Saturday, January 20, 2018

Anomaly - Updated Timelines

Image (c) Rockfish Games

I've been suffering from a bit of a writing block of late; well, maybe it's more of a writing slump. I'm juggling two (well, technically three) Star Wars campaigns currently and I'm not happy with the results of my adventure writing. I look at what I get down for session notes and I get hit with a feeling of "this isn't Star Wars enough." There are a lot of things that could be factoring into my creative difficulties; they'll get worked through in time, meanwhile I've got a couple sessions coming up in the next few weeks that deserve my best.

I'm just not sure they're going to get it.

So what should I do; keep throwing words at the screen and home that something magical appears? Take a break from Star Wars? Stop gaming all together?

Hey, let's not talk crazy here; it's writer's block, not cancer (not this time, anyway). 

Still, a break from Star Wars might be in order. I've been running Star Wars campaigns exclusively for the last ten years, at least. Not including a few one-shot endeavors into alternate settings such as Fallout, Harry Potter, and City of Heroes, all of my storytelling has been in the galaxy far, far away, and why not? I'm good at it, it's what I'm most known for, but after a decade of slamming Star Wars stories down on the table week after week and month after month, it may be time to shift gears and do something else for a while. I know I've got a Fallout campaign in me, and it might finally be time to get my Anomaly setting off the ground.

Prompted by a friend of mine, I've gone back and reread my notes for the setting. Originally called "Trinary", I worked on it in October of 2016 as part of the "30 Days of World Building" exercise. I was fairly pleased with much of what I wrote, and feel it's a good place to start. Last September I wrote a few updates (which are now listed as Adventure Logs on the ObPortal site). I've been tweaking the historical timeline based on those two posts, as well as updating some of the names. 

CS -112: Drachon warships begin to raid Garden worlds, beginning the Garden Conflicts
CS -111: Republic of Kel forces clash with ships from the Granos Territories while pursuing Drachon raiders.
CS -109: Allef Domains invades and conquers thee worlds in the N'guli Empire. Armies of the Uranar Reaches engage the forces of the Narasheem Concordat
CS -92: Mineral deposits discovered in the Giant Nebula, prospectors and corporations rush to stake claims and secure them for their respective empires.
CS -86: Giant Nebula prospectors fight corporations over mining claims, escalates into open conflict. Because of cutthroat practices and lawlessness of the region, becomes known as The Blood Nebula.
CS -84: Destruction of Tasaran City in the Narasheem Concordat by the Granos; loss of life 120,000.
CS -82: Corporations begin physically removing asteroids and stellar debris from the Blood Nebula for mining at facilities within nearby systems. Prospectors begin arming mining ships to prevent or raid these mineral convoys. First Blood Nebula Pirate Gangs appear.
CS -70: Battle of Tovar; Republic warships, led by Admiral Karlson Hask, engage the combined forces of the Granos Territories and the Allef Domains. Republic wins the engagement, destroying 2,300 enemy ships while losing 793 of their own. Fallout from the engagement causes the Territories to go to war with the Domains.
CS -38: Unarar first deploy Gesalin Gas on the Republic city of Iasalo, killing 84,000 humans.
CS -37: Republic of Kel, Narasheem Concordat, and the Granos Territories form a non-aggression treaty and begin to attack the Uranar Reaches.
CS -22: Drachon's Infernus Clan raiders destroys the city of Zabross on Kel, killing 65,000 humans and injuring tens of thousands more. Zabross is reduced to rubble.
CS -21: 500 raiders from Drachon's Arctus Clan seize the nesting broods in the N'guli city of Kakarakas and use them as bait to fight the best warriors of the N'guli. They hold out for 16 days. The nesting brood complex is destroyed by the last few surviving Drachon; almost an entire generation of N'guli are lost (320,000 N'guli eggs)
CS -19: In response to the growing threat of the Drachon clans, the Republic, Granos, and Narasheem form the StarCorps; the first multi-national military force with a dedicated purpose of stopping the raids by the Drachon Clans.
CS -14: Allef Domains being to suffer significant losses to the N'guli Reaches, losing every world they had conquered over the decades and many of their colony worlds as well.
CS -12: Allef homeworld suffers a catastrophic extinction-level-event while being invaded. The Allef used a Gravity Singularity Bomb to destroy the N'guli fleet massing in orbit, but the experimental weapon interacts with the jump field of an incoming N'guli command ship. The resulting singularity annihilates 60% of the planet’s core mass.  Allef begins to shake itself apart as it bleeds off it's remaining atmosphere. News of the planet's destruction shakes every Garden nation to their core. Rescue ships from every nation arrive in Allef space to try and save as many lives as they can. Even with the unified assistance, only 0.3% of total Allef population survives, either rescued before the remains of Allef shook itself apart or were off-world at time of event.
CS -10 (0 AE): The destruction of the Allef homeworld ends the Garden Conflicts and prompts the nations to begin to negotiate for peace. After months of debate and compromise, the League of Allied Worlds is formed. All nations except the Drachon Clans join the Union. All invitations by the League to the Clans are rebuked.
CS -9 (1 AE): Membership in the StarCorps expanded to all League member worlds. StarCorps is now tasked with interstellar peacekeeping as well as their previous role of defense against Drachon raiders.
CS -8 (2 AE): After several months without finding new mineral sources, the last of the Blood Nebula mining corporations folds. Mining operations within the Blood Nebula cease. The Blood Nebula pirate gangs begin to raid convoys in nearby systems.
CS -4 (6 AE): Citizens of the planet Danal vote to leave the League, but the motion denied by League Council (and the Republic of Kel). Danal's exclusive source ku'jai (an animal who's excrement is a super-charger for jump drives) makes them too important a world for the League to lose. The denial leads to weeks of riots and eventually armed uprising by the populace against League interests on Danal.  Revolutionary War of Danal begins.
CS -2 (8 AE): After two years of brutal warfare, the Revolutionary War of Danal ends with the capture and public execution of the rebel leaders. Danal is now a world under martial law and controlled by a military governor. Collection and distribution of ku'jai excrement is overseen by the League Military.
CS -1 (9 AE): First non-human Prime elected in the League; Aararastavos of the Narasheem Concordat. Primary Aararastavos vows to stabilize the League, end the raids by the Drachon clans, and bring peace to the Stellar Garden. In response, the Drachon clans step up their attacks on N'guli, Republic, and Granos worlds.
CS 0 (10 AE): Campaign starts
I'm fairly pleased with this timeline. There are plenty of gaps where I can fill in more information at a later date, but there's enough here to give readers (and players) an idea of what the galactic situation is. I want the League to be new and unstable; there are factions within it that want the League to work, but there are also factions with long, bitter memories that long to finally defeat their hated foes. PCs are likely to be contacted by several factions and empires throughout a campaign, and they get to choose to help them, hinder them, or fight them.

