Wednesday, March 21, 2012

L!UITS! Character

As promised, a L!UITS! Character from our game:

Super Identity: Blue Demon
Secret Identity: Lilith duMons

Background: Jock - Athletics+3, Brawl+2, Overdo+1

Motivation: Justice
Anti-motivation: Privilege
Vulnerability: Love
Traits: Intense, Just, Warm
Edges: None


STR: 4
COOR: 13
AGY: 8
END: 8
CHAR: 13
INT: 10
Lifestyle 4 - Lower Middle Class
Points: 400


Tank Path = 85 pts
Toughness X 15 (Multiply * (STR+COOR+AGY+END) = Constitution - i.e. HP) normal is X 5
Ablative Armor @ +200 Constitution
Damage Reduction = 20

Skill Path = 30 pts
Intensive Training * 3 = Shoot+5, Focus+5, Awareness+3, Athletics+2

Nuke Path = 65 pts
Energy Projection +30 Damage/ Long Range
Super Charisma - 20 Pts Quality per success - normal is 10.

Healer Path = 20
Psyche Heal

Buffer Path = 0

Strange Path = 200
Super Vision
Super Hearing
Super Smell
Super Taste
Super Touch
Stretching to 20 * original length
Disrupt @ -40

Origin Story

Lilith is the daughter of an incubus demon and a mortal, who discovered her powers with maturity. She was offered a chance to join the group by the government and took it. She now only uses her demonic powers in pursuit of justice. All of her powers come from her demonic heritage.

How Powers Work

Energy Projection (Hellfire) uses Shoot
Psyche Heal uses Focus
Stretching uses Athletics
Teleport uses Athletics
Possession uses Focus
Disrupt uses Shoot
Telepathy uses Focus


More on Look! Up In The Sky!

Look! Up In The Sky! - or L!UITS! - is a supers game designed by Klaxon Bowley, my son. It is built under the StarCluster 3 system license, but the system has been extensively reworked. It uses the StarPool D20 dice pool resolution mechanic exclusively, though it probably could be adapted fairly easily to any of the other SC 3 mechanics. Skill numbers have been cut to 24 skills by broadening each until it subsumed the other skills. Skills are still defined from center and overlapping. The skills have a definite comics slant, like Wierdscience, Blow Shit Up, and Shoot.

L!UITS! is an effects-based game. Only the effect of the super power is described. Anything else is description. For example, an Archer character could use a powerful exploding bolt, a Wierdscience guy could use a pressor ray, and a demon could use hellfire; but all of these are functionally the same thing, Energy Projection.

Chargen is pretty simple - you are given a number of points to spend on Attributes, a choice of Backgrounds, and hero points to spend on Powers. Everything is a power in L!UITS!, even skills. If you don't buy skills with your hero points, you are limited to the three skills - one at +3, one at +2, and one at +1 - you get from your background. The amount of hero points you get is determined by the level of the game, which ranges from Pulp and Street Levels to Cosmic and Unlimited.

Powers are divided into Paths. You have to spend at least half your hero points in one Path, but may spend the rest as you like. The Paths are Tank Path, Skill Path, Nuke Path, Healer Path, Buffer Path, and Strange Path. Tank Path is protection, Skill Path is access to skills, Nuke Path is offensive powers, Healer Path is healing, Buffer Path affects others, and Strange Path is odd powers.

All your powers must be tied into your backstory - the backstory must explain why you have these powers, how they are to be described, and why you are using them this way - and to a particular skill in order to use it. Each Super has a Motivation - which gains him a die to his pools while following it - an Anti-Motivation - which looses a die from his pools while following it - and a Vulnerability, which gains you a hero point whenever it is used against you. A Vulnerability can be very personal - like Love or Trust - or it can be external - like Kryptonite. Up to the group how you choose to use it.

I'll post up an example character or two later on.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

L!UITS! Second Session

In our Saturday Look! Up In The Sky! game, one of our players was sick, so we had a smaller than normal group. We started out by finishing up Chargen with creating our trainees. The Trainees were kids who have not yet reached their potential, so we created them on the 200 point Cosmic scale rather than the 400 point Unlimited scale. Cosmic level is about the level of Spiderman or Fantastic Four. Still, that's a bunch of teenagers with tremendous power!

There were three trainee PCs - Doctor Danger, a teenage Weird Science geek, whose powers came from Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde like potions; Mister Awesome, a Strange Path fellow who had super Charisma, spoke with and controlled mammals, fast flight, and other odds and ends; and Black Bolt, a super archer with a hero complex. They were on a run with The Visitor, who was a full member/teacher. The Visitor is invulnerable, and immune to most things. He was also, by choice, silent, and preferred to communicate with gestures.

