Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Wired-up Fighting Fantasy Necromunda in Itra's City

Of all the games you've known or loved, what fine fusions would you make if you could?

I wouldn't mind exploring the early version of Necromunda from GW's Confrontation, but in the form of a networked Fighting Fantasy gamebook that's still a paperback, borrowed from a local library - with dust, stains and the pencil marks of past players - using the resolution system from the Norwegian RPG Itras By, and all on a rainy British afternoon.

Here's some of the rich setting material, although Itras By would encourage reworking it.

Hive clusters are connected together by roads across the [ash] wastes and transportation tubes supported on pylons and suspended from cables. ... the landscape resembles a petrified forest entangled in the web of some enormous spider. ...
... The ash occurs in many different, often vivid hues such as sulphur yellow, citric green, cobalt blue, pink, mauve, as well as various shades of grey, and it varies in texture from fine dust to crystalline clinker. The creatures and nomads that live there are equally colourful ...
... A moderate ash storm will strip an unprotected man to the bone in seconds, and then reduce his bones to a handful of dust. ... Imperial scholars who have studied dust ecologies believe that there may be currents and tides within the ash surface.
In hotter weather, when Necromunda’s sun breaks through the planet’s cloud cover, noxious vapors rise up and form poisonous mists and fogs. Mists are invariably followed by toxic rain storms, laden with particles of deadly ash dust and other contaminants.
White Dwarf No. 130 (October 1990)

The aspects are all there, in the intricate lived-in tone and weirdness. I'm actually looking for a gaming equivalent to this video, a soulful blend of individually outstanding material...

The major sources used, or a close and relevant match otherwise, are this ("Silent All These Years"), this ("Down by the Water"), this ("Cover Me") and this ("Dissolved Girl").

If you're wondering how the metaphor shifted, it probably passed at least partly through the prism of Tadeusz Różewicz's "Draft for a Modern Love Poem", especially the lines:
a spring-clear
transparent description
of water
is a description of thirst
it produces a mirage
clouds and trees move into
the mirror

Lack hunger
of flesh
is a description of love
is a modern love poem

Gaming can also be seen as a kind of ensemble musicmaking, even lovemaking, with a good metre, a few riffs and plenty of flights of fancy, all kept developing with gentle cues.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Using your braners (1) - World-changing weaponry

I want to show more of the scope in the braner concept, so this is the first in a series on possible applications for gaming and in wider fiction. It's propluristemic content, meaning it's designed for use in no particular game system or setting, for adaptation as preferred.

I recommend reading the last post first, and maybe this one, to find out what a braner is.

The idea is that part of a transdimensional structure - whether a lode of a weird material, or a daemon, or something else - is coaxed, driven or worked into a device of some kind.

The two here are melee or projectile weapons, and the entity is assumed to be the edge of the blade, or the surface making contact. This also suggests the sheath or equivalent is worked to contain the effect, or a variation on the weaver aspect is used to activate it.

Each one has a few possible names, to reflect the variety of worlds that could develop it.

Vault's Call, Sibilance, The Exsanctor etc.

This weapon cleaves solid matter cleanly, as if liquid, apparently destroying all material along the path. In fact, each particle is drawn over a dimensional boundary (cf. whisker).

The weapon may cut through a barrier of any nature except transdimensional. In combat a hit ignores all armour and fields with this same exception. The hit is always treated as critical or does critical or maximum damage, and will otherwise cause immediate death.

If left unsheathed, the transdimensional part will pass through matter on which it rests or which it strikes, and it will continuously draw in particles from a surrounding atmosphere or reservoir until this is exhausted - to which myriad dead worlds and voids may testify.

The constant whisper of this flow may be heard, and the space beyond may be sensed.

Wail o' the Weft, Shreave, The Disenverter etc.

This weapon warps the current reality, removing or remaking existing matter and infusing it with strange forms from unknown sources beyond dimensional boundaries (cf. winder).

In combat a hit ignores all armour and fields except those of a transdimensional nature and is treated as if coated with a permanently debilitatingly poison, while the maximum damage result causes immediate death. Each hit results in a single mutation over time.

