Monday, December 31, 2012

Psuedo-Quasi-Intellectual review of Alternity

Psuedo-Quasi-Intellectual review of Alternity Science Fiction Roleplaying System

Alternity. The final roleplaying system to emerge from TSR (much of the supplementary material was printed under the TSR, a division of WOTC trademark) was crafted from the start to be a classless, skill based science fiction set from the modern era to the far future. With the addition of material in Dragon Magazine the system could actually be pushed back to the 1800s, potentially even as far as the Renaissance era if you tried, and out into horror and b-movie genres. There was even material to convert D&D Characters, monsters and gear to and from the system.

Published Settings
  • Darkmatter - Take X-Files, make the heroes work for a non-profit with no governmental sanction and youre looking at the basis of DarkMatter.
  • StarDrive - Space Opera in the 26th century, on the newly reopened frontier. This was actually the most supported of all the official settings.
  • Gamma World - Poor Gamma World, yet again the red-headed stepchild of the family, the game only ever had the core setting book printed and one Dragon article that I know of printed.
One of the coolest features of the ruleset was the degrees of success. Instead of merely a binary result you had the possibility of; critical failure, failure, ordinary success, good success and amazing success. This allowed for one of my favourite systems for handling firearms Ive encountered. Striking a bargain between heroic action like D20 where gun shot wounds can be laughed off and the realism of Gurps where bullets flying gets people dead real fast, Alternity allows for dangerous but not automatically deadly combat. Wounds degrade your ability to act successfully, without the binary status of up and acting or down and bleeding out that HP systems are notorious for.

Tying into the levels of success was an innovative die mechanic that took in account difficult of task without changing the target number. Instead of moving the target number around to show different difficulty, a control die was changed. With the goal to roll low and the player always rolling a D20, adding or subtracting dice to the roll was a straightforward idea, supported by a great diagram.

[SWN] 1173 Abhijit

1173 Abhijit

Star Data
TypeF7 V Yellow-white Main Sequence
Radius8.57 x 105 km   (1.23 x sol)
Mass2.87 x 1030 kg   (1.44 x sol)
Temperature6400 K
Luminosity1.95 x 1027 W   (5.09 x sol)

TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius9.24 x 107 km   (0.62 AU)
Period3.53 x 103 hours   (0.40 earth years)
Gravity8.89 m/s2   (0.91 x earth)

TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius1.47 x 108 km   (0.98 AU)
Period7.07 x 103 hours   (0.81 earth years)
Gravity5.71 m/s2   (0.58 x earth)

TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius1.89 x 108 km   (1.26 AU)
Period1.03 x 104 hours   (1.18 earth years)
Gravity12.10 m/s2   (1.24 x earth)
SpecialAdvanced alien artifact

1173 Abhijit IV
TypeTerrestrial World
Orbital Radius2.91 x 108 km   (1.94 AU)
Period1.97 x 104 hours   (2.26 earth years)
PhysicsStandard iron/silicate
Gravity9.67 m/s2   (0.99 x earth)
Hydrosphere61 % water, 12 % ice
BiosphereLarge Animal Analogues
CivilizationMining Outpost
SpecialHeavy volcanism, large moon, electromagnetic storms

TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius4.91 x 108 km   (3.28 AU)
Period4.32 x 104 hours   (4.94 earth years)
Gravity10.23 m/s2   (1.05 x earth)
SpecialWreckage of a crashed starship

TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius8.68 x 108 km   (5.81 AU)
Period1.02 x 105 hours   (11.64 earth years)
Gravity7.31 m/s2   (0.75 x earth)

TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius1.66 x 109 km   (11.07 AU)
Period2.68 x 105 hours   (30.66 earth years)
Gravity6.25 m/s2   (0.64 x earth)
Special4 small moons
Star System Generator by drow

1173 Abhijit IV

1173 Abhijit IV
TypeStandard iron/silicate
Radius6995.62 km   (1.10 x earth)
Surface Area6.15 x 108 km2
Land Area2.46 x 108 km2   (1.65 x earth)
Mass7.12 x 1024 kg   (1.19 x earth)
Density4.97 g/cm3   (0.90 x earth)
Composition33.6% oxygen, 32.4% iron, 23.8% silicon, 4.9% nickel, 3.7% other metals, 1.7% other elements
Gravity9.67 m/s2   (0.99 x earth)
Escape Velocity11.63 km/s
Period12.26 hours
Axis Tilt17.21 °
Water61 %
Ice12 %
Pressure115.11 kPa   (1.14 x earth)
Composition54.5% nitrogen, 26.9% water vapor, 14.8% sulfur dioxide, 3.9% methane, trace other gases
Min Temp283 K   (10 °C)
Avg Temp292 K   (18 °C)
Max Temp336 K   (62 °C)
LifeformsAdvanced animal analogs
TypeMining Outpost
Tech LevelSpacefaring (orbital spacecraft, cybernetics, laser weapons)
FeaturesHeavy volcanism, large moon, electromagnetic storms
Fractal World Generator by drow
Based on original code by John Olsson

