Monday, December 31, 2018

Constructing Spinning Asteroid Settlements

Another bit from In The Beginning! This time showing how to get a little pseudogravity in space!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Martian Canyon City

Here is evidence that we are indeed working on StarCluster 4 - In The Beginning. I keep forgetting to blog, between the music and the gaming stuff. Character generation is complete. The board game that generates the RPG's setting is complete. So now we are working on rather generic setting bits, so that you all will have the feel of various the various types of settlement on - and off - different worlds. This one describes a Martian city carved into in the wall of a canyon, like a Petra in space.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Ticket to Ride

We - that is the designers, Albert Bailey, Klaxon Bowley, and myself - have decided that space travel in our next game, StarCluster 4 - In The Beginning, will be on the Train or Cruises Ship model. This game uses the board game The Greatest Game as a setting setup for gaming in the Solar System of 2120+. This game is hard SF - we have boost-coast-brake at fractional G, no FTL, and no artificial gravity, but we are making it simple to work with, abstracting all the numbers as much as possible.

What I mean by the Train or Cruise Ship model is that if you want to travel between settled worlds/colonies, you buy a ticket and get a cabin, and you may have to change ships several times, with layovers, to get to your destination. It's a wonderful setup for roleplaying, and you don't have to go on-shift. :D

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Rockets and Dreams Is Out!

Rockets and Dreams, my second album, was released today. So a couple months of work is finished. You can listen to all the songs through, not just clips, and it will be up on Youtube soon!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

OK! NOW It's Done!

I know I said Rockets and Dreams was done, but I make a little one minute song called The Rain Came for an online contest. I started working on it at about 4PM today, and at 5:30 it was done. I liked it so much I decided to end Rockets and Dreams with it. It comes in at 55 seconds, and barely has lyrics. But everything went together soo nicely!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Rockets and Dreams is Finished!

I finished the twelfth and last of the songs for Rockets and Dreams. The songs are much more cohesive than the purposefully scattershot songs from Greatest Hits 2018-2018, thematically and musically. I think the production is much better, and my guitar playing has improved! I have learned a lot about making music sound interesting and fun. Hard to realize Greatest Hits was released less than two months ago!

One of the songs was actually recorded for Greatest Hits - No Green, No Envy - was moved to this album because I couldn't get in touch with the lyricist, Angelo Aversa. Angelo was the drummer in my band Carnelian, and we wrote a lot of songs together. Volcano, Teenager, and The Stylist were also written with Angelo and recorded for this album, as I have been able to talk things over with him. I replaced No Green, No Envy on Greatest Hits with the song Carnivores, which was recorded for Rockets and Dreams, so that song should point in the direction I am going in the new album!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sausage Music 2

I put another song in the can a couple days ago. This was an experience so unlike my last post that I felt I should document it.

I laid down a riff against a click track on Thursday. It was sloppy. This was a song I had written over forty years ago, and it was not jelling. I redid a few bots, patched a few others so the riff was functional. Then I laid a quick vocal over it. The vocal sucked, but it was a placeholder. I dicked around with Loop Designer trying to come up with a beat that matched. I was utterly unsuccessful! The song was a swing thing, and Loop Designer was designed for electronica. It can do more, but I was barely able to get something merely WRONG after wrestling for several hours. I left it where it was and put it to bed.

Friday, I cleaned up the riff better, and laid a few more tracks down to beef it up. Sounded something like a song now! I re-did what I had just done, this time more competently. I played around with the mix and put various effects on, took them off, changed them, and maybe removed them altogether. The day went like this, each iteration inching closer to the song in my head, being dragged will he nill he by dint of sweat and curses. It was now a crap song, but at least it was a song.

Saturday I poked and prodded at the sullen thing, attempting to wrestle Loop Designer into making something like a swing beat. It was not pretty, but if I mixed it low and didn't look too hard at it, it sounded OK. Maybe! It just wasn't swing! The good part is I mic'd a far better set of vocals. I sent it to Klaxon, my son. He is not a musician, but has an unerring gut feel for music. He said the song was fighting with the beat... and losing. Crap!

Sunday I was busy all day. On-line RPG over Discord till 6, watch Red Sox and Patriots. Yay!

Monday I got down to work. I listened to it once more and decided Klax had nailed it again. I was never going to get Loop Designer to give me swing. It wasn't possible. I pulled out Beat Box 2. Compared to Loop Designer, Beat Box 2 is primitive and awkward, but I got an actual swing beat from it! I put that into place, laying down breaks where needed. The drums sounded much more fake than those in Loop Designer, and the structure was simple, but it was definitely a swing beat! I tweaked what had to be tweaked, and I was done! I sent it to Klax and he had problems with the sound of beat Box's drums, but it all worked. I smoothed out where I could and the sausage was made!

