Saturday 29 July 2023
So reading and writing for my SF campaign and will be writing and publishing some stuff on this. Ruined nuclear airbase adventure recently and my Europa book out next. Back on my Exilon book too so my writing seems to be flowing again.
One Issue has been that in my starting era I want it to be a gritty plausible setting. This realism is to help the horror elements stand out and be weird when they break these rules. Having decided what kinds of stuff I want to run I worked from there to sort out my project.
Lots of mythos SF TTRPG games seem to make weird stuff too common for me with secret gov agencies who know and players can make mythos or occult rolls in first adventure to know stuff they would be better off not knowing about so early (Cthonian Stars and Cthuhu Punk). I may avoid all name schemes from the mythos - I'm liking unique weird and never explained vs the familiar mythos taxonomy that ruins all the lurking "like a bat but not a bat" vagueness of HPL. One big benefit of SF cthulhu is I can avoid all the cultural plunder and appropriation and xenophobia and Madam Blavatsky influence on the mythos. I increasingly find Cthulhu and Runequest difficult - probably fandom is worse than any creators and i dislike seeing current indigenous ppl images used in RPG games or stated up or their culture explained by alien monsters. Im happy to be over 1890s occultism in comics and games - recent growth of misinformation cults has made them less appealing as sources.
Have been reading lots of astronomy and planetology for research too and trying to dig up info of water pressure under 100km of water would be like. More effort than fantasy probably and helpful advice like "its fantasy do whatever you want" isn't helpful. I do remember running an adventure for Cthulhu now with a sub and a marine biologist player who pointed out flaws and knew how to navigate and bugger the adventure set up. The failed realism (and railroad adventure) was a good example of what not to do. If anyone has good info on water pressure on Europa let me know - I've seen wildly different figures some ignoring the ice crust.
Here is a rundown of stuff in my RPG collection Im looking at for prep.
Buck Rogers RPG
As my setting an in-system dystopia Buck Rogers RPG has some ideas and detailed cultures. When it came out nobody was interested in playing it as RPG but some liked space combat and video game. It was in an era with less art and it was aesthetically dull look wise. If i went with a more D&D based game I might use it more. Has some good ideas and brave attempt to modernis a 1920s genre classic. Why after this they reproduced the original racist books in products full of sinister orientals was pretty amazing as even in early 90s was a bad look.
Cthulhu Rising + Jovian Nightmares
Two good chaosium monographs plus more on this link https://www.ragingtrifle.com/jn/
Lots of good stuff i can directly use and the link has adventures I'm still reading
Im probably using the start adventure on the Jovian book. Is a complete alt cthulhu varient and shame never developed more and the old website down.
Great game without too high tech interstellar RPG. Has lots of good ideas. I don't like the alt chronology that makes it more unlike reality. Has lots of interesting colonies described and worlds to explore.
As my game has lots of ruins of aliens more than aliens this game setting will fit in fine. Has lots of interesting alien tech and abilities. I always wanted a waterworld and this has done lots of work for me,
Insane detail for in system colonies and habitats. Good horror of ancient alien relics and techhorror without any supernaturalism. Im not going full hog transhuman but still lots of good stuff. The book on exploring gates is especially good. Almost a cyberpunked up Expance.
Gurps Cthulhu Punk
Not really much in here - some of the organisations i might use. If you had any cthulhu and cyberpunk games to mash together you wont need this,
A mecha space opera game and at moment I'm not doing mecha but the in system cultures, detail of stations and worlds has lots of good ideas. The capital ships details i like lots. No aliens or supernatural stuff here.
Bughunters Amazing Engine
A TSR book you can get cheap. I like character designed as if you are shopping in a clone bank and dead characters can be cloned if they die. A basic space marines vs alien critters remaining from two long gone species who warred all over galaxy long ago. One is biotech other uses robotics. Some great monsters and poor vassal species designed to hate each other even though masters gone. Good modular ship designs and a good map. Great value,
Bughunters - Osprey
A space marine vs bugs sts free sourcebook. Has several well described species to be a bit like aliens and arachnids and some more but IP shaved off to be more a surprise. I will use this. Great aret and a marine section.
