Thursday, January 31, 2013

Don't Be Afraid To Make Things Tough For Your Players

The title paraphrases an email that Starblazer Adventures' lead author +Chris Birch sent me a while ago about the FATE scenario I am playtesting for Project Generations. Last night we wrapped up playtesting. Players had great suggestions for finalizing the scenario for publication, which I'll be digging into this weekend.

But today I wanted to talk for a moment about the penultimate combat we had last night. It was brutal. I used the FATE Drop Dice tables I have created for Project Generations to generate a series of zones around a Landing Bay, position allies and adversaries, and quickly statt up the major NPC and their minions.

It was cyberzombies and controller robots against our the three players, with their "allies" standing on the sidelines and watching everything go down. In Starblazer Adventures, weapons provide bonuses to the amount of Stress racked up by a hit. That contributed to a fast and furious battle.

A battle in which our pilot, Lightning, used the just-landed shuttle as a weapon. She fired its beam weapon at the opposition (and I narrated one cool laser-ricochet mishap), and also hover-swung the shuttle around using it to dislodge some cyberzombies who were attempting to board.

Unlike the PCs last encounter with cyberzombies and controller robots, these were fast zombies, controlled by two beffy robots who waded into the fray - quite unlike the cagy stickman controller robots in the last encounter. These robots did some damage.

One PC, Antonio, suffered two Consequences; he lost an arm with one of them! Another PC, Buffalo the Robot Fighter, wracked up three Consequences, one of which was Extreme. He ended up with a horrible gash from mouth to cheek, sort of like this:

The Joker Drawing by Carlos Velasquez
 Not ideal, especially when you are the diplomat and power-negotiator!

The controller robots end up ever worse, KIA, with three Consequences each. One lost an arm. The other lost its head. Both kept on fighting, while the consequences racked up on both side.

Our heroes eventually prevailed, but it was close. And Antonio ended up with something he really wanted: one of the controller robots' crab-claw hands as a prosthetic. Granted it is a 150 lb. prosthetic, and the graft was done by someone with a rather, well... theoretical grasp of human anatomy.

So Antonio ended up looking rather like poor old Vina from the original Star Trek pilot, "The Menagerie":

He was nevertheless pretty happy with his new crab-claw prosthesis.

My experience with both Starblazer and Diaspora has been different from Spirit of the Century, where PCs rarely took Consequences. Combat in these two games manages to be both fun and risky.

It will be interesting to playtest FATE Core in Tekumel in a few weeks and see how combat works with the refined and streamlined FATE engine.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Below Decks With Project Generations

Today I created two huge Drop Dice Tables for Project Generations!  They allow a GM running the scenario included with Modiphius Entertainment's first Project Generations product to create random encounters for both the Habitat (i.e., green space) areas, as well as the Below Decks levels of the vast generation ship in the scenario.

The tables should be useful for any SF game set on a vast space ship.

I also created keys for each of the two drop tables so that GMs have ideas about what to do with each encounter/location. There are also encounter mechanics that make it easier to build out each encounter.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Vat Grown

Today I continued writing the scenario chapter for Project Generations. The scenario is fairrrrrly hard SF, with the PCs playing Reserve Crew who are awakening from cryostasis to deal with problems on the ship.  You generate PCs using a set of chargen on-the-fly mechanics optimized for the setting. My default assumption is that Reserve Crew are highly skilled normal humans.

But I've been thinking.

Some of that thinking was stirred by Brad Murray's recent comments on FATE Core character generation, and its contrasts with chargen in Diaspora. With FATE Core you create a more or less fully realized character. But in Diaspora, you have options that recognize that some players take a few weeks to fully understand or articulate the kind of character they want to play... kind of easing into the role.

The mechanics I'm developing for chargen in Project Generations allow for a fair amount of player choice. But last night, I started to feel that my design could leave out the player who wants to run someone just a little bit...different.

So I have built-in mechanics so that a player can self-select to play an android, a vat-grown human born on one of Earth's orbitals (with the potential for special abilities), or a cyborg.

I think this works well within the Reserve Crew narrative framework, and will be fun for player who enjoy creating characters who are just a little bit different..

