Friday, 31 August 2012

Rogues' gallery - Trippies

After sending Trey my seeds yesterday I emailed Fenway5 my material for Rogue Transmissions #2, a fuller version of the lost and found item list.

Now that's done, I'll be finishing up and posting rules for a few general factions. They're also aimed at Rogue Space, but should be easy enough to convert to other systems and settings. First up are the transhuman Trippies.

So who are these Trippies then?

Humans of the clade known as the Trippies are squat, strong and bioengineered with a prehensile third leg grown from the lower back, an adaptation to dynamic atmospheres.

And what's that got to do with us?

At the GM's discretion, Trippies may be taken as starting characters and/or be NPCs.

Starting characters: Origin, nature and lifestyle mean around 50% of Trippies have the Technician Archetype, and all have a further +1 Hit Point. The many challenges and the clade rejection mean initial Empathy is -1D3. The GM may allow a finboard or skytrike.

NPC groups: A group may include 1D6 Trippies of up to 1D2 generations; all but 1D3-1 will have a finboard and there will be skytrikes with seating or anchors for all but 1D2-1.

The third leg: A third leg may be used to a) hold or manipulate as if a hand or b) move 50% faster than an average bipedal human. It may be used simultaneously to reroll one die per attack in melee against humanoids, to represent surprise kicks, trips, switches and bracing. If a third leg is badly injured, initial instability modifies all Attributes by -1.

Technologies: Trippies make extensive use of various advanced human technologies, notably anti-gravitics. In many colonies, Trippies are adept riders of tripedal finboards, these often towed by skytrikes; the largest skytrikes mate with interstellar driveframes.

 Finboard, powered*    C H A S E  100% [2]  skims: 25' powered or 2 x rider move

 Skytrike, suborbital, random pattern*

 C      16.6%    [1]   Canopod (seating for 1D3 Trippies: 1 rider + 0-2 passengers)
 H      16.6%    [1]   up to 3 Rating points of payload, 1D3+3 finboard line anchor points
 A      16.6%    [1]   C:H: 1  S: 1
 S        50%     [3]   125'
 E        100%     6
* Uses the vehicle construction rules in Rogue Transmissions #1.

But what are they doing here..?

The GM may want to roll below for each starting character or NPC group, who is/are:
  1. ... trading, or otherwise seeking or offering skills, services or technology.
  2. ... fleeing a threat, prejudice, a discrimination of some form, or far worse.
  3. ... asserting a claim, attempting to right a wrong or continuing a vendetta.
  4. ... seeking a suitably hazardous landscape to explore, exploit or colonise.
  5. ... experimenting, releasing untapped potential or raising consciousness.
  6. ... studying, self-engineering or otherwise adapting to this particular site.

As ever, feedback is welcome, but better yet tweak what's here or run with it. If you don't know Rogue Space, my original review is here and the links below lead to more material.


Monday, 27 August 2012

Giving fighters a once-over

Following last week's post on adapting Vancian magic, here's a general response to the recent discussion on fighters in early D&D, especially customisation. It's an even simpler suggestion.

In the course of character creation anyone playing a fighter can give a summary of a few words on the character's philosophy, specific school, fighting style, preferred techniques etc.

Before each attack, and consistent with this summary, the player can very briefly state how exactly the fighter makes the attack, what one additional effect the fighter aims to achieve etc.

For example, a fighter whose master emphasises positioning may declare a strike is also intended to turn the foe, or pressure an individual back, or draw one opponent off.

If the attack succeeds by a margin of a quarter the range of the die or more (e.g. 2 if a D6, 5 if a D20, or 25 if a D100), the usual result and the stated effect are applied. If the attack fails by this margin instead, the DM / GM may apply a relevant adverse effect.

You can tinker with effect power, and make it higher if you already use a similar system without a margin. It might be decided a given effect needs a further check of some kind.

This gives a player explicit scope for customisation and creative input in general combat, and there's automatic improvement as character skill rises. It could be used as a more overt mechanical basis for related interactions like shaming, angering or persuasion.

It could work in wargaming too, even without a referee if the players agree effects first.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Deep thought Friday

This time I'll just direct you to two discussions.

One is SinSynn's considered post On Violence in Gaming at House of Paincakes, which is still picking up thoughtful responses two days later.

The other is Dark nights apprising here at the Expanse, which stayed oddly quiet once it was posted despite solid traffic - until James S took up the gauntlet earlier today and made things a lot more epistemological and DtF in the process.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Getting here

Some of the stranger search terms people and/or bots have used to visit the Expanse...

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Community Project - The Ends

Here's the master list for The Ends, a community project for paths between worlds, to get ways of moving from one setting or universe to another. I'll be updating the post with new routes as they come. Anyone can jump in...