Very underrated SF RPG. Has great info for what asteroid you were born on and good encounters section. Aliens could be reskinned to be more interesting easily or ignored. The guns are quite good. Very 2300 vibe setting but simpler. A few tables in this I have used in lots of games. The hab gen tables are good. A few pages from this i might keep on hand.
Very nice traveller-compatible RPG on drive-through possibly some of the best ship designs with no anti-gravity. Adventure ideas are usable and the setting is pretty good. Mythos seems a bit too well-known for me. You can get the game harback on drive-through or a smaller book of ships for the void RPG that came after (no traveller specs).
2300 2nd ed
The best value ed with best art. Great gritty plausible with really good aliens. I don't get why new version has worse art and design. Lots of good details possibly too many in some aspects. Kafer sourcebook is great. The vehichle and equipment guides are great.
Mostly not really right for this but the patrons book is one of my biggest inspiration for using tables in an RPG. The recent Starship geomorphs book is a must for any SF game. The old black book had a good alien pyramid adventure and the FASA Skyraiders trilogy is a fantastic campaign and before the previous mentioned traveller book had fantastic geomorphs. Lots of games especially Metamorphosis Alpha needed this long ago - the huge fat MA deckplan book is so abstract its not very usable in play and not really tacticals.
Gurps space and ultra tech and biotech books are good. Transhuman space setting is nice too. Been watching Aliens, Pandorum, Expance, Outland and other SF vids also. My inner worlds probably more like Ian Banks stuff than most of the above sources.
Thursday 27 July 2023
Sadly I'm winding up my Exilon campaign after lost a player so am trying to start a new game to get enough players to be viable so we get at least 3 per session. Starting up SF cthulhu game
d10 City State Quests Types
1 Hunt criminals
d100 City State Quests
01 A terrible bandit has been murdering and taking slaves and robbing tax collectors and must be stopped
11 Travel to the court of a foreign city-state and present this letter to the court
31 Find a hidden mountain civilisation scholars and traders speak of. Find the hidden secret valley
51 A mighty forest cyclops guards sacred trees required for building temples, drive away this monster
61 A statue was stolen by an enemy people long ago and has been located in an enemy temple, go recover it for the glory of our city
71 A ghoul cult has infested the catacombs and tombs of our city go destroy the,
81 Help frontier settlers defend themselves from enemies while a wall is erected
91 Our deity has sent a sign that a distant relic must be brought to our temple as it was stolen by enemies long ago. Currently in a distant enemy kingdom kept in their evil temples dungeon which causes our god distress
Thursday 20 July 2023
Im ending my current campaign as a player dropped out from mental health so will wrap it up next session. Will be doing some SF horror a bit until the next campaign and hop I can get some new people to play which is kind of tough where I am. Mostly I find
Currently, in this setting, only coastal navigation basically requires a priest to use divination or a navigator versed in the stars. The reptilians have compasses and better charts though sometimes they are a bit old and lots of land has been sinking. Underwater peoples in this age are thriving as world sinking and like surface folk they are arranged into kingdoms of many peoples. These kingdoms are inhabited by nature spirit folks like kelp spirits and fish spirits and talking fish and merfolk and octopus faeries and sea elves. They are ruled by kings ordained by heavens mandate and usually related to sea gods and dragons and other great spirits. They have villages and cities and the underwater world is in fact a kind of faerieland. There are of course beings of evil worshipping sea demons and following warlords.
The sea in this period is much more dangerous and intimidating. Various non-human mariners know sailing better than humans and few dare leave sight of coastlines or risk bad weather.
