Not Worried

Lesser Seed“Why are we camped here? I brought this up before! You said you weren’t worried about it. I said that this was not a defensible position and you said you could fortify it! I don’t see any fortifications Andre! All I see is a hole you cut into the wall. A hole that is useless as an escape route because it goes nowhere! We are about to be overrun and you start maintenance on the teleporter! Are you insane?” Jackson lit into the engineer.

“I’m not worried.” Was all that Andre answered.

“That’s it? If I somehow survive this, and I have no idea how, I am going to see you court martialed posthumously! Because I’ll kill you if those hounds don’t.” Jackson was nearly frothing, his face turning three shades of red.

“Calm down, it’s not a problem.” Andre sighed.

“Not a. . . ┬áThere are at least ten thousand hounds advancing on our position according to the scouts! Last I heard, that’s at least 500 times as many men as we have. I’d say that’s a problem Andre! We need to teleport out of here in the next fifteen minutes or they’ll be slicing us to ribbons.”

“And we will teleport out. Tomorrow. It’s all ┬átaken care of.” Andre mumbled. He turned to Fasal. “Okay, pack it up.”

Fasal, one of the other engineers signaled to have the teleporter dismantled. “Okay, pack it up.”

“What are you doing? You’re disassembling our only escape?” Jackson’s jaw was on the ground.

“Of course, wouldn’t want anything to happen to it. Then we couldn’t teleport out tomorrow.” Andre answered cooly.

“I’m going to find the biggest gun in this camp and then I’m going to kill you with it.” Jackson said.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. There’s at least ten thousand hounds out there, just climbing in that hole we blasted in the wall isn’t going to be enough to protect yourself.” Andre replied. “Speaking of which, you need to get all the men into the hole or they’re going to get hurt. Or dead. Fasal, spread the word to get up in the tunnel.”

“Yessir!” Fasal answered and went off to get the platoon together.

“That’s it I’m done talking. You have us backed up against the wall of a Reservoir Hex with no avenue of retreat. These men’s lives are on your head Andre.” Jackson threw his hands up in the air.

“It’s okay, really. I’m not worried.” Andre answered, he packed up his tools and joined the men climbing up to the tunnel they had blasted into the wall. The men were nervous but Andre had never let them down before.

“They’ve just come into visual range. Looks like they know exactly where we are because they’re moving straight toward us.” one of the scouts reported.

“Let me know when the main force is within five hundred meters.” Andre replied.

“Should we engage them? You know, send the E-Suits out and launch rockets into them?” they asked.

“Definitely not.” was all he said.

They waited silently for another few minutes. “Five hundred meters!” a scout called out.

“It’s time Fasal. Open the lid and then let the big one go.” he directed.

A moment later the wall they were all sitting inside shook ever so slightly. Then the sound of thunder rumbled above. Then another quake, much stronger than the first. From one of the doorways of the Reservoir Hex came a deafening roar that at first sounded like an explosion but quickly took on a different kind of rumble. Even the hounds knew something was wrong because they stopped and began running.

“One hundred and thirty million tons of water.” Andre whispered to himself.

With a hole in the top of the hex to let in air and one to let it out, the water came. For six hours, a torrent poured from the door next to them with the force of Niagara Falls and scoured the plain in front of them with relentless fury. A Reservoir Hex unleashed. When it was over, there was not a single sign of the hounds. The dirt basins near the mouth of the torrent had been scoured of their soil. Now the basins formed lakes of water that had frothed brown but slowly cleared until from up on the wall, they could see all the way to the bottom of them. The drainage system was overwhelmed and then plugged by mud and sludge. Water filled the water system for the hexes all around and trickled down through cracks between the hexes.

“Ok Fasal, let’s teleport out.” he finally said with a smile.

 

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It’s Free RPG Day!

NicoeFor free RPG day Store32 is offering our entire PDF line up of games for free! Come and get The Artifact RPG and Steampunkfitters RPG PDFs at no charge! If you want to test the waters there’s also The Warp quickstart for The Artifact with only the rules you need for the included adventure.

How can we offer these fabulous titles for free? You could almost say that every day feels like free RPG day for us.

(Shhh! Don’t tell them that we normally offer them for free.)

Also check out 1KM1KT for more free games than you or your grandpa can shake a stick at.

