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Game Review #39 – James Bond 007

Welcome to the thick of the holiday season readers. As such I wanted to give you the gift of classic games. I also want to give you a warning that with a licensed property like James Bond there will be words used and things that you can infer that will make this seem more of a PG13 review if not R. Just in the next few sentences I will be referencing a James Bond Movie title from 1983 that has a history of spurring the immature to laughter and the mature to going… really… you named it that…

James Bond 007 by Victory Games seemed to be one of those games that was in the right place at the right time. Octopussy the thirteenth James Bond movie had just come out. The franchise was stronger than it had ever been. Roger Moore was, at the time, the only James bond that I knew. I was greatly shamed to later learn how much better Sean Connery had been in the role and had to move Moore to #2 on my all time Bond list.

It would not be until 1991 that I found this game even though it was published in 1983. Completely out of print, and if you take a look at the link above for Victory Games… you may see why. Back in the 80’s role playing games were getting out from under the “ohhh this is Satanic… worshiping demons… blah blah blah… my kids are doing something I don’t understand so I have to panic and over react and get all sorts of people to scream because I am prejudiced and stupid…” period that seems to come up with every generation and their forms of entertainment… (Please note I will now step away from my soap boxes before this goes from being a review to being a rant about generation vs generation stupidity). So in getting away from all that you had game makers looking for ways to pull in role-playing games. Make new ones. And license properties that would draw in new and experienced gamers. And of course this lead to companies that had the money, or could fake it, buying up anyone who would sell to them so that they could add their properties to their libraries, or cancel them over all and strip the talent. Guess where Victory Games was in all that… or read the link above and take note that the article in Wiki it takes you to is about Avalon Hill Games and Victory is a sub section of their story.

Oh and just to keep a flashback going, I found this game at the one hobby story I will always have big props and respect for, even though now they are gone… American Eagle Games and Hobbies. They dont have a wiki page I can refer you to, however Piazo apparently does and they bought up all of the stock that American Eagles had when they went out of business. Sigh… I miss that shop…

Anyway, still a James Bond fan in 1991, and I thought what the heck. I have played Top Secret and a few other spy games. Lets give this a shot.

Now then I have to say I was really impressed with all of the little notes, flavor text and even the slightly mocking “technical” drawings (yeah look at the quotes… technical my ass) for gear and vehicles. Add movie quotes, text from the novels and it is a fanboys… well it is not a fanboy paradise but it spurs you on. There are no photos from the movies and the character drawings in it are jusssst far enough off that I doubt they had to pay any actors royalties from the game sales. Considering all the fun I was having at the time with Shadowrun supplemental products and the quotes from ‘users’ in their weapons guides this book just added to my love of those sorts of flavor bits. It was not until later that I realized that the idea may have been done better, and definitely done sooner with this game and that Shadowrun was just imitating their betters.

As I broke the game down I found that while there were rules elements that I loved, there were a lot of gaps that left me feeling like they should have tried harder to get good rules and spent less time on the awesome fluff. Things that I liked included in the point based character generation you have a factor called Fame. You actually pay points for your characters height and weight and looks. The more “average” you are the more it costs and the lower your Fame. Play it cheap and you stand out so much it makes you much more easy to recognize. Strangely enough it does the same with rank. If you are a lowly agent your Fame stays low. If you are playing games at the ’00x’ level then your Fame is higher… sure you get more points to spend on making your character for that level, but you risk so much being so much more famous.

