Thursday, June 27, 2013

Relive 80s neon-punk with Metaman

METAMAN from Boombros on Vimeo.

Another cyberpunk-themed goodie. Between this and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon--AND JB's World War Borg project--I'm this close to starting a cheesy cyborg project. Even have a Pintrest board of appropriate visuals set to go.

So--Gamma World? Mutant Future? Or new X-plorers setting?



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Galactic Outiftters Sale: Blank Dr0ids!

Well howdy partner! I see you've got some heapin' heavy cargo to carry there--why not give yourself a hand--or hydraulic claw--with these here off-market BLANK DROIDS! Customize your robot to suit your needs. Paint them any color you like--they don't care, they're made to serve you.


Vintage collectible, not for sale.
A blank dr0id is a fully functional, robotic compadre who arrives to you in unformatted, as-is condition and with absolutely NO persona! That's right, you get to build 'em from the ground up. We have three different chassis to choose from complete with all the parts you need to get started.*

Yessiree, right here we have the top-of-the-line model with ALL the fixins...

iPal  by GRAN-E Zmith Industries (high-end model)


Looking for soulless minions to decimate your enemies or cuddly caretakers for your little ones? Take a gander at these bells and whistles...

AC: 14
HP: 30
Move: 5, but servo upgrades at 100 cr can increase this to 8
Programs: 6 to start, see below for expansion capability.

Can take up to 20 programmable skills for 100 cr each. iPals learn on their own at the regular PC rate (see XP advancement in X-plorers manual). Translating alien languages is INCLUDED (doesn't require a program slot).

Self-powered through a patented Kinet-O-Drive that recharges internal batteries with every step. These babies never run down! The outer shell casing is devoid of any buttons because that would look ridiculous! Attentive, personally rewarding personalities develop from the moment of imprint.

iPals are highly regarded among technophiles and high-falutin' members of society. They give their owners a Presence (PRE) or Charisma bonus of 1d6 when encountering these individuals and the droid is present.

Programming can be downloaded instantly, via wireless connection.

SUGGESTED MANUFACTURER PRICE: 3,500 cr / YOUR PRICE TODAY: 3,500 cr (Unfortantely, they're never on sale, but if you ask nicely we'll give you a knit body sock to keep bot cozy when not in use).

Lookin' to tinker some, but not lookin' for nuthin' fancy?

GATES Series 95 (mid-grade model)


If your looking for something a little more affordable, you'd be dumber than a Martian cactus to pass up this model. Probably the most widely used blank on the market. A good fit for anyone looking for making the most of their hard-earned space credits.

AC: 12
HP: 20
Move: 5 (4 if stowage is full to capacity)
Programs: 4 to start, see below for expansion capability.

Can take up to 10 programmable skills for 100 cr each. 95s learn at the regular PC rate (see XP advancement in X-plorers manual). Translating alien languages requires using a program slot. Rarely acts up, but on occasion, you'll need to reboot (1 round) to get it going again. Needs to be recharged between missions. Personalities develop over multiple encounters and tend to be cantankerous.

Speaking of "tanks", all 95s come with an internal storage compartment of 45 kilograms allowing for stowage of nearly any substance (solid, liquid, or gas). Radiation shielded for your protection, air holes not provided.

Programming can be downloaded via high-broadband connection instantly or for an extra 50 cr you can invest in a head-mounted, wireless connection that takes 1d4 rounds to process new updates.

SUGGESTED MANUFACTURER PRICE: 3,000 cr / YOUR PRICE TODAY: 2,700 cr with free 4GB flash drive!

What's that? You're really looking to economize? Well then, I have just what you need...

COMMODR0NE 6-D4 (low-end model)


The 6-D4s are really an incredible value! They're not the most sophisticated models, but....did we mention they're cheap? Sure, some folks call 'em "Bland" Dr0ids" and such* but they're reliable work horse-type system.

AC: 10
HP: 15
Move: 4
Programs: 0 to start, see below for expansion capability.

