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For any of you in the Twin Cities area.
Saturday, January 14th @ 6:30pm
Fantasy Flight Games Event Center

The crew of the Deliberated Saucer have managed to survive a massive ship theft on Node Station Zeto. However now they must face the real enemy; legal bureaucracy. Can you manage to avoid being sent to the clink for firing a LoDur Beamer without a permit?

We have room for an additional four player characters.
Provided will be.....

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Raymond McVay

Discussion  - 
This is the way the world ends...
Rescheduling of family functions and the normal psychotic pace of the so-called "Holidays" has made getting the magazine finished a ma...
Raymond McVay's profile photoTrey Palmer's profile photo
I know I haven't signed up for Patreon, but I am so looking forward to this. 
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Scott Martin

Discussion  - 
We made a cluster over the weekend. This is one of the worlds that resulted.

Arbor (T-1, E-1, R+2)
"A tectonically tired swamp world"
"Iron winds smooth beautiful steelwood structures"
"Steelwood sap is necessary for slipdrive manufacture... though the locals don't know that."
Links to: Mumun, New Detroit, Zebron

On Arbor, iron laden streamers of wind of swirl overhead--streaks of red in an orange-pink sky. A warm and brackish marsh clings to the water near the poles, offering the world’s sole relief from the barren salt-rust hummocks peeking out from the calm pink hued oceans. From the marshes grow immense staelwool trees--hundreds of meters across and growing as high as 50 meters. Villages are built into and upon these immense trees, protected from the scouring iron winds by powerful magnetic fields powered by atomic generators buried in the shallow mud at the roots of the staelwool trees. Mangroves grow thickly between the staelwool villages.

About twenty million people call Arbor home. Most politics is handled at the village level, but Terku and Vaṭakku are the nations at each pole. Flight is absent, due to the abrasive winds--except for frequently descending dropships from off world seeking staelwool sculptures, furniture, and other crafts. The swamps and rich pink sea fill the world’s dinner tables. Staelwool sided hovercraft and fishing ships trawl mangroves for crabfish, ablone, and near-shrimp; deeper waters offer boundless large fish and kelpish, a vegetable base for most meals.

Most offworld traffic visits Nadu on the southern continent; a pourform starport from before the last collapse offers the services and ship connections that spacers expect. The art market buzzes with activity; a variety of staelwool sculptures sell briskly. This is more due to the properties of staelwool and its primacy in forming stable slipmatrixes for interstellar travel than the artistic merit of the artwork--though many ship designs prominently display the sculptures.

Pierre Savoie's profile photoScott Martin's profile photo
It came about as part of the discussion at the table; I agree that it'd be "a bit much" without consensus.
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Nat aS

Discussion  - 
Random thought:

In the past I've assumed that space travel would make jet lag worse, but really you can prevent Interstellar jet lag by adjusting your approach so that the time it takes to get too and from the slipknot cancels out any time difference between planets. You'll only be adding or subtracting at worse half a day (whatever a day IS* here) from a half month long journey. The actual clock adjusting can be preformed during flight, slowly adding or subtracting minutes from each day cycle as you slowly adjust the artificial gravity of the spin section and temperature/humidity of the hab module.

*If days are much longer or shorter on one of the planets, but then I don't imagine those planets being popular tourist destinations.
Jenny Sittinger's profile photoNat aS's profile photo
Nat aS
+Jenny Sittinger if they live in habitats with artificial lighting, then definitely. But on planets with regular rotations and breathable atmospheres it's definitely useful enough to keep.

On the other hand, I could see life forms that lives on planets with very long day/night cycles abandoning the idea of sleeping every night entirely. While sleep is necessary for our brains, it's very possible to imagine an intelligent species which doesn't need it. Or which can take naps regardless of the ambient light levels.
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Raymond McVay

Discussion  - 
This article uses a lot of Traveller lingo, but the Diaspora rules will be available next Tuesday (11/29)
Happy Monday, RocketFans! I am happy to say that we reached a major milestone this weekend: Over 100 downloads of LAUNCH WINDOW ! This ...
Raymond McVay's profile photoRobert Slaughter's profile photo
Just letting you know I was teasing, not being malicious. That's supposed to be a winking face
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Nat aS

Discussion  - 
Transatmosphiric assault shuttle.
concept art by Peter6409
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Nat aS

Discussion  - 
Just thought of a good justification for using "Destroyer" to describe a class of combat spacecraft.

