Friday, April 30, 2010

Help! Are bigger skills systems required to make sci-fi RPGs viable?

Image: Spaceship Mechanic by the incomparable Jon Hrubesch! 

I’m working on a few other classes for X-plorers in addition to Space Pioneer and I’ve hit a snag.

I realized that for this particular techie class I’m working on, I need to include skills that aren’t already a part of the core rules. Now that’s not in and of itself a huge deal—I can make up a few skills. But then, X-plorers is really a “what if” experiment that hypothesizes what RPGs would have been like had Dave and Gary created a sci-fi game, rather than a fantasy-based one. The rule book’s forward states:
By today’s standards, this game may be considered “out-dated”. It doesn’t take into account modern technology, super computers, cyber-punk or the advances in modern cinema and special effects. It’s an attempt to envision a unique universe of science fiction through the eyes of someone living in 1974.
The game's rules are appropriately consistent with this goal and offer only a few beginning skills for four main classes: Scientist, Scout, Technician, and Soldier. In true OE form, the skills are basic and intended to cover a wide range of applications.

Do rules-light systems like X-plorers or OE D&D and its retro clones sufficiently support sci-fi settings where technology is highly specialized? In a futuristic (or modern) setting, skills become crucial for defining characters, moreso than in fantasy, I think.

Take for example the Mechanic skill for Technicians in X-plorers. Its primary requisite is Intelligence and states “This is the Tech’s chance to repair, undertand, and operate any type of mechanical device.”

The rules don’t say the Mechanic skill needs to be further specialized. Should they be?


West End Games 2nd edition of the Star Wars RPG had a wide array of skills under different ability scores—including at least a dozen for different types of repair (computer, ground vehicle, star fighter, walker, etc.). This makes a lot of sense because one might assume that someone who can repair something like a hover car/skimmer (the equivalent of an automobile) shouldn’t really be able to apply the same skill to a Star Destroyer’s hyperdrive (a naval battleship).

So when I come back to the X-plorers forward--which acknowledges a certain outdated-ness--I have to wonder if this is an inherent flaw. The rules should probably take in to account that even in the 70s, a master auto mechanic working on the latest model sports car still wouldn't be able to repair a satellite launched by NASA around the same time.

Better questions might be: how many and what type of skills are needed to give a sci-fi RPG “good enough” footing so players can customize without violating the rules-light principle sought in the game’s mission statement?

If a fix is needed, what’s the answer?
  • Add specialized skills to the existing ones balanced with an extra XP cost? (i.e., mechanics would spend more XP to learn how to fix something complicated like a star cruiser jump drive. 
  • Or maybe specialized skills should be limited to higher levels—imitating life in a sense that you spend time mastering the basics before you graduate to bigger/tougher challenges in your training.
In any case, I can't seem to move forward until I can reconcile these issues.

I’m almost wondering if I should convert what I’ve made over to a different system (SW WEG, Star Frontiers, Traveller, etc.). I guess I want to avoid having to write up new skills every time I create a new class.

Am I over thinking this? Is there a simple/elegant solution? Please share your thoughts!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Galactic Outfitters Sale! Zookatube: Shoulder-Mounted Beam Weapon

The zookatube is a new item for X-plorers RPG
From the Amalgamated Consumer Mercantile Exchange Company retail catalog, page 46:
Having problems with neighbors? Has the alien horde arrived on your doorstep to make you an offer you wish you could refuse? Now you can! Meet the R9, our latest shoulder-mounted beam weapon--or Zookatube! The zooka is designed primarily as an anti personnel or anti-small vehicle weapon.

The R9 was developed by top particle-beam specialist Dr. Gergo DeWittle, Central Space Command Weapons division. Here's Dr. DeWittle testing the prototype:
Dr. D's shoulder-scalding super blaster is now available publicly thanks to the open-arms patent code of SSA.2436--and we believe we've improved on his initial blueprint.

