Saturday, 30 August 2014

[Parsecs] Travellers guide to the Fringe: Genetic renegades

Genetic Renegades are one example of how the world of the future isn't quite our world with space travel. As advances in genetic understanding and medical technology proceeded, the ability to manipulate and retrofit a persons genetic make up became common place.

While Unity policy is to encourage such modifications only for purposes that benefit Unity in some manner or for approved medical corrections (pending proper authorization of paper work of course), once technology reaches the streets, the streets finds a use for it.

The rich, the eccentric and the degenerate all find uses alike for gene-mods, whether to get permanent hair colour changes, strange appendages, turn into cat people or many stranger things.

Unity law dictates that without proper authorization (average wait time for the form is 3D6 years) modifications exceeding 12% of a person's G.S.M.R. (Genetic Stability Marker Rating) are unlawful. However, once a person is too far removed from looking like a human, they can usually pass for an alien and remain in good standing with the law.

Modelling genetic renegades:
The renegades are a good way to have some fun with your miniatures. Unusual and bright skin colours, glowing red eyes, alien or animal like limbs and features, knock yourself out.

Most renegades are essentially exhibitionists and will go for the flashy and spectacular. Use bold, bright colours when painting and make sure they stand out.
A group of renegades should be quite the sight to look at.

Genetic Renegades in the game:
No special rules apply though it is recommended to apply an Alien trait or two to their leader to increase the disturbing factor.

Genetic Renegades in the scenario:
When a group of renegades are encountered, they are usually forming some sort of gang, mercenary outfit or outcasts from society at large.

Some renegades form cults focused on transcending the human condition.

Renegades also make for a great flavour piece in any scenario featuring regular human opposition or characters. The occasional character with purple skin or a cat tail helps remind every one that we're not on Earth.

Hope you enjoyed this weeks instalment.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Big power armour or tiny mecha

Mobile Assault Armour

MAA suits are technological advanced suits of powered armour, mounting external weapons systems and enabling an individual soldier to wield high powered weaponry.

The pilot:

Each MAA suit is piloted by a crew member that can be generated like any other character.

Pilots will maintain two sets of skills, the first are personal skills applicable to the pilot operating outside their suit, the second are pilot skills and apply when operating the suit.

Skills are selected from the same list. When a pilot receives a skill, the player may select whether to take a pilot or personal skill. The choice must be made before rolling for the skill.

Getting in and out:

While most missions will be undertaken wearing the suit, there may be instances where a pilot needs to disembark to conduct missions on foot or embark during a surprise attack. This takes a full activation where no other actions are possible.
This cannot be done during a Fire fight or Scurry turn.

To embark, the pilot must be within 1” of the suit. When disembarking, place the pilot up to 3” from the suit, permitting them to take some basic cover.

Suit movement:

Despite good mobility, a heavy armoured suit can only be propelled so far. Suits move at the same pace as regular infantry though they can push through rough ground without penalty.

The leg modules of the suit can project significant power, permitting them to leap up to 6” instead of normal movement. The leap can take the suit over gaps and unsafe ground or over infantry figures.
Leaps must be taken in a straight line and replace regular movement.

Jump jets:

Suits fitted with jump jets may activate them instead of regular movement. This permits the suit to leap up to 12” forward, clearing obstacles up to its own height. Jumping unto a single story building reduces the forward jump to 6”.
Jumping unto a two story building requires being in contact.

Jets also permit the suit to descend safely from heights. Jets can be activated twice per mission before burning out.

Over run:

Suits cannot be engaged in hand to hand fighting in any effective manner. A suit that moves in a straight line and contacts an opposing infantry figure will knock them 2” out of the way. Roll a Kill die for the infantry figure.

Firing from suits:

MAA suits can mount heavy weapons with ease. Typical armaments include auto cannon, machine guns and even light anti tank weapon. Suits may fire one weapon system while moving and may still guard fire with a machine gun.
All fire is conducted as if the weapon was fully crewed and stationary.

Firing at suits:

MAA suits are resistant to small arms fire but tend to be vulnerable to anti tank devices. Firing at a suit follows the vehicle rules in the Heavy Metal supplement.