Tuesday I nailed everything and had the next song in the can in one day. Go figure!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Recording a new song - how the sausage is made!

So this morning I set out to record a song. I tuned my guitar, and checked it by playing some lines. I played a slow, bluesy riff and was hooked. This riff was smokin'! I forgot all about the song I was going to record - I was all set up in my DAW for that song, this one was slower and the beat I had for the other song was all wrong for this riff = and set it up clean. I was going to make it an ostinato - a 'stubborn' riff that repeated throughout the new song. I recorded the riff through many times to a click track - this is a metronomic 'tic' that keeps you on the beat when recording. The sound I wanted was reminiscent of the main riff in Spirit in the Sky - a crackling, heavily distorted guitar riff played on the low strings. messing around with amp and fuzz tones, I got what I wanted!

Then I put together a drum loop. I played around with different rhythms and kits, none of which worked, then laid one down that seemed ok. It was a bit... plain. Then I remember Adam Ant's version of the Burundi Beat, a complex polyrhythmic beat from the African nation of Burundi. Adam's band The Ants performed the Burundi Beat with two drummers in full kit, with lots of rolling toms, and was behind some wicked songs like Goody Two Shoes and Antmusic. So I superimposed a second loop over the first, this one with lots of tom tom action. The interaction between the two was what I was looking for!

Now I had to sing it! I played back the riff with the new beat in a loop itself and improvised sounds to it, which gradually began to morph into coherent phrases, so I used these phrases as key phrases and wrote the rest of the lyrics around them - this is a method I have used many many times, and always seems to work well! The song turned out to be a song about a space ship leaving one star system and jumping to another, eventually to a cloud city on a gas giant. Cool! I love surprises!

I recorded the new lyrics, but they were meh... I tried different amounts of roughness and smoothness, different tonalities, and different phrasing. What finally clicked was a full on Sinatra phrasing with a smooth, deeper voice, though the song was in moderately high in my range - when I was 20 I could easily pack two octaves on top of my current range if I needed to, but that was long gone. It was exactly right!

Now for the final guitar overdubs. So far this was a lotta drums, that Spirit In The Sky-ish riff, and the single Sinatra vocals over all. I had some nice ideas, but I was curiously reluctant to add anything more. I sent the song as it was to my son Klaxon - who is always my first bounce listener - and he agreed. Add nothing. It was fine as it was. He recommended a few small changes, which I incorporated, but nothing was added. And I was happy! This almost never happens the first day! Everything worked and sounded RIGHT!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Rockets and Dreams

I am now eight songs deep into a second album called Rockets And Dreams. I should be finished before the month is done. This album is more consistent in sound than the first - which was supposed to emulate a compilation album, and the style varied a lot.

I was just about to call you a liar
When outta the dark come that laser fire
I couldn't help but think it's more than it seems
Not just your ordinary red light beams
Like rockets and dreams
Just like rockets and dreams

Here's the cover - the same as my StarCluster 4 - FTL Now game.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

More Post-Apoc Wavefront Empire

In my Saturday game of post-apocaliptic Wavefront Empire we hacked into the old computers - people! if you want people to work on resurrecting the world 200 years in the future, you need to remember to place your workstation login and password where they can be easily FOUND! Thank you, anonymous person in HR for doing your duty! The group repaired the high tension wiring outside the fusion power plant all the way to a city sector transformer, where it went underground. They can now direct power to any specific location in that sector and in the central sector directly fed by the plant.

Had an encounter with a giant raptor bird with a 14 foot wingspan while repairing the high tension wires - nest was built in the tower, and Roxuty took the three giant chicks to raise as hunting 'falcons'. Roxuty is an animal warden, and downed the mama with a drug gun, without killing it. We also almost got caught in a stampede of feathered dinos being chased by a huge bird dino down the street, but most everyone was able to climb trees out of the way, except teeny three foot tall Torrey the Norn, who was too small to reach any branches. Roxuty pointed her to a storm drain, which she was able to jump into seconds ahead of the stampede. The dino bird tried to fish her out, giving up on the fleet herd, but Roxuty shot it with a drug gun twice while Joelyn distracted it by throwing pine cones. Good times were had by all! Next up, they plan on sending power to the Commercial Espionage treehouse and seeing what information they can find there.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Post-apoc Wavefront Empire

So the player characters in my deviant Wavefront Empire game are exploring Chaliceport, and broke into the mothballed-for-200-years civic fusion power plant. They examined the turbines (good condition), power lines (down), transformers (intact), and reactor (not so good). They had a battle with a hungry pterandon on the office roof (bloody, but survived), and finally started up the diesel startup/backup generators and got power within the plant - this was far more within their wheelhouse than the reactor! They made 'camp' and slept in the employee break room in the control center. Having a psionic lockpicker is handy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Tonight, my Wednesday group has this waiting for them:
No, not a dungeon! Not that kind of game! :D

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

All the OTHER Stuff!

