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Todd Zircher
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Todd Zircher

Discussion  - 
 
Not quite a board game, but I'm thrilled that my Dungeon Solitaire/Labyrinth of Souls deck came in the mail today.  It's a custom deck of poker cards with addition cards for the major arcana (tarot) and ten more game specific cards.  Lovely art with good quality construction.  First three basic games (lost in the depths, survived 23/100, survived 57/100) getting better but I haven't beaten it yet (get all four hordes and survive.)  The advanced game introduces more cards and complexity.


https://matthewlowes.com/2016/06/22/dungeon-solitaire-preview/
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Solid review on why this old warhorse still has legs. :-)
This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Independence War Review Hey friends, sorry I’ve not done one of these in a spell, just been SO. Busy. I’ll be catching up with...
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Todd Zircher

Hot Ideas for Solo Roleplaying  - 
I wrote an article back in October addressing one of the biggest problems faced by every solo player: the lack of a dungeon master to run published adventures
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Actual Play  - 
 
Tales of the John Henry

With armed station security and detectives at the door, the crew is wondering what's up. Jaxon Kane and Jason Flanders brace for the worst when the detectives mention that they're here to seize contra-ban. Strangely enough, the boarders have (digitally) signed permission from the Captain to enter the John Henry. Even stranger, they demand to see Omega's cabin and the med-bay.

With a little hacking from Jaxon, they open Omega's room to discover that he's been making a clone. But not any clone, it appears to be a youngster that's a chimera of the crew's DNA. Flanders notices that the facial features most favor him. A silent wave of creepiness goes through most of the crew.

The detective scan the crime scene with a zero-G drone and collect all the evidence. They never mention the subject in the tank as a person. We introduce the other members of the medical staff; Patty is a clever blonde woman with large solid black eyes. Pascal looks like a teenager, but he's in his 30's. Both of them come from clans that believe in gene-engineering themselves. Technically, they're not clones, but they're not baseline humans either.

Shortly thereafter, Captain Trask calls ALL the crew to Jenna Sitaaraputr's office. She's the station administrator and essentially the governor the Marsk system. She's also pissed off. Oh, Omega and some of the rowdy engineers including Juanita and Taylor are also there… wearing big black taser-cuffs. One of the engineers has his arm in a sling. Station security is nearby with the shock controls. Both Captain Trask and Sitaaraputr look disappointed as she reads off the charges:

Suspicion of trafficking goods
Suspicion of clandestine activity
Operating under false identity
Public indecency
Under the influence of controlled substances
Drunk and disorderly conduct
Selling alcohol without a license
Brawling
Inciting a riot
Resisting arrest
Attempt to create an illegal clone

The crew is dressed down and brow-beaten. Jenna looks at Trask with something like sadness in her eyes, "Get off of my station within the hour." They crew is escorted to the dock. Their cuffs are removed. It is unspoken, but Flander's electronics and Omega's clone are not returned to the crew.

It's a small surprise that there are a hand full of passengers waiting to ship out with them. They had previously booked passage to Elliot's Hope and had to scramble to catch their ride out system (the John Henry was not scheduled to leave for several days.) Down in the med bay, Febe confronts Omega and his staff. There are heated words and it almost comes to blows but Patty and Pascal manage to hold the normally unflappable Omega back. They part but not on friendly terms.

Jaxon and Omega both investigate the passengers using their specialties and discover some anomalies in their history. But, it's too late to kick anyone off the ship before they have to head out. The John Henry is about an hour out when something happens and engineering / systems alarms start ringing all over the ship. The crew is shocked to see something terrible has happened to Marsk Station.

