Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

My Mad Quest for a Starship Design System.



Whew....where do I start?

First, I came up with a list of things I didn't like about the way the Sci-Fi Companion handled starships. Here were my issues.

1) Buckets o'dice: I don't like them and feel they slow down the game when you have a player who isn't good at math.

2) Buckets o' weapons: I don't want to spend a long time rolling a hit for each of a Battleship's weapons if possible.

3) Do I need a ship design system? Once there is a system, I found there was a desire to break it or munchkin it, even on my end. I don't want players designing their own ship, and if I intend to keep my prep down, there is no reason I should either.

4) A balance between weapons damage and ship Toughness that doesn't make things either an insta-kill or impossible to kill. Looking at the math, the Sci-Fi Companion tends to be one or the other as the scales get bigger.

So what I did was go through ships from a variety of settings and compared them to the weapons available to those settings to find the "sweet spot" or the balance point between damage and Toughness that Pinnacle designs toward. Here's what I found out.

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHH!

It's all over the place! There is no sweet spot that they design for!

Okay, deep breaths. I'll just have to make one for myself. I created charts of all the various dice combinations (2-6 dice, d4-d12 with explosions accounted for) And decided to place my sweet spot at about 75% chance to get a Shaken result and about 50% chance of Scoring one wound.

Then I recorded the resulting sweet spot Toughnesses. And guess what? They were nearly identical to the vehicle design rules in the Sci-Fi Toolkit. Those figures were also used in Daring Tales of the Space Lanes: Starships of the Galaxy. Wiggy had already dialed into what I wanted.

DTotSL also had a bunch of other rules I intended to copy for starship combat, like Shield Pods and Batteries. Since a there were already a good spread of Starships pre-designed in the book... okay there was no point in reinventing the wheel. I decided to save myself from my growing headache and just use the Daring Tales of the Spacelanes rules. By the way, this is a conclusion it took me 2 months to arrive at. 2 Months of math, study, re-concept, and return.

I considered applying to make Starpunk an official setting, and even asked Wiggy for permissions to use some of his rules. He never got back to me. It's just as well. I think Starpunk should just be a fan setting adaptation for Daring Tales of the Space Lanes, if that's okay with him. So from here on out, everything this site produces related to Starpunk will use DTotSL.

I bow before your skillz, Wiggy!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Can Savage Worlds do Anime?



This question has been asked a few times, and the answer isn't easy. You see, Anime is not exactly a genre. It is a format.

An anime horror story is basically the same as any other horror story, but the characters have big eyes.
An anime Fantasy story is basically the same as any other fantasy story, but... you get the idea.

Now that said, there are certain tropes in anime that don't often appear in western storytelling. Including these tropes in a setting will give it more of an anime feel.
(Please note that I will not be discussing Hentai tropes.)

1) Harem Anime:  Not a hentai trope! Harem anime involves a main character, usually a boy but it can also be a girl in high school, who winds up surrounded by members of the opposite sex that want the main character's affection. For some reason, he or she can't express his/her feelings for any of them and comedy ensues. Examples: Tenchi Muyo, Ouran Host Club, Uresei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2, Rosario + Vampire.

2) Human Piloted Giant Robots: Strangely this isn't a big western phenomenon. The giant robots in our cartoons are sentient and usually transform into cars and things. The typical Western Piloted Giant Robot is a big, slow, clunky thing that looks more like a chicken-legged tank. In anime, the robots are more like a super-suit of armor: a 30ft tall Iron Man. In fact, I would classify these types of stories as the super-hero genre. Our hero faces daily life and drama, but must always change into his "super-suit" to defeat the evil of the week.

3) The Futility of War: Having two nuclear bombs dropped on them has imprinted heavily in the Japanese psyche. So much that Japan, or even the entire Earth routinely gets destroyed despite the heroes attempts to save them. You can see in many anime war stories that the line between good and bad is often shifting and the longer the war drags on, the more the innocent casualties pile up. In Knights of Sidonia, not only do we see hundreds of teenagers splat against a building's surface like falling rain but they dedicate an entire episode to a single character introduction only to kill her by the episode's end. Examples: Gundam, Knights of Sidonia, Macross, Evangelion.

4) Japanese Mythology: One thing about Japanese horror stories are that they draw from Japanese mythology which has its own unique takes on ghosts and vampires.

