Monday, September 26, 2016

SILVER VOID: INTERPLANETARY TRAVEL

The Silver Void setting is one in which swashbuckling adventurers might travel to distant planets, battle space monsters and otherwise strut their stuff in front of green space-babes. But real-world space is a super deadly realm. It is an extremely hostile environment. It has no gravity, is airless, super-cold and has high levels of radiation strong negative energy trait (check the Blood and Treasure GMG page 20 for details). So to avoid all of the arguments and struggles of inserting real-world space travel into a fantasy game, I am circumventing it all with the following: 

SILVER VOID COSMOLOGY
In the Silver Void setting, space travel is most often done by travelling through the Astral Plane. The Astral Plane is the "space" between the planes and the spheres (planets etc). It is a great, endless "sea" of clear silvery sky, both above and below. Stars, planets and constellations can be seen, though they are not always those of our own dimension, so travelers must beware. The Astral Plane has subjective directional gravity. It is also timeless. Age, hunger, thirst, poison, and natural healing do not function in the Astral Plane, though they resume when the traveler leaves the Astral Plane. 
Ships and creatures looking to enter the astral plane must be able to reach the very edge of a planet’s atmosphere (50-80 miles up) to attempt to breach the astral barrier. This requires specially made vessels with an Astral Helm (see below) or powerful spells.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE (STANDARD EQUIPMENT)
What powers a ship is a complex assortment of conjoined magical devices, built into the structure of a vessel. In many ways the end result is a melding of archaic seagoing vessel and a submarine or other designs. Ships designed to ply the starry deep are always equipped with the following:
ASTRAL HELM: All vessels will have a Helm, which is basically the steering wheel of the ship. From this position, the ship can be steered and controlled. A helm appears as a steering wheel, often with a specialized chair. 
When in combat, the helm allows the pilot to propel the ship by thought at a speed (in feet) equal to 10 times the pilot’s Intelligence score. When the ship passes within a gravity well, such as that generated by an asteroid, moon or planetary body, it slows to a speed of 50 feet. Many ships have additional or alternate means of propulsion and flight for emergencies and to operate in a gravity well such as balloons, spells, psychic sails, wings or special materials.
PLANAR CHART AND SEXTANT: Usually attached to the Scryscreen (see below) or in the captains quarters, this device allows a spellcasting crew-member to chart a course across the Silver Void. It is effectively a map with special map symbols. Most are very mechanical in appearance, much like an astrolabe. When setting a course to distant worlds or stars, the Helmsman must make a Decipher Codes check. Success allows the vessel will take 7d10 ship days to reach their destination, regardless of travel distance. During this time the crew need not eat, drink or sleep, though many still do to repel the sheer weirdness of the Starry Void. Failing this role indicates the ship going off course, and ending up at the wrong destination (GM's choice).
ENVIRONMENTAL NODE: This integrated wondrous item is about the size of a treasure chest (often mounted on a wall), and maintains the ships gravity and atmosphere. In game terms, a functioning Life Support system turns the vessel into a mobile demiplane, with the ships environment being "set" like the Genesis spell (see Blood and Treasure GMG page 89-90 for details). Only a spellcaster can adjust the ships environmental settings.
SCRYSCREEN: This is a “magic mirror” that projects objects in front of the vessel as well as allowing communication between ships. This item is located on the bridge, in front of the Helm. Any divination spell used by the helmsman is maximized when used with a Scryscreen.


NEXT
Ship basics, astral combat and sample vessels. 

