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Get Yer' Stalwart Updates Here!

The Splintered Realm - Sat, 07/06/2024 - 18:04
I've got two new documents that are both quite rough around the edges...
The World of Stalwart Volume 2 is my first work on expanding the game world that was presented in Volume 1. Volume 1 was largely a collection of the material that I had thus far (revised and re-aligned to fit into this world and this game). However, Volume 2 is largely new ideas and things that I've only hinted at in the past. FYI, I've left the original notes for the appendix in the back, but I'm adding new catalogued Doc comics to a new list (before the old list)... I've just kept the old list in place temporarily so I can refer to it and align new back issue discoveries to the existing list.
The Stalwart Guide to Meridian is already shaping up nicely. I expect it will be relatively brief (maybe 16 pages)? but will have enough to start an ongoing series of your own with this as a base. I am not putting a lot of game information here; that is going into the World of Stalwart Volume 2. So, when I mention a new character, I will talk about their role in Meridian in the Guide to Meridian, but will give their game stats and comics history over in the World of Stalwart Volume 2. While it's tempting to have everything right where you'd want it, I think it's better to keep things organized for later use; if I have some character stat blocks that aren't in the World of Stalwart collections, then things can be harder to find later on. I'm also going to put in a bunch of plot hooks, which may or may not get built upon later as I develop some adventures.
My plan is to finish these two books (at least the Stalwart Guide to Meridian), and then start releasing adventures set in and around the city. I can already see a possible long-term campaign or two here, so those might end up being books as well (but there are only so many hours in the day).
One final thought... I've had several themes emerge as I've been working on Doc stories for the last while here, and some of them have surprised me a bit.
1. I have found that Doc Stalwart is largely a peace maker. So many of his stories end with him figuring out how to call a truce and have people dwell in relative harmony. I like the irony that a guy who can throw a tank and is constantly fighting everyone and anyone wants peace more than anything. I like that conflict in him.
2. One of the emerging core themes of the series is the role of machines in human experience. I guess that AI has me thinking about this more and more, but I've now got two storylines where Doc gets into philosophical debates with robots; he gets Zero to stop killing people by having Zero consider that creating is more powerful than destroying, and to be a truly powerful creature, Zero must find a way to create (since that is the primary role of God... the thing to which Zero aspires). The second debate is with the Stalwart Sentinel (no he's not my take on Vision, why do you keep saying that?) who was created by Project Javelin to be their own 'version' of Doc Stalwart (they were able to use brainwaves they had taken from him in his younger years while he was being studied and trained at the Tomorrow Project).  When they realize that he's missing something, Doc meets with the Sentinel (who he didn't know existed) and ultimately argues that the Sentinel cannot 'be' like Doc until it truly has the ability to think and create, not only to apply algorithms to replicate what Doc would do in situations. Doc is able to craft a program that gives the Sentinel the opportunity to learn and grow, and possibly become human at some point.

Doctor Who 2024 Season Viewing Figures Update

Blogtor Who - Sat, 07/06/2024 - 18:00
Empire of the Death is the #1 drama of the week, while we get our first idea of the final BARB viewing figures for Boom, 73 Yards, and Dot and Bubble. There’s also an update on Space Babies’ longer term performance

 

It’s been a couple of week since Empire of Death closed out the 2024 season of Doctor Who. So there’s a lot of new information to unpack. We now have the +7 results for both parts of the finale, Legend of Ruby Sunday and Empire of Death. We’ve also got our first sense of what to expect from the final +28 viewing figures for Boom, 73 Yards, and Dot and Bubble. On top of all that statements from the BBC give some sense of the wider picture for the season. These go beyond the data that BARB provides but provide crucial context to their view of Doctor Who‘s success.

 

Mel (BONNIE LANGFORD) joins the undead in Empire of Death, cornering the Doctor (NCUTI GATWA),BBC STUDIOS,James Pardon Both halves of the season finale feature in the Top 20 +7s for their respective weeks, with significant time-shift growth

Let’s begin with the most recent episodes. The +7 viewing figures reveal that in the week after transmission, The Legend of Ruby Sunday was seen by 3.5m people in the UK. Meanwhile, second half Empire of Death has a +7 viewing figure of 3.69m. That means that while Legend was down an almost imperceptible 0.02m (0.6%) on previous episode Rogue, Empire in turn added 0.19m (5.4%) to Legend’s result.

They’re helped to those results by large time-shifts. The first part of the finale added 1.48m (73.3%) to its overnight, while the conclusion gained 1.44m (64.0%) to its initial result. This aren’t quite the biggest time-shifts of the season; that honour still belongs to Boom’s 75.49%. But it indicates the strong response to the episodes and Sutekh’s return, apparently undamaged by the mixed reviews for the finale.

They also include the pre-transmission iPlayer views of 0.3m (Legend of Ruby Sunday) and 0.28m (Empire of Death). These are among the largest pre-transmission numbers for the season, which had continued to grow as, apparently, viewers got used to the midnight drop.

In terms of the charts, the two episodes are at #19 and #18 respectively. They manage to hang on in the Top 20 in a week full of live sports like the Euros football television and shows and stripped shows like Love Island, which is on six times a week. Within its own category Doctor Who was the #1 drama the week of Empire of Death. This means it beat long running shows like Casualty, and Midsomer Murders, as well as new crime drama Rebus.

 

Ruby Sunday (MILLIE GIBSON) toasts her and the Woman’s success in 73 Yards. BBC STUDIOS,James Pardon Though yet to be confirmed, we now have a fair idea of how the season’s middle episodes will do in the final BARB results

The latest +28 viewing figures have yet to be officially released. However, based on the time-shifting numbers that Blogtor Who has seen, we have a reasonable idea of what they’ll be. Still, take the below with a hint of caution until the results are officially confirmed in this month’s Doctor Who Magazine.

Boom looks likely to finish on 4.21m viewers. That would be up around 0.63m (17.6%) from the battlefield drama’s +7 viewing figure. It would also mean it would be down around 0.2m (5%) from previous episode The Devil’s Chord.

