Showing posts with label Ubiquity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ubiquity. Show all posts

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Die As One, Together As Lovers: Carmilla and Laura for Ubiquity

It's going to be Carmilla week here at the Other Side!  Up next is Laura and Carmilla for the Ubiquity System.

The Ubiquity system is one of my favorite systems.  For me it is a grittier, pulpier system than Unisystem.  Leagues of AdventureLeagues of Gothic Horror and the new Leagues of Cthulhu are Ubiquity powered games from Triple Ace Games.  The Hollow Earth Expedition RPG is a Ubiquity powered adventure game from Exile Game Studios.  All these games are compatible and together give us a world full of adventure and horror. 

A world that one could easily find a surly vampire and a tiny gay journalist.  The Ubiquity system compares well to the Unisystem game system.  So if the Buffy RPG versions work well enough, then these should work well too.



I am going with end of Season 1, start of Season 2 versions here.

Laura Hollis
Archetype: Reporter
Motivation: Duty

Style: 3
Health 5

Primary Attributes
Body 2, Dexterity 2, Strength 2, Charisma 4, Intelligence 4, Willpower 3

Secondary Attributes
Size 0, Move 4, Perception 8, Initiative 6, Defense 4, Stun 2

Skills
Academics: Journalism 5, Art: Writing 5, Brawl: Krav Maga 4, Con: Bluff 5, Craft 5, Diplomacy 6, Investigation: Research 6,

Talents
Attractive +2, Head Strong, Inspire

Resources
Ally 3

Flaw
Code of Conduct, Honest, Loyal

Weapon
Punch 0N

For Laura, she is slightly better than an archetype or starting character, but I think this works out fine.

Carmilla
Patron 4
Archetype: Vampire
Motivation: Vengange (sister)

Style: 5
 Health 11*

Primary Attributes
Body 5, Dexterity 6, Strength 5, Charisma 6, Intelligence 4, Willpower 6

Secondary Attributes
Size 0, Move 11, Perception 10, Initiative 10, Defense 11, Stun 5*

Skills
Academics: History 7, Religion 5, Athletics 7, Brawl 6, Con 8, Diplomacy 6, Empathy 4, Intimidation 8, Linguistics 6, Performance 6, Stealth 7

Talents
Attractive +3, Fearsome Attack, Iron Jaw (+1 Stun)*, Unarmed Parry (can block melee weapons), Well Educated

Resources
Refuge: Size 1 (smaller apartments across Eastern Europe, but owned by her mother), Status 1 (Former foreign noblewoman; +2 Social bonus)

Flaw
Thirst for Blood (+1 Style point when her unholy appetite reveals its true nature, she prefers young women)

Weapons
Bite 9L**, Punch 9N

* Carmilla is immune to lethal and nonlethal damage except fire or holy objects.
** If Carmilla scores 3+ successes on her bite attack, she has latched onto her victim’s neck. Until she ceases feeding voluntarily or is forcibly removed (as per ending a grapple), the victim takes automatic damage equal to her Strength rating each round.

Decapitation/Piercing the Heart: This requires a Called Shot against a vital area. If the damage exceeds Carmilla’s Body rating, she is instantly killed, otherwise, the attack has no effect.

Shape Change, Lesser: Carmilla can transform into a large cat. This requires two complete rounds and a Willpower roll. While in animal form, she retains her own statistics but cannot speak, use tools, or use any of her other abilities. Reversion to her true form is a reflexive action.

Using Carmilla and Laura in your Games

Depending on when you grab them Carmilla and Larua could either be a fun addition to your games, or potentially a fun plot point.

One thing that would REALLY be fun happens at the end of Season 3 but before the movie:
[Spoilers]Carmilla is a human again after battling the Goddess Innana. That will certainly bring some interest to monster hunters around the world.[/Spoilers].  I am sure that would be a lot of fun.  Plus Laura's role as journalist is an excuse to find trouble.

Just four more days till the movie!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Reviews: Leagues of Gothic Horror Guides (and a Kickstarter)

Yesterday I went on (and on) about my love for the Triple Ace Games' Ubiquity-powered Leagues of Gothic Horror.   Today I want to focus on a few of the supplements from the Kickstarter.

In all cases, I am reviewing the dead tree and PDF versions of the books. I purchased these via the Kickstarter they had a while back.   All links are affiliate links. No review was solicited or expected outside of me emailing the author to say "hey,  I am reviewing your books" a couple of days ago.


Leagues of Adventure - Globetrotters' Guide to London
Softcover book. Full-color cover, black & white interior art. 78 pages.
A great sourcebook for the Leagues of Adventure game this covers the City (and County) of London in the 1890s.  The bulk of the book is devoted to a "tour" around London pointing out places of interest.  There are also sections on the police force, entertainment, and transportation.  The book is largely fluff free (ie not much in the way of games stats) so it immediately has utility for a wide variety of games. Even the adventure hooks for London are game-stats free. Most of the game-related material comes in the form of detailing various NPCs and archetypes, but there is enough flavor test to still make them usable in other games too.
This is a well-researched guide and extremely useful.  If you are playing a London-based Leagues of Adventure, Leagues of Gothic Horror or Leagues of Cthulhu game then I say pick this up.

