Wednesday, October 28, 2009

[Future Perfect] Shuttles by Zero-G

Hobgoblin Combat Shuttle

Manufacture: Zero-G Innovations
Size: Small
Power: 10
Acc: 220 Top: 1200 Handling: +2
FTL: Gate Beacon
Crew: 1 Hull: 16 (4) [Armor 4]

Ship Systems:
  • Basic Computer with Autopilot, Target Acquisition/Control System, Pattern Recognition
  • Starship
  • Security Cells or Passenger Compartment (Buyer’s Option: 1 Space, 1 Power)
  • Atmospheric (Climb: 55)
Light Rail Gun [2 Spaces, 1 Power; Modular Turret Mount]
200/400/800; 3d8 AP12; RoF1

Other Options:

[Armed Response]
  • Medium Double Beam Cannon Array [2 Spaces, 3 Power; Turret Mounted]
    100/200/400; 4d10 AP8; RoF1
  • Security Cell
[Torpedo Delivery]
  • Hunter Medium Torpedo [1 Space; 1 Power to Fire any number of torpedoes
    275/550/1100; Tracking (Range 6600); Speed 1100; 4d10 AP40; Medium Burst
  • (6) Additional Torpedoes [1 Space]
  • Mark I Deflector [1 Space; 1 Power]
  • Cells/Passenger Compartments are removed to house the Deflector Transmission & Control Systems
Notes: Updates and makes combat ready the old Gremlin shuttle design from StarJourney once Zero-G acquired their assets. It is a combat oriented hybrid of the Gremlin and early Goblin shuttle designs designed for short range patrol, support, and security use. Too small and much too expensive for use by the pirate clans, the Hobgoblin’s modularity and ease of customization has made this craft a big hit among bounty hunters and regional marshals alike.

Goblin Advanced Transport Shuttle
Manufacture: Zero-G Innovations
Size: Small
Power: 12
Acc: 220 Top: 1200 Handling: +2
FTL: H-Space Drive [1 Space; 1 Power]
Crew: 1 Hull: 14 (4) [Armor 4]

Ship Systems:
  • Basic Computer with Autopilot, Library (General Knowledge), Knowledge: Astrogation, Pattern Recognition
  • (2) Passenger Spaces (6 Passenger; 2 Spaces; 2 Power)
  • Mark I Deflector Screen [-1 to Target Locks: 1 Space, 1 Power]
  • Starship
  • Atmospheric (Climb: 55)

Notes: Designed for civilian use, this craft replaced the old Gremlin shuttle originally made by StarJourney Transportation

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

[Future Perfect] Outrigger Freighter

Outrigger Class Colonial Freighter

Manufacture: Alliance
Size: Huge
Power: 72
Acc: 83 Top: 540 Handling: -2
FTL: Alliance Standard Hyperdrive (16 Power)
Crew: 24 Hull: 58 (33) [Armor 33]

Ship Systems:
  • Starship
  • Atmospheric (Climb: 21)
  • Cargo Pods (8x2 Spaces per Pod; 16 Spaces)
  • Large Cargo Pods (4x4 Spaces per Pod; 16 Spaces)
  • Emergency Medical Bay (3 Spaces)
  • Workshop (Repair Facility) (1 Space)
  • Alliance Advanced Sensors (+2 Notice)
  • Computer with Basic AI (d6 Smarts, Power 8, Spaces 8):
  • Piloting d6, Shooting d6, Knowledge (Planetary Navigation) d6, Knowledge (Astrogation) d6, Medical d6, Notice d6(+2), Autopilot, Target Acquisition and Control, Fire Control, and Pattern Recognition
  • (2) Twilight Gunworks Twin Medium Pulse Cannon Turret (Forward, Turret Mounted) 125/250/500, 3d10 AP8, RoF2 [2 Spaces each, 3 Power each]
  • (2) Predator Medium Torpedo [1 Space each; 1 Power to Fire one or both; Forward Mount] 300/600/1200; Tracking (Range 4800); Speed 1200; 5d10 AP50; Medium Burst
  • (6) Additional Predator Torpedoes [1 Space; 6 Torpedos]
The Outrigger is a common sight in Frontier space, as most recent colonial expeditions mounted by the Alliance have used one or more of these ships. Designed to travel alone, or to complement a long range colony train, the Outrigger holds vast amounts of freight and offers a means of extended support to colonists in the form of ready-made Medical facilities and a small machine shop. These vessels are often programmed to remain in service to a colonial community for a set amount of time -- either prepaid or depending on certain specified conditions being met -- at which point the ship's AI sets a return course for Alliance space to be repaired, re-outfitted, and returned once more to the Frontier colonies. More rarely, this vessel can be seen in Faction space, usually with a heavy escort of fighters and gunships.

