[spacehack] Who Lives In The Void?

Of course, what are the Void and the Shard Sea without someone — or several someones — to inhabit them and the worlds found within them?

Sample Kinds

Haouu (Owlfolk)
Tall, sturdy and feathered, with small wings folding neatly away, taloned hands and feet and the visages of tufted-eared owls
– Advantage against illusion, charm or other mystifying effect

Miuren (Catfolk)
A kith sporting retractile claws, an expressive tail, a soft pelt of fur and the features of a domestic feline
– Advantage on a test to avoid damage of any kind 1/day

Sebau (Shardfolk)
-Humanlike, sporting a scatter of tiny “false stars” in the hair and eyes of brilliant jewel colours
– mindspeak with Nearby sapients

Melitti (Beefolk)
Bipedal, fuzzy bee people, with four arms, two wings and variable colours to their plush
– create simple tools at will

Parad (Greenfolk)
Sapient plant people varying from green-tinted exemplars of other folk to gnarled wood-wights and all gradations between
– Advantage to resist or overcome poison and disease and similar afflictions

Kinds Table

01. Beefolk 05. Daemonen 09. Glitterwing 13. Crystalin 17. Greenscales
02. Human 06. Brazen Ones 10. Fair Folk 14. Minotauros 18. The Wise
03. Ghuls 07. Sebau 11. False Angels 15. Bonefolk 19. Shadowalkers
04. Alabastri 08. Parad 12. Wolfen 16. Living Lights 20. Naga


And, if you fancy adding a change or two, some physical quirks:

01. bits of body replaced by living copper, starvine, bloodwood, crystal, royal resin 11. oddly-coloured or luminescent blood
02. third eye, round and gemlike 12. corpse eyes
03. additional pair of slender limbs 13. antennae, or extra antennae
04. moonblade tusks 14. bioluminescent strands in hair or other pelage
05. bioluminescent patterns 15. symbiotic algae in skin or pelage
06. perpetually charred flesh patches 16. glassy nails or claws
07. one or more pairs of slender translucent tentacles 17. molts unusual dust (golden, iridescent, ashy, tiny scales, pollen)
08. brassy scales, feathers or fur in patches 18. implanted voidbloom
09. bone thorns 19. drinks blood/ichor
10. a tail, or an extra tail 20. filmy or glassy vestigial wings (of any kind)

[spacehack] Some space critters

Comet Lobster
1 HD
Only has 1d4 hp; Clinging Pinch does 1 damage every moment after attack unless removed
Cold, pale, tasty, vicious, and comes in swarms.

1 HD
Mocking Banter makes adversary lose next action on failed WIS test.
Folks of all kinds take up the pirate’s life, but these folks consider themselves experts.

1 HD
1d2 Claws, 50% chance to warn of incoming danger to ship
Sleek, proper, and said to grant favours to captains who treat them well; honest mousers, too!

Dazzle Swarm (Dazzlers)
1 HD
1 damage, Flickering Strobe: CON test or blinded 1d4 moments
These floaty shimmery mote-y things do nothing on their own and little when in clouds, but their lights flash at the worst times.

1 HD
Can mimic the shape of anyone it comes across, attack 1d2 and -1 WIS
An amorphous conglomeration of silvery, mirror-bright floss, until it insinuates itself amongst the crew.

1 HD
Acid Spit 1d3, Disadvantage to attacks on glassine made with blunt weapons
An infestation of these arm-length translucent slugs in riotous colors can wipe out ship stores in days, and their spores are everywhere.

2 HD
Inanimate organics that come in contact dissolve the next moment, immune to cold and fire
Wispy, nearly transparent jellies that will ooze over asteroids, ships, anything really.

2 HD
Blazing Corona, CON test or continue to take damage every moment until successful CON test.
Exactly what it says on the tin: hoops of sullen red-orange flame, oddly spongy and as wide as the average adult is tall.

The Withered
2 HD
Two Claws 1d4, WIS test or flee in fear 1d4 moments, mindspeech
The shriveled, dry remnants of voidfarers gone awry, all too eager to feed from planting that terror in others’ hearts.

2 HD
Chilling Touch 1d6 + INT test or hallucinations for four hours
Some folks get too much of the shardfield into their system. Figuratively, or literally.

