Numenéra – while we’re waiting for something else – say what?

So as I mentioned earlier I’m testing Monte Cook’s Numenéra. I’m actually quite infatuated with it, which is a first. Considering it’s not Star Wars and not HARP (my last big fantasy love), this is perhaps the most excited I’ve been about a game since I discovered roleplaying games 20 years ago (although in my childish naivete I did probably show a lot more enthusiasm for both MERP and Rolemaster [Standard System].)

It started, as many things do, with Numenéra being mentioned (and mispronounced) on the Order 66 podcast. I missed the initial kickstarter, but that was ok, I was busy playing Edge of the Empire and didn’t have time for some wibly wobly willy nilly fantasy game in a futuristic setting with funkiness going on and I still had nightmares about rolling a d20, so it was a no go.

Then the limited edition boxed set was announced… I’m a sucker for limited edition of anything. Yeah, proper consumer. I waste money like the western world waste resources, food, water and air.

So I kickstarted that. And boy…. but before we come to that, the story needs more set pieces.

About a year ago I had just started a new job, I was cleaning up in some digital archives, updating surveys and documentation for online distribution and publication. Yes, you got it: I work as a social science data archive. It sounds a lot more exciting than it is, or if you find that it sounds boring, it’s actually a lot more fun than you can imagine.

This archive is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Not that that means much in the bigger scheme of things, but it means we’re potentially pretty important within the limited field of social science research infrastructure.

Anyway, at lunch one day I meet a migrant – I guess that’s what you call it, she came here after being offered a job. She was very charming. To say the least.

Cut to a different part of town. My mum has moved into a care home, she’s ill. She’s got a rare type of lung cancer. In other words. Life is pretty messed up.

At this time I’m not really playing any games. I’m working and dealing with the fairly recent death of my father and the looming death of my mother. Simultaneously I meet this charming lady. I have not time for games, but I want to play of course. There’s just no time, nor any available players.

So then me and this woman become a thing, as the saying goes, and less than two days later my mother passes.

Cut to about six months later, we (the lady friend and I) have just come back from a 2 and a half week road trip to the north of Norway, and there’s a big box waiting for me at the post office. Numenéra has arrived.

I quickly start to read and look through this treasure trove of a box. I like what I find. It offers a freedom that few other games and established franchises can. The lady I’ve been seeing all this time has showed some interest in roleplaying as it’s such an important part of my life. We considered The One Ring for a while, as this is familiar territory, but actual playing never happened.

Three weeks ago (or so) I started a new Star Wars group – Force and Destiny this time – and we have played weekly (playing tonight). This lady friend of mine starts asking when she will be able to play with me and another friend of mine. I speak with him – he’s updated on Numenéra as he’s the poor sod who willingly spends time with me in the evenings talking about games. He decides he wants to play Numenéra. I ask the lady, she agrees. So next week we’re playing, on my birthday.

Now, why all of this text about stuff, why mix in death, illness, work and lady friend? Well, all of these things have been the centre of my life for two years or so. Death made me reconsider life, hobbies, work, career and the future. The lady did the same. Lots have changed, but some things remain more or less, at least seemingly constant: I love to play roleplaying games.

Furthermore, getting into Numenéra. Looking at the various beasts, creatures, ideas of supernatural and fantastical worlds, concepts, technology and more, I started to look around. To me the strength of Numenéra is that fact that it’s not an old franchise, it’s not settled, there’s no canon, there’s nothing that says this is the way it is. The game and setting answers few questions, but encourages the GM and players to make these up themselves. When I looked around on the interwebz I discovered two good communities I’ve been lurking on, reddit and G+ where people post their own stuff, share stories and enthusiasm. Refreshingly there’s obviously no or very little “canon”-discussions and quarrels. The focus is the game and how to have fun playing the game.

Over the last six months I also discovered Patreon, got a bit more familiar with it when the Order 66 podcast started their own Patreon campaign/subscription thing. To those not familiar with it, it’s like Kickstarter except you pay a sort of subscription fee rather than a one off payment. Looking around on Pateron I discovered this guy. Now for Star Wars I wasn’t convinced of his usability, at least not in my games… but for Numenéra … he seemed like the perfect fit! He creates new, fantastical creatures, illustrated professionally and with descriptions and indications on how to make use of it in roleplaying games, but he provides no game specific stats (I believe.)

I recommend this Patreon simply because it looks gorgeous and I firmly believe it’s very usable in any rpg where creatures and monsters of unearthly like design roams and live.

Kyber crystals – Bondar crystal

It’s been asked about on the Order 66 podcast and elsewhere. How do you make a “proper” lightsaber that is non-lethals, but more than a “mere” training saber?