73 Yards seems set to get a +28 number of around 4.56m, which would be about 0.5m (12.3%) new viewers since the +7 number. That would be 0.35m (8.3%) more than Boom. It would also mean that the spooky Doctor-lite episode continues to be the highest result of the season.

Finally, signs are that Dot and Bubble will have a +28 of in and around 3.81m, up approximately 0.43m (12.7%) from its +7 result. That would be down 0.75m (16.4%) from the season high of 73 Yards.

We’ll update you next month with a full overview of the season’s +28 results once they’re officially confirmed.

 

The Doctor (Ncuit Gatwa) hugs Ruby (Millie Gibson) in Space Babies,BBC STUDIOS AND BAD WOLF, Photo by James Pardon Beyond the usual BARB results, the BBC have revealed Space Babies’ running total is now around 6 million

It’s also worth discussing some of the recent comments from the BBC about Doctor Who’s performance this year, and give a little bit more context to them.

According to the BBC, Space Babies’ audience is now “nearly 6 million.” In fact, between that comment and the time of writing it’s now likely slightly over 6m. This is about 1.5m more than its expected +28 viewing figure, but why? One factor, as we mentioned previously, is that in many ways the BBC has access to more accurate numbers than BARB can provide. In qualifying Space Babies’ performance, they can include both its BBC Three and BBC Two repeats during the week. It also includes any time-shifted recordings of them. With the BBC Three repeats alone getting around 0.5m viewers each week, they’re not insignificant additions.

Crucially, those are viewers not credited to Doctor Who in the BARB numbers but which undoubtedly count towards the BBC’s view of its success. Blogtor should point out too, that these repeat viewings didn’t exist in recent years. Therefore, season on season comparisons based purely on BBC One and iPlayer numbers aren’t strictly like for like.

 

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson explore Babystation Beta in Space Babies,BBC STUDIOS AND BAD WOLF,Photo by James Pardon Even after the season’s end, Doctor Who is still one of the most watched shows on iPlayer, with Space Babies alone watched almost half a million times in the past month

But consider also what this progression suggests. About this time last month Russell T Davies was suggesting that total for Space Babies was 5.6m. So Doctor Who has added about half a million new views even in its second month since transmission. People have joked, sometime derisively, about a “+365” viewing figure. But in truth, from the BBC’s perspective, there’s value in such a metric. If a show can grow its viewing figure to 227% of the original overnight over two months, then that’s worth knowing. Of course, Doctor Who is a show with a fanbase who often re-watch episodes. It also continually encourages new fans to jump on board. Considering those factors, that total number is likely to keep on growing over the course of the year.

Rightly or wrongly, it’s part of the modern world that media viewing habits are stretched out over an extended period of time. Hypothetically, an episode that’s constantly available for a year might get perhaps 8-10m views over that year. That would be no less impressive than one which in the old days got that in one day. Then it would effectively vanish never be seen again, sitting on the same number twelve months later.

It’s no wonder the BBC are trumpeting Doctor Who are “one of the most-watched programs on iPlayer.”

 

The Doctor (Ncuti Gatwa) and Ruby Sunday (Millie Gibson) set course for adventure. ,BBC Studios 2023,James Pardon The under 35 demographic is a vital battleground not just for Doctor Who, but for the future of television

The BBC statement also talked about Doctor Who’s status with the under 35 demographic. But why is that important? It’s been a recurring theme in these articles for several years now that audiences are shrinking across the board, with Doctor Who not immune, but actually more resistant than most dramas. One of several reasons for that is rather morbid. Every year, more of the generation for whom television was the default form of home entertainment are dying off. The middle generations consider it just one of a number of entertainment streams they engage with, including gaming, short form creator led content, and social media. But for the youngest generations television is actually their least preferred avenue to entertainment.

Many will be skeptical that there’s any real hope of turning that around. However, it’s undeniable that if television is to survive to the 22nd century, much less claw back lost territory, it has to engage more younger viewers. So shows like Doctor Who, which do generate with under 35s, are a vital tool to get young people through the door. All in the hope that it will be habit forming. A gateway to watching other shows too.

 

The Doctor (NCUTI GATWA) ,BBC Studios/Bad Wolf,James Pardon Doctor Who is the #1 drama of the year so far with under 35s, a key target demographic for the BBC

It appears that roughly a fifth of Doctor Who’s audience this year has been under 34, with some episodes closer to a third. Many weeks, only the likes of the Euros football tournament and Love Island have done better with the demographic. Indeed, as the BBC pointed out in their statement, Doctor Who has been their #1 scripted drama this year.  It’s also near the top of that metric across all channels and streaming platforms in the UK.

All this makes Doctor Who a vital spearhead in the war to get young people watching television. Given that wider battle, it’s almost more important to the future than the overall viewing figure.

 

Nicola Coughlan as Joy in Joy to the World – BBC Studios 2023,James Pardon Doctor Who returns with Joy to the World this Christmas to BBC One  in the UK and Ireland, and Disney+ everywhere else

The post Doctor Who 2024 Season Viewing Figures Update appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

An In Depth Q&A on Running a Traveller Braunstein

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Sat, 07/06/2024 - 17:16

Mr Jeffro, I am trying to introduce Classic Traveller to my friends, but even I have no idea which books are considered its core, since there are so many. Which ones would I need?

Traveller was ruined first because GDW needed to publish a new product every 28 days. Second because none of the developers understood rpgs at all after the original edition. If you can’t make a great campaign out of Books 1-3 and Supplements 1 and 4, then you are playing wrong. You just do not need any rules or supplements beyond that. Pick up some Dumarest books by E. C. Tubb if you don’t know what to do with it. Maybe some Flandry by Poul Anderson. Space Viking by piper. Planet of Adventure and/or the Demon Princes series by Jack Vance. Traveller is not Star Wars or Star Trek. It’s not an action movie. Traveller is Raymond Chandler meets Sergio Leone. Traveller is a pile of science fiction novels you never heard of before. GET YOUR HEAD ON STRAIGHT!