So becoming a Rock God is a whole lot more tedious than I thought... I have been joining various artists rights organizations (BMI, Sound Exchange) and pushing the album as much as I dare and can stand, but mostly filling out innumerable and complex forms of various sorts dealing with distribution. Now you can use my songs/recordings in a commercial, or a YouTube video, or sample the music, or perform my songs yourself, and it is all covered. I should probably write a sequel to High Strung set in the current day. Nothing is the same! Used to be bands toured to publicize their albums. Now people release albums to publicize their touring. And bureaucratic form filling is a required skill! :D

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Greatest Hits 2018-2018 Now Streaming!

My first album, Greatest Hits 2018-2018, is now streaming on Spotify, Amazon Music, and a bunch of other services. including some I have never heard of! It's also available on YouTube - so enjoy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Greatest Hits - 2018-2018

My album page came out on CD Baby! All the songs have listenable clips except you can listen to the entirety of Carnivores.

I had the most difficult time trying to describe the album. It ranges over a lot of territory! And yes, I used the cover of Wavefront Empire as the cover for the album! I thought it was about perfect for Carnivores! :D

And yes, the album title is supposed to be a joke! :D

Thursday, August 16, 2018

StarCluster 4 - Wavefront Empire Released!

Wavefront Empire is now available for purchase!

Precis Intermedia in pdf -

Lulu in print -

and RPGNow/DTRPG in pdf -

Enjoy! :D

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Upgrading the StarCluster 4 line - Part Deux

All done! I had a little hiccup on a template tree problem that affected 6 of the nine existing SC4 games, but decided to handle it as errata rather than having a second update. The errata will be fixed with any other changes, next revision. The problem lay with the Server Tree, which is a basic Template Tree included in Free, Zero Stage, The Necklace, Cold Space, FTL Now, and Out of the Ruins. Sweet Chariot includes the new Server Tree, and both Sabre & World and Dark Orbital do not have that Server Tree.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Upgrading all the StarCluster 4 Line

I have updated all my StarCluster 4 games to the new Wavefront Empire standard. Unfortunately, I have only got Lulu updated! Tomorrow I have to update RPGNow/DTRPG and Precis Intermedia. Everyone should get free upgrade notifications! This is for StarCluster 4 games only: SC4 Free, SC4 - Zero Stage, SC4 - The Necklace, SC4 - Dark Orbital, SC4 - Cold Space, SC4 - FTLNow, SC4 - Sweet Chariot, SC4 - Out of the Ruins, and SC4 - Sabre & World. If you bought one of these in pdf, look for the upgrade notice!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

A late addition to StarCluster 4 - Wavefront Empire

I always intended to set up a set of duelling rules for Wavefront Empire - it's a perfect duelling culture! - but I kept getting distracted. Today I put the ideas I had in the back of my brain together and came up with the following. Initially, I was going to make all kinds of maneuvers with a result matrix, but I realized that the rules were really complete on one page. I may still do the full on version for the Combat Toolbox, but this will certainly suffice for Wavefront Empire. :D

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wavefront Empire Out to Beta Testers

I've sent Wavefront Empire out to beta testers, and already have some excellent feedback! I am just delighted!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Merchanters & Stationers Now Available for StarCluster 4 Free

I started - and finished - adapting Merchanters & Stationers from StarCluster 3 to StarCluster 4. M&S is my C. J.Cherryh-ish free supplement for StarCluster 4 Free. You can get StarCluster 4 Free from DTRPG or Precis Intermedia or RPGNow in pdf, and from Lulu in print at cost. M&S is available only from me. Email me at clashUNDERSCOREbowleyATyahooDOTcom and ask me for it, and I'll send the pdf right back to you. I get nothing out of this but the joy of someone playing the game!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Wavefront Empire is Complete... But Not Finished!

StarCluster 4 - Wavefront Empire is complete. I have sent it out for reaction to the other authors. Once they have commented, It will be alpha tested, then beta tested. Once all comments are in and acted upon, it will be released. Then you can ignore it knowing it went through all the steps! :D

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Vambrace Temporal Shield for Wavefront Empire

Just finished this - one of the key bits of technology in the Wavefront Empire! :D

A New Page for All StarCluster 4 Games Going Forward

I did this page for StarCluster 4 - Wavefront Empire, but I will be including it in all StarCluster 4 games from now on.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

My Excuses!

Wow! Almost the end of may and I haven't posted! I'm working on a lot of projects, and running three games a week... actually two weekly games and two bi-weekly games, but it comes to three a week.

