Saturday, 30 April 2011

'Geddon on it (2) - Hive interior battles

The second in a series set off by a guest post at davetaylorminatures, by Ron of From the Warp.

It covered the Heroes of Armageddon Project, which will see four Warhammer 40,000 armies painted up and raffled off. Check out the site.

I suggested all interested blogs could run tie-in features themed around the Armageddon setting, maybe fiction, stats or new troop types, even modelling and painting, to draw attention to the project, be useful and hopefully inspire.

My first was a homebrew ash waste events table. Here's my second then, and it's big.

Hive interior battles

The spires of the hives of Armageddon do not dream, but rather sleep restlessly beneath the polluted sky from which their nightmares come. Homes and workplaces to billions, they loom above the haunted jungles and desolate ash wastes, but are barely safer than either, whether in peace or war. In the three great conflagrations to strike the world thus far they were battlefields too, and remain so, infested in their dark spaces by all the vices of humanity, the corruption of both the dark gods of Chaos and the alien Tyranid vanguard, and the ineradicable menace of the ever-flourishing Orkosystem.

The deep domes, halls and corridors, the ducts and access tunnels, the machine rooms and sumps, all are potential havens and potential conflict zones, and what the local security forces of the watchmen and adeptus arbites are unable to quell becomes a task for the elites of the planetary defence force and regiments of Imperial guard garrisoned here from across this region of space; and what they are unable to deal with may require in turn a deployment of the mighty adeptus astartes themselves, striking deep into the cankerous hearts of complexes to break the danger at source.

Conflict in-hive is a challenge even for the greatest professionals of war. Vehicles will only carry an invasion force so far, until the width of the passageways, density of gantries and endless intricacies of device choke off access. Defenders flit from shadow to shadow and launch vicious counterstrikes from the unmapped darkness. Chases end in disorientation, blind alleys, sealings off, and the disappearances of whole squads, platoons, companies. Gunfire and screams echo along metal avenues, and over the spoil heaps and dripping accumulations of the lowest wastes.

The horror of war here is less visible, but no less black.

What follows is an unofficial homebrew system for battles in the hives of Armageddon, but is just as relevant to hives throughout the galaxy, as well as built complexes of all kinds, whether administrative structures, industrial facilities or military outposts.

Royale with cheese wedding?

Here's this week's entry for Saturday Centus challenge at Jenny Matlock's blog. The idea is to write a story in 100 words, not including the phrase given, which today is:

Although the traditional gift for a first anniversary is paper...

I've adapted it slightly at the end. I warn you now - it's wacky, maybe unsettling, even by the standards of the last, the contribution to the Worldboat project.

- - - - - -

They call themselves Leftovers, and they are, remnants of meals uneaten, or eaten messily, and dust, stray hairs and receipts left behind.

They first meet as they are mopped up, slopped into bins and sealed in plastic, then dumped, crushed and buried in landfill.

Unsuprisingly given the ordeal, they grow together over time. They miss us, try to relive that short span as tasty food by attracting seagulls, rodents, bugs.

They marry in tiaras of ringpulls, give gifts, recycling the best of our worst. Time is unkind too... Although the traditional gift for a first anniversary is paper towels, or even scraps, they appreciate anything.

A second anniversary is rare.

Look! There it is again...

I don't think I've followed up a Jeff Rients post before, but he is an inspiration. He posted a couple of days ago on the scope in graveyards, the undead and possibly even being undead.

That last especially got me thinking - why not being simulated too? Could be advanced tech, could be magic, could be imagination.

This month's A to Z does something similar with the narrator, and I have cards for the like in the fundamental laws of a fictional universe series.

But more simply than an extra layer to a system, how about just having players notice glitches or imperfections in the simulation? Looped dialogues maybe, or streets that end abruptly, uncoloured spaces, sudden rearrangements. Just like in those movies.

Of course, players might argue they get this already when the GM has to shuffle paper looking for a certain table or a stat, or the screen falls over. Maybe every time the GM fluffs, the players get a re-roll? Or in wargaming, when one player has to check a rule or number? Or maybe just ban checking and have improvisation a feature of the game.

There could already be a re-roll when a die rolls off the table. Why not instantaneous movement to a more suitable location when a model falls off a piece of terrain? In early 40K, the Ork battlewagon could carry any number of models if they could be physically balanced on the vehicle, but if they fell off in our reality they fell off in the game too.

