Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Nyaggá



The Nyaggá are a sapient alien species of marine mammals native to the Alhena (Gamma Geminorum) system. Although the species maintains a super-scientific culture and a pocket star empire of a dozen or more systems in the Hyades, rimward of the Humanspace-Regulan Neutral Zone, their extreme xenophobia has left them shrouded in mystery. Even the boundaries of Nyaggá claimed space are somewhat uncertain and several human colonies in the region have been attacked and destroyed by the terrible cymek tripods of the Nyaggá. Reprisals by Humanspace naval forces have always resulted in massive casualties on both sides.

Diplomatic efforts have achieved little and the species refuses to engage in interstellar commerce; however it is believed that massive monoliths and alien sculptures found on some Hyadean worlds were left by the Nyaggá and they periodically revisit these sites to conduct some alien semblance of trade.


Few humans have seen these creatures; however the best descriptions of the Nyaggá have been reported by rare human and near human refugees from several Nyaggá client worlds. The body of the Nyaggá is a long, tapering cylinder nearly 10 feet in length, covered by smooth grey-white skin and ending in an eel-like tail. The head is spherical and bulbous, soft and convoluted like a human brain. It includes a central black-lipped mouth surrounded by a ring of six huge black eyes. Six long retractable tentacles covered with tiny suckers and cilia, which serve for hands, emerge from a ring of muscle at the juncture of the body and the head; fully extended, the alien measures over 15 feet in length. The Nyaggá are said to be excellent swimmers; however, on land they are awkward and, unless aided by mechanical devices, must drag themselves with their tentacles and by coiling their bodies. Their reproductive processes are unknown.

It has also been reported that the Nyaggá interact little with their client worlds, except to occasionally take captives and they are typically regarded as semi-divine by the mostly primitive inhabitants of these planets.

Nyaggá Cymek Tripod

No. Enc.: 2-5 (6-24)
Alignment: Neutral (Inimical)
Move: 150'(50’)
Armor Class: 0
Hit Dice: 10
Attacks: 5 (4 tentacles+Gamma ray) and special
Damage: 1d8 (tentacles)/ 3d8 (ray)
Morale: 10

These giant metal killing machines stand 20 foot tall on three spindly but incredibly strong legs. The tripod attacks with four whip-like metallic tentacles and a gamma ray projector mounted on its bulbous head. It is uncertain if the head of the tripod is a vehicular compartment for its Nyaggá pilot or if the alien is cybernetically integrated into the machine. If the tripod is severely damaged the internal Nyaggá may extend 1-4 tentacles armed with small gamma ray guns from the hatch at the top of the tripod. Such attacks are made at -4 to hit and inflict 2d6 damage. The tripods always explode as a firebomb doing 8d8 damage in a 20’ radius when destroyed. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tau Ceti


Tau Ceti or Al Nánamat is a very ancient Human system in the Terran core only 12 light years from Earth. Tau Ceti 3 was one of the first worlds terraformed after Mars and was a center of Cymek machine culture during and after the fall of the Second Empire. Unfortunately, about 5000 years ago a massive meteor storm overwhelmed the planet's defenses resulting in the deaths of many millions and the collapse of the artificial ecosystem. It's been airless since, abandoned to the billions of wild robots that were left behind.

Wavium crystal mining is still a major concern in the the debris disk surrounding the star and thousands of asteroid mining settlements remain there including Syntrál, the seat of the wealthy Ket of the system's governor and Sughu City, the most decadent city in the Old Core.

Xeno-Sepoys



Imperial Xeno-Sepoy (Hyadean)

No. Enc.: 10-60
Alignment: Allied
Move: 120'(40’)
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d10 (1d8)
Morale: 10

Hyadean Xeno-Sepoys are frequently encountered in the service of the Imperial legions in colonial systems rimward of Terra including Aldeberan, Ain, and Canopus. These aliens, known as the Ghüngadyal, appear to be distantly related to the Nininyal and were originally encountered, always in a degenerate primitive state, by early Humanspace colonists on multiple Hyadean worlds. It is not known how the Ghüngadyal were so widely disseminated; however archaeological evidence indicates a possibility that they once maintained an advanced star-faring culture.

Physically, these aliens are bipedal and stand between 4 and 5 feet tall. They posses a tail tipped with a bony spike, two arms, claw-like hands with three fingers and an opposable thumb and thickly padded three toed feet. Their faces are sharp featured and dominated by a pronounced beak and a bony crest over their foreheads. They are hairless and covered by extremely thick skin  that ranges in color from yellow to reddish-brown  to black.

Several physiological and cultural traits of this species have resulted in their near universal employment as colonial troopers by the Imperial military. They are extremely hardy creatures adapted to live in a spectrum of harsh environments; they require little food, little air, and can tolerate levels of cold, heat, and radiation that would kill an unprotected human. Hyadean Xeno-Sepoys  receive a +3 modifier on all saving throws and are able to use Control of Self three times per day. They have two sexes, male and female, that are nearly indistinguishable. The females bear live young that are capable of walking at birth and grow to maturity in a matter of months; their lifespan is; however, very short and they live an average of only 15 years. Culturally, they are natural followers and despite somewhat limited intelligence, they carry out orders with great efficiency and with an esprit-de-corps that cannot be matched.

