Blood Stains

Last month I was chatting to photographers and Legless Ballerina and from that conversation, two joint projects came about. Both projects will be new role-playing games, with settings jointly designed by Owlman and Legless Ballerina. While game design will be undertaken by Owlman, interior art will be the wonderful horror-fantasy photography of Legless Ballerina.  And it is the first of these projects I am pleased to announce today: Blood Stains.

Blood Stains is a Labyrinth Lord campaign setting with a twist. As many of you know, some time ago Owlman published a World War One-themed series of rules for Labyrinth Lord as part of our Over The Top setting. With Blood Stains, we are going one step further, and producing a series of modern rules for Labyrinth Lord and Vampire classes. Thus with Blood Stains, we are leaving fantasy behind all together and engaging in modern disaster horror – with the players as the monsters!

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Blood Stains

Codex II

So recently I started work on the next Big Damn Dryden supplement book entitled “Flashpoints of Tomorrow.” The book itself details the variety of different eras in the Dryden Universe’s long cosmology. Most of these are defined, within the book and the setting in general, in relation to the Primer Era of 2503. One, the Extermination War, is positioned directly before the Primer, while the others deal with the legacy of the Corporations and the Main Line systems. I’d thought it would be fun to give everyone out there a little teaser of each era, so let’s take a look at Codex II:

Due to the loss of calendars, it is unknown at which point the Dark ends and Codex Two precisely begins. What is certain, however, is that in time, the Scourge devours the Technoprey and the Europan. Having devastated most of the churning and overturning mass of Human Kingdoms, the Scourge lack a sufficient food source and eventually face extinction, dying out across the universe. In this time and space, Humans are a rarity. Known as the Star Children, by this age of the universe they are now the ancients whose last few remaining refuges and vast ruins hold ancient technologies and magic’s. Other Species now clamour and compete for the wonders of these bygone ages, reverse engineering Framing Drives, cybernetics, genetic manipulation or else rediscovering the hideous sorceries of the Dark. In regards to technology further, Codex Two features a curious hodgepodge of old and new developments that sees archaic locally developed technologies combined with advanced rediscoveries. Fleets of open decked sailing ships, moored at space-docks and equipped with Framing Drives and atmospheric bubbles are not uncommon sites, nor are Space Dragons and other fantastic combinations.

Codex II

The Dark

So recently I started work on the next Big Damn Dryden supplement book entitled “Flashpoints of Tomorrow.” The book itself details the variety of different eras in the Dryden Universe’s long cosmology. Most of these are defined, within the book and the setting in general, in relation to the Primer Era of 2503. One, the Extermination War, is positioned directly before the Primer, while the others deal with the legacy of the Corporations and the Main Line systems. I’d thought it would be fun to give everyone out there a little teaser of each era, so let’s take a look at the Dark:

The Belle Epoch abruptly ends around the year 40,000 as the Technoprey wake and begin their swarm. A species of homogenous energy encased in an exoskeletal shell, the Technoprey dwell for much of their lifespan hibernating in gas giants – undetected in the Primer Era except for a few exceptional encounters. Largely forgotten during the Belle Epoch, the Technoprey wake and begin to swarm towards any energy source they can find and devour it. Indeed the Technoprey are the reason for absence of the advanced galactic civilization in the Primer Era, having risen and swarmed the last time during the 21st century. The Technoprey swarms produce a vast series of panicked responses. The Europan – still in control of what was once the Main Line – recognizes the threat and attempts to bio-mesh its own bio-technology with the Technoprey. The idea was to create hunters that will attack and destroy the Technoprey. The result was the Scourge, a fast mutating variant of the Technoprey that come to also wreak havoc across the galaxy.  The every changing patchwork of Human Kingdoms and empires likewise attempts to combat first the Technoprey and then the Scourge by turning to advances in wormholes and dimensional travel. Unfortunately, this succeeds in only unleashing creatures from the Nightmare dimension into our reality. Worse it ruptures the dimensional space of the Reflective. The Reflectives exist in a parallel quantum state to our own dimension, manifesting occasionally as semi-visible, entirely ethereal beings – often mistaken for ghosts. Known since the Primer Era, with the rupturing of their dimensional space, the Reflectives begin investigating Humans to unknown means and ends. A time of trial for the Human Species, by the end of the Dark the conventional, Gregorian, calendar that had stood since 1582 is no more and Humans have been culled to one Species amongst many in the universe.

The Dark

The Belle Epoch

So recently I started work on the next Big Damn Dryden supplement book entitled “Flashpoints of Tomorrow.” The book itself details the variety of different eras in the Dryden Universe’s long cosmology. Most of these are defined, within the book and the setting in general, in relation to the Primer Era of 2503. One, the Extermination War, is positioned directly before the Primer, while the others deal with the legacy of the Corporations and the Main Line systems. I’d thought it would be fun to give everyone out there a little teaser of each era, so let’s take a look at the Belle Epoch

The Primer Era of 2503 ends with a bang as human supremacy over the Main Line systems is challenged by the Europan, the sentient planet-wide lifeform that dwells on Europa. No longer content to watch the Corporate entities overtake all other life in the universe, the Europan spawns organic weapons – living creatures and starships designed to annihilate the Corporations and cull the human population of the Main Line. The Europan’s war is joined by the Ile Solitaire, who seizes the moment to ensure their future in the new order – aiding the Europan. By the conclusion of the conflict, the Europan has seized the Sol System and exterminated much of the human life that dwelt there – particularly on and around Europa itself. The Ile Solitare fill the a vast number of Main Line human systems with ripplers, devices that disrupt Framing Drive technology and stop faster-than-light travel into and out of the systems.  Effectively both conditions and the fall of the Corporations mean Humans are cut off from the Main Line and while some do remain there, they dwell in a fragmented society. But far beyond the Main Line, on what was considered the colonies and fringes of the Main Line, the absence of the Corporations allows new human societies to grow.  So it is within the Belle Epoch distant stars foster multi-planet kingdoms and empires that spring up from vigorous planetary formerly-corporate governments or as the result of an visionary warlord, almost overnight. This kingdoms amongst the stars burn with grandeur and passion, and often vanish almost as quickly as they appear – being overtaken by another throne, equally as brief and prolific.

