Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Elizabethan Supers

Prepping to run the first game of an Elizabethan Supers game this Sunday! Our Roos and Ruins (StarCluster 4 - Out of the Ruins) game that just ended was consistently fun, absorbing, exciting, though provoking, and all around amazing from start to finish! Perhaps the finest roleplaying campaign I have ever run, and I can only hope this one is half as good!

The setting for this game is England in 1560, 2 years after the accession of Elizabeth I to the throne. We have established some changes in history, though! An alien ship crashed on earth in 1000 AD, with the survivors making their way to earth in escape pods. The plagues were alien diseases that humans had no resistance to. Supers began popping up after that. Was it alien DNA? Reactions to the plagues? Radiation from the crashed ship causing mutations? All of the above? We are mapping that out now!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Central access to my Music on Youtube

All five of my albums are now available on Youtube. link: Clash Bowley - Topic

or search for '"clash bowley" topic'

My first album was Greatest Hits 2018-2018 and it's a bit of a mess, but I chalk it up to a learning experience!
Then came Rockets and Dreams, where I started to apply what I had learned and began developing a musical style
Kaiju Love which came after that was, I think, my first good album, and the first totally in my new style
Then came the two latest albums, released the same day:
Plush Universe is more traditional, more rock, somewhere between Strange Attractor and Kaiju Love
In Strange Attractor I am more modern in approach, and more stripped down


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Weirder Stuff II

Ran my first session of Weirder Stuff (The totally not Stranger Things game) tonight with my face to face gang, and it went REALLY well! Chargen was a snap, and we were right into the game! Weird-ass shaved head kid shows up in the tree fort of some kids in a town in Colorado at the start of the summer vacation. They are all 11-12 year old boys, and she is a spooky bald girl with a number tattooed on her arm. Weird shit happens, and they decide she can live in their tree fort for now. They enlist one of the boy's twin sister, who lends her some clothes. Just some great roleplaying! And my beautiful 18 year old kitty Athena died just before play. She has been going, slipping for a year or so no, and this last four days we knew she was going. No pain, just not eating and barely drinking, getting weaker and sleepier. The last of the players arrived in time to sit with her and pet her before she went. She has been showered with love the last few days, more even than normal! I miss her terribly!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Designing for Maintenance

Colonization of space will have one side effect I don't see talked about much. There will be a paradigm shift away from disposable technology and towards more flexible, repairable, repurposable technology. If your microwave oven dies now, or your inkjet printer, or your smoothie blender, getting it repaired would be inconcievable. These devices are too cheap to repair, and are designed to be thrown away. The labor costs of repair would be a significant fraction of their cost new, and it isn't worth the bother. They aren't designed to be repaired. Components are integrated, the innards are inaccessible, and the places they are made are not the places they are sold.

This is a recipe for disaster in space! Technology will have to be designed to be easily accessible by techs, rather than designed for efficiency of manufacture. Components will need to be genericized, not only so that fewer spares need to be carried, but so that less essential devices can be cannibalized in favor of repairing essential devices, if necessary. Upgrades should be on the component level rather than the unit level. Then the old component can be kept as a spare. Devices would need to be larger, though not necessarily much more massive. Most of the size difference will be in access space or accessible mounting.

Displays and input should be transparently shared and redirectable. Data needs easy rerouting, so that one computing device can double as another in a pinch. Damage control and repair need to be top priorities when a ship is millions of kilometers from the nearest source of parts!

Friday, August 2, 2019

Weirder Stuff

Klax and I hammered out a Stranger Things game Tuesday night. You can be a Kid, Teen, or Adult. Chargen is a snap. Light game, but looks deep enough to support long-ish campaign arcs. Not sure if I want to put this out for sale, but it certainly will do for me to run some stuff! Of course we were working with a system, but still, two hours of work just nailed it.

