Thursday, May 27, 2010

StarCluster 3E: Company HQs

Available company HQs for SC 3E:

A base on the surface of an asteroid, self-sufficient for 25, with Small Craft Dock.
A warehouse in an on-world city, with delivery vehicle.
Small Station
A Small Space Station, in solar orbit, self sufficient for 50, with Small Ship Dock.
A partially destroyed and derelict ship in solar orbit, Self-sufficient for 10.
Corporate HQ
A large building with office space for 150, outside an on-world city/
Secret Base
A hidden base dug into an asteroid or moon, self sufficient for 20.
A share on a space station, with quarters and offices for 30.
A small world - moon or dwarf planet - with a base self sufficient for 500, a landing area and pressurized hangers for three Small Ships.
A laboratory on-world, in or near a city, with lab space and offices for 30.
Mfg Plant
A factory, on or off-world, with robotic machinery, industrial nanovats, and work areas for 20
Creative and recording equipment for Trivox games and entertainment.
60-100 Ton Small Craft
101-250 Ton Small Ship
251-600 Ton Small Ship
750-1000 Ton Medium Ship
Wilderness Estate
Estate in the wild, far from civilization, self sufficient for 80, with landing area and hanger for one Small Ship.
An independent City-State under the control of the company, with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, located on-world.
An independent City-State under the control of the company, with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants, located in stellar orbit.
Rural Retreat
A rustic camp in the country, isolated from easy access, with facilities for 30.
Hollowed Mountain/Asteroid
A mountain or asteroid hollowed out inside, self sufficient for 2500, with 3 docks for Medium and Small Ships, and Small Craft
A tall building with thousands of workers, located in a large city.
Floating Tower
As Skyscraper, but floating on permanent A-Grav, with a fusion power plant.
Grav Modified Asteroid
An asteroid whose surface has been fitted with grav plates to retain a breathable atmosphere, with the plates possibly covered with soil and plant life.
Undersea Habitat
A bubble city with thousands of inhabitants, self-sufficient from aquaculture.
Island Base
A base self sufficient for 500, built on and under a remote island.
Suburban Office Complex
A building complex with office space for hundreds of workers.
Spaceport Terminal
A terminal building at a major spaceport, with shops, restaurants, and bars for thousands of people.
A small shuttleport, usually in a remore area, with hangers for 5 Small Ships.
Bolt Hole
A hidden emergency base in an asteroid or moon, self sufficient for 5.
A large building for religious devotion, able to accomodate hundreds.
A building complex with classrooms, lecture halls, dorms, cafeterias, and laboratories, with fusion power.plant.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

StarCluster 3 - progress report 2

I'm working now on setting up the player characters' company. The company headquarters can be anything from a derelict spaceship in orbit to a whole dwarf planet or moon. Here's where you buy spaceships, laboratories, agents, and whatever other assets your company needs.

I've also got the preliminary cover done:

I'll be away in Prague this week, so if I don't post, don't worry. :D


Monday, May 24, 2010

Outremer: The Principality of Rhodes

Rhodes is the last remnant of the Latin Empire of Constantinople formed in the Fourth Crusade. Rhodes is a sea power, and the Rhodian galleys are a powerful force in the Mediterranean. Its trading ships are everywhere in the eastern Med, as ubiquitous as Venetian or Turkish traders.

With the fall of Byzantium to the Turks in 1453, much of the Christian nobility - and many sacred relics - escaped to Rhodes. As a frequent ally of the Othmanli Turks, the Rhodians were perfectly placed to offer safe sanctuary to the fleeing Byzantines, who brought sought-after skills and much treasure with them. Now, having lived in Rhodes for over a century, they are well integrated into the social fabric.

There are a great number of churches in the City of Rhodes, Latin and Orthodox, and even a couple of mosques. Each church has a relic of some sort, most by way of Byzantium. In addition to the usual saints' bones and such, in various churches of Rhodes are splinters and nails of the True Cross, the Crown of Thorns, the lancehead dug up in Antioch during the first crusade and assumed to be the lance of Longinus, the Veil of Veronica, and the Holy Shroud. Rhodes is therefore a target of pilgrimage from everywhere in Europe. Immense sums of money are brought by these pilgrims, most of whom go on to Galilee and Jerusalem.