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Name Game In Project Generations

We are continuing our push to complete the full draft of Modiphius' Project Generations!

Today, I made major upgrades to the generation ship history and background for the Project Generations scenario included in the first publication. I also made more revisions to the character generation rules.

I also spent some time thinking about naming traditions on the space ark. When you are departing Earth for a journey that takes hundreds of years in space, do you change your name to "seal the deal" (i.e., symbolize your commitment and the major life change)?

That's exactly what the players decided to do with their characters in Project Generations playtest.

If you have made your own SF settings, how have you changed the naming traditions? How do you play the Name Game?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Awakening From Cryostasis In Project Generations

In the scenario I am writing for Project Generations, the PCs play the Reserve Crew of a generation ship who are awakened from cryostasis. Today, I completed the character generation rules for the awakening and character generation process. All of the details for using Project Generations chargen with the Diaspora and Starblazer Adventures rulesets are now set. I still have some specific details to work through for Bulldogs!, but the overall framework is there now and seems to hang together well.

The overall approach is character generation on the fly. That is a feature of a number of FATE games, and has the benefit of bringing people into play rather quickly. Character generation is grounded in the space ark and cryostasis experience through the use of two tables, while also leaving room for some up-front player creativity and intentionality in character design before play begins.

I think the system strikes the right balance between narrativist and sandbox approaches to PC generation. If you don't like to know everything about your character before play begins, I think you will be happy with this. You have room to explore and grow your character, which is exactly what I saw happen in the playtest.

I am happy to have the rules in a more or less final form that feels right to me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Narn Homeworld

The Narn Homeworld has experienced two different Centauri occupations; it was also a battlefront during an earlier Shadow War in ancient times. Before the first Centauri occupation, Narn was a green and forested world. It was lush. Its atmosphere was thick and moist. The avarice of the Centauri Republic brought an end to all that.

The Centauri stripped the world of many resources, and devastated its environment. Since the Centauri left, the Narns have restored agricultural systems, but the planet remains a marginally livable version of Mars - a world badly in need of terraforming.

Yesterday, I shared a modified Technology-Environment-Resources system for Bablyon 5 worlds, based on the one developed in Diaspora. Today, we share proposed ratings for the Narn Homeworld. These ratings reflect the Narn Regime and its homeworld in the first season of Babylon 5.


System Type: Major Power Homeworld

Technology: T+2 ~ The Major Powers
  • Artificial gravity, build and maintain tachyon communications networks, manufacture jumpdrives, manufacture jumpgates
Environment: E-1 ~ Survivable World

Resources: R-3 ~ Multiple Dependencies

  • Our world was once lush and green
  • Now is the time for vengeance
  • The Regime must expand

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Using Diaspora's Technology Ratings for Babylon 5

Diaspora's Technology-Environment-Resources -4 to +4 rating system for planetary systems will work well for Babylon 5. I don't see any changes that are needed to use Diaspora's Environment and Resources ratings out of the box. To use the Technology scale with a Babylon 5 campaign, there are just a few modifications I'd make to the upper end of the Technology scale.

These are detailed in the OGL Mechanics section, below. The modifications to a certain degree reflect the abilities of different races and groups in the setting. Technological levels are somewhat racially stratified, as most of the major interstellar civilizations in B5 apparently lack internal technological heterogeneity (i.e., there are not huge technological differences among Narn-settled worlds, but there are between Narn and Minbari worlds).

For example, using the scale below:
  • The Vorlons, Shadows, and other First Ones are at T+4. 
  • Races/groups such as the Minbari, Technomages, and Soul Hunters at T+3. 
  • Centauri, Narn, and Humans would be T+2.
One thing I have been struggling with a bit is how to deal with the differences between Centauri, Narn, and Human technology. The thing that has bothered me most in the otherwise fairly subtle differences is that for most of the series, Humans use centrifugal force to generate gravity on their ships, whereas the Centauri and Narn have artificial gravity. Otherwise, I see their technological levels as being basically in the same neighborhood.

Take a look at the revised scale below and let me know if you think it works - or how you would modify it to better fit the setting.


