Sunday, 30 September 2012

Friday, 28 September 2012

Nor the battle to the strong (2)

Back before 40K was officially cinematic again, I had a discussion with Big Jim - who's just posted the latest update to Killzone, for sixth edition - on the subject of a kind of automatic GM to get more unusual events into games without needing an extra person.

I posted the first three cards for a deck to do this, but for wargaming in general rather than just 40K, possibly also tactical roleplaying. The idea is that the cards interact with and modify various game elements, to set up chains of events. With the first trio - Spill, Spark and Plume - flammability could be added to the table and elements set smoking.

Below are four more - Flaw, Gust, Lapse and Agent - adding new interactions involving smoke, as well as disorientation and the possibility a unit can be seen as compromised.

A general approach to using them is given in the original post. Now there are more, it's worth mentioning the deck can be modified to suggest certain situations, by removing cards or using multiples. For example, more Gusts or Sparks could suggest a storm.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

40K OSR? (20)

It's been a while since the last fuller 40K OSR? post, even if the list of Epic-related links came close. Maybe it's the summer, or maybe sixth?

But what is an OSR anyway? A good question.

If you think you might be a part of it, feel free to use Colonel Kane's logo, here to the right. If you do, consider giving him credit and putting Tales from the Maelstrom in your blogroll. They have 1, 2 reports up since last time and more minis.

So here we go, with some fine fusion this time...

I can't possibly have got more than a fraction of it with the length of time involved, so as ever, feel free to leave links to anything else you think should be in, even your own work.

On finboards

For the Rogue Space players I've gone back and added stats for a finboard to the Trippy post, in case anyone wants a guide. The good news is the vehicle construction rules do the job, even for something built like a surfboard with thrusters. Here it is to save a click.

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


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Rogues' gallery - the Orəq

Here's the next faction in the series, what I hope is a fresh approach to a familiar fantasy creature.

I've called them the Orəq, with the 'ə' pronounced roughly 'uh' to load the word with more meanings, like the 'ʒ' in Citiʒant. Like the Trippies they're written up for Rogue Space so should be easy enough to adapt to other rulesets.

So who are these, erm, Orəq then?

The biopoietic homunculars known as the Orəq are born deep in the earth on a number of worlds and have a shifting colouration believed to be an oracular quantum expression.

And what's that got to do with us?

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

Starting characters: Origin, nature and lifestyle mean around 50% of the Orəq have the Warrior Archetype, and all have a further +1 Acquiring and -1 Repairing plus the Psionic power Clairvoyance, in addition to any powers usually permitted. The Orəq are sensitive to the presence of each other and their creators over short distances in space and time.

NPC groups: A group may include 2D6-1 Orəq drawn from 1D3 spawning cohorts, likely from the same homeworld; 1D3 members of the group will be battling for the role of seer.

Homuncular: At the GM's discretion, Orəq may be of any human clade, gaining clade-specific stats, modifiers, features, rules and options not in conflict with any for the Orəq.

Oracolouration: Once per short cycle, or following a major personal event, there is a 1 in 6 chance that an Orəq's colouration changes by a degree. The GM sets the incoming colouration, but the Player defines in general terms the significance of a first appearance of each colouration for the in-game future - the GM must then cause some interpretation of this definition to occur. Oracular accuracy falls further with distance from homeworld.

Technologies: The Orəq use relatively primitive equipment, but learn rapidly and borrow readily. All Orəq carry a variety of dusts, shaped stones and naturally occurring detritus and a means to utilise these as distractions or weaponry, as per the profile given below.

Blowpipe, sling etc.   S    LOL* or alternatively Target at -1 to Tests next round    Silent
* A Rating of LOL is one lower than S, and does Damage of 1D6-1.

But what are they doing here..?

The GM may want to roll below for each starting character or NPC group, who is/are:
  1. ... emerging from a subterranean spawning complex, or an equivalent location.
  2. ... trading, or otherwise offering skills, services or technology, likely borrowed.
  3. ... acting as a mercenary element, possibly part of a precognitive strike force.
  4. ... drawn by or pursuing an intuition, thought or vision, perhaps unconsciously.
  5. ... gathering with a vast horde, likely preparing for or conducting spiritual war.
  6. ... seeking others of their kind or a creator, or attempting to induce spawning.

Feedback is always welcome. If you haven't got a copy yet, Rogue Transmissions #2 is out, and Hereticwerks have been posting more of their own great Rogue Space material.


