Ian’s Updates

Cause Days

Whore’s Blade 20,000
Beasts of War News Item
My Guardians Warband

Is it Awesome?- Gnomemurdered
Is it Awesome?- Ace Slam Space Bastard
What’s Up With Kittiwake
The Thoughts of No One In Particular- Homophobia

Courtesans is particularly lacking in likes so if you like it please show your support

Review: Airship Pirates


Airship Pirates is either a work of genius or a foolhardy and doomed endeavour. Steampunk is big, yes, but it’s still a subculture and this isn’t just a Steampunk RPG its an RPG tied to a particular Steampunk band – Abney Park. There’s a risk, then, that this game could be passed over by people who aren’t simultaneously RPG fans, Steampunk fans and Abney Park fans. That’s a bit of a tall order. That said, subcultural ties worked out great for Vampire.


Something has gone wrong with time and the world has changed, peculiarly. Down on the surface things are a bit post-apocalyptic, up in the air and in mountaintop cities things are all a bit neo-victorian and mighty airships ply the skies, well above the dangerous chrono-fused plains, wastes and jungles below where all manner of monstrous creatures from Earth’s past are wandering around. An oppressive Empire, a wild and dangerous world and airships cruising the skies. It’s a ripe world for air piracy, plunder, adventure, freedom fighting and maybe, even, making things better or worse by tinkering with time yourselves.


Airship Pirates uses the Heresy game engine, which is the same game engine used for Victoriana. While there are a few changes here and there it’s almost entirely compatible with Victoriana – which could make things quite interesting – and thus has the same little rules oddities that Victoriana has, namely the use of both negative dice (chance of reducing successes) and reduction in dice pool which, statistically, amounts to almost the same thing and seems needlessly finicky.

Where Airship Pirates advances the system is, in particular, with the design and customisation of airships which is hardly surprising, given the name of the game, but which could provide a sound basis for the design of vehicles and devices in Victoriana and anything else that comes along using the Heresy system.


I’m not that familiar with Abney Park being more of a Vernian Process man myself but the game clearly draws quite strongly on the imaginations, costuming, music and lyrics of the chaps and chapettes of Abney Park. The book is full colour, though this pretty much means ‘sepia’! The stories and quoted lyrics do paint a picture but much of the book is, thankfully, a fairly straightforward and unobfuscated world guide.

Personally I was a little disappointed it was concentrated on America, but the bally Abney Park people are filthy colonials and I suppose it gives one room to carve a little bit of the world out for oneself. Many of the ideas presented compensate for yankee parochialism, pirates and aerial cities for just two.


It’s hard to nail down exactly what to say about the art. There’s a mix of styles and competencies on display but it’s all appropriate and the eclectic mix of material fits the chronologically kerjiggered nature of the setting. I don’t know if it would necessarily work in another game or setting but it works here.


The genius of this game is that due to all the temporal flux and reality issues going on characters could be crossed over between people’s games, taken and played at – for example – convention games and then going back to their home games. I wish there was a Heresy LARP system because with the crafting/costuming talent and effort of the Steampunk community some LARP events and groups could really accomplish something special and there’s not necessarily any need for them all to jibe perfectly together.

On the plus side

  • Pirates!
  • Airships!
  • Accessible vehicle rules.

On the minus side

  • Tied to a relatively obscure band mythology.
  • Heresy system quirks.
  • ‘Impure’ genre


Style: 4
Substance: 4
Overall: 4

Gangworld – Fuckin’ Fairies – Released

“The sun shines on our friends. The rain chills our foes.”

The Fucking Faeries is one of the most sophisticated criminal organizations in the kingdom. These corrupt faeries exploit their Seelie Court connections to control local weather and natural phenomena, and their Unseelie Court connections to kidnap, assassinate, and spy from the shadows.

Now with added OGL type crunchy bits. Mmmm, good for what ails ya.


Gritty FATE?

I was either going to review Airship Pirates or write something for Starblazer today but instead – as is typical – I find myself thinking on towards the next projects after the ones I am already working on.

One I’ve been ruminating on for a while is a crime/caper game called ‘Diamond Geezers’. I have been leaning towards a grittified selection of D6, if only because character templates are so quick and easy, but I do really like FATE as a go-to system. The only problem with FATE is that is it pretty much geared, as written, for heroic action, not for grit.

