Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Drug-like Temporal Effects in StarCluster 4 - All Out Of Time

I had an idea. Drug-like Temporal Effects. These would be short term effects created by 'injecting' tailored time crystals. They work through a replacement for PSI - Temporal Affinity or something. I am thinking Norns, and trained non-Norns, would be able to experiment with this directly by injecting the raw material and using Skill+TA. Untrained people can use the commercial DTEs below at the cost of one point of TA per dose. I say 'injecting' but what you are really doing is shining a bright light through the crystal at yourself. It just looks like an injection.

Some ideas:

Refresh - Accelerates your aging by one day instantly, refreshing you and healing any damage boxes.
Rewind - Allows you to examine your short term memory in great detail.
Stop - 1 day stasis, to help in medical emergencies.
If - Examine probabilities to predict the future. Time covered is directly proportional to uncertainty.
Dredge - Works like Rewind on long term memories, but with the addendum that Long term memories get more mythologized with every passing year.
Slow - Speeds perception to slow the passage of time. Does not speed the body, but does acquire many details. You can hurt yourself trying to react to what you can perceive

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Platas in StarCluster 4 - All Out Of Time

Platas are a squat, powerful species. They are preferential swimmers, but can walk easily. Their hands and feet are half-webbed. They are culturally explorers, thrill seekers. They like to find new and interesting things. They have chromatophores in their skins, allowing them to change colors and patterns, which they can use to communicate silently as well as match their backgrounds - or just because it looks cool.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The StarCluster 4 - All Out Of Time setting - a Fading Star Empire

Problem - Because of the way "FTL" works, Military ships sent out would arrive at their destination as fragile ancient ships, no longer up up to military needs. Too many faults, too much corrosion, too many weaknesses. Result - lots of small, local star empires.

The First Emperor had the idea to send out ships which were Mobile Robotic Construction Yards (MeRCY). They would construct a flotilla in transit in the last few years before arrival in the new system, giving them essentially new ships on arrival.

The new empire was called the Wavefront Empire, as it expanded in a wave front from the initial source, the capital. The MeRCYs dropped into their new system, the system was conquered, the MeRCY created a copy of itself and a new force was raised and trained in the capital, and everything was sent off to the next system, where the process was repeated.

The trouble came because the people of the capital were a limited commodity. They were thoroughly indoctrinated in the way of the Empire, but there were only so many of them. Eventually, as the empire expanded, important systems nearer the heart began filling military slots with locals, making them more responsive to local needs than Imperial needs. The assault forces began to be raised in long-conquered back areas of the Empire.

The longer a system was in the Wavefront Empire, the more it was trusted, all things being equal. The more it was trusted, the less brutal the occupying force, and thus the more potential for hidden agencies and corruption. Bits of the Empire began breaking away. Situation now - Empire trying to keep central concepts going, while empire continues to decentralize.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Phanes in StarCluster 4 - All Out Of Time

Along with the Norns, the Phanes are a species in StarCluster 4 - All Out Of Time. Phanes are a long limbed human-descended people. They are covered in soft, plush fur, and have translucent membranes stretched between their wrists and ankles. They can glide on these membranes like a flying squirrel.

Because of these membranes, wearing clothing is awkward for Phanes. They are - aside from their membranes - covered in fur, so modesty is not a pressing concern. Humans find them very attractive, and in mixed species planets they tend to be actors, models, politicians, and the like, where they have a long leg up.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Norns in StarCluster 4 - All Out of Time

Here is the Norn Species from StarCLuster 4 - All Out Of Time. Norns are a species descended from humans, but modified to work with time crystals. As time crystals grow very slowly in the dark on rogue planets, far away from any sun, and infused with dark matter, Norns are mostly blind, but have heightened senses of hearing, touch, and smell.

Norns are small and hairless, with large pale eyes. They make things from time crystals they have grown on their dark worlds - temporal shields, "FTL drives", solar sails, and other invaluable mechanisms. They live communally in a swarm, sleeping together in a pile. They have names, and they sometimes live among other people for a while, so they are not helpless without other Norns, but they tend to attach themselves to others, sharing everything with them.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

New Damage Apportioning System for StarCluster - All Out Of Time and Beyond

Some changes in damage apportioning for StarCluster 4 - All Out Of Time. I really liked some aspects of the changes I made specifically for Sabre & Planet, but other aspects of that system would not work as well in other settings, so I combined the standard SC 4 damage-handling system with the one I used in S&W. It has what I think of as the best of both methods, so I will be using it from now on in most new games, and I will be offering it in a Toolbox.