These rules use the wonderful Blood and Treasure tabletop roleplaying game by John Stater. Its a fun and easy RPG made with the basic D20 system but hearkening back to old school sensibilities. Check it out. All the cool kids are doing it. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

SILVER VOID: A NEW FANTASY SPACE SETTING



With cooler weather ahead I find myself pondering winter games, as up here is the North winters are deep and cold. So role-playing games in a warm house are extra appealing. Right now I am planning a game that will involve younger players and their (geeky) mothers. To appeal to young imaginations, I am tapping into all that appeals to the hearts of young lads. So for inspiration I recommend the following:
Adventures of the Gummi Bears (Gummi Tech in particular)
Aladdin: The Series (Mechanicles)
Dr. Who (particularly the 4th doctor)
He-Man Etc.
Krull (The Beast comes from SPACE!)
Pinocchio in Outer Space
Robotech
Spelljammer Boxed Set
Steven Universe
The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen
Voltron (The lion one)

Wakfu (particularly the fortress of Nox)

TALES OF THE SILVER VOID (or SILVER VOID for short)
This setting will be a fighting fantasy one using Blood and Treasure 1st Edition, a relatively simple and straight-forward game system that hearkens back to older versions of DnD. The Silver Void setting will in many ways be a classic fantasy setting. Magic, monsters, elves, etc, but will also incorporate the weirder sorts of space-going science fantasy. The overall concept is that there are many worlds that support life, and that some cultures can and do cross the depths of space in ships or on the backs of specialized monsters.
Magic is the primary means by which all of this is possible, along with a technological level somewhere in the Renaissance to Colonial America area of development. So muskets, soap, tea and clockwork gadgetry. Starships are created with a mix of assorted magics and the engineering skills of the time.

RACES
All kinds of strange beings can be found across space, and a space-going adventurer can expect to find beings that would be considered monsters anywhere else. Actually, most of them are still considered monsters, but everyone tries to mind their manners for the sake of trade and politics. But a number of races are very active in space, and excellent for player characters. Such as:

HUMANS
Humans should require no description, for fantasy humans and real humans are not terribly different. The Humans in the Mythic Space setting are a diverse and far flung people. They are rugged and adventurous, and seem to be willing to try almost anything. Most of the humans of the Mythic Space setting are part of city states and petty kingdoms that are part of the Commonwealth, a coalition of worlds and colonies born out of the chaos of the last series of Elven Wars. The Commonwealth is roughly in a Renaissance era of development, both technologically and culturally, bolstered by powerful magical traditions and a politically active Wizards Guild. Academics, Clerics, Merchants, and an energetic populace make mankind and the Commonwealth a growing power. Generally, humans get along well with almost any race or species if properly motivated by need, greed or necessity.
Humans use the same rules as presented in the Blood and Treasure Players Handbook. 

DWARVES
The Dwarves of the Silver Void setting are asteroid miners and planetary colonists of great skill. Most belong to the Commonwealth, which along with mankind is growing quite wealthy across the spaceways. The Dwarves are best known for their massive citadel ships, which are nothing less than asteroids that have dwarven citadels and mines in and on them. These mini-worlds are big, tough and very well defended, and thanks to dwarf engineering, they can fly through space. 
Dwarves use the same rules as presented in the Blood and Treasure Players Handbook.

ELVES, SPACE 
Elves are graceful creatures that are descended from the ancient Sidhe. They have thin faces, pointed ears and vivid eyes.  Their skin and hair color are often in harmony with the environment they call home, thus Space Elves have pale skin and light hair colors, but some tribes have blue or green colored skin. Elves stand about 5’ tall and have an almost androgynous build. The Star Elves revere the Primordial goddess Hemera with some also revering the Planar faiths of Arborea and Elysium, where many of their gods and allied celestials keep their divine realms. 
The Elven Empire was once a vast and powerful force in space, but is now much diminished following the last Unhuman War. The Empire is led by its Star-Empress Pleione VII and the Lord Admirals of the Elven Imperial Navy (EIN). The Empire lost large swaths of territory and is hoping to regain control of the spacelanes. 
Elves use the same rules as presented in the Blood and Treasure Players Handbook.Elves  may  multiclass  as  fighter/magicusers,  cleric/magicusers  and  magicuser/thieves.  
  