2 HD
Shellshield 2 AP + can be sundered, multiattack 1d3 three times, shipwrecker
Bulky, ribbed spiral shell, pyrite and grey, and a dozen grasping, hook-studded tentacles, oily black.

Aether Crane
3 HD
Beak Stab + bleed, 2 hit points per moment, or Wing Buffet 2d4 and CON test or stunned one moment
This huge and multicoloured crane can be ridden through the void; it will carry two riders, or one rider plus some very compact cargo.

3 HD
Prism Tentacles (2d4) + CON test or take another 2d4 damage of fire, ice, or light
Sweet, glimmering jellyfish; nice to eat, if they don’t get you first. The fire ones are nicely spicy.

3 HD
All DEX tests rolled with Disadvantage, CON test or Drains 1 Level with Hit
A shark of the void, blood-black and savage, that feeds on the spirit more than the flesh.

Great Nudi
3 HD
May cast a beneficial spell of level 1-3 if offered food
Why yes, that is a billowing, ruffling multicoloured nudibranch the size of a cow undulating through the void.

3 HD
Pale Bolt 1d6 up to Far Away target, up to three targets; shatters wood or glass, shipwrecker
Strange creatures of articulated milky shells and long, long spikes, like an insectile hedgehog.

Void Ivy
4 HD
Continues to inflict initial damage every moment until needle coils removed, only damaged by fire
A malignant coiling knot of greenery that moves of its own accord; the spores of a corrupted starvine seed.

Frozen Ocean Sage
4 HD
Can cast 1d6 first level spells, 1d3 second level spells and 2 random higher level spells; 1d6 Phantom Staff
A frozen ocean sage will never reveal their features, but they are willing to offer words of advice wherever they may be found in exchange for their whimsical requests.

4 HD
2 claws 1d4 + Bite 1d8, Breath 2d10 on 2d8 Nearby targets once every six moments (shipwrecker)
A sturdy carbuncle-hide dragon that can fly through the void, carrying two riders plus their personal cargo in harness.

Jurai Bee
4 HD
Sting 1d10 + CON test or add 2d10 poison damage or paralysis
The monstrous, usually docile bees that nest within and pollinate the most ancient of starvine trees.

5 HD
Bite 1d6 and CON test or petrified
This massive viper-like creature sports waxy scales and lurks amongst the debris of the Shard Fields.

5 HD
Six Tentacles 1d8 and CON test or paralyzed, will sprout another attack tentacle when injured unless damaged by fire in that moment
A barrel of soft translucent flesh, gaping maw and a corona of writhing, stinging tentacles, found anchored on any solid surface.

Cold Mannequin
5 HD
Lure — WIS test or be drawn towards mannequin, Frostburst 2d8 damage to any Close targets every 4 moments
Scattered throughout the void are inscrutable statues of seamless white metal that stand guard and wait.

5 HD
Bite 1d6, Sting 1d6 + acid spray 2d4, immune to piercing attacks, shipwrecker
Gigantic hunter wasps from the starvines and greenworlds, armoured in ominous crimson and blue-black.

6 HD
STR test or Bound in place along with equipment, CON test or stunned 1d6 moments after successfully struck
A glistening, gritty, gigantic cell of pseudopods found amongst asteroids and other rocky debris.

Ebon Spider
6 HD
Black Web — DEX test or Entangled + 2d8 damage per moment, Bite 1d12 + 1d4 next moment after attack, shapeshift
These massive black arachnids can take the forms of any creature that they have devoured.

6 HD
2 Barbs 1d8, healed by magic (2 Hit Points per level of spell)
An amalgamation of black briars and brass armour in roughly humanoid shape.

Void Manta
6 HD
Becomes Invisible until it attacks, as an action; shipwrecker
The colour of the void and speckled with twinkling lights … when you see it coming.

7 HD
Darkness cloud affecting all Nearby, 2 Tentacles 2d6 + INT test or dazed one moment
And out of the dark drifts a pale-fleshed nautilus nestled in a shell of shimmering ivory, two tendrils trailing.

7 HD
Ambusher’s Aim — holds action for two moments then WIS or DEX test or target is OoA, all DEX tests are rolled with disadvantage, can cast 1-4 1st level spells
Elegant, sharply sculptured mantids, wise of eye and swift of strike.