Kids get the Kid package which gives them their base attributes; then pick one background, which gives them two positive Edges and one negative; then pick one interest which gives them three skills, one at rank +3, one at rank +2, and one at rank +1; then pick one hobby which gives them another positive Edge. Roll a d10 for each attribute to see how it varies from the norm, and they are done

Teens have their own attribute package, and get an extra hobby. Adults have their own attribute package, and get an extra hobby and an extra interest

There is a special Background (Confined) and Interest (Test Subject) for psions. They get three negative Edges and no positive from their background, no hobby, and get three psionic skills, one at rank +3, one at rank +2, and one at rank+1. This is to reflect their utter lack of normal upbringing.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

StarCluster 4 - In The Beginning and The Great Game

Working on implementing the changes suggested by the Beta testers for StarCluster 4 - In The Beginning and The Great Game! So far the great majority of suggestions have to do with changes to components and/or procedures. For example, the game board in The Great Game is gone, replaced by separate tiles, connected in when the proper time comes. The Colony Status Markers and Power Status Markers are also very different from before, so that they are visually distinctive even while printing in gray scale as well as being simpler to read. A big thank you goes to our playtesters! We are awaiting final word from our last playtester, who was a bit delayed, and once we have implemented the changes recommended, we will be releasing both games! They will be available both separately and together.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Military Armor and Absorbing Damage

I am going to use the simple damage mechanic I used in StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World, a Sword & Planet/Planetary Romance game I released a couple years ago. Unlike standard StarCluster 4 damage, you don't add a damage modifier which varies by weapon to the successes you roll. Also in standard SC 4 there are a varying number of from 1 to 8 damage boxes on each Attribute - the higher the attribute, the more boxes are open - with a final Condition box which affects that Attribute when all boxes are full, and which will not heal normally over time, but needs medical treatment. Here is a SC4 standard character sheet:

The In Harm's Way - StarCluster 4 character sheet will have only the condition box after each Attribute, meaning characters cannot soak the damage they receive in combat under their Attributes. Here is a In Harm's Way - StarCluster 4 character sheet for reference:

Why did I do this this way? Because military weapons are MORE damaging! A hit from a Ma Deuce will sever - or rather explode - a limb, a head, or blow your viscera out, and the Ma Deuce is 100 years old. And I doubled down for realism. Heavy Weapons like the Ma Deuce inflict TWO boxes of damage per success, which means four successes on a single round form a M2 will inflict 8 boxes of damage on an unprotected body, filling every damage box in one hit. The future military we are addressing will have to absorb - soak - that damage elsewhere. The body can't take it. The result is the vastly upgraded military armor system. Here is a sample Military Armor from IHW - SC4:

Note that this is fairly light armor for a scout, geared especially for sensory input and communication. Firstly, any weapon has to penetrate the armor in order to do any damage. It then has five boxes available that can be absorbed without compromising the armor in any way. Note there are a maximum of 16 of these hit soaks for any armor. After those five boxes, the character can assign damage to internal systems as they choose, as well as their own body boxes. There are 9 boxes available after the first five on this armor, one to a system. Programs, Sensors, Comms, Power, Power Assisted Endurance, Power Assisted Agility, Seals, Mobility Extras, and the Autodoc. Each hit on these nine boxes degrades the suit, destroying one feature with each hit. The suits auto doc has automatic tourniquets on limbs, automatic drug injections, and other abilities to increase survivability. If the suit has an AI, it could decide to knock out the character and bring the character back alive to increase survival rates. At any rate the autodoc monitors the character's vitals and deploys automatically if needed! Here is a heavy armor for shock troops:

Note the very different emphasis. Each armor suit is designed to a particular set of needs to the limit of available technology. Also armor can link to various robots to multiply firepower or mobility or carrying capacity as needed.

Military armor is keyed to an individual, and can only work for that individual unless reset. Communication is of course heavily coded! Note power taps for energy based weapons so you need not carry power sources other than the suit's power pak.