Possible 5th Class for Demons in Space

I had an idea for a new class in Demons in Space. Consider this a rough draft. I need to add a little bit more to this class. Here it is:

Officer and 2 marines

An Officer with a Chainsaw leads two Marines in Powered Armor (another addition I am working on) into battle.

OFFICER

Whether a commissioned military man, a chaplain, or a 40k-style commissar, the Officer leads the party into battle. While not a great combatant on their own, they always have a loyal bodyguard with them to fight, and they also have a few support abilities to enhance the power of the party.

Officer

The Officer’s XP / HD / Saving Throw Chart

Prime Attribute: Charisma, 13+ (+5% experience bonus)
Hit Dice: 1d6/level
Armor Permitted: Light Vest & Medium Combat Suit
Weapons Permitted: Everything but the Chaingun, Rocket Launcher, and Mega Energy Blaster.
Attack roll chart is the same as the Technician and Occultech

Inspiring Word: If an ally dies in combat, the Officer can give a (brief) rousing speech about the fallen. All allies that can hear that Officer gain advantage on all combat rolls and saving throws for the rest of the combat. This ability is usable once per combat.

P.S. It doesn’t matter who killed the ally.

Tactical Genius: The Officer may turn an advanatage into a disadvantage and vice-versa, once a combat. This ability may be used on an ally or an enemy.

Saving Throw Bonus: Officers gain advantage on saving throw rolls against an effect that would be considered “mind control”.

Bodyguard: Begins play with a Bodyguard follower. That follower is “free” and does not count against the Maximum Number of Followers that a character may have. If the bodyguard dies, a new one shows up as soon as possible. The bodyguard has its own advancement chart based on level of Officer.

Bodyguard

That should read “Sawed-Off Shotgun”. I’ll fix it in the real thing.

Good? Bad?

Also, I can hear you saying “Finish playtesting / perfecting what you have, don’t make more!”. I do what I want.

Obligatory Stars Wars Post

With it being May the 4th, and it being “Star Wars Day” / “May the 4th Be With You” / you know the drill, I figured I should do a Star Wars post.

May4

So here is the short version:

DO. NOT. BASE. A. ROLEPLAYING. CAMPAIGN. IN. THE. STAR. WARS. UNIVERSE.

If I was clever, I would put those little clapping emojis between each word.

You would think that a universe with spaceship, laser swords, dirty cantinas, ray guns, space magic, and more weird aliens than an ICE detention facility could hold would be an awesome place to game. It’s not.

Everyone wants to rub shoulders with Leia, Han, Chewie, Lando, etc. But they also want to remain true to the canon. Which means you cannot do anything strange or universe shattering.

Shortly after The Force Awakens came out, our group decided to try and do a game of survivors from the attack on Luke’s Jedi training facility. Because not much had come out other than the movie, we were just wingin’ it as far as what the attack was like. I decided that Kylo Ren attacked with a bunch of Stormtroopers. That way I could explain how their characters got away. Rather than the elite ex-Jedi students coming to slice and dice them with lightsabers, I had them assaulted by never-ending waves of Stormtroopers, so that they would be convinced that fleeing the planet would be a good idea, rather than just serving the story. The ex-Jedi and Kylo Ren were killing fellow students in the background. That was a mistake.

Because we all knew how the attack went, they knew they had to flee and fleeing was their only option. The story of the movie immediately cut down our gameplay options. Later they met a character who wanted them to liberate a planet from the First Order..all good fun right?

Then more information came out about what “officially” happens after Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens…and some of my players wanted the game to conform to the new canon. I have mentioned all this before, and I probably will again in the future, but I have never felt as much as a failure of a GM than that moment. The realization that staying true to the canon of the universe was more important than cool ideas in gameplay. I am not saying you should be inconsistent in the universe, just that you should not let someone else tell you how to play in YOUR universe.

We already established that the First Order was well established shortly after the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, so when the new canon said that they were unknown at the time period of our game, I wanted to fire that new canon…out of a cannon…onto the set of a Cannon film so it could be blown up! However, not all were convinced of what I wanted to do the canon. Luckily, we ended the game after the liberation of the planet, so we did not get into too many “lore fights”.

Don’t use established universes as settings, particularly not one as well-explored as the Star Wars universe. As the Alt-Right DM and the fine folks at Geek Gab say, create a short description of your game world…and GO! Don’t be tempted by the allure of George’s money maker! You think that you have got it easy because so much is already explained for you, but that is not the case. You will spend more time not stepping on the metaphorical toes of the setting, than creating interesting content for your players to interact with.

You want to play a game with spaceships, magic, and laser guns in it? You want a framework of a setting to hang your own creativity on?

I got you covered!

Grateful for the Pulp Revolution

If it is not obvious yet, I am a huge fan of the Pulp Revolution. It is not just because the stories are great, or even that they spur the imagination for gaming. Part of the reason I enjoy the Pulp Revolution is the stories are not awful.

THEY. ARE. NOT. AWFUL.

