Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Renegade Scout updates

These updates won't be made available juuuuuuuuust yet, but I am adding a section with some pre-made troop profiles for things like scientists, security guards, colonists etc.

The sort of thing that comes in handy in a scenario (and also ties in nicely if we want to put together an interesting battle on the fly, I might add).

In addition, armor is getting split off into its own equipment section and when I upload it, there should be some "superheavy" body armors available as well.

Acrid Smell of Powder - Close combat

One of the things that has always stood out to me when reading about the Napoleonic Wars or American Civil War is how rare actual "hand to hand" combat is.

There's plenty of charges all over the place, but unless cavalry is involved, it usually doesn't lead to anyone fighting anybody.
Either the charge slows down / breaks up or the recipients forget if they left the oven on and dash off to check.

Of course, on the gaming table, it's positively medieval!
We want to move our little guys to contact and have them slug it out like the drill manual says they should.

Now, in big abstract battle games, you can fudge that a bit by assuming that "close combat" actually means "a wide range of things including actual hitting with sticks, close ranged volleys and so forth" but with "Acrid Smell of Powder" we were trying to avoid abstracting things too much, so that wouldn't fly.

Some rules use a morale check to solve this: Check morale to charge, check morale to receive the charge.
This makes more sense, but leads to situations where high-morale units opposing each other will usually end up crossing bayonet (as they will most likely both pass their check).
That's still better but it doesn't solve the fundamental issue: Close combat shouldn't happen very often.

Going back and re-reading accounts of charges in the Napoleonic Wars and the American Revolution, it suddenly became clear to me:
An opposed roll might be the answer.

If the defenders give way, it's usually because the attackers don't and vice versa.

This also lets us represent another aspect very nicely: The reputation of a unit.
If your guys have good morale, odds are they have a reputation as hard fighters (and may have the fancy uniforms or big hats to prove it) meaning they'd carry a level of intimidation with them.

Is a bunch of militia men going to react the same way if it's random line infantry advancing on them vs when it's the Guard?

So in the end, charging is an opposed roll: Each side rolls, adds their Morale and a couple of modifiers and as a result one side will usually give way or run away.
If the scores are very close, an actual fight breaks out (a Brawl, as you'll no doubt not be surprised to learn its called) and you get to hit the other guys with sticks.

One aspect that I considered was that actual hand to hand fights were more common when occupying buildings, redoubts and the likes.
You do get a morale bonus for holding an obstacle, but to my mind, the sort of determined defense at bayonet point is more a characteristic of larger formations:

A "blob" of 10 guys skirmishing probably would be more inclined to fall back to the next position instead.
This also helps create more movement and make the "mass skirmish" feel more fluid and energetic than a conventional black powder battle.

At least, that's all the theory: You'll have to judge how well it turned out.

If you didn't grab your copy yet, go do so here:


Saturday, 14 April 2018

Renegade Scout - The project forward

So the campaign has ended and it's time to assess our situation:

We didn't hit the entire goal, which I hadn't really expected we would.
We could have gotten more, if I'd advertised it more aggressively though, so that's a lesson I suppose.

The full goal was to enable me to simply work on the project for 2-3 months, without any distractions.
The amount we did collect will go a ways towards getting the rules where they need to be, but it'll obviously mean a longer work flow to get there.

I am not certain of the full time frame yet.

What will happen next is that when a few more components fit together, we'll put things up on the Wargame Vault as well for early access.
That way, the project can continue to obtain funding and it'll be far easier to provide new versions, updates, files etc.

That may take a week or two though.
Once it's up, codes will go out to the early backers to access that for free.
I have all the email addresses from those who just paid the basic fee, so when things are released, you will get your download codes as well.

Doing it through the Vault will also mean that any post-launch updates and fixes can be included for free.

We've gotten a few pieces of art as well as proper potential cover, which I'll share when I have a chance.

General impressions of the Indiegogo setup?
It's convenient enough, but I had to rely on an external service to actually provide the PDF (dropbox in this case) and it's easy enough to post updates, but actual communication is a bit awkward.

More importantly though, I have received very little feedback at all on the rules from early backers.
I don't know why, but as far as soliciting actual feedback on mechanics, the process has been completely pointless compared to just doing an early release through the Wargame Vault and working from there.

As it stands, I am going to continue down the track I am already on and then we'll see what opinions trickle in along the way.

Different crowds? Different expectations? Random chance? I don't know.

I doubt I'll use crowd-funding for a project again though. The benefits seem minimal compared to how I am used to doing things.

On the flipside, if you don't try new things, you never learn, right?

So there it is:

Renegade Scout is proceeding. It'll just proceed a bit slower, since it'll have to fit in alongside other projects.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Acrid Smell of Powder - Moving about

With the recent release of Acrid Smell of Powder, I thought I'd talk about it a little bit: Namely the movement rules.

So I knew for ASoP, I wanted a random movement system, however, I had some misgivings about how such systems tend to work.

To me, one of the pit-traps is that complete control over the army is obviously unrealistic. . . but so is a complete lack of control, in my opinion.

As the commander, you can select the right officers for the task, send a runner with instructions or ride over there yourself to shout at people.

The answer then was this:

You get a pool of initiative dice to work with.
By default, it's equal to the number of units, plus the number of leaders you have.

If I have 4 units of infantry, 1 leader and a cavalry unit, I'd have 6 dice.

Different things can give you more or less dice: Including an Excellent quality unit, being exhausted etc.

So you roll all of your dice and you can then assign each die to whatever unit you like.
If you need a unit to move further this turn to take that hill, you probably can.

Better units and cavalry can have multiple dice assigned and some unit types get a fixed bonus per die, to add a bit of detail.

Think of the initiative dice as "army effort" if you will.

But what about non-movement activities?

Depending on the scenario, you might need to bring on reinforcements, search a haystack, interrogate the locals or romance a minor noble.
This is a Task and is given a difficulty: Assign a movement die that is equal or above the difficulty and it succeeds.

Nice and simple.

For big games, the number of dice is reduced a little, but you can issue "platoon" orders to 3 units at the same time. We don't want to have to roll a bucket of 40 dice (well, maybe you do want that. Keep a separate table for the dice avalanche in that case!)

Friday, 30 March 2018

Squad Hammer Man to Man

For Squad Hammer players (and also players of October Hammer, Trench Hammer and Winter Hammer who like it a bit cinematic and pulpy) we're excited to present Man to Man:

A supplement adding a ton of new options for games where each unit is only a single figure.

Whether you want to add a few heroic leaders or you want to run a game entirely with one-man units, we got you covered:

New combat adjustments, levels of heroism, infiltration rules, an experience system, personal side objectives, it's really quite jammed with new content.

Grab it over at the Vault


Are you not on board the Squad Hammer wagon yet?


Please note that you need a core rules set to use Man to Man.
It is NOT a stand-alone game though some components could be used with other rules systems.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Basing for Acrid Smell of Powder

So what basing do you need for our upcoming black powder "mass skirmish" rules?

Stands with 3-5 figures on each essentially: Likely a basing standard you already have.

Cavalry can be mounted with 2-3 figures per stand.

In both cases, all representation is 1-to-1.
Some players may wish to base good troops with only 3 figures per stand while fresh recruits get 5.
Since all combat is by unit, not by figure, this is a good way of portraying battle hardened veterans.

If you have individually based figures, you can put them in clusters of 3 and that should work fairly well, though it can be a bit fiddly.

The goal is that you can take your existing armies from quite a few games and use them "as is" without having to worry about rebasing anything.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Projects: Renegade Scout and Black Powder gaming

The next update for Renegade Scout (most likely live tomorrow) will be another school of magic, plus rules for advancing personalities.

I'll also add in some more gadgetry and some more unusual weapons.

