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Into The Gamma – Day 2

Work is progressing quite nicely today. We have three key ingredients going into this mix. The first is the Into The Odd/Mark of the Odd SRD.

The second ingredient is an integrated solo system. This uses three elements, leveraging the Luck roll for GMing decisions, bringing the this games Oddpendium into the oracle system to give answers content, and layering on a 5 room dungeon structure to give each adventure within a campaign a start, middle and end.

The final ingredient is Mutant Future. This game is an OGL clone of the original Gamma World, but it is showing its age. The text is solidly masculine only in all its examples, and it does things such as calling Dwarfism a mutation. I can use this to bring the much of the content up to more modern standards.

As of now I have character creation in progress. If you have no Ability Score over 15 and less than 4 hit points, you are good to go. If you are familiar with Into The Odd, that will make sense.

There is a massive table that cross references your best ability score and your hit points. The intersection gives you your starting loadout including possible special items, drawback and special abilities. It is this table what is going to assign mutations and old tech to the characters.

It is about a third of the way done. It is a big table and about half the entries require me to create a new ‘thing’ be it mutation, complete with game mechanic effects, or pieces of tech. Creating this table is the greatest part of character creation, and is possibly the second largest task in the entire project after only the Oddpendium, at the end.

I am hoping to have character creation finished by tonight.

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Into the Gamma

Someone sent me a link to the Into The Odd SRD last week. I am well known for liking both Sci-Fi and rules-light. Into the Odd is just 58 pages tip to toe, and it has hints of science fiction, post-civilization, to the setting.

I was quite intrigued and read the book on Friday night.

At the same time I was starting to think about FUDGE and that 1950s system, Astonishing Heroics is my current working title.

To get a feel for Into The Odd I bashed up a simple solo system. If you know the game, you will be familiar with the Luck roll, and high being good and low being bad.

As soon as a game has that kind of mechanic you are already using a dice to control many aspects of the world, solo is not a big leap.

The cool thing about an SRD is that it is both tools and permission to create something substantially different, but that works the same way.

I have been playing with using Murder Hobos as the base for some rules-light games. Into The Odd may be a better candidate.

So what to make? How about Into the Gamma?

I played Gamma World once or twice while I was still in school. I think I enjoyed making Mutants more than I did playing the game. I was already moving away from D&D, so D&D with guns and different monsters was not hitting the right buttons.

There is an OGL variation published by Goblinoid Games called Mutant Future. That takes the details of Gamma World and layers them over Labyrinth Lord in an OGL document.

I think putting Mutant Future’s detail over the top of Into The Odd could produce a fun game.

I don’t want any of the implied setting from Mutant Future, I would much prefer an Oddpendium set of tables to create an almost limitlessly variable world.

If you are familiar with Into The Odd, the mutations would be selected using the highest ability + HP, the way that your characters loadout is selected now. That maintains the speed of character creation, with the fun of getting many strange mutations. The standard ‘one column to the left’ rule would stop you getting two identical mutants.

It certainly looks viable. It also looks like a lot of fun to write.

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The 1950s FUDGE Science Fiction

I am returning to this project today. It is a kind of circuitous route. I was reading Into The Odd at the weekend and it struck me as a great little system for making a compact little science fiction game. Where characters can manipulate their Arcanum to create unique effects, the same could be done with tech.

What I saw in my mind’s eye was a Into The Odd plus Gamma World mashup. Arcanum replaced by tech that may not work properly or even be fully understood.

So that was one project, or idea.

That piqued my conscience about my desire to create a 1950s FUDGE game. This is now called, in my head at least, Astounding Heroics.

I have barely touched this since June. You can read what I wrote half a year about in Simple FUDGE.

What I haven’t written about is some of the other influences I am considering, or more rightly, would like to include.

In that June article, I explained how simple a FUDGE character could be. Writing “Joe is a Superb cat burglar” is a perfectly viable character. I want to go with that level simplicity but building in some more characterisation. Who is Joe? Where does Joe come from? What made Joe become a burglar.

Players and GMs would still have the option of breaking that Superb into a pair of Greats, and further breaking them down, but that will be a table choice.

The next influence is from Index Card RPG.

Imagine that the game came with a deck of cards that featured images like these.

The ‘cards’ would provided as templates to be printed at home on sticky labels. You print them, stick them on flashcards and you are ready to deal.

The GM would deal out a number of cards to inspire the opening scene, how that escalates, several optional encounters and then the final showdown encounter.

I think I have enough classic science fiction images harvested from public domain sources to create a pair of 256 card decks. The GM could create a small deck to start play, and after each adventure, retire cards that have been used and add in new cards just by printing one more sheet of labels.

One of my concerns doing this was a lack of positive female imagery. It appears that, although there is definitely a bias towards male heroes, there are enough images to build the decks with either no heroic figure, such as an exploding battleship or strange machine, or a reasonably balance.

Another influence is Hero Kids. Hero Kids has a very nice way of handling injuries, wounds and even grievous injuries. In these science fiction classics very few heroes ever died. A bloody combat system is not really that appropriate.

What I am looking at here is a big melting pot of ideas, each with the aim of making for a fun, fast and lightweight system. FUDGE, out of the box has the tools to layer on additional detail and rules crunch.

So, this is where I am at now. Lots of disparate parts. They need shaping to make them all work together.

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Cepheus Solo screenshots

Last time, I was showing some of the art that I wanted to use in the Solo play ‘How to’. This solo book continues the theme of assuming the soloist is a player and not a GM. It offers more support, rather than assuming that, like a typical GM, they are used to improvising entire scenes, making up NPCs on the spot and all that sort of thing.

This solo supplement is pretty much ready to go on Monday.

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Introducing… Thomas Budach

Thomas Budach is an artist. His work is 99% science fiction, with the occasional dragon thrown in.

I discovered his work when I was writing my solo book for Ashen Stars. Thomas provided the cover for that book.

Ever since then I wanted to do something else using this art. Despite all the different things I have worked on since then that opportunity never came up.

Until this time.

Thomas has provided all the feature art for my Cepheus System solo book. I will share some screenshot images tomorrow. For today I will just share some of the unedited images.

There is one image I really wanted. Every science fiction book needs to have a deathtrap!

and there it is.

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