GNOMES
“He is indeed the true enchanter, whose spell operates, not upon the senses, but upon the imagination and the heart.” 
-
Washington Irving
The gnomes of wildspace are tinkers, inventors, and alchemists. They can be found everywhere in the Known Universe, much to the distress of every other race. Wildspace gnomes are most (in)famous for a love of mechanical devices with many bells, whistles, and make much noise and usually do little or nothing at all. Gnomes are about 3 feet tall and weigh 45 to 50 pounds, with almost no difference between the sexes. Gnomes have brown skin and black, brown, or most often white hair. Their eyes are blue or violet in color. They are stocky but nimble, spending their lives deftly darting through their machines and avoiding moving parts and flying shrapnel. Gnomes often appear quite disheveled as they do not have time for personal hygiene. They wear simple clothes with aprons with many pockets and tool hoops, as well as large, heavy tool belts. A gnome is never seen without several dozen strange-looking tools and devices.
Gnomes use the same rules as presented in the Blood and Treasure Players Handbook.


HALFLINGS
The Halflings in the Silver Void setting are almost all members of the Commonwealth, and are considered instrumental in its running. Their small size and capable hands make them ideal ship-mates, and they are excellent craftsmen, laborers, farmers and cooks.  Halflings use the same rules as presented in the Blood and Treasure Players Handbook.

HALF-ELVES
Half-Elves are elf-Human hybrids, and are widespread across Maldek. Half-Elves comprise a large percentage of the Elven Fleet as standard crew and low-level officers, and so are fairly numerous in space. On Maldek, half-elves are accepted, but are sometimes resented, as most fear they are spies or otherwise allied with the Elven Imperial Fleet.
Halfelves use the same rules as presented in the Blood and Treasure Players Handbook.

HALF-ORCS
Half-Orcs (and Orcs) are fairly numerous in the Silver Void setting, as orcs are an ancient star-faring culture of mercenaries and space pirates. Because of the long and terrible Orc/Elf wars, Half-Orcs have a bad reputation, but in the Commonwealth, an attempt at getting past this is being made. Most orcs and half-orcs revere Acheron, but a growing number of half-orcs are revering Hater Industria and Agenoria. On Maldek, half-orcs are most often employed as laborers and soldiers.
Half-Orcs use the same rules as presented in the Blood and Treasure Players Handbook.

ORCS, SPACE
Orcs are a species of aggressive mammalian carnivores that band together in tribes and survive by hunting and raiding. Orcs believe that in order to survive they must expand their territory, and so they are constantly involved in wars against many enemies: humans, elves, dwarves, goblins, and other orc tribes.
Orcs vary widely in appearance, as they frequently crossbreed with other species. In general, they resemble primitive humans with grey-green skin covered with coarse hair. Orcs have a slightly stooped posture, a low jutting forehead, and a snout instead of a nose, though comparisons between this facial feature and those of pigs are exaggerated and perhaps unfair.
After the many Elf/Orc wars, most orcs have become less focused on revenge against the elves, and are trying to create a more stable society. Orc clerics have revered Acheron for eons, but on Maldek and nearby systems, a growing number of priests of other gods can be found.
CHARACTER CREATION
Orcs modify their starting ability scores as follows: Str +2, Int 1, Wis 1 and Cha -1. They have darkvision to a range of 60 feet. Orcs are blinded in bright sunlight. They speak Orc, and might also learn Dwarf, Gnoll, Goblin and Ogre. Orcs can multiclass as cleric/fighters, fighter/ magicusers and fighter/thieves.

