Faction: ACE or “Who taught you how to fly?” (Starjammer/Starfinder)

The tentacle is back for another article. This time we need to talk about who taught you to fly? What academy did you part-take in? Well let’s make an organization/faction that with built-in plot device.

he tentacle is back for another article. This time we need to talk about who taught you to fly? What academy did you part-take in? Well let’s make an organization/faction that with built-in plot device.

I give you ACE, or Accelerated Certifications of Explorers…

Accelerated Certification of Explorers (ACE)

Pilots for Hire

Leader: CEO and board Chairmen Sheyenne Alexxandra
Headquarters: Alpha Zeta, mobile space station

Two score ago, Accelerated Certification of Explorers, also known as ACE, started as a top gun pilot training academy boasting of the best and brightest from the civilized races around the Quad and beyond the Void. The academy offered a variety of classes ranging from weekend seminars teaching kids to pilot simple single man watercrafts to month-long training simulations on tactical heavy freighter combat. It was in a pilots favor and respected if a pilot held an ACE-approved certification pilot license.

As technology advanced and potential pilots sought cheaper training elsewhere, the ACE program expanded beyond the academy portion of the businesses and branched out to planetary expeditions. They serve as aerial surveillance and security for industrial corporations performing planet side surveys for future developments. The Alpha One (A1) Department services its clients with manned craft and aerial drones protecting the ground crew and providing surveillance shielding for clients that wish to keep operations secret. Providing services of radar jamming and scan deflectors are optional for an additional service fee.

Department Alpha Two (A2) handles requests for security of over long distance travel through hyperspace. Elite A2 starfighter pilots take on escort missions for freighter caravans that need defending from space pirates and organic threats traveling in deep space. This department gives guidance astral navigation through safe routes and pilots assigned to the contract will respond defensively to aggressive actions against employers. However, ACE policy dictates a responsive reaction versus initial confrontation. The pilots that join this department must be skilled in negotiation.

Department Alpha Three (A3) is the salvage and rescue fleet of the ACE company. A3 operates under contracts consisting of simple missions of planet-side equipment retrieval for corporations who left items behind, to answering distress beacons that the Union Worlds do not have time or resources in the area to inspect. The makeup of the A3 hosts a number of large freighters, tow ships, and starfighters equipped with the most advanced scanners and towing technology available.

Rumors persist of a division of the company that offers select services to only the most high profile of clients. ACE Public Relations (PRD) will never confirm the existence of the whispered department within the organization that performs these hush services. However, conspiracy theorists say the Delta Nova Zeta (DNZ) is a corporate mercenary division taking contracts of black ops rescue and withdraws, acting as crack pilot dog fighters bombarding slave ships, emergency medical extractions for undercover corporate or government agents, and performs ethical espionage and sabotage. The DNZ operatives fly in on unmarked ships and disappear before targets can register their movement.

Lead by CEO and Board Chairman Sheyenne Alexxandra, ACE Headquarters is located on a mobile space station that wonders the quadrant known as Alpha Zeta. This station houses a large percentage of ACE internal fleet of ships and offers a wide variety of services to ACE Certified Pilots. These services include medical services and resupply, dormitories for rent, refueling capabilities, including ship repairs and upgrades, an array of equipment (personal and otherwise) for rental and purchase, a job board access with access to freelance contracts and a number of essential services provided to members only.

ACE still operates a number of pilot training facilities among several Union planets, offering local licenses and higher quality ACE certifications. Local licenses focus on the society regulations of the planet, local government and Union qualifications for registered operation of the required craft. Then they offer a more intensive course designed with higher standards and lower graduation rate that qualify the individual as an ACE Certified Pilot. They use these higher courses to scout for potential recruits.

There you go. Small article today. But you have a faction of pilots that do cool stuff.

~Tentacle out!

What if: 3rd Party Starfinder Organized Play

How do you qualify and quantify cargo and list what is contraband from so much material that is floating in atmo?

Welcome back to the world of deep space where only the tentacle lives. In no attempt is this space creature attempting to get oxygen chords twisted. Just laying out some examples for race acceptation of organized play of third party material available on StarfinderSRD.com in a logical thought processes.