It's short for asteroid destroyer. The payload of shaped charge nuclear warheads is for dealing with asteroids (technically it redirects them, but destroyer sounds better when you are trying to get funding)

They have enough delta-v to intercept asteroids in solar orbit, but are not FTL capable. After the discovery of FTL travel, they remain in use as low cost dedicated system defense platforms. The T1 Oberon system defender from the book is an example.

Similarly, Cruisers are the first FTL capable spacecraft. They are larger and more expensive than destroyers, and have the reactor capacity to mount directed energy weapons systems, but aren't much stronger in terms of firepower and survivability. All things being equal, an equivalent tonnage of destroyers will overwhelm a cruiser strike force. However in practice, the attacking cruisers will often have more advanced technology and be more numerous.

Dreadnought battleships show up as the theory of space warfare matures and are the result of splitting up the logistical and tactical elements of cruisers. A cruiser is a generalized spacecraft and will likely carry such amenities as a shuttle full of Marines, scientific/exploration equipment, and supplies for an extended independent patrol. A battleship moves all that into a fleet of tender crafts and focuses on battles, allowing them to effortlessly sweep aside comparable tonnages of cruisers, and shrug off destroyer missile barrages. The supply lines still must be protected by cruiser patrols however.
William Nichols's profile photoRaymond McVay's profile photo
Oh, well done.
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Raymond McVay

Discussion  - 
Another busy day, RocketFans, getting LAUNCH WINDOW ready for press. It's looking like we'll be finished with the issue in plenty of ...
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Winchell Chung

Discussion  - 
SPOILERS!!! Westworld just revealed the "attributes" for their hosts (robots). About 50 minutes into tonight's episode "The Adversary" they explained part of the system behind the hosts personas.

They even used the term attributes in their explanation (I swear there must be some RPGers working behind the scenes!) Anyway, I must have run it back and forth on my tablet about 12 times, but I was able to get all 20 of them. (Sorry, screen capture was disabled on the app I was using).

They were illustrated in a circle. Starting at 12 and going clockwise, they are:

1. Bulk Apperception*
2. Candor
3. Vivacity
4. Coordination
5. Meekness
6. Humility
7. Cruelty
8. Self-Preservation
9. Patience
10. Decisiveness
11. Imagination
12. Curiosity
13. Aggression
14. Loyalty
15. Empathy
16. Tenacity
17. Courage
18. Sensuality
19. Charm
20. Humor

*Described as a mix of intelligence and consciousness.

So that's not too spoilery, but this next part is....





The hosts are pretty much like humans, except 3D printed. (Learned that in a series of earlier episodes.) But tonight they revealed that their brains are capable of much higher processing. The main difference of course is that they're under the control of park operations so they have no free will. But the insinuation is that they have the potential to surpass human capabilities in all areas.

The attributes are rated on a 20-point scale. Most hosts max out at 14. A rating of 5 under "coordination" would make a host "clumsy as hell" but a 15 means you're an athlete." Maeve, the madam of the main saloon in Sweetwater has an 18 for "charm".

You get the idea. Anyway, super cool to see how the writers developed the attribute score system, but it's also ripe for GM inspiration.

Now go forth, and make your own rogue robot (or whatever you want) RPG!
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Raymond McVay

Discussion  - 
Official Post from Ray McVay: http://bluemaxstudios.blogspot.com/2016/11/14-days-until.html
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Here is an abbreviated recap of our second Diaspora session back in November. You can see much more detailed recaps, character sheets, and all kinds of background information in this Drive folder.