In each situation in which the weapon is unsheathed, that location or route is corrupted and may bleed; any entity later touching this point or line is treated as if hit. Where this weapon proliferates, the world may quickly become unrecognisable, even uninhabitable.

When in motion the weapon emits a shriek and ripples may be felt in the fabric of reality.

Hopefully this does make the possible uses clearer, or helps point a way. The last post has more context, and once you can visualise what's going on, the ideas should flow...

Friday, 14 December 2012

Towards a new model army?

Many of us feel that certain areas of wargaming can be pricey, some areas increasingly and unreasonably so. A handful of posts from the past few days suggest ways forward.

Interestingly, BoLS this week posted some homebrew, which I think is the first time in a good while. It's a full mission, like those Creative Twilight produce, possibly a step into a new golden age, and Loken reminded us of the first and its magical Lords of Battle pdf.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

All your base are belong to someone

Fans of the d12, as well as game designers and worldbuilders, and anyone interested in getting a fresh perspective on a key assumption of today's world, might like to read this article on dozenals and the idea of shifting from base-10 to base-12...

Monday, 10 December 2012

Build-your-own braner

Last week I posted a weird new monster, alien or supernatural being that references M-theory - the noö-braner. If you missed it, the basic braner is essentially a trans-Euclidean lifeform able to slip more or less freely across various dimensions.

It could be the basis of a Lovecraftian horror, or an alternative to a warp entity for 40K, or a very different tactical challenge for adventurers and armies, the kind of thing you might find in Call of Cthulhu, sword and sorcery or a wargame like this, maybe a demiurge...

The original post has a few more suggestions too, thanks to John Till and garrisonjames.

I want to generalise the concept through a simple tool, so below is a table for six general braner aspects for mixing and matching. The noö-braner is now a 'waker-weaver-wisher'.

A random approach to making your own could be rolling 1d6 for the number of aspects it has and 1d6 on the table for each, treating duplicates as greater intensity in that aspect.

      Braner aspects (1d6)

  1. Waker - The osmotic or conductive structure of this braner allows the absorption, mingling or transfer of material among those regions currently located adjacent to it, enabling the formation of a reservoir or conduit for transdimensional interaction.
  2. Weaver - Highly elongated or filamentary, this braner binds manifolds, perhaps forming a basis for a reality by bracing its fundamental particles, macrostructures or universal shell; its loss, transformation or relocation may lead to local collapse.
  3. Whiler - Whether hibernating, pupating or paralysed, perhaps lying in wait, this braner is more or less inactive, representing a temporary hindrance to travel via the region and gifting its current transdimensional location a misleading stability.
  4. Whisker - This braner hooks, envelops or dislodges elements of nearby regions, stretching or carrying them out across a dimensional horizon, perhaps shifting, telescoping or inverting the local form; they may be returned, irrevocably altered.
  5. Winder - The tension, mass or construction of this braner warps the coils of the dimensions it spans or crosses, thereby spontaneously reordering, separating or fusing these dimensions and sparking sudden shifts in reality for the inhabitants.
  6. Wisher - Possessed of a morphic structure - perhaps plasmatic, gelatinous or nanitic - or capable of transdimensional lensing, this braner is able to generate, modify or mimic any or all of the elements of a region, including the inhabitants.

They're building blocks only of course, for you to decide the wider nature and the detail of the manifestations. For general mechanics, assuming they'd apply, you could look at the ideas in the first post. For less usual contexts, the possible new genres might be a good start, especially body noir, glossed world, retro time travel and sword and reinette.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Seeing Tolkien's Long Defeat

If the six books of The Lord of the Rings gave three films, and the one of The Hobbit will give three too, what next? If Jackson et al. follow Lucas/Disney to push for a third trilogy, there's no lack of sources.

Most obviously "The Scouring of the Shire" was left out last time. By this rule of increasing bloat, could this one chapter be stretched over three more? It's not hard to imagine a spin-off mini-series, just one with less emphasis on the 'mini'. How about those Adventures of Tom Bombadil? He was also left out.

But why? What justifies such major removals? Is it as simple as overlong running time? After all, Jackson's LotR was three long films and special editions. Pacing is a better argument, but Tolkien left them in. And rightly so I think. To my mind the Scouring and Tom Bombadil are more or less the heart of it all.