Hyadean Xeno-Sepoys are typically armed with an enhanced vibro-glaive developed by Imperial scientists from a primitive cultural weapon. In the hands of a Xeno-Sepoy the weapon is wickedly effective and Xeno-Sepoys are particularly adept at using it to penetrate Space armor and belt shields; they receive a +1 to hit bonus against opponents with these armor types in melee.  The vibrations from the weapon may also be projected as a short range (60')  burst of ultra-sound doing 1d8 damage.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Players of Games


The Humanspace Empires PBP Campaign blogs are live.



Both campaigns are full and character generation is underway.  





Monday, April 18, 2011

HUMANSPACE EMPIRES PBP & RESOURCES

I'm ready to begin moving forward with the Official Humanspace Empires play by post play test and development campaigns. Yes, campaigns, I've decided to split the volunteers into two groups based on their stated preference for theme. I think the smaller groups will allow for greater individual involvement and minimize the lag that a large group might be unable to avoid.

I would like to have characters generated by the weekend if possible.

The looters game has been named the Ancient Astronauts Campaign. Assuming all of the players that expressed interest in the game are still on board, there are no additional spots available.

The players are:

Arkhein
NetherWerks 
Kobold 
Risus Monkey 
migellito 


 Players in the the Ancient Astronauts Campaign may  generate characters  following the rules in the playtest draft. Any class or species should be fine.  Abilities should be rolled 3d6 in order as stated in the rules.  If you have a character concept that requires certain minimums keep rolling up stats until you get it and send me a copy of all the failed rolls for statistical analysis.  If you really want to play an android or robot or mutant or something really odd email me at thedrune at gmaildotcom and I will try to work it out.  Characters should be first level with randomly generated starting credits from which you may purchase equipment.


The Imperials game has been named:

Spaceswords & Glory

The players are:

School Master 
Il Male™ 
Porky 

At this time there are two additional spots open for this game if anyone else wants to play, comment below.

Character generation will be a little more complicated for this game as players will be the crew of a small Humanspace Naval vessel (think alternate universe Evil Star Trek bearded Spock). Once all the players are assembled we can discuss ranks, position, character level, etc.  Email me with any questions.

Remember, I warned you that I've never run a pbp game but I'm thinking about running these campaigns on blogs. Let me know if you hate this idea but I think it has several advantages.   I like the customization of blogs vs. message boards and I don't foresee needing any integrated features like dice rollers (we will be on the honor system) abd email may be used for secrecy when necessary.

So, let me know what you think and the Naval Forces  of the Third Terran Empire are looking for a couple of good lifeforms if you missed the first chance at signing up.

Also, please note the new Humanspace Resorces page at ix.  It is attempting to index all the new Humanspace material thats been bubbling up lately and will be regularly updated.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Micro-Dungeons of Ignorance

Anyone wondering whatever happened to the DOOMQUEST hex-less crawl through Gloantha's Kingdom of Ignorance and the associated Skype play-test?

Un-fantastic real world work and other projects have cut into my design time a bit but the real hold up has been a sort of endless expansion to the crawl that, I believe, will ultimately result in a very useful and fun book.

The final version of the Treasure of the Amethyst Dragon will now feature over 60 classic Gloranthan monsters and original foes and creatures statted for DOOMQUEST and indexed in about 20 random encounter tables, dozens of special and unique encounters and NPCs  that will drive the plot buried beneath the random tables, at least three micro-dungeons, a system for random treasure generation for DOOMQUEST using Social stat as Loot Factor, a random table of DOOMQUEST magic items including dozens of Gloranthan goodies and new weird artifacts, additional rules for Battle Magic, Spirit Magic, Dragon Magic, and Divine Magic in DOOMQUEST, and  rules for Divine Intervention.

It may be another  week or two to pull this all together, especially if it continues to expand.  I haven't heard back from Hearts in Glorantha about publishing this beast so I'm not sure where that stands. Also, I applied for an Official License to e-publish Gloranthan material a few weeks ago and haven't heard back about that yet either.

I've enjoyed working on the project though and I think I may do a similar East Isles sea-crawl for DOOMQUEST next.

If none of this makes sense and you're curious, read these earlier posts.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Night Specials: Gigapedes




























Gigapede

Small

No. Enc.: 1d6
Alignment: Neutral (Inimical)
Move: 120'(40’)
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d4 (plus special)
Morale: 6

Large

No. Enc.: 1d4
Alignment: Neutral (Inimical)
Move: 120'(40’)
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d8 (plus special)
Morale: 9

The gidapede is the larval form of one of the several silicon based giant space or asteroid worms. They are often found on asteroids, planetoids or within space hulks. These creatures vary in size, ranging from about 8 feet to 20 feet in length, and have millions of tiny electromagnetically charged legs that that allow them to move very quickly across almost any surface. Gigapedes, like most silicon based life, need no air and can tolerate extreme cold. They feed on pure energy and are often attracted to spaceships and other vehicles and devices that emit high energy signals. Although they are not carnivorous, gigapedes are extremely aggressive and attack by lashing out with their sharp mandibles. In addition to any damage caused by the bite, the gigapede delivers a strong electrical discharge with the bite that causes an additional 1d8 damage and can short circuit unshielded equipment and devices. A successful save vs. energy blast results in damage being halved.