Captain Trask orders an immediate emergency deceleration and Flanders starts plotting a path to avoid the worst of the debris for their return to the station.

http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii221/zircher/marsk_disaster_zpsmp0j7kr1.png
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Sounds like you might owe Jaxon a favor. :-)
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Todd Zircher

Inspiration: Locations  - 
 
OK, maybe I'm impulsive.  Playing around with a tweaked version of MapGen.  Note, the program spits out text.  You copy that into something like MS Paint and add the lines yourself based on the info in the key.  Thoughts?
http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii221/zircher/UW_sector_test_01_zpsulvold84.png

1903 #01 
     Brutal-Privileged-end 
2000 #02 
     Colony-undefined-lane 
2003 #03 
     Privileged-Regimented-lane 
2004 #04 
     Rustic-Impoverished-lane 
2100 #05 
     Colony-Productive-lane 
2102 #06 
     Brutal-Privileged-hub 
2105 #07 
     Galactic-Rustic-hub 
2107 #08 
     Impoverished-Colony-hub 
2108 #09 
     Colony-Regimented-end 
2109 #10 
     Galactic-Colony-hub 
2201 #11 
     Privileged-Crowded-hub 
2202 #12 
     Advanced-Productive-hub 
2203 #13 
     Productive-Colony-end 
2204 #14 
     Rustic-Colony-end 
2205 #15 
     Galactic-undefined-end 
2206 #16 
     Privileged-Rustic-hub 
2208 #17 
     Rustic-Crowded-hub 
2301 #18 
     Crowded-Advanced-end 
2302 #19 
     Privileged-Rustic-hub 
2304 #20 
     Impoverished-Privileged-end 
2305 #21 
     Crowded-Advanced-hub 
2404 #22 
     Regimented-Impoverished-lane 
2508 #23 
     Rustic-Galactic-hub 
2605 #24 
     Galactic-Privileged-end 
2707 #25 
     Productive-Privileged-hub 
2800 #26 
     Impoverished-Rustic-end 
2801 #27 
     Impoverished-Crowded-end 
2802 #28 
     Galactic-Impoverished-end 
2803 #29 
     Productive-Impoverished-end 
2805 #30 
     Brutal-Productive-end 
2806 #31 
     Impoverished-Productive-hub 
2807 #32 
     Productive-Galactic-lane 
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Please do! If you need anything tweaked (hex/map sizes, name lists, etc.), feel free to ask or hack the source code if you are inclined. (It's javascript and it is intentionally not hidden.) If you can't tell from from the rest of the site, I like making assorted freebies and posting them.
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Todd Zircher

Actual Play  - 
 
Tales of the John Henry  
 
Omega is swamped by courteous if insistent fans. Febe makes a break for the market square. Omega follows with fans in tow (literally.)  
 
Jaxon and Febe converge on Jason and have a tense conversation which Jason leverages into a mercantile opportunity. Toss in some drunk engineers that 'help' by turning the Captain's prime fruits and veggies into jungle juice and you have a party.  
 
It's all a little bit too much for Omega, but a friendly doctor has just the thing to get Omega back on his feet and become the life of the party. Jason, Febe, and Jaxon move to sell the salvaged jump drive they have to Hyperlight, but when they turn around, Omega has been caught up and carried off by the tide of people that want to have a turn dancing with him.  
 
The three sneak off through the access corridors to avoid the crush and catch the elevators to the station core.  
 
Poor Omega is dragged off somewhere more private by his mistaken but adoring fans. [This mildly touches on some trigger items, but we don't go overboard with it. Omega is pretty much the victim of a long string of bad rolls that put him in a place where he didn't have much control. Take it as a cautionary tale that drugs, drink, and dancers are a dangerous mix.]  
 
A meeting is arranged with Norman Page (HR/Admin), Henry James (VP of research), and a couple HyperLight techs. Jaxon decides to man the sensors and listen in on the deal. Febe takes her EVA rig straight to the salvage. Jason dons his personal skinsuit and meets the HL team at a cargo storage facility in the core. From there, they hook up a big space jeep (a cargo loading frame) and head to the John Henry.  
 
Scans are taken, communications are intercepted, secrets teased at, and much profit it made. Henry James offered his personal long range science shuttle as part of the payment. The HyperLight people are very excited about the find.  
 
Back down in the depths of Ring One, Omega wakes up feeling worse for wear and wondering who are all these people are where are their clothes? His own have been scattered to the four corners of the station (ha ha, it's a ring.) So, he ends up borrowing some discarded clothing from one of the sleeping gentlemen.  
 