6-D4s braindrives are decidedly bare bones. Personalities tend to grow slowly, but given time it's sure to develop those quirks you've grown to love in members of your own awkward, immediate family. Requires an extra battery pack (50 cr) that lasts for 2d20 -5 rounds.

Voice chip not included, responds with electronic whorls and whoops. Also includes a "reasoning alarm signal" (red light on top) so you know when orders are being understood received.

Skill programs are swapable care of these snazzy pre-programmed cartridges you just plug in the back of its skull bucket. Skills improve only with better program carts.
Emergency Medicine

Not recommended.

You can only use at total of five at a time and sometimes you hafta blow on 'em to get 'em to seat properly (1d20 chance of Cart Mishap whenever a command is given; see below) but you can swap out skills in a snap! (No waiting for skills to upload, though you do need to do it manually).

Another great feature of the 6-D4s is that many of their limbs and other parts are standardized with regular household and shipboard items. So if you're missing something important, you can easily "upgrade" with whatever's in sight (e.g., Phillips head screwdrivers, coffee mugs, staple guns, office chair casters, etc.). No space duct tape needed!


Cart Mishap Table (1d20)
  • 1-5: No mishap
  • 6-11: PC LOAD LETTER - Program shorts brain circuitry, Blank Dr0id shuts down completely for 1d4 rounds, reboot takes another 1d4 rounds
  • 12-16: OVERLOAD! Skill performed at twice efficiency (double "to hit") but bot then inoperable for following round
  • 17-18: Please wait....loading....loading.................loading..... (1d6 rounds)
  • 19: Cartridge becomes dislodged, glitch ensues and robot behaves erratically until problem is discovered
  • 20: Cartridge sparking causes it to permanently fuse into socket! This skill becomes basis for 'bots personality over time
*This is a lie. You have a 1d10 chance of missing something important for high-end and mid-grade kits. Low-end kits ALWAYS have something missing, roll on the first 1d6 below.
  • 1 - Ocular or auditory sensors (GM's choice)
  • 2 - Left or right forelimb (GM's choice)
  • 3 - Left or right locomotive limb (GM's choice)
  • 4 - Torso cowling
  • 5 - Head casing
  • 6 - Restraining bolt to keep bot from running off in 1d6 rounds, if bot is not recovered by end of game session, GM has the option to reclaim it as a homicidal assassin droid for future game, that now hunts former owner for poorly devised revenge scheme
  • 7-10 - No missing pieces (whew!) 
These items are provided in accordance with SSA.2436 guidelines regulating spacefaring settlement and defense. Programming unformatted robots with untested software may result in robot revolt, death, or void in warranty. Some robotic components may be refurbished, including positronic neural systems purchased from outer-rim prison worlds. Not all memory drives may have been 100% reformatted. Amalgamated Consumer Mercantile Exchange Company is indemnified in such cases at purchase signing. Attorneys for Amalgamated Consumer Mercantile Exchange Company highly recommens buyers purchase Lifetime Automaton Insurance Coverage to protect from robotic failure liability.

NOTE: This post assumes familiarity with X-plorers ruleset, but can be converted easily to other games.

Inspiration: This article and this episode of Futurama, iRobot, Venture Bros. and any home computer system from the 1980s or 90s.

Why I won't be "pruning" inactive blogs

Over the last week, I've seen several posts by bloggers (OSR and others) talking about Google's plans to shut down Google Reader. (Note: I'd blogged about this earlier too.) I'm at a loss though to understand why some blogs are scrubbing "dormant" or deleted blogs from their feeds. What counts as dormant exactly? No new posts for a few weeks? A month? A year? I have some that I only post to every few months--but they're still online.

First, let's not get off on the wrong foot--I get that there's the need for housekeeping. I have a few blogs that were reclaimed by spammers, and I've deleted those. I've also let go of some that I just didn't find my cup of tea.

