This post is a brief introduction to the different factions in the world of Corvus Belli’s Infinity. Now this is going to have more of a focus on the roleplaying game by Modiphius, but if you’re interested in the miniature wargame and just want some basic faction info, this might help you as well! If you want to learn more about any of the factions, Modiphius has released supplements for the playable groups which are definitely worth investing in as they provide a lot more lore and some faction specific lifepaths, careers, etc.
PanOceania is the greatest of all the great powers, the strongest of the G-5 nations, the biggest faction in terms of both number of citizens and influence. PanOceania boasts a strong economy, which combined with its reliance on the artificial intelligence ALEPH and other technology allows its citizens safe, comfortable and prosperous lives. That’s not to say this faction is content to simply rest on its laurels at the top, PanOceania’s army is equipped with weapons more advanced and destructive than many other groups in the Human Sphere could imagine, and they will fight to defend their position as best of the best.
If you’re looking for an elite and stable faction for your character to be a part of, PanOceania might be for you. On the other hand, there’s potential for stories about dissatisfaction with society’s reliance on technology, distrust of ALEPH, etc. Whether you want to embrace the factions' ideals or fight against them, PanOceania gives you a lot to work with.
Perhaps slightly in PanOceania’s shadow, and definitely their greatest rival, Yu Jing is the other great power in the Human Sphere. All Asian nations united under the banner of what used to be China, Yu Jing’s culture is a both diverse and unified sum of all its parts. While they were late joiners to the space race that has spread humanity throughout the stars, they have since worked twice as hard as any faction to prove themselves an example to the entire Human Sphere, and escape the ever looming shadow of their perpetual enemy, PanOceania. Possessing a thriving industrial sector, strong economy and powerful technology, they truly are a formidable power in their own right. However while their government presents a faction dedicated to the best interests of its citizens, behind this projected united front are cracks that some citizens slip through, turning to crime to boost their status or make a living.
There’s a lot to work with character wise in this faction. The frustration of always being just behind another power, trying to gain ground and make up for time lost. Do you follow the Party and the Empire or make your own life in the shadows? Whatever you decide, there’s potential for a great story.
Ariadna is made up of the descendants of the first human colony ship, of the same name, which the rest of humanity believed to have been lost when it vanished into a wormhole. In reality the colonists were alive, but stranded on a harsh and dangerous planet. From a variety of nations, the different groups fought each other while simultaneously trying to survive the planet itself, and through all that hardship they were merged together and forged into Ariadna. The strength, endurance and perseverance they learned would serve them well because as soon as they were rediscovered by the rest of humanity, hypercorps were trying to claim the Ariadnans' resource rich planet for their own. After fighting them off, Ariadna joined the G-5 nations. Ariadnans are tough, resilient and straightforward, fiercely loyal to their faction but also prone to fighting within it. Due to their long separation from the rest of the Human Sphere they do not have much of the technology that other factions take for granted, including cubes and geists.
If you want a more rough and tumble or practical character who isn’t overly reliant on technology, Ariadna might be for you. In terms of character stories there’s a lot to work with in terms of feeling isolated from the other nations, wondering if they were only accepted into the human sphere because of their resources, or maybe having a greater fear of death than other factions for whom it’s a less permanent issue because of their cubes.
Haqqislam is a nation that began as a cultural and religious movement. The members of this faction seek knowledge, pursuing both philosophical learning and scientific discoveries. Their greatest discovery has probably been Silk, a gene therapy courier that weaves its way through the human body allowing individual cells to be interacted with on a genetic level. Silk allowed for all kinds of medical advancements, none more revolutionary however than the development of the Cube. Silk can basically make a perfect replica of the brain, memories and all, and store it in an implant called a cube. After someone dies their cube can be transplanted into an L-Host, a new body rapidly grown over an artificial skeleton using Silk. Haqqislam’s monopoly over Silk and extensive trade routes have resulted in them being a formidable economical force. While knowledge may be their main goal, they are ready to fight to protect the secrets of Silk and the nation they have built.
Haqqislam is a faction that lends itself well to characters that are scientists or in other ways seekers of knowledge. If you want to go against the grain though maybe your character is more focused on discovery for personal gain rather than learning for learning’s sake, or you could dedicate yourself to fighting to protect knowledge rather than seeking it yourself.
The Nomads don’t have a homeworld, but travel in three massive motherships, Bakunin, Corregidor and Tunguska, each with its own distinct culture. Nomads are true individualists, and value personal freedom above all else. While life is hard on their motherships, perhaps especially Coreggidor where you are charged even for the air you breathe, Nomads believe freedom is worth anything. Freedom from what? From the rest of society, and specifically from the AI ALEPH who they view as the biggest threat to humanity. The Nomads are the only remaining nation not cooperating with ALEPH, or as they see it, not under the thumb of ALEPH and its insidious surveillance state. More so than any other group, Nomads seek out extreme body modifications, both for practical reasons and as another way to assert individuality.
You might want to make a Nomad character if you love traveling or thinking for yourself. In terms of story, make sure to delve deeper than just a hatred of ALEPH. While that’s something all Nomads share, what else makes you a Nomad? What was life like on your particular ship? A Nomad character may clash with others, part of their story could be getting used to cooperating with the rest of the party. Whatever you come up with it’s sure to be fun, as the Nomads are a bizarre and varied group!
The only legitimate AI in the Human Sphere, and the only one there ever will be thanks to the Sole AI law, ALEPH oversees a sizable amount of all human activity. ALEPH seeks to do everything in its power to better the lives of those who created it and still work alongside it. ALEPH oversees daily life, improving its quality and making the human sphere safer. ALEPH is everyone’s best friend. If you ask ALEPH and its proponents anyway. Detractors such as the Nomads believe those who work with ALEPH are little more than its puppets and are hastening their own demise. Rogue AIs seek to cause chaos from within. Those enemies are little more than annoyances however compared to the looming threat of the Evolved Intelligence and their Combined Army.
Characters in this faction can be human, members of Bureau Toth or others allied with ALEPH, or aspects of ALEPH itself given physical form to fight, interact with humans, or do other tasks. There’s a lot to play with when it comes to AI characters, are they a person, etc. and when it comes to aspects of ALEPH there’s even more to dig into as they are smaller parts of a gigantic whole, not possessing the full knowledge ALEPH has.
The Combined Army is made up of some of the most dangerous species in the universe, and was put together by the Evolved Intelligence, an AI that has conquered countless civilizations in working towards its ultimate goal, transcendence into some sort of higher plane. Cold, calculating and ruthless, the Evolved Intelligence has in creating the Combined Army made the most dangerous army in the galaxy and they are looking to add the Human Sphere to their number. The Combined Army should serve as a common enemy thus uniting all of humanity, but despite that fact humans can’t seem to put faction warfare aside.
The Non Aligned Armies is a catch all for the mercenaries, bounty hunters, etc. that aren’t aligned with any faction. They are employed by factions, corporations, and so on and while often treated as disposable they pride themselves on their work. Members of NA2 may be motivated purely by financial gain, or perhaps they are disillusioned with their former faction.
O-12 is sort of a successor to the UN. It’s an international organization designed to oversee the entirety of the human sphere, keeping powerful factions in check and protecting smaller ones. They look to unify all groups in the human sphere into mutual collaboration for the betterment of humanity, striving to uphold their four Pillars: Unity, Cooperation, Support, and Progress. O-12 is made up of 12 different Bureaus, including the tactical police force Bureau Aegis, the covert intelligence agency Bureau Noir, and Bureau Toth, the group responsible for overseeing Aleph.
