My zombie and your zombie were sittin’ by the fire …

… my zombie told your zombie: I’m gonna set your base on fire. Returning to the Hawaiian islands in Unturned!

Unturned by Nelson Sexton

Rigaroga is a technologist lost in the wilderness, having adventures in geekery and nerdy mishegoss.

The Odd Order is a place for Rigaroga, friends and acquaintances to gather online.

If you’d like to pitch in, add a buck to the tip jar.

Or become an ongoing Patron, get gratis music downloads, and help me geek out!

How to play the 1-2-3-4 I Declare A Mecha War Trial

I created this 1-2-3-4 I Declare A Mecha War Trial to play, as a follow-up to the Behemoth Trial, in a solitaire let’s play video which you can watch on my video channel. This is a micro scenario of three Moments for use in the Warp Shell setting of Index Card RPG Core. Here’s how you can play this Trial. You will need Runehammer Games’ Index Card RPG Core and may also want Index Card RPG Vol 3.

1-2-3-4 I Declare A Mecha War

A plague of Behemoths ravaged the planet, showing up like cicadas, all at once, in many different places. The heroes are awakened from their merely robotic dreamtime into sentient Mecha consciousness by the attempt to process this overwhelming chaos. Each hero was sent out to battle a Behemoth and survived, where so many others failed and fell. After their success, each was brought to the same lab where they were augmented in some mysterious way, and find themselves together as prisoners being used for these experiments.

Setup: Create 5 Mecha bio-form characters in Warp Shell. Overcome all three Obstacles. If you are killed, you can be rebuilt; but will have your mysterious augments removed and will have all your parts and pieces abandoned as a failed project, dumped on a pile of other robotic trash.

The Last Behemoth: Target 10. Suddenly an alarm is raised, and you are sent into battle. The last Behemoth has been sighted heading this way. Once in position, you feel something strange happen. Each individual hero starts to be drawn toward the others, and arms, legs, even bodies begin to alter and transform. After much contortion and connecting, the heroes have formed a Giant Mecha, a vehicle with 5 chunks. Each player takes their TURN, using Actions whatever they are able; but all must move together as one unit. Defeat the Behemoth, a 4 HEART creature, who will charge in order to ram, and then continue to physically attack the Giant Mecha until one or the other is dead.

When the Last Behemoth is killed, the next Moment begins. Optionally, start a Countdown Timer for the next Moment. The Death Droid will target the Last Behemoth until defeated, and then go after the heroes.

The Death Droid: Target 11. Frightened Powers That Be, not aware of the Giant Mecha project, have sent a Death Droid to track down and destroy the Last Behemoth. The Death Droid, a 5 HEART creature, with one ranged weapon, was programmed to locate and destroy its target, which has now become the Giant Mecha. The Death Droid will attack at range until its last HEART, at which point it will attempt to close distance in order to ram.

When the Death Droid is killed, the next Moment begins. Optionally, start a Countdown Timer for the next Moment. The Giant Robot will target the Death Droid until defeated, and then go after the heroes.

The Giant Robot: Target 12. Like the proverbial spider sent after the fly, frightened Powers That Be have sent a Giant Robot following after their Death Droid, to destroy each other after dealing with the Last Behemoth. The Giant Robot, a 6 HEART creature, with 2 ranged weapons and 2 attacks, will attack at range until it reaches its final HEART, at which point it will attempt to close distance in order to ram.

The Giant Robot can overheat, just like the Giant Mecha heroes, so that unit also begins with a 1d6 Heat Counter.

Optionally, when the Giant Robot is defeated start a final, end of scenario Countdown Timer for an explosion that inflicts Ultimate damage to all Near units as the Giant Robot is remotely and completely annihilated by the Powers That Be. (Heroes better hope they are not overheated and stuck unable to move out of the blast radius!)

Conclusion: Managing to defeat all opponents, the Giant Mecha formed by all five heroes disconnects, leaving each in a daze on the battlefield. Teams of technicians come to collect you while you are incapacitated, unclear how the Giant Mecha augment is activated or deactivated, and return you to captivity in the lab while they pore over the data gathered from this field test.

Ramming:

This Trial uses the vehicle rules provided in the Speed Kills adventure from Core as a mechanic for a Giant Mecha battle. When ramming, treat each as a vehicle with HEARTS equal to CHUNKS, and visa versa.

Taking Damage:

Damage taken by the Giant Mecha is spread evenly across all players, through some function provided by the augment connection. Giant Mecha will remain a 5 CHUNK vehicle until it takes 5 HEARTS of damage, at which point all characters will disconnect and become individuals with 1 HEART left.

Optionally, instead, as the Giant Mecha takes each full HEART of damage, one character is forced to disconnect from the whole, becoming an individual with only 1 HEART remaining. Disconnected characters act independently, and cannot reconnect to the whole.

Optionally, as a unit, Giant Mecha or other, takes damage, its number of remaining HEARTS also determines how many CHUNKS count for ramming. Thus, the more damage a unit takes, the less damage it is able to inflict. Otherwise, each unit retains its full initial CHUNK count when ramming.

Overheating:

As Giant Mecha and Giant Robot fire their energetic weapons, they increase their heat levels, similar to the Dynamic Dice rule for Spell Burn. For example, using a Duranium Blade will not increase heat levels, but firing a Pulse Rifle or using an Energy Blade will. Place a d6 on each unit, set to 1. Each discrete energetic weapon attempt roll, whether successful or not, will increase the heat counter by 1.

