So what else is on the horizon?

So now that the last one and a half year of work is done, presented, posted, published and available for all the critics and gamers out there, I’m feeling slightly content and happy. The last 6 months it’s been hanging over me like an ulcer, with this catalogue (I felt some sort of duty, or obligation really, to the community to finish this and present it in as good a condition and design as possible, I think I succeeded), the thesis (forensic psychiatry in Norway after the 22nd July massacre 2011, is pretty heavy shit, but important!), family business (two deaths and now incurable cancer) and other private matters (I’m becoming a hermit). It’s good to be done with the catalogue at least, to put this product behind me so to speak and look forward (finish up the thesis, become the hermit), to start new projects and make other stuff – and to expand on what has already been created, but as new things, not as revisions and continued tinkering.

As I’ve alluded to earlier I’m in the process of making some sort of Imperial source book, this is however very much more in my head than anything on paper or in actual words. I have this other thing to finish, a sociological thesis – I know I keep going on about that, but it’s important to remind myself what I’m supposed to be doing.

Aside from the Imp book, I will continue to sporadically support the Emporium with updates on the blog. These updates will mostly be new stuff – although “errata” or changes to the catalogue might also pop up here from time to time, if any big changes were to be made (after some more test runs and potential feedback from other groups). Another part of the “support” will be some adventures or modules I have planned, based on the hooks and mysteries presented in the Emporium, but don’t expect anything of that nature before the summer (i.e. June/July/August) at the earliest. These will be slightly based off my own group’s adventures and exploration of the environments I’ve created, and there won’t be time for much gaming these semester.

I also plan to publish some of my planned GSA articles here, as it seems the GSA is dying (or going into coma) – I’m still hoping, but I’ve received no reply to the last two emails I sent (not that these demanded reply). Perhaps they’re planning something grand, who knows, but as it stands I don’t think the GSA is the safest bet to get some of this stuff published any longer, its been a month (almost to the day) since the last article got published. I hate to say these things, as the GSA is an already established institution and provides good stuff and has a wide range and large base of readers. It also gave me a venue to publish some of my own stuff and learn more about writing these things for a wider audience. I’d hate to see it disappear, but at the moment its inactivity is scary and disheartening.

So that’s it for now. I hope you enjoy the catalogue and I look forward to get any feedback on that, and future creations I intend to present here.

Somewhere in the Arkanis sektor…

Without further ado:

“Two days from Tatooine. Two days in the darkness just… Flying, drifting, moving. These were the coordinates and now the Ruby Damnation and it’s crew were there. Nothing. Blackness. The twin suns distant and nothing else, sensors blank.

The first day after arriving Jace started up his galaxy box, played through the whole day, and the next. Che was nowhere to be seen as usual. Thracken… Thracken was drunk in some maintenance crawl space, out cold now, the thrashing had stopped maybe yesterday, or the day before. The sound from Jace’s gaming had drowned every other sound. He had stopped now. Ghia was checking her medkit, when she wasn’t checking the sensors or looking out some viewport. She had right to be nervous, she sent the message, Cartol replied, but was it really him? It was just a text, no voice or holo. Did he carry a grudge? Was he really still alive? Blue sat with her polyhedron thingamajig, fondled her uct or checked her rifles. How odd these organics were. They think we sleep, but Cyris is only starting to awaken, we just need time to sort it through.

Third day in space, Jace sat in the cockpit, staring at distant stars and playing with the manoeuvring thrusters rocking the ship from side to side. Sometimes reading the message from home, and the one from Imperial Revenue Services. He was obviously on edge. Things were starting to catch up, not good.

He read the message from his mother again, smiling at the reassurance that his brother was doing well as a waste disposal officer. Good for him. Steady job, steady pay, perhaps a wife and family soon. The proximity sensors screamed and the view port was no longer filled with dead and empty space, but the side of capital ship. To starboard Jace could see a large wheel-like structure closing in. The Ruby Damnation‘s engines flared as it shot between the wheel and the front section of a Nebulon-B frigate. As it came about Jace could read the name “Cartol’s” above the upper hangar bay. The com announced an incoming transmission: ‘The emporium of useful things and shinies is here!’”

