Showing posts from August, 2015

Gods in the Attic

Welcome to Number 12 of 13 posts regarding the Ghost Drive Setting. If you came to the party late you can check out the other posts on my Ghost Drive Page (see sidebar)! Against all odds mankind seems to be one of the first and most advanced races in the Milky Way Galaxy. There are several reasons for this. The Milky Way suffers from periodic eruptions of gamma rays that sterilized a number of areas in the past. That activity seems to have settled down. Add to that intelligent life takes a long time to evolve, on average ten billion years. Sol is only four billion years old or so which has many xenologists scratching their heads.There are currently two theories on why we are advanced enough to ponder that question rather than be concerned with breaking carbon dioxide down into carbon and oxygen. The first theory is that Sol is a fairly unique star system with enough giant planets to keep cometary impacts that destroy most life down to a reasonable level and enough asteroids to pr

Ghost Space

Here's the drill. Reactionless drives, faster than light travel, those good things that make your Empire possible, requires exotic matter. As we have yet to find a way to find exotic matter let alone collect it, you need NBEs (Non-Biological Entities -ghosts or spirits in laymen's terms) who show much of the same properties of dark and negative matter. I have already pointed out the downsides. NBEs often do not like pushing our ships around and sometime get loose and wreak vengeance. Some NBEs are just what you call evil and seek to harm all life. But there's more. FTL takes you into Ghost Space. At the very least Ghost Space is a second home to the NBEs and maybe other things. But you need it to travel between stars in weeks or months and not centuries. A ship engaging its ftl gets its NBEs to open a wormhole which requires repulsion force. You could try to get the effect with electromagnetic forces, providing you could convert say, Jupiter, to energy. NBEs are way eas

Creature Feature Part 2

Considering that man's first contact with an alien intelligence was with the Non Biological Entities (which technically occurred in prehistory) humans were incredibly optimistic about encountering alien life. Optimism in this case is defined as short sighted. We were looking for aliens like us though with weird hair and skin tones or funny shaped head. Essentially like us in the gross particulars. They ate, drank, respirated, poo'ed. All that good stuff. The optimism was short lived. Humans continued to encounter more and more different types of NBEs, the familiar haunts, overt, and poltergeists as well as types that seemed to defy classification. These are called sorcerers after Old Earth legends. Sorcerers seem to laugh at most capture systems. They are similar to poltergeists in feeding on psionic energy. In the case of a sorcerer they feed on psionic energy exclusively with deadly effects to unshielded minds. They are also far colder than the lesser NBEs appearing as co

Humans Beware! Beware, Humans!

Humans are an odd and diverse breed. In Ghost Drives I have already characterized cultures by their views on NBEs and psionics but within a culture there can be significant disagreements on how to practice psionics and deal with NBE's. The Dynastic. They're called that because they avoid psionics and NBEs totally. No reactionless drives or FTL for them. They move between worlds in asteroid world ships, some spending the trip in cold sleeps and others raising generations that live and die in the trips  between stars. Considering they nuclear drives and other deadly engines their fear of NBEs is confusing to many. Spacers are the oldest culture. They decided that they have little use for planets and instead build space stations and colonies, using asteroids and comets to supply their needs. In many ways they are the closest to the original Terran stock. Most spacer cultures are neutral to psi and NBEs. Psionics are citizens with restrictions. NBEs are non-sentient but treated

Creature Feature

Chris Dunlap was asking what other creatures are there in my Ghost Drive set up. I've been pondering that myself. While the setting resonates well with the humans only empire vibe (NBEs are more like the latest app than citizens or even sentients in most settings) I started coming up with various human offshoots and variants. I also have a couple of aliens. The caveat being that I want them to be really alien. The sort who could colonize the same area as humans and yet almost never interact with them because they need different types of worlds or even stars. Here's a preview of my next series of Ghost Drive posts. Humans   Dynastic- an STL culture   Spacers   Avatars- the uplifted and the slumming   The Worthy- genetic fashionistas   Charans (extreme gene-mods) Cyborgs Pure Blood or Mods   Demons Thetans (extreme nano-mods) Psionic Humans    Trained Purists    Gene Mod Psi    Implant Psi    Drug Enhanced Psi NBEs AI Hive Minds NBEs in Robot Shells Possesse

Joules Bumps

Ghosts make things cold. That is SCIENCE my beloved adventurers. Heat is a waste energy. You can't get any work or benefit from heat itself. On the other hand you can get a lot of work from two objects at different temperatures. So a ghost will be able to get juicy juicy joules from you till your body temperature reaches that of the ghost's. Now modern day paranormal investigations don't mention very many people suffering from hypothermia due to a haunting. Hypothermia starts in humans around 35 C. Normal body temperature is 37 C. Let's be generous and say the ghost has a temperature of 33 C. The human body has a specific heat of 3500 J/kg K/C scale and an average human is about 70 kilograms so ... 70 x 3500 = 250000 Joules A ghost that can chill a human body by 1 degree (Centigrade please) has made a quarter million Joules disappear. Let's say the ghost manages to use half of that constructively: 125,000 Joules. A quick jog over to Atomic Rockets' Boom

The Spectre Detectors

Technology is important to a sf setting in many ways. In particular it tells players what they can get away with. Cargo is impregnated with nano locator beacons? That'd make fencing cargo harder on planets with any kind of law or government. Some of the cultures I'm sketching out for Ghost Drive are repressing psionic humans and NBEs. Without technology to deal with psi or ghosts all the laws in the universe are useless. The first step in control is detection. It's hard to deal with what you can't find NBE's have an effect on electrical fields and vice versa it seems. They draw power from electrical devices (also heat and possibly other energies). Sensors measuring EM fields can detect them though a savvy NBE or stupid sensor tech might explain away a lot. Also note that sensors are electrical devices and an NBE trying to misbehave will usually target them first. Obviously electronics can be 'hardened' against psi and NBE effects otherwise what is the po

Attention Rocket Fans!