Bombadil especially. Have a read of this overview if you haven't seen the arguments.

If so, maybe that's why both were cut, as supposedly unfit for a 21st-century audience.

What could that mean? There's plenty at this post from earlier today, on zombies too.

Tolkien once wrote: "I do not expect 'history' to be anything but a 'long defeat'", and we have Galadriel verbalise the thinking in the fiction, or rather in the generally recognised fiction: "together through the ages of the world we have fought the long defeat." Really?

Why all the gloom? My reading of Bombadil suggests Tolkien did see, maybe even see, past. As he wrote of Bombadil: "he represents something that I feel important, though I would not be prepared to analyse the feeling precisely." As his Goldberry says: "He is."

Look at the feel for landscape Tolkien has, in fine distinctions. He sees the wood for the trees, and surely saw the cycles, the flow of atoms. It may be that if we spend too much time worldbuilding, a demiurge of sorts, we see a little further than the paradigm, even if we have to use the language of that paradigm to communicate this and to understand it.

If Spinoza was a bee, what is Tolkien? And what are we? Who's your Bombadil? We get to choose, and happily Jackson has given us space to do that so far, although if he has Stephen Colbert playing him (we don't know yet), it may go from one extreme to another.

So which Bombadil are you making, know it or not, as Tolkien's long defeat rumbles on?

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Dunroamins & Decline - GW, the OGL and its OSR

First, Itras By has finally been published in English. There's a fine review of the original at Harald's and the sample pdf is here. Thanks to Nørwegian Style for posting the news.

Second, in a discussion at BoLS on GW licensing its IP Vossl claimed "the OGL died a horrible fiery death 4 years ago". The OGL is the Open Game License. Part of my reply:

The OGL is alive and kicking. Pathfinder, which was built through the OGL, has at least for some time outperformed the official fourth edition and an Old School Renaissance is thriving because of it too, via what may well be hundreds of smaller publishers. The fact we know about fifth so early, not to mention the general direction it's headed in, may be in part down to the power the OGL has given the player base.

Vossl is clued up and a crisp thinker, so how many other people have never heard of the OGL, a licence that lets gamers create materials compatible with a much-loved system or IP and sell them. It's essentially D&D, but other companies, like GW, might catch on.

One of the beneficiaries and drivers of the development is this Old School Renaissance, or whatever we choose to call it, specifically the D&D OSR. But where are the pioneers vanishing to? How will we stumble across their worlds, or talk to and learn from them?

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Do gamers need help?

My name's Porky and I play games. I may need help. But possibly not the kind you're thinking.

I'm going to trace out an argument with a set of quotes from recent posts. The first is from this post at Plastic Legions on GW's Hobbit range:

The mini manual in the starter set doesn't contain the stat profiles or point costs of the new models. The starter set scenario booklet contains the profiles but not the points. In short if you bought the starter set thinking you were getting the new rules. Think again laddie, its GW 2012!!!  you still have to buy the $85 USD big rule book if you want the full package, ...
... the best part is they dont tell you that until you open the starter box! So if it wasn't for "whistleblowers" letting us know  in advance you are buying the starter set thinking you're getting something you are not.
The only reason I'm still around is they have an untouchable IP I love, ... Believe me the old PT Barnum addage "There is a sucker born every minute" has never been so true for all of us, that participate in the Games Workshop hobby. They suck, they suck rotten, stinking zombie ass, they truly do, and yet we keep on buying-

The telling passage may seem to be "The only reason I'm still around ...", but for me it's the assumption that "the points" are necessary for "the full package". Hold that thought.

Monday, 3 December 2012


This post at False Machine reminded me of noisms' recent suggestion that "Creating a truly new monster is difficult, and perhaps impossible". I thought I might have a go at it.

A noö-braner is a trans-Euclidean being able to bleed freely across any and all dimensions in pursuit of hylozoa. It tracks likely targets from dimensions largely beyond their own, initially inserting only quanta to scan, later perhaps more complex observational and manipulative tendrils from multiple points. Having identified a potential node, a noö-braner strikes from within, either endowing an awareness which extends via the noö-braner and all existing nodes, or altering awareness if a similar being has already entered.