Of course the question is if there’s any need. Also, should it do just stun damage or should it be a low-damage lightsaber with Pierce 5 and perhaps the Stun (active) quality?

It is no secret that it can provide players (and GMs) more satisfaction if there’s a crystal involved because that means questing. A training emitter is both cheap and readily available.

So then we look to the bondar crystal, that first appeared (I believe) in KOTOR.

What we know is that it can stun targets, but does it only inflict stun damage?

Below are two different takes on the bondar kyber crystal. While I’d prefer to settle on one, presenting two options can also perhaps give me an idea of which route is preferred and could be settled on (in other words: feedback people. If you can be bothered.)

Bondar Crystal [non-lethal]

The bondar kyber crystal served as the inspiration for making training emitters. These crystals produce a blade capable of stunning their targets.
Base Modifiers: Installing this crystal changes a lightsaber’s base damage to 6 and critical rating to -, and the lightsaber gains the Stun 1, Stun Damage and Sunder weapon qualities. If the crystal is removed, the lightsaber loses those qualities and reverts to its previous base damage and critical rating.
Modifications: 2 Item Quality (Stun +2) Mod.
Hard Points Required: 2
Cost/Rarity: 8,500 credits/10 (R)

Bondar crystal (from

Bondar Crystal [lethal]

The bondar kyber crystal served as the inspiration for making training emitters. These crystals produce a blade capable of stunning their targets.
Base Modifiers: Installing this crystal changes a lightsaber’s base damage to 5 and critical rating to 4, and the lightsaber gains the Pierce 5, Stun 3 and Sunder weapon qualities. If the crystal is removed, the lightsaber loses those qualities and reverts to its previous base damage and critical rating.
Modifications: 3 Item Quality (Stun +1) Mod.
Hard Points Required: 2
Cost/Rarity: 8,000 credits/10 (R)

Kyber crystals – Rubat crystal from Phemis

The Rubat kyber crystal can be found on Phemis in the Corellian sector, as Suns of Fortune sector book mentions briefly, and of course it is the destination of the adventure Hidden Depths (GM’s kit.)

The only issue, which already has been addressed on the FFG forums by perceptive fans, is that the Rubat crystal has not been given stats of its own.

It’s to be treated as a Ilum crystal. This is hardly satisfactory for anyone who’s played KOTOR (and I’m sure others too.) Kyber crystals should differ, even if the variations are only slight. No two types should be the same.

Kyber crystal cave (from:

Some suggestions on the forum tweak the Ilum a bit, making the Rubat somewhat weaker in terms of upgrades – namely removing 1 or 2 Damage upgrade mods.

Presented below is my suggestion:

Rubat Crystal
Found on Phemis in the Corellian sector, these kyber crystals can be found in deep caves often treacherous and inhabited by strange, dark creatures. When attuned to and placed in a lightsaber the blade is sharpened in appearance and definition.
Base Modifiers: Installing this crystal changes a lightsaber’s base damage to 6 and critical rating to 3, and the lightsaber gains the Breach 1 and Sunder weapon qualities. If the crystal is removed, the lightsaber loses those qualities and reverts to its previous base damage and critical rating.
Modifications: 3 Damage +1 Mod, 2 Decrease the weapon’s critical rating by 1 to a minimum of 1 Mod, 1 Item Quality (Accurate +1) Mod, 1 Item Quality (Vicious +1) Mod.
Hard Points Required: 2
Cost/Rarity: 10,500 credits/10 (R)

Force and Destiny and new stuff and projects


Life changes. All the time. Better get used to that. At least I have a job, not too bad one at that, permanent, full time. No phd yet, but hopefully in time. Working on establishing a small community of gamers. Testing out Numenera now, in addition to The One Ring – need some fantasy in my life. I’m also trying to pick up X-Wing, but getting to play is proving difficult around here.

In other news:

Force and Destiny is out. Congratulation FFG! It’s looking swish, good and darned fun! Still going through the book and enjoying both art and content. It’s been out a while, but I just got it (wrong side of the pond I guess.)

Rancor Publishing Group has been established. Congratulation team! Have a look at the unofficial supplement we made earlier this year.

I’ve started writing a bit for the new GSA, now simply Gamer Nation. My first article is to be released some time next week. On the colours of lightsabers, have a look and tell me what you think.

The slow process of a complete reworking of Cartol’s Emporium has started. Changes I know will be made: removal of gear and vehicles that now exists in official supplements. Adding new gear and other creations that I’ve conjured or am in the process of creating.

