Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Messy Time

September has not been a good month for me, and the lack of updates have many reasons. The only one that pertains to gaming is the overall LACK of RP gaming that's been going on. A brief filler Gamma World game took one week, but we've only been messing with a few other things (such as the new FFG Star Wars Miniatures, which I recommend if you can get past the $15 pricetag on the expansion miniatures) with a fraction of our group present due to commitments like college.

Stay tuned though, more is on the way.

Monday, September 3, 2012

More Aquatic Stuff

Here's some gear I've been mulling over for my Europa-based Eclipse Phase game. Note that these are subject to change, since I haven't quite worked out any balance kinks in them. If you have any suggestions or comments, please share them!


Webbing (bioware, cyberware) [Low]
Webbing adds thin, retractable membranes between the digits (and sometimes limbs) of a morph, improving swim skill tests by +10. Note that cetacean uplifts and the aquanaut morph do not benefit from this. The aquanaut inherent +10 to swimming could be refluffed as a version of this implant.

Flukes (Bioware, cyberware) [High]
This enhancement has two options. Firstly, a muscular tail may be added to any humanoid morph, with a set of flukes at the end. This improves swim speed from 1/5 to 2/10.
Alternately, the legs of a morph can be replaced completely, changing swim speed to 5/25, but reducing walk speed to 1/5 (the morph will need to flop or drag itself along like a seal).

Streamlining (Bioware) [Expensive]
This alteration modifies the kinematics of motion for a morph, improving one particular movement mode with efficiency in mind. A flying morph may have it's wings and feathers altered, a walking morph may have it's gait and leg structure changed. The result is improved rapid motion, doubling the maximum bonus to movement based on movement skill rolls to +10 (up from +5).

Aquatic Adaptation (Bioware, Cyberware) [Moderate]
This enhancement adds small retractable fins at strategic points on a morph (back, legs, abdomen, etc), similar to webbing, above. In addition, the patterns and texture of skin and hair is modified. This improves a morph's fine motions in an underwater medium, negating half of thr penalty for actions underwater (down to -10).

Existing Implants and Gear

Very popular with the aquatic set, as bioluminescence is visible even in deep water, and most Europan life forms "see" primarily with sonar and thermographics.

Lotus Coating (armor mod)
This mod also decreases underwater action penalties by -10, but this effect does not stack with Aquatic Adaptation.

Underwater, most ranged weapons are useless or have extremely reduced effectiveness. Exceptions are seeker weapons (which can be designed accordingly), and laser pulsers. Laser pulsers still have reduced range, although fine-tuned Europan variants use different spectra, decreasing defraction in the water (although water density still affects this, the degredation is only noticable at extremely high densities hundreds of kilometers down, with a decrease of 10% range and 1 damage every 500km)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Eclipse Phase - Mustelid Morph (Pod)

This was mentioned in, but missing from, Rimward. I took it upon myself as a challenge to put one together.

Mustelid Morph (Pod)

With the multitude of variant habitat types present in Europa's seas, the need for a reliable morph for fine repair and slipping into small spaces otherwise inaccessable was obvious. In response, genetics from the extinct giant otter from Earth were modified and paired with pod cybernetics. The end result is a lean, fast-swimming morph that can go places no selkie morph or most aquatic drones can. Not intended for extreme diving, the mustelid sees most of it's use in and around the largest submerged habitats such as the Norns or some of the more populated barnacle habs.

Implants: Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Mnemonic Enhancer, Puppet Sock, Cyberbrain, Enhanced Hearing, Enhanced Vision, Enhanced Respiration, Gills, Hydrostatic Pressure Adaptation, Temperature Tolerance (Improved Cold), Prehensile Feet

Aptitude Maximum: 25
Mobility: Walking 3/15 (Loping on four limbs), Swimming 4/20
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
Advantages: Small-sized (-10 penalty to hit), SOM +5, COG +5, +5 to one other aptitude of choice, Swimming skill +10, Flexible I (Morph Trait)
Disadvantages: Social Stigma (Pod)
CP Cost: 50
Credit Cost: Expensive

Edit: Fixed typo, added variable aptitude increase (almost every morph has one), increased cost to reflect.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rest Easy, Trailblazer.

