Friday, February 12, 2010

The Landmaster

Over at EXONAUTS!, Jay has an excellent post about space age vehicles. It got me to thinking about just such a vehicle that is near and dear to my heart...and it's real! I'm talking about the Landmaster from the 1977 post-apocalyptic movie Damnation Alley. Built by Dean Jeffries for a whopping $350,000 US (well over a million in today's dollars), the Landmaster still exists today and is fully functional (except for armaments, I'm sure).

I give you, the Landmaster:


cross-posted at Roll for Initiative

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Septimus homebrew, pt.4

A large number of planets and moons exist inside the worldsphere in orbital arrangements that point to intelligent, rather than natural, design. Very likely, the aliens that created Septimus also placed the planets inside it. The Archipelago, as this group of worlds is called, has proven to be a refuge for millions of newcomers seeking the avoid the oppressive rule of the Extent. Five major powers have arisen among these worlds.

The Commonwealth of Maximus was created by some of the original Imperial survey teams sent to Septimus once they realized that leaving the worldsphere was impossible. It has quickly grown to become the most powerful stellar nation in the Archipelago, thanks to its technological superiority and its relatively enlightened governance. Although originally established by a group of scientists and explorers, the Commonwealth has reluctantly begun to build its military strength as the threat of war grows.

The Fellowship of the Seventh Proletariat is a collectivist state which seeks to unite miners and other working-class citizens within the Archipelago under its banner. It has wrested several moons from the Commonwealth in the last few years by supporting popular uprisings. Recently, it has engaged in active aggression and piracy against the Commonwealth, even sending in troops to conquer a lightly-populated moon. Although the Commonwealth is reluctant to retaliate in kind for fear that an all-out war in the Archipelago might be the sort of opportunity the Extent is waiting for, most expect any further escalation by the Fellowship will force its hand.

The Cigomi Consortium is the third major player in the Archipelago. It is content to allow the Fellowship and the Commonwealth to fight it out and commonly supplies arms and equipment to both sides. The Consortium does not seek to expand its territory, although it will defend its holdings aggressively. The Commonwealth has good relations with the Consortium, but the Fellowship has designs on several mining worlds within Cigomi space. Only the need for Consortium trade keeps the Fellowship at bay.

The two remaining powers are Sarkis Intertrade PLC, an interplanetary trading company, and The Blackfeet, a criminal organization. Neither maintain extensive planetary holdings, but both have large fleets of ships. The former seeks to control the flow of legal trade goods, while the latter dominates the illicit trade. They are, of course, mutually hostile, although in truth, the Blackfeet have no friends anywhere in the Archipelago.

The campaign begins on Hardpoint, a moon in the Badrigal system. Prior to a recent coup led by forces loyal to the Fellowship, it was a Commonwealth research station and mining operation. The majority of the inhabitants are hostile to the new government, prompting the Fellowship to forceably settle some of its loyal citizens from the homeworld to Hardpoint. The flames of war are about to ignite. Will the PCs provide the spark?


Monday, February 01, 2010

Septimus Homebrew, pt.3

In order to convert the space opera feel of Septimus into the space horror campaign setting I want it to be, the main change I intend to incorporate is the nature of the Sindavar Extent. The Sindavar Extent or just Extent, as it is commonly referred, started out as a fringe technology cult exploring the edges of the galaxy. Past problems involving artificial intelligence and nanotechnology had resulted in widespread distrust of these technologies and organizations which use them. Since the Extent was just such an organization, most Imperial citizens who were even aware of the group, were generally relieved when they seemingly disappeared about a century ago.

About 10 years ago, an automated signal started broadcasting from the approximate location where the Extent was thought to be headed. It was a short message inviting the people of the galaxy to flee the chaos of the dying Empire and join the Extent in the Septimus worldsphere. It has been repeating constantly since that day. Early colonists who accepted the invitation found Septimus to be a utopia. The capital, Arcopolis, and the other major settlements, known collectively as the Seven Cities, were wonders to behold, although the cloning and nanotech modification practiced by the original inhabitants was difficult for some to accept. Things didn't really start to unravel until the Corruption began. The Extent used alien technology to exert control over ever aspect of life, AIs known as Persona Constructs were enslaved and put to work building the perfect society. But something was wrong. It first started in the cloning clinics. Deformities appeared, clones died. Then the thought control systems began to break down. People began to see the reality of their enslavement. Resistance groups began to spring up. The Extent used harsher and harsher means to exert control. This prompted several groups to cooperate in the execution of Steel Helix, a plan to damage or destroy the central control system of the Persona Constructs. It was a partial success. Though the system was not destroyed, several Personas were freed. The results were catastrophic.

It has been a few years since Steel Helix and there is a sense of a calm before the storm within Septimus. Within the core of Arcopolis, all seems normal. The citizens continue on with their daily lives. Peace has been reestablished and the city has been rebuilt. Beyond the great walls of the arcology, the ruins of the greater metropolis teem with activity as millions scratch out a living among the detritus. Most recent newcomers settle in the Archipelago, a series of planets inside the sphere, where several new stellar nations have risen. Still, no one believes the Extent is beaten. In the days leading up to Steel Extent, many unspeakable atrocities were committed and many technological horrors were unleashed. The Extent demonstrated the extremes to which they were prepared to go to maintain control. Few doubt they would be hesitant to go just as far to regain it.


Oni Hero Box - Daimyo John Priest

I picked up one of these over the weekend, an early Valentine's Day gift from the Missus. It lends a real Aliens feel to the collection.