Even better with 'counts as' - maybe those dreadknights really are Transformers?

Worlds could collide.

Friday, 29 April 2011

40K OSR? (3)

Definitions: this is 40K; an OSR is whatever we want it to be, essentially alternative approaches.

It could be an Old School Renaissance, Other School Renaissance, maybe Optional School Renaissance, maybe something else again. Could even be a Revolution, or another 'R'.

This week we had a midweek update re the gift from Colonel Kane over at Tales from the Maelstrom, the logo to the right. If you identify with the 40K OSR idea, and especially if you're putting out alternative content, feel free to use it.

I'd ask only you credit Colonel Kane for putting it together, and think about putting Tales from the Maelstrom in your blogroll. It's one of the great 40K blogs, ideas old and new.

GAME OVER and Port Maw are using the logo already, and Kane has a variant up.

So what did we see new this week?

    • Something I helped along was the first in the Orkosystem series at Roll With It, the Snotling Sabbatur, an attempt at the mood of the old sourcebooks. We also had Mark "Blood for the blood god" Furniss and Ross :D! announce their grot codex and C'nor chip in with a trainee variation.

      Well not quite finally, because there's something of a wild card to finish. Or maybe not so wild? After all, I see no reason a 40K OSR can't cover Epic, or other games set in the 41st millennium. If 28mm, why not 54mm or 6mm? With that in mind, and building on last week's mention of Squats and Demiurg, how about 15mm 'space dwarves'?

      If I've missed anything you think should be here, just say so - this is wide open.

      Don't forget that logo. If you feel the passion, use it.

      Update: I have missed something. Cyborg Trucker's Emperor-class titan certainly does
                   qualify as an exploration of the spaces - look where he's going with the crew.

      Flash Fearsdelayed & taken over - Haak

      A little late, my tale for Flash Fearsday at Lunching on Lamias, at 140 characters.

      I'm not prey, I'm predator! At least, I was.
      But it watches from its eyrie.
      I feel that eye, not meat - mechanism. It wants to improve me...

      I got a bit carried away, and worked up a new creature for Hogintu, as well as some background on the time technology and space elevators.

      The rules are at the bottom, also using Humanspace Empires.

      Thursday, 28 April 2011

      Blogging our adventures (1.5)

      The online adventure has yet another fresh instalment, the second today, and it's hosted at a new blog too, The World of Damnation.

      That makes 27 scenes in 11+ locations at six blogs, Lunching on Lamias, ArmChairGeneral, Nine Worlds, Ten Thousand Things, the newly joined Warpstone Flux and now The World of Damnation, and the Expanse. It all starts here.

      If you're involved or plan to be, there's a quick summary at this post. I'll aim to get a fuller update out, ideally with a map. I've started one, but it's pretty complex already...

      If you want to get involved, it's easy.

      As an explorer, read, choose and enjoy. Start here.

      As a blogger, continue the adventure at your blog. Write a scene with a choice for the reader to make and link each of the options to a destination post, if that post is already written. If you write a scene based on a choice at another blogger's post, just leave a comment there so he or she can add a link to you.

      If a scene exists, but you feel another is possible, write it. That's what Ricalope has just done; Jennie's original is worth finding too, a powerful experience. If we have multiple scenes for one option, all the better. Feel free to create new takes on the world.

      Be bold!

      If you've still no idea what's going on, read this.

      Fiddlers on roofs

      NetherWerks have made their inventive Rooftop Encounters idea a living table at DM Muse.

      The question behind the project is why more games are not set in the attics and eyries of buildings and on their rooftops. If we have the 'dungeoncrawl', why not the 'roofcrawl'?

      Here's my contribution, another 20 entries, making 61 and adding some more mundane.

