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Everything posted by seneschal

  1. My previous comments were based on my reading "The Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven. However, after actually skimming the online article I had referenced, I realize some of my descriptions were off. A rigid sail design is best, with steering and altitude control done electronically rather than physically. The good news is that there are few moving parts to break or wear out, but you'd better have a dependable electrical system aboard and really good computers to constantly adjust and control the complex changes needed to keep the ship on course. So far, square or kite or disc-shaped designs with the payload located in the center on one side have been successfully tested since 2010 by NASA, Japan's space agency, and others. So our solar sailor might look something like a giant RuneQuest shield, kilometers across, with the crew cabin clinging to the backside like a mushroom cap's stem. It couldn't, after all, tack back and forth like a sailboat to return to the sun because solar wind acts differently than air wind. There are ways to compensate for that electronically but the star's massive gravity is the main force that would draw the ship back to the inner planets. We might need some sort of secondary drive to get home after all. Such a ship would be slower than I first thought but would be perfectly capable of reaching nearby stars ... eventually. More later.
  2. M-Space Solar Sail Drive Before we worry about game mechanics, let's talk about what a solar sail is, how it works, and how that might affect the lives of our player-characters. A solar sail is a slower-than-light spacecraft drive powered by sunlight. Light consists of tiny packages of energy that push very gently against whatever it touches. You don't feel the push when you are enjoying a sunny day because the surface area of your body is relatively tiny. A solar sail, on the other hand, is a massive thing designed to capture as much light as possible. It is a bag-, parachute- or umbrella-shaped construct of tough material, stretched out to be as thin as possible. As such, it would have to be built and launched in the vacuum of space, couldn't enter a planet's gravity well, and would have a small payload compared to the acres of sail required to lug the crew and cargo along. But the fuel is free and doesn't take up space inside the vehicle. As with Earthbound watercraft, the Cutty Sark of space would accelerate slowly -- no fast getaways -- but since there is no friction in space it could rival the Millennium Falcon's sub-light velocities once it got going. What about the crew? The cabin would need a separate, independent power source to provide life support and operate equipment (diffuse sunlight just isn't going to do it), so there might be fuel tankage requirements there. The crew would also need some sort of landing craft to reach a planet's surface. They would steer the ship via sturdy guide lines that would change the sail's shape just like a sailboat. Going outbound from the sun would be straightforward. Returning to the inner planets of a solar system might be slower and more difficult. I will have to research that. Finally, Larry Niven suggested that such a vehicle's initial launch might be facilitated by firing massive Death Star type lasers into the sail to give it a good shove. So, anybody want to go sailing with me ... in spaaaaaaaace? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_sail In Classic Traveller terms, our solar sailor is a big craft (100 metric tons plus) with no star drive and a maneuver drive that doesn't require fuel. It does need a power plant and fuel sufficient to support the crew during journeys of 3 years or longer. So it is even more of an Age of Sail in Space craft than those of that game, where a ship's boat can zip across a solar system at 6 gs.
  3. Agree, and I think most of my fellow BGB fans who have posted here would, too. We're not asking for a massive hardcover tome crammed with full-color art. It's not that kind of book. But cleaning up errata, including the latest rules innovations in the mix, would be a reasonable update if doing so would be profitable for Chaosium.
  4. Gaming historian Shannon Applecline will tell you that tabletop roleplaying began in 1974 with the publication of the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons. However, perhaps the most coherent explanation of "What is role-playing?" was issued in 1957 by composers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. They were collaborating on one of their last projects together, writing the first musical specifically created for television. It was "Cinderella"' and starred Julie Andrews in the title role. Their lyrics for "In .My Own Little Corner" totally nails roleplaying, at least as I have experienced it. Give a listen and see what you think. The musical has been remade several times. I grew up with the 1965 version starring Lesley Ann Warren but the 1997 release with Brandi Norwood is fun, too.
