#RPG #Art Darkzel Art Scholarship 2016-17 Open for Donations

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Darkzel (Zachary) was an artist who worked for me over a number of years, providing art for Hentacle, Cthentacle, Blood! and a number of other projects as well as working with me on a comic project and discussing work on other, potential multimedia projects in the future.

Zel provided me with art and in return I got to see a young, talented and very promising artist grow in confidence, flexibility and skill. I got to help pay his way through his education and I got to become his friend in the process, as well as paying for some wonderful art along the way.

Zel was tragically killed while working as an English teacher in Korea, cutting short a life and a very promising career.

I’ve always enjoyed being able to help young artists by offering them work, and after what happened with Zel I decided that the best thing to do in order to honour his memory and our friendship was to set up a scholarship fund for other promising young artists.

Young fantasy, comic, anime and science fiction artists face an uphill struggle. The artistic establishment is often not equipped to understand and encourage them and art is often seen as a wasted education by parents and others. Art supplies are expensive and support can also be hard to find.

My intention is to help provide for these students, or other artists in need of help, and to create a self-perpetuating scholarship fund that builds over time.

Each year I invite donations to the fund. These donations go on top of the existing money raised over the past year from ongoing sales of Zel’s art, and of sales of donated art to support the fundraising effort as well as art from those who win the scholarship each year. Over time this will create a collection of art by talented young artists and kind donors, providing them with exposure and money, and contributing to the fund for artists in the following years.

You can help by donating money here, donating art, and by spreading the word to budding young artists in school, college or university, or artists who are in need for other reasons – unemployment, disability, mental health etc.

DONATE

#RPG Clipart Critters Megabundle RELEASED

CAClabelBuy it HERE

Brad McDevitt is an industry veteran who has worked for a huge number of different companies and for many years now has been providing stock art through Postmortem Studios under the ‘Clipart Critters’ label. Brad has just hit the amazing achievement of offering a grand total of 400 pieces of stock art, covering all the genres, colour, black and white, spot and full size illustrations.

If you’re a small publisher – new or old – or a Games Master who likes making classy hand-outs, or even if you’re an independent fiction publishers you should be able to find something – many things – amongst his work that would suit your efforts. This bundle is essentially a publisher start-up pack, with enough art to – potentially – keep you going for years. It’s a FANTASTIC deal!

It may not be the absolute end-all-and-be-all of “Deals of the Century,” but the Clip Art Critter Mega-Bundle may be all a small publisher will ever need to fill his art needs! For two hundred dollars, you can purchase all four hundred images published to date… an 87% savings over the normal price! And it gets better, since a few of those are bundled collections of head-shots, so you are actually getting something like 412 individual images for the prices of four-to-eight images at normal market prices.

Image sizes range from spot illos that can be placed anywhere to help fill up a page to illustrations large enough to be used as full-pagers or even covers, in black-and-white, grayscale, and color, covering every topic of artwork from manga, to science fiction, horror, fantasy, and even some just plain art pieces. Some images are lightly NSFW, though none are pornogrpahic.

And if you have bought Clip Art Critters in the past, there is no double-buying needed: you only get those images you have not purchased int he past, and the price is reduced accordingly, so you are not wasting money out of your art budget!

This special sale runs from now until September 1st, 2016.

#RPG – Review – Alpha Blue

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Well, from this cover I can clearly see this will be wholesome, uncontroversial fun!

I’d promised Venger a review of Alpha Blue but hadn’t gotten around to it [I got a comp copy, full disclosure]. With Alpha Blue being the latest casualty of policy changes at Onebookshelf and a general, puritanical string to genre and pop culture lately I got the motivation to go ahead with the review. I’m hoping to get hold of Venger for a quick interview about the situation and how the policy works in practice in the near future. If I manage to get the scheduling to work I’ll let you know what’s going on, here.

So Alpha Blue then. It’s a bit of a hard product to review. It’s a science fiction setting that grows out of a science fiction location, with a basic RPG system tacked on. Like my own game, Machinations of the Space Princess, it’s inspired by the camp, pulpy, rather naughty science fiction of the 60s, 70s and 80s – in fact it would make a perfect setting and location for use in MotSP.

The system isn’t really that important here, but it’s a simple D6 based dicepool system that’s perfectly adequate to the task if you don’t have another system you’d prefer to use. The meat and bone of the whole thing is very much the setting and the elements that stem from it. The rules cover all the basics you’d expect, combat, social interaction, cybernetics, science fictional and psychic powers and weird alien abilities. Just not in any huge depth. The tables here can be used for inspiration whatever game system you decide to use.