Leagues of Gothic Horror: Guide to Black Magic
(currently on sale at DriveThru RPG)
Softcover book. Full-color cover, black & white interior art. 64 pages.
Set up in a similar fashion to all of TAG's "Guide to" books, this covers Black Magic and "Wickedness".  This book is fairly setting specific, so it has more game stats than some of the other guides.  I still found it to be a fantastic read and can't wait to try some of this out in my next Ubquity game.  The book covers a brief history of "black magic" practices around the world.  Later (Chapter 2) we move into why someone might take up this sort of power.  Fiendish lairs are also discussed since in the tried and true traditions of both Gothic and Pulp fiction every bad guy needs a lair.
The next three chapters I found the most interesting, they are respectively, Power, Demons and Evil NPCs.  So much great stuff here that I really could spend dozens of sessions working through all the ideas this has given me.  In particular, I have a Ghosts of Albion adventure that would work so much better with some of the ideas here. I am going to have to re-run now under Ubiquity to see.
For a small book it packs a lot of punch.

Leagues of Gothic Horror: Guide to Apparitions
(currently on sale at DriveThru RPG)
Softcover book. Full-color cover, black & white interior art. 64 pages.
Set up in a similar fashion to all of TAG's "Guide to" books, this covers ghosts and the damned.  Again, this is fairly setting specific but a lot of the material here is drawn from myths and legends from around the world, so first of there should be something in this book that everyone recognizes. Secondly there is plenty in this book that everyone can use.
The first third of the book covers why ghosts happen and their nature. This is followed by the means of disposing of these pests and some of the powers that they have.  The last third (more like half) covers new monsters and some very specific ghosts.  Frankly it is worth the cover price for the ghost of Lady Macbeth alone.
I once said in a game at Gen Con that are more ghosts in London than living people.  This book helps prove my point rather nicely.
Another really solid buy.



Also don't forget about TAG's newest Kickstarter, Leagues of Cthulhu.  Yeah the name is awkward, but it does tell you exactly what this is about.  My youngest son, who is turning into quite a Lovecraft fan, really wants this game.
You add on any other "Leagues of..." book you like.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Review: Leagues of Gothic Horror

A while back I spent some quality time with the Ubiquity system reviewing a number of games including Leagues of Adventure one of my favorites.

Today I want to have a look at Leagues of Gothic Horror, the gothic horror (naturally) supplement to Leagues of Adventure.

Leagues of Gothic Horror (LoGH) is not an independent game but rather a "thick" campaign supplement with a lot of rule additions.  In it is designed to be used with Leagues of Adventure, but it could also be used with any Ubiquity game with a little work.  Actually with a little more work it could be used with any Victorian era game.   It is light on crunch really and full of flavor.

I am reviewing my hardcover and PDF from my Kickstarter backing.  The book is 158 pages, color covers with black and white interiors.  Again for my money black and white interiors are the way to go for both Victorian and Horror.

I am just going to come right out and say this.  This book is damn near perfect.
This really has everything I enjoy in one volume. Gothic horror, the Victorian era, black magic, science, horror, it's all here.

Chapter 1 covers new Archetypes for the LoA game.  These include some of my favorites of gothic and Victorian lore such as the mystic, the mentalist and an old favorite, the alienist.   There is even a subsection on how to play Ghost characters!  If I didn't love this book so much I might feel threatened that it was encroaching on Ghosts of Albion's territory!
There are also new talents, skills, and flaws for your character.  These are of course designed with LoA in mind so no idea how they might overlap with say, Hollow Earth (HEX) or other Ubiquity games. There are also new Leagues.  These are usable in any game.  In particular, I was thinking of Victorious the whole time.
Chapter 2 details horror and sanity mechanics.  Again this is expected. The sanity system is mostly relegated to phobias.  This is fine for me since this game deals more with heroic actions of daring-do.
This chapter also deals with more magic including black magic, pagan magic, ceremonial magic and ritual magic.  There is a great sidebar here on various Solar and Lunar eclipses during the late Victorian era.  Really handy to have.
The large section of magical texts, their translations and uses is also really great. Not just to use, but to read.  Many are based on real-world books too.  Along with that are new magics and magical/occult artifacts.
Chapter 3 is another great addition with new monsters. All the usual suspects are here; vampires, golems, werewolves, demons, even evil witches and a couple of different types of necromancers.  We get a section on major villains too, Dracula, Count Orlock, Brain in a Jar, Lord Ruthven, Varney the Vampire, even Rasputin.  Pretty much any Gothic-age or Victorian-age bad guy is here. Like the leagues presented in Chapter 1 there are some new sinister cults.
Chapter 4 takes us on tour to the Dark Places of the world. Great addition to LoA.  Reminds me a bit of the old AD&D Gazetteer to Gothic Earth.  Specific locales are given and more generic ones for use anywhere in the world.
Chapter 5 covers advice for the gamemaster and Chapter 6 has ideas for running games using this book. There is a great "Gothic History" timeline and list of "Who's Who" in the real world.  The last page has a nice list of references of Gothic literature, audio, movies and television.  I'll admit I had fun trying to guess the references from the material in the book.  I did pretty well if I say so myself.

I have already gushed over this book, doing so more will only make me look foolish, but I can't help it.  It is that much fun.  I call it a "must have" if you are playing Leagues of Adventure.

If you are playing other Victorian era games and want to add more Gothicness (as opposed to "Gothiness") then please consider this book.

This is going to be a lot of fun when Leagues of Cthulhu is released.