This is not my regular post but ... it's my blog and my first indie book so here!

Ghostly Rights Part 2

This is the most play I ever got out of a post idea. Ghost stories write themselves. My campaign design infographic generated some interest too so I'd like to get into that some more. If there's anyone out there better at doing infographics feel free to chime in I've represented the major players as simple shapes on the board. Now if you want to add the factor of how populous or influential  a culture is you could relate it to the size of the shape. In the Example above the Red Oval Empire is the major player on this stage. Long thin stretchy shapes would represent lesser powers with a wider range of beliefs. A polity with worlds having the widest range of beliefs would be a diagonal line reaching across the graph. There are people who believe everything in this polity (The 'Murrican Diagonal). If you want to take it a step further you could loose the smooth shape look and represent each polity by a group of dots, each dot representing a million, ten million or

Ghostly Rights

In the Ghost Drive setting I've determined two cultural aspects that you should really know about before you land on a new world: Psi Status (Pro or Anti-Psi) and Non-Biological Entity Status (Materialist, Spiritualist or Theist). I arranged the attitudes on a graph. If you recognize this infographic as used to display types of zombies or D&D alignments then kudos! There's some room for tweaking for sure. Maybe you want to stick Rulers above Prophets/Priest as the Psi Status. Stick your own status terms in have fun. This is campaign making made easy. Print out a copy of the diagram. Fold it up and stick a sharp pencil through it (careful!). Open the sheet and see where you made holes. Circle the most interesting ones and bam you have several cultures. Optionally drop a couple of dice on the sheet and mark where they landed. You could also mark the number rolled to see how powerful they are! Voila! Instant setting. I'm not rolling dice but I'm semi-pro (p

Rattling Chains

First: Shameless Plug Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! Now on to the blog. It's hard to devise ways to hurt a being without a body. If you're going to interact with Non-Biological Entities you face the prospect of facing one you or someone else has pissed off. No one wants that. Even if they aren't pissed off an escaped NBE may not want to return to the engine willingly leaving you stranded 100 A.U.s from the nearest rock. Of course most players will fall back on Liaison, Carousing and other social skills to persuade the entities it's in their best interests to return to work. They will deal with them in an enlightened and fair way and these beings will certainly adopt a reasonable bargaining stance. Bazinga. So how do you make a ghost get back to work? It doesn't bleed so you can't shoot it. It doesn't exist to most sensors for gosh sake. They have minds and some form or awareness. This is

False Hope

Exec: What do we have Ensign? Ensign: Ma'am, we ... ma'am ... Exec: They're called 'shoulders' Ensign. I can wear what I want on my downtime. You're lucky the Captain is off ship. He'd come barreling up here from the shower wearing suds. Oh for, about face and give me a report mister! Ensign: Aye ma'am. Thank you ma'am. It's the battlecruiser Lowell. Transponder and engine signals match the Index. No escape pods launched. Shuttle bay door is open. Exec: Any sign of Shuttle 1? Ensign: No ma'am, still missing. Exec: (I'm going to kill the Captain for going missing when I find him.) Put the stats on the main view. Thanks. Minimal power. Low life signs. Okay ... drop a recorder buoy to mark it and let's continue the search. Ensign: Ma'am ... Ensign: The next words out of your mouth better be 'aye aye'. Are you receiving? Ensign: ... aye aye ma'am. Exec: Good. Ensign: Yes ma'am. Exec: Schaeffer.

Ghost Riders

Let's talk about ghosts (sorry Non-Biological Entities) and psionics, in particular telepathy. Now maybe they are the departed; maybe they are spirits that never wore flesh (at least not their own). Sometimes they get loose and that is usually bad news. Ghosts start with telepathy automatically. It's just more interesting that way. They roll a straight 2d6 for psionic strength. Without life detect turned on (and paid for normally) the living (biological entities) are very hard to notice: throw the NBE's strength + the person's Intelligence or less on 3d6 (3d6 are also handy to have around if the ghost starts throwing daggers.) Telempathy can be used to send emotions normally. Not all ghosts send fear waves. Some can be quite benign and comfort humans. A powerful NBE could provoke a riot among a crew with just this ability and draw in the increased brainwaves and metabolic energies. Read Surface Thoughts works normally as well but the target may experience a sudd

The Necrology of Ghosts

It appears the Non-Biological Entities powering human spacecraft can be categorized according to their habits. Don't call them ghosts please. The three classifications of NBEs are Haunts- Haunts are the equivalent of herbivores usually feeding on heat or electrical energy in machinery  and electronics and causing occasional malfunctions, They are the most common NBE. They can sustain accelerations of 2gees or less and Jump-1 or 2. Overts- Overt NBEs make themselves known more often than haunts and may even try to communicate occasionally. They will feed on energy in the environment or that of living beings. They elicit a fear response in sentient life to make their brains generate more energy. They can sustain accelerations of 4 gees or less and Jump-3 or 4. Poltergeists- Poltergeists are the most powerful NBEs. They prefer to feed from living creatures and often have negative side effects on them. They are the most intelligent of the NBEs and the most dangerous. Some are c

Ship Dossier: Launches

Ship Dossier: Launches
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