Sunday, May 30, 2010

Random Space Finds #16

Floating flotsam and jetsam, tumbling slowly in the void (1d12):
  1. Field surgeon's kit: assorted scissors, clamps, tweezers, probes, sutures, scalpel, hemostat, headlamp,  disinfection wipes, antibacterial ointment, bandage tape, and gauze
  2. Two-headed silver dollar
  3. Hadarian mindbendlingly hot, hot peppers (if user makes a save vs. poison for heartburn, gives user pyrokinesis ability for 6 rounds at 3d6 damage)
  4. Mass spectrometer
  5. 25 horse-power, all-wheel steering, variable blade height riding lawn mower keys still in ignition
  6. Sealed jar with three brains (at least one human) floating in yellowish liquid, interconnected by some sort of tendrils
  7. Cash register, 128.33 credits (in cash) in the till
  8. Pterosaur whistle
  9. Vending machine, half stocked with various selections/flavors  (1d4: 1-soda, 2-junk food, 3-packages of squishy alien to-fu substance, 4-ramen noodles, GM's choice to mix/match)
  10. Sealed jar with three large pickles floating in a yellowish liquid, interconnected by some sort of tendrils
  11. Positronic android brain in clamshell titanium case, activation codes missing
  12. Pool skimmer (handle is 3.8 meters long)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Expanding Skills in X-plorers with Specializations

 Fear Agent's Heath Huston gains a +1 in giant wrenches under weapons specialization. No bonuses in fixing stuff though.

Sci-fi settings lend themselves to skill-based systems and I’d griped earlier about trying to keep things simple while I work up additional classes for X-plorers.

I really like the system that Jeff Rients proposed in the comments of my earlier post, which was to use skill specializations (rather than expanding the list of skills themselves). Star Wars, West End Games 2nd edition (hereafter referred to as WEG) has a good list of skills covering a wide array, so I thought that’d be a good place to start.

The Attribute scores in WEG are:
  • Dexterity
  • Knowledge
  • Mechanical
  • Perception
  • Strength
  • Technical
…for X-plorers:
  • Agility
  • Intelligence
  • Physique
  • Presence
Step 1: Figure Out How Skills Would Translate
Following is my first stab at skill specializations as they might fall within the X-plorers ruleset. If you’re aware of this already being done, let me know as I’d like to take compare. Most of this is best guess at this point, so I reserve the right to revise(!). I’ve already got some misgivings about a few, Droid Repair being one (see complete list).

Two items of note: in the current X-plorers rule book, no Physique skills are listed, but the description for Martial Arts mentions it. Weapons Specialty is another un-associated X-plorers skill that I matched with Dexterity in WEG—making it Agility related in X-plorers. I've uploaded a complete list for you to download (see the file box in the column at right), and since I'm no good at HTML tables, I made a graphic of some sample skills:
Let me just state for the record that I think many of these skills are redundant so they could be eliminated or at least grouped/named differently. This table is only a portion of the one I’m working on. The column(s) not seen here are what I’d do in my own setting (which is still in progress). I’ll also add a few skills here and there that I don’t see represented in either system.

Anyway, if you’re converting between WEG to X-Plorers or want to expand skills in X-plorers and need a place to start, I hope this comes in handy. Again, the file is available for download at right. Oh, and thanks to Albert over at Terminal Space for posting that great file widget, which works great!

Now hopefully I'll get to finish a "Step 2" which would have my preferred specializations.

UPDATE: see the downloadable skills conversion document on the side of the blog? That was the result of this little exercise. G'head--take it, it's free! 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Galactic Outfitters Sale! Megafauna Wetwire Package

The MEGAFUN MEGAFAUNA™ Wetwire Package is a new item for X-plorers RPG 
Take the Triceratops by the the Horns with the MEGAFUN MEGAFAUNA™ Wetwire Package!
Have you landed on a hostile world teeming with ginormous pests? Did you go back in time and end up snout-to-snout with hungry dinosaurian lifeforms? Looking for a cost-effective solution to execute colonial construction projects? Then let us help you get the upper femur on your competition!