Many blogs have only intermittent activity (a few times a year) but they still might have great ideas and inspiration. I'll never fully understand why people delete their blogs either. I'm sure there might be issues they contend with (e.g., if they find themselves in trouble for posting something). But deleting is even worse than jumping ship from a rarely-active blog. I recall one fantastic blogger that did a great job with converting between systems and incorporating pop culture material. He was great with stats! (Something I envy, since I suck at it.) One day it was just gone--the entire blog, erased.

Secondly: Grognardia.

James Maliszewski may no longer be blogging (his site's been silent since December of last year) but certainly there is a rich cache of posts on the history of the hobby, creative output, and other worthwhile information about RPGs. Seriously though, deleting Grognardia from your rolls? Seems a bit drastic.

Yes, I realize that Grognardia probably ranks among the few blogs that people won't forget about, but there may be other authors that return some time in the future. It's still worth preserving links to important sites that propelled or inspired the rest of us. Maybe making a page for dormant blogs--off the main list?  

I'm not saying my own blogs are anything special. While it's tough to maintain a steady output, I still have plans for them. I'm certain time to write and read will be even harder to come by once the kiddo arrives (hell, I hardly have time now as it is!). But I don't plan on abandoning them. Some may take different forms, but I prefer to at least keep them "on". 

I suppose it doesn't matter really, to each her or his own when it comes to publishing blogs and organizing their reading. But I'll be transferring everything--and that's hundreds of blogs--and (thankfully) they don't all post every day or even every week.

I've gotten good and skimming for posts that pique my interests...and finding the gems.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Exonauts on Pintrest!

I've been pinning for a while now, but I keep forgetting to mention it. Pintrest is probablly my favorite image/video blogging service at the moment. I'm still bloggin on Tumblr for Exonauts and Gamma World War, but finding a cool image and adding it to one (or more than one) of several curated boards is SUPER fast and easy. Even more so on my Droid.

It's really cool for creating boards for different campaigns or just visual styles. I started with a "Scifi Stream" board that's catch-all but have slowly been spinning off other boards with different categories or aesthetics. This all goes back to my earlier post on visual sourcebooks--hopefully that catches on!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New X-Plorers Class: Starship Gunner

That punk just beat my high score!
This article about space junk from (more than) a while back reminded me about a promise to post Gunner Class for X-plorers. This would be a multi-class option, with an AGL (agility) of 10 or higher required.  I'm not totally happy with the chart below, but the result should give gunners a distinct advantage in combat and in reeling in debris with a tractor beam. So here's a feeble first attempt at a write-up for up to 10 levels:

Level 1 | 2,500 | Carbon Kisser | 0 | +1
Level 2 | 5,000 | Photurd | 0 | +2
Level 3 | 10,000 | Laserbait | +1 |  +1d4
Level 4 | 20,000 | Phaserphile | +1 | +2d4
Level 5 | 40, 000 | Trigger Monkey | +2 | +1d6
Level 6 | XP | Blast Jockey | +3 | +1d6+1
Level 7 | XP | Hot Shot | +1d4+2 | +1d6+2
Level 8 | XP | Beamer | +1d6 | +2d6
Level 9 | XP | Marksman | +1d6+1 | +2d6+1
Level 10 | XP | Disintegrator | + 2d6 | +1d8+1

Advancement uses the Character Advancement Table in the X-plorers manual. Modifiers are "to hit" bonuses. Gunners can go by the above chart for any ol' spaceship-mounted energy weapon or as well as sub-specialize in a particular weapon. Gunners automatically earn an "Optimize/Repair Weapon" skill which gains an extra damage die on all attacks with that particular type of weapon (ion cannons, rail guns, phaser emitter) as long as it's in good working order.

Don't hate the PC, hate the game, yo!
Are you naturally talented?
(Natural Agility of 15 or higher.) You advance at half the listed XP rate. The rest of you, don't hate. Some people are just gifted, amirite?

