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Jeff's Gameblog
Tuesday, 9 March 2004

Been home long enough to check out my recent eBay acquisitions. BattleTech Reinforcements 2 is in pretty darn good shape. The majority of the mech standups are unpunched. I did okay taking my chances with the 3050/2750 set. Plenty of mechs from the 3025 era are represented, enough that I don't think I'll need to get the original Reinforcements anytime soon. I would have liked there to have been more 2750 vehicles, but gaming in that era never really caught on. Still, I think I'll be able to get at least one decent scenario done with the material at hand. I'm kinda thinking I could do the last firefight before Kerensky kicked in the door on ol' Stephan Amaris.

I'm still going over the Starmada Compendium, but so far I'm really happy with it. The race rules are nifty for campaign play. Basically when using these rules each race/faction/whatever has a limit to the variety of technology at its disposal, buying new technologies with a pool of points. The tech sections are expanded too. New weapons and other tech toys are always fun to play with. I'm even warming up a bit to the official Starmada universe.

Posted by jrients at 9:35 PM CST

Well, I got another email from local GM Dave Hoover. Looks like he's moving forward with his plan to run a new campaign on alternating Wednesday nights. Still no word on what we're playing, but there's gonna be some sort of prelim meeting tomorrow night at the FLGS. In a surprise twist my good buddy Pat is also on the guest list!

Posted by jrients at 5:12 PM CST
Starmada, part 3 of 3
These are the slightly more oddball projects.

Red Chicken Rising is a legit sci-fi ship-to-ship game with a rather silly background. I've got the vessels of all but one of the various races coverted. I can milk this baby for at least two silly scenarios:

1) "Everyone Hates Earth" in which the Anti-Earth Coaltion decides to try and finish off those pesky earthlings once and for all.

2) "Battle for Joe's Diner" Joe's Diner is sort of the greasy, smelly Babylon 5 of the universe, a free-floating space restaraunt where lifeforms of all sorts are able to work out there differences over a couple of blue plate specials. The Robots and the Undead attack the Joe's in force. The rest of the patrons defend it.

Aeromada is a conversion of the old BattleTech aerospace fighter game Aerotech. Scaling the dropships in with the fighters has proven problematic, but I believe I can do some good fighter vs. fighter scenarios. I have statted out the smallest dropship, the Leopard. It works sorta okay. I still have a lot of fighters to convert for this one.

Totally separate from Aeromada is my work on the Capellan-Supremacy War. This is a conflict from the pre-BattleMech era between two polities that eventually were subsumed under the larger Capellan Confederation (a.k.a. House Liao). As far as I can tell, the only information available on this war is a few pages in the old House Liao sourcebook, which describes only one or two space battles, though others undoubtedly occurred.

Posted by jrients at 3:12 PM CST
Starmada projects, part 2 of 3
I've already mentioned Starmada Frontiers here in my blog. This project is pretty much a straight conversion of old Star Frontiers Knight Hawks material. One of my goals is to eventually find a good method of recreating the Second Sathar War as a campaign.

The Liberation of Cunnonnic is a multiplayer scenario I've been working on set in Traveller's Spinward Marches. The period is the Fourth Frontier War, a war of starship skirmishes and as such perfect for Starmada. Cunnonnic was one of the few planets that changed hands in the 4FW, going from the Swordworlders back the the Darrians. In my scenario each of these client states receives direct military assistance from one of the superpowers of the region: the Swordworlders get Zhodani help and the Darrians are supported by the Imperial Navy. I'm not sure how many scenarios I can squeeze out of the Fourth Frontier War, but I think this one will shape up nicely by the time I'm done.

Also in the category of straight conversion is Starmada Actions in Deep Space, my 2nd edition Full Thrust to Starmada work. I've got almost all the ships from Full Thrust and More Thrust converted. I just need to figure out how to convert the needle beam and what to do about the Savaska. I'm primarily interested in doing a series on the Battles for Grendel. My take on this is to cast Grendel as the worthless world that is constantly fought over for various 'strategic reasons' that aren't always clear to the captains involved in the battles.

Posted by jrients at 3:11 PM CST
Starmada projects, part 1: Starmada Trek
I find Starmada: the Universal Game of Starship Combat more than suitable for sci-fi gaming. It's quick, easy, has a decent ship construction system, and can easily be modified for specific settings. Here's my list of ongoing conversion projects. For most of these I have many or all of the ships I need done, I just need to sit down and crank out some scenarios.

Starmada Trek - original series style Star Trek. I'm interested in two periods here, both inspired by old FASA products. The main one is the Four Years War. Under the FASA timeline this was a Klingon/Federation war fought just prior to the events of the original series. IIRC Kirk was a junior officer during the war. I feel confident I could get ten or fifteen scenarios out of this project. After all, who doesn't like a good Fed/Klingon shoot-em-up? And it helps that I have a metric assload of ship designs available and already converted.

A smaller cource of inspiration would be the Unknown War, a.k.a. the Demon War. This war precedes the Four Year War and is fought by the Klingons on their front opposite "known space" where the Feds, Romulans, etc. reside. Starfleet calls this action the Unknown War because they can deduce the Klingons were busy on another front, but have no direct knowledge of the situation. To the Klingons these events are the Demon War, a crusade to push back an agressive monstrous race called the Kinshaya (Klingonish for "demons"). Little is known about the Kinshaya, save that they look like demons from Klingon myth and attack with utter ruthlessness. The one illo I have seen of them looks like a cross between Swamp Thing and a balrog. So anyway, the Klingons fought a desparate holding action against these guys, who attacked with no apparent provocation. The Demon War is one of those great "no diplomacy is possible because the enemy are such freaks" type war. The Kinshaya flit about in giant spheres with warp nacelles. As far as I can tell no stats have ever been published for their ships, leaving the field wide open for interesting designs.

