Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Into the Ultraviolet Grasslands

Luka Rejec

(sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAocdKXZBfY)

A pale sun rises in the east. Cosmos of stars recede to the crown of the sky in a dazzling tiara. The ever-purple haze lifts, leaving only a crystalline dew dripping from the gently brushing grass. The land is silent. A horned herd rises from their grazing to meet the day. Under the brilliance of dawn’s first yellow rays, shadows turn coat and cower under the nearest of many red mesas. A full spectrum of color swaths the shifting grass seas that spill endlessly towards the pale of the rising sun, riven only by a lone road - well trodden - that meters out the time behind you and the journey that lies ahead.


Roger Dean

Studio Ghibli

Roger Dean

visuals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfKyuO1G5pQ

sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HTiEV6uBcU

(start at the same time so that Max shoots the rifle on the first bass hit)

Luka Rejec

Mad Max: Fury Road

Chris Foss

Luka Rejec

Mad Max: Fury Road

Dust screams across the low country. The ripping of engines, the chug-chug-chugging of crude fuel; the Lime Nomads are out Vome-hunting. Metal steeds, wicker autowagons and war engines belch filth into the heating day. The dry road runs red with fire and blood. Caravans scatter for protective Kraals lest they become easy prey. Yet these meagre war parties are little else but road kill to the rumble of the APEX PREDATORS:


^start playing this, volume up.


^ cue this video, mute the volume and hit play when the audio clip reaches 24 seconds. 

(ignore everything that happens in the museum and anybody wearing eyeliner)

Phillipe Druillet

Luka Rejec

Phillipe Druillet

James Stokoe

visual: https://youtu.be/3KZRAUJoTYg?t=44

audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYcQT8F58OU

A protective Kraal: safe camp for the night. But the night brings dreams and no-one dreams easily in the Ultraviolet Grasslands. The Porcelain Princes stalk the emptied night for polybody hosts. Spectrum Satraps knock at the doors of perception to collect the sacral tax. Radiation ghosts slip the aether to hibernate in the recesses of your mind like Zoa in winter. Morning comes, cold and hollow. The ever-purple haze above promises the heat of another sweltering day.

Luka Rejec

Luka Rejec


Luka Rejec


Arik Roper


^watch until the scene shifts back to Dr. Martok’s lab.

You are not alone on this journey. The caravan ambles its bulk slowly westward, into the dusk, towards the rumor of a distant black city on the edge of an shimmering sea at the end of time that you will never see. 

Luka Rejec

Luka Rejec

Luka Rejec

Luka Rejec

Tuesday, 29 October 2019


These cities expand beyond the limits of comprehension: they are effectively infinite and contain entire worlds that even the locals [lokes] will never imagine exist. Even as the city grew, blueprints in triplicate subdivided plans beyond any intention. Interns were fired with ink on their fingers and guilt written across their faces.

Wires cross, lost transmission from securitech eye to the shift-worker’s static-fringed screen. There is no way they will ever be able to see it all. Every corner. Every drop zone. Every lavatory waiting room.

There are those who know their way through [note: THEIR way, not THE way]. Locals scribble directions like streaked graffiti on monorail cars, they let it dribble from their mouths like babies gurgle foam. You’ll have no shortage of potential directions. Who do you trust? Now that’s another matter… 