This will be a fairly small one, before the next big push.

Meanwhile, I can discuss something that's been in the shadows for a while now:

"Acrid Smell of Powder" will be a "Mass Skirmish" game for generic black powder warfare (roughly 1700-1880ish).

And it's a FiveCore game!

Black powder FiveCore is one of the two most requested FiveCore variants over the years, and I've been close to releasing something several times, only to go back and throw it all out.

I'll talk about the rules tomorrow, but for now, what is "mass skirmish" ?

If you already play Napoleonic or American Civil War games, odds are you have some troops based with 3-4 figures per troop stand. The sort of basing common in games like Fire&Fury.
Usually a unit is 5 or 6 such stands and pretend to be a battalion or whatnot.

But what if you took them at face value? 15-24 individual soldiers is a pretty decent skirmishing "section" and an army of 5 or 6 such units then is a good, fun skirmish action.

Hence the term mass skirmish.
Not sure if that will catch on, but it sounds good and I think it describes a scale of game that a lot of people enjoy, even if it isn't well covered by rules.

The goal is to stick pretty closely to the nature of the skirmish environment:
50 of my guys taking on 60 of yours isn't a BATTLE, it's still a skirmish, so we're not going to have batteries of artillery and squadrons of heavy cavalry rolling around.

We can always add those things down the road.

I hope you're excited. It may be shaping up to be the cleanest and coolest FiveCore version yet and should see you good from the Seven Years War/French and Indian Wars all the way to Franco-Prussian war or so. Maybe even a bit beyond.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

My next RPG campaign

I don't talk about my own gaming very much at all, because I don't tend to enjoy writing about a game I already played.

So instead, I'm going to talk a bit about a game I am going to run: Namely a historical campaign set during the Napoleonic Wars.
The theme is a sort of "Ungentlemanly warfare" outfit tasked with bothering the French.
Heavy on the adventure and dash.

I've considered a number of rule sets from Rolemaster 2 to Runequest to GURPS to generic BRP to a White Wolf-based homebrew (No, I didn't consider FATE. I never consider FATE) but in the end, I am going to run it pretty system light.

The system will look something like this:

Character stuff

Players get a handful of skills, probably 8 or so. Anything that isn't a skill is assumed to be average.
Skills are percentile rated.

To do stuff, roll percentile dice. Doubles are critical hits/fumbles.

I might try to work in a variation of the Doctor Who story point system, if I can think of a cool way of doing it.

In combat, roll against your skill to hit, roll against half of a relevant skill to dodge or parry.

If you are injured, I'll roll D100 for the severity of the wound. Over 30, it's seriously affecting you, over 60, it's potentially debilitating.
At 100, you're a goner.

I might not tell them the exact HP loss, Unknown Armies style. Not sure yet.

Big fights

I'll need some simple mechanics for mass combat.
There's some candidates out there, so we'll see what I find there.

Might borrow something from a board or mini's game or use a variation of the above system.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Renegade Scout - The Roadmap

So this is the rough "Roadmap" as it exists for Renegade Scout right now.

Please note that all of these are potentially subject to change. This is NOT a list of guaranteed features.

*Vehicle rules

This one is obvious: We gotta have tanks, walkers and all that and with the ability to build your own.
This will also be a major headache because all of the 3-4 vehicle systems available for Rogue Trader were kind of messy.

*Magic rules

This will be a variation of the original psionic rules, but with brand new powers written from the ground up and some problems fixed.


I'd like to include a more formal system for levelling up your favourite personalities.
The pseudo-RPG aspect of RT died almost instantly and I think it is something a lot of people want back.

*More weapons

We need a huge armory right?

*More equipment


*More skills

I'd like a total list of maybe 20-30 "skills" covering everything from combat engineers to teleportation.

*More aliens

Not sure what the count will be here. I'll talk more about what alien profiles will look like this week.

*Battle maker

So this is the big draw: A random scenario system that will bring all the fun and excitement we associate with "retro scifi gaming".
The design I am testing currently is card driven, with cards being assigned to "points of interest" which may turn out to be objectives, threats or unexpected shenanigans.

*Personal trait table

D100 table you can roll on for a character to give them a random "thing". They might own a prototype weapon, secretly be a cyborg or be possessed by a space demon.

*Battle conditions table

D100 table. Is it raining? Is it raining meteors? Are we fighting in a time-space distortion?

*Narrative army objectives

When the alien races are nailed down a bit more, I'd like to set up, say 6 objectives for each race, sof you dont want to use the battle maker, you can just roll a D6 and say "okay, the Precursors are trying to secure an artifact while the "totally not Borg" are trying to capture an important personality. Lets do this".

*Solo play

If we can manage it, I know solo mechanics are a priority for a lot of players.

*Solo army selection

Even more complicated, but a system where you could roll or draw cards to face a random army would be cool, wouldn't it?

*Battle field events

An in-game random events table. Everything from jammed guns to reinforcements to a rift in space.

*Strange terrain

Man-eating plants and crawling rocks. All the stuff you expect.

As I said, most of this isn't 100% but it's what is on my notepads in various stages of testing.
It's going to be a wild ride.

If you want in, it's at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/renegade-scout-retro-miniatures-rules#/

Officer Down


Welcome to Officer Down, a new scenario for Five Parsecs campaigns.

Take your existing crew from any of the campaign games and try your luck against hardened criminals.

Or if you prefer, use the quick generation methods in this scenario pack to generate a fierce squad of Enforcers.

The scenario includes tools for determining the opposition, campaign notes and random tables to generate variant scenarios, allowing no two games to play exactly the same.

Officer Down can be used with of the Five Parsecs campaigns.

Please note that this is NOT a stand-alone title. You MUST own a copy of one of the following games to use this except as inspiration:

Friday, 16 March 2018

Renegade Scout Stage 1

Stage 1, a fully playable beta version of the rules have just gone out to backers who opted for early access.

Stage 1 covers the basic game mechanics and a small selection of critters and weapons: Nothing spectacular but we gotta settle the basics first, right?

Are you not on board yet?

Right here

15 dollars gets you the game when its released (and 5 dollars off).
20 gets you on board now, when things are about to get excited.

I'm so nervous about people's reactions that I think I'm gonna hurl. . .

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Renegade Scout is being crowdfunded.

After much talk, the project that definitely won't happen has become the project that is actually happening.

Renegade Scout:
A "Retro Clone" of the original Rogue Trader game rules, completely rewritten and planned to include lots of exciting content.

You can peruse the campaign details here

Are you nostalgic for the good old days?
Do you have a hankering for conventional, old school mechanics that could be used for everything from near-future to space fantasy?
Do you want a game that delivers the goods instead of wasting 60 pages on glossy advertisement?
Do you get giddy at the sight of a D100 table?

I got you covered.
Let's make this a reality.

(Note that the image is strictly temporary)

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Preliminary impressions from customer survey

Got a lot of responses to the customer survey I emailed out through wargame vault, regarding thoughts on Five Parsecs.

Some preliminary impressions from 20ish responses (so when I say "everyone" below, what I mean is "of those people"):

*Almost everyone is a sci-fi gamer primarily or solely.

*Interest in historical versions is not great, but several people mentioned near-future, pulp or weird war.

*Most people are happy with the level of complexity currently but there's a definite core that wants more options and detail.

*Solo suitability was a strong factor for a majority.

*Thoughts on the AI systems are all over the place: Some people don't use such systems at all, some people want far more robust systems, some people mix and match.

*More "creation" systems to build aliens, vehicles etc. is something several people want.

*Many people mentioned wanting more "flavor" details to help build the world out more.

*People are pretty split between wanting more war-game elements and more RPG elements.

If you haven't sent in your response yet, definitely do, it's been very educational to read.