      1. A vast mound of bird droppings lie beneath a popular perch, likely an excellent fertiliser, though the ancient layers within may require a Save to avoid disease.
      2. A compluvium looks down into a dimly-lit atrium where figures chant.
      3. This sheltered hollow is filled with smoke from a line of chimneys, reducing visibility to a few feet... is something moving there?
      4. A dead end, but an ornate and slightly rickety drainpipe leads upward...
      5. On a stretch of roof a pale body lies prone - sunbathing?
      6. A bricked-up doorway, mortar not yet dry, overlooks a set of tools.
      7. A barricade blocks progress, made of old timbers and broken brick, and overgrown with weeds.
      8. The narrow stretch of flat roof here is a well-tended herb garden.
      9. Weeds of all kinds grow thick in the fissures of ancient planking and brickwork, obscuring 1D6 gems.
      10. Creepers make it possible to attempt a climb here, downward and up.
      11. An undulating plateau runs on into the haze, a near-closed world populated with strange flora, and, yes, fauna too: an odd creature stands watching.
      12. A sloping glazed roof here provides light to a thriving orangery.
      13. A grubby window looks in on a cramped garret, the sill lined with dead potplants.
      14. A tile shatters on the ground far below, echoing around the rooftops - but where did it fall from, and how did it come loose..?
      15. A sniper!
      16. An arcane symbol has been painted, or formed with detritus, on this flat roof, a bizarre sign directed up at the sky - but for who, or what?
      17. A pile of rusting sheet metal; 1D4 sheets at the base are in good condition.
      18. A signalling mirror lies here on a ledge.
      19. A pump of some kind chugs away, almost out of fuel.
      20. What is this? A vast, bulbous, metallic object stands silent on a trio of spindly legs. Some form of magical skycraft..?

      I've added them all and they should be ready to roll soon. Feel free to add your ideas too - anyone can - or even start a table of your own.

      Track - growl

      Puzzled, you turn and step down the narrow track, keeping a hand on the stone flank of the bridge to steady yourself. While there are no hoofprints, you do see in the mud close to the bottom a large and unfamiliar mark. At that moment, a growl rumbles out from the darkness beneath the arch. You freeze. The corner is now but a pace or two away...

      Suppress your fear, step forward and look into the dark space   Blog One
      Retreat, cross the bridge and follow the trail into the woods   Blog One   Blog Two
      Retreat and turn back to explore along the stream   Blog One   Blog Two
      Retreat and return to the oak   Blog One    Blog Two

      Wednesday, 27 April 2011

      Deep in the blue

      This is a work in progress, linked a little with the Warhammer 40,000 Armageddon ash waste events table posted at the weekend.

      It's an index for Hogintu locations yet to be described, and table for generating landing zones, teleportation destinations, waypoints on expeditions and general sites of adventure.

      For now the links run back to the creatures, technology and character covered so far, for the information in the background text. As the various locations or location elements are described, I'll add or update destinations.

      I've also added in brackets the encounters most likely; these lists should grow too.

      1. Habzone   (fline)
      2. Habzone drifts   (fline, skrab)
      3. Dune sea   (skrabnekrobra)
      4. Partially buried complex   (skrab, nekrobra)
      5. Spoilscape   (skrab, nekrobra)
      6. Fallen space elevator   (skrab, nekrobra)
      7. Nekrobra reserve fenceline   (haak, skrab, nekrobra)
      8. Sinkhole   (skrab, nekrobra)
      9. Crashed orbital   (skrab, nekrobra)
      10. Mausoleum   (nochrono, nekrobra)
      11. Mids   (haak, skrab, nochrono, nekrobra)
      12. Sphinctoid   (skrab, nochrono, nekrobra)
      13. Ceremonial arcade   (haak, skrab, nochrono, nekrobra)
      14. Broken rhombics   (haak, skrab, nekrobra)
      15. Smuggler landing   (skrab, nekrobra)
      16. Troobloo sandstead   (fline, skrab, nekrobra)
      17. Anedek flock   (skrab, nekrobra)
      18. Skrab spawning ground   (skrab, nekrobra)
      19. Nekrobra delve   (skrab, nekrobra)
      20. Fault zone   (skrab, nekrobra)
      21. Volcanic cone   (skrab, nekrobra)
      22. Crater field   (skrab, nekrobra)
      23. Gyre   (skrab, nekrobra)

      Tuesday, 26 April 2011

      40K OSR? (2.5)

      A short midweek update to give you access to a great gift from Colonel Kane at Tales from the Maelstrom, the fine logo to the right.

      It's for all of us who identify with the 40K OSR idea, whatever we feel it means, and especially for blogs putting out alternative content.

