Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

Planetary Logbook

April 22, 2018

Some of you may be familiar with the Planetary Display Form, which has generally been the most popular item of mine on DriveThruRPG. Briefly, it is a one-page layout for mapping a planet’s surface on a flattened truncated icosahedron, the same geometric form used for soccer balls and geodesic domes. It has lines that approximately correspond to longitude and latitude, the same way that the overall figure approximately corresponds to a sphere. It seemed like a very cool thing from the outset, and I’m glad that a number of people have found it useful, as well.

Sample Planetary Display Logbook Page

Sample Planetary Display Logbook Page

But the 8-1/2″ x 11″ format always seemed a bit limited for something as extensive as a planet. So, I’ve had a couple ideas about how to have other options available. One idea is a poster-size print (maybe 24″x36″), and another is a log book that could be filled out to detail an entire planet.

The poster-size version would have to be sold and shipped directly from Antherwyck House Games, since OBS doesn’t have a capacity for producing anything of that size. It would be fairly easy, with our current printing access, to print these at that size, but they would need to be folded for economical shipping, or else we could roll them in mailing tubes, which should be more protective, but would also be more expensive for shipping.

But perhaps more usefully, we have a journal survey book in the works using the same elements.  This could allow for larger map size for each area. Each of the 32 sections (12 pentagons and 20 hexagons that make up the whole buckyball globe) has an individual page, and there will also be a copy of the overall planetary display form. So, this will probably be a 40-ish page book that should sell for about $5 from the OBS store (DriveThruRPG/RPG Now).

Once the logbook is available, we can then also offer custom covers for these. The interior pages will be same as the standard, but the cover would be customized for your individual campaign. This way, if you want to have eight planetary journals for a campaign, and you want to put together a series of planetbooks with your campaign’s Interstellar Travel Association Guides cover, we can create a custom cover for you, and then give you a custom version that you can get printed from OBS. (If you want each individual planet book to have its own cover, that would be another thing. The customization I’m thinking of is a standard cover for your all the logbooks in your game’s Star Service.) There would be a one-time fee to work out the custom cover (thinking $60 for the first one, and see if I need to bump it up or not), but then for printing, those will be priced pretty much at cost, so you can order copies as you need for less than the standard version.

It would also be fairly easy to put together an atlas version of the logbook, with spaces for several planets within a single book. If anyone is interested in that format, contact me directly. Right now, that’s not on my do-do list.

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Next Up: A Cyberpunk Adventure

January 17, 2017

The recent publication of the “Augmented Reality” cyberpunk sourcebook led me to realize that other old game systems are still being played, and there might be interest in adventures for other old games.  So, I’ve gone into my files and pulled out an adventure I wrote in 1990.

Ogunimata is an adventure written for the Cyberpunk 2020 RPG, but the story line is general enough that it should be adaptable for use with other games.  Even though it was written a quarter century ago, there isn’t too much that, at first pass, looks like it needs to be changed significantly.

If I’d had the self publishing tools (like RPGNow/DriveThruRPG) that are around today, this would have been published back then.  As it was, I was 2000 miles away from my old gaming group, and didn’t have any local connections to game with.  The adventure was inspired by some random bits I collected, and I had access to enough desktop publishing equipment that I was able to put it together as a one-off presentation quality piece (complete with info dossier for the players in addition to the GM’s book) and mailed it back to them for them to play.

It went exceptionally well, and it was a big hit with them.  But that was the last of it, and I simply filed it away.  Luckily, I still have the old text, as well as a hardcopy of the booklet, so I can piece it back together.

Because it was not going to go further than my gaming group, there was liberal use of material that cannot be used without violating other people’s intellectual property rights, so parts of it are going to have to be re-done.

The next steps with it aren’t entirely clear yet, but I’ve started discussing this project with a couple other people who we’d like to work with to bring it into production.  Part of what is an unknown right now is how much interest there is in something like this. If you’re interested in seeing this adventure, or in more adventures in general for cyberpunk-style games (Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, Mirrorshades, etc.) let us know.

 

 

Planetary Display

April 26, 2016

Here is a planetary display form I’ve made for mapping worlds in science fiction games.