The Tohaa are an advanced alien civilization who have been fighting against the Evolved Intelligence longer than anyone else in the galaxy. Masters of biotechnology and terraforming they travel the galaxy and “exalt” other species they deem worthy, that is raising them into sentience and granting them more intelligence so they can fight beside the Tohaa as their “auxiliaries”. Highly intelligent and adaptable, they can also be cold and calculating
The Tohaa are not a playable faction in the Infinity RPG Core Rulebook, but there is a supplement that allows you to play them or one of their exalted alien species.
And there you have it! All the Infinity factions in a nutshell. If you’re interested in any deeper dives into any of these groups, like what it’s like on the three Nomad motherships or why the number 3 is so important to the Tohaa, let us know! Thanks for watching.
One area that is so often overlooked in Sci-Fi series and Star Trek to a large degree is transport vessels. In Earlier Trek this was partly due to the fact that any vessel seen on screen had to be a physical model. That also lent into the movies and The Next Generation. So any new ship was a big deal that would eat into budget. If a new ship was to be shown there had to be a real reason for it. Transports are a very unsexy class of ship when compared to the ships of the line from any of the main races. For most stories they would be very important window dressing. At places like Star Bases, colony worlds, research stations and the like. In these places transports would be a key part of the supply chain. Far more than a ship of the line like Enterprise.
This is one of my favourite ships from Star Trek, It isn't pretty at all but it fulfills an important void. The Klingons would have a large transport fleet for resupply. It is warp capable but its speed and living conditions made it better suited for shorter runs, has a crew of around fifty and is a little more than fifty meters long. These kinds of Space Haulers are very needed in Trek.
The Model is quite nice in some areas and a little soft in others. Overall though it is good. The Stack like Structures and engine area are nicely done and the paintwork on this one is excellent. It has a unusual shade of green and a layer of grime and weathering. If you like unusual Trek ships this is a good one to get.
.One of the most unusual vessels in Star Trek is the United Earth Arctic One. Not a overly long vessel at around 80 meters. It was operational during the Mid-23rd century and came with the rare feature of skids. These were to allow the vessel to land on ice planets.
The ship was relatively easy to fly and could be done so by a pilot alone, but the average crew was three to six for flight operations. It is designed for Arctic conditions, however space itself is the harshest of environments. Its primary role was research and the cargo hold could be outfitted for the mission requirements. It could house around thirty scientists in its living quarters.
It came outfitted with thrusters which allowed for vertical take off and landing as well as hovering. It was also warp capable, however it was slow and could only do warp 1.4.
It featured no weapons and the hull while somewhat armoured was done so with environmental conditions in mind rather than combat.
This was not one I even remembered, which might also be why it was on sale at the time. However I think it is interesting that these lesser know ships are available. The detail on this model is slightly soft when I compare it to a couple of the other ones I own. It is possible that the studio model might not have been super detailed either. It doesn't have too many join lines which is the bane of many diecast models. and overall I think its a nice addition to the collection.
Shuttles play a very important roll in Star Trek. In their simplest form they shuttle gear and personal that could not be teleported for some reason, but over time the need for a warp capable small vessel would become important both from a Star Fleet point of view but also a story one.
From the story side it allowed a different kind of story. Often these were either separating crew from the support of the ship or smaller stories that could be focused on a couple of the characters rather than an ensemble.
Next Gen used Shuttles in their stories effectively, but it was DS9 that made them a central part of the shows ship lineup.
The Danube Class (Nicknamed Runabout) was 23.1 meters long and had a crew between 2 and 4 depending on the mission requirement. They were modular in its cargo area which allowed for several different missions to be outfitted. These included defense (Phasers and Microtorpedo) scientific, medical, cargo or personal transport. The Danube is larger than standard shuttles and this gave it some more versatility. They were capable of landing on planets and leaving the atmosphere. They were able to reach Warp 5 and with that had a decent range. DS9 started with 3 and all of them were named after Earth Rivers.
The Diecast model is quite nice. It does come with a lot of detail and Eaglemoss always does a pretty good job of hiding seamlines and screws. Something that can be a bane to some diecast lines. This model is not perfect, however its not very expensive and if one considers the price they are then these are pretty decent value for money. If you like the Runabout then this would not be a bad purchase.
So I bought this as it has a novel idea (if you'll pardon the pun, I wouldn't) its a novel that comes with a Adventure for the Alien RPG in it. Full disclosure I am a fan of Drew Gaska's work. Could someone else have written the Alien RPG? Sure but I don't think it would have been as good. Seeing that the new novel would have the RPG Adventure was what made me pre-order it.
The Novel ***
it was ok. Read it pretty quickly. Some of the stuff I liked a lot some things like the base, some of the characters. Somethings I didn't like. The dog was one, as was some of the British elements which were hard to take seriously. More at home in a Victorian pulp novel than Alien.
The Adventure *****
So this was the most expensive adventure I have bought really. I mean that is on me. I bought it for the adventure rather than the novel. The adventure is a added bonus not the reason to buy the book. Unless your me and do it in reverse, but that is the Kritfayle way.
So this is a short adventure (as expected) but there is room for a lot of fun RP. To give me time to think about it we have already had the players decide who they wanted to play and have had their agenda's given to them. The agendas they do not share with each other. Watching Raven's face when they realized just how much trouble they were in, how much trouble they would cause the other characters and the drama and stress that would come from it was worth the price alone.
Its a good adventure. It ties into the book well and the characters have some cool moments because of that. it also has some of those moments for the players. Those moments add to it and give the players a little extra connection to what is happening. In many IP RPG's (IP referring to existing shows, books etc in this case) the games feel distinct from the parent setting. Like a Expanded Universe but not part of the canon in any way. The Alien RPG doesn't feel that way and connecting the adventure to the novel's events is a interesting way to do it. It makes the novel more of a fun read for the players as they are seeing how they effected things and vice versa. If you play the RPG then get it. I think it adds something extra and is worth it.
The Batman, The Worlds Greatest Dectective. VENGENCE. I have always liked the Batman as a character. He is very different to lighter characters like Spiderman. Spiderman was cool for the over the top action against other super villains and the occasional hero. I liked Batman for very different reasons. He was trying to make streets safer. Super villains had big goals and big plans and while their stories were interesting they were unrelated to me as a kid. Batman laying the hurt on a scumbag was satisfying. Over the years though the character has changed and seen lighter and darker versions. He has also seen more perfect versions as well as more broken ones. He is not a great hero. His parents get killed so he dresses as a bat to extract revenge. New versions like Chris Nolan's and the most recent The Batman has examined the transition of the character a bit more from revenge to something else. The character is very flawed and not a role model. For all that though there has been a fertile ground to tell stories.
The opportunity came to get this figure on sale and I grabbed it. Overall the figure is good and for what I paid it is excellent. Where these kinds of figures lose points is in their paint jobs. Many will say painted by hand but that doesn't really mean much. The base colours are very good and good coverage. Things like the symbol are very difficult to do on miniatures and the symbol here looks good. Where it fails is in two areas. One the eyes. More definition around the edges is needed. The second is in the wash. Washes are used on miniatures to give some definition and a fake shadow. Even coats are something miniature painters aim for so the wash has a unified coat in the areas we want it to go. On many figures/statues this does not happen. You can see the uneven drying of the wash on his arms, in the chest creases, boots and leg muscles. Instead of giving some shading it looks more like stains which isn't the effect they should be going for.
Overall though I am happy with it based on the price. If you can get it on sale then its quite fun.
As a kid growing up there were many Sci-Fi shows in the 1980's. In some ways it was a golden age. Yet two stood out to me. One was Battlestar Galactica. The two movies were excellent and left a lasting impression. The second was Buck Rogers in the 25th century. In the end I feel both series fell somewhat short of their potential. Season 2 Buck Rogers especially and issues with the shows lead actor are well documented.