The Belle Epoch

The Extermination War

So recently I started work on the next Big Damn Dryden supplement book entitled “Flashpoints of Tomorrow.” The book itself details the variety of different eras in the Dryden Universe’s long cosmology. Most of these are defined, within the book and the setting in general, in relation to the Primer Era of 2503. One, the Extermination War, is positioned directly before the Primer, while the others deal with the legacy of the Corporations and the Main Line systems. I’d thought it would be fun to give everyone out there a little teaser of each era, so let’s take a look at the Extermination War:

Retrospectively, from the perspective of 2503, the Extermination War is part of the First Resource War. Ranging from 2037 to 2215, for those living in the time and after the First Resource War was a string of conflicts stretching out over the course of a century. One of the most aggressive conflicts within this period is the Extermination War, a short but massive war with extensive use of chemical weapons and ending in a limited nuclear exchange. While the Extermination War was brief, its aftermath left much of North America and Eurasia depopulated and some areas of the earth completely uninhabitable.

The Extermination War was preceded by a decade of conflicts known as the African World War. Ranging from 2037 to 2045, the African World War was prompted by gross poverty across the African continent in the mid-21st century. This deepening of existing conditions faced by Africa was prompted by a mixture of population growth, the emergence of the Morbus Novum virus, and greater demand for natural resources by the First World’s own growing populations. The African World War concluded with China in control of the African Continent. The aftermath of the African World War destabilized the existing world-power balance and prompted a new conflict four years later, the Extermination War, between the United States and European Union allied against China.

The Extermination War

The One Chip Rule

 

Every now and then there is an awkward moment in the game design process when you come across a rule you’ve written and realize “I don’t actually follow this one.” Not just once. Never ever. The “one chip rule” is that rule for me. As featured in Artificial Exotics and Frankenstein Atomic Frontier, the one chip rule states:

“Every game, each player is awarded one Chip (though the Game Master may award additional Chips). Between games, any number of accumulated Chips may be cashed in by the player to improve their character.”

Rather, I have always granted between one and four chips each game session. The reason for this is one-to-four is a good number for rewarding a group of players based on how they have performed in the game. For example, I often grant:

  • 1 Chip for playing.
  • 1 Chip for good role-playing.
  • 1 Chip for attempting to fulfil the character’s objectives.
  • 1 Chip for actually fulfilling the character’s objectives.

After a campaign I typically also grand an additional Chip for fulfilling the wider plot. In this fashion, I reward players for their efforts in an array of areas, not simply showing up.

The One Chip Rule

May the 4th

Because its May the 4th here in Australia, I thought I’d do one of our “officially unofficial” releases, this time for Big Damn Sci-Fi since the game is Space Opera and goes well with our May the 4th bundle! What that means is that these rules are fully playable and usable in your Big Damn Sci-Fi games, but they have not been through the same level of testing as our usual releases. At any rate, May the 4th be with you folks!

The Cosmic Order of the Star Knights

The Cosmic Order of the Star Knights was an ancient chivalric peace keeping fraternity, unified in its belief in peace and following of the Cosmic Consciousness. Guardians of peace and purveyors of justice in the galaxy for thousands of years, the Star Knights were known as a combination of warriors, diplomats and lay-priests. The badge of their office and mark of their arts was their Laser Sword armaments. Led by the Grand Master and a council of Masters, the Star Knights and their Squires operated from vast Fiefdom-based Keeps located throughout the galaxy. At some point in their history, however, the Star Knights and their Fiefdom outposts began to grow large and prosperous and this brought the wrath of the galaxy’s rulers down upon them. The emperors, rulers and overlords of the galaxy feared the Star Knights would eventually turn their hand to ruling and overthrow the established powers. Worse still, when striking against the Star Knights, their enemies turned to the Id Order. A twisted opposite of the Star Knights, the Id Order also followed the Cosmic Consciousness, but emphasized its instinctual, primal unconsciousness. Soon the Star Knights fell into disarray and while some Star Knights remain to this day, they are lonely singular wanderers – not the grand and shining wardens of hope they once were.

New Armoury: Laster Sword

Item                      Type                                      Bonus   Notes

Blaster                  Armour/Weapon             +2           Double Bonus, Melee*

Cane                      Armour/Weapon             +1           Double Bonus, Melee**

Cross-bladed     Armour/Weapon             +2           Double Bonus, Melee***

Double                 Armour/Weapon             +2           Double Bonus, Melee****

Standard              Armour/Weapon             +2           Melee

*Maybe used as a Ranged Weapon. If doing so, the Blaster Laser Sword loses all benefits to Defence. Melee and Ranged mode can be swapped once per combat action.

**The Cane Laser Sword looks just like a cane or walking stick until its blade is activated and thus cannot be identified on sight as a Laser Sword.

**Projects a blade from both ends, allowing to be used like a staff and providing extra reach. When both ends are activated the Double Laser Sword provides +1 bonus to attack rolls.

***Projects two, smaller blades from the top of the hilt, just below the blade. Provides +1 Defence against Melee attacks for an added parrying benefit.

May the 4th