Monday, 30 January 2012

Rogue Space at the Expanse

This is an index of content written or adapted for the Rogue Space system and posted here at the Expanse. I'll add new entries as more material goes up, and the footer will now link to this post.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Creatures - gathering

As you head towards the bridge, the creatures begin to move, not obviously in response to your presence. From across the meadow they are gathering off at one edge, braying in the long grass beneath the canopy where the stream pools and staring at the water.

Disperse the creatures to investigate   Blog One   Blog Two
Approach the gathering with care   Blog One   Blog Two
Continue to the bridge   Blog One   Blog Two   Blog Three
Return to the oak   Blog One   Blog Two

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Deeper dice (1) - interactions and relative positions

The first in what will probably be a very occasional series on result generation - random or not - to get some of the weirder raw ideas out there for delving into in the spirit of the D1 post.

For the first then, what if dice were a kind of particle of fate?

What if when you roll more than one die and two or more of them end up touching, they annihilate each other, meaning the results aren't counted? Or the smaller result is subtracted from the larger? Or they fuse, so you total the two numbers?

Or maybe some pass beyond knowledge, so if one die ends up at least twice as far from the nearest as that one is from any other, it's ignored? Or maybe it can't be used until another one gets closer? If it rolls off the table the effect in-game could take place on another plane, or the result could show how many dice vanish with it, bleeding potential from the tabletop.

It could also work for interactions between the dice being used by different players, and there's real potential here. If dice stop in contact or strike each other and rebound, there could be a connection in-game. Stopping in contact could mean a result for one player affecting another immediately, but a rebound might see the effect offset in time or space, with the distance between the dice on a line drawn to the roller being direction in time. Positions relative to objects like mugs, notes or terrain pieces could be interpreted in terms of events or locations.

The connections could be allowed alter the nature of the game world, changing established facts and keeping reality in flux.

Could colour make a difference, or the energy put into the roll, or a given number being rolled in a matching hour or minute?

What happens if a die manages to get past the GM's screen?

Where no, I don't know has gone before

As time went by it looked for me like Star Trek: The Next Generation was more a story of Worf and Data than any of the other characters. Geordi and Wesley started strong, but faded - and Geordi especially seems a massive missed opportunity in retrospect. Picard was a relative constant, and had to be as the nominal central figure, but Worf grew a lot and moved the whole revival on, and Data was a focal point for meditation.

If so, these two videos might have something big to say, for collecting up representative moments and driving the points home. They're both clearly distortions, given Worf was right to be worried in many cases, and Data had to be dumbed down to fit, but still.

Looking at it now, Picard seems to me a more military figure than Worf, and maybe even more militaristic, which is a theme I hardly picked up on back then. These scenes give a sense of how subtle a character Worf could be, and how much the character was about energies in dynamic check, as opposed to Data, who was about knowing every drop .

Spock got a line saying Picard was a bit Vulcan, and he is a kind of equilibrium for the series, a reference point for the initial trajectory and a centre of harmony. When he got knocked, it was arguably Worf's overall impact on the series through his character arc and potential that did it, and Data that looked all the more like a hope for the future.

And if that's true, there's a contrast with 2001 and maybe where we are now. For some reason I'm tieing it all in with a look at gaming the dark ages at Lard Island News, and also The Subversive Archeologist, another blog I recommend for a good deep think.

Update: There's a magical write-up for the dark age gaming at Roundwood's World.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

In Search of the City of the Serpent Queen

Digging through old ideas I found this, my entry for Chris Kutalik's last Asinine Adventure Contest at Hill Cantons, which it turns out I never posted. It's silly, clichéd and has very dodgy jokes, enough to scrape a joint second place overall. All the winners are here.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Magical madness, misfires and beer

There's a new community table up over at Gorgonmilk, for spellcaster madness. I kept forgetting, but I've remembered for long enough today to put some entries up. There are still 18 slots left if you have some ideas of your own and it could well get made a pdf.

Initially I though the table was for magical misfires, so here's one of those to use if you can. If you want to get a list going, feel free to drop any weird ideas in the comments.

  • Existential laceration: The caster rends one or more layers of reality with the path or area of effect of the spell. The regions in question are now riven with sheets or tendrils of a number of alternate existences. The caster and anyone touched by a region must save vs. death with a negative modifier equal to the level of the spell or have 1D3 existences each pierce a random major body part. Roll 1D6 for each such body part. It is: 1) permanently fixed in place; 2) cut cleanly if moved; 3) infused from within the existence, with the consequences dependent on the existence's nature; 4) massively distorted, perhaps extended or looped in on itself infinitely; 5) wondrously transmuted to an otherworldly nature; 6) lost into the existence permanently, but still an essential part of its owner, who now perceives the space beyond.