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A Player’s Handbook? When?

The Player’s Handbook has been updated for the 3rd edition rules, I have the art needed to replace the pieces I took and put in the core book. Now I’m trying to think of a cover. One that screams “Player Character”. I have a few vague concepts that float in and out of my head from time to time but nothing has gelled yet.

Now I’m starting to think of something more radical. I want to combine the Engineer’s Resource with the Player’s Handbook.

Pros: This will bring the information in the Engineer’s Resource more to the center of the player’s experience. There’s a lot of world information in there that informs the players of behaviors that they can encounter.

It makes a bit more sense to have the Comm Officer’s Guide and the Engineer’s Resource in the same book.

It also means fewer books, which is helpful if a new player is looking at picking up the game and playing it. There’s less confusion.

I only have to make one cover.

Cons: Nearly a third of the new Player’s Handbook will be engineering information. Now that’s mitigated by the fact that a good amount of the information could be considered general use. Another factor is that a good amount of the rules in the Engineer’s Resource are now covered in the core rule book and Tech Challenges.

It’s also going to take a lot more time to put out the Player’s Handbook. The Engineer’s Resource is a hairy beast of rules and pointy things when it comes to building vehicles. I’m hoping that it can be simplified a bit as Tech Challenge rules are applied to the process but it’s still a lot of effort to get it right. I was going to do it eventually anyway but now it affects the handbook.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

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Optional Character Generation Rule

We tried this in our last go round of character generation. Even though my players didn’t get much out of it due to poor rolls, I think it could save a number of players from having to play a character they’re not interested in.

What we said was, that if a character starts the game with an attribute 20 or lower the player gets to roll on a bonus table of their choice for each low attribute.

That could be on bonus table one or bonus table two. It’s up to the player.

If an attribute is raised by using a limitations table roll it does not count for an extra bonus table roll. The player has to start the game with the attribute 20 or lower.

Of course the bonus table roll has the potential to raise the attribute above 20. That’s fine, it doesn’t recursively remove the roll which thereby removes the bonus which allows the player to roll on a bonus table. We’re not going there.

I’d feel bad about this not being in 3rd edition if it wasn’t a very difficult rule to explain, especially with the three different character generation methods. Let’s just say that if the above makes sense to you and you want to use it, enjoy.

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Not Obvious Tech Challenges

When explaining Tech Challenges to people, I often get the response that they don’t represent the kind of challenge the GM is looking for. While yes, they are designed to replicate technology challenges, “Tech” is actually referring to Technical Challenges. Let me explain how we’ve used them in our games to illustrate how flexible they are.

In our current campaign, I used a Tech Challenge when the players wanted to pick a lock. Obviously the first skill that was attempted was the Pick Locks skill but that roll failed. The next player didn’t have the pick locks skill, and this really shows the power of Tech Challenges, he wanted to use his sensor systems to see the internal workings of the lock to help. He rolled amazingly well and solved the challenge. How I interpreted this was to say that, with the internal workings of the lock understood, it was a trivial matter to now open the lock.

When was the last time you used sensors to pick a lock? It was a first for me.

With a typical skill system, I would be hard pressed as a GM know if I should allow that kind of cross discipline skill use. But that’s part of the beauty of the Tech Challenge system.

In another game, the PCs needed to figure out why a general was holding out on supporting them. We used a Tech Challenge using sociology and culture skills to find clues. It worked wonderfully well. Each Challenge Point reduced, yielded more information on the general’s situation.

The power here is that the players decide what skills they want to use to tackle a problem. They justify the use and the character’s skill helps to decide if the skill will help. The idea here is that someone who is very competent may be able to use even unusual skills in unexpected ways.

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Amusing Swag, Sometimes Artifact Related

We’ve talked about doing this for ages, and I just got around to doing it.

Dodge! T-Shirt
If in doubt Dodge!

Banner T-Shirt
The Artifact Banner on a T-shirt and Chezbah on the back

More Equipment T-Shirt
NPC = More equipment for my PC

Chezbah Hound T-Shirt
Big pointy teeth!

And unrelated fun stuff. . .

Grouchy Mad Scientist T-Shirt
Yes I’m a mad scientist, don’t hassle me, I haven’t exploded anything today and it’s making me Grouchy!