This ship has a military variant which is considered a Heavy Assault Transport, which is designed to transport Marines to a battlefield and remain there in service as a locus for field operations.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Alternate Experience System - Final Notes

You may recall that I'd been working on an alternate experience system for Savage Worlds in order to better suit the needs of my play group. Well, the system has been done for a while, but I finally got around to making it vaguely understandable to anyone else. In short, this system provides a different method of character advancement based -- to a great extent -- on what a character actually does in the course of a game. Skills and Characteristics earn distinct experience points called IXP - Improvement Experience Points. General Experience Points (XP) also are earned, and may be spent on Edges or be used as IXP to round out points to improve one or more traits.

[Assigning Experience]

Every Skill and Characteristic gains its own set of Improvement Experience (IXP) that may be spent only on improving that particular ability. General Experience, however, may be spent on anything, provided the GM approves an improvement. It is spent as IXP when a character is improving a Skill or Characteristic and is used to purchase Edges and Action Cards.

[Improvement Experience]

The Skill or Characteristic was:


Used unsuccessfully


Used successfully in an unimportant way


Used successfully multiple times, in unimportant ways


Used successfully in an important or unique way


Used successfully multiple times in important or unique ways


Used in a way that had significant impact on game events


Used in a way that changed the course of the game


Use of a characteristic is considered to be any time in which:
  • A character is called upon to make a Characteristic roll
  • A characteristic is actively tested or trained
  • A characteristic is used during role-playing narrative
A characteristic is NOT considered used when:
  • A skill roll is made
  • A characteristic roll is made for general knowledge or to default a skill test
  • A damage roll is made

[General Experience]

The Character:


Was active/present in the game


Contributed meaningfully to the game


Had an outstanding contribution to the game


Overcame a major personal obstacle


Met a major personal goal


The Group:


Was successful in their efforts


Succeeded admirably due to skill and ingenuity (not sheer luck)


Overcame a major long-term obstacle or


Achieved a significant long-term goal


Completed a minor storyline


Completed a major storyline


The average General Experience issued per session should be somewhere between 3-5 points. More points should be granted if important Character goals are met. The resolution of story-lines may even offer double, or even triple that amount if it is a long-running story arc.

[Unified Experience Costs]




XP Cost

New Skill (d4)

New Edge



















For non-humans, consider each improvement value as the basic die before racial modifiers are added. For example, Dwarves, who would gain a +1 Vigor Die and suffer -1 Agility Die (from their maximum), treat Vigor as being one step down the table, and Agility as one step up. So, a Dwarf increasing Vigor from a d8 to a d10 would pay 80 (instead of 100) XP and increasing his Agility from d6 to a d8 would pay 100 XP (instead of 80).

[Edge Tracks]

Any Edges that build upon each other directly in sequence are considered part of a Track. Most of the time, Edges further along in a Track may be identified by the inclusion of “Improved” in their name. For example, Rapid Recharge and Improved Rapid Recharge are edges comprising the Rapid Recharge Track.

The first edge in a track costs its normal value. However, improving to the next Edge in a track – e.g. to an Edge’s Improved form – costs only the difference between the two point costs. If there is not a difference in point cost (likely because both edges have the same rank prerequisites), then ¼ of the point value for the edge must be spent to make the improvement.

There are some cases where an edge track lacks the inclusion of an “Improved (X)” form; in the SW:EX rulebook, the only such examples appears among the Legendary Edges – for example, the progression under the Professional Track from Expert to Master.

As per the rules for point expenditures on Edge Tracks with no cost differences between edges, all Legendary Edges after the first one in a particular track cost 30 Experience Points.

[Bennies (optional)]

While SW:EX did away with the old rule of converting unspent bennies into experience points, the Experience Improvement System outlined herein can easily accommodate either preference. If you do not like bennies included in potential experience, then simply do not offer the option. However, if you wish to allow bennies unspent at a session’s end to be used to augment character experience, then have every one so spent count as a single point of General XP.

I’d recommend removing the old mechanic that required dice rolls for unused bennies in order to determine if they convert. Experience points in this alternate experience system do not mean as much individually. Also, to promote dramatic game play and to reward player contributions, I’d also recommend allowing only those bennies earned during the course of the game session to be spent as experience at the end of the session. Thus, normal bennies, luck-derived bennies, and bennies earned from being a kid would not apply – there would be no “free” experience.

