Monday, January 15, 2024

DriveThruRPG Bonus Points!

Look what arrived today, at the tail end of a blizzard! 

I can't wait to review this one. Thank you DriveThruRPG and the USPS for a timely delivery. 

Setting Unknown - A Solo Endeavor

Right now, I am in the planning stages of a new Star Frontiers campaign. I do this to myself every year. I want to play a game exactly at the point where the NFL and NHL heats up. I can ignore hockey for a bit, but this SF Campaign is going nowhere until Feb 12, after the Super Bowl.

I decided to do other things, such as ship design and planets. I mention Typhon, the planet where the PC will start. I'm in the brainstorming mode for the planets, which is handwavium for "the back burner". The fact is, I don't plan on having the players hang out there for very long. 

Ships are another story. The players will have a pair of gigantic shuttles, Hull Size 2. This is just a tad smaller than an assault scout. The shuttle is barely able to make a jump, the primary issue is it's just too small for supplies. For this reason, the two shuttles are paired with Hull Size 5 Electronic Warfare destroyer. 

This variant of Destroyer makes sense in game terms, it would have been helpful in the War but now that the war is over, something has to be done with all of these extra ship hulls and engines. Without the electronic warfare gear, the hulls are basically free. As they have also been stripped of their major weapons, the sale of these ships to civilians is fine. The characters won't be civilians for the most part, but why give them an inordinate amount of guns? 

What makes these ships very special is their double engines. They have both Atomic drives and Ion drives. The same for the Kon-Tiki shuttles. Why? The Ion engines allow each Destroyer and Shuttle to mask themselves or others. That would have been great during the war, but in the hands of the players, allows a quick ship that doesn't need an engine rebuild every time they jump. I want them to feel like they are on their own, even when they aren't.  

Anyway, back to "Setting Unknown". 

I was thinking of playing Star Smuggler again. I have been playing too much Endless Sky and Escape Velocity, for a theoretical review of each. I have played all three games a zillion times. I want to go beyond rule mods and stuff, hence a new setting. One that is currently unknown. 

I stole some images from Endless Sky and Wikipedia. This ship is a combo of the
nose of the Arrow and the tail of the Hawk from Endless Sky. The shuttle is a headhunter.
The Dreamlifter is for scale.

The main protagonists have a 20-meter ship, or 400+ tonnes*. This is basically on the order of the 747 Dreamliner. Like the characters for my SF campaign, they have a smaller shuttle. The Dreamlifter can carry about as much as its empty weight. (From reading Wikipedia. YMMV.) As you can see, the shuttle won't carry a lot, maybe 20 tonnes. 

(*The future might be metric.) 

I figure in the future, we can do better within limits. I will assume that the ship weighs 100 tonnes and can carry 300 tonnes of stuff. If you are empty, you can go faster. If you are loaded to the maximum weight, you move normally. If you are overloaded, you can't make an FTL jump. All extra equipment beyond what a spaceship comes with is subtracted from cargo space. 

The standard crew for a spaceship is the 5 man band - Pilot, Co-pilot, Navigator, Engineer, and Payload Specialist. If you have weapons, the pilot can fire forward cannons and missiles, and the Co-pilot and payload specialists handle everything else. To move, you must have at least a Pilot. 

FTL in this Setting Unknown is teleportation like Battlestar Galactica. Rule one, it takes a day to pump power into the capacitors to make that jump. Rule two, you can have a lot of extra capacitors. Generally, ships are ready to jump at all times, assuming they aren't doing anything special beforehand because they have more than one capacitor. 

Jumping into a system is generally not dangerous as long as you don't jump to a busy point. Jumping to the surface of a planet is bad because you will likely miss your target by a couple of meters in a random direction. BOOM! 

Jumping FROM the surface of a planet is easy as long as your target is empty space, except the authorities will hunt you down for causing a calamity on populated worlds. 

Bad, but fun.

