Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In the OSR . . .

Without further ado . . .


Yay.  I can draw cartoon boobies.

I had meant to write about five gazillion blog posts over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Instead, I wrote butkis.  Nada, zilch . . . nothing.  Not even a Dungeonspiration posts.  I suppose I could could apologize - but I really dislike when people apologize for not writing enough in their blog.  It's like they did something wrong.  Advocating genocide in your blog?  Okay, that's wrong.  Not posting enough?  NOT WRONG.  Lazy maybe, but not wrong. :)

So I've been drawing a lot, fiddling with different styles and whatnot.  The elf chick popped out when I was actually trying to draw something else - but I decided to color and ink it anyway - since I liked her expression.  But just the picture was kind of weird, so I gave it a caption.

POOF - it's a MEME!

Yay!  It's the "In the OSR . . ." meme!  Everyone jump on the bandwagon and go create something - a poem or macaroni art or whatnot.  Try to be actually funny - unlike me.

Like so much of my OSR art, I'm giving this to the community.  I doubt that anyone really wants it - but feel free to repost, spindle, and mutilate.

Ohhh - btw - I won an award!  Thanks Tim! (Not Crazy-Ass Tim, but the Other Tim.) Apparently, my blog is 'quirky.'  I had no idea.  I'm going to have to go look that up in the dictionary to find out what it means.

- Ark

Saturday, November 19, 2011

More Retro



Yeah - more stuff that doesn't have to do with gaming, but I was particularly happy with this one.  I'll try to keep more game related art on the blog.  After all, I have a deviantArt account to toss all the other stuff on. :)

Enjoy.

- Ark

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rather Gamey Cheesecake


Okay, so it has nothing to do with gaming.  More practice drawing.  This is an attempt to draw in a 'retro cartoon' style.  The reference, she is here.

This was done by hand with Sharpie and colored pencils, because the only pc that can run Photoshop was being used at the time by The Boy for SKYRIM.  Sheesh. ;)

Enjoy.

- Ark

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dungeonspiration: Dreams


It's been a stressful couple of months at work, and yesterday, due to several breakages, I needed to work through the wee hours of the night.  I had about four hours to cram a nap into before starting the debug, so I collapsed in the bed and fell asleep almost instantly.

Then came the dream.

I was living in a village inhabited solely by children, in the middle of a post-apocalyptic wasteland criss-crossed by water canals.  There were five of us: me, a black girl with very long dreads, and a a nerd boy who looked like a cross between Rick Moranis and the cartoon dude on the 'For Dummies' books.  The two others were, like so many people in dreams - faceless, but there.

We played all day amidst the ruble of the once quaint town, carefree as the kids on that old Star Trek episode were where all the grups died.  But all was not well in paradise.  There were evil dwarves afoot.  Not that they were short - or hairy - or looked or acted anything like dwarves.  But they were dwarves - that was for sure.  And they travelled in submarines that looked suspiciously like the CSS Virginia (or Merrimac, as it is improperly known.)  They travelled down the canals that stretched across the open prairie, hunting children.

Luckily, we were psychic, so we knew trouble was coming before the first cannon balls started flying.  We also knew that an evil old man had sent the dwarves after us - with the purpose of killing us.  He had killed all of the children except us, and wanted us gone too.  He lived in a city far away filled with only old people and lots of chain link fences.  So we decided to go there.

I have no idea why we thought going to the city of the old people was a good idea.  But that is what we did, narrowly escaping the evil submariner dwarves (that looked a lot like blue meanies, but not blue.)  There were lots of barbed wire and minefields to get through - and search lights remarkably like the eye of Sauron from the cartoon to evade.  But we made it the city.

The city was like a postcard from New York circa 1973 - sort of like Sesame Street - but filled with old people.  They were nice to us when we got there.  We talked to a very nice old man who said he could help.  But suddenly my psychic powers revealed that he was the evil old man - the kingpin - the murder of all the world's children, so we hot-footed it out of there.

That's when the F-14 Tomcats began strafing the street.

We ran down the stairs into the subway station.  The trains weren't running, however.  Instead, the subway was cram-packed with junk - toys, swing sets, stuffed animals, and tons of yellow school buses.  It was so packed we could hardly move - and overwhelmingly claustrophobic.  We hunkered down between two overturned buses, trying to avoid the fighter jets.  I'm not exactly sure how, but the F-14s made it into the station.  Their machine guns blared.  They shot the faceless kids.  They killed the nerd.  They riddled the black girl with bullets.  Then they turned the guns on me.  I could feel the pain as each of the bullets hit - and then I died.