This zooka fires a super-concentrated beam of electrons and other charged particles to atomize your foes. The R9 even comes with a mounted Plusone Accu-site™ (scope) for increased accuracy to better target and terminate with extreme xenophobic prejudice! The R9's chromium finish and stylish casing design will ensure that you mean business when sending invaders to oblivion and your friends will envy the beautiful, polished shine. Satisfaction with your R9 is also guaranteed with a lifetime warranty.
STATS (updated)
Zookatubes use canisters of sparkly, ionized paste as a form of solid fuel from which to lase. The canisters provide enough fuel for four shots or one powerful blast all at once.   
Damage: Four single shots: 3d10; or one mega-blast: 5d10 or full 20 50 points damage within range of 10, no scope bonus to hit on mega-blast
Range: single shots 200, mega-blast 400
Bonuses: +1 to hit (with scope)
Cost: 800 credits, ammo canisters 50 credits ea.
Special conditions: The zooka must be held with both hands to fire and no other action may be taken during firing. It's recommended that users wear protective goggles when operating without a scope (most scopes provide protection for one eye when firing).
This item is provided in accordance with SSA.2436 guidelines regulating spacefaring settlement and defense. Plugging the R9 emitter with grenades, mounting to small craft, strapping the weapon to large mutant forearms, or any other failure to operate as instructed may lead to injury, vaporization, or permanent blindness and may void warranty. Amalgamated Consumer Mercantile Exchange Company is indemnified in such cases.

Other shoulder-mounted weapons

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Random Space Finds #12

Floating flotsam and jetsam, tumbling slowly in the void (1d12, jinx!):
  1. Holographic photocopier, low toner light flashing
  2. Conglomerated, amporphous space station made up of docked spaceships and spare parts
  3. Houston Astros World Series baseball cap
  4. 8 tablet packet of Alzantin™ psych pills which imbue user with one of the following abilities for 24 hours: psychic firestarter, suggestion, psi-screen, or telekinesis (roll 1d4), side effects include lack of memory during the time under influence and possibly incontinence under duress
  5. Atomic disruptor, disruptor
  6. Kamen Cybersystems™ replacement armature
  7. Mesoamerican crystal skull, severed human hands melted onto it
  8. Amalgamated Consumer Mercantile Exchange Company spring catalog (524 pages)
  9. Hydrospanner hand tool
  10. 2-day stim rations for submerged excursions (injectable, as breathing mask prevents oral ingestion)
  11. Cardboard box containing daggit fur and four servo joints
  12. 6-pack of DynaQuark™ hyperdrive soda

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Try new DynaQuark--hyperdrive fuel and soft drink!

Do some sub-light sodas leave you with nothing but fizz? Want to put a real POP! in your space cruiser's tank?

Then try filling your hyperdrive with DynaQuark™! It's light, refreshing, and doesn't have that inky, dark matter residue. And best of all--no nanoparticle aftertaste!

Get your thrusters firing lightyears ahead and try new DynaQuark™ today! Want to warp to Zeta Persei but without all the calories? Try DynaQuark Diet™!

Put the best ionized soft drink in your quantum injector!

Comes in 12, 24, 32 and new 64 ly bottles. Also available in lemon-lime, cherry, and mandarin orange!
Inspired by Mr. Fusion, Bass-o-matic, and a trip to the grocery store:

Space Pioneers: Influences and Inspirations

I've had a lot of long-winded posts of late, so I've pared this post on influences and inspirations re: the Space Pioneers setting down.

The gist of it:
I wanted to make a new setting for X-plorers that was a little more wild and wooly and allowed for more than the regular space opera (big evil empires!) and the current X-plorers (companies as government) settings. X-plorers is about "galactic troubleshooters" and space operas always have an "us vs. them" feel. I wanted an "us vs. everybody" feel to my universe! So I opted to keep those elements as possibilities to be explored without making them the default settings.