Eventually Omega makes it to the core and is almost home when he gets picked up by station security. They were planning just a little harassment, but it devolved quickly into an interrogation where Omega dropped a legal bombshell in their laps.  
 
Change scenes to the cliffhanger where we have armed security officers getting ready to board the John Henry. What do you do? 
 
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Todd Zircher

Discussion  - 
 
Last Sunday's game went pretty smoothly for this rookie PbtA/UW GM. A few stumbling points and the PbtA guru had to bite his tongue in a few places.  But, it was all good and well.  The goal was to let everyone run around in their character's skins and get a feel for the mechanics and setting we're building.  Our guru said that the feel of the session was one long foreshadowing move, in that case, I'll call that a win in my book.  :-)

I'm working on a session report, but not sure if that will be a published thing since we're also an actual play podcast.  Hey guys, can we spoil our own show or should I hold the report for use as show notes?  
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+Pierre Savoie I almost forgot: Vincent Baker GMing Apocalypse World: https://youtu.be/-NcanVthL8A

Shorter than Roll20, no post play show, but interesting to see the designer run his own game.
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Todd Zircher

Tools and Resources  - 
 
Shamelessly inspired by the It's not my Fault! cards, here's freebie play aid that's uses a deck of regular playing cards:
http://drivethrurpg.com/product/180168/Its-Not-My-Future
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+Fred Hicks hatters gonna hat 
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Have him in circles
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Shared publicly  - 
 
Coolness! Love the thought and detail that went into this article.
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Thanks!
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Shared publicly  - 
 
Just for fun, a little meme (#ArtvsArtist) that is running around DA...
http://zircher.deviantart.com/art/Art-Vs-Life-610038603
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Love the WarpShip!
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Actual Play  - 
 
Tales of the John Henry

Due to Mother's Day here in the US, we're not playing next week. So, to keep everyone engaged and creative, I came up with a sector map and invited them to fill in the descriptions. It's a work in progress, but it's already bearing fruit.

Ibara Sector

0001 #01 Ibara
Productive-Advanced-hub
Sector capital, intra-sector hub, orbital industry, high fashion, glass towers
Who is running the show at the sector capital?
Which factions are they allied with?
What is Ibara's major vice?
Who has contacts here?
What is the ship carrying that is illegal here?

[Alternate] Ibara is heavily visited since it is a hub that connect two other sectors. The sector jump points at X and Queen's Gate were found decades later. All this traffic has turned Ibara into an industrial powerhouse for the sector and its neighbors.

0006 #02 High Kanton
Impoverished-Regimented-lane
Police state, strong class system, ethnic ruling class, intrigue, smuggling
What makes the police distinctive here?
Where do foreign merchants stand in the class system?
Who is an unexpected ally here?
Who does the government have a dislike for?
What do the rebels hope to achieve?

0102 #03 Rigor
Rustic-Advanced-end
Rich live in space, poor and short-lived workers on the planet, unique resources on planet, Consortium Stronghold
Who are the rich in space?
Who lives on the planet?
Why is there no high tech on the planet?
What is the unique resource on this world?
Who in the crew, if any, has visited this world?

[Alternate] The world of Rigor is a tough one: Most people have lifespans that barely stretch more than 45 standard years. If it wasn't for the people living here, this world would be considered a failed colony. It would be, if it wasn't for the citizens of the orbital colony of Empyrean.

The citizens of Empyrean are some of the richest people you'll ever encounter. House Geneeskunde of the Consortium owns the colony and the world. The colony has access to the very best in technology and culture. And most importantly, they have access to Dorius cinereus boletus, a fungus that only grows on the planet Rigor.

Processed and refined, it produces Dorac, the potent anti-aging drug. However, due to its biological peculiarities, Dorius cannot grow near or in intense EM fields. As most technology puts out EM radiation like a firehose, this means the world below cannot use any technology that involves electricity whatsoever. The down port for the space elevator, is surrounded by a 40 km dead zone where Dorius cannot grow.

