Archive for the ‘News’ Category

One Unique Thing

November 15, 2012 14 comments

This isn’t really a setting post so much as a thought experiment. If you had to name one absolutely unique thing about your character, what would it be?
Some seem obvious like Aladraian’s apprenticeship to The Psiontist, but it could be argued that’s merely a manifestation of his icon relationship, not a unique thing about him specifically.
Obviously if you haven’t thought of one feel free to make it up. While it can be tied to an existing aspect of your character (i.e. Zasahl’s high intimidate is the result of people literally seeing the furious visage of Bahamut through his eyes) it could be totally unrelated. Just nothing with a combat bonus, OK?

If they don’t contradict anything I might let you treat them as canon. If you can come up with an in-game reason to have it then even better (i.e. contact with Grayson’s staff awakened your latent psionic ability and now you can wield a glowy, telekinetic version of your favored item that behaves just like the real thing).

EDIT: Also is it more convenient to run the game at the usual time (plus an hour for American Daylight Savings)? So Saturday for the majority of you? Because Ranneko can’t make it Friday.

Categories: News

Session 4: The Duel that Never Happened?

October 28, 2012 9 comments

The session started with Crias making a fumbled attempt to get Zasahl’s shock stick. He was intimidated into submission and spent the rest of the session cowering in a corner.

Fun fact: Intimidate is a straight up roll vs Will, and Zasahl has a godly intimidate bonus!

From there things got a bit strange – Zasahl and Knostril  began to see each other as enemies and began a fight to the death. Both were well armoured and had trouble doing any real damage to one another, and any time that Zasahl was hit he simply healed himself. The two fought through the lobby, wearing each other down slowly, as their battle spilled into the hall. Zasahl retreated into the Faraday memorial room hoping that its enchantments would distract his foe. Unfortunately the room’s effects only render its contents uninteresting, not its occupants, and Knostril found himself free of distraction and utterly focused on Zasahl’s end. Realizing his mistake, Zasahl allowed the psionic effects of the room to free his mind of distraction as well, and the two began beating each other bloody (repeatedly). Before the final blow could be struck, Knostril hesitated, unwilling to gamble what little energy he had left on one last attack.

As he began to make his move, the two found themselves floating in a stellar void, before being returned to the lobby  – apparently the Astrosage had her own agenda with this fight. Thinking no more of it, Knostril charged, only to miss, as he no longer had the focus the Faraday room provided. Zasahl went to burn him with a sacred flame only to find that he had not been fighting Knostril after all – he had just shattered the Psionic Nexus of a Faraday Corps defense construct. The machine had sensed the damaged Arcane battery, and detected intruders, using its psionic abilities to wipe the minds of most of the party, and project hallucinations into the mind of the remaining two. Knostril’s final blow and Zasahl’s holy fire had shattered the source of its power, breaking the illusion and narrowly averting disaster. After salvaging the shards of its nexus and the twin daggers it wielded, the two threw its body into the Arcane fire, and the conflicting magical power sources reacted to slow its spread. With any luck, the party should now have enough time to come up with an escape plan, but they won’t be able to depend on any healing from Zasahl.

Bonus Feat for Zasahl and Knostril: Fire-Forged Friendship

Through their duel, Zasahl and Knostril gained an intuitive understanding of each others’ fighting styles and capabilities. Now when they aid one another, either through a skill check or in combat (through flanking etc), they get a +3 bonus instead of +2.

New Mechanic: Escalation Die

In addition, we’re going to use the Escalation die mechanic from 13th Age in combat – each round of combat with a successful hit increments a d6 by 1. The value on the die (1-6) is added to all attack rolls the party makes. So if the ED is 4 everyone gets +4 to hit. Enemies don’t – it represents the party learning their foes’ weaknesses and being able to better circumvent them.


That was a fun fight but a lot of people were busy today and couldn’t make it. Would it be more convenient to move the game back a day to Friday (US etc)/Saturday (NZ/Australia)?

So the next session would be 6 days from now instead of a week.

Let me know if you can make it.

Categories: Mechanics, News, Session Log

Mechanics: Icon Relationships

September 25, 2012 8 comments

The 13 Major Players, or Icons as I probably should call them because it’s way catchier, they’re a pretty important part of the setting, and that’s what 13th Age where I stole the system from which inspired me in a completely non-plagiaristic way called them. You’ll be working for or against them most of the time, unless it’s something personal, and even then they have a tendency to meddle.

But how does that work mechanically? Well it’s pretty simple.

You each start out with 3 relationship points that represent your character’s “footprint” in the galaxy so far. You can spend these points on each of the 12 known icons to gain either positive (+), negative (-) or conflicted (~) relationships with them. The form this takes is up to you – it might be a familiarity with their practices, they might be your sworn enemy, or you might have a troubled past with them and their followers. Whatever the case, you’ve got some experience with them.

An example might be a space pirate who occasionally raided The World Builder’s ships (-1), and frequently found herself in business with the Huntsman’s agents while doing so (+2).