Needless to say, I was very surprised when I woke up.  The places where I was shot were on fire - hurting something fierce.  But after the confusion wore off, I chuckled a bit.  Then I saw the clock and that I had only slept three hours - and the amount of adrenalin I was pumped full of wasn't going to let me get back to sleep.

Many hours later, and most of my work done - I'm a bit punch drunk - and still a bit perplexed and fascinated by that dream.  I'm sure my therapist (if I had one) would have a field day with it.  But it does inspire me.  I'd like to game in a world like that - as horrific as it sounds.

So go dream something weird.  Go on now - don't be shy.  Really freaky.  It will probably inspire you. Oh, and feel free to report back here on your weird-ass dreams.

;)

- Ark

[Since I died in my dream does that mean I'm immortal now?]

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Talk, Part Two

This conversation happened a while ago, and was of monumental importance, but like so many things of monumental importance, they get swept up in the hubbub of life.

We were driving to the YMCA where The Boy has his swimming lessons twice a week.  This was before daylight savings time kicked in (or out - I can never remember how that works,) so it was still light then, as opposed to now, when we drive to the Y in the dark.

"So," I said, "We've played Pathfinder several times now.  How are you liking it?"

"I like it a lot," he nodded his head in an exaggerated fashion while adjusting his swimsuit.  The boy was born a swimmer.  He couldn't have been a few months old when his mother took him into the pool and he desperately pushed away from her - convinced in his little head that he could swim like everyone else.

"You remember we were just taking a break from 4e so we could see what Pathfinder was like - right?" I asked.  I didn't want him to think we had abandoned his favorite game.

"Yeah," he watched the traffic out the window.  Today was one of those once a month 'safety' days at the Y, where the class was less about swimming and more about responsibility.  The boy really wasn't impressed with such days.

"I want you to know that I haven't forgotten 4e.  We can start back up any time you want."

"No, that's okay," he said.  The Boy has had a lot of swimming classes, working all the way up from Polliwog to Shark.  Soon in his future may be the swim team, and perhaps, one day, he may become a lifeguard.  It's up to him and where his love of swimming takes him.

"Huh?" I said, "Don't you want to play 4e?"

"No, that's okay.  Pathfinder if funner.  It's more freer like Labyrinth Lord and you're not stuck with all of those powers.  It's simpler and I can do more of what I want to do," he told me.

I almost ran over a cluster of children while turning into the YMCA parking lot.  "Really?" I asked, "I thought 4e was like your home, and you felt more comfortable in your home."  I was trying to suppress a smile.  Finally, he was over the 4e phase and we could focus on good old-fashioned D&D.

The Boy shook his head while getting out of the car and grabbing his towel.  "No dad, just because a role playing game is your first one, doesn't mean it's the best or the funnest.  Don't you know that?"

I collected my sketchbook and pencils from the back seat and quietly followed The Boy into the YMCA, reflecting deeply on what my son had just said.

- Ark

(FYI, the original 'The Talk' posting is here.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Candy Man


I don't care what the nay-sayers say - I love me some Savage Worlds.  Kay was hankering to run a game, so we settled on Savage Worlds Supers.  About two seconds into character creation, we realized that the only way we could pull a supers game off is if were were all villains.

We started off as normals, visiting an old friend in the hospital - a friend who was in a coma.  Suddenly, like about zero seconds into play, our latent mutant superpowers all turned on and we were off - exploring our powers and running on a destructive rampage.

The Cast of Characters:

The Brain - That's Crazy-Ass Tim's character.  He's a withered near-corpse that floats around in a hospital gown with an IV dangling from his arm.  The Brain refers to his body as 'The Husk,' and communicates via telepathy.  He specializes, of course, in MIND CONTROL.

The Flying Ferret - That's The Boy.  He's a furry guy who can fly and turn invisible.  His speciality is avoiding combat - or anything dangerous - for that matter.  This is pretty much of a continuation of the recent theme of all of The Boy's characters as of late.  The Boy refers to this character archetype as 'The Survivalist.'

Carl - Merwyn is playing Carl.  Carl is . . . completely normal.  He has no super powers.  Carl once owned a comic book shop, and knows a lot about super heroes.  Carl is, however, a super hipster.  If there is something to do in the universe, Carl has already done it before you even thought about doing it, and will mock it - and you - as easily as breathing.

