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Topics - theloneamigo

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Rogue Trader: Apocalypse / Introduction, FAQ and RTA Version 4
« on: June 22, 2013, 01:32:36 AM »
I started writing this hack three years ago, back the hallowed days of 2010. Since then, it's proceeded in stops and starts, but it's absolutely still a going concern. You can find the latest version, V4, here.

What is Rogue Trader: Apocalypse?

It's a game about power and choices, about hope and corruption, in a dark and terrible universe. My pitch for this game to people who aren't versed in 40K lore is that it's Game of Thrones meets Red Dwarf - dynastic strife and black comedy in a space opera.

Why did you [make choice X] when writing your hack?

In terms of the process of writing this hack, I took the advice that Vincent Baker puts first and foremost in his advice for running Apocalypse World: I put the fiction first. I sought out media that I wanted to be able to emulate, and created moves and playbooks that achieved the effect I wanted to.

What media did you draw on, specifically?

Here is a short, incomplete list:
Red Dwarf
The Ciaphas Cain novels
Game of Thrones
Mara of the Acoma
The Borgias
The Eisenhorn novels
Into the Maw... on


Why are there sex moves? Eugh! 40K shouldn't have sex in it.

People keep suggesting that I put sex moves into this hack with little thought, just following the example of Apocalypse World without putting any thought into it.

This isn't true. I've added sex moves to the game because I think sexuality is an important part of the human experience, and it's an important part of the media I want this game to emulate - stories about dynastic strife, about succession struggles, about lovers and enemies. Additionally, the existence of sex moves reminds players of the existence of sexuality in this universe, and I find that that knowledge keeps the game in a more grounded space. It humanises the all-too-often over-the-top grimdark machismo of the 40K universe, and makes it a place where stories can take place, rather than just battles.

If you don't want sex moves but you want the rest of the hack, they couldn't be easier to ignore.

Why is X missing?

It's a work in progress. I don't think this will ever be "finished" - I write games to the point at which I can run them, and then I run them. Making stuff up is easy, so if you need more stuff, ask me or add it yourself!

Rogue Trader: Apocalypse / In Progress: Beta 3.0
« on: August 30, 2012, 11:25:00 PM »
Yes, this hack is still alive! I've just started my third rewrite of the rules for Rogue Trader: Apocalypse. After having run several different Apocalypse World hacks, including MotW, Monsterhearts and Dungeon World, I'm in a much better position to write new rules that take full advantage of the AW framework (or steal them wholesale from other hacks).

You can find the Google Docs folder here: Rogue Trader: Apocalypse - Beta 3.0

Changes so far:
  • Rewritten gear & acquisitions system that makes acquiring common items a piece of cake, and acquiring rare items a difficult task.
  • New moves rules relating to the Warp, faith, and corruption that take their cues from Monsterhearts. Instead of acquiring corruption slowly over time, PCs risk succumbing to Insanities when they cannot hold true to their beliefs in the face of terror.
  • New and revised playbooks for Missionary, Explorator, Astropath, Arch-Militant, and Navigator. Missionaries now lead a flock that does their bidding, while Explorators are like Savvyheads on crack - one of their moves (Heretek) allows them to ignore one of the conditions the MC imposes from their workshop-esque move.
  • Rapport stats replaced with Bonds from DW - in my experience, these are easier to explain to players and work better in play than Hx.

Areas to work on:
  • Need to revise social & influence moves. I'm not sure my current system, where PCs build up an Hx-like stat called "Influence" with organisations, is the most elegant.
  • Ship rules. I'm determined to keep the conceit of ship playbooks, but the actual rules for the operation of ships need serious work. Currently, ship combat is mechanically broken and rather dull in play. I'm going to take my cues from DW and Stars Without Number here, because the rules in DW make AW combat interesting, while SWN has a great system for keeping all the players engaged in ship combat, not just the captain.
  • Additionally, harm, combat, and healing need a few tweaks. I feel like AW's 6-harm clock doesn't offer enough latitude for the larger-than-life battles of the 40k universe. DW combat is closer to the ideal level for personal combat, but doesn't scale as well for mass battles.
  • Revise playbooks for Rogue Trader, Dilettante, Marshal-at-Arms, Seneschal, and Archivist.
  • Write origins, introduction, look for all playbooks.

