Category Archives: Aerial Fantasy

Voyage of the Nimbus – Session 0

Character creation session went well. Five players in total and a pretty interesting mix of characters forming the core of the Nimbus’ crew.

We’ve got a cross-dressing Captain (Constantine Sirocco) who rules more through force of personality than force of arms. Somehow he’s managed to piss off a NeoVictorian by the name of Jeremiah Belforet. Don’t know how yet, the player left the whys and whens up to me. Constantine’s younger brother, Xanatos, is the Chief Engineer. With his short temper, I dread to think how long the Nimbus’ poor engine will last under his “tender care.” But the kid is a genius mechanic so he should be able to hammer the dents out. These two PCs already seem to have a catchphrase, “I’ll tell mom!” which I suspect is going to be used to drive each other insane. Following on in the grand tradition of Leela of Futurama fame, our one-eyed Chief Helmsman, Zeke, has decided that depth-perception is for chumps. A born skysailor (or skypirate in less polite company), Zeke’s probably got more experience working on airship’s than the rest of the (PC) crew put together. The Nimbus’ Gunnery Sergeant is Jamie Torrent, a crack shot femme fatale with her own stalker. And last, but by no means least, the Nimbus has probably the only medically trained automaton in existence. Quite how Jonathan Neuffe, an Automaton Autocrat, came to be so well trained/programmed in the medical sciences is a mystery. And like all mysteries, he ‘aint telling. As well as being a doctor, he throws a damn fine right hook. There’ll be no messing about in his sick bay.

Character creation went smoothly enough seeing as we only had one copy of the book. In hindsight, I could have done with printing off more than just two copies of the Character Creation Cheat Sheet. I was pleasantly surprised to find that everyone had actually read the campaign blurb on the sign-up sheet. Normally, getting players to read anything about what sort of characters are and aren’t appropriate for a specific game is a chore so it was a nice change. By the time we got to sorting out Airship Skills, all the various skills were already covered by one person or another in the party so people were free to chose what they wanted; either enhancing a skill they already had or gaining a new skill to act as backup to another character.

Sorting out the schtick was relatively painless. After pointing out that bordello was disallowed (mainly due to the character’s ages) the player’s ran down the list quickly. After a brief discussion, they settled on Mercenaries. Not exactly the most unique choice, but a serviceable one. And to be honest, pretty close to how most “adventurer groups” could be described. I do sense trouble ahead, simply by the number of eyes that lit up when they saw Demolitions on the schtick’s skill list. 🙂

Finally we got to Airship Creation. When given the choice of using a tweaked version of the pre-statted ship in the book or customising their own stock Tigerfish, they immediately jumped on building their own. Zeke’s player took charge at this point, assembling a list of features and weapons grouped into either “neccessary” or “optional”. There was some back and forth, but they eventually settled on a design. The Nimbus is not as heavily armed as the Cordelia having two less cannons, and it only has one grappling hook launcher. It does however have a bow mounted Lighting Gun and extra armour plating. Being a Mercenary ship, they didn’t need to take any special features for their schtick, with the possible exception of a Sick Bay and Weapons Locker. They did pick up a Solid Rocket Booster for those quick bursts of speed during chases. Surprisingly however, they chose not to purchase any cabins so all the crew sleep in hammocks on the gundeck. No fancy cabin for the captain either (to the disappointment of his player). They still have 10ARPs of space which I believe they’re holding on to for any upgrades or additional features they discover they may need once play begins.

There was no time to go through the rules of the game with anyone, and no time to into any great detail about the setting, other then reiterating the campaign setup. There should be time for that in the actual first session.

Next time, The Tribulations of Scabby Jack

Legends of the Second Age: The Wiki

I spent most of this weekend setting up a TiddlyWiki for the Savage Worlds. TW is an awesome piece of “software” that you need very little experiance to use. It is simply a single html file that contains an impressive piece of javascript that handles all the mechanics of the wiki. Because it’s a single html file that needs no server stuff, it makes it ideal for use as an offline wiki for most purposes. It’s extendable through the use of macros, themes and plugins. I spent a while configuring mine to more closely resemble the way that wikipedia looks and works and the result can be seen here.

Legends of the Second Age

Legends of the Second Age

Genre: Cinematic (Anime-style) Fantasy

Long ago, when the world was still whole, the land and the heavens were wracked by a titanic conflict called the Godswar. A war between the Gods and Titans. In the final stages of the war, as they neared defeat, the Titan’s took revenge on the world they believed had betrayed them. They directed all of their power at the world, all of the hatred and anger, and the world itself was shattered by the force of the magic unleashed. The world broke into a thousand pieces, each drifting through the skies. Scattered across them were the survivors of the Godswar. Slowly, the mortal races began to rebuild under the guidance of the Gods. Two thousand years have passed since then and war once again threatens the world. A prophecy has arisen; five young individuals will join forces to reunite the shattered pieces of the world. But there are those willing to go to war to prevent any change to the status quo.

