Sunday, November 25, 2012

Blood & Treasure Rocks!

Back in late September, I picked up the Blood & Treasure Complete RPG.

Unfortunately I spent most of October and November working out of town with limited free time.
Over the Thanksgiving Holidays I pulled out my copy from under my pile of "Need to Read" stuff and I read it from cover to cover, rather than just the casual perusing of it I'd been doing. I gotta tell ya this is a great game!   
Currently Lulu is doing a 30% sale as well (code is DELIRITAS), and Mr. Stater is taking an additional 10% off , that's 40% off for those of you that are mathematically challenged.  I like the game so much that even though I already have the complete game in hard copy, I ordered an additional Player's Handbook for my players to use at the gaming table.
Ok, you ask so why do you need to pick this up? Out of all the various Retro Clones and releases out there why do you need this one? (word of caution: I get a bit "Ranty")
For me it really hits that sweet spot that I've been looking for, for quite a long time now.  I shifted from 3.5 to Castles & Crusades many years ago, 3.X just got too rules heavy, especially at higher levels. 
I played C&C for many years and had a lot of fun with it, but eventually I found the system growing stale for me.  The CKG took years to come out, the multi-classing rules left me cold, the editing was horrible, the company consistently got my orders wrong with EVERY order I placed etc...sorry I didn't mean to turn this into a C&C bashing rant, C&C is fun, its just no longer feels right for me.   Anyways, I then got into the OSR; Labyrinth Lord (including AEC), Swords & Wizardry, Crypts & Things etc. had fun with many of these but I don't like descending AC, don't like race as class, and there were some other old schoolisms that cropped up that for me and my players didn't enhance the game.  3.x had a few good ideas and I didn't want to just throw the baby out with the bathwater.  So then I went completely the other way and got into Pathfinder.  Let me say Pathfinder is a fun game, the options are cool, the production values are top notch, a great company and a great product! But after running a Pathfinder Campaign for awhile, especially as the players started to pick up levels I started to feel just like I did with 3.5.  It was just too much to keep up with as a DM.  Paizo has done an awesome job of making their stuff available online and my players took full advantage of all those resources (this did help at the game table), but when I sat down to stat up the bad guys, I found myself spending more and more time on stat blocks and less time on developing the campaign.  I still enjoy playing Pathfinder as a player, but with my hectic work schedule, I just find myself no long wanting to run it for an extended campaign.
I shifted to non-fantasy stuff off and on during this time also; Mutant Future, Mutant Epoch, Stars Without Number; all great games, but I always come back to Fantasy as my base and I wanted a Fantasy "Home"... as in home system. I honestly think Blood & Treasure fills that need.  It has ascending AC.  Three saving throws, allows different races to be different classes.  Feats are optional, and even if used don't take up multiple pages, many of the monster races can be PC's. Combat is straightforward with some enhancements but not so much as to require frequent rules consultation. It has a comprehensive spell list, but not over complicated spell descriptions.  Oh and like C&C it is directly compatible with everything in my gaming library. Is Blood & Treasure perfect? Of course not, there are some layout issues in the rulebook I found the character class section in particular to be an issue layout-wise, alot of the art is public domain so  not too exciting, but none of that for me takes away from my enjoyment of the game overall.
So if any of this sounds of interest to you check it out, the price is great, Matt over on The Land of Nod is regularly posting material for it, and even has a Forum so you can chime in with comments and ideas.
Thanks for reading, hope I didn't "carry on" too much. I know everyone's gaming tastes differ and if we all were the same with the same tastes the world would be a boring place.
Good Gaming - Bill

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Using Rifts Resources for my SWN Campaign Part 3

Sorry for the delay in finishing up this series of posts, I've been having to work out of town alot lately which is unfortunately messing with my gaming/blogging duties.  : )
Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
So now to work this info up for Stars Without Number…


Atmosphere: Breathable
Temp: Warm/Temperate
Bio: Miscible
Pop: 50,000 Humans, 250,000+ Natives
Tech Level: 3 (but with a good bit of level 4), Natives: 1
Tags: Colonized Population, Hostile Biosphere, Primitive Aliens
Enemies: Threskian Raiders, Nightmarish native predator, Colonial Army Commander Nathaniel Lang, Balam Warchief Kaax
Friends: Izta; friendly female native, Dr. Elizabeth Jamesberg (descendant of colony founder and Hospital chief of staff).
Complications: Fearsome Predator (T-Rex equivalent) attack, Compound Perimeter Breach, Raider Attack.
Things: Ancient Alien Psi-tech Relic, Botanical specimens with miraculous healing properties, Gear from a lost safari.
Places: Ancient Pyramid (Sacred "Medicine Lodge"), Sacred burial grounds
     Balam is a warm temperate world with a hostile biosphere, its native wild-life is reminiscent of Terran Dinosaurs.  A growing colony of humans are working to survive and carve out a niche here, and in spite of the dangerous flora and fauna, hostile natives and a recently arrived faction of alien raiders, the colonists are not only surviving but to some degree thriving.
Balam is also home to a race of primitive feline aliens that have a definite dislike of the human intruders, but after a viscious battle at the (now ruined) town of Grimmville, the Balam natives have a healthy appreciation (respect) of the humans hi-tech weapons, however, its only a matter of time before there is further conflict.  Aggravating the situation is the recent arrival of a band of alien mercenaries (Threskians) that prey on both groups, but are particularly cruel to the Balam natives (the Threskians have a racial prejudice against feline races).
Most offworld credit is earned by trading with those who have goods to sell with no questions asked.  While not able to pay top credits for most items, Balam's colonists are in too tight of a spot to get too nosey about where a visiting "trader" picked up his wares, also some credits are earned from the occasional visiting big-game hunter that tries his luck against the local wild-life. 