The MegaFun Megafauna™ package is perfect for:
  • Perimeter patrols and homeland security!
  • Territorial disputes!
  • Mobile artillery!
  • Terraforming and outpost construction!
  • Public transportation!
  • Gladitorial events! (May be illegal in some sectors)
  • Parades and birthday parties! (May also be illegal in some sectors)
  • And much, much more!
The package includes:
  • 1 neuronal wetwire kit to plug directly into creature's central nervous system*
  • 1 "brain box" control console, supports fiber optic patch cables and sports a stylish, yet durable, titanium casing
  • 1 veterinarian-grade plasma torch*
  • 250 gallons of Synapsegel™ to cover cybernetic contact points and improve conductivity performance
  • 48 pack of synaptic gold-plated connectors to be used at contact junctions, 360 degree swivel-motorized action
  • 1 set, jumper cables
  • 2 ocular particle beam emitters
  • 2 hip mounted concussion missile pods (3 missiles per pod)
  • 6 veterinarian dental and nail files (various sizes) 
  • 4 pack XXXXL gauge hide-puncture syringe
  • 340 gallons of Xanax™
*Users manuals and power supplies sold separately

Two weapon types come standard with the package, but literally any other weapon that can be attached to a vehicle can be mounted to the MegaFun MegaFauna™ Wetwire assembly using the synaptic connectors.   
Ocular Particle Beam
Damage: Can be set to fire two 2d6+2 blasts/round or four 1d6 +1 pulses/round)
Range: dual shots 250, four pulse blasts 100
Separate cost/baseline trade-in value: 150 CR for both eye sockets

Hip-mounted Concussion Missiles
Damage: One missile from each hip can be fired per round (2 total/per round) target takes 2d6 +2 damage on knockback at close range/1d6 knockback at long range; rolls save vs. stun on any hit
Range: close range - up to 150, long 150-350
Separate cost/baseline trade-in value: 75 CR each

Bonuses: See creature template for any natural bonuses or abilities
Total Package Cost: 8,000 credits, accessories and add-ons sold separately
Special conditions: Ocular beams can only fire when target has been sited and cannot select independent targets. Hip missiles may use be fired independently. Megafauna must be fed and cared for as any other animal. You'll need to do research to find out how much food your animal consumes. Re-animated animals cannot digest food without a bio-metabolic converter kit and all systems will fail in 2d4 rounds without sustenance.
And what would you expect to pay for this incredible offer? 20,000 CR? 25,000 CR? How about the barrel-busting price of only 8,000 CR! But wait, there's MORE:

EXCLUSIVE Limited Offer!!
Order your wetwire kit in the next 30 minutes and we'll thrown in the Megafauna Reanimation Kit for another 1,000 CR! Beasts once downed by plasma bolts and stinger missiles no longer need lay useless in a burned out crater. Try the ECO-FRIENDLY solution. Why waste a perfectly good giant corpse when you can REDUCE, REUSE,  and RE-ANIMATE! This is normally a 2,500 CR value but we're extending this special opportunity to customers who contact us via interstellar comm buoy today!

The Re-animation Kit includes:
  • 2 skull shovels
  • 1 wet vac (12 gallon)
  • 1 single-occupant cranium control cockpit (ask about our two and four-seater upgrades!)
  • 1 spool of high-tension steel cabling (2" diameter, 33 meters length)
  • 20 Saur-o-servos™ for musculature replacement
  • 50 gallons of Baxter's Bone Solvent™
  • 1 bio-metabollic converter kit
  • 500 feet of fiber optic cable
  • 1 ocular sensor module (upgrades for two or more available)
  • 20 tons of premium megafauna nutrition supplements
  • We'll even throw in your choice of a dozer shovel or backhoe!
Get those beasts moving again--there's no reason your carrion need go to waste when you can make your own zoological zombie workforce! Ask us about our discount counterweights and pulley systems, available for bulk discounts.

Decorate and Annihilate!
You've shown your neighbors you mean business--now show them your FUN side! Put the F-U-N in your megafauna project and create your own custom designs, or maybe you just want to show that special pet how much they mean to you. Outfit your pals with these great accessories:
Gravity Spray Gun!
Holiday Lights!
Siren Light!

Customers who bought this items, also purchased:
  • Supersurge™ Vehicle Battery Pack
  • Venom Class 4 Tachyon Missile blister pack
  • Halibustin™ Heavy Armor Upgrade Kit
  • Catapillar™ Tractor Treads (various sizes)
  • Ortho-rest Comfort Labs™ Single-person Seat
This item is provided in accordance with SSA.2436 guidelines regulating spacefaring settlement and defense. Re-animating giant lizards, mega mammals, or other over-sized animals may cause electrical failure, insurrection, and death. Check all connections and do not under any circumstances taunt a wetwired animal, living or deceased, as this may void warranty. MegaFun MegaFauna Wetwire Package should never be used on humanoids as this will also cause unexpected effects and possibly fatality thereby voiding all guarantees. In the event that these products are recalled by the manufacturer for any reason, reseller will be held blameless and impervious to re-animated dinosaur reprisals from buyer. Amalgamated Consumer Mercantile Exchange Company is indemnified in such cases.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Random Space Finds #15