And then we throw the Bathal Host in on top of that and watch chaos ensue.

I really need to make a better stellar map, something that's easier to read and defines where all these empires are. I also need to come up with a "player's guide"; something that details all the information players need to make characters that fit into the world. I suppose the PCs could be StarCorps, but that's too limiting for my initial game. Maybe if one or two PCs are StarCorps, that could be fun. They'd be compelled to investigate any alerts for Drakon Raiders in their area. But what about the other PCs; they need a reason to come together. Possibly salvagers, or explorers; there are still uncharted planets out there that need surveying for mining or colonization. An independent crew could make some serious coin if they find another "garden world" where a colony could thrive, or one so filled with mineral rights that they could retire on their own moon.

Yeah, I think that might be a place to start. Let's see where this goes.

Game on, people.

May the dice be with you.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Down and Out in Paragon City

After several aborted attempts, I'm finally making some headway on my City of Heroes theme for Genesys. For those who have forgotten, I've been working on a CoH theme for a couple months now. At first I was thinking of just using the Magic rules for Super Powers, but that ended up being too limiting. I've settled on a progressive power path or tree for each power in the game. It's going to be a long process, as each hero can have two super power sets (Primary and Secondary) and each Power Set is a 7-step build tree in and of itself. When this theme "launches", I might not be able to have all the "core" power sets done, but I'll at least have enough to play the game.

That being said, it's seemingly going well. I'm working on power sets for the 6 heroes who will be the PCs in the module I'm writing for GamernationCon 5. After that I will give it my all to map out the power sets for all archetypes as of "Issue 1" (the version of the game at game launch). The theme will be available to backers of the GNC 5 kickstarter first (which was in October), then made available to the public sometime in late 2018.

Here's a preview for all you Tankers out there...

Invulnerability (Primary Power Set)
  • Resist Physical Damage - Perform the Resist maneuver, character increases their Soak by 1 until the end of their next turn. If this power is active at the beginning of their turn, the character can maintain this power by spending 1 strain, which extends the effects of this power until the end of their next turn. Psionic damage ignores this increase to Soak.
  • Increase Strength (x3): Increase Soak gained from Resist Physical Damage by +1
  • Dull Pain - Spend a story point to heal an amount of wounds equal to character’s ranks in Power (a new skill)
  • Unyielding - Immune to Knockdown while Resist Physical Damage is in effect. Additionally; may spend 2 Strain as a maneuver to end any Disorient, Immobilize, or Stagger effects currently affecting the character.
  • Unstoppable - Once per encounter as an Incidental action, character can render themselves immune to Pierce and Breach effects for 2 turns. During this time they also ignore the effects of any Critical Injuries they have.
Energy Melee (Secondary Power Set)
  • Energy Punch - The character gains the following attack: Brawl, Damage +1, Range (Engaged), Crit 4, Disorient 1
  • Increase Strength (x2) - Energy Punch damage increased by +1
  • Increase Magnitude (x2) - Energy Punch Disorient increased by +1
  • Stun - Character may choose to add the Stunning Damage quality to Energy Punch.
  • Whirling Hands - Spend a maneuver to add Blast to next Energy Punch, with a rating equal to the character’s ranks in Power.