Your players likely don’t have an imagination because that is just what happens now. They won’t know how to imagine the sort of milieu that Traveller takes for granted. You are going to have to bring things to life through abductive reasoning techniques right before their eyes. It works. We have a case study on how to do this up on my blog. (See links below.) Just do minimal prep for a randomly rolled world. Drop NPCs onto it from Supplements 1 and 4. Introduce Traveller characters generated from Book 1 into it. Open things up. Use the reaction table when people meet. Just that much should produce in your mind a remarkable scene, some kind of kinetic action the seizes your imagination. Do it with 10 people independently and you should have some neat stuff happening and know more about all the characters involved. IT’S FUN.

From there Book 1 combats should start breaking out. Look at what all is going on and “encourage” them to happen if you have to. Make them dangerous but give people a decent chance of winning… as long as they don’t sell each other out. Book 1 combat is a brilliantly designed rule set. The Braunstein play at the strategic level can generate large scale prisoner’s dilemmas… but then when you play out the battles with Book 1, uneasy alliances are forced to play out a prisoner’s dilemma game every single combat round.

It’s really fun. I can’t think of another game that has this property. YOU CAN’T GO WRONG WITH THIS!

Fantastic. I’m also trying to tell my players about Braunsteins, how should I explain it?

Never explain it. I can tell you from experience that no one wants to hear anyone talk about rpg esoterica. Just tell them that about the world and then ask them individually what they imagine their character would do in that situation. Pretend it is a background story thing. Remember not even David Wesely could persuade his friends to play in the original Braunstein. He had to trick them and pretend they were going to do the usual game night thing just with one minor little experimental pregame thing. Be like David Wesely. Be a cunning son of a gun!

I don’t think even I understand what a braunstein is. Is it patron play or faction play? I’ve been reading your posts for a while but I am a tiny bit confused.

Braunstein is independent action by several persons/parties/factions with a healthy fog of war element. See the Prisoner’s Dilemma as the simplest possible example. See Diplomacy for the prime inspiration of the genre. Imagine Diplomacy with roleplaying and you are very close to Braunstein.

Conventional rpg play tends to have one referee and one party of player characters. There tends to be a lot of pressure on everyone to have the players cooperate. There are some occasional notes that get passed to the referee and some conflict is possible, but most role-players take a very dim view of player vs. player conflict within an adventure scenario.

Braunsteins meanwhile have a fundamentally different structure. The referee meets with each player individually to determine what they are doing within the game. While this goes on, all the other players are free to negotiate, cut deals, scheme, plan, and figure out how to betray each other. In this type of roleplaying, the idea that the players should all be cooperating together goes out the window. Instead of the referee being saddled with developing adventure scenarios and NPC’s and other prep work, what ends up happening is that all of the players characters end up being the NPC’s and encounters for every other player character. With this one idea framing your very simple classic Traveller Books 1-3 rules pamphlets, you no longer need any supplements or adventure products at all. You can just start adjudicating whatever the players are doing to each other!

Oh, wow. Another question I would ask is, how do you “resolve” braunsteins? As far as I understand, from what I’ve seen, it’s a turn-based structure, but the mechanics of how these things are resolved elude me. Either I’m illiterate or I just can’t find the article lol

You will look at the orders that the players generated independently. Then you will have to imagine what the results should be. If you have played a lot of rpgs, you should know what rpg situations look like, feel like. They can be very simple, on the order of Barbarian Prince. Some of these situations will be complex because they will involve the secret orders of SEVERAL players. These are the best! These scenarios are so good, they are the reason we use Braunstein style play with rpgs.

Instead of running rpgs with a top-down enforced narrative and instead of running rpgs with a canned adventure scenario… you simply take the players’ orders and everything that has happened in the game so far and make up scenarios that are worth playing out of that! This is hands down the best way to make an rpg scenario. The action should take on a life of its own. You will need a lot of judgement and it will be impossible to be completely fair. So, err on the side of action, excitement, and conflict that is worth playing out. Everybody should get into trouble. Everyone should face the consequences of their choices. But also, everybody should have a reasonable chance at pulling off something incredible. The crazy thing is that people actually do it all the time!

I understand that part. Should I have a separate group of people for a braunstein from my regular session group?

You should be able to switch between play modes as needed and/or incorporate the activities of players who cannot attend sessions as it makes sense. The people who play in a Braunstein event one week can play a more conventional adventure together the following week. Use your judgement! We have tried to demonstrate a wide range of approaches to these ideas so that people can will know what to do in their own particular circumstances.

Can you give me a list of info I should give to people participating in the Braunstein?

You can see exactly what I handed to my players for The Barons of Moonstein scenario here. Note in the writeup I included a brief description of the world, outlined a few points of interest, described some of the main NPC’s, established the general scenario parameters, clarified some rules that players were most likely to misunderstand, and then explained precisely what I was looking for in their orders for turn one and when I expected to have them.

Can you give me a suggested time frame for 1 round (like how in 5e, 1 round is 6 seconds, even though no one keeps track of that)?

This is a little ironic, but I do not enforce any kind of strict timekeeping when I run a Braunstein. The turns are an abstraction. They do not have an explicit, defined length of time that they represent. Similar to that, you will note that I did not draw up a map of the world, either. Precise time and distance and space constraints do not matter in the context of a Braunstein. Everything is about the general intent of the player. If the intent is reasonable and it contributes the overall situation in an interesting way, then what will happen is that the nature of the world and environment will get nailed down after the resulting battle scenarios are played out.

This is a very subtle point and it is very important. I leave all of the things that wargame scenarios and adventure scenarios tend to take great pains to be very explicit about and I DON’T DO THAT AT ALL. Because I will make scenarios on the spot out of whatever the players are doing. It is a premise of the Braunstein that whatever the players decide to do, they WILL be interacting with each other and coming into conflict with each other and be involved with situations that will influence everybody else in subsequent turns. With a strict map and timekeeping regimen, someone is liable to be sitting out for a turn or two and in a Braunstein that is a complete disaster. That can easily end up being half or even all of the game.