That said, there’s things about FATE that mean it could model differences and a higher granularity than the traditional go-to for realism, a percentile system. A 1-100 range allows for a lot of small, conditional, individual bonuses and penalties but rapidly becomes tedious. An adjective based system like FATE allows you to sidestep that somewhat by turning descriptions into adjectives.

EG: In a percentile game you might describe a rifle as having a base 20% chance to hit with a telescopic sight that adds 5% to hit at medium and longer ranges, loaded with armour piercing rounds etc etc. In FATE you wouldn’t need to worry about the statistics so much, rather the rifle would have the aspects ‘telescopic sight’ and ‘armour piercing’ that could be brought into play as and when they’re relevant.

There’s still more you’d need to do to make FATE grittier, deadlier, and here’s some off-the-cuff suggestions.

  • FATE points only provide +1 and only when an aspect is relevant.
  • Stress doesn’t heal from scene to scene but at a given healing rate (one per day?).
  • Consequences take much longer to heal. Say Minor 4 days, Major 2 weeks, Severe 6 weeks, extreme 1 season (and gain a permanent Minor injury).
  • Tighter skill definitions in expert areas. Less wiggle room for the player.

Why rip the guts out of FATE in such a way? Because in many other ways it’s such a great tool and a broad system. The capability to model societies, groups, neighbourhoods all makes it great for games with social and regional impact and influence. Games where characters are tied to a wider society and can have an impact. In many ways it easier to work with what’s already there, rather than to tack a new system onto another system.

Ian’s Updates

Minis Update
Me with Whore’s Blade
Roster Sheet Errata
Transported Cover Preview
Scandal Sheets Logo



Arkham Aslyum Review

Review: Saint’s Row III


Saint’s Row is a weird little franchise. It’s a GTA rip off, there’s no getting away from that, and that’s pretty much all the first game was. Somehow, since then, it’s taken on a life of its own. While GTA is pretty crazy it maintains a certain amount of verisimillitude in which the humour and craziness takes place.

Saint’s Row II got a little crazy but by the time we find ourselves in the third of the series. Saint’s Row III has finally completely gained its own identity and that identity is balls-out, batshit loco crazy.

This game is FUCKED in the head – in the best possible way.

Normally I play a game completely through before posting a review but here I really don’t feel I have to. In the few hours I’ve found to play already I’m sold. I think I’m even going to play it before Skyrim because frankly, this bloody thing is wonderful.


Do we particularly care? The game opens with two of the craziest, most ludicrous gunfights I have ever seen in a game. With content that strong who cares about story really?

Alright then… basically the Saints – after the end of SRII – rule the city, they have a shitload of money and a financial and media empire, even their own energy drinks. Their ascendency, along with a badly targetted bank robbery, brings them to the attention of The Syndicate. The Syndicate is an international crime organisation with some serious chops and when the Saints reject them they are not happy. So unhappy, in fact, that they decide to fuck with the Saint’s shit and take their empire away from them.

Bad idea.

Rather than coming up from the street as in so many of these games, this is a story of reclamation and revenge and that’s delicious.


You have plenty to do, activities, missions, self-selected missions, storyline, purchasing and building your empire. That’s what I love about these kinds of games, the ability to feel that you are genuinely working to take over a city and build an empire. Something missing from other, similar games where it feels more arbitrary. There’s plenty to do, plenty to keep you busy in the game and it’s all fun and relevant. The only game that’s felt remotely as complete when it comes to empire building on the street, and that’s GTA: Vice City.


This is a pretty standard third-person sandbox game, so if you’ve played any of those you’ll find this easy enough to get into. No real surprises involved. Cars handle easily which, after GTAIV, was very welcome. The system is improved over the previous SR games and feels less clunky and sluggish on foot, which is also nice.


This is a crazed, drug-fuelled dream of a city. It’s the extreme end of ludicrous action, Crank meets Shoot ’em Up meets the worst/best excesses of Hong Kong cinema with a healthy dose of hollywoodised gang culture. The city itself is a cariacature as much as the personalities that inhabit it. Nothing, nothing, NOTHING is taken seriously but, rather than being a loner you do feel part of a gang, a family. Despite the silliness, you do feel part of something bigger.


Nothing massively wonderful about the graphics, but they don’t need to be. The character customisation is a great compromise between accessibility and complexity and – while it’s not graphics – the option to have a British accent on your character is very, very welcome. The main thing is, it runs smooth and fast and it’s just as complex as it needs to be and no more.



On the plus side

  • Crazy as fuck.
  • FUN!
  • SR finally feels like its own game.

