Thursday, December 22, 2011

First Prometheus Trailer!

On the trailer itself: man I love the art direction and costumes. Seeing the giant "c" spaceship gave me chills. Also, I know it's just costumes, but bubble helmets!!!!

The film is for a June 8, 2012 release in the US.

UPDATE: Here's a shot-for-shot rundown from Movieline of the trailer so you can get a better look.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

1d10 Space Travel Customs Forms

Click to magnify 
So it turns out even Apollo astronauts can't escape red tape! This is a supremely cool artifact from the Apollo era space missions--it's the customs form that astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins had to complete on their return home from the moon.

This is something I'd LOVE to incorporate into a game, being the inclusion of an at-the-table artifact, plus seeding endless options for role-playing. Is the form filled out correctly? Some bureaucrat is not going to like that and this could mean anything for the PCs:

  1. Delay in travel makes for a stay at a local space hotel or stop at a cantina (1d4 days)
  2. PCs are detained, quarantined, questioned, tortured, mind-melded for information (1d4 days)
  3. PCs are not allowed on-planet and are refused entry to the dock at the spaceport in question
  4. PCs are welcomed for bringing much needed (whatever the cargo is) but then sentiment turns when it's not enough for the populous
  5. Forms get mixed up or are forged by a corrupt official, fingering them for a crime they didn't commit (stolen goods, breaking embargo, etc.)
  6. The form falls into the hands of local merchants who are looking to snuff out competition at the source--with the suppliers
  7. Forms attract all manner of criminal element trying to "rob a train" and the PCs are the protectors of said cargo
  8. Forms are a way of stealing PCs identities, ship registration, and mission info so they can be offed and replaced
  9. Guards are unable to read the forms (either because of smudges, missing data, whatever) and PCs are held and added to a "watch list"
  10. Nothing really, it's just a record of the cargo, but it's held onto and comes back to haunt them later

And so forth....

Monday, December 5, 2011

New X-plorers Class: Space Ranger (part 1)

The Galaxy Needs Space Rangers!
Space Rangers in my Space Pioneers setting function as an arm of the CSC which is working to advance human settlements in space. The CSC (in the current timeframe) is undergoing massive recruitment to fill the shallow ranks of the Ranger Corps. In addition to the usual law enforcement role (protection of the populous and general keeping of the peace), they are having to help with the CSC's cataloging of the galaxy.

It should almost go without saying that this class has more in common with Texas Ranger or Buzz Lightyear types than the similarly named rangers in fantasy RPGs and even airborne rangers in military games. Their missions tend to require a level of administrative and technical skills that make them more akin to an auditor or investigator (a requirement sought of FBI initiates) and a park ranger, in providing knowledge and assistance to settlers who may be in over their heads--and checking up on those who may be up to no good.

Rangers are a Multi-Class Option
Space Rangers are a separate multi-class option for X-plorers, combining characteristics of the Soldier, Technician, and Scout classes, but with a few distinctive touches. Ranger PCs start at level 3 and choose an area of sub-specialization. They are skilled in hand-to-hand combat as well as marksmanship and are trained to rely on raiding tactics and instincts to optimize combat efficiency. In an upcoming post I'll outline the template which includes ideas for available skill tracks, as well as some special abilities.

What Makes them Unique
What differentiates Rangers from Soldiers? Mainly, their M.O. is to see justice prevail, they're not looking to recoup a profit or corporate interests. Many times this mandate can even put them at odds with private sector objectives. This role often requires them to be equal parts spy, detective, and with many skills obviously identical to the X-plorers Soldier. However, Rangers are much more like free-wheeling investigators and independent marshals of the law and less so a straight-up fighting force.

Rangers are a Breed Apart
Due to the varied nature of missions and sparse Ranger population for a given jurisdiction, they're used to working solo or in small groups. While they can operate in a larger force, they typically are assigned to smaller task forces (as the only Ranger) or partnered with someone who complements—rather than mirrors—their own abilities. There is a great need in the galaxy for fresh Ranger recruits to fill these vital roles for securing the galaxy—are you up to the challenge?

  • This post includes some previously unpublished notes I've long meant to post and I thought it a fitting preface before I delved into the class itself.
  • This post is part a series of Space Ranger class posts. It assumes familiarity with the X-plorers science fiction role-playing game rules, which can be found at Brave Halfling.
UPDATE: Part 2 (the nitty gritty)

GASP! I have awakened from hyperspace slumber!

WHAT YEAR IS IT? Oh, man, it's been TOO long since I've had substantive posts (save for a few random ideas here and there). I'd wanted to post more material this year, and unfortunately (as with all things) real life got in the way. To sum up, we're in the middle of purchasing our first house, which is taking an inordinate amount of time on the sellers' end. It's not their fault, but their bank hasn't been expedient. I've also changed day-jobs and that took another kind of toll on my energy level. The new gig is a big improvement, but it constituted a significant change in my daily schedule, work style, and personal investment.

Finally, I don't really ever get into personal stuff on this blog. Let's face it, as much as we all enjoy this stuff, the intrusion of the real world is inevitable and I'm a private person when it comes to those things. But the short version is a member of my immediate family passed away unexpectedly during this whole job/house transition. When I started blogging a few years ago, it was after the death of my father and I poured myself into something creative. It took another death to reel me back and want to focus more on important things like family and the direction of my career.

But these things are never fixed. They're molten and always changing shape. While nothing yet has cooled for me to say I'm 100% free and clear to start doodling around in my hobbies again--there will never be a time like that. You just have to start and do it when you can--at least that's what I've decided. And frankly, the blogging community--as supportive as it can be--hasn't missed me and that's as it should be. I've got no illusions about my meager spot in the blogoverse, but it is something I'm proud of and enjoy doing. And it's something I've been wanting to return to with renewed investment.

Over the next week or so, I'll be making live some unpublished posts I've dug up--actual creative ideas! I'll hopefully be getting back in the saddle and thinking up new stuff as well catching up on email, etc.. Watch for some new X-plorers material by the end of the year and some other surprises.

If you're still reading this blog, thanks for sticking around, your presence hasn't gone unnoticed. And is that right--nearly 100 followers? Man, I'll have to do something special to commemorate that! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

John Carter of Mars Trailer #2 is out

Honestly, this looks like a lot of fun to me. Does it hew closely to the source material?

Wait--a better question is--does it hold the spirit of the material in high enough regard?


It's at least obvious now that Stanton is truly is trying to make Barsoom appear as an alien world. (One of the earlier criticsms of the first trailer which looked too much like Utah where it was filmed.) Take the white "ape" it's definitely ape-like, but to make a gorilla with six limbs would be phoning it in, wouldn't it? I think I'm warming to his day-blinded version.

So far, I'm still excited and I hope it turns out well. I guess I'll know at the end credits on March 9 for sure.