Friday, June 10, 2016

Kickstart Your Weekend: Leagues of Gothic Horror: Shapeshifters & Vampires

Triple Ace is back with more books in their Leagues of Gothic Horror line.  This time featuring Shapeshifters & Vampires.



I rather enjoy the Ubiquity System. It scratches that itch for me that I think others get from Savage Worlds. Leagues of Adventure and Leagues of Gothic Horror also sit in that sweet spot between Victorian adventure, Steam-punk, near-Pulp action and Gothic horror.   Plus I like the rule system. It's like a mix of Savage Worlds and Unisystem in some respects.

I could really get into this game.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

League of Extraordinary Ladies: The Huntress

Have not done one of these in a while.  So to celebrate the Kickstarter for Leagues of Gothic Horror: Shapeshifters & Vampires, here is a hunter...or rather a Huntress!
Plus I was reading through some of my Ubiquity books this morning and thought it would be nice to do this again.

The Huntress
Health: 8
Style: 2

Primary Attributes
Body 4
Dexterity 5
Strength 3
Charisma 3
Intelligence 5
Willpower 4

Secondary Attributes
Size: 0
Move: 8
Perception: 9
Initiative: 10
Defense: 9
Stun: 4

Skills (levels only)
Archery 6
Athletics 7
Drive 2
Firearms 6 (hand-held crossbow)
Investigation 6
Larceny 6
Linguistics 4 (English, Italian, French, Spanish)
Medicine 3
Melee 6
Performance 1
Ride 2
Stealth 7
Streetwise 7

Talents
Attractive
Danger Sense
Headstrong
Well Connected

Resources
Ally 3 (the Bat-Man)
Contacts (the Justice League) 3
Contacts (Criminal) 5
Wealth 5

Flaws
Obsession (prevent crime, hunt criminals)

This is Helena Bertinelli, not Wayne.  I have nothing against that version of the character, this is just Miss Bertinelli.  I set her Larceny, Streetwise, Contacts and Wealth accordingly.

Again with these I am not sweating the points. I want them to feel like their comic book counterparts.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Monday, August 17, 2015

League of Extraordinary Ladies: Raven

It's draft clean up week!  I have a bunch of drafts and half started posts.  So time to get them out of my queue.

I have posted some of these pics last month, but I have a few left over.
If you can, please stop by Michael Dooney's Deviant Art page for more.
http://michaeldooney.deviantart.com/gallery/33431300

Perfect for Mysteries of the Hollow Earth or Leagues of Adventure.

Raven

The young woman known as Raven is bit of mystery to other members of the League.  Lady Zatanna does not trust her.  Her command of magic is not as great as Zatanna's, but what she does know she commands with brutal efficiency.

Raven guards her secrets well.  While she does wish to aid in the fight against evil she has more at stake than the others.  For she is the daughter of the Devil himself.

Health 9
Style 5

Primary Attributes
Body 3
Dexterity 4
Strength 2
Charisma 4
Intelligence 4
Willpower 6

Secondary Attributes
Size 0
Move 7
Perception 10
Initiative 8
Defense 7
Stun 4

Skills (levels only)
Academics, Religion 3
Animal Handling 2
Archery 1
Athletics 2
Con 2
Drive 2
Firearms 1
Investigation 5
Larceny 2
Linguistics 6 (English, Italian, Latin, Greek, Egyptian, Enochian)
Medicine 2
Melee 2
Performance 6
Ride 2
Stealth 4
Streetwise 4
Sorcery (half-demon) 9 

Talents
Attractive
Danger Sense
Headstrong
Magical Aptitude (half-demon)
Psychic Ability (ESP, precognition, TK/Umbrakinesis)
Well Connected

Resources
Ally 3 (Teen titans)
Contacts (the Justice League) 2
Contacts (Supernatural) 3

Flaws
Mental (emotionally flat)
Obsession (protect the world from her father)
Weirdness Magnet

Monday, August 3, 2015

Gen Con Haul

The BEST thing about taking my wife and kids with me to Gen Con other than having their company and dedicated gaming time is that I pretty much get to buy what I want under the guise of "it's for the family gaming nights!"  Well. It also happens to be true.

So here is this year's haul.



This is a cheat since I had already backed the Kickstarter.  But I got my book, dice and Martian princess figure.


Got these half-off because a Beyond the Supernatural game I was in was cancled.


My BIG buys.  Notice a theme?  Occult Adventures looks fun. Victoriana 3rd Edition is one I have been wanting for a while.  But the big win?  CHILL 3.0!!  OMG people this is such a cool book.



Mayfair D&D.  All of this for about 10 bucks.


Still loving Castles & Crusades.


AND an autographed print from Jacob Blackmon of my iconic witch Larina for "Strange Brew".

And last, but not least...although I didn't buy it at Gen Con, it came in the mail today.

My "Death Wand" from Magical Miscellany.  The newest endeavour by my friend Kim Pauley.
http://www.kimberlypauley.com/etsy-creations/




It is a real work of art!  I am going to need to stat this up!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

League of Extraordinary Ladies: Red Sonja

Another great character that made the conversion to a great Steampunk title is Red Sonja.   Dynamite's latest Red Sonja comic, Legenderry Red Sonja takes the She-Devil With a Sword and transports her to Victorian times.
I am not caught up, but so far it is a fun read.

