Category Archives: Via Astrum

Via Astrum

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!

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.