One of the other elements that I really liked was the difficulty bidding system for skill and action use. So the engine takes a stat plus skill to give you a total. Then you get a multiplier to set your difficulty level. So if your character is trying to drive, stat plus skill equals say eight. Average difficulty is a times five (x5) and so 8×5=40 you need to roll under 40 on a d100 to succeed. Now then if you are in a challenging moment and you need the success to really mean something you can bid your difficulty higher with the game master to get more out of what you are doing. So if the game master says the difficulty is x5, but you want to not only drive but get away with style you might offer to bump the difficulty to a x3 and now you would have to roll under a 24 on a d100 with that skill plus stat total of 8. Difficulty in the game engine runs from a x1/2 (hard as hell to pull off) up to a x10 (why are you even rolling)

Unfortunately they, in my opinion, blew it when they set up the combat section because they would do things like rating everything in a code for damage instead of just telling us how many dice to roll or anything like that. You end up tracing code versus code and you have a series of tables that unless you practice a lot with it you would end up confusing Gygax himself even after he created his falling tables for D&D. They then blew it further by listing things like anti tank guns and telling you that they were not giving them a damage code because that goes outside of the scope of the game. I can see setting expectations, but don’t go an list a piece of equipment only to then tell me I can’t get stats for it because it just does too much damage for you to feel like having it in the game. They ended up pulling the same kind of stunts a few times and that just ended up feeling like it was sloppy work to me.

Now then I know I said I was never going to do a bad review. And yes I do still have this game in my collection. And there is a reason for it. Things like the difficulty mechanic and the Fame tool were inspired. The level of detail in their fluff is just mind-blowing. Even without awesome art, the sheer flavor you get from it, if you are a James Bond fan is off the hook. Sure the game is hard to mod, but you can still steal from it freely to enhance your other games. You can take all of the reference materials and put them into another setting. You can even take the details they give for both MI6 and Tarot as awesome examples of how to build secret organizations. No one has beat them in that regard yet. So in the end, much like GURPS, this is a game I wont play, but I respect it a lot. I love the fluff and I steal from it liberally.

Overall Fluff 5/5 – I think I have gushed about it enough but this one is a tough call. With only mediocre art I am tempted to say its a four and not a five. But the volume of fluff and the use of it is just too good to say it only rates a four.

Overall Crunch 3/5 – There are some rules that I love and am happy to steal but overall the game mechanics, especially in combat are just not user friendly. The level of detail you can get in the rules for just about anything you want to describe is bloody impressive.

Overall Mod 1/5 – Just… no.. you cant.. well ok, I cant but if you can… maybe you can salvage more than I could out of the game.

Overall Fun 3/5 – Fun to steal from, fun to abuse, fun for fans. Yes its fun… but not fully fun.

Total Score 12/20 – Not a great score but I think I gave you enough why up above that I dont need to dive into a serious recap here.

All right then folks, thats it for now.

Game on, have fun and happy holidays

Now gimme the dice… I need to see if I can use the tables, tables, to retable the table of tables, table on that last table.

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Another lack of post week

Yup we are back to it again.

I hope next week to start the World Building 300 series… Supers.

But we shall have to see.

Peace out and game on folks.

Gimme the dice… I dont need to roll anything at all I just want the dice 🙂

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Game Review #37 – Cthulhu Tech (G) Catalyst Games edition

So on the heels of Should it Blend I wanted to bring in a very blended genre game.

Two great tastes that taste??? Well that will be up to you.

So the setting for Cthulhu Tech is a blend of Anime Sci Fi and Cthulhu horror. Strangely anime seems to go with anything, and so does Cthulhu. And the writers for this setting really jumped on the idea. In some ways it reminds me of the epic setting for Macross/Robotech. But instead of Robotech Masters or Invid you have the MiGo running the show in the background. You also get a bit of Guyver and Neon Genesis Evangilon or any of the other mecha anime where there is actually a living mind behind the workings of the mecha. Amazingly they blend it well.

I have to say that the setting itself, the fiction and art around it, all make this a rather compelling idea. I can really see why the authors would not give up until they could get the game published in a full color format. And as that hint would suggest the creators had a bit of a challenge getting the book off the ground. Read the wiki for more details but this games publication is a story of persistence in regards to the creators. In that regard alone I think that it should be in the library of anyone who has any interest in anime or Cthulhu so that the authors can keep working, and that other small press publishers will see that taking a risk and pushing for your vision can pay off.