I'm working on a new StarCluster 4 Magazine 4. I'm collecting articles and am more than half way done. I'm also working on a StarCluster 4 Toolbox - Toolbox 6: Psionics. This one should be interesting! I'm still working on StarCluster 4 - Wavefront Empire, so that's coming along! This one has a LOT of new material along with a very different social structure. My next game after Wavefront Empire will be In The Beginning, but I am just blocking that out. I will be releasing it with a Print-N-Play board game to set it up - which will also be available separately! That is, in fact, complete, and I should have it available soon!

My Saturday game is Star Wars-ish - No More Jedi, using a highly modified StarCluster4 system. I have been having a bit of trouble with this because of the way I set it up, and we have just made a big retroactive change that should change everything for the better! This one is set during and after the Last Jedi.

My Sundays have two games, on every other week. One is Roos and Ruins - a StarCluster 4 - Out of the Ruins game about a cheap-ass attempt at exploring a new system before the official expedition. This one has been just spectacular! We even spent three weeks on an improvised murder trial that had everyone on the edge of their seat. Great stuff!

The other Sunday game is The Lucky Break - our ultra-long running game building on things set in motion back in 2003. The main characters from that meta-campaign made a mis-jump into Jeshen Space - where I was testing out StarCluster 4 - Zero Stage. However, they left behind the four girls they rescued and adopted about a decade ago in both real and game time, who were away at college. These girls find a possible reason for the mis-jump, and how to replicate it, then they buy a starship yard and make a ship to follow their "Aunties and Uncle". Also an amazing game! They are now about to make the deliberate mis-jump, hoping to duplicate their family's jump.

On Tuesdays I have been running Sabre & Bird - A group of young Californians fly their plane on a camping trip to the Alaskan Panhandle, and pass into the world of Volant - with its crazy floating islands and monster infested surface. They have claimed a fragment a dozen miles by seven, and are exploring and fighting the monsters that infest it, while planning how to create a new scientifically grounded culture in this world. Tis one has been a blast! We are using the Volant setting along with the Fragments of Air and Stone supplement, and using the StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World modified system, thus with the giant riding birds of Volant, becoming Sabre & Bird. This has been great fun!

There you have it - my excuses for not posting more! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Seeder Moons II

Continuing discussion from my previous post I imagine the four known Seeder Moons are tied up so tight in interstellar courts that no one can fart near them! There must be suits and counter suits - Do we intervene? Will it destroy the cultures? They should be Free! No, they are SAFE! - back and forth and roundabout. What if... What if the cases are made moot when one of the moons opens up communications? What if the cases are finally settled and it is decided to explore? What if someone finds another? Do they tell anyone? Or do they exploit it themselves? Maybe this happened a long time ago and it's been kept secret... What if scientists monitoring are these worlds somehow? Or what if are the courts are not allowing any such thing? What if one of the cultures breaches the outer skin and they all die. Are the people who tried to tie things up in court guilty of genocide? I love questions like these!

The Seeder Moons

Albert Bailey, my long time co-creator, and I had a long conversation this afternoon about the Seeder Moons. Albert - as frequently happens with him - was intrigued by the concept and dove into them. We talked out the origins, original intent or interpretation, possible reasons for their existence, and some of their implications, and ultimately decided to throw it open to you all for your input. First - the Seeder Moons were an artifact of the method of random generation I used when I originally created the setting for StarCluster 1 pre-2002. I didn't even realize how MANY there were until I pulled together all the Primitive and Backward Alien cultures for this project! There are four of them, and all involve captured asteroid moons, like Phobos and Deimos around Mars, with a low tech level alien culture on them - which can only work by positing that these tiny moons were engineered for this purpose. There are a lot of these captured asteroid moons listed in the published setting, and they are actually representative of many, many more in the real setting it represents. There are several dozen moons like this in our solar system, and thousands of asteroids, so in a setting like the Classic Cluster, there are probably billions of asteroids of the right size. Albert raised the point that these four Seeder Moons are just the ones we have FOUND. There may be hundreds out there we are flying past and ignoring. That is just cool! When I originally interpreted the random results, I figured "OK, the Seeders hollow out a moon, fill it with air and plants and animals and people, give it a light source, and rotate it for gravity... so one culture the size of a city state, maybe a million people or so, like an O'Neill colony." Albert pointed out that that would be terribly inefficient, and they would more likely stack many levels and rows of smaller caverns side by side and above and below each other, in total perhaps more livable surface area than the earth in one asteroid moon, all using gravitics. Not only that, there is no reason why there is only one species - you could keep a dozen sapient species in there, ignorant of each other. Maybe the name in the world listing is a collective noun for the people of this world. I love this idea! It is possible the chambers can interconnect, and it is possible they don't. Maybe the interconnections only open under certain conditions. More on that later. We set this aside for discussion. We both feel that the reasons the Seeders DID this is important, though unknowable to us directly, as the Seeders disappeared suddenly a million or so years ago. We both feel the most likely reason is to preserve potential. The Seeder Moons then would be a combination incubator and ark. Perhaps these people were rescued from a world which would be destroyed - glaciation, solar flares, impact - or maybe they were the second sapient species on their world, doomed to disappear when the other species expanded, like the Neanderthals or Denisovans. For whatever reason they were saved. Now these worlds seem to have a limit for the technology level they can hold. If you advance too far, you eventually break the shell and everyone dies. That seems cruel, perhaps. Perhaps instead there is a fail safe - a puzzle that you can figure out when your culture is ready. Then maybe these cultures can access communication to the cultures of the Cluster at large and shout out "We are here! Where are you?" Then what happens?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Recent Publications

