Monday, May 28, 2012

Last Call for Print Copies of Neoclassical Geek Revival

So by the end of the month I will finish taking orders for a hard cover copy of NGR until the next printing.  If you have been sitting on the fence let me know ASAP.  I will be following up to confirm with everyone who has already expressed interest, and then it is off to the printers.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Minor Organizations

So previously I covered the major organizations,  but there are a few minor organizations that players will probably come in contact fairly frequently:   The Teamsters, Appleseeds and various Fundamentalists.

The Teamsters
  There is quite a bit of cargo being hauled around between Serv populated worlds,  when the supersized cargo-haulers aren't loaded with goods for the federated worlds nor resupplying the front lines they take side jobs bebopping between worlds trading goods that "fell off the cargo bay".   Being a teamster barely pays for room and board on the ships, unless you are corrupt.  There are a great many wealthy teamsters. Picture the Nostromo or Red Dwarf except with Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force as the captain.  These are the teamsters.  They do not control all traffic; there are a great many freelance captains running small vessels.  There are also many retired teamsters running cargo ships that the corporation has officially "Safely Decommissioned" once they started falling apart and emitting mildly dangerous levels of radiation.  While no Serv really has the education needed to understand how the engines, star lane drives or grav stabilizers work,  many teamsters have a rote knowledge of what pre-made parts go where and what damaged parts look like.

"I guess I could smuggle yooz guys on board, buuuut I don't feel like getting off my ass so hide you self and leave the money in my locker".

The Appleseeds
  Most people call them Appleseeds,  especially those who wish to be called "eco-poets".  There are two main varieties of Appleseeds that are easily distinguised by how they react to being called Appleseeds.   Those who react indignantly tend to be younger, pretentious beatniks who see themselves as artists in the greatest medium of all Life itself.  They tend to be mocked endlessly in a cruel and demeaning fashion by most Servs. Those who react with a chuckle and a "far out man" tend to be in their golden years, stereotypical aging hippies who zone out and talk about the great mother nature.  They tend to also be mocked endlessly but in a far more patronizing and almost protective fashion.   Given the botched terraforming that is characteristic of so many worlds, and the ridiculously low biodiversity on almost every world,  the Appleseeds are generally tolerated though subject to scrutiny.  The poorer ones travel around their own world, attempting to find barren lifeless areas and carefully cultivate ecosystems with the hope that they will spread to the surrounding area.  The wealthier or luckier ones tend to have ramshackle ships stuffed to the gills with boxes of seeds, potted plants and animals in poorly secured cages that scream constantly.   They travel world to world,  trading seeds and breeding pairs with local Appleseeds (or taking and leaving samples by hand if there isn't one).  They seek to spread as much varied animal life between worlds,  taking donations from the local populace or engaging in sales.  In a world without rubber trees the introduction of the plant will have a big impact on local industry.  This sometimes leads to the unfortunate accidents that sometimes befall Appleseeds as they piss off the wrong local robber baron.   Other times they seek to introduce animals that are nothing but pests or worse dangers, to the local population.  The constabulary and or local lynch mobs take a dim view on this.  Still,  the Appleseeds do have a large impact on individual worlds and are a good source of coin for starting interplanetary traders.

"I am an artist, the very world we sit on is my canvas!"  "Ok groovy you know?"

The Fundamentalists
  The Rupert-Furlcorp systems are full of scarcely populated, isolated planets that are incredibly backward technologically. While corporate sponsored religion does exist among the Servs (though carefully monitored),  sometimes federated citizens who believe in violent or obscure versions of major religions will trespass and sneak into the myriad of near empty worlds to set up shop.  Unmolested for decades they may found their own squatter nations or kingdoms and believe themselves above all law.  Worse to the corporate bottom line, they often bring local serv populations into the fold.   As many of them are citizens,  orbital carpet bombardment is illegal lest the corporation be sued by relatives inside the federation.  Apprehension and expulsion from corporate lands will often be rewarded by the corporation with federation credits..enough to buy citizenship for the lucky servs involved.
  "The sacred light of the Hale-Bopp has indicated that here is where we shall settle and build a shimmering New Des Moines to last for ten thousand years!"

So while these organizations may not come up much for a simple Dungeon Crawl, they could still be important to PC plans.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Equipment and Contraband

One thing I had mentioned in the last post is that fire-arms are tightly regulated and controlled. In a game beyond a dungeoncrawl it would mean getting fake papers or contacting a black market dealer to get good firearms.