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Ceramic monitor commune

A while ago I rolled up a term on the unpublished Worldboat table. It turned out I didn't need it then so here it is now: ceramic monitor commune. I'm interested in any weird ideas for what it might be.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Gödellian Rhapsody

There's a reasonable popular-scientific sketch here on a 'grand theory of everything'. It's easy to follow and even uses metaphor from gaming and mapping. More importantly, it takes into account the limits of human structure and the problem of defining 'everything'.

Personally, I'd argue it doesn't go far enough - too little looking sideways for a start - and falls down on what life or a deity might be, in more hylozoic senses for example. If these are the best minds we have, good as they are, it may be time for more of us to help out.

For most of that, plus The Glass Bead Game, music, Dawkins, themes in the sly-fi and his work in opposing the cull, you might be interested in the views of this astrophysicist.

If you're wondering about that title, it's a reference to Gödel's incompleteness theorems.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Trickster, Trapper, Sniper, Spy

This idea was prompted by a comment Sidney Roundwood left and a post at Gothridge Manor.

It's an alternative, live-action game to play at an event, for when gamers are posting photos of themselves in advance to help in meeting up and plan to take more when they're there to post later, as often happens. It also lets some protect their real-world identity if they want to or need to. I'll call them all posters.

It's simple. Everyone carries a camera and the idea is to take a clear photo of as many other posters as possible; other individuals in shot are considered innocent victims and reduce counts at an agreed ratio. Posters protecting their identity are a special case - they play the sniper end of the spectrum and can have other posters in the frame only.

Queues for entry and planned meet-ups are 'safe havens'. Zoom is allowed as it raises risk of blur, but cropping not. The pics are posted after the event and numbers totalled, and popular opinion decides quality if there's doubt, with all but the sharpest discarded.

It could add a real frisson to the event, more of the tension of actual struggle. It's funny more gaming events don't arrange overarching games, or weave them into the structure, maybe using ambient random or similar methods. With so many gamers in one place...

Monday, 10 September 2012

Ambient random

Here's a quote that jumped out recently, from a text I linked to at the panspermia post.

Cosmology in the oldest lands radiated from the priestly classes, where, charged with religious power, the priests and magi who were able to understand the patterns politicized space to a great extent, often deciding public policy using one or another astrological method.

It got my attention for a different reason than you might expect. Not for the changing role of space agencies or the secret space missions or the contenders, or the recent big SF on the silver screen, even if all of these seem to make space a source of power now too.

Using dice or maybe a deck to produce so-called random numbers is, when you think about it, a bit weird. Why such artificial, physically complex systems? And building on the interview with Loquacious, when there's so much deep intricacy out there, they're a real sledgehammer. And impractical: they help to limit tabletop games to the tabletop, even without miniatures or other components, and maybe mean ever more components.

And why play so many games indoors, or sitting down, or in a fixed location? Moderate physical activity is healthy, oxygen too, and sunlight. In rules-light games in which the dice or cards are the big hindrance, why not ditch them and look for another system?

Table - OSRs

This is a revised version of the table I posted at The Other Side, for terms that could be making up the acronym OSR. I'll be linking back to it whenever a definition might help.

Roll 1D30 per letter. For example, 5, 4 and 15 give the usual Old School Renaissance.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Deep thought Friday

With a recent reminder of the Apollo programme and the clear contrast with Curiosity, it's natural there's been a lot of talk about how things stand.

So when we say a given entity was ahead of its time, could we in fact be a) recognising that we ourselves are behind our own time, b) admitting that we've allowed ourselves to become trapped in a future the given entity helped create, and/or c) accepting the entity as a creator and in doing so exonerating ourselves of failure to do better?

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Dust-offs & Debunking

In the first part of what looks like being a long and intriguing series, Rob Kuntz at Lord of the Green Dragons has this to say about the rather fashionable - maybe advantageous? - efforts to reconstruct 'correct' approaches to early RPGs:

The more you vest in "this must be the way it is done, because Rob, or Dave, or Hargrave, or EGG the Magnificent," did it that way, you have reached the dead end of creative and spontaneous thought and action, the very essence of the original game as composed for creative individuals.

But that's just, like, his opinion. Right? If you need help with a get-out, it could be the understanding that what the creators of D&D gave us wasn't an RPG, but a wargame.

If you want an OD&D primer, Von is doing an overview at HoP, with 1, 2, 3 parts so far.