    The beer table could also have a few slots left if you have an idea for a fictional brew, and here's a video with the great Frank Zappa to lend a hand. More of his thinking here.

    Update: Gorgonmilk has moved here and the beer table is now here, and almost done.


    Friday, 20 January 2012

    Rogue Space - Dodeko ISV

    Another human Empyre vehicle adapted using the Rogue Space construction rules. This time it's a fast inertia-storing, self-righting buggy.

    The concept keeps the gyroscopic theme of the newer Empyric machines, getting at a key idea running through the background, and the naming moves on for a similar reason.

    Dodeko ISV Mk. II, 'The Dodo'

    The Dodeko Inertial Storage Vehicle is an agile amphibious buggy. Its spherical cage holds a self-righting crew pod and mounts two transverse sets of six pairs of buoyant wheels, for complex lateral and axial motion over almost any surface. Though new, it deploys on all sides of the Discourse for its crew are exposed and it is easily stolen.

    C      12.5%    [1]   Crew pod (max. 2 crew, open)
    H      12.5%    [1]   1 Light Pulveriser (360 x 360° arc)
    A      37.5%    [3]   C:H: 1  S: 3
    S      37.5%    [3]   125' (free turns through 360 x 360°; if overturned, drops 1 speed band, to min. 0')
    E       100%       8

    The statline for the Light Pulveriser is here. There's more Rogue Space material via the links at the bottom, and I'll have some background up soon to put what's here in context.

    For those interested, I'm wondering whether a spin-off from this setting could be used as the basis for a faction for 40K, but one not built on GW IP. Has anyone ever done that?


    Tuesday, 17 January 2012

    Chess scenarios (1) - Cat's Away

    This was inspired by the discussion with Dave yesterday at the adaptive action post. It's an alternative setup for chess, more or less a scenario. The story should be fairly clear.

    For a more classical feel to the title, in French I'd offer Quelle Surprise, or even a risqué La Pénétration Sublime, reflecting the knight's bold breach of defences, in Latin maybe Coitus Interruptus. It is a union, an earthshaking one; two big symbols coming together.

    But is it too coarse? For a game of murderous kingdoms, probably not, however elegant the system itself may be. We mostly accept it's better to make love than war, and there are big moral decisions to take in the first couple of moves, if not right the way through.

    Any and all comments are welcome, especially on the balance of the forces, but also on what other games could be adapted along the lines of that discussion, and how exactly.

    Monday, 16 January 2012

    Rolling with it: adaptive action

    The next part of the series on game design is up at House of Paincakes. Loquacious starts looking at rules, and as with the last part there's a lot of thought-provoking material from interviews too.

    The mention of elimination got me thinking, and SinSynn makes what looks to be a central point with the recognition that "everyone's mind works differently". I'd say there's huge potential in that.

    I got quoted too, from a great discussion we had on what exactly random might be. We covered Freud's parapraxis, a quote from Marvin Minsky and the Mandelbrot set, as well as precision and the potential for a 'limitless' game.

    More could come later, but reading the snippet, I thought I might develop the idea and turn it into a rule. I'm surprised we don't see one like it more often. Here's the key line.

    Saturday, 14 January 2012

    40K OSR? (14)

    More 40K OSR?, and just a week from the last.

    I'm aiming to post smaller updates more often, with more wild cards, for non-40K gamers too.

    Some possible definitions of 'OSR' are here and Colonel Kane's logo is to the right. If you use it, consider giving him credit and adding Tales from the Maelstrom to your roll as a fine exemplar.

    On to the action then, with the wild cards mixed in, just because it really is hard to draw the line.

    • Sad news first: Tobias Reinold passed away; he may have been relatively unknown, but he gave us a lot and shows how much we can each achieve.

                As ever, feel free to add links to anything at all you think I've missed in the comments.

                Friday, 13 January 2012

                Rogue Space - Flare ATG and Storm APC

                A pair of linked transports adapted for Rogue Space using the new rules; Fenway5's core rules and supplements are up here, an A4 sheet each.

                The combination is a development of the Nova Armoured Transport Gyrocopter, or ATG, and I've kept the naming related - the larger delivery vehicle is the Flare ATG, and the smaller vehicle it carries is the Storm APC.

                There's also a new weapon, the light pulveriser, using the rather ugly implosive rounds.