But as a dungeon crawl this will probably mean reduced social conflicts for bard's to shine. So in this case to purchase certain items you will either need the proper authorization _or_ have a high presence. That will represent having the influence to sweet talk the corrupt local constabulary.

Most gear should be assumed to be things available in the early 20th century (hovering around 1930's) with some outlier back and forwards in time.   Hemp rope,  electric flashlights but also alcohol (instead of kerosene) lamps, steel crowbars and tin toolboxes full of screw drivers.

A note about fire-arms.  To add more flavour and variance (should it be wished),  the ammunition a gun uses and the fire-arm itself are separated in terms of effects.   So you might have a medium weapon (2 dots in inventory, medium range) that fires large, devastating ammunition (d12 damage, -2 to hit).  In this case a sawed off shotgun.  The "infective" tag has been brought from melee to missile, and the rifled tag added as an option (basically the pole weapon, except for missile ranges).

Common Civilian Items

Crowbar $75
Knife $5
50ft Rope  $15
Small Toolkit  $80
Bulky Flashlight  $100
Lantern $25
Bolt Cutters  $250.  Requires a presence of 0 or construction license
2ft Chain $24
Padlock  $10
Leather Jacket (Light Armour, Partial) - $30
Hat $5
Stetson  $25
 Leather cap $15
Rat Rifle  (Medium, Rifled.  uses light rounds) $250 requires a presence of 1 or rural address
10 Light Rounds (Small, Ineffective) $2 requires a presence of 1 or rural address
Flamethrower (Uses cone spell, 25 fuel/mana in tank, up to PL 3) requires presence of 3 or farming license
Fuel (5) $1
Double Barrel Shotgun (Large, Repeating, Complicated, 2 shot magazine, uses Shells) $500 requires a presence of 2 or ranching license.
5 shells (Large, Devastating) $2 requires a presence of 3 or ranching license.
Hunting Rifle (Large, Rifled, Repeating, Complicated,3 shot magazine, uses rifle rounds) $1500 requires a presence of 2 , rebel membership or a hunting license.
10 Rifle Rounds (Large) $2 requires a presence of 3 or a hunting license.
Elephant Gun (Large, Rifled, Complicated, uses big rounds) $8000 requires a presence of 5 or an elephant herder license
1 Big Round (Large, Size modifier 2) $5 requires a presence of 5 or an elephant herder license
Stick of Dynomite (Blast 8) $50 requires a presence of 5 or a construction license

Rebel Items (presence costs can be substituted for Rebel Membership)

Snub Revolver (Small, Complicated Repeating, 5 shot magazine, uses light rounds) $100 requires a presence of 1
Owen Gun  (Medium, Repeating, Burst, 30 shot magazine, uses light rounds) $500 requires a presence of 3
DP1928 (Large, Repeating, Burst, 52 shot magazine, uses rifle rounds) $5000 requires a presence of 5
Pipe Bomb (Blast 3) $20 requires a presence of 2
Bayonet $15 requires a presence of 1

Constabulary Items (presence costs can be substituted with Constabulary Membership)

Handcuffs $25 requires a presence of 1
Trained Attack Dog $2400 requires a presence of 1
10 Pistol Rounds (small) $5 requires a presence of 2
C96 Pistol  (Small, Repeating, 12 shot magazine, uses pistol round) $250 requires a presence of 2
Sten Gun (Medium, Repeating, Burst, 30 shot magazine, uses pistol rounds) $750 requires a presence of 4
Pump Action Shotgun (Large, Repeating, Complicated) 5 shot magazine, uses shells) $1200 requires a presence of 3
Riot Helmet (Full Helm) $50 requires a presence of 2
Riot Shield (Large Tower Shield) $50 requires a presence of 2
Riot armour (Light, Bulky) $100 requires a presence of 2
Cannister Launcher (Large, Complicated) $1200 requires a presence of 5
Explosive Cannister (Blast 3) $10 requires a presence of 5
Rifle Scope (Ignore range penalties) $1000 requires a presence of 5

Militia Items (presence costs can be substituted with Militia Membership)

10 Heavy Pistol rounds (Small, Devastating) $20 requires a presence of 5
10 Carbine Rounds (Medium) $5 requires a presence of 4
Steel Helmet $20 requires a presence of 4
AK-47 (Large, Repeating, Optional Burst, Rifled, 30 round magazine, uses Carbine Rounds) $5000 requires a presence of 4
Officer's .45 (Small, Repeating, 7 round magazine, uses Heavy Pistol Rounds) $2000, requires a presence of 5
MG42 (Large, Repeating, Rifled, Complicated, Burst, uses rifle rounds, belt fed) $10,000 requires a presence of 6.
Stick Grenade (Blast 4, throwing) $35, requires a presence of 5.
Panzerfaust (Large, Size Modifier 4, d12 damage, -2 to hit) $1000 requires a presence of 7.
Tha' Fifty (Large, Repeating, Rifled, Complicated, Burst, uses Big Rounds, 250 round magazine) $45,000
Gemini Space Suit (Counts a medium armour and full helm, damaged if used to avoid damage) $10,000 requires a presence of 5.