Red Sonja
Archetype: Warrior
Motivation:

Health: 6
Style: 2

Primary Attributes
Body 3
Dexterity 5
Strength 3
Charisma 2
Intelligence 3
Willpower 3

Secondary Attributes
Size: 0
Move: 8
Perception: 6
Initiative: 8
Defense: 8
Stun: 3

Skills (levels only)
Athletics 6
Brawl 6
Firearms 2
Intimidation 2
Investigation 5
Medicine 3
Melee 7
- Sword 8
Ride 5
Stealth 4
Survival 5

Talents
Alertness
Attractive
Danger Sense
Keen Senses

Resources
Contacts (the Justice League) 3

Flaws
Obsession (to defeat any man in battle)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

League of Extraordinary Ladies: Wonder Woman Wednesday

It's Wednesday so that means Wonder Woman!
I have to admit when I first read Mysteries of the Hollow Earth I wanted to try out an Amazonian character.  Specifically a Themysciran style Amazon.

Wonder Woman here is going to be ridiculously powerful.  Maybe even to the point of breaking the system, but she is worth it. I am largely basing this on the Amazonia version of Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman

Archetype: Warrior
Motivation: Justice

Health: 20
Style: 2

Primary Attributes
Body 12
Dexterity 10
Strength 12
Charisma 8
Intelligence 6
Willpower 8

Secondary Attributes
Size: 0
Move: 22
Perception: 14
Initiative:  16
Defense: 22
Stun: 12

Skills (levels only)
Archery 15
Athletics 10
Brawl 12
Investigation 5
Medicine 4
Melee 12
 - Sword
 - Lasso
Stealth 7
Streetwise 4
Survival 4
Warfare 6

Talents
Agile
Attractive
Danger Sense
Keen Senses
Strong

Resources
Contacts (the Justice League) 5

Flaws
Obsession (justice)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

League of Extraordinary Ladies: Hawkgirl

One of the great thing about Mysteries of the Hollow Earth are the Hawkmen of the Hollow Earth. Hawkmen have a nice long history in Sci-Fi. From the Hawkmen in Flash Gordon to the Thanigarians of DC Comics.

Shiera Saunders was a student of archeology when she discovered her true calling.  While investigating a tomb in Egypt she discovered the tomb of Egyptian Princess Chay-Ara.  Shiera learned that she was the reincarnation of Chay-Ara and she needed to find the reincarnation of her soul-mate Khufu, now taking the form of Carter Hall.  Shiera now looks for her lost love and helps others as the flying Hawkgirl.

Hawkgirl

Health: 5
Style: 2

Primary Attributes
Body 3
Dexterity 5
Strength 3
Charisma 3
Intelligence 3
Willpower 2

Secondary Attributes
Size: 0
Move: 8
Perception: 5*
Initiative: 8
Defense: 8
Stun: 3

Skills (levels only)
Academics, Archeology 5
Archery 5
Athletics 6
Brawl 6
Investigation 5
Medicine 3
Melee 7
- Mace
Stealth 7
Streetwise 6

Talents
Attractive
Danger Sense
Keen Senses

Resources
Contacts (the Justice League) 3

Flaws
Obsession (find her soul mate)

Monday, July 27, 2015

League of Extraordinary Ladies: Cat Women

Some more Ubiquity stats today.  Keeping in line with my posts for Batgirl and Zatanna, these women represent a league in 1887 for use with for Leagues of Adventure or Space: 1889.

All are based on Michael Dooney's 1887 art.  His Deviant Art page is at:
http://michaeldooney.deviantart.com/gallery/33431300

Black Cat
Felicia Hardy is a notorious burglar known for her flamboyant costume and her penchant for jewels has made her well known to police.  Due to the number of accidents that seem fall on any who pursue her she has been given the nickname "Black Cat".
Despite all her heart is usually in the right place.

Motivation: Escape/Revenge
Health: 7
Style: 2

Primary Attributes
Body 3
Dexterity 6
Strength 3
Charisma 3
Intelligence 4
Willpower 4

Secondary Attributes
Size: 0
Move: 9
Perception*: 8
Initiative: 10
Defense: 9
Stun: 3

*Due some magical trinkets she can see as well in the dark as a cat.

Skills (levels only)
Academics, Criminology 2
Archery 2
Athletics 7
Brawl 4
Con 5
Drive 2
Firearms 6
Investigation 4
Larceny 8
Linguistics 3 (English, Latin, French)
Medicine 2
Melee 6
Performance 5
Ride 2
Spying 4
Stealth 7
Streetwise 6

Talents
Agile
Attractive
Blind Fight
Danger Sense
Headstrong
Keen Sense
Lucky

Resources
Ally 3 (The Spider-man)
Contacts (Criminal) 5

Flaws
Obsession (protect Spider-man)



Catwoman (Selina Kyle)
Selina Kyle comes from the opposite end of the social spectrum than her rival Black Cat.  Selina has clawed her way to the top of social circles despite of her humble beginnings.   Selina has amassed a collection of the who's who of nobility and well to do.  All the better for the Catwoman to relieve them of their priceless treasures.

