23 Feb 2018

Mecha Academy Episode 1 - Chapter 1

Mecha Academy Episode 1 - Roommates

Chapter 1 - From Around the Sector

Rhiannon slipped through the crowd inside Tamar's tiny spaceport.  She stopped long enough to switch her suitcase from one hand to another and get her bearings before continuing her walk.  This far from home, she hoped she wouldn't be recognized right away, but she didn't want to take the chance.  She chose the Colonel KL Terin Military Academy because it was far from home.  Rhiannon didn't want interference, not from the press and definitely not from her parents.  Ever since her older brother's death two years ago, her parents ramped up their already over-protectiveness to new levels.  Rhiannon just didn't want to be sheltered.  It wasn't as if she snuck away, exactly.  It was a family tradition for the heir to the Duchy of Bourgon to serve in the Royal Guard.  Her brother had been serving when he died.  Rhiannon didn't want to be the exception; she could still hear her brother's voice saying how important serving was.

22 Feb 2018

The Vulcan Engineer

When I created the Vulcan engineer using Last Unicorn Games' Star Trek Roleplaying Game, I wasn't expecting to compare the processes.  However, Modiphius' Star Trek Adventures became available in a local game store, albeit briefly due to brisk sales, so I'm rolling the notes for both into one post.

Star Trek RPGs use life path character creation; players go step-by-step through their characters' lives, working out what skills they received before starting play.  The first Star Trek RPG, from FASA, set the standard, so other designers kept to it.  LUG broke the process down by having players choose species, early life, life at Starfleet Academy, the cadet cruise, and one or more tours of duty.  Starting rank above Ensign has to be purchased.  Positions like department head and ship captain also have to be purchased, with larger ships requiring more points to get the advantages, thus requiring more tours of duty.  LUGTrek seems to encourage characters like those seen in the TNG episode, "Lower Decks".

ModTrek, though, takes a different approach.  The default appears to be senior officers of a starship, so there's no need to purchase any advantages to reflect rank or position.  In fact, it is possible to have players playing Captain Picard and Ensign Ro without too much of a skill difference.  The rookie officer fresh from the Academy can be played alongside the grizzled veteran explorer and both characters will still shine.

The Vulcan engineer worked out well with both systems.  The LUGTrek engineer isn't on the same level as Scotty, Geordi, B'Elanna, or O'Brien, but has the potential to get there.  The Vulcan is more specialized, but should improve with experience and experience point.  The ModTrek version, though, is close to the engineers seen on screen.  The Vulcan is still inexperienced, but will be able to keep the ship's engines going in a crisis.  Scotty may have "Miracle worker" as a value, giving him the edge.

ModTrek's chargen is faster.  There's not as much to track.  The skills are broad, based on department.  LUGTrek breaks things down far more, including different types of engineering and sciences.  Which works better?  That depends on style of game play.  ModTrek supports getting the players in command without bogging down in minutiae, but there are players who enjoy that level of detail.  Your mileage may vary.  I like both for different reasons.

Friday, Mecha Academy begins.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, The Dresden Files.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, The Pragmatic Adaptation.

16 Feb 2018

Test Run - Star Trek Adventures (Modiphius)

Last week, I created a Vulcan engineer using Last Unicorn Games' Star Trek Roleplaying Game.  A new Star Trek RPG has been released, Star Trek Adventures from Modiphius.  For comparison, let's recreate the character.

STA uses a life path character creation method like LUG/Trek/ and really, like FASA's original Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game.  There are differences, but I'll try to keep the process the same as much as possible.  The Vulcan engineer will, once again, be the chief engineer of a small scout ship being used to prepare a group of young officers for bigger and better.  STA has seven steps in its character generation, from background to final touches.  Attributes start at 7, Disciplines at 1.  Since this does get long, more after the break.

15 Feb 2018


No commentary today.  I'll roll it in with the commentary for tomorrow's post.

The next serial will be Mecha Academy.  I don't have anything else available that is either complete or a few chapters short of completion.  My other option, LTV Paranormalists, is still being edited to fix the narrative order.  I'm hoping to have something else in the works while Mecha Academy is being posted.

The index for The Devil You Know is up to date now.  If you were waiting for the story to be complete and easily found, now's your chance.

