To Explore Strange New RPGs

At one time I started working on a Star Trek RPG homebrew using the BASE12 system. I’ll probably not do anything else with it because I’m much more interested in creating my own worlds than I am in repurposing other people’s. But if you need a starting point for a Star Trek home game, here’s a Race/Class/Skills handbook and character sheet that you can use. This is literally everything I have, so you’ll have to get creative to fill in the gaps. Enjoy!

Player’s Handbook

Character Sheet

The Book Of Powers

After much writing, editing, revising, and tweaking, I’ve finally finished the Shattered Empire Book Of Powers. This booklet holds every spell, weapon ability, and special power currently in the game.  Feel free to use it in your own campaign. Works with any BASE12 game (with some very minor conversion) and could be implemented into another system (with some more time-consuming conversion).  Next up will be the Equipment Catalogue, a handbook for choosing and purchasing weapons, armor, shields, packs, and all other mundane adventuring gear.

BOOK OF POWERS

Staying Alive: Constitution and Wounds [Distant Earth]

Distant Earth will feature a Wound Track system instead of a Hit Point system. Wound thresholds will be determined by the Base12 system of Constitution governing maximums and bonuses. The wound system will make combat deadlier than traditional HP systems, especially with the lack of “magical” healing found in fantasy settings.

Just Wound Track

The large boxes on bottom represent Major Wounds, while the three small boxes within each large box represent Minor Wounds. If you sustain three minor wounds, you also sustain a major wound. The reverse is true, too. A major wound automatically fills the three minor wound boxes above it. (It is possible to have additional independent minor wounds. See below.)

The penalties at the bottom of the Major Wound boxes effect ALL rolls, and come into effect only when that box is completely filled by a current unstable wound. For example, if you have one minor wound in the -4 box, you are not necessarily receiving a penalty to rolls from the previous boxes, and you are not receiving the -4 penalty until you have a major wound or two more minor wounds. Same with being knocked out or (gasp) dying. You have to fill the whole box for the penalty to occur. Also, penalties do not stack, so if you have a major wound in the -2 and the -3 box, your penalty to rolls is only -3 (not-5).

Every character starts with a base wound threshold at the line between the -4 and -5 boxes. Moving left to right, an entire major wound box is added for each CON Bonus the character has. Additionally, the CON die is rolled once at character creation and the total is added via minor wound boxes. All boxes beyond that are marked out as unusable, but their penalties are ignored.

Example:  A character with a CON of 5 has a Bonus modifier of 2, so they add 2 major wounds to their starting threshold of 2. Their CON Die is a d4, so they roll it. In our example the result is a 2, so they add two minor wound boxes to their threshold. Their character sheet would reflect this by appearing something like this:

Just Wound Track 2

In this scenario, you could potentially receive 5 minor wounds before you have to mark off a major wound and take the -3 penalty. The boxes that are blacked out do not come into play at all; the character’s CON was not high enough to use these. No penalty is assigned because they are not “active” wounds. They aren’t anything.

If a character was to sustain a major wound and then get that wound stabilized, they would no longer take the penalty in the box. However, stabilizing a wound does not “heal” it. It would remain marked off, and future damage would continue to the left across the wound track, making the next wound more debilitating. Only during long rests or through high quality medical services can wounds be completely healed.

The higher a character’s starting CON score, the more damage they will be able to receive, and at lower penalties. CON will also affect how much they heal during long rests.

 

Roll Charts: Holidays and Observations

While tending to my holiday obligations this year, I began contemplating the conception of holidays and celebrations within a given culture, and how vital they are in providing a cultural identity. Observed holidays can speak volumes about the values, history, and priorities of a group of people. Therefore, providing such “window dressing” when introducing a new culture to your players in a home game can help an unknown city of mindless NPCs take that leap into a living breathing community of believable people. Perhaps the townspeople are busily preparing for upcoming festivities, or maybe they are already in full swing. What is the feeling in the town? Is it pulsing with excitement, or are the people somber and reflective? Holidays can help you set a mood, quickly provide narrative exposition, or give an interesting backdrop for quest hooks. Of course, sometimes a party of adventurers steamroll their way off-script into one of these locations, so having a roll-chart ready to pull up can help an unprepared GM look like a clairvoyant. So for those that want some extra details about their towns, here’s a randomized chart.

* NOTE: This is designed for a fantasy setting, but a couple tweaks could make it work for other genres.

What kind of holiday is it? (Roll 1d12)

 

1. A seasonal festival. Spring planting, Summer or Winter solstice, or Fall harvest.

2. Birthday of a local leader (king, governor, tribal chief, mayor’s eldest daughter)

3: Anniversary of the death of a local hero, king, or town founder.

4. Religious high holiday, marking the adoption of a specific Deity as the town’s patron.

5. A public wedding celebration, perhaps of a notable person or persons.

6. Observed day of remembrance for a great battle, end of a war, or liberation of the town or realm from foreign control.

7. Local election, perhaps for mayor, sheriff, or judge. Public debates or voting may occur.

8. A great tournament, contest, or other organized leisure event.

9. Anniversary of some mystical or magical event that helped shape the town, such as a portal to another realm opening up , or the sudden appearance of a magical object or creature.

10. Anniversary of some natural or catastrophic event that helped shape the town, such as a great earthquake, tidal wave, or meteor that fell from the sky.

11. Strange custom. Perhaps completely superstitious, or based in religion or cultist beliefs. A day where everyone wears buckets on their heads to keep the corn-eating spirits away, for example.

12. Apocalypse celebration. According to legend, an Oracle, or the local calendar, this is the day that the world is supposed to end.

 

How is it celebrated? (Roll 1d20)

1. Traditional feasting.

2. Dancing, singing, and live music.

3. Courting and the admission of love for a secret object of affection. All remaining singles are randomly and forcibly coupled.

4. The granting of a boon upon the townspeople. Perhaps extra food rations, gold and treasure, or practical items.

5. With a day of silent meditation, where no business may be conducted and nobody may verbally communicate.

6. A public execution of the town’s most hated criminal.

7. With the sacrifice of an animal, where each townsperson is required to drink the beast’s blood.

8. With the sacrifice of an innocent person, virgin, or elder, in order to appease the gods or devils.

9. By exchanging gifts with strangers in the street.

10. With a huge bonfire where everyone brings an equal amount of fuel to signify unity.

11. With the juggling of geese.

12. With the choreographed mass suicide of each and every member of the town.

13. With a battle to the death between two armed combatants.

14. With the personal blessing of the town clergyman upon every citizen, including a fortune reading or prayer for luck and prosperity.

15. By sacrificing an object of personal value or importance.

16. By throwing food and excrement at all outsiders until the sun sets.

17. By participating in a seven-hour chant while holding hands in town square.

18. With the release of 1000 chickens into the village, which must be collected alive in the highest amount in order to crown the Festival Champion.

19. By marching to war on a neighboring city.

20. With a 24 Hour “purge-style” day of lawlessness with no legal ramifications.

 

Enjoy, and happy holidays!