Saturday Night Specials: Space Spiders

Space Spiders

No. Enc.: 1-6
Alignment: Neutral (Inimical)
Move: 120'(40’)
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d8
Morale: 7

Space spiders are inter-dimensional silicon-based spider-like life forms that sometimes infest starships in deep space. They are rabidly carnivorous web builders and ensnarement in the web of one of these creatures is treated as the effects of a Tangler gun. Space spiders are also sufficiently intelligent that they will phase into another dimension if seriously injured or after failing a morale check and will subsequently attempt to attack with surprise.

The bite of a space spider is poisonous and additionally the means by which space spiders propagate themselves. A victim that fails a saving throw vs. poison will become nauseated and essentially incapacitated for 1d4 hours. After the initial phase of the toxin passes, the victim will gradually become spider-like, growing bristly hairs on their body and sprouting additional sightless eyes and a large egg sac will form on their back. The victim suffers 2d6 hit points of damage per hour during this transformation unless treated with super-scientific anti-toxins. Upon the death of the victim the eggs will hatch and 5d4 newborn space spiders ( treat as 1 hit die versions of the creature) will devour the corpse.

Hierarchy of the Nóm


The Hierarchy of the Nóm, is a theocratic super-scientific interstellar empire in the Coreward Beyond lying between Humanspace and the Great Shén Star Empire. Its capital is the planet Yóko that orbits Manayódsushai (known in Humanspace as Ras Algethi, or 64 Herculis), a massive red giant star. Outsiders are very limited in mobility within and access to the secretive and closed society of the Nóm.

The Nóm are a variant or mutant human race; physically quite distinct from the people of Humanspace. They tend to be very thin but relatively short, somewhat macrocephalic with sharp, triangular faces and epicanthic folds and have almost jet-black skin. Many tattoo their faces and bodies with intricate designs.

Scholars of interstellar history and linguistics debate the origins of the Nóm. It is thought most likely that they are descended from a lost Terran colony established millennia before the First Terran Empire was formed; as their language, Ónu, has little similarity to Sunúz. 

Amongst the Nóm, science, government and theology are intertwined. Although little is known of their mysterious religion, it is believed that they worship stellar energy and specifically the star Manayódsushai, claiming that it is sentient and they have developed techniques that allow communication with it. All aspects of life within the Hierarchy, including civil, military and religious affairs, are completely dominated by the Techno-priests of the Star God and the Priest-Emperor, the Invisibly Radiant Hierarch.

The Techno-priesthood appears to be divided into at least four sects or orders. The Sect of Speakers communicates with Manayódsushai and conveys its messages to the remainder of society.  According to the Speakers, adherence to the Infinite Nuclear Plan is necessary to avoid a cataclysmic future event. The plan specifies everything from individual morality and mode of dress to the need to rearrange the order of the cosmos, primarily through the destruction, creation, and relocation of stars. These latter tasks are the domains of the other sects, the Destroyers, the Creators, and the Transporters who use precisely calculated thermostellar explosions, Illudium space modulators, and massive contra-gravitic wave generators to carry out the will of Manayódsushai.

In recent centuries, the Sect of Transporters have attempted to relocate several stars within the boundaries of the Shén Empire resulting in periodic interstellar warfare between the Hierarchy and the Shén.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Play by Post Humanspace?


I've been considering starting a play by post or pbem Humanspace Empires game. I think it would be good for some additional play-testing, setting and rules development and could be fun.  Warning though, I have little experience with such games other than playing in a few over the last 10 years or so.

It would need to be pretty laid back/glacial at least for the now.  I think I could manage 2-3 exchanges/turns per week.

I know of at least one potential player.  Anyone else interested and if so which face of Humanspace to explore? Interstellar scoundrels/ tomb robbers/treasure hunters? Empire Navy or Scouts? Sword and Planet plus Shén on Mars? Space Legionaires on Tekumel? Orions (Áylita needs Men)? Other ideas?

Other space news...

The Treasure of the Amethyst Dragon/DOOMQUEST Micro-Campaign is taking a bit longer than expected but should be finished soon  and I'm still interested in an eventual Skype play test event.

The creator of DOOMQUEST  dropped by ix and he has a new blog.

At Netherwerks, the Young Space Lord's Guide to Building Solar Systems, more than a great beginning for the future pulp planetary system generator planned for Humanspace Empires: Book 3.  Green Suns Included!

At the Expanse, there is an original Humanspace monster, the Necobra, inspired by a notorious Warhammer mini.

...and  Cordwainer Smith's Instrumentality of Mankind discussed at Old School Heretic.

