Sunday, December 27, 2015


CER 60 (OR 44 and PR 16)
An ear-piercing shriek split the cloudy sky above the company. Eyes cast upward to see the massive winged silhouette of the ordndyr dance between the clouds.
This hybrid combines the front half of an eagle and the back half of an enormous elk. They are vicious predators known for their keen sight and quick speed. Legends tell of heroes taming and riding these beasts, but no living person foolhardy enough to try has survived, let alone succeeded.
ST: 20                                                     HP: 20                                                   Speed: 6.00
DX: 13                                                    Will: 10                                                  Ground Move: 7/14
IQ: 4                                                       Per: 12                                                   Air Move: 14/28
HT: 11                                                    FP: 11                                                    SM: 2 (6 feet tall)

Dodge: 9                                                Parry: N/A                                             DR: 2 (Tough Skin)

Beak (15): 2d large piercing. Reach C.
Talons (15): 2d+1 cutting or impaling. Reach C, 1.
Hooves (13): 2d+1 crushing. Reach C. Limited Arc, Rear.

Traits: Acute Vision 1; Combat Reflexes; Flight (Cannot Hover, Winged); Night Vision 4; Perfect Balance; Quadruped; Reduced Endurance 1; Super Jump 2; Telescopic Vision 2; Temperature Tolerance 1 (Cold); Terrain Adaptation (Slippery, Undergrowth, and Water); Ultrahearing; Wild Animal.
Features: Born Biter 2.
Skills: Brawling-15; Intimidation-10; Stealth-12; Swimming-13; Wrestling-14.
Encumbrance: None 80 lbs.; Light 160 lbs.; Medium 240 lbs.; Heavy 480 lbs.; Very Heavy 800 lbs.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Saturn Ascends Midweek Update: Another One Bites the Dust

I spoke with the player for Wossnam today, and it looks like between the time change – where he lives doesn't do the Daylight Savings thing – and having to spend nearly every waking hour at work or asleep, he bowed out of our game. It's a real shame because we all really enjoy gaming with him, and he doesn't particularly want to leave. But life is swallowing him, so we can only hope it spits him out again at some point in the future.

Unlike last time, losing Wossnam wouldn't leave any holes in the party, and since the rest of our gamign group looks quite reliable, I'm not looking for another player. We really don't want to mess with the chemistry we have. So as with Zubira, Wossnam is becoming a party NPC. I have offered to let the players spend points collectively to buy him as an Ally, since everyone seems to enjoy his crazy antics so much, and Kist's player has already said he'll buy Wossnam himself even if others don't chip in. To that end, I reoptimized Wossnam and tweaked his disadvantages to better suit the way he's been NPCed in his player's absence. It's only fair, since the party is spending points to have him around, after all.

So continuing forward, the cast now looks like this:


  • Arastos – Gnomish Artificer Cleric (300 points)
  • Gilren – High Elf Wizard Knight (300 points)
  • Kist – Human Mystic Archer Assassin (300 points)
  • Nibaw Velor – Human Knight (300 points)


  • Wossnam – Human Barbarian (300 points)
  • Zubira Mgadwar – Human Messenger Cleric Thief (300 points)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Saturn Ascends Session 5: The Castle Assault Part 4


  • Arastos – Gnomish Artificer Cleric (300 points)
  • Gilren – High Elf Wizard Knight (300 points)
  • Kist – Human Mystic Archer Assassin (300 points)
  • Nibaw Velor – Human Knight (300 points)


  • Wossnam – Human Barbarian (300 points)*
  • Zubira Mgadwar – Human Messenger Cleric Thief (300 points)

The session began with the PCs finding a captive gnome on the floor below them. This turned out to be Arastos; who would have guessed? After a short introduction, Gilran used his intuition to correctly guess which of the remaining three peripheral towers held the last two wall guards. The party followed the wall walk around to them, and Kist quickly wasted 'em with his crossbows. That left the outer walls and towers clear of threats, so the party turned their attention to the keep.

Gilran began by casting Wizard Eye and seeing if it would fly. Once dice roll later, he found that there was some resistance to the eye's movement, but he was strong enough to force his way through it. A thorough scouting revealed most of the castle was asleep. Most. There were at least three rooms that housed tigers. Perfectly awake and alert tigers.

After a moment of panic, the party decided they would climb to the top of the castle and work their way down, clearing it floor by floor.

First, Arastos used a gizmo to produce a bunch of rope that could support Wossnam and gave one end to Kist, who used Ascending Shot with his crossbow to scale the tower Spiderman-style. Upon reaching the top, he found the corpse of the naukara Nibaw killed when they first went over the curtain wall. Beknownsted to him thanks to Gilran's wizard eye, was a naukara lookout and a massive bell. Kist Batmanned his way through the window and removed the Naukara.

With their entry point safe, the party climbed up the rope and began clearing the other corner towers. At the first, Nibaw knocked on the door, but before his plan could reach fruition, Kist kicked the door open and started shooting its naukara inhabitants. A brief fight later, the party headed to the northwest tower to kill some naukara in their sleep. This tower also housed a spiral staircase downward.

The party descended only one floor and began to clear room southward. They had Arastos check doors for traps while Kist listened for sounds. Room by room, they murderhobod sleeping giants as quietly as they could until they reached one door that held a magic trap. Gilran cracked his knuckles and cast Dispel Magic, and the trap was no more. Through that door was a sitting room with another door through which sounds of revelry issued. Arastos decided to trap the door with a bottle of alchemist's fire, and the party continued murdering their way southward and then eastward until they reached a door that led to the same room as the trapped door behind them.

Kist tried to listen carefully, but something making large cat sounds on the other side smelled him and started pawing at the door. The conversation and revelry stopped and there was a scramble to feet. Arastos ran to the trapped door, while Gilran hung back with Wossnam in case they didn't need a berserk barbarian. Nibaw and Kist opened the door with the tiger while Arastos knocked on the other one and waited…

An unfortunate naukara opened the trapped door and quickly went up in flames while Nibaw charged the tiger, slamming it. Inside the room were two giants, one with a definitely magical estoc and shield. The other was a hulking brute of a giant and wielded an equally giant gada. They called for Wossnam who came running eager to tee off on more heads. Meanwhile, Gilran fired up his flame jet and headed toward battle.