These ain't wamp rats
There's hope though for gunners who want to practice their skills in a simulator. They can buy XP needed for twice what's listed, (e.g., It costs you 10,000 credits to go from Level 1 to 2). Referee reserves the right to invoke a restriction though that PCs must wait until the next game session to play at that new level.

So if you're bullseying wamp rats in your T-16 or just plopping quarters into your local arcade cabinet, you'll still build your skill--but it won't be like Beggar's Canyon back home--it's going to take time and money you wouldn't have to spend in actual combat.

Klaa definitely needs to pony-up some credits to improve his accuracy!

Tractor Beam as it's own skill?

Like this, but colored the Marvel Way!
Admittedly, this gunner thing is crude and I'd like to develop something that would do more justice to the difficulty of steering an object with what's essentially a gravity gun. In my mind, it's damn difficult. I'd previously thought I'd end up with something that would resemble an old TSR-inspired FASERIP chart, pitting difficulty (distance or movement of target, gravity well strength, etc. vs. the skill of the gunner). 

Some people might hate that, and while my preference is to keep it simple, in my mind it would be totally rad. So there.


UPDATE: I made the "Optimize/Repair Weapon" skill automatic to the class.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Captain Harlock trailer!

I have no idea what they are saying, but I assume it's something like "LOOK HOW AWESOME OUR GIANT SKULL SHIP IS!"

That song is all kinds of hilarious. Between his hair and the emo music I half expect it to break into an episode of Gilmore Girls. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Still, you can't do better than giant skull ships and space pirates. I'm sold!

UPDATE: Thanks to animekritik, here's the subtitled version!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Detriax: Goddess of Space Junk and Derelict Hope!

Detriax in her current form.
Name: DETRIAX: Goddess of Space Junk and Derelict Hope
An angular, vampiric-looking skull
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 50*
Armor Class: Undetermined**
Hit Points (Hit Dice): 100 (10HD)
Attacks: Special (see below)
Damage: Special (see below)
Morale: Undetermined
Hoard Class: Undetermined
XP: Undetermined

*Detriax only appears in the vacuum of space. Treat her movement as you would a space vessel's.
**Hadn't figured these out by the time the deadline passed (see note at bottom).

DETRIAX is a cosmic being that causes ships passing near her to fall derelict by way of cosmic mishap (1d6):
  • 1-2: Engine failure - all stop
  • 3-4: Siren song - all PCs roll WIS or PRE save, any failure succumbs to mind control for 1d6 rounds, whereby she compels servant to sabotage ship
  • 5: Shields lowered or weapons malfunction during a hostile encounter
  • 6: Sensor readings indicate allies are foes so as to initiate combat
She sends her minions to collect the remains of the lost, the lonely, and the defeated. All space debris she encounters is scanned, stored in her immense memory, and then processed as fuel. Power sources are affixed to her own energy supply and suckled until they expire.

Detriax will subsist on natural sources, but she relishes anything made by sentient life forms--thriving on their psionically imbued presence. She's a collector of information and material forms. Her hunger is unrelenting.

She also likes to instigate a battle whenever possible, in hopes that the resulting conflict will cause precious detritus to spill into the spaceways.

Size and Appearance: At present time, Detriax is approximately the size of the Martian moon Deimos. She appears as a head, without body, demonic, metallic, and angry. Fanged, with vacant eyes that belie only her internal engines of cosmic energy, she is a horror to behold. 

Gravitational Grasp: Detriax calls many an interstellar sailor to her "bay" --a gravitational well that she's able to manipulate, like the unseen tentacles of seaborne kraken. She can consume any matter, though larger--denser meals (asteroids, brown dwarf stars, etc.) take time. This can be a boon for those unlucky enough to fall in her grasp--making good on her distraction.

Song of Detriax: All those who encounter her must roll a save vs. fear or be driven mad with despair. All those who fail are fated to soil themselves as they are compelled to steer their ships toward her through a sort of psionic intimidation/torture. Only those who pray for mercy and strike her bargain for clemency (see below) will survive. They must first, convince her they have something worthwhile to trade. The song is effective for only 1d4 rounds, but by then she's sent her minions to either eliminate or permanently enslave her prey using cybernetic implants.