If you don't receive email from the Vault, email me and I can also send you the questionnaire manually.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Alien module available for Five Parsecs

The first alien module is available.

This allows you to take any Five Parsecs campaign and encounter a new, deadly alien inspired by the Autons of classic Doctor Who fame.

Whether you want a pitched battle or a search and destroy mission with uncertain opposition, we offer rules, new loot and even a small chance of getting one of the aliens on your side.

Don't say I didn't love you.


Women's day discount

Since NWG likes to celebrate International Women's Day, you can pick up Five Parsecs Salvage Crew for only 4.99 until the weekend.

Miniatures gaming is for everyone and we do our best to make games that are as inclusive as a game involving bug-eyed aliens and cannibal mutants might be :-)

Make sure to use the discount link below.


And hey, if you're one of the people who get bent out of shape by the mere mention of "Women's Day", please forward your complaints to stopbeingatosser@spendlesstimeontheinternet.com

Monday, 5 March 2018

Five Parsecs - Finding stuff

Two of the Five Parsecs titles so far (Bug Hunt and Salvage Crew) involve finding stuff on the battle field.

In Bug Hunt you have Tactical Locations.

These are sort of a short-hand for all manner of things that can work to your squads advantage: Alarm or defense systems, bulkheads that can be closed down etc.

Investigating a location allows a roll to determine its feature: Distract aliens and prevent them from moving for a bit, block access to the area, remove alien contact markers from the table or delay the arrival of more alien contacts for a while.

This does require a die roll, so make sure to bring someone with a good Tech skill.

If you like the "fortify" scenes from Aliens, that's essentially what is being represented here.

Salvage Crews instead have to deal with Points of Interest.

These can represent any manner of stuff you can come across in the battle area.

Toxic waste pools, computer consoles that open up a stash or more bad guys, you won't know what you find here.

In both cases, interacting with the objects is optional.
Bug Hunters will typically want to do so, since the worse case scenario is that you don't get anything out of it but if you're lucky, it could give you an edge against the alien hordes.

Salvagers have a bit more of a decision to make as a PoI can prove dangerous (or even result in running into monsters) but could also furnish you with more loot.

Choices choices.

Future Five Parsecs releases will of course feature similar mechanics too, when appropriate.
The upcoming black powder rules will feature a pretty good range of possible encounters to have in the middle of a spirited skirmish with the enemy.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Five Parsecs - How does the combat system work?

I thought I'd discuss the core Five Parsecs mechanics a bit, now that it's become a bit of an institution.

All of the scifi games work on this basic framework, while the upcoming historical title will not use it exactly (but will be fairly similar).

This primer ONLY covers the battle field system.
The campaign mechanics will be covered in another post (and differ more between campaigns in any event)

What is the point of the rules?

The point of Five Parsecs is to be a solo game first and foremost.
To me, that means it needs to be a bit simpler than I might have written it otherwise, since a single player handling both the system and every figure is more work than playing with your friends.

It's not too hard to write a very simple game, but writing one that is still fun to play can be a challenge.
Since Five Parsecs is played as a campaign, we have an advantage: The player will know the characters and the combination of pretend-personalities and the random scenario generation will create a story.

If this story is interesting, then we can have a fairly simple mechanical system because the player is already hooked narratively.

At the same time, we can't just throw out all the options.
If there are no choices to be made, then the player is going to lose interest pretty quickly since every encounter will play out the same.

The turn sequence

With a few tweaks, the basic turn sequence works like this:

At the start of the turn, roll a handful of dice (D6)equal to the number of figures in the players force.
Ignore the bad guys.

The point of these dice is they are compared to the Reaction score of your characters.
If a character is assigned a die that is equal or below their Reactions (typically 1-3 for most characters) they will act BEFORE the bad guys.
If they are not assigned a die, they will act AFTER the bad guys.

So if I have 6 characters with Reactions 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3
And my dice roll 1, 2, 4, 4, 5, 6

I can immediately throw away the 4's, 5's and 6's.

The 1 can be given to any character I want to act quickly, while the 2 would have to be given to one of the characters with a 2 or 3 Reaction score.

Taking your actions

I opted to forego a normal "2 actions system".
Instead when a figure goes, they can move and then perform a combat action (either fighting hand to hand or firing a weapon).

Figures going before the enemies go can hang out and perform snap fire at moving enemies if needed, allowing you to set up a bit of a defensive situation.


Rolling to hit is a simple D6 roll plus your Combat Skill.
The target number is a 3+ if the target is in the open and within 6", 5+ if in the open otherwise and a 6+ if in cover at all.

This means that for starting characters, plinking at enemies behind walls isn't likely to be particularly worthwhile.

Some weapons get multiple shots per turn, but they are not super common.

If a shot hits, you roll to render them a casualty. If you don't, they become Stunned.

There's no "wounded" states though the Compendium introduces rules for such situations.

Hand to hand fighting is an opposed roll with occasional chances of both characters being hit (or a character being hit twice).


Characters surviving any hit become Stunned.
When a Stunned figure activates they are limited to performing only one action: Either moving OR fighting.

You remove one Stun marker each turn after acting and you can potentially stack up multiple.

Think of Stun as a combination of shock, confusion, physical discomfort and general worry about your personal well-being.

What does the bad guys do?

In Bug Hunt, its a bit easier because the bugs want to eat your face and will move towards you to do just that.

In the other games, enemies are assigned to different AI modes.
These are very simple but essentially give you information on how the enemy is expected to move and act.

They are not complex flow charts, but serve to give opponents some simple guidance on the table.

For example, in Gang Warfare, an Aggressive opponent acts the following way:

Aggressive enemies with opponents in sight will advance at least half a move towards them, attempting to remain in cover if possible.
Enemies that are unable to see any opposition or which are within 12” will advance as fast as possible towards the nearest opponent, attempting to enter into a Brawl.

Heavy weapon figures will not move if they have a line of sight to a target.

Notably, all AI rules are written directly into the relevant chapter of the rules.
So when you are reading the rules for shooting, you will also learn how to handle AI shooting at the same time.

What if I need more detail?

Luckily, I did a Compendium full of extra details, such as being pinned down by fire that doesn't hit, soldiers not responding to orders, panic, wounds and much more :)

You can check out Five Parsecs through the different campaigns (all stand-alone games)

Bug Hunt




Trench Hammer bug. And tanks in general.

Was alerted that there's an omission in Trench Hammer.

This will be updated when I get a chance, but when firing field guns at tanks, they follow the same rule as tank mounted guns (do not apply the +3 hit penalty for armored targets).

Perceptive readers will also note that firing at tanks in October Hammer is a bit easier (+2 to hit penalty) compared to the +3 in Trench Hammer.
This is intentional. It accounts for the somewhat modest performance of tanks in the civil war and the fact that limited supply situations meant that more modest damage could be viewed as cause for retreat.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Winter Hammer available

Following up Trench Hammer and October Hammer, the world of easy-to-play war game rules comes to the Soviet-Finnish Winter War.

Requiring only a pair of D6 and 8-12 troop stands each, Winter Hammer includes rules for everything from barrages to KV tanks.

Games are playable in an hour or so, including a quick and easy system for rolling up random forces and conducting a war games campaign.

Time is short and none of us get to do as much gaming as we want to.

We all have wargame projects we never got around to finishing because we needed 200 painted models to play and the book was 348 pages.

Why not jump into Winter Hammer? 6 bucks, 45 pages and 10ish troop stands each and you're ready to play.

Fancy that.
More time spent playing games and less time perusing the "To hit adjustments for left-handed gunnery when vehicle is on a modest incline Subsection B" table ?


