Thursday, May 28, 2015

Slipstream Trifolds Part 2!

Did I say no post this week? You know I couldn't stay away.

It's finally done, the second sheet of Slipstream Trifolds!

I finished out the races, but there wasn't much left to do. The page wasn't filled so I included two Mudmen and two Raptormen per sheet. I also added two big monsters: the Rastagar and the Kriplixx. Stat them up as you see fit.

I admit that doing all that drawing was wearing on me. I had to re-do the Rurite Female because the first drawing was terrible, boring, ugghhh. By the time I got to the big monsters, I was just slapping quick pencil and ink strokes down. They also came out pretty good. It seems I do better with gesture art than I do while taking my time. Maybe I should stretch that out and see if I can come up with an art style from it.

But I ramble.

Next week I'm going back to looking at how I handle starship design. I've reviewed the Vehicle Conversion guide that was put up on Pinnacle's website. I was also looking at the vehicles in the SWDEX and how they were converted. It seems that some designs are wrong (at least as far as wiki is concerned). I also looked at other sources of real world vehicles converted to Savage Worlds rules, such as those found in Thrilling Tales by Adamant Entertainment. It turns out that they didn't follow the SWDEX design either (of course the printing predated the SWDEX).

So while I have been racking my brain to make something consistent with vehicles in the SWDEX, I find that it's not really possible, nor is it necessary. Internal consistency is key. I can create whatever conversion rules I want as long as all of the vehicles in my setting follow the same design rules.

That was a liberating thought.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On My Honeymoon!

Yup, no post this week. I was single for twenty days and now I am remarried...

... because I live life Fast! Furious! And Fun!
... because Savage Heroes don't think, they act!
... because a bad marriage may have left me Shaken, but my Spirit has never been so high!
... and according to my new wife, I'm too dangerous to be left unsupervised.

See you next week!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Adventure... or Deliver Cargo?

I've asked several groups of players "What type of character would you play in a sci-fi setting?" Invariably they say they want to be smugglers or traders. But the answer is misleading. What they really want is to be free of obligation or allegiance. They want to go wherever the wind takes them.

They don't want to spend each game making transport contracts, balancing the books, and studying which ports need what commodities.... all the things that preoccupy the minds of real cargo haulers.

Sure, cargo deliveries can be a source of plot hooks. You have...
  • Deliver dangerous cargo
  • Deliver cargo that other people don't want delivered
  • Deliver cargo that other people want to steal
  • Steal the cargo, then deliver it

And of course there is the ever popular plot twist "The client betrayed you!", which every player sees coming.

But lets face it, cargo delivery can be a bit monotonous. The real adventures that the heroes will be involved with are going to be illegal, personal, or outside the bounds of simple cargo runs. The Sci-Fi Companion has rules for trade, logistics, wages, and etc if you really find number crunching interesting. I would prefer another way, and Interludes may offer me a solution.

Think of the show Firefly. Non-consequential cargo runs conducted between planets (the jobs that get the heroes to the start of the adventure) are run off screen between episodes. We see them just finishing up a job when things start getting interesting.

So in that vein, at the beginning of each game we might assume that the heroes have made a cargo run that has taken them to the new planet. 

First, roll for the payday...

3d6 x $100 That's the profit the heroes earn after ship logistics are paid for (fuel, food, maintenance). This ought to keep the bookkeeping down.

One person can take the roll of negotiator (no cooperative rolls) for haggling the deal. For every Raise they score on the Streetwise roll, they increase the amount by $200. A Success leaves the payday unchanged. A Failure reduces the payday by $200.

Then Draw an Interlude card for the ship...

The card draw determines how things went for the crew.

Something bad went wrong with the job. Rather than earning a payday they now owe the amount. They can either pay up, get hunted, or do a favor to whoever holds the lien (plot hook).

The job went smooth and everyone got paid. Each crew member gets a cut.

The job broke even (no extra cash beyond the logistics fees), but the heroes gained some information or favors. Each crew member gains an extra benny for the adventure.

The job went even better than expected. Not only does the crew earn its payday but they also gain vital information or inspiration for the next adventure (+1 benny/ each).

So what do you think? Poll on the right hand side of the page.