Thus, the people Rigor, mostly convicts and purpose grown clones, toil in the fields and caves, growing the fungus for their masters overhead. It doesn't help that Dorius itself is poisonous. When it spores, the fine particles will enter the lungs and cause a massive allergic reaction, killing the victim by drowning in their own mucus.

0109 #04 Colt
Productive-Regimented-lane
Paranoia, house controlled, export restrictions, sports
What kind of unique but strict government is here?
What are all those satellites in orbit for?
Who has an old friend here?
What distinctive animal lives here?
What high quality goods do they produce?

0202 #05 Illwind
Productive-Impoverished-lane
Dirty, industrial, polluted, serfdom, corporations
Who in control here?
Who escaped debt here?
What does your ship need here?
What is Illwind's major export?
What is about to become unstable?

[Alternate] A long line of greedy industrialists and corrupt politicians have kept control of the cities and the factories there. It's mean and drab life for most of the inhabitants. Of particular note is Purgatory, an industrial prison complex where prisoners are kept in virtual slavery until they pay off their debt. "It's better than Hell." is a common saying here.

0207 #06 Terry
Regimented-Impoverished-end
Resource poor, prison, imports almost everything, strategically useless
Where is the main prison complex located?
Who has a friend incarcerated here?
What is the ship bringing to the system?
Who runs security here?
Why is the strategic value of the system going to change?

0300 #07 Corona's Nook
Crowded-Productive-lane
Way point, water world, genetic modifications, Corona Station
How does the population cope with the limited land masses?
What is the favorite sport here?
What is their main export?
What is unique about Corona Station?
What are the obvious (and not so obvious) gene-mods here?

0301 #08 Fulton
Impoverished-Advanced-lane
High tech commune, no markets, aggressive recruits, hand built
What offer does the commune make that is too good to be true?
What is the catch?
Who is surprised to find a family member here?
What is their take on clones and gene-engineered people?
Which faction is their greatest enemy?

0304 #09 Hell
Impoverished-Brutal-end
Former resource paradise, depleted, battlefield, nuclear winter, holdouts, no sensible person comes here
Who fought here?
Who remains here?
Who among you has been here before?
What was mined/refined/harvested here?
What crime lies hidden here?

[Alternate] Access to Hell is restricted. It is the dumping ground for hardcore felons, exiles, political prisoners, and malcontents that various governments want to make disappear without turning them into martyrs for their given cause. There's always at least one Krosnov cruiser or patrol craft in orbit that has orders to inspect everyone coming and going from the planet. Most of the world's population is gathered around the shallow equatorial oceans.

0305 #10 Mutt
Productive-Galactic-hub
Asteroids, anarchy, libertarian extremists, lawlessness, zero-G industry
What brings the crew here?
What do they make/sell here that the crew cannot get anywhere else?
What hazards are there that don't show up on the map?
Who has a secret mission here?
What is hidden in the belt that will disrupt everything?

[Alternate] No one is sure how this ring of inhabited asteroid cities got its name, but nearly anything can be found, traded, bought, or manufactured in its hundreds of habs. Of course, you might have to travel halfway around the belt to find it. While there are no habitable worlds in the system, they are part of the 'Golden Circle' of jump points and there is a constant flow of goods moving through.

0308 #11 Purcel
Colony-Brutal-end
Domed cities, dangerous spores, guerilla forces, exotic flora and fauna
What makes it worth living here?
What is causing people to go crazy here?
Who knows some of the mercs that provide security here?
What goods are being imported?
Who tightly controls exports here?

0309 #12 Queen's Gate
Rustic-Advanced-hub
Floating cities, orbital habitats, rabid environmentalists, intra-sector hub
What do you have to do to visit the land?
What highly desired plant only grows here?
Who's hiding in the wilderness?
What is endangering one of the floating cities?
How are rabid environmentalist making your life miserable?

[Alternate] Most of Queen's Gate population live in orbital habs or on floating cities. The people have a very hands off approach to the land and strive to preserve its natural beauty.