The Candy Man -  This is my character.  Originally, I had named him Shatter.  He was a knock off of the Marvel character Bulls-eye - a dude with the ability to throw just about anything at anybody and kill them.  However, the first thing Shatter picked up was a bowl of peppermints and began killing people with them.  Shatter decided that killing people with candy was more fulfilling that anything else in the universe - thus THE CANDY MAN.

So, after leaving the hospital, the Flying Ferret tried to knock over a 7-11, which didn't go so well, so we decided to hit the nearest bank.  The operation was crystal smooth until two members of the local doogooders guild came to stop us - the Ice Queen and Gigglewatt - or Gigawatt, I think.

Carl was busy stuffing money into bag in back - and the Flying Ferret had run away (again, his modus operandi,) so it was up to me and The Brain - two novice characters - to best two highly seasoned heroes in tight fitting lingerie.

I decided the Ice Queen was the softer target, so I send a vicious barrage of Twizzlers at her.  In two rounds, I had killed her with candy, and began hurling Fun Sized Snickers Bars at Gigawatt, while The Brain mind-controlled the bank customers into attacking him as well.  The Flying Ferret even joined the fun, pulling out a pistol and shooting our dear hero in the back.

Well, Gigawatt zapped The Candy Man into kingdom come, blowing him back, knocking him unconscious, and permanently reducing his intelligence score.  Then he tazed the innocent civilians into unconsciousness, and blasted The Brain.

Luckily, at this point, Carl the ex-comic book store manager plowed through the front door of the bank in an armored car.  He ran over Gigawatt, then back up over his skull for good measure.  Then Carl and the Flying Ferret  loaded up the motionless Candy Man and The Brain into the car and drove off, laughing all the way.

Then there was the heated argument about how much cash one can shove into four bank bags.  Kay originally said a couple thousand dollars, but we booed him loudly, and now desperate Internet research is going on.

So, our characters have made a name for themselves and have also made a pile of money.  The only thing we lost was, well, half of my character's brain.  Fair trade, I guess.

We are now diligently awaiting our phone call from the International Organization of Evil so we can become card carrying members.

- Ark

P.S. - I am deeply concerned that the only time that we really cooperate as players is when we are being evil bastards.  Okay, well, I am not too concerned, but it does make me wonder . .  . :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dungeonspiration: Fellow Players

Kay is playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Second Edition with us.  I've seen him play him play quite a few characters.  He's the group's min-max guru.  Kay tweaks out his characters until they are . . . well . . . completely ineffectual at doing anything except that ONE THING he designed them to do.

I describe Kay's characters as awesome looking sports cars that look great in the garage, but drop their transmissions in the driveway on the way to the street.  It's not uncommon for other players just to kill his characters in an effort to put them out of their own misery.

Tim had us rolling straight 4d6 characters for the game.  I rolled up an awesome character - probably the best rolls for a character I've made in 30 years - so good that I made her a ranger.  Kay, on the other had, rolled a big pile of crap.

Torvalds' best stat is 12, and it just goes quickly downhill from there.  This is horrifying to Kay.  He's a young punk in his early 20s.  He is not used to the realities of the old school dice gods.  Tim countered every attempt that Kay made for squeezing anything min-maxy out of the character.

So Torvalds became a magic-user - a magic user with a 15% chance that his one spell each day will fail.

I'm not sure what snapped in Kay's head, but Torvalds personality came to crystal clarity within a few moments after the comeliness, height, and weight rolls.  He was fat and ugly.

Torvalds bought himself an ox, and named it Imbrogli-ox.  He got a saddle and a collapsible ladder, so he could heft his sack-of-potatoes-like body onto Imbrogliox.  Torvalds refuses to get off his ox, unless it is to sleep in his lavish tent.  He even gripes about having to get off the ox to go into buildings with doorways that are ill-equipped to handle an ox.

He also has a beagle called Willington.  The beagle is about as useless at Torvalds is himself, being afraid to go off-road.

Torvalds spent the remainder of his money on expensive steak dinners and grapes.  He's never not eating - constantly popping grapes into his mouth.  Torvalds feeds Willington steak while poor starving village children beg him for food.

We all know that first level magic-users are useless.  Most of the time, the player tries hard to not be that way.  This time - it's the perfect storm - a perfectly useless character statistics-wise being played in a perfectly useless manner.  It's hilarious - and it doesn't help that Kay is constantly miming eating grapes while talking just like Hedonism Bot.

Tim has taken to calling the useless magic-user Cartman Harkonnen - which is very apt.  If only he had a suit that would make him fly and a bag of Cheesy Poufs - it would be perfect.