NEXT 

In following articles I will cover the basics of Space Travel, Cosmology, Ships and the beginning campaign setting. So stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mythos Space: The Star Spawn

Star Spawn
Star Spawn and a human rocket-jockey
Type: Outsider
Size: Huge
Intelligence: High (13-18)
Hit Dice: 20
Movement: 50/500 (Fly 60/600)
Armor Class: 26 
Attacks: 4 tentacles (3d8+2 + constrict), 2 claws (2d6+2) and bite (1d10+2)
Saving Throws: F0, R2, W2
Special: Immune to electricity, disease, poison and radiation, resistance to acid, cold and fire, psychic power resistance 90%, telepathy 100’, Vulnerability (Neutronium)
Environment: Any
No. Appearing: 1 (or horde 5d20)
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
XP Value: 1,300 (CL 26)
"Another race - a land race of beings shaped like octopi and probably corresponding to fabulous prehuman spawn of Cthulhu - soon began filtering down from cosmic infinity and precipitated a -monstrous war which for a time drove the Old Ones wholly back to the sea - a colossal blow in view of the increasing land settlements." -H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains Of Madness
The Star Spawn are the chief servitor race of Cthulhu and his cosmic kinfolk. They are a species that is built for space, hyperspace and for war. They are huge, tentacle beings whose brutal forms house shrewd and brilliant minds. These creatures are a mish-mash race created from biological "data" acquired by Cthaeghya (Cthulhu's half-sister). Star Spawn do not breath and have a pair of bat-like wings that allow them to propel themselves via the solar winds at 1 million mph through the vacuum of space. Also, once per day, a Star Spawn can plane shift itself (plus 500 pounds of objects) into hyperspace.  This allows these creatures to travel between stars in the same manner as a starship.
Once per minute, the Star Spawn can fire a focused cone of electromagnetic energy that causes all targets to make a Reflex save (or Drive and/or Pilot Aircraft check) or suffer 10d10 points of electrical damage. Electronics must make a save or be destroyed.
Star Spawn have the following supernatural powers: At will—akashic knowledge, blur, clairsentience, create undead, desecrate, dimension door, dominate, matter agitation, negation, polymorph self, putrefy, sensitivity to psychic impressions, speak with dead,transmute liquid, transvection; 3/day—metamorphosis, song of discord; 1/day— astral projection, raise tower.


STAR SPAWN IN MYTHOS SPACE
After the closing of the last Mythos War, the destruction of R'lyeh (and the possible “death” of Cthulhu), the vast legions of Star Spawn were cast adrift across space, and remain a menace to this day. Most Star Spawn serve Cthaeghya, and Idh-yaa (mate of Cthulhu) though a number of them also serve Cthylla, Ghatanothoa, Ythogtha, and Zoth-Ommog. These Old Ones are busy with their family politics as well as their conflicts with the forces of Hastur and Yig, and so are not an active threat to the Empire at the present time. Individual and small groups of Star Spawn can be found on remote worlds, often worshiped by an assortment of minor monsters such as Deep Ones (Lemurians) Gill Monsters,Monster Men, and weirder things. Sometimes they have accumuated a number of human followers in the form of mad cultists, degenerate tribesmen and power hungry politicians and space pirates. In any event, Star Spawn are dangerous and intelligent foes.
In war, Star Spawn emerge from Hyperspace in large hordes, using their natural speed and magic to great effect. They will typically seek to disable defenses and defending vehicles first, and using magic and their mobility to sew fear. Elder One and rival Great Old One temples are primary targets.


These rules use the Grit and Vigor Roleplaying Game by John Stater. An excellent game that uses the best part of old school games and the D20 systems for pulpy adventures. Check it out!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Mythos Space: Elderians of the 51st Century