Kist started making eye shots on the magically-equipped giant while he layed down some binding on the other giant and the tiger with Binding Shot. And the tiger tried to get back up. But then the giant giant connected with a swing aimed at Nibaw. It knocked him down to the point where he was reeling from his injury, so he retreated while Arastos cast Minor Healing on him. Kist kept shooting the magically armed giant in the eyes until it was down for good, and Wossnam started in on the huge giant. Eventually, all that was left was the tiger, who kept going after Kist.

Then things got ugly. Six quarrels, an akahest globe, and a spot-on flame jet later, the tiger was no more. It's probably for the best. At least as a deceased tiger, it didn't feel the pain that was laid upon it by the party any more. Of course, this was an all out battle, and a noisy one. Did they wake the castle? Is the secret of their entrance still a secret? Can they continue murderhoboing their way through the castle? Find out next time! Same bat time! Same bat blog!

* Wossnam's player got tied up at work and couldn't make this session, so I NPCed him and let the party suggest what he did.

Body Count: 8 kalivisalas; 11 naukaras; 1 ex-tiger.
Last Week: The Castle Assault Part 5.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Let Me Get Back to You on That!

While making a supers character that is basically the ultimate librarian, I stumbled on an idea I didn't have points to include, but I'm going to share it here. And hopefully, I will be able to buy it relatively soon. Thinking about this, it could be rather fitting even as a power-up for a Action! character.

Let Me Get Back to You on That

25 points for level 1 + 2 points/additional level

You can spend an hour reading up on a subject, and ask the GM one question the answer to which could feasibly be contained in writing somewhere. He then secretly rolls against your IQ, plus any power talent level. On a success, he answers your question honestly. On any failure, the research turns up nothing, and on a critical failure, the GM lies! Each additional level beyond the first reduces the required research time by half.

Statistics: Blessed (Accessibility, Written Information, -40%; PM, -10%; Reduced Fatigue Cost 10, +200%) [25]. Additional levels add levels of Reduced Time for [2/level].

Power: Paper Manipulation

I am currently making a PC for a supers game, and he is, basically, the ultimate librarian. In fact, he is called The Librarian. His super power is the ability to manipulate paper products, be them books, litter, reports, file folders, etc. So here is a writeup of his power:

Paper Manipulation

Source: Magical (-10%) or Super (-10%).
Focus: Paper.
You possess the ability to control, manipulate, and read paper in all of its forms, including books, cardboard, card stock, file folders, etc. – anything made from wood pulp. This is usually a magical or super power.


5 points


Abilities that require existing paper has Accessibility, Requires Paper (-40%) and those that shape existing paper have Environmental, Paper (-60%).

Allies (Origami, paper cutouts, etc.), with Minion and either Summonable or Conjurable; Binding, but not with Unbreakable; Blessed, with Accessibility, Only Written Information (-40%); Control (Paper); Create (Paper); Detect, for Books, Paper, Paper Products, etc.; Flight; Gizmo, with Limited, Books Only (-40%); Healing, with Accessibility, Paper Only (-80%); Intuition, with Limited, Only written answers (-40%); Modular Ability, with Physical; Obscure (Hearing or Vision); Oracle (Written); Penetrating Vision, with Specific, Paper (-80%); Protected Power; Pyschometry, with Accessibility, Only Written Information (-40%); Super Memorization, with Limited, Mental Skills Only (-20%); Telekinesis, with Environmental (-60%); Walk on Air, with Environmental (-60%); Walk on Liquid, with Environmental (-60%); Wild Talent, with Accessibility, Only IQ-Based Skills (-20%).

Cutting or Impaling Attacks and Affliction with Armor Divisor and one of Agony or any painful Irritating Condition that represent blades are possible. Add Environmental, Paper (-60%) for attacks that manipulate existing paper.

Modifiers: Paper Manipulation. Paper Manipulation is usually either Magical (-10%) or Super (-10%).

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Saturn Ascends Midweek Update: A Player Leaves

I opened my email today to disturbing news: The player who runs Zubira is bowing out of our game. He didn't say much about why other than he wasn't feeling it. I'm a little frustrated that he never expressed any concerns about the game before leaving abruptly, but c'est la vie.

On the bright side, I know someone who wants into our game, so the party won't be down a healer (yikes!). For the time being, I will run Zubira as an NPC for continuity's sake, and depending on whether or not she survives the adventure, she will likely retire to town after the party returns to Kalatra. The player replacing  Zubira will be playing a gnomish artificer named Arastos, so that will be interesting. I'm looking forward to getting my first really good look at how GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 4 - Sages handles.

So as of next week, our new cast will be as follows:


  • Arastos – Gnomish Artificer Cleric (300 points)
  • Gilren – High Elf Wizard Knight (300 points)
  • Kist – Human Mystic Archer Assassin (300 points)
  • Nibaw Velor – Human Knight (300 points)
  • Wossnam – Human Barbarian (300 points)


  • Zubira Mgadwar – Human Messenger Cleric Thief (300 points)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Saturn Ascends Session 4: The Castle Assault Part 3


  • Gilren – High Elf Wizard Knight (300 points)
  • Kist – Human Mystic Archer Assassin (300 points)
  • Nibaw Velor – Human Knight (300 points)
  • Zubira Mgadwar – Human Messenger Cleric Thief (300 points)


  • Wossnam – Human Barbarian (300 points)

After hearing the noise upstairs, the party ascended the spiral staircase cautiously. Kist scouted ahead and quickly spotted a mess of naukaras and a giant, light-blue giant, called a kalivisala, headed their way. While the others tried to sort out their tactics, Wossnam went berserk and charged the giant, knocking him back. Gilran cheered.

Nibaw was the next to join the fray with a missed charge. Gilran fired up his flame jet, but missed the same naukara that dodged Nibaw…he must have some ninja in him! Pretty quickly, the fight turned into a mess as Kist tried to join the fray but almost got ambushed by three naukara sneaking down the stairs behind him. He heard them and laid out two, but the third closed to gap and was about to go for a grapple when Kist slit his throat.