Sea wise I would aim at a day a hex and most hexes have a d6 islands or rockyou outcrop
d6 Quick Islands
1 Rocks, reef and land at low tide
2 Rocky outcrops with some stone pillars
3 Small barren rocky seaweed-covered islands
4 Rocky small green rocky islands with vegetation
5 Medium island could support a clan or small village
6 Large islands can support at least one village and 1in6 with a noble fortified manor
1 Rocks & reefs
d100 Maritime Discoveries
01 Rock Stack is a series of stony pillars in the sea hard to reach and possibly a good hiding place
11 Small islands with desperate castaways who live in fear of d4 1=giant crabs 2=sea serpent 3=abhuman cannibals 4=cyclops
31 Pirates base with several ships and barracks and a tavern on an island or secluded coastline d4 1=secret cave entrance 2=on the beach 3=old ruined fort with separate landing 4=inside a lagoon
45 Shipwrecks in the area were used as battlefield objectives for secretive marine peoples to battle over in a war to control this sea bed. Wrecks are used as bases and to be held at all costs
46 Shipwreck of invasion fleet destroyed in a storm and intended targets never even knew it. Some of the resentful dead have Harrison. They may not always be human
51 Sea elves live in a coral and giant shell city under the sea here and have numerous outposts, lookouts and villages in the area. They might
61 Fog-shrouded islands here seem to appear and disappear, they are haunted and cursed. People here seldom escape and when islands not appearing they and inaccessible for years at a time
71 A titanic merman sea god roams here sinking ships with his trident and pet whale
81 Ghost ships from the fleet of the drowned god patrol these waters and guard a temple on an island with a grotto where the ferryman of the underworld can be summoned
91 An undersea garden of a sea god is underwater with a few islands and rock outcrops and wrecks a part of the seascape. Magical spirit folk, sea faeries and marine beast folk live and work here to please the god who visits sometimes. Causing any damage or pollution enrages the sea garden peoples
Monday 10 July 2023
This is geared toward urban explorers on distant mountains. They know for wild monster-filled wastes, sacred cedar trees and tribes of bestial folk who don't even use fire or metal. This is an exaggeration. Some mountain kingdoms are rich in stone, metal, and wood resources. There are many simple tribes folk but also newly emerging animal herding nomads and beast riders. There might be places the party might think they could take over or settle. The people here can be more innovative than the river city folk believe. Seeing some emerging new powers to be feared might be a thread you could weave in such treks.
Remember also river cities lack wood, stone and metal. They emerged with farming, clay vessels and bricks and woven reed everyday goods, rafts and houses. Many animal herding nomads were sedentary agriculturalists once. You might see styles of axes and swords here are different to river civilisation. You might see superior chariots and animal riding or mounted archers might be new to encounter. River folk have no mounted riders and chariots are still new - most cities have four-wheeled clunky battle wagons pulled by oxen and onager There are still many wild folk, centaurs and beast folk and even giants and dragons here too. Some armies here have trained beasts and monster mercenaries.
Some people go to the mountains to hunt to get a glorious story and a wonderful trophy. Many of these people die preserving the mystique.