A brief overview of the common organizations in the corporate systems

Standardization is a big part of society in the Rupert-Furlcorp Systems.  Poverty and corrupt bureaucracy are the other two major components.  The corporation itself has a large contingent of high tech security guards under its payroll,  the pinkertons.   They almost never show up, and if they do you probably won't live through it.  So we won't focus on them.

Most of the corporations control is handled through the constabulary and the militia.  So who are these organizations?

The Constabulary
  These are the police,  more specifically these are the police of Vichy France.  They run the civic administration of settlements and are easily bribed.  The constabulary should be seen as petty, vindictive, cowardly and full of a false sense of self worth.  Firearms are tightly controlled and regulated, only given out on an as needed basis with proper licensing and registration.  This allows the constabulary to be even bigger petulant dicks.  Usually the side arm they carry is enough,  but they do have some bigger guns back at the station should the need arise.
"Papers Please"

The Militia
  The Corporation is required by law to ensure each planet is defended with a competent local self defence force in case the war should reach this area.   The armies of federated humanity are in glorious power armour and carry high powered lasers on their hover carriers. That would be expensive to manufacture and leave behind on each world.  The corporation had its lawyers redefine competent.   The militia is thus armed with weapons from old earth templates designed to be reliable and require little maintenance.   A large mix of Soviet cold war and WWII weapons are used by slackers and wannabe tyrants wearing the most effective armour their budget allows:  Green shirts.   The militia doesn't actually have any administrative power but they are outside the power of the constabulary, and they are much better armed.  Tensions between the two groups is pretty common.   To envision the militia,  picture the Latin American soviet backed forces from every 80's movie.
"You, nice watch, give it here. Don't you see this uniform?"

The Rebels
   This life is obviously harsh.  People rebel and that rebellion has been simmering for over 20 years, flaring up in locations.  Armed with either the scant civilian weapons or rugged designs made with hand tools in small hidden shacks.  They do have a presence in space,  but mostly in the realm of smuggling vessels.  They are looking to overthrow corporate ownership and create a new Marxist union.  The Viet Cong or the Chinese communist forces on the long march are good visual examples to look at.  They tend to be zealous,  merciless and incredibly single-minded.
"Not one step backward! Cowards are traitors to the cause! Forward!"

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hog-Swamp: A backwater world

Hog-Swamp is a small rocky world, abandoned by the mining fleets some 60 years ago.  Its gravity was boosted, an atmosphere was applied.   So in that regards terraforming stuck pretty well.

Half the planet is a morass of toxic water a few inches deep amidst collasal rubble and slag from mining.  Nothing but algae, moss and lichen with the odd insect.

much of the rest of the planet is the great plain.  Mostly smooth with collasal chunks of detris strewn about in great cubes.  Vast perfectly rectangular chasms periodically dot the land where great scoops were taken from the planet.   Terraforming for plant life was somewhat successful here.  The landscape is covered in grass,  though the maple trees large failed to take hold (barring a handful in the shadow of collasal piles of rubble).   Juniper bushes spread from birds are the only real vegetation aside from the grass, moss and lichen.   Still there is plenty of life in these arid planes.   Floppy eared bunnies, rats, chickens, cats and dogs.  Great swarms of flies, bees, and crawling vermin that escaped the mining ships.

But most of the people live in the crater.  A vast depression where most of the "rivers" flow, a giant swamp the size of France.   Shallow water with a few lakes,  mounds of silted mud held strong with crab grass, apple trees and spruce.  Dense bushes of wild hemp and juniper give habitat to the truly vast swarms of pigs that are the mainstay of the local economy.  They farm a bit,  corn, celery, onions... but mostly it is pig hunting.  Makes up most of the exports since the elephant population escaped in the rebellion.

Still,  biodiversity is comically low and a local "Appleseed" has set up shop on the only remaining settlement around the spaceport.  He'll pay good script for a few more species to introduce,  provided the local corrupt constabulary doesn't think it will interfere with his profits.  It is still a largely empty planet,  perhaps as little as 60,000 souls to the millions of pigs.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Rupert-Furlcorp Systems

This is the sci-fi setting I run in NGR.

