Cawnpore and Perseus are available in the Createspace eStore and on Amazon.com where, if you order a physical copy of the books, you get the ebook for free. They are also available as ebooks on every ereader out there.

Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes it’s laws.

-Mayer A.B. Rothschild.

That’s it! you’ve finished that epic (or not so) campaign. Months or years in the running, the players have enjoyed themselves so much that when it comes time for the next game to be played…they want more. Perhaps you felt like the game universe was moving in a direction that lent itself to something new and fresh and you all want more. Time for Game II: The Revenge of Game!

Like movies and spin-off TV show, there’s a lot to recommend about the sequel. There’s a built in interest for people who liked the last one. It’s a familiar universe or premise, and maybe a familiar character or two to help ease the audience into the next cast. They also have several problems that come along with them. So first:

WHY DO A SEQUEL?

Maybe there were things in the game universe that were left unanswered, or tantalizing bits on the side that people wanted to explore but there was no time? “What about that alien race we discovered? What were they up to?” “Remember that legend about the fall of Zarus? We should have adventured our way to that side of the map!” “What the hell was that cult up to — the one we were investigating before we all went made and were institutionalized?”

Maybe the players just aren’t ready to let that character go. “You know, Jack escaped the Wing Kong exchange, but was that it..? What if he ran into some other occult group in, say, New Orleans?” “The rebellion might be over, but i don’t think Wedge would just hang up his wings just yet.” “After fighting terrorists, I think my guy would go into business doing international security.”

WHY NOT DO A SEQUEL?

“How can the same thing happen to the same guy twice?” was one of the best lines from Die Hard 2 because it directly addressed the unlikely nature of someone called to be a hero then returning to regular life finding themselves playing the hero again. Bilbo Baggins had an adventure. Then he went home. Had he been fighting another dragon the next week, folks might have been a bit less intrigued by The Hobbit 2: Another F’ing Dragon. The main danger of the sequel is doing the same thing over again. It’s like the first one, but with bigger CGI ‘splosions!

HOW TO DO A SEQUEL

There are a few routes you can take in a sequel or spin-off game. Doing a new campaign requires a new focus. Maybe your sci-fi campaign was doing head-of-the-week exploration like a certain franchise we know; the next should be focused on something else — maybe long-term politics between the good guy organization and the prosthetic-headed alien we really liked the last time; or a static location where people come to you like Babylon 5, or some colony world that provides the opportunity for adventuring, while being connected to the rest of the parent universe.

Jump the action a couple of decades and include one or two of the old players as more mature, playing the mentor to the new characters. You could conceivably come back in a generation or two and see what the children of the players are doing. Did Bolbar the Barbarian’s kingdom really stand for 100 years as was prophesied, or did he spend himself into the poorhouse and wind up with his kingdom gobbled up by the larger Empire of Whatever?” Did your daughter wind up being a Jedi in the New Order? Did your grandkid follow the ol’ WWII hero (you) into the military or CIA to fight terrorists?

Another way to change the flavor of the game is to try a new set of mechanics in the same universe. Say you were playing 1930s pulp using Hollow Earth Expedition or Savage Worlds. The players love their characters, but they’ve been sold on your early Cold War game. You could rewrite the characters in their post-war form in James Bond: 007 or Spycraft and have them working for the new CIA with a Bondesque spy-fi vibe (itself just really a post war pulp style.) Hell, Atomic Robo has specific rules for playing a game with flashbacks, allowing you to tie new adventures to historical ones.

Aside — If you wanted to do flashbacks to adventures in the old campaign, you could do something old like use one system for the modern stuff, then return to the old game system for the flashbacks.

An example of a sequel campaign would be the Star Trek campaign I started in 2000. It was set just post-Dominion War and I carved up the Trek canon to make a more believable, consistent universe. the first game was mostly interested in post-war politics. We dealt with the Federation more — how a post-scarcity society with access to androids and sentient spacecraft (the big metaplot of the first campaign) might look. It got increasing transhuman as we battled Borg incursions and an ancient race of self-relicating machines. The sequel campaign was about a decade after that — sentient starships and androids were commonplace, as was storage of transporter patterns — essentially ridding the biological races of death. This campaign was deep space exploration focused, but the real adventure was dealing with how the new technology introduced in the first game was changing the lives of the characters. there were carry-over characters in secondary roles, minor characters that were now leads.