None Local

1d20 a-local you find them... they will guide you... all they ask is... [roll again]
1 Meat-Eater Under the dripping canopy of the ://Proteinterfaces, lending a spark to a destitute squat of chronic inhalers through the descending tubes of the ://Proteinterfaces to the Coreward Cross and the Vestigial Organ Choir An end to the suffering of the bleating cystpigs in the kenneltowers above Is looking for their child, has enlisted the help of…
2 Bone - Jon Bottling mother’s milk with the Jonclones among the collonades of ://Darkmarket down the White Canal to the ://Chancery. Follow not the dim lights alongside the White Canal, there is nothing for you where they lead matter from the nearstar, where the Old Empire embedded their tenentships immemorial Is followed, observed and documented by…
3 Ophidian - Pile Beneath ://Stepwell_Filtra, poling the mire for toxinleak To the brink of the manifold, the threshold, the edge of Ophidian’s world Should you pass the manifold, ask after the Septician. Give them this torc, it will light the way home Tracking the onlyborn of the manifold...
4 Birdsong - Umbra Recording the white frequencies of the ://Silent_Hulls, oxidizing in their cavernous storage through the twisted wrecks, towards the old Tortuga’s dark heart Absolute silence. Recordings must be taken. There are whispered messages in the wiring Their recordings were stolen, an axiom to someother theory, the culprit must be… 
5 Wartorn Hissing steam from a ruptured IV catheter, searching frantic through recycled toobs around ://DOPdown Across the Spinal Ridge to the Lungs of the World, where the Mesospherian Oracle spews Oxygenated Prophecy An organgraft for Wartorn’s leaking body. The surgeons are right this way Seeking the non-committal affection of …
6 Zero - Corner Gambling offworld stock with fellow corpse-men in the still-white windowed conference rooms of the ://Stack, watching dividends plummet as they chew on their cigars To meet ‘The Boss’, meaning their boss, meaning who gives their life meaning. Wouldn’t you like to meet ‘The Boss’? Four fingerprints and a retinal scan Their hunt for the headrights to some distant asteroid belt has led them to …
7 Simian - Kettering Slotted into a lifebed at the ://C.A.R.E._Mediplex, sighing and watching re-runs take the offered data slate, Kettering’s voice will guide you to the Twelve Selves in their Stasis Tanks unleash the Selves, run the unity.program, collapse the city On their impressive dataslate array, tracking the patterned wanderings of… 
8 Lost - Anodyne toe-balanced on the thrumming monorail, switching the track to divert the weapons shipment through the underground, between the consuming gaze of securitech eye to a ://Porter safehouse A message delivered, a body retrieved for proper burial, a promise of secrecy. The contact will have the information Suspects themself as being suspected a double-agent by…
9 Nu - Iocaste Knee-deep in the pulling tides of the ://Reef, pulling parasitic cuttlefish from the algae bloom To the ://Darkmarket, hevvy with vacuum-sealed packs of algae for the Wishers a memory or two, to feed the bloom. It doesn’t just grow on its own now, does it? A body, dredged from the tide, marked ‘sold’ to … 
10 Io -Starfour In the ://Dreaming_Mothery, searching the rows of oneironauts for a child they’ve been told is their own into the DREAM, where the what was lost is found again, ever-present, eternal the pylons of the DREAM are bent under the desperate weight of a city joined in yearning. Lift this heavy burden or the tabernacle will be lost forever They have been following the dreamquest of … 
11 Obidiah - Lane pamphleting the drydockworkers into union against the Forgetek operatives, in the maintenance entrance to some hangar or other by forged credentials and bagged pair o’ eyes into ://Forgetek_Orbital Those who know you must think you dead. Croaked. Through death, you disappear A friend, in confidence, warned of potential interference by… 
12 Big - Rog collecting loose bio from the incinerator floor with a charblack spade, humming a familiar tune down the ://Cataracts, through the gathering dark by coalight and living sphagnum torch to the ://Core_Retort could you write your name & purpose down, your guide’s anterograde memory flares up as they get deeper Emerging from the incinerator, cloaked in flame, a half-memory coalesces into a vision of… 
13 Sister - Xavior Tracing the lines of their father’s figure across sprawling sectors, standing cycle-side, gazing off the overpass To the cluttered tenement of an old war companion, an impressive archivist with one leg and a chronic croup the tea-ceremony protocol must be mastered in advance. The archivist is always so particular Their father, mortality on his breath, spoke of an old friend..
14 Parasol - Crane Distributing illicit O2 canisters among the fellow debtors of ://DOPdown, avoiding the roaming pods of Kenotic Woolvs To meet their supplier, a Raised Pilgrim in communion with the ://Stack a bit of your lung02, you won’t even notice the difference after a few days Has been caught, persecuted and deoxy-ed before, all on account of a bad deal with… 
15 Limbs - Andonai In hiding among the obtuse panels of the ://Solar_Farms, with a cadre of biodrones each full-to-burst with newly threshed grain Through forgotten duct to ://DOPdown and Limbs’ Garage, where a waiting line of empty stomachs nod their greetings There’s more empty stomachs in the Hanging Tenements that need this grain. Here, take this lung02. You’ll need it A former companion in the grain runs, estranged after a run-in with Kenotic Woolvs… 
16 Wolf - Killcannon Two blemishes in the crude shadow, blinking. Killcannon waits, patient, for you to move so that the Corpse-man target is in view Across wire and rooftop to the geosync escalator at ://Slingshot_Orbital, where the Iceboxed handybois are kept time locked in crystalline perfection a political prisoner to sacrifice to future gods, inheritors to the Slingshot protocol The unmaking of a death, a next name on the kill-list...
17 Lacan - Tamura Between the red rows of the thrumming ://Mindbank, drawing from each slotted cortical stack a topographic map of the self contained within Picking, at random a dataslate from the archives, Tamura hands you a map of the sector drawn from the ambulations of some strangely familiar face Follow the path, record your findings. Do you notice any…memories that weren’t there before? A disease wracks Tamura’s body, the only hope for preservation a chassis built by… 
18 Manqueller - Trancilos The bodyplanter is found alleyside in ://Wrongturn’s ass-end, wearing a belt of tucked bodybags and undeniably high on fungus Across the White Canal to the sweet rot of the ://Corvusgarden Here, take this husk. For when you go. Your friends, they zip you in and bring you here, ok? In symbiotic communion, through a mutually held handful of dark soil, with… 
19 Lost - Stencil Follow the disappearing figure through the dead-end wall and find Lost Stencil, squatting over a warm can spinning stories to a circle of worn-hand weavers Through the corners of reality, where the walls meet, ever-towards a distant heaven rich in rumor yet never reached the threads of your clothes, the corners don’t always lead back the way you came through  A farewell transmission from a comrade long-disappeared in search of that mythical ://V… 
20 Errormxn - Harko Communing with a distant self long forgotten, a self manifest only in the plural dreams of a universe of Harkos, aboard the ://Builder_Addam while the family carouses below the migrating sector continues its eon-cycle around the c:ty, stay only until some object of desire leads you planetside once more Relax. Come, take the marrow-tension and let go. What is it you most long for and Addam will provide After a tour aboard the ://Builder_Addam, Harko now knows the desire sought by… 

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

ways of understanding the c:ty

  • To comprehend the incomprehensible, it is common to ascribe certain recognizable patterns to rationalize the relations between the c:ty’s sectors. These pattern forms emerge from the movements of inhabitants and visitors, like a stream splitting into twin tire-tracks , like the currents of deep space contouring to the first exploratory vessels of an unsuspecting and alien humanity.
  • To the incredible, complex diversities of the c:ty, these patterns overlap and entangle, forming vast webs of that expose the sprawl’s subjective nature.