For all that Buck Rogers was a very fertile ground with lots of room to tell all sorts of different stories. There were good messages in there also. The Earth had suffered. Humanity had survived and rebuilt. In that beautiful glossy future there still remained the scared cities from the war and the forgotten remnants of humanity in the wasteland. There is a lot to play with there. Moral and ethic questions in a range of areas.
There was a uneasy peace/war with the Draconian Empire and in that there was a lot of the Space Opera excitement that sci-fi shows did so well. The effects were great and the reliance on models and real explosions for some of the ship destruction gave the series a look that cgi heavy series don't always seem to have.
In the end the series never reached its full potential before cancellation. It was very cool however to find that there was three new stories written by Andrew E.C. Gaska. The rings of Saturn feels very much in the Space Opera area of the show and was where I feel it was best. While there is a large area to play in season 2 started to get a little strange at times. This book does not do that.
This is a novella and comes in at 118 pages. While not the size of a novel I have to admit I am quite fond of Novella's. There were a lot more when I was younger. They are shorter but also easier to get through. They make great reading on holidays, while on the train and when you want to read but don't have lots of time. They move at a decent pace because they have to and never feel like they drag. They get to the point and stay there. The cover art is great and has that 1950's Amazing Stories art vibe.
If you remember Buck Rogers and want some more stories then give this a go. If you want something different that isn't cynical like some of the more modern stories then give this a read.
As a kid Star Wars was the biggest movie to effect me and it did. It solidified my love of Sci-Fi as my first genre love and I enjoy it far more than I do fantasy. You can see that on my gaming shelf. I GM and buy into mostly Science Fiction Genres.
The TV movie that grabbed my attention a great deal as a kid was Battlestar Galactica and its follow on one with the Pegasus. The effects were great and overall are still very watchable today. They also had cool characters with great names like Boomer, Starbuck, Apollo (not callsigns) the Cylons were campy but great villains. The Basestars and especially the Raiders.
The Show was campy, over the top but it embraced it and I loved it. So when i had a chance to get a Cylon Raider I jumped at the chance. I have collected Star Trek ships from Eaglemoss but this was my first one that was larger in scale.
It comes in a decent sized box and all held in place by the styrofoam protection.
Within is the model, the stand and a small booklet that gives some information about the Raider and its design process.
The model itself is big and has a lot of weight to it. There is one visible screw which is located underneath and won't be seen. So that was a good place to put it rather than on top.
The Detail overall is excellent. The pieces from the tank model kits are on here as they are on the original model. For 1978 it is a clever design and it has a lot of character. There is a lot of little things when looking at it that I didn't notice when I saw them on the screen. If you love Battlestar Galactica this would look great on your shelf.
Today the ship people seem to think of when they think of Klingon ships are the Birds of Prey. The staple of the fleet though was the D-7's and the K'Tinga. As much as I like the K'Tinga there is something about the old smooth D-7 that speaks to me.
The model of the K'Tinga is really nice. A lot of it is solid metal with the engines being plastic. The stand holds the model in place but with all of the models in this series they are held in place, they are not screwed in or attached. The pro is there is no invasive way to hold it or loss of detail due to holes etc. The con is if bumped it can fall out of the stand. So keep that in mind with where you display it.
The actual ship comes in clkose to 350 meters long with close to 800 crew. They are a powerful ship. Some also have cloaking devices which can be unpleasant for their opponents. For its size the crew have few amenities and is a warship in every way.
Although the Vor'cha would replace the K'Tinga you will still find many in operational service. The first on screen appearance of this ship was The Motion Picture.
Dice are great. I'm sure that's something we can all agree on. I don't know a single person who plays roleplaying games that doesn't also constantly look for a shiny new set and hoard them like a dragon protecting a pile of gold. And with all the types out there, it's easy for anyone to find more they'd love to add to their collection. But why exactly? I mean technically one set of dice for each system you play would suffice. With online dice rollers and dice rolling apps you could even argue that physical dice aren't actually required anymore. But such a suggestion would be anathema to any TTRPG fan I know, myself included. So why exactly do we want them so much?
The urge to simply collect certainly can't be overlooked, but dice collecting is different than many other types of collections. Trading card collectors can have motivations beyond simply owning cards they like, whether it's the completionist's desire to possess all the cards from a certain set, the knowledge that they may appreciate in value, or wanting specific cards to strengthen their deck. Stamp and coin collections can likewise be "completed" in a sense if the collector focuses on a specific type or time period, and are also often seen as a monetary investment. Those who collect figurines often look for specific characters they are fans of. All of those motivations are a bit trickier to apply to collecting dice. While some dice are rarer and they can certainly be expensive, there's not the same argument to be made that they're a monetary investment as you could for coins. There are certainly dice themed after characters but not to the extent that you have with figures or other collectables. "Completing" a dice collection would be difficult unless you narrowed the criteria significantly. Very, very significantly. And unlike cards one set of dice can't be objectively "stronger" than another. Sure we all may have a set we feel rolls better for us but that's not guaranteed by stats proving they're better than another set. So why do we want so many?
Is it just because they're pretty? That's certainly got to be a part of it. With metal dice, gemstone dice, wooden dice, glitter, inclusions, hand inking, there's truly something for every aesthetic. Dice come in all colours, materials, sizes, finishes, etc. Can you get a sense of a person's style from their dice collection? Maybe, but I feel like most would be a bit too eclectic for that. Some people do definitely have a theme across their collection though, I'm not sure I own a single set of dice without glitter for example. There is something just satisfying about having lots of interesting looking and varied dice that I cannot explain but definitely know I'm not alone in experiencing.
Something I feel is a pretty big motivator, and that is connected to aesthetic but not necessarily the aesthetic of the collector, is character themed sets. I don't mean buying a set themed after a character from your favourite video game or movie (although that would definitely also be cool), but choosing a set you feel fits a character you have created. There are lots of ways to connect dice to a character. An oceanic looking set for a character who's spent their life at sea, lots of glitter to represent your spellcaster's magic, colours associated with an aspect of your character or just a colour they'd like, anything you can think of It can be even more literal than those examples, the first set of dice I bought specifically for a character were full of juniper leaves and berries. That character's name is Juniper. Picking dice to fit a character is not only fun but can help you get more into character at the table. Or at least I certainly felt more druid-y using dice full of twigs.
In the end although it feels like a bit of a cop out, I think the reasons for dice collecting are unique to each person. They're certainly much harder to pin down than the reasons for other sorts of collections can be anyway. It's fun, they're pretty, enough said! Collect away and when on the hunt for new dice remember to check out independent dice makers. You can find very cool unique sets while helping support smaller businesses, and who doesn't want to support awesome people who make dice? With that in mind if you know of any cool dice makers let us know in the comments!
So while playing Star Trek Adventures I started to think about something. The idea came up when working on one of the adventures that the Klingons would still require a merchant fleet. This may not be a commercial one, but even a one dimensional yelling and thumping race needs to stay supplied. No military can outfight its supply line. Ships need resupplying of provisions, spares and things like torpedoes. They have to get there somehow and a frontline ship would not pull back light years to resupply. Doing so could leave the line weakened as well as taking them out of the fight for too long a time and allowing others to gain glory.
Klingons may be angry yelling thumpers but if that is all they were and if they were that stupid they would have lost long ago. The Romulans would have out manoeuvred them long ago. Now maybe Klingons do have a form of plot armour, but they understand warfare. There isn’t a lot of Klingon ships that are not warships shown. Again this could well be in part due to the story. If the story is involving Klingon warships then there would be no need for extra ships to be added. The model budget for Trek never seemed very high. But I did find one I really did like.