  • T+4     The First Ones: 
      • Matter-energy life forms, practical immortality, sentient bio-organic spacecraft, stealthed jumpdrives, Thirdspace technologies
  • T+3:    Children of the First Ones:
      • Bio-organic spacecraft, crysalis bio-modifications, advanced ECM technologies, soul capturing technologies, technomagic
  • T+2:    The Major Powers:
      • Artificial gravity, build and maintain tachyon communications networks, manufacture jumpdrives, manufacture jumpgates
  • T+1:    Minor Powers:
      • Use jumpgates, use tachyon communications networks
  • T 0:     Exploring the System
      • No change from original
  • T-1:     Atomic Power 
      • No change from original
  • T-2:     Industrialization
      • No change from original
  • T-3:     Metallurgy
      • No change from original
  • T-4:     Stone Age
      • No change from original

Monday, January 21, 2013

Space: 1999 - Mission of the Darians

This weekend, I put together the resource list of books, RPGs, TV/movies, and web sites about generation ships for Modiphius Entertainment's forthcoming FATE supplement, Project Generations. One of my re-discoveries in the process was an episode of Space: 1999 called "The  Mission of the Darians". In this episode, a giant space ship - about 50 miles long by 5 miles wide - suddenly appears over Moonbase Alpha, giving off a distress call warning that a great proportion of the space ark's passengers have died.

The Alphans of course fly over to investigate. No suits, no-nothing to protect themselves against whatever caused the disaster and killed most of the crew.  But things are apparently in their favor. No plagues or radiation to ruin their day. They split the party in three, explore a bit, and discover that there are survivors on the ark

In time, the Alphans find the disaster has apparently divided the ship's crew into two populations. Commander Koning and Victor Bergman discover a refined, aristocratic group who control the ship and call themselves Darians (just as the people who launched the ark did). They learn from this group that although the ship has been damaged, it is in fact on course and will reach its intended destination - a new planet to colonize - in 100 years. However, the Darians need supplies and materials to repair their ship; lists are drawn-up so that the Alphans may provide assistance. But there may be other raw materials that the Darians seek from the Alphans...

Meanwhile, the other Alphans exploring the Darian ark discover a second population that has degenerated into bedraggled and dirty cavemen types, roaming the numerous damaged and disused areas of the generation ship.

So here we have a classic generation ship story set-up: a disaster has happened on the ship, and the ship's crew or population have diverged into at least two distinct social groups, at least one of which has "degenerated" into a state of primitivism or barbarism.

As always, it is important to figure out who the real barbarians are in the story.

Watch and discover for yourself...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Leagues of Adventure at Con of the North

At Con of the North next month, I'll be running a two part steampunk adventure using the Ubiquity system game Leagues of Adventure! The game will be from 12-6 PM on Friday, February 15. You can register for either the first two hours of adventure, set in London, or for the four hours of adventure in the New World (and beyond) that follows. Or you can register for both.

To prepare for the adventure, I have been reading posts on Triple Ace Games' LoA forums. From there I re-discovered a link to Victorian Adventure Enthusiast website, which includes a fairly comprehensive list of steampunk and Victorian era/setting RPGs. There are a few recent publications missing from the list, and it looks like the site in general hasn't been updated in about a year. But it is still a very good list.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

HUGE Collection of Starblazer Adventures Magazine Cover Art

...was just posted over on the Monster Brains blog. Seeing so many full color covers in one place is breathtaking. Thanks to Needles of the Swords and Stitchery blog for pointing-out this collection of covers for the comics.

I have never had the chance to look at the magazines that inspired the Starblazer Adventures RPG, although the RPG's cover and GM screen are stupendous and are clearly based on the magazine covers. The approach will be appreciated by fans of the Terran Trade Authority books and by fans of Chris Foss.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Alwyn Campaign

Brother Alwyn Macomber of the Anla'Shok
My friend Rachel invited me over for a Babylon 5 viewing party yesterday, as she has embarked on a reviewing of the entire TV series. We watched the last episode of Season 4, "The Deconstruction of Falling Stars", and the first three episodes of Season 5. Rachel had a great idea for a B5 campaign based on this episode, which I present with some embellishments here.