Here’s also a small attempt at making new Kyber crystal as part of my reworking of Cartol’s Emporium and fleshing out some new places, like Tarillion Station:

Stygium Crystal
Exceedingly rare by the time of the Empire, this strictly regulated crystal sometimes appear in such a pure state that it can be used in a lightsaber. The blade produced by this crystal is all but silent and the edge of the energy blade seems blurred.
Base Modifiers: Installing this crystal changes a lightsaber’s base damage to 7 and critical rating to 3, and the lightsaber gains the Breach 1 and Sunder weapon qualities. Additionally an attuned wielder of the lightsaber receives Sleight of Mind +1.  If the crystal is removed, the lightsaber loses those qualities and reverts to its previous base damage and critical rating.
Modifications: 1 Damage +1 Mod, 2 Decrease the weapon’s critical rating by 1 to a minimum of 1 Mod, 1 Innate talent (Sleight of Mind +1) Mod.
Hard Points Required: 2
Cost/Rarity: 16,000 credits/10 (R)

I should learn …

… not to make promises I can’t keep. Although, while I didn’t promise to go to Plano, Texas for GamerNation CON 2015 (3DOGG), I am. Everything is in order. Sort of. I was of course referring to my talk about and hopes for revising Cartol’s Emporium in time for GNC, or at all really. This hope has more or less been crushed by work (lots of short contracts and crap management at work to put it mildly), tragic events (yet another death, it’s enough now I think) and happy events. So. Eh. Perhaps? Soon? Ever?

Most of the stuff I want to revise or change are aesthetic, it should be noted, and of course I’d like to remove gear, weapons, speeders and/or starships that now appear in officially published material. There’s also the printer friendly version I started working on that needs to be finished. Because of this it’s harder for me to get going as the design layout aesthetic thing while fun, was never my main interest (which I hope is apparent), it takes time and while not particularly hard, it’s just time consuming. Perhaps on the flight…?

I’d also like to thank those that have notified me of broken links to the downloads.

Thanks for the traffic and I hope people enjoy the catalogue!

Force and Destiny beta, life, stuff and things

So. The FaD-beta is soon over, in another week or so. At least that’s what I expect. Due to this and other recent releases and announcements it seems to be about time to look over Cartol’s Emporium again, to remove overlap and add stuff more in line with what presented in the beta book. I’m now searching for the old files (I had a hdd crash a few months back) and will, hopefully, start on the update this or next week.

The discussion about the FaD beta over on the FFG forums has from what I’ve seen been ok to good. It seems the best suggestions from the community has – so far – been largely ignored by the developers. Still, many of the changes made so far has been for the better. I’m excited about the last beta update, to see if there are any other substantial changes before the beta is officially over.

Without going too much into it I’d like to explain why activity on this blog hasn’t changed as promised almost 5 months ago. Short answer: Life. Not a very satisfactory answer I know, so perhaps I should add a few more words to that. I lost my father and a niece last year (as some of you may know), a few months later my mother was diagnosed with a rare type of lung cancer. I still managed to finish my thesis in time and get a job. My mother is still alive, but we don’t know for how long. I’m getting a new job next week. I’m still intending on applying for a phd position sometime next year, I had to skip this year. The reason for not applying this year is related to why my activity and production on this blog has been reduced – and why I was kicked off a play-test thing I was doing for FFG – I couldn’t keep up to standards and expectations, which resulted in me collapsing and sleeping for five days, two days before the phd application deadline. So, obviously I’ve been utterly exhausted from life changing events, work, thesis, lack of rest and vacation, but I’m changing that now, or soon, in some way or another.

I’ve also started to look at tickets for going to Texas for Gamer Nation Con next year. Due to the whole “life business” this is going slowly, but I should do it soon, before flights become too expensive. So if you’re attending that, we may actually meet.

Touring the Rim: Tarillion Station

Life happens and things get left in pieces, forgotten… until remembered! It’s been a while since I started this series. I now return with a new location for Touring the Rim.
This series originally started on the GSA blog (first instalment; second instalment), but due to that blog’s recent inactivity I will continue it here. This series of articles intend to supply adventure hooks, locations and seeds in the most open-ended sense. It will present locations, both mobile and more permanent, that can be found in the galaxy. Some small and remote, other larger and accessible. The level of detail for each location will out of necessity vary. This instalment presents a space station located near the Gree Enclave in the Veragi sector.