This is more like an armed merchant rather than a cargo vessel, but that fits with the Klingon mentality. There is also a history of armed merchant vessels during the First and Second World Wars. German U-Boats did not always attack from below the waves and arming the merchants made life a bit more difficult for the German Submarines.
This ship is a pretty cool design and I liked it upon seeing it. It featured in Star Trek Enterprise. It has an interesting overall shape and I think it is a good addition to the Klingon ships. It does not have a lot of information on it which is a bit unfortunate. It doesn’t have a model designation which is a shame. Rather it is known as Goroth’s Klingon Transport Ship. Goroth though is the name of the Captain and not the design of the vessel.
Armed with Disruptors, a torpedo tube and coming in at 88 meters long. A top speed of warp 6 and a crew of up to 7 makes it a decent light transport. It's not big enough to resupply the big Klingon vessels but I think there would be quite a number of these in the Empire.
The model is really nice. It has good detail, has that great Klingon Green shade of paint and is unusual enough to stand out on the shelf. The only complaint is the unusual design does make it not like the stand in the same way that most of the other models in the range do. So you have to be careful about where you place it as if it gets bumped it will fall off the stand.
My name is Rebecca. Or Becky, Becca, Beck, Beqlynd, Steve. I respond to most things when I think someone is trying to get my attention.
I wanted to talk to you about how I was introduced to tabletop RPGs, and how I truly began to engage and enjoy them.
It started when I was very young. My uncle had a comic book shop that also sold props and craft items for miniatures. My babysitter was one of the store friends, and the sword of Elrond hung on the wall above where I slept. I was allowed to stay up late to secretly watch Dragon Ball Z, wear special gloves to hold valuable comics. I watched and sometimes participated in the campaigns the guys ran in the back of the store, complete with costumes, terrain and minis they had made themselves. I didn't know what Vikings were at the time and called one of them "cow guy" when he showed up with a horned helmet.
It was so cool to my baby five-year-old brain. However, being a nerd wasn't considered "cool" yet for people in my age group ('90's kids, anyone?). I had the bizarre experience of going from being ridiculed for being TOO nerdy as a child to not being nerdy ENOUGH as a teenager. That's not even bringing into the equation that I was a girl encroaching on a predominantly male pass time. What a world, eh?
Knowing all there is to know about a very niche topic hasn't ever really appealed to me. I don't know all the Magic the Gathering cards from 1993, but I still think it's fun to play. I don't have all the monsters/rules/builds of D&D memorized from any edition, but I still like to play. I'm awful at shooter video games, but I have fun playing them. I never have, nor will I ever be, a min-maxed, highly optimized gamer. I'm in it for the fun of discovery, the puzzles, the interaction, and the chaos. In ANY game, the ability to go anywhere and have consequences for doing so is one of my favourite things, right alongside character development and a rich story.
So, where I am now in regards to gaming is excellent. I've found people I love to game with, both on and off the table. It is just as cool to be invested in roleplay as it is the rules. You need to find the people who like the kind of gameplay you enjoy. Some extremists believe there is ONLY ONE RIGHT WAY or ONLY ONE FUN WAY; I think they are fundamentally... wrong. I'm not about to go on a crusade to stop them from playing games the way they like to play, though. I'm firm of the belief that if you and you're group are having fun; you're playing the game the right way.
Ripley : How many times GMing Alien is this for you, Lieutenant?
Lieutenant Gorman : Thirty eight... simulated.
Private Vasquez : How many *actual* GMing?
Lieutenant Gorman : Uh, two. Including this one.
Private Drake : Shit.
Private Hudson : Oh, man...
I am still quite new to tabletop roleplaying games, it hasn't been two years yet since I ended up getting involved, so I will be the first to say I have very little experience. Gameplay itself is where that's most obvious, especially combat, I feel like I have to ask for rule clarification several times a session, but unlike remembering various rulesets the roleplaying aspect didn't feel that new. I realized that's because I was drawing parallels between it and something I have been involved with for a longer time, theatre.
Now there are some obvious differences, notably roleplaying isn't generally scripted so unless you do improv, theatre may not seem directly related. Theatre is aimed at presenting what you're doing to an audience and while roleplaying can include having an audience, if you record your sessions or even just have observers at your table, that's not the inherent purpose of roleplaying games and is often not going to be the case. Still I've noticed a few key things I was taught while involved in community theatre that I think are also useful for anyone looking to improve their roleplaying or looking to better support the roleplaying of others at the table (and don't worry, none of them are "you must get involved with local theatre.") You don't have to be an actor to be a roleplayer of course, but there are some things that are helpful to keep in mind for both!(edited)
1. Be Present in the Scene (and participate, to an appropriate degree)
Whether you're an actor or a roleplayer there are going to be some scenes that aren't about you. Maybe you're an ensemble member milling about as part of a crowd while the leads do something plot important, or maybe your party member is finally getting to confront the mysterious figure from their past that features heavily in their backstory. It's not your scene, but if you are onstage or your character is there for that you're still a part of the scene. You're not the focus of attention, but that doesn't mean it's ok to check out and stare at the wall or your phone until it's your turn to do something.
When you're not the focus it's still important to pay attention to what's happening and how you respond to it. Too much or not enough reaction can make things difficult for the person who is at the center of the scene. The leads onstage are probably going to have trouble staying in character if the ensemble starts stealing the scene with over the top reactions or attempts to pull focus, but if the ensemble just stand doing nothing waiting for their cue to do something that's going make it hard too.
Support whoever's the focus of the scene by being present and engaged. Participating in the scene while still letting them have the spotlight shows you care about the effort they're putting in and care about their character's story. Match their tone, if their character is distraught about something and they're roleplaying that then it's probably not the best time for that great joke you just heard.
2. Be Flexible (stuff happens, go with it)
Now non improvisational theatre is scripted but that doesn't mean everything goes according to plan. Cues are missed, lines are dropped, someone breaks a prop, lights or microphones have issues, someone falls into the orchestra pit, the possibilities for disaster are endless. However no matter what happens, the show must of course go on.
If you know anyone who's done theatre I'm sure they'd love to tell you about the best mangled line they've ever heard, or the time some guy grabbed the wrong prop and had to get through his scene trying to dramatically threaten someone with a rubber chicken instead of a sword, or when someone's mic didn't get turned off before they headed to the bathroom, and how whatever went wrong everyone on stage had to act like this was how everything was supposed to go. Every production has stories.
And while things can't of course go off script for non scripted roleplaying, the principle of just going along with things that didn't go how you thought they would is useful for roleplaying as well.
Maybe what you planned as a stealth mission devolved into chaos when someone failed their stealth roll. Maybe the party split up and some of them have run into trouble that the rest don't know about. Maybe everyone agreed on a plan but now that's it's time to enact it someone's decided to go off book. Things are going to go wrong and I think for most of us the first instinctual response to things going wrong is wanting to fix it. When you're roleplaying though, you can miss a lot of good story if you focus too much on everything going right. Things going wrong is interesting, and gives you a lot to think about in terms of how your character would react to the situation. I also feel it's very easy to slip into meta when you get into problem solving mode, I've definitely experienced having things go wrong and then someone going "hold on, out of character for a second here's what we should do about this" or trying to take back an action that caused whatever trouble has ensued. You don't need to go looking for chaos or drama to have a good story or develop your character well, but rolling with it when it happens and dealing with it in character is something I definitely recommend.
3. Be Respectful
I mean that sounds obvious I'm sure, and more like just sound advice for life in general, but more specifically be respectful of how other people are taking a risk and putting themselves out there. Some people find acting or roleplaying more nerve wracking then others. Even if you're sitting in your living room with a few friends instead of standing on stage in front of an audience it can be hard trying to portray a character, and if you're giving it your all but other people aren't respectful of that it can be very disheartening and might discourage you from trying again.
