Wednesday, February 29, 2012

World in a Bottle

Many of us who work in the small (like, really small) press know the many joys attached to public domain art. Fortunately for us, NASA went to the trouble of commissioning some super sweet illustrations of life in giant space stations that we, the American people, can all call our own.

Imagine the possibilities in these pictures.

A team of adventurers - sort of special forces types - trying to stop a group of terrorists from destroying a heavily populated station.

A sci-fi espionage game set on such a station - a hero seeking out a seemingly ordinary man who is really a psychic assassin.

Imagine a world teeming with life and controlled by a (benevolent?) God-Computer - something not unlike Metamorphosis Alpha. Mother Computer only wants to keep her children safe, after all.

A ruined space station, life support systems intact as a "megadungeon" to explore - who knows what still lurks within.

How about space station zombie apocalypse? Xenomorphs on the loose? Pod people? The spread of a psychic cult relieving people of their burdensome worries and individuality?

Maybe some smaller versions of these stations are under construction around Kepler 22-B - and not all by the same state. I can imagine various powers constructing rocket bases on the surface to ferry up resources - after all, if one doesn't control the high ground, how can they hope to extend their influence on the planet's surface?

Blogger Appreciation Day and Lulu Sale

[Cross Posted from Land of Nod - if you read it there, you don't need to read it here]

Apparently, it is Blogger Appreciation Day. So, just wanted to say thanks to all the various bloggers I read and enjoy, from old school (and sometimes new school) RPGs to economics to art and design. We live in an age of wonders when people from all over the world can come together in real time and argue about crap like ascending vs. descending AC, ability limits based on gender, the wisdom of level limits and whether or not alignment languages are stupid.

Also - in case you are interested - Lulu is doing a 29% off Leap Day sale. If you've been thinking about a purchase from me or any of the other fine folks who sell their wares on Lulu, today is probably a good day to take the leap!

You see what I did there? "take the leap" - Leap Year. That's a joke, son. A funny. I keep pitchin' 'em, but you ain't catchin' 'em. You must have a hole in your glove ...

Or if you prefer the original ...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Set Your Wayback Machine to 1960 ...

... and buy this sweet baby at your local food market!

Is it just me, or were toys back in the day pretty dang cool.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sci-Fi Ephemera II - Giant Severed Heads & UFOs

I dare one of the people writing up a sector to include giant severed heads carried by little saucers.

Image found at Kitschy Kitschy Coo

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sci-Fi Ephemera I - The Ovocipede

The ovocipede would be a dandy little item for exploration - if we pretend that it works, I mean. I'm picturing explorers - robots especially - in these little bubbles rolling through the plains or a desert, maybe while be chased by some form of alien terror bird.

(Dali's space suit is gold, not silver - just in case you were wondering)

In terms of Space Princess, I'd say super science (DC 20 - the main difficulty being getting the plastic bubble) - "rider" can move at normal speed over land, water, ice, snow, etc. and enjoys a +4 DEF and +2 to tests against environmental hazards. At a super science of DC 25, the ovocipede can be motorized, with a vehicle speed of Slow.

Images found at Kitschy Kitschy Coo

Thursday, February 16, 2012

First Peek at Kepler 22B!

I've received my first peek at what one of our survey teams, led by Luke DeGraw, as found on the surface of Kepler 22B - specifically in Sector B8, an area of desert, mountains and hills.

Pieter Bruegel's Tower of Babel
Hex 57.63
The ruins of a super-tall arcology stand here. From the base of the building to the 100th floor (1500ft), the exterior is surprisingly intact. Above the 100th floor, less and less of the building remains until only a small portion exists at the 300th floor (4500ft), creating a knife edge or spike appearance. There is no indication of how tall the arcology originally was; however, for aesthetic’s sake, the building was 1.3 miles (7566ft) high, consisting of 504 floors. There are also 50 sub-floors. The arcology sits on a square base of 1150x1150ft (aprox 15% of the original height). Obviously, the building is visible from quite a distance.