It's a lifeform Mr Lovecraft might recognise, or possibly a distant cousin of GW's Umbra.

It doesn't seem to need stats, and could be best used to bring elements of a landscape to life, to modify mental and spiritual attributes, or psychic or magical ability, or to allow lifeforms to draw on deeper resources. Individuals and units with a heightened sense or advanced sensors could be allowed a check to observe those tendrils before the strike.

For wargaming, you could look at the 'compromised' idea from the GM substitute deck.

For tactical roleplaying, a noö-braner has no real lair, its treasure is the awareness - but could be the recognition of the awareness - and lots of rumours are already out there...

Friday, 30 November 2012

The inmost recesses of the abyss

Entry no. 7 has gone into the Maelstrom table, making another reference if you're playing along.

If you're wondering what this is all about, click back to the last post. The potential in this kind of crossover seems a natural frontier for the saturation, savvy and tools of our time.

The title here is a phrase from Poe's original work, the initial inspiration at Hereticwerks.

Update: The eighth is in and the Maelstrom is now one of the Ends.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The glad lightness of a far future and alterpluristemics

The recent focus on paths among universes or settings set off some thinking here. What if the journey could be planned, or the destination known, or a traveller could move back and forth? You could import/export between paradigms. Then came the next thought...

Which item from any given setting or universe could really change the nature of another?

One that came to my mind was the flower from the classic Star Trek episode "This Side of Paradise". It sprayed spores that removed resistance to empathy and freer love - see the first video below. And I thought of the grim dark of a setting like the 41st millennium.

Wouldn't work? Xenophobia between the factions is just too strong? In the second - and potentially very offensive - video, of Richard Herring's Hitler Moustache, a train of thought starts at 3:32 in which Herring jokes that while many of us embrace the existence of so many nations, anyone who sees only Them and Us is just one step from universal love.

Of course, in a war-torn far future like M41, anywhere the flowers were planted could be subject to Exterminatus or the equivalent, and probably would be once their effects were known. Conflict can be made profitable, or be the sum total of experience or a source of identity - that we know. So what mechanism could be used to spread the love around?

Well, the Orks are a major, dynamic vector. And they multiply via spore release. What if a rogue xenobiologist or bad dok raised an Ork to produce the love spore too? Orks get everywhere and could inherit the galaxy. Now they'd share it. What would that mean?

At any rate, a transpluristemic path like one of those for the Ends, especially if it could be hacked or co-opted, or a follow-up found, could give rise to a new kind of protagonist: a figure who travels the settings, maybe the genres, altering them for a given purpose...

A few bits and pieces

First, BoLS has a major update on the ongoing GW vs. Chapterhouse case - there's a little more here - and HoP flags up a clever thunderhawk.

Second, if you've been having trouble seeing The M42 Project's vision of an improved alternative to 40K, SandWyrm posted a force organisation chart and revised game introduction

Third, there's a discussion going on at Trey's last Warlord review, on change in people and genre, and Roger the GM sees the old school in ITV's classic show Knightmare.

Fourth, one or two of us were commenting a while back with Lovecraft's favourite words, and to expand a shrunk vocabulary I've decided to build on that. I started here and here.

Lastly, it seems no one got that movie reference from the last post, so I've put a slightly more open reference into the next entry for the Maelstrom table. This is entry no. 6 of eight unless someone else jumps in before Saturday. If you have a suggestion, go for it.

     The descent into the Maelstrom... (heading for 1D8)

     6. ... wakes the traveller - who is afloat and wired up in a sensory deprivation tank.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Coming to more great Ends...

John Till has just posted a stunningly good portal at Fate SF, the Anagogue, or Whirlpool Gate, a way to gain access to his Empire setting. He's happy to see it in the Ends list and it's welcome.

Two more from the brilliant Riskail have also just gone in, and to get the Maelstrom table finished finally, I'm going to be adding one entry a day until the end of the month. That will make six entries in total, for rolls using a d6.

If anyone adds a new entry in this time, I'll match it with one more and keep that up until we reach the number of the next standard die, whether that's a d8, d10, d12, d20 or d30.