I know this probably sounds insane, but I can tell you that you already do it. If you have ever made a character and decided to leave your language and weapon proficiency choices blank because you had no idea what kind of game your DM was running, then you should know exactly what I am talking about. You filled that part of your character sheet out only after you were several sessions into the game and you had a good idea of what kind of campaign you were playing in. I am doing the exact same thing except I flipped it. The referee is doing that with the world details and the maps because he has no idea what the world is really like until he can see what kind of game the players collectively want. The real nature of the world and its NPC’s will be defined after the fact explicitly to support what the players are most interested in and most excited about.

Can you give me a suggested way of doing “initiative” of whose orders get resolved first, and how long it takes for an order to get resolved?

The way I run Braunsteins, there is no order in which the turns are resolved. The referee looks at the totality of the orders and then devises a set of scenarios out of that complete mess. Initially, everything will look like complete chaos. But then something happens. Via a phenomenon called apophenia, the referee will somehow receive inspiration that ties everything together. If there is any way to interpret those orders such that two or more players end up in a scenario together, go with that. Early on in the game, though, it is more likely that things will be happening where the player characters are gathering information or else interacting with NPC’s instead. This is kind of dull, but it is maybe more interesting than simply getting blown away because your character forgot his sunglasses and returned to his stateroom in order to get them.

As far as the resolution goes, every character is only going to be involved in one scenario between turns and nobody can be in two places at once, so there is no need for there to be a strict order of events. The real governing factor in all of this is merely the need getting everything done quickly. If you are running the game remotely via Direct Messages, then all of the scenarios can be adjudicated concurrently. As soon as one person stops answering your queries, that scenario is in limbo until they come back. If you are running things in person, things are liable to be pretty boring for a lot of the players if you run each scenario in order. If there is any way to hand off a scenario to some kind of co-referee in order to get more people engaged between Braunstein turns, I would definitely do that.

Heap big thanks to Citard for being excited about this project and asking such great questions. No one has ever run a game quite like this. This is the first time that these ideas have ever been expressed. This type of gaming is BRAND NEW. Yes, Braunsteins have been run before. Wargame scenarios like the ones my game produced have been done. (Or maybe not. Even that one battle was unprecedented within both the wargaming and rpg spaces!) You have maybe even played in a LARP and have decided that Braunsteins are basically the same thing. I think you’re wrong! Something different happens when you use these techniques in the way that I have outlined here in order to create these kinds of game situations. People are excited because there really is something different about this!

For more details on this proof of concept of this completely NEW IDEA in tabletop rpg gaming, please see my extensive documentation and analysis in the following posts:

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Through the Weirdwood

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 07/06/2024 - 11:11
By Jonah Lemkins
Self Published
Generic/Universal
Levels ?

The Old North Road goes through the Weirdwood. It’s too far to go around it at this point. The barmaid at the last tavern said, “Only the strangest of folk go romping through that wood, and IF they come back, they wind up even stranger than before.” Best keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you — you wouldn’t want to end up weird.

This fourteen page hex adventure details seven hexes in each of two different woods settings. “Details” is a strong word for “nothing is really present except some ideas that the DM may or may not turn in to something.” This is not a hex crawl. It’s nothing at all.

There’s no real intro to this adventure. It’s just four bullet points that say you might be escorting a wagon or looking to harvest magical flora and fauna and the like. Nothing more than that. And then the hexes start. No movement rules. No hex size. I guess there is a small table, in the back, of twelve encounters you could have.  But no indication of frequency or anything like that. Meh. Then the hexes start.

Fourteen pages and fourteen hexes; one per page, right? Nope. Hex two is the Coalition of Cognisant Creatures. It consists of four bullet points that take up a very small portion of the page real estate. “Magic items & scrolls litter the underside of Zulie’s tower, and their magics leached into the water. Many nearby animals are now brightly colored, sentient, and some have minor powers. The herbivores and carnivores are starting to bicker .Plan to bring all animals here to drink and rule the Weirdwood, but are beset by the Boogeygourd” Ok man, Go!  You get to make something out of that. If you can. And most of the hexes are just like that one. Something weird going on that is described in a few bullet points. 

If I were to look at that encounter in the context of, say, City State, then I might not have an issue with it. There are, literally, hundreds of other encounters to be had and the overwhelming force of them means that no single encounter has to carry the weight of the adventure on its shoulders. But this isn’t City State. Or, really, any sort of hex crawl. The size, and some of the inter-related hexes, would seem to dictate that each of these encounters must stand on their more, more like an individual encounter in the modern day. If you’re gonna have three encounters in the adventure then they should each be a good one. And those four bullets are not an adventure to be made. 

Let us look at another one of these hexes: “ Campfires, tents, dancing cultists, & vast cabbage patch surround an enormous brainlike cabbage. The Gigacabbage might be an eldritch entity with mind control powers, an unthinking weed spreading cabbage growths like a cancer, or maybe a friendly forest spirit with much to teach. Cultists are friendly unless you diss cabbage. Will warn PCs about the heretical members of the Sect of Sauerkraut hiding in the woods nearby. The Sect of Sauerkraut aim to become as gods by fermenting and eating the entire Gigacabbage” So, yeah, we should talk about tone. If this were just tossed in to some far off hex then, cool cool, a one off sort of thing to have fun with. But the tone here is not inconsistent with the rest of the adventure hexes, and, in fact, might a little on te tamer side of weird in the Weirdwood, especially once the Fey side of the house shows up. I get that some people are going to be ok with this sort of tone. And I am, as well, in VERY small doses. But too many encounters of this type and we devolve in to silliness, which this adventure is. 

Teeny tiny hex descriptions of three or four bullets. They generally have little for the party to interact with. Or, rather, there is little reason for the party to interact with the people in a hex. Wander by the hex, look at the weird thing in it, and then move on to the next hex and do the same thing. The hexes don’t really have any reason, at all, to interact with them. They don’t mess with you. Or have wealth. It’s just another aimless museum tour adventure  where you star at things and then move on to the next room.