Stuff that probably doesn't need to change:
  • MC rules, moves, threats, and fronts. The Eight Winds of Chaos provide a great framework for setting out threats, and the threats I've already established work just fine.
  • Most of the basic moves work just fine in play - only the moves relating to the warp needed to be rebooted.

Dungeon World / AP: Feeling the Daojin City Blues
« on: July 28, 2012, 09:13:57 AM »
So, despite having followed its development from the earliest stages, it's taken me quite a while to actually get around to running Dungeon World game. One of the problems is that my mind constantly sails in nine different directions at once: one moment I'm desperate to run a Farscape-inspired space opera, the next a gritty Marxist interpretation of Planescape. Since I've spent the last year or so indoctrinating a new circle of gamers into the world of role-playing games, I've confined myself to running a relatively traditional game using Old School Hack, set in a reasonably traditional D&D campaign setting that a friend and I have been running games in for years (The Coin).

But this new campaign was going to be different. I've indoctrinated the new crew now; now I have the opportunity to move beyond the fun but rather staid elves and dragons of the Coin into the less traditional realms - but I still couldn't decide what that was going to be. Marxist urban steampunk fantasy built on the bones of China Mieville? Surrealist philosophical plane-jumping adventures in Sigil or Dis? Or some sort of epic wuxia fantasy inspired by Avatar and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon?

After watching Legend of Korra, the answer became clear to me: I was going to do all of them at once.

Here's the pitch I sold this game to my players with:

Daojin City.

Most people just call it the City, and it deserves the definitive article. There's no place quite like it, lying as it does in the interstices between the many worlds, towers stretching into the infinite unknown, canals crowded with gondoliers. Its portals and trade consortia services a thousand empires, its streets echo with the sound of a hundred tongues.

But it's a rough place if you haven't got two jade pieces to rub together. You came here to make it big, to show the universe what you're made of - but with the City squeezed from above by the plutocrats and sorcerers of the Jade Council, and from below by the mobsters of the many triads and tongs, there's not a lot of room for an honest adventurer to make a yuan.

A dishonest adventurer, on the other hand...



The DW basics are great, but they needed a fair amount of tweaking to fit in my urban kung-fu steampunk fantasy.

Firstly, I ditched alignment and replaced it with elemental temperaments, which are essentially the same mechanically. Although the implementation of alignments in DW is one of the best I've seen, it really doesn't sit well in a revolutionary steampunk noir game.

Secondly, I ditched the concept of separate playable races: although the weird and varied races and crossbreeds of Planescape appealed to me, it's easy to overwhelm a setting with too many interpolating forces. Plus, I was already planning to have a varied array of cultural backgrounds to delineate characters - no need for those cultural backgrounds to be defined by biological facts. So humans and monsters.

Thirdly, I came up with the idea of each character having knowledge of a martial arts style. This mechanically replaces race moves, but mainly serves to enshrine the Avatar-like tone. Each character, even the slender wizard, is already a skilled martial artist.

Finally, I messed with the classes to have them better fit my interpretation of the world. I removed Clerics, used Nathan Orlando Wilson's freeform Wizard rewrite, and added an Artificer and a Mystic as character options.

Dungeon World / New Class: The Mystic
« on: July 24, 2012, 12:01:40 PM »
The Cleric's never sat well with me as a class in D&D. Unlike the other three mainline classes, I can't really see how the archetype fits in the genre. Roguelike, anti-heroic adventurers make sense as mercenary warriors, cheerful thieves, and power-hungry wizards, and I can point to plenty of examples of fictional heroes that these classes emulate. But the full-armoured priest of a pagan god, spewing miracles like they were cotton candy? Receiving blessings and communications from their deific master like bonuses and memoes from upper management? All the priestly archetypes I can think of in fiction have much less magical firepower at their fingertips.

