The Hiybbprqag of the Vast and Serene Gaian Republic

Umbral Stars is my original SF RPG setting, where a thousand years from now, humanity has spread across the galaxy at FTL speeds but it still takes a decade to cross it. Set on the other side of the Milky Way in the “observation shadow” of the galactic hub, Earth’s policies still impact the people way out in the Far Fringe, even if Earth has no direct, daily influence on frontier systems. Of course, the original…

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Casting Campaign Seeds into the Umbral Stars – Ambassadors and Chaff

Umbral Stars is my original SF RPG setting, where a thousand years from now, humanity has spread across the galaxy at FTL speeds but it still takes a decade to cross it. Set on the other side of the Milky Way in the “observation shadow” of the galactic hub, Earth’s policies still impact the people way out in the Far Fringe, even if Earth has no direct, daily influence on frontier systems. Campaigns Here I’ll…

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Welcome to the transhumanist cyberpunk universe of Umbral Stars

Umbral Stars is a new science fiction setting I’m working on. The idea is that humanity has spread itself across the entire galaxy and it takes years to cross it all. It’s a bit transhumanist optimism, a bit cyberpunk cynicism, and a bit space opera adventure. It’s rooted in the science side of sci-fi — not exactly hard science but trying to at least give fan service to physics. There’s a minor farm theme running…

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Amazing, ginormous flowchart for creating characters in Cepheus Engine

I’m hosting Session Zero of my new Verge Sector campaign tonight. The campaign is intended to be short (3-5 game sessions) for five committed players who will meet every other Thursday. We’re using the Cepheus Engine rules and playing in the Verge Sector of the Third Imperium. Tonight, we’ll collectively decide the direction of the campaign and make up characters. Character creation in Traveller and Cepheus Engine is a little complicated. It’s not so bad…

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Diving into the fathoms of the unfathomable Verge Sector

I recently decided to run a Cepheus Engine (CE) game set in the Rebellion setting of the Original Traveller Universe (OTU). Charted Space in this setting is vast, spanning over 80,000 worlds (each with at least a name and a Universal World Profile, or UWP, that describes the bare essentials of the system’s physical and political geography). Charted Space is a but a tiny spec in the larger Milky Way galaxy… The first thing you…

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Towerlands Geography

The Towerlands are set in a parallel, fantasy version of the Pannonian Basin, essentially the area of Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia today. When I found out that this area of Earth was a giant, drained seabed–flat as can be, but surrounded entirely by a circle of mountains–I was entranced. That’s always a good start for a fantasy world. But how to transform that cool geography into a fantasy world? How do you present it? I…

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The Nature of Spells

Arcane spells are wiggly things. In the old days, before the Planefall, no one talked of spells. People studied magic, of course, but they practiced with rituals. Rituals took hours or days to do things that seem like child’s play to the spiritbound sorcerers and wizards of today. Today’s spiritbound practitioners cast spells in seconds. The problem is, arcane spells change. Every time you cast them. So you know, you spend an hour trying to…

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20 Cool Things about the Towerlands

The Towerlands are named for a few dozen featureless spires that appeared in Junnia. They stand up to 300 feet tall, have no entrances, and no apparent purpose. There’s a goddess named Torchbearer who has appeared in the world after the Planefall, even when all other deities seem to be cut off. Junnia is riddled with limestone caves, one 25 miles long. One of the rivers flows into the ground under some hills and comes…

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Towerlands Pitch, analysis

Okay. I’m going to look at my original pitch with fresh eyes now. I actually wrote the first draft four days ago and I’ve gotten feedback from two people I trust. First, let me reread it and give my first impressions. My first goal is to maximize the “awesome ideas per sentence” ratio. How’d I do? I’ll go section by section. Intro I don’t think this helps pitch the game. I’m excluding it entirely. A…

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Towerlands Pitch, first draft

The following text is the pitch I wrote for my new Towerlands fantasy setting. Towerlands is a fantasy setting that I’ve been working on steadily for about two years but it’s really a collection of ideas I’ve been exploring for decades. Those of you who have played in my games before will probably recognize elements I’ve used before. This is a brief introduction to my labor of love and an invitation to join me in…

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