I didn't dispose of the idea of space corporations entirely. Instead, they're catalysts for making space travel cheap enough so as to become accessible to just about anybody--and that was the key: anybody can explore space.

I also was wary of making it too much like the wild west (Firefly!) I wanted it to be more like the 1950s when the baby boom was in full swing after WWII and the US was in it's heyday of living the American Dream. Something seemed fun in a "gee whiz" sort of fashion that pioneers could load up the space RV and go camping on Ganymede like it was Yellowstone. This was another boom--a way of pushing everyone out into the unknown with gusto. I even thought "let's make the family truly nuclear!" Okay, that last part isn't true. ;)

At the same time, I wanted there to be a real Ad Astra, Buck Rogers feeling that anything can happen out in the "wilderness" of space because there's no National Guard or space marines to come save your ass if things get rough. Basically, you're on your own save for your equipment, and possibly a few friends. Yes, there's the CSC, but they're far away, and they're overworked/understaffed. They employ a kind of space ranger meets park ranger meets tax auditor to look in on you from time to time. And maybe you get a visit from the loan officer or spaceship repo man who's coming to find out why you're behind on payments (hint: everybody is).

And these are just sidebars to the real dangers like alien invasions, human marauders and pirates, radiation storms, asteroid collisions, corporate espionage, and rival settler saboteurs that will do everything to see you fail and die horribly.

Life is rough out here in space, and you'd better be ready to shoot first and hurl insults at their corpses later.
Anyway, here are a few of my inspirations:
Sorry, that was meant to be shorter, but at least you get the idea!

Click the "pioneers" tag below to see all posts on this new setting idea and class.

Central Space Command and the Inventory of Everything

Records in many sectors were incomplete and the SSA included guidelines for documentation and transmission back to Central Space Command (CSC) to provide survey information and financial prospectus’ for commercial interests.
A Space Ranger audits the memory of an early model MIDC still in the field.  
While not required, the CSC provided a healthy stipend to settlers who stocked the MIDC (Mission Instrumentation Data Collector) on their cruisers. Falsification of data has always been a danger, as was tampering with the device, so the CSC took a two-pronged approach:
1. All MIDC units were given artificial intelligence. AI gave the units the ability to protect the integrity of their data by sheer force of personality. Researchers found that reprogramming a machine--even one slathered in user agreement legalese, presented little moral challenge to hackers and cheats. But a machine that talks back and protests--well at least it made it more like a personal assault and less like cracking open a safety deposit box. Early units were given a somewhat anthropomorphic appearance, but due to their manufacture in high numbers, they were also quite basic in design. Discouraged settlers have sometimes come to resent the units, as they seem to be a sort of white elephant, but they understood that the unit's upkeep meant income.

2. The CSC commissioned a sub-branch of scouts, technicians, and agents to check in and audit data, ensuring all systems were operating efficiently and that everything was in order. As officers of the CSC they were fully deputized, of course, to act as law enforcement if necessary and apply their skills in exacting lethal force. Their primary mission however was as data auditors and census takers….with ray guns. The Space Ranger Corps. was born!
Once a MIDC unit is activated on site, it begins transmitting data via interstellar relay sourcing stations. When transmissions are received back at CSC, credits are dispensed to settlers that can be used at any human outpost. Many micro colonists depend on this supplemental income to survive until they become self sufficient.

A late model MIDC with "personality".
Data collected from the device is used to catalog every phenomenon and encounter—a sort of inventory of everything in the known universe. Financial firms mine the data for leads—some even bribe settlers under the table to leave certain findings out of the record, and their competitors in the dust. Once a month the CSC put out a report containing updates. The entire report called simply "The Record," for simplicity's sake, and if you're talking to a MIDC unit, you'd best be certain to let it know whether what you say or do is "on" or "off The Record".