      Whether you see the 'OS' as 'Old School', 'Other School' or 'Optional School', or something else again, or your 'R' is 'Renaissance' or 'Revolution', or another entirely, it's yours to display.

      If you do use it, I'd ask only you credit Colonel Kane for putting it together, and think about putting Tales from the Maelstrom in your blogroll. It's one of the great 40K blogs, an inspiration in the hobby, and well worth keeping up with. Check out the passionate discussion still going on after last week's battle report.

      The last OSR update, from Friday, is here, and the next is due this Friday. If you have something to include, or you've seen something I might have missed, let me know.

      Monday, 25 April 2011

      Hello, little beastie... - Living table (1) - Entries 51-70

      A few more entries for the Small Creatures table here at the Expanse and over at DM Muse. They're ideas for small creatures in gaming and writing, non-system-specific.

      There are 20 more, making 70 in total. Again, rolling a D70 isn't practical, but DM Muse can do the random bit. Remember, this is a living table, meaning you can add to it.

      1. As a defence, this creature expands to immense size; if an attempt is made at capture or harm, it will deflate, releasing a cloud of noxious gas.
      2. This elongated creature is slow-moving and muscular, and will attempt to constrict a nearby organism if ignored.
      3. This creature is magnetic and exerts a strong pull on metal items.
      4. As a defence, this creature produces a flash of light through its outer tissues.
      5. This creature is able to focus any light falling on its body, and will defend itself by unleashing a blast of as much heat as it can muster by this means.
      6. This creature has a terrifying appearance likely to cause shock upon discovery.
      7. This ornately-horned or tusked creature attempts to gore any perceived threats.
      8. This creature has a fungal biology and will release spores upon discovery; these will produce rapidly-maturing offspring in clothing and among possessions at a later date, at which point roll again on this table for the nature they exhibit.
      9. This creature secretes a lubrication making it extremely difficult to grip.
      10. This multipedal creature will respond to danger by fixing itself to the ground with its sharp claws.
      11. This telepathic creature will attempt to plant suggestions in the minds of nearby organisms, encouraging its support and protection.
      12. This insubstantial creature will attempt to possess the body of a nearby organism, and will be difficult to evict once in.
      13. This creature is covered in a great mass of silken hair, which it will shed and attempt to abandon unnoticed; if pursued, roll again on this table, treating the same result as no additional effect.
      14. This creature has the ability to pass through solid materials; if approached, it will do so, leaving an opening icy to the touch.
      15. This flying creature catapults away when discovered to circle or hover far overhead, remaining there for some time, a sign for all able to read it.
      16. This creature is in fact mechanical, a collection of highly advanced technologies; if approached, roll twice more on this table to determine its immediately notable systems.
      17. This shapeshifting creature is able to mimic the appearance of other organisms, even those of greatly differing size, and defends itself by duplicating a threat.
      18. As a defence, this creature will break itself down into increasingly small component organisms which scatter in every direction.
      19. This creature is in fact a vehicle for another; if approached, roll again on this table, treating the same result as immediate emergence; upon emergence, also brought about through the death of the vehicle or attempts at friendly communication, roll once again to determine the nature of the pilot.
      20. This highly-intelligent creature controls a network of other creatures spanning a vast area; if threatened, it will call upon them, at which point roll again on this table for each new arrival to determine its nature.

      I've fed them in at DM Muse, but it may take a little while for them to appear. If you want to add your own ideas, or even a completely new table, go right ahead.

      Help! Hard drive data recovery

      Dave over at Wargaming Tradecraft had a flood this weekend and lost two desktop PCs.

      He'd like to restore data from a hard drive with a destroyed circuit board, but with platters which ought to be fine. Does anyone have any ideas?

      There are some already up that might be useful for the rest of us. A good reminder also to make backups regularly and plan as best as possible, both things I don't certainly don't always do.

      The post is here.

      The Orkosystem (1) - Snotling Sabbaturz

      That's right, the Orkosystem...

      The first of a fortnightly series is up now at Roll With It now, supplementary rules ideas for games of Warhammer 40,000, a contribution to the potential 40K OSR.

      Each instalment will be a small, imagined facet of the Ork spore-spread ecosystem.

      This week it's the dangerous Snotling Sabbaturz...