Motivation: Greed/Duty
Health: 8
Style: 2

Primary Attributes
Body 4
Dexterity 6
Strength 3
Charisma 4
Intelligence 4
Willpower 4

Secondary Attributes
Size: 0
Move: 9
Perception: 8
Initiative: 10
Defense: 10
Stun: 4

Skills (levels only)
Archery 2
Animal Handling 6 (specifically cats of all types)
Athletics 8
Brawl 6
Con 5
Connoisseur (Jewelry) 5
Drive 2
Firearms 4
Intimidation 3
Investigation 2
Larceny 8
Linguistics 2 (English, French)
Medicine 3
Melee 6
- whip 7
Performance 5
Ride 2
Spying 3
Stealth 7
Streetwise 7

Talents
Agile
Animal Affinity
Attractive
Bold Attack
Headstrong
Quick Reflexes
Well Connected

Resources
Ally 3 (The Bat-man)
Contacts (Criminal) 5

Flaws
Obsession (steal cat-themed items of great value)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Kickstart Your Weekend: Round-up Edition

Nothing special to share with you today, just some repeats that I really enjoy and a couple of new ones with familiar names.  Getting ready for Gen Con.

Reaper Miniatures Bones 3: The Search for Mr. Bones!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1513061270/reaper-miniatures-bones-3-the-search-for-mr-bones
Man I wish I could paint minis.  But I am really, really terrible at it.  I can't see the detail and my hand shakes too much thanks to all the caffeine I drink.  Still this looks awesome.

Leagues of Gothic Horror
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1588759266/leagues-of-gothic-horror
I mentioned this one before, but it looks really, really fun.   I am really looking forward to it.

Castles & Crusades Mythos
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/castles-and-crusades-mythos
Not one, but three new book from Brian N. Young who brought us the Codex Celtarum and the Codex Nordica.   This time we have books for German, Slavic and Classical Greek myths.  Sure to be excellent.

Star Trek: Axanar
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/star-trek-axanar#/story
I LOVE Star Trek and this to me is "real" Star Trek.  It just looks so good. There is so much love, care and attention put into this I can't wait to see it.   Plus pledging for the blu-ray is still cheaper than a night out at the movies with the kids.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ubiquity Month: A Tale of Multiple Mars'

One of the reasons I was so keen on doing an in depth review of the Ubiquity system was to look at both Revelations of Mars and Space: 1889 in depth.  In particular I wanted to look at both versions of their Mars.

Both have some very fun and very interesting ideas for their Mars.  I think if I were to merge these into one game, say my "1901: An Æther Space Odyssey" game, I would have to make some choices.

For starters I might jettison BOTH sets of Martians in favor of something more Barsoomian.  Why?  Well a couple of reasons.  I really enjoyed the John Carter novels and liked the Martians in those books.  The Revelations of Mars book is the closest to that. Don't me wrong, I like the Space 1889 stuff too, but even back in the GDW days it didn't grab me.  Now the Space 1889 Venus, that is something I can get behind.

As interesting as I find the Space: 1889 Martians, the Revelations of Mars Martians seem to fit the idea of "Barsoom" better.

Martian Princesses

Also the other reason is that I have ALWAYS wanted to play a pure Sword and Planet game on Barsoom using either OD&D or Spellcraft & Swordplay.  It would be nice to fully develop one Mars than to do two half-developed ones.  I have toyed with the idea of playing one using Castles & Crusades too, mixing in bits of Amazing Adventures, but I think I owe it to myself to play it under OD&D.

I would also love to figure out a way to get "War of the Worlds" mixed up in this.  The Martians of that book are very, very different than any of the above.   I could take a page from Mars: The Home Front on how to mix them.  Though I like the idea of the Therns using the Sarmaks (the creatures from H.G. Wells Mars) as advance troops for the conquest of Jasoom (Earth).
I also like the idea that the dwarf planet Ceres is somehow involved.

In some ways I like Space: 1889's solar system better and RoM's Mars better. I have not gone over the histories of both with a fine tooth comb, but I can say that mechanically they will work with each other rather nicely. There is more to the solar system than just Venus, Earth and Mars.

I think I would also want to have a Moon more similar to H.G. Well's moon than to  Edgar Rice Burroughs' Hollow Moon from the Moon Maid.  Though it would be the natural choice given the parallels to ERB's other works (Pellucidar and Barsoom).  Heck, I could almost lift Space:1889 Martians off the planet and replant them on Venus/Amtor.  That would work for me.

I have not given much thought to the other planets yet.  The four large Jovian moons are a good place to start, as is Titan.  I think I am contractually obligated to use Pluto and make it into Yuggoth.

It's nice to have so many options really.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Review: Revelations of Mars

Ubiquity month continues with a return to Mars in Revelations of Mars.

Revelations of Mars (RoM) is the newest book in the Ubiquity universe and the newest from Exile Game Studio. Like Space: 1889 I got in on this one via the Kickstarter.   I am going to spend some time looking at both games, but today I want to focus on RoM by itself.

Revelations of Mars is a nice thick tome.  Or it will be when my hardcover comes in next week.  The PDF is a healthy 224 pages.  Color covers and inserts, but mostly black and white interior.  Like it's older brother, Hollow Earth Expedition, this works well for the style and feel of the book.  What is that style?  Overtly it is Pulp Action, like HEX, but there is a good helping of "Sword and Planet" and "Planetary Romance" action here as well as, and this is fun, 50s sci-fi mentality.  In fact while reading this I kept thinking more and more of the staples of 50s UFO invasion movies.  I am not sure if that was the author's intent, but it is what I got.  I had ideas for this game, but now I am thinking "Day the Earth Stood Still" and "Journey to the Seventh Planet" (ok that was early 60s). The Mars of RoM is closer to the Barsoom of Edgar Rice Burroughs than say War of the Worlds.
This book is also a sourcebook for Hollow Earth, so you will need the Core HEX book to play.