Next file: Space Rangers

Friday, April 23, 2010

Galactic Outfitters: Supplying Space Pioneers

With the signing of SSA.2436, industry stepped up to meet demand and provide affordable and dependable equipment and vehicles. Even the simplest of tools needed to be able to withstand the rigors of space travel. At least, on the surface. Like many times before, pioneers had come from every corner of the civilized world to risk everything for a new life—and duplicitous and dubious entrepreneurs crawled out of the woodwork to make a buck in the name of “commercial enterprise”. Like any open market, more than a few irregular samples or poor products made their way into the hands of consumers.

Most mercantiles, however, are in the business of making money, which means keeping customers happy. As a result, settlers find a wide array of shopping choices from specialized/customized manufacturers, to big box retailers, to capable craftspersons of every discipline. Philo T. Faustbinder, CEO and Founder of the Amalgamated Consumer Mercantile Exchange Company has a saying about his company's customers around the galaxy:

"Nothing is impossible, so long as you have good credit and a verifiable shipping address."

Next file: The Inventory of Everything

Search for: Galactic Outfitters offerings

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Occupation: Space Pioneer (a.k.a, Homesteader)

(A new class for X-plorers RPG)
Requirements: PHY 8
Prime Requisite: PRE
Hit Dice: Add +1 for hardiness (in addition to physique bonus)

Space pioneers are hardy individuals who have ventured out into the wilderness of the galaxy with the intention of establishing a permanent residence on another world. Pioneers seek the great challenges and rewards that come from self-reliance, hard work, willingness to adapt, and to some extent—solitude. No settler is truly an island unto her or himself though and also must learn to communicate with many other cultures and forms of life should they expect to thrive in hostile environs. Because of this, their prime requisite relies more on inner fortitude and willpower than raw intelligence or even physical stamina (hence Presence is listed).

Pioneers select from one of the four basic classes to start and add the following skill set bonuses:
  • Scientist : +2 on any one scientist skill
  • Soldier: +1 on demolition restricted to mining and +2 for survival, 0 on all other skills
  • Scout: +1 on any one scout skill
  • Technician: +2 on any one technician skill
Space pioneers may multi-class in Scientist, Scout, and Technician classes, but not Soldier. PCs who multi-class should otherwise be treated normally per the X-plorers rulebook (see page 13).

There is no maximum level set for this class.

The Space Settlement Act of 2436 provides space pioneers with a beginning balance of 10,000 credits (a one-time, upfront stipend) as dispensed by Central Space Command (CSC) to spend on transportation, equipment, and supplies. In addition, they have the option of earning an additional $800 credits in a standard month (28 Earth days) should they sign a contract for a sensor unit that will transmit data about their settlement’s environment back to Earth. Upkeep of the unit is required and tampering will void any agreement and the ability to earn income.

Space pioneers will need transportation, provisions, and the means to provide for themselves continuously through agrarian endeavors, mining, or procurement of other natural resources. Pioneers may take up a trade or sell goods (such as those resources they have grown or mined) to supplement income but cannot become full-time merchants.

Homesteaders must each have their own Survival Pack (page 14) and carry at least a sidearm at all times. All space pioneers are human.

Space Pioneers: Microcolonies and SSA.2436

Proper space colonies are generally 100+ population to support and maintain a presence in an established environment (be it planetary, moon, or space-based). Colonies were therefore huge undertakings that sometimes became too expensive to fund, which led to many ventures being canceled. Seeking a way to spread the human genome throughout the galaxy (and increase profitability in space), a new approach was sought--and SSA.2436 was born.

Two centuries ago, the Space Settlement Act of 2436 (SSA.2436), also called the “Homesteaders Act” encouraged settlers to found their own micro colonies with as little as a few families and a star cruiser stocked full of supplies--this was often thought to be extremely dangerous, if not the least bit risky.
Most environs—be they uninhabited asteroids, desolate moons, or primordial worlds infested with savages—gave even the most equipped and well trained colonials a run for their money.