“Tarillion station! Behold this rhombicdodecahedron wonder! Older than the last incarnation of the Republic! This seemingly derelict space station is in fact thriving with life, trade and technology… yeah, the reasons your sensors show no life signs or life forms is because the whole station is shielded by some old exotic technology. I suspect it’s of Gree make, they’re the closest and oldest species in the neighbourhood…”

Tarillion Station

Located in deep space somewhere in the Veragi sector Tarillion station is living history, evidence of the older species’ ingenuity. The station houses some thousand sentients of various sorts. It’s hangar bays vary in size from small one man starship bays to enormous bays that can fit numerous small sized capital ship vessels. The long history of the station makes it impossible to know what it’s purpose was (or is), who built it, run it, manned it, or when it became operational. It has been compared to Centerpoint Station by some Corellian explorers, but the similarities lie only in age, and the obscurity of its origins.

Tarillion’s inhabitants in the Dark Times and Rebellion era is mostly exo-tech hunters and traders, or explorers stopping over on the way back to civilization from scouting the borders of the galaxy. Imperials do come by, but the Empire has not taken possession of the station for some reason and has no (official) permanent presence. Many criminal cartels on the other hand have at least one representative on the station, which has resulted in the station being carved up into sectors controlled by various gangs and cartels. Due to the size of the station these sectors are rather small, and most explorers and scouts can easily avoid these areas. Conflicts between the gangs are rare as resources are scarce and the station’s own security system has locked down large sections of Tarillion, particularly the shortest routes between the various gangs.

Since the central core of Tarillion is inaccessible, most inhabitants live in the outer layers of the cubic shaped station, near the hangar bays and other access points. Within this labyrinthine structure of corridors, tunnels and chasms lives creatures aeons old, hermits and small communities of sentients who left the galaxy a long time ago. The gangs and traders have colonized most of the larger hangar bay and the surrounding levels, but this makes up just a fraction of the station. A curious, and properly equipped individual can spend a life time exploring the depths of Tarillion.

Doma Bunko

The three largest settled sections on Tarillion are within a few days of walking distance of each other had not the security system closed off most of the corridors directly connecting them to each other. The largest is by far the Hutt cartels’ Doma Bunko. This section consists of one capital ship sized hangar bay and several smaller ones. Docking fees are extortionist, but they include refuelling and restocking, and comes with one drink voucher for every crew member at the night club Toma Duswa. The Hutt cartels’ offer business, services and entertainment. Their section covers about 3 cubic kilometre of levels, more than enough to get lost and killed if one is not careful. The only large open areas are the hangar bays and fighting pit at Toma Duswa. The standard of living and accommodations in Doma Bunko is above average, some quarters and areas of Toma Duswa is opulent and luxuriously decorated.

Individuals of note:
Tiragga the Hutt

The Hutt overlord on Tarillion is Tiragga. An old and experienced Hutt, it must have been quite a curious series of events that sent this Hutt out here so far from anything civilized, and huttish. Tiragga rarely holds audiences, although he does from time to time oversee the pit-fighting at Toma Duswa. Rumours have it that Tiragga is resentful for being sent here and is working on some revenge against his rivals back on Nal Hutta. He rarely recruits operatives, unless they have shown considerable ability and loyalty to Tiragga. To Tiragga it appears loyalty is neither bought, expected nor asked for. Loyalty comes freely and by choice. Because of this his inner circle is small, but they trust each other fully, as Tiragga trusts them. Any doubt meets swift, and at times lethal, reactions. Many pit-fighters have been earlier advisers or employees of Tiragga that got a bit too confident, and greedy.

Doya Crayb
Doya is Tiragga’s Twi’lek major domo, executioner and accountant. He’s a mellow and curious person, particularly interested in capable and skilled individuals. He seems trusting, and many has fallen for this deception. He offers small, odd jobs for those he considers capable, anyone else he ignores, in a kind and apologetic manner.

Marshal Enna Saerda
The Weequay chief of security, recruiter to the pit fights and the overseer of Toma Duswa. Usually seen walking the hangar bays or Toma Duswa Enna is always looking for potential security risks, but also new employees. She is dressed up in laminate armour and carries a Force Pike – usually set to stun. Enna’s security force is small, but extremely effective.

Zeltron proprietor of Toma Duswa and business partner of Tiragga. She usually wears too sweet perfume, smiles a bit too much and acts just that little bit too nice towards new customers. Her staff consists of mainly females, providing customers with drinks, food and drugs – or whatever that is in stock. Oovee is not happy with her location so far from the core, but her reasons for being here seems to negate any wish to travel any closer to more civilized, or settled, areas of space.