The city of Rhodes itself is a great seaport, and heavily fortified, with massive walls and great guns from Europe and Acre. The fortifications mostly encircle the main harbor as well as the city itself. The city is crowded and teeming, with Greeks, Byzantines, Turks, Armenians, Italians, and the native Rhodian Latins all with separate quarters. The Exchange, located on the waterfront, is a bustling trade entrepot, with goods from Malta to Jerusalem passing through. The Rhodian Latin aristocracy have long had villas scattered over the island as well as town houses in the city, and wealthy members of the other cultures have copied this fashion.

Kos is much like Rhodes, but somewhat smaller, and with a correspondingly larger naval contingent. It too has a fairly exensive hinterland, and great families of several different cultures. The Naval base is the main center for the Rhodian Navy, even larger than that of Rhodes itself.

Scarpanto, or as the Greeks call it, Carpathos, is a more bucolic city, though like all Rhodian cities it is a trading center. Scarpanto's lifestyle is more languid and less frenetic than that of Rhodes or Kos, and natives of Scarpanto are thought to be slow by Rhodian or Kosian natives.

Castelrosso lies far to the east of Rhodes. This city thrives on coastwise trade with the Turks, Armenia, Cyprus, and Antioch. It was purchased from the Turks early on, and the population is overshelmingly Rhodian Latin, unlike the other cities of the Principality. An enormous rose-red castle overlooks the city and its twin harbors, giving its name to the city itself.


Example Alien - StarCluster 3E

Example Alien
This is just an example of how you can create your own aliens tailored for your Cluster.
We roll a 12. The alien is a Carnivore.
We roll a 14. They are Horse-sized. Pretty large!
Body Covering:
We roll a 13. They are covered in Fur.
Average Attributes:
We need to roll for each attribute separately.
We roll a 16 for 8.
We roll a 16 again for another 8.
We roll a 19 for a 10. Excellent! It moves well.
We roll a 16 for another 8.
We roll a 21 for 11. Humans see this creature as very attractive.
We roll a 13 for 6. Moderately smart, too.
We’ll switch tables for rolling PSI and Luck. We roll a 23 for a PSI of 5. This species is powerfully psionic!
We roll a 15 for a LUCK of 2. Quite lucky!
We roll a 22 for Divided Tentacle - DT. This alien has an average COOR of 5, so let’s give it 3 divisions of its tentacles.
A 7. The alien moves on its Tentacles. That is interesting with an AGY of 10!
Life Cycle
We roll an 18. Nymph-Young-Adult, like a grasshopper. No egg or larval stage.
We roll a 13. Interesting! There are two sexes. Like humans, this species is male-female!
We roll 2d6 and get an 7, so we’ll roll 7 times. We get Electrical 0, Touch 0, Smell 2, Vision 3, Hearing 2, and Taste 0.. So it hunts by sight and smell primarily.
Bailey-Wolfe Index Rating
We roll 18, 9, 14, 17, 8, 5, for Neotropism of 3 - moderately interested in new things, Sociability -4 - fractious and bickering, Instict 0 - neither instinctual nor learned behavior predominates, Logic 3 - a moderately analytical species, Foresight -5 - yow! Severely short-sighted! And Pattern Recognition of -8 - almost everything has to be thoroughly thought out.
Species Traits:
We’ll assign it Lithe 2 for it’s AGY, Fluid 3 for its writhing movement, and Slick 2 for its pretty fur.
Own Name:
We’ll make up something - avoiding apostrophes, as they’re rather cliche! How about “Yustrim”?
Familiar Name:
Its most obvious feature is its locomotors/manipulators. Let’s call them “Ocs” for its resemblance to an octopus
Prejudicial Name:
With that PSI rating, nothing but “Spooks” will do!
Shorthand Descriptor

Friday, May 21, 2010

StarCluster 3: The Bailey-Wolfe Psychological Scale

From a post by Bailywolf - from whose fingers inspiration drips like unto manna - on rpgnet, I hereby give the Bailey-Wolfe Psychological Scale. This scale is used to measure a species on seven axes. The further from human the species' rating is, the more difficult it would be to communicate with. Each axis is rated from -9 to +9.