To send unregistered citizens out into the final frontier without more than a few small arms and freeze-dried rations seemed like manslaughter, at best. So the Act included regulations for spacefaring technologies, provisioning, and a pared-down “code for lawful conduct” and “establishing friendly relations” with neighbors, natives, traders, and “elements unknown”. The Act became the basis for a cottage industry that exploded overnight and fueled the spread of human settlements on other worlds.

For the first time in history, we were no longer left wanting to reach the stars—we were outfitted and made ready for the task.

Next file: Occupation: Space Pioneer

Space Pioneers: The Bootstrap Settling of Space

(The following is a new setting for X-plorers RPG, independent from the setting presented in the book.)

Early colonists were refugees seeking to establish independence. They fractured from larger settlements.

Seeking to colonize out-of-the-way outposts and homesteads, these survivalists have been the very picture of bootstrap know-how in the last frontier: space.

At the same time, mega corporations—the offspring of multi-nationals on Earth—have emerged and thrived in interplanetary mining and manufacturing. In 200 years time, the sol system became well settled and corporate wealth grew as companies expanded into full-service mercantile vendors for the colonies. Space travel and other technologies (i.e, propulsion and aeronautics, aquatic exploration, terraforming and environmental engineering, robotics, beam and spectral weaponry, etc.) have become widespread, and best of all, cheap enough for the consumer market. It was time to venture out beyond the Oort Cloud and into interstellar space. Like the American west centuries before, the mega corps believed there was no better way than through the "selling of settling" to expand the human presence into space..

A Planetary Boon
With vast accessibility across the system, the family unit can now afford to invest in its own settlement venture. No longer are entire colonies or sojourn missions needed to found a settlement. A family of five can stake their claim on any non-corporate planetoid. In fact they prefer it. Corporations of course reap the benefits by being supply chains to successful settlements as well as struggling ones who look to arm and outfit themselves against marauders.

Through settlements the mega-corps see no end in sight for expansion and have a vested interest in their individual and collective success. Some companies may even intentionally saddle their customers with enough onerous debt as a means to propel their hidden agendas—if not profits.

Next file: SSA.2436

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back in Real Space Again

I've returned from the great northern galaxy (Canada!). Non-robo-posting to resume shortly! I posted a few shots on Spellcard! of my stop over at Toronto's Silver Snail comic shop.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Random Space Finds #11

Floating flotsam and jetsam, tumbling slowly in the void (1d10):
  1. Mens toiletry and manicure kit, fully stocked, also includes single glass eye (color of your choice)
  2. Hypergate jump point emitter, missing access panel cover
  3. Shish kabob skewer, 4 meters long, various victims charred, half-eaten
  4. Inertial dampening padding
  5. Nalumor ale, 64 oz. bottle of turquoise liquid, 3/4 full
  6. 290,614 screws of various sizes, all stripped
  7. Ejection seat, spent jettison canister, 8" hole blasted through seat back
  8. 50 credit gift certificate for Starr-Mart
  9. Cargo winch with tow line fully extended, carabiner missing
  10. Keyboard tie, plays real keyboard sounds

Monday, April 12, 2010

Random Space Finds: The Missing User's Manual!

Now that the first ten posts are out, here are a few ways to use Random Space Finds--as a random table! (1d10)
  1. Just as they are, roll the dice and make start making PING noises
  2. Turn a list into a scavenger hunt of items for some deranged space gangster or to win the hand of the Princess Estrella of Chandri, a galactically hot space babe
  3. Be really stingy with your players and only give them equipment they salvage in space--no stores, no lagrangian-point shopping malls--just junk!
  4. Yes, there are a few items hijacked from pop culture--tie-ins are fun, but re-writing canon is more fun!
  5. The first five lists have the following in common: something really big, evidence of human remains, something handheld, something related to food--some are obviously related, others can be made to be so
  6. There are many personal items, sometimes something simple is the best and easiest catalyst for drama
  7. Maybe the items were all recovered in the same system after a solar cataclysm
  8. Many items are sabotaged--either deliberately or by their nature; have fun letting players find out which ones
  9. If you look carefully enough there are enough pieces to make/repair Voltron
  10. I don't know, make some shit up 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Random Space Finds #10