What if: Starfinder 3-Play open gaming organized play

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away the Admiral of the D20pfsrd.com fleet, John Reyst, put forth the idea of a collective of starship captains to take up arms and guide ships to the unknown quadrants of the universe. Through many talks and deliberations with wonderful ideas, time to explore the opportunity to lead the squad of ships was a restricting factor for many.

How do you qualify and quantify cargo and list what is contraband from so much material that is floating in atmo?

A new Verse, Explore the Void.

Starfinder is still a new toy fresh from the packaging that has a fantastic future to explore. Several companies have set up campaign settings, such as Legendary Planet: Worlds, Starfarer’s Companion, and even Starjammer. There are plenty of worlds to explore and traverse in your starship. The galaxy is open and the best part about these books, is that you can take some or a whole of it and make it your own. Qualifying what worlds should and shouldn’t be in is something we’ll discuss in a further in another article.

Let us talk races.

Races of the Galaxy.

Starting off we should look at what races should be incorporated and “legal” by the material that is available. Let’s nail down a transmission. StarfinderSRD.com. Makes sense, right? Since it’s part of the Opengamingnetwork.com, that should be a primary source. Bring it up on your view screen in a new window.

So we have the set list of Starfinder races from the core book. Make them legal, because they are the start of the system. Standard fantasy races are from the core book, so why not? (Personal opinion, you can use them, but I like to stray from them)

Next up click the “Races by Other Publishers”.

Oh look, the first one is Amora Game, Umvee. Enough detail on the home world, how they interact, and follows a basic standard format presented in the core book. Accepted (based on bias opinion).

Next up is D20PFSRD.com Publishing: abiarazi, manu, pasimachi, & transgenic. Again, the information presented follows the same format as the core, and pretty well balanced. Accepted.

Rogue Genius Games is next up. aasimar, catfolk, grippli, kitsune. As the other two, they come off as balanced with the detail needed on world, alignment, etc to be incorporated into your home game. Accepted

Then last but not least, STROH HAMMER races; given that we have accepted StarfinderSRD.com as the source of our material, we have to reject the asquenti and bethonir races. This is due to the quantifying of the cargo.

We have accepted the fact that the standard format for races should (if not MUST) adhere to the Starfinder core book to help us get the information we need, or at least conform to the set up of the “standard fantasy races” section with enough detail to add to your galaxy. In no way shape or form am I saying you can’t use these races, but for an organized play document, they don’t adhere to the format of a unifying information for all to use. It leaves too much for the GM & PC to come up with the information needed. Of course I always recommend you buy the 3PP PDF at all times for the race you want to play. Not everything on the StarfinderSRD has all the information needed for the race. Like our Umvee, if you want to know more of the goddess Daji, you need to buy the Xeno File issue that it appears in.

But it does raise the question, what data do you need to qualify the cargo? It has the racial stats you need to play the race. It fails to give alignment advice on playing or even a description of the race. With this in mind, let’s forget the sections: Homeworld & Adventures.  Society and Alignment, IMHO, is a required field for the race. Tell us about it. Relations is a grey area. There are a lot of races in the Quad to deal with. Names, it is the small flavor text that help in the growth of a character and makes it a little more personable. Physical Description is a MUST have. What does the race look like, what am I looking for, is it a fish or a bird?

Quantifying Cargo

In my opinion as a GM and Player of Starfinder rules, Races should have at a minimum format for organized play:

  1. Small intro like they do
  2. Ability Adjustments, HP, and Racial Traits
  3. Physical Description
  4. Society and Alignment
  5. Names
  6. Adventures (helps, but not needed)

Bonus: Homeworld, Adventures, Relations.

If I was in charge of a Third Party Organized Play system (for Starfinder), I would require the above.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions?

I would love to hear from you.

-Tentacle out!

Symbiotes and You (Starfinder)

Adding Symbiotes to your Starfinder game.

All Hail the Tentacle!

