Friday, September 27, 2013

Cepheus Subsector: Defenders of the Disciplined...

Good Afternoon, All:

Today, I wanted to introduce you to Cepheus Subsector, the focus of my next Traveller publication, by introducing an antagonist for adventures set in the region. I've often written about the psionic terrorist cells sponsored by the Republic's enemies, the Covenant of Discipline. I think it's about time I gave them a name. Here's the write-up I'm including on one of the more powerful enemies of the setting:

Defenders of the Disciplined: A terrorist organization based out of the Covenant of Discipline, these subversives operate on numerous worlds both inside and beyond the borders of the Dracosian Republic. The Defenders systematically use violence and terror to strike against the Dracosian Republic in retaliation for the Republic's official stance on psionics and the treatment of the Disciplined, in particular. Attacks made by clandestine Defender terrorist cells are usually carried out in such a way as to maximize the severity and length of the psychological impact on the greater population, in addition to causing immediate political and economic damage, particularly against anti-psionic targets. The Defenders of the Disciplined are organized in a conspiratorial cell structure formed of members often recruited locally, with individuals cell members having limited contact with other cells. Each cell fulfills specific roles within the organization: infrastructure, operations, indirect support, etc. This structure allows the Defenders of the Disciplined to minimize their losses upon discovery, and also makes it very difficult for authorities to insure that all elements of a discovered threat have been removed. The Covenant of Discipline does not officially condone the actions of these terrorists, claiming that the practices of the Defenders of the Disciplined does not hold true to the core values of the psionic philosophy known as the Discipline. The media often portrays Defender conspiratorial cells as “Disciplined Terrorist Cells,” blurring the distinction between the government of the Covenant of Discipline and the terrorist organization.

As I mentioned in my previous efforts to develop sandbox-style campaign settings, having a Hall of Infamy, a roster of antagonists, can be very helpful for developing adventures and story arcs. The Defenders of the Disciplined are one of the seven multiworld entites that make up the Hall of Infamy for Flynn's Guide to Azri Drakara: Cepheus Subsector.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Site Moves On Monday, And We Start Monster Creation...

Good Afternoon, All:

I am slowly in the process of porting over the In Like Flynn blog to the new website, and will officially launch the site on Monday, September 30th, 2013. I may not have all the features up by then (namely, a storefront for my PDF products), but if it isn't up on Monday, it will be up shortly thereafter. I'll post here when I'm ready to migrate people over.

Kobold posted a comment to my previous entry, and so I'll address his requests. Starting on Monday, I'll begin a short series on how I go about creating monsters, and even create a few. Although I prefer to keep this blog generally system-less going forward (except for possibly Traveller bits, since I want to start focusing in that area), I will probably offer creature stats in a number of different systems, in case they should prove useful for Referees. Also, it will demonstrate how I might port the same description over into multiple systems. Let's build a few monsters for a fantasy game, a sci-fi game and a horror game. Sound like fun?

With Regards,

Friday, September 20, 2013

Reader Poll: Challenges in Campaign Execution...

Good Afternoon:

My apologies for the lack of entries lately. I am still working on the new website, getting the design to look the way I want it to. In the end, I think I'll end up going with a minimalistic design, because anything else I've tried simply looks too busy. When all else fails, going back to the basics is generally considered a good thing.

Once I get the blog moved over to the new site, Fridays will become the day that I discuss the current project I'm working on for Samardan Press. Do you think that Mondays and Wednesdays also need their own theme?