Yet in stripping out the class, I definitely feel like there's a gap that should be filled. The Mystic class I've elaborated here started out life the Spiritualist class, inspired by the mediums, psychics, and fortune tellers of gothic fiction. It's a class that derives power from their connection with the spirit world, but not through the same relationship that a priest has with their gods. Along the way, I was strongly inspired by John Harper's WoD wizards; I strongly considered making spirit-binding the default system of magic in my Daojin City Blues game, but decided it made a better match for the Mystic class.

PDF Playbook for levels 2-5

Dungeon World / New Class: The Artificer
« on: July 20, 2012, 06:42:34 AM »
The Artificer

HP: 6+Con
Damage: d6

Core Moves

Gadget Belt: You have a gadget belt that contains various arcane gadgets. When you use an arcane gadget, roll +INT. On a hit, the gadget works as expected. On a 7-9, you must also choose:
You expend 1-charge.
Your gadget is damaged and must be repaired.
You draw unwelcome attention or are placed in a spot.
Start with three arcane gadgets in your gadget belt.

Elemental Charge: When you spend an hour manipulating elemental fields and ley lines, hold 3-charge.

Disable Device: When you attempt to disable a lock, trap, or other device, roll +DEX. On a 10+, you disable it easily. On a 7-9, you can disable it, but the GM will offer you a choice based on suspicion, danger, or cost.

Jury-Rig: When you quickly fix a device without the proper supplies, tools, or time, roll +INT. On a 10+, it works just fine. On a 7-9, choose one:
It’ll work, but only for one more use / a short amount of time.
You need to cannibalize one of your gadgets.

Engineering: When you spend an hour or so in your workshop contemplating an engineering challenge, tell the DM what you’re trying to achieve. The DM will tell you “yes, you can do that, but...” and then 1 to 4 of the following:
• It’s going to take days/weeks/months
• First you must                           
• You’ll need help from                               
• It will require a lot of money
• You and your allies will risk danger from                       
• You’ll have to add X to your workshop first.
• The best you can do is a lesser version.
• You'll need detailed instructions from   
Advanced Moves


Increased Voltage: When you charge up, gain 4-charge, and your max charge held is 4-charge.

Ambaric Charge: When you are involuntarily subjected to a magical effect, gain +1-charge that you can immediately invest in a gadget.

Reverse Polarity: When you use a gadget, you can take -1 to your roll to have it produce the opposite effect.

Etheric Field: As long as you hold at least 1-charge, you have 2-armour.

My Precious: Choose one of your arcane gadgets, you take +1 to all rolls using that gadget.

Collapsible Gadgets: Add two extra gadgets to your gadget belt, without adding any extra weight.


-need advice-

Arcane Gadgets

Spark Glove: Inflict 1d8 damage to one target, ignoring armour. You can spend additional charges to increase the damage by 1d8 per charge spent.

Ambaric Light: Illuminates any items or creatures in the region that have unusual amounts of elemental or magical energy.

Sonic Screwdriver: Instantly open a locked door or container.

Hypnotic Watch: A single target is transfixed by this watch. As long as no hostile action is taken against them, they will not move or remember anything that occurs while the hypnotic watch is kept in their field of vision.

Magnetic Grip: Levitate a small metal object for a few minutes, or instantly disarm a target wielding a metal weapon.

Trans-Etheric Goggles: See through up to five feet of solid material, or see into the spirit plane.

Ectoplasmic Flask: When activated, a ghost or spirit will be sucked towards the flask. They will either suffer 2d6 damage or be trapped in the flask, their choice.

Spring-Heeled Jackboots: Make an impossible leap.

I'm looking at running a Dungeon World game soon that's inspired in equal parts by Avatar, Planescape, and Perdido Street Station. My instinct is to remove the idea of non-human races from the setting - or at least the idea of mechanically differentiated races - but that leaves a hole in the game where the current race moves are.

Inspired by some retro-clone I came across a while ago, and have completely forgotten, my solution is to give everyone "kung-fu" moves instead. The idea is that any adventurer in this setting will know at least the basics of one martial art, even the least physically inclined wizard. Essentially, it gives everyone access to a few "spells" they can use to impact the fiction automatically, without rolling - but as a strictly limited resource.