This is an action adventure style fantasy game, with just a hint of animé or Japanese-style fantasy CRPGs. There’s a mixture of technology and magic present. Alchemical steam turbines, early firearms, clockworks and rifles, cannons, crystal power sources, and intelligent constructs. In some cases, magic will be used to duplicate modern day technology.

All the characters (who are between 14 and 16) have grown up together on a small sky island, having lived on the island for most (if not all) of their lives. The island itself is small and peaceful, far away from the bustling heart of civilisation. There is only a small village on one end of the island and a small cluster of farmhouses (where the character’s live with their families) on the other.

The characters are:

  • Kael – a 16 year old Skyboarder
  • Daedalus – a 14 year old rookie mage and tinkerer
  • Maddie – A 15 year old blacksmith’s daughter
  • Kenichi – a 15 year old trainee ranger only a few months away from taking the guild exam
  • and Victoria – a 15 year old “bad influence”

Character creation took two weeks due to player absences. This worked to the game’s advantage since we only had one copy of SWEX (and a copy of the old hardback). It meant that we could take time to create the characters and be sure they all fit into the game.

A couple of changes were made to character creation. Because character’s in anime tend to be more powerful than they ought to be, I allowed players to ignore any rank requirement other than Legendary for their free Human edge (its a humans only fantasy setting). All other requirements still stood. We also decided that the Boating skill referred to any skyship or flying vehicle that used wind as a means of lift or propulsion. Piloting referred to powered flight that used mechanics, alchemical steam turbines or straight up magic. Character creation went well. Two of the character’s started off with an Arcane background. Kael’s Skyboard was determined to be a product of “Weird Science” and Daedalus took Sorcery.

One thing was kept from the players and that was that each of the character’s would begin play with a custom Arcane Background called “Exemplar” on top of anything they bought at character creation. The Exemplar edge gave them 2 powers selected by me and 10 power points (which stacked with Daedalus’s sorcery but not with Kael’s Weird Science). Each Exemplar edge was themed towards one of the five elements of the setting.

  • Kael – Metal (Wall Walking, Intangibility)
  • Daedalus – Water (Analyse Foe, Healing)
  • Maddie – Metal (Armour, Warrior’s Gift when using bladed weapons)
  • Kenichi – Wood (Entangle, Shapechange)
  • Victoria – Fire (Leaping, Quickness)

Any Exemplar power that had a range of touch was changed to Self (with the exception of Healing)

The week between the end of the chargen and the 1st session, I printed of DnD4E style powercards using the Magic Set Editor program (PDF of cards found at http://www.box.net/shared/ra4n6y2i8r). I did a card for each power, each Arcane Background, and a couple of the custom items that player’s requested at chargen (a sunstone and spellstone for Daedalus, and a Krull-style glaive for Kenichi)

Once all that was done, all that was left was to actually run the game. 🙂

[EPISODE STARTS]

Game started off early on a weekend morning and the character’s got to describe their morning routine. Maddie went down in to the village to open her father’s smithy, Kenichi went hunting down in the small woods that ran along the side of the island. Daedalus (who is Kenichi’s cousin) got breakfast. Vicky went off in pursuit of Maddie and Kael went for a morning “run” on his board.

[OPENING CREDITS]

About 11 o’clock they all met up at the smithy for one reason or another. Daedalus looking for some scrap to tinker with, Kael was after a new bracket for one of his board’s lifter crystals, Vicky and Kenichi just to hang. Maddie’s father came down and took over the shop (throwing Vicky out at the same time). They decide to go down to the wooded plateau where Kenichi goes hunting in order to explore some of the old crystal mines. At this point, Daedalus casually mentions that Jenny heard that Kenichi likes Vicky. As in “likes likes.” Oh the teen drama.

At this point, I was asking them to make periodic notice checks whenever they got near the edge of the island. A small craft was “orbiting” the island from within a cloud bank. However, no one seemed able to roll above a three (except of couse for Kenichi’s pet hawk which unfortunately couldn’t speak to tell anyone).

They get to a likely looking cave and light their various light sources and enter. As they explore, they find lots of little crystals left embedded in the walls and ceiling, the mines haven’t totally played out but are still disused. Vicky notices that the wooden supports don’t seem exactly strong just as Daedalus sees a really cool looking crystal in the ceiling. Before he can be stopped he reaches up and yanks on it. The roof rumbles, the supports groan and the cave begins to collapse. AGILITY rolls are made to see who gets out. Everyone but Kael and Daedalus makes it. Maddie gets a raise so I rule that she was able to grab D and pull him out of the way in time. It takes several seconds for anyone to realise that their group of 5 has become 4. Just as K walks THROUGH the collapsed mine entrance coughing and spluttering. Kael had just manifested his first elemental power, Intangibility.

