While we’re waiting for something Good’oh.

I’m reading and writing about Numenéra these days, for another blog, first post here, second scheduled, third still in the process of being written.

Also, from the man behind the Triumph & Despair blog (which no longer exists at wordpress it seems, or its down, or it has moved or been renamed … who knows, not me) and his friend: a narrative, competitive roleplaying game. I’m reading it. I’ll review it. Looks exciting and epic! That’s all I can say for now.

Also, I’m returning some activity to the side of my brain that is dedicated to HARP, Spacemaster and other ICE games. I need me some sci-fi and more fiddly stuff.

I’m running a FFG Force and Destiny group, we have our campaign on obsidian, here. Kind of exciting.

That’s one update, also I’m still working with the Rancor Publishing Group, but as with most free and fan made stuff, things take time.

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 at 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 no time for games, but I want to play of course. There’s just no time, nor any available players.

So then one day (earlier this year, almost as early as possible this year) 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. At this time I haven’t played any roleplaying games for over a year (barring a quick trip to Texas for a small cosy con and a skype game some time after that), not in town at least.

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 her (she’s familiar with LotR), 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 http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Bondar)

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: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Lightsaber_crystal)

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

Hola!

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.