Gdrive

Dropbox

Probably the last preview.

So, I’ve put most of the NPC data into the catalogue – statlines and stuff still missing, that last bit is a bit more tedious than just typing and copy-pasting, so it’ll have to wait for a day with more time.

It is now looking like I want it to, I think. Input is still appreciated.

The links I provide here is for a version with bleeds – and mean some of you might do like me, get it printed and bound – but I will also provide a version without bleeds in case you use a pad or tab or surface or whatever those thingymajigs are called.

The preview isn’t of any content really, just the first few pages – in case anyone has any tips or wants to let me know of anything missing or incorrect.

Dropbox

GDrive

Pom, pom! Pommelom!

No, it’s not done yet, sorry. Stuff is in the way, but! BUT! I have finished the NPCs, only small touches are now needed to make them finished, so I’ll start put them into indesign sometime next weekend – the coming weekend is packed!

I have now made stats for Cartol, Joonaz, Mobe and the rest of the lovely bunch.

I have also tweaked a few bits more, and now have more official stuff to compare my work with so I can make some further adjustments, in case I feel it’s necessary – and in some cases it might be.

Now, I have to start preparing the first session of 2014, Friday’s the day. They will have to deal with some COMPNOR agents, tax and revenue laws, jungle and meanies. Now I only need a reason why, and a hook for the session after – which probably won’t be before March at the earliest, April and May won’t work – final deadline for thesis about then.

Spread sheets and the wonders of libre calc

I’m now full on into the NPC production, for some reason I kept putting it off… weird that when you’ve got 30something npcs to write out and feel that life should be different… So, anyway, I made this list, which I thought was a good idea, that way I could see how many I’d made and how many were left… still nothing were being done. Then today I realised, hey why not write it all down there, in libre calc? and then move it into the catalogue when it’s all done?

So that’s what I’m doing now. Most stats are down, now to skills, abilities and equipment. What I love about this is that I do not really have to consider the PC creation rules, I do not have to base the derived stats upon the primary stats… it makes me happy, I can make them as I want them.

I’ve also removed some more stuff from the catalogue, stuff that I’ve realised is basically just replications of other effects, but “fear” not, there’s still some stuff left.

In other news, Suns of Fortune is now out, at least some people have started to receive it – not me though, I live on the wrong side of the Atlantic to receive any new products as they come out, but give it a few weeks and I’ll have it. Still, people are nice and answer questions – I know now that this book does not overlap that much with the stuff I’ve made, which I find odd. I think there is only two ships in the new book that overlaps with my catalogue, so those will of course be removed from the finished catalogue.

Until next time, stuff is being done.

A list of to-dos

After going through Donovan’s suggestions I’ve made some changes, removed some redundant bits and pieces. There are still some parts I’m considering, slowly realising that they might be unnecessary. It takes some measure of will and open-mindedness to let go of my creations. I’m getting there.

So, while still making up my mind on some of that stuff I’ve made a list of NPC stats I want/need to make to complete this catalogue. It’s longer than I thought. Close to 30 stat lines it seems to cover all my bases – although I might refer directly to the Core book(s) for some of these.

Additionally, without giving too much away I’ve slowly started on an adventure based on stuff presented in CE. This won’t see the light of day in a long time, but it’s something I want to do properly. Considering I have very limited experience with making full on adventures in the “pre-made” style, it will take time and I will need input as well as extensive play-testing.

Also, for anyone interested in collaborations, I’ve been considering an Imperial Source book of sorts, basically a small guide on how to tweak EotE and/or AoR to be used for playing imperial characters. What I’m thinking is to produce text on how to use Obligations and/or Duty for imperial players, player character concepts (particularly how to fit alien species into the mix as imperial operatives), how to make use of the various careers and so on – for AoR this isn’t a big issue, but perhaps some ideas for the EotE careers? This is a continuation of my earlier catalogue called Known Threats which I stopped working on a while ago. If you have ideas or would like to collaborate, let me know.