Let’s talk Starfinder. I’m the owner of Amora Game and our focus for this blog is working on a project for an upcoming Xeno Files issue.  Until Alien Archives is released we are limited to a number of speculations about how to billed races, but more importantly, how to build a monster. Specifically…..Symbiotes. I’m not talking Venom from Spider-Man fame, I speak of little creatures you cram into your ear like the “babble fish” from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Stick that guy in your ear and BAM!, you can understand all the languages while the goldfish sucks on your brain waves. So let’s make up some rules.

Symbiotes and You

The number of symbiotes that a character’s body can maintain at one time is related directly in portion to the starting racial hit points (HP) a race begins play with. For example, a Human begins play with 4 HP, allowing their body to only host 4 different types of symbiotes at once. An Abiarazi can support up to six different symbiotes, as their starting racial HP is 6. Umvee can host four symbiotes due to only have 4 HP,  and so on and so forth.

Each symbiote comes with a benefit. This benefit also comes with a cost, a price to that will be paid for cohabitation of the same body. A character’s starting racial HP also acts as a number of maximum slots that can be filled to host a symbiote. Each symbiote has a minimum slot cost, as some take more space than others do, due to size or benefit.

A host cannot gain double the benefit from having more than one of the same type of symbiote at a given time. Example: a character with two Cearkif symbiotes, can only gain the benefit as though he had one Cearkif. This also applies to symbiotes that give a numerical bonus, such as a +2 bonus to Fortitude Saves, the character can only benefit from one of these bonuses from the same type of symbiote.

For symboites that give numerical bonuses to the same statistic, but are a different type of symbiote, these bonuses stack together.

Symbiote Description

Name
Description
Level:  
Price: 
Size:  
Bonding: Time it takes to form a relationship and gain the benefit
Life Span: x; breed able; HP: 

Name: The name will state the name of the creature
Underneath the name will describe the creature, the benefits, and where they can be applied.
Level: This level will list the availability of the symbiote
Price: This is the price of the little bugger
Size: F-Fine; D-Diminutive; T-Tiny; S-Small
Bonding:
This section will explain the time it takes to form a perfect symbiosis with the creature and gain it’s benefits.
Life Span: Will list the duration a symbiote can live.
HP: In this section, it will explain the HP slot & “cost”; also how much HP the creature has.

Now that we have that taken care of as a general layout, let’s make a Cearkif. 

Cearkif
The cearkif of Epsilon-7782 is bright silver colored minnow-like creature with the capacity to help it’s host understand languages of a xeno humaniod race. These little brain-wave sucking cearkif must be inserted into the body via a cavity that will allow it to work it’s way to the host’s brain. Such as up a nose or through an ear opening. Cearkif than makes it’s home living in the cerebral brain fluid of sentient beings. It is a common companion for ambassadors and those that possess telepathy. It gives the host the ability to speak, read, and understand all languages.
Level: 1; Price: 125; Size: F
Bonding:
Cearkif bond with their host as soon as it is physically able to enter the host’s brain fluid.
Life Span: Once bonded, cearkif have an accelerated life span. So long as the host is in dialogue with an unknown language it naturally doesn’t speak, the cearkif can live indefinitely. After an hour of inconsistent chatter and inactive speech, it dies causing nausea and vomiting in the host until it is expelled (1d20 minutes).
HP: 1

 

So that’s some of the rules and preview of the Cearkif symbiote  that is being developed for a future Xeno File issue. Something to ponder and enjoy.

Tentacle Out!

Developer’s Journal 5: SW Powers = Techniques

1 Chi Point = 2 Power Points (roughly)

Holy Moly it’s almost the end of June. It’s been a bit crazy on the home front. Working through a lot of projects and this tentacle hasn’t had time to write Monday Manga or a Developer’s Journal.

So let’s do the Developer’s Journal since we just passed a Wednesday.

Expanding upon our last Journal , I have to transfer all the known powers from Savage Worlds to the Chi system. Which is pretty easy to do. 1 Chi Point = 2 Power Points (roughly).  Since SW players know what Trappings are, we look to design them differently. We go with the battle anime’s version of “Lazor Rocket 2000” or “Face Palm of Truth” as fun trappings to help set the mood.