1. Urbs Corpus - Organized into the highly specific anatomies of the c:ty’s diverse corporeal inhabitants. Intelligible like a stranger’s body.

2. Rhizoknot - The rootstalks of the c:ty grow and entangle to pass intelligence and nutrients across impossible distances. Threads of life pocketed too long, each pull only tightens the knot.

3. Saprophilia - The c:ty feeds on its own rot. Bodies decay together into new possibilities. Life and death are mutually constitutive.

4. Metapoeisis - First, it must not exist. Only then can it be born from the dark corners and razed infrastructure. The c:ty - A womb for that which lies beyond the borders of its own creation.

5. the c:ty and the c:ty - A ‘here’ that contains the known, the imaginable and the distinguished. A ‘there’ which contains all else nothing. A wall between that is as real as it is believed.

6. Consummation - The vision of the forecoming is at the precipice of completion. All purposes fit tetris-like together with unsettling ease. Too easy; a house of ash in the humid summer still before the fall.

7. Amygdelial - Unfold the dreams of the progenitor into the tabernacle of lost desire. Streams of consciousness and trains of thought are central transportation. Wanderers welcome.

8. Minosphere - Corridors and Hallways [both interior and exterior] twine themselves into a deep labyrinth, ever-aiming towards some distant beating heart; its pulses ripple out through the maze like a siren croon.

9. Desolation - The discarded, the empties, the forgotten cling together like seafoam on the strand. Paths through this accrued excrement are the dregs of a memory thick with forgetting.

10. Qualia - The c:ty is you. Your life, your memories, your future selves, all layered into this. very. moment.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Outer Worlds answers to Archon's Questions

Questions from Archon's Court here: http://archons-court.blogspot.com/2019/08/10-questions-for-your-sf-game-with.html

Before jumping into the questions: four central concepts that inform how I’m designing these outer worlds. If rpg philosophy isn’t your jam, skip right to Question 1.

a. [TLDR; There is a Terran Imaginary that encompasses every way Terrans know how to exist on Earth] Everything Terrans [catch-all transhumanity] create is created within the Terran imaginary, where physics and biology and art and maths all work according to laws observed and thus created by Terrans to rationalize a world essentially unknowable in its entirety. Even aboard spaceship earth, there is a massive variety in how this is rationalized and embodied. Modern ways of living preoccupied with extraction and capital accumulation clash every day with Indigenous ways of relating to the earth itself [among other non-humans] as a relative. This rationalization and embodiment begins with the Terran gift for imagination, hence ‘Imaginary.’

Collecting this massive diversity into a Terran Imaginary is not an attempt to erase heterogeneity of life ways. Instead, it is in an effort to posit that there are life ways beyond the Terran Imaginary that are so entirely unknowable to Terrans that we must learn to live together on our planet before we can safely leave it.

b. [TLDR; As Terrans encounter forms of life outside the Terran Imaginary, they will have no choice but to expand the Terran Imaginary to include them. This may not respect their true form.] As Terrans spread to the stars, they will encounter life forms and intelligences that exist entirely exterior to the Terran Imaginary. As long as Terrans hold on tightly to their Imaginary, these forms of life will remain unknowable. Should Terrans loosen their Imaginary to incorporate the unknown, then these forms of life will become visible, tangible if not understandable. Any attempt to contain new forms of life within the Terran Imaginary, however, will not respect their nature and may cause them to appear differently in the eyes of Terrans who cling to their Imaginary.

Practically: Life on an unknown planet may exist in a form entirely unknowable to Terran explorers. Should Terran explorers encounter this life form with the intention of rationalizing, compartmentalizing and categorizing it into the Terran Imaginary, it will appear to them as such. Given the limits of the Terran Imaginary, the life form may be rendered to Terran senses as a bipedal, cat-like creature with twelve eyes. It’s true nature, however may have no understanding of, need for, or relation to legs, cats or eyes. 

c. [TLDR; There is a fringe of the Terran Imaginary at which the Terran Imaginary can be expanded in collaboration with other forms of life, creating something entirely new yet deeply old] Terrans will begin to let go. Then they will hold on real tight. And then they will let go again. This ‘breathing’ of the Terran Imaginary allows for a greater and greater fringe at which individual Terrans can begin to engage unknown forms of life on mutual terms. This fringe sits, nestled between the rigid Terran Imaginary of the Old Earth Empire and the Horrific void that is the absence of Terran Imaginary, the absence of self. This fringe is our hope for a better world among the stars and this is where the campaign takes place.

d. The Terrans are our children and our children’s children. Treat them as such.

Okay questions:

1. What do the PCs do?

The PCs play heirs to the Terran diaspora united under the brand of Old Earth. Their inheritance is a galaxy ruptured by the crash of the ansible [that vast network that connected all limbs of the diaspora to that distant locus mind]. To survive the festering of the wound that is Old Earth, the PCs must journey across warping spacetime, establish connections with intelligences and lifeforms unknowable to the Terran mind, survive the ever-increasing death throes of the once-empire and avoid those who would exploit their inheritance to construct a new empire [those who cannot learn the lessons taught by past generations]. 

Deeply meshed in the colonial shell of a decaying empire, PCs must create a new world that neither denies nor repeats but grows full from the compost of its shit.