  1. The barber's chair - the City to Wermspittle (Trey, From the Sorcerer's Skull)
  2. The ornate painting - to the Sea of Stars (seaofstarsrpg)
  3. The Gem of Muktra - to Zalchis (garrisonjames, Hereticwerks)
  4. The Synchronocitor - point-A to point-C (garrisonjames, Hereticwerks)
  5. The corroded metal plaque-like thing - unknown... (garrisonjames, Zalchis)
  6. The Weak Points - to and from Wermspittle (garrisonjames, Hereticwerks)
  7. A Tenebrous Scarlet Portal - many, various... (garrisonjames, Hereticwerks)
  8. The Aeonic Synchropore - possibly to the past (garrisonjames, Hereticwerks)
  9. The Aquaducts of Xembor - outwards, across alternities (garrisonjames, Riskail)
  10. The Lunar Gates / Lunar Mansions - also into dreamspace (garrisonjames, Riskail)
  11. The Anagogue; The Whirlpool Gate - into Imperial space (John Till, Fate SF)
  12. The Maelstrom - to one of eight places (garrisonjames, Hereticwerks & Porky)
  13. The Dryad's Saddle - to another world (C'nor (Outermost_Toe), Lunching on Lamias)
  14. ... 
  15. The First and Last Die - to other realities (Porky)
  16. The squishy cocoon - to dark and nasty regions (Porky)
  17. Confirmation of the Higg's boson - one here to others (Porky)
  18. The little helpers' dust - one here, maybe, to many others at once (Porky)

There's more inspiration at the original post and in the portal list, and if you need a spark for the world an open-ended portal might have as its destination, you could try this table.

Update: We've got so many in there now an alternative presentation may be needed.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Casting off a Vancian magic

JB at B/X Blackrazor has been carrying on the debate about the magic-user's role and power in early D&D and similar old school tactical RPGs. The two key aspects are generally spell access and rate of use so here's a suggestion for each.

First access. The suggestion here is having spell levels exchangeable at a given rate, which could be one-for-one, i.e. two first level spells are worth a second level, a first and second are a third etc. The magic-user can pool spell slots to memorise more spells of a lower level or fewer of a higher.

Second is rate of use, arguably the least intuitive element of the Vancian approach. The suggestion in this case is that spells are not lost if cast, but cause harm to the user, a more Bujillian and Lone Wolfish approach. The MU can use each spell multiple times a day. However, each use costs, say, a number of HP equal to 1D[spell level], i.e. a first level spell 1 HP, a second 1D2, a third 1D3 etc., adapted to suit spell progression. With no Zocchi dice, and for a D9 or D11, roll the die for a level higher and reroll a maximum.

If this seems too easy on the party, or you want more drama, a simple, non-tabled side effect could be a blast of energy over an incremental radius, e.g. HP x 5', so a loss of 4 HP means anyone at 20' from the MU takes 1 HP damage, at 15' 2 HP, at 10' 3 HP etc.

Using the first suggestion could shake up the usual campaign pacing, and maybe even the setting as the world-changing spells became available far earlier. With the second, MUs could be more involved and even sacrifice themselves to a higher purpose. It could also encourage riskier play, keeping a party pushing where they might now withdraw.

Update: There are some thoughts on fighters here.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Path - lip - recollection

You return along the bank, following the trampled path. Soon the reeds thin; there ahead of you lies the irruption in the earth. Oil sprays still, glittering downwards past the lip.

You pause, unsure. You remember the sight of the void of stars beneath you, the vertigo as you looked down. The energy barrier, the broken tunnel lit from within. Your footing feels unsteady again, the earth fragile, the rising trees and wooded hills undermined.

What does it mean? Can anyone answer? Is there reason at all in this strange land?

Attempt now to climb down to the tunnel   Blog One   Blog Two   Blog Three
Skirt the hole, heading for the bridge   Blog One   Blog Two
Skirt the hole and return to the oak   Blog One   Blog Two
Call out to declare your presence   Blog One

This is one of 54 scenes so far in an adventure spanning eight blogs. Start here. You choose where it leads. You can add a scene at any point. Just leave the URL in a comment at the post with the option you've used.

Friday, 10 August 2012

The beginning of the Ends

Here's an idea which was given a nudge by Trey's latest post, Opening the Doors of Perception. I recommend reading it, following the links and looking at the portal list.

The essence is this. All worlds are connected and each can be reached from any other. The idea is to get links between settings and game universes, so one campaign can run smoothly into another. What would a gateway to a given world look like?

Pick a world, any world - an existing space or a new - and describe a path across.

Here's a weird example: In a wild landscape, dig a cocoon in play dough, modelling putty or stained clay, then enter and settle in, buried alive. Fast, meditate and grow squishy like the squirming worms. Wake, and join their migration to dark and nasty regions.

Which could be a way you leave the current setting and end up somewhere like this...

A destination world could be much more serious of course, basically anywhere. I'll post more as I get them and make a master list, with links to whatever people come up with.

More inspiration.