I looked at naming conventions of Powers, which are now call Techniques. This might cause a ruckus in the area of game development of SW of “short and sweet” or “fast and furious”, but I wanted flavor than just generic bolt or burst powers. So we named Techniques after famous or legendary people, or after a “zodiac” animal of the world setting. Such as:

Crane Wing 
 Cost: 1
 Duration: 3 rounds (1/two rounds)
 Trappings: “Bare Palm Defense”, “Monkey Tail Swap”
 Those that push away swords with the palms of their hands, or samurai who practice two weapon style defense emulate a crane’s large wing span. This acts as the deflection power.

OR

Fang’s Draught
 Cost: 1
 Duration: 3 (1/two rounds)
 Range: Spirit
 Trappings: “Ex Remover”, “Poison Sting”, “Withering Touch”
 Alchemist Fang worked for one of the Imperial Families and had access to numerous resources for her studies. She also had an abusive husband who she started experimenting on. Fang’s husband was found days later in a living mummified state. Fang went on to remarry. This power acts as the lower trait power.

 

To keep in line with the Savage Worlds License you can’t reprint powers, but you can make reference to their source. And let’s be honest, I don’t want to reprint every power in the book. That cost time, money, AND page count. Like most third party references, you should always go back to the original source. This isn’t to say we haven’t come up with new powers Techniques, because we have. Like Clone and Fei’s Shout.

The Techniques give Art of War that little anime manga flavor bit to the setting, but also keeps the idea of fantastic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon running across bamboo limbs feel. The trappings are what make your home game personal vs that over there home game.

Developer’s Journal 5: Drejk

Long time freelance writer: Wojciech “Drejk” Gruchała.

Drejk

Today I want to do a brief introduction of my first and long time freelance writer: Wojciech “Drejk” Gruchała.
Drejk, as is his Paizo messageboard name, has a blog over on Blogspot called
Shaper of Worlds. He first started his freelance career for me at Amora Game when I stumbled upon a class he was designing in the “Homebrew” section on the boards. This turned into our third product (that still sells regularly); Commander & Centurion for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

He did the Commander class and Kevin Bond did the Centurion prestige class. Drejk has come a long way in his writing and style of how he writes. I recently gave him a challenge to write a low level adventure scenario for our long dead Prepare for War adventure path. Of all the people to breath a bit of life into it, I think he is the one to do it. I’m excited to see him grow over the years in his development abilities. I can say of all of my freelancers, he receives the least revisions.

Now as a publisher, that doesn’t always do well for freelancing. I’m biased when it comes to his design work that he has done for me. So it is hard for me to see any flaws in design and go back to him with feedback. I commonly hand it off to someone else to review. This is my failure as a publisher and I recognize this, I just really enjoy his work. I will do better to give better feedback directly on this adventure.

So check out some of his work.
Under the name Drejk.
Under his name credits here.
His Patreon is here that helps to fund his free Pathfinder Monster Design Blog here.

Tentacle out!

Developer’s Journal 4: World Setting Rules for SW

Setting Rules for an Asian Inspired SW

So some of my favorite rules are already implemented in the Savage Worlds explorer’s edition. Like Joker’s Wild and Blood & Guts. There is one that I like that was created by the folks over at Wine & Savages posted a fun setting rule that can be used for any martial arts / anime-manga style setting. They do a fun one called Comedy Backlash Comedy Backlash. (reprinted here for journal purpose)

New Setting Rule: Comedy Backlash
When a character utilizing Magic, Psionics, or Weird Science rolls poorly enough that backlash, brainburn, or a malfunction would normally be called for, the player (never the Game Master) can instead choose to suffer a Comedy Backlash effect. The hero is Shaken, but a second Shaken result cannot cause a Wound; instead, the player describes something embarrassing happening to the character.
Examples include:
  • The character accidentally destroys their own clothes, exposing themselves to onlookers.
  • Collateral damage from the attack causes debris to clonk the hero on the head.
  • The power explodes in the hero’s face, leaving cartoon scorch marks.
  • With the other player’s permission, the hero accidentally destroys another character’s clothes, exposing them to the original character’s bashful gaze. (The other hero does not suffer a Shaken result, but may wish to suddenly realize they’re naked after the fight is over.)
  • With the other player’s permission, the hero stumbles into a nearby ally, causing unintended intimate bodily contact and getting slapped for it.