      Sunday, 24 April 2011

      Easter egg hunts across the polycosmos

      More propluristemic content. It's Easter eggs today, not so surprisingly, but the software kind.

      Propluristemic content is content intended to be used in many game systems or setting, with enough rules given to guide adaptation.

      Easter eggs

      The fabrics of the polycosmos are complex and shaped also by the actions of a great number of supracosmic beings, actions which include the manipulations of the true grid and migrations of cortical hornets, and much still stranger.

      Some of the sentient creators do like their jokes and many have been known to place glaring inconsistencies, startling absences of cohesion and jarring points of crossover in the most unusual of locations. Discovery of such phenomena brings revelations that may change the course of lives, worlds or even whole planes of existence.

      Saturday, 23 April 2011

      'Geddon on it (1) - Ash waste events

      Yesterday davetaylorminatures had a guest post by Ron of From the Warp, on charity work.

      It covered the Heroes of Armageddon Project, which will see four Warhammer 40,000 armies painted up and raffled off. Check out the site.

      In the discussion I suggested anyone wanting to spread the word could run tie-in features themed around the Armageddon setting, writing fiction, statting up characters or new troop types, or even modelling and painting auxiliaries.

      Every post would draw the attention, as well as being a useful resource for players, and maybe even inspire developments in other games.

      Here's my first offering.

      - - - - - -

      Friday, 22 April 2011

      40K OSR? (2)

      This is 40K. What's an OSR? Maybe an Old School Renaissance, maybe an Other School Renaissance, maybe an Optional School Renaissance, maybe something else.

      Loquacious posted on the D&D OSR earlier today. Go read. Some passages:

      ... these guys ... are helping the roleplaying/gaming community simply by having discussions. ... The OSR guys know their stuff, they like to talk about it, and in general, help grow a cottage industry when no one else is doing it. ... Being passionate about what you do, and getting others to join in - whether to agree or find fault- is something we as gamers could do more; and benefit greatly.

      Not quite a manifesto, but very nearly, and great encouragement to engage.

      Before we get to this week proper, if you haven't seen it, the discussion carried on at last week's post, on a DIY ruleset and the potential in Rogue Trader, i.e. first edition.

      There was an update 1.5 on Monday too, here, with a link to the Tales from the Maelstrom battle report using RT rules, and Warp Signal's post on motivation.

      Here we go then. Not so much in the way of rules this week, but lots of ideas and discussion. The bold links I recommend at least browsing.

          • Still on minis, Colonel Kane left an interesting comment at a post here not directly related to 40K, re using other models in the game, names and all.
          • Also, GMort wondered here at House of Paincakes what might be wrong with fifth edition, and the responses cover a lot of ground.
          • Still can't stop thinking about Squats and/or Demiurg? Gyro at Mik' Minis gives us an update on progress with his Squat army, full of classic models.
          • Re Warhammer, but still interesting, Shawn Gately at Blue Table Painting mentioned a proposal put at two of the forums, for a net standard rules adjustment. I'll try to find out what's going on with that and update. The Codex Project is an existing approach for 40K of course.

            If I've missed anything, just say so in the comments, and leave any links you think are relevant. If you think anything should be said, just get it out. I'm just trying to help things, but I'm making no claim to any kind of leadership. The discussion at last week's post got to future direction, and for me it looks, and should be, completely open.

            My first rules contribution is due on Sunday, the first of a series of guest posts at Roll With It. It's quite small, about as small as could be in fact, a variation on a familiar face often overlooked. Also, if you're having trouble getting excited these days, my first post there tried to get the sparks flying, and ought to be good for an idea or two.

            Okay, I'm done - your time. Anything and everything very welcome.

            Update: The Warhammer rules adjustment comment at Yes, The Truth Hurts is here,
                         one up from the bottom; no response yet. I haven't found it at Beasts of War.

            Update: Lantz has just put out a call at Miniature Wargame Conversions for writers
                         and artists to help detail the Adeptus Mechanicus and Sons of Horus projects.

            Update: Auberon at Digital Waaagh! has put up the latest interview, with Gav Thorpe.

            Deep thought Friday

            We haven't had any deep thinking on a Friday for a while, not here anyway, or not intentionally, but yesterday's post qualifies so I'm linking back.