In our first session we created the basic framework of the Koronis cluster. It is a place domineered by the Corfu, terrorized by the Kundu, malingered by the Blueporters, and infiltrated by the Mandarin. So in our second session started by finishing crafting characters. Due to the miserable freezing rain only Robert and Rachel made the game. I decided to also run a character just to even up the numbers as little as well as GMing. So here are the cast…

Christomos Jorgannsen(Patrick)

Works some, plays hard.
-Quality is the last priority.
-White washing the fence.
-What the captain doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

This is the Lebowski-esque engineer of the Deliberated Saucer. He grew up on Salonika, a hollowed dwarf planet that is the Rio de Janeiro of Corfu. As this was the GMs character, he lacked most of the depth the other two brought to the table.

Kelaya Jolysa(Rachel)

-Nationalistic Dreamer
-It is all about the deal.
-Natural dealer is country bumpkin.
-No free meals.
-Make a deal at any opportunity.

Jolysa was born into the steampunk farming culture of Jolastria. For a couple centuries the agrarian and egalitarian society has been forced to pay “tithes” and recognize the ultimate sovereignty of the Corfu governments over their own. Even in her youth seeing the arguments and discussions of grown elders and other farmers set afire her desire for Jolastria to be “an equal” among the spacefaring powers. Through great competence in learning to negotiate with the Tithe Merchants she earned a spot under the tutelage of a Jolastrian broker serving aboard a ship. While traversing the cluster Jolysa has slowly developed a network of those not satisfied with the current power dynamics of the dominant Corfu cultures over the others. It was some of these instincts that led her to help Davik stow aboard the Deliberated Saucer. To this day she still sees everyone as a potential part of her “Movement”.

-My body is not to spec.
“No, is just a word”
Friends where you least expect to find them.
-A wicked judge of talent

Mandarin is a society that judges your potential even before birth. All of it is stored in the Mandarin Genetic Registry; a institution that will weigh heavily on if you get to be a cook or councilmember. Davik always wanted to be a space marine, but was just not considered the ‘right stuff’. His solution was to alter electronic records so he would be considered the ‘right stuff’. Eventually this caught up with him, but proved his abilities as an intuitive hacker. However old habits die hard and one day he permanently earned the ire of the Mandarin by stealing a fragment of the MGR. Luckily Jolysa helped smuggle him out of Mandarin space where he attempts to build up his own network of allies.


We start with our ship, the Deliberated Saucer, rocketing towards Node Station Zeto. We had been on what is known as a Titheing run, collecting foodstuffs from Jolastria meant to satisfy tributes. The value of the products inside were not great, but in terms of political favors these runs were valuable. In fact the grain would not even be consumed in Corfu but ultimately end back in the Jalastria system as Tithe Rations sold to the Hubs at high, fixed prices. Still Jolysa would not let the criminality of this whole system get her down as she had managed to deal along some extra grain for gaining favors elsewhere.

At the Customs Stations Jolysa set herself in the customs office for a long period of bureaucratic form filling. The only other part of the station really open to visitors was an entertainment hub filled with mess halls, a zero-g soccer field, and a small arboretum. Christomos of course entered the pick up game at hand while Davik did some net scanning to see if any of his network was in the area. He did find out a certain friend would be arriving on a ship at the customs station in a couple days. Likely the Saucer would still be waiting to clear inspections by that point. Often stays at Corfu Customs stations could last days or even a couple weeks.

By this point Chtistomos joined Davik in a large mess hall slanted to give a good view of both the field and all the ships docked. At a nearby table a couple of ship engineers from another vessel were commenting about the unusual presence of cargo containers in the mess hall. Pretty soon afterward a group of over a dozen people just kind of appeared and milled around near the entrance to the main Marine barracks on the station. Feeling suspicious Davik and Christomos wandered over near the containers.

Like any good hacker, Davik had all kinds of integrated equipment meant to read RF tags, comm traffic, and detect sensors. The RF readers were built into his gloves, which he subtly used to try and read the tags on the containers. While the 15 digit designations meant little, the fact they still were reporting to be in the inspection bay was unusual. The obvious sign of foul doings was a virus blocking the function of the crate talking to the station computer systems.

