Well, it is 2014. Couple of days in, and snow has blanketed much of the country. Enough about snow. So we all make resolutions this time of year. I’m no exception. The resolution I’ve made for this year is to dedicate more time to writing. The ultimate goal of this is to get Via Astrum, Eldritch Adventures, and Libram Planetarum out to you. Continue reading New Year
The Libram Planetarum series will begin with the Obsidian Blade Clanworlds. Originally depicted in Astra Imperia as a single world collection of cutthroats and scalawags, the Obsidian Blade has organized into clans, with most of the clans having a world (or worlds) to call their own. Libram Planetarum: Obsidian Blade focusses on the worlds of the thirteen Shadow Captains who rule the Council that governs the Obsidian Blade clans as a whole. Details on each clan and their leaders, along with the worlds they claim will be presented, as will a number of scenario hooks for GMs.
I’ve been participating in Johnn Four’s Game Author’s Bootcamp (https://www.gamer-lifestyle.com/rpg-product-bootcamp/) and decided on the Libram Planetarum. This will be a lightweight product detailing a number of connected worlds in a sector of space. Currently I am planning on one Libram per current empire in the Via Astrum/Astra Imperia universe.
This leads into the other vague, nebulous idea I have for a product/line. A version of an Encyclopedia Galactica. The overall idea is a zero-crunch product that is geared towards the VA/AI universe, but can be used in any game system. The product would contain political entities (empires), alien races, star ship classes, famous people (current and historical), alien critters, alien plants, and worlds. This project is way down the road though.
A note about the Bootcamp: registrations are closed at the moment. You can sign up to be alerted when they reopen.
Yay for non-blogging hiatuses. Lots of things going on. New full time job (yay!) with a new full time job commute (boo!). Anyway, on to the good stuff. I’ll be at Nuke-Con this coming weekend (Oct 4-6) in Omaha Nebraska. I’ll be running three sessions of Via Astrum while I am there. So if you are in the neighborhood and want to check it out, drop in.
As an update to what is going on with the internal Via Astrum guts… Event tables are finished for all paths. I’ve begun adding new and more vehicles to the game, currently just ground and hover types. Air, sea and space are coming yet. Actually, space ships will be a separate chapter. I’ve normalized the ship weapons between Astra Imperia and Via Astrum. This is to promote more crossover flexibility. I’ve added reactions lifted and modified from Eldritch Adventures. Completed the psi power descriptions to the new format. I’ve also added some weapons, accessories and ammo to the lists. Added a stat called Exposure to vehicles. I also brought the speeds more in-line with modern vehicles. No more racing along at 45mph! Slow down you young whippersnappers! And get off my lawn!
Ahem. Anyway. Added some new heavy weapons (2 and 4mm railguns, 80mm mortars and plasma cannons). Added to the psi powers list (Now with more ways to melt the mind!). And I put in Action Points for what you can do in a turn. I’ll go into more depth on both Exposure and Action Points here in a minute. I also added a worksheet to help with the background procedure, since there are no longer classes.
Exposure is quite simply a percentage chance that when the vehicle is struck, the driver or a passenger is hit. For example, a motorcycle has an Exposure value of 90%. Pretty good chance you’ll peg the driver unless you specifically aim at the bike. On the other hand, a military ground tank has a 1% Exposure. Pretty tough to hit the occupants of a tank.
Action Points are a calculated stat. The base value is AGL x 2. So most characters will have values in the 10-16 range. Some example actions and their cost: melee attack is 3 AP. Ranged attacks are 4 AP. Moving costs 2AP per meter moved. Drawing or holstering a weapon costs 5AP. Rummaging in a backpack for your cell phone costs 10AP, while pulling something off of a belt or bandolier is 5AP.
In all, there is still a lot of work to do, particularly the Xenobestiary. A whole chapter of alien critters to blow up! I’m also thinking about adding another race. I am somewhat hesitant to do so, just based on the tight tie-in to Astra Imperia. Though there always has been an “alien” sourcebook planned for AI.
Another thing I’d like to get is art. Art can make or break a book. I’ve looked at games with some crappy art and it just throws you off. I’ve also seen subpar games with good art get lots of playtime (*cough* D&D4e *cough*).
Anyway, I’ll see you all at Nuke-Con!
