Showing posts from February, 2017

Fragments Volume 1, Issue 2 Released

In February, I produced four Fragments posts on presenting material for your Fate or GUMSHOE cyberpunk campaigns:

Cybernetic Abilities in GUMSHOE: A brief system for extraordinary abilities in near-future GUMSHOE games.Virtual Interpersonal Abilities in GUMSHOE: Using interpersonal abilities in virtual spaces in GUMSHOE.Cybernetic Recovery in Fate: Cybernetic implants and prosthetics provide a way to recover from serious physical trauma while also gaining extraordinary abilities.Cyberpunk Modes in Fate: A selection of skill modes to speed up character creation for your next cyberpunk game.
Now, these posts have been collected into an illustrated PDF available on DriveThruRPG. For $2.49, you can get this 10-page PDF, fully bookmarked and layered for easier printing.

What Did I Accomplish In February?

This month, I continued my effort to produce daily content here on One Yard Hex as well as on Unfortunately, I missed my goal twice in February, but I still exceeded my word count goals for the month.

I maintained my goal of  100 words for posts here on this blog. To date, I am averaging about 286 words per post. Over on, my goal was still 500 words per Fragments post, and those are averaging 555 words each. In total, I planned to write 3,900 words this month, and I ended up writing ~6,900 words.

In total, I produced:
14 blog posts here on One Yard Hex, including
4 GURPS posts,
1 GUMSHOE post,
1 Fate post, and
8 posts on other topics; and
4 Fragments posts and one news post on (with another news post scheduled for tomorrow, the 28th).

I also streamed 3 video Fallout 4 game sessions on Twitch, and those are all archived at my YouTube page. (The most recent was split into two videos due to a game cra…

Space Patrol: Index

The following is an index of all of my posts on campaign notes for GURPS Space Patrol. I will try to keep this post up to date when I add more.

Characters These sample characters are designed to fill out the crew of the SPS-2997 Kiran Bedi, a typical Jordan-class Patrol ship. They provide examples of all of the occupation templates.

Space Patrol: Lt. Commander Lakshmi UndatuSpace Patrol: Lt. Alpha-BlueSpace Patrol: Second Lieutenant Abe DriscollSpace Patrol: Doctor (Ensign) Marco De La CruzSpace Patrol: Ensign Jeremy OnkoleSpace Patrol: Sergeant Anne-Marie DuscatSpace Patrol: Engineering Crewman Thomas ZL-7 Occupation Templates Characters in Space Patrol are built using a combination of an occupation template and a dramatic template (below). Occupation templates define what you do on the ship.

Space Patrol: The CommanderSpace Patrol: The DoctorSpace Patrol: The EngineerSpace Patrol: The MarineSpace Patrol: The PilotSpace Patrol: The RangerSpace Patrol: The Scientist Dramatic Templates D…

RPG Lexicon: Linear

A linear dice mechanic is one that uses a single die to produce its result. This gives an even chance of each value in the die's range. Such mechanics are linear because if you plot the odds of each result on a graph, you get a straight line.

The single d20 of D&D is the classic example, and it gives a rather extreme case as its range is so large. You're just as likely to roll a 20 as a 1. The result is a "swingy" mechanic that makes extreme success and extreme failure equally likely.

The standard resolution of a general ability test in GUMSHOE is also a linear mechanic, as it uses a single d6. Because the range of a d6 is so much smaller, this places an emphasis on the resource management aspect of GUMSHOE, making the number of points you spend to add to the roll dominant in the result.

Knowing vs. Not Knowing

In fiction particularly in cinema, you can get away with not telling your audience what's going on, at least for a while. Withholding information builds suspense. In some genres—horror, in particular—it's essentially required.

In gaming, however, I am of the opinion that it is always better for the players to know more than for them to know less. I will repeat that sentence with emphasis added because I think there are two aspects of it that need to be emphasized:
It is always better for the players to know more than to know less. In a tabletop RPG, the players hold a position unique to any other medium in being both audience and author, viewer and performer. Because of this, it is very important for the players to have enough information about the setting and the narrative to be able to perform meaningfully within it.