Sunday, 25 February 2018

End of February sale. Four great games. 7.99 each

Until the end of February, you can pick up some great wargaming deals from Nordic Weasel:

Pick up a copy of No End in Sight (our premier cold war platoon skirmish rules), Starport Scum (scifi adventure game), Five Men at Kursk (half platoon WW2 campaign action) or Clash on the Fringe (Rogue Trader style scifi action) for only 7.99 each.

These are not cut down versions, they're the full deal: Five Men at Kursk is over a hundred pages of WW2 chrome and action, just to give an example.

So go ahead. Indulge yourself. Upgrade your gaming a little.

Make sure to use the discount codes listed below or you won't get the discounted price.


Starport Scum 7.99


No End in Sight 7.99


Five men at Kursk 7.99


Clash on the Fringe 7.99

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Random NPC for Five Parsecs

So with our spiffy new Five Parsecs Compendium, let's roll up a random NPC.

This will just be a random fool, roaming the area where a normal mission will take place.

They could be a survivor (or clandestine operative) in a Bug Hunt mission or simply someone our Salvage Crew comes across.

A quick roll of 3D6 gives us 3 - 5 - 4.

That means our friendly NPC is a Professional of some sort (like a doctor or scientist), they are Aggressive (meaning they are not afraid to get in a fight) and are here to Destroy something.

Hm, sounds like someone trying to cover something up.
Maybe even something interesting!

We might put a small crate or something else interesting in the center of the table. This guy is trying to reach it and blow it up and will shoot at anyone from either side getting in the way.

If we can grab it first, maybe there'll be some goodies inside.

Base Profile for a Professional is 4 Speed, 0 Combat Skill and 3 Toughness but being Aggressive raises the CS to +1.

Another D6 roll of a 3 means he's armed with a Carbine.

Finally, I roll 2D6 to see if there's anything odd and get a 9. Oh boy, turns out it's an alien scientist.
Rolling a 12 for an Alien trait, our scientist exudes Noxious Fumes.

That won't have any effect here (it prevents friendly figures from getting near him) but it's a fun characteristic.

* * * * *
So we have a stinky alien scientist out to blow up the remnants of some shady technological experiment, in the middle of a normal Five Parsecs mission.

Sounds like a movie plot to me!

Five Parsecs Compendium available

An ever-expanding universe.

The Compendium adds a massive collection of new rules, options and expansion possibilities to any Five Parsecs campaign.

Whether you play Salvage Crew, Gang Warfare, From Home or Bug Hunt, the Compendium will have something to offer you.

Within these pages you will find:

New Combat options

Options and variants that can be fitted into any campaign with ease:

Suppressing fire, New rules for fighting stunned characters, Pinning, Bugging out, Slowing down critters, item usage, Combat wounds, Going prone, Knock downs, Panic Check, Battle response and Return Fire.

New Character options

Expanded ways to build and upgrade characters:

Hit points, Hero characters, Veteran ranks, Skills, Personality, Agility, Combat-oriented XP costs.

Game play options

New systems to add facets to game play:

Spotting, Cowardice, Personal contacts, Gun craftsmanship, Gun smithing.

Build options

Go all out with

20 Alien traits, 20 Mutant traits, Random weapon generator, Random NPC generator.

* * * * *

No matter the campaign you run, you will find something of use in this Compendium.

Do you want some more tactical options in combat?

Do you need a couple of random NPC's to roam the battlefield?

Maybe a mutant character?

New ways to level up?

It's all in here.

* * * * *

Best of all, the Compendium will be the only one of its kind.

When new options are added by myself or through player submission, they will added to the Compendium as a "living document".

If options receive widespread approval, they will be graduated into the core rules and removed from here.

This means you don't have to keep track of an ever-growing list of rules booklets.

Simply buy the Compendium and you are always on the bleeding edge of game options.


What games did I play?

Design never happens in a bubble, so I thought it might be illustrative to share a few of the miniatures games that I've played a lot.

Some will probably not be surprises at all.

I am using "A lot" to mean "10 or more games". There's a lot of systems we played 3-5 times and would play again, but they never became standard.

So if there's really obvious omissions on the list (like Chain of Command) that's why :-)

I am also omitting anything I wrote myself. That'd be kind of self-serving wouldn't it?

Science Fiction

Warhammer 40.000 (principally RT, 2nd, 3rd and 8th)

Warzone (1st and 2nd edition)

Battletech (I'll count it as a mini's game)

Necromunda (original)


5150 (original version)



Stargrunt 2


Nuts (original and 2nd edition, mostly the original)

Command Decision (1 and 3)


Red Poppy White Feather


Face of Battle (ww2)

* * * * *

There, that's about it I think.
If we were including games that we played 5 times or more the list would be enormously long, so we won't be doing that.

Any surprises on the list?

What would yours look like? Go ahead and share it below.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Five Parsecs From Home 1.031 available

The only change is that the rule to transfer characters to a Bug Hunt campaign have been added to the very back of the book, in the Infinite Adventure chapter.


Gang Warfare and Salvage Crew will be updated this week, though if you own From Home you can use the rule presented there as is.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

So more Renegade Scout thoughts.

Thoughts about the project that definitely isn't happening.

See previous blog posts for what this project is about. If it existed.

There's a number of ways to do it, with the awareness that this might be a lot more work intensive than other, similar projects.
This is me musing about it, soliciting unsolicited advice and generally being a prat.

Do the thing I always do.

Create the book myself, finish it, sell it online, voila.

*I have complete control.
*Nobody is out of any money if I suddenly catch the crazy-people-virus and decide to become an eskimo.
*I am used to the process. There's no question of something external fucking it up.
*I can be an okay-sized fish in a small pond. Less people will notice a release on Wargame Vault but it'll have less competition as well.

*If the project takes longer (which it very well might) that becomes an issue because I need to be able to pay my rent in the meantime.
*Any art comes out of my pockets (which aren't that well-endowed).


Kids tell me it's a magical website where you go tell people you have created a smart-phone adapter that lets you connect your smart device to your corgi dog, then strangers give you 8 million dollars.

*Take advantage of hype. Kickstarter is a big place and nerds will throw money at literally anything.
*Potentially raise a whole bunch of money in advance, which would mean working on the game without wondering if I'll bounce a rent-check.
*Budgeting for art (for example) becomes a lot easier to do.
*Potentially a lot more customers in the end. Huzzah!

*I don't want to do a bunch of stupid shenanigans with stretch-goals and promising people extra chotskies to weasel more money out of them.
* It seems the sort of projects that go on Kickstarter tend to be a lot more glossy: Games with lots of plastic miniatures, 500 page glossy rulebooks and all that.
An "old school' PDF game is going to look pretty jank in comparison, which could hurt the project.
*Running a "campaign" is time that could be spent writing "definitely not Dalek" rules instead.

Open beta test. Full version later.

I've done this before (such as Starport Scum) where we had a public beta version for a pretty playable version, then later we did the full version and sold it "for real".

*Get feedback from a wider range of players than my usual suspects (as loyal and skilled as they might be).
*"Double-release". You get to cash in on the hype from both the beta test AND the full release.
*People tend to understand that they are buying a beta version and that it may or may not pan out. As such, I think you may get more realistic feedback.

*If the beta version is too extensive, you end up cannibalizing sales for your final game since people won't see a point in buying the full version.
*If the beta is too short or bare-bones, people will assume the final game will be crap too.
*Some of the feedback you get will be from crazy people.

Crowdfund later

An interesting possibility is to use a bit of both worlds:

Develop the base game using the old school method (1 above) and then kickstart (or whatever) for added benefits later, such as  a nice artwork edition.

*Provides options for both fans who want a cheaper solution and those who want something visually pleasing and "modern".
*The core project doesn't depend on crowdfunding, only add-on bits.
*Having the existing product "in the wild" would help a kickstarter campaign.