I spent a few hours this afternoon creating a map for the setting. Over the course of the map creation, some cities got moved from their original locations, and I swapped east and west.
My goal now is to take a country and flesh it out. Give it a ruler, some history, culture and people, along with plot hooks. I will try to get one of these done a month, and release them on DTRPG.com probably in the $2.50 – $5.00 range. The biggest hurdle will be the maps. I’m using Campaign Cartographer 3, and it is not the easiest software to get a good map out of. But when you do, you get a beautiful map. The current map is shown below. The only thing changed from the pic to now is the scale by a factor of 4.
Last night I started crafting a setting for Eldritch Adventures. A lot of gamers like fluff and buy material based on the fluff. Right now, EA is all crunch.
So I brainstormed with the help of a random generator from Seventh Sanctum (www.seventhsanctum.com). I randomly generated things, keeping track of those that struck a chord in my mind. I had a basic idea for what I wanted. Seven realms, 6 in the northern section of the continent, with an elven forest. Bordered on the east by sea, the north by tundra, the west by steppes and desert, and the south by dwarven mountains. South of the mountains, is another realm. More of a collection of city-states than a unified realm.
Armed with some names and a general idea, I began a timeline. The timeline consisted of mainly very rough highlights. Countries founded, countries lost. The six realms of the north are the Iron Caliphate in the Iron Desert, Aleraen, Toszacne, Lenbae, Ptossant, and Cendart. The city-state region is known as the City-States of Racaria. I also decided on general terms for a couple of the regions. Aleraen and Cendart comprise the Low Country, while Lenbae, Toszacne, and Ptossant are the Marches. Racaria of course is the region south of the mountains. The mountains themselves are the Dwarfhame Mountains. The elven forest as yet has no name. It borders Ptossant and the eastern sea. Cendart and a small portion of Ptossant border the sea.Racaria is bordered on the east and south by the sea and the north and west by the Dwarfhame Mountains.
I’m undecided what lies beyond the Iron Desert, with the exception of that being the homeland of the scale-kin. Far to the east, over the sea lies another continent. This one home to two previous empires. Empire of the Sigil and Empire of the Viridian Ring. Sigil rose and Sigil fell after 1500 years. A thousand years later Viridian Ring rises. This lasts 2500 years, until it is destroyed by an apocalyptic horde of undead. Refugees from the Empire cross the sea and settle Racaria. The six Northern kingdoms are settled from Racaria.
As I progressed through my brainstorming, I came up with some personalities. From an innkeeper with a hidden past, to a thousand year old wizard shrouded in mystery, to the gruff leader of an organization tasked with hunting down fugitives from justice. They mostly have colorful names, Chastity Sunrise, Solitaire Blood, Warden Darkrose. Of course, I needed to come up with some organizations in support of a couple of the people. The Wardens. The Ironguard.
I’ve also named a few of the larger city-states in Racaria; Elrasc, Glory, Adoharr, Linadans, and Hegian. There are also the Guild cities, a loose republic which sits on the Racarian side of the Dwarfhame, and controls most of the trade between Racaria and the six kingdoms. With each country also comes coins.
This is a good start to the world. My next steps are to create a map, flesh out the countries and cities and cultures of each, and provide places for adventures.
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.
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?
I’ve been involved with role-playing games since 1980, and computer games since 1984 or thereabouts. I’ve played most of the table-top rpg’s out there. A few of my favorite, or go-to games are D&D (3rd Ed), GURPS, and Hero System.
Recently I’ve started to write games. I self-published a wargame called Astra Imperia. I’ve been working on a fantasy rpg called Eldritch Adventures and a science fiction rpg called Via Astrum. I’ve also been working on another wargame called Project:GOLEM, in addition to a second edition of Astra Imperia.
On the computer side of things, I’ve got a futuristic computer hacking rpg called CyberHack. I’ve also toyed around with a computer rpg based on Eldritch Adventures and a wargame based on Astra Imperia.
I run or moderate a few sites around the web. Conveniently they are all located on this domain.
- Aurora 4x – http://aurora2.pentarch.org A site dedicated to space-based 4x gaming, and the Aurora game in particular.
- Aurora Wiki – http://aurorawiki.pentarch.org A wiki dedicated to Aurora.
- Arkayn Game Designs –
http://store.pentarch.orgAn e-commerce site setup to sell my games.