Meanwhile, Wossnam landed a massive blow on the giant's head that knocked him on his butt, and Nibaw began slamming like mad. Pretty soon, everyone was dead except two unlucky naukaras. The party took an hour and a half to extract from them the layout of the castle, how many people lived there (about 95 total), and what traps the castle has. Satisfied by their answers, the party tied them up and hung them out the outward-facing window of the keep. This was at Zubira's request, since she wasn't comfortable with killing prisoners.

Then it was north up the wallwalk to the northeastern tower. It didn't take long to clear that floor of the four naukara inside, though one scored a critical success against Wossnam that left him a few hit points down. The noise of that battle attracted a pair of naukara from the floor below, who walked into some arrows, a shield, and a giant club. Woops!

According to their information, the party just has two more guards on the perimeter before the grounds are clear and the keep itself can be stormed. They're almost inside!

* Wossnam's player got tied up at work and couldn't make the session.

Body Count: 14 naukaras; 1 kalivisala.
Last Week: The Castle Assault Part 2.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Lethal Kiss (Sorcery Spell)

Love isn't always about rainbows and butterflies...

Lethal Kiss (Ritual)

Spell Effects: Greater Destroy Body.
Inherent Modifiers: Affliction, Stunning + Affliction, Secondary Heart Attack.
Casting Roll: 1 (x3).

Your next kiss can stun and even kill. You must successfully kiss your target’s bare skin – roll against DX or Brawling. If you hit and your target fails to resist, he is stunned, and he can roll again each second to snap out of it. If he fails by 5 or more, he suffers the Heart Attack condition.

Typical Casting: Greater Destroy Body (5) + Affliction, Stunning (0) + Affliction, Secondary Heart Attack (12) + Weight, 300 lbs. (3). 51 energy (17x3).

Lethal Kiss (Sorcery Spell)

Keywords: None.
Full Cost: 26 points.
Casting Roll: None. Use DX or Brawling to aim.
Range: Melee.
Duration: Instantaneous.

Your kiss can stun and even kill. You must successfully kiss your target’s bare skin – roll against DX or Brawling. If you hit, your target must roll against HT-2 or be stunned; he can roll again each second to snap out of it. If he fails by 5 or more, he suffers the Heart Attack condition.

Statistics: Affliction 3 (Contact Agent, -30%; Melee Attack, -30%; Secondary Heart Attack, +60%; Sorcery, -15) [26].

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Saturn Ascends Session 3: The Castle Assault Part 2

Gilren – High Elf Wizard Knight (300 points)
Kist – Human Mystic Archer Assassin (300 points)
Nibaw Velor – Human Knight (300 points)
Wossnam – Human Barbarian (300 points)
Zubira Mgadwar – Human Messenger Cleric Thief (300 points)

The party began in the southeast tower where they descended the spiral staircase to find four naukara gossiping. Kist began by peppering them with bolts, and the others followed up with attacks of their own. It didn’t take long for the naukara to fall. A quick looting of the room found a large cache of items*, some of which they used to create a hidden passage through the curtain wall. They then proceeded to stuff the a nook in the passage with all the corpses and loot they'd found thus far.

With an escape route secured and loot secreted away, they headed north along the inside of the curtain wall until they reached the gatehouse. Kist heard some voices inside, so they quietly slipped through the tower door and removed two sentries. That's when Gilran stumbled and made noise…

Heavy footfalls from above brought one naukara down the spiral staircase to his doom at the hands of Wossnam, but the now-berserk barbarian wasn't too stealthy about murdering the warrior in the face. Kist stayed behind to clean up two other sentries he spotted through arrow slits in the other gatehouse tower. Footfalls above gave notice that there was quite the fight ahead – possibly even with giants!

* Note: This cache was basically a way to bump their "starting gear" without everyone saying, "Oh, I forgot I had all of this stuff!" My reasoning was that the players began with an extra 50 CP, but their characters were geared to 250-pt characters, which was throwing encounters off a little bit. That, and it was just more fun this way.

Body Count: 9 naukaras.

Last Week: The Castle Assault Part 1.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Ettins are two-headed giants with a particularly nasty disposition toward other races.  They have greenish-brown hides, tusks, and never bathe, leaving them grimy and gray.  They typically stand the height of two men and weigh well over a ton.  They have no language of their own, but usually speak the local language.

Despite their lack of brainpower, ettins are clever and cunning foes in battle.  They prefer to ambush their victims rather than charge into a fight, but once engaged, they fight furiously to the death.

Like most giants, ettins are solitary creatures who primarily meet in groups to mate, although they have been known to band together against a common threat.  They live in fortified caves where they typically employ trained pets – and occasionally slaves and minions – to maintain and protect it.

ST: 26                            HP: 26                                               Speed: 5.50
DX: 10                           Will: 10                                              Ground Move: 5/8
IQ: 8                               Per: 10                                              
HT: 12                           FP: 12                                                SM: +2

Dodge: 9                        Parry: 10U                                        DR: 1 (Tough Skin)

Punch (12): 3d crushing. Reach C, 1.
Weapon (13): Greatclubs 7d+1 crushing. Reach 1, 2*.

Traits: Acute Sense of Smell and Taste 2; Ambidextrous; Bully (12); Combat Reflexes; Compartmentalized Mind 1; Discriminatory Smell; Enhanced Move 0.5 (Ground Move 8); Extra Attack 1; Extra Head 1; Hidebound; High Pain Threshold; Loner (12); Night Vision 5; Peripheral Vision; Short Attention Span (12).
Skills: Animal Handling-12; Axe/Mace-12; Brawling-12; Tactics-10; Wrestling-12.
Class: Mundane.

Notes: Per 11 when using Smell.  Effective ST 28 when grappling, owing to Wrestling.  May negotiate.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

More Power-Ups for Barbarians!

As the Saturn Ascends game progresses, I find myself making some power-ups for various characters. In particular, the barbarian has asked for some interesting things. Here are two power-ups I am offering him:

Fast Ready

5 points
Regardless of your strength, you never need to take a Ready maneuver to re-ready a weapon you just attacked with. This lets you attack every turn with weapons that have a double dagger (‡) after their ST statistic, regardless of your strength.