*All the downsides of both 1 and 2 combined, to some extent.
*It'd end up essentially charging the cost of the game twice, which only the most hardcore fans would be on board with.

Release in stages

The game might break up into stages rather well (core game, scenario and D100 tables, army rosters)

So you release stage 1 as complete as possible, test it out, get it solid.

When it's good, release the game again with stage 2 included.

Finally, release the game again with stage 3 included.

At each stage, take the time to do all the benefits of public testing.

NOW, the trick is:

Each stage is clearly marked as a "Beta' or "early" version.

Stage 1 and 2 is very cheap, so the total cost of buying the game at all three stages adds up to about what it'd have cost from the beginning as a full game.
F.x. if you were aiming at a 20 dollar game, charge 5 dollars at stage 1 and 10 at stage 2 and 3.

*Take advantage of public playtesting without being quite as barebones as a "beta test".
*The final game can end up cheaper than originally anticipated since it was funded "along the way".
*Players who are only interested in the core engine can buy Stage 1 and then stop there.
*Patient players can get the game a bit cheaper by just waiting for the final version.

*Process might be confusing and unfamiliar.
*Knowing a more complete version will come along later might discourage people.
*Increased potential for confusion as you will have multiple versions circulating.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Mad ramblings? I am all ears.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Five Parsecs Bug Hunt is here

"All scifi gaming eventually leads to the movie Aliens" someone once told me.

Maybe that's not quite true, but the 1986 sequel to the original Alien certainly does loom large over miniatures gaming.

A squad of heavily armed marines alone against the ravening hordes of extra-terrestrial killers. Good stuff.

So now, you can indulge in the same sort of thing using Five Parsecs.

Create a handful of characters and lead your crew of soldiers as they accomplish objectives and fend off the alien terrors.

As with other Five Parsecs titles, everything is aimed at solo play (though you can play with a friend and even earn some bonus rewards, to account for the fact a human opponent usually is more devious).

Everything flows in a campaign structure with random events and unexpected things happening, though we've changed the structure quite a bit to account for the military nature of the campaign.

New mechanics include a fire team mechanic (many of your supporting troops will be squads of soldiers), new takes on the "contact" mechanics introduced in Salvage Crew, a Reputation mechanic that lets you cash in mission success for occasional benefits and a system for Mustering Out which should make Traveller players feel a tiny bit nostalgic.

Of course, you also get all the tools you need to transfer your Bug Hunt character to another campaign.
Start in the army, go AWOL and join a gang, clean up your act and get a salvage job. It's all up to you.

Updates are coming shortly to the existing game line, to allow transfers into Bug Hunt.
The new rules are all up to 1.03 standard though I'd expect a small update shortly after launch to clean up a few vague wordings and the likes.

You can grab the new game here

Saturday, 10 February 2018

"Renegade Scout" - the agenda

Note that this is still not a sign that anything is going to happen, there's more work to do, thinking to do and planning to do before I commit to anything.

But... let's talk about what the goal of "Renegade Scout" would be as a Rogue Trader retro-clone.

First, let's talk about what it CAN'T be:

It can't touch any 40K IP whatsoever

Maybe that goes without saying, but no genestealers, eldar etc.
Of course, many of these concepts are hardly original to begin with so substitution can be made.

That means it needs to find its own legs to stand on.

Mechanically, the Rogue Trader system is rather solid (In my view) but nothing unusual, especially in 2018.
What people remember was being able to grab random figures, develop stats for them and play story-oriented scenarios.

A lot of people remember the big D100 mutation tables and things like that, but I am not sure how often those ever made it into an actual game.
I propose they could be replaced with something more interesting, such as a "Adventurer skill" table or an "unexplained phenomenon" table, that sort of thing.

The rules can be tweaked...a bit

People are used to tinkering with the Rogue Trader rules (and like old D&D, it may be a system where nobody really played it "by the book" to begin with) but there are limits to how far that can be taken.

Of course, the book could include options and alternative suggestions but in the end, it must feel "correct" for what it was.

That puts some limitations on how creative I can get with mechanics, but then, it also helps to ground it a bit.

I think everyone can agree that the Rogue Trader rules are not exactly elegant, so a little bit of stream-lining won't hurt anything at all as long as reasonable legacy compatibility is maintained.

If it can't be full of Warhammer stuff, then what?

As I suggested in the original G+ post, I think the real key to success would be to allow "television" scenarios.
If the book comes with profiles for "Assimilators" and "Exterminator bots" and such, alongside ww2 soldiers and SWAT teams and cavemen, I think it'll hit that wonderful "feel" that most Oldhammer players tend to chase after.

Of course, this runs the same issue: You have to file off the serial numbers but wargamers are used to that sort of thing, at least if my GZG "Crusty" mini's are anything to go by.

As an additional bonus, if a manufacturer could be brought on board, we could include ready-to-play stats for a few miniatures ranges too.

So is this just for fat old bearded dudes with Sepultura t-shirts?

Well, if it happens, it'll be written by a fat, bearded dude with a Sepultura shirt :)

But no, I think aiming this exclusively at Oldhammer players would be a mistake, though they are certainly part of the intended audience.
I think any players that like somewhat traditional mechanics, creative scenarios and using unique miniatures from their collection would be a potential player.

The fact that it would be legacy-compatible would be a substantial added bonus of course.

What about those other guys who've tried to do this?

As far as I know the failure rate of previous attempts has been 100%.
If I am wrong, please let me know.

What about Inquisi-munda and In the Emperor's Name?

Different goals (and mad respect to both teams for doing great work).

They aim to create 40K based gaming, that's not the goal here.
I don't think we'd overlap at all.
If this existed, which it doesn't.

What makes you the right guy to do this?

Anyone can do this.
The only thing that matters is who can stick with it until completion.

When is the kickstarter?

I don't feel comfortable with kickstarters but maybe this would be a good exception.
I don't know.
Let's say "Never" and go from there.

If this happened, would it be a big glossy book?

No. But it might have art-work.

Can I help?

It's not a project that exists currently, so no.

If it becomes a project that exists, I will be looking for a team to help with various aspects (proof reading, testing, painting the odd mini, etc.).

So...can I ?

Let's do this:

If you feel you have interest, time and qualifications to help with this project and would like to be on the short list IF THIS PROJECT BECOMES A THING WHICH IS NOT AT ALL CERTAIN
then ping me at runequester@gmail.com with who you are and what you can do.

I am NOT interested in any variation of "Idea guy" and I am NOT interested in a co-writer.

Friday, 9 February 2018

So if I was doing a Rogue Trader retro-clone...

...this is what I would do.

The goal here would be compatibility with the original but any IP would have to be avoided.

*Replace the rulebook combat mechanics with the ones from the Battle Manual (in particular the improved blast weapon, overwatch and sustained fire/following fire rules)

*A Choosing a Target system that's a bit more structured than "each of my 30 guys can shoot at anything I like" but not as chunky as the Battle Manual/2nd edition system.

*Replace the Reserve phase with the 2nd edition Run move.

*Replace the Rout and Psychology rules with the 2nd edition versions.

*Keep the psychic rules but rewrite pretty much all the actual powers to be more interesting and more applicable to the table.

*New weapon lists would take a little bit of a page from 8th edition in using lower save modifiers and damage values in general.

*Weapon lists by era (low tech, high tech, futuristic) for multiple settings.

*Use the vehicle rules from the Compendium/White Dwarf (with the various damage tables). Maybe ?

*Create a list of Traits (similar to the Universal Special Rules in newer editions)

*Create new troop types to include in the book, mainly inspired by video games and television.
Klingons vs Daleks ?
(Also, I just realized the spell check accepts both Klingon and Dalek without complaint)

*Sort out a really cool mission system for randomly generated scenarios that would require troops to do more than just shoot each other in the face.