            There are three questions, but the first and most important relates to our ability to be truly original. It's a biggie, and something that affects us all more directly than many of the past topics.

            Come and join in the conversation, and check out the blog mentioned too. It's inspiring.

            Thursday, 21 April 2011

            Flash Fearstaken over - Nochrono

            Lunching at Lamias is a little behind with this week's Flash Fearsday. Inspiration..?
            It's flash fiction of course, with 140 characters and line breaks counting one...

            "He's not quick..."

            "No, just out of time. Everywhen and nowhen. A nochrono."

            "Then we do as we wish."

            "No! Don't cross - ... the deadline."

            Update: Cometh the hour - this week's is up in time. Got a minute? Have a go.

            How about some rules for the nochrono? They ought to be good for any game, and if we keep it simple, making them an alternative form of deployment, maybe they can be.

            Next year's words

                 For last year's words belong to last year's language
                 And next year's words await another voice. 

            Thanks to Cygnus at Servitor Ludi I spent a bit of time today reading one very engaging blog in particular.

            The blog is Secret Sun and the first of its many gems I'd like to commend to the readers of the Expanse is the series of posts in The Star Wars Symbol Cycle.

            Most reading this will know - or see - George Lucas borrowed or absorbed a few ideas, but not everyone will know all of the speculated sources. I didn't, and probably still don't. But the sources named open up gateways to whole other worlds of speculation. Click around the blog and check some out. How inspiring, and limiting, is that?

            My question to all you bright people is this. Can one of us wake up tomorrow and create a truly new work - whether game, story or image - one which draws on no existing works, and is based on, say, first principles?

            Where the style's at - not here

            I did make a mistake re the 15 Stylish Bloggers.

            Turns out there's two blogs with the name Appendix N, the one I linked to with 11 followers, and the one I actually nominated, with 52 followers. The one with 11 doesn't meet the recent activity criterion either.

            The third blog, the one that missed out in the confusion, is The WarBlog, on the subject of wargaming, and specifically Warhammer 40,000 and Warmachine.

            I guess if the limit of 15 is rigid, I'll borrow the concept of superposition from quantum mechanics and say all of them win it, in different parts of the multiverse. Well done!

            The true grid

            DocStout reminds us over at What's Next? - The Unemployed Geek that yesterday was the 14th anniversary of the date that Skynet becomes self-aware in the Terminator timeline.

            I feel a little propluristemic content coming on.

            What's that then? An odd concept suitable for many systems and settings, even non-gaming fiction, with the rules only a general guide, to be adapted in advance or improvised on the spot.

            - - - - - -

            The true grid

            The true grid is a hyper-sophont woven through many of the fabrics of the polycosmos. While its purposes may never be known and are rarely sensed, they are largely realised. It touches minds of all kinds and through them interferes at critical junctures to manage the probabilities of future outcomes, and the courses of times and spaces are changed.

            Wednesday, 20 April 2011

            Where the style's at

            So The Angry Lurker passed me the Stylish Blogger Award yesterday. I'm very grateful for the kind words. And I don't mind believing I'm stylish so I'll play along.

            The award's contagious. Soon we'll all have it, and I need to pass it on now to another 10-15 other bloggers. The trouble is, if I could pass it on to 100-150, it still wouldn't be enough, and even 300 would be too few.

            Here's a solution. In the same way I can get one up on nature's contagions by washing my hands, I'll get one up on this too by washing my hands of choosing favourites. I'll give it to the 15 bloggers I follow with the least followers themselves, to build up resistance early you might say.

            They're all bloggers I think have real style, otherwise I wouldn't follow. More importantly they're all bloggers who show their style in another way, by posting at a high level despite a readership presumably still quite low. That's something special, and difficult, and deserves recognition. There's also a poetry in it: Angry was follower three for me.

            I've been through the list and found the 15 bloggers with the least followers, where I have the number. To be sure they're still active I've left out blogs where the gap since or before the last post is a month or more. The blogs being deleted by Greg I've skipped. There might be errors, and if anyone has the patience to find them, I'll happily correct.

            Anyway, no more detail. The 15 new and very deserving Stylish Bloggers are:

            • shenblog - Shen get own blog, no monkey, e.g. NetherWerks

            No blog in the list has more than 11 known followers and one blog has just the one. It's amazing how many blogs there are just crying out for readers - a lot of blogs just missed at 12, 13 or 14 followers. I say check the blogrolls, find a few you like and start reading.