Advantages: Extra Attack* 1 (One Weapon Skill Only, -40%; Only to Re-Ready a Weapon, -40%; Ready Maneuver, +0%) [5/skill]. * Provides an extra Ready maneuver instead of an extra Attack maneuver.

Barbaric Weapons

The following narrower specializations of Barbaric Weapons are also available.

Weapon Master (Barbaric Chopping Weapons)

35 points
This includes all barbaric cutting hand weapons (axes, polearms, spears, and swords) and barbaric ranged weapons (bows, harpoons, spears, and thrown versions of the melee weapons listed above).

Weapon Master (Barbaric Smashing Weapons)

30 points
This includes all barbaric crushing hand weapons (flails, maces, mauls, and shields) and barbaric ranged weapons (bolas, throwing sticks, and thrown versions of the melee weapons listed above).

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Of Steel and Vacuum: CA-107 Neptune-Class Battleship


Front Hull System
[1, 2] Hardened Diamondoid Armor (DR 1,000 total).
[3!] Major Weapon Battery (one Particle Beam turret).*
[4!] Secondary Weapon Battery (ten X-Ray Laser turrets). *
[5] Super Fusion Reactor (De-rated to 3 Power Points / 500 yr Fuel)*
[6] Tactical Comm/Sensor Array (comm/sensor 17).*
[Core] Control Room (C13 computer, comm/sensor 15, 24 control stations).*
Central Hull System
[1, 2] Hardened Diamondoid Armor (DR 1,000 total).
[3, 4] Tertiary Weapon Battery (60 turrets with Very Rapid Fire UV lasers).*
[5] Tertiary Weapon Battery (30 turrets with 64 cm Missile Launchers).*
[6] Habitat (625 cabins, 3,000 bunkrooms, 100-bed sickbay, 100 offices, one large astronomy lab, one large ops center, 15 gym establishments, 60 other establishments, 60 cells, 60,725 tons of steerage cargo).*
Rear Hull System
[1, 2] Hardened Diamondoid Armor (DR 1,000 total).
[3!] Major Weapon Battery (one Particle Beam turret).*
[4!] Secondary Weapon Battery (ten X-Ray Laser turrets).*
[5] Smaller Systems (three at SM+14): two Standard Reactionless Engines (1/3 G acceleration each)*; one Fusion Reactor (two Power Points).*
[6] Hyperdrive (FTL-1).*
[Core] Super Fusion Reactor (four Power Points).*
* 300 workstations per system.
This 3,000,000 ton (SM+16), unstreamlined battleship is 2,000 feet long. It was initially designed to replace the CA-103 Venus-Class battleship, the first hyperspace-capable battleship developed by mankind.

With the increasing need to project force and the further development of particle cannons, the necessity of a larger weapons platform arose. The answer was the mammoth Venus-Class battleship, which mounts directed radiation beam turrets capable of ranged in excess of one light-second. This granted the advantage over its predecessor of being able to engage multiple targets simultaneously. In addition to its two main guns, it also sports twenty x-ray laser turrets, thirty missile tubes with a store of 2,500 conventional missiles and 500 nuclear warheads with yields between 25 kilotons and 10 megatons.

While a Neptune's armor – equivalent to 12 feet of hardened steel – is insufficient to stand up against its own weaponry, it's sheer size dwarfs most other ships, whose guns have a hard time penetrating its diamondoid hide. This combined with its sixty x-ray laser point defense autocannon make the CA-107 a truly tough nut to crack.

Like most battleships, the Neptune-class battleship does not include noteworthy hangar space in its design, preferring to allocate precious mass to weaponry, power plants, and armor. Still, it carries a small compliment of five shuttlecraft for use ferrying crewmen and supplies between ships when not at port.

The Neptune's primary role is that of engaging and destroying enemy craft. Its powerful armaments are designed to accomplish this at tremendous range with exceeding celerity. Its secondary role is typically one of blockade, since the threat of destruction often serves as a good deterrent. Still, the CA-107’s slower speed leaves it reliant on faster pursuit craft to chase down anything that escapes its weapon range.

The most famous Neptune-class battleship is the Indefatigable. Not only did it serve as the flagship of the Terran fleet during the Colonial Wars, but its timely arrival at the Battle of Botany Bay gave the Terran forces the reinforcements they needed to turn the tide against the insurrectionists. Other notable ships include the Venus, who battlegroup currently patrols the Old Colonies, and the Mars, who is constantly stationed in Sol to serve as both a protector of Earth and a constant reminder of Earth’s military prowess.

Includes eleven airlocks capable of holding eleven people each, a stealth hull (-10 to Detect), and total life support.

A CA-107 has a total crew compliment of 13,345, with 12,600 of them serving as technicians throughout the ship. The bridge and command crew consists of a captain, executive officer, pilot, co-pilot, chief engineer, chief tactical officer, cargo master, two navigators, two communication operators, six sensor operators, and three gunners. The remaining crew are dispersed among the astronomy lab, hundred-bed sickbay, various offices and many establishments needed to service the crewmen of this spaceborne city of war.


Spacecraft dST/HP Hnd/SR HT Move LWt. Load SM Occ. dDR Range Cost
Neptune-class battleship 1,000 -4/5 13 0.67/c 3,000,000 62.062* +15 13,430ASV 1,000† 1x $841.509B

* Load includes 1,337 tons of Crew and 60,725 tons of Steerage Cargo.
† All armor has one level of hardening.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Creepy Image of the Day

What's the first thought to spring to mind?

Saturn Ascends Session 2: The Castle Assault Part 1

Nakist “Kist” Anamyra – Human Mystic Archer Assassin (300 points)
Zubira Mgadwar – Human Messenger Cleric Thief (300 points)
Nibaw Velor – Human Knight (300 points)
Gilran – High Elf Wizard Knight (300 points)
Wossnam – Human Barbarian (300 points)

The session began in Vir, a good-sized town that serves as the main trading point for the valley. There, the party did some rumor-gathering in the form of pub crawling and schmoozing with the upper crust. While no sponsors were to be had, information about a castle on the northern ridge was plentiful. The castle was a stronghold of pale-blue skinned giants who serve as sergeants in what amounts to a jungly version of the Wild Hunt. After a little more research, they found that there are a couple dozen giants, plus their household guard and servants – less giant but still, just as blue humanoids. After picking up some extra rations, they decided it was time to head out.