Floating flotsam and jetsam, tumbling slowly in the void (1d10):
  1. 30 slides (1x1 meter) of aerogel
  2. Hostage negotiation manual (carbon scoring on cover)
  3. Pair boot-mounting vibro spurs (+1 beast riding)
  4. Empty cargo container (33.18 meters cubed)
  5. Xaxx Factor Salon-in-One Beauti-blaster (last season's fashions programmed)
  6. Mirror universe mirror
  7. 28 pair of plaid golf pants (one style, various sizes)
  8. Spool of coolant hose (100 meters)
  9. Junior Space Scouts merit badge sash (one-third decorated)
  10. Ironing board (AC 14)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Empire Strikes Back Turns 30, Still a Looker

It was 30 years ago today that Imperial walkers appeared on the north ridge, a scoundrel ran but he couldn't hide, a "great warrior" challenged us to do or do not--and not waste our time with "trying," and even though we probably should have seen it coming a terrible secret took us completely by surprise.

I miss those days.

Happy Birthday ESB, thanks for showing us that kicking the good guys in the teeth could be so much fun.

More from Wired.

Geek Cinema: Spaceships and Mutants: Two Nights of Cheese-tastic Joy!

Next week is going to be a blast because I'm venturing out into the cine-verse to see two wonderfully over-imaginated / under-funded sci-fi flicks. The first is DESTINATION: OUTER SPACE, (I feel like that title should always be in caps), a locally produced send-up of schlocky sci-fi from a bygone age.

From the film's website:
During a test flight of Earth's first faster-than-light-speed rocket, an incident occurs that throws test pilot Captain Mike Jackson (originally introduced in 2008's "Cave Women on Mars") halfway across the galaxy! Lost in deep space, Captain Jackson must use all his wits and derring-do to find a way back to his beloved home world. A film unlike any other, "Destination: Outer Space" is full of excitement and otherworldly adventure that includes mysterious alien planets, robotic lifeforms, beautiful space pirates, alien creatures hell-bent on galactic domination and much, much more!
So there you go--it's got everything a geek could want! If you're local, the film premiere's at the Heights Theater on Tuesday, May 25, at 6:30 p.m.

Next on the film-going agenda....
Is a film I've neither seen nor heard of before. And I can't. Freakin. Wait.
The movie is Italian, but the poster in Spanish was the raddest.

It's called 2019 After the Fall of New York, but based on the poster and the trailer below, they should just re-title this: Mutant Future: The Movie.

From IMDB:
After a nuclear war, society breaks down into two groups, the evil Euraks and the rebel Federation. A mercenary named Parsifal is hired by the Federation to infiltrate New York City, which is controlled by the Euraks, to rescue the only fertile woman left on Earth.
The film is apparently in both English and Italian, (it's original title is Dopo la caduta di New York, just to make things more confusing). Here's the original poster, which is obviously, also totally bitchin.
This one's showing at the Trylon Microcinema, which has quickly become my favorite new theater--you might recall my posts on their Ray Harryhausen series a few months back. Anyway, this new series titled "Trash Film Debauchery," (seriously, is there any wonder why I love the Trylon so?) is all about cheesy sci-fi from the 80s, and the moment I read the synopsis for 2019 I was hooked.

2019 is showing the very next night on Wednesday, May 26, at 7:00 p.m. If you see a grown man hopping up and down and giggling like a tribble on ecstasy, feel free to say "hi", but for your own safety you may want to keep a healthy distance!

Random Space Finds #14

Floating flotsam and jetsam, tumbling slowly in the void (1d10):
  1. Bio-luminescent coral reef, anaerobic lifeform, sentient, easily offended 
  2. Frozen Earth astronaut in mid-21st Century space capsule, name badge lists only initials A.B.R. 
  3. Vibro-trident and stun net (electrical attack 2d6 for the trident, targets make save vs. paralysis for the net)
  4. 20 cases of Mexican sugar cane cola
  5. Asteroid, surface area exactly 3,140 square kilometers, covered entirely in blue moss that provides breathable atmosphere for humans
  6. 10 pieces of Florculvi chalk, draw outline on any natural surface and vegetation springs forth (1d4: 1-vegetables, 2-wild flowers, 3-venus fly trap, 4-house plants) 
  7. Rough terrain crane, rusted, windows blown out, power source 20% capacity
  8. Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials, first edition, 1979, notes scribbled throughout book, hastily-taken photographs have been pasted over illustrations, including Barlowe and Summers in back of book
  9. 42,000 tons of unprocessed graphite
  10. Electric pencil sharpener, no batteries