When the counter reaches 6, the unit must make a CON check against the Target. Success will reset the counter to 1. Failure on this check will overheat the unit for 1d6 ROUNDS, during which time the unit is incapacitated, neither able to move nor take action.

If a character holds all actions for their TURN, decrease the heat counter by 1. If a character takes any action, but does not fire an energetic weapon, the heat counter neither increases nor decreases.

Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam!

Looks like Klingon on Duolingo is finally nearing release, planned for Sept 15th. On launch, Klingon joins Esperanto and, also recently released, High Valyrian in the elite conlang learning club for English speakers. (Duolingo also recently released both Japanese and Korean, and conversation bots for several languages, which are all pretty awesome as well.) To those who worked hard to make this course happen: Qapla’! (Now … how about Trigedasleng and Toki Pona?)

Klingon is the constructed language spoken by the fictional extraterrestrial Klingon species in the Star Trek universe. Created by Marc Okrand, the language itself is centered around spacecraft, warfare, and weaponry — but it also reflects the directness and sense of humor of the Klingon culture. For example, the closest word you can use to express “hello” is “nuqneH,” which actually means “What do you want?”. There are also plenty of insults, as it is considered an art form.

The mastery of Klingon is extremely uncommon on Earth. Join the galactic elite and start learning this fascinating language.

Originally posted on my personal blog at Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam!

Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy Theory: Freedom from Information designed by Steve Jackson, from Steve Jackson Games, is a new game that will be launching a crowdfunding campaign today. There’s a note that the “cover and card images are not final” and I have to admit I’m a little sad, because it’s delightfully minimal in the images offered. But, on the other hand, I’m sure it will be great, whatever they’ve got planned for the design. And, either way, it’ll go great on the shelf next to your boxes of Illuminati and Illuminati Membership Kits.

It’s 2017 and everyone is talking about . . . conspiracies.

In this new game from Illuminati designer Steve Jackson, each player takes turns acting as the Judge to read a card outlining a conspiracy. Then the other players choose from their own cards, competing to create the wildest, silliest, or most believable theory. Every turn, each player tries to convince the table, and the Judge, that THEIR conspiracy is the truth. Fun for everyone who is old enough to read the news and wise enough to know that there’s more they’re not telling you . . . Now YOU get to decide what’s behind those stories.

My first death in Sunless Skies will happen in 3 … 2 … 1 …

Sunless Skies in development by Failbetter Games just entered early access! I backed it in crowdfunding, so I got a key sent as part of my backer reward. I’m going to check it out until I die, which, let’s be honest, is probably going to happen pretty quickly!

Sunless Skies by Failbetter Games

Rigaroga is a technologist lost in the wilderness, having adventures in geekery and nerdy mishegoss.

The Odd Order is a place for Rigaroga, friends and acquaintances to gather online.

If you’d like to pitch in, add a buck to the tip jar.

Or become an ongoing Patron, get gratis music downloads, and help me geek out!

I Can Explain

I’ll be honest. I picked up Mockingbird Vol. 1: I Can Explain by Chelsea Cain, & al., because I saw the kerfuffle about the cover for the second volume, and grabbed both to support the series. It then languished in my to-read stack for a long time, but I got around to this and devoured it in one sitting.

This is freakin’ hilarious, and smart. The arc in this collection has a modern storyline with a cool narrative structure. It reminded me of Archer and Deadpool in various ways. The dialogue is witty and sharp, there’s tons of easter eggs in the panels to find, and fun cameos, not the least of which is Howard the Duck! And, it’s a female protagonist who’s the smartest person in the room, in charge, and unapologetic about any of that.

Great stuff I definitely recommend.

Originally posted on my personal blog at I Can Explain

A Nation Under Our Feet Vol 1

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Vol. 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, & al., is narratively deep and visually impressive. There’s social, political, and economic allegorical levels to the story, which are welcome complexity to the overall genre. The inter-, intra-, and extra-, relationships that T’Challa must navigate and learn from are well developed and interesting to see explored. The art style is a nifty syncretic of many influences, both pan-african and including the futurism of Jack Kirby’s technological schematic visual lexicon.

This first collection starts out a little slow as it tries to deal with a bunch of previous narrative threads, but quickly picks up and builds a good foundation on which the following volumes can continue to construct. On the other hand, the apparently slow start also did give me a quick primer on the Black Panther series, which I am not familiar with, as this is the first I’ve read of any of them. These previous events are also the collective source of the current state of unrest and turmoil that is core to the developing story for both individuals and the collective groups involved. In that sense, I’ve just completely talked myself out of this being a problem and into it being a strength.

The last part of this volume includes a reprint of the very first appearance of Black Panther, in the pages of Fantastic Four, which is a nice bonus, and provides interesting comparison and parallax to the current artwork and writing, as well as being a bit of history to include.

I’ve already picked up the next 2 collected volumes, and am looking forward to the rest of the story.

Originally posted on my personal blog at A Nation Under Our Feet Vol 1

Index Card RPG Quick Start Rules

Runehammer Games just released a new, free Index Card RPG Quick Start Rules download. I’ve done several in a series of solitaire let’s play videos and have been talking about this game system lately. Here’s a way you can check it out for free and get started! The 33-page QSR has all you need to get started (except dice and stuff, of course), including a new sample adventure, Tooth of the Agnar, excerpted from the longer Savages of Kath let’s play scenario. (So even if you’ve already got ICRPG Core, there’s something new in here for you too!)

Download your FREE QUICKSTART and get playing right away! Perfect for…

• Those considering an ICRPG CORE SET purchase
• Players jumping into an ICRPG game
• The mechanics-curious investigating ICRPG