Suit brawling:

Two suits ending up in contact with each other may trade blows. Roll a Threat die for each suit. The attacking suit rolls first and resolves the die before the defender gets to roll.
Suits are not locked in combat and may move off when activated.

Autonomous Control systems:

Advanced suits feature rudimentary AI routines, allowing them to fight even if the pilot is injured. If a suit features an AC system, it may be activated with no crew but may only move OR fire on such activations.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Q&A Five Parsecs

Response to these rules have been super great, so thank you :)

Quite a few questions have come in through email and a few of them were asked more than once, so I figured I'd address those on the forum too.

Q: Is this just adventurer/gangs/treasure hunters or can you play army games?

A: The campaign rules are geared towards the former: Adventurers and trouble makers/shooters in the style of Traveller or Firefly. 
Absolutely nothing stops you setting up a squad of troops and slugging it out over a military objective but the campaign rules might not be a 100% good fit (though you could easily run a small mercenary squad using them).

Q: What kind of miniatures do I need?

A: Most anything really. You need 5-8 cool figures for your crew and then a random assortment of stuff for the bad guys. People with collections of strange scifi characters will have a good time here.

Scale isn't too important. They need to be based individually and you need to be able to tell them apart.

Q: Are there vehicle rules?

A: Not in the main rules no. There IS a FiveCore supplement covering vehicles (Heavy Metal) and hopefully this week, I'll get to update it with some futuristic stuff.

Q: Is the setting important?

A: Not terribly. I happen to think it's kind of clever but its mostly there to give some direction to things and then let you make up your own stuff. Some of the special characters you can meet are tied to the setting but they're generic enough you could fit them in anywhere or just change the explanations a bit.

Q: Why is it a supplement?

A: There wasn't a great option either way. I didn't want FiveCore players to be paying for essentially the same movement and combat rules again. 
On the flip side, making it a supplement will make some people upset. In the end, I made the bundle with core rules and Five Parsecs fit under the 20 dollar mark and the two combined are well over 100 pages, so I felt that was a good compromise.

Q: What mini's are displayed in the rules?

A: The phenomenal Rusk from Armies Army. You should all go buy these. They really are wonderful little figures. 
Most 15mm packs give you 3 poses for 8 figures. These guys give you 10 unique poses in an infantry pack.

As an aside, next month, if all goes well, there will be at least one Five Parsecs supplement. Likely a military one but we'll see. If people have stuff they want to see, I do take suggestions (and bribes paid out in cash or 15mm scifi mini's).

Thursday, 21 August 2014

[Parsecs] Travellers guide to the Fringe - Hulkers

Welcome to a new column (weekly I hope) where I'll explore the Fringe setting from Five Parsecs From Home and what it means for gameplay, modelling and generally having fun.

One of the character possibilities you can run into is the Hulker. Genetically modified to be strong and rather dumb, these brutes were intended for mining, suicide missions in the military, herding particularly unpleasant large animals and other tasks where muscles are more important than brains.

However, over time, significant enough numbers have either fled, wandered off, gotten lost or even staged their own rebellions that they can be encountered everywhere in Unity space.

Being generally too dumb to fill out paperwork and with a penchant for berserk rage if hurt or scared, they tend to make poor fits for the highly regimented existence most Unity citizens follow.
Consequently, they often end up in the Fringes where life is simpler, more things need breaking and where there's always someone willing to pay for simple people who can break stuff.

Modelling Hulkers:
I'll be honest, Hulkers were included because I like a lot of the space orc figures out there, but I didn't want to simply transplant a race like that into Five Parsecs. As such, the first stop for Hulker figures is any range of orc-like humanoids: Heavily muscled, a bit Neanderthal in appearance and with big, crude weapons, though any human figure with suitably exaggerated muscles can work.
Since they are essentially of human stock, though heavily manipulated by space-fantasy-science, they should be painted with flesh tones though a slight, green'ish hue to the skin would be a nice nod to their thematic origins.

"Officially" a Hulker should be from human sized to about time and a half. This gives you a lot of flexibility to pick suitable figures.
Incidentally, because of their status as crude genetic constructs, feel free to use old, poorly sculpted figures with weird faces!