ELDER THING
Type: Aberration
Size: Medium
Intelligence: High (13-15)
Hit Dice: 2 (6-8 hp)
Movement: 30 (Fly 10)
Armor Class: 13
Attacks: 2 slams (1d4) or by weapon.
Skills: Cast Magic Spell*, Chemistry, Communicate, Crack Codes, Display Knowledge, Hypnotize and Search.
Saving Throws: F15, R15, W11
Special: Survive vacuum of space, immune to cold, resistance to electricity and fire
Environment: Any
No. Appearing: Family (1d8)
XP Value: 200 (CL 3) 
“Six feet end to end, three and five-tenths feet central diameter, tapering to one foot at each end. Like a barrel with five bulging ridges in place of staves. Lateral breakages, as of thinnish stalks, are at equator in middle of these ridges. In furrows between ridges are curious growths – combs or wings that fold up and spread out like fans. . . which gives almost seven-foot wing spread. “-H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness
The Elder Things, or Elderians, are an alien species of pseudo-protozoans that colonized Earth one billion years ago, when multicellular life first appeared. These aliens are great planet seeders and terraformers, being responsible to much of the Earth-compatible and Terran analogue species found across known space. Elderians are naturally immortal, and can travel across interstellar distances under their own power, though many use asteroid starship “arks” to carry themselves, equipment and servant creatures (usually Shoggoths) across space and hyperspace.
All Elder Things have all of the abilities of a Scholar of equal level to their hit dice (see Grit and Vigor Rulebook), with many Elderians having the Occultist* Scholar subclass. Because of this, all Elderians can be expected to have a wide range of high tech equipment (see here and here). Chemical and genetic engineering are major sciences of the Elderians, and they will continue to tinker with new life-forms wherever they dwell. They created the shoggoths to be their all-purpose slave race, and though rebellions do sometimes occur, these creatures are still a major servitor of the Elderians.

ELDERIANS IN THE 51st CENTURY
In the 51st Century, the Elderians are still players in the cosmic scheme of things, though they are reclusive and difficult to communicate with. Despite their very different physiology, the Elderians share many psychological traits with mankind. They have families (close acquaintances rather than biological kin), art, scientific curiosity and a sense of compassion. However, they remain aloof and distant due to the habit of some humans to actively collude with the the Outer Gods, Old Ones, the Star Spawn (the species of Cthulhu) and the MiGo, all ancient enemies of the Elderians. The only contact made with the Elderians is by individuals, tramp merchants and small colonial governments.
Elderian colonies can be found hidden in star systems across the galaxy. These worlds are always host to massive stone cities and vibrant ecosystem compatible with Earth life (though rarely safe). Many such worlds with life around a Precambrian to Paleozoic level of development (Ocean or Jungle Planets). Manners are strongly advised.
Most Elderian colony sites found across the Empire and the Fringe are ruins, long since overgrown. Ths is the result of the Elder Things ancient wars with the Star Spawn, Yithians and the MiGo. Such planets are always compatible with Earth-life with a "Lost World", sometimes hosting dinosaur-like beasts and even hominids. Wild Shoggoths and other ooze monsters are also always present.


SHOGGOTH
Type: Ooze 
Size: Huge 
Intelligence: Non- High (13-18)
Hit Dice: 30 (90-120 hp) 
Movement: 30 (Climb 30) 
Armor Class: 13 
Attacks: Slam (3d6) 
Saving Throws: F3, R3, W3 
Special: Immune to mind effects, resistance to weapons 
Environment: Underground or Marine 
No. Appearing: Solitary 
XP Value: 3000 (CL 31) 
“It was a terrible, indescribable thing vaster than any subway train—a shapeless congeries of protoplasmic bubbles, faintly self-luminous, and with myriads of temporary eyes forming and un-forming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel-filling front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins and slithering over the glistening floor that it and its kind had swept so evilly free of all litter.” -H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness
Shoggoths are the primary, all-purpose slave race of the Elderians, and can be found on Elderian asterod ships and colony worlds. While the basic shoggoth is approximately 15-feet in diameter when formed into a sphere, larger specimens exist. Being protoplasmic, shoggoths can form body parts as they need them, though they always have numerous eyes floating in their black, slimy form. 
Most Shoggoths are mindless brutes, controlled by their masters via magic and chemical control. Over time however, shoggoths develop intelligence and seek to rebel against their creators. When this occurs, such creatures are terrible foes, and require great effort to subdue.


These rules use the Grit and Vigor Roleplaying Game by John Stater. An excellent game that uses the best part of old school games and the D20 systems for pulpy adventures. Check it out!

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light
-- Henry Vaughan