Since 2012 (From Wikipedia) :

In Harm's Way: Pigboats was released on July 27, 2012. This game is about American World War II submarine sailors in the Pacific, fighting a silent war beneath the waves.

Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone was released on March 29, 2013. Volant is set on a world where some types of stone float, and the mountains tear themselves out of the ground and fly through the air, and people ride giant birds through the sky, with sailing ships built from floating stone, and monsters inhabiting the earth below.

Lowell Was Right! - A Very Different Now was released on May 23, 2014. Lowell Was Right! is an alt-universe SF game set in a universe where western science as of 1880 was basically correct, and all newer changes were wrong, brought up to the present day, like a Hard SF sort of Steampunk.

High Strung was released on December 7, 2014. High Strung is a game set in the 1970s through mid 1990s, where the player characters are rock musicians trying to make it.

The Necklace was released on May 29, 2015. The Necklace is an instantiation of the StarCluster 3 game set in a particular place within the Cluster, that being a gas torus orbiting a neutron star, with a billion kilometer long artificial river twisted about it. The River is a gravitic construct designed to carry water and gravity throughout the otherwise gravity-less torus. On July 30, 2016 The Necklace was updated to StarCluster 4 system.

StarCluster 4 - Zero Stage was released on July 30, 2016. Zero Stage is an introductory game for the StarCluster 4 system. It is set in Jeshen Space, a ten-star system region ruled by the Jeshen, and alien species. Humans are also present - they came into Jeshen Space as refugees from Earth, and were welcomed and given their own worlds as Jeshen allies. Now, almost 500 years later, changes are percolating through Jeshen Space.

StarCluster 4 - Cold Space was released on July 30, 2016. This is the Cold Space game of 2005, re-released with the new StarCluster 4 system.

StarCluster 4 - The Necklace was released on July 30, 2016. This is The Necklace game released in 2015, re-released with the new StarCluster 4 system.

StarCluster 4 - Free was released on August 16, 2016. This is a free to download, print at cost version of StarCluster 4, and comes with the StarCluster 4 Developer's License.

StarCluster 4 - FTL Now was released on September 1, 2016. This is the FTL Now game of 2006, re-released with the new StarCluster 4 system.

StarCluster 4 - Dark Orbital was released on September 15, 2016. Dark Orbital is an ancient space station, once a sub-light colony ship from earth, and re-purposed into an orbital city. Now, in the Flats and Mirrors of the undercity, the old workers still live on, digging through and recycling the trash from the glittering society above into new things for themselves. Punk returns to cyberpunk!

StarCluster 4 - Sweet Chariot was released on July 30, 2016. This is the Sweet Chariot II game of 2008, re-released with the new StarCluster 4 system.

StarCluster 4 - Out of the Ruins was released on December 8, 2016. Out of the Ruins is all about successor cultures to the missing humans, who are new to FTL technology. And their Holy Book is the Silmarillion.

StarCluster 4 - Sabre & World was released on March 3, 2017. Sabre & World is a "Sword and Planet" genre game, like the John Carter series. It features a generated setting and new mechanic twists.

Also released support materials:

Toolboxes contain tools you can use with StarCluster 4

StarCluster 4 Toolbox 1: Peoples
StarCluster 4 Toolbox 2: Setting Tools
StarCluster 4 Toolbox 3: Starships
StarCluster 4 Toolbox 4: Engineer's Guide
StarCluster 4 Toolbox 5: Characters

Magazines contain articles and stories about things within the StarCluster game

StarCluster 4 Magazine 1: Social
StarCluster 4 Magazine 2: Technology
StarCluster 4 Magazine 3: Time and Money


Fragments of Air and Stone for Volant
Helkaraxe for StarCluster 4 - Out of the Ruins


Merchanters and Stationers for StarCluster 3 - a free setting generation kit to create a setting like Cherryh's Union/Alliance/Compact Space (ask me for that because it is not linked to anywhere. Done out of love, not a desire to step on any toes!)