Space combat expansion part 2: narrating space combat.

This expansion requires more careful planning on the GM, spontaneous creativity of both players and GM or perhaps some of those wonderful environmental set piece developed on the d20radio forum. Or all of the aforementioned.

The basic idea here is simple. Let pilots, and gunners and other crew, affect the battlefield, use it similarly to character scale combat. This means using terrain as cover, players describing actions that could give more tangible results and effects than what has already been suggested in the corebook’s various triumph/advantages tables. While those tables are great, and the idea of advantages and triumphs adding coolness to combat, and every other skill check, why not let players attempt actions or manoeuvres for those specific effects?

While evasive manoeuvres is a great manoeuvre, how about it in an asteroid field? In a squadron of allied starfighters, or enemy starfighters, couldn’t that one upgrade be increased if there was a pilot check? Or perhaps increase defence by +1? Shouldn’t there be a Pilot check for performing an evasive manoeuvre in an asteroid field? I’d think so! Even if its “only” a manoeuvre.

Now. Another thing I think is important, and that seems to be left out of most discussions concerning space combat – or at least I haven’t seen it anywhere – is how the interpretation of fire arcs being pointless on ships of Silhouette 4 or lower could easily be remedied.

Now, I understand the interpretation, but what if the Pilot was in control (as she or he actually is) of facing and things like that. Why would a gunner in a turret, or firing a fixed position cannon decide whether or not she or he can hit the enemy vessel? It doesn’t really make sense, well it could, but the idea is here to make these things count, without counting squares and stuff like that. Let the pilot narrate how he flies on his initiative slot, how the ship moves, how he lines up his own shots or that of his gunners. This would of course be modified by actions such as Gain the Advantage, but as is explicitly written in the rules – although many disagree with this “interpretation” – the GtA action’s effects applies to the pilot. Not every gunner on the ship. Of course it is a common interpretation/house-rule to allow it to apply to gunners as well. I’ve done the exact same thing. But in the spirit of making it more narrative, to weigh the various options against each other, I’d suggest to apply the GtA effects apply only to the pilot. That way he has to also narrate movement of the ship, but also consider how to attack the ship, and which of his fire arcs should be able to hit it, even as he attempts a Gain the Advantage action. This in turn will affect how his gunners and crew can act.

While a lot of starships have turrets, sometimes you need to flee, at this point the decisions of the Pilot affects the fire arcs that can attack. How he narrates he escape attempt, is it the ventral or dorsal turret that is allowed to fire? Considering this, I think it is sometimes up to the GM, and players, to let the narrative decide which defensive zone is hit, regardless of actions and mechanics of what silhouette gets to pick what defensive zone is hit. It is much more fun to let the narrative steer this, than to use (or abuse) the rules to make those hits count – particularly from a GMs perspective I’d say.

If my players where fleeing down a chasm, or through a tunnel of some sort, I’d never allow a successful Gain the Advantage check to result in hitting an unhittable defensive zone to hit. That wouldn’t make sense. I’d ignore any evasive manoeuvres certainly, but the defensive zone hit would be the one that made narrative sense. Same with players. While I’d say a pilot attacking an enemy ship after successfully Gained the Advantage could pick a defensive zone of his liking, the narration of his attack and manoeuvring would determine what defensive zone the other gunners on his ship could attack, whether the same one or a better defended one would depend on his narration, the environment and the number of threats or advantages he rolled on his pilot and/or attack check. So in short, let chases and mechanics be support structures, not determining rails on which the game is run.

These thoughts can easily be used with the actions presented in part 1, but it might not be necessary to make use of those actions if taking full advantage of the narrative creativity of the players and losing the dependency on mechanics and rules as a controller.

A good example of how one can run space combat is presented here, first posted here. Thanks to Grimmshade/D. Thomas for this, he did a lot of work for me without knowing.

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