This is $1 at DriveThru. The preview is four pages. On the fourth page you get to see hex one, which is VERY atypical. Most are just a couple of bullet points.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/484632/through-the-weirdwood-a-small-sandbox-adventure?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Deal of the Day - Downtime in Zyan (OSR Adventure)

Tenkar's Tavern - Sat, 07/06/2024 - 01:27


Today's Deal of the Day is Downtime in Zyan by Ben Laurance. Normally 7.50 in PDF, but until tomorrow morning Downtime in Zyan is on sale for 3 bucks.

Downtime in Zyan presents a system for downtime, the activities characters engage in between adventures. The mole rat people of Wishery will be your guides to this enchanting subject. Brought to life by the whimsical art of Evlyn Moreau, the mole rats will show you how to transform the neglected space between adventures into a site where player-driven schemes and dreams grow with delightful results. The unified but flexible system of downtime procedures presented in this zine allows players to leave a lasting mark on the campaign world beginning at the end of their very first adventure. The zine presents flavorful but simple rules for building institutions, cultivating relationships, crafting splendid items, gathering intelligence, mastering martial techniques, researching obscure topics, engaging in wild revelries, plumbing the perilous depths of spellcraft, mastering skills, and seeking enlightenment through spiritual exercises. Supercharge your sandbox campaign with this elegant and innovative supplement! 

Downtime in Zyan is system agnostic. But it is written with older editions of Dungeons & Dragons, their retro-clones (such as Old School Essentials), and other rules lite OSR systems in mind. 


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Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Ghoul Prince

Doomslakers! - Sat, 07/06/2024 - 00:21

I drew this in a sketchbook and meant to include it in Black Pudding 8... but I forgot. Doh! 



Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Corporate Assets (27/63)

Hack & Slash - Fri, 07/05/2024 - 20:14

 You want to play the game that uses these.










Sunglasses are pretty common with corporate assets. If you laughed you have to play. 



Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

RICH REVIEWS: Betty & Veronica: Summer Spectacular # 1

First Comics News - Fri, 07/05/2024 - 19:57
Title: Betty & Veronica: Summer Spectacular # 1 Publisher: Archie Comics Stories: Tom DeFalco, Ian Flynn, Dan Parent, Frank Doyle Pencils: Steven Butler, Holly G!, Dan Parent, Dan DeCarlo Inks:…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Deeper Into Darkness in CROCODILE BLACK #3

First Comics News - Fri, 07/05/2024 - 19:50
LOS ANGELES, CA (July 5, 2024) – BOOM! Studios today revealed a first look at CROCODILE BLACK #3, the next issue in the brand new series by Eisner-nominated writer Phillip…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

FANTASTIC COMIC FAN: Space Cruizin’

First Comics News - Fri, 07/05/2024 - 19:40
Jon Doxter has run multiple Kickstarter campaigns with Dime Store Detective and Alpha Dogs. He is running a new campaign with a new comic, Space Cruizin‘, and sat down with…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

DARK HORSE CELEBRATES THE RETURN OF LANCE KREITER TO DARK HORSE COMICS

First Comics News - Fri, 07/05/2024 - 17:45
  Dark Horse Veteran Returns to Licensing Department MILWAUKIE, Ore., (July 5, 2024)— Dark Horse welcomes Lance Kreiter back to the team as he takes on the role of Senior Director…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

RICK REMENDER, BRIAN POSEHN & BRETT PARSON INVITE READERS TO TAKE A DITCH DAY AND JOIN THE PARTY IN UPCOMING GROMMETS #3 THIS MONTH

First Comics News - Fri, 07/05/2024 - 17:43
Sneak peek of preview pages revealed PORTLAND, Ore. 07/05/2024 — Image Comics is pleased to reveal a sneak peek of the shenanigans to come in this month’s issue of Grommets by The New…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Barons of Moonstein Campaign State at End of Turn 2

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Fri, 07/05/2024 - 17:43

The cry of an Arglebird pierced the calm. Somewhere out of sight, a rodent-like prey creature froze, consumed with fear. The striking predator dived out of the sky and whisked it away as a mother reflexively gathered her brood to herself. The Arglebird is so cruel and vicious, they had been known to capture and eat small children.

Luther Stickell looked up in the sky and marveled at the colors of the plumage. Such a predator! Much like himself, he thought. He took a long drag off of his cigarette and flicked it away.

Then the rays of the evening sun glanced off of the hydrogen tanks. The large red letters on the signage by the hydrogen tankage leered out at him– NO SMOKING, it said. Luther couldn’t help but chuckle. This world. These hapless citizens of the Imperium! There is no one here to protect them from HIM. He shook his head at the very thought of these hapless land-bound rubes.

He glanced back at the detained laborers. He couldn’t figure it out. What had they shown up to start removing starport equipment from the vicinity of the scout base? He hadn’t gotten anything approaching a good answer. And why hadn’t the steward of Ariston returned his call? This was starting to get ridiculous. Luther wondered if he needed to make an example out of someone. Give these hicks a proper show of force so that would understand that they needed to get in line.

But this turned out not to be necessary. Luther had a volunteer! The truck driver that was trying to remove the defribulizer which was vital to the process of creating refined starship fuel from plain water was so anxious he finally lost his self-control. He made a breank for a gap in the fencing that marked out the precise point where the Star Emperors domain ended and the autonomous local zone began. Luthers thugs reacted immediately and dropped him with a barrage of shotgun fire.

Such needless violence, Luther thought. All because these yokels could not acknowledge his right to rule over them. What a waste!

He turned back and surveyed the remaining starport laborers. He said, “well, gentlemen. Do any of you intend to start anything with me? You can see it won’t go well for you!”

They never answered. One of Luther’s lackeys had rushed up to him and said he had gotten a message from House Ariston.

“Is he still on the line?” Luther demanded.

“No, he said he couldn’t wait for you. He said to just give you this.”