0401 #13 Roost's Landing
Galactic-Crowded-hub
Boom-town orbital stations, hustlers, prospectors, company town economy
Why is the planet uninhabitable?
What are prospectors looking for?
Which corporation owns the habs, the stores, the hangers, anything not nailed down?
Who is given a survey map to a possible find?
Why are they given the map?

0405 #14 Cardinal
Regimented-Galactic-lane
Theocracy, awesome orbital architecture, scholars, missionaries, pilgrims, serenity
Who is really excited about being a tourist?
Who happens to know one of the head priests?
What incredibly valuable thing was stolen?
Why is that warship scanning you?
Who is trying to forget (or seek forgiveness) about that incident with the nun?

[Alternate] Home of the Floating Cathedral, Cardinal is a favorite layover for religious scholars, Church workers, and pilgrims. They like it calm and orderly. Most residents closely follow the teachings of the Church of the One.

0406 #15 Lando
Galactic-Advanced-end
High tech resorts, pleasure palaces, cruise ships, orbital industries
Who had vacation plans for Lando's resorts?
How does Lando deal with pirates and other undesirables?
What natural features make Lando such a destination?
Who has a big debt to one of the casinos?
Which faction is a major influence in the system?

0408 #16 Elliot's Hope
Productive-Privileged-hub
Heavy industry, shipyards, competing Houses, upper class one-upmanship
What is that burning smell?
Who is eager to put you into debt?
Why was someone on the ship sent a dueling dagger?
Who got that invite to the fancy ball?
Who coming and looking for answers?

[Alternate] Elliot's Hope is a stronghold for the various Houses of the Consortium and several of them have large industrial facilities here. The Houses spend an inordinate amount of time and resources trying to impress each other.

0409 #17 Han's Landing
Impoverished-Productive-hub
Corporate farms, shipping hub, exotic produce, ranching
What tastes like chicken?
Who is offering to ship livestock?
What does the starport smell like?
What is [insert Faction name] doing way out here?
Who accidentally steps on someone's time honored tradition?

[Alternate] Metal poor, Han's Landing gets by with exporting a wide variety of agricultural products. Vast ranches and corporate farms dot the surface of the world. The Landers (their name for themselves) are proud if not wealthy. They have a strong work ethic.

0500 #18 Lawson Station
Galactic-Advanced-hub
Sargasso Sea of spaceships, salvage crews, shipyards, open markets
What hazard makes Lawson Station a home to ship repairs?
What unusual job or bounty does the Station offer?
What feature makes Lawson Station stand out from your typical space station?
Why is the only planet in the life zone uninhabitable?
Who wants to book passage on your ship that requires a vote of the shareholders?

0502 #19 Quinton's Hope
Rustic-Crowded-lane
Walled city starts, lush lands, a dashed hope
What offer does the government of Quinton's Hope make to the ship and her crew?
Why are the cities over-crowded and low tech?
Who has family here?
What favor do they ask?
What secret are the homesteaders trying to hide?

0503 #20 Chung
Colony-Privileged-hub
Water world, clones, bountiful sea life, dynamic weather
How do you reach the domed undersea cities from orbit?
Who are the privileged class that live here?
What prevents people from colonizing the surface?
Why does this place have a large clone population?
What strange tradition must all visitors go through?

0504 #21 Knox Alpha
Rustic-Privileged-end
The Lodge, fantastic forests, restricted access, private preserves
Why is Knox Alpha also called "The Lodge"?
Why is access to the surface restricted?
Who is seeking passage to/from this place?
What special cargo is your ship bringing?
What changes people who spend too much time here?

0508 #22 Marsk Eta
Productive-Galactic-lane
Research station, clones, asteroid mining, boredom, dead world
Who has a loved one here?
How do the workers here relieve their boredom?
What the creepiest thing you see?
Which small firm is especially interested in your goods?
Who unintentionally broke one of the local laws?

[Alternate] The only habitable location in the system is Marsk Station which is dominated by the Second Life Corp. The primary business here is clones, research, and some asteroid mining.