2. What’s the setting’s scale?

The Terran diaspora is impossibly immense. Yet the ansible crash those generations ago isolated distant sectors of space with no hope of contact to the All-Mind of Old Earth. With warp-capable cores no longer in production, many common folx never make it off the crashland of their ancestors. 

Interplanetary travel is akin to moving to another country for university [It takes a few days, a lot of trust and you probably won’t be coming back anytime soon].

Intersystem travel is akin to buying a ticket on the Titanic [It takes months, all the trust you have and your grandkids /might/ come back. maybe].

Of course, if you stumble upon your own warp-capable ship, all those limits are out the window now, aren’t they?

3. What level of technology will the PCs generally have?

Technology is a limited way of viewing the galaxy. Among the outer stars, Terrans encountered worlds and environments beyond the understanding of old world sciences. These lawless lands require a new understanding of adapting the body. 

PCs have access to the best that can be scrapped together from the empire’s wreckage. This means most basic needs are taken care of. Nutrient dispensers. Translator biodrones. Aqua-potable matrices, short-wave communication chips. 

There will be worlds that these tools cannot comprehend. This far into the outer spheres, however, there are lifeforms who have learned to adapt and survive. You may have to let the hyper-intelligent Koxo parasite into your bloodstream, but you’ll be able to breathe.

4. What’s the highest level of technology?

Old Earth technology build off the foundation we see around us today: metal hulls, big extractive drills, bigger guns. The internet, too, was a major foundation for the development of artificial intelligences that could carry out Imperial programming better than any Terran mind. Massive astro-engineering projects, too, are not uncommon: Matrioshka simulation-worlds, Dysonprophet Swarms, Tectonichulls, Planetoid cryoarks. All of this, however, exists in the realm of the Terran imaginary. 

The diaspora spread well beyond. Outside the bounds of this imaginary, even the greatest feats of Terran engineering are perhaps no more than a drop of blood in a temporal ocean.

5. Are there any psychic abilities, superpowers, etc?

Meaning powers beyond the rational comprehension of the Terran mind? Yes. Yet this is no spell-slinging superfuture.

Any power beyond human comprehension has come about because there is a time and a place where it became necessary for survival. Terrans, too came to understand parts of our world in what we would call ‘psychic’ ways. Terrans, however, are fickle of memory and this capability has long since been forgotten…

Taken out of context, it may appear as space magic. But should you be [un]fortunate enough to witness the context from which this adaptive power arose you may come to question why Terrans thought nuclear weaponry was a science worth pursuing at all.

6. How do I improve my character?

Your character improves at what your character knows how to do by doing it. Each time you use a skill, make a saving throw, attempt an attack, drop to 0 hp, roll a critical hit [all regardless of results]. mark a use next to the specific mechanics. At intervals appropriate for your game [after every encounter, every in-game week, at the end of an arc, at the end of the campaign] roll against your uses to see if you improve.

Your character, too, improves by doing things entirely new to them. Encounter those who possess these capabilities, learn from them, learn why you’re doing what you’re doing and you will increase your personal capacity. 

There are no hard-n-fast limits to what your character can/cannot learn to do.

7. What’s the most important faction in the area?

That really does depend on who you ask.

The campaign is created and played by the ever-present ancestors of the Old Earth carcass that still twitches and sputters on occasion. 

If a group of Saurians were sitting around the table on a sunday night, rolling metahedral dice then maybe the most important faction would be the Saurian Thronate. 

8. Where can I get normal equipment?

Normal equipment is in abundance. A focus of the campaign is to put the players in situations where their ‘normal equipment’ can be used but not in the way it is intended to be used. You can buy a thousand slugthrowers for all I care, but I will put you right into an environment where firing a gun will break through the thin ship wall and enter void.

My approach to normal equipment is to give the players whatever equipment makes them feel safe and then put them in situations where that which normally imparts a measure of feeling safe [flashlight] heightens the danger of the situation [lifeforms that become invisible in the light].

9. Where can I get strange or illegal equipment?

Ah, the real question.. All equipment has a specific context in which it is useful. ‘Normal equipment’ from above is generally useful in environments that closely adhere to the Terran imaginary in which the ‘normal equipment’ was built [i.e. a medscanner works pretty good on a Terraformed world but not so well on a black-hole orbiting planetoid where radiation flies around that will fry any electrical components it touches]. If you find yourself in an environment outside the Terran imaginary, find the lifeforms or intelligences that live there and learn how to use their equipment from them. 

Sure, take that gourd-like exosuit off Biathrawatch, it’s function may change…

10. How do I heal myself?

Terran knowledge of the Terran body has had plenty of time to accumulate and coalesce into tools that ease pain and reknit flesh. There is, however, only so much of this the Terran body can take. System strain is a mechanic to put a hard cap on the amount of augmentation, biomodification and ‘healing’ a body can take [see Starmother Numbership 3. System Strain].

Given prolonged contact, other lifeforms may have adapted their own methods of healing to interface with the Terran body. See question 5 for more.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Drydocks: Ship Building for Starmother Numbership

Okay, soooo - a bit of an update after playtesting the ship rules from Starmother Numbership. Eventually, I'd like to build troika-style backgrounds for the ship hulls & systems [giving them skill packages, free modules and special abilities] with a bit more flavor, but that takes time & time is one thing I don't have a ton of.

The google doc linked under 1.1.6 SECONDARY MODULES is the master sheet for building ships & is very much a work in progress. A lot of the specific modules do not contain specific rules for how they work [tractor beams]. House rule these at your table if & when some fool builds them into your ship - I'll do the same. 