* * * * *

NOW......If I was doing an "advanced" version, I would do the following as well:

*Do away with Initiative and Attacks on the profile.
Instead, Weapon Skill of 5-6 gives you 2 Attacks and 7+ gives you 3.

*Consider getting rid of Strength as well.

*Use the Space marine morale rule (shaken on first failure, broken on second) for all troops.

I would also be really tempted to "flip" Ballistic Skill, so you are rolling equal or under your BS, instead of the whole "7 minus BS is your hit number".
That way you could just apply hit modifiers directly to your BS.

But rolling under instead of over might be a "bridge too far" for the old timers?

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

5P option - Suppressing Fire

A character can opt to perform Suppressing Fire:

You receive one additional shot, hitting on the same score as before.

Each hit places a Stun marker but no damage is inflicted.

Enemies will not use this option.

While the idea of firing specifically to suppress instead of kill is a matter of some debate among gamers, we're a bit more cinematic in our approach:

This action represents any situation where a character blazes through a bunch of ammunition very quickly without aiming.
The chance of actually hitting anything is pretty low, but the wall of lead can be quite intimidating on the receiving end.

Give this a try and let me know. It's for consideration for 1.04 or 1.05

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Five Parsecs 1.03

Version 1.03 is uploaded for your enjoyment.

The changes include:

*A ton of small improvements: Better wording, unclear rules being clarified, typos, that sort of thing.

*A section has been added specifically covering terrain.
This gives definitions of terrain types and how line of sight works in all cases, as well as clarifying exactly when you are in cover.

*A two page section titled "Unusual situations" has been added.
This covers a few odd-ball situations and how to handle them.

*The rules for Brawling combat have been updated a little.
Melee weapon characters now get a +1 to their roll, while those lacking melee weapons must -1.

*Pistol is a new weapon trait, allowing you to use the pistols damage value in Brawls and roll at a +0 modifier.

*The movement rules now have a movement cost listed for entering doors and windows.

*A section has been added for competitive (player vs player ) games.

If you recently printed your rules, you can simply print the new rules sections and add them to your booklet or binder.

All three games (From Home, Gang Warfare, Salvage Crew) have been updated.
The K'Erin booklet will be updated later today to add the Pistol trait to the appropriate weapon.

I hope you are enjoying Five Parsecs.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

5P World generator available

The Planetary Generation for Five Parsecs is available and can be grabbed below:


To some extent, it's a replacement for the old "Every star an opportunity".
There are fewer tables overall, but I think you'll find they impact game-play to a larger extent.

I added in a Traveller-style Animal system as well, both letting you create random critters from scratch as well as a small pre-made table allowing faster play.

Players who like developing a number of game worlds to travel between will get a lot of mileage out of this booklet, as will Gang Warfare players (as gangs tend to be stuck on one world for a longer period of time).

Go git 'er.

There'll be more 5P news very soon, including some unexpected ways the system might go (swords? Muskets? Orcs? Time travel? Stay tuned)

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

World generation for Five Parsecs

"Every star an opportunity" was pretty popular for the original Five Parsecs, so I knew I wanted to bring it back, but simply porting it over didn't feel quite right.

While the title isn't settled yet, the new world generator is quite exciting.

It'll work with all three (for now) Five Parsecs titles and let you generate a world to play on, Traveller style.

At the moment, it will generate a name, Atmosphere type, Bio-sphere (with a chance of angry plant life), Gravity and a big, hunking D100 table with everything from pirate raids to acid raid and funny hats.

Oh, there's also new rules for random animals prowling your battle field and even a "unique animal generator" for those so inclined.

The exciting thing is that a greater degree of random table results directly affect the gameplay now, whether during the battle or in the campaign.

You will find worlds you want to call home and places that you can't wait to get away from.

Release should be within a couple of days, once I am happy with everything.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Five Parsecs: K'Erin Warrior aliens available

We are proud to announce the first Alien expansion pack for the Five Parsecs system.
Whether you play Five Parsecs From Home 2nd edition, Salvage Crew or Gang Warfare, you can include these proud, alien warriors in your games.

The supplement includes extensive background, expanded from that presented in Unity Field Agent originally, new character creation tables and gear, table top rules and all the information needed to integrate the K'Erin in your campaign games.

What are the K'Erin? They are warlike aliens inspired by the Star Trek Klingons and Mass Effect Turian.

Suitable for a wide range of humanoid alien miniature figures, including old Traveller figures.

No matter which system you play, your Five Parsecs game can be enriched by these belligerent alien fighters. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Five Parsecs 1.03 plans

So here is the plan for 1.03 in a couple of weeks to a month.

Fix typos, bugs, errors and so forth.

Improve any vague or uncertain wording.

Any balance tweaks such as adjusting encounter table entries.

Each game will have a page or so added with how to handle "competitive" games (versus other players).

Each game will have a "rating" system added, letting you figure out a points value of sorts for your crew.
This can both help gauge when to make difficulty adjustments, help with balancing competitive games and in the future, it might be integrated into the encounter system too.

D and E can be added to the end of the rules and the rest will be rather minor, so no need to print everything again when it happens.
The idea is you can just print the couple of new pages and slip them in the back of your binder.

Anyways, that's the rough idea. Let me know what you think.

Gang Warfare and Bundle deals

After much delay, Gang Warfare is updated to 1.02 status.

Most of the changes are the same sort of thing you saw in Five Parsecs From Home 1.02.

Improved character creation tables, a few bug fixes, compatibility with Salvage Crew and a whole host more.

If you view the old post about the From Home 1.02 update here , you should be pretty well aware.
A fan remarked that it was a big enough improvement to count as a second edition, but it's totally free for you lot.

There is also a change log in the back of the file.

This means that all three Five Parsecs lines are now at the same "level".

Let me know if I goofed something up or if you notice any weird compatibility issues

If you run into strange situations transferring between campaigns, keep me posted and we'll sort out solutions.

* * * * *

We also have a bundle deal available now, after a fan suggestion.

The Five Parsecs Rogues and Scoundrels bundle gives you all three games at 3 dollars off, so if you haven't jumped in yet, this is a perfect time to do so.
You can grab it here

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Musing about things

This isn't related to any project in particular.

Infantry firing mechanic:

When a squad fires, roll 2D6.

If either die scores a 4, remove a figure from the target squad per 4 rolled. 

Take the highest of the two dice, add any bonuses the squad has (quality, weapons, mg) and compare to a target number based on cover.

Target is pinned if you beat the score. 

If a pinned target is hit again, they become suppressed.
If a suppressed target is hit again, they break. 

My GI's fire at some Krauts hiding in the woods.
I roll a 3 and a 5, so my die is a 5. 

My guys are Regular, so no fire bonus.
They have semi-auto rifles (+1) and a single automatic (the BAR) for no bonus.

So my total score is a 6.

The krauts are in soft cover (target 4) so they are now pinned down. 

* * * * *

Example 2:
A Kraut MG opens up from the flank.
They roll a 1 and a 4.
Their die is a 4 and I must remove a guy.

The Krauts are Veterans (+1) and a MMG gives them +2 for a total score of 7.

My guys are in hard cover (target 5) so they are now pinned down. 

* * * * *

Various thoughts

You could additional effects to beating the target number by a certain amount. 
Maybe beating it by 3 removes an additional figure or forces a "fall back" reaction.

Why 4's ? It's my favorite number. 

How do guys recover? Dice roll when activated? Leader ? Not sure yet. 

What are the effects of being Pinned or Suppressed ? Pinned can't move, Suppressed fires at -2.

How would assaults work?
Similar, but with more dice to start with. 

Does the number of guys firing matter?
No. Though squads below a certain size (5?) might roll only 1D6. 