Luther heard the cry of the Arglebird one last time. The sunlight on the hydrogen tanks nearly blinded him as he took the note into his hands. He opened it up and was confused because it consisted of a single word. “Goodbye,” it said. What in the blazes could that mean, Luther wondered.

That’s when the hydrogen tanks exploded, instantly killing not only Luther and the remain starport workers, but also completely destroying the tramp freighter that had sat there on the landing pad. Thereafter, a message from the planetary beacon subsequently went out, repeating a message every five minutes to any starship that would have been in radio distance. “The Moonshine starport at coordinates 4217, has been relocated to coordinates 7699. Operations are otherwise normal.” The new coordinates were of course within boundaries of the Ariston Barony.

Somewhere an Arglebird took to the skies, a two-year-old human child clutched in its talons.

Well, I wanted one player character to be eliminated this round. It’s true. But the players really outdid themselves. They produced four kills, it was amazing. I mean just look at the initial roster. It’s been shattered!

What a game! Two PC’s killed by one guy that was caught red-handed breaking into staterooms. He subsequently betrayed the teams of adventurers that joined together in order to recover the missing scout they suspected was lost in the jungles, no doubt caught up in some thrilling and harrying situation.

One revolver. Four bullets. Four dead player characters. WHAT A RUN!

Alas, three players are not enough to sustain an ongoing Braunstein game, so this particular scenario is now called.

The three surviving player characters are welcome to continue the campaign however by issuing orders in a real-time Traveller campaign on a weekly basis. Who knows what will shake out as they continue to explore Moonshine and the interstellar space nearby. Will an adventuring party emerge and play out traditional rpg adventures? Will another Braunstein event be set up on Moonshine or some place else? Who knows!

It all depends on the actions of Jung, Roarke, and Joe in the weeks ahead. Whatever it is that they get into, I’m sure it will be obvious what kind of play mode should be shifted to then.

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BACK FROM BEYOND: KNIGHT VS. KNIGHT!

First Comics News - Fri, 07/05/2024 - 15:23
Marc Spector is back from the beyond as the Fist of Khonshu!   Check out the newly revealed cover for VENGEANCE OF THE MOON KNIGHT #8, on sale August 14,…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Casual Crochet Bucket Hat

Moogly - Fri, 07/05/2024 - 15:01

The Casual Crochet Bucket Hat is a breathable, easy-to-wear summer hat - made with Bernat Maker to match the Casual Bag Set! It's a reader request, and I love the way it turned out. And of course, it's a free crochet pattern on Moogly! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links; materials provided by Yarnspirations. Continuing...

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STORM VS. HYPERION FOR THE FATE OF THE PLANET IN AVENGERS #18!

First Comics News - Fri, 07/05/2024 - 13:50
After joining the team in next month’s AVENGERS #17, Storm must prove herself Earth’s Mightiest Mutant by defending the planet from the all-powerful HYPERION in AVENGERS #18!   Check out…
Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Doctor Who Stars Move in to Henry House

Blogtor Who - Fri, 07/05/2024 - 07:00
Upcoming sitcom pilot Henry House will feature a whole Whoniverse of stars

Henry House is a new comedy pilot set in the world of a care home for the elderly. When new receptionist Izzy joins the staff, she strikes up an unlikely friendship with Paul, one of the residents. Together they explore the eccentric world of the people who work and live in the home, as well as those who visit. With a bit of luck, Izzy will even still have her job when the day is through. The independent film is hoped to be just the start of a series, and nearing the end of the filming. What’s more, there’s a huge collection of former Doctor Who stars among the cast. Some are lead roles, while others cameos, but almost all will be familiar faces to fans.

The new film is a quasi-sequel to 2022’s Izzy vs Jess, linked by the character of receptionist Izzy Orchard, played by Órla Jones. She’s joined by Doctor Who’s Peter Purves as Paul. As well as his many years as a Blue Peter presenter, he played the First Doctor’s companion Steven Taylor from 1964 to 1965.

Carole Ann Ford, Colin Baker, Katy Manning, and Sophie Alrdred also feature

Other familiar Doctor Who faces include Carole Ann Ford, who played the Doctor’s granddaughter Susan, as Verity Totter. It’s an appropriate name for her character, merging the name of Verity Lambert, Who’s first producer, and the Totter’s Lane location of the first episode. Katy Manning, who was the Third Doctor’s companion Jo and recently returned for a Tales of the TARDIS, is Daphne. Meanwhile, Sixth Doctor Colin Baker and Ace actor Sophie Aldred cameo as a father and daughter.

Even more roles go to actors with a Doctor Who connection. There’s Jacqueline King (Sylvia Noble) as Doris too. Meanwhile, Annette Badland (‘Margaret’ Slitheen) as Pamela, Ian McNeice (Winston Churchill) as Taid, and Simon Fisher-Becker (Dorium), as Jasper help round out the cast.

Exactly when and how you’ll be able to see Henry House is still unknown, though some sources indicate it could be out some time this winter.

To keep up to date with developments, you can check the official Rocking Horse Media page for updates.

The post Doctor Who Stars Move in to Henry House appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Rendezvous on Moonshine

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Fri, 07/05/2024 - 03:05

Turn 2 of the Barons of Moonstein produced a phenomenal Battle Royale involving six out of the seven remaining players. Here is a complete rundown of the characters involved, the rulings I made, and the details of the scenario as it played out. Double blind play involving a half dozen characters operating as factions of one while being caught within multiple prisoner’s dilemmas created a unique and engaging scenario that will change the way you think about both rpgs and wargames.

Cast of Characters:

Joe Gelt-Waunder — Ex-merchant Captain 696BC9 Age 46, 7 Terms, Cr 50,000, Pilot-3, Laser Rifle-2, Bribery-2, Vehicle-1 (ground car), Jack of all Trades-1, Navigation-1, Free Trader, SMG.

Joe is in town hoping to run into Roarke Garnett. He does! Unfortunately, this puts him on the scene of a very bad situation. He will be placed randomly once the situation is set up.