Floating flotsam and jetsam, tumbling slowly in the void (1d10):
  1. Full cabinet of Ivory Starliner china, all pieces accounted for/undamaged
  2. Vic Viper, stripped and without canopy
  3. 200 shopping carts, all with one bum wheel (1d4: 1=front left, 2=front right, 3=back left, 4=back right)
  4. Hazardous chemical clean-up kit: two hazmat suits, 30 liters neutralizer powder, 15 liter industrial grade wet vac, St. Jude medal
  5. 150 foot long stone spire, ornate artifice, windows and single door sealed
  6. Holographic emitter, coffee table sized, power source missing
  7. Roulette wheel, blast holes through all the prime numbers
  8. Abandoned galleon, 10,000 broken slave collars strewn along corridors and cargo holds
  9. 750 foot "root," appears dead
  10. Power-load lifter, damaged

Friday, April 9, 2010

Beam Me Canada!

Through the wonder and power of modern blogging/wormhole technology I've scheduled a few posts while I'm in Toronto for work next week. Random space finds has resumed it's regular Sunday schedule and will be followed by a few other posts throughout the week. I've programed Eddie here to keep an eye on things so no funny business.
While I doubt I'll get a chance to hit any comics or games shops when I'm in Toronto, I did a little homework anyway and dug up a few near my hotel should the occasion present itself. If you've got suggestions feel free to comment below. Also, please continue to drop in and comment on posts--I'll do my best to check-in and respond back!

Oh Canada, here I come!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Appendix N for Sci Fi (Circa 1980s)

D&D had it's Appendix N--it's suggested reading for further inspiration--which was loaded with Sword & Sorcery classics from the pulp era and beyond. Grognardia has done a wonderful job of highlighting those books. I wondered if TSR's Star Frontiers had an equivalent a while back while I was flipping through the manuals I'd bought off eBay. Low and behold--it did! Though it wasn't an official appendix, it was listed under the title "READING FOR FUN AND IDEAS". The list is filled with great stuff, but its also dated.

Following are the titles listed on the back cover of the Expanded Game Rules, from the first printing of July 1982:

