Our new 50 page guide to airships from the interwar era has arrived. The book included the actual histories of the vessels, with suggestions for how to tweak history to use these giants of the air in your Ubiquity games. Rules suggestions to more realistically use these ships in combat, and game statistics for them are included.  Got to DriveThruRPG or RPGNow to find the ebook for $9.99.

airship front ubi

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I really like Cortex’s use of dice from d2 to d12 to set the level of an attribute, trait, or skill. You wind up rolling two or three dice and adding them. If keeps the bell curve of probability that feels natural to me, while causing it to shift for the quality of what’s being rated.

When used in combat, having the number you succeeded by as a base damage, then add a weapon die replaced the old d100/Quality Result rules of James Bond for me, as well. It does the same thing, but without a table. The less I have to reference these days, the better.

I don’t tend to be inspired to play by a specific game mechanic. The last time something like that happened would have been the use of playing cards for randomizers in Castle Falkenstein.

Are there mechanics I like? Yes — James Bond introduced me to point generation for character creation. I won’t do random again. It also introduced the concept of the Hero Point — a piece of game currency to adjust the outcome of a roll or absorb damage. What we used to call the “get out of death point.” Most games have it now, but JB:007 was the first that I know of.

Also, I love the bidding system for initiative and difficulty during chases in the old James Bond game. I thought it would be interesting to extend that to combat to get some of the “Have you jumped through the air firing two guns while screaming ‘Argh!’?” versus the cool, steady shot of the gunfighter in Unforgiven.

I like “take the average” from Hollow Earth Expedition and plan to use it for other dice pool games, like the old d6 Star Wars I’ll be running soonish. (For every two dice, you can just take a 7.)

 

Way back in the ’80s and ’90s we used to use music to set the mood. Sometimes it was just something in keeping with the mood — a soundtrack from a movie, usually. For a while there, I was creating mix tapes to be used at key moments because Miami Vice had made pop music mood-setting a thing. It’s funny that now that I can easily mix and match music and key it at the appropriate time with my laptop, I don’t.

I have occasionally queued up the 1920/30s channel on the internet radio for the Hollow Earth Expedition game, but generally, I’ve stopped using music. Maybe i should try it again.

 

Depends on the game.

There’s a lot of good CG art for various sci-fi games and franchises. I used some of the fan-created stuff for the Battlestar Galactica RPG I ran. For the Hollow Earth Expedition campaign, there’s a lot of deiselpunk art, but more likely old planes and car pictures, and the occasional fantasy rendering of places like Shambala. Tales From the Loop comes with its own art that is inspirational. I like to find pictures of faces that fit characters.

I’ve gotten complemented on running a good game, here and there, but i can’t think of anything that stands out that is for public consumption.

I’ve got to be careful as the players might see this.

Technically, I think the next game is a continuation of our Hollow Earth Expedtion, but I figured I’d focus on the next new game we’re going to play. In that instance, it’ll be Star Wars.

Firstly, it won’t be using the Fantasy Flight system because 1) I find the multiple core books based on a theme to be wasteful and money-grubbing, and 2) this carries into the proprietary dice — something that appears to be a big thing, right now, in gaming. Yes, I know you can use a normal die and pretend the [number here] is the special symbol, but that that’s not the point. Specifically designing your game to suck more money out of your customer is. So we’re going with the West End Games’ d6 system, which I did buy from Fantasy Flight, who reprinted it as a special edition. And I do mean reprinted. It’s still got references to photocopying things.

So we’re playing like it’s 1987 all over again.

Right off the bat, I wanted to contain the “canon” to what we knew from the original trilogy, but add elements from SoloRogue One (the best of the films, in my opinion), and bits of The Clone Wars series. The prequels? NO.

The basic premise wasn’t pitched by me, but by one of the players in our group who wanted to see what I’d do with the setting. He had suggested that an imperial campaign that used my distrust and disdain for big government would be interesting, a sort of The Wire meets Rogue One. Originally, I was skeptical of the idea, but after floating it about a while in my head, I decided that there was something I could do with an entire galaxy.

The campaign is set only a few years after the Clone Wars and the declaration of the Galactic Empire. The Empire didn’t seize power; it was voted into existence and for good reason: the chaos on the edges of the Old Republic led to widespread slavery, oppression, crime, and violence. The Jedi Council, now discredited as a bunch of religious fanatics who had acted as a kind of “shadow government” and which had attempted to seize control from the Grand Chancellor under the color of trying to stop “the Sith”, a Force order to which they were opposed, has been either destroyed or dispersed. The Jedi are extinguished, the people have been promised, but this isn’t the case. Jedi continue to hide and plot.

The characters are all Imperials or civilians with ties to the same. These are not cardboard cut-out villains, but people who experienced the failures of the Republic personally and are looking to spread law and order throughout the galaxy. We have a political officer who has been displaced from Coruscant and is now in command of enforcement efforts in an important sector; an intelligence officer who specialty is locating Jedi conspirators and their supporters, and who suffered some humiliation under these self-appointed “generals”; a surveillance and law enforcement droid; a former clone trooper who has been “decommissioned” into the local enforcement community and who secretly allowed his Jedi general to escape General Order 66; and a “death trooper”. There’s one more player who needs to build a character — probably a pilot of some kind. It is Star Wars, after all.

The setting will be an industrial planet, probably Kuat, the world where most of the drive engines for the new Imperial Fleet are built. I’m going for a cyberpunk/political thriller/ police procedural combo that will stay focused on a world or two for a few episodes, before expanding out into the galaxy.

One goal is to break the Jedi/Sith duality. That was an aspect I liked of The Last Jedi was that not everything needs to be about the Skywalkers, andthe Jedi aren’t necessarily the guardians of the “One True Way.” The Force tries to find balance and when it tips to far toward light or dark, the Force tries to rebalance. I want to have other Force traditions that are light and dark, but also neutral. That don’t use one aspect of the Force or the other.

I wanted to show an Empire that isn’t just posturing evil baddies like Tarkin and Krennick, but that include people who are trying to do the right thing, and think a large bureaucracy and military can fix things — do-gooders who think you have to break some eggs to make an omelet, but mean well. Like many ideologues.

Should be interesting.

Okay — someone didn’t hit the “be more specific” button when writing this prompt. What do you mean “tricky RPG experience” — what, like playing while riding in a car? A situation thrown at you by the GM? The players F’ing up a finely honed plot you were GMing, and that you had to tap dance around to get them on track or get a satisfactory resolution? That time in Vegas where I paid extra for the “green Orion girl” experience? (No, not really. But I’m sure it exists.)

I’m finding I’m drawing a blank on this one, but perhaps after reading a few others’ posts, I might do another post, if I’m inspired.