The game mechanics in this engine are a little unconventional and yet completely basic at the same time. Roll dice. Get high numbers. Beat difficulty. Ok so that is the basic side. Now to the unconventional. You have options as to how to get the high number. To use an extreme example lets say you roll six dice. Your dice come up as  4,5,6,7,7, and 8. Now then you could take the 8 as it is your highest die. You could also add together the 7’s for a total of 14. Or since you rolled more than three dice you could add the 4,5, and 6 as they form a straight for a total of 15. So you have many options to win a die roll. You also have to fear 1’s as they cause bad things… more 1’s means more bad… so yeah… if you had rolled those six dice and they all came up ones… I would be thinking about creating a new character… even if the roll was for getting out of bed in the morning. Personally I like the versatility in this kind of dice mechanic. It can skew probability in the favor of the die roller, but considering that the game is lethal in its challenge level… yeah dying is easy. I think this compensates well. That and it build hope which can be crushed and that adds to the Cthulhu factor.

Speaking of the Cthulhu factor, lets talk about bad guys. There are actually a lot of them in this setting. And they all want to either take over or destroy the world. So you have epic baddies. You have the Mi-Go with their manufactured humanoids (who join the humans, well the humanoids do anyway) and giant space mecha and weapons. You have the underwater servants of Cthulhu who have both mechs and magic. You have the evil cults that have magic and madness. And then you have the evil corporation/cult that is using bio-demonic power suits to try and run the show behind the scenes. Now then what is really interesting is that while this sounds like a lot of fronts to be fighting on (and if you have to do them all it really is) but depending on the origin of your characters and the place you are joining into the worlds story from you will only usually go against one or two of them. But you CAN get into all of them. This is another one of those things that feeds into the Cthulhu factor. The more your character knows about all the fights going on, all the foes around them, the harder it can be to go on, because it all seems so hopeless.

The game engine for character generation is another one of those that seems a little blended. You have an occupation, so there is a template to start with. However you have points to build with so you have a lot of control over what goes where and why. You are also not limited to your template in your skill selection. So you have the ability to be much more than your job title would suggest. This part of the system to me is a little clunky but not something that cant be overcome by the calm and judicious application of a couple a house rules. You wont need to mod the rules, just compensate a little.

Combat is also a little clunky, but that stems more from the dice resolution system. It can make choosing your roll a little difficult, and it really makes you feat rolling 1’s. All those positives I mentioned in the dice mechanic can… well fall apart on you in combat quickly. And honestly I think they did that on purpose… again to strip hope and once again heighten the Cthulhu factor.

So how do I distribute the numbers on this one…

Overall Fluff 5/5 – The detail in the background, the fiction, and the art in this game all fuel the setting in a way that few publishers even think about achieving. I can not put it much better than that.

Overall Crunch 3/5 – The rules are fine, but you will need to make a few tweaks to make it really run well. The challenges are not insurmountable by any means, and some of the issues with the rules actually help fuel the dark side of the game if you play it straight.

Overall Mod 3/5 – Not too hard to mod. But you have to be careful of modding too far otherwise you will blow the aesthetic of the game. Usually I would not mind even a bad game engine that I can fix, but this is a pretty good game engine that is not easy to tweak without paying for it elsewhere in the game. If that was on purpose the authors have a better grip on that whole Cthulhu factor than I would have imagined.

Overall Fun 5/5 – Ok so for me it is hard not to enjoy these two flavors on their own. The rules work, the options are awesome, and there are so many story elements that you can make an epic campaign that will blow the minds of many. This sort of game is fun for me as a player or a GM.

Total Score 16/20 – Not a bad overall score at all. Honestly this game is one I rarely get to play, and the only thing that can put a damper in my playing of it is a bad group of players.

So there you have it. Please though as always take a look at it on your own and see if its right for you. Dont just take my word for it. Make up your own mind.

Ok so gimme the dice… I have four dice to make breakfast and… oh dear.. .. .. .. .. I did not know we had He Who Should Not Be Named cereal with the Yellow King surprise inside…

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Game review #31 – C.L.O.W.N. (A)

Ok so I read over my previous posts and found that not only had I used #21 twice but I had left a couple unnumbered, so this gets things back on track.