Now the extent to which this applies to roleplaying depends both on the tone of the game and how well you know the player. Your friend doing a silly character voice in a lighthearted game probably won't care that much if you jokingly give them a hard time about it, but someone trying to seriously roleplay a vulnerable moment or one addressing a sensitive topic isn't likely to appreciate the same response. If you don't know a player well you won't necessarily know how difficult it is for them to play a character in front of other people so it's best to err on the side of caution. Basically if you want the theatre summary, even people who love acting get stage fright and that's ok, you're all in this together so be supportive!
Now these are just some things I've drawn parallels with personally, and of course probably apply more to trying to roleplay with a more serious tone and focusing more on story than mechanics (which to be fair is pretty much the only experience I have to draw on there) but they are ultimately pretty basic principles I think could apply to any game! And while you don't of course need to roleplay to be an actor or be an actor to roleplay, if you're involved with one and interested in the other I really do recommend trying it out! There's a lot you can learn from one that will apply to the other, and aside from that they're both great activities to have fun and form a community!
Coming in at 685 meters long and 24 decks. The Sovereign class was one of the first new Starfleet vessels to be more of a warship than exploration. With 12 Phaser banks which would remodulat and 5 Torpedo launchers which fired the new Quantum Torpedo's. The new Enterprise was designed to fight the Borg. It would get a refit and get even more weapons.
The computer systems were some of the most complex in the Federation. Utilizing bio-neural circuitry. It was also different than earlier Enterprise Galaxy class in that this vessel carried no civilian families. Starfleet had finally come to their senses and realized that a Starfleet vessel was not a liner.
The model is really nice. The detail on these models is always good but this one really stands out. Its crisp, and sharp and the nacelles have a clear but really nice blue incorporated into it. It feels pretty sturdy but the one tricky part is the stand. It does hold the ship but the ship slides in at the nacelle struts and its not a lot for the stand to grab hold of. So be a bit careful there.
The rogues in D&D play a very important role, but often that role is from a very meta point of view. The guilds don’t really seem to feature that much in games and the soft underbelly of cities is not always prominent. With that in mind here are some ideas about how to add a little more life into the darker areas of your D&D cities. I am using Elizabethan times as the basis and this is by no means the only way that you can do this. This is just some of my thoughts on the topic. There are many ways a GM can go about it. Also keep in mind this is for RPG’s and not your history exam.
Historically big cities were substantially smaller than their counterparts today. They lacked infrastructure but also like cities today had to deal with growth. Construction is quite common but almost completely absent from RPG cities. London was huge by the standards of the day. It beat any in Europe and dwarfed others in Britain like Bristol. When there are large cities there is nearly always a reason for it. Other than that, lots of people live there. With London it had the Thames River which connected to the Channel and the seats of power.
One way to make your fantasy cities more alive is to consider what has made them grow, why are people coming to it. With the Thames it was a route to the sea, travel along its course and a big one was trade. The merchants, the type of merchants and how they interact with the city will give it some of its characteristics. It's also an idea to pick a couple of unique good and bad things. The famous London Frost Fairs which were held on the frozen river are a brilliant and unique place for characters to be. The real ones did not happen anywhere near as often as popular legend however. As a bad trait London did not have a lot of sanitation and the horrendous stench is legendary. This affects health, drinking water, and a general view of how the city would be seen.
Now it's also good to mix things up within the races too. While it is certainly easy to make all Elf cities smell of botanical gardens and Elvish maidens like the fields after a storm, but the contrast of making all human cities smell of mud and sewage can be a little extreme. Better to mix it up. Some human cities certainly would be in dire need of sanitation. Others though, especially ones with a lot of artists would probably have their own form of beauty.
London was a walled city for quite a while. Some common areas are named after the gate's location. Aldgate, Aldergate, Bishopgate, Cripplegate. These gates would be closed at nightfall. There were prisons within the city, not merely simple town watch cells. These were Ludgate and Newgate prisons. As well as a hospital if one can call it that. The Hospital of St Mary of Bethlehem. Its history was long but it would become a place to treat the insane. Over time its name would also change and it would be referred to as Bedlam. If you have ever heard the phrase it's Bedlam here meaning the place is crazy. The Hospital is its origin.
Another thing to consider is how civilized your city is. This is two fold. A: How civilized is it and B How civilized do its citizens consider it to be. This can create some interesting nuances to the game. As an example London bridge used to have the heads of traitors on display. Slowly rotting on poles. The citizens did not consider themselves uncivilized even with such a practice being commonplace.
Even with London Bridge being accessible there was still a large amount of water taxis. Passage could be bought quite cheaply and the question all GM’s should ask is how they want to handle currency. D&D has very much focused on gold as the currency of choice, but there are benefits to moving the scale from Gold to Silver to Copper. For most common folk they wouldn’t work in Gold. For poor folk Copper would be the norm. If you want to mix your games up a little, taking a look at currency can be a good way to do it.
London did not have many true streets. It had a lot more alleyways and these were often a muddy mess when it rained. These were also the dumping grounds for human waste. Much of this was ignored until The Great Plague forced change upon the populace.
The markets were a huge mix of sights and sounds and it’s something
Most games don’t really do. To start with, the sellers would often be hawking their wares. From medicine to book sellers their cries filled the air. Blacksmiths at work and the constant clang of hammer on metal and the chimney sweeps plying their trade. Fire was a very real danger in these old cities. But there was also a large entertainment quality to the whole thing. Musicians and puppeteers were popular. London’s markets were a thing to be experienced.
Guilds are a great way of adding extra flavour to your games. I think it is also important to break those “know it all players” from the molds that they lock themselves in. For a game all about imagination, there are some who are amazingly rigid and inflexible. That there are no underworld guilds other than THE Thieves Guild and it has to be the Zhentarim. There can most certainly be lots of Underworld guilds. They might not all get along or may vie for power. They can be slightly or drastically different from city to city. This can be based on cultural bias. Be creative with the guilds.
London had a large criminal populace and the law enforcement of their day was not as diligent nor were they as organized as those of today. One of the most famous is a man called Laurence Pickering. He would hold gatherings at his house. Would be targets, money making plans and law enforcement activities would be discussed. They also had their own safe houses to hide when needed. The risk reward of their activities is hard to ascertain. How well does the average cut purse do? Were all their efforts just to survive with a little to spare? The risks on the other hand were high. Punishments were severe. Whipping, torture, branding were common place for those caught.
Laurence Pickering’s organization though has all the hallmarks of a fantasy guild and it is worth emulating. The problem with the Zhentarium in many D&D games is they are very much in the open as are the Rogues themselves. I think this creates some real problems that for the most part people overlook. I prefer to use the faction as the public face and keep it on the legal side of things. Whereas the real guilds hide in the shadows. Yet the safe houses, meetings, planning, organizing thefts, different members and groups working together are excellent things to add to darker guilds.
Another area to consider for cities is the church. In London St Pauls Cathedral was very important and a true architectural wonder. It has gone through several changes throughout its life. And It did not always have its famous dome. It played an important part in the life of London and the church wielded considerable power. The rich would have their sermons within its wall and the poor in the churchyard. It was also a place where important news would be reported on. It was at St Pauls that word came that the Spanish invasion fleet had been defeated. Business would often be conducted there and sellers would always be close as it was a popular and required destination. There are also periods where gallows were setup on its grounds. While Tyburn is the most famous of the hanging grounds there would often be temporary ones. On the law day there could be up to 30 people hanged for various crimes.