I'm also looking for a better name than "kung-fu moves".


When you spend time practicing your forms and meditating, roll +WIS. On a 10+, hold 3-breath. On a 7-9, hold 2-breath. On a 6-, hold 1-breath, but the DM holds 1 over you to inflict your school’s weakness at some point. Spend your breath to use your kung-fu moves.

Drunken Monkey
Appear totally harmless.
Taunt an enemy into moving into an advantageous position.
Trick someone into attacking an ally.

Weakness: Incautious.

Flowing Water
Redirect an enemy’s attack into another foe.
Move swiftly out of the path of danger.
Use an enemy’s momentum against them.

Weakness: Softness.

Immovable Mountain
Shrug off the damage from a single attack.
Resist being pushed or forced to move.
Deliver an unstoppable blow.

Weakness: Inflexibility.

Celestial Fist
Smite an unholy opponent with your fists.
Strike an incorporeal or invulnerable being.
Fly free from gravity for a few moments.

Weakness: Arrogance.

Shadow Dancer
Hide in plain sight.
Strike without warning.
Move swiftly out of the path of danger.

Weakness: Fragility

Over the weekend, I had my first chance to playtest RT: Apocalypse with a group other than my online playstorming crew. It ran well, and I'll post an actual play in another thread.

To help myself run the game, I quickly whipped up a basic First Session Dock in the mode of AW's 1st Session sheet, which covered my basic thoughts around agenda, principles, moves, and structure. In addition, there's checklists of names, threat types, and opportunities with which to populate the world.

The MC Agenda, Principles and Moves are broadly the same as those of Apocalypse World; the underlying power structure at the table is essentially the same. What is different is what the game's challenges are built around: in Apocalypse World, they're built around fundamental scarcities that shape human nature. Here, they're built about the Eight Winds of Chaos.

In Rogue Trader, the characters tend to be wealthy, established members of a galaxy-spanning empire, command ships the size of cities, and have a trove of resources at their beck and call. While there's plenty of scarcity to go around, it's not quite the fundamental issue it is in Apocalypse World. It took me a while, but I realised that the essential challenge to the players in the Moorcockian world of the 41st Millenium is Chaos in all its myriad forms; and furthermore, it could be divided up into a clear series of threatening forces: the Eight Winds of Chaos.


The four compass points (Lust, Ambition, Rage, and Decay) are closely associated with the traditional Chaos Gods, while the other four points cover perhaps more subtle threats that blow across the galaxy. Each covers a myriad of sins, and could easily drive any number of potential threats, both from within and without. A Tech-Priest who desires the secrets of the distant past is driven by Lust, while a Space Marine who holds his men above the masses of humanity is buffeted by Hubris. An Ork Warlord may be inspired to launch a Waaaagh through Zealous faith in Gork and Mork, or through Rage at being wronged by a particular Imperial commander, or through Ambition to be counted among the great Warlords of all time.

You can find the current rule set here. It's very much a work in progress.

Anyone who plays the hack or sends me comments about it will receive access to the special Planetary Governor playbook, which can present an alternate frame of play from the standard Space-Adventures-in-a-Big-Ship frame.

Of specific interest to other hackers designing space opera hacks may be the ship rules, which are based around the principle of building ships like characters from playbooks.

Media that inspires the hack.

I originally pitched this game to my group as Blackadder in Space; not the standard grimdark violence opera that seems to categorise most of the 40k universe, but something more along the lines of a British comedy series like Red Dwarf. At least, seems to categorise the 40K universe nowadays - certainly back at its birth, in the old Rogue Trader era, it was written with enormous lashings of dark satire and comic humour - see here.

Of course, the best way to do something funny is to play it reasonably straight, and let comedy emerge from the situation. This has worked well in play, but it's also lent a somewhat more epic, political tone to events - somewhere between Game of Thrones and Red Dwarf, a dynastic adventure dramedy. I think this is probably the sweet spot for Rogue Trader: Apocalypse play; somewhere between light-hearted and grimdark, epic and comic.