Roarke Garnett — Ex-marine Force Commander, AA8898, age 26, 2 terms, Cr 20k, Laser Carbine-1, Revolver-1, Cutlass-1, Medical-2, Tactics-1, Mechanical-1. Auto Rifle with 100 round belt, Cloth Armor, Reflec Armor underneath, Revolver w/ 1 reload (4 in gun, 6 in reload), Filter Mask, Lockpick Kit.

Due to referee error, Roarke was aware of the strong chance that he would be betrayed by Holgar during this round when they had been previously planning on cooperating. Thus, he has elected to betray everyone in his ill-fated Getalong Gang of adventurers. He is not present for pickup by the accursed wheeled ATV which I think was required for what the group was originally planning for the turn. Roarke Garnett is positioned for the perfect Autorifle attack on Holgar if he should turn up at the agreed location. This however puts the life of his “friends” at stake. He is concealed at the start of the scenario.

5 Thugs armed with shotguns and wearing Cloth armor are on hand. As part of Roarke’s inevitable betrayal of Holgar, he snitched him out to the Baroness. The Baroness will risk none of her materiel on these troublesome lowlifes, so she contacts Luther Stickell who has dispatched his thugs to collect him for the reward money. The thugs are positioned for optimal shotgun attacks on Holgar in the event that he turns up as expected.

Cirrina Stauros — Ex-army Lt. Colonel, 3868B8, Age 34, 4 terms, cr50,000, Rifle-2, SMG-1, Forward Observer-1, Gambling-1, Winged Craft-1. Has an SMG, a dagger, and cloth armor.

Cirrina is totally naive, completely faithful, and eager to meet up with her new friends in order to set out on what is no doubt the greatest Traveller adventure ever devised– a really good one drawn from a half dozen old paperbacks. Man, it would have been great! Unfortunately, she picked the wrong friends.

Huck Portico — Retired Scout, B6B556, Age 26, 2 Terms, CR23, Pilot-1, Jack of All Trades-1, Vacc-1, Gunnery-1. Wields a cutlass and wears mesh armor.

Huck is also totally naive, completely faithful, and eager to meet up with his new friends. He wanted to play a nice little Traveller adventure, but the referee totally ruined it. Honestly, there would have been trouble in town even if Roarke had not sold him out.

Holger Anderson — Ex-Merchant 4th Officer, 956975, Age 22, 1 term, cr60,000, Bribery-1, Halberd-1, Wheeled Vehicle-1. Has body pistol and dagger and wears both reflec and cloth armor.

Holger is a wanted man. I have no idea why he thought carouse with a BBB689C baroness, but here we are. A reaction roll result of two on turn one has turned him into a magnet for all kinds of attention. He is rolling into the scene with a wheeled ATV which is evidently some kind of far future Big Foot style monster truck. Due to his very precise orders, we know that he is not going to be attempting to run over the odd man out of this weird prisoner’s dilemma that was set up.

Holger stops his ATV at the rendezvous point and opens the door with his dagger ready and within CLOSE range of Huck. Huck’s posture is very trusting, so he does not give any trouble. Neither party is liable to spaz out. However, a lot of other people are. This is the point when all hell breaks loose.

I have taken great pains to set this scenario up in accordance with the orders I was given, but it occurs to me that everything hinges on what type of armor rating I give to people that are inside the ATV. I must determine this before I begin taking combat orders. The rules state that the ATV may be “lightly armored” but does nothing to define what that means. What to do!

I was going to say shooting at the driver of an ATV was either a -2 or -3 penalty, but looking at this thing… it looks pretty sturdy. I am going to go with -3. Obviously, some kind of penetration rule would be in order… something like what you see in Azhanti High Lightning or maybe Striker or High Guard. GURPS would provide some kind of damage resistance value what would be relevant here. However, all of these rules are off the table due to our scenario’s book control order. We are going with a -3 penalty here mostly because the guy that was most likely to die from it was a good sport and agreed to it in order to help get the game going.

Another question is how much the ATV can move in the range band system during turn two. It looks like an oversized vehicle from Car Wars. The combat turn is 15 seconds. Given an acceleration of 2.5 mph up to speed 25 and then 5 mph thereafter, the speed of the ATV on a second-by-second basis would be 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5, 25. For combat turn one, Holger will be spending 5 seconds getting into the driver’s seat. He would then have 10 seconds to accelerate. If we assume a Traveller range band is more or less equivalent to a Car Wars inch… then he will have moved .25 + .5 + .75 + 1 + 1.25 + 1.5 + 1.75 + 2 + 2.25 + 2.5 inches at the start of turn 2 where his enemies will likely be getting their parting shots. That is roughly 13 range bands.

The last question is whether the people inside the ATV can shoot at people. I think with the combat round being 15 seconds long and the thing looking like some kind of military vehicle, it makes sense that something like arrow slits are installed on the thing. “Pedestrians” firing from inside a moving vehicle would be penalized with a -2 modifier. Yes, I just made this up.

  1. Concealed Thing of Interest A
  2. ATV with Holger at the wheel and with Huck and Cirrina having just gotten inside.
  3. Concealed Thing of Interest B
  4. Joe Gelt-Waunder

This is a six-person scenario where everyone is a faction of one. My one rule as a referee is that the scenarios that come out of any kind of campaign play do not need to be fair. However, they do have to be worth playing out. Hopefully we got something here!

Actions for the first turn of combat.

