Via Astrum

Via Astrum.

RPG set in space. Well, set in the universe of Astra Imperia. A lot is done on this one. Stuff left is some random event charts in character creation, a Xeno chapter for the space critters, and some universe fluff.

The system itself has remained remarkably stable over the development. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. At one point I did try to bolt EA onto the VA system, but it lost a lot of what I felt made EA unique. Enough meanderings.

Via Astrum draws inspiration from Traveller, Shadowrun/Cyberpunk, and numerous other sources. Players familiar with those games might be able to see where VA drew on those for inspiration. There is enough flexibility in the system to let a GM run a military style campaign, where all of the characters are military or some form of special ops, to a trader or exploration theme. Characters can be anything from military to mercenaries to pirates to college professors (think Indiana Jones here instead of your English Comp 101 teacher). The background only includes two alien races, but that is easily expandable.

For the future, I’m looking at an aliens book with more on the existing aliens and more aliens. I’ve also been thinking of a number of character class books, military, criminal, trader/megacorp, academic, and government to flesh out and expand the choices in character creation. Obviously a gear book is also something that would be good. One can never have enough gear options.

Again, people wanting to play test should get in contact with me.

Eldritch Adventures

While discussing the weapons in EA with a couple friends, it came up that overall the morning star is the best weapon on a speed vs. damage rate.

A bit of background. Combat in EA is not like most rpgs. Initiative is continuous, meaning you roll for your next slot as soon as you finish your turn. With a fast weapon and good stats, you can attack multiple times before someone with a slow weapon may attack. This is all very good, except the initiative was modified from a standard “everyone goes then roll again” system. The damages on the weapons weren’t as glaringly unbalanced then. So after a few hours of entering weapon damages and speeds into a spreadsheet and tinkering, I decided that certain classes of weapons will have an average speed. The ratio between speed and damage was going to be as near to 1 as I could make it. I should note here that when I say damage, I mean the average damage on the dice, excluding any bonuses; so 2d6 has an average of 7. This threw out my first idea that one handed weapons do one die of damage, two handed weapons do two dice, and polearms do three dice. Polearms are hard hitting but incredibly slow. Upside to them, anything you smack with it is most likely going to stay smacked.

So now the weapons are all “balanced” to a speed/damage ratio of 1. This means that the overall dps per weapon is consistent. The only variation now involved is character strength and skill. And armor.

Speaking of armor, the initiative process was to roll 1d10, add weapon speed and subtract character Speed. This is now roll 1d10, add weapon speed, add 1/2 armor DV (defense value), subtract the average of Speed and Perception. This makes moving in heavier armors slower as well as adding a perception component. One of my friends pointed out that how fast you move in a combat is not always about how fast you move, but also how well you notice openings. Hence the addition of Perception to the equation.

The only real thing left to finish up is the magic system. I don’t know how many times I’ve changed it, but each time it is because I am unhappy with it. All I really need to do is finish writing out the spell descriptions for a couple hundred spells. Tedious work, but it needs to be done. Then a lot of play testing. Which means people interested in running the same encounter over and over again to generate the data I need. Any volunteers?


Been slacking in the updating department recently. Had a contract that ended beginning of April. As for gaming, been playing a lot of SWTOR. I still think Bioware would have been better off making KOTOR 3, 4, and 5, instead of a MMO.

Picked up Defiance. Typical FPS. Controls are wonky, since they are geared to a console controller. Game companies need to realize that a lot of us still game on our PCs. PC gaming is not dead. Giving us shit UIs because you coded for a console first then added PC interface second is a good way to lose customers.

Enough of that. Updated Via Astrum. Still have a few things to write, namely the Xeno chapter and some random events in the character creation chapter. Eldritch Adventures still needs the spells all written out. Updated the weapons to a more balanced approach. A setting would be good too. And then a crap ton of play testing. Via Astrum seems a lot easier to balance than Eldritch Adventures. Project:GOLEM has been on the back burner. I should dig that out and see what needs to be finished there too. Mostly background/fluff if I recall.

On the programming side, picked up a couple of books on Android programming. I know, Google is evil, but I’ll burn in hell before I own an iPhone. So I’ve got a Samsung Galaxy. Great monthly, no contract plan from Virgin Mobile.

Other than that, I’m back to looking for work again. Yay. Not. Killing pixels in SWTOR (Ebon Hawk server, Emissaries of Light or Emissaries of Shadow).