It's about getting a set of watery arrivals in other worlds, to help games migrate between settings and universes. Here's an entry for today then, no. 4. Maybe it seems familiar...

     The descent into the Maelstrom... (1D4 so far)

     4. ... becomes a water chute pouring into a cavern holding a galleon, an Inferno.

Pretty much anything goes. Leave suggestions here or there - I'll credit every entry with a link. You can track progress using the graphic grid at the top of the right-hand sidebar.

Update: We're already up an entry, reaching no. 5 early, so it's going to eight at least...

Monday, 26 November 2012

Nor the battle to the strong (3)

Here's the third batch of cards for the substitute GM deck. In case you missed the first two, it's an attempt to get more colourful events into wargaming rulesets, but without the players needing an arbitrator. It follows up a discussion with Big Jim, but it's not aimed specifically at 40K, or any one system or setting, and it could fit tactical roleplaying too.

The first seven cards in the deck, i.e. Spill, Spark, Plume, Flaw, Gust, Lapse and Agent, can all be found here and there's a general approach to using the deck as a whole here.

The three in this batch cover a spectacular or horrific loss that affects morale, a flock of creatures being disturbed and relocating, as well as birdstrikes, and a slip, suspicion or disagreement that turns into internal conflict or mutiny, possibly even a coup attempt.

As with the earlier batches, this batch can build on the effects of other cards in the deck and bring new effects into play, making it possible to set up interlinked chains of events.

As ever, all feedback is welcome, and the blank card is here if you want to create more.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Words for worlds (1) - working past dwarves in space

Many people are likely aware of the IAU decision a few years back to create the new classification of dwarf planet, which reduced the 'full' planets in the solar system to eight and added five dwarves: Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris. Not everyone was happy, not least with the definition going beyond intrinsics to cover orbital clearing.

Beyond this issue, there's also the problem of division into comets and asteroids, bodies at Lagrangian points, the extra terms like 'minor planet', 'trojan' and 'centaur', transitions from gas giant to star and the challenge of reflecting relative size of moons and planets.

If there are more large worlds in the outermost reaches of our system and billions around other stars or travelling between them, these problems in classification could get worse.

To see if it can be helped based on existing terms, here's a simple two-term approach to core body type. The first word covers construction, the second mass. Here 'dwarf' shows only intrinsic aspects: its mass and hydrostatic equilibrium. Two words are coined: troid, from 'asteroid' and 'planetoid', for bodies of a mass below a dwarf, and mid, for stars and planets between the extremes, which seems fair but not too prosaic, has long roots and could be a nod to our geo- and heliocentric exceptionalism. The word 'planet' is optional.

1. ice / icy          1. troid
2. rock / rocky       2. dwarf
3. gas / gaseous      3. mid  
4. stellar            4. giant

As far as I can tell, it covers the core forms. Gamers will see immediately it's set up like two 1d4 tables so it could at least be used to generate locations for gaming. One or two purely conceptual results could make for interesting sci-fi experiments, like 'stellar troid'.

I think it's clear how it works. Using this approach, rather than teach children that Earth, Mars and Pluto have one or more 'moons', we'd say Earth is a mid with a dwarf, Mars is a mid with two troids and Pluto is a dwarf with five troids. It's still simplified, but less so.

With it our system gains lots of secondary dwarves, and if we're talking status that feels fair to worlds like Titan that may be home to terrestrial life's nearest neighbours. It sees our system become, as far as we know, one stellar mid, two gas giants, two ice giants, four rocky mids, I think 24 mainly rocky dwarves, and the oceans of ice and rock troids.

Various more extrinsic elements can be shown as extra terms, the most obvious being:

1. [primary / secondary / tertiary etc.]   1. [orbital / eccentric [dominant]]
                      2. Langrangian
                       3. interstellar

Halley's Comet then becomes a primary ice troid, or - more fully - a primary, eccentric, dominant ice troid. The adjective 'interstellar' still covers those so-called 'rogue' planets.

Who can see the problems with it?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Then they danced down the streets like dingledodies

I've been lucky enough to receive a blogging award from Frontline Gamer, along with four other blogs. All of them are very deserving of it: it's worth taking a look if you haven't yet.