  • Asimov, Isaac—Extraterrestrial Civilizations
  • Bylinsky, Gene—Life in Darwin's Universe
  • Dole, Robert—Habitable Planets for Man
  • Feinberg, Gerald and Robert Shapiro—Life Beyond Earth: An Intelligent Earthling's Guide to Life in the Universe
  • Anthony, Piers—Macroscope
  • Anderson, Poul—Ensign Flandry series
  • Asimov, Isaac—Foundation trilogy: I, Robot; The Gods Themselves
  • Aspirin, Robert—The Cold-Cash War
  • Bester, Alfred—The Stars, My Destination
  • Blish, James—Cities in Flight
  • Bradbury, Ray—The Martian Chronicles
  • Brown, Frederick—What Mad Universe
  • Brunner, John—Stand on Zanzibar
  • Budrys, Algis—Rogue Moon
  • Chandler, Bertram A.—Commodore Grimes series
  • Clarke, Arthur C.—Rendezvous with Rama; The Fountains of Paradise
  • Clement, Hal—Mission of Gravity; Close to Critical; The Nitrogen Fix
  • de Camp, L. Sprague—Krishna series
  • Dick, Philip K.—Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Dickson, Gordon R.—Dorsai series
  • Drake, David—Hammer's Slammers
  • Farmer, Philip Jose—Riverworld series
  • Garrett, Randall—Starship Death
  • Goulart, Ron—many short novels
  • Haldeman, Joe—The Forever War
  • Hansen, Karl—War Games
  • Harrison, Harry—Bill, The Galactic Hero; The Stainless Steel Rat; Deathworld series
  • Heinlein, Robert—Starship Troopers; The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
  • Herbert, Frank—Dune series
  • Laumer, Keith—A Plague of Demons; Retief series; Bolo series
  • LeGuin, Ursula—The Left Hand of Darkness
  • Lem, Stanislaw—Solaris; The Cyberiad
  • Longyear, Barry—Circus World
  • Niven, Larry—Ringworld; Ringworld Engineers; Tales of Known Space
  • Niven, Larry and Jerry Pournelle—The Mote in God's Eye
  • Norton, Andre—Star Rangers
  • Pohl, Frederick—Gateway
  • Pournelle, Jerry—The Mercenary
  • Russel, Eric Frank—The Great Explosion
  • Saberhagen, Fred—Berserker series
  • Silverberg, Robert—The Man in the Maze
  • Simak, Clifford D.—City
  • Smith, E. E.—Triplanetary; Space Patrol; others in the Lensmen series
  • Stapleton, Olaf—Last and First Men
  • Vance, Jack—Big Planet; The Grey Prince; Tschai, Planet of Adventure series; Demon Princes series
  • Van Vogt, A. E.—The Weapons Shops of Isher; The Silkie; Voyage of the Space Beagle
  • Varley, John—The Persistence of Vision
  • Zelazny, Roger—Lord of Light
I can't say I've read even a fraction of these and I'm trying to track down several more for my collection. There's even more not on the list that I do own, that I'd probably consider "reference" when I think of sci-fi in general. So gentle reader, what's on your list of go-to science fiction? Anything new? How about long forgotten? Or off the beaten path?

Leave a few of your own in the comments. (Movies, comics, whatever--it's all acceptable!)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Random Space Finds #9

Floating flotsam and jetsam, tumbling slowly in the void (1d10):
  1. Six person lifeboat, fully occupied, no survivors
  2. L-type, dual firing rocket pack (single user)
  3. Turning signal replacement fluid, 55 gallon drum
  4. Shipment of laser rifles (25) with sabotaged ammo cartridges rigged to to backfire on users after 1d4 turns
  5. Fishing pole, slightly used
  6. Heisenberg compensator, permanent firmware failure
  7. Fourty barrels of highly dangerous biohazard waste, (35 liters each)
  8. Communications relay pod, replaying 900-year-old distress signal
  9. Dozen radiation badges, mint condition
  10. Galagan hornet's nest

Saturday, April 3, 2010


The latest issue of Fight On! is here--and it has a few sci fi elements. I think the entry I looked forward to seeing the most is the Insectaurs from the esteemed Sniderman. (Congrats!)
And there's plenty of fantasy in this issue as well.
Not to mention an interview with the international man of zany weirness himself, Erol Otus!
Ooo! Mysterious!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Brave Halfling to Publish X-plorers Sci-Fi Retro Clone!

As creator David Bezio says "it's a done deal" Brave Halfling Publishing has exclusive rights to publish the X-plorers retro clone RPG! I'm so freakin' excited that I can hardly stand it!

I have so many hopes for this that I can't contain them. So John, if you're listening, here's my ultimate X-plorers wish list:
  • A bevy of modules and supplements (e.g., rules for creating vehicles, and I'd like to see the proposed psionic and vehicular combat rules part of an "official" release at some point too)
  • A BOX SET a la Swords & Wizardry (oh please!)
  • Option to buy separate box set booklets (again like S&W)
  • An MS Word version for house ruling (one of the best features of S&W, I think)
  • New sci-fi art by some beloved OSR artists; Peter Mullen did the cover (see above pic) for the 2nd printing--and it's fan-freakin-tastic!
Finally, sci-fi gets it's due in the OSR!

Check out BHP's announcement for more info.
Check out the X-plorer's Yahoo Group (linked at right)