Cover by George Sottung
First the background. With a strong nod to A Canticle for Liebowitz, the story setting is neo-Feudal Earth in the year 3262; this is 1,000 years after the founding of the Interstellar Alliance. In 2762, a quasi-fascist 1984 newspeak-wielding Earth state precipitated a nuclear war. The resulting Great Burn (for which Mr. Garibaldi bears a certain amount of responsibility) reduced Earth to post-nuclear war ruins, upon which a medieval society with a church once again dominated by Rome is the dominant social force.

Familiar figures from the B5 setting, such as Sheridan, Ivanova, and Lorien are revered as saints. (Does G'Kar finally assume his rightful status as The Green Knight in this setting?) Humans understandably distrust technology, but members of the Anla'Shok or Rangers are hidden among the monastic orders and are gradually reintroducing lost technologies through faked serendipitous "discoveries".

Humanity has apparently been left alone to its own devices on Earth, but the Earthbound Anla'Shok dutifully report-in on their advances and can make requests for material aid from their Ranger comrades in the skies. Their goal is to rebuild the Earth, but also make it a better Earth than the one that was before.

The Alwyn Campaign 

The PCs are a mixed party of Anla'Shok and others seeking to rebuild the Earth and build a better Earth than the one destroyed in the Great Burn. The campaign could be centered on a monastery and its surrounding ruins, or have a more itinerant or even sandbox model. Another idea might be a pilgrimage to Rome, perhaps the order's attempt to convince the church to endorse new discoveries.

"A Prince in Waiting" cover art
by Emanuel Schongut
I would probably use Legends of Anglerre and Starblazer Adventures to run this campaign as the feel would be closer to historical fantasy, with some of the trappings of magic (i.e., Psi powers and some technological artifacts), rather than having an SF feel. There might even be a few aliens here and there, and maybe a sovereign or two under the sway of a Keeper. There could even be a few mutant creatures in the wild areas, although the overall feel of the setting would be more similar to John Christopher's The Sword of the Spirits Trilogy than to Gamma World .

Here's a sample campaign structure:

Current Issue: The Order leaves the monastery. The PCs play itinerant Anla'Shok who wander the ruined Earth disguised as a group of knights, their retainers, and their confessors. They help the communities of the Western Rim Kingdoms on the shores of the Great Dry Ocean, protecting them from barbarian invasions from the Great Dry Ocean, from the depredations of their own feudal lords, and from periodic anti-technological persecutions and witch-hunts by the church, peasants and commoners. Along the way, they scout the ruins from the time of the Great Burn for technologies that can be salvaged to rebuild the Earth.

Impending Issue: A predatory and powerful new alliance invades. Newly unified barbarian chieftains of the Great Dry Ocean invade the lands of the Western Rim Kingdoms. They express the ambition of unifying the Western Rim Kingdoms under the rule of a single great king. The chieftains for the first time have access to ancient and powerful weapons, and are rumored to be in league with devils. They have also begun raiding monasteries in search of prohibited technologies. Most of these acquisitions are being taken to a great fortification deep within the wastes of the Great Dry Ocean. A number of the most insightful and gifted monks are taken there too.

Friday, January 11, 2013

More Playtesting For Project Generations

Last night, we got back into FATE SF gaming, and resumed playtesting for Project Generations! The focus of play, as an evening of rain and ice descended on the Twin Cities, was a space battle over a space ark - a battle fought using the ark's own auxiliary ships.

I used two rows of six index cards to represent the 180 degrees above and below the axis of the cylindrical space ark. The combat was fought using Starblazer Adventures ships, characters, and space combat rules.

I used Star Trek Micromachines to represent the ships involved in the battle. Poker chips were used to designate zones above the nap-of-generation ship zones represented by the index cards.

(And Micromachines are so gloriously not-to-scale! Shuttlecraft are half the size of a Romulan Warbird!)

Detachable plastic ship stands were used to represent the ark's point defense systems, which also tried to get into the action.

The players seemed to have fun, and they gave me some great feedback on the tabletop aspects of running the conflict.