Chapter 1 covers Characters which gives more material for Mars based and Mars travelling characters.  We get the expected run of Martian nobles, nomads and even robots.  There are plenty of new Talents and Flaws.  Everything from four arms, dual brains, Vrii-based talents and more Atlantean-based ones.  Looks like we are in for a treat here!  There are also Robot and Alien creation templates.
The Sample Characters/Archetypes are in beautiful full color and done really, really well.

Chapter 2 Supernatural Powers is another chapter I was eager to devour.  This covers psychic powers. Everything from psychic healing, precognitive powers and pyrokinesis.  Mix in with the Hollow Earth books and you have quite a bit of psychic powers to cover most situations.

Chapter 3 details more Equipment and weapons.  For you fantasy role-players out there here is your list of swords, maces, flails and spears.  Everything required by a Sword and Planet story.  Not to worry, there are still "blasters" and "ray guns" to be had as well. Naturally.   There is even Martian Red Steel that can be used in some weapons.

Chapter 4 Vehicle Combat covers all the new craft one can find on Mars.  My favorite are the sky ships.  Not a huge fan of pirates, but these are cool.

Chapter 5 is all about Martian Natives.  Several races are covered. There is the expected four-armed "green" Martians (the Dheva) but there are plenty of others. There are insect-men (well, beetlemen), Grey Martians which do remind me of "Greys",  Apemen, Purple Martians (that new!), dinosaur men, the Vrii, which are like giant crystal formations and finally the Red Martians.   In a interesting choice the Red Martians are related to Atlanteans.  There is a lot here and I am not doing it justice by any means.

Chapter 6 follows with The Red Planet, background on Mars.  Mars is very much a dying world.  That is the same story we get in the Barsoom books and even in DC comics, so that much is familiar.  There is also a feel of Vance's "Dying Earth" here too.  First we cover how to get to Mars.  There are your standard weird science rockets, but also projection from the Astral Projector, Atlantean Portals (which I rather like to be honest) and the good old fashioned abduction.  The bulk of the chapter details various locations on Mars and the inhabitants.  Very nicely detailed.

Chapter 7 Atlanteans details these ex-pats on Mars.  Not only their involvement on Mars, but also their involvement in the greater Solar System. Even if you don't want to play on Mars but want more information on the Atlanteans for your Hollow Earth Game then this is a great, must read chapter.  Several Atlantean "Gods" are also detailed and how their affairs affect Mars.

Chapter 8 Friends and Enemies covers the various peoples of Mars and what Earthlings can expect. Several unique characters are also discussed.

Chapter 9 Bestiary is exactly that, the beasts and monsters of Mars.  We have a number of "Earth-like" creatures, some different sorts of Dinosaurs and lots of insects. There are some near-humanoid creatures as well. There are even "sand worms".   There is some more modern influences here as well. The bestiary is more "Avatar" than it is "This Island Earth".  There is nothing wrong with that, though with the lack of water and plants I don't see many of these creatures, save the bugs and scavengers, living long at all.

Next is a Sample Adventure, Revelations of Mars.  I won't say much (spoilers!) but it is for human characters coming to Mars.  That makes good sense really.

The appendix covers some inspirational books of the Planetary Romance sort.  The usual suspects are here; Herbert, Vance, Howard, Burroughs, Zelazny and Wells.  But there are others worth looking to.  Comics, movies and TV shows are also mentioned. As with the other games in this line books are given the most attention.

There is a good index and list of Kickstarter backers.
A few full color "ads" and a full color map of Mars.

Honestly there is so much in this book that you could easily make a completely Mars-based campaign.  Just traveling from city to city would be adventure enough.  Thankfully the book covers more than just that.  Exile really has something nice here and I hope to see more in this line.  Could a Venus book be in the future?  Hope so.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dimetrodon for Ubiquity

Ubiquity Month continues!

We were at the Field Museum of Natural History this weekend.   One of my favorite museums in the world.  I love the dinosaur exhibit. Got to see Sue and Lucy, two of my favorite girls in anthropology.  I also got to see the creature I loved as a kid.  The Dimetrodon.  Often confused as a dinosaur these creatures are much, much older.    The also do not appear in the Ubiquity books that I have seen.

So here is my hand at making a monster.



Dimetrodon
Follower 2
Archetype: Prehistoric Synapsid
Motivation: Survival

Style: 0 Health: 9-10

Primary Attributes
Body: 6 Charisma: 0
Dexterity: 5 Intelligence: 0
Strength: 5 Willpower: 3

Secondary Attributes
Size: 0-1
Initiative: 5
Move: 10
Perception: 3
Defense: 10
Stun: 6

Skills Base Levels Rating (Average)
Brawl 5 3 8 (4)
Stealth 5 3 8 (4)
Survival 0 5 5 (2+)

Talents
Skill Aptitude (+2 Survival rating)

Resources
None

Flaw
Bestial (Cannot communicate or use tools)

Weapons Rating Size Attack (Average)
Bite 0 L 0 8 L (4) L
Claw 2 L 0 10 L (5) L

Ready to attack your players!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

1901: An Æther Space Odyssey

All month I have been talking about Ubiquity and all week about the ether space of Space: 1889.  But while I am off in a world of fantasy the real world of science and space has done some really great stuff.  Below are some artist renditions of the recent New Horizons photos of Pluto.

http://timsbrannan.tumblr.com/post/124151141014/homostook-hungry-for-change


Then combine that with this video that appeared on my feed today showing the Magnus Effect.