Your relationship value determine the number of d6es you can roll to invoke it. You’re hoping for 5s (complicated success) or 6s (outright success).

With this established, you can start to use those relationships to your advantage. Our Pirate might be in a spot of trouble with some Whetstone-Tuatha mercenaries, and willing to make a deal with the Huntsman’s lackeys to throw her pursuers off her trail. So she’d roll 2d6 based on her relationship with the Huntsman. If a 5 turns up, the pirate might encounter one of his agents she previously antagonized, still sore about losing a contract. He’d give chase, only to run headlong into the people already pursuing her, allowing her to slip away in the confusion if she’s quick enough. If a 6 turns up however, things go a lot more smoothly – one of her fences agrees to let her hide out for a few days, for  a reasonable price. If both show up, well, maybe that price wasn’t so reasonable after all.

Of course,  if neither come up and the time is right – say she rolled snake eyes – it might be because something else happened entirely. There’s a chance one of the other icons did something unexpected, and she’d best hope it wasn’t the World Builder.

In other news:

Ranneko has completed a character sheet for Lachlan – a human thief seeking his true love and a fortune to go with her.

He’s travelled from his remote colony to Ferossa to attend the Touchdown Festival – the 50th anniversary of Ferrosa’s founding, and a momentous occasion for Whetstone-Tuatha. This event is significant enough that The World Builder himself – Lord Ceylon Tuatha will be in attendance. As a wise and powerful druid, people from all corners of the galaxy will be gathering to hopefully partake in his unique insight. The colony will be unusually crowded, but the chance to seek the council of Lord Tuatha and perhaps help himself to the guest’s valuables are too much to resist.*

*Unless he decides to change any of the above motivations or details.

That’s the scene as it’s set at the start of the campaign. You’ll all be aware of it, and it should help explain what you’re all doing at the time.

In order to better figure out relationships and motivations, I’ll be hosting a meeting in what I hope to be the session time slot within the Roll20 app, which should also help everyone get familiar with it before we play. I’m thinking 9am Sunday my time (GMT+12), which translates to:

  • 9am Sunday (GMT+12) – Me
  • 4pm Saturday (GMT-5) – Specktre
  • 7am Sunday (GMT+10) – Ranneko
  • 4pm Saturday (GMT-5) – Aldowyn
  • 11pm Saturday (GMT+2) – Jarenth
  • 4pm Saturday (GMT-5) – JPH
  • 3pm Saturday (GMT-6) – Krellen
  • 4pm Saturday (GMT-5) – Desgardes

Let me know if I’ve gotten any time zones wrong, failed to take into account Daylight Savings etc , but that’s probably the most reasonable set of times I can come up with. It’s still pushing it a bit, but we’ve got people right across the board here.

So let me know corrections, suggestions or questions in the comments.

Edit x2: Looks like time slot #2 won, it’s not perfect so we’ll probably have the meeting at least using those times.

Categories: Mechanics, News

Progress: What Has to be Done

September 11, 2012 8 comments

So here’s what needs to happen before this thing can run.

  1. I need the character sheets – I have 4/6. This is the most important part.
  2. I would appreciate theme music, because your alternative is singing.
  3. We need to organize a group chat (using Roll20) and figure out the character’s relationship to each other, and to the major players. The major players are the New Vegas style reputation system. There is at least one major player you can’t know of at this point because [SPOILERS], but the others are fair game.
  4. We need to know when we can meet for this.
  5. Virtual tabletops use static images called pogs to represent characters, you’ll need some of those and I can probably draw them, but I don’t know what will need drawing.

When that’s done I’m ready when you guys are. Until then I’ll keep posting some lore as it comes to me. Maybe something about the logistics of colonization?

Any questions?  Anywhere you’re interested in going? This is the final preparation phase because I want to get this done as soon as possible.

Might be a good idea to try posting times in GMT because as a non-American I get really confused when people say “Pacific time”, but I live on an island in the Pacific and that’s totally not the time here.

New Zealand is GMT+12 for reference. I’m hoping I’m the most difficult one to account for (I usually am) because I can handle that.


Note that the party currently consists of:

  • Julie Greenleaf – A Halfling Rogue (JPH) [No Character Sheet]
  • Cassie Cloudclimber – A Human Artificer (Krellen)
  • Zasahl Melandro – A Dragonborn Cleric (Jarenth) [background incomplete on the character sheet]
  • Crias Syld – A Gensai Warden (Desgardes)
  • Aladraian – An Eladrin Psion (Aldowyn)
  • Knostril – A Dwarven Fighter (TheSpecktre) [No character sheet or background.]
Categories: News

Progress: The Party So Far

August 15, 2012 8 comments

Just a quick heads up because some people were wondering earlier what the party was looking like. I’m doing this from memory so if you’ve changed the details since then don’t hesitate to point it out.