Ship Sheet incoming... with a flowchart design a-la Mothership it should help make the Drydocks process a bit more streamlined.

See previous Starmother Numbership post for a contextual house of rules.

Okay enough qualifying: hence forth, the astuary propheteer leaks codes from lip and lobe, dribbling filth unspeakable and noise without end.



Ships are built like characters. 

Physical Stats [STR, DEX, CON] are a factor of the ship’s HULL
[STR is the power of the ship’s weapons systems.] 
[DEX is the ship’s maneuverability, speed and quickness.] 
[CON measures the ship’s shields and endurance.] 

Mental Stats [INT, WIS, CHA] are a factor of the ship’s SYSTEMS
[INT is the ship computer’s intelligence and automative functioning.]
[WIS measures the ships scanners and detection mechanisms.]
[CHA measures the ships counter-targeting and counter-detection systems.] 


Divide total HULL between STR, DEX and CON, 1 to 19 in each. 


Divide total SYSTEMS between WIS, INT and CHA, 1 to 19 in each. 



Ship Saves and System Strain works as with PCs. 

Ship Skills are used when the Ship’s computer tries to do something on its own [operate the Medbay, fire a weapon]. All start at -1. 
:: upon ship creation, take as many skills as SYSTEMS class # [1-10] up to a +1 in any skill :: 
Ship Hit Points equal total HULL plus CON MOD x Hull multiplier 
Base Ship AC is 12, modified by DEX and Armor Hull Modules. 
Base Attack Bonus is +0, modified by Targeting Systems Modules. 



CREW Modules are multiplied by the total crew capacity of the ship. 
OPERATIONS Modules are multiplied by the Hull or Systems multiplier. 
WEAPONS Modules are multiplied by the Weapons multiplier they account for. 
AUXILIARY Modules are taken at listed value. 


While not necessary, all standard Old Earth & Forgetek spacecraft come equipped with the following primary modules: 

Atmo Recyclers [CREW] 1 
Cockpit [OPS] 1 
Thrusters - 1 [OPS] 1 
Engine [OPS] 1 
Warp Drive - 1 [OPS] 1 
Fuel Runners [OPS] 1 

Life Support [CREW] 1 
Diamond Databanks [OPS] 1 
Warp Core [OPS] 1 
Warpnav - 1 [OPS] 1 
Activated Shields - 1 [OPS] 1 

All further Modules are Secondary 



Add secondary HULL and SYSTEMS modules up to your HULL and SYSTEMS score. 

You may want to limit secondary modules when you create your ship to leave room for additions later.


In region travel [around planets, to planetary orbital bodies] takes 6 - DEX MOD hours. 
Travel between regions [planet-to-planet] takes 24 - DEX MOD hours. 

Taking Thruster Modules 1 - 5 reduces travel time by that many hours. 

Any ship with a Warp Drive is able to travel between systems. 

Warp Travel is unreliable, but a straightforward jump between systems takes 3 days [assuming some equidistance of solar bodies]. 

To chart a warp jump, roll a navigation check, adjusting the difficulty based on: 
[distance of destination] 
[what information the navigator is provided] 
[how long the navigator has to chart the course] 

To make a warp jump, roll a pilot check, adjusting the difficulty based on: 
[the success/failure margin of the navigation check] 
[the Warp Drive on the ship] 
[how long the pilot has to make the jump] 

2.3 Warp Strain 

Each day spent conscious during warp travel prevents Mental System Strain healing and adds 1 point of Mental System Strain. [Days spent unconscious, in the warp or elsewhere, heal Mental System Strain as normal.] 

Odd occurrences are experienced by conscious passengers during Warp travel, often resulting in Panic tests. 

2.4 Refueling: as mothership. 


Works as personal combat 

3.1 Surprise: If ambushed, each crew member must roll 1d20 over Mental System strain or unable to act for 1 round. Any ship yet undetected and trying to remain stealthed must roll a Sneak check modified by CHA. 

3.2 Initiative: 1d8 + DEX MOD of the Ship. Roll Initiative for each ship engaged in combat. On their ship’s turn, each crew member gets to move and act. Any ship with an active Diamond Databank Module gets one Ship action per turn. 

3.3 Combat Actions 

Every round, each crew member gets an action. If their intended action interfaces with any active HULL or SYSTEMS modules, they may role an appropriate ASSIST roll on behalf of the ship. 

A successful assist roll grants the crew member +1 on their check or to-hit roll. Some modules give further bonuses to successfully assisted rolls. 

In addition, the Ship’s Systems get an action for each active Diamond Databank module. These actions may be similarly assisted by crew members as that crew member’s action. Basically, you get to decide whether you assist the ship or the ship assists you. 


A crew member taking control of an active Weapons Mount as their action makes an assisted to-hit roll. Both the ship & crew member roll to hit and the better result is taken. 


To fix an inactive HULL module, roll a repair check and mark the module. 
On a successful check, the module becomes active in d4 - SHIP CON MOD rounds. 

To fix an inactive SYSTEMS module, roll a program check and mark the module. 
On a successful check, the module becomes active in d4 - SHIP INT MOD rounds. 

[The crew member must be near the physical interface of the module to repair it. Program/Repair checks made in the heat of combat are often set at a target # of 10 or higher.] 

After combat, anyone fixing modules roll a repair or program test [whichever is higher] against a target number of marked modules. Failure indicates all modules they fixed were jury-rigged only for immediate use and are inactive for 1d4 - SHIP CON/INT MOD hours [for HULL/SYSTEMS modules, respectively], after which they can be fixed with further repair/program tests. 