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Great Game

It's the year 2120 in the Great Game - the end of play! Our solar system looks interesting! The four players' secret agendas are revealed!

A had Little Dictators, getting extra points for pushing North Korea, Kazakhstan, and Ethiopia - looks like only North Korea made it to the finish line, with a mostly stable colony on Orbital 3 around Earth, and partly stable colonies on Mars Orbital 2 and Oberon orbiting Saturn. Kazakhstan was knocked out early and Ethiopia never was drawn. Nice try, A!

B's secret agenda was Huddling By The Fire, getting extra points for founding colonies in the Inner System, inside the Belt, and there are indeed a lot of them! 14 colonies inside the Belt! Well played, B!

C's secret agenda was The Stars Must Be Free!, getting extra points for making colonies independent. There are independent colonies on Earth Orbital 1, Deimos circling Mars, Acidalia Planitia on Mars, Ceres in the Belt, and Elara around Jupiter. Nice job C!

D's secret agenda was Royal Legacy getting extra points for boosting the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The UK started off as a Great Power, but was knocked out fairly early, but Australia is a Great Power with a fully stable colony on Callisto, a mostly stable colony on Venus Orbital 3, and a partly stable colony on Belt Orbital 7; and both Canada - with mostly stable colonies on Mercury Orbital 1 and Ibrium on Luna as well as a fully stable colony on Phobos - and New Zealand = with its partly stable colony on Mars' North Pole and new unstable colony on Neptune Orbital 2 - are Lesser Powers. Excellent work D!

The furthest out colony turned out to be the Iranian colony on Eris in Trans Neptunian Space!

What happened to the starting lineup of great powers? Only Russia is left from the 2020 starters! War and pestilence and socio-economic disasters have churned them all under. The log would tell us, but it doesn't really matter!

The board was printed out at Staples full size on card stock, glued to a folding backing board, and taped up with duct tape around the edges. The chits and cards were also printed out at Staples on card stock. The National Power chits were pasted onto laser cut cardboard chits from the Game Crafter. The other chits and cards were left as is after being cut out. The Colonial Stability markers were hand drawn and colored directly onto laser cut chits from the Game Crafter. The game chits were circular, and hard to cut out. I may change that in the future. Maybe diamond shaped chits?

The Lucky Break's Shuttle!

Here's the shuttle for the Lucky Break. No name, no permanent crew! It's an a-grav only vessel, so only works in orbit or surface to orbit. The seating below and above, and the the inter-deck flooring between, can contract into small but dense cubes and be offloaded into the cargo deck. Changeout is rapid and simple. You would have three configurations - 30 passengers on two decks, 15 passengers on the upper deck plus cargo on the lower deck, and full volume used for cargo. Normally, you would use the Breakout for cargo lifting and the shuttle for passengers, but if the Breakout is detached somewhere else, you could use the shuttle for both.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

The Breakout

Here is the plan of the 90 ton lighter Breakout. The Breakout is a true spaceship able to fly independently anywhere in a star system, unlike the shuttle. So even though it goes through Jump in the hangar of the Lucky Break, it has its own captain and crew.

Link to full sized drawing: Breakout

Friday, March 23, 2018

The Lucky Break

I drew up the floorplan for the PC's ship, the Lucky Break. They are trying a new, untested Jump Drive which allows for a higher level of jump to rescue their adoptive parents who mis-jumped years ago and disappeared. They found a new theory which explained what may have happened, found two brilliant physicists to design a working drive to make that second level jump, then bought a shipyard.

This this is the result, designed by the players using the StarCluster 4 ship design rules in Toolbox 4: Engineer's Guide, and drawn up by me. They have allowed for their parent's ship to be brought back, sitting on top of the hanger deck. The Lucky Break looks like a beer keg with bung pump attached... Big StarCluster ships not made for entering atmosphere seldom look sexy! :D

First up, the Control Tower. Only the bridge is shown in plan, as the other levels are pretty boring. The top of the tower is a clear trapezoidal plasteel "dome". Unlike most ships this size - 1500 tons - the bridge crew can see out without sensors.

Link to full size drawing: Control Tower

This is the Hangar/Cargo Deck, with their Lighter, the Breakout (nicknamed Arkanoid) and their A-Grav Shuttle.

Link to full size drawing: Hangar/Cargo Deck

This is the Jump Deck, with the massive special Jump Drive and EM Bottles to serve as gigantic Capacitors to store the needed energy. This is approximately the center of mass with their parent's ship attached.

Link to full sized drawing: Jump Deck

This is the Quarters Deck, with the PCs' (and partners') luxurious living quarters. They share a hot tub, yes! Around them are a Sick Bay, an Operating Suite, a Healing Vat, and the slightly less sybaritic quarters for the rest of the crew.