JPH is playing a Halfling Rogue

A Rogue (PHB1) is a Striker meaning a focus on hit and run tactics with sneak attack damage

Krellen is playing a human Artificer

Artificers (Eberron) are Leaders who focus on imbuing items with arcane magic to buff allies

Desgardes is playing a Watersoul Genasi Warden

Wardens (PHB2) are primal defenders who draw on the power of nature bolster their abilities while hindering their foes

Jarenth is playing a Dragonborn Cleric of Bahamut

Clerics are divine  leaders with inexplicable martial prowess as well as healing capabilities

If anyone else has given me their character breakdown then I’ve just forgotten about it and you should remind me in the comments.

Of the six people who posted in the sign ups thread (seven if the timing works out) that’s what I’ve got so far. There’s no particular rush, I’m willing to get going whenever you are, and until then I’ll keep posting worldbuilding. If anyone has any particular requests that are important to their character concept, again, that’s what the comments are for.

Future topic possibilities:

  • Zero Gravity fighting – you continue moving every turn unless stopped
  • Circumventing the vacuum – the difficulties of cosmic existence and the magic used to get around them
  • Starships – So they’re like ships, but not for water?
  • Races and their homeworlds – how did they all get here and what are they doing?
  • Factions and figures – who are the big names in Arcanauts?
  • Science fantasy – exactly how much science do people understand?
  • New races – It’s a galaxy teeming with life after all?
  • Technology – what do people have and what does it do?
  • Power sources – So psionics aren’t the background radiation from someone opening a door in reality?

I’ve got a tonne of ideas, and there’s always going to be more stuff to discover in the game itself. These posts are just a brief overview of common knowledge with a few helpings of rumours and theories thrown in.

Categories: News


August 10, 2012 9 comments

Quick update: Planning is going well – I’ve been doing a lot of worldbuilding stuff even outside discussing feathered dragonborn, but I’m leaving most of the story idea vague. I don’t like the idea of planning it in detail simply because I’ll inevitably have to change things up further down the line, but for now the ideas I have got seem solid enough.  Aside from that I’m mainly just going over the rules and making sure I know what the hell I’m doing here.

So far I’m very happy with the player turnout and want to thank everyone whose expressed interest in the campaign. I’s certainly very motivating knowing the audience I’m making this for because I think collectively we’ve written enough words on bad writing and RPG design to fill several books at this point so  mean to really put my money where my mouth is here. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a time that fits everyone in, – It might end up being evening for me, during the day for people in the US/Europe, because I’m pretty sure during the day for me, aside from early morning is like midnight over there or something.

Signups and character ideas that I know of so far are:

  • Jarenth
  • TheSpecktre (Swordmage?)
  • Krellen (Wizard)
  • JPH (Rogue)
  • Mumbles

With Ranneko and Desgardes expressing conditional interest.

If anyone’s stuck on character ideas, Fourth Edition has four main roles to fill – Leader, Defender, Striker and Controller. The ideas I listed above cover all the positions except leader, which might be nice to have. But that said, anything goes really – those ideas aren’t set in stone and people could end up playing completely different characters to what I’ve listed there.

Because this post is content light, so here’s my first draft for the Whetstone-Tuatha Alliance logo, which was rejected because I’ve got to have some standards here:

I wanted to make the caption “In space, nobody can hear you scream… except us” but that wouldn’t fit without shrinking the font size.

Their current logo is more fantasy, less Aliens, because unlike Weyland-Yutani, I like to think they actually have character traits beyond being stupid evil all the time. Of course, any more detail about their agenda/s would be telling.

Categories: News

Sign Ups are Now Open

August 7, 2012 9 comments

Arcanauts is a custom campaign setting for Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition based around the idea that any sufficiently advance magic is indistinguishable from science.

Long ago when the Motherrock was the only home civilization knew, there was a meeting of the most brilliant minds in the world – Wizards, Psions, Artificiers and others at the peaks of their respective crafts got together to solve perhaps the greatest challenge ever posed – they were to conquer the cosmos themselves. From there work began tirelessly – manipulating the stagnant political system, uplifting and educating the unskilled labour of the world, and funding their endevour with conquered or bought draconic hoardes a concerted effort was made to tear the world from the dark ages and into enlightenment.

A quarter of a Millenium later that dream has become real – the Motherrock is all but abandoned now, as the myriad races comprising global civilization have spread to the stars.  Powerful magic enables faster than light travel, shields colonies from cosmic debris and enables organic races to breathe the empty vacuum. Dwarven miners fuel an interstellar economy with riches found in asteroids while Elves seek to understand nature on a galactic scale. Humans colonise new worlds while warforged constructs build massive space stations. Races once thought to be extraplanar have been discovered living indigenous to alien worlds, now accessible through conventional travel.

It’s a time of great technological innovation and philosophical uncertainty – the burgeoning civilization of the galaxy stands to cement it’s place in the cosmos, but what exactly that is has yet to be decided.

You take the role of interstellar explorers – pioneers on the edge of known existence whose expertise keep civilization running, even if they aren’t always spoken of in honest society. You’ll navigate vast spatial  anomalies, discover new species and do battle in some of the most inhospitable locations known to sentient life. You’ll need quick thinking, a trusty blade and enough mystical power to turn a sun supernova if you want to survive the final frontier.


So who’s in?


Categories: News