Section Nem

The second largest settled area on Tarillion is controlled by Black Sun and referred to as Section Nem. It covers a significantly smaller area than Doma Bunko as Black Sun has been – until recently – less interested in exploring the station. This section covers perhaps 15 or so levels, three hangar bays, and capital ship docking umbilicals. Until recently Black Sun rarely allowed docking for anyone except their operatives. The reason for this change of behaviour remains a mystery. Their docking fees are somewhat more reasonable than that of Doma Bunko, but they charge extra for refuelling and restocking. They offer a trading area and have a few cantinas for visitors, but most of Section Nem is closed to visitors. The standard of living and accommodations in Section Nem, what there is of it offered to non-Black Sun operatives, is reminiscent of poorly cleaned military barracks.

Individuals of note:
Kenzer Oax

Chief of operations at Section Nem this Falleen operative betrays his military upbringing in everything he does and expects from his subordinates. He is a recent addition to the base, replacing his predecessor, an Iktotchi named Coya Illner, after the latter’s disappearance and assumed demise during a recent exploration mission into Tarillion.

Bovain Eori
Oax’s human first lieutenant and the second in command at the base. Eori takes care of security, she also handles business with outsiders. Anyone caught where they shouldn’t be will be interrogated by her, after being properly roughened up by security personnel.

Entar Ploo-ya
A male Kel Dor, works as a recruiter for Black Sun, has recently started to hire free agents for exploration work in the surrounding areas of space, but also Tarillion itself. Entar still attempts to recruit likely prospects, particularly after they have performed well on a job and has shown loyalty towards him. His exploration work goes unnoticed at the moment, but to a perceptive individual it should seem obvious that there are some ulterior motives in Entar’s actions. Whether he is acting against Black Sun centrally, the Vigo above Kenzer or just Kenzer and Bovain remains to be discovered.

Zone Zerek

The third section, which is only slightly smaller than Section Nem, is controlled by explorers, traders and unaffiliated groups of entrepreneurs and pioneers, it is referred to as Zone Zerek. This chaotic mix of spacers and traders have come together in the mutual distaste and fear of the Hutts and Black Sun. The section covers about 10 levels, and two large hangar bays. Most of the section has been closed down by Tarillion’s own security system, but the lower levels have a beautiful view over a large open are within Tarillion – inaccessible from anywhere. This open areas is usually referred to as the Open Complex. Zone Zerek is also offers refuelling and restocking, at quite high prices, although docking fees are usually low. There is a number of cantinas and pubs around the section, a lot of small vendors and a small market place for the curious. The standard of living and accommodations is below average at best in the common areas and corridors.

Individuals of note:
Kayn Nebulous
A human archeologist and explorer known in some circles for his extensive knowledge of Gree technology. He serves as a sort of leader of this Zone Zerek, but he demands no position of authority or deference, he firmly believes that mutual respect, cooperation and equality is enough. He is usually seen at the market place or in one of the hangars, when he’s not off on one of his often week to month long expeditions into Tarillion, he usually grunts non-committally when asked about these. Although he does recognise explorer, adventurers and competence, which can lead to hours of talking, monologuing and detailed retelling and analyses of his findings and research. From time to time he has been seen leaving in his ship Starburst Express.

Starn Ustima
Female Nautolan explorer-gone-merchant has become famous on Tarillion for having discovered new populated worlds, where she is now trading any space faring technology for other resources and materials. She keeps the locations of these worlds a secret. Rumour has it that she’s building her own empire out there, somewhere on the edge of the galaxy. Starn laughs at this rumour if confronted with it, seeing it as ironic that she would be building her own empire, when empires and governments are the reasons she fled out to the edge of the galaxy.

Maiora Untaithi
Local sage and keeper of wisdom, Maiora is a female Ithorian with a keen interest in technology. She stays in a small room with a view of the Open Complex. She provides information and medical help for those that need it, but she is also quick to anger and it is rumoured she has supernatural powers. She keeps to herself after fits of rage, but will soon welcome visitors again. She require no payment, except what is offered.

What about the rest of the station?

Other settled sections also exists, but these are usually smaller, some without a hangar bay and only airlocks and docking umbilicals as ways of entrance. These include small religious communities, small smuggling operations, exo-tech hunter groups and older settlers escaping here from some forgotten conflict or other. They remain mostly uninterested in the larger settlements and try to avoid notice. Of course, hidden cells of ISB or other Imperial operatives might certainly exist, however if they do they have little overt influence on the other sections and settlements on Tarillion. Their presence has gone unnoticed for a while if they indeed are present.

A few sections can access each other from within the station, through smaller or larger corridors. Mostly it seems that whomever run or built Tarillion wanted the inhabitants to remain separate from each other – whether this is out of safety for the inhabitants and creatures aboard, or some other ulterior motive, can only be speculated on. Most of the inhabitants appreciates this, and seems to have accepted that this place has a will of its own, as long as they can go on with their lives.

Denizens of Tarillion Station PDF [Link up-coming!]