Posted by jrients at 3:11 PM CST
Otus Shrine future updates
I'm trying to develop a plan for future updates to my Erol Otus Shrine (jrients.tripod.com/otus/otus.html). Here are my current ideas:

1) New front page. Most of the info on the current front page would be moved to the appropriate departments. I'd like a new centerpiece image, I just need a clean copy of the Deities & Demigods from which to scan an image off the back cover. The links that are bruied at the bottom of the page would be moved to a more visible location.

2) Minigames: Otus did some great work in some TSR minigames. His cover art for Vampyre is a classic.

3) Monster Cards: a great source for color Otus art.

4) An Erol Otus Miscellany: Dumping ground for anything I can't justify a whole page for.

5) Links page. There are a few other Otus sites out there, as well as the publishers once again putting Otus work on the covers of game products.

Posted by jrients at 2:24 PM CST

Yippee! Both of my toys arrived today. The Starmada Compendium, the version of the game immediately after the one I currently use, and BattleTech Reinforcements 2, which contains cardstock stand-ups for a bunch more 'Mechs. And unlike many of my more dubious gaming purchases, these products relate to games I am actually playing!

I :heart: eBay.

Posted by jrients at 1:46 PM CST

Once again I am trying to curtail my RPG purchasing and once again the game writers and publishers are conspiring against me by putting out games that look superlicious. Right now the two that are fascinating me are Mongoose's new Conan rpg and Paul Czege's My Life with Master.

First off, there are general good reasons not to buy any new rpgs. I just sold off a bunch I didn't have the time or the players for. I still have more than I currently have time or players for. And, as I mentioned earlier, I'm currently neglecting my Heroes Unlimited campaign as it is.

For the Conan rpg, I would have to say that I need another Conan rpg like I need another hole in my head. I have the one good booklet (the setting info) from the TSR boxed set. I own GURPS Conan, too. Most importantly, I own Ron Edward's Sorcerer & Sword, the "fantasy" supplement to his excellent Sorcerer rpg. I feel like Ron really nailed it in one where he urges S&S players to carve out their own campaign world one adventure at a time, using the method Howard himself employed. For a long time I've felt like playing in Hyboria was missing the boat, and Ron made it clear to me that it was Howard's methods, not his results, which most warrant emulation.

And I don't think I need another game that deals with guys wielding swords against demons and wizards. I'm pert near done trying to reinvent the wheel. D&D, particularly the early eighties iterations, just suits me as a vehicle for fantasy gaming.

But come on, man. We're talking about Conan here. I know a LOT of D&D fans get off on Tolkien, but for me Howard has always been the stronger influence.

My Life with Master sets off the cool detector in the back of my head. It looks chock full of dramatic possibilities. Reading on RPG.net what other folks are trying to do with it gets me giddy with excitement the same way threads about Sorcerer campaigns trip my trigger. You can tell there's something to a game when its not a generic, universal system yet people are going in a million different directions with it.

But do I need another supercool indie game that no one will play with me? I still have yet to play John Tynes' Puppetland, or Sorcerer, or even kill puppies for satan, all of which I paid real money for. And there's a viking horde of free indie games I want to try as well.

Maybe I need to get serious about recruiting for some short term indie play. There's got to be folks in the Champaign-Urbana area who might be interested in a change of pace game. If I don't get some of these damn idnie games played soon, I fear I will evolve into some sort of slackjawed indiegame poseuropithocus.

And lets not even talk about my desire to buy about half of the products put out by Eden Studios...

Posted by jrients at 11:27 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 9 March 2004 12:34 PM CST
Trying out a new formatting trick today...

Man, I need to shave my head again. Soon.
So I think I will write up a little BattleTech scenario to test out a simultaneous move system. I'm thinking it would be a "half scenario", two mechs a piece on a single standard BattleTech map. The annotation system would be borrowed from Starmada. Torso twists would come after movement as normal. Charges and death from above attacks would be the natural (probably unplanned) result of two mechs programming moves into the same destination hexes. I'm thinking a simple die roll to randomly select who charges whom. These attacks would be part of the movement resolution, so they would come before torso twists.

I am anxiously awaiting a couple of eBay deliveries: a copy of the Starmada Compendium and a set of BattleTech Reinforcements 2. Reinforcements 2 should more than double the number of Mechs I can use in scenarios without resorting to proxy pieces.

Still waiting on word from Gopher about scheduling our next game weekend. I'm afraid he's going to call at the end of the week wanting to get together this weekend. Meanwhile, I'm holding off scheduling another run of my Heroes Unlimited campaign. I feel kinda like I'm being a heel by not scheduling my campaign just because I'm holding out for another offer.

Posted by jrients at 9:30 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 9 March 2004 12:31 PM CST
Monday, 8 March 2004

Another tripod blogger plugged my blog on his site, so I thought I should return the favor: swords-of-erisa. Jeff (not me, this guy) is into gaming and customizing action figures. Great pics!

Posted by jrients at 11:28 AM CST

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