Like FG, I do have some reservations about the rules, so rather than name the five more blogs I recommend as winners, I'll just say go have a browse through the blogrolls in the left-hand sidebar. Those blogs are my recommendations and they deserve the attention.

But I am also going to suggest a few blogs that probably don't get much attention at all.

When we check a blogroll most of us probably start at the top and work down to the last posts we saw, but beyond are blogs that have been abandoned or gone on hiatus. These can represent years of excellence. And very nearly no one reads now. It's almost painful.

So here are just a few of those, representing various subjects. They're listed in order of period to the last post, longest to shortest. I recommend spending some time with each one, reading a few posts and taking in the wonders, especially if you never knew them.

I am serious - hopefully there's something for everyone in that batch, and there could be days of pleasure and learning just clicks away, benefits of the work those bloggers have put in. And these are just a sample of what's waiting deep in blogrolls all over the place.

The passage in the title is from Jack Kerouac's On the Road, and there's more of it here.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Warhammer xK and wargaming almost before war

There was a post at Kings Miniatures last week suggesting GW cuts prices by 50% and that we list what we'd buy if they did to encourage them.

I've been wondering what I'd put on a list at 50% off, but I haven't come up with anything yet. The Lord of the Rings line is there, but why drop into 25mm from 28mm and not go to 15mm, or better yet 6mm? For sci-fi and 40K at 6mm, check out the new not-titans from Steel Crown Productions.

Building on a discussion with Snord at BoLS, I don't much dig GW's heroic 28mm style any more. I think it looks odd. The bits can be useful though, and we might only now be learning how useful. Ork hands, say, can look simian on naturally proportioned humans.

I know I'm not alone in this, so here's another hypothetical. If GW's style is falling out of fashion, what else could the rulesets be used for? What if the settings got old?

To mention another discussion at BoLS, I recently joked some of the Dystopian Legions miniatures could inspire a Warhammer 20K, set 10,000 years further back from the 30K of the currently fashionable Horus Heresy. What about playing a Warhammer 2K in our near past or future, or c. 0K with ancients? Would the ruleset be up to the job?

That got me thinking about earlier periods. How about -40K? Or -400K? Have you ever seen a ruleset for wargaming or roleplaying encounters between early humans? This kind of thing. Various posts at The Subversive Archeologist - like this one - suggest plenty is still up in the air. Early human miniatures are relatively thin on the ground too.

If you have anything like that up your sleeve, you might want to read Lo's current series at HoP on getting new ideas out there, which is now up to the subject of self-publishing.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Full of beans, out of spam

It's been quiet here the last two or three days, but I haven't been far away. I've done some relevant reading and worked on a few projects, including the ongoing resolution system and an unusual conversion that might be good for INQ28 or InquisiMunda. Most of that will turn up here sooner or later.

I've also made a change to comment settings. The number of spam comments has been going up and the time taken to trawl through them all was getting seriously out of hand.

Frontline Gamer is managing it by turning word verification on and anonymous comments off, but I'm not willing to do the first yet based on this intriguing claim, for the lack of clarity about who gains from the work commenters do. There's more on the theme here.

Instead, given that most of the spam was posted with the anonymous option, which was rarely if ever used otherwise, I've only turned that off. I'm not so happy about doing it, but it seems the lesser of the evils for now. So far, so good - there's been zero spam since.

If you do want to comment and this change means you can't, just email me the text with permission to post it. If you can see any other solutions to the problem, don't hold back.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

A mug's game?

If your electoral system was a game system, which would it be? And would you play it?

To set the ball rolling, for the UK, I might say first edition Warhammer Roleplay - a great tone and huge influence, but an official development that narrowed fast and a slow death.

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Betwixt

It's Monstrous Monday so here's my contribution. With so many new creatures already created throughout the month and more due today, I've decided not to add another one to the list, but suggest a way two existing creatures can be combined in a single form.

The Betwixt is an outlandish fusion of two living beings, perhaps the work of a vengeful bolt or a mishandled magic, or capricious spirits stitching together the sleeping with ethereal threads, or a strange attraction in nature, even an outer power.