The Waxen
7 HD
Create Objects (of resin or wax), Create Meal, Charm (as an action), Teleport to Nearby location once per fight
Strange shelly creatures all but hidden under their protective domes, but amenable if not attacked.

Ghost Ship
7 HD
Will reform and hunt those that defeat it, vulnerable to fire, unliving, shipwrecker
Sometimes an entire vessel and its crew persists beyond death, if the mission was fraught enough.

Myrmich Lord
8 HD
Spawn – create 1d6 2 HD myrmichs every moment, Quicksilver Bite 3d4 and liquifies metal it touches
Gargantuan ant-like conqueror as at home inside planetoids or grand cities as it is deep inside shards.

8 HD
Blind all Nearby, Discern Fate, Create Illusions, Prismatic Bolt 3d6, shipwreck
Beneath the frost, a faceted sphere of living crystal as large as a ship that peers into the future and the past.

Living Comet
8 HD
Iceflame Aura 2d8 all Close subjects, 3d6 Ram + CON test or crushed prone, shipwrecker
It’s not the snow and ice that lives, but the spirit that rides the comet through the void — but why?

Luminous One
9 HD
Healing Fires 3d8 restoration, Claws 3d8, spells as 4th level spellcaster, grant Weal or Woe
A heron of blue-white light, a misty and vaguely humanoid shape, both at once, or neither; but a source of succor nonetheless.

9 HD
1d10 damage next moment after attack, immune to elemental based attacks and slashing weapons, shipwrecker
This horror is part monster worm, part centipede, all iridescent barbed jaws, and perpetually hungry.

9 HD
2 Tentacles 2d8 + if both hit, grapple and Beak for another 2d8 damage, shipwrecker.
Sometimes, just being an enormous arrow-sleek steely squid is more than enough.

10 HD
Immune to normal weapons, vulnerable to light, attacks stop healing until healing magic or equivalent is used; a person killed by an abyssan will become a ghoul (PC HD, paralytic touch) under the abyssan’s control in 1d6 minutes
A colourless slash in the fabric of reality, wrapped around a conglomeration of the bones of scores of the dead.

10 HD (special)
Slows ship travel to 1/6 normal, disadvantage on all rolls, shipwrecker
A vast, foggy sargasso in the void that slowly saps the life out of all inside it, its own essence dispersed through ten pale, false ghost-hearts.

10 HD
Engulf — any target smaller than 6 HD, 2d6 damage every moment; immune to physical weapons, shipwrecker
One of the eerier encounters in the void: a long and slowly tumble-swimming tube of wispy plasm, more than capable of swallowing a ship whole.

Bright Blizzard
11 HD
Beauty Of Snow — WIS or Pilot test or be lured into centre of the Bright Blizzard, 2d6 damage to all touching or within it, CON test or be frozen solid after 1d6 minutes of being drawn inside, vulnerable to fire, immune to cold
Elemental phenomenon like this huge storm — ephemeral, delicate, but deadly — can and do spring up without warning.

11 HD
Disadvantage on attack rolls when Zeuglon attacks, immune to elemental damage, shipwrecker
Like a reptilian whale, drawn out sleek and menacing and equipped with four flukes to speed its fanged jaws ever closer.

Starvine Wanderer
12 HD
Inject Seeds, Engulf — any target smaller than 8 HD, Chlorophyll Infusion, Burning Sap 2d8 + 1d8 damage the following 1d6 moments, shipwrecker
Uncountable glittering, emerald and bronze branches radiate from this young starvine tree’s woody core.

12-15 HD
Extinguishes all fire and light up to Far Away, 2 Claws 1d8 + 1 Bite 1d10, CON test or lose 2 levels (Pilot test or lose two levels/ship HD), can cast 1d8 spells of any level, shipwrecker
A frightful and monstrous draconic creature with four insectile wings, rows of hateful eyes, and a coal black hide glistening with bone-violet.

[spacehack] Ships and Ship Combat

Aetherships come in a bewildering variety of shapes, sizes and building materials, restricted only by the imagination and resources of the people building them (and, of course, what the GM has defined as likely). Archaic galleons, massive flower buds, stony skeletons planked with silk and bloodwood, sculpted asteroids — anything is possible. Equally varied are the possibilities for what actually makes the ship move through the Void, from vaporized shard fragments to the blood of fallen angels.