The Boy calls him Troll-Balls, but that's another thing entirely . . .

So go pay attention to your fellow players as they breath life into characters.  They very well could be up to something amazing while you are not paying attention.  Um, not that Cartman Harkonnen is amazing - quite the opposite - but it is gut-bustingly funny all the same.  It may just inspire you to do something inspiring.

- Ark

P.S. But watch - Torvalds will probably save the entire party one day.  :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition


From day one, I loathed second edition.  I had already bought my Dungeons and Dragons, and it was ADVANCED.  So now they were telling me all of those books that I had scraped and saved for for years were out-dated and useless?  And to top it off, I was going to need a Trapper Keeper to store my loose frigging leaf Monster Manual in?

Blech.

I had already moved away from AD&D by that point, anyway.  Beside all of the non-fantasy games I was  playing, I had also discovered MERPS, Rolemaster, GURPS, and Fantasy Hero - all of which, in my opinion at the time - were far superior to the out-dated and limiting fare that TSR was producing.

One of the local comic book stores was selling Second Edition hard - even putting on demo games to get people used to the new system.  I played.  I don't think I paid much attention - it was so foreign and evil and anti-fun, striking at the heart of what it meant to be a red-blooded American and a defender of liberty and free speech and preventing the government from boarding troops in one's home and . . .

Oh, okay, I had a severe spaz attack about the whole thing and didn't pay D&D for 18 or so years.

So, Crazy-Ass Tim, who I've been playing D&D with for around three years, loves second edition. He suckled at Zeb Cook's metaphorical teat as an RPG babe.  If second edition had lips, he'd be deep-throat kissing it.  If it were a biological female, he'd marry it and drag it to Niagara Falls for the honeymoon.  And he wanted to run it for us.  Geez Louise.

After years of resistance, I finally relented.

Come to find out - the second edition players handbook is perhaps the most horribly organized role playing reference in the history of mankind (actually, it's not - I just say that to piss Tim off.)  Okay, really - it's not that bad.  Second edition appears to basically be what happened if you took all of those books we used, and all of those Dragon magazine articles we turned to time and time again, and, oh, tried to make sense of them all and turn it into something comprehensible.

I realize that magic changed in some way - but I haven't delved that far.  But second edition is surprisingly familiar.  I'm not sure if there are any actual changes at all.  Tim keeps on raving about the marvel of second edition's THAC0 - but hell, we were using that in first edition from Dragon magazine - and if I remember correctly - THAC0 was developed back in 1977.  So really - nothing new to see here - just fine tuning, from what I can tell.

Okay, there is the explosion of splat books - but I'll just stick my fingers in my ears and ignore them for as long as I can.  Those are really just like an endless stream of optional Dragon Magazine class articles anyway.

So far, Tim's campaign and the ruleset feels very comfortable and I am enjoying that immensely.  But I must keep up appearances and continue to bitch about it because - well - because I am a grognard, dammit, and we must bitch about things - especially new-fangled things like second edition AD&D.

- Ark

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chartreuse

PureStrainHuman (aka Crazy-Ass Tim) kicked off an AD&D 2e campaign this Monday, and we had a lot of fun.  I decided to dust off my Beard and Boob Badge and play a lady this time around.  Well, she's not a lady - she's a task oriented elven ranger named Chartreuse.  I really hoped that name didn't stray into the realm of 'stripper names.'  It's one of my favorite colors - and it's sort of green - and she's an elf - and - well - it made sense at the time.

Anyway, I'll give a play report soon.  This is the first real AD&D 2e game I've ever played, so I have LOTS to say about it.  ;)  Meanwhile, I decided to try to draw Chartreuse, and the result is below.  It's a very rough sketch, but I must say, the daily practice is paying off.  I can tell that it's a biped and that it's a she - so I must be on the right track.

I drew this!  Woot!  Click to embiggen - but beware - she might slap you.

Yeah - and she's got anime elf ears.  If Deedlit ears are good enough for Daffy Duck, they are good enough for me.  I hope to clean it up and ink it and all of that jazz at some point.  I might even try to draw a tree or two for some ambiance. :)

Enjoy.



- Ark

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rahul and the Bobble-headed Ganesh

I've just come back from role playing tonight and am still basking in the glow.  The Stars Without Number game went very well.  Tim, Ron, Mervyn, Kay and the boy were great as an unsuspecting band of space adventurers who had the all sorts of crap thrown at them.