There was a lot of food for thought, including these three questions for you, Dear Reader:
  • What do you feel are the most critical aspects of space combat to represent in an RPG? 
  • What are the most tedious aspects of how space combat gets represented in RPGs?
  • Where have you had a BLAST with space combat in a wargame or RPG?

Kickstarter And Social Responsibility

What are the implications of Kickstarter doing nothing about this?

Kickstarter is being criticized for marketing and distributing a project that is extremely sexist. Right now the debate has been restricted to social media. It is probably only a matter of time before the project and the debate around it reach broader audiences.

People haven't yet asked about the implications of major companies like Amazon and Kickstarter fundraising, marketing, and distributing gaming projects that could be deemed obscene in local communities.

This may all blow over, but it seems to me an opportunity for a couple of things to happen:
  • Kickstarter might want to take a closer look at its vetting process for project proposals
  • Gaming professionals might want to propose some standards for Kickstarter to follow when considering gaming-related project proposals
  • As with socially responsible investing, there are probably some good opportunities here for new enterprises that want to set clearer boundaries around what kinds of projects they will and will not market
Finally, I do wonder how we will break through the current impasse in the debate about this kind of content in tabletop RPG gaming?

The gap between the OSR and other gamers is widening. The debate tends to get framed between defenders of free speech on one side, and proponents of social justice in representation of women, LGBT people, and people of color on the other.

In a liberal democracy like the United States, nobody should really be whining about free speech in art; there is plenty of it. If advocates of free speech really want to defend someone who has exercised his free speech with the utmost social responsibility and at a great personal cost, they should put their money where their mouth is, and do something to support Bradley Manning

Sticking to the idea that any criticism of sexist game art is unfair, undemocratic, somehow intolerant or even censorship is something that will further isolate the OSR from the mainstream in the gaming hobby.

"The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear." -- Antonio Gramsci

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ahistory: An Unauthorized History of Doctor Who

It's not a history of the series. It's the third edition of the history of the Doctor Who universe, a timeline really, a chronology of the Doctor Who universe from the start of time forward to the far, far future. This edition extends time through the first series of the Eleventh Doctor, Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Smith Adventures, the Bernice Summerfield serials, Dalek Empire, the novels, and much, much more. It's 784 pages long including the index - a MAJOR expansion from the first edition.

You can download the Table of Contents and Introduction for the new edition here.

The lead author, Lance Parkin, was a collaborator with Lawrence Miles in creating the whole Faction Paradox experience during the most open and creative period of Doctor Who novelizations. So the Faction Paradox content and spin-offs are in here too.

If you play Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space, you will probably want it. It has helped me situate adventures in the Doctor Who universe and I have discovered numerous things just from perusing the last edition.

When you will have time to read it is another thing. But consider this: you'll have all the time in the universe to get to it!

I am very thankful that we have two wonderful SF bookstores in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. The one I visit most frequently, Uncle Hugo's, carries this book and has an excellent selection of Doctor Who titles. They do mail order too.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fringe's Walter Bishop: What Are His Aspects?

The Fall, I began watching Fringe from both ends simultaneously: watching the new episodes on FOX and the re-runs of the series on the Science Channel on Tuesday nights. It has been quite an exhilarating ride!

I got a "War on Terror" bad vibe when I watched the first five minutes of the pilot so many years ago. It was sufficient to make me stay away from the show for all these years.

Fortunately, I came back. I am very impressed with how the story arc develops. Unlike the X-Files, the meta-narrative in Fringe actually takes you somewhere. And it has a rather somber tone throughout - it is SF tinged by loss, as well as by that old SF-staple, wonder. I think this is the best SF series of the last decade.

Like a lot of Fringe fans, I am pretty interested in the figure at the center of this sorrow: Walter Bishop. He exemplifies one face of the academic-military-industrial complex: He is the face of madness, that hard-to-believe but nevertheless real intersection between military-sponsored research and the counterculture which emerged in the 1960s.

Experimentation with mind altering drugs, brainwashing, remote viewing, and all sorts of other fringe science.

Lack of ethical considerations such as human subjects reviews.

Terrible choices.

Weaponized science.

Weaponized humans.

Defoliants as depopulants.

"We had to destroy the village to save it."