LATE EDITION UPDATE 

 Another new Humanspace monster, the Giant Kryptonian Tentacled Snake and more space madness at Swords & Stitchery.

Notes on the Ansible


 

The ansible is a device capable of near instantaneous, superluminal communication across vast distances. The earliest such device used in Humanspace was invented by the Pé Chói in the 495th century AD. Since this time, ansibles have come into wide use throughout known space.

Ansible communication is in the form of contra-gravitic inter-dimensional waves. Data is always transmitted between no more than two units and one must be located  in a fixed position on a body of a sufficiently great mass, such as a large moon or planet. The second ansible may be located in any situation, such as aboard a starship.

A ship travelling at a rate greater than 0.1 x the speed of light or in inter-planar space cannot transmit or receive due to space-time distortion.

Massive energy output is required to transmit messages with an ansible and a relatively large surface area containing specialized sensor cells is required for reception. An ansible is not portable.

Due to inter-planar mass interference, ansible range is limited to approximately 20 light years; however relay stations are present on most super-scientific worlds.

Although ansible communication is relatively dependable, it is subject to many forms of interference and distortion. One of the strangest forms of distortion is anti-causal contra-temporal displacement. Rarely, messages from the future are received in the past , answers are received prior to the transmission of a question, etc.

It has been reported that the Regulans are developing inter-planar death-waves based on ansible technology that might be capable of killing over vast interstellar distances.

A few ad hoc ansible rules

Asibles of various qualities are rated as Mk 1, Mk 2, etc. Superior models are designated by higher Mk numbers. The Mk number is used as a positive modifier on the skill success table when an operator attempts to transmit with an ansible. If the transmission fails the operator of the receiving unit is allowed a roll on the skill success table, modified by his or her appropriate skill and the Mk number of the receiving ansible. Success indicates that the message was saved.

Random Ansible Failure Results (d20)

1-8        Message garbled, about 50% of transmission received. No signal for d20 minutes.
9-10      Message garbled, about 50% of transmission received. No signal for d100 minutes.
11-12    Message unintelligible, about 10% of transmission received. No signal for d100 minutes.
13-14    Message unintelligible, about 10% of transmission received. No signal for 2d12 hours.
15-18    Data lost. No signal for 2d12 hours.
19         Data lost. No signal for 1d6 x 2d12 hours.
20         Original message lost, Contra-Temporal Message Received. No signal for 1d6 x 2d12 hours.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

It Came From Space: The Shikkáyi



Shikkáyi
Planet of origin:unknown

No. Enc.: 1-4
Alignment: Inimical
Move: 180' (60')
            Fly: 240’ (80’)
Armor Class: 0
Hit Dice: 10
Attacks: 2 or 3 (see below)
Damage: 2-12
Morale: 12


The Shikkáyi are an inimical and parasitic alien race. They appear as a large bloated gray gas bag containing a shockingly human-like eye with numerous thin and fibrous tentacles stemming from the sac. They were first encountered on Mars by ancient Terran explorers. Similar creatures, including unintelligent, degenerate or un-evolved sub-species have been found on scattered worlds throughout known space and it is believed that the creature ranged across this region of the galaxy in the very distant past.

The Shikkáyi appear to possess a form of high intellect that is very different from that of most known sapients.  They do not seem to possess their own technology but will adapt and utilize the science of other races in a form of technological parasitism.  It was on Ancient Mars that they first adopted partial, modified human bodies for use as mounts or hosts by infiltrating genetic laboratories, enslaving the human technicians and growing these modi-bodies in the gene vats. A Shikkáyi can separate from its modi-body at will; however doing so will cause extreme trauma to the host and leave it a breathing piece of brainless meat.

They also frequently added cymek improvements to the modi-bodies such as integrated ray weaponry and the replacement of feet with contra-gravitic field generators.

The Shikkáyi are poorly understood but it is clear that they are allies to none and enemies to all. They seek to make modi-body slaves of every species they encounter. It has been reported that in at least one instance, the Shikkayi have attempted to convert an ahoggya into a modi-body mounting four of the Shikkayi linked into a powerful, quadruple gestalt. It produced a dreadful abomination capable of unleashing a massive anti-psychic field that blasted minds, crashed robot brains, purged computers, and disabled all mentaliks within range. It is feared that these horrid things might one day learn how to focus this anti-psychic effect into some sort of directed weapon.

As might be expected, there is great variability in these, fortunately, rare alien monsters. A typical specimen is shown.  It attacks three times per round, once with its own tentacles, once with an alien melee weapon that delivers a powerful electrical discharge and once with its scourge-weapon, a devolved and stunted Káyi modified to serve as a living weapon. The tentacles of the Shikkáyi and Káyi deliver 2-12 damage on hit. Additionally, there is a 75% chance that the tentacles will attach to the victim doing 2-12 hit points damage and draining one experience level per round until removed.


Áylgibrá – the Orion Mutuality



Áylgibrá, the Orion Mutuality, is a lesser interstellar polity in the Rimward Beyond inhabited by green skinned mutant humans. Its capital is the planet Ázor that orbits Bellatrix (Gamma Orionis), a large, bright blue-white star.

