Machinations of the Space Princess: Never tell me the odds

250px-Hoth_asteroid_field_btmI’m working on the spaceship combat section now. Ships are, pretty much, big characters/monsters (there’s a scaling rule but it’s pretty simple). The crew determine what the ship can do, beyond the basics.

Often when you’re dealing with things like this the pilot (or the netrunner or the other specialist) completely steals the show and the other characters on board don’t get to do much of anything. If you watch a film or TV show the other people on board are generally running around, kibitzing or otherwise getting involved in the action in some way.

I wanted to do things in a way that wouldn’t completely take the spotlight off the pilots and gunners, but also wouldn’t make the other players feel like useless bastards.

So, picture the scene from The Empire Strikes Back where the damaged Millennium Falcon is trying to flee the Imperial blockade of Hoth.

***

Han and Chewie are desperately trying to fix the buggered hyperdrive when the ship is rocked.

Han makes a Logic Save and figures out that that wasn’t from a laser blast. Fearing the worst and spurred on by Leia’s bossiness over the comm  he and Chewie run to the bridge.

Leia’s been trying to steer them through the asteroid field but while she’s good in a scrap she can’t – at this point – pilot for shit. Han’s the best pilot they’ve got (Skill 5) and its his ship so he takes the controls and starts making the Pilot Skill rolls. Every time he fails he has to make a Reflex Save for the ship or get dinged by an asteroid and take damage.

Han hits upon the BRILLIANT plan of flying deeper into the asteroid field. On a metagame level he knows that the Star Destroyers are big, slow bastards that can’t dodge for shit and that the TIE fighter pilots are only going to have a pilot skill of 2-3 even if the ship’s Reflex Saves are better. With his skill and the Millennium Falcon being a medium-sized ship that belongs to a band of adventuring heroes, he figures they have a pretty good chance.

It’s not ALL down to him though. The others pitch in and ‘help’.

Chewie – Angles the deflector (makes a Tech Skill Roll) and tries to ward off the rocks as best he can. The Games Master decides this gives the Falcon +1 armour against damage from the asteroids.

Leia – “You don’t have to do this to impress me.” Which means, of course, that Han absolutely does. She rolls a Charm or Looks Save to motivate him into trying harder because he fancies her. The GM decides this increases his Piloting Skill to an effective 6 for the duration of the pursuit.

C3PO – Calculates the odds with a Science Skill Roll While Han doesn’t like to know the odds the mathematical impossibility of what he’s doing may help him to be a bit more cautious. The GM rules that this increases the Reflex Save of the ship by +1.

Han wants to shake off these TIE fighters so he opts for some tricky maneuvers through the field, deliberately crippling his own Piloting roll by -2. If the TIEs want to follow him they’ll have to do the same.

Cue lots of explosions and shiny piloting moves as people succeed – or screw up – on their Pilot rolls and Reflex Saves.

PROJECT: Grunt

Yes, this is still happening. Albeit slowly. I’m sure you’ll agree Toby’s art is worth waiting for!

Grunt

MotSP: Face the Princess

MotSPLogo

 

Satine’s startin’ to get busy.

Like my games? You may like my fiction.

As well as writing and making games I also write fiction. I completed a set of short stories and my first novel this year. Not all of them are up for sale but some are and they might make good stocking-stuffers for people you know with kindles, tablets and all that mularky.

If you like my games you’ll find a lot of the same sort of playfulness, imagination and quirkiness in my stories – you’ll also find hints of ideas that I’m working on and even traces of worlds used in my games.

https://i2.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51klgn%2BocCL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-58,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpgAce Slamm: Space Bastard

Years after World War 2 was interrupted by a space invasion, rocket pilot Ace Slamm finds himself approached by three strange individuals. They want to buy a ride on his ship to Dyzan, the counter-Earth. The scientist, the feisty beauty and the sportsman are hell bent on getting to that blasted planet, but their steps are being dogged my a mysterious man in a shining metal mask.

Amazon

https://i2.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51wdzMkL18L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-58,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpgMimsy Burogrove: Psychedelic Detective

In swinging London, consulting for the police on strange cases, Mimsy operates out of her trendy flat. A heady concoction of mysticism, psi and LSD gives her access to the psycheverse, a spirit-dimension There are things in the psycheverse that long to gain access to the real world as well and Mimsy may well find herself a conduit for evil spirits like Mean Mr Mustard.

Amazon

https://i0.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GWRKQ7oqL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-58,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpgThe Black Rat

The 1970s are a grim time in Britain. Power outages, the three-day-week and rife with police corruption and right wing violence. The Black Rat, a sort of ‘working class Batman’ takes to the streets to try and bring a little vigilante justice and payback for those the police have wronged.

Amazon

 

https://i0.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51crqHB5aZL.Image._.jpgDoc Osmium: Synchronius Maximus

Two-fisted genetic superman, Doc Osmium, finds himself inexorably drawn into a series of inexplicable and seemingly unconnected events. There’s more to it though and he and his new companion must find a way to navigate the strands of fate and probability and to overcome the odds.

Amazon

 

https://i1.wp.com/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NP%2BajE0NL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-59,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpgTessa Coyle: The Obsolete Prometheus

After the atom wars there were few places left where there was true civilisation. Science City is one and it depends on its bleeding edge technology to survive. This super-science transcends ethics, physics and even reality and can only be constrained by The Science Police. When experiments start going wrong, electropunk heroine Tessa and her companion Robur are on the case.

Amazon

Machinations: The Process

Games, stories, projects of all sorts go through three or four different incarnations as I work on them and are subject to mutations and mutilations as they pass through those stages.