Everyone’s suspicions were confirmed when an explosion near the barracks door blew Christomos and Davik off their feet. Almost immediately they heard loud stomping noises from the containers before explosive bolts threw the doors of the crates towards the marine barracks. As station soldiers emerged with their concussion rifles, two large suits of power armor shot out of the crates and into the soldiers. The men who had just been loitering pulled out harpoon guns and beamers and painted the room a rainbow color of sparks and light.

Alarms started everywhere as blast doors sealed. In the customs office the official was already hiding near their console when Jolysa decided she would be safer in the Bridge. She very assertively demanded she needed protection as a member of a ship bring Tithe, a proper Broker, and just a nice person. Surprisingly this worked and they let her in the door. However the safety did not last long as someone already inside the bridge opened the door and beam rifles started firing. Another hulk in power armor rushed into the room and a total melee of short range energy weapon fire and power fists began.

Seeing armageddon let loose in the mess hall, Christomos and Davik decided to move to another area and try to make sense of things. Davik’s attempt to bypass the comm grid to talk to Jolysa was successful to the degree that they could talk to each other. However he inadvertently also tied the audio into the PA system of the station. After that mistake they move to another terminal in the area and force a the blast doors to the mess hall closed. Upon being trapped, one of the Bruisers in power armor come and rip open a suit sized hole in the door.

At this point all the emergency doors that had shut start to open. Davik realizes they are in no position of strength and starts to run down the station hallway towards the Engineering bay. However the sounds and sights of another party of pirates attacking Engineering causes him to seek cover. Christomos also runs down the hall and manages to locate a maintenance computer jack that may be useful for Davik to hack.

Back on the bridge Jolysa attempts to use her booming presentation voice to start negotiating with the leader of the attack on the bridge. She wants to understand why they are attacking, what are the goals of their forces. Also she wishes she had been keeping up more on current political events in Corfu. Her arguments to enter negotiation that invoked such revolutionary figures as Josephina Lysistrata were successful. The Bruiser stopped attacking and took off his helmet. Of course this entire conversation was heard over the station’s PA system, leading to a general morale drop among the pirates.

Davik started hacking again to discover the station’s collision detection systems were being deactivated while one of the docked ships was being powered up to ram into the station. He kept turning the systems back on only to have the other hacker deactivate them again. However he identified exactly where the pirate hacker was operating and told Davik. Using some of his athletic training Christomos ran, dodged, slid, and picked up a Concussion Rifle near the hacker. In all that excitement he dialed the distance incorrectly on the rifle and looked like an idiot after greeting the hacker with a smug one-liner.

We ended up narrating the rest of the encounter due to time. All the pirates withdraw to the eight ships they were stealing. We are not yet sure what happened to the pirate that surrendered with Jolysa. Also now a few Navy ships with investigators are coming to the station and frankly, our players did break quite a few space laws during this whole affair. That is what will be resolved in the next session.

On a pleasant note, we did learn a lot about why the pirates attacked. They had a plan to steal specific ships to take to a Gas Giant called Therma. Also there was some allusion to “the future of the cluster”. Apparently some of the brains behind the operation were Dr. Donellson and Dr. Wundergaard.


“Josephina Lysistrata”
The first thing I am doing in review is creating a campaign aspect based on what occurs in each session. This session I think is clearly “Josephina Lysistrata”. There are many themes relating to her history that emerged in this session and may be emerging in future sessions. To learn more read the historical background about her.