From a fantasy viewpoint the church has always been relegated to a distant position. Which is somewhat amusing considering in many fantasy settings there is no doubt that the gods exist. Classes like Cleric and Paladin rely on their deities for their magic. The healing the Clerics provide, the protection from the undead. Would give them a very solid position in which to flex their political muscles. In the city does one deity have a stronger foothold over the others? Does it have a church or a cathedral? If it does have more power how is that power manifested? For good or ill? Does that influence extend to outlying regions? How the church is interpreted in the city will have big ramifications.
All cities should be complex. More than the surface complexities of economics and who rules it. But rather the choices that have to be made to make it function. If the law can’t fully control it, what do they do? Have they made a deal with the devil? How does church and state see each other? Do they work together or oppose one another? How do the poor fit into the grand picture as there isn’t a city where the poor have not shaped the city's direction in one way or another. And in all of the mix the Underworld and their guilds watch and wait for the right time to profit.
Location location location. In D&D a great many cities in games are treated as one location. In reality they tend to be several very different districts all within one overall geographical location. Often these districts form along economic lines rich and poor or ethnic lines. China town as an example.
Elves are not the best example as they tend to be portrayed the same across the board where their cities are concerned. But human and Dwarven cities could certainly be broken up into rich and poor districts. These districts have their own feel to them. In Elizabethan times, one of the most important businesses that flourished was the brothel.
In London’s case the red light district was over the river. Close enough to be reached but a little out of sight. There was a great deal of hypocrisy involved with the policing and handling of the issue. There was a lot of money to be made. This sometimes led to public condemnation yet private support. Though even elements of the church were divided on how to deal with the issue. As were various rulers. Another problem was the Police for the day did not technically have jurisdiction in Southwark (suth-eck)though they did conduct raids from time to time.
Bard’s are considered an excellent profession in most fantasy games. The reality was not always the case. The excellent Shakespeare in love sums it as “The Master of the Revels despises us all for vagrants and peddlers of bombast. But my father, James Burbage, had the first license to make a company of players from Her Majesty, and he drew from poets the literature of the age. We must show them that we are men of parts. Will Shakespeare has a play. I have a theatre. The Curtain is yours.” This can add a very interesting element to a game. How does the populace see Bards and what they do? Does the Church or ruling body of the city see them differently? And how do the Bards themselves react to how they are perceived. Now the views of the day were not entirely baseless. The now famous Globe Theater was located in Southwark (suth-eck), today this area is Bankside. To further muddy the issue Philip Henslow also owned a brothel. One of his rivals The Curtain Theater which featured in the movie Shakespeare in Love was thought by some to be little more than a waiting room for the nights continued entertainment.
They were closed for a short period of time by Henry the 8th, at least officially. They would have still existed but for that period they were deemed illegal. This was removed after he died and Edward 6th became king. He was a very young king. He died at age 15 but in his short reign he proved to be a dangerous individual.
Sexually transmitted diseases were considered divine in nature and a punishment for those of low moral fibre who conducted themselves in lechery. In game terms this one is hard to use. A GM can certainly make Clerics of certain deities not treat a character. Others would have a care of compassion regardless of how someone contracted the disease or what profession they did. Either way it's a very delicate thing to bring into a game as it is very easy to become comical which I feel is a bad way to handle it. A GM’s group would need to be very comfortable with each other as well. But one big question if not the biggest question is why use it? There has to be a solid reason and one that brings something important to the game by its inclusion. If the why can’t be answered, then I would leave it out in any meaningful way.
It took till 1550 for Southwark (suth-eck) to become officially part of London. The area councillors had to pay quite a sizable sum to do so. From a gaming perspective there is a great deal of grey area to play with here. The city and bards, the various churches and their relationship and the view of brothels. And are any of the wards not part of the city? If not, why? And how does the populace feel about it?
The brothels were a very real part of Elizabethan culture. They generated a staggering amount of money all told, though not always to the prostitutes themselves. The patrons were across all classes, and the brothels ultimately survived the pox and all attempts to close them down.
In a game sense brothels can be a front for the guilds. A cover; albeit a profitable one for their other illegal operations. They can be a place of information gathering and political maneuvering as one tries to frame an opponent in blackmail.
Yet it is essential to not make light of these places. If it is a group where all the players are familiar with one another then a GM or player can do almost any story. RPG’s are an amazing storytelling device that can cover the full range of emotions. If it is a convention or store game of random people a GM should use common sense on what is appropriate. Still having said all that I feel it is vital that a GM and players treat these situations with a level of sensitivity. The punishments for the prostitutes could be harsh. Public humiliation in the form of being paraded in wooden carts through the street was common. If the individual was deemed to be not responding to the punishment, as in being caught again they could be tied behind the cart where many would fall and be dragged. Women would often have their heads shaved and whipping was not uncommon. These were real people who suffered, and suffered in an environment of incredible hypocrisy as the punishers could very well also be patrons.
Life was much more difficult for the Elizabethans. Today’s food, medicine and overall prosperity were undreamed of to the people of old. Our cities are immense in comparison and work and staying alive was even less of a guarantee. There was little in the way of free time and it would be the Church on Sunday’s which would prove to be time of meeting. The biggest form of entertainment back then was the fair. Today these are little more than a few travelling rides, games and food vendors and often with a poor reputation, not always fairly given. But these fairs that appear now and again in mall car parking lots can trace their lineage back hundreds of years to when they were the pinnacle of entertainment.
Some of these were quite elaborate and included a varied form of vendors and entertainment. They were not popular with the authorities though as they felt it brought crime. Which it certainly did at times. Vagrancy was a crime and the forging of papers among other items was also something the authorities were concerned followed in the Fairs footsteps, which it did. There were few social safeguards like there are today. If people didn’t have lodgings or work they would find themselves very much at the mercy of the law and society. It seldom ended well in such cases.
The Fair’s brought with them a lot of money into the region and the St Bartholomew’s monks profited well from taking a fee from the traders. In the beginning the grounds and the church were used and it was far more focused on the selling of goods. It was more a large market but as the years progressed it became more what we think of when we consider Fair’s. By that time the church itself would not be used by any of the vendors.
There was an unusual legal structure as well. There was a court known as the Court of Pie-Powder. The court sat only during the time of the fair and only had jurisdiction over the fair. Overall the charges were most often commercial in nature. If the crime was serious enough, escaping from the Fair would only put the individual in the jurisdiction of the regular law officers. Men not known for being very sympathetic.
One of the more common trades at Fair’s was that of the Horse Market and it was every bit the forerunner of the used car salesman involving all sorts of tricks to try and make a bad horse appear better than it was.
In the RPG setting the Fair’s are not often used. Markets are commonplace but not Fair’s. Adding one can add a different take on a familiar element. They are nomadic by nature so the arrival of a Fair can add some excitement to the locals. There is the market component and it is a good opportunity to add some items that might not regularly appear in the region. Mixed with that are buskers, and small plays, musicians, fortune tellers and tumblers. A criminal element can be added. Cut purses and swindlers, money lenders and the guilds. A lot can be done in and around the Fair.
When looking at Magic in this case things will get a little murky. In the Elizabethan age magic was largely considered good magic if it was ritualistic and done by the church. Exorcism, healing, blessing and so on. This was changed by the Church of England which saw things very differently. On the other side was bad magic which was everything else. Now it gets a bit murky here because in high fantasy settings magic is very real. Its a base part of the world. It's a basic part of daily life. Most people don’t have the use or understanding of magic. But they are very aware of magic both from Mages and the Divine. The gods are real, their power manifested not by faith but in very real and tangible ways through their Paladins, clergy and Clerics. Sometimes though rare as the gods are often doing godly things they have appeared before people. Sometimes when the occasion is one of great need but sometimes at their festivals. There is no doubt that they exist. So this creates a different setting baseline than it does in the real world.