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Terminal Space: D&D in the Void

So by now word has spread about the Terminal Space supplement (and blog!) out on the interwebs in the last day or so. All I can say is WOW! The book is a mix of new classes, monsters, treasure, spaceships, adventures, etc. for OE D&D. That is to say, it's similar to X-plorers, but not exactly. X-plorers still has it's own mechanic and really is a "re-imagining" of what D&D could have been in a sci-fi universe--it's a complete game. Terminal embellishes on existing OE rules and setting (think Carcosa or Athanor, in that respect).

I've not had a chance to get more than a glance at it, but so far it looks like a blast and it's even got original artwork.

Oh, and most importantly, the supplement is FREE, which is +1 in my book. :)

Return from the Phantom Zone!

Gah! It's been a while since I posted and it feels like I've been bottled up in pocket universe. Finally, I've broken free! Or, it might be that I was busy with work, household, etc. and not enough time, energy, inertia to blarg. But that wouldn't constitute a provocative tale, so we'll stick with extra-dimensional incarceration for now.

In any case, sometimes you've got to play through the pain to get to the good stuff. I've been on an acquisition binge of late--having just accepted an unsolicited promotion at work--so it seemed like the right time to get a few long-sought items. I've been on a Rick Remender kick of late (Gigantic and Fear Agent), plus I picked up the gorgeously rendered Dr. Grordbort's Presents Victory by Weta Digital's Greg Broadmore
Click any image to enlarge-n-ate
Man, my sci-fi tastes are all over the place: giant robots, Victorian ray guns, and hard-drinkin' Buck Rogers types. It's hard to pick a favorite these days.

I also attended SpringCon held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds this past weekend and had a blast talking up the comic creators, artists, writers, costumed geeks and freaks, etc. and snagged a few nice items, including original art by sci-fi/fantasy illustrator Mike Hoffman.
He does wonderful stuff, and he's a hoot to talk to in person too! (Think Beck meets Johnny Cash.) He's got a whole Frazetta-like style going on, but that's just one aspect of his work. He was kind enough to sign a few pieces, which I'll highlight more of in future posts.

I also picked up issue 2 of my favorite locally-produced comic Johnny Recon. Johnny is written by Scott Dillon and drawn by Mitch Gerads, both of whom are great, down-to-earth guys. I made a donation to their Kickstarter campaign to get the second issue off the ground and I was pleasantly surprised by the results.
Johnny Recon is a very savvy, smart take on the Flash/Buck theme. Scott and Mitch, along with the inker and colorist for this issue signed my copy. 

Anyway, that's just a quick update of my trip around the quadrant and there's LOTS of inspiration to be found within these pages. So what have we learned? I'm still alive and yes, there's more Space Pioneer posts to come as well as getting caught up with Random Space Finds!

Expiscor Eternus!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Random Space Finds #13: Your Luck Just Ran Out

Floating flotsam and jetsam, tumbling slowly in the void (1d12):
  1. A birthday present that when opened detonates an electromagnetic pulse, knocking out everything electrical in a 10 kilometer radius
  2. 102 passenger flotation vests marked "Mayflower Express", all inflated without passengers
  3. Ecto Containment Unit and Protection Grid substation box, closure lever snapped off
  4. Milky Way's Most Wanted holo-kiosk with your picture and "1,000,000 credit reward" posted beneath it, stuck on "repeat"
  5. A translucent case containing the most beautiful yellow and pink flower you've ever seen, looking at it gives you feeling of peace, but you sense others are trying to take it away from you or want to destroy it
  6. K.C. and the Sunshine Band, complete boxed set
  7. .5 oz. vial of grey goo-like substance
  8.  A circlet that allows the wearer to intermittently see through the eyes of a stowaway saboteur or assassin on your ship
  9. 8-pack case of high-protein "power bars" that reduce one of your attributes by -3 for the duration of one game session  
  10. A semi-intelligent, microscopic black hole that only eats objects smaller than a tennis ball, and goes by the name Roger
  11. A beautiful woman, asleep aboard 150 mile-long spaceship, hidden inside a comet
  12. The manual to a massive de-terraforming device, written in an insectaur language, last page has 20 human homeworlds listed