The first day passed uneventfully as they slogged through about five miles of jungle, but the second saw some fun after lunch. In a particularly level and clear area, they heard some noises in the trees. Some quick glances revealed three monkeys armed with staffs ahead of the party. Another party member spotted a fourth, and Gilran decided to send a conjured servant out to talk to them. While it was approaching, three more monkey-men appeared from the trees on each side of them, firing darts from blowguns. After some quips about them being clever girls, the party sprang to action.

Kist sprayed four of them with bolts to the vitals from his repeating hand crossbows amped up with a dose of Homing Weapon; this put down three monkeys and severely injured a fourth. Wossnam charged toward the four monkeys in front of the group, while Zubira shielded herself, Gilran began charging up Concussion, and Nibaw sang taunts at the monkeys. The latter-most action proved the most useful, even if it was the most painful to hear: provoked by his singing, all but one monkey-man started going after Nibaw.

Next second, Kist sent out more homing bolts, taking down a pair of monkeys, but by now, the party was starting to notice that the monkeys were getting tougher as they tried to avenge their fallen brethren. This didn't stop Wossnam from playing cricket with one of the monkey ninjas and sending his corpse flying six feet through the air. It didn't stop Gilran from stunning two monkeys, either, but Zubira's attempt to smack the first monkey that came in reach got dodged. Nibaw missed a few more monkeys as he tried to skewer something on his shield, but having drawn their attention, Kist and Wossnam were able to keep dropping monkeys. Eventually, Wossnam wrapped up the encounter with a homerun of a hit from his tetsubo that sent a monkey ninja corpse flying nine feet.

Picking over the corpses didn't yield much in treasure aside from the weapons they were carrying - staves, chakram, a pair of katars, an urumi, some blowguns, and a bottle of monster drool. There was also some discussion about how much monkey-man meat would sell for, but ultimately, the bodies were left for now.

The rest of the day's travel passed quickly enough, and the party made it to the castle by nightfall. Gilran sent a wizard's eye to see what the castle looked like, which revealed a, well, giant castle. Its curtain wall stood about six and a half men high, with towers reaching ten men high and the main keep twice that height. Sentries were sparse though – only four. Unfortunately, the party would have to cross one hundred yards of open field without being spotted.

After some discussion, the party decided the best plan was to attack under cover of night, then have Gilran use Invisibility to sneak up to the wall with their rope and a grapnel. He'd then use Levitate to ascend the wall and fasten the rope at the top so the others could climb up. This worked until Levitate was cast. As soon as the wizard began to rise, he found himself unable to move. Kist traversed the field and took the grapnel from Gilran and climbed the wall while Gilran ended his Levitation, dropped to the ground, and was able to start moving again. He also dropped his invisibility, since he didn't want to pay to maintain it.

Kist scaled the wall successfully and secure the rope while the others crossed the field. Then they began to climb to the top, one by one. Everything was going well until one sentry noticed the party on the wall walk. Kist put a Silencing Homing arrow in his throat, which alerted his partner. Soon two house guards had arrows in their throats. The party carefully hunkered down, while Nibaw put an arrow in the third tower guard, leaving only one long shot hit the guard on top of the keep itself. Kist used another Homing arrow to accomplish this.

The party then entered the tower where the nearest sentry was located and climbed to the roof to check the guard's body for possessions. They got his mail shirt and helmet, along with 17 copper pieces. Then Kist wrapped up the night by killing the two guards who were still flailing about with arrows in their necks.

The party has made it over the wall. We shall see what happens next.

Nest Time: The Castle Assault Part 2.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Creepy Image of the Day

Eight years before The Hunger Games was written, there was Battle Royale.
What's going through this little girl's head?

Creepy Image of the Day

With Halloween approaching, let's have some thoughts on these strange images. What's the first thing to spring to mind when you see this?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Flame of the Heart’s Desire

You’re sure to love today’s offering, which provides both Ritual Path Magic and Sorcery statistics!

Flame of the Heart’s Desire (Ritual Path Magic)

Spell Effects: Lesser Destroy Body.
Inherent Modifiers: Damage.
Greater Effects: 0 (x1).

You cause a single living target within range to erupt from within with burning desire that inflicts 3d injury. Dressing, moving, gesturing, or posing provocatively in a way that is observed by your target should give a traditional trappings discount.

Typical Casting: Lesser Destroy Body (5) + Damage (8) + Range, 10 yards, (4) + Weight, 300 lbs. (3). 20 energy (20x1).

Flame of the Heart’s Desire (Sorcery)

Keywords: Resisted (Will).
Full Cost: 6 points/level.
Casting Roll: Will.
Range: Unlimited.
Duration: Instant.

You can engender such a burning lust within the hearts of others that it literally consumes them from the inside out.  Take a Concentrate maneuver while engaging in some sort of provocative act directed at your intended target, who must be able to see you. Your target resists with Will normally if attracted to your gender, or at +4 if not. Failure results in the target taking 1d burning per spell level that ignores all DR as his lust wells up and consumes him from within.

Statistics: Burning Attack 1d (Accessibility, Only on Living Feeling Beings, -20%; Malediction 1, +100%; Requires Concentrate Maneuver, -15%; Requires Gestures, -10%; Sorcery, -15%; Vision-Based, -20%) [6/level]. Additional levels add further dice of burning damage.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Saturn Ascends Session 1: Laying the Foundation

Players: Calum, David, Litvyak.

I met with my new gaming group, Tuesday. We chatted a little via Google Hangouts and ran over some player preferences regarding play style, house rules, character generation, and plot hooks. We settled on running standard, unmodified Dungeon Fantasy in a megadungeon that isn't in a cold/arctic environment. Rules-wise, we aren't running house rules until such a time as we see where we need them, so that simplifies things a great deal.