PD Capture

This map uses a “buckyball” geometry, a truncated icosahedron with hexagonal and pentagonal sections, but instead of filling it with hexes, it has been laid out with lines of latitude and longitude. The major latitude lines are in 10 degree steps, with further subdivision into 2.5 degree sub-steps, and the major longitude lines are in 18 degree steps (which neatly works with the pentagonal division of the ball). Longitude lines are shown at 4.5 degrees at the equator, extending to 50 degrees latitude, and then 9 degrees between 50 and 70 degrees latitude.

PD1

These quadrants created with this mapping are not all equal, but it does provide a ready way to identify a location anywhere on the surface, and they provide a sufficiently fine-grained division of the planet to allow for distinctions of the different areas.

Part of the inspiration for this was another wonderful “buckyball” planetary display done by Ronald Stepp which he posted on G+ recently. But in his map, each face is covered with a hex grid (which he warps to fit the pentagonal sections in a most interesting way). One of the comments asked about a way to identify the small hexes for mapping and note making purposes, and that got me thinking about latitude and longitude.

This is being made available as a pay what you want PDF through RPG Now and DriveThru RPG.  Once it’s approved, this should be [Update: it’s available now!] the link to get the Planetary Display PDF.

It’s pretty apparent to me that this could be cut out and turned into a 3D object quite easily.  But what seems easy to me isn’t necessarily easy for everyone, so if I need to put together a tutorial for that, that’s something else that could be done.

There will be revisions to this, and if you have suggestions, we’ll be glad to look at them and see about incorporating them into an update.  There could also be a spin off variant that is more oriented for fantasy rather than SF games.

We’re also probably going to have a very large version (maybe 24″ x 36″ or so) that we’ll have to sell direct, rather than being able to distribute through DriveThru.  There will be an announcement about that when that is further underway.

Station X

August 11, 2015

This started out as a hand drawn map, but it really seemed to be something that needed a more hard line presentation, so this is a map done on computer.

postmap21-StationX

One of the things this became about was the idea of layering two levels in a single map, and I think it works reasonably well for that.  But I’d be interested in getting other perspectives, whether it reads as clearly for you, or does it need some further coding to make the two layers more clearly distinct from each other?

This map probably works best as an undersea base, or maybe a space station or moon base.  It’s definitely more science fiction themed than many of the other things I’ve done recently, but sometimes the break is good.  And, if you’ve come here because you really need a fantasy dungeon, you could probably even adapt this for that, as well.

As usual, feel free to use for any non-commercial purpose, or contact me if you’d like to use this on a commercial project.

SciFi Cards – first draft

May 8, 2015

I’m starting to have fun with these. Here are a couple first drafts of a science fiction version of a certificate card (this is sized for a poker-size card).

SFcard1

Most likely, we’ll be setting these up for printing through OBS (DriveThru RPG, RPG Now, etc) If you have interest in how these are done, or what would be a good number to have in a pack, or how you’d like to see them offered, you have the chance to help steer how this gets launched. (If there’s huge demand for larger size or for something that we could do better by printing it ourselves, we’d look into that. But I think the POD and international distribution available through OBS works better for this.)

There will probably be a print & play option for these, as well through my Patreon. Stay tuned for that, too, if you’re interested in that option.

SciFi cards – rough (really, really rough) sketches

May 7, 2015

Presenting a couple of real rough sketches for the idea for the scifi cards. (This is the kind of behind-the-scenes that should be in the Patreon for higher levels of support, but for now, it may be more useful to share this widely so that everyone can see the kinds of things that you might have access to.) For now, I’m looking for feedback on the general direction and gauging any potential interest in these if we do go to press with them.

2Capture

1Capture

Are they sufficiently science-fictioney skeuomorphs? After screwing around for a while, I think they are, but I’m looking for other opinions. Are there any parts that you like that ought to be repeated in one set or the other? Or things that should be left out because they aren’t really working?

I’m thinking of things like the teeth on the side in the BSG* set or the little pseudo bar code in the upper corner of the curved corners set.

Do you like or dislike the hex figure in the bottom left?

Any other things you like or dislike to tighten these up a bit?

The other thing to explore will be whether it’s better to have these done as poker-size (or possibly later this year as tarot-size) cards, or if having them printed locally and then doing distribution ourselves would be the better way to go.

*probably can’t call the final version BSG, but it’s got the clipped corners, so you know what I mean. Too bad, too, that we couldn’t get them made with corners clipped like that rather than the rounded corner die cut.

EDIT: followup hardline draft moved here