Swallow Whole: Detriax can swallow entire starships and most space-based platforms and outposts with a single gulp. Her internal furnace digests all. But not before she consumes all knowledge about her prey using her...

Penance Scan:  Through an onslaught of sensor scans, Detriax is able to "consume all data" of her prey, recording every physical aspect, biologic metric, and even psionic imprint to her main neurocore. She considers this interrogation necessary to fulfilling her purpose for finding and killing the marauders who wronged her mortal master (see below) and thereby no one has ever evaded her probe. In a turn of terrible fortune, the channel is often opened two ways--analogous to a feedback loop--and the victims will experience a wave of data overload that could render them insane if they aren't able to make a save vs. psychic calamity (a catastrophic attack on their sanity). Those that fail become her minions, their only hope of being restored is a complete brain work up at a local starbase with advanced medical and psychological services.


Scrap Bots: Detriax commands a variety of hastily-birthed junk robots from her scrapyards. These miniature bots are rarely more than a meter tall, but they are Host in number. They belch all manner of electronic blurps and bleeps as they peel apart lost ships and space stations with cruel efficiency, using all manner of gruesome tools attached their forelimbs.

All scrap bots have poor vision with a -1 to hit unless they are less than 1 meter away from their target. They move, however, with increased speed(Move 6) and Agility (15).

Limb tool/weapon (1d20)
Damage in parentheses. Roll first limb, select the second (without repeating). Appear in swarms of 1d20+2 or more (keep this table handy and just number them with two different limbs as listed). They appear in a variety of shapes and functions, from spiderlings with two of the appendages being tools/weapons, to twisted goblin-esque/humanoid forms. In every group of 20, one individual will have a third limb protruding from its chest, the rest will each have two in the normal configuration.
  1. Saw (buzz or chain) (1d8 cutting)
  2. Hydraulic spike (1d8 puncturing, 6 inches deep)
  3. Electromagnet (Damages unshielded computer systems or captures metal)
  4. Gas grenade (1d6+1 rounds)
  5. Laser torch (2d6, single beam lasts for 1d4 rounds)
  6. Bio-syringe (sedative for 1d6+1 rounds or poison doing 2d6 damage)
  7. Pincer claw (1d4+1 puncture/crushing)
  8. Spiked masher (1d6+1)
  9. Sonic grenade (renders hearing targets incapacitated for 1d4 rounds, range 20 meters)
  10. Harpoon gun (50 meter line, 1d6 damage in addition to capture)
  11. Corkscrew drill (1d8+1)
  12. Ionizing fork (3d6, 1 shot only - overloads electrical systems or stuns for 1d6 rounds, touch only)
  13. Humanoid hand (grasping/crushing, 1d8)
  14. Bolo cable (fires unattached cable, meant to immobilize target)
  15. Corrosive acid (3d6, 1 shot, range: 10 meters)
  16. Liquid nitrogen capsule (1 capsules, freezes on impact, 5d6 unless thawed in med pod)
  17. Carbon filament-tipped can opener (2d6+2; takes 1 round to open human-sized doorway)
  18. Morning star mace (2d6, crushing)
  19. Meat hook (1d6)
  20. Flamethrower (2d6+2, range 5 meters)
Note: Enslaved organic minions (i.e., humanoids,) will have two limbs added to their shoulders, on top of their natural ones. Select using the above weapons chart. They will also have tactical sensors (infrared) and a battery pack installed. Humanoids are faster than normal humans (Move 6) and gain a +2 in Agility. Robotic minions are reprogrammed to be her slaves an are given just one extra limb from the above table.