It is all that rational-irrational stuff that started in the mid-20th Century. Over the last month, I have also been watching Oliver Stone's new documentary series on Showtime, The Untold History of the United States. 

It doesn't deal with conspiracies at all; instead Oliver Stone does an amazingly good job relating the history of the Cold War and origins and growth of the national security state. It serves as the perfect complement to the hidden history we see in Fringe.

So, our good friend Walter Bishop. What are his Aspects?

Here's my take FATE Core style, with one Aspect to spare:
  • A Father of Fringe Science (High Concept)
  • No Boundaries, No Limits (Trouble)
  • There is only room for one God in this lab and it isn't yours
  • My son is dying and I won't let that happen again
  • You were our first successful experiment!
  • My assistant's name starts with an "A"...
What Aspects would you choose for Walter Bishop?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

FUDGE Dice Rollers

Image for the Android
FATE Dice Roller

To paraphrase Marx, "It's no accident" that over on G+ I learned about two new dice rollers for use with FATE  in one day - one for Android called FUDGE DICE, and one for the iPad and the iPhone called Fate Dice. This says a lot about peoples' enthusiasm for the new FATE Core system.

The Android app allows you to "pre-adjust" results. In other words, you can add or subtract whole numbers from a range of +1 to +5 (i.e., add a skill value) and -1 to -5 (a penalty) in order to modify the roll (e.g., roll 4dF-1, etc.). You can also add or subtract the number of dF rolled, or even do an averaging roll of 4dF-4dF.

Android's FUDGE Dice roller

The Android app allows for use of both the historical FUDGE and FATE scales. These two ladders are presented as both a word (i.e., Good) and its corresponding numerical value on the FUDGE scale (+1) or typical FATE ladder (e.g., +3).

You need to go use the Preferences menu option of the app to set the descriptors for the numerical scale to either the FATE scale terminology or the FUDGE scale terminology. You can also enter different words for the descriptors if you want to alter the terms used in the ladder.

Android's FUDGE Dice roller,
Preferences menu

The iPad app is less versatile but considerably more straightforward. You can set a skill quality (or just leave it at "Mediocre" aka zero), set +N or -N modifiers to the roll (simulating skills/modifiers), and then you hit the roll button for the results

Fate Dice roller for iPad/iPhone

The app displays the roll as +, -, and blank dice, as well as reporting the result as a descriptor (i.e., "Average" in the picture above) and a numerical result.

Both apps are free. Both work. I think the iPad one is more straightforward for regular use in a FATE game, and the Android version lets you fiddle around with things a bit more (such as modifying the number of FUDGE dice rolled).

I have the first one running on my Samsung Note II and the latter running on my iPad.

I'll probably use both on occasion, but because I run games using Starblazer Adventures and Legends of Anglerre, I also need the an app that can roll the 1d6-1d6 dice combo.

With the Diceonomicon, the premium dice roller for the iPad/iPhone, you get 4DF right out of the box, and you can also program it to roll 1d6-1d6. It costs about $5, still less than or equal in cost to the price you'll pay for most 4DF sets in plastic.

That being said, I like my recently purchased black and white 4DF Deryni Dice sets a lot!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

B'abSpora: B5 Campaigns

"The name of the place is Bablyon 5"

A recent thread about Bablyon 5 on the discussion forums asked whether people have run campaigns in the B5 setting, and if so, what were the kinds of adventures they had run. The thread rekindled my interest in my favorite SF series, and so I thought an occasional series on the Bablyon 5 universe here on FATE SF might be in order.

We're perversely calling this B'abSpora, since in the long-term, I would run such a campaign using Diaspora. However, I think some of the first offerings in this series will be campaign illustrations using FATE Core's Issues-focused Game Creation rules.

Here is an example:

Current Issue: IPX Scouts Everywhere. Having just begun its recovery from the Earth-Minbari War, EarthForce is wary that other threats may be out there. Rather than show-up on their own frontiers in force, EarthForce commissions small "civilian" scout teams to explore outwards in all directions, discovering new worlds and people. Interplanetary Expeditions (IPX) is the official sponsor for these missions.