Link to full sized drawing: Quarters Deck

This is the Main Deck, with the Pool - which doubles as a water injection boost for their main fusion drive - Lounge, Galley, Fuel Generator- which makes deuterium from hydrogen using a multi-stage weak force process - Conservatory with fruit trees and other plants, and the water farm, which feeds everyone.

Link to full sized drawing: Main Deck

This is the Engine Deck, with the main rocket nozzles, fusion reactor coils, and water boost injection pumps.

Link to full sized drawing: Engine Deck

Monday, March 12, 2018

Three Years Ago...

Three years ago - in real life and in the game - a space ship took off on a simple jump to a nearby system... and never arrived. The crew - the wealthy and famous crew - left behind four young girls they had rescued from a life as child prostitutes and also left them their fortunes. The kids were going to college when their adopted family disappeared, and they were besieged by the press - How do you feel? Why do you think they left you behind? Do you resent your family?

At the beginning of this year, they found a possibility - an accident could have propelled their family ship into a mega jump out of known space! And there might be a way to replicate it and follow them!

The girls have brought two physicists into the family who have cracked the megajump puzzle. Now their "aunt" - a semi retired member of the crew named as executor by the family - has bought a spaceship manufacturer in trouble, and a ship is now ready to make that megajump into the complete unknown. The four girls and their friends and lovers will have to be prepared for anything! Aiens? Slavers? A looming evil star empire? A black hole? They have no idea.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Relationships in the Wavefront Empire

When you are already working with a totally different social setup, double down, I say! Double down! I will be very lucky to sell just one of these when I am done with it!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Musician's Guild Tree

Here is the Tree for the Musician's Guild for Wavefront Empire. Trying to decide how to present differences in musical style in a setting so extremely far in the future was daunting. I finally decided on call them Classical - for very old but perennial music, Trad - for the last generation of music, and Pop - for the current generation, whatever they might be.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Timeline of my adjusted Star Wars-ish Universe

Star Wars-ish Timeline

Before 2000 years BBY humans expand into the galaxy using sleeper and generation ships. Many are genetically tampered with, eventually forming most of the humanoid species - Twilek, Togruta, Wookiee, Chiss, Zabrak, etc. On various worlds non-human alien species evolve. Along the way, humans meet various aliens, and also are infected by Midiclorians, which sensitizes humanity to the Force.

c. 2000 BBY precursors to the Jedi order form on various worlds, as people attempt to deal with the Force. They discover hyperspace in their experiments, and a few ships were created using these pre-Jedi as living hyperspace drives.

c. 1800 BBY Duros create artificial hyperspace drives and begin expanding into neighboring systems. Tey eventually run into Humans who somehow acquire the technology - buy or steal - and in a cascade, the hyperdrive is spread across the galaxy. At this point, hyperdrives would be rated at 20 or so on the current scale.

c. 1600 BBY the Jedi Order takes form on Jiddha, Atch-To, Tython, and other worlds. At this time most Jeddi are Gray, and Light or Dark Jedi were treated as unbalanced.

c. 1500 BBY the Old Republic is formed. It is one of several moderate sized empires founded about this time.

c. 1400 BBY the Sith Order splits from the Jedi. The Jedi order purges itself of any use of the Dark side, and begins a reformation process.

c. 1350-1050 BBY the Old Republic, which soon allies itself with the Jedi order, engages in a series of devastating galactic wars with the mandelorians, the Sith Empire, and other star empires. By this time, Hyperspace drives would be rated about 10 on the current scale.

c. 1050-1032 BBY the Old Republic is almost defeated when the allied Sith and Mandalorians Empires take Coruscant, but the occupation is short-lived, and in 1032 BBY, the Old Republic is transformed into the Galactic Republic after finally defeating the Sith and Mandelorians. The Sith Empire is utterly destroyed. Darth Bane, last Surviving Sith Lord, institutes the Rule of Two.

112 BBY Invasion of Naboo. The fastest hyperdrives are rated 1

104 BBY The Clone Wars begin with the founding of the Confederacy of Independent Systems.

99 BBY Empire Founded. Jedi driven into hiding or killed. Massacre of the younglings.

20 BBY Construction of the first Death Star begins.

19 BBY Ezra Bridger, Luke Skywalker, and Leia Organa born. Luke and Leia stolen from their mother, Darth Vader's concubine, by Obi-wan Kenobi. Vader finds Obi-Wan on Mustafar. In a duel, Obi-Wan defeats Vader and leaves him helpless, but he lives, sealed in his armor from this point on.

11 BBY Hera Syndulla and Kanan Jarrus join forces

5 BBY Kanan Jarrus takes on Ezra Bridger as a Padawan.

~4 BBY the Alliance begins to form from separate Rebel groups

0 BBY. Jedha City destroyed by Death Star. Battle of Scarif. Luke Skywalker leaves Tatooine with Obi Wan and Han Solo. Alderaan destroyed. Leia rescued. Battle of Yavin.