Chariots can be broken down and transported and assembled quickly for battle
d10 Mountain Wasteland Discoveries
d100 Exilon Wasteland Wandering 3 Mountains
01 Brilliant grassy region with many fine horses and onagers and some tribal people come here to hatch animals
11 Rich forest with plenty of game but spirits must be appeased to hunt here and given a sacrifice in the right way. Locals avoid games here as taboo or their holy folk teach how to live with the spirits. The spirits don't like swearing or disrespecting the forest
31Currently occupied by nomad tribe of herders with family wagons. Possibly riders or chariots or exotic pet beasts. They will move on and another clan will take their place, each treating strangers wildly differently
51 Village of were beasts live here and in various shacks in the region
61 Ancient quarry with many monster lairs and a humanoid tribe
65 Area riddled with semi-buried pits and shafts of gold miners years ago. There is still gold but bandits, hostile tribes and monsters pass through looking for miners to rob. 1in6 chance miners are cowering in the area. The concealed pits often unwary kill travellers. Many small mines here some with gold but prone to collapse
71 Gigantic mutant chaos monster lumbers through woods looking for prey. Once it was just an ordinary d6 1=slug 2=goat 3=snake 4=bat 5=slime mould 6=mushroom
81 Cavern to the vast ruined kingdom of vampire bat goddess guarding a secret passage to the underworld. Remnant of time when monsters seized the world and stopped the sun
91 Temple complex where priests and pilgrims come to meet a living gods avatar
Sunday 9 July 2023
Royalty leading coalition arm asked party to finish that elder wizard up to something quickly as it had allowed its armies to be destroyed. It appears all the piles of treasure and huge groups of trolls and ettins and other monsters were just delaying the defences of the dungeon to slow intruders. Next time they would have to be faster and just kill the wizard fast and let minions mop up.
This time the Amazon wizard and the dragon spirit monk changeling went in. Brought through the entry portal bunch of clerics to locate best path and discovered the wizards secrets of not being a man lich but a woman and has her body in stasis and spirit is in a golem. Turns out the planar portal made outside divination more hazy so this was good.
The amazon wizard made her and the dragon monk invisible and they flew in past rooms of trolls down to level two and another staircase to a vast fungi cavern and could follow a path or look at one side passage. Was a huge pile of treasure and magic items the adventurers pounced on and their invisibility spells ended. As they greedily debated and monks familiar cast identify four ancient ghost lieutenants of the elder wizard appeared. So a quick anti-undead shell put the party back on the road but visible,
So into the wizard's sanctuary, they got caught by an attractive medusa bathing and vapourising her with magic missiles. While using clairvoyance to seek hidden panels in the pool they searched and found 5 secret doors. They chose one without an opposite and found a smaller chamber with a crystal golem on a throne - their target at last. She was pretty angry and a bit half-cocked and unsure so made some poor decisions first few rounds of the fight. Heroes trapped her in a force cube which then had the problem of what can we do now. The villain teleported outside and the dragon managed to turn the body of the golem to dust with a spell and a luck bad saving throw. The elder wizard's spirit went to her body and was awoken. The party used magic to burrow through walls to find secret doors and chased the wizard.
So a long battle of counterspells and spells went on and the party was quite worried and just survived magic missiles because the missiles were spread among both. Amazon used an anti-magic shell and rushed the wizard while the dragon used his new power to make fire spells do acid damage which was quite effective as fire resistance is pretty common. She tried to collapse ceiling on them and drowned the area in mud and the heroes were unphased. Once the elder wizard was inside the anti-mag shell her shield spell ended and the monk managed to stun her with his dragon-style punches. She did beg and offer power at the end but those ghosts appeared and said she was a liar don't believe her. So while stunned and her defences down she was magic missiled into ash and dead.
They grabbed some magic and escaped allowing an army of followers and priests to finish the dungeon. Party got an artefact and a wand of shooting stars among all the loot and some nice weapons including a female sword with a really nice personality. Also many long-lost spells and some new ones for the amazon wizard. She is desperate to increase her stats to help her go higher level. The changeling dragon had already changed class to the monk and this game it finally felt like it paid off. The amazon wizard has rep for killing one of worlds oldest wizards now which is a mixed bag. The monk who befriended the ancient red dragon family last session and helped them migrate to the dragon kingdom with their loot in return has an offer of dragon air support in the coming battle. More gods have now heard of the heroes' deeds.
Interesting pacing this adventure as one party under time pressure found puzzles and traps and treasure just slowing them and distractions. One of the best wizard battles ever with various defences countering each other and both sides being defensive. The could have taken 3 or 4 sessions but i was happy they responded to time and came to see treasure rooms as just a problem.