While the super-strong exterior has remained mostly intact, at least around the base, the interior has fared much worse. The building still runs on functioning geo-thermal generators which gives access to partially functioning elevators, minimal interior lighting, and other energy needs. However, there is no full access to any of the floors; only portions remain unblocked by debris or fallen floors. From a play perspective, this is so that you don't have to make a 1150x1150 square map of 100+ floors. All in all, I'd say there are a maximum of 20 accessible floors; these floors can be of varying sizes to increase or decrease the amount of exploring required. Travel between floors can be achieved by unobstructed stairs, functioning elevators, or makeshift ropes and ladders. There are also no computers. All functions, even mechanically and electrically driven functions, appear to be manually operated.

Each floor is 15ft tall, made up of 13ft of open living space and 2ft of engineering space (plumbing, lighting, electrical, etc). The interior of the building is made up of living spaces around the entire perimeter of each floor; this allows all living spaces to have windows to the outside. The interior is made up of manufacturing, shops, restaurants, offices, and recreation rooms. Living spaces are generous at 50x50ft (3025 square feet), with customizable interiors. Retail and business areas are of varying sizes, however, there is generous open space (perhaps 100ft, more or less) separating the business section from the residential spaces, filled with wide walkways, small trees, bushes, and grass. The first floor contains a open park space that occupies the entire interior of the building as well as 4 floors (60ft) of vertical space. It is filled with open park space, tall trees, and simulated breezes. Residential spaces surrounding this open space that are not on the "ground" level open onto 20ft communal balconies that overlook the open space. This open space occurs every 20 floors after (ie, floor 1, floor 21, floor 41, etc.). Originally, the arcology housed 24 of these parks. To clarify, there is no agriculture within the interior of the building. Floors above the 100th level are physically incomplete and are often open to the air where walls or the floor above has fallen away. Avian beasts can be found roosting there.

Agriculture was done on the lands surrounding the arcology. One might deduce that the decline of whatever civilization that lived here was due to the land turning from fertile farm lands to sand-sea, perhaps due to a cataclysmic event or over a long period of time. At this time, the base of the arcology is surrounded by dense jungle, in stark contrast to the desert around it. It is unknown how this jungle survives in the middle of the desert, though one can reasonably guess that the arcology is responsible. In reality, there is an irrigation system beneath the jungle that is still functioning, providing ample water to the jungle. It is a part of the arcology, put in place to create or maintain farmable land directly around the building, probably in response to the climate change. The water is drawn from deep in the earth. Hexes 56.62, 56.63, 57.62, 57.63, 67.64, 58.62, and 58.63 are all jungle hexes.

A primitive humanoid culture occupies the arcology. They find enough food in the jungle and immediate surrounding desert to sustain a population of several hundred. They are very protective of their building, as nomad tribes have tried to take it from them in the past. They attack intruders on sight. However, should one gain their trust, they might tell them that they have lived in the building for as long as anyone could remember. They call it the Pillar of the World. They claim their goddess built it for them in the beginning of time, but she smote the building when a dark and evil god took control. She left the building intact as a reminder of her works that she was forced to destroy. There are tales that once there were many such buildings taken over by the dark god, but only one was left standing by the goddess. The humanoids consider the top of the building to be the most sacred space, consisting of but a few hundred square feet of accessible space that is open to the air. Due to the height of the building, the local tribe has mastered glided flight, and keeps numerous gliders in the upper levels with which they travel between levels and great distances, as well as patrol their territory.

Encounters within the arcology might include primitive warriors wielding metal weapons left over from the old culture. Dogs and primates are kept as pets and guard animals. Above the 100th level when floors are open to the air, abnormally large sized eagles and vultures roost and will defend their nests. There are no constructed traps within the building, however, there are floors and walls that may collapse if disturbed. The advanced and alien nature of the construction makes it difficult to determine what is structurally unsound. The locals are knowledgeable about what to avoid. There are also doors that may be hidden behind debris or obscured by damage, but still accessible, leading into previously unexplored spaces, even by the local occupants. These obstacles and hidden doors should be treated as traditional traps and hidden doors.