With the above ^^ copy and pasted setting rule from them, I’ve developed a hindrance that could play well with the above. Rough draft for nose bleeds are below.

woooo

Nosebleed (major, minor)
Requirements: Novice
When being flirted with or having licentious thoughts most characters have blood rush to their cheeks, your character’s blood comes straight out their nose. Dirty thoughts, catching a risque glimpse of flesh or being placed in compromising situations, it’s fairly obvious when the character catches the slightest hint of the nude form.
As a minor hindrance your character’s nosebleed causes little to mild discomfort and results in a small trickle of blood running out of his nose. It’s more of an inconvenience and embarrassment in interactions.
When taken as a major hindrance the nosebleed turns lethal due to a fountain of blood loss. Your hero must make an unmodified Vigor check (beanies may be spent to reroll). On a fail, they fall unconscious after suffering 3 immediate fatigue and suffer one wound. One a success they suffer 1 wound due to intense blood loss and must take time to stop the bleeding. On a raise your hero only suffers from blood loss, 1 fatigue wound, and will need to take a minute to stop the bleeding.

With the 1st or 4th bullet point above, another player with the Nosebleed hindrance would play off each other very well.

A player who failed an activation of a Chi technique (my campaign setting powers) or who failed to activate a magic power suffer the effects of the 1st. Causing another player near by to suffer a minor Nosebleed adding to the anime comic relief of a glitch.

     Another setting rule I developed with inspiration stolen from HellFrost and Rippers is the our rule Way of Chi (draft)

Derived Stat:

Chi: 2 + ½ your Spirit die, modified accordingly.

What is Chi
Chi is the character’s inner capability to push themselves beyond the normal physical and mental limitations of the body. It’s a derived from the Spirit die. All characters can spend Chi to do many things. It’s their chance to will their destiny. A character can use it to re-roll their wild die,  increase their initiative, take an extra repeat action without suffering penalty.  It is sometimes used to fuel extraordinary powers that are called Chi Techniques. These techniques are explained later in this book. If a character’s Chi reaches zero a character suffer a Fatigue wound. A character is unable to heal this Fatigue until they have restored at least one point of Chi. Chi is explained further under the setting rules section of this book.

Way of Chi
Besides having the ability to power Chi Techniques for those that possess the ability, Chi can be used used by any Wild Card in the game. Chi is free to spend at any point on a Wild Card’s turn to perform one of the following actions:

  • Re-roll a Wild Die: A Wild Card can spend a Chi to re-roll a Wild Die at any point but only their Wild Die.
  •  Gain an Initiative Card: When initiative cards are dealt, a Chi point can be spent to gain an additional card. The hero decides which one to keep and discards the rest. Much like a Beanie is spent for re-rolling dice, a player can spend Chi to gain multiple cards. They can only keep one card as an initiative card.
  • Take a Repeat Action: A hero can spend a Chi point to repeat an action they just took, but suffer the multi-action penalty. They can spend 2 points to negate the penalty for multiple actions on the repeated action.

When a character’s Chi reaches zero they suffer a Fatigue wound. A character is unable to heal this Fatigue until they have restored at least one point of Chi to character’s Chi pool. The process of recovering Chi during a session is fairly simple. It requires the hero in game, to spend some time meditating. This meditation requires roughly an hour where the hero takes no other action except that of concentrating and centering themselves. If they take damage from any source or fall under an effects caused from of an outside source, they lose their focus and must start again. If distractions are avoided,  a successful Meditation roll, regains 1 Chi point, and on a raise they recover 2 points.

