Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Best of the Journal: The Pettigrew Selections

Mark Pettigrew wrote the delightful swashbuckling role-playing game, Flashing Blades. He also wrote two Tekumel adventures, A Jakallan Intrigue and The Tomb Complex of NereshanboThe Best of the Journal: The Pettigrew Selections is a collection of his articles from two of the Tekumel fanzines of the 1980s, The Imperial Courier and The Journal of Tekumeli Affairs.

Tauknelin Zu'aryal: A Thousand Flowers describes an ancient art of paper folding similar to origami, used for various occasions. It makes a nice detail to add to a festive party or ritual.

Marching with the Ever-Glorious provides a sort of life path system for being in a legion during the war with Yan Kor. It reminds me of the classic Traveller Book 4: Mercenary military tour of duty system. You roll each month for an event and find out what happens. Do you go on a raid or lose your kilt in a Kevuk dice game?

The High Seas of Tekumel provides a system for ocean-going merchants plying the seas looking for profit and adventure. You buy a ship and acquire a crew, and then you better fill the hold with valuables. The economic system is a little simple and fairly easy to make a good profit. Might need tweaking. But it is a solid framework to work from. This also reminds me of Traveller merchants.

The Underworlds is a complete system for random Tekumel underworld mapping. It divides levels up into groups of rooms with a single purpose called structures. Sample structures are catacombs, shrines, tombs, palaces, wizard towers, canals, mazes, nexus points, and ancient tunnels. Each structure type has a table of room types, like labs and summoning rooms, living quarters and courtyards for the wizard tower. Further tables give more details to the rooms. I really want to map something out with this. It sounds like a way to make underworlds that make some sense in the setting rather than purely random affairs.

New Magical Items for EPT details sixteen amulets and miscellaneous magical Items. The Scimitar of Chake the Dismemberer was mentioned in The Book of Ebon Bindings. Korunkoi hiBiyurmongekh or The Tome of Alchemy is a book that teaches the Transmutation spell. More delights await.

The Hirilakte Arena delivers tables for determining the opponents at the arena and betting. 

NPC Personalities in EPT gives a system for giving NPCs some pizzazz.

I encourage you to explore his work. The Flashing Blades boxed set is one of the best Three Musketeer-style swashbuckling games published. It has several adventures and a Caribbean pirate supplement as well. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

New version of The Petal Hack

I'm doing some updating of The Petal Hack. I'm pulling some things from The Black Hack 2nd Edition, but keeping things mostly the same. The Class Features and Spellcasting are changing somewhat, but not drastically. I'm replacing the armor system with one from Macchiato Monsters. I'm updating Avanthe's Ample Bosom as well. But this is version 1.2, not version 2.0.

Does anyone have suggestions for things that need to change in The Petal Hack?

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Supernova! Starship Redux

I designed a new ship for my Supernova! explorers. The Scout was too small and the 400-ton Explorer (in Cepheus Light) is just too big for my purposes. I settled on a 200-ton ship. I also wanted to try out the Cepheus Light starship construction rules.

One nice note is that the CE rules use something close to the Book 5 fuel requirements for the Power Plant, which I also use with the Book 2 shipbuilding rules.

Type-E Explorer

Hull: 200-ton streamlined-stealth hull
Engines: Jump-2, Maneuver-2G
Fuel: 48 tons (1 Jump-2 + 8 weeks operation), fuel scoops, fuel processor (20t/day)
Computer: Model/2: Jump-2, Sensor/Jump DM+0
Weaponry: 2x Triple turret (2x beam lasers, 1x missile. 3 smart missiles loaded)  Magazine (1 ton - 12 smart missiles)
Fittings: 15 probe drones, repair drones, Air/Raft, Gig, 8 staterooms, 8 low berths, 8 escape pods, laboratory, medlab, and armory.
Cargo: 29 tons, 24 smart missiles (2 tons)

Cost: 97.69 MCr

I think this is pretty good for a long-range exploration vessel. Comments and thoughts?

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Traveller: Supernova! -- The Local Stellar Neighborhood


I looked at Solomani Rim and the GURPS Interstellar Wars map of Sol subsector and it looks interesting. But I am not using the Imperium and there's a big gap rimward from Earth. So I have no incentive to stick to the same map.

Sol Subsector - circa 2170
Stellagama Publishing's Near Space takes the latest astronomical data about the local solar neighborhood, including the current knowledge of exoplanets and brown dwarfs, and presents the nine subsectors centered on Sol.

Near Space
Stellagama added a number of brown dwarf stars to the area because they are difficult to find and they fill in some gaps. (Any star labeled "HSC" is one of the invented brown dwarfs. HSC = Hypothetical Star Catalogue.) In general, I ignored the added brown dwarfs, except in one instance: within 1 parsec of Sol. I used the same dodge that Traveller used -- a planetary body at 1 parsec from Earth to serve as a Jump-1 bridge to Alpha Centauri and Barnard's Star. Once we get to either of those stars, we have access to a nice big chain of systems all accessible by Jump-1. 

Mapping Software

With my map selected, I could start building up the planets of the sector. I just needed a subsector mapper. I looked at a couple but settled on Alex Schoeder's Traveller Subsector Generator. You can either generate a random subsector or input a list of your own worlds. The feature that sealed the deal was that TSG will connect each world to a page in a wiki page in Alex's CampaignWiki.Org, a wiki farm for RPG campaigns. So when you generate the subsector, you specify the name of your campaign wiki, and the software adds a link in the SVG file for each hex with a star pointing to the system page in your wiki. The map becomes the way to access all the planet data.

Filling in the Planets

Near Space gives size, atmosphere, and hydrographics for each planet. What I needed was what else was in the system. So I needed to generate the details of the rest of the system. I turned to GURPS Traveller First In to supply that. The random rules star system provides details like orbits, gas giants, asteroid belts, and terrestrial planets. The system also gives the Life Zone of the star. The world generator provides more details of planets, such as surface temperature, orbital and rotation periods, climate, atmospheric composition, and ecosphere (something I'm most interested in). 

For additional planetary data I turned to GURPS Interstellar Wars again. I pulled some of the details about the planets from these descriptions, removing references to the Imperium.

I can now generate all the content I need for this campaign as I go. I don't need to have all the systems spelled out, just the ones close enough that they could reach them in a game. Then based on the party's direction, I can build as I go. I now know where the other sentient races live, and I can plan accordingly.

I am very excited about this project.