On their training run, they came across a burning apartment building and The Visitor decided this would be a good training subject. The building was burning from the bottom up, so many folk were gathered on the roof. Doctor Danger drank a potion and flew off with Mr. Awesome to haul people off to safety. Black Bolt ran into the burning building up a fire ladder to the second floor. The Visitor, being invulnerable to fire, ran in through the hottest flames, burning its clothes off in the process, and revealing a smooth androgynous body.

The Visitor, Doctor Danger, and Mister Awesome rescued several people each. After rescuing one pretty young lady from her window, Doctor Danger learned she had left a roommate still inside, so he flew up to her window. hooked his feet into the balcony grate, and stretched into the smoke-filled room, walking on his hands through the apartment. He finally found her by touch in the bathroom, fresh out of the shower, unconscious on the floor.

Now Doc's vulnerability is women. He gets tongue-tied, awkward, and stupid around them. He pulled back violently when he touched her skin, then nerved himself up to wrap her in a towel and carry her out, blushing and trembling all the way. Since he had stretched into the apartment, he could not get lost in the black smoke, as he merely had to shrink to get out. Smart lad!

Mr. Awesome was being interviewed by the local TV station. He spoke at length of his heroic forays into the burning building to rescue people - he had chosen the best looking ladies first - And mentioned his companions in passing. He was a born ratings star.

The Visitor had just rescued an old man in a wheelchair, and had returned into the building - the TV cameras catching it with its back to the outside. Clearing out the second floor, he found Black Bolt collapsed on the floor, hunched over something. Picking the kid up, he found a baby underneath. Both were still alive, but overcome by the smoke. He found the mother dead in a nearby apartment, and took all three out to the waiting firemen and paramedics.

They returned to the HQ afterward, where The Visitor got a reaming out by Captain Steel, the head of the unit. The Visitor had lost control of the trainees, allowing them to do whatever they wished, with one of the trainees almost killed. "You know he has a hero complex, and you knew he was all offense and no defense! Yet you let him go into that burning building by himself!" The Visitor shrugged.

Afterwards he went into the team's locker room, where he met up with the other members: Enchantrix, a powerful witch; Sarge, a super soldier; and Blue Demon, a beautiful escapee from Hell. Banter ensued, and Blue Demon infuriated Enchantrix with her vamping, especially when she teased poor Doc Danger into sputtering immobility.

Captain Steel called them in to give them their mission. An alliance between a Metahuman splinter group in Allston-Brighton and a terrorist cell was developing. A traffic camera had caught a strange occurance linked to this - a man was walking down Washington Street when he staggered, a briefcase appearing in his hand. He continued walking. Slowed down immensely, the camera showed a blurred figure streaking by the man and popping the briefcase into his hand. They could not see the speedster's face, but they got a good look at the walker. They sent his face in for facial recognition scanning.

Sarge growled "Why did it have to be speedsters! I hate speedsters!"

The game was a lot of fun - the bickering of the various characters, the posturings of Mr. Awesome, Doc Danger meeting his nemesis, the female... We laughed a lot, though it wasn't silly. Hard to explain the difference... :D


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Campaign Ends Suddenly - Back to Look! Up In the Sky!

Last Saturday our StarCluster 3 campaign ended a bit early - Exploring an uninhabited system in a string of connected systems resulting from a newly formed/discovered jump line, the group came across mounting evidence that someone had been there recently. A boot print frozen in the mud on the top of a mountain on one world, a locator dropped in a jumble of boulders on another, and finally human remains in the charred ruin of a campsite on yet another. Yet there were no claim bouys, no markers, nothing intentionally left as evidence of a visit.

As they were surveying the jump point for the next jump Saturday, one of them found them. They were heading out to the next system in the chain - in relativistic flight. Either their culture didn't have FTL, or they had a different kind of FTL which required them to accelerate to at least .25C before going FTL. The crew beamed a message laser at their ship and got a heavily dopplered, very time-lagged message back hours later. In a series of such messages, they claimed the whole unoccupied system for their Empire of Worlds, accused the PCs of trespassing, and insisted the PCs' explorer vessel leave immediately.

In a fit of reasoned, intelligent, practical, and thus terribly un-PC-like behavior, the gang jumped back to their home system and warned the SaVaHuTa and DC military about this 'Empire of Worlds' and the arrogant, aggressive behavior of the other ship. Both the DC and SaVaHuTa have an abhorrence of Empire in their core beliefs, and one of the primary duties of both militaries is the suppression of Empire-building. The militaries set out immediately and sent out word for more units. This move caught me totally flat-footed, having expected anything but this! There would be no more exploring until the Military was done with this threat, so the campaign was over.