The Bailey-Wolfe Scale

Neotropism: This is the tendancy of the species to accept new and unusual ideas, tropes, and people. It is rated from -9 (tradition-bound and xenophobic) to +9 ("Oooh! Shiny!")
Sociability: This is the tendancy of the species to form and maintain bonds with its own kind. It is rated from -9 (surly and individualist) to +9 (sheeplike)
Instinct: This is the tendancy of the species to rely on instinct as opposed to learning. It is rated from -9 (pure learning) to +9 (pure instinct)
Logic: This is the tendancy of the species to use logic as a tool. It is rated from -9 (extremely intuitive) to +9 (extremely analytical)
Foresight: This is the tendancy of the species to plan ahead. It is rated from -9 (very short term) to +9 (very long term)
Pattern Recognition: This is the tendancy of the species to act based on seeing a known pattern as opposed to thinking everything through. It is rated from -9 (must follow chain of thought) to +9 (acts instantly on perceiving any pattern)

Individuals vary. Personality Traits modify the species-wide tendancy by the amount given to the trait - if a species has a Sociablity rating of -3, and an individual of the species has the trait Helpful 3, the individual has a Sociability score of 0, which may be less than the Sociability score of a particularly surly member of a very sociable species.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Outremer: Aqaba and Arabia

Just an addendum to yesterday's post on Aqaba, a map showing the relationship of Aqaba and al Maqnah to the important areas of Arabia. You can see the trade routes - one crossing from Oman through the Nejd to al Maqnah by caravan, the other coming up the Red Sea from Yemen and the Hadramaut or Ethiopia or Egypt to al Maqnah or Aqaba by ship. The Emir of Aqaba can grow rich on this trade!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Outremer: Aqaba

The Emirate of Aqaba is a splinter off of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Like Jerusalem, it is peopled by both Christian and Muslim folk, the Christians centered in the north, around the Crusader fortress and city of Montreal, and the Muslims occupying the rest of the land, with a sprinkling of Jews throughout. The Emirate split off from Jerusalem when the Kingdom was ruled by a regency for a very young king, and by the time that king grew up, it was a fait accompli.

Aqaba is a dry, arid land, the dryest in Outremer. The valley running to the Dead Sea - the Arabah - is well below sea level, and very hot. Water comes from wells, or, in a few places, springs, tapping into an underlying aquifer. The hills to the east are less dry, and much of the population lives here - around Montreal, Ma'an, Arindela, and Zodacatha. Petra is the old Nabatean capital - made famous by the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - resettled by Franks from Montreal.

The city of Aqaba itself is a port, dealing mostly with the Hejaz, Yemen, and Ethiopia. Coffee, incense, ivory, silver, and gold are all moved through here and up into the rest of Outremer. The Gulf of Aqaba joins with the Red Sea, and on into the Indian Ocean. Copper is mined in Timna, and that also is traded through Aqaba.

Al Maqnah, or Magna to the Christians, is a port and caravan city built around an oasis at the mouth of the Wadi Maqnah. Coconuts, dates and figs are grown, and melons, and arak is distilled. The city is the terminus for caravans coming from the Nejd, Bahrain, and Oman, as well as the areas dealing with Aqaba.


Monday, May 17, 2010

StarCluster 3 - Homeworld Edges

One thing I will be putting into StarCluster 3 is the concept of Homeworld Edges. This would simulate the fact that world conditions should have an impact on the characters as they grow up. A world with dim sunlight might have people with better night vision, or people on a planet with heavy gravity may be stronger. This is not necessarily evolutionary - 500 years is not always long enough to fix these traits well - but may be at least partially a product of genetic engineering.

The key is the World Conditions chosen when the world was created. As part of the world creation process, you choose Conditions to describe that world. Where conditions should give an Edge, a character from that homeworld should have that Edge. I will be limiting such Homeworld Edges to a max of one - if a player creates homeworld Conditions for his character that logically give three Edges, the PC would only be able to choose one of those three for his PC.


Friday, May 14, 2010


Plasteel is the primary structural material in high tech level societies in StarCluster. It is a transparent fluid which can be hardened permanently with radiation, foamed, and shaped. It can be made Active - that is, it can be programmed with shapes, and if a brain controls it, live nearly infinite morphing. Surface films over the plasteel can be actively colored - that is colored under arbitrary control, or programmed as a display. The film can also be actively textured, enabling arbitrary surface texture under live or programmed control.

Some things that Active Plasteel tech from StarCluster implies:

[*]Auto-conformal wings on aitcraft and shuttles, always able to take the optimal shape for the speed and flying quality wanted. Also wing warping rather than flaps and ailerons.

[*]Weapons which change shape to multitask - a rifle changing into a shotgun, for example.

[*]Jointless personal armor.