                It's all a part of the Empyre conversion, aimed at giving Rogue Space players a future human context, but one that's familiar, simple and generic enough to adapt easily; the main inspirations were probably the aerial crane concept and the Aliens dropship.

                Flare ATG Mk. Id, 'The Velvet Glove'

                The Flare ATG builds on the Nova frame, replacing direct passenger capacity with an external bay for a ground vehicle based on the Storm chassis. Though designed for rapid Empyric conquest, the Flare is now a key suppressor in the Uncivil Discourse.

                C     25%    [1]   Cabin (max. 3 crew, top hatch)  [1]  Clamps (max. 1 Storm chassis of up to E12)
                H     10%    [1]   1 Light Pulveriser            [1]  1 Light Pulveriser
                A     35%    [7]   C: 4, 1/S (Clamps / Storm chassis)  H: 1, 1  S: 3 
                S     30%    [9]   125-185' (185' - 5' per 1E of Storm chassis), skims (clamp / unclamp - 1 turn)
                E     100%    20

                Storm APC Mk. II, 'The Mailed Fist'

                The versatile Storm chassis was developed in tandem with the Flare ATG. The APC is the primary variant and in demand in these days of dynamic civil resistance. The Mk. II is a response to the spread of heavy assets as a result of audacious resistance tactics.

                C     25%    [1]   Cabin (max. 2 crew, top hatch)  [2]  Hold (max. 8 pass., front ramp, rear ramp)
                H     10%    [1]   1 Plasma Gun (mounted to fire clamped, unless landing, landed or taking off)
                A     35%    [6]   C: 6, 6  H: 3  S: 4
                S     30%    [2]   25' (clamp / unclamp - 1 turn)
                E     100%    12

                A note on design: I dealt with the variable load by basing the Speed of the Flare on the total Engineering of the Flare and an E12 Storm, but spending only the Flare's points; I then decided 1E less than the maximum load would be worth 5' of distance travelled.

                The Light Pulveriser is more or less a Light Machine Gun from the Armoury supplement, but using what will be the standard Empyric ammo, the brutal Implosive Round, raising the destructive effect of a bullet further; the special rule shows the nature of the wounds.

                Light Pulveriser    H    Implosive Rounds    L    Damage recovered at half normal rate

                Make any suggestions at all, and maybe download the game if you haven't yet - it's free.


                Tuesday, 10 January 2012

                Plea - strike - memory

                In profound pain now, you gurgle out a desperate plea through the fall of oil. Even as the words leave there is a movement at the edge of sight, up by the tunnel. Something fine and sharp strikes you. Despite your rapidly freezing legs, a warm darkness flows in...

                You open your eyes, blink, still heavy with sleep, but unrefreshed. Tired. Lying deep in grass below high branches, you move your legs half-aware; you dreamt they were lost.

                You pause, sit up. The clearing is familiar. Something, something about it... But a wave of calm from within pushes at the doubts, dissolves them. Relax, it soothes, all is well.


                Struggle to remember   Blog One
                Allow yourself to forget   Blog One   Blog Two


                Monday, 9 January 2012

                ... there is only civil war

                This is a bit of an experiment linked with 40K...

                During the Armageddon project I put up stats for Citizens using the 40K ruleset, and the concept came back to me recently when I was looking for inspiration for a civil war militia for Rogue Space.

                They were designed to work under the hive interior combat system, so some special rules weren't very useful in general 40K. I thought they might benefit from an update.

                They also resonate with the series Jervis has running on civil war in WFB, a discussion I read over at The Secret Sun on possible intranational relations, and this post on D&D.

                I've reworked the entry below, but left the special ability table blank to see if we can do some development in the comments; the original table is here. Given the stats are for humans, what abilities would YOU put in there to suggest citizens of the Imperium?

                A fourth column or six

                If you use fourth edition D&D, you might like the weird creatures S. P. is adapting from Hereticwerks at How to Succeed in RPGs or Die Trying; it's bold thinking and hard work.

                Saturday, 7 January 2012

                40K OSR? (13)

                Long time, no update, so this time it's massive.

                As usual, if you're not sure what a 40K OSR? could be, there are potential definitions here.

                If you identify with it, especially if you're coming up with new material, Colonel Kane's logo, to the right, is ready to use. If you do, consider giving him credit and adding Tales from the Maelstrom to your roll. The battle report the guys posted just before Christmas should be reason enough.

                This time milestones, bad news and possible surprises, plus the usual wild cards at the end.

                ... and both of those links could almost be wild cards, making me think the distinction might be blurring as time goes by. Here are the three that seem just outside this time.