For the party composition, I set a couple requirements to facilitate play:
  • Everyone already knows each other prior to the game's beginning
  • Everyone already works together prior to the game's beginning
  • Everyone is already in town together prior to the game's beginning

This way we don't have to spend session time getting everybody together. The players were understanding with this and quickly sorting out rolls. David wanted to play a wizard, Litvyak wanted to play a thief, and Calum wanted to play a tank. Unfortunately, that left the critical role of Party Healer vacant, so after a little brainstorming, the suggestion surfaced to let everyone add a 50-point lens to their templates, effectively multiclassing. This sparked some more thought, with Litvyak quickly gravitating to Thief/Cleric of a Messenger God. David is pondering adding something less squishy to his wizard, and Calum might go straight 300 points of barbarian badass.

Lastly, I presented half a dozen plot hooks or so to the group for consideration. Since I haven't mapped out the megadungeon yet, I wanted them to choose their first adventure beforehand so I could map what was needed instead of trying to draw up a couple dozen rooms for each hook. They chose the Giant's Castle perched atop the mountain ridge.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Gnoll Brute

Elric clenched his teeth and charged the beefy, grayish-green beast with his spear. The gnoll grinned, brandished his savage axe, and reciprocated. Lurking in the trees, at least another dozen of his brethren watched on in silence. The trap was baited, and the ambush would shortly be sprung on the unwary knight.
These aggressive and warlike fae are the spawn of trolls and gnomes. The result is a strong, tough, inherently magical monster fond of sadistic tricks and cunning tactics. They are the least fond of hiding of all fae, and often gather in massive underground hives from which they raid the surrounding inhabitants – even other fae.
ST: 15                                                     HP: 11                                                    Speed: 6.00
DX: 14                                                    Will: 10                                                  Ground Move: 6
IQ: 9                                                       Per: 10
HT: 13                                                    FP: 12                                                     SM: +0

Dodge: 10                                             Parry: See Below.                                DR: 0

Weapon (16): Roll 1d to determine the weapon:
1 – Axe: 2d+3 cutting. Reach 1. Parry 12U.
2 – Mace: 2d+4 crushing. Reach 1. Parry 12U.
3 – Morningstar: 2d+4 crushing. Reach 1. Parry 11U. Parried at -4 or Blocked at -2; fencing weapons cannot parry.
4 - Great Axe: 2d+5 cutting. Reach 1, 2*. Parry 12U.
5 – Flail: 2d+5 crushing. Reach 1, 2*. Parry 11U. Parried at -4 or Blocked at -2; fencing weapons cannot parry.
6 – Maul: 2d+6 crushing. Reach 1, 2*. Parry 12U.

Fade and Remain (Resisted with Will+2): Whenever anyone makes a Perception roll to notice or spot a gnoll that is actively trying to hide, he must first roll against Will+2. On a failure, he suffers a penalty to all such rolls to spot the gnoll – including Quick Contests – equal to his margin of failure.

Traits: Acute Taste and Smell 3; Appearance (Ugly); Bloodlust (9); Combat Reflexes; Curious (12); Gluttony (12); High Pain Threshold; Long Arms (+1 SM); Magery 0; Night Vision 5; Overconfidence (9); Recovery; Regeneration (Regular, 1 HP/12 hours; Not vs. burning or corrosion); Resistant to Sickness (+3); Sadism (15); Unfazeable; Universal Digestion; Very Fit.
Skills: Brawling-15; Fast-Draw-15; Hiking-13; Intimidation-11; Melee Weapon Skill-16 (Flail or Two-Handed Flail at 15); Observation-11; Wrestling-15.
Class: Mundane.
Notes: May negotiate if offered something of value, often double crosses. Usually wears a cheap light plate breastplate (DR 2 protects the chest) worth $200 and a cheap light plate pot helm with padding (DR 3 protects the skull) worth $84; gnollish brutes using one-handed weapons prefer a heavy medium shield (DB 2) worth $60.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's Not Dead Yet!

I think it's getting better!

This year has been incredibly eventful. Above the Flatline has suffered for it, but that doesn't mean this blog is dead – far from it, in fact! One of the following new features will grace these digital pages at least monthly:

A Dark Menagerie will feature either a monster converted to GURPS from another source or one created whole cloth.

Of Steel and Vacuum will provide detail a new spacecraft each month, and provide a full GURPS Spaceships stat block.

A Book of Shadows will conjure a new spell or mystical ability for use with GURPS Magic, GURPS Powers - Divine Favor, GURPS Psionic Powers, GURPS Thaumatology - Ritual Path Magic, GURPS Thaumatology - Sorcery, or any other system that gets released in the future.

In addition to these, posts covering the usual session reports and world building will resume. It's an ambitious schedule, but I hope to maintain it. At worst, the regular articles will provide continuing content and a reason to come back, though I truly hope to add more and better content in the future.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Yellow Musk Creeper

This wet, green, hideous ivy grows any deathly place – cemeteries, battlefields, etc. It uses its creeping tendrils to bore into the spines and brains of those immobilized by its spore cloud or slain by its minions, and then reanimates those victims to bring back additional sustenance. Should any of its minions die, the spores inside their bodies grow into new yellow musk creepers. This particular yellow musk creeper is one hex of ivy; much larger exist.  To create one, simply multiply HP (but not ST) by the number of hexes.

ST: 10                            HP: 10                                               Speed: 5.50
DX: 11                           Will: 0                                               Ground Move: 0
IQ: 2                              Per: 12                                              
HT: 11                           FP: 11                                                SM: 0

Dodge: N/A                  Parry: N/A                                        DR:

Creeping Tendril (13): 1d impaling. Reach C-2. Typically an All-Out Attack (Determined) aimed at the face (12) or skull (10), and less often, at the eyes (8).
Pollen Spray (Resisted at HT-2): A yellow musk creeper can release a cloud of spores and pollen 2 yards in diameter that stuns all of those who fail a roll against their HT-2 for a number of seconds equal to their margin of failure. Whether or not a person fails their HT roll, he may also contract Yellow Musk (see below). This is a respiratory agent.
Injury Tolerance: Yellow musk creepers only take 1 point of injury from impaling and piercing attacks. Bladed weapons can get stuck as per Picks (p. B405). Otherwise, yellow musk creepers are treated as being homogenous.
Yellow Musk: Anyone who inhales a yellow musk creeper's Pollen Spray (see above) may become infected with Yellow Musk, a parasitic disease that slowly turns them into the creeper's mindless, zombie-like thrall.

