Tuesday, August 2, 2016

First playtest complete!

Just a quick update I'd meant to post a few weeks ago...

On July 15, I ran the first test for character creation and skill checks! I also had a chance to teach players about a new XP system that I'm really excited about. It was a small group of four regular Saturday Night Space Opera players--each one a game master in their own right. All of them have at least toyed with game design--one is a published game designer--so it was a great group to solicit feedback from.

We tested three player classes: Starbuckler, Starbarian, and Astrosassin. Turns out I'd really underestimated player agency in level advancement so I'll continue to make adjustments in that regard.

Next steps:
I'm revising some combat mechanics and then (hopefully) finishing some rules for space magic. If I can get the basics squared away by Labor Day, I think I can move on to space-based encounters (starships, etc.).

Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Playtest begins in earnest this July!

While I wait for the concept art to take shape, I have the opportunity to get some feedback on rules and setting material. I'm planning on running some Rad Astra sessions beginning in late July. I'll post updates once that gets underway. I'm a little concerned that the player classes are too powerful, so I'm hope to fine tune mechanics.

I'm testing Starbuckler, Astrossassin, and Starbarian first. Space magic and the Astrocaster/Starlocke classes to follow.

And then it's time to work on some alien/robot character creation! (That might be the most asked question I get these days.)

And speaking of concept art, I've been refining source material files (images and text descriptions) for the artist as well as creating a playlist of songs that I think might serve as inspiration. We'll see if it's actually helpful or not. It helps with writing, so I'm hopeful it might do the same with illustration.

Keep your interocitor tuned to this frequency for more updates!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Seeking Artists for Concepting

Rad Astra is heavily influenced by the science fiction and fantasy of the 1970s and 80s. I'm currently looking for illustrators to help flesh out visual concepts (e.g., character classes, technology, spacecraft, aliens/monsters, scenes) for the setting.

My immediate need is for 3-5 black and white concept illustrations for the following four core character classes:
  • Starbuckler - Luke, Han, Leia & Lando, Starbuck & Apollo
  • Starbarian - Thundarr, Beastmaster, She-ra, St. Examin
  • Astrocaster - Dr. Strange, Sorceress (MotU), Adam Warlock, Evil Lynn
  • Astrosassin - Barbarella, Stella Star, Black Widow, Gamora

*Astrocaster's description is pending completion, but there is enough to give you some general direction.

If interested, please send me a message via my Google Plus profile (private message or email listed there). Please include your rate sheet for commission work.  I can't consider hiring anyone without this basic information (sorry).

Setting Influences and Inspiration
Check out the Player Character classes and Rad Appendix for inspiration. The Rad Astra and Space Opera Pinterest boards below should also be useful.

Planetary Classifications: Civilization Grades

The Hexuba galaxy is constantly yielding new worlds to explore,--including many that have been long lost and rediscovered. To facilitate classification among stellar cartographers , seven categories of planetary bodies have been established, according to the level of civilized settlements found there. They include:
1. ALPHA - Civilizations with advanced technology, interstellar travel
2. BETA - Industrialized societies but no space travel beyond the home system
3. GAMMA - Primitive (stone age to medieval)
4. DELTA -  This category is left purposefully undefined, for newly discovered worlds until they're classified
5. EPSILON -  Cybernetic/computerized worlds or completely non-biological
6. ZETA - Dead worlds, once habitable but life has been extinguished
7. OMEGA - Ruined worlds, where previous ruling civilization has given way to barbarism
None of these categories are meant to convey economic, political, religious, or other such societal aspects. They're merely standards selected to help space travelers assess whether they could end up marooned planetside (taking into account the possibility of hostile encounters) or find adequate technology to sustain their operations (i.e., "Get us off this blasted rock!").

Sunday, February 7, 2016

An Overview of Space Magic in Rad Astra


...before the birth of the old gods and the plucking of the universal filaments to create the vibrations that would give way to the multiverse, there was only... the Krackle. The original source of all things that cracked, sputtered, spit, and hissed with raw power. Pure and potent, it's energies were first discovered by the eternal titans of the cosmos.

Not only did they weave eternal geometries it into galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae, but likewise did they pour its essence into the "reverse" of spacetime fabric: hyperspace, astrality, and the dark dimensions. Hence, its application is unlimited. It can be pooled or tapped and called forth, fueling cosmic and arcane might. But those gifted mortals who seek to tame the blood of the universe are cursed to crave it evermore! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

PRESTIGE CLASS: Knights of Nuclei

From the heart of Hexuba to her farthest flung fingers, the citizens of the galaxy have long sung tales of the heroic Knights of Nuclei--warriors clad in radically augmented battle armor. 

Knights of Nuclei are wanderers, taking payment in the form of tribute or tips after their escapades. As they crave high adventure above all else, payment is deemed a nuisance--a formality, really. It's against their code to set terms of business before an adventure starts.

Every knight is enthralled  by the pursuit of excellence and purity of her or his deeds. While they have never been great in number, their passion and clarity of purpose is the stuff of starry legend.

In order to become a Nucleic Knight, you must first squire with a journeyman knight in order to learn the ways of the order. Most knights have been around for centuries and have undergone some sort of cybernetic enhancement to continue adventuring in space or harsh environs.

Atomic Armor in Ritual and Practice
Knights regard their appearance in battle with cult-like dedication, hyper-conscious of their reputations and the iconography they employ to support their image. Every knight of the order is learned in constructing their own atomic armor, powered by some exotic element or energy crystal. This process is not undertaken lightly, but is the very threshold quest that bestows knighthood on lowly squires.

Armor is custom to the tastes and fabricated mythos of each knight--as beasts, gods, and other supernatural creatures of the cosmos.

In some cases, you may come across a knight who has taken to long-term suspended animation (further adding to the longevity of the order). Knight's are acutely aware that their legacies are directly related to their ability to get around the galaxy--which takes time. The longer they're "in play" and aggrandizing their daring deeds, the longer their names will echo across eternity.

Rarest of the Order: Knights of Modesty
Since their payment can vary greatly, atomically-powered armor as well as their weaponry (including cybernetics) is a reflection of their service. But even within their own ranks, some knights eschew the ostentatious displays of expensive accouterments. They'll appear as errant paupers, holding themselves to a "higher" moral code of humility and poverty. Though still recognizeable due to their haughty demeanor, these knights confer prestige and poise in the face of even the most dangerous of quests.

Knights of Nuclei will appear in a forthcoming Rad Astra publication. Role-playing tips, the Knights' Code, and armor stats and requirements to be available in publication only.

Inspiration: Sir Didymus, Don Quixote, Outer Spacemen, King Pelinore, Micronauts, Iron Man, ROM Spaceknight