[*]Legged vehicles as simple as wheeled vehicles.

[*]Peristaltic pumping piping.

[*]Masks and clothing that move and change shape.

[*]Secret doors, windows, and caches that show no sign of their presence even to the best trained eye.

[*]Display panels thougher than steel, with active sirfaces

And since all plasteel - even structural, rigid plasteel - is naturally transparent, there is no structural difference between a wall and a window - even on a spaceship.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Example Ships for StarCluster 3

I'm working on the Spaceship design section now. As far as example ships go, what would you like to see? Of course a cargo ship to do the standard "space tramp" thing, but there's a lot more out there than that! I'd like to do ten designs. Some things I've been thinking of:

* Cargo Ship - Natch! Still the standard thing folks think of!

* Showboat - A mobile performance venue with rooms for the actors/dancers, simple kitchens to feed the crowd, lounges for drinks, et cetera.

* Courier Ship - Fast and lightly armed, with some protective devices.

* Liner - A mobile hotel, with restaurants, dancing, lounges, and entertainment.

* Excursion Vessel - A small-ish vessel to take eco-tourists to interesting but perhaps primitive places, and support them while there.

* Hospital Ship - A mobile small hospital for disaster relief.

And a few more, supplied by Somebody Else (First 3) and Marchand (last 2) from a thread on RPGnet:

* Merchantman - little bit of this, little bit of that, a big dream, and the cash to get it started, a merchantman is a privately operated craft the owner of which, who is often also the captain, has taken to profitable adventures to fill his/her coffers.

* Patrol Boat - small vessel, normally not equipped for more than a day or so in space, this boat is operated by a police force or equivalent in order to make sure activities in orbit remain nice, orderly, safe and legal - smugglers beware.

* Escort - euphemistically named and as heavily armed as a civilian-operated craft can get away with, the job of the Escort is to ensure the safety and well-being of the public by keeping them away from places and situations where the Escort would be forced to fire.

* Spy Ship - A small hull packed with sensors for leaving floating near rival installations.

* Scout/Survey Ship - A ship designed to support exploration campaigns.

Any other suggestions?


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Pushing it Down

I'm pushing everything down lately. Down to Group Level. I'm refusing to develop a setting for StarCluster 3E, and instead giving the group tools to develop its own Cluster. Random generation is fine, but I expect some of the uses of the tables will be choosing as if from a list, whether entirely or partially. That's cool. I really don't care. StarCluster has always been fairly firm. Now it will be as firm as the group cares to keep it. If the group wants to totally ignore science, that's fine - the game supports it. If the group wants to make it harder, that's cool too - the game will support that as well, so long as you make the effort. Need an alien race? Create one! Here's a tool to do this. Want to create a planet that's a hell hole except for one place? Do that! Here are tools to define it. Here's how to make it work for you. Want transhumanism front and center? Go for it. Here's some tools.

The point is that setting need not be a case of the all-knowing designer dictating to the masses how to run their games. Not my will but thy will be done. You, the group who is going to play this game, are the only ones that matter. Luckily, I enjoy making tools, and I enjoy hearing what creative uses people put those tools to. I'm pushing it all down to you, the group, to play with however you want. Go for it!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Separate Culture Chargens?

Another question for anyone who will answer - In SC 2E, I had separate chargen sections for Advanced (Tech beyond what we have now), Backward (Tech from Steam to now), and Primitive (Pre-steam tech) cultures. For 3E, I was planning on dropping the Backward and Primitive culture chargen, and just going with Advanced. I was assuming 99% of games would be played with advanced characters. Is that true? Are the separate chargens not worth the space they take up? Remember I am putting a *lot* of new stuff in the game. it's not like I have all the space I need.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Companies in SC3E

Here's something - Creating the PC's company. one of the optional by recommended things is to create a company for the PCs to belong to. The GM can create it, or the players can create it together. I have found - using this mechanic in IHW: Wild Blue and OHMAS - the players creating their own company works beautifully. It reflects what they want out of the game, and tells the GM what they want. Here's the list of company types i have come up with, with the assistance of my game group:

Trading Company
Mercenary Company
Bounty Hunters
Troubleshooting Consultants
Smuggling Company
Biotech Company
Politician’s Henchmen
Medical Company
Insurance Agency
News Agency
Disaster Relief
Courier Service
Musical/Theatrical Troupe
Academic Research Company
Detective Agency

Like? Dislike?