  5. Well, the point of the Big Gold Book was to gather together nearly 40 years of play-tested BRP rules, make them consistent, and present them in a coherent whole. Part of that was an attempt to explain which of the many options complement each other and which ones clash, especially in regards to depicting specific genres and genre conventions. It is a GM's book rather than something aimed at his newest player, who only wants to slay the dragon and lay the princess and doesn't care how that happens mechanically. It was a worthwhile goal, successfully achieved for the most part due to Jason Durall's heroic efforts. With Call of Cthulhu I can play ... Call of Cthulhu. With the BGB I can play both CoC and RuneQuest as long as I can hunt down setting material somewhere. I can also whip up a Psi World game with better rules, throw together a RWBY mini-campaign to delight my daughter (write-ups for the main protagonist and a dastardly villain in the Superworld threads), or have the Green Hornet team up with Quack Kerouac to hit the road and take a bill outta crime. Sorry, can't do that with our shiny new editions of Cthulhu and RuneQuest. They aren't built for it. That's why the BGB should be kept in print and cleaned up as profitable business makes that a financially reasonable possibility.
  6. Hey, I'm holding out for our licensed Chaosium RuneQuest Ducks (tm) toy line, sure to give Power Rangers and G.I. Joes a run for their money. After all, Drulutz can't run, really, so they have to stand and fight. Lord Zed and Cobra Commander are in peril before they even know it. (Insert clever catch-phrase mirroring those of our favorite cartoon heroes.)
  7. The Arsenal Interesting that five of these 12 weapons are some sort of heavy club, so their damage and skill requirements would be identical. We have two poison options (bottle, syringe). The knife has also been called a dagger, which gives us a hint as to how big it is and how muchening tools damage it does. The revolver is at least a medium. The bomb is a souvenir from the Great War. Boddy probably used it as a paperweight, not realizing it is still live and growing unstable. The rope and axe are simply gardening tools associated with the Conservatory. Candlestick Knife Lead Pipe Rope Revolver Wrench Syringe Axe Bomb Fireplace Poker Walking Stick Poison
  8. Thank you, sir. I had been avoiding dealing with the other board game components, but I will noodle over what we can do with those cards. Also, we should probably at least list the BRP stats for the traditional Clue arsenal, even though it doesn't really affect what we've done here. Boddy Mansion is huge and crammed with stuff, some of it dangerous. As with the rooms and suspects, the weapons catalog has changed over time. At one point there was a syringe from Nurse White's medical bag. Yikes!!
  9. So, Travern, g33k, Atgxtg, what do you think? Have we pushed our Clue scenario idea as far.as it will go? Is there enough material here to run a one-shot if not a campaign? Have we covered all our bases as far as scenario design is concerned or is there something else we've missed? Most importantly, could you sit your players down with a used game board from Goodwill and our musings here and actually play this out with them?
  10. Even though Clue was devised in the 1940s it very much reflected a 19-teens/1920s sub-genre, the old dark house mystery. This was present in pop culture in novels, silent films, radio shows and talkies. Here are some notable examples for Keeper inspiration and help getting the players in the proper mood: Mary Roberts Rinehart, "The Circular Staircase." Rinehart was an American author who actually out-sold Agatha Christie for awhile. Very old school but her mysteries will make you care about her protagonists and keep you guessing. "Staircase" was revised for film several times as "The Bat". My favorite version is the 1959 one starring Vincent Price. "The Cat and the Canary" (1927) -- Although the 1939 Bob Hope film is certainly fun, this silent original is a true classic. Heirs gathered for the reading of a will find themselves stalked by a mysterious killer. "The Old Dark House" (1932) -- Stranded motorists are trapped by weather in the shadowy house of a very strange family. Boris Karloff as the butler is not to be missed. "The Green Archer" (1940) -- Based on a novel by prolific author and screenwriter Edgar Wallace, this energetic Republic Pictures movie serial depicts the contest between a criminal mastermind and a mysterious masked bowman who seems to be able to be everywhere at once. Superhero fisticuffs, secret rooms, deathtraps galore -- this one had it all!
  11. You're not profiling these fine, upstanding young birds, are you? 🤔
  12. I'd like to see a playable M-space version of a solar sail drive. It was a big part of Larry Niven's "The Mote In God's Eye" but I've never played an RPG that had ship design rules that would allow PCs to build and operate a spacecraft with one. (How's that for getting back on track?) And it is non-FTL.