For quick determination of ship materials and propulsion sources within a given system (or for ships failing from a given system), roll on the following tables or make a selection as desired:

Ship Material

01. Voidseed11. Moonsilver
02. Giant blossom12. Porcelain
03. Godbone13. Black iron
04. Hollowed crystal14. Bone behemoth
05. Brass filigree15. Hollowed asteroid
06. Lacquer and bamboo16. Blown glass
07. An immense shell17. Leather and bone
08. Glass mosaic18. Tangled vines
09. Wood marquetry19. Sculpted ivory
10. A single leaf20. Solid light (or darkness)

Ship Propulsion

01. Godblood11. Elder bones
02. Aether shards12. “Water”wheels
03. Royal jelly13. Oars
04. Life force14. Crystallized belief
05. Essence of amber15. Distilled prayers
06. Pure magic16. Elemental cysts
07. Physical exertion17. Voidflowers
08. Void currents18. Drake hearts
09. Cosmic wind19. Precious stones
10. Sunlight20. Mental exertion

The Nuts and Bolts of Ship Stats

An aethership is statted like a monster, with Hit Dice, damage, and a handful of traits. Ships also use the standard monster damage-per-HD chart; this damage is rolled only against other ships, ship-sized or larger objects, and monsters with the [shipwreck] trait. Against small squishy targets like trees, space cows or adventurers, it can be assumed that a direct hit with a ship’s weapon means certain death. So, adventurers, be on your guard.

In similar fashion, a ship does not take damage from adventurer or monster attacks unless explictly stated, usually via the [shipwreck] trait. Dramatically setting sails on fire or severing all the guide ropes, though, that’s perfectly allowed!

* But What If I Want My Players To Smite More Stuff? (the Shipkiller Rule)

Player Characters are capable of awesome feats, it’s true, and having them have little effect on any ship — to say nothing of the many beasties with the [shipwrecker] trait — could be disappointing. To combat that, feel free to use the Shipkiller Rule:

If a PC has two more levels than a ship (or equivalent beastie) has Hit Dice, the PC can attack or otherwise affect that ship as normal. So a fighter with some experience under their belt, say, could totally throw themselves onto the hull of a ship and go ham with violent joy.

Note that this does not offer protection from ship-sized weaponry, which will still splatter a PC to particles. A normal DEX test to avoid said splattering is allowed, though!

Ships by Hit Dice (suggestions)

Fighter1 HD
Yacht2 HD
Clipper4 HD
Caravel8 HD
Merchantman6 HD
Corvette10 HD
Armada12+ HD
Station15+ HD
(yes, these are more than a bit of nonsense as names. I’m okie with that. lol.)

A ship has one weapon to attack with. Ship damage is more or less standard, but the kind of weapon involved can be wildly variable; would-be shipwrights are encouraged to get creative, or can roll on (or choose from) the following table.

Ship Weapons

01. starlance11. fairyflames
02. beaked ram12. hull razors
03. thorncannon13. plasma rain
04. light prisms14. rotbolts
05. crusher ram15. hullborer
06. stoneshot16. thunder pikes
07. vinecaster17. shellpiercer
08. vitality siphon18. ambergel sprayer
09. steelshot19. mauler jaws
10. bone ballistae20. slivershards

Additionally, for every HD a ship possesses, it gains two slots for extra traits. Sample ship traits include:

– Comfy Crewspace: Whether custom cabins or the special accomodations of a luxury liner, this ship has it. Rest and its benefits are assured.

Extra Crewspace: For each time this trait is selected, increase crew maximums by 20%.

– Speedy: Transit times are reduced by 25%.

– Responsive: The ship’s pilot has their Pilot score effectively raised by 1. This trait costs two slots.

– Reactive: Gain an extra ship action per Moment or equivalent. This trait costs two slots.

– Cargo Space: Roomy, outfitted with restraining loops, and designed to keep your goods safe. Ships without dedicated cargo space have room for crew belongings, ship’s stores, munitions and not much else.

– Armoured: Plated with black iron, fibrous crystal, shelly scales, mystic runes or stranger things, the ship gains 2 Armour Points. (per HD? works as a shield? both?)

– Greenery: The ship possesses a greenhouse, hydroponic deck, implanted microflora — or is perhaps itself a plant — and will produce breathable air for the crew. This trait must be selected at least once for every dozen crewmembers and it will nullify the penalties for going unmasked in the Void while reducing Shard Sea effects to Void levels. For food sources, see Living Larder.