Tolerances being what they are, a fresh Betwixt may be cast out or hunted down by one or both of its former kin, forced to seek out a remote seclusion or lair. Less often these beings will find some degree of acceptance, perhaps be admired for the gifts gained or revealed, or even worshipped as proof of some formerly abstract ideal. More rarely still, they may bring together two alien peoples as one, shaping the world in their own image.

A Betwixt has a profile on which each stat is an average of the two on the profiles of its constituent beings, rounding down. If one has a stat the other does not, this is its usual level. In addition, a Betwixt retains any original abilities not prevented by the new nature.

If the constituent beings survive long enough, they will grow into their new form, and may become potent indeed: each appropriate period of time following their fusion - perhaps a week, perhaps a year - each stat improves by one point to the best of the two originals.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Conan, Frankenstein's monster, trenches and Chaos

Looking through blogs here and there today, and at subjects being discussed - Conan, Frankenstein, trenches, Chaos - I get to wondering: am I a barbarian, built of reclaimed bits of popular culture, hiding away from an outer inner darkness I won't face? Are you?

Here's some recommended reading: read the future. Start by reading between the lines and it's not so hard to do. There's a lot going on in between those lines. Read the future and if it's not escapism you're getting, it might be worth deciding - can the you of today live in that world? Because if we don't put in some work between those lines, ourselves, we might just end up so well adapted to that future we won't even know what happened.

Might just get a sense of something not quite li-  But still, play the games we played as kids, read and watch the same things, as if nothing happened. Nothing happened. As if.

Just breaking one or two fifth walls - or maybe a sixth?

Thursday, 25 October 2012

40K OSR? (21)

More 40K OSR? We know what 40K is, or think we do, but what's an OSR? Still a good question.

If you're part of it, feel free to use Colonel Kane's logo, here to the right, and think about linking to their exemplary blog Tales from the Maelstrom.

Since the last update Major Hazzard has posted an Eldar shuttle and crew - with spirit warriors.

And there's more of that heresy right here...

  • Staying on the subject of playing at smaller scales, Relic at Lead Space has 1, 2, 3 more 6mm Epic Crimson Fists models for use in skirmish games, ...

Also worthy of mention, Rob at Warhammer 39,999 is selling a large range of classic miniatures for various 40K armies and some fantasy, with the final day being Sunday.

I have a contribution this time too, the introductory post to a series on developing 40K the wargame into an easy-start RPG, with or without a GM. The next part isn't far off.

If you think I've missed anything, leave a link in the comments, even to your own work.

Update: In the comments scottsz has a link to Angel Barracks, where there's 6mm with possible counts-as squigs, a wheeled chimera-like chassis and various humans.

I also want to mention Dave G's weekly updates at Wargaming Tradecraft, which very often link to fan-made art, and BoLS this week had a Necron piece with a timelapse.

And I've just seen Curis at Ninjabread recently posted on building a Squat force - the Furnace Valley Brotherhood - with some newly-painted classics and current stats.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Rogue Space - Splinter Shield

I haven't done very much for Rogue Space lately, so here's a field type I came up with a while ago inspired by the Shields Shall be Splintered! rule.

Splinter Shield

A splinter shield projector is a compact device based on the coalescence technologies developed in Oboric planar travel, initially adapted to the Chargers of Rrrn Y. It is often worked into a chestplate or pendant and converts kinetic energy into shards of matter.

An individual with a splinter shield gains 1 point of Protection against ranged attacks, a hit from which sprays the area with apical shards: for each point of Damage caused by the hit, the radius of this area is 5' and there is a 1 in 6 chance of each target within it - except the individual protected - being struck by an attack doing 1D3 points of Damage.

For example, if 4 points of Damage are caused by a ranged attack, anyone up to 20' from the individual protected is hit on a roll of 1-4 on 1D6, suffering if so 1D3 Damage.

In addition, if the total Damage done by a ranged attack is 6 points or more, the shield fails after the hit is resolved, collapsing into 2D6 splinters, each with the following profile.

 Coalesced splinter      -     S      Brittle: one use; wielder loses first 1 HP if any Dam.

There's a bigger, nominally Rogue Space project on the way too, involving the excellent Lithus Sector, and from here the Trippies and Orəq especially. I'll be trailing that soon...