I have no idea how combat, movement, economics, or anything else will work but I have some ideas I'll share in the coming posts. 

I don't know what to call this class of ship. Help me out in the comments below. 

I am now back on Facebook which is a big change. I am not using the whole "Link in the comments", so my only way to attract followers is word of mouth. You can also see me on Mastodon.Social and Dice.Camp in addition to MeWe. My last outlet, one that I am going to start working hard on this year is Ko-Fi

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Stupid Human Trick for DriveThruRPG

You know, I create a lot of problems for myself. My daily driver is a 1999 iBook and it doesn't like the internet. I had to devise a way around that issue to get my DriveThruRPG library onto it. It turns out it's easy with access to a fairly modern Chromebook, but guess it could also be done with an Android phone if you had to. 

Under Android (and Chromebook) the DriveThruRPG files are hidden. If you can get to them, it's a simple matter of copying and pasting or moving them to a USB drive. You just need to know where to find them on your Chromebook (or phone). 

What you need is a USB drive and an Android File Manager. 

Insert the USB drive and then open your file manager. As far as I can tell, virtually any file manager will do. Here is my main screen in the file manager: 

Tap manage storage. 

Then hit Android. 

Data is next. Tap it. 

In the data fold, you'll see an oddly named folder called: com.drivethrurpg. Click it.

Select files.

And here is your DriveThruRPG folder which contains all of your files. Tap it and Select either copy or move. 

Now navigate to the USB thumb drive and paste or finish the move. 

One thing about this process is, that you need to do this every time you order something new or there is an update of a file. 

I generally write on my iBook and transfer to another machine to post, and having my files available when I am "offline" is necessary. One other trick is I can dump the files to other machines for a consistent experience across several machines. 

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Where You Can Find Me

I have a couple of outlets I use all the time. I am now back on Facebook which is a big change. I am not using the whole "Link in the comments", so my only way to attract followers is word of mouth. You can also see me on Mastodon.Social and Dice.Camp in addition to MeWe. My last outlet, one that I am going to start working hard on this year is Ko-Fi

As always, you can find my products on DriveThruRPG. There is also my secondary store on Ko-Fi. Tomorrow, I will be posting about the differences between each shopping experience. 

Sometimes... I think of murder...

Like every DM, I devise some very deadly things to throw at players. And sometimes, the players come up with absolutely deadly scenarios to throw themselves into. My favorite story is about the characters who cut the bridge before they crossed. Usually, the players tell themselves a story that doesn't jib with reality or logic and then they die. 

I won't change a die roll, but if the players engineer a TPK sometimes I don't tell them. This is the source of the idea SES-001 The One with the Killer Hook, a post I made in 2020. 

The party was in a small town, in the shadow of a large castle. The castle fell into enemy hands and the party took it upon themselves to recon the castle for the King's Army. However, instead of communicating with the Good King's siege force, they began hit-and-run raids in and around the castle. They had a secret way into the castle and used it to incredible effect. They managed to take out the water supply, start fires, steal the royal seals from enemy hands, and even take a very powerful artifact before they goofed. 

The goof was one of their own making. The artifact was a ring of wishes that they hung onto "in case something bad happened", like a death. The second bit was taking out the water sources and setting fires. The castle was on the verge of surrender due to the water issue when the characters went after the last well. They got cornered by a pair of magic users and when the first fireball went off, they jumped into the well.

The empty well...  

This should have been a horrifying TPK, but I decided not to tell the party. The next session, they escaped the well and went on to be a very effective team, reaching 6th level before they finally had "something bad happen". 

They used the ring to wish a dead character back to life. Except, they were already all dead. 

They found themselves back in the well and later replaying the events of their first couple of sessions. It seemed poetic. And fun. 

Over the next couple of sessions, I used my notes from the campaign to create a montage of the party's greatest hits. We spent whole evenings throwing dice, reliving the events that led the party to such highs. 

It was a fun ride.