July 27, 2011

StarCraft: The Prisoner - Preview #3

Adventure Background
It is a period of darkness and chaos in the galaxy. The Terran Dominion has toppled, the few Protoss tribes still alive struggle to unite themselves, and untamed Zerg hordes roam leaderless throughout the galaxy.
This adventure takes place on the covert Terran Dominion military research station, BR-715. With the complete withdrawal of all Dominion military forces in the area, the station has been left on its own and vulnerable to attack. Recently, the station has been transmitting an automated distress signal and has not returned any directed signals inquiring as to their needs.

July 25, 2011

Fourthcore Team Deathmatch Interview

I was interviewed this past Monday night by the guys at Roving Band of Misfits about my thoughts, intentions, and playtesting experiences on the Fourthcore Team Deathmatch. Enjoy! Comments welcome.

July 21, 2011

GenCon 2011 Schedule

UPDATE: I have two definite delvings of the StarCraft Gammacore adventure, The Prisoner, scheduled for Wednesday at 5pm and Thursday again at 5pm. Email me if you want to get in on that hot scifi action!

Last night I went through and finalized all my GenCon'ing, figuring out how much time I'd really need for everything.

I could have crammed more gaming in there, but at this point in my life, I'm just too old for that shit. The level of activity I've got in here is going to be brutal enough.

Something I'd like to be able to do is organize some games of my StarCraft Gammacore adventure, The Prisoner. I'll have extra character sheets and everything, so I'm sure I can find a way to pull a pickup game, but I'd prefer to have things organized and laid out beforehand as much as possible. I'm free to run this Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoons; plus Friday morning before Fourthcore Team Deathmatch.

Did you notice the running and lifting in the mornings? That is because I am a beast! Get in touch with me if you want a running partner.

I'll see you there, chucking 20's.

July 20, 2011

The Prisoner - Preview #2

Research Cards

The 10 research cards represent clues and bits of lore gleaned by the adventurers before arriving at research station BR-715. Five of these research cards are marked as COMPLETE, and the other five are INCOMPLETE. Of the five COMPLETE research cards, four are true. Of the five INCOMPLETE research cards, only one is true. The players are entitled to know this ratio; however, the precise knowledge of which research is true is reserved for you alone.

At the start of the game, the research cards are shuffled face-down. Each player draws one, reads it aloud to the others, then keeps it face-up in front of them for the duration of the adventure. All research cards are relayed “as-is” – the adventurers cannot use skill checks or any outside means to confirm or deny research, not least because it is assumed they have already done so to the best of their ability before embarking. To determine which research is worth heeding, the adventurers must rely on logic, intuition, and their experience in the station.

July 15, 2011

Fourthcore Team Deathmatch: Pre-Tournament Analysis

The Fourthcore Team Deathmatch (FTDM) has been my pet project for a few months now, and I have poured quite a bit of thought and energy into its design and implementation. Originally inspired by a chat with Sersa V, it has taken on a life of its own and promises to be an amazing event. My mind was filled with visions of blood and glory, and I could already hear the screams of both triumphant victory and devastating defeat. With GenCon fast approaching, I wanted to take a little time to explain my motives and reasoning behind many of the decisions made on FTDM.

Mission Statement

I know, how corporate, right?

FTDM has had an unofficial mission statement since Day #1. What this means is that I started the design with a number of goals I wanted to achieve with this event. They were:

+ Create a large event where many Fourthcore Fanatics could gather together and hang out at once; a Fourthcore Community Gathering

+ Use the tools of the internet to help organize and promote such an event

+ Capture the frantic, break-neck-speed feel of 90’s-era first-person deathmatch shooter games, such as DooM, Quake, and Heretic/HeXen; using the 4E D&D system.

July 14, 2011

Great minds think alike ... in space!

Castles & Cooks, another blog devoted to all things D&D, has posted their own StarCraft Gamma World project. The articles go into detail on some of the design decision made behind the numbers, and is a good read. They also focus a lot more on stating out individual monsters, a process I have decided to leave exclusively for my upcoming adventures to showcase.

Most unfortunately for me, Castles & Cooks posted their stuff about a month before I did. They beat me to the punch! Although, clearly I had the ideas rolling around behind the screen of this blog since January of this year when I posted my Starship Combat Rules.

It's very interesting to me to see where we diverged in rules, and where we came to the same conclusions. For example, (as you all will see in The Prisoner) we both set the Hydralisk at about the same level, but we diverged in giving the Marine a specific Origin/Background. My reasoning for not doing this, of course, is due to the ability of any adventurer with an assault rifle to be portrayed as a Marine. creating a whole new Origin/Background just for that seemed unnecessary and not gonzo, bat shit crazy enough.