Since Volant isn't yet playable, we voted to run a playtest of Klax's Look! Up In The Sky! supers game. This is our third playtest, and having played low level and mid level supers, we decided this time we'd run a game at the highest level. We decided that, rather than create a city like we had the first two times, we'd go the Marvel route and use a real city to base in, in this case Boston. We used the city generation system in reverse, to express the real city in game terms, neighborhood by neighborhood.

Then we created our new Association - a US level metahuman police force. We assumed fairly lavish funding, and went to work defining our assets. First off, all the PCs would be sworn in as US Marshals, giving them jurisdictional and arrest powers. The unit is based on a former (and non-existent in RL) secret military base on one of the Harbor Islands. We opted for several platoons of elite military as guards, along with an elite security system. We put in a danger room and the best available databases on every subject. We incorporated a small hospital with a doctor, and healing vats. We picked up some trucks and a fleet of sedans, then got a spaceship, a ship, an airship, and tons of other vehicles. We spent a lot of points on trainees, several of each type, as replacement PCs in case someone goes down, or as sidekicks. It still has no name, but it's ready to run.

Most of us have created at least one PC. The power level is Superman or Batman-esque. I have never done a supers game at this level, and it will be difficult to keep things properly challenging without just throwing equivalent supers at them in endless beatdown battles.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Volant Government Generator

Here's my first pass Government Generator. Roll 1d10 - once for the Form of the government, and once for the Substance - Then try to figure out how it works.

Roll Form Substance
1 Anarchism Aristocracy
2 Chiefdom Matriarchy
3 Monarchy Theocracy
4 Republic Oligarchy
5 Democracy Plutocracy
6 Autocracy Democracy
7 Oligarchy Autocracy
8 Technocracy Kritocracy
9 Theocracy Meritocracy
10 Aristocracy Stratocracy

I will have definitions of all of these, but most are pretty well known except Kritocracy - rule by judges - and Stratocracy - rule by the military.

Comments very welcome!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Nations in Volant


Nations are political entities. A Nation consists of one or more Regions under the same government.

Multi-Region Nations

Regions can be joined together physically, by trimming and binding with cables and chains. After a couple of years, they begin to grow together. By five years, the joint is stable, and not easily broken again.

There are may ways for a Region to be joined to a Nation. A Region may be empty, and claimed by any nation. A Region may be taken by conquest, and joined to another nation by force. An independent National Region may also voluntarily unite with another Nation for many regions - commonality of culture, protection from duress, strong economic ties, and others.

Nations may be made up of any number of regions. To a certain extent, the bigger they are, the safer they are, but big Nations made up of many Regions are like machines with many moving parts. The more parts there are, the higher the chance that one may fail.

Regional Cultures may take much longer to grow together than the physical skylands they are made of. Some never do grow together - sometimes Regions revolt and attempt to separate themselves from their constituent Nations. Other times civil wars can wrack a Nation in two - physically and spiritually.

Thus many Nations prefer their constituent regions to be uniform in culture if possible. This can merely mean they refuse Regions with different cultures admission to their Nation. Other possibilities are cultural pressures to conform, breaking up the troublesome culture with forced resettlement in small pockets among the main culture, even genocide in extreme cases.
Some Nations, however, welcome the diversity of many cultures. Making it work is never easy, but can be accomplished with determination and tolerance.These virtues, of course, have never been distributed in over-abundance among humans, so such places are rare among Nations.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Gaming Genius Award

I finally received my Gaming Genius Award for In Harm's Way: StarCluster today. It came as a certificate, a Golden Pawn, and an explanation of why it took so long to get to me.

Seems they created the physical Golden Pawn award out of Canadian wood, turned and finished in gold flake, with a gold G on one side, and weighted by washers made from US scrap iron on the base - all renewable and recycled, right?

They sent them out, but... no one received them.

Turns out the scrap metal washers contained trace impurities of something else, and that something else caused the Post Office to dump the mail - I don't know what it was, but it was probably XRF analyzers made by the company I work for that found it. They do that...

Anyway, they forgot to mention this to either the sender or receiver, and everyone was left scratching their heads. Eventually, the Gaming Genius Award folks started an inquiry through the Post Office in Canada, and the truth came out. They remade the awards - and checked for trace metals before sending them out.

So I am gleefully holding my award - finally! Now to submit the games I released last year! :D


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Volant - Regions II

Cultural Traits

You may choose various Traits to further define any given culture. Traits can be picked from the example list or crafted by the GM to fit the culture. These Traits are the default Personality Traits for anyone from this culture, though these Traits can vary in individuals.

How many traits for a culture?

