Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Drifter - Worlds Apart

Here's the first full class for Worlds Apart. This is the one that you get stuck in if you fail to achieve the career you really desire. It's generally a second-class choice and, I think, represents being down-on-one's-luck pretty well.

Drifter: Automatic
Everyone’s got a hard-luck story they’re ready to tell at the drop of a hat. Everyone’s been down and out - unsure of what to do and how to do it.

•              Native: You spend the term living among a basic people, learning their skills and ways.
•              Traveler: You wandered about, island to island and inter-island, calling no place home.
•              Scavenger: You are stuck in a large metropolis, low on money and unable to reach friends. Life is hard.

Career Progress:
Soc 8+
End 6+
Edu 8+
Int 7+
Int 8+
End 6+

100 sp
Voyager Ship Share
200 sp
Crew Passage
400 sp
Magic Item (any)
600 sp
1,200 sp
+1 Edu
2,400 sp
+1 End
5,000 sp
1d6 Voyager Ship Shares

Skills and Training
Personal Development
Service Skills
No Advanced Education
+1 Str
+1 End
Language (any)
Jack of all Trades
+1 Int
Athletics (any)
+1 Edu
+1 Dex

Assignment: Native
Assignment: Traveler
Assignment: Scavenger
Agriculture (any)
Magic 0
Animals (riding)
Missile Combat (any)
Melee Combat (unarmed)
Language (any)
Survival (any)
Survival (any)

Ranks and Skills
Skill or Benefit

Recon 1 or Streetwise 1
+1 End
Gambler 1 or Missile Combat (any) 1
Melee Combat (any) 1 or Medic 1


Severely injured in action. (This is the same as a result of 2 on the Injury table.)
You find yourself doing demeaning, but legal, things to survive. Lose 1 point of Social Standing.
You find a cache of ancient treasure hidden where no one thought to look and foolishly fail to keep your mouth shut. The discovery leads to a great row between the religious and non-religious in the nearby community. Roll Soc 8+ to avoid rolling 1d6+1 on the injury table.
You spend a draining and strange week surrounded by talking trees. By the Gods, you don’t remember how you got there, how you got back, and what you did wherever you were, but you’re certain it means something important. Lose 1 point of Magic Strength.
You enter into an arrangement with some non-humans, but misunderstand their desires and end up beaten and bruised as you fail to uphold your end of the bargain. Gain a non-human Enemy.
Injured. Roll on the Injury table.

Disaster! Roll on the mishap table, but you are not ejected from this career.
Although accustomed to desperate situations, you encounter one beyond normal - grim, gritty, and brutal. Roll Melee Combat (any) 8+ to avoid rolling on the injury table. If successful, gain an Ally and a free Cash roll (1d6-3, treat lower than 1 as 1)
Nothing happens. Well, nothing seems to happen. Gain Magic 0.
You hit a bit of luck. Gain a +1 DM to any one Mustering-Out roll.
You befriend someone who is living far below his rank. He teaches you a skill before dying. Gain one of Magic 0, Trade (Shipbuilder) 1 or Steward 1.
Life Event. Roll on the Life Events table.
You act as a go-between between two parties whom wish none to know of their contact. Gain one of Diplomat 1, Melee Combat (any) 1, Missile Combat (any) 1, or Stealth 1.
You stumble upon an injured woman. Roll Medic 4+ to prevent her dying. If you succeed, gain +1DM to any one Muster-Out roll. If you fail, gain a Magic Item (other) and an Enemy.
You stumble into an ancient burial ground, angering the restless dead within. Roll 8+ using Melee Combat (any) or Missle Combat (any) to avoid an injury. Gain 1 point of Magical Strength.
You save the life of a local bigwig. Either gain +1 Soc, or take a +4 DM to your next Advancement roll.
Times are tough, but you’re tougher. Gain a +4 DM on your next roll to qualify for a new career.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Advanced Adventures #19: The Secret of the Callair Hills PDF now on sale

Just put Advanced Adventures #19: The Secret of the Callair Hills up for sale in PDF version at Your Games Now and It'll be appearing at e23 and Paizo shortly. The Secret of the Callair Hills is an OSRIC(tm) module designed for 4-6 adventures of levels 3-5. The PDF costs $6.

The Callair Hills are a true frontier region. Bounded to the east by impassable mountains, to the southeast by dark forests, and to the north by goblin lands, these windy hills are largely cut off from more civilized realms. If it were not for the rich veins of silver that lie close to the surface here and the passable soils, this region would have been entirely ignored throughout history.

