Showing posts from February, 2017

Being Stretched Thin

I've been posting, writing nano and short fiction and doing renders for my next offering on RPGNow (and hoping to actually reach double digit sales). I'm feeling a little burnt out to be honest and my regular offerings (SF, free traders, pirates, free traders, humor, free traders etc.) aren't interesting me at present and the wife and I are going away for a few days so see ya later with more madness.

Servicing the Passengers

Captain was not a morning person and it was always morning on some planet out there. He stumbled into the galley and grabbed a preloaded a cup of steaming coffee, black as hell, sweet aslove and strong as death. Their last passage had been an uneventful passenger run to Inerze. There were quite a few high passengers and they kept all the crew hopping. everyone was sleeping in today in a lazy far orbit. Ah well ... he should get this part over with. Captain pulled a large and thick envelope out of the pocket of his robe. Was it the rustling of the paper, some sixth spacer's sense, teleportation? His crew magically appeared. Only jump drives and tips allowed faster than light travel. *** In most classic SF games tickets on a starship are fixed prices. You get middle passage for 8,000 credits. You get high passage for 2,000 more credits. Middle passage means you may have to share a stateroom or even get bumped off your flight if someone shells out for a high passage ticket.

Trader Carbines

Free Traders have a difficult time of it. Between difficult locals, pirates, crazed passengers, and hijackers they need weapons to be as easy on their ships as possible. This is compounded by passengers. Sometimes an emotional disturbed passenger (or even crew) will pose a danger to the ship or themselves. Stunners are usually cutting edge technology well above what most merchants encounter let alone support. Enter the trader carbine. Trader carbines are unspectacular weapons at first glance. They are almost never equipped with slings but almost universally have folding stocks. Their beauty lies in their ammunition. Rounds and clips are color coded, green, red and black. Green clips hold tranquilizer rounds similar to those fired by snub pistol though not low recoil ammunition. These rounds are used to take down an emotionally disturbed or incoherent passenger or crew. Red clips hold squash heads. These fire special rounds that are conical when fired but assume a spherical sh

The Cadmus Troops

(This Character was based on the story  Cadmus Seed  (Alarming Tales #1 September 1957 by Jack Kirby; available at Comic Book Plus  here ). I made a few changes since a few infantry divisions of these guys is a real game changer.) They used a rare seed found in the Congo. It was nurtured with cuttings from the U.K.s Green Man and mysterious serums from the West Foundation and other more troubling materials. In the end they had a mobile plant that resembled humans and had limited intelligence. The project was more ambitious when it started. The Allies wanted divisions of the creatures. But they had few successes and the West Foundation was eventually deemed too risky to use further. In the end they had a single success and another half dozen near misses that they might train up. Ironically they called their best subject Cadmus. The Cadmus Men Physiology Cadmus and his brothers barely notice bullets (have you ever tried to shoot a tree?) A bullet does one point of damage to them.

Treachery on the Bounty

What happens after your characters (whatever your SF system of choice) break the law? The usual answer is 'we lift ship asap!' That's a very good strategy but again let's see what happens. Let's say you break the law and buy a ticket to a planet one parsec away, one not regularly visited by the planet you just cuckolded. That means it will cost that planet's government at least three tickets to bring you back for trial (sheriff ships out to get you, sheriff ships you and himself back to original planet for trial). In Cepheus Engine this means 26,000 credits. Why yes you are paying for high passage. No one is going to want to share a cabin with a captured fugitive, though the sheriff can fly middle passage. Low passage is a distinct possibility (for the prisoner at least). But losing a prisoner to sleeping sickness and then finding out he was innocent (or presumed innocent from the start as some cultures believe) might be regarded as a violation of rights.

Tunnel Vision

Captain was a good 150 kilos and had won many a barside or berthing bay brawl. Luchador … was a damned luchador. Maybe not a licensed one but he had the mask and walked the walk and had beaten down many people far larger than himself. They didn’t give up. They took down a fair number of Patuni who suddenly mobbed them. It was a little surreal. One moment the Poyap of Patutu was escorting the two traders from their gig after a successful landing with only one or two white knuckle moments, their small but vital cargo of fungi spores, fungiculture supplements and new e-books and magazines, intact. Patutu was a large planet, with a buck and a quarter of gravity. That was pushing it for the Profit Rockit, a venerable old free trader. The gig could be redlined allowing a controlled landing and a difficult but doable take off. Captain decided he was the only one qualified to take his beloved (and expensive) gig to the surface. Luch would go along to provide an extra pair of eyes

I Put a Hex on Your Ship

In the ancient lore of SF RPGs it was decreed that thy ships shall be mapped using squares of 1.5 meters, that these squares encompass a height of 3 meters and that verily 2 such squares of deckplans equals 13.5 cubic meters (the same volume of liquid hydrogen that masses one ton) and are equal unto one displacement ton. Enough old timey talk. Displacement tons were introduced originally to create a method of mapping deckplans. This led to many many ships with rectilinear corridors, rooms and darned near everything else. It works. It's simple and as always I'm not leaving it alone. So here we have the classic 1.5 meter squares representing staterooms and corridors. I made a few adjustments in keeping with common deck planning conventions. Each grid represents one stateroom or enough area for two people to live in without killing each other (barely). Now many people designate 3 dTons for each stateroom and contribute the other dTon to communal facilities, whatever your c

Ship Dossier: Launches

Ship Dossier: Launches
Now on DriveThru