Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Post-Apoc Tank That Never Was

Continuing with ideas regarding post-apoc vehicles, here's a tank idea that never went anywhere in reality (from the July 1936 edition of Popular Mechanics), but could certainly show up in a post-apoc world. I must admit the inability of the gunners to actually SEE anything could pose a problem (snicker), but if you used a bit of transparent aluminum, you could solve that problem... :-)

Friday, December 30, 2016

Hi-Res Below the Shattered Moon

Had a request for a hi-res version of the Sorcery & Super Science! North America map, so here it is!

SHERP ATV, another perfect-for-the-post-apoc vehicle

Unlike land trains, the SHERP isn't a military vehicle, but it's nonetheless impressive. It would provide excellent mobility for a small group in cold and boggy terrains. I'd worry about the tires in a firefight, but with a bit of rpg-magic, one can create tires that are safe from small arms.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Post-Apocalyptic Land Trains!

Overland trains are, IMO, a cool post-apoc idea. Steal 'em and run with it! The biggest was the TC-497 Overland Train Mark II described below...

LCC-1 was so successful that in 1958 the Army contracted for a larger version, the TC-497 Overland Train Mark II. Generally similar to the LCC-1 in concept, the Mark II included a number of features to allow the train to grow to any length.

One change was the removal of the Cummins engines and their replacement with gas turbine engines of higher power and lower weight. Whereas the LCC-1 had a single 600-hp engine, the Overland Train had four 1,170-hp Solar 10MC engines, one in the "control car" and three others spread through the train. New power trailers could be added at any point along the train.To further reduce weight, most of the vehicle was built from welded aluminum.

Steering such a train proved to be a serious problem. If the train rounded a corner, the trailers would normally want to even the angles between themselves, forming into a long arc. If there was an obstacle that the driver had avoided, the trailers might eventually hit it as they rounded a corner. To solve this problem, the new trailers were all equipped with steerable wheels. Steering commands were sent from the control cab to each set of wheels in turn, so they started turning at the same point where the driver had. This allowed the train to make sharp right-angle turns, for instance.

The Mark II had a much larger six-wheeled cab that was over 30 feet (9.1 m) tall and was no longer articulated due to the ability for all the wheels to be steered. The turbine engine was much smaller than the diesel it replaced, allowing the interior to support a crew of six with sleeping quarters, toilets and a galley. It was even equipped with a radar. An additional two power cars and ten cargo cars were built for testing. In total the train now stretched over 570 feet (170 m). On flat ground it could carry 150 tons of cargo at about 20 mph. Range at full load was normally 350 to 400 miles (560 to 640 km), but additional fuel trailers could be added to extend it.

Final specifications were completed in 1960, and construction took most of 1961. After preliminary testing, it was handed to the Army in February 1962, and shipped to the Yuma Proving Ground in Yuma, Arizona. In testing under the "Project OTTER", for "Overland Train Terrain Evaluation Research", the vehicle performed well. But in the end the Army gave up on the idea as newer heavy-lift helicopters like the S-64 Skycrane made the train concept outdated.

The vehicle remained unused for a time, and was then put up for sale for $1.4 million in 1969.[9] All that remains of the Mark II is the control cab which remains at Yuma, the rest was sold off to a local scrap dealer. The Mark II retains the record for the longest offroad vehicle in the world.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Books Sans Title

One thing that most of us OSGs are guilty of is having labeled books. That's not how most books were from the time that we're using to base many of our games on. Most books in the medieval period had nothing of real note on their exteriors - covers existed almost solely to protect the books.. So you get shelves that look like the below (an image of Merton College's Medieval Library that's been in use since the late 1300's) wherein the value of a librarian immediately becomes obvious.

They know which books are which. :-)

Monday, December 26, 2016

Two more Tome of Tomes

Underdeep Languages
Author: William the Wise
Race: Human
Dimensions: 14x12x1.5
Weight: 25 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, brassboard, vellum, silver clasps and lock
Rarity: Rare
Fields of Study: Demi-humankind
Special Knowledge Categories: Languages
Value: 225 gp

This work, coupled with his work on Dopplegangers, provides sages with the strongest evidence that William the Wise was really a doppleganger. How else, they argue, could such a comparative study be undertaken? Underdeep Languages is a comparative, lexigraphical study of 6 common Underdeep languages: drow, duergar, svirfneblin, pech, cloaker and the dreaded fishmen. The work includes over 2,000 words from each language, and demonstrates a link between the languages of the duergar, svirfneblin, and pech. As expected, the cloaker language is the strangest of the six, but William the Wise shows that there is some connection between it and the language of the fishmen.