                All related posts here get the 40K OSR? label, so you can keep up with what I see. If you think I've missed anything, go right ahead and leave the link to it in the comments.

                Update: As usual I find one right away - Spyglass Asylum has a John Blanche mini.

                Surviving an apocalypse

                Surviving a potential man-made apocalypse is easy. It came to me reading the article on wheelbarrows that Talysman mentioned here. The solution? Start rebuilding now.

                We do it by putting ourselves in the position of a survivor, in a moment long enough after the collapse that things have stabilised and the decay begun, but in which we can see clearly the outline of what it was came before, or remember it for having lived then too.

                A moment suggesting the long path we had to follow just to get to where we are today, so the size of the missed opportunity sinks in. So we see better the steps, methods and tools, and the rigour and imagination needed. So we see there's nothing for it but to pull out the stops, think deep and work hard, for the love of who we are and who we can be.

                Which is a great part of the value of post-apocalyptic fiction of course, more than any survival plan. Don't look at the zombies as the bad guys, look at them as allies lost.

                And if we start rebuilding now, we might stop the thing happening in the first place. The wheelbarrows are a fine start, for a look at the chance in history and time lost already.

                Friday, 6 January 2012

                Rogue Space - Controvertor field

                Another adaptation for the Rogue Space project.

                Controvertor Field

                The controvertor field is a staple of defence in the human Empyre, whether fitted to orbital platforms, combat vehicles, strongpoints or the architectural follies of the increasingly paranoid Directors. It is a key feature of the Nova ATG Mk. IV, a deep insertion and command variant of the transport gyrocopter.

                Relatively low tech even in these days of hardship, a controvertor field needs little more than a sensor, a responsive energy store and a damped repellor. It works by detecting and opposing any sufficiently high velocity incoming energy, ideally shunting it aside.

                A Controvertor Field may be mounted on a vehicle using the construction rules, either in a Compartment or as an item of Hardware. Protection is directional, and provided in 90° arcs. If coverage is less than 360°, facings may be varied manually from turn to turn, or automatically if targetting software or hardware is fitted, or excess capacity is available.

                The field adds 1 point of Protection to every Location attacked through one 90° arc, per point spent, e.g. +2 across 180° = four points. For every full 20 points of Engineering the vehicle has, base cost rises by one point. The field is assumed per point per arc to be equivalent in size to five humans or rated XL+1, and is recorded under Engineering.

                OPTIONAL: If the number of Hit Points of damage rolled for a Location is 5 points or more higher than field Protection, the field shorts and may not be used until overhauled.

                OPTIONAL: While field spread is set to envelop a form as tightly as possible, attacks at Range S or below may ignore a field either partially or fully at the discretion of the GM.


                Money in old tropes - Vampires

                I don't mind vampires - as a set of concepts - in the same way I can get along fine with space marines, cyborgs and gnomes, the other subjects of the Money in old tropes series. But with vampires too, more imaginative approaches must be possible.

                What are the core concepts? Vampires serve up blood, darkness and time, with a side order of maidens, mesmerisation and strength, and maybe a given geographical region.

                So how to see these things differently?

                Wednesday, 4 January 2012

                Circles Turn

                This is the five parts of Circles Turn gathered up, the whole adventure in one location.

                The cycle was a write-up of a journey through Zilgor's Repose, a complete adventure location set in the Kalaramar Drifts, one of the weird places created by Hereticwerks.

                There's supplementary material at Hereticwerks too, for elements like Lone Survivors and Low-End Loot. Look closely and you can see marks left by the following events...

                Tuesday, 3 January 2012

                Who's in charge here? (2)

                Two more cards for the deck of leader types, as well as a piece of flash fiction to tie in, for last week's Expansion Joints; Jennie's back and busy, and this week's is already up. The word to use last time was present and the narrative has to be 15 words max.

                "On your feet, scum! An officer's present."
                "No, sir, you're past. We voted you out."

                The cards are aimed at capturing the flavour of traditional and radical without suggesting any specific method being used by the leader. The traditional is assumed to be low-key, but relatively safe, working against extremes, with the radical more explosive and riskier, but the assumption being made that both can be learnt by other parties if dramatic.

                More importantly, the traditionalism and radicalism are not necessarily in conflict, don't simply cancel each other, and can be complementary, even overlap. Just like in real life.

                The suggested use of the deck is in the first post. A new concept introduced with this pair is 'area of influence', which I'm assuming to mean the area over which leadership extends in mechanical terms in-game, perhaps to a single unit in the case of a squad leader, a given radius in the case of a hero, or an entire force in the case of a general.