  • Roarke Garnett breaks cover from point B and moves toward the ATV. He will end the combat round at range band #13.
  • Holger Anderson is accelerating the ATV in the direction of Joe Gelt-Waunder and will attempt to run him over if he reveals himself to be hostile during the combat round.
  • The thugs check the book for the chances of taking out Holger with shotguns at medium range with this -3 penalty on top. They are skill zero. They get a +1 bonus for DEX 9+ and a -1 penalty for DEX 3-. Cloth armor gives a -3 penalty. Range gives a +3 penalty. Their dexterity scores are 5, 7, 7, 9, and 3. So, one guy gets a -1 and another gets a +1. The to-hit penalties for nailing Holgar are -3, -3, -3, -2, and -4. The to-hit targets are 11+, 11+, 11+, 10+, and 12+. These are not great odds, but they are dramatic. They all miss.
  • Cirrina Stauros fires an SMG at the thugs at range of Medium. Range penalty is +3. Cloth armor is -3. Skill is +1. Attribute bonus is zero. To-hit roll is 7+. Hits with a 10. Randomly select thug #4 for damage. 12 points of damage. Thug is 899, so he unconscious.
  • Huck Portico had a cutlass when he got into the ATV. If he had fired a gun this round, he would have missed with a four. Next round he will have picked up any weapon that happens to be inside the ATV. Not sure what is there!
  • Joe Gelt-Waunder is heading towards his car and about to put groceries into the trunk of his car when he sees this disturbance. He throws the groceries in, starts the cars, accelerates in reverse, and then does a bootlegger reverse. He can potentially speed away from the scene during round 2 if he should desire. He is at range band #20 when round 2 begins.

Range band map for round 2:

  1. 5 Thugs
  2. ATV with Holger at the wheel and with Huck, Cirrina, and Roarke inside.
  3. Joe Gelt-Waunder in a car that has stopped. Speed 0 at start of round.

Combat actions for round 2:

  • Joe Gelt-Waunder fires a laser rifle at Holger. It penetrates the ATV and hits Holger, but Holger’s reflec armor stops the shot.
  • The thugs need to make a morale check at 7+. They do it! They move one range band toward the ATV and fire. Range is LONG, so this is futile.
  • Huck Portico is at LONG range firing at guys in cloth armor with a shotgun. This at -9 to-hit, so this is futile.
  • Cirrina Stauros needed 7+ with an SMG to shoot at the thugs last round. The shift to long range makes this shot futile.
  • Roarke points a revolver at Holgar and tells him to get out of the vehicle. Holgar hits the gas, giving a -2 penalty to Roarke’s shot. Revolver vs Cloth at Close Range is +2 and -3. His dexterity is 10 which gives him a +1. He has +1 for skill. He needs 9+ to hit but then rolls a 10. HOLGAR IS UNCONSCIOUS.

Range band map for round 3:

  1. Unconscious thug #4. 4 Thugs
  2. ATV with NOBODY at the wheel and with Huck, Cirrina, and Roarke inside.
  3. Joe Gelt-Waunder in a car that has stopped. Speed 0 at start of round.
  • Huck attempts to kill Roarke with his cutlass. He is at +2 for strength. Roarke is -3 for Cloth. Nobody declared that they were moving to CLOSE range, so I rule that this is SHORT. Cutlass is at +2. Skill is 0. Huck needs a 6+ to hit. HE HITS! He does 9 points of damage. Roarke is AA8. (!!) If the damage lands on the Endurance attribute, then he is unconscious. It lands on Strength, so he is still going.
  • Cirrina Stauros gets the dead body out of the driver’s seat and tries to wrap her head around the controls.
  • Roarke fires his revolver at Huck. Hucks mesh armor gives a -1 modifier. Revolver at SHORT is +2. Skill is +1. Dexterity DM is +1. Roarke needs a 5+. He rolls a 12! Damage is 15. HUCK IS UNCONSCIOUS.
  • Oh, those thugs! What is happening?! I rule that if a thug makes their to-hit roll, then on 1-2 they hit Roarke, on 3-4 they hit Cirrina, and on 5-6 they hit nothing. Everyone has cloth armor, so its 11+, 11+, 11+, and 12+. (Cirrina took out the best one previously.) All miss.
  • Joe is shooting his laser at a thug. Range is VERY LONG for +1. Electronic sights give +4. Cloth armor gives +2. Skill gives +2. I think this is an automatic hit. 19 damage, Thug #5 is B3A, Strength goes to zero. Endurance goes to 2, Thug #5 is unconscious.

Range band map for round 4:

  1. Unconscious thug #4 and #5. 3 thugs remaining.
  2. ATV with Cirrina at the wheel and with Huck looming over the dead bodies of both Holgar and Huck.
  3. Joe Gelt-Waunder in a car that has stopped. Speed 0 at start of round.
  • The thugs needs a morale check. (?) Either way, they made it. They hit on 11+. They got two hits. Using random hit targeting. I rule that if a thug makes their to-hit roll, then on 1-2 they hit Roarke, on 3-4 they hit Cirrina, and on 5-6 they hit nothing. One shot misses and the other hits Roarke. Shotgun is 4d. Damage is 13. Roarke is 1A8. The dice are 3-1-4-5. Roarke allocates the 4 and 3 to Endurance. He allocates the 1 and 5 to Dexterity. Roarke is 141. I don’t think he is unconscious!
  • Roarke shoots at the thugs with an Automatic Rifle. Medium range is +2. Cloth is -1. Skill is zero. A Dexterity of 10 gives a DM of +2. Roarke needs 5+. Roarke hits. Damage is 11. Thug #3 is 677 and is now unconcious.
  • Joe takes a laser shot at Cirrina. Range is LONG for +2. Electronic sights give +4. Cloth armor gives +2. Skill gives +2. The ATV gives -3. Damage is 21. Cirrina is 386. Cirrina is DEAD.
  • (Cirrina was going to move the ATV, but whatever.)

During round five, Joe discovers that Roark has reflec armor. The thugs shoot at the ATV uselessly. And then somehow Dunder rolls an 8- for his intelligence and just barely manages to drive away.

There is some question of what effect damage actally has on the attrubutes. Does damage to Strength actually cause you to be able to carry less stuff? Would the attribute penalty for being encumbered cause someone to fall unconscious? I argue that no it wouldn’t because the game design would be so terrible if everyone had to recalculate encumbrance and attribute modifiers for weapons every time they took damage.

So, Roarke Garnett wins the battle, leaves with the body of that the Baroness Anana is offering cr5,000 for.

Congratulations, Roarke. Well played!

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