The bustling worlds of the federated humanity stretch across tens of thousands of worlds.  Wonders of technology,  large starships boasting impressive lasers patrol the naturally occurring wormholes that make interstellar travel possible.  The worlds are covered with great cities of white bubbles and towers, filled with scientists and artists in a constant state of luxury in their single piece unitards and personal holo-display computers.

Players do not live here.

There is a war on the fringes with a terrifying and powerful ancient elder race that seems to be able to build its own wormholes.  Great wars that devastate planets, C-Beams glistening off the tanhauser gate,   vast armadas battle against shielded arks of an ancient and inscrutable enemy in a never-ending wave.

Players do not live here either.

The fuel this opulent society, and maintain this massive war requires resources.  The Rupert-Furlcorp business entity was granted license to strip mine an isolated wing of the galaxy, tethered to the greater systems by a single star lane.  Secure, the corporation extracts everything of value in great mining fleets that swarm over dozens of uninhabited worlds and pick them clean like vultures on a corpse,  channelling the materials  back to the federated worlds.

Players live near here.

After these worlds are left as husks, in exchange for exclusive mining rights,  the minimum level of effort required to terraform these worlds are made, to eventually expand the region into more worlds for humanity.  Often large portions of the terraforming fail,  and biodiversity (other than on a few show worlds) is ridiculously low.  A few pre-packaged species and whatever grew from the trash the miners left behind.

Some of this trash includes convicts, orphans and people who owe credits.  Over the last century and a half these populations have become the service industry for the corporation.   All of the planets, and everything these individuals forge from them, are corporate property.  But they work in the service industry,  growing crops and doing other such work.   They are however only paid in corporate script, and as such can never pay the measly credits required to register as a citizen in the federation.   In essence, these "Serv's" are destined to be permanent property in the Rupert-Furlcorp systems.   They have their own society,  some rebel, some form their own internal industries,  some are paid to maintain order (again in company script) in the constabulary or the legally mandated militia the company must provide.

They do not have laser weapons, or high tech medicine,  they have a series of the cheapest and most rugged designs the Company had on file,  mixed with left over garbage from the mining that no one truly understands.   So while star ships move cattle, grain and lumber from one world to another with ease, no one actually knows how to build a replacement.

This is where the players live.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sci-Fi and NGR

One thing I built specifically into NGR was its ability to work well in a sci-fi game, and I have my own "mud and despair" sci-fi universe I like to putter around in.

The only changes I really make are let players know there is no mana, no magic and no piety.  As such they probably don't want to be part wizard or priest. Well, they may put a pie piece or two in priest so long as they know it will be really reduced in impact as it will not be supernaturally backed.  This isn't so much a change as just letting players know a setting limitation.  You could still be a full wizard,  I'd just be a crap GM if I didn't warn players.

The second is an optional change for when the guns come out.  Technically this isn't really needed,  NGR will handle guns just fine.  I simply like it to add some variation.

 In terms of guns (and not melee weapons),   "Slash/Pierce/Blunt" are replaced with "Bullets/Lasers/Explosives".   So a rifle would have its die size increased by one, a laser would do repeating damage and explosive weapons would be more likely to cause criticals.

Technology can still use the spell templates fairly well, as if magic items.  A flame thrower is just a magic item with the "Cone" template spell, a grenade using "Blast" etc.  This makes it very easy to stat up such things on the fly, rather than needing to do a lot of work ahead of time.

The luck point mechanic, combined with  the implied naval rules, handles space combat, cloaking and the like exceedingly well.

So I will definitely be running a Sci-fi,  "Dungeon Crawl" (Space Hulk style) game on G+ soon, and will be posting more about the setting.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Neoclassical Geek Revival 2012 Printing Sign-Up

So I believe I finally have a print ready version of Neoclassical Geek Revival for 2012.  Much like last years printing I will only be making a print run of hard cover bound books, on nice paper with silk ribbons, the whole nine yards.

See here for last years print copy.

So now is the time to sign up for a copy,  once I get enough interest for the minimum printing I will let everyone know, confirm mailing address and ship them out.

The cost is about $30 materials and $10-$20 for shipping depending on where in the world you live.