Attached is the upper left corner of the new character sheet. You set it up the same as standard SC4 - take your attribute score (say 11) divide it by two and round up (6) and black out the damage boxes until only that number is open - so for this example of the 8 boxes available, 6 would be left open and two blacked out.

In play, for each point of damage, you check off a damage box until all of the damage boxes for one attribute are checked. Once all the boxes are checked for that attribute, you check the Status box at the end - i.e for STR, the status box is Strained. This means you have stained some muscles, and until you get this fixed, you operate at a Large penalty for any check related to this attribute.

So if you are using the StarPool resolution system, and you have Strained checked, you would lose two dice (the Large penalty for StarPool) for any STR-related skill check.

Damage boxes heal naturally over time, but Status Boxes need medical attention and treatment to heal. You can still use the alternate Attribute Pool or 3 Status box (Hindered/Wounded/Stunned) methods if you prefer them. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

StarCluster 4 - All Out Of Time

I have begun work on a new StarCluster 4 game, as was broadly hinted in my last post. I'm calling it StarCluster 4 - All Out Of Time, because all the major techs depend on time manipulation, like the STL FTL ship in the last post. Combat uses temporal shields, which are 0.1 micron thick, and slow down 3 million times anything that tries to penetrate them. Bullets bounce off them, and so do lasers as the shields are almost perfectly reflective. But sharp things can be pushed through, like a stick through tar. Hte gaulntleds are worn because you can grab the pointy sticks and push them away with your gauntleted hand.

The shields originate from the off-hand gauntlet,and completely protect from the front, half from the sides, and not at all from behind. Since they are almost perfectly reflective, you can't see through them, which means the user must pulse them off and back on in order to see.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The STL FTL Ship!

Klaxon and Albert have had a wonderful idea for our next StarCluster incarnation! The interstellar ships have no FTL, and travel under STL - low percentage of c, a hundred years in flight - but the ship is also simultaneously going back in time, so it arrives after that hundred years at about the same time it left the other system.

You leave System A and everyone, crew and passengers, goes under into cold sleep. Next thing you know you are waking, shivering and puking, tended by the non-sapient robots who have run the ship the last 155 years, in system B. The ship is old and dishevelled, dirty in the corners. The owners scrimped on the maintenance bots, and parts of the ship don't work right. Before the ship flies again, it will have to be refurbished - or maybe even junked. The rich guy looks suave and sleek! He and his wives and husband brought their own Stasis pods, and it was blink your eyes in System A, and you are in system B! You wish you could afford the mcguffinite needed to run a stasis pod!


Monday, April 3, 2017

Sabre & World Hijinks

We are having such a good time with our Sabre & World game! The group is trying their hands at tomb robbing. and are right now befuddled by the Wall of Sand. They don't understand why it is there, and because of this, they can't let it go or get past it. They know the Spinner killed half the last party who tried to rob this tomb, and they know kind of where the Spinner is, but they don't have any idea what it is.

Beau is definitely courting Bahama in his slow, shy way. He gave her flowers and stammered something, and blushed at a kiss on the cheek in thanks. Bahama and Cash cheerfully trade insults, and Brett has been thoughtful and kind. It's a really good group!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Radioactive Decay and the Paractical Explorer

My Sunday IRC game is really taking on a life of its own. It's a StarCluster 4 - Out of the Ruins game, where the PCs are members of a bootleg scouting expedition, exploring a nearby star system while the Church's official expedition tries to pull itself together. They have already located at least two habitable worlds as moons of a gas giant, though possibly marginal, and have also located traces of the Eldar! A communications satellite and a weapons satellite, in the centers of impact craters on some icy gas giant moons in the outer system. Judging by the ratio of P239 to daughter products, if the weapons load was pure plutonium, the Eldar left something like 175 thousand years ago. This approximately confirms the time the Groar geneticist has estimated judging by genetic drift in the Bintaur, who were made by the Eldar. If the weapon were partially U235, however, that would screw up everything, as U235 is the major daughter product of p239 decay. Yes, my Sunday games frequently turn on just such a thing! Why?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