Hulkers in the game:
Hulkers are subject to two special rules: They get a +1 bonus to Brawling rolls (due to their size, reach and brutality). This is more significant than it may sound as they also get the attacker bonus of +1. Even without a melee weapon, they are likely to inflict serious damage, if they can close enough.

Additionally, whenever they take ANY results from a Kill or Shock die, they have a 1 in 6 chance of going berserk. This makes them ignore the original dice result and instead charge 6" towards the shooter immediately.

This is too unlikely to rely on as a saving throw, though it IS a nice touch when it happens.

If the Kill or Shock dice are not inflicted by a shot, they will charge the closest visible enemy. If no enemies are present, the Hulker shrugs off the harm and yells angrily but will remain in place.

Hulkers in the scenario:
While Hulkers are pretty dumb, they are not imbeciles. As such, they may carry and use complex weaponry and can take all tests as the scenario may dictate.
Hacking scenarios may be off limits (but they can probably brutalize any door or barricade just fine on their own). Persuasion is usually based off telling exactly how many limbs the recipient will have AFTER they are done refusing to cooperate.
A scenario may dictate a penalty to Persuasion rolls, if it involves winning someone's trust.

When setting up Hulkers in a scenario as enemy cannon fodder, they should generally be armed with simple slug throwing weapons. Fitting them with melee weapons is a rather powerful combination though it does suit their qualities.

Hope you enjoyed. Feel free to comment with questions, what items you'd see explored in new posts and anything else on your mind!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Some sales numbers

Figured I would share some sales numbers with you lot.
This is all PDF and all through a single site (wargamevault). No other sites and no hard copies.

Five Men in Normandy since it's release on June 15th has moved 91 copies so far. I figure the first big mile stone will be 100 copies which it'll probably hit next month (end of this month if I am really lucky).

FiveCore has moved 84 copies and been out for a bit less time. Very nice and no doubt the lower price point attracts people.

Five Parsecs From Home has moved 29 copies since its release on the 12th. That's very strong but scifi skirmish is also a very popular genre and it does something a bit different from its competition (strong, character drive campaigns).

Obviously numbers do also drop off over time. These games are all relatively new (which helps sales, though as a game goes on, increased exposure and word of mouth no doubt help too. I imagine in a month or two, sales will drop off fairly sharply)

I didn't crunch the numbers for supplements that closely but at a glance they sell about two thirds of the copies the main game sells. People do like the bundles. I'd hazard a guess that well over half the supplement sales comes from bundles.

In the same time frame, Fast and Dirty has seen 44 downloads with an average donation of about 50 cents.

Does this mean that "Pay what you want" isn't worthwhile? Not necesarily. FAD has been out for a very long time and most people who want a copy already has one from the website. Likewise, it's always been a free game, so people may be less inclined to pay for it.

If I do another "mini game" of 10 pages or less, I may try to do it as a "Pay what you want" model and see what happens.

Besides, once I hit 100 sales of something, it only seems fair that we should do something special.

Is this valuable to anyone else? It depends. Everyones experience is different. If you're more famous than me, then your numbers will be much better no doubt while someone just breaking in will find it tougher.

Anyone want to share their experiences both for a recent release and for something that's been out for a long time?

Sunday, 17 August 2014

In Spaaaace and more

It's been a little while since I've updated the blog, mostly because I had been caught up in getting Five Parsecs From Home finished and out.

Feedback so far has been very positive and one of the buyers even mentioned that he had been using it as a campaign system for another set of skirmish rules.

If you haven't yet, go grab it. I sincerely believe it's something pretty unique on today's market.

There are a LOT of projects in the works, some are FiveCore related, some are unique systems. I am always looking for testers, so if you have interest in:

Post WW2 platoon combat
A large scale version of Five Men in Normandy (1 base is a squad, with each player controlling a platoon)
Generic campaign rules that can be applied to most 20th century, modern and scifi rules sets.
Aliens vs marines in FiveCore.
Black Powder / napoleonic skirmishing / rpg-like gaming.
Large scale scifi gaming (preferably in 6 to 15mm)

Drop me a line at and I'll hook you up with very early playtest drafts.

There are other projects in the pipe but those aren't yet in a testing stage.
Additionally, a few free upgrades will come along this week to some of the existing FiveCore products.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

New site

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Check it out.