0600 #23 Babe
Regimented-Colony-hub
Limited resources, strict rationing, black market, corruption
What is in short supply on this colony?
Who controls the flow of goods?
What natural event is keeping the colony from thriving?
Who on the crew abandoned someone here?
Why is there a warship blocking the Bangle Gate?

0603 #24 Newt
Advanced-Rustic-lane
Huge deserts, high winds, pharmaceuticals, cactus ranches, corporate enclaves
Who has a friend working as a researcher here?
What drugs are commonly exported from here?
How do the locals cope with the high win?
What barbaric local sport is popular here?
What has infested the ship/shuttle/landing party?

0604 #25 Sensi
Regimented-Crowded-end
Plateau cities, drug dependence, hostile lower altitudes, aggressive flyers, terrace farms
What drugs from Newt are heavily used here?
What culture dominates the government and lifestyle of the people?
Why do people bother living here?
What technology is expressly forbidden?
What strange request comes from off world for the crew?

0605 #26 Uhura's Home
Galactic-Brutal-lane
Shattered planet, mineral rich, hostile debris field, a few remote supply hubs
Who is manning the point defense gun?
Who finds someone they didn't expect to be alive?
What shady business has the supplier got going?
What equipment is a miner trying to sell?
Who is compelled to take the ship into the debris field?

0606 #27 York
Crowded-Regimented-lane
Militant, mandatory service, code of honor, weapons development, recruiting
Who grew up here and managed to get out of service?
Who knows a guy that knows a guy with a discrete offer?
Who has ran into these government thugs somewhere else?
What do they think of clones?
What keeps everyone crowded into walled cities?

[Alternate] York is crowded, dirty, and under the heel of a strong military regime. Krosnov has an appointed governor in this system and it is a major recruiting station for their people. As imagined, their main exports are weapons and soldiers. Don't step out of line or you might get stuck in a penal legion for a tour or two.

0700 #28 Bangle's Call
Advanced-Impoverished-end
Blockade, secrecy, research facility
How can you get past the blockade?
Why do Imperial warships prevent access to the planet?
Who hired you to rescue someone from there?
Who is the passenger that paid you to go there?
What did they bring in the cargo hold?

0701 #29 Hindu
Regimented-Galactic-lane
Ethnic, vegetarian, large orbital colonies, numerous laws
Which member of the crew is part of this belief?
What laws do they break before they even leave customs?
What unusual pets to they have?
What color is forbidden to be worn?
How do they treat their dead (are there any on board as cargo or passengers)?

0705 #30 Cold Opal
Regimented-Productive-hub
Merchant house stronghold and industrial complex, planetary glaciation
Who on your crew really hates snow?
Which two factions are competing against each other?
How far are they willing to go?
Who are you willing to piss off?
Who is here to collect a debt?

0800 #31 Reason
Brutal-Advanced-end
War zone, robotics, patrol ships, scavengers
How do you land without getting blown out of the sky?

0803 #32 Xero
Advanced-Privileged-lane

0807 #33 Deep Epsilon
Colony-Impoverished-end

0901 #34 Panko
Colony-Crowded-lane

0904 #35 X
Crowded-Brutal-hub
Expensive fuel, volatile weather, bunkers everywhere, dust and grit, intra-sector hub
What do they want in exchange for refueling?
What outrageous thing would they accept for fuel?
Who has a bounty hunter after them?
What is hidden on the outskirts of civilization?
Why are they over populated?

[Alternate] Discovered by a wild jump, X is a terrible place to set up a colony with its harsh weather and limited living spaces. But, it is a sector hub and that does give it some value as a way-station.

0907 #36 Jotun's Moon
Rustic-Crowded-end
Gas giant, radiation hazard, unusual day/night cycle, tunnels, mines, forced labor
What exotic flora/fauna live on the surface?
What are they mining?
Which faction runs this facility with an iron fist?
Who's allergic to the local food?
What are the miner's really afraid of?