Impending Issue: Stalked by furtive aliens with hidden agendas. Other races seem to be doing the same thing. The scouts track unknown ships darting in and out of jumpgates, touching down on dead worlds and scouring ancient ruins - even challenging the IPX scouts' rights to be there. Some IPX scout ships are even being followed.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Crocodilian-Humanoid Hybrid Demons

The sorcerer-scholars of the Anapa frequently summon Other-Planar entities to assist with their investigations and experiments. The Anapa also summon demons for the purpose of holding more elevated discourse with entities they deem to be of commensurate intellectual stature to themselves. The manifested state of these other-planar colleagues often resembles a beast-headed human, because the Anapa usually channel the demons into a Crocodilian-humanoid hybrid created within their laboratories.

Crocodilian demons have the ability to summon poisonous snakes and serpents, and to strike with them at their enemies. This power is similar to that of the Pharaohs of Old Earth.

Demons are clever, and more than one of the Anapa have been reminded of that the hard way. They may escape, find ways to subvert the Anapa's other servitors, or even worse, possess an Anapa. Because the Anapa are such solitary creatures, avoiding their own kind, such mishaps often go undetected and can fester on for centuries.

Such demons often find ways to propagate. For this reason, the Empire has on more than one occasion been forced to resort to the Excommunication of contaminated worlds.

The Crocodilian-Humanoid Hybrid described below is an example of the kind of other-planar demon typically summoned by the Anapa; it was built using the Legends of Anglerre RPG, which uses the same implementation of FATE as Starblazer Adventures.


Crocodilian-Humanoid Hybrid Demon (inimical)
Scale 2 (Small)
Physical Stress: 6
Composure Stress: 7
Fate Points: 5

  • Crocodile-headed humanoid demon
  • Strike with serpents like a Pharaoh
  • Alchemy of the Planes Beyond
  • I am the Key to every Gate
  • Servitude is a temporary state
  • 1 Superb (+5): Power of Creatures (Snakes and Serpents)
  • 2 Great (+4): Fists*, Power of Alchemy
  • 3 Good (+3): Artificer, Resolve,  Science
  • 4 Fair (+2): Academics, Alertness, Bite, Intimidation
  • 5 Average (+1): Athletics, Empathy, Endurance, Power of Dimensions, Survival
Monstrous Special Abilities:
  • Call Creature: Snakes and Serpents (Power of Creatures skill, LoA p.123)
  • Change Object (Power of Alchemy skill, LoA p.122)
  • Command Creature: Snakes and Serpents (Power of Creatures skill, LoA p.123)
  • Create Portal (Power of Dimensions skill, LoA p.126)
  • Create Object (Power of Alchemy skill, LoA p.123)
*Used with snake/serpent strikes.

Crocodilian Mummies Of The Anapa

Over millions of years, all manner of Crocodilians have left Earth and made a home on many other worlds. Sometimes this occurred as a result of capture by alien visitors; at other times, the Crocodilians simply migrated due to naturally occurring Earth and Water gates.

On new worlds and in space itself, the Crocodilians continued to evolve, change, or be modified in numerous and surprising ways. They have:
  • Ascended to intelligence;
  • Learned how to make and use tools; 
  • Had their integuments and skeletons modified to incorporate adamantine metals;
  • Transformed into giant or minute sub-species;
  • Cross-bred with intelligent alien reptilian species;
  • Adapted to bipedalism; 
  • Been genengineered for life and predation in zero gravity environments; and
  • Served as hosts by demons and other-planar entitites.
Crocodilians are the ultimate survivors. So it is not surprising that the sorcerer-scientists of the Anapa have often taken an interest in them.  The Anapa have merged Crocodilians with machines (nano- or otherwise), modified their biology for extended lifespans in the thousands of years, imprinted them with souls of the dead, and mummified Crocodilians for unlife as laboratory, temple, and tomb guardians.

One is cautioned to be extremely wary when exploring tombs and ruins on dead worlds. Sometimes beast-mummies and beast-headed statues will rise-up and move when your back is turned.

The Crocodilian described below is a guardian mummy in one of the sanctuaries of the Anapa; it was built using the Legends of Anglerre RPG, which uses the same implementation of FATE as Starblazer Adventures.