C.L.O.W.N., one of my all time favorite adventure supplements for a game. This little module is proof that you can take a joke, and make it a threat. And take a threat and make it a joke. The book was originally published by Iron Crown Enterprises for Hero Games in the Champions 3rd edition game setting in 1989.

The organization is based off of, well, folks who are quite off their rockers by conventional standards. Their goal overall is to have fun and make the world laugh. Even the stuffed shirts that run governments and superheroes. Some of the epic pranks they get up to in the groups history section are… well… epic. The characters are sort of like… well… hell the best way I can describe them would be if you took Creeper and made him a bit more focused. Or if you took the power of the Hulk and gave it to a child who loves to play tag. The thing is they work so hard to not cause harm it makes them anti-heroes of the most comedic vein. As you can see in the attached image, the acronym C.L.O.W.N. stands for the Criminal Legion Of Wacky Non-conformists. And they do everything they can to live up to that name.

I found this adventure module shortly after it was published, but was unable to run anyone through an associated adventure for quite some time. It seems that after I unleashed a villain in a game called Bob as a Hunted for someones character (don’t ask) some players I was doing Champions games with at the time were a little hesitant to let me unleash something called C.L.O.W.N. on them. Overall not the worst call someone could make, because when I let the C.L.O.W.N.’s loose things did get very very odd. Anyway, I have kept this by my side for a long time, because even if you never use it directly it is a fun and inspirational read on how to use humorous characters and not have them steal the show or really detract from the overall flow of a game. The same cannot be said for Foxbat.

So while this feels really short… I can only jump into the numbers without giving away everything about the module, and I want you to reeeeeeeeead it 🙂

Overall Fluff 5/5 – The background, the characters, the small bits of art and even the car TeeHee (just read about it) all add so much flavor so well, that it is hard to see any bad points. And to really do that I would have to look at editing and I am not going there.

Overall Crunch 1/5 – Not too many new elements, and they purposefully bent some of their own rules to create a couple of things. So I really cant give much of a score here at all.

Overall Mod 3/5 – Soooooo… yeahhh… With all the other tools that I have I can mod these characters into any game I like. I can also use things like Champions 3D to pull up evil, darkly evil versions of the characters if I want to go that way. I can even add or take away just about anything as the main system is point based. The real challenge is does this type of humor fit every setting. No, not at all. So you have to be careful where you drop it, and how you mod it.

Overall Fun 5/5 – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH 🙂 Your bloody right its fun 😉

Total Score 14/20 – Again for an all time fave its not a perfect score. But this is one of those things that you just have to run with. If you enjoy supers, and have a sense of humor plus a deep love of twisted nonsense, then you have to read this at the very least. Play it as you can.

Ok well thats it, time to shut down the system and beat the heat.

Play safe out there all.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see if there is a Master Mime in the house. 🙂

 

 

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Postless in Seattle

Ok so between working on the changes to our living room, a slightly stressed puppy because even though fireworks are not legal to be set off in the city I live in and it is not yet the 4th of July, mixed with current back pain and just general tiredness there will be no actual post today.

Next week I plan on doing a review for Amber Diceless RPG. Should be a hoot. 🙂

Gimme the dice… gently.. one at a time… I gotta roll for pain relief.

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Sorry for the delay

Hey there readers… its been a while…

I have to say there is a good reason.

Puppy.

Yeah my wife and I have added a puppy to the house hold. His name is Binx and he is a Plott Hound / Lab mix. With a beautiful brindle coat and a ton of energy and need for attention.  Only ten weeks old so he is still very nippy, needs to play a lot and every time I have tried to take a few notes to put together a new post it has been …

Ok so the new topic…

Hey Binx ok lets get you outside and play

New topic is…

Ok puppers lets go

New topic…

Oh what did you get into pup, do you need a bath

New…

Snooooooooore….