– Living Larder: By growing or otherwise producing its own food sources, the ship lengthens the time between Supply Usage checks by half again.

Self-Repair: Whether enchantment, a living ship, dedicated clockworks or other, the ship will mend 1d3 hp per day without needing repair work in a dockyard.

– Special Weapon Trait: Maybe a successful attack grapples the ships, or sets the target on fire, or oozes acid, or blinds with a brilliant flash, or …

– Terrestrial Landing Capable: What it says on the tin.

– Aquatic Landing Capable: Also what it says on the tin.

Traits may be selected more than once, to reflect even greater dedication to that feature. Trait slots can be swapped for more weapons at two slots per weapon.

Ship Combat

Attacks from the party’s ship are made as for a normal character, using the attributes of whoever is helming the ship. The difference lies in what is rolled: average the character’s DEX, WIS and INT scores, this is their Pilot score that must be rolled under to attack and to avoid damage. The Powerful Foes rule still applies to ship combat.

A ship with a quarter or less of its hit points left can only attack half as often, reflecting the struggling crew and ruined structure. A ship taken to 0 hit points is effectively destroyed and all crew must test CON or be killed as the ship breaks up.

Hit points can be restored by repair work undertaken by the crew (1d4 hp/week) or in a dedicated port on land or in the void (1d8 hp/week but might get pricy).

Life Aboardship

Unless the ship has one or more instances of the Comfy Crewspace trait, the typical crewmember can assume to have enough space for a bunk or webbed hammock, with space beneath for one or two storage chests and a small shelf above, plus a lantern or other light source. Officers, the ship’s helm and the captain can generally commandeer more space for themselves, but not all do (and some ships simply don’t have the space to permit it.

* Crew numbers

A ship’s minimum crew is equal to twice its Hit Dice, to a minimum of one for a sub-1 HD ship such as a fighter or a messenger shuttle. The maximum number of bodies that can be housed is equal to three times the minimum. (For example, a 6 HD ship would have a minimum crew of 12 and a maximum of 36). However, the maximum crew number strains the capabilities of a ship to support the bodies housed inside it, and the captain must test CHA every week or face a mutiny from the over-packed crew.


While breathing is not an issue as long as proper precautions are taken, a crew must still eat and drink. The ship’s water supply and food stores must have their Usage Die checked on the following rotation:

* Minimum Crew: every month

* Median Crew: every fortnight

* Maximum Crew: every week

The ship can try to eke out supplies, but working on less than full rations will inflict Disadvantage on all rolls after a week and prompt CHA tests from the captain to avoid mutiny every week thereafter in addition to the Disadvantage penalty.

Ship rations and similar “voidfood” includes syrup tapped from voidblossoms and other cometary trees, and gelatinous billets condensed from same; pickled starvine shoots and buds; more mundane corned meats and biscuit; couscous; sugarwaxes; poppy cakes; aetherkrill, fresh and dried; and a bewildering variety of nut and legume pastes and curds.

[spacehack] The Void and the Shard Sea

The Aetherous Void

This is “space” as commonly conceived of; mostly empty, but has planets and moons and comets and asteroids (and odder things), and a sun or something very much like a sun. What it isn’t is expansive — the Void consists of a single system, or, rarely, two or three or so such systems sharing a common “void” (the source of the term) nestled inside the vast Shard Sea. Most systems have their sun at their centre, but not all.

The void of space is chilly (dress appropriately!) but is not a vacuum; however, the aether is thin and slightly toxic and a mask is required for long exposure and safety’s sake by most sapients.

* After a day of exposure, CON test or all rolls are at Disadvantage until victim has breathed pure air for a day without interruption

Rare systems possess completely breathable aether and these are highly valued for settling if there are no prior claims; in the past, more than one war has broken out over the “true peoples” of such systems.

The Shard Sea

Outside of the pockets created by systems, the aetherous void is filled with a biting cold and completely filled with a field of glittering, waxy, solidified aether shards and stranger things still. From the vantage point of a system’s interior, the brightest shards of the Sea’s inner edge are the stars. From inside the Sea, all is darkness packed with the sudden shining rubble of the shards themselves, stretching out in all directions. Ships destined to sail the Shard Sea are best equipped with some form of light.