Update: There's a master list here.

Monday, 6 August 2012

100 items lost or found on the Rogue Spacer

This is for a slightly wacky Rogue Space setting, but could work for a lot of sci-fi roleplaying with a few tweaks. It overlaps with the Empyre setting.

Roll if checking pockets, packs, gloveboxes etc., or before character creation for a hint of who the character might be. The referee has the final word on exact nature. Or a roll could stand in for character creation, with the various stats and so on flowing from play.

  1. 2D6 adhesive sigils
  2. 1D3 anti-grav strips
  3. assorted in-flight meal wrappers with scribbled notes to self
  4. an augmented reality contact lens case
  5. an auto-biographer
  6. an autonomous arachnoid bodyvac
  7. a ball of gelatinous plasma with a light coating of fluff
  8. a biomonitor pendant with apparently erroneous readings
  9. a bodily waste cycler
  10. a can of landing foam, well out of date
  11. a change of clothes, dehydro-packed
  12. a clump of smart synthetic lint
  13. a coil of quantum solder
  14. a compression flask, overfilled
  15. a cracked vial leaking a transparent being
  16. 3D6 crystallised memory grains
  17. a dark matter filter
  18. a docking permit
  19. a dowsing drill with filter pipe
  20. 1D6 eggs, close to hatching
  21. an emergency beacon, activated
  22. an EM sample cone projector
  23. an exoskeletal sander
  24. an extensive holograph collection
  25. a foil comfort blanket, torn
  26. a fragment of a sacred text
  27. a fugitive nanite colony
  28. a furled solar cell, heavily creased
  29. a hive node, damaged during extraction
  30. a holographic skyway sign, stolen
  31. a hormone jammer
  32. 1D6 hotspots, unstable
  33. a hydraulic doorwedge, prone to seizing
  34. an ichor-stained rag
  35. an imaginator, on the blink
  36. an inertial leash, snapped
  37. an inflatable sleep pod, unaired
  38. 1D6 ion sump mushrooms
  39. an IOU in the currency of a dead planet
  40. a length of root, highly pungent
  41. a light saver
  42. a long-life fumer
  43. 1D6 low-grade clarity tabs
  44. a lucky rivet
  45. a lump of vacwax, sweaty
  46. a maxed-out credit tag
  47. a memento of an extinct species
  48. a micro-G sickbag, quite possibly used
  49. a mind plug with an extensive playlist
  50. 2D6 miscellaneous electronic components
  51. a modular body part, poorly preserved
  52. a motorised combi-utensil
  53. a multifuel pocket turbine, squeaky
  54. 1D3 organ regen capsules, 1 in 3 of which have been incorrectly stored
  55. 1D6 over-the-counter brain faders
  56. a pair of partially dissolved tweezers
  57. a personal furcare product
  58. a personal wormhole, either 1) collapsed or 2) prolapsing
  59. a planar positioning device
  60. a pocket hunter-nuker drone, claustrophobic and increasingly intransigent
  61. a portable mess harness
  62. a power finger
  63. a receipt for an off-the-peg body
  64. a recreational gene pool with applicator
  65. a reel of servotape
  66. a refundable intoxicant container
  67. a roll of programmable laminate
  68. 1D6 sachets of discolourant
  69. a save point
  70. a self-embalming kit
  71. a set of 'how to' cartridges
  72. a shard of crystal, pulsating
  73. a shed skin
  74. a sheet of psionic paper, partially corrupted
  75. a shipspotters' guide, missing one volume
  76. a shock test result
  77. a small creature in an otherwise empty flare case
  78. a souvenir replica of a wonder of known space
  79. a spare psylamp bulb
  80. a spinal floss generator
  81. 1D3 spray-on IDs, unfortunately all cloned
  82. a starliner ticket
  83. 1D6 sticks of ruminoflubber
  84. 2D6 stimulant flakes, 1 in 6 of which are contaminated
  85. a subcutaneous picochip
  86. a SupaVita bar, nibbled
  87. a superluminet directory
  88. a telescopic 10' probe
  89. a tooth organ with amplifier, clearly untuned
  90. a tracking thread, fraying
  91. an ultrasonic gillpick
  92. 2D6 uncashed entertainment complex tokens
  93. a universal adaptor
  94. an unpaid fine, long overdue
  95. an unpublished oeuvre
  96. a herbal infusion cube, slightly overgrown
  97. a utility fog travel pillow
  98. a vapourware inhaler with 1D3 empty cans
  99. a zapdrive key
  100. a zoink ball, initialled

If Fenway5 likes the idea, I'll expand it for Rogue Transmissions #2, but group it in line with the material on equipment in RT#1, and for use with a D6 only, rather than a D100.

If you haven't seen it yet, Hereticwerks posted a Rogue Space adventure last week, and Jay at EXONAUTS! has 20 mission ideas for another rules-light game, X-plorers.