When I think about the kinds of challenges that all Referees, GMs and DMs face when running a campaign, I come up with a short list of different things I could address as the next series for In Like Flynn. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Adventure Creation
  • Challenges of Running a Long-Term Campaign
  • Encounters or Scenario Creation
  • Finding New Players
  • Handling Different Player Types
  • Locations
  • Making Combat Fun and Entertaining
  • Map Creation
  • Monster Creation
  • Organizing Campaign Data
  • Role of Organizations
  • Running a Focused Campaign (Political, Military, Mercantile, Exploration, etc.)
  • Running a Prep Lite Campaign (aka Winging It)
  • Setting Creation (Campaign or Mini-Settings)
  • Stock NPCs
  • Story Arcs
  • Unique NPC Creation

What sounds like fun to you? What would you be most interested in reading about? What aspects of running a campaign cause you problems? Please let me know in the Comments section. Remember that your words will help determine the direction of my next series of posts.

With Regards,

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New Product Release: Patrons By The Dozen...

Good Afternoon, All:

It is my pleasure to announce that I have released my latest Traveller product this weekend:

Flynn's Guide to Azri Drakara: Patrons by the Dozen is an adventure sourcebook for Traveller that contains a dozen Patron Encounters, each one defining an adventure scenario with six possible resolutions. These adventures can be used with the Traveller system, or even other science fiction rules sets. These Patron Encounters are intended for use in the Azri Drakara campaign setting, but can be used in any Traveller campaign with little or no changes.

Cover - Patrons by the Dozen

Flynn's Guide to Azri Drakara: Patrons by the Dozen is the next product of the Flynn's Guide to Azri Drakara series. This series details various aspects of the Azri Drakara sector, an interstellar region designed to offer Referees and players opportunities to engage in all manner of science fiction adventuring.

Pick up your copy at either location: Patrons by the Dozen on RPGNow or Patrons by the Dozen on Lulu.

Watch for future releases of the Flynn's Guide to Azri Drakara series from Samardan Press in the coming months!


Friday, September 06, 2013

New Gaming Products On The Horizon...

Good Afternoon, All:

I realize that I've been quiet recently, but that's because I've been working hard on developing several new gaming products for launch this fall.

Next week, I will release Flynn's Guide to Azri Drakara: Patrons by the Dozen. It contains a dozen Patron Encounters, each one defining an adventure scenario with six possible resolutions. For an example of the contents, please check out Bruce Ayala, Interplanetary Playboy.

By the end of September, I will be moving this blog to a new website. I'll provide more information on that later, as things develop.

In October, I will be releasing Flynn's Guide to Azri Drakara: Cepheus Subsector. This campaign resource and supplement is similar to Flynn's Guide To Azri Drakara: Rodan Subsector, in that it provides a complete game setting which can be used with the Traveller system, or even other science fiction rules sets. This book focuses on a single subsector on the frontier of the Azri Drakara sector. The guide provides astrography maps, world data, library data, rumors and a number of patron encounters to help you begin your next science-fiction campaign on the frontier of the Dracosian Republic.

More Later,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Patrons By The Dozen: Bruce Ayala, Interplanetary Playboy...

Good Afternoon, All:

I'm working on a small Traveller product at the moment, which I am tentatively calling Flynn's Guide to Azri Drakara: Patrons By The Dozen. It contains a dozen Patron Encounters, each of them built to my usual standards. (For more details on that, I will direct you to my post entitled Traveller Sandbox: My Thoughts on Patron Encounter Design...). Below is one of the Patron Encounter write-ups for your review. What are your thoughts about it?

Bruce Ayala, Interplanetary Playboy

Required: Investigate, Streetwise; No special equipment required.
Reward: Cr 500 a day, plus expenses; minimum of two weeks.

Players’ Information
Word on the street is that the famous holovid star and interplanetary playboy Bruce Ayala is cruising the local bar scene. That night, Bruce Ayala, along with his entourage of publicists and models, staggers into the same locale as the party and buys a round for every offworlder. Over the course of the evening, he continually hounds the party for details of their exploits, always comparing their adventures to roles he's portrayed. Late into the evening, Ayala corners one of the party members and offers the crew a job, if it can be handled with discretion. He provides contact information, and arranges a meeting to discuss terms, if they are interested.

