Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cortex for ExoSquad and Gargoyles

I've been a fan of tabletop role-playing games since I was nine or ten. I started with D&D but branching off into Robotech (with the RIFTS system), Shadowrun, Paranoia, Call of Cthulhu. My new group is playing with two systems that are new to me, Battlestar Galactica (using the Cortex system) and Hollow Earth.
Cortex is a great system, and available for free download. I immediately fell in love with it, and think it works very well for lowish-tech science fiction universes. It was designed for Firefly and adapted for BSG and other universes. A buddy of mine asked me what system would be good to run a Starship Troopers and Cortex immediately popped into my head.  This turned to a conversation of how well the system would work for such diverse universes as Alien, ExoSquad, and Gargoyles.Of course, Gargoyles and ExoSquad both include pretty neat races that should be open to PCs, the Gargoyles and the NeoSapiens. We came up with some bundles, so I thought I'd share them.

Gargoyle Bundle: null cost


Enhanced Movement (Gliding): D8 (With enough height and knowledge of local air currents, Gargoyles can glide for miles.)

Enhanced Movement (Climbing): D6 (Gargoyles climb extraordinarily quickly.)

Inherent Weapons (Claws): D4 (Their claws can shatter stone)

Inherent Armor: D4 (Their skin is tough and tends to deflect weapons.)


Stone Sleep: D10 (At sunrise, Gargoyles turn to stone regardless of where they are and what they are doing.)

Memorable: D8 (Gargoyles stand out in a crowd.)

Duty: D4 (Almost all Gargoyles have at least a moderate compulsion to protect their home.)

I thought about doing one for the Children of Oberon race, but they seem to be too varied to stat out in a meaningful way. If a PC really wants to play one, the GM will have to just get creative.  I would suggest giving them Immune - non-iron weapons (D12 + D2) as a pretty standard attribute.  Mutates might be a fun bundle to make up, though.

Neo Sapien Bundle: D12 cost


Enhanced Manipulation: D2 (Neo Sapiens have two thumbs (and two fingers) on each hand, as well as prehensile toes. Add to tests where fine dexterity is paramount.)

Natural Athlete: D4 (Neo Sapiens are at the apex of human capabilities.)

Tough: D4 (Neo Sapiens are tougher than their stats might indicate.)

Head for Numbers: D4 (Neo Sapiens are brilliant, especially in technical matters.)

Simple needs: D2 (Neo Sapiens can survive on comparably few calories, and can digest almost anything organic to achieve those calories.)

Always Awake: D6 (Neo Sapiens don't need sleep.)

Fast on Your Feet: D2 (Neo Sapiens have long legs and move swiftly.)

Enhanced Senses: D4 (Neo Sapiens see very well in low-light conditions, and have exceptional hearing.)

Lightning Reflexes: D2 (Neo Sapiens have unnaturally fast reflexes.)

Hardy Constitution: D4 (Neo Sapiens can shrug off the ill effects of drugs or disease with ease.)

Formidable Presence: D2 (Neo Sapiens are 8 feet tall and built like linebackers. They tend to intimidate.)

Longevity: D2 (Neo Sapiens can live, and be vital, approximately twice as long as Homo Sapiens.)


Vulnerability - Trauma: D6 (Neo Sapiens who suffer sever physical trauma, such as the loss of more than half of their life points, are at risk for contracting Auto Mutation Syndrome, a degenerative and inevitably fatal disease. They must make a hard endurance check or contract the illness.

Sterile: D4 (Neo Spaiens cannot reproduce normally, divorcing them from the cycle of life and denying them any form of familial relationship.)

Analysis Paralysis: D4 (Most Neo Sapiens are unable to think on their feet. The unexpected can confuse them. When encountering unfamiliar or unexpected situations, step down all attributes by one for D4 rounds.)

Conventional Thinking: D4 (When attempting be truly original or creative in tactics or technical matters, Neo Sapiens are often at a loss. Subtract D4 from rolls under such circumstances.)

Memorable: D4 (In addition to being eight feet tall and blue, all Neo Sapiens have a unique geometric tattoo prominently on their forehead.)

Animal Enmity: D4 (Animals can sense something unnatural about Neo Sapiens. Dogs bark at them and domestic animals resent their handling.)

Note: Many Neo Sapien villains have Prejudice (Humans) to help offset the cost of this bundle, though of course any Neo Sapien in the Exo Fleet would be unlikely to have such a complication. 

This is obviously an extremely potent bundle, reflecting how they were portrayed in the series. For most campaigns, I would advise no more than one Neo Sapien per party. GnomeStew has an excellent article on the reasoning behind such a limitation

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Red Shirts!

So, have you ever wondered what life on Kirk's Enterprise must have looked like to the poor grunts on the bottom of the totem pole? Those sad bastards who beam down and then get eaten by a dikironium cloud monster or struck by lightning or shot by a pod plant. Well, a good buddy of mine, Ben Warren, is one of the writer/producers of Red Shirts, a parody focusing on them. He's a talented and funny guy, and the videos they've released so far look hilarious.

Check them out on Facebook. If you like what you see, maybe kick in a few bucks. It's a small operation and every single dollar helps. I'd love to seem this series get made. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/red-shirts/x/2398848?c=home is the place to visit if you're interested.  Of course, there are incentives, up to and including an Executive Producer credit.  Check them out, and be ready to laugh your butt off.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Ark Addendum: Washington D.C.

Hola, amigos! It's time for another Ark Addendum. Originally I intended to title this one Atlantis, Arise! Part II, but I realized that everything was a monument in Washington D.C. and changed the title accordingly.  I suppose I could have called last week's entry Sub-Atlantica, but it's harder to separate the Sub-Atlanticans from Atlantis, Arise! than it is to separate out our nation's capitol.  (Well, my nation's capitol. You might be in another country. SHOUT OUT, UK READERS!)

Funny story. Since I was starting with last week's entry as my starting point, I very nearly launched this page with Washington, D.C. next to a Decepticon symbol. (I'm sure my buddy Scott Rhymer would have appreciated that.) On my proofreading pass I realized my error and dropped in the Earth symbol.  More appropriate, but less funny.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Ark Addendum - Atlantis, Arise!

Today feels like a good day for me. I finished the last of my G.I. Joe Field Manual--Appendix articles for the G.I. Joe fanclub magazine. They're kind of like the Ark Addendum articles I post here, only official and for G.I. Joe. It should see print some time around April or May. I also watched the fourth episode of season 2 of The Shield and chortled to myself when Wagenbach said that today is a good day for Gamblers Anonymous, what with it being two days after the Superbowl.  Funny timing, that.

So, to get to the meat of the post, here's part one of Atlantis, Arise!. It's one of the sillier episodes, with the Sub-Atlantican race teaming up with the Decepticons. I feel like it'd be really hard for a modern TF series to indulge in this level of silliness.