To sign-up for a print copy follow these steps:

1.)  Fire me an email to "Liberinterdico" at Google's mail provider, include your mailing address
2.)  I will respond by acknowledging your request,  sending you a pdf copy and getting a rough estimate of shipping costs and time.
3.)  Confirm at that point that you still have interest
4.) I will then mail you a copy (when it comes in),  when you receive it, confirm it is in good order.
5.) I blow the fabulous money on materials and shipping, should I have anything left over, I drop it into the local Tim Horton's kid's camp box.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

From Hell's Legion: The Secrets

Yin blew dust off the ancient clay tablet, and read aloud its ancient text by flickering candle light, his stuttering monotone accompanied by the slow and steady drip of water from the cavern above.  "On the 37th day of the alignment of the monkey, a comet arced across the night sky, that is all it says".

Zhe reacted angrily, a flush of red crossing his face. "My men and I have fought for three months to locate this cave, to clear its guardians and ransack this lousy crate, and you tell me I have done all this for a lousy riddle?  There is no treasure?"  His men grumbled behind him.

Yin was nervous about responding, for he was certain this was no riddle.  For some reason these ancient peoples had felt the need to both record this information for all time, as well ensure no one knew it, there was no sense in getting killed over it however.  "We should go back to town, I can attempt to decipher this riddle there, it is probably a treasure map".  This seemed to placate Zhe's men, who were already muttering the riddle, trying to discern its reasoning.

Deep below them, the dust of a dozen millennia crumbled off a sleeping figure. Dozens of feet long,  its armoured carapace seemed to pulse with a faint blue glow.  It had the body of a giant centipede,  but its head was like that of a lamprey,  with dozens of long needle-like tongues lashing back and forth as it sampled the strings of time and space that vibrated around it.  It began crawling,  slowly at first,  but soon it was moving faster than any horse, faster than a thrown spear.  It was heading to town.

Mankind's great sense of wonder and curiosity is sometimes seen as a great virtue.  But the high bureaucrat reminds all denizens of these lands that faith is a virtue, and this curiosity is a sin that leads to wrath as sure as any other.  A peasant should not seek to know more than he needs to know about his harvest, a soldier should not busy his mind with the purpose of his orders, and a king should not investigate the lives of his peasants.   Those alchemists, sages and doctors who seek to bring enlightenment to the Kingdom of Balance may have good intention,  but they will only bring ruin to the great harmony.   Deep in the earth lie the ancient beasts from before mankind, servants of the ruinous powers,  created by the lurker at the threshold.   These creatures are spoken of in hushed tones simply as "The Secrets".   Each one has long lain dormant, forced to dream of the toils of mortals, unable to lash out at the world.  Each of these beings is tied to a single scrap of knowledge, and they are powerless to act so long as no one living holds the knowledge.  But those doctors, those sages, those unholy meddlers who seek to bring enlightenment often raise these foul beasts from the cthonian depths that bind them.  These creatures wreak great swathes of destruction, slaying without mercy.  Each time they are felled, another rises from the depths to take its place.   The only way to stop these creatures is to slay all who know the secret that animates them, and bury the knowledge in an inanimate object.  So long as the knowledge slumbers, so too will the creature who thrives off of it.

From Hell's Legion: The men in the mirror

Antonio waved around his sword in a frenzy,  his brow dripping as much sweat as blood "Show yourself!".   His brother Augusto lay dead on the table, the flickering torchlight highlighting the pooling blood with an almost steady rhythm. 
  With a sharp pain in his calf Antonio swung around to face nothing once more.  He could feel blood pouring down his leg "Have I gone mad?".   It was then that Antonio spied the mirror above the wash basin.  He could see a pale man of exquisite dress circling him in the reflection, a laugh swelled in his stomach and he cried out 'Perseus shall show me the way fiend!'.
  Antonio's calf screamed in pain as he leaped to grab the mirror and swiveled it to face his attacker.  The last thing he saw was the point of a rapier coming from within the mirror into his brain.  "I smell burnt toast..."

The dreaded men in the mirror, servants of Belial.  Often mistaken for vampires, these undead spirits are but mere reflections of who they were in life.  That is not a metaphor,  they are literally reflections.  These beings inhabit the mirror universes,  but are freed from their counterpart in this world.   As such, when this demon lunges at a mirrored surface his will not bounce off of his counterpart, and will instead pass through to the alternate plane.  The men in the mirror are thus able to climb through a mirror and slay their victims.  Their preferred method of murder however,  is to wait until their target is reflected upon something and to kill their target's reflection.  The injuries suffered by the target's reflection seem to mirror over to the target themselves.  If the men in the mirror have one weakness it is their fear of being caught in a mirror without anything for it to reflect.  Each mirror is its own universe, extending to only what is reflected upon it.