Vector:  Respiratory.
Resistance Roll:  HT-4.
Delay:  6d hours.
Damage:  1 toxic (No Wounding) + 1d Mental Control Points.
Cycles:  Unlimited with daily intervals.
Symptoms:  First presents with sinus congestion and postnasal drip. Roll against HT every hour; on a failure, a bout of coughing (DX-3, IQ-1, and cannot use Stealth during an episode) occurs at some inconvenient time and lasts a number of minutes equal to margin of failure. At 2/3 HP, the coughing stops, your skin takes on a jaundiced appearance, and you suffer -2 to DX and IQ. At 1/2 HP, you acquire Bad Smell, Less Sleep 4, and Vulnerability (Mind Control x2), and at 1/3 HP, you acquire Bad Sense of Smell/Taste 5, Bad Sense of Touch 3, and High Pain Threshold. At 0 HP, you suffer Suffocation until you die. Upon death, a yellowish stalk bursts through the patient's neck and releases a Pollen Spray (see above).
Contagion:  Only on death.

Anyone who dies of Yellow Musk will rise as a Yellow Musk Zombie (see below) in 1d days. This is not subject to Rest in Pieces or Blessed (Last Rites) because the "zombie" is not truly undead – it is simply reanimated by the plant growing within.

Traits: Bestial; Blindness; Deafness; Doesn’t Breathe (Oxygen Absorption); Doesn’t Sleep; High Pain Threshold; Indomitable; No Legs (Sessile); No Sense of Smell/Taste; Resistant to Metabolic Hazards (+8); Special Rapport (All Mind-Controlled Thralls); Striking ST 4; Unfazeable; Vibration Sense (Air).
Skills: Brawling-13.
Class: Plant.
Notes: Pollen can be harvested for use as an alchemical component for 1d+2 concoctions of stun gas ($20 per dose).

Human Yellow Musk Zombie

This is an average human that has died of Yellow Musk and risen under the control of the plant.

ST: 12                            HP: 22                                               Speed: 4.00
DX: 8                             Will: 2                                                Ground Move: 4
IQ: 2                               Per: 8                                                 
HT: 10                           FP: N/A                                             SM: 0

Dodge: N/A                  Parry: N/A                                        DR:

Bite or Punch (8): 1d-3 crushing. Reach C. Usually made as a Telegraphic All-Out Attack (Strong) at skill 12 for 1d-1 crushing damage.

Traits: Bad Smell, Blindness, Deafness, Doesn't Breathe, Doesn't Eat or Drink, Doesn't Sleep, Hidebound, High Pain Threshold, Immunity to All Mind Control, Indomitable (Thwarted by Plant Empathy), Injury Tolerance (No Blood, Homogenous), No Sense of Smell/Taste, Puppet (Progenitor Plant), Resistant to Metabolic Hazards (+8), Unfazeable, and Vibration Sense (Air).
Class: Plant.
Notes: Will not negotiate.
Encumbrance: 29/5/86/173/288.

Monster Affix: Yellow Musk Zombie

A creepy zombie-like reanimated plant-monster created by the spore of a yellow musk creeper. They generally have yellow-hued skin and a stiff gate. They aren’t particularly fast, but they are relentless.

Statistics: Add +2 or 20% to ST and +10 or +100% to HP, whichever is greater, and set FP to N/A. Also set IQ to 2 and Per to 8, and add -2 to DX, -0.50 to Speed, plus Bad Smell, Blindness, Deafness, Doesn't Breathe, Doesn't Eat or Drink, Doesn't Sleep, Hidebound, High Pain Threshold, Immunity to All Mind Control, Indomitable (Thwarted by Plant Empathy), Injury Tolerance (No Blood, Homogenous), No Sense of Smell/Taste, Puppet (Progenitor Plant), Resistant to Metabolic Hazards (+8), Unfazeable, and Vibration Sense (Air). Add the Plant monster class on top of the original class.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Military Spacecraft Designations

Spacecraft designations consist of a series of letters and numbers that uniquely identifies each craft by type, role, mission, design, and modifications. All designations follow the following form: [Vehicle Type] _ [General Mission] [Specific Mission] - [Design Number] [Series Letter]; although, the vehicle type may be omitted at times to create a short designation. This system, in its current form, has existed for 87 years, and there currently is no interest in drastically changing it.

Vehicle Type

Spacecraft of a specific type are denoted by a single letter preceding and separated from the general and specific missions by a space.

D - Unmanned Drone: Any unmanned craft operated remotely by a person or completely by a computer.
I - Starship: Any craft capable of superluminal travel through space.
P - Space Station: Any spacecraft incapable of moving itself. While not immobile, they remain in the orbit in which they are left until it degrades or they are towed elsewhere.
S - Spaceship: Any craft lacking superluminal capability that operates in space. Spaceships typically do not leave a solar system unless carried by a starship.
T - Trans-Atmospheric: Any craft capable of operation in both space and atmosphere.

General Missions

Vessels designed for a specific general purpose are denoted by a single letter preceding the specific mission designation. These general missions describe the vessel's role within the space force as a whole.

A – Auxiliary: Craft designed to operate in any number of roles supporting combatant ships and other spaceborne operations.
C – Space Combat: Combatant craft designed to directly engage and destroy the enemy while, themselves, operating in space.
L – Aerospace Combat: Combatant craft capable of both atmospheric and spaceborne operation designed to directly engage and destroy the enemy or support the insertion of atmospheric or surface forces.
S – Support: Generally unarmed, noncombatant craft that may operate in interplanetary or interstellar space to provide general support to combatant forces or surface-based establishments.

Specific Missions

Spacecrafts' exact role within their general mission is denoted by one or two letters following the general mission. Specific mission designations may overlap those of other general missions may use similar letters and combinations. General and specific missions are always presented together to avoid confusion.