And now something is rotten in the Callair Hills. Over 10 farms have recently been raided and the farmers slain in their homes. Their animals are left alive and either escape when food and water run low or suffer a piteous death in cages or pens sealed-fast. Most unusually, all the farms’ worldly possessions are left undisturbed. There is something rotten in the Callair Hills, and it seems bent upon murder most foul...

Callair Hills is the first adventure written for us by Geoff Gander. Hopefully we'll see more manuscripts from him. Also, I'd like to remind everyone that we're looking for more OSRIC manuscripts from all sources.

Excerpt from The Vulture Men of Waukegan

I'm putting the finishing touches on The Vulture Men of Waukegan's print file today so I thought I should drop a small excerpt from the book onto the blog. I've been posting a lot about Worlds Apart as that's what's caught my fancy most recently, but I'm still working on Sorcery & Super Science as well as on our OSRIC products. So, enjoy!

18. Lake County Court House
An eleven-story building fallen into ruin, the lake county court house appears to contain nothing of value. This is false for within one of the sub-basements, a dozen semi-sentient library terminals jack into a buried and unreachable database filled with all sorts of information concerning the world before the cracking of the moon. After decades of no interaction, the semi-sentient library is quite insane. Making matters worse are the temporal disruptions which have resulted in much of the database being filled with what is, effectively, Heisenbergian information.
    This means that on any particular subject, the database has information from different multiple realities. For example, if Waukegan is searched, the researcher learns that Waukegan is both on the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. This information is doubly questionable considering that the library also believes that Lake Superior is in Uzbekistan as well as in North America. Regardless what subject is searched for, there is only a 2% chance of receiving actual, working information.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Worlds Apart Careers Summary

Now that we've got skills out of the way, we can start working on careers - the heart of the player-side game. Below is a list including their assignments. Note that a bit of how the magic system works in included in the Dweomercraefter description. Also note that unlike all other careers, it becomes easier to become a Dweomercraefter the more careers one has.

Drifter: Automatic
Everyone’s got a hard-luck story they’re ready to tell at the drop of a hat. Everyone’s been down and out - unsure of what to do and how to do it.

•    Native: You spend the term living among a basic people, learning their skills and ways.
•    Traveler: You wandered about, island to island and inter-island, calling no place home.
•    Scavenger: You are stuck in a large metropolis, low on money and unable to reach friends. Life is hard.

Dweomercraefters: Mag 9+
+1 DM for every previous career
You must possess Magic 0 to start this career.

Magic powers reality and you can tap into that power.

•    Wizard: You can change the world with a thought, a word, and a gesture.
•    Priest: You pray to the divine and channel their power through you.
•    Philosopher: You express the higher orders of reality that lie beyond the understanding of the wizard and priest.

Dweomercraefters must choose their particular Dweomercraft specialty and Magical Talent specialty during their first term If dweomercraefting is not your first career, you gain *both* of those skill specialties as opposed to choosing a single Service Skill.

If during character creation, you gain a level of  Magical Talent that would put your skill level in that Talent higher than your Magic skill, instead increase your Magic skill by one level.

Entertainer: Int 6+
–1 DM for every previous career.

Every culture in the world has entertainers, bringing joy and moral education to their audience.

•    Artist: You create art, such as painting, sculpture, or literature.
•    Performer: You perform, dancing, singing, and charming your way through society.
•    Spy: You travel the Forever Sea posing as an entertainer, performing from island to island. You’re actually gathering information for a merchant guide, crime syndicate, or noble house.

Merchants: Int 6+
–1 DM for every previous career.

Trade is the lifeblood of every society.

•    Broker: You work in a port, selling and buying goods, employed by the port authority, a merchant guild, or a noble family.
•    Tramp Trader: You serve on an independent voyager ship, tramp trading through the Forever Sea.
•    Operator: You are a special agent for a merchant family, noble family, or guild. You solve…  problems.

Rogues: Dex 6+
–1 DM for every previous career.

The easiest way to get something is to take it from someone else.

•    Pirate: You make your living attacking other voyager ships upon the Forever Sea.
•    Thief: The urban lure leads you into a life of theft on the streets.
•    Thug: Everyone needs hired muscle: especially criminals.

Sailors: Dex 5+
–1 DM for every previous career.

The lure of the sea has always been strong, but now that the Forever Sea has returned, trade has grown and grown. Maintaining that trade against the continual barrage of pirates demands a strong military force.