I'm starting to work out ideas for NaNoWriMo 2018.  Three serials are making the list, including Subject 13, Unruly, and Mecha AcademyDemona's story and the time travelling kaiju hunters are also on the list.  The number is only to get bigger before I start thinning projects down.

Friday, the serial hiatus continues with a Modiphius Star Trek entry.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, Tails of Equestria.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, The Dresden Files.

9 Feb 2018

Test Run - Star Trek (Last Unicorn Games)

I've been asked to create a few characters for a friend for CanGames this year.  One of the games he wants to run is the out-of-print Star Trek Role Playing Game from Last Unicorn Games.  The game uses a lifepath to create a character, starting from a core template based on species then shipboard position, then adding on through childhood, Star Fleet Academy, and tours of duty.  The first game in the series, the Star Trek: The Next Generation RPG, allowed for players who weren't the senior officers.  For the game I'm preparing for, though, the characters aren't just the senior officers, they're the full crew compliment of a small scout ship during the time of Captain Kirk's command of the USS Enterprise.

8 Feb 2018

Pony Natasha - Thoughts

Project Natasha started as a way to test out character creation in tabletop RPGs.  There are two catches.  The first is that Nasty is low-powered for a superhero.  I don't expect most superhero RPGs to model her well.  There are a few; the Valiant RPG has a power level that worked well with her.  The other catch is that not all RPGs allow for supers.  With those games, I just ignore Nasty's power punch.  The power isn't inherent to her, so games that can't handle superpowers can still be part of Project Natasha.

The typical RPG that gets used in Project Natasha is set in the modern era.  Fantasy removes Nasty too far from being a New Yorker and science fiction has its own additions that could take away from who Nasty is.  Sometimes, though, a game will work despite the setting elements.  Who would have expected Tails of Equestria to let Nasty be Nasty, albeit in pony form?

2 Feb 2018

Project Natasha - Tails of Equestria

Last week, I created Icewind for the Tails of Equestria RPG, resulting in a young pony learning snow magic.  However, this is a Project Natasha entry, where I try to recreate Nasty from Subject 13 to see if the system can handle her concept, that of a young adult with anger issues and with possible superpowers.  The key with Nasty is that she is underpowered for a superhero game.  However, can Tails of Equestria turn Nasty into a My Little Pony?

1 Feb 2018

Tales of Equestria - Thoughts

Last week, I created Icewind, a Pony Character for the Tails of Equestria, the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic RPG.  I have a few thoughts about the game as a result.

First, character creation is quick.  It took longer to write the explanation for my decisions that to actually make Icewind.  Considering that the game is aimed for the target audience of /MLP:FIS/, this is a plus.  It lets new players created a character and get right to playing.  The language is direct but still fits the source material.  Players who want to start at the level of the Cutie Mark Crusaders have that option, too.

While the mechanics are simple, they are flexible.  I could easily hack the system for a fantasy setting in at least two ways.  The first would have the different pony types changed to different fantasy races.  Earth ponies become dwarves, unicorns become elves, and pegasi become humans.  The other option is to map classes to the pony types, with earth ponies becoming warriors, unicorns becoming spell casters, and pegasi becoming rogues.  The only fix I need to make is changing the pegasus' inate ability from Fly.  Humans would get Adaptable instead while rogues would get Sneak.  Everything else in the game remains the same.

Tails of Equestria also encourages team work.  Tokens of friendship are the game's drama point mechanic, but other players can toss in theirs to help out.  After all, everything is easier when friends pitch in to help.  Even when a task looks impossible, enough friends helping gets the job done.  The message isn't quite heavy handed, but it comes close, but, again, it mirrors the source material.

I am impressed by Tails of Equestria.  The mechanics are easy enough for a young gamer to learn and robust enough to cover a wide ranger of actions.  It wouldn't be difficult to give Icewind a magical snowball attack; the Stun Ray talent can easily be renamed and given a new special effect without having to change what it does.  The game also includes stats for the Mane Six, so players can take on their roles if they want.  Not every creature that has appeared in the series is in the book, just enough for the introductory adventure, but the Beastiary of Equestriawill have more.  /Tails of Equestria/ is a good introduction to tabletop role-playing games.

Friday, the serial hiatus continues with a Project Natasha entry.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, Thunderbirds.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, Rocky & Bullwinkle.