 

So that wraps up our (almost) month of silence since I got back from Japan. That blog of that is coming soon, as is the 4 draft reviews of Manga series I’ve finished.

Tentacle Out! ~TG

Developer’s Journal 2: Rise of the Tiger Clan

Rise of the Tiger Clan

In this edition of Developer’s Journal we look at the 2nd draft copy of the history section of one of the three clans found in our forthcoming RPG Art of War.  This focuses on the the rise of the Tiger Clan


Tiger Clan

Clan Family Names: Date, Huang, Khan, Lao, Luo, Luong, Ma, Sakai, Shingen, Sun, Yu, Zhang, Zhao

Common Tenets: Benevolence, Harmony

Common Concepts: Buxist, Youxia

Common Descriptors: Caregiver, Elemental, Fluid, Monk, White-hare

Clan Technique: Deflect Arrow, Ground Breaker, or Moon Rabbit Leap

Rise of the Stripped Tiger

The story of the Tiger Clan begins just as any other points in history where the oppressed bind together to stand against tyranny of any form. The clan comes from the former nomadic traditions of the vibrant communities across all of the Hanxia Plains. Farming villages that hold to seasonal festivals to celebrate the life of the common people. They believe in the practice of a balance of living in harmony with nature and each other.

They came into their own when the surrounding barbaric warlords threatened their quiet life with raiding and pillaging. Warlords living in the Wylds looking to expand their territory ravaged the land with constant displays of violence. Sending hordes of raiders to raze crops, demolish rival warlord’s villages, the slaughter livestock, enslave those who didn’t pay tribute and desecrate sacred shrines of the Enlightened Way.

It was the keepers of these holy places, the Buxist of the Enlightened Way, were the first to speak out against the imbalances of oppression. These monks of virtue trained in the use of chi, developed physical techniques to align with the mind to perform great feats of marvel. The Buxist taught the basics of these techniques to the local villages in order to help defend against the raiding bandits. They trained while they harvested and fortified their homes with the offerings that the Plains provided to them.

It wasn’t long until the warlord by the name of Black Jade heard of a village that learned the secrets of the balanced path and looked bend it to his will. Arriving in the village, Black jade, went looking for the senior monk that is said to have mastered shattering swords with his fist. To his dismay, the monk had moved onto the next village, leaving behind only his wisdom. Black Jade pressed the village elders for the location of the scrolls the he had left. Offering first with money, than protection from the other warlords, and finally he used intimidation.

Those that were present during the initial altercation are said to have been divided. Some stood in fear, unable to move, while others instinctively responded with flight. Then there were those that responded with a type of aggression of vengeance. Vengeance against those who didn’t follow the basic tenets of balance, those that followed corruption, power and tyranny.

Those that responded became known as the 13 Heroes of the Cleansing Jade. They traveled from village to village spreading their interpretation of the old teachings and training them in defense against invaders. These teachings united villages into larger communities that began to take the names of the heroes as their own. Bring about the 13 established families.

As news spread of the fall of warlord after warlord, so did the Emperor’s eye turn toward the plains. Rumors and fear of revolt spread throughout the court, and under encouragement of Kitsune Samurai of the court, the Emperor dispatched a royal military unit to suppress any threats of the empire. Upon arriving at the village of Lao, it seemed as though life was proceeding as normal. The troops of the Kitsune Clan attache were welcomed with loyal cheers. When village elders meet with the diplomats, they informed them that a resolution was already in hand, and all the Hanxia Plains villages remained loyal to the Empire.

As the royal army traveled to secure further territory from the savagery of the remaining warbands, they found similar stories with each village. The royal emissary called for each hero to return with the Kitsune Clan as honored guest to tell their story to the Emperor. Those that agreed, arrived in the capital to a grand ceremony with an audience to appear in front of the royal family. It was here that, the Emperor annotated each of them minor noble standing. He called the collection of heroes representing each village in attendance the Tiger Clan for their calm and fierce demeanor. All members of the Tiger Clan were assigned the duty of protecting the realm from injustice, preserving the code of BuXia, and keeping the kingdom in balance.

icon-2-tiger-clan-monk