•    Deckhand: You serve as a deckhand upon a capital voyager ship.
•    Marine: You’re a soldier at sea protecting your capital voyager ship. You man the guns and run the defenses, you engage hostile boarders and you’re the first off the boat when attacking enemy ports.
•    Artificer: You’re trained to deal with the technical aspects of voyager capital ships; journeys upon the Forever Sea rely upon your knowledge.

Scholars: Edu 8+
–1 DM for every previous career.

Knowledge is power: upon it everything is built.

•    Bard: You have a vast body of memorized stories and the wisdom to know when they are of importance.
•    Librarian: You spend your time among books, gaining a wide knowledge in many subjects.
•    Naturalist: You split your time between the shelves and the wild, learning all that you can learn.

Scouts: Int 5+
–1 DM for every previous career

Scouts are one of the backbones of the seafaring world, conveying important messages, surveying border islands, and exploring the depths of the Forever Sea. They can be found at almost every port that launches into the deep sea..

Assignments: Choose one of the following:
•    Courier: You serve as a message bearer for an important patron (organization, noble, trading company).
•    Surveyor: You travel to border islands, assessing their worth to your patron.
•    Explorer: You explore strange new islands, seeking out new life and new civilizations. Boldly going…

Monday, June 27, 2011

Game Design Project Managment

So working on Worlds Apart I realized it would be useful to make a rough outline of the order of creation that I have tentatively worked out so far. These first 9 steps are, IMO, the most important as they deal with the player's interaction with Worlds Apart before the game "officially" begins.

1. Grand Concept: Fantasy Opera - A game of exploration and trade. Background and concept.
2. Tech Levels: Bounding the world and character concepts.
3. Character Characteristics: Bringing the basic aspects of the PC into the world.
4. Basic World Building: Fleshing out types of islands - creating a basic conceptual framework from where PCs arise.
5. Skills: A grand list of potential and expected activities pertinent to game play and PC concept.
6. Non-magical Careers: Creating the careers that do not feature magic.
7. Magic: Building the basic blocks and concepts of how magic functions.
8. Magical Careers: Building careers that rely upon magic.
9. Non-Humans: PC options pending GM allowances.

As yet unordered design requirements, a list.

Voyager Ship construction and function.
Island generation and statistics.
Trade, trade and more trade.
Equipment, Creatures, and Treasures
Completed Magic System
PC and Ship combat
?Perhaps a city generation system analogous to the island generation system.

World Building Requirements, a list.
A general overview of the "known" world.
At least one map sector detailed fully.

As you can see, there's quite a lot to do, and the world-building aspects will be intertwined with the design aspects, but a general mental separation is useful, IMO.

Worlds Apart Skills Analysis

Two posts ago, I listed the skills list for Worlds Apart. Within the list are several design assumptions to which I'd like to draw some attention.

The first thing of interest is the separation of Agriculture and Animals. In a Traveller game, the distinction has far less meaning, but in a fantasy game, a bit more granularity should prove useful.

The second is the group of skills that are related to the voyager ship concept. Deep Ocean Navigation, Elemental Engineer, Gunner, and Pilot. These skills relate to the conceptual design of the voyager ship as an elemental platform upon which humans (and some non-humans) are capable of traveling upon the Forever Sea to reach all the worlds apart. It also shows that voyager ships possess something analogous to cannon that can be used in ship-to-ship as well as bombardments.

The third is the combat skills - Melee and Missile. These are expanded from normal Traveller, and Missile Combat has replaced Gun Combat, what with there being no guns.

Finally, we have some magical-oriented skills: Dweomercraeft, Magic, and Magical Language.

It should be noted that under both Language and Magical Language there's the note "Need more!" Expanding the language lists for both of these categories is more a world-building activity than a design activity and, as such, have been put off until that process starts. Right now, just having the placeholder concept works perfectly.

Its good to have the skills list completed. Now that that's done, careers can be developed.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Skills in Worlds Apart

Before I can really design in Worlds Apart, I need to have a skills list. Below is what I've done so far. I think it is (mostly) complete. Since this is such a long post, I'll talk more about skills and what they're saying about the game in the next one.

This skill covers bureaucracies and administration of all sorts, including the navigation of bureaucratic obstacles or disasters.

Advocate gives a knowledge of common legal codes and practices, especially laws of the sea.

The character is trained in the planting, harvesting, and storage of agricultural products.