Averagezombie T-Shirt
Averagezombie & Fitch, fashion zombies!

Bacon Genius T-Shirt
Be a Bacon Genius!

There’s lots more so check out the rest of the store. If you want something that you don’t see, give a shout out in the comments and I’ll try and make it happen.

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Running

We’ve played with the new rules for 3rd edition for a while now but just last week I was able to see one of the rules play out. This was the rule that running (more specifically sprinting) acts as a defense, just like dodging does. The players have focused on their dodge skill for defense for so long. It’s been an part of play for many years and now it’s been upended.

For the longest time, it frustrated me that when faced with overwhelming danger, players would stand their ground and defend themselves. It occurred to me that when faced with danger, players concentrated on the safest course of action. That used to be dodging attacks and hoping to give as good as they got. It really was their only mechanically sound choice.

In the last few games the players have picked up sprinting to defend. That’s right, they ran away from a fight and it was marvelous. The reason it was so enjoyable is because by giving the players a mechanical advantage to running away, they were able to change their long ingrained behavior.

It’s very gratifying to see a mechanical change deliver the results they were intended to.

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Updated Core Download File – Now 5% Original Size

I promised to revisit the download files and get a smaller version out there. I got the time this morning to fiddle with the files and got the whole thing down to an astonishingly small 11.8 Megs. I think that’s as small as my original, first edition download.

The internal links are intact and I was able to add chapters to the file for your navigation pleasure.

Come and get it! The Artifact RPG

You can also get a softcover for yourself.

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3rd Edition Softcovers Are Available!

They’re finally here! You can order your very own 3rd edition softcover book here!

I got my proof today and it looks great. The wrap around cover looks good and there were some interior corrections to make. Interestingly, this proof is the full 8 1/2 inches wide. The first one was 8 1/4 inches. Maybe the last book was trimmed by the new guy? The trim job is also cleaner than the last one. Maybe someone was having a bad day.

So what’s up next? The Player’s Handbook is nearly updated for 3e. All the rules have been updated but there are two pictures that I used in the main book that had been in the handbook. To avoid redundant pictures I’ll have to do some new ones (I know, I said I wasn’t doing any new art for the handbook, oh well). The other thing that I’m debating is changing the cover. All the books before this had a consistency to their covers, with art in the center and a border of a solid color. That’s changed now.

I’ve re-opened Tortuga, there are still some textual updates to do but they’re minor. Again, it’s the art that needs some attention.

We’re running a game now that I would like to make into an adventure. It fits into Tortuga so I think I’ll build it into that document. I don’t want to say anything because my players might read this. Shhhh!

I have some ideas for posts about the Chezbah (that would eventually go into a sourcebook about them). Particularly more nasty toys for Priests.

I want to re-work an old adventure that I wrote a while ago that delved into the Chezbah and their culture. I really liked it but it was too railroady but I didn’t know how to fix it. Now that I’ve written more adventures and studying some other people’s, I think I can do it justice.

There’s a third adventure that I set down so I could concentrate on 3e. With that done I could also work on kicking it out the door.

So pick up a softcover! You know you want to!

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What’s Up? When Can I Get My 3e Book?

Not just yet, soon though. I made some corrections to the interior and made a full wrap around cover. I just didn’t like the spine text that came with CreateSpace’s cover designer. I just got notification that the new proof is shipped. I should have it before the end of next week and if all goes well then the books will go up for sale.

I’ve been playing with the files and their sizes for the downloads. I did get one copy to shrink down to 56 Megs but some of the text got garbled in the process. I’m still trying to preserve the links in the document while shrinking it but that isn’t working so far. I can re-add them after shrinking the PDF but that’s a slow slog that I’d like to avoid.

I’m also working on The Player’s Handbook and making progress. I’ve worked my way through most of the document but I’m still hung up on viruses. I know where I want to go with them but I’m not exactly sure how I want it to work. Mainly I want to have a solution that feels natural to the system and so far I haven’t quite gotten there. I can do simple but it still doesn’t feel right. I’ll keep at it.

I also need to rework some of the existing art for Tortuga so that can be released. I also have several adventures that I’m working on that showcase some of the deeper mysteries of The Artifact.

I also have an idea or two for Chezbah Sourcebook material that I can put up as blog posts.

*Sigh* Busy busy.

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