Referee’s Information
When Bruce Ayala achieved system-wide fame as a holovid star, he admits that it went right to his head, and it cost him the love of a wonderful young woman by the name of Martha McKernan. He's kept tabs on Martha over the years through private investigators and the like, one of whom has reported that she's gone missing a few days ago. Ayala wants to hire the party to discretely investigate Martha's disappearance, locate the young woman and rescue her from whatever situation she might be in. He's concerned that his current media distributor, Penultimate Productions, have pulled something, as he has been secretly planning to sign a new contract with a competitor, System Media Studios. That represents a great loss for Penultimate Productions, and Alaya feels that they are not above coercion to insure the holovid star continues to bring them money. In all of the options presented below, further development is left to the discretion of the Referee.

1. All is as it appears. Bruce Ayala is correct; Penultimate Productions has discovered their star's clandestine plans. Slowly moving away from the verge of bankruptcy, the media distributor owes their recovery to Bruce Ayala's success in the box office. Worried that the star's departure could cost them everything, the executive producers have hired thugs to kidnap Martha McKernan and use her to force him to extend his current contract.
2. Sadly, Bruce Ayala is incorrect. His own agent, Cornelius Brass, has a gambling problem, a huge gambling problem. He's fallen in so much debt to the local crime syndicate that they've started threatening his life and the lives of his family, and the man has become desperate. Brass has arranged for the kidnapping of Martha McKernan, hoping to ransom her to enough to pay off his debt and tuck away a tidy bankroll so he can continue his gambling habit.
3. Bruce Ayala has been less than truthful. He's been stalking the innocent Martha McKernan for years, using his fame and fortune to attempt to force her into marrying him. In an act of desperation, Martha has gone on the run, trying to make her way out of the star system undetected in an effort to find safety from Ayala's overwhelming attentions.
4. System Media Studios has kidnapped Martha McKernan as a form of leverage to use on Bruce Ayala in the event he changes his mind and backs out of the secret negotiations. They believe he is unaware of her disappearance, and only intend to reveal her status as a prisoner should he start entertaining the thought of extending his current contract with Penultimate Productions.
5. Martha McKernan has watched Bruce Ayala's meteoric rise to success with envy and jealousy. She feels scorned by the holovid star, and every image of Bruce Ayala with some starlet has pushed her further into the depths of hatred and loathing. Martha has arranged her own "kidnapping", so that she can demand a costly ransom from Bruce. Any extended contact with Martha will reveal that she is not completely sane, and will likely go to extreme lengths to harm and humiliate Bruce Ayala.
6. Martha McKernan is actually on vacation, hiking deep in a wilderness preserve to get away from civilization for a few weeks. Edmund Sang, a private investigator employed by Bruce Ayala, has reported her missing simply to get more money from Mr. Ayala to "locate" her. When the party shows up and begins investigating, he realizes that he might get caught and so desperately attempts to redirect them, to avoid having his deception discovered. Sang's efforts to create a false trail points to the local crime syndicate, who do not take kindly to the party investigating their illicit activities looking for a girl they've never heard of.

I look forward to your comments.

With Regards,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Future of "In Like Flynn"... For The Moment...

Good Afternoon, All:

I've been looking at my direction of product development, and I've decided that I need to choose a direction. Ultimately, I think I'll be better served developing professional products for the Traveller System Reference Document. As you may have noticed, I do tend to have "Gamer ADHD", and this blog covers a wide range of materials. Going forward with the blog, I will generally confine my posts to system-agnostic discussions and general GMing advice. Genres are still wide open, because I feel that there's always room for conversion to your favorite gaming system, whatever the genre happens to be. After all, there are now fantasy versions of Traveller and sci-fi versions of Swords and Wizardry now, which should illustrate my point rather well.

Thanks for your continued readership and support. It is my hope that the material I present continues to prove useful, if for no other reason than as an idea resource.

With Warm Regards,
Jason "Flynn" Kemp