get the Savage treatment...a guy can hope.)

Pinnacle is hoping for a Christmas release, so we should see something this year. Man, between this and Star Wars VII I'm going to be seriously geeking out this holiday season!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mythic Space Al-Qadim Conversions: part 4

Here's the fourth and final part of my series on using creatures from D&D's Al-Qadim setting to populate the worlds of Mythic Space.

Pahari are amphibious, shape-changing humanoids that live in the oceans and coastlines of Zakhara. Their primary form is that of a centauriod with the upper body of a beautiful female human and the lower body of a sunfish. They can transform their lower bodies into humanoid legs for travel on land. While their species has two genders, the differences are internal rather than the typical external differences of most humanoid species. Their culture is advanced with great underwater cities, but they have not developed much in the way of weaponry. 

The Pahari are a peaceful species that has had peaceful contact with many species and stellar nations. They are currently in talks to join the Galactic Concord, who they have had the most contact with. Few have left their ocean homes, but some have beyond ambassadors and their retinues. These beings are typically naive to the dangers of the galaxy, but sadly they soon learn. 

Pahari are available as a PC species if the GM approves. 

Savage Worlds Stats
Agile: Pahari are quite agile and start play with a d6 in Agility.
Aquatic: Pahari can breathe both air and water equally. They start play with a free d6 in Swimming, cannot drown in oxygenated water, and have a Swimming Pace equal to their swimming die. The increased Pace only applies when in their fish forms (see below).
Shapechange: A Pahari can somehow transform their humanoid legs into the body of a sunfish. This transformation takes 1 round during which no other actions can be taken. 
Clueless: Pahari tend to be very naive about the dangers of the galaxy and start play with the Clueless hindrance. 

Rogue Space Stats
Archetype: Pahari can be Scoundrels or Technicians and gain a +1 bonus to either Science or Empathy. 

Aquatic: Pahari can transform their legs into that of a sunfish with 1 round of concentration. They can breathe air and water equally and gain a +1 bonus to any Swimming-based Fighting roll. 
Psionics: Pahari can have psionic powers, with only Electrokinesis not seeing much use among their Espers. 

Sabu Lord
Sabu Lords are the apex predators of the few lush plains on the desert world of Zakhara. They are a sentient species, but they are exceedingly arrogant and territorial. Even with faced with modern weaponry, they still feel they have the upper hand; judging by the body counts some prides have racked up they actually do have the upper hand in many cases. While many have been captured and sold into slavery as exotic pets, the danger in doing so has greatly diminished this practice even moreso than authorities cracking down on slaver gangs. 

Sabu Lords, while similar in look to Terran lions, are much larger and stronger. Their fur is golden brown and males sport fiery manes. They stand around 5-6 feet tall at the shoulder can grow to be 12-16 feet long. Their roars are mighty and can be heard over a mile away. 

Savage Worlds Stats
AttributesAgility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d10, Vigor d10
Skills: Fighting d8, Notice d8, Stealth d10
Pace: 10; Parry: 6; Toughness: 10
Special Abilities

  • Claws: Str+d6
  • Bite: Str+d10
  • Size +3
  • Roar: Up to three times a day, a Sabu Lord can unleash a deafening roar. This roar uses the large cone template. All targets within the cone must make a Vigor roll or immediately become Shaken. 

Rogue Space Stats
DRM+2 TP SZ RB MV Quadruped (50’) AR DM HP SP *

Deafening Roar: 3 times a day a Sabu Lord can unleash a roar that can stun his foes. Anyone in front of the Sabu Lord within S or M range must make a Fighting roll against TN 9 or be stunned and unable to make any actions for 1d6 rounds. 

Winged Serpents
Winged serpents, sometimes called spark snakes, are colorful reptiles found in Balmoria’s forests and jungles. Winged serpents come in many colors, ranging from sky blue and emerald green to raspberry red. They are supported by invisibly swift, gossamer wings, making them resemble reptilian hummingbirds. When their delicate wings are folded back, winged serpents can move as a common serpent, but they are also able to slither up rough vertical surfaces as well. Though they are from the planet Balmoria in the Ashen Nebula Sector, they have been captured and bred by exotic xenos merchants. Sadly these creatures make terrible pets, and most are released or escape captivity (often times by slaying their handlers) and can now be found on many worlds; regularly dealing great damage to ecosystems that prove very suitable to their physiology.

Savage Worlds Stats
AttributesAgility d8, Smarts d4 (A), Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d8
Pace: 4; Parry: 5; Toughness: 6
Special Abilities

  • Bite: Str+d4 + poison. If the bite deals damage, the victim must pass a Vigor test with a -1 penalty. This poison is considered Venomous (see page 89 in SWD). 
  • Sparks: The wings of winged serpents builds up a static charge in a gland in the mouths. When fully charged (takes a round of flying to build up a charge), the winged serpent can spit a ball of electricity that causes 2d8 damage to anyone in a Large Burst. 
  • Flight: Winged Serpents can fly with a Pace of 24" and a Climb of 15"
  • Immune to Electricity-based Damage
  • Size +1

Rogue Space Stats
DRM+1 TP SZ MV Flight (60')/Slithering (20’) AR DM L/M HP SP *

Sparks: Every other round while flying, Winged Serpents can unleash a ball of electricity can affects everyone within 10' of the blast point. This attack does M damage. 

Silat are hideous, hulking humanoids standing 12 to 15 feet tall. They have pale blue or green skin and have two curling horns growing from the sides of their heads. To many human explorers that have encountered them, they are described an crone-like, though the species doesn’t have the same sexual dimorphism as other humanoids. The hair is usually the same color as the skin, but of a darker hue. Their teeth and nails look like yellowed ivory, but are harder than steel and sharper than obsidian.

Silats wander the wastes of their homeworld, Orlisk, rarely having much to do with one another. Small groups will meet up at certain areas, usually in some ancient ruin, to trade and take a mate before wandering off again. Their level of technology is essentially stone age, though it appears they once reached at least an industrial level of technology in their past before whatever ruined their culture befell them. 

Mated pairs will stay together long enough for their offspring to an age where they can fend for themselves (about the human equivalent of a 5-8 year old) before the parents drive off the child and then go their separate ways as well. 

Silats are a dangerous species. They are very strong and their claws and teeth are very effective weapons. not all Silats are aggressive or violent toward off-worlders. If an off-worlder can properly greet a Silat, then they are treated rather welcoming. However, what is considered a proper greeting is different for every Silat. For some an offering of food or some unique trinket is required, while for others it is to be insulted in a humorous manner. This makes meeting mated pairs even more dangerous as one may be honored while the other takes great offense. 

The ruins on Orlisk speak of a time in which the Silats lived in cities and built machines. It is unknown what caused the collapse of their society, and no living Silat knows or even seems to care either. What they do care about is that their ruins are left undisturbed, even by themselves (with the lone exception of their meeting places). Any found exploring a ruin is quickly and mercilessly attacked. It is unknown if there is any religious significance or the possibility that they may be hiding something valuable or sinister…

Savage Worlds Stats
AttributesAgility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d10, Strength d12+1, Vigor d12
Skills: Fighting d10, Notice d8, Survival d8
Pace: 6; Parry: 7; Toughness: 13 (2)
Special Abilities

  • Claws: Str+d8
  • Bite: Str+d12
  • Size +3
  • Tough Flesh: Silat flesh is thick and tough to withstand the harsh conditions on their homeworld, which conveys a +2 bonus to Toughness. 

Rogue Space Stats
DRM+3 TP SZ RB MV Bipedal (30’) AR DM HP SP -