Warlords of Khemennu
Threskian Mercenary/Raiders
Hit Points:15
Tag: Warlike
Assets: Elite Skirmishers, Saboteurs
FacCreds/Turn: 1
Homeworld: Balam (recent)
Goal: Blood the Enemy

The Warlords of Khenennu are a band of Threskians (a race of avian humanoid aliens) driven into exile from their distant homeworld in another sector  They are elite soldiers trained in sabotage and quick military strikes, the WoK have established a base somewhere on or near Balam. They are equipped with hi-end tech level 4 gear (including some Psi-Tech equipment), but currently lack the means to replace lost equipment, although they can repair their weapons and gear. They raid the local natives and sometimes the colonists whenever they need supplies or the mood strikes them.  Many of the members are said to be psychic and they use their abilities to full effect when conducting their military-precision raids. While currently a small time player in the sector scheme of things they could prove to be a growing threat, particulary if the right patron opts to retain them.

So there you go, I used the colony generation tables in Rifts Thundercloud Galaxy, a roll in Aliens Unlimited gave me the Threskians and a quick roll in After the Bomb provided me with the jaguar natives, mixed in some TV and movie influences, stirred a bit and now I have what I think is a pretty interesting planet to plop into my SWN Campaign.   

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Using Rifts Resources for my SWN Campaign Part 2

Ok, I've played with this a bit more and am liking how it is progressing.
Independent Colony- self sufficient
Colony = 1 main compound with several smaller outlying towns, forts and outposts.
50,000 colonists total on planet
Colony Alignment: Unprincipled – Hardworking people who mean well and try to do the right thing, but they tend to be focused on survival of the colony above all other things. Has a little bit of a wild west chaotic feel.
Trade Policies: No questions asked! But the colonists don't consider themselves to be criminals and always try to be discreet and never flagrantly flaunt any of their questionable activities. For this reason many smugglers, pirates and other bearers of questionable goods often make stops here to sell their ill gotten gains. The Colony leadership knows they are lacking in many resources especially hi tech goods, so they are willing to look the other way in order to bring in items that the colony would otherwise have to go without. However, no activities that could endanger the colony's overall wellbeing will be tolerated. That is if they know about it...
Environment: Warm mixed forest (decided to go with Warm after determining the planet has dinosaur-like beasties)
Special Resources: Big Game Hunting ! Dinosaurs! The planet has a reputation for having some of the more fearsome forms of big game in the sector and those big game hunters that have the means make their way to this world to try their luck.

Primary Source of transportation: Animals, the colonists have been able to domesticate several species of reptiles that they use as mounts.  While there are a few hi tech vehicles, mostly jeeps and cycles in use by the military, the vast majority of the civilian population, and even much of the military use these reptiles to go about their regular business.
Fighting Force: Colonial Soldiers, 10% of population, with one overall commanding officer.
Power Source: Solar Power is the colony's primary power source, wind is also used as a supplemental power supply.
Indigenous People; The Balam (see below*): Outnumber colonists 50 to 1.