I've been busy running Sabre and Planet for my face to face group, and it has been a blast! Four Louisianan Civil War re-enactors run through the woods near Port Jackson, and suddenly, they aren't in Louisiana any more! Beau, Cash, Brett, and Bahama are suddenly on their own in a new world where nothing they know is valuable outside their skills. They have black powder muskets and revolvers but precious little ammo. Their smart phones are only kept alive because Brett had a solar charger, and there is no way to use them as phones now anyway. Just the apps and stuff actually on their phones can be used.

They have rousted some nasty monsters out of a ruined castle on a lake, and are trying to make friends with the nearby villagers. How can they fix up this mess of a castle with trees growing through it? How can they earn the money to pay for the improvements they need? Will Beau and Bahama hook up? And what about the families they left behind?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Gravity Train Redux

Remember that "Gravity Train" concept? Good news - it's thoroughly practical. Bad news - NASA already thought of it! Here is a study on using just such a device to induce hypergravity on earth: NASA PAPER

In it is a mention of a study done by NASA in 1975: "In the 1975 NASA study, "Space Settlements: A Design Study,” an orbiting space settlement capable of supporting a population of ten thousand is described in detail. The orbiting space settlement envisioned in this study is shown in Fig. 5. In this design, the 1790m diameter space station wheel rotates at 1 RPM inside a non-rotating ring shield to produce 1g at the wheel rim bottom. The wheel rim modules can be viewed as train cars running on a circular track in which the track is the ring shield."

So that's that. Yes, it is practical, but I was not the first to think of it. I still intend to offer this as an option in my games, but I don't get to name it! :D

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Join the Gravity Train!

So, I had an idea. I am asking my scientific friends have you ever seen anything like this? It's a different approach to the classic rotating habitation ring for starships. Refer to the following utterly unscaled schematic. Comments would really be amazing, people! :D

The Bowley-Bailey Gravity Train

The Track Ring contains three maglev tracks on the inside. It is oriented in a plane perpendicular to the thrust, and connected to the ship by cables fore and aft in a cross-braced pattern like a wire car wheel. The fore maglev track contains a single/two train(s) - single if it goes all the way around, double if not, with the trains 180 degrees apart. the train(s) on this track go either clockwise or counter clockwise at a speed calculated to give sufficient centrifugal gravity for sustained healthy living on the floor of the train at a ring diameter of x. The aft track holds an identical set up, with the cars running in the direction opposite to that on the fore track.

The center track holds a small train, the Sync Car. This car is designed to match speeds with either of the other two trains, and lock in with a side air lock, so that passengers can move between the main train and Sync Car at speed. When the passengers are set, the Sync Car slows down and joins airlocks with a spur - the Fixed Station - coming out from the ship just far enough to reach the top of the Sync Car. The Fixed Station is under micro-G (except under thrust) like the rest of the ship, including the Sync Car when it is stationary. The Sync Car would have a left and right airlock, to join with either of the main trains, but the top airlock would be part of the Fixed Station

Note that the Ring should be of sufficient diameter (x) that the coriolis effect will not be too noticeable, and that the Gravity Train cars can be of whatever width and height gives sufficient internal area and volume for living and working space, and may be of more than one level. The two main trains rotate in different directions to counter torque, with the movements of the small Sync Car compensated for as necessary. It would be possible to run the two trains as different shifts, as required.

I came up with the main features of the design, with my writing partner Albert Bailey suggesting the cable bracing. It LOOKS like it should work! It is more flexible and simpler than a hub-and-spoke rotating section, with the airlocks being the biggest wear points, as there are no bearing surfaces. It runs in a vacuum, so there is no air resistance, and would be cold enough to use superconductors for maximum energy efficiency.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

9 Months, Nine Role-Playing Games!

Since July 2017, nine games in nine months, five new games, four new editions.

Since July 2017, nine support products in nine months.

All SF Games...

I don't think anyone has ever done anything like this before! Not bad for a one man outfit!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

StarCluater 4 - Sabre & World Released

Just released - StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World, a Sword and Planet game using the StarCluster 4 system.

StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World is a role-playing game based on the classic Sword and Planet sub-genre of Science Fiction novels. These started over a hundred years ago with Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series, which had a recent movie released based on it.

In these books, people from Earth are somehow transported to a different world, where there are other people who look very much like us with minor differences. These books are full of adventure and discovery, and are great fun to read.

Sabre & World helps you create your own Sword and Planet world to adventure in, where you and your gaming group play characters from Earth or natives to this world, human or not so human! Enjoy!

Sabre & World is available in print from Lulu and in pdf from One Bookshelf and Precis Intermedia.

Master Plays - Jedi Dice Tricks

Here's my latest thing for StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World: Master Plays. If your character has a mastery (Rank +5) in any skill specialty, now tou can play Jedi Dice tricks!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sabre & World Cover

Finished the cover for StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World. Comments?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Sabre & World Maps

I have been working feverishly on StarCluater 4 - Sabre & World lately. Here are some map symbols to use when generating setting - I will have an example setting I am creating for my alpha testers in the final book, but the tools to generate your own are there:

Here is the map to the StarCluster 4 - Sabre and World example setting I created. Generating maps this way takes no cartographic talent! It's not super pretty, but it is super effective. This was generated spatially by rolling how far from center the location/symbol was on percentile dice. My players specified they wanted a world where the default was Forest/Wilderness.

Alternatively, you can generate the locations/components that the symbols represent, and place them where appropriate on a satelite photo or topological map from someplace on earth. Whatever is fast and easy!

Here is an example of a pre-existing topo map (Mount Marcy Area of New York) with StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World symbols placed logically, rather than randomly placing the symbols and creating a map from the result. People might prefer either way, so have at it! The map source is given - US Geologic Survey.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Putting Sabre & World Together

This is the hard part. I'm trying to pull Sabre & World together, and I need all new Skill Trees. There is very little in common between Sabre & World and anything else I have written for StarCluster 4, so the skill trees are all new. I'm in the middle of creating them now. If I ever do another setting like this, though, I can reuse a bunch! well, hopefully! :D

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ram Jet

This is an old song, from 1977. This song has no redeeming social value... :D

Ram Jet

Copyright 2017 by clash bowley


Screech round the bend, darlin', hang on the curves

We're gonna ride out this feelin' for all it deserves

Roll to the left Darlin', lean to the right

We're gonna ram like a jet through the star spangled night



Ram Jet - lke some kinda rocket machine

Power like you only had in your dreams

Shoot like a star through the indigo blue

Me on the inside and outside of you


Climb on the back darlin', hold on my hand

We're gonna dive through that hole in the rainbow white band

Take it in deep, darlin', take it on long

A dip in the waters of darkness will make you so strong




Take it on right babe! Take it on high

Know that the juices of lovin' will never run dry

Take in on right, darlin', take it on home

Know that the force of my lovin' is yours all alone



Ram Jet - lke some kinda rocket machine

Power like you only had in your dreams

Shoot like a star through the indigo blue

Me on the inside and outside of you



Wednesday, February 8, 2017


Here's my newest song - written this October. It's a song from the viewpoint of Drop Troopers - elite spec ops who drop from orbit onto a planet wearing grav-chutes to capture special objectives. In In Harm's Way: StarCluster, all spec ops start as Drop Troopers.


copyright 2016 by clash bowley  

Bam, bam, bam! Feel those retro-rockets slam!

Bam, bam, bam! Feel those retro-rockets slam!

Hot damn, all right! And it's planetfall tonight!

Hot damn, all right! It's a planetfall tonight!


My baby she drives in the Space Patrol

She'd rather drive than to save her soul


Zing, zing, zing! Hear that atmosphere just sing!

Zing, zing, zing! Hear that atmosphere just sing!

Screech and howl, we're goin' on a prowl!

Screech and howl, we're goin' on a prowl!


Ooooh yeah! Get a little juice down.

Burn burn burn burn burn! Til we're headed into town.

Ooooh yeah! 'Til we get a lock down.

And we're headed back up and around and around and around.


My baby she drives in the Space Patrol

She'd rather drive than to save her soul


Boom, boom, boom! We're riding to our doom!

Boom, boom, boom! We're riding to our doom!