Yeah those 3am wakeups are not too bad when you usually get up at 4 to get ready for work, but tying them to the 11pm wake up, and the 1am wake up… well… yeahhhhhh.

The wife tells me this is great training for when we have a child of our own… but damn its exhausting. The little guy is a loving ball of fluff though and I cannot do anything but love him for it.

So over the next few months (I hope it takes less time but I wont count on it) posts will be sporadic and may be a mix of gaming and gushing about the puppy.

Now gimme the dice, I gotta put em up so Binx wont chew on em.

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Quick Review – Karma for SLA Industries (S)

SO while I am still trying to edit previous work on Delta City for the fiction that I wrote and the timelines/scripts I created for the world I wanted to flash back for a moment to a supplement for a game that I did a review on a while back SLA Industries.

Now then you can flash over to the older review to get links and such so you can get background on the game. There is something that has always struck me about this supplement though and I wanted to share.

There have been game supplements made over the years that come out looking like they are supposed to be a trade magazine for some industry in the game setting. I am sure you can think of a few. However most of them put all the game stats in the body of the articles that they print in their trade magazine. The first printing of Karma though puts all of the game crunch at the end of the supplement. There is nothing in your way for getting a real feel for the game environment and getting into the dark and dirty nature of the world. It is items like this that can help even jaded players suspend their disbelief and get into the game setting. To be honest I am sad I have not seen more supplements like this in games over the years.

Karma was the first supplement to be produced for SLA Industries and of the other published material I still feel it is the best one they made. For me I love the flavor that it helps give the game. For others I have heard they love the supplement because you dont have to deal with the flavor at all. You can run straight to the crunch and get the parts you want and get gone. So it is very effective from both standpoints.

What sort of score does something like this get?

Fluff – 5/5 – To repeat what I said about SLA itself “Oh gods the beauty in the darkness.”  This supplement not only keeps that alive but helps drive it further. The story it tells and the way the interviews and technical articles are written really drive the feel of the world home. The art being in the same style as the game kind of cements the relationship between the two.

Crunch – 3/5 – I cannot rate the crunch as high as the main game. There are a few things in Karma that can really create a badly OP (over power for the newbies) situation. Actually there is a lot of stuff in there that can be OP. And since the focus of the Karma publication is on only a few things, not all of the careers and character types can keep up. So it skews balance unless you are careful.

Mod – 2/5 – I am going to go word for word on this supplement as I did with the original – “So you can see this seems a little low. Here is the why of that. With the over complex rules you can do a little shaving and still be a bit flustered with how the overall rules system works. Or, like I do with a lot of GURPS books you can just toss out the rules and use it as source material for a game engine you really enjoy. But to do that effectively you need to be sure you can convey to your players that this will definitely be a darker, nastier world than anything they have used that game engine for before.”

Fun – 5/5 – Unlike the main game I can max the fun here. The way the writing works and the materials are presented this beauty can be applied anywhere and the style can be brought into nearly any other game system you can imagine. Personally I have to say this dark bit of art is too fun to let go of.

Overall score – 15/20 – Just like the original we have the same score but for different reasons. I enjoy this add on. If you dont that is up to you. But at least you will have made the choice for yourself 🙂 HAH got ya.

Ok so gimme the dice, I need to encounter a random breakfast.

Keep up the play and have fun all.

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World Building 208 – Final Chapter

Hello all

Ok so I have left this hanging since mid December and it is time to clean house and end this series.

So what parts have been brought together to make this world?

  • The sci-fi style will be pulp sci-fi. So things can get weird.
  • Humans are trash. So at the very least they will be low class citizens, maybe worse.
  • Players will not know how big the universe is, and I will sketch out a couple of places in advance but otherwise let the players drive things so the universe will become as big as it needs to be.
  • Timeline is about 30 years in the future and there are older humans who remember ‘today’ as the good old days.
  • There are many alien races but humans currently only know five.
  • There are two “magics”, technology and psychic powers. Psychic powers are used to stratify the over reaching galactic society and technology is used as a tool and extra lever over ‘lesser’ races. And humanity is one of the very lesser races.
  • Game Engine is d6 system.

