Saturday, June 27, 2015

Flags of my Visions of Empire Setting

A kind person named Inku (Axel Loefving) posted a thread on RPG.NET offeriung to draw symbols and flags for people for free. So I asked him if he could draw a more professional version of my Visions of Empire setting for Classic Traveller; he agreed, and did some small changes to Oculus Orbus's UTR flag design, and also made me a Terran Empire standard and a New Terran Republic flag:

Terran Empire, Option #1

Terran Empire, Option #2

New Terran Republic

United Terran Republic

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Porting Over Grimmsgate to Stars Without Number

I'm currently running the Swords & Wizardry adventure Grimmsgate for my D&D 5E group, and so far it proves to be an interesting and enjoyable adventure. But yesterday, when I was re-reading this adventure while riding the train to the Tel-Aviv University, it dawned upon me - this could be an excellent Stars Without Number adventure as well! How so? After all, it has various strong fantasy elements such as demons, undead and courses. But this could be easily ported to sci-fi concepts.

The Ancient Temple becomes a pre-Scream Perimeter Agency research lab, which once upon a time housed a crazed Unbreaked AI. Three Perimeter Agents defeated the said AI after it wreaked some havoc on a nearby world, and brought it, locked in a datacube, to a research lab where it would be studied and stored safely. The facility had some robotic laboratories and a medbay as well. Eventually, as the Silence crept in, the facility's staff become little more than an atavistic religious group, following ritual after ritual in place of the old protocols. A young initiate, Arumvel his name, tried to breath some technological life into this dying ritual, and used his dataport (implanted into all initiates in a barely-functional initiation ritual) to jack into the mainframe where the AI was used. The old AI quickly "hacked" Arumvel's brain and brainwashed him into releasing it into the facility's still-functional computer network, using the remaining robotics to murder the other initiates and priests. However, it was unsuccessful in subverting the facility's own breaked AI ("Tomb Guardian") which still controls some of the robotics. Using the facility's Pretech medlab, the AI converted Arumvel into a full cyborg equipped with a nanite-cloud weapon. Arumvel now captures local peasants and transforms them into crazed cyborgs (Mogura-Jin) under his (and the AI's) control. The AI would wish to eventually take over the area and rebuild communication arrays in order to transmit itself into passing ships... Unless someone stops them.

The PCs will be hired by the regional government to investigate disappearances in the remote colonial village of Grimmsgate (or Givat-Giram) near that facility...

Conversion Notes:

The demon Vuod - Unbreak AI
The Tomb Guardian - Break AI security system
Arumvel - now a Cyborg!
Mogura-Jin - full Cyborgs!
Cursed Humans - Cyborgs with partial implants (due to lacking supplies).
Undead skeletons - humanoid service robots.
"Powerful" undead skeletons - security robots (also humanoid in shape)
Etarra and Albraith - locals captured and kept restrained to tables in the medlab pending Cyborg conversion!
Manes Demons - improved robots under AI control.
Paladins - Perimeter Agents (placed in cryogenic storage but dead due to the unbreaked AI's machinations)
Fane - mainframe
Altar - backup mainframe; orb is replaced by a dataslab with full data backup.
Dragon on the regional map - local apex predator (see stats for Traveller here - easily convertible to SWN)
Golden Treasure - Pretech salvagecomponentss

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

More XCOM2 inspiration for Visions of Empire!

Under Earth Federal Administration (EFA) Rule
Another IGN article about the upcoming strategy computer game, XCOM2, is full of inspirational material for my Visions of Empire setting - for the time when Earth was under Reticulan rule, complete with concept art of our occupied homeworld. This is how Mother Terra felt until we kicked out the alien overlords and established the glorious United Terran Republic (UTR). The main difference between the XCOM2 world and the Visions of Empire setting is that while the Sectoid/Ethreal rule on Earth will undoubtedly be kicked out by a protracted guerrilla war, the EFA was overthrown by a mass uprising led by the Terran Front (later the Terran Coalition), in which many EFA military units also switched sides and joined the rebellion. The large-scale fighting took place after Terra's declaration of independence, when the new Free Terra defended itself against intervention attempts by Reticulan fleets and their subject-species running-dog lackeys.

Terran Revolutionaries - Fathers of the Terran Guard!
Remember how miserable we were as slaves under Reticulan rule! Glory to the United Terran Republic - Guardian of our Freedom and Herald of our Future! Enlist today in the Terran Guard!

Monday, June 1, 2015

XCOM 2 Announced! Terrans! Fight Back vs. Alien Overlords!

The XCOM series of computer games (the original game has also been known as UFO: Enemy Unknown) is one of the best series of turn-based strategy games, in which the player controls Terran forces fighting an alien invasion, be that from a base on Mars, from underwater or from another dimension (or an orbiting starship). The games combine strategic globe and base management with tactical combat in which a squad of Terran soldiers kick some serious alien ass. They are tremendous fun, and also highly inspirational for wargaming and RPGs, and one of the sources of inspiration for my Visions of Empire setting for Classic Traveller. In 2012 a remake/re-imagining of the first game was released, also with great success.

And now, 2K, the studio responsible for this excellent game, has released a cryptic web-page of the "Advent Administration", a supposedly "Utopian" government promising futuristic cities and gene therapy. This site was supposedly "hacked" by people who wish to reveal the ugly truth under the Advent's glossy facade. This is the setting for the next XCOM game - an Earth controlled by alien overlords, where a resurgent XCOM wages a protracted guerrilla war for liberation of Mother Terra from the alien overlords, as seen in the reveal trailer. Much like my Visions of Empire's setting EFA (like the Advent, a puppet government controlled by alien masterminds) being fought against by Terran rebels and the Terran independence movement. Though in my Visions of Empire setting, the EFA was overthrown relatively quickly by a mass uprising led by the Terran Coalition; the real fighting occurred afterwards, between the newly independent United Terran Republic and the Reticulan Empire bent on bringing Terra back under its control.

But anyway I rejoice at a chance to fight for Mother Terra and against alien slave-lords! Long live XCOM! Long live the UTR!

(on a side note, this XCOM game could inspire tabletop skirmish wargaming of small Terran guerrilla units fighting alien overlords...)