[SWN] 3496 Mao Xiu

3496 Mao Xiu

Star Data
TypeA7 V White Main Sequence
Radius1.44 x 106 km   (2.08 x sol)
Mass3.65 x 1030 kg   (1.83 x sol)
Temperature8100 K
Luminosity3.29 x 1028 W   (85.88 x sol)

Close Companion
TypeM1 V Red Dwarf
Distance1.17 x 108 km   (0.78 AU)
Radius2.87 x 105 km   (0.41 x sol)
Mass6.57 x 1029 kg   (0.33 x sol)
Temperature3200 K
Luminosity1.71 x 1025 W   (0.04 x sol)

TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius3.59 x 108 km   (2.40 AU)
Period2.21 x 104 hours   (2.53 earth years)
Gravity12.89 m/s2   (1.32 x earth)

TypeAsteroid Belt
Orbital Radius5.99 x 108 km   (4.01 AU)
Period4.77 x 104 hours   (5.45 earth years)

TypeJovian Planet
Orbital Radius1.11 x 109 km   (7.42 AU)
Period1.20 x 105 hours   (13.73 earth years)
Gravity56.56 m/s2   (5.78 x earth)
Special44 small moons, 3 large moons
Star System Generator by drow

Mao Xiu is a strange system as the asteroid belt and the moons of Mao Xiu III are the primary sites of interest. Rumours of strange objects found drifting in and among these sites have only fanned the speculators who have flooded the system.

System Creation for [SWN] - 4037 Revati

I have to give all credit for creation to a tool I found on, which has a lot of great generation pages, look at it.


4037 Revati

Star Data
TypeK8 V Orange Main Sequence
Radius7.00 x 105 km   (1.01 x sol)
Mass2.22 x 1030 kg   (1.12 x sol)
Temperature3600 K
Luminosity1.37 x 1026 W   (0.36 x sol)

TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius3.66 x 107 km   (0.24 AU)
Period1.00 x 103 hours   (0.11 earth years)
Gravity6.69 m/s2   (0.68 x earth)
SpecialTrace atmosphere

TypeTerrestrial World
Orbital Radius7.59 x 107 km   (0.51 AU)
Period2.99 x 103 hours   (0.34 earth years)
PhysicsSmall iron/silicate
Gravity7.00 m/s2   (0.71 x earth)
Hydrosphere10 % water, 4 % ice
AtmosphereTrace breathable
SpecialPlanetary rings

TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius1.29 x 108 km   (0.86 AU)
Period6.64 x 103 hours   (0.76 earth years)
Gravity2.30 m/s2   (0.24 x earth)

TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius2.16 x 108 km   (1.44 AU)
Period1.43 x 104 hours   (1.64 earth years)
Gravity12.42 m/s2   (1.27 x earth)
SpecialHeavy radiation
Star System Generator by drow

4037 Revati II is a  marginal world that is composed of (from the human point of view) sealed habitats and dig sites. Valuable primarily for an abundance of rare elements in concentrations to make mining viable, the planet is surprisingly unexplored beyond basic orbital scans.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

[Stars Without Numbers] Wanderers in Darkness pt. 1

Wanderers in Darkness is my SWN campaign for an episodic game at the monthly club.

However Im not going to stick with just the rules as written. I want to add a little more heroics then I think the rules are designed for. One of the elements I like with Savage Worlds is the concept of bennies. A simple limited number of rerolls is the easiest to implement, so all characters will start with 3 bennies for the 4 hour sessions. On the other side I'll have 2 + a bennie for each player.

Additionally there is quite a bit of gear from SWN, Gammaworld and Mutant Future that I want to finally see in play. As cool as Serenity/Firefly is, I want more tech in my sci-fi. I plan to steal from Alternity and provide PCs with a piece of gear that is distinct to their concept, for example a battle hardened marine would feel naked without his old service armor.