Highlights of the Night:

  • The party realizing that they just woke up to a fight between a group of bounty hunters and a family fleeing from the clutches of the Holy Order of Sapphic Islam.
  • Mervyn taking out an entire boarding party with some clever computer commands that vented the atmosphere out of a part of the spacecraft they were in.
  • Tim trying to beat a bounty hunter to death from 200 meters away - telekinetically - with the bounty hunter's own pistol.
  • The Boy firing a laser gun at the nefarious Bounty Hunter Tabari, only to find out that she was a phychic with expertise in both the disciplines of precognition and teleportation.
  • Ron jumping the ship out of system just as the bounty hunters attached a cubic meter of plastic explosives to the hull of the freighter.
  • Tim wandering off on a space station unannounced and coming back with a job offer to hijack an ore shipment on an ice world.
  • The party crammed in a tiny shuttle flying from orbit to a rubble strewn glacier field.  Their erratic pilot, Rahul, had upholstered the dashboard with purple shag carpeting and affixed a Bobble-headed Ganesh there to be his 'co-pilot.'
  • The party convincing a convoy of Hindu ice-truckers to drive their 130 foot long tractor-treaded cargo trucks (laden with highly explosive QUANTIUM ore) on a six-hour journey up a glacier.
  • During a kidnapping, Kay stopping to steal the victim's television from the apartment.
  • The party trying to beat the crap out of their underworld contact Mujibar for non-payment of of services rendered (hijacking aforementioned 130 foot long cargo trucks,) only to find out that the funds had been into their accounts already.  They had been expecting to be paid in gold coins, I think.
  • The party pissing off their employer and Ron having to jump out of system in a spacecraft just seconds before a a space cruiser (owned by their employer) blew them to smithereens.

So, the party is wanted by two major interstellar powers for multiple crimes - and it's just one game into the campiagn.  That's pretty awesome.

I think it behooves a game master to end a night with a desperate attempt to jump into hyperspace or be blasted into component atoms by an angry space armada, relying on a sole Navigation skill check by one of the party members.

Tim, however, is still on the fence about what he calls the "one roll party save versus death saving throw."

I am still trying to keep a straight face.

- Ark

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dungeonspiration: Beginnings

The start of a campaign can be a very exciting time. As a GM, you get to splash paint around a fictional universe and build the skeleton that will be used to host countless adventures. It can also be nerve-wracking as the players may completely reject the universe and it's premise - yawn, back-talk, fold paper footballs and flick them across the table to score field goals, and give off all those other little signs that the GM failed miserably and needs to go back to GM kindergarten.

I've been running a Labyrinth Lord game for over half a year now. We are getting to an exciting bit - but I'm burnt out. Mervyn runs us a Pathfinder game, and Tim is gearing up to run a 2e AD&D campaign. That's a truck load of D&D. I need a change, and since sci-fi is where my head is at, I'm setting the Labyrinth Lord campaign aside and will be starting a Star Without Number game this Saturday.

As quaint as 'you are all at the Space-tavern drinking Space-ale when a Space-stranger dressed in a Space-cloak approached you from the dim Space-corner' sounds as a beginning of a Space campaign - I just can't bring myself to punt like that. I'm a big fan of in media res - and haven't been using it near enough lately.

So below is the intro to my new game - the New Eden Campaign. If I was telling this to the group at the beginning of the game, it would be a lot shorter - but I have an unlimited amount of space on the blog - so here it goes:

You wake up as a needle stabs into your arm. Clear tubes full of a liquid that glows green like radioactive anti-freeze connect to the needle. Machinery begins to hum and it feels like fire is pumping into your veins. It hurts horribly, but your dulled, fuzzy senses suddenly sharpen to crystal clarity.

After a few seconds, you realize you are in nearly featureless coffin with glowing white walls. More needles come out of the wall, injecting you with more uncomfortable liquids. Suddenly you can move your body again. You notice a glass door near your head. Figures seem to be milling about outside. A shrill noise blares, and a red light flashes.  Somewhere nearby, a baby cries.

Memories pour in from before the interstellar coma was induced. The worlds of your home sector were poor. You grew up in poverty, raised by a destitute family in an impoverished culture. But the sector next door - the New Eden sector - contained rich worlds holding vast resources.

A voice comes from a speaker in the coffin.  "This is Captain Kobayashi of the Freighter Edmund Fitzgerald. We are still in route to Hephaestus, but I've lifted stasis for the passengers in steerage capsules early. We are under fire from unknown forces and are currently being boarded. I have awoken you to give you a fighting chance for life, should you choose to take it."