The Áylgibráns are a very ancient lost Terran colony and speak an archaic dialect of Sunúz. They maintain a Super-Scientific civilization that rivals and, in certain fields, even exceeds the technology of Humanspace. Its citizens enjoy far greater freedoms and civil rights than denizens of the Empire as the Áylgibrán government is comprised of localized semi-anarchic democratic councils known as Jámülaylgibrá. There is essentially no interstellar government in the Mutuality. Its military; however, is largely robotic, very advanced, and often tested by Hlutrgú raiders.

As in Humanspace, citizenship is not extended to the entirety of society. Only male Áylgibráns are considered citizens. As a result of an ancient war between the sexes, female Áylgibráns found on Ázor and the other major worlds within the Mutuality are enslaved.

A secondary mutation that differentiates Áylgibráns from the human norm is that the males are subject to the kwizát hárá, a mating bloodlust that arises once every seven earth-years. Stunning physiological changes accompany the bloodlust; body mass and size may double, strength increases by an even greater factor, bony spikes appear over the Áylgibrán's body, intelligence diminishes and the ability to resist the impulse to kill over a desired mate is nearly impossible to suppress.

The male Áylgibráns have embraced logic, super-science and psychic control to preserve their society. Men able to withstand the bloodlust wear a titanium skull cap and explode veins on the sides of their head as symbols of their power over self.

Females have been exiled to Ámaza, the jungle moon of Ázor, where they live as primitives. Male Áylgibráns journey to the moon to hunt and capture mates that are brought back to their home-worlds and enslaved with drugs and psychic mind control. Although, the males could continue their species through cloning, the taking of a mate is necessitated by the kwizát hárá and it has proven impossible to extend the life of any enslaved female Áylgibrán beyond seven years.

Female Áylgibráns are legendary across known space for their beauty and allure. Their mutant pheromones make them nearly irresistible to human males.

Ázor is a sunny water-world where Átlatl, Ázor City and other magnificent Áylgibrán metropolises tower on a few rocky islands or float in the sky.

Ámaza, the jungle moon of Ázor, is home to the wild, exiled Áylgibrán women and prehistoric alien monsters.

Numirál is a small and mountainous desert world rich in rare metals and crystals.

Pytzcún is an icy world known for its great centers of industry, science, and learning.

Áylita, at the edge of the Mutuality and hostile to it, is the only civilized world where female Áylgibráns rule and males are not found. The continued independence of this world may be attributed to the bravery of its warriors, the super-scientific prowess of Mystá, its ancient queen, and the lack of resolution within the Mutuality.




Saturday, April 9, 2011

Pork and Plutons

Ix might be in space but it's not in a vacuum.

Signals from Planet Algol have reached us regarding far-future space fantasy adventures in the Pluton Zone, inspired by Jack Vance and Dune and powered by Humanspace Empires.

Relevant transmissions may be intercepted here and here and don't miss the Random Table of Hyperspace Monster Encounters and the awesome post on Space Yoga.

Also, a fantastic bipartite review of the Humanspace Empires draft play test rules may be found at the Expanse.

The first part is here and the second here.

I hope to be completing The Treasure of the Amethyst Dragon, my DOOMQUEST Micro-Campaign set in Glorantha's Kingdom of Ignorance, this weekend. I will post the pdf as a free download as soon as its wrapped up.  To the several brave people that have been coerced into a Skype play test event, there will be more details coincident with the release.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Living and Dying in Humanspace Part II: The Government and Militaries


Unhurried despite the flashing alert signal and loud klaxon, Captain Gayán Visá slipped into his black skin-suit displaying the ancient human face sigil of the Váduva Tysulár, the Third Terran or Humanspace Empire.  Shánü, his Orion slave and concubine, somehow managed to remain asleep, wrapped in a lush blanket of pearly mnór fur.

The view screen on the bridge of the Imperial Star Hú  Jimur,  afforded Visá a spectacular view of the Opiuchi 69 trinary, a cataclysmic blood red fireball in the middle distance, a deep blue star, almost violet, before it and a  blazing golden orb above and beyond.  A Ssú sleeper ship skirted the smoldering corona of the Opiuchi stars.  

The Humanspace ship shimmered, iridescent for a moment, the fabric of space rippled and the Jimur faded to a point of white light and then nothingness only to reappear silent minutes later directly above the enemy vessel. Z-rays flicked across the Ssú transport, opening thick black wounds in its steely skin. The crippled alien ship, consumed in blue fire and crackling electricity, turned, veering toward the near purple sun.

In his mind's eye,  Visá perceived the equally dire transpirations within  the dying Ssú ship, a cold blasted inferno, alien death, radiation, smoke and gases fuming from cracked life support pods, a four-legged monster with skin like rolls of mottled black parchment, burning, its void dark eyes filled with hate, staring back into the Captain's mind... 