The universe is detailed fairly quickly and draws obvious derivation in many regards from well-loved films and TV series from the time period. There’s a Federation (in which, amusingly, Earth are the paupers and dead last in terms of culture etc), Draconians – recalling Buck Rogers – and a bunch of other ideas familiar and new, as well as a little bit of near-to-the-knuckle satire and fun-poking of politics and of other game settings (the bit on ‘Space Muslims’ being especially biting).

Alpha Blue itself is a space station – of sorts. This place wanders around the universe, albeit not at an especially hurried pace. Alpha Blue itself is a commentary on our collective hang-ups about sex. Following mankind’s inability to handle its own sexuality, Alpha Blue was constructed as a safe outlet of all of mankind’s collective, pent-up, sexual energy. A combination of an asylum for the oversexed and – eventually – a sort of ‘space Vegas’ where anything goes. It’s now another drifting space station, albeit with an interesting past. A haven for deviancy, criminals, gambling and adventurers.

Alpha Blue itself is very well detailed, while remaining open enough for you to add, alter or incorporate your own material. It’s very much more of a ‘toolkit’ book than something to use straight from the pages. It’s a hard book to review since its main use is as inspiration and a review that revealed too many of the easter-eggs and references within it would spoil the experience of reading it.

Alpha Blue goes a bit further than I normally do in some ways, but that’s mostly a result of my own cowardice and self-censorship. That’s probably why it has gotten into the trouble that it has (though speculation is that it’s a reference in a single paragraph in the book to a ‘rape machine‘ used by an evil faction). It also wears its influences on its sleeve a little more directly than I normally would, in the illustrations within it’s easy to recognise figures like Ming, Klytus, Dr Who and Buck Rogers. The whole thing – and much of the terminology – is somewhat taken from The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue (a porno film with 70s-tastic soundtrack which, if you’re utterly desperate, you can watch on Xhamster.)

All things considered it’s a campy, openly sexual nostalgia fest, probably best approached as a series of inspirational tables and setting components to kitbash into your own settings.

Presentation wise it could be a little cleaner and the art is of very mixed quality. Some of it is very good, some of it is very bad and some of it just doesn’t seem to fit the science-fantasy theme (being, perhaps, more suited to an occult themed book)

Score:
Style: 2.5
Substance: 4.5
Overall: 3.5

Machinations Companion: Psion Expansions

d21612e2242709c33d7a3b9c075da835The Machinations Companion will include some new and additional psychic powers, a different version of Psion advancement and a whole alternative scheme for less ‘magic-like’ psychic powers, more akin to those found in harder forms of science fiction.

Example New Powers

Level 3

Arc: You transmute psionic energy into electrical energy. It arcs from your hand doing d4/level damage if it strikes the target (who gets a Reflex Save to avoid the damage. If they take damage the power can arc to another target in range (5m) and it continues to bounce between targets, even returning to the same victims, until you terminate the effect or a target makes a successful Save.

Manna Meal: You can solidify psychic energy into a slightly glowing, doughy, tasteless substance that can be eaten. The manna contains enough nutrition and water to sustain a person equivalent to a normal meal. Each use of this ability produces enough food for 1 person/level. Manna lasts 24 hours +1 hour/level before disintegrating back into the astral plane.

Phantasm: You can create a psychic illusion that seems real to every sense, but which cannot do any real harm. You can create such an illusion or series of illusions up to 1m squared per level. EG: A level 10 psion could fill a 10m x 10m area with an illusory party, filled with exotic aliens and still have some illusory capacity left. An illusory person requires 1m x 2m.

Example New Power Path

Psi-Paths are fairly broad, general psychic ‘paths’ with basic powers and numerous sub-powers and additions that you can purchase. Each power starts with a Base Power, which is the first effect that you have to buy with your first point (base cost). Each power also comes with a set of ‘boosts’. You can spend Psi Points to add these boosts when you ‘cast’ the effect, or spend Power Points to permanently make the effect more powerful in the future (though you can still spend Psi Points to boost it further when you use it).

Path of Telepathy

Base Power: Read Minds

With the Read Minds base power you can reach into the mind of a person and pluck out a particular thought or memory. Should the power succeed you could, for example, ask the Games Master what they are currently thinking, how they feel about a particular person, what the password is and so on.