Wednesday 5 July 2023
A recent pdf bundle in my cabinet of holding has been these joys, I got the current Warlock book and loved it. Its aesthetics are like mine early 80s up punk fantasy. The basic book i had already and was curious about more so gobbled up this bundle. Warlock is very well-supported and very collectable. You could use it with Midderlands fine too. My own work would work most of the time with this. Its a non-dnd system perhaps like a cross between fighting fantasy and Warhammer frpg 1st ed (i don't know recent eds).
A whole city with districts and stuff to take place. Grimy history, supernatural happenings, taverns, nobility, district encounters, laws, cults, shops, markets and a nice job table. Church, weather, some new spells and more. It's not too detailed or intimidating and a quick read and is good for a few adventures or a base city. So even a dnd reader could use lots of this if your not a slave to statblocks. Its an above-average fantasy city and more usable than most. Its easy to get your head around without super detailed floorplans
A book on the lands, the king, the Traitor (a feature of the setting), Has a nice evocative map and locations you could steal or be inspired by. Lots of adventure opportunities and easy to use and apply. There is also a detailed mapped city which would work well with Rebek. There are lots of evil-doers and factions to use. New classes for characters and great miserable backstories (also usable for other games). I love the mudlark trade with a table of your best find "nothing but despair"
Marine adventures for Warlock. Lots of new occupations and advanced careers, then lots of tables for marine adventures. Lotts of plot generation for sandbox play and ad-libbing tools. A bunch of criminal generation tables. It has a system for referees to generate a world to explore with players or generate on the fly as you go. The section on ships includes 7 famous ships which is nice. Magic items and many detailed marine races and monsters.
Warlock! Compendium 3
No idea what is in the first two. Possibly bundled into other books? This has lots of fun tables in the first l section and rules for alternate play styles which are of interest to gaming in general.
A sf system based on warlock. Lots of careers and if you wanna be an alien, just take an ability and skin your species as you please or just be human or humanlike. I like it doesn't matter and the default setting is huge. Has colourful criticals, a section on tech, and every party joint owns a ship. A warp magic and mutation system and a faction of armoured fascists are a kind of 40k hat tip. A section of the setting is the Chous and various factions and rumours about them. I love the use of tables to build settings and paint a picture. There are lots of monsters and species and better word-building than many bulky books. The rest of the book id game master section. Punches well beyond its word count and very usable.
A system sourcebook and once again built from tables as lists of facts and rumours. Has notes on setting factions and various occupied worlds. The second section is several family-hefty adventures.
A book of villains, species and organisations. Also a prison complex.
A book of careers, weapons and faction lore for the armoured gun-loving millitary faction. Discusses running millitary campaigns and has a mission table and an adventure.
Describes a cluster and has 3 adventures
I will do one for mountains and sea possibly forest or jungle but low priority and my monster island and other forest stuff will be usable. I have written the same articles twice and maybe more. This setting is inspired by a mashup of bronze age near east and mederteranean but also has classic fantasy tropes as this is meant to be the extreme past of my normas setting.
Maybe a underworld deathland tables for when you accidently find the borderlands or in necromancer kings land.
d10 Marsh Wasteland Discoveries
1 Graze Lands
d100 Exilon Wasteland Wandering 2 Desert
01 Rainfall here creates short-lived seasonal grasslands attracting herds, predators and hunting peoples
11 Nomad family camp will show hospitality and food
31 Old tent-dwelling sorcerer is a sage and diviner who has regular visitors despite the evil humanoids and monsters around her home
51 Secret village of scorpion-centaur folk serving their king
61 Giant bugs and lizards thrive especially in the caves underground, at night many come out to hunt
71 Sea of fine dust difficult for normal travel, local hidden folk or some cult might know how to cross without drowning or being eaten by sand monsters
81 Inhuman ruin in a harsh desert inside are reptilian mummies and sealed underground vaults
91 Swarming with monster minions of the underworld god like hell hounds, giant snakes, fire salamanders, daemons and undead