Media that directly inspires design & play
Red Dwarf
The Ciaphas Cain novels
Game of Thrones
Mara of the Acoma
The Borgias
The Eisenhorn novels
Into the Maw... on

Rogue Trader: Apocalypse / Building Your Ship: shipbooks
« on: June 27, 2011, 12:57:36 AM »
It's an old cliche, but it's true: in a traveling space opera, the ship really is one of the characters, just as important as the people with faces and voices. When I started designing this hack, I tried to model ship design on Apocalypse World's existing model for creating important things for characters; holdings and gangs and the like. Something about it didn't quite ring true. It works really well in Apocalypse World, but it wasn't quite enough for what I wanted from ship design.

I moved on to a model more like the Rogue Trader RPG, where players would pick hulls, complications, components, weapons, all from a variety of different lists, building the ship out of fictional Lego. It seemed to work alright, but it didn't quite convey character in the way that I wanted it to.

Then, I realised AW already has a model for designing things as important as the ship: character creation through playbooks. This is the model I'm currently running off, where players collaboratively choose a shipbook and design their vessel from the options within.

Example shipbook:

Wrested from the hands of Orks. Salvaged from

To create your salvaged hulk, select name, class, history, looks, persona, components, and weapons.

Choose 1:

Thunderstar, Winterlash, Lightkeeper, Nametaker, Callowblade, Shadowlion, Whiteknife, Swordbreaker, Moonwatcher, Windbearer

Last Whisper of Autumn, Final Moment of Peace, Sword of Fading Light, Eternal Hand of the Emperor, Guardian of Dying Stars, Shadow of Lost Regret


Conquest-class star galleon
1-shield large 3-cargo
Profile -2 Speed =0 Power +1 Augury +1 Warp -1

Jericho-class pilgrim ship
1-shield medium 3-cargo
Profile -1 Speed =0 Power +1 Augury +1 Warp +1

Devastation-class cruiser
2-shield large 1-cargo
Profile -2 Speed +1 Power +1 Augury =0 Warp -1


Age: Great Crusade, Horus Heresy, Post-Heresy, Age of Reclamation, Age of Apostasy, Black Crusde, 38th Millenium

Commanded by: Lord Admiral, Rogue Trader, Chartist Captain, Legendary Pirate, or Inquisitor Lord

Lost in: Glorious battle, tragic battle, terrible accident, planetfall, warp incident, or mysterious circumstances

Found by: Pirates, orks, tyranids, scavengers, xenos, or explorators


Bulky form, scrappy form, crooked form, damaged form, or worldworn form

Worn prow, broken prow, jagged prow or rounded prow

Shattered spires, alien spires, ruined spires, or restored spires

Dynastic colour scheme, naval colour scheme, pirate colour scheme, alien colour scheme, or faded colour scheme

Choose 1:

Impluse: to evade, to retreat
Benefit: When you want to get the hell out of there, roll +Speed. On a 10+, you’re gone. On a 7-9, you can stay or go, but if you go choose 1:
You suffer 3-damage as the engine coils rupture.
You must abandon something precious.
You’re easily tracked by your foes.

Impluse: to break down, to be demanding
Benefit: The ship gets +1 Power and +1 Speed when it’s not broken down.

Impluse: to become more alien
Benefit: The ship gets one xenotech component; see xenotech component list.

Impluse: to conceal secrets, to reveal tragedy
Benefit: The ship gets +1 Profile.

Choose 2:

Ancient Chapel-Barracks
This ancient ship was once blessed to carry a company of Space Marines. Start with +1 Influence with a Space Marine chapter of your choice. When you walk within its walls and offer a prayer to the Primarchs, take +1 forward on a boarding action or planetary assault.

Blessed Teleportarium
When you activate the teleportarium, roll +Warp. On a 10+, you arrive on target. On a 7-9, you arrive, but choose 1:
Your passage through the immaterium seems like an eternity of torture, suffer 2-terror.
The teleportarium matrix scrambles your internal organs, suffer 2-harm ap.
You arrive disorientated and sickened, take -1 ongoing until you can rest.
Your beacon malfunctions, leaving you dangerously off-target.

On a miss, you’ve seen Star Trek. Anything could happen here.