We are a species of travellers, fighting the urges placed in us by our culture and necessity to remain grounded and secure. We are designed to walk upright, to seek what is over the next ridge, the next hill, the next mountain. Our evolution has gifted us with speech and language, so we can tell others what we have seen beyond that next rise.

So it is no surprise that mankind has pushed beyond the hills and mountains into the great endless night, to see and marvel at what is there. We have sent some of our bravest and wisest to the stars on pillars of smoke and flame, to break the barriers of sound and gravity. Our own mortal angels sent onward to meet the gods and their dreams.

But all men must make one last journey, one last horizon from which we cannot return to tell the tale, and share it with all mankind.

Rest in Peace, Neil Armstrong. We remember you and all who gave of themselves - in life or in death - in pursuit of seeing what lay just beyond.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Rogue's Trade - Introduction

After about three long years, I am finally bringing my Rogue Trader campaign to a close. I've learned a few new tricks over that time, listening to a vast array of internet podcasts to "up my game". My players seem to have enjoyed it quite a bit, and we've even added a new pair of people over that time period. It is now officially the longest-run solo-GM'd game I've had the absolute pleasure to run. I have a great Piccadilly notebook that I've had to fix the spine of four times that I've kept practically every note, NPC name and status, and a number of other details in. It's a ragged old thing, but I love the hell out of it.

On the suggestion of a friend, I will be using these notes to describe some of what my characters have done, and perhaps going over how it worked and how it didn't, and what I might change if I used the scenario again in the future.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bringing it Together

Everyone gets together around a table to game for different reasons, and there's no real rhyme or reason to which bits certain people prefer. There does seem to be this strange dichotomy that shows up in design though, and working with a couple friends of mine on a Savage Worlds setting and building some special rules for it kind of brought this out.

Now let me say first that I cut my teeth on AD&D. You know, the one with all the blue text and the knight. I'm not as aged as some gamers, but I started in early at 14 once Magic the Gathering became too expensive for my measly $30/wk paper route to sustain.

My main compatriot for this came in a bit later, 3rd edition D&D, and he was a big proponent of 4e.

We had a discussion about some of the designs I had for this setting, revolving around the concept of a character archetype who, in a rather Lovecraftian fashion, sacrifices some of their humanity for the sake of humanity, becoming a monster of sorts in the process. They would slowly go crazy, eventually becoming something nonhuman mentally as well as physically.

My fellow disagreed with this concept on a number of levels, but most interestingly was his use of "grognardy" to describe something that was unnecessarily hard for the sake of being hard. While I was falling in with a Call of Cthulhu mindset, he seemed to be coming at the design from D&D4e. At first I was offended, until I realized I actually want people besides me to play this.

Eventually we banged out a working design that was fairly well balanced (we're still testing at the moment), and difficult without being a heinous albatross around a character's neck. It's not anywhere near as difficult as I originally envisioned it, but it keeps the archetype as a viable choice. It was over the course of about a week that we scratched our heads over it, and the whole time I was now thinking of designing this thing with "is it fun?" in my head instead of "this fits the original concept". I added some portions in the gamemaster section of my document towards the ends of making things even more difficult, but they all remain suggested options and not RAW.

I found this meaningful because I think a lot of designers forget to try and make things more broadly fun, in the way that gamemasters occasionally treat plots like fenceposts, and they panic when things have gone off the rails. You have to move outside your comfort zone a bit, and try to find the common enjoyment instead of sticking to your "one thing."

Players, too, should keep this in mind. All too often we find people dragging their fetishes into games, or building "twinked" characters, and the ubiquitous brooding "lone wolf". Everyone wants some spotlight, but it shouldn't come at the expense of other's enjoyment.

Essentially, "what is fun for us?" Instead of "what is fun for me?"

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Opening Salvo

First blog post ever! Go me.

Okay, a bit of an introduction! I've been a gamer for sixteen years as of this writing, playing a wide variety of  role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, Savage Worlds, and White Wolf's Storyteller games, among (many) others. I also have a fondness for most media, comics, and video games. I'm not some lonely basement dweller either, I have a family, and quite a good number of fellow gamer friends.

My intention for this blog is to flex my writing muscles a bit more than I have had the time to do. It's also to work out some RPG-related things that I've been working on internally and need some criticism of. While I occasionally complain about being a "Forever GM", the truth is that I enjoy being the one getting the ball rolling, and telling stories.

Welcome, and enjoy the show!