Each culture has seven trait points. These are divided up into at least 3 traits, with a maximum of 4 points in any one trait. Example: Standoffish 3, Honorable 2, Prim 2.

How to use traits

Cultural Traits are mostly used as descriptors, but they could be used mechanically, if you see a way to do so - perhaps in warfare, negotiation, or any other culture-wide endeavor. Traits give a bonus to any other action when used, so long as the Trait could believably be of value in that situation..The GM is the sole arbiter of whether a trait is applicable to the situation. Each trait point used adds a bonus to the skill check. Traits are a resource which are used up in play, and are refreshed at the beginning of every game session.

Example Traits

Spacey, Standoffish, Hot-Tempered, Carefree, Sly, Greedy, Glib, Sarcastic, Foul-Mouthed, Argumentative, Sleazy, Methodical, Sloppy, Poker-faced, Pious, Prim, Jumpy, Loyal, Friendly, Motor-mouth, Sweet Disposition, Indecisive, Judgemental, Pompous, Iconoclastic, Arrogant, Studious, Off-Kilter, Laid-Back, Patient, Sour, Upright, Audacious, Meticulous, Boring, Boorish, Dour, Stubborn, Officious, Honorable, Practical, Nefarious, Roguish, Bombastic, Gregarious, Prudish, Inspirational


You may choose various Conditions to further define any given Region. Conditions can be picked from the example list or crafted by the group to fit the Region. These Conditions are the default descriptors for this Region, though these Conditions can vary in different areas - A mountainous Region can have lush valleys, and an arid Region can have pools and intermittent streams - as well as seasonally.

How many Conditions for a Region?

Use your judgement on many you need to describe the Region, but if in doubt, roll a d6

How to use Conditions

Regional Conditions are mostly used as descriptors, but they could be used mechanically, if you have appropriate Edges - perhaps in travelling, survival situations or anywhere the efforts of the PCs are using the physical characteristics of the region, so long as the Edge could believably be of value in that situation.The GM is the sole arbiter of whether an Edge is applicable to the Condition. Each Edge point used adds a Small bonus to the skill check.

Example Conditions

Chilly, Searing, Well-watered, Dusty, Choking, Stinking, Fresh, Inviting, Fetid, Aromatic, Muddy, Windswept, Hardscrabble, Rocky, Flinty, Rolling, Lovely, Wretched, Mountainous, Arid, Hellish, Wet, Allergenic, Polluted, Baking, Populous, Empty, Crowded, Desolate, Heavily-modified, Sculpted, Virgin, Muddy, Jungle-clad, Huge, Beautiful, Harmonious, Cloudy, Rough-hewn, Bitter, Windy, Warm, Flowery, Gaudy, Spicy, Dessicated, Hilly, Deep-cloven, Stony, Wooded, Carved, Eroded, Bushy, Terraced, Wild, Cultivated, Managed, Tended, Rolling, Treeless, Grassy, Narrow, Broad, Ridged

Volant - Regions I

Taking a look at creating Regions in Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone.


Each Region will have Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral Resources. A region can be Mountanous, Fertile, Arid, or Mixed.
Mountainous Regions
Mountainous Regions produce 3 Mineral, 2 Vegetable, and 1 Animal Resource Points.
Fertile Regions
Fertile Regions produce 3 Vegetable, 2 Animal, and 1 Mineral Resource Points.
Arid Regions
Arid Regions produce 3 Animal, 2 Mineral, and 1 Vegetable Resource Points.
Mixed Regions
Mixed Regions produce 2 Animal, 2 Vegetable, and 2 Mineral Resource Points.
To find out what your Region Produces, you can roll on the Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral Resource Tables, select from the tables, or come up with your own.


Each Region has a variable number of cities in it. Large Regions have 6 City Points, Medium Regions have 4 City Points, and Small regions have 2 City Points. You can use these points to purchase Cities. You can have multiples of the same size of City.
A Large City costs 3 City Points and produces a Tertiary manufactured Good. Large Cities may also produce Great Ships.
A Medium City costs 2 City Points and produces a Secondary Manufactured Good. Medium Cities may also produce Large Ships.
A Small City costs 1 City Point, and produces a Primary Manufactured Good. Small Cities may also produce Small Ships.

Manufactured Goods

Decide what the manufactured goods are based on your Regional resources - for example, from sheep, one can manufacture Preserved Meats (Tertiary), Wool Clothing (Secondary), or Wool Cloth (Primary).
Primary Goods
Primary Goods require access to three resources to produce, whether through the Region’s own resources, or through trade.
Secondary Goods
Secondary Goods require access to two resources to produce, whether through the Region’s own resources, or through trade.
Tertiary Goods
Primary Goods require access to one resource to produce, whether through the Region’s own resources, or through trade.