Note, however, that I say it is better for the players to know more. They don't need to know everything, or at least, they don't need that knowledge all…

Space Patrol: Lt. Alpha-Blue

Lt. Alpha-Blue is a Elan-model android who served its emergence period as a research assistant at a Federal Science Foundation. After he was released into citizenship, he chose to enter the Patrol as a Science officer. He has served dutifully if unexceptionally for three decades. He currently serves as executive officer and scientist on the Kiran Bedi.

Alpha-Blue looks like a bald human male made of hard blue plastic. He lacks basic emotional programming, and has therefor spent considerable effort to develop a rudimentary understanding of human behavior for his work with the Patrol.

200 points
ST 10 [0]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 12 [40]; HT 10 [0].
Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs.; HP 10 [0]; Will 12 [0]; Per 13 [5]; FP 10 [0].
Basic Speed 5.00 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0]; Dodge 8 [0].

Social Background TL: 11.
CF: Federation (Native) [0].
Languages: Federation Standard (Native) [0].

Advantages Absolute Direction [5]; Computer Brain [20]; DR 3 [15]; Legal Enforcement Powers [10]; Luck [15]; Mathematical Abi…

System-Neutral Settings: To Hell With Rules

There is a long if narrow history in RPGs of sourcebooks that describe settings or setting elements (cities and the like) without reference to a particular game or rules system. From Flying Buffalo's Citybook series through Green Ronin's Freeport, these books do the heavy lifting of creating or filling out a world but leave the final rules implementation to you.

I recently received the PDF of Karthun: Lands of Conflict by Brian Patterson and Tracy Barnett's Exploding Rogue Studios, and published by Evil Hat Productions. Karthun sits very firmly in the D&D fantasy space, and there are a few stray references to "free actions" and the like, but it is essentially system neutral, and I've already jotted down notes for a GURPS adaptation. I look forward to exploring the setting more, especially when I get the physical book.

Of course, my diamond example of a system neutral setting is Uresia: Grave of Heaven by S. John Ross. Originally a world for the Big Eyes, …

3 Things To Do When You're Not Quite In Love With Your Campaign

Sometimes, even though you like your group and you enjoy playing well enough, you're just not loving the game you're playing. How do you get more enjoyment from your game without ruining anyone else's fun?

Develop Your Character There are many ways you can develop your character beyond whatever experience mechanic your system provides. Come up with backstory that fills out parts of her personality you hadn't considered before. Figure out how he reacts to different setting elements. Create an interesting speech pattern or vocal tic.

Dig Into The Rules If you like the game system your campaign uses but the story isn't grabbing you, you could take it upon yourself to learn the rules better. Use this knowledge for good, though. Be a resource, not a rules lawyer.

Help Everyone Else Have Fun Talk to your fellow players and find ways for your character to work into the experience they are hoping to get from their characters. Do they need a comic foil? A friendly rival? A …

Space Patrol: Second Lieutenant Abe Driscoll

Abe Driscoll served as marshall for the Haviland sector for 8 years. It was a lonely, thankless job mediating between ranchers and busting claim jumpers. But it wasn't until a man took a shot at him for doing nothing more than ruling against him in a water dispute that Driscoll sought a transfer into the Patrol and back to civilized space. He was assigned to the Kiran Bedi when the ship set out on its mission to the recently incorporated Border Sectors.

Abe Driscoll is a heavily tanned man with weathered features in his late 30s. He dresses in the uniform of the Rangers, a jumpsuit that features rather more pockets than the tighter Patrol uniform. He is straightforward and willful, and some consider him to be too uptight.

200 points
ST 10 [0]; DX 12 [40]; IQ 12 [40]; HT 12 [20].
Damage 1d-1/1d+1; HP 10 [0]; Per 12 [5]; Will 11 [0]; FP 11 [0].
Basic Speed 6.50 [10]; Basic Move 6 [0]; Dodge 8.

Social BackgroundTL: 11.
CF: Federation (Native) [0].
Languages: Federation Standard (Native)…

My Top 3 d20 Games

Yes, the d20 boom produced a lot of books that just plain sucked. (I may have produced some of my own that I'm frankly glad have since disappeared.) But there were plenty of games that managed to shine among all the dross. Here are three of my very favorites.

Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Edition Green Ronin let master of the supers RPG Steve Kenson mold the d20 rules into a worthy successor to Champions not once but three times. My personal favorite is the second edition, and over the years I managed to get everything they put out for it. M&M lets you create just about any kind of super-powered character you can imagine, and the hero point and power stunt mechanics are essential reading for any designer working in the genre.
Fantasy Craft Following off their phenomenal Spycraft 2nd Edition, Crafty Games took a stab at the original, creating an ultra-crunchy toolkit game to craft your own fantasy adventures. This one hits all of my buttons for detail and customization, complet…

My Top 3 Fate Games

While it began earlier, the proliferation of Fate games took off following the success of the Fate Core Kickstarter and the release of both that book and the companion Fate Accelerated Edition. Since then, there have been a ton of great Fate games published. These are three of my favorites.

War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus I've said it before: this book is one of the absolute best yet printed for Fate, and the fact that it has been overlooked by the community is criminal. From the base of Fate Accelerated, War of Ashes builds a game of Dark Age-style fantasy with surprising tactical depth and great humor. With rules that benefit from miniatures without turning into a skirmish board game, Fate of Agaptus could easily fill a D&D-shaped hole in anyone's library.

Fate Freeport Companion On the other hand, you could instead fill that hole with a block purposefully carved in the shape of D&D. Fate Freeport Companion adapts the setting of Mythos-tinged pirate adventure originall…

My Top Three GUMSHOE Rule Books

The GUMSHOE investigative roleplaying system was designed by Robin Laws over 10 years ago, and in that time, it's been refined and expanded in a number of different rulebooks. One of the guiding principles of GUMSHOE is the idea that the core system should be customized to better reflect the genre of each game that uses it. So each GUMSHOE rulebook is unique and presents a different take on the core system ideas.

With that in mind, here are my top three GUMSHOE system rulebooks. Each one looks at the system from a different angle and that makes for a different game even though each uses the same core engine.
Gaean Reach Based on the science-fiction novels of Jack Vance, Gaean Reach is a space opera game of hard luck heroes seeking interstellar vengeance. Unlike the more expansive Ashen Stars, Gaean Reach is fine-tuned to a very particular story: the investigators are out to get revenge on galactic criminal mastermind Quandos Vorn. Character creation is randomized to get everyone i…

Space Patrol: Ensign Jeremy Onkole

Jeremy Onkole started his career as a pilot in the Scout Service where he spent four years mapping Earthlike planets at the edge of Federal space. He grew lonely aboard the small Scout craft, and eventually he filed for a transfer back "East" to the Patrol.

Onkole is a tall, skinny man in his late 20s with dark skin and close-cut black hair. He wears his Patrol uniform neat, if somewhat loose. He's personable if average looking, and people tend to like him, though he has a habit of speaking his mind to the annoyance of some.

200 points
ST 10 [0]; DX 12 [40]; IQ 12 [40]; HT 10 [0].
Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 20 lbs.; HP 10 [0]; Will 12 [0]; Per 14 [10]; FP 10 [0].
Basic Speed 5.50 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0]; Dodge 8.

Social BackgroundTL: 11.
CF: Federation (Native) [0].
Languages: Federation Standard (Native) [0].

Advantages 3D Spatial Sense [10]; Danger Sense [15]; DNA Repair Nanosymbiont [5]; Eidetic Memory [5]; G-Experience [10]; Hot Pilot 2 [10]; Intuition [15]; Legal Enforcement Pow…

My Sales Numbers for January

I'm going to start releasing sales numbers for my products every month. For January 2017, I sold PDFs, POD books, and POD cards through the OneBookShelf: DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, DriveThruCards, etc. In total, I sold 20 units last month, including 1 POD softcover and 3 decks of cards. My total earnings came to $29.11.

Arthuria: 2 PDF
Interstellar Patrol: 5 PDF
It's Element-ary!: 2 PDF, 1 PDF/POD Softcover
Rituals and Convergences: 2 PDF
Situation Aspect Cards: 2 Cards/PDF, 2 PDF
Super Power Cards: 1 Cards/PDF, 2 PDF
The Model: 1 PDF