2 ABY Poe Dameron born.

3 ABY Battle of Hoth. Luke trains with Yoda. Han Solo encased in Carbonite.

4 ABY Han Solo rescued. Jabba killed. Battle of Endor. Second Death Star destroyed. New Republic established.

5 ABY Battle of Jakku. Empire defeated. Both sides disarm. Much of Imperial Navy retreats into Unknown Regions. Ben Solo Born

c. 6-10 ABY First Order begins taking shape in UR.

11 ABY Finn born.

15 ABY Rey born.

28 ABY Leia Organ leaves Senate, forms Resistance.

c. 32 ABY New Jedi Order destroyed. Luke goes into exile, Ben Solo becomes Kylo Ren.

34 ABY Rey meets Finn on Jakku. Hosnian System, New Republic capital, and all Hosnian wolds destroyed by Starkiller Base. Han Solo killed by Kylo Ren. Starkiller Base destroyed by Resistance. Stellar Knights Order created. Battle of Crait. Death of Luke Skywalker. Current year.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Introducing the Caper Class Small Freighter

Yet another Star Wars ship, just 27 meters long! Enjoy!

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Little Bit of Information

It's funny how sometimes some odd information is hard to find on the web. I have been drawing Star Wars ships lately, and in order to scale things properly, I needed to find out how large the one thing that is common on most Star Wars ships is - the docking ring. They are designed to mate up, so they need to be the same size! I searched under all kinds of names - docking ring, docking tube, ring dock - but could find nothing. Finally I looked at official Millenium Falcon plans. Knowing the actual length of the Falcon (35 meters), I measured the length of the ship and the diameter of the docking rings, and got a diameter of 3.5 meters. So, if you ever need to know, there it is! :D

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Precis of My Star Wars-ish Game's Political Situation

We are currently simultaneous with the end of The Last Jedi movie: At the very least, Emperor Palatine's exploration of the Unknown Regions (UR) of the galaxy started as soon as he became Emperor, but it may have been started under the Republic. He established a network of UR study bases, where knowledge of the UR was pooled and applied, and specially constructed - and expensive - survey ships were sent out to map viable paths into the UR. In the meantime, three other projects were started, the two Death Stars and Starkiller Base. Starkiller Base was bigger, more powerful, and the technology less understood, so it took considerably more time to perfect, and when the Emperor died, it was far from complete. It was finally finished by the First Order 30 some years after the Emperor died. After the Battle of Jakku, a year after the Battle of Endor, the Empire was forced to sign a peace treaty that involved crushing reparations and strict disarmament restrictions, much like Germany after WWI. The Empire still exists as a rump state, with defined borders and no military, in the northwest portion of the galaxy as seen in the standard map. Much of the military escaped over the next few years into the UR, via the Emperor's charted routes, where the New Republic could not go without charting their own routes. In the Unknown regious they found various world and system-wide governments, alien and slow-boat settled human, and began conquering them. They soon ran into Snoke's sphere of influence, and fell under his Force aided spell, forming the First Order. Politically, after the peace treaty was signed, the New Republic was forced by internal politics - i.e. strong separatist sentiment which did not trust any strong centrist republic, like the Republic in the Clone Wars - to partially disarm, drawing down the Allieance war machine to much smaller levels. The Centrist worlds in the New Republic at first resisted the dominance of the Separatists, then began drifting away from the New Republic. Initially, it was a net gain for the New Republic, but since the New Republic was NOT Centrist, they had to allow worlds to join or leave the Republic as they wished. These Centrist worlds either publicly or, more commonly secretly supported the First Order. But the First Order that could be seen, those few Centrist worlds that were publicly part of it, seemed tiny and weak, as no one knew about the far larger and more cohesive part inside the UR. Leia Organa found out that the First Order was far larger and powerful than the New Republic thought, and tried to warn the Senate, but bribed - and traitorous - politicians blocked her, and information that she was the daughter of Darth Vader was released, discrediting her generally. She formed the Resistance with funding from a few governments in the New Republic who trusted and believed her, but it was always a scratch force, more as a picket than a true fighting fleet. The fighting fleet would be that of the New Republic, which despite its draw down, was capable of fighting the New Order toe to toe. Then the Movies (VII & VIII) happened...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A Back Door

Saturday my Star Wars-ish The Next Generation game finally started! Got off to a good start, I think! They heard the sobering news of the Resistance. "Does this mean *we* are the only thing between the First Order and a second Empire?" asked on of the PCs - good question!

They have come across what may be a back door to the First Order, and now are wondering what can be done with it. :D