Dorian-pattern Shield Matrix
When you brace for impact, add +1 shield on top of the move’s normal effects.

Ellison-pattern Cognition Circuit
Your ship is equipped with an ancient and heretical Ellison-pattern cognition circuit, allowing its Machine Spirit true sapience. It may converse with a few select members of the command crew, but if it is discovered by an Inquisitor, it will earn you immediate sanction.

The interior of the ship is laid out according to schematics and plans that evade comprehension, creating a maze-like tangle of facilities and passageways that will entrap the unwary. Take +1 to resist boarding actions, and auguries cannot accurately penetrate the interior of your vessel.

Choose 2:

Sunhammer Lance
2-damage close/far lance

Ryza-pattern Plasma Battery
4-damage close battery

Pharos-pattern Las Battery
3-damage close/far battery

Movidus-pattern Missile Battery
4-damage close/far reload battery

Tolling Bell-pattern Bombardment Cannon
3-damage close battery bombardment

Torpedo Tubes
2-damage penetrating ordnance torpedoes

Discover a weapon system
Discover a salvaged hulk component
Discover a salvaged hulk component
Install a component from another shipbook
Install a component from another shipbook
Clean out a cargo hold (+1cargo)

Example ship from play.

One of the main differences between Apocalypse World and this hack is that the characters aren't playing in a completely broken down world; they're often working within the rigid, decadent, decaying social order of the Imperium of Mankind. The media that inspires play in this space are things like Game of Thrones or Mara of the Acoma; dynastic fantasies where social interactions can be just as important (and just as deadly) as any open battle. The player characters in Rogue Trader: Apocalypse aren't just playing privateer or explorer in the outer rim - they're playing important parts in the great game of Imperial intrigue.

To convey these elements, it was important to make sure that there was a set of rules for illustrating these environments, just as effectively as Apocalypse World illustrates the violence of a dying and desperate world.

Here's the peripheral social moves that all characters can access:

When you spend time picking out the ideal outfit, costume, or accessories for a social occasion, take +1 forward.

When you’re trying to retain dignity when embarrassed in front of important figures, roll +Charm. On a 10+, your dignity remains mostly intact. On a 7-9, take -1 Influence with all appropriate parties. On a miss, your dignity is that last thing you’ll be worried about.

When you attempt to curry favour with an important figure, roll +Charm. On a 10+, you gain +1 Influence with them. On a 7-9, take +1 Influence, but choose 1:
You are required to pledge your support or assistance to them.
You damage your relationship with another party, take -1 Influence with them.
You attract the attention of their enemies.
You must give them an immense “gift” worth 1 or 2-profit.

When you host an important social event, roll +Profit spent. On a 10+, choose 3; on a 7-9, choose 1:
Everyone who you’d want to appear shows up.
Hold 1 and spend it to take +1 forward.
No-one you’d rather didn’t appear shows up.
Your event or ceremony is the talk of the sector.
Your security preparations ensure that any of your allies have +1armour if fighting breaks out.

When you seek aid and succor from an important organisation, roll +Influence. On a hit, they will grant you aid; on a 7-9 choose 1:
It’s going to cost you serious thrones.
You must grant an important favour in exchange.
You expend your influence with the organisation, take -1 Influence.

And here's some of the playbook rules that work in this space:

Perfect Companion (the Consort)
Whenever you accompany your master on a social engagement, roll +Charm. On a 10+, hold 3; on a 7-9, hold 1. Spend your hold to:
Give your master +1 forward.
Ask a single question from the read a person list of any individual at the engagement.
Embarrass a social rival by inducing a humiliating gaffe on their part.
Cause someone to freeze or forget their place.
Occupy full attention of the room, giving someone the chance to act under cover.

Disregard Decorum (the Dilettante)
When you brazenly waltz into a social affair, completely ignoring all rules of ceremony and decorum, roll +Charm. On a 10+, hold 3. On a 7-9, hold 1. Spend your hold 1-for-1 to:
Embarrass or humiliate someone.
Give someone -1 forward.
Change the rules and tone of the event; a stately ball becomes a rapturous orgy, a grim funeral becomes a raucous wake.
Steal a precious item from under the nose of an important guest.
Have a single NPC become totally transfixed, unable to act.