Well now that's alright! We're at home in the night!

Well now that's alright! We're at home in the night!


My baby she drives in the Space Patrol

She'd rather drive than to save her soul


Sunday, February 5, 2017

In the Garden

This song was actually written in-character by an NPC in our High Strung game. It is sung from the viewpoint of Eve. It's a love song and a religious song at the same time.

In the Garden

copyright 2016 by clash bowley


In the garden of pure delight

We were walking through a waterfall of light

There was springtime all around

Birds were waking, a kaleidoscope of sound


Baby I hear you call and walk before I crawl

Baby won't you follow through the garden with me?

Baby can't you see? I'm on my bended knee

Baby won't you dance on through the garden with me

C'mon let's dance


In the garden of love and joy

We were talking, just a girl and just a boy

There was magic in the air

There was heaven in the scent caught in your hair



In the garden of secret fire

We were trembling on the edge of our desire

We were caught up In the glow

And we made love in the petals of the roses



White Lines and the Will

Here's a new song. It dates from August of last year. It's called White Lines and the Will, and it would make a fine C&W song. :D https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0MttZrl0EeeZDlGNk54QjhtbUk

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Space Love

I wrote some of the lyrics of this for my Cold Space game, but the music is all new, the first I had written on my new guitar. It switches between my normal register and my lower register in the mid-8. When I record this for real, the low part will continue throughout the mid-8, with the higher voice over it.

Space Love

Big Space Liner, Asteroid Miner. Guess which one's goin' to lose?

Cosmic diciples, Laser-gun rifles, all come to spread the news

Off on a comet, Want to get on it? Wish you would come aboard

See you on the Trivox, meet you on the slidewalks, keep you from bein' so bored!

Split the Skies with your ion jets

Do you love me? I'll lay my bets

When you come kiss me, it's just like in a movie, you're my leading lady love

When we hold each other, never want another, we fit like hand into glove

I'm a lonely star pilot, come to cause a riot, look for my lovely girl

Then when I find you, I'm gonna space and time you, gonna set us both in a whirl

Split the Skies with your ion jets

Do you love me? I'll lay my bets

Big orbit baby, free-fallin' lady, do you want your rocket man?

I love you only, you bought and sold me, kiss you whenever I can

I'm a lonely star pilot, come to cause a riot, look for my lovely girl

Then when I find you, I'm gonna space and time you, gonna set us both in a whirl

Split the Skies with your ion jets

Do you love me? I'll lay my bets


No Green, No Envy

This song was a collaboration between myself and my old drummer, Angelo Aversa, back in 1975 or so. The words are Angelo's and the music is mine.

No Green, No Envy

Copyright 2017 by clash bowley and Angelo Aversa

No green, no envy - Ahh! That ain't what she said

She said "Won't you come up into my apartment? I'm going to bed"

"You can walk if you want but take on my advice, won't you... tantalize your mind with me?"

Baby. Maybe. Yeah. Hey hey hey hey!

I said "Baby, maybe... yeah!"

No blue, no heaven - Ahh! That ain't what she meant

She said "You're welcome any time of the day or night! Just pitch a tent"

"You can walk if you want but take on my advice, won't you... tantalize your mind with me?"

Baby. Maybe. Yeah. Hey hey hey hey!

I said "Baby, maybe... yeah!"

No red, no rainbow - Ahh! That ain't what she done

She said "I'm ready to pick a partner, honey, but you're not the one"

"You can walk if you want but take on my advice, won't you... tantalize your mind with me?"

Baby. Maybe. Yeah. Hey hey hey hey!

I said "Baby, maybe... yeah!"


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Summer Never Comes

Here's a new song. I wrote it in 2006 as part of the FTL Now roleplaying game. The lyrics are there in the game, which was a device I also used in the Cold Space game which preceded FTL Now, and is set in the same universe. It's set on earth after the comet hit New York harbor and caused a nuclear winter where it didn't completely destroy everything.