[Alternate] Jotun is the dominate gas giant in the system. It's largest moon is almost habitable. Zwergenkind von Joten (the dwarf child of Joton) has a breathable atmosphere, but the close proximity to the gas giant results in too much radiation and magnetism for unprotected humans on the surface. The moon is tidally locked so one side always faces Jotun during its 168 hour day. The vast major of the moon's population are mining clones living in cramped tunnels that used to be mine shafts.
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One way to use the program is as an overlay for an existing map image. You then have hexes to give it scale and you can add your connecting roads from there. FYI, the source code is available as javascript. It would be pretty easy to make a local copy and change the name lists to something more terrestrial or theme appropriate.
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Todd Zircher

Actual Play  - 
 
Tales of the John Henry 
 
Setting Info: 
I've started running UW for the Sunday Skyper's crew which is our actual play gaming group.  The modular transport John Henry is run by an NPC Captain, Silvas Trask, and each of the PC are shareholders.  How they each became a shareholder has not been revealed,  saving that for flash backs/debt. :-) 
 
We have Jaxon Kane (a shady info-dealer, Technocrat / Scoundrel / Galactic), Omega (a 'vanity clone' of pop-star Nova Starburst, Personality / Academic / Productive), Febe Keergard (a salvager foreman, Galactic / Industrial / Personality), and Jason Flanders (a space merchant, Commercial / Starfarer / Crowded). 
 
Other named crewmen; Juanita Price - a jump drive tech on loan from Nakamoto, Taylor - fellow engineer and a bit of a letch, Frick and Frack - hairless 'rad hardened' engineering clones that spend a lot of time in the aft section. 
 
The John Henry is a non-military transport in a dumb-bell configuration with a multi-level crew section up front, a skinny spine for carrying modules and cargo, and an engine section aft.  It is not designed for atmospheric flight.   
 
In our setting, AI never developed (or has been effectively and perhaps brutally suppressed.)  This has led to the rise of Second Life and the use of clones for cheap labor instead of robots or androids.  Most clones are treated as property or the local equivalent to serfs, but there are free clones such as Omega.  How the law reacts to clones varies from world to world.  In general, purpose-build clones are not known for their independence and free will.   
 
Material (ala 3d) printing is common, but complicated parts and materials requiring special processing are done at factories with purpose-built facilities.   
 
There is no anti-gravity, but most ships have a really efficient form of fusion drive and can maintain constant thrust when not docked.  Similarly, most space stations are either built in the ring or cylindrical configuration that spins to provide gravity. 
 
The jump drive is an energy sponge and sucks up waste heat (well, nearly any form of energy for that matter.)  So, most starships don't run with radiators although you could add radiator modules if you knew you were going to be sitting still for a long time and not going to jump.  The jump drive can be 'saturated' and will stop taking in heat.  At that point you either jump, cook, or dump fuel to cool down the engines/reactor.  Non-FTL space ships and stations have radiators built in by design and necessity if they have a large reactor. 
 
On the big picture, the crew is in the Yanapol Expanse, a relatively new region of space that is mix of old colonies, new colonies, mining, and unexplored systems.  Further coreward are the Core Worlds and the birth place of humanity.  These systems are predominantly human controlled by the Empire of a Thousand Suns.   
 
The Session Report 01: 
The game starts with the crew having just completed a jump from the agro-world of Han's Landing.  The ship has executed turn-over and beginning the long deceleration burn towards Marsk Station which orbits Marsk Eta, a cold dead rock of a planet.  Marsk Station is a dedicated research facility that is off the normal trade routes.  Ships that do visit tend to bring in food or entertainment goods while ferrying people to and from the other systems.  Elliot's Hope, an industrial world, forms the other corner of this little trade triangle. 
 
The lion's share of the facility, its labor force, and security are handled by Second Life.  There are a number of smaller tech firms like HyperLight Technologies that have space here and enjoy the relative privacy and security that Marsk Station provides.   
 