So a toast to C&C, and here's to hoping to see more StarCraft material!

July 5, 2011

Fourthcore Team Deathmatch: Terrain Pieces

For the last few month, Benoit & Co. at Roving Band of Misfits have been diligently working away at their fantastic cast-stone model terrain to create something truly unique. Behold! Cast-stone terrain pieces for the Fourthcore Team Deathmatch:

Benoit will be running the table where these terrain pieces are setup, and then making them available to the general public afterwards. The plan is to spread out the love and give as many different teams a try on the terrain as possible.

The first two maps look absolutely stunning, but I'm even more excited by the Secret Map. It will be revealed around the start of the event, when setup is taking place, and my hope is that is will be a bit of an eye-catcher and a fascinating point of conversation to the onlookers. I want to tell you all about it, but I can't! It will be so much better when revealed if cloaked in secrecy now.

July 1, 2011

StarCraft Gamma World: Introduction & Rules

Intro & Rules * Tokens & Sample Characters * Backgrounds, Equipment, Upgrades * Starships * The Prisoner coming soon!

image from

The Koprulu Sector is a disastrous mess. With the United Earth Directorate and Terran Dominion defeated, the countless Terran factions squabble amongst themselves across dozens of worlds. The Protoss struggle with unification in the face of centuries-old ancient tribal divisions. Rogue hordes of Zerg scour the planets they infest, directionless without the Overmind or Kerrigan to control their appetite for destruction. More disturbing than any of these events are the whispered tales of those whom have come back from the edge of known space. Dark tales of bizarre Protoss/Zerg hybrids and the dreaded return of the ancient Xel’Naga cast a disquieting gloom over the fate of all.

Through the chaos and darkness of the galaxy, a band of heroes emerge. Enhanced by breakthrough technologies and determined to use this time of chaos for the good of their people, these few brave souls venture forth together to stabilize the warring factions, protect the innocent from the horrors of the galaxy, and recover the lost secrets of the Xel'Naga before it is too late.

StarCraft Gamma World is a rules variant to the Gamma World Roleplaying Game (Wizards of the Coast), immersed in the rich storylines and compelling universe of StarCraft (Blizzard Entertainment). Through the rules and handouts presented here, players will be able to explore new tales of wonder and excitement by exploring and building upon the StarCraft universe. Every aspect of the Gamma World rules will be subtly altered, providing a play experience that is fresh and exciting, yet still feels familiar to the roleplaying veterans of Gamma World and Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition.

As a capstone, an adventure will be presented to help launch any newly forming StarCraft Gamma World campaigns. The adventure will utilize the design principles of Fourthcore (Save Versus Death), thrusting the characters into a high-stakes, life-or-death struggle to contain a threat to the entire universe that will test the skills of not only the characters, but the players themselves!

StarCraft Gamma World: Tokens & Sample Characters

Intro & Rules * Tokens & Sample Characters * Backgrounds, Equipment, Upgrades * Starships * The Prisoner coming soon!

Several sheets of custom-made tokens have been created for use in StarCraft Gamma World. The tokens each have a normal and a bloodied side and encompass a wide variety of people, creatures, and sizes found in the StarCraft universe.

StarCraft Gamma World: Backgrounds, Equipment, Upgrades

Intro & Rules * Tokens & Sample Characters * Backgrounds, Equipment, Upgrades * Starships * The Prisoner coming soon!

Backgrounds, advanced equipment, and upgrades (evolutions, and disciplines) represent the primary mechanics in which characters are differentiated and their major combat powers.

Backgrounds present a culmination of talents, baseline equipment, and major attributes that a character has. Backgrounds fall into three categories: genetic, psi, and technological; with the exception of Commander, which falls into no category. Characters in StarCraft Gamma World are above the common soldier; they are the elite of the elite, and a unique product of the recent contact between three space-faring races. As such, StarCraft Gamma World characters have background combinations that are bizarre, innovative, and over-the-top.

Though many backgrounds and other game mechanics describe strange permutations and combinations, all playable characters are considered to be humanoid in basic shape and function.

StarCraft Gamma World: Starships

Starship Combat
Enemy starships are added to combat encounters much the same way as standard creatures, each contributing their designated XP to the encounter total. Enemy starships, obviously, are only appropriate in encounters where they can threaten and interact with starships under the command or protection of the adventurers. Non-Combat vessels are ships that do not possess any weapons that are dangerous to other ships, but often represent support craft, transports, civilian vessels, and other targets of opportunity.

Vessels in combat are considered to be continually moving under their respective propulsion systems and inertia, and do not require a specific action to control. Starship positions relative to each other are not physically represented, but are instead assumed to be moving about on the battlefield at some distance to each other.