Lost artifacts of technology may be recovered from unexplored areas of the arcology. On the second to highest level of the building, a temple has been created by the locals. Magic men and shamans live there as well as numerous guards. The highest level above the temple is a treasure hoard, containing all the precious metals and artifacts owned by the local tribe. It is also where the magic men and shamans go to pray to their goddess.

There are also secret sub-floor levels. The building has 50 sub-floors that have been effectively lost to the local population. They know of a secret entrance, but stay away. Strange things occur beneath the surface and many have been lost trying to plumb its depths.

The corpse of an old and alien being rests deep under the arcology. Ghosts and apparitions haunt the catacombs that were once the service center of the building. The threat of death is minor compared to the madness the residual effects the being has on anything the ventures below the surface. Players risk their very sanity. If players decide to venture down, I would secretly apply to them Sanity Points via the d20 SRD or the Call of Cthulhu game. Players would encounter horrifying images and psychic attacks, all emanating from the dead alien corpse, that deplete sanity points. Ghost and ghouls of dead adventurers roam the halls, often taking on the appearance of victims of inhuman deformities and torture, again depleting sanity. Should the players make it to the bottom and the alien corpse, they would confront a shadow of the being's original form, a sort of demi-god or extremely powerful ghost. There are riches galore in the basement, piled there by the followers of the "old god" before it was struck down. This would be a high-level adventure.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Inspiration: Fantasic Universe

Another batch of inspirational titles and images (some featuring a well known barbarian), this time from Fantastic Universe!


Time in Thy Flight
The Other Tiger
Little Men of Space
The Fire and the Flesh
Shadow on the Stars
The Double Occupation
Meet Miss Universe
Uncharted Pathways Lead to Astounding Surprises on the Frontiers of Tomorrow in the World of … Just Around the Corner
The White Rain Came
The Riddle of Ragnorak
In the Still Waters
The Soldier from the Stars
The Man from the Flying Saucer
Epidemic on Venus
The Cartels Jungle
Rafferty’s Reasons
Hawks Over Shem
So Near the Darkness
Conan, Man of Destiny
Wednesday’s Child
The Minority Report
Keepers of the House
The End of the Journey
Passage to Anywhere
The Assistant Self
The Lair of the Phoenix
Satan on Holiday
The Ivory Tower
A Question of Time
The Mechanical Man
Snowstorm on Mars
Exile from Space
Conquest Over Time
Gods of the North
Wish Upon a Star
Lone Star Planet
Intruders on the Moon
Pfui on Psi
Shield Against Death
Pawns of Tomorrow
World in the Balance
Terror Over Hollywood
Seal of the Damned
The Flying Saucer Myth
Conan the Victorious
Revolt on Mercury
Death for a Hunter
Soldier from Tomorrow
What Pilots a UFO
Meet the Extraterrestrial
Bear Trap
Rendezvous with Destiny
Shapes in the Sky
Deadly Science
Bait for the Tiger
Needed – Space Intelligence
Thundering Death
Who Rules Space
Satellites of the Future
Substitute God
Arm of the Law
Ka the Appalling
The Amazing Mrs. Mimms
Shadow of the Sword
Seed of Violence
Operation Cassandra
The Enlightened Ones
Ward of the Argonaut
The Number of My Days
Attack on the Moon
The Army Comes to Venus
Robot Son
The Abominable Snowman
City of the Tiger
Halloween for Mr. Faulkner
Planet of Waste
Curative Telepath
Twelve Months and a Day
The Peacemakers
The Waters of Death
To Mars and Venus in the Gay Nineties
Skies of Infamy
The Mind Thing

Remember, these titles and images may still be under copyright, so be inspired, but don’t take what isn’t yours!


Compiled via Golden Age Comic Book Stories

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Inspiration: Air Wonder Stories

Hugo Gernsback was a giant in the field of sci-fi, which is why I named the spaceport on Kepler-22B after him. The covers of his Air Wonder Stories didn’t have too many titles on them, but the images should serve as brain-fodder while you write up your sector.