[Modules can only be marked once during a combat and, thus, can only be fixed once] 


Any ship can move up to its DEX score on its turn. When moving the ship, a crew member or ship must roll a pilot test. 

On a failure, all crew take 1 physical system strain from the high-g maneuvers. 


Always add Ship’s STR Mod to damage dealt by Ship’s Weapons Systems. 

Not all Ship Weapons damage Ship’s HP. 

EMP Scramblers damage Ship’s Mental System Strain. 
Shrapnel Discharge damages Ship’s Physical System Strain. 

Ship’s Weapons take notches as personal weapons. 

Ship’s Damage explodes as personal damage. 


Three ways to score a critical hit in Ship Combat: 
1. Roll a natural 20 on a to-hit roll 
2. Damage a ship past its 75%, 50% or 25% HULL thresholds 
3. Roll damage equal to or greater 1/2 the target ship’s HULL 

When taking a critical hit, roll a random module and take the critical effects of that damage. 

Each module has a critical effect.


Roll a pilot test. A success is a hit. On a critical failure, roll damage as per below, but with the roles reversed. 

Ramming ship takes 1d6 damage multiplied by targeted ship’s Hull Multiplier. 

Targeted ship takes 1d6 damage per STR MOD x Hull Multiplier, both of ramming ship. 

Example: A ship with a STR mod of +2 and Hull Multiplier of x5 rams a ship with a STR mod of + 1 and Hull Multiplier of x2. The ramming ship deals [2d6 x 5] + 2 damage and takes [1d6 x 2] + 1 damage. 


Takes one [1] action from one [1] crew member: Make an opposing Pilot check against any pursuing pilots. 

This ends the current round. 

On success, all other ships in combat get one [1] turn - if ship still can [and wants to] escape at the end of those turns, it does. If not, roll new initiative.


Saturday, 17 August 2019

Starmother Numbership

[Hacking Stars Without Number & Mothership for the Outer Worlds [quixotic campaign on the rotting fringes of an eons-old Earth Empire in the vein of Prophet, Warp Riders and the Amory Wars]]

Henceforth behold the despicable scrawlings of the Astuary Propheteer, as it is written upon the Astraliths and Ordo-planetids that transfix the cosmos into a measurable continuity and reliability.

All rolls in red.

- most of the game transpires in skill checks -

Skills Checks are 2d6 + Skill Level + Attribute Mod against a target number.

6 is easy.
8 is standard.
10 is difficult.

One [1] ally can assist a skill check by making a standard auxiliary check of their own. If they succeed, get a +1 to your check. If they fail, you’re on your own.

Skill levels begin at -1 [untrained] and move up to [0] when taken for the first time. Skill levels advance with use [see 12. ADVANCEMENT] up to +4.

[I use an amalgamation of swn and mothership’s skill systems, 20 in total]


Three saving throws: roll 1d20 over save. 
[STR | CON] indicates the higher of your STR and CON modifiers.

2.1 Physical Saves are against bodily harm, disease and exhaustion.
Starting at 16 - [STR | CON]

2.2 Mental Saves are against fear, hallucination and psychic fuckery.
Starting at 16 - [WIS | CHA]

2.3 Evasion Saves are for avoiding hazards, dodging explosives and other quick reactions.
Starting at 16 - [DEX | INT]


3.1 Physical System Strain is a measure of accrued exhaustion, biological stress and muscular atrophy. When Physical Strain reaches your CON score, heart attack. 
Physical System Strain diminishes at a rate of 1/week.

3.2 Mental System Strain is a measure of accrued neurological stress, clarity and calm. When Mental Strain reaches your WIS score, you Panic [as mothership]
Mental System Strain diminishes at a rate of 1/day.

Some hazards/situations damage your physical or mental well-being rather than [or in addition to] trying to kill you outright. Very rarely will any situation result in more than 1d6 Mental or Physical System Strain.

2.3 Laterality: When taking System Strain of a particular type, you can exchange it to another type for twice the strain. Similarly, instead of subtracting damage from your HP, you can take system strain at a rate of 1 Damage to 2 System Strain.

2.4 Panic: GM can call for panic tests as mothership - roll 1d20 over Mental System strain to avoid Panic.


4.1 Roll 3d6 stats [STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA]
Modifiers: 3[-2], 4-7[-1], 8-13[[0], 14-17[+1], 18[+2]

4.2 Roll a Background
Choose two [2] from Learning or Roll three [3] between Growth and Learning

*mech rules incoming, so is a much longer list of backgrounds…

4.2.1 Example Background: 

Habitech Codiseer 
In the enduring collapse of Old Earth, the vast network of Habitech AI [built to operate and sustain off continued operatives issued by the Habitech Nexus off STAR IV] were left to their own devices. The Gudrunn Habitech began spewing out Imperial bounties for its citizenry, emptying the Imperial treasury. Among the Astarsis Sea, the Leonine Habitech network became hell-bent on discovering the truth of that vast black hole, ripping its habitats from their planetoids along with it. The Codiseers remain some of Old Earth’s highest paid employees, charged with the upkeep and repair of the crumbling AI. 

You start with:
- Program as a free skill
- A Keycard access to the Habitech Cores
- An Imperial issue Laspistol [d6]
- Tonkie, a quick-talking AI with body-envy preserved in a diamond databank.
- Blink Analysis: diagnose electrical problems as an Instant Action with a successful Program check.