At this point, it should be mentioned that although the PLAYERS knew about their elemental powers, the character’s didn’t. At the start of the session I told them that after two weeks of trying to come up with a way for them to manifest their powers spontaneously, I had given up. It was up to them to figure it out.

After some humourous stone throwing, and skydiving into the ground, he rematerialised. K couldn’t wait to show this new power off at the next Stormjumping competition (an extreme sports version of skyboarding). Realising they were all covered in dirt and dust, they retired to a nearby pool for a bit of swimming. Cue some spirit rolls from the three teenage boys as their female friends got wet and splashed each other in a perfect fanservice moment (Kenichi failed and promptly got a nosebleed).

It was at that someone noticed (finally!) the ship circling the island. It was a few miles off and was generating great gouts of steam. This must mean that it was a Commonwealth ship (Common Knowledge rolls for the win) as they were the only country that uses Alchemical Turbines as a power source. Curious as to what a Commonwealth ship was doing so far from its home territory (and so close to their mortal enemy, the Empire) they decided to try and find out what type of ship it was. Daedalus remembered that there was a ship recognition guide in the school library and so the plan was made, for the first time in history a bunch of teens would break into school on a weekend to do some studying.

This was Vicky’s time to shine, easily picking the lock on the door to the small village school. The book was found easily and they identified the ship as a Kestral Class – Command and Control ship used by the Commonwealth to rely instructions to other ships engaged in fleet actions. An impressive feat of mental arithmetic from Deadalus showed that that the ship was circling the island once per hour and if his calculations were correct, they should be able to see it from the school by now. Grabbing the school’s one and only telescope they climbed up onto the rough and located the ship. It seemed to be signalling something using semaphore and flashing lights. None of the group can understand the signals so they decided to find someone who can. Naturally, this means breaking into the harbourmaster’s house to steal his book on semaphore signals which he obviously has.

As they cross the village, a small tyke runs up to Daedalus and tells him that their mum’s want them all home. Ignoring this they continue to the harbourmaster’s house. While Kael provides a distraction by showing off his Skyboarding in the market square, they break in. A quick search found the book but clumsly Daedalus struck again, knocking over a vase and smashing it in an almighty crash. The group fled the house.

Meanwhile, Daedalus was in the square showing off. On one of his more aerobatic manoeuvres, he spotted several shadowy shapes hidden in the clouds just below the island. Curious, he dived into the cloud narrowly missing crashing into the armoured hull of a skyship. As he frantically dodged out of the way, he peered through an open gun port and saw ranks of men readying their weapons and armour. There were at least 6 Commonwealth warships hidden in the clouds, each with over 50 armoured soldiers preparing for battle. In panic, he rocketed up out of the cloud and streaked through the market square screaming “The Commonwealth is coming!” Behind him, as one, the ships rose up out of the cloud and opened fire on the village.

Seeing the normally over confident Daedalus running away, and with cannon fire exploding around them, the rest of the group decided to “screw this for a game of soldiers” and ran too, jumping onto a horse and cart and fleeing. Sadly, no one had either the Drive or Ride skill so it was a short journey. After narrowly missing plowing through panicked villagers, the cart struck a low wall and flipped over several times, sending the group flying. They each took damage (a single wound), except for Maddie. As she flew through the air, liquid metal engulfed her body creating a protective layer (manifesting the Armour power). D’s leg was broken (although only taking one wound, a severe injury was good flavour for what happened next) with the bone sticking out the side. Clutching the wound, his hands glowed and he manifested the Healing power, completely healing the broken bone. He was able to repeat this feat on the gash to the head that Kenichi had suffered. However, despite repeated attempts he was unable to heal Vicky’s fractured rib. Behind them, one of the ships had landed at the docks and was unloading troops.

Kael, having calmed down, came back at this point and the reunited group heading down onto the wooded plateau where they hoped the tree’s would provide some cover. They plan was to follow the plateau along the side of the island, climbing up at the other end next to the farm compound where they all lived. Unfourtunatly, the cliff path down into the plateau was in full view of one of the attacking ships which opened fire. The cannon balls struck all around them, showering them with rock chips but causing no injuries. However, one of the cannonballs struck the cliff just below the path and just below Kenichi. The explosion threw Kenichi off the path and off the side of the island, he plunged into the clouds. Kael dived off the path after him but lost him in the clouds. Fearing that they had just lost their friend, they were surprised when a hawk flew out of the cloud, landed on the path and turned into Kenichi. He had just manifested the Shapechange power.