Summer Never Comes copyright 2016 clash bowley

Everyone's walkin' in white, y'see that

Everything's all covered in snow

Everybody's trading in hate, y'know that

They're all gettin' ready to go

All the snow

Fallin' down

On the dead

In this town

I'm gettin' too ragged to roll

Summer never comes


Shot another man in the back one mornin'

Ate him for twenty-one days

Carried his meat in a sack forever

Carry him now in my brain

It's so cold

On this road

And this horror

Is my load

I'm gettin' too ragged to roll

Summer never comes


I've eaten everything that moves, and then some

Eaten anything not nailed down

Rather eat a rat than get laid, I tell you

Did that in some Michigan town

It's so cold

I'm not proud

Teeth just chatter

Right out loud

I'm gettin' too ragged to roll

Summer never comes



Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Martian Rock

This song is a Bo Diddly beat, which is always fun! It was written for my Cold Space RPG, but I've changed the lyrics since.

The Martian Rock Copyright 2017 clash bowley

Whenever I see that Martian Sun I wanna take out my laser gun Poppin’ off Greenies one by one! Shootin’ Greenies is so much fun!

(Chorus) Do the Rock, Do the Rock, Do the Martian Rock Do the Rock, Do the Rock, Do the Martian Rock

Whenever I see that Martian sand I feel my laser in my hand Greenies crawlin’ after me! Shoot ‘em down, one-two-three!

(Chorus) Do the Rock, Do the Rock, Do the Martian Rock Do the Rock, Do the Rock, Do the Martian Rock

Whenever I wear my wartime boots I see them Greenies and start to shoot A night on the town and we're feelin' fine Boy we had ourselves a time

(Chorus) Do the Rock, Do the Rock, Do the Martian Rock Do the Rock, Do the Rock, Do the Martian Rock


Swim Sheba

This song uses my lower register. I never used to sing in this range. It's a fast 6/8 with lyrics from a post apocalyptic future, specifically my game FTL Now.

Swim Sheba Copyright 2017 clash bowley

Salt Liquor! It tastes of the best and it makes you so wild Oooh, Sheba! Nothin', never never nothin's gonna get you so high Cry Tiger! Take a little sip and, take a little sip and Poor baby! Lost off the bridge let the wind take your cry And she sings!

Cool Lucy! She got in her hand a smooth nylon rope Cha cha Charlie! Sheba's long gone and you ain't got no hope Swim Sheba! Gotta make it fast now, gotta make it fast now Poor baby! Wolves on the street and they come at a lope And they sing!

Cool Lucy! Ooh ohh little darlin', it's the best of your life Swim Sheba! Swallow the sewers, you swallow your pride Go Sheba! Gotta get ahold now, gotta get ahold now Poor baby! Sharks in the water they come at a glide And they sing!


The Last Romantic

I just recorded a crap straight version of one of my songs, The Last Romantic - just one track, amp down to like 1.5 to avoid clipping, no enhancements whatever. Enjoy!

The Last Romantic Copyright 2016 clash bowley

Hang on down the Moebius Strip ah Joe hands me a beer an' I take a sip Wishin' and a-hopin' of just bein' with you Thinkin' 'bout the things that we'd say an' do (Chorus)

Now I see you step into your Z-16 An' the man that's with you babe does he look mean Well he don't scare me with that evil glance 'Cause I'd kick his head in if I got the chance (Chorus)

(Mid 8)

Now I see you step into your Z-16 An' the man that's with you babe does he look mean Well he don't scare me with that evil glance 'Cause I'd kick his head in if I got the chance (Chorus)

Well Joe he said you know an' I said I knew That I'd have to be be a billionare babe to buy a night with you He got his rockets babe but I got my dreams An' things ain't always y'know what they seem

Chorus: 'Cuz I'd walk all the wway to Singapore T' be with you babe right at your door Oooh I'm sufferin' babe whay can't you see? Oh sweet lord I'm in Misery Misery I'm in mis-mis-mis-mis-mis-mis-misery


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Twice the Helkaraxe!

Currently, both my Saturday face-to-face group and my Sunday IRC groups are in Helkaraxe! The Sunday group was not unexpected, as it was this group, with their exploration-on-a-shoestring concept that made me realize i needed something like Helkaraxe in the first place! Their ship - a big old former military ship - couldn't generate enough Thrust Units to exit either solar system and enter the other. They had to either get a newer, more powerful ship, or I had to create Helkaraxe. Helkaraxe is a rogue gas giant with eight moons - some of them planet sized, and all ice-covered - outside either system, and the negligible cost to enter and exit makes it a natural place for a gas station or four. By refueling at Helkaraxe, they would have enough Thrust Units to brake into the new, unexplored Numenor system. They chose to keep their big old ship - because potential problems! - and go through Helkaraxe! Yay!