Crocodilian Guardian Mummy (inimical)
Scale 2 (Small)
Physical Stress: 7
Composure Stress: 6
Fate Points: 5

  • Guardian mummies of the Anapa
  • The taint of unlife
  • Scaled masters of shadows
  • Its face betrays a malign intelligence
  • Eyes that mesmerize
  • Did it just cry out an alarm?
  • The darkness whorls around it like ancient river mud
  • 1 Superb (+5): Stealth
  • 2 Great (+4): Alertness, Tail
  • 3 Good (+3): Bite, Endurance, Might
  • 4 Fair (+2): Athletics, Intimidation, Power of Domination, Power of Warding
  • 5 Average (+1): Academics, Power of Dimensions, Resolve, Science, Survival
Monstrous Special Abilities: 5
  • In Plain Sight (Stealth stunt, LoA p. 110)
  • Master of Shadows (Stealth stunt, LoA p. 111)
  • Quick Strike (Stealth stunt, LoA p. 111)
  • Shadow Strike (Stealth stunt, LoA p. 111)
  • Vanish (Stealth stunt, LoA p. 111)

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Anapa

Anubis by ~mribby 294

The jackal-headed Anapa are one of the most hated and feared alien races in the galaxy - especially so for a race that is so shrouded in mystery. Nicknamed "Skulkers" and  "Barkers" by some within the Empire, the sorcerer-scientists of the Anapa are masters of unlife and of the transformation of the recently dead. One of their number is said to attend each successive Imperial Sovereign upon their death, preparing them for the afterlife.

Aside from this solemn task, the Anapa are rarely seen. Even more rarely are they detected by other means, as their bodies are highly modified with all sorts of stealth technologies. Some speculate that the Anapa are properly transbiological: that what we see is more of a cybershell for self-aware or ascended software rather than the body of an organic intelligence.

Most Anapa live a solitary existence on cemetery worlds, in catacombs, in lonely and long-abandoned orbitals circling dead worlds, or sheltered within their laboratories within pocket universes of their own making.

In ancient times, the Anapa fought a great, no-quarter-given war against an enigmatic, transplanar species of felids. The felids were fierce rivals, each being able to live simultaneously on entirely different worlds and planes. The Anapans' own numbers were devastated by this great war. They survived by going even deeper underground.

Ultimately, the Anapa and their armies of cyberartificia, flesh golems, and the nanomortified were succeessful in defeating their ancient enemies and in banishing them from this plane. A few brave or foolhardy explorers today search dead worlds to uncover the abandoned laboratories and weapons of the Anapa. The few who return from these expeditions seldom live long. Strange diseases claim them, and their bodies shuffle away of their own accord.

The Anapa below was built using the Legends of Anglerre RPG, a complete fantasy RPG using the Starblazer Adventures implementation of FATE.


Anapa (neutral)

Scale 2 (Small)
Physical Stress: 5
Composure Stress: 6 
Fate Points: 3

  • Masters of death - and unlife
  • Dwellers in the dark spaces 
  • Our vision extends into the Planes Beyond
  • Bleeds circuitry not blood
  • The cats are our ancient enemies
  • 1 Great (+4): Power of Death
  • 2 Good (+3): Academics, Power of Dimensions
  • 3 Fair (+2): Alertness, Intimidate, Science 
  • 4 Average (+1): Fists, Endurance, Guns, Resolve
  • Control Undead (Power of Death skill, LoA p. 124)
  • Create Portal (Power of Dimensions skill, LoA p. 126)
  • Destroy Undead (Power of Death skill, LoA p. 124)
  • Dimensional Casting (Power of Dimensions skill, LoA p. 126)
  • Dimensional Sanctuary (Power of Dimensions skill, LoA p. 125)
  • Raise Lesser Undead (Power of Death skill, LoA p. 125)
  • Raise Greater Undead (Power of Death skill, LoA p. 125)
  • Staff Weapon: The Anapa often have staff weapons that are capable of delivering a directed nanomortification cloud blast at their enemies. Treat as a Gas Grenade (LoA p. 50) except that the weapon releases the nanocloud in a cone reaching into the next Zone.