Stage One: Game ideas sit in my head for a considerable amount of time. Various rules, plot, background and other ideas percolate, fizz and buzz and things that relate to the game and its style wiggle their way into my thoughts. Playtesting and play modelling takes place at this stage to work out what works and what doesn’t.

Stage Two: I make a folder on my drive and start pinning down ideas in a series of documents, notepad files, graphics, fonts and anything else that feels related. Some of this doesn’t make any sense to me when I come back to it but somehow, it works.

Stage Three: Next I make an outline. The chapters, heading, sections, notes on where there may be sidebars or extra information. I sort out the order in which the book is going to be laid out and that tends to also be the order in which it’s written. This is fairly fluid and there’s always something cropping up to be put in.

Stage Four: The actual writing. Things are still somewhat fluid here. As I write along I find that things need to move from one section to another or that other things are needlessly repeated. More ideas come up as each section is hit and sometimes writing one section leads back to making adjustments to another.

Throughout the whole process, start to finish, I tend to consume media that fit the project I’m working on. Games with related ideas or style, TV shows, films, comics, computer games. So, I’ve been re-reading some of my old SF paperbacks and Heavy Metal magazines, the 2000AD stories that fit the genre and playing the living fuck out of Borderlands 2 – which is definitely something you should be able to model using MotSP.

FUND IT

Machinations: Classes

Machinations is going to be pared down to four character classes and without racial character classes. Races will modify/add specific special capabilities instead. You can see that in one of the previous articles.

I may mess around with the names to find something more evocative and interesting, if you have any preferences please chime in!

Should start having some sketches and art progress to show you soon. Meanwhile…

Fighter

The Fighter (or Soldier, or Killer, or Weapon) is absolutely deadly. They are omni-competent when it comes to killing, maiming and otherwise harming people, robots, objects and starship. If you want it broken or dead, the fighter is who you want on your team.

Exemplars: Lobo, Riddick, Aeryn Sun, Julie.

Specialist

The Specialist (or rogue, or expert, or chancer) can either be a jack of all trades or can hone-in and specialise on particular skills and abilities to excel. If your character concept doesn’t fit another niche, this is the one.

Exemplars: Han Solo, Malcom Reynolds, Joe Pineapples, Nova.

Psion

The Psion (Mentalist, Psiren or Psilencer) hones and uses their psychic abilities in a wide variety of applications. Different ‘trees’ of psychic ability will be available, at least Telepath and Telekinetic with others potentially being added depending on funds raised and the need for them in the game. An electropath, being able to control and commune with computers/robots might be an interesting way to go as might pyrokinetics. Psions will all have some flaw to compensate and mark them for their power.

Exemplars: Lilith, Anderson, Samara, Worsel.

Scholar

The scholar (Brainiac, Expert, Factotum or Database) trades on his knowledge. If it needs to be known, deciphered, fixed or otherwise tinkered with your scholar is the one to do it. Scholars delve deep into science, lore, languages and any number of other mysteries and can provide the information and skill necessary to head on to the next big score.

Exemplars: Richard Seaton, Seven, Andromeda, Galen.

Now then…

FUND IT!

IndieGoGo: Machinations of the Space Princess – Sexy, Sleazy, Swords & Sci-Fi

FUND IT

The Machinations of the Space Princess fundraiser as part of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure fundraiser didn’t fund but there was sufficient interest to warrant another look.

MotSP will set its sights on the world of sleazy, sensual pulp Science Fiction from the likes of Metal Hurlant, creating a universe of heavy metal space opera (rather than rock n’ roll).

Rather than a single adventure and some ideas, MotSP will be a FULL GAME.

MotSP will give you ALL THE RULES you need to play.

MotSP will BULGE AT THE SEAMS with adventure ideas and toolkits to help you create and maintain your game and produce ideas.

MotSP will include fantastic art by Satine Phoenix.

MotSP will take your gang of wandering space-reprobates from the strip clubs of Proxima to the feudal planets of the Black Cluster. The glass spires of Imperial Space to the wastelands of scrap-worlds.

MotSP will take you from confronting elemental evil to delving the crypts of long-dead civilisations across the known galaxy.

MotSP is planned to include:

  • Expert, Psion, Scholar and Warrior classes.
  • Extensive rules for creating humanoid and inhumanoid aliens or robots as PCs or monsters.
  • Expanded skill & combat rules.
  • Cannon fodder rules.
  • SF gear.
  • Starship combat.
  • Psionics
  • Hints, tips and toolkits for the GM and players alike.
  • Basic rules for creating stars, planets, cities and adventures.
  • A full game background.
  • A sample adventure.

Why should you back us?

Satine is a fantastic, up-and-coming illustrator and associated with I Hit it With my Axe and D&D With Pornstars. This project will give her a real chance to stretch her artistic legs and show off.

I am a full time RPG writer and author with a lifetime love of science-fiction comics, novels and fantasy art. If you’ve ever looked at a Tim White or Roger Dean illustration and been inspired to set a game in what you see, we have something in common.

I have a proven track record of producing great games in PDF and POD as well as selling through publishers such as Cubicle 7 and Chronicle City. I have worked for Wizards of the Coast, Steve Jackson Games, Cubicle 7 Entertainment and others and won an Origins Award (along with my writing partner Steve mortimer) for my work on The Munchkin’s Guide to Powergaming, the book that spawned the card game.

If nothing else, you’re guaranteed an amusing read with great art and that HAS to be worth a few bucks.

NOTE

All funds donated will be used whether the project hits its target or not! If you’re donating, you’re actually donating! Whatever amount up to $1,000 is raised will go on art from Satine. Past that number we’ll start to reveal and trigger stretch goals and the money will be split 50/50 between art and payment to me for my time/effort (and driving lessons!)