•    Arid: The character knows how to farm in arid environments.
•    Temperate: The character can farm in temperate environments.
•    Tropical: The character knows how to farm in tropical environments.

This skill provides knowledge concerning the using, raising, and care of animals as well as for preserving them after slaughter.

•    Riding: The character knows how to ride an animal that is trained to bear a rider.
•    Veterinary: The character is trained in veterinary medicine and animal care.
•    Training: The character knows how to tame and train animals.
•    Animal Husbandry: The character can grow, raise, slaughter, and preserve animals.

The character is a trained athlete and is physically fit.

•    Coordination: Climbing, juggling, throwing.
•    Endurance: Long-distance running, hiking.
•    Strength: Feats of strength, weight-lifting.
•    Flying: Species that fly gain this skill for free at level 0.

The character is trained in a type of creative art.

•    Acting: The character is a trained actor, at home on the stage, screen or holo.
•    Dance: The character is trained dancer and performer.
•    Oratory: Remembering and producing aesthetically pleasing and impacting oratories.
•    Instrument: Playing a particular musical instrument, such as flutes, lyres or drums.
•    Sculpting: Making artistic or abstract sculptures in a variety of media.
•    Writing: Composing inspiring or interesting pieces of text.

The Broker skill allows a character to negotiate trades and arrange fair deals.

Carousing is the art of socializing; of having fun, but also ensuring that other people have fun, of infectious good humor.

Deception allows a character to lie fluently, disguise himself, perform sleight of hand and fool onlookers.

The Diplomat skill is for negotiating deals, establishing peaceful contact and smoothing over social faux pas.

Deep Ocean Navigation
This skill is for plotting the courses of voyager ships and calculating accurate journeys upon the Forever Sea.

This skill is for controlling and maintaining ground vehicles of various types. There are several specialties.

•    Chariots: The character can operate and maintain a chariot.
•    Wagons: The character can operate and maintain a wagon.
•    Stagecoaches: The character can operate and maintain a stagecoach.

This skill is the training, practice, and rituals associated with a particular style of magic. There are many different specialties, one for each different career. See the Magic chapter for a full description and details about this skill

Elemental Engineer
The Elemental Engineer skill is used to operate and maintain voyager ships.

•    Maneuver Drive (M-Drive): Maintaining and operating a voyager ship’s water elemental.
•    Voyager Drive (V-Drive): Maintaining and operating a voyager’s fire elemental.
•    Life Support: Maintaining and operating a voyager’s air elemental.
•    Hull Integrity: Maintaining and operating a voyager ship’s earth elemental.

The character is familiar with a wide variety of gambling games and has an excellent grasp of statistics and probability.
The various specialties of this skill deal with the maintenance and operation of ship-mounted weapons on voyager ships.

•    Ship-to-Ship: Operating ship-to-ship weapons on board a voyager ship.
•    Artillery: Using a ship’s weapons for island bombardment or attacks on stationary targets.
•    Screens: Activating and using a voyager ship’s elemental screens.
•    Capital Weapons: Operating bay or spinal mount weapons on board a capital voyager ship.

Heavy Weapons
The Heavy Weapons skill covers using and maintaining man-portable and larger weapons that cause extreme damage, such as ballistas, mangonels, and trebuchets.

•    Ballista: The character can operate and maintain a ballista.
•    Mangonel: The character can operate and maintain a mangonel.
•    Trebuchet: The character can operate and maintain a trebuchet.

The Investigate skill incorporates keen observation and detailed analysis.

Jack of All Trades
The Jack of All Trades skill works differently to other skills. It reduces the unskilled penalty a character receives for not having the appropriate skill by one for every level of Jack of All Trades.

There are numerous different Language specialties, each one covering reading and writing a different language. All characters can speak and read their native language without needing the Language skill. Having Language 0 (no speciality) means that the character has a smattering of simple phrases in many languages. There are thousands of different languages that can be learned - the list below is far from expansive. A GM should create several other common languages for his individual campaign.

•    Seso: One of the most common Trade languages reputedly derived from the languages spoken by Sea and Soil to the first beings.
Need more!

The Leadership skill is for directing, inspiring and rallying allies and comrades.

The Magic skill determines how a character can use magic via talents. This skill is very complex compared to other skills. Unlike other skills a Magic 0 means the character can be trained to use magic, not that he can currently do such. Characters untrained in this skill at the end of character creation cannot learn to use magic. See the Magic chapter for a full description and details about this skill.

Magical Language
There are many ancient magical languages, unknowable by any that cannot harness the power of magic. A character must have at least a Magic 0 to gain any magical languages.