Not exactly a rule change but I plan to havd players explain how they fail when they blow a die roll. I want failure to be as interesting storywise as sucess.

More as I create worlds

kicking the Rust Off

My its been a while since i posted on here. I'm finally getting into the swing of working second shift so I need to get back to writing on here.

1) Sector creation for the sandbox Stars Without Numbers episodic campaign I will be starting in days.

2) Learning how Only War (roleplaying as Imperial Guardsmen in the Warhammer 40K universe) differs and interacts with Dark Heresy and Black Crusade

3) Possibly learn enough Gurps 4e gor a one shot.

4) Learn Wild Talents enough for a non super hero one shot, perhaps something along he lines of Kimi from Happy Jacks Podcast Skyrim themed Dragon Brothers game.

5) Source a rule system for the Birthright/Council of Wyrms mashup running through my head.

Keep an eye out...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tower of the Lifeshaper - intro

An interesting location I've been creating through a role playing story with a friend, the Tower is the abode of a mercenary wizard of immense but specialized power and no scruples beyond honoring a deal.

On the outside the tower is unremarkable except for the age of the stonework. On the inside it is part Dr. Moreau's Island, part transgenetic zoo, and part a place where anything can be bought for the right price. A powerful dweomer hides the identity of those who come and go, valuable as the mage caters to the powerful and rich, supplying there urges from the fantastical to the depraved.

The power the image has harnessed, to the exclusion of any other magic is life shaping, manipulating the very form of a living creature. Rather than outright change a creature to another, this is more remaking it into something new or adding to it, for instance adding wings.

Rather than generic monsters, encounters in the tower consist of powerful individuals, modified servants, and the strange creations of the wizard.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Zak is at it again

Alternate classes for old school D&D

Zak over at Playing D&D with Porn Stars is taking a stab at fiddling with classes and I like what I see.

The fighter is more organic and unique than the usual stately progression and that makes for more unique fighters without relying on feats. Mix in the simple fact that you cant really metagame a random creation system and you solve the "spreadsheeting the character" issue I have with post 2000 D&D.

The thief is much more a scoundrel than some sort of bizarre backstab engine or the font of useless skills.

A ranger that isnt like every SINGLE other ranger, or a certain Dark Elf or a certain wanderer destined to be a king? Awesome

I can not wait until he gets bored enough to do clerics, as this may become my new class system for OSR games

Friday, June 1, 2012

Psuedo-Quasi-Intellectual review of Black Crusade

Psuedo-Quasi-Intellectual review of Black Crusade

Black Crusade is Fantasy Flight's 4th RPG for the Warhammer 40k Universe and the first to not be told from an Imperial point of View. Playing as Chaos Renegades of various stripes the game could be played as an exploration of what happens when a group of alpha personalities is forced together by circumstances beyond their control. Sadly I have a feeling it will be more of an orgy of dark one-upmanship, but more on that later.
The Good Black Crusade carries on with the lovely d100 based system that all FFG 40k RPGs use, allowing for intermixing of characters. That alone is awesome, as a character from any previous game line that was made an npc for being evil or corrupted can show up. Secondly characters generated for Black Crusade can be used as Big-Bad-Evil-Guys in other 40k games. Instead of generic villians they can be as rich and detailed as the players, mechanically. Thirdly, with some player buy-in you could tell a rich story of the fall and damnation of a character with Black Crusade - an excellent story idea to me.
But wait there's more coolness. Rather than artificially tie murderous reavers and fell sorcerors to penny pinching accountants FFG created a renown mechanic that allows you to bully, bribe or con npcs into providing you with equipment. What better way to emphasize "might makes right, take what you will" mentality, without having a combat every shopping trip? Another great mechanic is how characters align themselves with one of the four great Chaos powers, or struggle to go it alone. Rather than arbitrarily declaring your allegiance you shift as the various abilities you gain are keyed to the powers. Take enough Nurgle keyed traits and you're his servant, and that's how the fiction describes it.

The Bad The bad really isn't that bad. The key things I wish were there are a better explanation of what a campaign would be like and some discussion of how to handle a characters fall into darkness. Here's hoping they're covered in a supplement.

Its ALIVE!!!

Well Ive been alternatingly busy and lazy so the blog has fallen by the wayside. Hopefully my idea of "Quasi-Pseudo Intellectual Reviews" of some of the games I have picked up in the down time will start at least a trickle of content again. Coupled with D&D Next (if I can talk some people into play) playtest thoughts and I might have something worth reading. Keep your eyes open