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Salvage Crew bug

A perceptive reader noticed that there's a reference to Critters being penalized when Stunned, but it's not actually anywhere in the book.

The intention is that they do not get to re-roll 1's when Stunned.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

A Salvage Crew ....crew

So with a new game, let's roll up a crew.

We're just going to do three characters.

All characters begin with Speed 4, Reactions 1, Combat Skill 0, Toughness 3, Tech 0

For our first character, they came from a Struggling Colony.
This increases their Reactions to 1.5 and they are packing a hold-out pistol (a new weapon in Salvage Crew: Basically a short range pistol that can be used in melee)

They are motivated by Fame (which seems reasonable enough). This lets our crew start with a Lead already, meaning he knows a few people who might eventually hire us.

Our guy was trained as a ...Treasure Hunter.
That ups our Speed to 4.5 and he also gets a Jump Belt and some Infra-Goggles: Handy for negotiating unpleasant situations no doubt.

Our second character will be a woman and grew up on a Resource Extraction Colony (think heavy mining facilities).
That breeds hardy people so she gets +0.5 Toughness and we begin with 4 extra Credits in the bank.
She's motivated by the Truth, so maybe some shady **** went down with the mining corp and she's out to prove it?
This lets us start with another Lead, so now we have 2.

For training, I roll another Treasure Hunter, but I opt to re-roll and get a Doctor.
That lets us begin with 1 more Credit and she's got some Booster Pills packed away in a belt.

A doctor looking for the truth about a corporation..and she's got some barely-legal stimulants packed away? I sense some scifi noir drama going down.

For a third character, it'll be an alien of non-distinct danger, just so I can use some random miniatures.
Hailing from a scientific outpost gives us +0.5 Tech and being motivated by good old-fashioned Wealth means we'll have another 3 Credits to start out with.
Our alien has earned a living in human space working as Ship's Crew, which gives us another +0.5 Tech.

Normally, we'd go ahead and create three more characters, but this is a good place to stop I think.
I'd probably make our treasure hunter the leader (based on being motivated by fame) and I have a few clues I can work from, if I wanted to add a bit of story to my campaign.

Of course, I can't finish this without rolling up a motto (yes, a table is provided).
"Resolution Confirmed".

Sounds like a slogan guaranteed to make the big bucks!

Friday, 12 January 2018

S-day is here. Five Parsecs Salvage Crew is available

The third step of Five Parsecs adventuring is here: Salvage Crew!

You can check out the new logo too.
When I get a chance, that will get added to the existing Five Parsecs games too

So what is Salvage Crew? (SC here after).

It's a new campaign you play, using the same mechanics and systems as the two previous Five Parsecs (FP) games.

Build up a random crew with their own backgrounds and ideas and then take on the universe.

Salvagers tend to be a bit less militant so you will find your crew may end looking a little different.

Campaigns work in a similar fashion: Assign your crew to jobs and play out table top missions. 
Money is a much bigger issue now: Salvagers earn more of it, but they also begin the campaign owing a lot of money for their ship and license. 
Bottom out and you can have your campaign ended by your ship being seized (seems like a great chance to delve into a Gang Warfare campaign then huh?)

Turn to turn game play is what you expect, but we now have rules for things like "contacts" (which can turn out to be enemies or not, a bit like PEF's in 2HW titles) and exploring "points of interest".

This is where the big change is:
Your salvage crew is mainly here to loot. There are things to be found on the battle field and you may or may not run into enemies. You'll have to evaluate the risk of getting a particular piece of loot or not, if it might trigger an enemy squad of bandits.

The result is an experience that feels pretty unique, even if the starting point is the same.

The rules are fully compatible with Five Parsecs From Home and Gang Warfare (the GW update will be live in a day or two, sorry for the delay) and you can transfer characters around.

Does it stop here? Probably not. 
Five Parsecs could theoretically go any number of places.

Fighter pilots? Mercenary captains? Colonists? Private investigators? 
There's really nothing you couldn't do.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Five Parsecs From Home - tiny update

As we speak, the "Infinite Adventure" section at the back of the book has been updated to make way for Salvage Crew being released shortly.

No need to print anything else again, I didn't touch the rest beyond fixing one typo somewhere.

Five Parsecs optional rule: Stumbling

The intention is that Stunned characters cannot enter Brawling combat and for simplicity, they are not currently penalized either if engaged.

Optionally, you may try out this rule:


A Stunned character that enters a Brawl for any reason (whether initiating or defending) will fight as normal but must roll 2D6, picking the lower score for their Brawling score.

The Stunned character will suffer an additional hit for EACH of their dice that score a 1, meaning they can take up to three hits (ouch!).

There's a chance the Stunned character is actually faking it to lure an attacker.

If either of the Stunned characters dice is a 6, they will inflict a hit on the opponent, even if they ultimately lose the Brawl. This could mean both characters are struck.

A Stunned character rolls a 2 and a 4. Their final score is 2.

A Stunned character rolls a 1 and a 4. Their final score is 1 and they take an additional hit.

A Stunned character rolls a 2 and a 6. Their final score is a 2 but they will inflict a hit on the opponent even if they lose.

A Stunned character rolls a 1 and a 6. Both combatants take a hit (and the Stunned character likely takes another hit for losing)

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Starport Scum sale

Snow, winter and dreary weather. Whats better than hanging out at home and playing some Starport Scum?

For 3 days, you can pick up our Starport Scum rules for only 6 bucks.

A tasty cross of miniatures gaming and RPG's, Starport has loads of expansions available, lets you play pretty much any character model on your book shelf and can be taught in minutes. 

Roll up random jobs or build your own scenarios, it's all up to you. 

Make sure to use the link below to get the discount

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Army building in October Hammer

Thought I'd take a second to discuss how you build armies in October Hammer.

Well, other than just grabbing the mini's you want to play with and calling it a day, that is.

Let's say we're putting on a game between the Czechs in Siberia and a detachment of "Red Guard", then we'll just walk through the steps one at a time.

Guards are Irregulars meaning they roll two dice and use the lower for command points (being mostly militia).
However, they do count as a Storm army (adding +1 to their command points) so we're guaranteed at least 2 points per turn.

Czechs were mostly battle-hardened veterans (being composed of POW's) so they rate as Professionals (rolling two dice for command and picking the higher).

Each side begins with one leader figure.
The Czechs can roll 5+ to add a Junior leader but fail to do so.

The Reds get a 4+ roll to add a Revolutionary leader and succeed in doing so.

Being a bit more regimented, the Czechs get 3 rifle units and 1 "automatic rifle unit" (armed with a Lewis gun, Madsen or similar.
They get to roll to obtain a machine gun on 4+ (Success) and a piece of artillery on 5+ (fail).

The Guard, being a militia, are more subject to luck.
The dice provide them 2 units of Amateur infantry and 1 unit of Partisans though they do get a machine gun to back them up.

If the Czechs had rolled an artillery gun, they could now opt to swap it for a unit of Shock infantry.

The Red Guard are subject to the rules for Zeal and can choose to take the Chaotic Supply penalty.
If they do, they get to add another Rifle unit.
Manpower is a bit tight considering the poor state of the infantry, so that seems like a good option.

Due to being a somewhat lackluster army, Red Guard armies begin the game with 1 bonus Victory Point.

Rolling for Reinforcement points, we roll two dice, picking the lower. This results in a 4.

Each player gets 4 points to spend on the Reinforcement table.

The Czechs take another machine gun (costing all four points).
The Guards will take a Rifle unit (2 points) and two more units of Amateur infantry (1 point each).

How many minis do we need?
Each unit could be a single stand of mini's, though it does look better if you use two.
So factor about 6 mini's per unit and you're not exactly breaking the bank to get in a game.