The question would now be how did I put that together to make a sci-fi setting that I would be presenting to my players?

History – 

Rebellion Version

In 20XX (this is done to allow games to be started at any reasonable point in the future and so that the game setting does not become limited by a timeline that would have to be rewritten) the world gaped in awe as an object the size of a small moon was noted passing Jupiter and heading on a flight trajectory toward Earth. With the number of orbital satellites and exploratory satellites in the system that look for, well, anything, the media around the world was in a fury trying to find out how something so large on a course so direct could have been missed until it was passing Jupiter. The speed it was traveling at left less than a day before it arrived at Earth. Constant sky watch roused the world to panic levels. No one was sure if the object was going to hit the Earth or miss, theories were passing over the internet about how it had to be an alien craft, or a missile launched at Earth. Governments cried out they were on it, but between the people wanting to greet alien visitors and the doom sayers, panic seemed to be the overall order of the day.

When the object parked in lunar orbit without any negative effects on the Earth or the Moon due to gravity the question of alien ship versus missile of doom seemed to be answered. Moments after its arrival however the question came up again as every method of communication around the planet was over ridden and the ‘message’ was heard by all.

“Greetings citizens of world 152b-3. Your species has been determined to be ready to enter the Collective of Worlds. Your species will be granted class three status. In order to ensure your compliance targeted energy pulses will disable your military complexes and primitive attempts at nuclear power and weapons. Resistance to these precautions will have your species downgraded to class four status. Changes will be put in place at once. In one planetary rotation your representatives will be contacted via your attempt at a centralized world government so your duties and responsibilities in the Collective of Worlds can be formalized.”

Of course humanity resisted. Orbital weapons platforms that no country would have admitted to were re-targeted. Missiles capable of breaking free of earths gravity were launched and experimental weapons that no one really understood were launched and fired. They had no effect. Except to have the second message sent.

“Citizens of 152b-3, due to your resistance you have been downgraded to class four status. Energy pulses will now be global in effect. Loss of life is now expected. As property of the Collective of Worlds survivors of your species will be cared for and given work. Please do not resist further or your species will be designated as vermin and eradicated. Disabling of technology in 4…3…2…1…”

Then the world went dark.

Every day since there have been craft not of the Earth in our skies. Communication is down to written works that get spread by hand. Food is dolled out or farmed ourselves. Rich, poor, skin color, background, none of it seems to mater any more. Sure some folks tried to tell everyone they were still superior at first. But that did not last long. Humanity as a whole seems to have become a third world nation. Some people disappear forever into the alien complexes. Some come back with new clothes and tell us about the wonders of serving the Collective of Worlds. Others come back with blank faces and distribute food and the like to folks who still don’t know how to care for themselves. More of the young ones, locally at least are pushing to go to the Collective. They don’t know any better. Don’t know their own history. It has only been twenty five years but there are a lot of us that still remember when being human meant everything.

All we have left now as a species is to find a way to fight back. Take what the Collective has and make it our own. Rebuild human history and drive these damned things off our world.

Conformist Version

In 20XX when humanity was at its worst, separate countries and businesses trying to take whatever they could and trying to drive everyone into classes based on money and resource control, we were given a chance to be better. A greeting ship from the Collective of Worlds arrived in our solar system and after an analysis of our media and planetary capacity reached out and offered us the chance for an uplift. Some will tell you they came and gave humanity an ultimatum, but if you listen to the recordings they transmitted that are available in the uplift centers you will see that humanity was actually given a choice to join the Collective or to decline. However the people in power decided that it was a threat and not a choice and so they tried to attack the Collectives greeting ship. In self defense they disabled most of Earths technology. They had only intended to block military power, but they overestimated how robust our technology was.

In order to help humanity get back on our feet they set up centers around the world so that they could help with food, medicine and other essentials. And they are willing to take anyone who is interested into the larger Collective. Sure we don’t have the full status that the regular citizens have in the Collective but if you think about just how primitive humans are compared to the collective as a whole, it is obvious we need time to adapt to the new possibilities.