Remember, these images may still be under copyright, so be inspired, but don’t take what isn’t yours!


Compiled via Golden Age Comic Book Stories

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Inspiration: Fantastic Adventures

Another batch of inspirational titles and images, this time from Fantastic Adventures!


Revolt of the Robots
The Invisible Robinhood
Invaders from Sirius
City Under the Sea
Horror Out of Carthage
The Man from Hell
The Purple Conspiracy
The Robot Peril
Death Over Chicago
The Prince of Mars Returns
Termanites Invade New York!
The Little People
Jalu of the Radiant Valley
The Blue Tropics
Norris Tapley’s Sixth Sense
The Whispering Gorilla
Lancelot Biggs: Master Navigator
Jongor of Lost Land
Paganini – Man or Devil?

And deserving of a better view, their impressions of aliens from our own Solar System.

In my mind, these are the species of the Solar Confederation, a fractious alliance of the peoples of the Sol System joined together in exploring the galaxy.

Remember, these titles and images may still be under copyright, so be inspired, but don’t take what isn’t yours!


Compiled via Golden Age Comic Book Stories

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Space Princess Has Arrived!

Available in E-Book for $5.00 and in print (WARNING - I DON'T HAVE MY REVIEW COPY YET - BUY AT YOUR OWN RISK) for $10.00.

The old Space Princess came in at 48 pages with the table of contents, OGL and a page of character sheets (they fit four on a sheet, so I'm not sure character sheet is the right term). The back page is a map you can use for your first space fortress - I'm posting it below as well.

Lots of Space Princess ideas bubbling in my head today, so the next few weeks will see a few posts dedicated to it at The Land of Nod blog. I already want to do an expansion called Space Patrol that will get a little more into a setting, but also throw in some classes, monsters and rules that will make it more useful for depicting characters in a fleet that travels between stars, a "star fleet" one might call it, wearing technicolor uniforms, exploring strange, new worlds (maybe THE Strange New World), etc. etc. etc. You get the idea.

If you buy it, I hope you like it and get some use out of it - and if you come up with your own ideas and additions and post them, please let me know!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Inspiration: Planet Stories

How did George Lucas create one of the largest and most profitable science-fiction franchises in history? Why, by ripping off (legally, mind you) just about everyone he could find! Why not do the same?

Enjoy some inspirational images and story titles from Planet Stories!

Goddess of the Moon
Martian Terror
The Girl from Infinite Smallness
The Dragon-Queen of Jupiter
Mutiny Aboard the “Terra”
Invaders of the Forbidden Moon
Vassals of the Master-World
Monster of the Asteroid
The Lorelei of Death
Thief of Mars
The Thing of Venus
The Last Martian
Black Friar of the Flame
Task to Lahri
Venus Enslaved
Colossus of Chaos
Alcatraz of the Starways
The Blue Behemoth
The Eyes of Thar
The Silver Plague
The Vanishing Venusians
The Bubble Dwellers
Juggernaut of Space
The Great Green Blight
Engines of the Gods
The Blue Venus
Enchantress of Venus
Cargo to Callisto
Warrior-Maid of Mars
Witch of the Demon Seas
Martian Nightmare
Black Amazon of Mars
The Star-Saint
Captives of the Thieve-Star
The Virgin of Valkarion
The Timeless Ones
The Incubi of Parallel X
Vengeance on Mars
The Pit of Nympthons
Swordsman of Lost Terra
Sargasso of Lost Starships
Calling World-4 of Kithgol
Tonight the Stars Revolt
Captive of the Centaurianess
The Man Who Staked the Stars
Master of the Moondog
Warlock of Sharrador
A Sound of Thunder
Mars Minus Bisha
The Man the Tech-Men Made
Sword of Tormain
Cage of a Thousand Wings
The Brain Sinner
Dawn of the Demi-Gods
The Ambassadors of Flesh
Mary Anonymous
Telportress of Alpha
The Vanisher
Ultimate Eve

Remember, these titles may still be under copyright, so be inspired, but don’t take what isn’t yours!


Compiled via Golden Age Comic Book Stories

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