Overheard at Pathfinder Society Today...

"Everybody make Fortitude Saves. Okay nobody caught Malaria."

"I Chase after her."

I laughed for an hour.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Toughness vs Hit Points

I have seen some debates on this. Typically someone is asking which is more realistic.

The answer: Neither.

If you want realism in your game, then you'd have a hit location chart with severe consequences depending on where you got hit. The number of push ups you do that morning or your healthy diet won't make a lick of difference to a bullet that impacts your cranium.

The argument stems from the misconception that these systems are trying to model realism, when they are really trying to model fiction (literary, comic book, pulp). Why? Because they bend the laws of the universe to give the hero a chance. And because it is a game.

In a real firefight there is a very good chance that the hero will be killed or permanently disabled with a single bullet. That wouldn't be much of a story. What would Star Wars be if Luke had suffered major brain damage from the Tusken Raider's attack? I bet Obi Wan would have wished he had started training him earlier then. Besides, Reality is just the cage we build for ourselves.

The current RPG damage systems give you a second chance. Wham! A shotgun blasts you in the chest, but your still alive and can change tactics (or roll better). Why? Because it is a game. Because checkmate in one move is boring for both the players and the audience. Because the Quiddich ball game is pointless if catching the Snitch is all you have to do to win... oh.... umm...

So which is better? Depends on how they are handled, and personal taste.

I dislike D&D style hit points because your character gets healthier with higher levels. In fact, going form 1st to second level doubles your hit points. And don't try to give me some BS about it reflecting your fighting ability because we already have armor class and Dexterity isn't adding in to hit points, Constitution is.

I prefer games where the hero's general health doesn't increase unless he's done something to earn it like changing his diet and exercise (attribute bumps). Even then, the increase should only be minimal.
It's one reason I like Savage Worlds Toughness but I have also seen it done with Hit Points in Cortex Classic (Serenity, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural RPGs).

I also dislike games that offer no penalties for injuries. In D&D I fight at full potential until I reach 0 Hit Points. Then I guess I suffer a heart attack or something. Gee, I looked so healthy and virile, having a good time... and then I just stopped.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, why bother modeling a game on reality if you have to use your imagination to play it? Go outside. I hear that Outside is chock full of Reality, in an expansive 3D multi-player world. Just be careful, I hear the player base is full of Trolls and the tech support is crap.

BTW sorry for the late post. E3 is coming up so I'm pulling 11 hour work days. It's cramping my free time.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The New Shaken Rules

I'm still working on those final figure flats for Slipstream, but taking a day off work to go to court, and having to make up those lost hours through the week is eating up my free time.

So, new Shaken Rules, everybody is talking about the new announcement. Some people hail it, some people hate it.

I am indifferent.

Now before you grab a torch and pitchfork, let me explain. I too had complaints from my players about the Shaken Mechanic and "stun lock". I brought the issue to the Pinnacle Boards... I don't know... a year or two ago. Shane (or Clint) posted the idea of having a success free the hero from Shaken immediately, so the idea isn't new. I chose to go with a -4 penalty to all actions while Shaken rather than the inability to act and my players were fine with that. 

So the idea that the rule is now official doesn't phase me. In fact, I've never considered any rule in Savage Worlds "inviolable" because it's a toolkit system. I play the RAW because the RAW works, but if somethings doesn't work to my play style then I change it. When I find a new group of players, the new RAW, Old RAW, or my rule will be on the table for players to choose.

Do I like the new Shaken rule? I don't know since I haven't played with it. Like many other rules in the RAW, it may sound wrong but once you see it in play you realize it just works.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Wow! And a Personal Note.

According to my site traffic, the Slipstream Trifolds are a huge hit. Maybe I should do more designs after I finish Slipstream. Whatdaya think? Any feedback would be helpful.

And on a personal note, my divorce was finalized today. I feel a great weight lifted from my shoulders. You never realize how soul crushing a bad marriage can be until you are free from it.

And May the Fourth Be With You.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The First Round of Slipstream Trifolds

Are Here.

Male and female versions of Akwasians, Antelopos, Aridians, Borealians, Charadonos, Crystaloosians, Drell, Equines, Frigim, Lill, and Magrozites.