Can Savage Worlds do these? Well, yes. Any system can, because these are not effects that require a game mechanic. These are plot themes and trappings.

So if you truly want to give your players an anime feel in your game, make sure to have plenty of anime imagery (printouts and character images). That may be all you need

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I'm Back! Making your own Wet Erase Maps and Tiles

I know I have been gone a long while. Things have kept me busy, mostly arts and crafts so let us start there.

As I have posted before, I have several terrain tiles available on drivethrurpg. But I have been struggling to find a way to use wet-erase markers on them. I have tried polyurethane sprays, modge podge, laquers...the results either destroyed the printouts and paper or let the wet erase ink bleed through. I tried Contac sheets but can never find the permanent adhesive version in stock anywhere. And the wet-erase inks didn't sit well on the coating.

Looking on the internet, the typical advice was to get the items laminated, but heat lamination doesn't actually adhere to the page. You have to keep the plastic border so that the front and back laminations stick together. If you are trying to make a large map, you would have to pay a lot for a full sized print and then a lot more for giant sized lamination. It's going to be somewhere around $40. I needed a way to laminate several 8x10 pages into a relatively seamless map.

Then I discovered that there is a way to cold laminate. This may not be news to some people, but I can say that no one on the internet had suggested it before in my research.


These are 9x12 sheets with a PERMANENT adhesive backing. Print a tile image onto cardstock, then apply one of these sheets, then trim. The result is remarkably like Paizo's Gamemastery tiles in feel and finish. I have already done an overnight test with black, red, green, and blue wet-erase inks and all erased cleanly the next day.

With this technique, I was able to print up 9 8x10 sci-fi terrain pages, laminate them, then tape the backs together to get a sci-fi wet-erase deck plate map that is 24x30 inches and fold-able. If you have seen the Paizo sci-fi flip-mat, you will know why I felt compelled to make my own. Theirs is too dark for black ink to show up well when drawing the walls and chambers. Now I have a wet-erase sci-fi map for all of my Savage Sci-Fi adventures. (PS: The tile set will be available soon on drivethrurpg. As usual it will be pay-what-you-want. I'll let you know when it launches.)

That's all for now, but expect more posts soon.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

6x6 Swamp Tiles Are Now Downloadable at DrivethruRPG

Yup, I been busy doin' tha art thang. Find the HERE.



I've also been looking into a way to coat my tiles to make them work with wet erase markers. The only advice online that I could find was to cover the tiles with a sheet of poster frame plastic. That's great, but not portable. It would be great if I could pre-draw any features on my tiles and transport them to the game.

Here's what I have done so far:

Lamination - Ordinarily would work, however the side lips of the lamination would interfere with the tiles abilities to butt up against each other.

Modge Podge Glossy Acrylic Sealer Spray - I put three coats on a tile but the ink still bled through to the paper underneath. It might work if I added more coats, but I don't want to spend $10 per can and have it only treat 6 tiles. I have a lot of these things. Plus a knowledgeable friend advised me that Acrylics can yellow the work, wear off, and don't age well.

PVA Glue (Elmer's) - I honestly thought this would work and it almost did. The problem is that PVA glue is water-soluble, even after it has dried. As soon as I used a wet rag to erase the ink, the glue became liquid again and things went bad.

Polyurethane Spray (Glossy) - My knowledgeable friend suggested this and it is also about $10 per spray can. You can get it from Home Depot. It will take longer to cure but can likely do the job in two coats. We'll see.

And speaking of Home Depot, they have this little "Start your own fairy garden" miniatures for $2 a miniature.  There was a great, to-scale Water Well that I picked up. everything else wasn't much use to me. Not a bad find.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

6x6 Forest Tiles Are Now Downloadable at DrivethruRPG!

So I have been working on some more Terrain Tile sets for use with RPG miniatures. Partly because many of the Paizo Flip Mats are no longer available, partly because it's improving my Photoshop skills, and mostly because I can.

The tiles are 6" x 6", with or without grid lines and can be downloaded HERE. It's Pay What You Want, of course.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sci Fi Companion Ship/ Vehicle Sheets

There was a request on the Pinnacle Boards for one. Truth to tell, I haven't had much to show off or talk about recently so this makes for a good post. Here they are.