4.3 Choose 1 additional skill 
max skill level at genesis is 1 [a skill taken twice is at level 1]

4.4 Take 1 Hit Die of Hit Points
Roll 1d6 + CON MOD

4.5 Note starting Saves and System Strain capacities


5.1 Surprise [as mothership]: If ambushed, make roll 1d20 over Mental System Strain or unable to act for 1 round.

5.2 Initiative [as swn]: 1d8 + DEX Mod Initiative.

5.3 Rest of Combat [as swn]:

Roll to hit is 1d20 + BAB* + Skill** + Attribute Mod over target’s AC
*Base Attack Bonus: +0 at Char creation, unless specified otherwise.
**Relevant Skill: Shoot for ranged attacks. Melee for Melee attacks.
***Relevant Attribute: STR for Hard Weapons. DEX for Fast Weapons.

5.4 Cover [as swn]: To hit roll modified if target is behind cover.
Partial cover: -2
Full cover: -4

5.5 Combat Actions: beyond standard to-hit rolls, you can

NO MAN’S RUSH [Melee]: Cover distance to target & wack em. Roll +2 to hit. If their weapon has a ranged attack or is bigger than yours, they get an attack of opportunity. Your attack gets a damage bonus of + 1/2 AoO damage if they hit.

AIM [Ranged]: No attack this round, +4 to hit next round.

DUAL WIELD [Melee or Ranged]: Roll two attacks & split your Total Attack Bonus between them. Must be carrying 2 of whatever it is you’re attacking with.

ALL OUT ATTACK [Melee]: Roll two attacks. Take -4 AC until your next turn.

COVERING FIRE [Ranged]: Instead of rolling to hit, choose a vector to lay down covering fire. Anyone within this vector takes -2 to any to-hit rolls and their movement is halved until your next turn.

HUNKER DOWN [Defensive]: Make no attacks this round, +2 AC until your next turn.

TAKE COVER [Defensive]: If you are within your movement of partial cover, spend your turn and take full cover behind it.

GAMBIT [Melee or Ranged]: Logan Knight’s brilliant catch-all for Called Shots, Stunts, Acrobatic attacks, aso - Roll to hit twice. If both hit, your gambit happens. If one misses, it doesn’t. If both miss or either role is a fumble [nat 1], the gambit is fumbled.


Hit Points heal naturally at a rate of HD per day.
An appropriate skill check [surgery, biology, aso.] doubles rate of natural healing.

Physical Strain heals naturally at a rate of 1 per week.
Mental Strain heals naturally at a rate of 1 per day.

6.2 AT 0 HP 
As mothership: Drop unconscious, make a Physical save. You fail, you’re dead. You succeed, roll 1d10 on the You Regain Consciousness Chart.


Weaponry, Burst Fire and Shock Damage as swn.

7.1 EXPLODING DAMAGE: If you roll max damage for any weapon, keep rolling damage until you roll less than the max. 

7.2 NOTCHES: Each weapon has a quality of 1-4 and a number of notches equal to its max potential damage. If you roll equal or under weapon quality on a to-hit roll, roll damage and subtract it from total notches. When notches are maxed out, the weapon breaks - usually in a fiery storm of shrapnel and combustion.
Price adjusted for Quality as follows:
Quality 1: 2x price
Quality 2: 1.5x price
Quality 3: listed price
Quality 4: .5x price

7.3 BURST FIRE: If using a weapon that is capable of burst fire, you may choose to add +1 to hit / +1 damage to the attack rolls. For the attack, double the range of critical failure. 

7.4 SHOCK: A weapon’s shock value is dealt regardless of whether the attack hits or misses.


Readied AC is Armor AC + DEX
Unreadied AC is 10 + DEX

Unarmored 12 AC
Shield +1 AC
Hazard Suit 13 AC
Vacsuit 14 AC
Scrapped Combat Armor* 15 AC
Reinforced Vacsuit* 16 AC
Reinforced Combat Armor* 17 AC
Powered Armor* 18 AC

*DEX modifier does not improve AC


Anything you can close in a fist does not count towards Encumbrance. Anything you can hold in one hand counts as 1 item. Anything you need 2 hands to hold counts as 2 items. 

9.1 READIED ITEMS: Up to 1/2 STR score, can be equipped instantly.

9.2 STOWED ITEMS: Up to STR score, take main action to equip. Stowed Items need to be Stowed in something - exerting yourself while wearing that something incurs a -2 penalty to all physical checks.

9.3 OVERENCUMBRANCE: Any items carried beyond STR score act as a direct penalty to all physical checks. Exerting yourself while overencumbered incurs Physical System Strain. You can be overencumbered with items up to your STR + CON scores before you collapse.



Ships are built like characters. 

Physical Stats [STR, DEX, CON] are a factor of the ship’s HULL
[STR is the power of the ship’s weapons systems.]
[DEX is the ship’s maneuverability, speed and quickness.]
[CON measures the ship’s shields and endurance.]

Mental Stats [INT, WIS, CHA] are a factor of the ship’s SYSTEMS.
[INT is the ship computer’s intelligence and automative functioning.]
[WIS measures the ships scanners and detection mechanisms.]
[CHA measures the ships counter-targeting and counter-detection systems.]

10.1.1 SHIP HULLS 

Divide total HULL between STR, DEX and CON, 1 to 19 in each.

When adding Hull Modules to the Ship, multiply Ship’s HULL by its multiplier to give you the ship’s total capacity.