[Example of the Experience Improvement System in Use]

Dick Daring, Cavalier of the Spaceways has survived another session of adventuring. It was an active session in which Dick thwarted his rival, the nefarious Nick Nasty, in his attempts to seize control of a backwater spaceport (for reasons still unknown). Dick had a pretty nasty running gun battle with Nick and his cronies, he had a short and pointless brawl, stealthily researched the port manifests (discovering Nick’s presence before Nick could spring an ambush!), and pumped the locals for information before sneaking into the old warehouse on the outer docking ring where Nick and his cronies were hatching their schemes.

The Game Master decides that Dick:
  • Used Fighting in an unimportant way: [1 IXP]
  • Used Firearms multiple times in important ways: [4 IXP]
  • Used Investigation in a way that had significant impact on the events: [5 IXP]
  • Used Piloting in an unimportant way when he landed his ship at the Spaceport: [1 IXP]
  • Used Stealth multiple times in important ways: [4 IXP]
  • Used Streetwise in an important way: [3 IXP]
  • Did something important by forcing open an old airlock with a Strength roll: [3 IXP]
  • Did something important by sneaking through the airless ducts while holding his breath (a Vigor roll): [3 IXP]
Furthermore, the GM grants the following General Experience:
  • Dick was active in the game: [1XP]
  • Dick’s actions contributed meaningfully: [1XP]
  • Dick met a major personal goal (thwarting Nick Nasty!): [1 XP]
  • His group was successful: [1 XP]
  • His group used skills and good thinking to overcome problems: [1XP]
  • His group completed a minor storyline: [2XP]
At a total of 7 General XP, in addition to all those IXP he earned... It looks like a good day for Dick!

Friday, October 23, 2009

[Future Perfect] The Pirate Clans

[The Pirate Clans]

Originally born in the wake of the Imperium’s first colonial war, the nine merchant families who controlled the Bellgraeve System fled before the destruction of their home worlds. Hunted and marked as criminals and fugitives from justice, the Clans took to hiding themselves in clusters of whatever starships they had available to them out in the furthest recesses of known space. In time, the need for resources, new ships, caused some of them to venture into Imperial space to acquire what they needed.

No one seems able to agree about who began the first altercation, some sixty years after the end of the first colonial war. Children of the Red Dragon clan insist they were assaulted by Imperial Security Forces when simply attempting to broker a deal for spare parts, water purifiers, and assorted dry goods. Imperial Forces claim the Red Dragon ships were attacking a freighter convoy and that Security Forces were deployed in response to a distress call. The freighter captains, unfortunately, never were able to comment – their ships were destroyed at some point in the altercation, and most of the debris seemed just to disappear. The result, however, was that the Imperium redoubled its efforts to hunt down the fugitives from Bellgraeve and placed a bounty on the heads of all such “pirates”.

Without a means to challenge the Imperium’s claims, the Clans were driven to desperation. Beset on all sides by bounty hunters, law enforcement, and military assaults, the Clans were forced to do whatever was necessary to ensure their own survival. Many Clans simply folded family members back into Imperial society with false identities, hoping that these individuals could be of service to their Clans at future dates. Others in the Clans, however, became the very types of criminals they were accused of being – better a thief than to starve, and better a murderer than a dead man. Most of the younger generations, born after the flight from Bellgraeve, saw piracy as a viable answer to their problems. In time, more and more among the Clans took to that vocation in order to provide for their families and the hope of building a better future.

To this day, the merchant families who ruled Bellgraeve refer to themselves as the Merchant Clans. While each Clan is an autonomous entity, and many Clans have been known to war against each other from time to time, they are quick to put aside their differences in order to come against a common foe – the Imperium and the Powers who, in time, grew out of them. The Clans adopted articles of general law to help see to their mutual, long term survival, and within each Merchant Clan, family laws have been drafted. People who break these laws are subject to a range of penalties including fines, public humiliations, penance activities, execution, and exile.

The “Freespace” concept first was implemented by the Clans, referring to areas of space were no aggression or predatory action was to be instigated so that representatives of the Clans could come together and trade, share news, mingle and marry, resolve disputes under general law, and plan for their collective futures. Such locales would remain for only a limited amount of time before the assorted Clan vessels would scatter and return to their normal business.

Clanners tend to spend their lives in space, dwelling on ships, often formed into small fleets, that travel together across the void. Clan vessels tend to be tight knit communities, with larger ships often resembling small cities. While the Clans are referred to as families, in truth they are composed of multiple familial bloodlines. These families form sub-units within the clans, and the larger ones may even be broken down further still. Inbreeding is frowned upon among the Clan folk, though most individuals do tend to marry within their Clans, and thus it does happen from time to time. Men may take multiple wives, though only the children born from the First Wife remain with the father’s family. The children born from other wives are presented to that wife’s family for them to raise if they desire. Children are raised by the family community, and parents may have as much or as little contact with their children as they desire.