The campaign was good but hit one of the issues of a sequel campaign…it was just different enough that it no longer felt like Star Trek. There were the trappings, but as the characters got more used to the transhuman future-meets-Trek setting, it lost some of its luster.

YOU THINK SEQUELS ARE HARD? TRY A PREQUEL (PLEASE, DON’T!)

“Wow! I wonder what a show about the Federation before there was a Federation might be like!” “I wonder what the Galaxy was like before the Emperor took over.” “Hey, maybe Indiana Jones should do something with mystic stones before he “doesn’t believe in hocus-pocus”…”

Do I need to continue?

 

After three years of focusing on raising my little girl and doing side work as a college prof, my schedule is starting to loosen enough that I’ve turned my attention back to writing. This week, the research and plotting started on the “sequel” (but not really) to Perseus. I’m going to take on Hercules next. (I might go with the proper name, Heracles…)

To keep myself sane while going through the butt tons of mythology connected to the character, I also started research and work on a 1940s/50s spy novel. Also have a few ideas for an urban fantasy/horror book. (Not a big fan of the genre, but the idea’s there…)

So, if I stick to my usual speed of work, I should have at least one of them out in the next year.

I just happened to be doing an update check and saw the new OS x was up this afternoon, so I decided to go ahead and make the jump…

First, download of Yosemite took me about half an hour, install and set-up about the same time. It was very easy, almost effortless. It prompted for the iCloud stuff, but other than that, it transferred my settings, wallpaper, and everything else without a problem. iTunes, of course, “lost” my external drive library, but unlike other iterations of iTunes, it found the library with no issues when i pointed it in the right direction. None of the usual rebuilding the library. It looks like the iTunes on the iPad, which is the say it looks clean and finding material is easier than in old iTunes. I haven’t attempted to sync an iPhone or iPad yet and am dreading it. It looks like you can swap libraries on the fly through the home icon at the top left. I haven’t tried that yet.

Once up and running, it seemed to be running about the same, if not a bit faster on my Late 2010 Air. The fan was coming on a lot at the start, but I think that was Spotlight indexing. It found my external drives and connected almost immediately; Mavericks used to fart around a good long while connecting. The Time Machine connected quicker than usual (but still pretty slowly) and ran a backup while i was typing this.

Other updates came fast and furious while I was experimenting — iWorks was up and running in minutes, with the look of the interface much more iOS, but the functionality seems to be returning to Pages and Keynote. Haven’t tried the other apps, yet. The apps open on the iCloud folder, but if you redirect to something local, the next time you open a new document, it points to the local folder.

The new notifications center is very easy to use, looks nice, and is quickly customizable. Chrome seems to be glacially slow and hitting the CPU hard, but Safari is running quick and smooth; right now, it might be worth swapping and using the baked in browser. The new mail app is a mail app — I use it for the most basic functions, so nothing big to say here. Seashore — my go-to photo manip app still works, but good ol’ Onyx is dead now.

iPhoto is still here, waiting to gum up your photo library and piss you off. Apparently they haven’t sorted the iCloud integration, but I won’t be using that. I don’t have near enough iCloud storage for my picture library.

I made an attempt to do Handoff with my iPhone — no joy. An attempt to send a file failed, as well. The phone and computer don’t seem to want to talk to each other. I suspect my Bluetooth isn’t compatible with the function…couldn’t program a fix for this? Really? Isn’t that half the draw to Yosemite — the ability to move from one device to the next easily?

Look: It’s got the “flatter” look of iOS, but it’s more colorful. I keep hoping for an “aluminum” option to go minimalist in the look of my desktop. The skeumorphics seem to finally have been banished, and good riddance. The new font is very easy to read for my LASIK improved vision (I’m farsighted now.)

Power usage — keep in mind I had a backup running in the background, and had started at about 65% battery, but in the half hour or so since then, I’ve eaten 20% of the battery, tying in Safari, doing a few bits and bobs on the side to experiment with the OS. The first 35% of the battery was doing work in Pages with multiple windows open at the same time. and that was over the course of about 3 hours…about the same as with Mavericks. I figure 7-8 hours usage if you don’t have video or Flash heavy websites eating up your power for my older MacBook Air. About on par with the last two or three iterations of OS X.