Apocalypse World / AP: Honeytown and the Space Wasps
« on: June 21, 2011, 09:23:30 AM »
So, despite having run and designed a bunch of Apocalypse World hacks up to this point, I'd never actually busted out the original eleven herbs and spices up to today, when my friends and I ventured into the psychic maelstrom for the first time.

Taking a leaf out of Fabricated Realities' book, I made sure the play space was as apocalyptic as possible, scattering images of the apocalypse all over the table and the walls and keeping light to a minimum, with a message of despair scrawled across the whiteboard. This is the first time we'd really done anything like this, and I think it helped build a better play experience, creating a discontinuity between the game play and the outside world.

We settled on an island-based Apocalypse World; I printed out a Russian-language map of the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal to serve as the baseline map. Foreign-language maps work great for creating distance between the location and the players. The one piece of knowledge about the apocalypse that we established early in play was that all the bees - all insects in fact - were dead, and Honeytown was (as a result of the Savvyhead's work) the only place known to grow fruit rather than scavenge tinned fruit from the remains of the Golden Age.

The players arrived slowly and snapped up playbooks somewhat haphazardly; one player (Colonel) arrived about twenty minutes into character creation. We had:

Truth the Hocus was a Greek-style philosopher-teacher who preached an almost Nietzchean dogma of extreme self-reliance. From his traditional pulpit in the town square of Honeytown, he declaimed that the apocalypse had been a liberating event, freeing the Human Will to Power from the shackles of societal strength.

Josie the Quarantine washed up on the shipwreck beaches east of Honeytown a few weeks ago in a strange lifepod, where she was rescued by Truth. She had sort of settled into his little entourage for the time being, despite her strong dislike of his philosophy; it reminded her of the Nietzchean philosophies of her superiors.

Whitmont the Savvyhead had been a child when the apocalypse had struck, fascinated with insects. He remembered fleeing devastation on a plane with his mother, but little about the contents of the apocalypse - the psychic maelstrom had evidently erected a strong barrier around people's memories from the Before. His childhood fascination with insects would become Honeytown's salvation when he used his weird technical skills and a shipload of dead Africanised bees to create a hive of cyber-zombie bees that pollinated the orchards around Honeytown.

Colonel the Hardholder was a soldier from the Before who remembered Josie's face from a youth spent in uniform. Using his military equipment and knowledge, he ruled Honeytown with a gentle fist, turning it into the market centre for the island chain. He held to some extent with Truth's philosophy, though in an apparent paradox, also supported an infirmary for those who suffered the cancerous wrath of the angry sun.

Has anyone experimented with an Hx-like mechanic for creating relationships between characters and larger organisations or factions? As in, characters build up Ix through interactions with various factions throughout the game, which they can use to gain favours and support.

I'm thinking of implementing a system like it in my Rogue Trader hack - to represent the characters building influence amongst vast, galaxy-spanning Imperial organisations like the Munitorium, the Inquisitor Ordos, the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Imperial Guard, etc. - but I worry that the risk of this approach is creating a less personal, NPC-focused approach to building up relationships with these organisations. When characters have a specific "Influence with the Imperial Guard" statistic, I worry they'll be less likely to care about their specific relationship with Warmaster Iridian Holt... to some extent, this should be obliviated by "to do it, do it", but it still seems like a valid concern.

Does anyone else have any experience with such mechanics in play or in design?

Dungeon World / Cross-Contamination back to D&D
« on: August 07, 2010, 12:05:53 AM »
Just wanted to mention that your hack has inspired my friend Jarrah, a more "trad" gamer than myself, to adopt quite a bit of AW-esque foliage into his more traditional Microlite20 sandbox game. He's adopting some rules from ApocD&D wholesale, and creating AW-style GM agendas, principles, and moves to remind him what to do in the middle of the game.

Spouting Lore and Holding Parleys

The campaign is a lot of fun, and some thanks are certainly due to Tony and Vx.