Also session three is slated for January 14th in the Twin Cities, so stay tooned for an additional announcement. Finally I would love questions from everyone to help flesh out parts of this cluster that need detail.

patrick.schifano@gmail.com. Google+ Profile–Privacy · My Account · Profile. Patrick Schifano. patrick.schifano@gmail.com (default). All your Brand Accounts » · Add account · Sign out. Google Account. Patrick Schifano. patrick.schifano@gmail.com. Main menu.
Pierre Savoie's profile photoTodd Zircher's profile photo
Copied and pasted it into Notepad for a quick read. Fun stuff!
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Bryan Rombough

Discussion  - 
Fuck Yeah Space Jellyfish
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Raymond McVay

Discussion  - 
A T4 Cruiser on its last mission.
Sometimes, collapse comes from betrayal...
That's right, RocketFans - Issue 1 is only six days away! While we're all waiting in breathless anticipation, here's a look at so...
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Science question, if an artifact created a field around your ship (currently landed on earth) which made it behave like negative matter, what would happen?
Jenny Sittinger's profile photoJohn Reiher's profile photo
Paygrade < Beyond!
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Nat aS

Discussion  - 
Nat aS originally shared:
What 20th century fics get wrong about "dropships."

A lot of dirtsider civilians think Transatmosphiric Assault Vehicles are re-usable like civilian SSTOs. This goes back to XXth century vidfics which treat space travel as an extension of air travel. The “drop-ship” is just a fancier version of the…
A lot of dirtsider civilians think Transatmosphiric Assault Vehicles are re-usable like civilian SSTOs. This goes back to XXth century vidfics which treat space travel as an extension of air travel…
Nat aS's profile photoJames Gilmore's profile photo
Very cool! (It's Theseus, though. Made me itch a little there.)
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David Perry

Discussion  - 
I've been working on this textual exoplanet description generator for a while now. It's at a point where I'm pretty proud of it. Here's an example:

Xi Virgo e, "Santopitar"
A average 1.06 Earth-mass, perfectly temperate 280 (± 10) Kelvin rocky silicate planet with almost 1.7 times the expected density and gravity, and a crushing 16 atm atmosphere of reactive gasses spotted with vivid reddish-orange clouds and extreme winds. One hemisphere is coated with glassy reddish-orange lowlands and with a few large strangely warped chasms and the other; marked by dozens of cellular craters packed with crystalline oxygen, and isolated regions dominated by cellular reddish-orange dunes. The surface material is otherwise undifferentiated drab beige cobble.

Makes descriptions of interesting mostly-human-explorable planets, of a detail visible from in-system, balancing the evocative and scientific. Reference: Earth is 1.0 M⊕, 190-340 K, 287 K avg, 1.0 atm (humans surviving unprotected from 0.4 to 4 atm), with a liquid water hydrosphere and ...
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Raymond McVay

Discussion  - 
First time for Diaspora...
But what about all the other stuff!? (Regular Features in LAUNCH WINDOW)
      Boss' note:  For the foreseeable future, we're shooting for a M-W-F post schedule, with Blog-exclusive goodies on Mondays, and info about upcoming issues of LAUNCH WINDOW the other two days.               TGIF, RocketFans!  For those of you gaming thi...
Boss' note: For the foreseeable future, we're shooting for a M-W-F post schedule, with Blog-exclusive goodies on Mondays, and info a...
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John Till

Discussion  - 
Today's post is about using Diaspora to explore the universe of Cixin Liu's Three-Body Problem.
2016 MN State Fair Arts & Crafts Exposition A couple weeks ago, I finished reading Cixin Liu's Remembrance of Earth's Past , better kn...
Luke Miller's profile photo
I'll also point out that whatever system you cook up for time-hopping adventure featuring the long term social change of your civilization...

...You could use for a rollickin' good Forever War game.
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Raymond McVay

Discussion  - 
Diaspora update is expected to release around the 29th. The December issue will showcase Diaspora content in the first release.
Six days until the first taste of LAUNCH WINDOW is available for download, and things are coming together nicely. Thought I'd share a...
Noah Doyle's profile photoRaymond McVay's profile photo
+Noah Doyle Not the core book of Diaspora, no - the Digest will recieve an update supporting Diaspora.
"LAUNCH WINDOW will support Open D6, the Cepheus Engine, OSR, D20, and Diaspora. The main release of the digest will showcase one or two systems that fit most easily with the settings featured within, but throughout the month after each issue’s release there will be DLC packages updated to the ebook file. This way, you can be assured that everything in the magazine will support your favorite system. Every item, every issue, every month. "
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