Above is a schematic of their ship, an ancient Bintaur Pregnant Pause vessel. The two arms at the front each carry an arc-segment shaped living quarters, rotating to give spin gravity. The rest of the ship is under microgravity except when under thrust.

Now the Saturday group was a different story! They are not explorers, but technology hunters, and were focusing on the former Eldar world of Varda in the Manwe system. the Eldar left Varda long ago, and in the meantime, it cooled and in undergoing glaciation. The tech hunters - operating under Church licenses - look for Eldar Tech left behind, in pockets of unglaciated land or sea. They had just completed a very profitable job on a pocket kept warm geothermally in the northern areas normally fully glaciated, and were looking for a new place without so much competition. One of them thought if Helkaraxe was known to the Eldar, maybe they built there, and looking through the legendaria decided they very well may have. Unlike Varda, without a sun, the ice on Helkaraxe's moons is stable, at liquid helium temperatures, and does not move, unlike the glaciers of Varda. If they built on the ice, it should still be there!

With that, they formed a new company - or rather, since they are an autonomous branch of Wayland-Yutani, they created a shell business unit, ostensibly a mining and prospecting organization, and purchased the new supplies - equipment to survive in the utter cold and complete dark of Helkaraxe - through it. This was to deceive any other tech hunters who might be watching them after their big success. There is plenty of mining being done in Helkaraxe, wo they would not raise any alarms there. Then they renamed their ship and transferred ownership to the shell company. Next week they will be in Helkaraxe!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Gaming in Helkaraxe

A great game today for Out of the Ruins! The group reached Helkaraxe from Valinor in order to refuel for their attempt at jumping to Numenor, a never before explored star system. Helkaraxe is a rogue gas giant about 4 LY from Valinor with eight icy moons and four stations.

There is no sun for Helkaraxe and the planet and moons are visible only as black silhouettes against the dusting of stars, like the illo below. After being warned that gazing into the dark has bad effect - leading in some cases to catatonia, four PCs tried it, and two got caught.

The balance was spent trying to get then to WANT to come out of it! They were shot full of adrenaline and packed in ice, coddled and strapped down. Some really terrific roleplaying from my Sunday gang! Thank you all guys!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Aerodromes/Aeries and Swamps for Sabre and World

Finished my last setting creation table for StarCluster 4 - Sabre and World, and it may be the best yet! :D

"Yes, yes ... soon my minions shall launch their Thorium Fliers from the Temple of Flight and crush those swamp dwelling Crustacean Men of the Floating City forever!!" - Brian Isikoff

"An ancient ruin clings to a crumbling mountainside shelf where gaping worm tunnels burrow deep into the stone. Below stretches a floodplain inhabited by devolved ancients squirming in quicksand pools rife with near sentient molds dreaming of potentialities unclean." - Alan Kellogg

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Factions for StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World

Factions - generally speaking i hate factions in an RPG. They always seem arbitrary and pointless, and usually are cartoonish. But I do like the idea of there being factions in the world, because that's politics, and that's real. Here is my implementation of them in Sabre & World...

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Helkaraxe Released!

Just released! A supplement for StarCluster 4 - Out of the Ruins


Helkaraxe, a bridge of ice from Manwe to Valinor and back, for those who do not have the ships to make it

Helkaraxe, A place of utter dark, black on black, shades on shades, where the only light is from stars and stations

Helkaraxe, the ultimate freedom and the ultimate opportunity, the ultimate frivolity and the ultimate prison

Helkaraxe, where Morgoth Bauglir whispers into your soul

In Print from Lulu: http://www.lulu.com/shop/clash-bowley-and-klaxon-bowley/starcluster-4-out-of-the-ruins-helkaraxe/paperback/product-23014037.html

As PDF From OBS: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/202149/StarCluster-4--Out-of-the-Ruins-Helkaraxe?manufacturers_id=111

As PDF From Precis International: http://www.pigames.net/store/product_info.php?products_id=858