I cannot stress that point enough. I know it sounds like I am damning them with faint praise, but that is not my intention at all. They are absolutely fantastic and even when they fall short, at least they are reaching for the stars.

A few years back, I nearly gave up on science fiction and fantasy. I had not been reading much and decided that I should change that habit. So I went to a large bookstore (Mistake #1) and purchased this:

crap

It said it was the best. I believed that. Mistake #2

I then took it home and read it (Mistake #3).

I don’t know how you read collections of short stories, but I just open it up to page 1 and read each story in order. In this case, I even read the Introduction. As soon as I read the paragraph about diversity and how great it was for the publishing industy*, I should have returned the book to the store, but I read through the whole thing. Twice. Just to see if maybe I misunderstood the stories.

I didn’t.

They were just awful. There were a couple stories I enjoyed because they had potential, but the vast majority were just trash. Just third-rate pretentious literary fiction with a veneer of something “fantastic” to qualify it as science fiction or fantasy. In most stories nothing interesting happened.

After reading this collection, I thought to myself “This…this is best science fiction and fantasy of the year?” and promptly gave up on reading most new fiction for a few years. Luckily the Pulp Revolution has pulled me back. There is a lot to read and I am not caught up yet on my backlog. If I haven’t bought / read your work yet, I apologize. I am getting there!


* I don’t care if you are black, white, gay, lesbian, male, female, whatever. I just want a great story. A selling point of a story should not be the color of the author’s skin or what they do with their genitals. However, after reading this collection, I nearly swore to read nothing but straight white Christian men for the rest of my life. Apparently, “diversity in science fiction / fantasy” is code for “terrible literary fiction that occasionally mentions spaceships or something”.

Playtest Version of My Doom-inspired RPG!

I promised a feature-complete version of my OSR-ish RPG by the end of April. With the beginning of a week-long work trip coming up tomorrow, I wanted to make sure I actually kept that promise.

The formatting is not finalized, so the official and final version is not out yet. There is also still time for tweaking of numbers. I have a wonderful volunteer who promised to help me with the formatting for the final version. I might even put a little bit of art in it.

In any case, this is the version I am going to try and poperly playtest. While I am going to the North Texas RPG Con, currently I am not planning on running a game of this. If you do come to the North Texas RPG Con, please let me know!

Here it is!

Demons in Space v 0.9

Thank You

Thank you for reading my ramblings. I know that there are typos, bad grammar, run-on sentences, and incomplete thoughts in my posts. I know some of them are downright awful posts.

Allow me to explain myself. My “inner editor” is a vicious, blood-thirsty monster. It ruthlessly tells me that every word I write is wrong. It tells me that each word should be shot in a buried in a shallow grave in the backyard. If it had its way, I would never have started this blog or interacted within any of your on Twitter, Gab, or Google Plus.

There are plenty of times that I should listen to my “inner editor”, but on this blog, I deliberately am not listening to it. I often post right before bed or even post without a proper plan as to what I am going to write.

I just wanted to write this to let you know that I appreciate all of you. Have a blessed Easter!

Comparing Swords & Wizardry and ACKS

I have been poking around in other OSR systems while working on mine and I have been interested in these two systems quite a bit. However, I noticed that these systems do things a little bit differently.

Swords & Wizardry focuses on dungeon crawling, pure and simple. If you need a simple and flexible OSR system to run a convention game, or a short campaign, use Swords & Wizardry! If you don’t want to waste an hour creating a character and go straight into the dungeon, trust me, this is the system for you!

There are a couple of games based on Swords & Wizardry that I would recommend if you are doing a one-shot game. Shitlord: The Triggering or Swords & Wizardy: Light. These games distill the Swords & Wizardry even further, for even faster character creation / play.

Now ACKS…oh ACKS, what don’t you do? Compared to Swords & Wizardry, this game is a little more complex in the dungeon crawling aspect, but not quite as complex as certain newer systems. Yet, it covers all kinds of other aspects of the game that may come up.

Want to build your own kingdom and collect taxes from peasant farmers?
ACKS has you covered.

Want to commission a sweet Viking longship to go pillage in and need to know the price Barry the Boat Builder will charge?
ACKS has you covered.

Want to start a thieves’ guild and need detailed rules for the shenanigans you can cause?
ACKS has you covered.

Want to hire mercenary troops to go to war with a neighboring kingdom with wargame rules?
ACKS has you covered.

As a GM, want a usable system to create a new character class that is somewhat balanced with the pre-existing classes? ACKS. HAS. YOU. COVERED.

Now you can argue that a GM ruling can cover all this, and I would agree, most of the time. However, these systems are well-thought out and truly allow the players to make big impacts on the world in non-combat ways. Also, as far as I can tell, these systems are fairly balanced. If your players want to do some of the activities listed above or you want to have a looooooooooooong term campaign, go with ACKS.

After saying all this, I want to remind you of the strengths of OSR games: they can work together. You can easily adapt material from one game for another. You are not bound to just one rule book, these games work together with a lot less elbow grease than say…4th Edition D&D and 5th Edition D&D.