Advanced Metal Culture- The Balam are from evolved pets from the ancient aliens that once inhabited this planet. They are angry isolationists and want no contact with outsiders. The colonists for the most part try to avoid the Balam, while they are more advanced technologically than the Balam they know they are outnumbered by the native population. Unfortunately there have been a few violent encounters between the colonists and the Balam, the ruins of Grimmville are a sober reminder of what happens when you anger the Balam.
*The Balam are a humanoid race of amber eyed, blue furred Jaguar-like aliens. (after rolling that they were from evolved pets, I pulled out my copy of After the Bomb 2nd ed. to see what animal race they were evolved from and rolled Jaguar, then saw a table to determine color figured what the hell and rolled blue?!....which reminded me of a recent episode of Grimm and that's where the name Balam comes from. Course this whole thing is starting to have some weird correlations to  Cameron's Avatar movie  also, oh well). The Balam can be quite obsessive under certain circumstances, particularly when their tribe or most especially their immediate family comes to harm. They are bold and daring beings that often act before thinking. They are known for uncanny feats of agility. The elite warriors among them are part of a sacred brotherhood, prior to critical battles or actions they gather in a sacred medicine lodge and go through some form of psychic bonding. This medicine lodge is some form of psitech artifact handed down from the ancient aliens that once raised the Balam as pets.
Outside threats to the colony: Raiders = Threskians (for this one I pulled out my copy of Aliens Unlimited and just did a random roll to determine what alien race the aliens raiders were, I figured going with regular humans would be boring.  What I got worked out perfectly!) below artwork is copyrighted by Palladium Books!! no infringement is intended.
Threskians Exiled elite soldiers (many are Psionic!)
The Threskians are an avian race from a distant planet in another sector of space; they are humanoid aliens with Ibis-like heads. Their people were engaged in a bitter war with another alien race. The Threskians in desperation pushed the limits of psychic abilities and created a breed of super soldiers to defeat their enemies. While the soldiers were ultimately successful, the would be war heroes found during peacetime their war programming, powerful abilities and growing mental instability caused them to be feared by the very society they were created to protect. When one rogue Threskian General led a group of elite soldiers in an attempt to overthrow the rightful Threskian government, that was the last straw, the remainder were exiled from their homeworld and threatened with death should they ever return. A large band of these rogue soldiers have established a base somewhere on or near the planet and prey upon both the native population, as well as, the Colonists.
I think I'll work these up using the SWN Faction rules. I'll save that for later...

Ok so what have I got so far.  I'm seeing Jurassic Park, meets the Terra Nova TV series, with Avatar, and a bit of the Grimm TV series thrown in.  I like it!  Running with these themes I get some names and such...

Jamesberg- is the largest concentration of colonists on the planet, a large barracks for soldiers, a hi-tech Agriculture Bio-Dome, a motor pool, and even has a fully functional (but small) hospital, as well as, many other buildings and facilities. There is a functional but rather primitive starport also; it has only minimal materials and equipment for the repair of starships.
Fort Cameron- The largest military base of the Colonial Army.  Colonial Army Commander Nathaniel Lang is headquartered here.

Fort Lang- Smaller (but growing) military outpost monitoring the southern approach to Jamesberg, has the standard fortified defensive wall, common to all permanent compounds in the colony, but is extra reinforced. Can easily house 1,000 troops but usually has far less, as most of its garrison is out on extended patrols at any given time.

Treevana- Break away community/group of treehuggers, they are pacifists that seek only to live in harmony with nature. 100-200 members.
Grimmville- abandoned town, was wiped out by the Balam, apparently the colonists unknowingly built it upon grounds sacred to the Balam.
Spielton- Small town, the town's leader hopes to make peace with the Balam, but has so far met with zero success.

Ok guess I need to dig out my Stars Without Number book and tag this up!
More to come!  : )

Using Rifts Resources for my SWN Campaign Part 1

 Recently I read a post from a fellow blogger over at Outsyder Gaming.  He talked about using the random colony generation tables from the Rifts Dimension book Thundercloud Galaxy, which reminded me of my post about using Thundercloud Galaxy as a resource for Stars Without Number. After a recent visit to a used bookstore I scored several Palladium products for dirt cheap.  So I thought I'd play around a bit today and see what I could come up with for my SWN Campaign.  Consider what follows to be a very early draft. I'm initially using the Thundercloud Galaxy Colony creation tables, but will indicate when and where I am using other resources as I move forward with this.

Basic Premise: The planet will be somewhere in a sector that I haven't worked up yet for a SWN Campaign that I have no idea when I will get to start.  LOL
So rolling away I get:
Colony Organization: Independent Colony, self-sufficient
Colony Size: Colony
General Alignment: Unprincipled
Trade Policies: No questions asked!
Environment Around the Colony: Mixed forest
Notable/Special Natural Resource: Big Game Hunting
Buildings/Facilities: I'll roll for these later
Medical Facility: Small Hospital
Primary Source of Energy: Solar
Primary Source of Transportation: Animals
Security/Fighting Force: Colonial Soldiers
Outside Threats: Raiders
All right that's a start let me go fiddle with this a bit.
More to come...  : )

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Machinations of the Space Princess

While I anxiously await the release of Starships & Spacemen 2nd edition, I'm keeping my eye on another fundraiser project. Machinations of the Space Princess! 
What I've seen and read of this one so far sounds pretty darn cool!  This will be a full Sci Fi RPG based on the Lamentations of the Space Princess rules.  It will include:
•Expert, Psion, Scholar and Warrior classes.
•Extensive rules for creating humanoid and inhumanoid aliens or robots as PCs or monsters.
•Expanded skill & combat rules.
•Cannon fodder rules.
•SF gear.
•Starship combat.
•Hints, tips and toolkits for the GM and players alike.
•Basic rules for creating stars, planets, cities and adventures.
•A full game background.
•A sample adventure.

So many games just not enough time in the day to play them all! LOL
Have a great weekend!