•    Need more!

The Mechanic skill allows the character to maintain and repair equipment as well as repair or jury-rig simple mechanical devices or tools. When appropriate, a character can choose to use this skill or another (such as Drive, Melee Combat, Missile Combat, and Heavy Weapons) if attempting a maintenance check.

The Medic skill covers emergency first aid and battlefield triage as well as diagnosis, treatment, surgery and long-term care.

Melee Combat
The Melee Combat skill covers attacking and defending in hand-to-hand combat as well as maintaining the battle-readiness of various weapons and light armors.

•    Unarmed Combat: Whether it is trained martial arts or street fighting learned the hard way, this is the skill for using your body as a weapon.
•    Blade: Attacking with swords, rapiers, blades and other edged weapons.
•    Bludgeon: Attacking with maces, clubs, staves and so on.
•    Heavy Armor: The character can effectively use heavy armor in combat. Without this skill, subtract 2 from the Protection rating of any heavy armor.
•    Lance and Pole: Attacking with lances, pole arms or any other such weapons.
•    Natural Weapons: The favoured combat skill of wild animals, this covers fighting with
    claws, teeth, and other weapons that are a part of you.

Missile Combat
The Missile Combat skill covers using and maintaining a variety of ranged weapons.

•    Thrown Blunt Weapons: Using thrown clubs, killing sticks, bolo, or boomerangs.
•    Thrown Edged Weapons: Using thrown daggers, axes, or shuriken.
•    Blowguns: Using blowguns.
•    Bows: Using bows.
•    Crossbows: Using crossbows.

Navigation is the shore-side counterpart of Deep Sea Navigation, covering plotting courses and finding directions within sight of land as well as on the ground.

Persuade is a more casual, informal version of Diplomacy.

Pilot allows a character to captain a vessel. The Pilot skill specialties cover different forms of voyager sea craft or craft requiring 6 or more sailors to control.

•    Large Ships: Non-voyager ships requiring 6 or more sailors to control.
•    Voyager Ships: The majority of voyager ships fall into this category.
•    Capital Voyager Ships: The largest types of voyager ships built for combat.

A character trained in Recon is able to scout out dangers and spot threats, unusual objects or out of place people.

There are two separate Science skills – Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. Each science skill has a number of specializations.

Natural Sciences
•    Astronomy: The study of celestial objects.
•    Physics: The study of fundamental forces.
•    Alchemy: The study of matter.
•    Biology: The study of living organisms.
•    Earth Science: The study of material related to the world.

Social Sciences
•    Archaeology: The study of ancient civilizations. It also covers techniques of investigation and excavations.
•    Economics: The study of trade and markets.
•    History: The study of the past, as seen through documents and records as opposed to physical artifacts.
•    Linguistics: The study of languages.
•    Philosophy: The study of beliefs and religions.
•    Sophontology: The study of intelligent creatures.

The Seafarer skill provides knowledge concerning the sea, its creatures, swimming, fishing, and all manner of small boats that can be controlled by no more than 5 sailors.

A character trained in the Stealth skill is adept at staying unseen and unheard.

The Steward skill allows the character to serve and care for nobles and high-class individuals.

A character with the Streetwise skill understands the urban environment and the power structures in society.

Strength Burn
This skill allows dweomercrafters to burn Strength instead of Magical Strength when using magical talents. Only those with the Magic skill can gain this skill. A successful Endurance Check allows the caster to spend Strength to fuel his magic, rather than Magical Strength. A failure results in spending Magical Strength as normal.

The Survival skill is the wilderness counterpart of the urban Streetwise skill – the character is trained to survive in the wild, build shelters, hunt or trap animals, avoid exposure and so forth.

•    Arid: The character knows how to survive in arid environments.
•    Temperate: The character can survive in temperate environments.
•    Tropical: The character knows how to survive in tropical environments.

This skill covers tactical planning and decision making, from board games to squad level combat to fleet engagements.

•    Military: Coordinating the attacks of foot troops or cavalry on the ground.
•    Naval: Coordinating the attacks of a ship or fleet.

A character with a Trade skill is trained in producing some useful goods or services. There are many different trade specialties, some of the most common are listed below.

•    Blacksmith: Producing metal goods, including some arms and armors..
•    Carpenter: Designing structures and buildings in wood.
•    Mason: Designing structures and building in stone and brick.
•    Shipbuilder: Building ships.
•    Weaver: Making cloth.

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