The government of Humanspace may best be described as totalitarian and semi-feudal.  A  vast Imperial bureaucracy operates under the Mül Council of Narnyel (Lords or Archons) from the 16 great Ketyel, or Houses, the many lesser Houses, and ultimately the Galactic Emperor.  Each planetary system is ruled by a Lord or planetary governor, and the great Council of Space Lords meets irregularly, at the behest of the Emperor, or as demanded by other circumstances. 

The affairs of the worlds are conducted, within the strictures of the Imperial Compact, under the authority of their lords or governors.  On most settled worlds, the Ket, the House of the ruling Nar, controls all trade and industry and maintains a system defense force, police, and planetary militia. On colonial worlds, many worlds at the fringes of Empire, and worlds plagued by unrest or external threats, Imperial military forces will be present in strength.

The core of the Imperial forces are the 64 Sultyat Clone Legions, men and women grown in gene vats from a cache of genetic material that had been preserved since the time of the Atomic Armageddon that decimated the Earth in the 21st century. These clone troops, engineered for enhanced intelligence and physical traits and trained from birth to be ruthless killers, are perhaps the most effective fighting force in the galaxy.  The histories of these black space-armored legions are ancient and storied; the Sultyat predate the current empire by 20 millennia or more.  Traditionally, the Emperor is protected by the Elite Sultyat Imperial Guard Legion.



The Empire also maintains at least 600 legions of human regulars, various Alien Legions, and numerous cadres of Xeno-Sepoys on colonial out-worlds.  The legions are typically segregated by species; however some near-Humans, Pé Chói, and infrequently, Nininyal troops may be included in the Human legions.


The Imperial Navy and the paramilitary Imperial Extreme Survey are more integrated and it is not unusual to find members of several alien species in a starship’s crew. Naval forces include the red clad astronauts of the Near Space fleet and the black suits of several Deep Space fleets. 

Feared throughout the Empire are the Veregyá, Imperial secret police agents, answerable only to the Autocrator. Little is known of this sinister force but rumors of terror, torture, android assassins, gene shaped super spies, and mind-snatching mentaliks may be heard on every world.

Monday, April 4, 2011

DOOM & DISMEMBERMENT


I continue to be pretty excited about DOOMQUEST, the two page Runequest hack by Scott LeMein that was included in the most recent issue of Fight On! I was a bit nonplussed by the complete lack of interest in play-testing the micro-campaign crawl that I’ve been putting together.  I attribute this to one of several possible factors. 

Possibility 1: Your moms said that you aren't allowed to play with me. (I consider this somewhat unlikely because your mom probably doesn’t know about all the terrible things I've done.)

Possibility 2: Nobody actually reads blogs or, at least, no one really reads this one. (I consider this a viable possibility.)

Possibility 2.5: ix readers only read the Humanspace posts and/or look at pictures of green alien slave girls and Mongoese women (ditto and supported by hard data)

Possibility 3: “Runequest sucks. I play D&D.” (I hope this isn't it…)

Possibility 4: “DOOM-what? Huh?” (Likely)

Possibility 5: "Skype sucks." (Can't be discounted) 

My fragile ego precludes considering several other possibilities. 

In case the answer is behind Door #4:

DOOMQUEST looks awesome for old school hack and slash beer and bong play especially if you have any liking for old school RQ or Glorantha. Briefly (the rules are only two pages so a review probably shouldn’t be more than a few paragraphs), characters have three stats Sword, Sorcery, and Social. Make up your piecemeal armor and don't forget a helmet because there's hit location, Armor is heavy though and heavily encumbered folks are slow and don't sneak, jump or swim very well, Make up a weapon, size is tied to damage and encumbrance.  

Roll under Sword with d20 to hit in combat. Attacks may be parried but sometimes swords are broken. There are critical and fumbles for parry and attack. You hit? Roll hit location and damage, subtract armor rating for that helmet, and apply remaining damage, you chopped off his head.

DOOMQUEST is all about decapitation and dismemberment, hacked off arms and legs, heads go flying, necks snap, blood splashes everywhere…

Magic system? Roll under Sorcery. Adapt spells from other games. I think this section needs a little house ruling but I like the basic idea a lot. I adapted spells from Runequest II-IV, Simon Phipp’s Dragon Magic rules, and Call of Cthulhu for the pre-gen characters. Fortunately I found spells for re-growing limbs or grafting somebody (thing?) else’s body parts …

Finally, includes rules for morale, experience, saving throws, searching, hirelings, experience and improvement, all in two pages.


ix: evolving into a new lifeform


Great news space fans and slans. Netherwerks has joined the Humanspace Empires development team. Things are probably going to get a bit weirder around here. Has ix been assimilated into the Borg-like  Nether-Regions of the ever expanding Netherwerks collective or has it just decided to embrace its inner Old School Hereticism?

I think this means exciting times are ahead for Humanspace.  In the near far future, look for robot and android characters, stats and more details for the Demi-Shén of Mars, devolved man-eating Pé Choi, Mihálli teleporting on and off their vast generation ships, more space monsters and inimical alien races, cool original illustrations, rogue clone troopers. mutant Hlutrgú, secrets of the subterranean and eyeless Vrilú, super scientific traps, space treasure, mind-absorbing crystals, deadly radiation, secret psychic Astronaut cults, flying saucers, more star maps, and maybe a half dozen or more sandbox worlds.