Space Hornets
Detriax is also known to control hives of  garbage-truck-sized space hornets through some sort of parasitic nanobody. The hornets work for their queen, who in turn, is a puppet of Detriax's own incredible greed and avarice. Space hornets build vast hexanest arrays out of whatever space junk--or enemies--they find. Insectoid races seem to suit her ends well, for they often amass armies of workers and her terrific ruthlessness of purpose has made her an attractive deity for them. She will often enlsave a nearby nest and use it up (without replenishment) until the supply of hornets expires, leaving the empty husk of the hive itself to be consumed.

Space Fleet
Detriax also has amassed a personal armada of derelict ships with barebones systems (propulsion, weapons, and operated by remote communication, but no onboard life support). They are stripped down skeletal forms with minimal armor that function basically as large drones. The ships launch from her mouth if she determines a threat to her personal safety. Approximately 2d10 ships are ready to launch at any given time.

Ancient Origins
In the beginning...
It's said that Detriax was once a vizier to a great space sultan, providing consul and strategy by way of her cosmic magic. When her highness' daughter was kidnapped by marauders he threw Detriax out an airlock as punishment for failing to foresee the tragedy--but her magic preserved her spirit long enough for her to accumulate a secondary form out of floating debris. Swearing to do right by her former master, she began to salvage whatever flotsam and jetsam drew near her.

Her physical form grew--as did her hunger and avarice. In time, she went mad in her search for the princess, never realizing that centuries had passed and the lost princess an her sultan father are now long dead. In her ravings, Detriax wavers between calm tones and an electronic squelch (little more than gibberish). She sees all who pass into her grasp are would-be conspirators against her beloved sultan, and therefore are considered hostile.  

Serving Detriax
Praying to Detriax will gain her favor only if something material is given up. To be spared from her judgement, the prey must fall under her service. It's not unheard of for Detriax to barter for information with her victims. She may let them go if she sees reason enough for them to continue as long as she's gaining important intelligence herself. She will reject any claim that the sultan is dead though--so penitent victims should avoid such falsehoods while she's taking audience.

All recorded encounters with Detriax--those with survivors--include reports that the victims were prostrate when deals were made. Impertinence of any kind will result in subjugation. Her goal is to continue building herself larger and more powerful through her space finds, in her quest to seek revenge on her long lost sultan.

Inspiration: Sinistar, Ghost Rider, Unicron, Space Witch from Voltron, V'Ger, The Borg, Unicron from Transformers, Vera from Superman 3. PRE is an attribute in X-plorers RPG setting, assume it's analagous to WIS (Wisdom) in D&D rules.

NOTE: This entry was what I intended to submit to the Petty Gods project as both a god entry and her minions.

Rad Astra resources for players

So I've been working on some ideas to help players in my Rad Astra campaign. Namely, a companion blog that they can safely navigate without getting spoilers while I continue to use this one to develop ideas.

I expect there will be a lot of duplication, but Blogger makes that easy enough with copy/paste. Then it's just up to me to delete any spoiler-like info. I'd started one a while back, but haven't gotten around to updating it yet.

They'd get any info on tech, vehicles with stats, but not for aliens, monsters, NPCs (though still descriptive info for those). Plus some character sheets and ship blueprints. Maybe a few hints now and then on gameplay, but nothing too revealing.

Anyone have anything like this? Advice? Ideas?

Running out of spacetime!

John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you, while you're busy making other plans." And life is definately happening around here. Frankly, I'm a frustrated with myself right now. I've not been able to finish a few RPG projects I've been working on and now time is of the essence!

Realistically, it could happen any day, but my wife is due in mid-July so I'm scrambling to get stuff together for Rad Astra. I've already choked on a deadline for Petty Gods. (Short version: I'm an idiot, so you can totally blame me when Detriax, Minor Goddess of Space Junk or the artifact I've been working on doesn't appear in that volume.)

Anyway, time has been fleeting for the last few months as it is, so the pressure's on to get something done on my own. I hate blogging about real-life crap (honestly, who cares?) but it's not my intention to keep saying "In progress" with little result. At least if I could get the writing part done, I'd feel better. So it's time to focus! Rad Astra, or bust!