Some parts of the Sea are less filled with shards and remnants, as if some immense creature burrowed its way through and left tunnels behind. Some of these twisting lanes intersect, or open into pockets inside the Sea that may hold derelict ships, eldritch lairs or sealed fortresses; the most stable of these passages link systems one to another, so long as a ship has the mettle — and the supplies — to make the trip.

Once the safety of a system has been left behind and a ship is threading its way along the twisting lanes of the Sea — or, braver still, forging a new path — conditions worsen.

* A mask must be worn at all times, unless in the pure-air bowels of a ship or similar structure; and the cold becomes a potential danger, forcing a CON test each day or 1d4 hit points of damage are taken, healed only by warmth and rest.

Plotting travel through the Shard Sea is treacherous and many prefer to stay within a system, or stick to the known shardlanes, already mapped and relatively stable.

* How Do I Map The Shard Sea?

The GM should theoretically have an abundance of ready-made “maps” of Shard Sea lanes, whether known to the PCs via charts or being charted out by the PCs and their intrepid crews — dungeon maps make ideal facscimiles of the Sea’s twisting lanes and unexpected hollows. Change the elevations here and there, scale the size up, and fill with Sea encounters and stranger things, and turn the party loose!

* So, gravity …

Gravity works by the rule of “the larger object attracts the smaller object” and otherwise essentially by the rule of cool and the needs of the game being played. Planets and even wee planetoids pull towards their centres, gravity keeps a PC’s feet squarely on the deck of the ship, and so on. Get tossed into the emptiness of the Void or the Sea, though, and all bets are off.

Travel Times

Travel via aethership is measured in “standard” days of 24 hours; similarly, the length of time a given ship can travel without refueling or replenishing water or stores is measured in days.

Typical transit times:

* 1d4+2 days between two adjacent planetary objects

* 2d8 days from the innermost planetary object to the centre point of a system

* 1d12+2 days from the outermost planetary object to the inner edge of the Shard Sea

* Shard Sea travel is unpredictable at best, and logged on individual shardcharts; relatively straight travel from system to system, with no complications, may still take 6d6+10 days or even longer

Warp Nebulae (Nebular Gates)

These rare manifestations, eerily resembling ghostly stained glass windows or peaked doorways, can send a ship — or anything else that passes through their maw — to another system without needing to find a route through the Shard Sea. A knowledgeable observer can identify the sort of nebula they’re looking at from the colours mixing in its whorls.

Some nebulae are one-way trips, others will work from either “side”. Some are permanent, and others are technically temporary but have such a lifespan as makes no difference. Others have vanishingly swift lives.

Building A System

Sometimes getting together the details of a system is inconvenient or you aren’t feeling the inspiration right this moment.  Sometimes, you might just want –or need! — to pull together a system to explore quickly.  For those kinds of times, here are some steps and tables to spur the creative process along — but don’t feel constrained by their results.  Pick and choose, alter the numbers of rolls, whatever you like.

The first step is to determine whether the system has an object at its centre. Roll a d20; a result of 1-15 indicates a central object, 16-20 that the centre is lacking or destroyed. If a central focus is indicated, choose or roll for the centre of the system using the following table:

System Centre

01. sun (of near any colour …)

11. city-fortress

02. diamond sun

12. frozen flame

03. dead sun

13. fire ring

04. abyss (black hole)

14. prismatic ring

05. cluster of sunlets

15. eclipsing sun

06. planet (sun is elsewhere)

16. luminous water orb

07. planet (no sun)

17. petrified elder starvine

08. nebular gate

18. neon aurora

09. frozen god

19. binary system (roll or choose two)

10. misplaced Shard field

20. trinary system (roll or choose three)

Then, roll for the number of planets depending on how heavily “filled” you wish the system to be:

* Sparse: 1d4-1 planetary objects

* Average: 2d8 planetary objects

* Populous: 1d10+1d12 planetary objects

And the type and shapes of those planets:

Planet Type

01. temperate

06. molten

11. artificial

16. hollow

02. forest

07. desert

12. labyrinth world

17. cluster of worldlets

03. aquatic

08. dead

13. garden world

18. split (roll again twice)