Current projections are for the release of Humanspace Empires Book 1: Science Fantasy Adventures (final revision of the current play-test draft rules) within the next two months or so, followed by Book 2: Space Monsters and Book 3: Campaigns in Space and on Alien Planets (rules for spaceships, planetary adventures and more than a few sandbox worlds) by the end of the year.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Treasure of the Amethyst Dragon


Yo Gloranthaphiles...the Kingdom of Ignorance: Treasure of the Amethyst Dragon  DOOMQUEST crawl may be included in the forthcoming issue of the Gloranthan fanzine Hearts in Glorantha. So, while taking breaks from what I was supposed to be doing today, working overtime writing detailed commentary on digging up long dead people and their trash, I continued work on KOI.

It occurred to me that I would love to run this at as a one shot or tournament game and I made up a few pregen characters for the crawl.

The story begins with the Repairer of Roads, an ancient Dragonewt noble charged with the maintenance of the mystical dragon roads, plucking four Gloranthan adventurers and one early 20th century Scottish magician from the jaws of certain death and sending them, with his apprentice Rep Rep, off to the Kingdom Ignorance on a quest for the Treasure of the Amethyst  Dragon.

I' m hoping to arrange a live playtest before sending this off to HiG but I don't think I have much time and finding six insane people willing to try this is probably impossible.  Anyone interested in a Skype game in the near future?

All images wantonly looted from here and here and here and  here and there, and there even.  I claim fair use. Clearly this is parody.
Rep-Rep: the Representative of the Repairer
Dragonewt Tailed Priest

Sword: 13 Sorcery: 13 Social: 12 Bonuses: +2 Sorcery, +3 Sneak, Spells: Dragon Armor, Dragon Strength, Dream Vision, Fire Breath, Forced March, Heal, Lose Limb, Regrow Limb, Scorn Wound, Shed Skin, Sprout Wings, Soul Blast, Tattoo Matrix, Telepathy, Walk Dragon Road

HP / Armor per location: Head: 5/2 Left Arm: 4/2 Right Arm: 4/2 Chest: 6/7 Abdomen: 5/7 Left Leg: 5/2 Right Leg: 5/2 Scales, +2 Dragonbone breastplate, +2 Dragonbone klanth (d8+2, AP 8 HP 16), Encumbrance: 19 Move: 53’ XP: 2000

Winged Form
HP / Armor per location: Head: 5/2 Left Arm: 4/2 Right Arm: 4/2 Left Wing: 4/2 Right Wing: 4/2 Chest: 6/7 Abdomen: 6/7 Left Leg: 5/2 Right Leg: 5/2



 Professor Edison Leer: the Owl
Scottish Magician and Adventurer


Sword: 16 Sorcery: 4 Social: 3 Bonuses: +6 Sorcery, +4 Social +2 Parry Spells: Bring Haboob, Compel Flesh, Create Curse Whistle, Detect Enchantment, Dream Vision, Graft Flesh, Mind Exchange, Soul Singing, Spectral Razor, Summon/Bind Hunting Horror

HP / Armor per location: Head: 6/1 Left Arm: 5/1 Right Arm: 5/1 Chest: 8/1 Abdomen: 6/1 Left Leg: 6/1 Right Leg: 6/1 Thick skin, Sword cane (d8, AP 6 HP 12), Webley Self-Extracting Revolver Mk VI (d10 +1), Owl Bone Whistle, Encumbrance: 28 Move: 56’ XP: 10000


 Jade Alynx: the Pussycat
Vithelan Sorceress

Sword: 10 Sorcery: 10 Social: 9 Bonuses: +3 Sword, +4 Sorcery, +5 Social, +3 Parry Spells: Attune Landscape, Deflect Harm, Dragon Armour, Dream Vision, Fire Breath, Great Swallow, Heal, Mesmerize, Regrow Limb, Shed Skin, Soul Blast, Spit Venom, Sustain Life, Tattoo Matrix

HP / Armor per location: Head: 4/0 Left Arm: 3/0 Right Arm: 3/0 Chest: 5/0 Abdomen: 4/0 Left Leg: 4/0 Right Leg: 4/0 +2 Sword “Green Dream Dragon Claw” (d8+2, AP 8 HP 32), Encumbrance: 18 Move: 58’ XP: 12000



 Wu Kung
Kralorelan Monk

Sword: 15 Sorcery: 5 Social: 4 Bonuses: +3 Sword, +5 Sorcery, +3 Social, +5 Acrobatics, +5 Sneak Spells: First Strike, Forced March, Grasshopper Armor, Heal, Heroic Leap, Scorn Wound, Suspend Life, Sustain Life