Two armies set up and ready to go.
The entire process took about 3 minutes.

Readability and games.

Layout is tough. I'm self-taught and there's still big flaws I am looking to correct.

However, I think it's also a skill where a few tricks can go a long way and with self-publishing being all the rage in the RPG and wargaming communities, why not learn from each other?
A lot of games look bad.

I don't mean in the sense of art work: Many games have lots of gorgeous art (and most games have more art than NWG titles).
I mean in terms of the text being readable and easy to use.

There's a lot of style guides out there for writing which people may use, however, those are almost universally intended for text that is meant to be read (and often only once).
But games aren't like that.
Your player is going to need to reference the rules for "Single handed melee attack during adverse weather conditions" in the middle of a game, to determine if "a rain of acidic frogs" is considered an adverse weather condition or not.

I think we need to create our tools.

So... here's "Weasel's Rules of Making Text Less Bad":

These are not in any particular order of importance.

I welcome comments on these.
Feel free to share them or expand upon them as you see fit, as long as you give me a shout-out or link back here.

Pick if you intend the reader to print or read on the screen.
Personally, I despise dual column layouts for screen reading, but on paper, a single column tends to be wasteful and inflate the page count.

Tables, flow charts and similar should fit on one page if at all possible.

These are things the player will refer to during play, so having to page flip is a terrible experience.
If you are doing a print book, a table or flow chart crossing facing pages is acceptable.

Try to avoid having a few lines of text spill over to the next page or column.
This again reduces readability when the player is trying to reference a rule in play, but it can also lead to parts of a rule being missed or not understood.

Try to define your rules terms and avoid using the same words in casual conversation.
I typically put rules terms in bold to make it clear when I am talking about morale as a dice roll, versus descriptive text of the Azhkhanarnian army having low morale during the Wurzenboigen campaign.

In the same vein: Try to use consistent terms.
This can be tricky but it does improve the usability a lot.
Avoid switching between "figure" and "miniature" in a war game for example.

Rules text should be concise and clear, because it'll be referred to during play.
If possible, try to separate flavor text and rules text out so it's easier to parse the paragraph at a quick glance.

"German machine guns typically had high rates of fire, permitting the squad to rely on them to a greater degree.

Add +1 Attack Die when firing a German Machine Gun Team"

While it's considered old-fashioned, I think the old board-game style of rules and sub-rules works rather well.

Use formatting to indicate whether a rule is a sub-set of an existing rule. For example, if you have your Movement rules, you may have a sub-set that discusses Running or Hiding.
If each main rule is in BOLD AND ALL CAPS you might have sub-sets in CURSIVE CAPS.

You can do similar things for optional or advanced rules.

Limit the blocks of text.
I use a rule of thumb to never have more than 5 lines of text before a line break.
In dual column layouts, you might go to 6 or 7.

Large, dense text blocks are hard to read for a lot of people and are hard to reference during play.
Remember, we're writing games, not literature: Our use cases are different.

Consider more line breaks in your text as well.
"When failing an ammo check, the player character must reload. This takes an action" 


"When failing an ammo check, the player character must reload.
This takes an action"

The effect is not pronounced for a single line like this, but when it comes as part of a text block, it can make spotting the rule much easier.

People smarter than me have suggested that if possible, try to break up each page with /something/ else than text: An image, a table, an example, a text box etc.

I still need to work on this, but I wanted to include it anyways.

Also something I need to work on:
Illustrations that somehow correlate to the text on the page will improve usability of a book massively.

We've all had rule books where you remembered how to find a particular often-referenced section because "it had the picture of the dude with the sword".

Plus, it just makes the game look more cohesive.

When it comes to writing rules, pay close attention to your choice of words like "will" and "may".
When you review your game rules, read them as literally as possible because that's what a substantial portion of your audience will do to.

If read literally, does the rule say what you intend it to say ?

"Characters within 2" of an enemy may attack in close combat".

Does this mean I can also choose to shoot?
Did you intend that I can opt not to attack at all?

That's it for now.
I have more things to say, but I thought 10 was a reasonable amount for one day.

What are your tips?

Do you disagree with the obvious nonsense I just posted?

Lemme know.

If this was helpful to you, why not say thank you by buying a copy of October Hammer so you can see how I screwed it all up :-)

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Five Parsecs From Home. Mega-update

So the update for Five Parsecs is done and I've gone ahead and updated it.

There's really too much to just fit in a small email, so I wanted to put a more thorough list here.

The only thing that isn't included yet are the notes for how to transfer to Salvage Crew, but those will be added later, since it's only one page.

Gang Warfare will follow with more or less the same changes in a day or so. Maaaaaaybe tonight. Maybe.

So in no particular order of importance:

* New AI rules

The "Enemy Movement" rules have been tweaked a bit to make Cautious enemies act slightly differently.
Two new AI types (Psycho and Tactical ) have been added as well and the Encounter table has been updated to account for these.

They also deploy slightly differently.

In particular, this fixes an issue where "military" type units had to be rated Cautious, which didn't feel quite right.

* Difficulty settings changed

Instead of fixed difficulty "settings", now you get a list of options you can apply to make the game easier and a list of options to make it harder.
The result is that you can tailor things more to your taste.

*Recruiting limits

The number of current squad members before you have to roll to recruit is now 6 instead of 5.
Gang Warfare will raise its number by 1 too.

This is mainly there to prevent gangs from falling into the casualty death spiral.

*Tech ability score

Salvage Crew introduces a new ability score: Tech, which is used for various problem solving situations.
To ensure compatibility (and help scenario writers) all Five Parsecs characters will have a Tech score and some character creation rolls will add to it.

*Expanded character creation

Some character creation rolls will now provide bonus experience points, quest clues, patrons or enemies.
In addition, every roll on the character creation table should provide you with something, even if that something just happens to be an enemy gunning for you.

*Problem solving rules

Nothing major but Five Parsecs has a basic task system now for various scenario-related problems.
You get a few options to quickly roll out things like lock picking and bomb disposal.

*Dash move

Characters that don't fire can move 2" extra.

*Stun rules updated

It's now clearer and more consistent that you can accumulate multiple Stun markers, they wear off at a rate of 1 per activation.
I removed the "knock out" rule, since its rather easy to forget and don't come up often enough to be worth another die roll.

*Reaction dice pool

The Reaction dice mechanic is a bit stuffy, requiring you to roll separately for each character.
Now, it's a bit quicker: Roll dice equal to your squad size and assign them as you see fit.

This means you have more control over who goes first, increases the chances of having characters go first at all and should be quicker to play.

*Heavy weapon enemies

It's now clarified that enemies with Heavy weapons don't have to advance on you, even if their AI is Aggressive.

*Injury table relaxed

The injury table has been relaxed slightly, to make the serious results a little bit less common.

*Bonus XP for Tough opponents

More of a token, but some enemies are now considered Tough and give a bit of extra XP for your troubles.

*Climbing and jumping

There are now explicit rules for climbing and jumping down from obstacles.

*Stars of the story

To prevent campaign disasters, players get a collection of 5 "get out of jail" chances.
Each does a different thing, like getting a new character or avoiding an injury but can be used only once per campaign.


Five Parsecs From Home now uses the opposed roll Brawl from Gang Warfare.

A few delays for Salvage Crew but its not all bad news!

The good news is that Salvage Crew is progressing nicely and seems to fit together fine from testing.

The bad news is that it's taking a little bit longer than expected.

This is largely because the existing Five Parsecs systems (From Home and Gang Warfare) will both see some pretty substantial improvements to go along with Salvage Crew, both to ensure compatibility, fit in customer feedback and adjust a few bits that needed tweaking.

Needless to say, the updates will be totally free, but if you were thinking of printing out the entire book for either game, wait a couple of days :-)