Which lead me to read about the Rotor Ship. All of this has combined to produce something new(ish) in my mind.

1901: An Edwardian Æther Space Odyssey

January 1901. Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Empress of India, Jedak-Regent of Parhoon, Mars has died.  Her son Albert Edward, now Edward VII, has picked up production of the empire's fleet.  He has decreed the 20th century to be the new dawn of the "Space Age".
Aiding this is a new invention by Nikola Tesla, the Tesla-Magnus Rotor.  This new form of ether space propulsion threatens to make the Edison engines obsolete.  They offer better maneuverability in close quarters to smaller celestial objects and now thanks to super conducting magnets found in the asteroid belt they can be pushed to speeds of up to 4.5 mm/d!

The first of five new ships, The HMS Victoria, has been equipped with this new drive and it will begin the race to the outer planets.  Now the fabled diamond mines of Jupiter and the cloud cities of Saturn are within reach.  Even the mysterious planets of Uranus and Neptune are now within a two year journey.  Who knows what lies beyond? A ninth or even tenth planet!

The Victoria is a long range ship with a crew of 50 and supplies for 2 years.  The ship features 12 Tesla-Magnus rotors. Two each on the fore (bow), aft (stern), dorsal, ventral, starboard, and port sides to affect three dimensions of movement. It is also equipped with a main sail and two secondary sails for normal ether flight.

I never claimed to be an artist.
Now if Tesla can only figure out how to make the radio work at the same time the engines are going.

What is "Space 1901"?
Well there are some very, very obvious things going here.
First off it is a nod to the classic Arthur C. Clarke book 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Like that book, this will deal with mankind's first attempt to reach Jupiter. Though this time with a background of Imperial Colonialism.
Also as much as I enjoy the Victorian setting of Leagues of Adventure and Space: 1889, I wanted to move out of the Victorian setting.   I also was not overly wedded to the Pulp action of Hollow Earth.
The Edwardian period of 1901-1910 seemed like an untouched area in gaming.
And of course Tesla.  How could I not do something with Tesla?
There would be a bit of "Star Trek" to this (strange new worlds) and "Space: 1999" (cut off from Earth).
I am sure I will have more ideas when I am done reading Revelations of Mars.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: Space 1889 - Red Sands (Savage Worlds)

Another very quick side-step from Ubiquity to look at another version of Space: 1889.

Space 1889: Red Sands

This is the Savage Worlds update to the classic Space 1899. Like it's fore-bearer this is a game where brave men and women from Earth brave the Ether to travel to a dying Mars or a Venus covered in lush jungles and dinosaurs. Loosely based on the works of Burroughs and Verne this is a space travel game with a twist. There is plenty of room for adventure and the opportunity to plant the flag of the British Empire on a new world or even find adventure of your own.

It is the Savage World rules and you need the core rules to play this. It is great fun and it is to date the best reason given to me to play Savage Worlds.
The only downside to this is that there is no conversion notes from the old Space 1899 to the new system. But that is minor compared to all the material you get here.

The book itself is 193 full color pages.
The "value add" for this book is that it focuses completely on the Space: 1889 universe.  The character creation rules, combat and the rest are all in the main Savage Worlds book.
This leaves room for the "Savage Tales" chapter which is full of adventure hook, ideas and mini-scenarios. Note: There is nothing stopping you from using these with any other edition of Space: 1889 you might own.

This is also a time to address the Pachycephalosaurus in the room.  Why choose Ubiquity over Savage Worlds?

Ubiquity vs. Savage Worlds

Both systems are designed to "generic" systems.  I also associate both system with Pulp-era action.  In fact I might have even said here at some point in the past that Savage Worlds was my "go to" system for Pulp Era Action, but I think I have to give that nod to Ubiquity now.

Though both seem, on paper anyway, of handling the the type of adventure found in Space: 1889.  The Space: 1889 - The Strange Land adventure even comes in both flavors, Ubiquity and Savage Worlds.
I suppose then it is a matter of taste.  Savage Worlds gives you access to things like Rippers and Gaslight.  But Ubiquity gives you access to things like Hollow Earth Expedition.

Monday, July 13, 2015

League of Extraordinary Ladies: Batgirl

Here is another installment of the League of Extraordinary Ladies.

The premise is the same as that other League, only gathered this time are powerful women. I am going to alter backgrounds a bit to better suit the time and the place. Overtly these are for Leagues of Adventure, but I think I can safely mix in some Space: 1889 as well.

Batgirl (Barbara Gordon)

One of the youngest members of the League, Batgirl is a top notch athlete, researcher and crime fighter.
Barbara is the daughter of Chief Constable James Gordon and was trained by the shadowy figure only known as The Bat-Man.  By day she works as a librarian at the Gotham Library, which gives her access to the collections thousands of books and periodicals.  She has amassed a collection of crime files that she hopes will be of use to herself or others someday.