On the minus side

  • Graphics aren’t up to true next-gen snuff.
  • A refresher course on the controls and a little hand-holding would have been nice.
  • How can they top this?

Style: 4
Substance: 4
Overall: 4

Gangworld – The Sons – Released

“We are the sons of dragons. We take orders from no one!”

Officially, the Sons of the Dragon are a mutual aid group created to assist draconian immigrants in starting new lives in mixed-race cities. The Sons run Dragon Heritage Centers that offer free daycare for hatchlings of all colors, employ medics who specialize in draconian anatomy, promote awareness of draconian history and pride, and battle racism, prejudice, and discrimination by mammals.

Unofficially, the Sons is one of the most violent gangs in the kingdom, mixing dragon supremacist views with ruthless criminal enterprises.

Buy it HERE

Chav: A New Straight Cold One – Jorb-Sheekar

Chavthulu’s dominance is under threat. As foretold in the PneuLabourtic Manuscript the Stars have changed and where Chavthulu loses power the other Straight Cold Ones gain it. Of late in accordance with the prophecy, the changes in the universe have grown to favour Jorb-Sheekar, He Who Eats Hope.

When the blue is ascendant in the house of the clock and the red is consigned to the shadows. Then the Man With the Plastic Face will bond with the Prince in Yellow and the time of Jorb-Sheekar will come again.

Jorb-Sheekar’s strength rises and he attacks Chavthulu through his proxies. While Chavs hate to work and avoid it at all costs the servants of Jorb-Sheekar are those who are jobless through no fault of their own. Cast aside by the changes in the stars, losing the life they sought and wished for, entangled in bureaucracy the servants of Jorb-Sheekar lose their souls, their ambitions, their very identity.

The Jorbless, as they are known, share powers with Chavs – save Voodoo – and also become part of a brainless hive anti-mind, desolate, downtrodden and controlled by Jorb-Sheekar. They lose hours to his service and all they remember is daytime television.

The Jorbless gain bile from hanging around at Job Centres, especially if there’s a queue. The queue is also how they form themselves into the most dreaded of Jorb-Sheekar’s servants.

The Dole.

Doles are giant worm-like queues of people that share one body, one mind, one soul. They have the highest individual stats from the people forming The Dole and additional health columns. One for every extra person hooked into The Dole.

Good News Everyone!

It has come to my attention, after a little gentle prodding, that things are somewhat on the move again in our partnership with Cubicle 7 Entertainment. Some delayed projects should be getting a little bit of a punt back into gear and after some delay Agents of SWING will be available through Cubicle 7 as well and will go into proper distribution.


All this stuff is extremely unpredictable and sort of tentative at the moment but I have my reassurances that things will be getting back into gear and I shall endeavour to let you know as and when I know more. Still, SWING getting into distro? Groovy baby!

Bloodsucker: The Angst – Puma Crepusculum

Since 2008 the world of the Bloodsuckers has been subjected to a terrible, terrible scourge. Seemingly out of nowhere marauding gangs of ‘women of a certain age’ have taken to vampire hunting. Not out of some misguided and inaccurate religious outrage or personal horror, but for an altogether more sinister and disturbing reason.


Needless to say this horrifies a great many Bloodsuckers (save those who can’t get dates or a bit of the old slap and tickle other ways, or who prefer ladies with experience – and it is always ladies). Great lengths have to be taken for young male Bloodsuckers to avoid their attentions and to escape with their honour intact.

Puma Crepusculum are just normal women, mostly in their 40s and 50s. They typically have statistics of 3 and a wide variety of life-experience skills at rating 2 and 3.  What marks Puma Crepusculum apart from your normal, run of the mill, mundane mortal is their lust for young, male, vampire flesh and their peculiar abilities to be immune to, even invigorated by displays of vampiric power.

Puma Crepusculum can absorb a Bloodsucker’s Juice. Whenever a Bloodsucker uses a power upon or within sight of a Puma Crepusculum they lose a point of Juice and it goes into the Puma’s pool. They can each store up to twenty points of Juice.

A Bloodsucker who succumbs and sleeps with a Puma loses all their Juice, and she takes it all. Any going over her maximum pool is lost.

The darkness hides many terrors for our kind and there are many who hunt the hunters. There are those who seek your blood, your magic and then there are those who seek something more. They desire your innocence, your very essence. There is nothing so deadly, so feared as… ladies who lust.