Base Range: Line of Sight
Base Effect: Read a single thought from a single sentient creature against their will. The target gets a Will Save to resist the power. You can also use this power to passively sense sophont minds within range.
Base Cost: 1

Boosts
Range: 1/25m (no need for line of sight, just awareness).
Reduce Save: 1/1
Read Multiple Thoughts: 1/1
Scan Multiple Minds: 1 per person, use highest Save.
Read Animal Minds: +3 cost.
Read Repressed/Lost Memory: +3 cost.

How Psi-Paths Work

Girtha the Unbound is a new, level one Psion.

At Level One she has 5 Psi Points and 5 Power Points after her statistical boosts.

She wants to play a powerful psychokinetic and chooses to start with the Path of Psychokinesis. As such her first power has to be Telekinesis. This has a base cost of 1, leaving 4 points remaining, and gives barebones access to the Telekinesis power. Girtha wants a different power really, and so spends the remaining points getting Pyrokinesis (X-Kinesis, 2 points) and buying a base damage of 1d4 for it.

(When using a power you use the base cost – 2 to use Pyrokinesis – and can boost the effects temporarily using your points. Githa could boost the damage to D12 by investing their power into a single attack).

At Level Two she has another two Power Points, which she sinks into her Pyrokinesis to raise the base damage to 1d8.

At Level Three she has another three Power Points, which she sinks into her Pyrokinesis power again to make it roll two dice as a base.

#RPG – Pen & Paper & Laser Guns is rad, & you Should Watch it

Pen and Paper & Laser Guns is how I always imagined presenting an RPG-oriented TV show, cutting back and forth between the game and the action and it works well. It’s at least as good as a Syfy show (though I appreciate that’s not a ringing endorsement).

As a bonus, this could easily be a Machinations of the Space Princess game brought to life 🙂

#RPG – Machinations of the Space Princess Companion: The Face

A little preview of some things coming in the MotSP Companion

The classes in the main book cover all your bases, but you might like some alternatives. Besides making up your own, more specialist classes another option is to model a character around one of their strongest statistics. Here’s a handful of classes, one based around each statistic.

Charisma: Face
The Face is a wheeler, dealer, ducker, diver and charmer. They can make deals with anyone and everyone to buy and sell anything, to get anything. They can scrounge up all kinds of things with little more than a wink and a smile to their name.

Skills: The Face can spend their Skill Points in any category except Psion or Scholar.
Saves: At character creation the Face raises their Charm save by +3.
Fixer: Each level of Fixer counts as a level of Web of Contacts and a level of Savings, separate to any points invested in those skills. This counts as a reserve of those skills that you can roll after a skill roll fails – or if you don’t have the skill. It grants the same bonuses and capabilities as those skills.

Level Experience Points Hit Points Attack Bonus Skill Points
1 0 1d6 +0 4**
2 1,500 +1d6 +1 +3
3 3,000 +1d4 +1 +1 – Fixer I
4 6,000 +1d6 +1 +2
5 12,000 +1d6 +1 +2
6 24,000 +1d4 +1 +1 – Fixer II
7 48,000 +1d6 +1 +2
8 96,000 +1d6 +1 +2
9 192,000 +1d4 +1 +2 – Fixer III
10 288,000 +1d6 +1 +2
11 384,000 +2* +1 +2
12 480,000 +1* +1 +2 – Fixer IV
13 576,000 +2* +1 +2
14 672,000 +2* +1 +2
15 768,000 +1* +1 +2 – Fixer V
16 864,000 +2* +1 +2
17 +96,000/lvl +2* +1 +2
18 +96,000/lvl +1* +1 +2 – Fixer VI
19 +96,000/lvl +2* +1 +2
20+ +96,000/lvl +2* +1 +2

*Con Bonus no longer applies from the level onwards.
**Plus Int & Wis bonuses (minimum 1 after all modifiers) only at first level.

NB: Attack bonus is not cumulative. Skill Points are.

#RPG PROJECT: Borg Class Book RELEASED!

BorgThumbYou can buy it and download it HERE.

The main PROJECT rulebook (recently updated with some fixes and a separate character sheet download) can be found HERE. (It’s also on sale as part of RPGNOW’s science fiction month until the end of May).

We heard you when you said you wanted more background information, so these class books will contain extra information about the setting as well as equipment, weapons, advantages, disadvantages and information on the enhancement process for each PROJECT enhancement. This one contains information about the PROJECT world’s medical systems and even about ‘traditional medicine’ in a world full of monsters and strangeness.

PROJECT currently holds 4/5 stars on reviews. It is based on the Open D6 system.