Space Combat Specific Missions

There are five space combat specific missions. The line between Attack and Interceptor is somewhat unclear in the present system. Some people within the military favor omitting the Interceptor mission completely by redesignating all such vessels as Attack craft.

A - Attack: Craft designed to directly engage and destroy enemy forces.
B - Bombardment: Craft designed to indirectly engage areas of space or surface targets.
E - Escort: Craft designed to protect other craft from enemy forces through electronic interdiction, support fire, and the direct engagement of enemy forces. Patrol craft occasionally fall into this category, but see interceptor, below.
I - Interceptor: Craft designed to pursue and destroy enemy forces before they can enter firing range of their target. The line between attack and interceptor craft often blurs, with interceptors typically being faster and more lightly armored than attack craft. Patrol craft usually fall into this category.
R - Raider: Craft capable of independent operation designed to engage enemy forces, often utilizing hit-and-run tactics far from any supporting fleet. Raiders and attack craft have few differences, and there is a movement underway to fold them into the Attack specific mission. 

Aerospace Combat Specific Missions

There are currently five aerospace combat specific missions, but a growing focus on electronic warfare suggests a sixth may need to be added at some point in the future.

A - Ground Attack: Atmospheric or aerospace craft designed for tactical surface bombardment.
B - Bomber: Atmospheric or aerospace craft designed for strategic surface bombardment.
C - Carrier: Craft that carry smaller, often space- or superluminal-incapable, craft to a celestial body for the purpose of trans-atmospheric combat. Carriers rarely enter an atmosphere themselves.
G - Gunship: Craft designed to serve as a mobile aerospace weapons platform capable of engaging and destroying enemy surface, air, and space forces as needed.
L - Landing Craft: Craft designed to enter an atmosphere and land on a celestial body, usually with the intent to deliver or retrieve ground forces or supplies.

Auxiliary Specific Missions

There are nineteen auxiliary specific missions presently, but this number is not particularly stable. At its highest, there were thirty-seven, and at its lowest, there were twelve.

B - Barracks Ship: Craft designed to house troops and their equipment. These craft often overlap with Troop Transport Ships, but usually lack a means of rapidly deploying troops in favor of serving as long-term housing for them.
C - Cargo Ship: Craft designed to store or haul cargo.
CA - Ammunition Ship: Cargo craft designed specifically for storing and transporting explosives and nuclear devices safely. 
CP - Pressurized Cargo Ship: Cargo craft designed to provide pressurized climate-controlled cargo space. These are often used to store and transport perishables and other climate-sensitive items and equipment. 
CR - Replenishment Ship: Cargo craft designed to dock with and resupply other craft while under way. 
CT - Tanker: Cargo craft designed to store and transport liquids and volatiles, such as air, fuel admixtures, etc.
D - Mobile Drydock: Craft designed to serve as a mobile platform for performing maintenance and executing repairs on ships under way.
E - Sensor Picket Ship: Craft designed to engage in electronic warfare, both to extend the detection radius of enemy forces, and to jam the sensors of any enemies present.
H - Hospital Ship: Craft designed to serve as a mobile spaceborne hospital.
G - Gas Mining/Refining Ship: Craft designed to collect and/or refine raw gases and fluids into useful substances – usually breathable air or hydrogen for fuel.
M - Ship Tender: Craft designed to transport crew and supplies between a larger craft and other craft, ports or docks. Tenders are sometimes called "shuttles" or "shuttlecraft"
R - Communication Relay Ship: Craft designed to boost or relay signals or carry messages over long distances.
S - Reconnaissance Ship: Craft designed to operate on the periphery of a fleet with the purpose of gathering intelligence on enemy positions. They may heavily overlap with Sensor Picket Ships, but these generally lack any means of jamming enemy electronics.
SR - Search and Rescue Ship: Craft designed to locate survivors in debris fields, wrecks, or open space; retrieve them; and stabilize them until they can be taken to a hospital.
SS - Salvage Ship: Craft designed to locate and recover damaged or destroyed craft, in part or in whole.
T - Troop Transport Ship: Craft designed to transport troops. They sometimes overlap with Landing Craft, but tend to be slower and more lightly armed.
YA - Astrometric Survey Ship: Craft designed to conduct detailed astrometric surveys, including star types, positions, movement, and the existence of any planets or other celestial bodies.
YP - Planetary Survey Ship: Craft designed to detect and describe multiple aspects of planets, including physical, geological, meteorological, and biological data.

Support Specific Missions

There are currently nine support specific missions, recently expanded from eight – tugs use to be grouped together.

B - Barge: Powered craft designed to store or transport cargo, or otherwise serve as a platform for noncombat spaceborne operations.
D - Drydock: Craft designed to service existing or construct new craft while in space.
F - Ferry: Craft designed to transport cargo, crew, or personnel.
L - Lighter: Unpowered craft designed to store or transport cargo, or otherwise serve as a platform for noncombat spaceborne operations.

P – Spaceport: Craft designed to serve as an interplanetary or interstellar spaceport for other ships, providing provisions, accommodations, and varying degrees of maintenance for docked ships.

R - Special Research: Craft designed for conducting special research. This includes prototypes built for testing.
S - Satellite Tender: Craft designed to boost, maintain, repair, or recover satellites.
TP - Interplanetary Tug: Craft designed to move other craft over interplanetary distances.
TS - Interstellar Tug: Craft designed to move other craft over interstellar distances.
U - Utility Craft: Craft designed for a wide variety of noncombat spaceborne tasks.

Design Number

Spacecraft of a particular type and specific mission are numbered consecutively. Numbers are not assigned to avoid confusion with other letter sequences or to conform with manufacturers' model numbers. Gaps in design number sequences occasionally occur when a new spacecraft is commissioned, assigned a number, and is later canceled, scrapped, grounded, or otherwise leaves service.

Series Letter

Different versions of the same basic spacecraft are delineated using a single letter suffix beginning with A and increasing sequentially. The letters I and O are omitted from the sequence to avoid confusion with the numbers 1 and 0. Modification from one mission to another does not necessarily require a new suffix, but often a new letter is assigned.