The Silverleafs of Ostveldt
Author:  Velonia Silverleaf
Race: Elf
Dimensions: 16x16x6
Weight: 20 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, woodboard, parchment
Rarity: Uncommon
Fields of Study: Demi-humankind
Special Knowledge Categories: History, politics & genealogy
Value: 40 gp

A massive history of the extensive Silverleaf clan that’s resided in the Ostveldt for over 8 generations, this weight of this tome is only matched by the boredom received in the reading. Instead of focusing on the important Silverleafs (of which there are many) this work treats every Silverleaf equally, dealing out pages and pages of the most trivial information. Still, it is an extremely thorough work that is an invaluable reference on the subject.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Genius of Blue Oyster Cult

It may seem strange, but the strongest influence on my creative output is Blue Oyster Cult. Not in subject matter, nor in style, but in the execution of "doing the fuck whatever I want while being indifferent what other people think."

The first 5 albums by these guys are pure, unadulterated, "We play what we like." And they're beautiful.

That, my friends, is the only thing I strive for.

Friday, December 16, 2016

There are Many Sources of Inspiration for Post-Apoc

One of the fun things about the post-apoc genre is that you can draw from so many different sources when creating a post-apoc world. Pretty much anything is possible and even cartoon characters can come to life - their humor replaced by horror, of course. Below is another critter beneath the shattered moon that's not nearly as funny as its inspirational source.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Easter Eggs in Sorcery & Super Science!

I like to put little Easter eggs in the writing that I do, particular in S&SS, for instance the geo-political area of "New Fargo" contains a reference to Famine in Far-Go(1) as well as a reference to the movie Fargo (2). I sometimes wonder if they're ever discovered, but I know if they are, whoever discovers them gets a great little bit of "I see what you did there!" feeling.

"Six years ago, John Foodfinder located and claimed an automated chicken processing factory as his own(1). This discovery saved his village and all those from neighboring settlements moved, forming New Fargo around this plant. In the past six years, King John has grown his territory by small steps, as the area around New Fargo seems unusually beset by radiated horrors.

Although one would assume New Fargo is named because the ruins of that ancient city lie within the kingdom’s boundary that is not the case (2). The ruins of ancient Fargo are on an island in the Center Sea. New Fargo is named in honor of that ancient city’s world-renown prosperity. If traveling in the area, New Fargo certainly needs to be visited, for it is one of the few safe places in the sparsely populated kingdom. Additionally King John has tapped into the energy supply of the factory, and New Fargo is awash in lights and power. Trading opportunities abound, as canned chicken is produced in large quantities here (1), and small fortunes have been made via its transportation. Finally, the ruins of ancient Brainerd (2) may provide some scavenging opportunities."

(1) - This refers of course to the central plot of Famine in Far-Go.
(2) - This refers to how the movie (and subsequent series) Fargo was almost entirely not in Fargo. And on the map "New Fargo" contains Brainerd, which is where most of the movie Fargo occurred.

Tome of Tomes

The Efficient Spell Caster
Author: Yyis Taiver
Race: Titan
Dimensions: 16x16x5
Weight: 25 lbs.
Materials: Black dragonskin-bound, woodboard, vellum, brass corners and clasps
Rarity: Very rare
Fields of Study: Supernatural & unusual
Special Knowledge Categories: Dweomercraft
Value: 4,500 gp

Another monumental work of the blind titan Yyis Taiver, this sought-after tome is a series of 1,000 memory-enhancing puzzled designed to enhance a magic user’s ability to remember spells. After studying the book for a month, a caster may gain an extra 1st-level spell slot on a 3d6 roll under Intelligence. A failure allows another roll after 6 months of study. A failure on the second roll means the caster is unable to benefit from the work.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Thanks Everyone!

Just want to thank everyone who helped out with the last Bundle of Holding that we participated in. Thanks to your efforts, more than $1,000 was sent to Doctors without Borders. Maybe it makes me a bit of a cheesy person, but I like being part of something that can really make a difference to someone. It's not something I get to do often, seeing as I'm just a rpg publisher. I enjoy working in a profession that helps make people happy, but this kinda thing is a different level. Thanks all!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Only 10 hours left on our Bundle of Holding

Only 10 hours left of our Bundle of Holding for which Doctors Without Borders is the charity recipient! A revival of the November 2014 collection of tabletop roleplaying gamemastering aids - WORLDBUILDER'S TOOLKIT +2.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

14-year Cycle for Words?

Now this article is very interesting. Basically, some scientists used Google's Ngram to study word frequency and found out that words usage increases and decreases in about 14 year cycles. There's more study to be done, of course, before you can say with certainty that this occurs, but I'm fascinated by these types of large-scale studies that have only become possible very recently. Meta-data and the effect it'll have on us going forward is a new frontier, and I suspect that some of the things we'll start to see will give us some good insight on how we unconsciously design our systems.

Cool stuff!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bundle of Holding

I'm proud to say we're involved with another Bundle of Holding for which Doctors Without Borders is the charity recipient! This one is a revival of the November 2014 collection of tabletop roleplaying gamemastering aids - WORLDBUILDER'S TOOLKIT +2.

Ton 'o great stuff here in case you missed it the first time around, including our Beast Builder. Which, IMO, is one of the best guides/resources regarding building fantasy monsters.

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