HP / Armor per location: Head: 5/0 Left Arm: 4/0 Right Arm: 4/0 Chest: 6/0 Abdomen: 5/0 Left Leg: 5/0 Right Leg: 5/0 Grasshopper Style x2 (d8), Encumbrance: 30 Move: 60’ XP: 11000



Red Tonja
Redlands Lunar Warrior 

Sword: 13 Sorcery: 7 Social: 6 Bonuses: +2 Sword, +2 Sorcery, +8 Social, Spells: Scimitar Sharp, Detect Enemies, Fireblade, Heal, Protection

HP / Armor per location: Head: 5/0 Left Arm: 4/0 Right Arm: 4/0 Chest: 6/5 Abdomen: 5/5 Left Leg: 5/0 Right Leg: 5/0 Chainmail bikini, silver scimitar (d8, AP 6 HP 12), iron shield (d3+3, AP 6 HP 18), Lunar bow (d8), Encumbrance: 15 Move: 51’ XP: 12000


 Murloc the Man-Bat
Bat Hsunchen Shaman

Sword: 10 Sorcery: 10 Social: 9 Bonuses: +3 Sword, +3 Sorcery  Spells: Banish spirit, Dark Wall, Paralyze, Summon Spirit, Torpor , Transform into Man-Bat

HP/Armor per location: Head: 4/2 Left Arm: 3/2 Right Arm: 3/2 Chest: 5/4 Abdomen: 4/4 Left Leg: 4/2 Right Leg: 4/2 Bat fur cap and cloak, cuirboilli, Fetch stick and ground stone bat ax (d8, AP 6 HP 12), sling (d4), Encumbrance: 9  Move: 49’ XP: 6000

Man-Bat Form

Sword: 19 Sorcery: 1 Social: 1 Bonuses/Spells:none

HP / Armor per location: Head: 7/4 Left Arm: 6/4 Right Arm: 6/4 Left Wing: 6/4 Right Wing: 6/4 Chest: 8/4 Abdomen: 7/4 Left Leg: 7/4 Right Leg: 7/4 Thick skin, Bite (d8), Claws x2 (d8), Encumbrance: 38 Move: 80’



Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Many Faces of IX

IX, Petty God of Sun Bleached Bones
  
 
 Vampire Planet IX 


 The Fantastic City of IX


Wandering Monster in the Megadungeon of IX

It is very dark in IX. You are likely to be eaten by a grue. 

IX is great.  The penis is evil. 

Space Conquistadors of IX 

First Man on IX 

Toxicodendron septia ixia


Ixia vulvata dentata 


 Ix, Planet of the Prehistoric Green Slave Girls



Saturday Night Specials: The Trárkku


Trárkku

No. Enc.: 1d20 (10d20)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Armor Class: 8 (4 vs. primitive weapons)
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 1
Damage: by weapon
Morale: 7

Trárkku are brutal human mutants native to the fallen colony world Ain 4 in the Hyades. These large fierce monsters average almost seven feet tall and their muscular bodies are covered with pale blue fur. Their form is animalistic, tusks grow from the lower jaws of both males and females, their hindquarters and legs are goat like, and their feet are large, padded and clawed. They typically wear heavy iron masks over their tusks, carry iron shields and wear primitive iron armor.

Trárkku are very aggressive and they are rarely without their huge war axes. Their society is primitive, tribal and fanatically religious. Their religion might be described as a cargo cult; they worship alien and Humanspace technological artifacts and will trade or go to war to acquire such items. Space axes are particularly desired by these creatures. These religious obsessions have resulted in strained relations with the other inhabitants of Ain 4.

One of every five Trárkku encountered will be a holy warrior armed with an advanced or super-scientific weapon, usually a Space axe or sword. One of every ten  will carry an advanced or super-scientific energy or projectile weapon. These holy warriors will have 1d4 additional hit dice. 

The Trárkku were created thanks to the post Unnamed Monster: You Do The Stats at Netherwerks. The original image was officially declared Public Domain/OGL/Open Gaming Content/Copyleft--whatever. Same goes for the text and image above.

Additional details on the Trárkku and Ain 4 may be found here

Friday, April 1, 2011

SHEN BLOG


Nevermind the Silver Suits or the black ships coming over the pole. The secret but ferocious-looking yet mildly friendly SHEN BLOG is alive.  It's the latest affront to public sanity spawned from within that nexus point of weirdness administered by those provocateurs of the Old Surrealist Revolution that are heretofore irresponsible for Zalchis, Old School Heretic, Riskail, Netherweks, ad infinitum. Just don't tell that guy over at Hill Cantons. He has no sense of humor.

The SHEN at SHEN BLOG seem to be engaged in various anti-humanistic activities, MONKEYSPACE EMPIRES, for example:

Stupid monkeys completely misled by Shen Telepaths from Bureau of Business Accomodation and Annexations. Also most monkeys like to think that Shen no have psychic powers because most egg groups encountered on backwater worlds are warrior-shen, not thinkerer-shen. No let them out much-often. They make messes. Kind of messes that make Empress send out much-many hoo-biggy-huge starfortresses and largerer ships to smack things around until it all okay for Shen again.

I never did trust those reptilians...
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