            I also need to tell you seven things about myself, but I'll do that in another post because this one's getting long and I don't want to steal anyone's thunder.

            Here's one for the road though - I read a lot of blogs.

            Update: And another one - I'm very fallible. There is a mistake. The details are here.

            Bygones be goners

            My entry for Diane Estrella's Microfiction Muse, a weekly writing challenge open to everyone.

            As the name suggests, the idea is to create a compact story, specifically 140 characters or less. As ever, I'm counting line breaks one.

            The photo this week is of blogger Ashley Sisk.

            Early 21st century. Man they had it good!
            Light still running from a sky; cars with ground beneath the wheels.
            We'd move heaven and earth...

            Tuesday, 19 April 2011

            Here, puss, puss, puss...

            Yep - we have bugs of all kinds for the science fantasy game Humanspace Empires. So I've thrown down a gauntlet with a Doctor Who clip, from the late-'80s seventh Doctor story Survival.

            Ray Rousell described the cat in the clip as evil and The Angry Lurker is no fan; it's not so often they agree on anything... Cats it is then.

            Here, puss, puss, puss...

            Cats were common to a majority of homes on the world of Hogintu before the Bluing, across the strata of class, caste and clade. There were breeds of all kinds, many purely ornamental or engineered with a calming, charming psychic aura. When the civilisation dragged itself down into the dust a number survived, reduced to eight lives perhaps, their residual instincts seeing them good in the harsh new circumstances. The large feline creatures now stalking the dark nights of the Cerulean Sphere keep their own pets...

            Animal doctor?

            Hmm... No domesticated animals adapted for Humanspace Empires. Yet. Who starts?


            Monday, 18 April 2011

            40 OSR? (1.5)

            I thought I'd be doing this weekly, but Tales from the Maelstrom forced the hand.

            All 40K players reading this who want a sense of how Rogue Trader played - that's first edition of course, not the pure RPG - go have a read of this battle report. Even beyond the RT taster, there are arbites, rebels, alien mercenaries and a criminal mastermind.

            I recommend the comments section too - Major Hazzard sums things up very well.

            Last week's first full DIY 40K update is here, with plenty more links to fresh ideas.

            If you've been following the recent creature features in these parts, like the living table and Humanspace gribblies, Tales have some very suitable miniatures. There are giant slugs here, representing sun worms, and if you're in the mood for winged insects after the cortical hornets today, you might like the waspquito here, used as a psychneuin.

            Update: Re more narrative approaches, Warp Signal has put up a thoughtful post.

            What's that buzzing?

            If you've been following the ongoing one-upmanship in creating a collection of creatures using the Humanspace Empires ruleset from ix, you know we have all kinds of odd beasties, many based on creepy-crawlies with pulp science fantasy twists.

            There's a list here, in yesterday's post on the famous bug hunter Suwár Tar.

            Inspired by a comment from Needles on that post, here's another option, the cortical hornet. Rather than give this stats for one system, I'll make it the second piece of propluristemic content. The first is granulation.

            It's in support of the idea of the polycosmos, my possible sketch of which is here. Propluristemic content is something marked up as intended for use in many systems and settings, and even non-gaming fiction, assuming some adaptation.

            - - - - - -

            Sunday, 17 April 2011

            They call him Swarm Breaker

            So we now have snakes, beetles, spiders, ants, gigapedes and worms, both large and small, and some of these not even fully in our reality.

            Humanspace really isn't looking like a space for humans who are squeamish.

            Unless, born of a stray NetherWerks comment at the home blog ix, you find the man they call...

            Suwár 'Debugger' Tar, 'Swarm Breaker'

            An arachno-mutant turned from the hive, now a renowned underworld hire.

            Born on the post-apocalyptic world of Hogintu, Suwár was adopted young by nekrobra smugglers when he showed an exceptional talent for charming. He was attacked on a run by space spiders and partially transformed, serving his arachnoid masters loyally before a dimensional distortion brought about by an unrecorded weapons test severed the connection. Discovered by a super-scientific explorer team, he was interned in a research establishment, before escaping into the underworld with other test subjects.