Culturally, most Merchant Clans are rather similar. They share a common language, have been known to intermarry, and share a common religion. They are very much a scattered, itinerant Nation in space, with each Clan analogous to its own State or Region within that Nation. Unlike the various criminal syndicates who undertake many of the same illegal pastimes, the Clan’s focus less on profit and more on the continuance of their way of life.

Merchant Clans may have been the first pirate clans, and remain to this day among the most prominent of that ilk, they are by no means the only ones. Many smaller piracy groups, noting the successes of the fugitives of Bellgraeve, have adapted over time to follow a similar structure, swelling their numbers from the ranks of volunteer and assorted other methods of recruitment. Laws among these “true pirate” clans tend to be simpler and punishments more brutal. The Merchant Clans have recognized a few such pirate organizations as worthy Clans, and sent offers of inclusion provided they accept the articles of general law. Merchant Clans and those other pirates who’ve adopted the Articles tend to frown on “lesser” pirates.

This is not to say that the Pirate Clans present a solidly unified front, or that they are always successful in ensuring their own survival. The Star Tiger Clan, one of the original Merchant Clans, simply fell apart after several hundred years of struggling. Their members split apart, some folding themselves into Imperial society, and others joining other Clans who would have them. The Green Jade clan – a true Clan tragedy – was cast out from unity with the other Clans and the protection of the Articles after growing increasingly more aggressive. They attempted to wrest control of a new space station in a free territory, and much of their Clan fleet was destroyed when they failed. Furthermore, because they had been cast out from the protection of the Articles, the other Clans would offer them neither aid nor sanctuary when the corporate owners of that station hired soldiers to hunt down and exterminate the Clan. Most recently, the White Dragons – another of the original refugees from Bellgraeve – had an internal schism resulting in many of their families failing in an attempt to seize a Gateway from Regency control. Thousands of that Clan’s members were slaughtered by Regency soldiers and hired mercenary companies when the Gateway was reclaimed.

Some of the currently active Pirate Clans are:

  • Red Dragon: A very active Merchant Clan in what is now Alliance space, the Red Dragons have notable contacts among several Warlords in the Freespace. This clan is known for its tenacity and fast-attack, small unit tactical assaults on freighter convoys.
  • White Dragon: A once prominent Clan, it is now in decline after some of it’s members thought they could spit in the Regency’s eye without repercussions. They specialize in exotic trade goods, both legal and illegal. The White Dragons have moved into the recesses of Kokoran space to lick their wounds and, it seems, to examine a potential market for Kokoran products.
  • Black Star: Known as “gentlemen corsairs”, the Black Stars range far and wide across the Interzone, the Freespace, and what is now Coalition space. Black Stars tend to prey on Corporate vessels, and from time to time may hire themselves as Mercenaries to private interests.
  • Blue Diamond: A less aggressive clan rumored to have ties to various corporate and government interests in both the Coalition and the Alliance. The Blue Diamond clan deals with almost any trade goods they get their hands on.
  • Water Horse: Known for attacking unaligned pirates, the Water Horse can be found mostly among the Collective, the Freespace, and the Interzone. They are rumored to be key players in the human slave trade, picking up much of that activity after the Green Jade Clan’s destruction at the hands of Ragnarok Arms.
  • Double Star: Bold to the point of reckless, the Double Star Clan began as the Double-Star gang, before being brought under the Articles. Known for harassing the Imperium/Regency, they got their start during the Coalition’s period of transition. They are the only pirate clan ever to successfully mount an assault on freighters in orbit around New Terra. Most of their efforts focus on the holders of Imperial Charters for Mining/Ore Extraction, and they have a few solid contacts within the Freespace.
  • Sky Forger: Bouncing between Collective, Regency, and the periphery of Interzone space, the SkyForger’s tend to focus their efforts on technology. They will acquire and trade, both legally and not, all sorts of new technologies which they will use and put for sale. The Sky Forger Clan developed the Arc-Light Clan Ship.
  • Triple Mountain: An aggressive clan who tends to keep to the various regions of the Freespace, they will occasionally venture into Kokoran and Regency space to prey on freight carriers attempting to pass through their respective gateways into the Freespace.
  • The Colesons: Initially born from a single family and its hangers on, the Colesons became a highly effective organization of the criminal persuasion out in the regions of the Frontierspace. They were invited to join the Clans under the Articles after coming to the aid of the Double Star Clan in a pitched battle with Imperial Custom’s Officials.
  • Dark Eye: Well known for using drone ships and openly recruiting Mutants into their ranks, the Dark Eye pirates trade information and robots primarily. They are the most scattered of the Clans, with small, family-based fleets found in the backwaters of most of Faction space.