Rogue Trader: Apocalypse / Astropath career book
« on: July 28, 2010, 08:44:40 PM »


bold 0 adroit +1 vigorous -1 charming +1 warped +2
bold +2 adroit 0 vigorous -1 charming -1 warped +2
bold +1 adroit +1 vigorous -2 charming +1 warped +2
bold -1 adroit +2 vigorous -1 charming 0 warped +2
bold +2 adroit 0 vigorous -2 charming 0 warped +2


Homeworld: Hive world, fedual world, void-born or noble-born

Born to: Scavenger, scholastic, criminal, mutant, or noble

Past glories: Tainted, heroic, zealot, shiplorn, or daemon-fighter

Motivations: Endurance, pride, or prestige


Man, woman or ambiguous

Officer wear, penitent wear, monastery wear or hiver wear

Pocked face, callow face, aged face, hooded face, or deep face

Crippled hand, poxied claw, bionic hand, gloved hand, or skeletal hand

Blinded sockets, bound eyes, burning sockets or glowing sockets

Elongated build, tallow build, twisted build, or scrabby build


You get this one:

Astral Telepathy (Warped)
You can send messages through the warp across light-years. Unlike all other Warped moves, you do not expose yourself to the warp on a miss. On a Black Hit (10+), you send a message and it isn't garbled. On a Red Hit (7-9) You send the message, but the MC chooses 1:
  • It's intercepted.
  • It's garbled.
  • It takes time to arrive.

And choose 2:

You take +1 Warped.

Telepathic Thrust (Warped)
You can use psykana to seize by force. When you use telepathic thrust to seize by force, it counts as a (1-insanity 1-harm ap close area messy weapon).

Compulsion (Warped)
When you use psykana to manipulate someone, roll Warped rather than Charming.

Deep Mind Probe (Warped)
When you have intimacy with someone and an extended period of time, you can use psykana to probe someone's mind someone, roll Warped. On a Black Hit (10+), hold 3. On a Red Hit, (7-9), hold 1. Spend to ask the character's mind:
  • What are your secret plans?
  • What was your lowest moment?
  • In what ways are your mind and soul vulnerable?
  • Pick any question from read a person.

Minor Psykana (Warped)
Choose 3 minor psykana from the list below. When you use minor psykana, roll Warped. On a Black Hit (10-11), it works perfectly. On a Red Hit (7-9), it works, but the MC chooses 1:
  • You are exposed to the warp.
  • You broadcast your thoughts.
  • You take s-harm.
  • You take 1-harm (ap).
  • You take 1-insanity.

Minor Psykana:
Delude (convince up to 10 NPCs of one untrue fact)
Beastmaster (control up to a large squad of beasts and animals)
Psychic Scream (use as an s-harm close messy weapon)
Mind Scan (hold 2 to assess the situation)
Terrify (force 1 NPC to flee the situation)
Distract (give someone -2 forward)
Inspire (give someone +1 forward)
Psychic Shield (take +1 armour)


Astropath Special
When you sleep with another character, the deeply human bond that is established allows you to drop 2 insanity points. At your option, they may also lose 2 insanity points.

Astropath Rapport
Everyone introduces their character by name, look, and origin. Take your turn by listing the other character's names.

Go around again for Rapport. On your turn:
One of the other players doesn't trust you because you're a psyker. Tell that player Rapport -2.
Tell everyone else Rapport -1. You're distinctly distant from people, in general.

On the other player's turns:
One of the players has transmitted their most personal secrets through you. Whatever number they tell you, ignore it and write down Rapport +3.
Everyone else, write down the number they tell you +1. You can intuitively sense other's minds.

You can take:
1 charm
astropath wear of your choice

Charms (choose 1)
Imperial icon (spend to recover 1 sanity)
Warp gem (+1 to Astral Telepathy rolls)
Psykana tome (+1 to Minor Psykana rolls)
Wrath staff (+2 harm to Telepathic Thrust)

  • Take +1 Bold
  • Take +1 Adroit
  • Take +1 Charming
  • Get a new astropath move
  • Get a new astropath move
  • Choose 3 minor psykana
  • Get a move from another career
  • Get a move from another career

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