So many new technologies to learn. Languages and cultures to learn. Philosophies and religions to learn.

I am not going to apologize for the fact that lives were lost when the Collective stopped the military threat that humanity had presented. But if you take a look at humanity’s own history there have always been conflicts and loss of life when one culture encounters another. Humanity just was not ready. We as a species could not accept that there was a stronger, older, and more powerful culture out there, and we freaked out. Yes it could have been handled better on both sides. But in spite of the losses, I think we have gained more. More opportunities, more worlds. All we have to do is take them.

The Truth

The truth as always falls in-between the extremes. Earth was contacted several times by the Collective of Worlds before the arrival of the greeting ship. Several world leaders had agreed to join the Collective and to bring the rest of humanity into the fold. In exchange for personal power they offered to sell humanity to the Collective as slaves. When the Collectives offer came in though all of humanity was to get the same deal. The rich and powerful would not get a bonus in status or privilege. This was because the human species has no intrinsic psychic gifts. Sure one will pop up from time to time but the Collective leadership is all made of highly gifted psychic races. And they would not set aside their own power. So without privilege or power the humans in charge of the world made the mistake of attacking the greeting ship. Humanity lost.

The Collective established stations across the Earth. To support and educate a subject species. In a few generations it might be possible for humans to move out of the subject species class four status they have now. But for the time being the Collective views humans as a whole as a group of slaves.

Individual non humans and even some non human cultures see more in humanity than that. Some few even call humans friend. But that cannot be counted on.

Currently on Earth

Right now on Earth there are three non human races that are working to help control and elevate humans so that they can be useful.

D’xid – An anthropomorphic insectoid race. Bipedal and with four manipulator limbs they are the Collectives highest ranking members on Earth. The D’xid share a hive mind that stretches between the stars. Able to communicate everywhere they have a presence the D’xid are as powerful as any species could be in the Collective. Class one citizens.

011100110110100001100001011100000110010101110010 (binary for Shaper) – An AI race. Sharing one base code but total independence from each other the units of the 011100110110100001100001011100000110010101110010 are free to develop whatever forms they choose to function in the roles they choose to explore. They are philosophers and repositories of knowledge in the Collective. Class three citizens.

Vulloos – A race of amphibious hexapods that have a form reminiscent of an Earth squid or octopus. They have minor telekinetic abilities that allow them to maneuver in a fully upright manner on land. Curious and highly spiritual, they have a desire to see other races uplifted as quickly as possible. Class two citizens.

Collective Organization

Hundreds of worlds and dozens of species make up the Collective of Worlds. In the standard laws of the Collective species are designated by a caste like system.

Class 1 – Citizen species of the highest order. These races have psychic abilities of high order. At least one ability must be present in every member of the species. The range and power of the racial ability must be deemed significant by all other Class 1 species. Currently there are less than ten such species.

Class 2 – These races have psychic abilities that are determined to be lesser by the Class 1 species. Or there is something of a wild card to a races abilities. This could mean that power levels across the race are not standard, or that the abilities themselves are not standardized.

Class 3 – These species have sporadic psychic abilities or can contribute to the Collective in a specific technical or environmental area. Sometimes both. Class 1 and Class 2 treat these races as lesser beings usually and see them more as labor or servants.

Class 4 – Subjugated or slave species. Currently only fit for menial labor or fighting in wars for the Collective. In several generations the species may define itself in such a way that they could be elevated to Class 3. But this is uncommon.

Vermin – A race that is hostile toward the Collective. To be exterminated whenever found. These races may appear to match any class of citizen. But due to their hostility to the Collective they are seen as the enemy only.

Technology

Before the Collective of Worlds came to Earth, many of the things they could do were only possible in the realm of science fiction. Due to the assault on Earth by the Collective there is little on Earth above the age of steam that continues to function.