Health: 8
Style: 2

Primary Attributes
Body 4
Dexterity 5
Strength 3
Charisma 3
Intelligence 5
Willpower 4

Secondary Attributes
Size: 0
Move: 8
Perception: 9
Initiative: 10
Defense: 9
Stun: 4

Skills (levels only)
Academics, Criminology 6
Archery 5
Athletics 6
Drive 2
Firearms 6
Investigation 6
Larceny 6
Linguistics 3 (English, Latin, French)
Medicine 3
Melee 6
Performance 2
Ride 2
Stealth 7
Streetwise 6

Talents
Attractive
Danger Sense
Headstrong
Well Connected

Resources
Ally 3 (the Bat-Man)
Contacts (the Justice League) 4
Contacts (Criminal) 5

Flaws
Obsession (protect others)

This Batgirl is not Oracle. Not yet anyway. This concept is actually closer to the newer "Batgirl of Burnside" younger Babs.

Again with these I am not sweating the points. I want them to feel like their comic book counterparts.

Review: Space 1889

Space: 1889 was always one of those games that I wanted to play, but never found the time or the group to play it.  I remember picking up a copy back when I was in college and was...well odd to say the least, but still I loved the idea.  It was very much Jules Verne meets H.G. Wells meets Nikolai Tesla meets Weird Science.   The book sat on my shelf for years though unplayed.

Fast forward to Summer 2013 and there is a new Space: 1899 in the works, this time as a Ubiquity game. At the same time the makers of HEX are giving us a Ubiquity-based Mars game.  Seemed like a good time really to jump onto the Ether-ship to Mars.

Space: 1889
This review covers both the PDF and the hardcover book.  The book is 260 full-color pages, with some black & white art.   The hardcover comes with a ribbon bookmark.

It is a gorgeous book really and one that really captures the feel of the original GDW game.  For the first time a Ubiquity book (this time published by Clockwork Publishing) breaks with tradition and gives us some of the background and setting first.

The first few pages, Prefaces, The World of Space: 1889 and  Storytelling in Victorian Space, cover a bit of background and set the stage for what it to come.

Now. Let's be fair.  While this is a science-fiction or science-fantasy game, a lot of real science is ignored to make it work.  Just go with it.  Think about this from the point of view of the Victorians. Many who thought electricity still had "divine" attributes.

Earth (there are no proper chapter numbers) covers Earth. In particular it covers the space exploration of the time and the Alt-Victorian timeline.   If you are using League of Adventure with this, then you will need to figure out which alternate timeline you want to use.  Or just make up your own.  It also covers a little bit on adventuring on Earth. But with all this I am sure you are not going to stick around.  Stats for various creatures are presented throughout.

Mars is next.  This is not Barsoom but the Mars of Space: 1889.  It has influences from various Sci-Fi stories, but this is all new to many.  This chapter covers Martians, the lands, flora and fauna.  I have toyed around with the idea of scraping this Mars in favor of a John Carter version of Mars, but that would really be wasting a lot of good material here.

Venus is our next chapter.  This Venus is the lush, tropical jungle filled with dinosaurs. Not the planetary hellscape we know it is today.  This I am inclined to keep as is.  I read a lot of sci-fi from the 60s and 70s that still described Venus like this, complete with dinosaurs and too me that is just too much fun.  Something like Jurassic Park meets King Kong only on a planetary scale.  The day of Venus is modified to fit more Victorian understanding of science and is not the 117 day long days we know it to be now.

Mercury is not very long, but still a fun read.

The Ether might be the funnest, and most important, chapter in the book really.   This deals not only with the mechanism of space travel, but also the medium.  Here we really get into the Jules Verne-ieness of it all.  This is fun chapter for me because I can see uses of this in other games.  For it's also about having my cake and eating it too.  I love RPGs, but my first love was and still is hard science.  I think that is one of the reasons I have trouble finding a good Sci-Fi game but can play any fantasy game. The Ether is a way for me to hand wave all the scientific inaccuracies and just focus on the fun.

Next we get into the "rules" section of the book.

Characters covers character generation.  This is pretty much the same as other Ubiquity games and that is a nice plus.  I know my League of Adventure characters can now travel to the Moon or Mars.
Now the nice part of this chapter, and something that can be used in other Ubiquity games, is the "Variation on Starting Points".    Your core-book standard is known as a "Promising Character" now. But you could also start as an "Unlucky Fellow" with almost half the starting points or as a "Veteran" with a few more points.  This is something that the Unisystem game system does in all their games and it works out brilliantly.  I expect it would work just as well here.
The Archetypes section includes a nice variety including a couple of Martians. There is no special Talent to buy to be a Martian. Nice change of pace really.

Rules covers rules.  Combat, Damage, and Healing cover that as well.  Again this is a Ubiquity game so these rules are not very different than other Ubiquity games I have read and played.

The main differences in these chapters is the focus on space travel and the planets characters can travel to.
The Equipment chapter should be noted for the shear number of new items this adds to the Ubiquity body of work.

One of the funnest chapters is the Inspiration one.  This is no mere list of Victorian era sci-fi.  Books of fiction and non-fiction alike are listed, with an accompanying paragraph on why they are inspiring. Even a handful of comics are discussed.   TV shows and movies are just listed.  This is afterall, a literary time.

The Glossary is rich and very useful. The Index covers topics and rules.
We end with one of the best looking Ubiquity character sheets I have seen.

In the hardcover the maps of Mars and Venus are on the liner pages.  In the PDF they are seperate wide pages.  In both cases the maps are gorgeous.  They would look fantastic as framed art prints.

This game is a guilty pleasure and I wish I could play it more often.


I might spend some time this week discussing the other versions of this game.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...