They hurried down the path, across the plataeu and climbed back up to the farm compound.

It was deserted, there was no sign of their parents, the horses were gone. A note tacked to the back of the front door told Daedalus to gather his friends and head to the old barn. Look under the straw. Kael found a small leather pouch containing a crystal with a hexagonal cross section and strange runes etched on it. A note said that he might need this and “not to wait for us if we’re not back in time.” They headed to the old barn and looked under the strawpile. They found a trapdoor that led to a curving stone staircase. The staircase opened up into a large chamber beneath the barn, the roof of which was made up of the wooden floorboards of the barn above.

Inside the chamber they found a small skyship, no sails, no steam vents, no gas bag, only a pair of slender crystal turbines on outriders. An imperial design. The nameplate along the side read “HMS Hurricane” and Kael remembered that a ship called the Hurricane had been stolen from the Imperial Fleetyards 14 years ago and never recovered. If he remembered correctly, it was a prototype for a fast courier ship. The front and back loading ramps were down and by the rear one were several bags waiting to be loaded the contained clothing and a few possession. On the ship itself was a few crates of food. Apart from that this ship was empty and unfurnished. There was no sign of their parents. Looking around the chamber they say that machinery was connected to the roof and it looked like it opened or retracted. Along one wall was a heavy metal door. On the bridge of the ship was a hexagonal slot just next to the controls. The crystal that Kael had found looked like a key.

They heard voices above, and the sounds of people moving around. Keeping quiet, they realised that it was Commonwealth soldiers and they were looking for THEM. Kael put the crystal in the slot and the ship started to power up. Displays lit up and one of them reported that an unknown ship was blocking the drydock exit. It asked him if he wanted to use the “Emergency Egress System”. Without hesitation he clicked on yes. The metal door groaned open revealing a darkened tunnel going down at a 45 degree angle. The cradle the ship was resting on started to tilt upwards, lining the ship up with the tunnel. As the crystal turbines reached full power, the clamps were released and the ship began to accelerate down the pitch black tunnel.

[End Credits]

The Runaway and Other Stuff

Reference image found on net that Im using as inspiration for the fantasy setting

Reference image found on net that I'm using as inspiration for the fantasy setting

“The Runaway” is nearly finished. Just putting the last touches on the final scene and trying to work out the best point to end it.

Oh, and I’ve also written several pages on the next chapter of HJ as well as started work on a campaign setting for Savage Worlds. It’s an Aerial Fanatsy / Sky Pirates thing.

Aerial Fantasy

The fantasy setting I’ve been working on is an anime inspired setting set in world comprised entirely in a world of islands that float through an endless sky. It will use the BESM system, either 2nd edition revised or 3rd edition. Not sure which yet. It will not be standard medieval fantasy setting but will instead draw on influences such as Final Fantasy by portraying a world that fuses magic with limited degree of steampunk technology.

Hopefully I’ll have more later.

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New Fantasy Campaign & Awakenings

Still working on it. Most of the work so far has been deciding what system to use. Up until Tuesday I had narrowed it down to:

  • Alternity
  • Arrowflight
  • Iron Gauntlets
  • Cartoon Action Hour
  • BESM
On Wednesday, I brainstormed a few more ideas with Guy. Most of these were system related and this lead to all but BESM and Cartoon Action Hour being eliminated. We then went through character creation using BESM and CAH to see which system suited the sample character for the setting better. In CAH, the character benchmarked out at roughly 100 points. The top of end of the recommended starting point range. When we did the same character in BESM, we costed out at 25 points. Which is inline for a low-powered game.

Since the game is envisioned to start out low-powered in the beginning we’ve chosen BESM. Now, at the moment we only have access to 2nd Edition Revised. As soon as I have the money, I’ll look into getting Third Edition. The two editions are not compatible which will render the fantasy supplements I have for 2nd Ed unusable.

Also on Wednesday we had the second session of Awakenings. It went well and both players have really got into the spirit of Wushu. I’ll hopefully have the write up online sometime this weekend.

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Fantasy Setting

Been brainstorming a fantasy setting over the last couple of days with Guy. Don’t want to say too much about it as we’re still hammering out the details. It started of as a vaguely standard medieval-style fantasy game set in an unusual locale but it has mutated like some reptile exposed to mutagenic goo into something resembling a Final Fantasy game.

I’m still trying to decide on what system to use as well. I’ve narrowed it down to the following choices:

  • Alternity (a generic sci-fi system that works really well for fantasy)
  • Iron Gauntlets
  • Arrowflight
  • BESM 2nd Edition Revised
  • Cartoon Action Hour!
Its going to be very different from anything I have ran or played it before and I’m really excited about it.

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