Role of Players

Players and the GM are going to need to decide on a campaign before creating characters. Do they want to play humans on Earth fighting against the Collective? Do they want to play slave soldiers in one of the Collectives extermination efforts? Do they want to play as characters that are in the service of a Collective citizen? Or maybe they used to be soldiers and servants but have taken over a ship and become pirates?

Of the current races on Earth the D’xid should not be allowed as PC’s. The others should be limited as the majority of any characters in a party should be human.

The longest any human would have been in service to any of the Collective efforts would be twenty years. But humans like that are rare. Most of them have left Earth and are either unable or unwilling to return to Earth.

 

So I know in a lot of ways this leaves you with something rather vague to play with. But just as when I did the fantasy setting I dont want to spell it all out for you like a game manual but give you enough info that you can do whatever creative work you want to on your own and build up a world you can have fun with.

I hope that everyone is having a great 2018 so far, and that the good times roll. 🙂

Now gimme the dice, I need to see what else is on the 2018 games table.

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Happy New Year

Hello dear readers

Today is new years eve and instead of a recap or a blow out of some kind I am just going to post a Happy New Year message to everyone and hope that they stay safe, keep gaming, and have fun in 2018 or whatever the system of denomination you choose to use is for this big blue balls next roll around the sun is… 🙂

Now gimme the dice I gotta see what the 2018 prophecy tables hold…

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Gaming accessories… not really a review

Ok so this is sort of a rant sort of a review…

See I have been going to Half Price Books a lot, gotta keep eyes open for cool stuff ya know, and there has been an item in their little locked collectible cabinet that I have been thinking about picking up. Finally did it yesterday and found it was incomplete. Not the worst thing that could happen as it was mostly for the flashback value that I picked it up.

It was a set of trading cards from 1993. Supposedly a complete factory set. Missing about 30 cards but still not a bad grab. Now then you will notice that there is no link to a product or wiki page here. That is not on accident as these cards are not really mentioned in any of the posts that I have found. 1991, 92 and 93 saw these cards come out. The cards predate Magic The Gathering, and they are not cards that play a game on their own like MTG. Much like current products by companies like Piazo, they are there to supplement game play. Monsters, treasures, NPCs and more. All on cards so that you could whip them out and show your players what the hell was going on the game without relying on miniatures or props.

To be honest I have loved this idea for a long time. When R Talsorian Games produced the Dream Park RPG in 1992 they included punch-out cards in the main game and in the supplements that would allow you to do the same thing. Strangely though when Piazo started doing them in the 2000’s people reacted like it was a totally new idea. Now then I will admit that the Piazo art team usually put out higher quality art and used a more modern card stock for their materials, but it was far from new.

There are a lot of things that will help make games a little more visual and help people get more into the game, but I really think the trading card idea is something that games could use… well… forever. Even in the market today with all the digital maps and encounters that are on the market, it can be nice to have something like these on hand so that you can hand players a prop for the super special equipment they found, or to slip them a little more information on an ally they can call on.

If I have to put a review score to tools like this I would rate them as follows…

Fluff 5/5 – It adds color and flavor to the game no mater what you are doing.

Crunch 2/5 – Not a lot of space so some important things can get missed.

Mod 4/5 – Most of these kinds of tools come with blank cards so you can make up anything you might need.

Fun 5/5 – Makes it easier to prep for a game, and lets the GM and the players have something on hand to add to the environment. Actually ran a game with these back before 2000 where players would actually try to steal the cards to take important items for themselves. Got messy when someone stole an ally card instead of the equipment they wanted.

Total score 16/20 – Something that I highly recommend you look into using.

Seriously these things are fun to use and I really suggest looking into them for yourself. However before you go lipping off that something is a new and unique idea, check into it. And if you are a seller of used items, look over the damned cards and make sure you are selling a complete set. No one likes to get home and find things missing, just take a few minutes to go through them… they are numbered rather obviously.

Ok so time to peace out and enjoy the extra hour of the day… yay for daylight savings time.

Now gimme the dice, I need to make a reflex save against leaping cats.

 

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