Seers, Wise Women, conjurors, Sorcerers, Shamen and witches are all commonplace. In the 1500’s they would be charged with Witchcraft. Even then there was a distinction between light and dark magic. White magic was thought of as beneficial and Black as corrupting. There are instances though where some of these individuals seemed to exist within society and were not persecuted and occasionally were sought after by the authorities for help. It could have been the differences between the official stance to the day to day realities. Many of the “cunning men” or Wise Women as they were commonly known was their use of charms. It was these charms. These would cover every facet that you could think of. Healing animals and people, potions, especially of the love variety. Though I think that alcohol became the love potion of choice. Its effects though are short lived and come most often with regret. Where this gets interesting is where these individuals con artists who knew they had no actual power. Did they actually believe they did? Doctors of the day were a very mixed bag of talent and many beliefs were not beneficial. Did these local charmers by luck or understanding through the use of herbs were able to actually bring about some positive medical help or were they one of the first adaptors of the Placebo.
One of the saddest things with the Witch hunts is that they targeted the vulnerable. The women were not powerful individuals, they were poor, no family, vagrants. They may have picked up other strays like themselves in the form of a cat, mouse or weasel. Their life would not have been easy and years like that could well have made them appear and sound odd to those that encountered them. These all played into the popular idea of a witch with her familiar. By 1736 when Witchcraft was finally deemed not to be a crime there had been around 500 cases examined. More than 200 hundred were convicted and 109 were hanged. As terrible as this was it pailed when compared to Europe where in just 15 years 900 were burned at the stake at Lorraine (loren). The charges were easier to bring in the more remote villages and records may not have been kept so true numbers are always something of a debate.
Torture was not popular in England as a means to gain a confession, though the often mocked water method was. This idea was so devoid of logic that it is difficult to believe that even in the 1600’s that it was even considered let alone used. To test if the individual was a Witch they would be cast into the river. If they floated the only possible reason is they are a Witch. If they drowned then lucky for them they are innocent. There was money to be made as a Witch however and there is no shortage of known frauds who made coins in the profession. Considering the dangers of the Witch Finder General and the penalties that came with being charged with being a Witch meant that either the reward was worth the risk or they were not thinking this through clearly.
From a RPG side this sort of thing is more difficult. If two groups worship the same deity and disagree and move towards violence if it is a good deity they may just appear and put a stop to it. Many of the base things that had these poor women burned at the stake or hung, are in D&D an accepted and commonplace occurrence. There could be pockets of areas or some individuals in power who see magic and mages as evil. They might be deranged and think that they are saving them by killing them. Sometimes great stories can come from terrible events. But know why you're doing it and don’t just include something terrible for the sake of it. As always if the subject is going to be a horrific one or difficult emotional one then I strongly suggest not doing it with a random group. For a group you know well just talk with them. As a GM you do not have to give away your plot but you can sound them out on the idea of the adventure. Sometimes players just need a little forewarning for a difficult scene so it's not suddenly thrust upon them. I have never had a group say no to any story idea I have put forward. But it is always important and fair to discuss difficult situations with them beforehand to get the ok to proceed with that particular adventure.
From around 1650 to 1750 Astrology was quite popular. This is something we don’t see often in RPG’s and the conflicts that sometimes surround it. The church opposed Astrology. This was for a host of reasons. The church and Astrologers might be having different interpretations of the same events. As it was popular and people were wanting good news they went where they might be more likely to get it. This was lowering the power of the church and that wasn’t something that they were content with. Astrology was also divination and that raised the question: was it magic?
The idea of Astrology though was very old by the 16th century. The problem was that it was popular with all walks of life. From the labourers to the nobility there were enough supporters of it to make it somewhat mainstream. Banning it then would have been difficult. In RPG terms not all games have defined the night sky. In which case the GM would have to make a lot of stuff up and that maybe more hassle than it is worth.If they are willing to fudge it or an imaginative Seer player could find some fun and uniqueness at the table by incorporating the stars in their Divinations.
The War of the RRose was one of the bloodiest in English history. When it finally came to an end Henry the VII made a concerted effort to stop noble armies. This he reasonably managed to do. The one massive downside was that there were now a lot of unemployed soldiers who also didn’t have a barracks. While not all of them turned to banditry there was certainly an increase in violent incidents.
There was also the closure of the Monasteries which put the workers there out of a job. The Dissolution of the Monasteries was a complicated affair that took buildings and land from the Roman Catholic Church as England split from the faith. This was done over a handful of years under order from Henry VIII with the aid of Thomas Cromwell who would go on to lose his head for high treason. Though he never did stand trial for the charge.
Many of these individuals found their way to plying the highways. Though in this era the term highway is loose at best. Travel was not the easiest thing to accomplish and that was before the threat of highwaymen. There were few properly paved roads even within London, for the rest there were only 4 actual roads which were built by...yep the Romans. Most roads were mere tracks carved by the traffic that travelled them. There was an initiative where parishes would become responsible for their area of road and a surveyor of highways would be selected to see the work done. In reality there was a lot of corruption. The Highwayman rarely killed those they robbed if they gave no trouble. While it could be a somewhat lucrative endeavour and some had informers at the Beerhouses watching for good marks. But for all that the penalty would be death if they were caught so it was not a business that one could expect to stay in for long.
From a RPG perspective the taverns can be a somewhat under utilized establishment. They certainly feature heavily in nearly every fantasy game. We tend to treat them more as a modern bar. There certainly is the meeting, social and drinking aspect to it. There is more to it than that though. It can be a place of gossip and local news and information. It can be a place for bandit informers to be looking for possible targets. The views of the region would be important in the Taverns. How do the PC’s look compared to the locals? Do they stand out, are there unusual races in the party? Does that affect how they are viewed or business conducted? For many goal orientated parties the tavern is something to do for 5 min to get a job and be on their way. But if you are a RP group then consider adding some more depth to the Tavern and you may find that they spend a while there. Which keeps the players entertained and the GM has some time to prepare the next bit.
There was not exactly a police force as we are accustomed to. In the outlying regions they were often small or singular in nature and considered a bit of a joke. In London they were rough, difficult and corrupt. If one did harm to you or your property there was little that could be done. You could bring a charge against someone and more than likely would have to pay. There are recorded instances of the person meant to be arrested paying the authorities to walk away. If you didn’t have the money then you were at the mercy of every rogue who wanted to exploit or harm you.
There were fourteen prisons and there was very little oversight. The Prison Sgt’s were cruel and corrupt for the most part and time in a London prison was not about rehabilitation. Where a prisoner ended up had little to do with the crime or the sentence but was rather related to how much money he had available for his lodging. The movie Plunkett and Mclean shows this. Everything had a cost. There was no regular money from the government to cover food and supplies. If the prisoners could not pay they would find themselves in the lowest place of prison accommodation. Food would be poor and irregular and there are cases of prisoners dying in winter as they were not given blankets. Illness was common and sanitation non-existent. Abuse and corruption were the order of the day and there was little that could be done as there was no regulation board to hold the goals accountable. They were a business unto themselves.
There was surprising charity in the day. People would give coins to the prisoners to buy food, or give them food or clothing. In an era that was dramatically cold, grim and oppressive when compared to today the idea that people could see within themselves and in that to give to those they deemed less fortunate is an interesting state of the human condition.
Prisons tended to be places of holding and prisoners could find themselves there for unspecified periods of time. Newgate prison was the dreaded one as it was Newgate that was the home for people who were charged. That was usually a kind of death row before being hanged. Though that was not the only form of execution.
Standard detention in RPG’s is probably fine. A GM could certainly include some corruption, but the prison standards of the Elizabethan period were one of total oppression, inhumane and horror. There are certainly stories to be told there but the GM must be very sure why they are taking that direction and depending upon the severity certainly speak to the players beforehand.