You open the glass door at the head of the cryo-statsis capsule and tumble out. You are in a steerage room. Glass doors leading to stasis capsules line the walls, with one hatch leading out. There are around thirty people in here, standing around in their underwear, looking confused in the flashing glowing lights.  A mother comforts her baby, swaddled in a pink blanket.  A man comforts the mother.

It was perhaps a month ago - you are unsure of the exact date - but some time ago, you purchased a ticket for the New Eden Sector and boarded the Edmund Fitzgerald. It was not your money. Friends, family, your village, or perhaps a crime syndicate helped fund your trip, with the expectation of being paid back soon. 

While rich, the New Eden Sector has been torn with war for many decades. But recently, a mysterious group known as the Benefactors has created a Ambassadorial Council for the sector, where all worlds can safely discuss issues with one another, giving the potential to avert war, increase trade, and benefit everyone. While it seems a difficult task, the Benefactors appear to have deep pockets - and they have been hiring qualified people in droves.

All of the confused faces in the steerage room signed up to go to Hephaestus to seek a new life and get a job with the Benefactors.  Neither you nor they were expecting to awaken so soon, or to the noises that came from the intercom next.

"The ship has been breached and the attackers refuse the communicate their demands.  We are . . ."  the captain's voice is interrupted by the sound of gun fire.  Several of your fellow passengers gasp.  Then a female voice comes on - speaking a harsh language unknown to you.  As she speaks, you notice the pink swaddled baby's mother stare at the intercom speaker, then she begins to yell frantically at her husband in the same language.  He nervously tries to shush her, but another of the passengers points at them and begins yelling angrily.

The room suddenly erupts in argument in many languages.  A grizzled old man blurts out, "They want the baby!  We should hand it over before they kill us all!"  Someone else punches the man in the face, calling him a 'dirty collaborator.'  Chaos erupts.

You are not sure what to do at the moment, but you have a sudden, gut wrenching reaction when you remember that all of your weapons were confiscated when you boarded the Edmund Fitzgerald, and that they are all safely locked up in the weapons locker somewhere else on the ship.  The day is definitely not starting out well.

That's what is in store for the dear PCs.  I hope they will enjoy it.  I'm pumped and definitively inspired to run a fast paced thrill ride of an adventure.

So get your thinking cap on and come up with an inventive and rambunctious beginning to a campaign - or just the start of a particular adventure in an existing game.  It can be really fun and refreshing to toss the players into a situation and yell 'go!'

Enjoy the explosions.

- Ark

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Galactic Proportions

Stars Without Number suffers from the same aliment that Traveller suffers from - two dimensional space.  It's a very understandable affliction.  It's hard to represent a three dimensional stellar map on a flat piece of paper, and even if you do, ho-boy, you have to take out the slide rule to figure distances between the stars.

In order not to upset the hard-core amateur astrophysicist lurking just under my skin, I have to look at the star maps in Stars Without Number as, um, hyperspace maps - maps that are only relevant to the extra-dimensional space that starships hurtle though. This space bears no relevance to real 3d space - just enough pseudo-logic so that the sleeping astrophysicist will not awaken and rain on my parade.

But . . . let's assume that the maps bear 'some' relation to real space.  Kevin Crawford says very little about the 'shape' of human-space, or its dimensions.  The most explicit snippet is this:

"By 2600, the frontier of human space extended almost ten years of spike drive travel away from Terra. Even after taking Jump Gates as far as possible, a fast pretech courier ship required a year to reach the farthest colonial worlds."

That date is just before the end of the Golden Age and the beginning of the Scream, so those dimensions should pretty much be the height of human colonization in the galaxy.  Ship technology was also at it's height, so spacecraft could jump one hex per day.  Ten years equals roughly 3650 hexes.  The author very carefully never states the size of hexes on the star maps, so if we interject Traveller sizing - which if memory serves correctly is one parsec, we get:

3650 hexes X 3.26 light years = 11,899 ly

So, human space has roughly a 12Kly radius.  A little image stealing and circle drawing gets us this galactic map:



That's a fair chunk of the galaxy colonized, but it still leaves ample room for who knows what.  Now, I can start thinking about SWN's 'Known Space' visually - inside my noggin.  Not that I really need to, but it's more comfortable that way for me.

So, that ends my thought experiment for today. :)

- Ark

Chinese Translation

One of my favorites.  Enjoy.  I'm sure it is game related somehow.  :)




- Ark