So first impressions: It looks nice, has a few very good updates — the notifications center, better connection with external drives, and the functionality is returning to iWorks. iTunes is, for the first time in a decade, not a complete cowpat to deal with. Battery and performance are mostly unchanged. So far, no bugs after five hours with it.

I’d say go for it.

Recently, in our Battlestar Galactica campaign, the characters made the trip to Kobol (the notes on the episode here) in which they “find” the Lady of Kobol, Athena, in addition to the map to Earth. Using her “coffin” — actually a highly sophisticated 3D printer for biotechnology — an injured and dying character was transformed into the Olympian goddess of war.

Genetically-engineered by the TITANs thousands of years ago, the Lords of Kobol had been modeled on the Greek myths of Old Earth. The idea was to capitalize on the archetypes as leaders for the human race that the Titans recreated on Kobol long after destroying the Earth (and those that inhabited it) they were created on.

ATHENA possesses all the “memories” of the stories and myths surrounding her namesake, as well as her various incarnations since she was created by the Titans. These were stored in the genetic code of robust virii that were stored in the Arrow of Apollo after the last living version committed suicide in shame over the Olympians’ inability to protect Mankind from the Blaze, and their own creeping dementia.

She was reactivated when the crew of Galactica found her tomb, and a security program identified them as friendly. She used the body mass of the critically injured Colonel Aeria Evripidi to remake herself. Pressed for time and under attack by Cylon forces, Athena chose not to remake herself, but rather “improve” on Evripidi so that she could be in action as quickly as possible. Once resurrected, she claims her purpose is to aid the Colonials in locating the Earth and the 13th Tribe, but also to get them past the “Guardians of Earth”, as they will know her.

Athena suffered intense pain as the virus used to rewrite Evripidi’s genetic code did its work. She still resembles the woman, although her appearance is expected to change slowly over time, but genetically she is a Lord of Kobol. Athena is preternaturally intelligent, a master of recursive thinking and strategic planning; and physically is strong, fast, and athletic. She possesses many of the memories and skills of Colonel Evripidi, but is a very different creature.

ATTRIBUTES: Agility d8, Strength d8, Vitality d8, Alertness d10, Intelligence d12+d4, Willpower d12; Initiative d8+d10, Life Points **22

ASSETS: **Goddess of War & Wisdom d6 (Adds to Perception-based tests), Immunity to Disease d8, **Physical Exemplar d10 (Adds to all physical tests, Quick Healer d8, So Say We All d6

COMPLICATIONS: Divine Purpose d12, Insatiable Curiosity d6, Multiple Personalities d6, Overconfident d4, Uncanny d4

SKILLS: Artistry d4, Athletics d6, Covert d4, Craft d6, Discipline d6 [Leadership d10], Guns d6, Influence d6, Knowledge d6, Mechanical Engineering d6, Melee Combat d6 [Spear d8], Perception d6 [Tactics d12], Perfrom d4, Pilot d6, Survival d4, Technical Engineering d6, Unarmed Combat d6 [Brawling d8]

AEGIS ARMOR: Move 4W to stun, ignore all stun. Design is lightweight with HUD in helmet.

SPEAR: Damage d6W, Range [thrown] 15 yards [18 for Athena]; Energy Weapon Damage: d10W, Range 200 yards, Ammo unknown

**These Assets are much wider in scope than traditional Cortex Assets to cover the supranatural nature of these creatures. Rather than using the scaling rules from the Cortex Core rulebook, I decided cribbing a page from Cortex Plus might work better here. I was on the fence about adding the Physical Exemplar to the Life Points, but decided to give her the same benefit as Tough d8.

Recall this is a “watered down” version of the original. Pressed for time, instead of remaking herself, Athena used what she could as a framework. We’ve already seen corpses of the Lords or at least their spawn through the campaign. they were often between 6’6″ and 7’2″ tall with muscle and bone mass half again that of a normal person. An actual Lord of Kobol would be (and should be) awe-inspiring to say the least.

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