So I have reached the end of my tankard. I hope you have enjoyed our time together but I must bid you farewell.
The Intrepid class was designed as a long range, multi-role exploration vessel. With enough fuel for three years. They could operate at the edge of Federation space and into the unknown and use Star bases for resupply. They are a drastically smaller ship than the popular Galaxy Glass. Crew complement comes in at a relatively small 141 personnel.
It could do over warp 9 for 12 hours but warp 6 was the Intrepid's cruise speed.
So they made a very cool and technological ship. But I have a confession to make...I only saw the first season of Voyager. It just didn’t seem to resonate with me. A big part was the setting. All the reasons I don’t like the show is pure athletics. I like the Next Gen area of space. I like its allies and I like its villains. Overall I loved DS9 but wasn’t a fan of the dominion.
So because of this it made it more difficult to like for me. For what it is I look for in the show. They also played a lot of things pretty safe especially in the romance department. 7 and the First Officer. The prettiest girl with the prettiest guy. Enterprise also with T’Pau and Trip. Not exactly a stretch. DS9 had some great relationships where the more unexpected characters had quality relationships. Leeta and Rom for one. But overall the writers went with what was comfortable and they went with it over a less conventional relationship elsewhere.
But I also don’t like Voyager as a ship. It's unbalanced and I like balance with my ships. Eaglemoss has a variant of this vessel with long engine nacelles and I like it a lot more.
So I got the Voyager ship for completionism. It is up to Eaglemoss standard and if you are a fan of the show or the ship I don’t think you will be disappointed. It comes with a booklet which discusses the class of the vessel and how the model guys made it. These are nice. I wish they came with a few more pages and added some more information. Deck plans would be nice. They sometimes miss basic info like crew sizes. But overall the booklets are nice and have cool pics of the ship.
The model has some weight to it but it isn't as heavy as some of the other ones and none of these ships are in scale to each other. Excelsior is a tiny model in comparison even though it is a beast of a ship. The detail is overall very good. The paint work is excellent. So the only part that feels a little flat is the underside shuttle which could do with a little more definition. Otherwise this is a excellent model all around and if you are a fan of Voyager then this will look very pretty on your desk or in a cabinet.
This young mage was painted in 2019 as a tabletop commission and he travelled to a new home for ongoing adventures. I had thought about using the idea of Iltheus in a game as I liked the miniature a lot. The miniature has a lot of character and for a miniature that is what I want. There are so many "badass" miniatures out there but sometimes they don't always have a lot of story. Its the small details that add life to a miniature and story. Pouches, a mug, the knights tabard is frayed or torn. How did that happen? When did that happen? Gear on a rogue not just their daggers and hooded cape.
Iltheus has story. He is so unprepared for whatever journey he has been set upon and must now go out into the world and complete it and survive. He carries his dagger awkwardly, it would be difficult to draw and impossible with his hands full. His lack of training and confidence will make it a last ditch defense.
His staff is a hunk of wood. Its not polished and covered in runes, made by the Elves or maybe even have any magical properties at all. he may have just found it laying on the ground on his travels and picked it up, complaining to himself the splinters it sometimes gives him.
The book is huge and he has decided to carry it. He can't open it without dropping his staff. It is open to the elements. It is also heavy and difficult to hold. Why did he not chose to place it in backpack of some sort to make its transport easier? Why does he not have a backpack. Did he have to leave in a hurry, was there attack or was he simply behind time and got yelled at by his master.
What is this huge book? A spellbook and in his inexperience did he choose the biggest he could find thinking this will surely be grand. Is it a cookbook for Agatha at the local tavern. A history of the occult for one of his companions, returning a library book or Vol 27 in the long running series Ghost Tales: How to be an amazing and sexy GM, just like Ghost.
His hair is in disorder. Is this how it normally is or only once he has been thrown out into the world. His face conveys concern and inexperience. he doesn't want to be where he is.
His cape is dirty and worn, has this been a long journey or is it the only one he owns?
Lastly my favourite piece of the mini. The Owl. One which Iltheus neither wants nor understands how he got it and can not get rid of the bird no matter what he tries. He is stuck with it for a real hoot. Is it just an Owl or is it something else?
The mini itself is metal and loaded with detail. It comes in at $4.99USD and that is a great price for this great little miniature. Perfect for your low level starting practitioner of magic.
Available for Reapermini.com and many good local game stores.
First off I want to say....damn I love that cover. It comes from a earlier time. If you look at Sci-Fi art from the 70's and into the 80's you can find a lot of these sorts of style. I have always loved that style.
Doing novels based on series is hard. As is a Role Playing Game. Its always a worry if your getting it right. Is the book or game Trek enough. In both instances I suspect everyone just does their best and see's what they can come up with.
I found this gem at a second hand book store. 1976 in the front cover. It features 8 short stories. I must admit I like the short story format. If I don't like the story the next one is not far off.
Does it feel Trek? Overall...yes but its certainly a sliding scale. Certainly some good ideas and as a place on my bookshelf its a pretty cool. If you can find a copy it is worth picking up.
When doing a discussion about rules I feel near every review is wrong. They nearly always treat the rulesets as a statement of fact, but this is only so in regards to the individual. If someone enjoys crunchy systems they will not enjoy narrative ones for the most part and vice versa. That is just personal preference but it can drastically drive the enjoyment of an individual's game experience. So for this I won’t try to focus on the rules as much as I do I think the rules work for a Star Trek game.
Star Trek is a difficult game. It requires something of players that is not always common. They have to believe in the setting and want to be there. Not from a mechanical rules perspective but from a setting one. A lot of GM’s ignore etiquette and setting in games. There are a lot of reasons for this. It hurts the games they are running too but it would make Trek impossible.
So the real question and the first question and seriously I think this should be asked and if the answer is not right don’t progress. The question is simply. Do they want to play Star Trek?
Now this isn’t a question of do they want to play a game of Trek. This is asking if they want to play Star Trek. Most fantasy games every character is equal. Not so in Trek. Every player is equal but within Starfleet there are ranks. These come with privileges and expectations. This also means there is a real emphasis on teamwork and the ranks are essential. In all likelihood someone will have rank over another character. The game needs good communicators.
It is also Star Trek. Combat is not always unavoidable but it is never meant to be a first choice option. Even when provoked Starfleet is not meant to respond with violence if there is any other option. So many other games the combat is the focus of the game and many times the only reason to play.
Trek relies on the RP first. Without combat being the focus the players have to really enjoy playing their character. They need to look at it more like a character on the show and enjoy RP’ing that individual.
So as a GM you can’t just have people that will play a Star Trek RPG, what you need is players who want to play that setting, be a character in it and follow the ideals of the setting. Anything less and the game won’t work and after a few sessions it won’t feel right, it won’t feel like Star Trek. GM’s be picky, you really do need the right players.
So do the rules help it feel like Star Trek. After playing the game for more than a year I think so. They fit a little more towards the crunchy side with the 2d20 system and my preference for a narrative game like Trek would be to have a more narrative system, but there are narrative elements in the rules. The base skill use is quick and focus on teamwork and helping the other players have a good time is in the rules.
Extended tasks are a bit mechanical in nature and I tend to not use them in order to keep the pace going. We have also simplified ship to ship combat as nearly every game struggles to make ship combat simple and to move at any pace other than a snail. Trek works best when its narrative, the more crunch the less narrative I have found things.
The books are beautiful and read really well. They are interesting, give you the correct feel for what the game is. A couple of companies have tried to do a Star Trek RPG in the past and I have played them all. But only the current one from first opening the book to having played it for a year feels like Trek. The Modiphius game has its faults but it gets it right in the core areas.
We are excited to be bring our Star Trek Adventures to you in 2021