To warm up the players, I started with "Gimmie a project you're working on or deal with the cramped quarters for six days."  Jason started on market research.  Omega locked himself into his cabin where only a mysterious green light could be seen from time to time.  Febe decided that team building meant "Let's build a rail gun and play tag."  Surprisingly enough, no one was seriously injured.  Jaxon tried a little skullduggery and didn't meet with too much success.  It didn't help that some idiots were running around the ship with an unshielded rail gun. 
 
Approach was uneventful with Captain Trask handling the hand shaking with traffic control.  Docking was a paint scraper which embarrassed the captain.   Juanita got the blame for that.  She might have 'borrowed' the docking range finder for the rail gun project and forgot to put it back (or gambled poorly that the ship would dock on the starboard side.) 
 
The trip through customs was uneventful.  Jaxon was able to smuggle some items in without tripping the sensors.  Flanders declared his pistol, but was warned that using it for anything other than self-defense was a crime.  Omega showed the custom officer his free clone card and was given 'the look' since security was being ran by Second Life staff.  Febe actually debarked with a fair amount of tools, perfectly legal, but was warned about job licensing and fees on station. 
 
Marsk Station is a counter-rotating wheel design with the center core being a zero-G docking hub and loading zone.  Febe show boated in zero-G, everyone else managed to stay out of trouble.  The near ring is the public zone; housing, clubs, the market, administration are all there.  The far ring is strictly corporate territory.  Because the rings are counter rotating, the only (legal) connection points are in the central hub.  Elevators in the spokes of the wheels take people and goods to the rings and back.  It's a good sized station with thousands of people.  Almost everyone in the service industry is a clone with a Second Life logo on their chest. 
 
As per tradition, the party immediately splits up.  :-) 
 
Febe takes her engineers to a local pub and buys the first round. 
 
Trask and Jason head down to the market to set up their wares. 
 
Jaxon does a does a little info gathering and hacking. 
 
And Omega wanders about, fails to be stealthy (or manages to look incredibly suspicious) and gets accosted by an Internal Security Officer. 
 
Jason and Jaxon both discover that HyperLight Technologies might be a buyer for the salvaged  jump drive that they have in a cargo net on the outside of the John Henry.  Of course, they do go about it in different ways. 
 
Trask more or less pawns off the selling of goods to Jason while the Captain heads off to a meet and greet with the station administrator. 
 
Febe calls tries to get Jason involved in a deal, but it turns out she's not happy with meeting with any corporate weasel types.   
 
Jaxon (Kane) failed to find a buyer for his illicit financial information, which is why he started digging into HyperLight. He called Febe to get in on the jump drive deal, but she was still sore about their Cramped Quarters failure so she turned him down.  Taylor reminds everyone why he's a letch, but gets rebuked (as usual.)  Febe leaves the engineers to their drink. 
 
It turns out Jaxon tripped an alarm at HyperLight, but he slips past the station cops like a ghost.  We'll see if the impact of that comes back to bite them. 
 
Febe discovers one of the 'open air' ballrooms that the locals have set up to amuse themselves with, boredom is a real problem on the station.  Their style of dance is an alien thing to her and refuses an invitation to participate.  Sitting on the sidelines, she observes that it is a spectator sport as well, but she can't figure out who's winning. 
 
Omega wanders in from a different direction and in a rare moment of exhibitionism drags Febe on to the dance floor during a break in the dancing.  All aboard the awkward train as Febe freezes up in from of an audience of curious onlookers.  Also, the DJ recognizes Omega (well Nova Starburst) and plays one of Nova's love ballads.  (Probably triggering even more moments of recognition.)  Did I mention it was a train wreck? 
-- 
TAZ
6
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Marsk Eta, a cold dry world with thin atmosphere of oxygen and carbon dioxide..
http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii221/zircher/Marsk_Eta_zpsoxieczoy.png

Marsk Station, 1400m in diameter, the counter rotating rings spin at one RPM and generate from .75 to .8 G.
http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii221/zircher/Marsk_Station_zpsafscidey.png

Love it when I can apply my other hobby skills to a game. 
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TAZ
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Have gun. Will travel.
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 Long time gamer (table top and video), computer programer, 3D modeller, and game designer. 
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