  13. Hey, Thot. The Princess is having a ball ... on Alpha Centauri ... and you are invited! Just make sure you get the Stargazer back to space dock before midnight, because you know what's gonna happen next. 😄
  14. Space Force? Check. Moon base? Check. Curvy hard vacuum suits with bubble helmets? Check. The future is here, people, and it is ... the 1950s! At the moment I'm not so concerned about FTL. First we gotta dash across the solar syatem and colonize Yuggoth before the Mi-Go do it.
  15. (Reads thread title. Blinks.) Um, whatever gave you guys the impression that sorcerers are pure? 😱 Read any fairy tales lately?
  16. Agree absolutely! But I'm not sure we are finished learning what those natural laws are or how they work. "Gravity is a harsh mistress!" -- The Tick
  17. That's sort of the irony of space travel. We always imagine Buck Rogers or Han Solo blasting into orbit, and that is true up to a point. But once you've escaped the gravity well and gotten up to the desired velocity, being a rocket man is much more like Dave Bowman in 2001 A Space Odyssey. You can shut off the engines and drift at speed until you need to alter direction or slow down ("The Blue Danube" optional). "Open the pod bay doors , HAL!". Humans have an annoying tendency to turn their elves and dwarves fantasies into realities, by risk and recklessness if not by smarts and science. Jules Verne's submarine has already been mentioned; that is a smarts and science example. The airship -- the classic German zeppelin -- is an example of the former process. Now, the early 20th century Germans were indeed excellent engineers, scientists and machinists. But they dominated the early lighter-than-air aircraft industry largely because they simply wouldn't quit trying no matter how many brave/foolish would-be airmen got killed in the process. The French, British, Italians and Americans weren't as willing to endure the same level of risk and thus lagged behind. There was nothing systematic about airship development; it was mostly trial and error.
  18. Dunno. While I believe that we are limited by real natural (and supernatural) laws, mankind has consistently accomplished feats thought previously to be impossible. That's the point of the Tower of Babel story in Genesis. God Himself said (speaking of the bad people who were giving Him the middle finger, mind), "If I don't do something to stop these guys, they will establish an Evil Galactic Empire with their baked-mud technology. There's nothing they won't be able to accomplish." And that's why He confused the languages.
  19. Update: this very morning I saw a TV interview with one of our lady astronauts showing off NASA's shiny new vacuum suits. Apparently NASA is preparing a 2024 moon mission to establish a base on the satellite's south pole. What we learn doing so will help pave the way to Mars. Whew! I feel better now.
  20. Heh, you are scaring me, Atgxtg. Such evil deviousness. 🙀
  21. The Usual Suspects Nurse White, angel of mercy or angel of death? Dirty Secret: A patient died on her watch. Unavoidable medical tradedy, or did she help out?
  22. Good discussion. See what you started, Tigerwomble? AlthoughI I own CoC 6th edition and supplements and monographs from the same era, for me the BGB is the core rulebook, for a couple of reasons. I missed Chaosium's 1980s heyday, choosing to play other games, although I was certainly aware of Chaosium titles. So I came at the system as a complete newbie. I liked Lovecraft's stories but wasn't sure I was ready for hardcore horror role-playing, and the lurid covers made it look hardcore. In similar fashion, i thought the very notion of Ducks was a hoot but wasn't sure I was ready for the deep dive into RuneQuest and its thick Gloranthan mythology in order to enjoy them. The BGB enabled me to learn the Chaosium house system while applying it to genres I was more interested in. And I came at it in baby steps. GORE was my introduction, then the Quick-Start Edition, then the full Big Gold Book. Non-OGL issues aside, I felt that GORE and the Quick-Start were companions rather competitors. They each explained BRP and provided a useful if limited game framework -- but they tackled the job differently, which helped me "get it" sooner.
  23. Like the sideways thinking. That's what we need here. But if the PCs are powerful monsters, where is the threat to them? If those stupid human NPCs get in their way they can just squash them. And our Clue scenario is all about the PCs feeling vulnerable.
  24. Good idea, and one that could go silly or scary upon the players or Keeper's whim.
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