Thursday, February 4, 2016

Shards of Tomorrow Now Live

Shards of Tomorrow is now live.

I hope you love this game as much as I do.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Banner for Shards of Tomorrow

Here's the banner I'll be putting up on RPGNow tomorrow... after I launch the game tomorrow afternoon! It needs one final editing sweep before I feel comfortable releasing it into the wild (putting it at roughly 99.9% done), and then you'll be able to pick up your very own copy. I think the banner below is hi-lar-ee-ous, but Mary sort of shook her head at me. Maybe I've been working on this too long...

Obligatory 99% Done Post

Shards of Tomorrow is at 99% done, and only needs a final editing sweep, page numbers citations throughout, and an index. That, my friends, is what we call nearly in the books.

There is a LOT I love about this game, but my favorite thing is the rules for rolling up and playing your own junker. This game within a game of keeping your starship going and just keeping up with the basic maintenance is just so much fun... here's the character sheet for your starship...

By the way, I'm thinking that one of the ads for the game is a starship bumper sticker that says "I got 99 problems, but my junker ain't one of them."

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Introductory Adventure Map

For the starter adventure, I wanted to give a scenario that GMs would be able to use in a variety of ways. I decided that the opener has to do with an Orak Gunship. I'm going to stat it up, and then provide a few different hooks for ways to use it, rather than a single linear adventure. Here's the map of the gunship... my favorite iteration has all of the Orak turned into zombies, and the PCs sent to steal the five Orak interceptors for a local guild master; their payment would be that they'd be allowed to keep one of the interceptors. This has a lot of potential for fun.

I have a hand-drawn map of the interior of an Orak ship, but I like this one (computer-generated) better than my hand-drawn style for the game. Starships would be more mechanical and precise than the more earthy Dyson-inspired maps I usually do...

A Nomenclature of Planets

In developing the campaign setting for Shards of Tomorrow, I am working on names for planets and other heavenly bodies. I want something that sounds both familiar and unusual, classic and yet offbeat. I think I've come up with a solution that checks all the boxes and fits my personality... Shakespeare!

The suns would be named after the main characters for a number of plays, with the planets and planet-like objects named after other characters from the plays. These are easy to remember, evoke the right feeling, and actually suggest some of the relationships between planets or their nature... for instance:

Prospero is the original system of the Confederacy, and was once the most settled and prosperous, but now is (largely) in ruin. The vast celestial sea connects the thousands of small fragments of what was once the planet Ariel. The planet Caliban is a wild planet of monstrous lifeforms, and home to the kobo. Miranda is a settled and colonized world, the new home of terrans after the destruction of Ariel, and the homeworld of the gnorom.

Romeo and Juliet are binary stars. Two of the largest planets, Montague and Capulet, are powerful trade worlds in competition with each other. Tybalt is a planet at war, barren and hot. Friar is a small planet of deeply religious philosophers, and homeworld to the nuaru.

Hamlet is a system in conflict. Ophelia is a watery world, home to the Trog. Laertes is a tempestuous planet. Polonius is a gas giant. Claudius II is the new homeworld to the Orak, who were moved there as a prison colony, but they rebelled and took the planet over.

Macbeth is a dark and backwards system of savage peoples. The small planets orbiting this relatively cold star, Banquo, Macduff, Duncan, all share the qualities of being generally inhospitable and barren, with a variety of challenging climates. Malcolm and Donalbain are more hospitable but relatively unsettled planets, with rich natural resources and pockets of civilization.

Othello was the system of the Orak, but it is now destroyed. It serves as the location of the Shadow's Rift, the black hole leading into the Void. Two planets orbit the black hole, Desdemona and Iago. Both are barren worlds teeming with dark forces. However, both also have the remains of valuable artifacts and relics of the times before buried deep underground.

See? It just all fits together so nicely. Shakespeare provided such a nice variety of characters and settings for his plays, so borrowing these provides instant variety and consistency to the planets. That, my friends, is what you call a win.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

I Love It When A Game Comes Together

Shards of Tomorrow is coming along quite nicely. I'm somewhere in the vicinity of 90% done with the rulebook, and the heavy lifting is pretty much done. I like where it's gone, and it has a nice blend of my favorite sci fi tropes without being especially beholden to any one brand. It has some heavy elements of Star Wars for sure, but there's enough Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek in there, along with smidges of Firefly and Guardians of the Galaxy, to give it a real comprehensive feel while still being internally consistent. I can't say it's my 'best' work, because I don't even know how I'd measure such a thing, but it feels very complete and focused. I'm looking forward to releasing it into the wild. I need a few days for writing, and a few more for editing, and it really needs another half dozen or so illustrations, so I'd expect a few weeks yet, but you never know.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Okay. Now I'm Done. I'm Dropping the Mic and Everything

Here's a FINAL layout of the various ships that will be in the core rules for Shards of Tomorrow. Even if (or rather when) I draw a whole bunch of additional ships, I'm still stopping here for the core rules. This gives a wide range of starcraft to cover almost any situation you might run across. I added a few details to some of the ships, popped in the new ones, measured, named and categorized them all. This process has really helped me to understand the various forces involved, and the ways in which they interact. Obviously, the Confederacy of Systems was the major producer of starships, but the forces of the Void have produced two, a big carrier and smaller interceptors, and the Orak have produced two as well, a gunship and an interceptor. I see the Orak ships as heavy duty but slow, while the void interceptor is exceptionally light and quick, but easy to destroy once you lock on with your blast cannon.