Divide total SYSTEMS between WIS, INT and CHA, 1 to 19 in each.

When adding Systems Modules to the Ship, multiply Ship’s SYSTEMS by its multiplier to give you the ship’s total capacity.


Ship Saves and System Strain works as with PCs. 

Ship Skills are used when the Ship’s computer tries to do something on its own [operate the Medbay, fire a weapon]. All start at +0.

Roll 1HD [1d6] + CON MOD Ship Hit Points.

Base Ship AC is 12, modified by Armor Hull Modules.

Base Attack Bonus is +0, modified by Targeting Systems Modules.

*Ship Modules incoming...


10.2.1 THRUSTERS: Any ship able to escape the gravity well is capable of space travel via thrusters.

In region travel [around planets, to planetary orbital bodies] takes 6 - DEX MOD hours.

Travel between regions [planet-to-planet] takes 24 - DEX MOD hours.

10.2.2 WARP DRIVES: Any ship with a Warp Drive is able to travel between systems.

Warp Travel is unreliable, but a straightforward jump between systems takes 3 days [assuming some equidistance of solar bodies].

To chart a warp jump, roll a navigation check, adjusting the difficulty based on:
[distance of destination]
[what information the navigator is provided]
[how long the navigator has to chart the course]

To make a warp jump, roll a pilot check, adjusting the difficulty based on:
[the success/failure margin of the navigation check]
[the Warp Drive on the ship]
[how long the pilot has to make the jump]

10.2.3 Refueling: as mothership.

Works as personal combat

11.1 Surprise: If ambushed, each crew member must roll 1d20 over Mental System strain or unable to act for 1 round. use CHA to determine if a ship taking anti-detection measures remains stealth.

11.2 Initiative: 1d8 + DEX MOD of the Ship. Roll Initiative for each ship engaged in combat. On their ship’s turn, each crew member gets to move and act.

11.3 Combat Options 

[to provide examples - really crew members can try anything, it’s just a matter of knowing when to take Ship stats into account]


Crew members take assisted control of ship’s weapon systems.
Roll to hit is 1d20 + BAB* + Skill** + Attribute***
*Basic Attack Bonus of crew member
**Relevant skill of crew member
***Relevant attribute of Ship

Crew members use use Ship’s counter-targeting measures.
Roll a Program skill check modified by Ship’s CHA.
Success indicates Full Cover [+4 AC] for the ship
Failure indicates Partial Cover [+2 AC] for the ship

Crew members pilot the ship and take evasive maneuvers.
For one attack before next Ship turn, roll Evasion Save + crew member’s Pilot skill. 
On a success, the attack is evaded.
Evasion is rolled prior and must be applied to a successful hit before damage is rolled.


Crew members overclock the ship’s engines.
Crew member rolls a Repair skill check.
Success gives the Ship a +2 DEX MOD until next turn.
On Failure, Ship takes 2 Physical System Strain.

Crew members can attempt to repair hull damage.
Crew member rolls a Repair skill check.
On a single turn, crew members can fix damage up to their repair skill level.

Crew members can deal with ship crises, trying to reboot a lost system.
Crew member rolls a Program skill check.
Success indicates the system comes back online.
On Failure, Ship takes 1d6 Mental System Strain, system is lost for rest of combat.

Crew members take manual control of weapons systems.
Crew member rolls to hit as they would a personal attack.


Ship’s Computer uses weapon systems
Roll to hit is 1d20 + BAB* + Skill** + Attribute***
*Basic Attack Bonus of Ship
**Relevant skill of Ship
***Relevant attribute of Ship

Ship’s Computer takes control of piloting systems
For one attack before next Ship turn, roll Evasion Save + Ship’s Pilot skill. 
On a success, the attack is evaded.
Evasion is rolled prior and must be applied to a successful hit before damage is rolled.


Always add Ship’s STR Mod to damage dealt by Ship’s Weapons.

Not all Ship Weapons damage Ship’s HP.
EMP Scramblers damage Ship’s Mental System Strain.
Shrapnel Discharge damages Ship’s Physical System Strain.

Ship’s Weapons take notches as personal weapons.

Ship’s Damage explodes as personal damage.

Critical Damage works as mothership, usually ending the fight before a ship is reduced to 0 HP.

11.5 ESCAPE 

Takes one [1] action from one [1] crew member: Opposing Pilot checks modified with Ship DEX. This ends the current round.

On success, all other ships in combat get one [1] turn - if ship still can [and wants to] escape at the end of those turns, it does. If not, roll new initiative.


Tailor your XP mechanism to the themes and goals of the game. Among the Outer Worlds, the more you do the better you get. Trying new things is a good way to get yourself killed and a good way to get better.

12.1 Skills: each time you roll a skill, mark a use. At the end of each arc, roll 1d20 + current skill level against your uses. Roll under and the skill increases by 1.

Count to-hit rolls as Melee or Ranged Combat skills, as appropriate. 

12.2 HP: Each time you are reduced to 0 HP and survive, roll 1 additional Hit Die, modified by CON

12.3 Base Attack Bonus: Each time you roll a critical hit, mark a use. At the end of each arc, roll 1d20 + current bonus. Roll under current uses and the bonus increases by 1.

12.4 Saving Throws: each time you roll any save, mark a use. At the end of each arc, roll 1d20 against current uses. Roll under and each of your saves decrease by 1.

[Optional: Ship stats could advance in the same way, especially if the ship treated as another character in the campaign]