04. tundra

09. metropolis

14. gaseous

19. cratered

05. ice

10. living

15. crystalline

20. Earthlike

Planet Shape

01. spherical

05. spiral

09. half-moon

02. ovoid

06. rubble belt

10. dodecahedron

03. Mobius

07. godcorpse

11. honeycomb

04. ribbon (like a ring around the sun)

08. on turtle or other beast’s back

12. knotwork

If looking for some moons or or exotica for your planet, try this table, rolling 1d4 times or as many as you like:

Planetary Extras

01. One moon

05. 1d4+1 moons

02. Ring (of ice, fire, crystal, rubble, greenery …)

06. Extensive ring system

03. Two moons

07. Asteroids at Trojan points

04. Twin planets

08. Exotica (voidblossom field, massive orbiting dock-city, fire cometoids …)

The distance between each planet in sequence — as well as the centre to the first planet, and the last planet to the Shard Sea — can be rolled now to have a set number, or left to chance as time rolls by and celestial objects move about.

[spacehack] the Freelancer (Venturer)

Being sick sucks.  Being sick for a month+ sucks a lot.  *sighs*

The following is a class I put together for my unnamed “spacehack” for The Black Hack 1e.  There’s a few references to bits from the Blue Lotus Hack (mainly “gifts” from the Mystic class); I wanted to leave them in for this post.  Markers and Favours can be found here.


Freelancer (Venturer)

Starting HP: d6+4
HP per Level/Resting: 1d6
Weapons and Armour: one-handed swords, daggers, crossbows, blunt weapons; gambeson, leather, chain
Attack Damage: 1d6/1d4 Unarmed or Improvising

Leveling Up: Roll to see if attributes increase, roll twice for DEX or CHA.

Special Features:

* Roll with Advantage when testing CHA to avoid charm effects, make a good impression, get the feel of a social scene, or find a buyer or seller.

* Wheel and Deal: In any given civilized (“civilized”) place, a Venturer can find a contact for making and breaking favours and promises; pick up a marker, get a favour, without needing to make a CHA test. These favours can and do get traded, though, like any others!

* Uncanny: Beginning at 1st level, a Venturer gains a single spell or gift of any kind, of level equal to 1/2 class level or lower. Another spell is gained at every level thereafter. A Venturer has slots equal to their Level and uses CHA for casting tests.

Replace any starting feature with one of:

* Oathpact: The Venturer may sign a contract with another being; if the terms are violated, the violator suffers catastrophe until the breach is made good.

* Worldwise: A Venturer rolls with Advantage when researching or otherwise seeking out a detail of history, world type, cultural quirk, or hoary tradition. They may discern the basic features of a world and its primary culture upon first encountering it.

* Rally The Troops: By giving up their own action in a given Moment — aside from a suitable rallying cry, splash of consecrated rum, or what have you — the Venturer may grant Advantage to an ally’s next action once per battle.

* Flurry: As part of their action, the Venturer may make 1 attack / 2 levels.

* Oh Captain My Captain: The Venturer may acquire a loyal minion (1 HD and some useful skill or knowledge) when visiting a metropolis or other centre of relative civilization. They may have a maximum number of minions equal to half their CHA. Mistreating or not supporting one’s minions can have Consequences.

Markers and Favours

The everyday functioning of any system and its network of ships, ports and adventurous wanderers depends on the give and take of services as much as — or more than — the flow of goods and coin. After all, some things only certain people can do, and only fewer can promise.

So a semi-formal system to track all this grew out of the casual promises of yesteryear, commonly referred to as “markers” and “favours”. In the most basic of terms, a marker is something you owe, a payment or (far more common) a task or waiting request; a favour is exactly that, a payment or other such intangible thing that a person owes to you. Some are precisely defined (“for saving my child, I will grant you passage on any of my ships when you require it”), others are left nebulous.

* A PC can gain a Favour with a successful CHA test. (There may be modifiers on this test depending on the PC’s status, the status of the person who will be granting the Favour, what is asked for or may be offered, etc.)
– If the Favour is gained, unless the Favour itself is paying off a Marker, the PC also gains a Marker of equivalent value, to be “cashed in” by the other party at any time.

* Favours may also be offered freely (with or without a balancing Marker, at the player character’s discretion — freebies can improve one’s reputation and make future trades smoother!).

* Markers may also be accepted freely, if one really wants to make an impression (and, sometimes, find oneself being gifted a Favour regardless).

! But beware! While Favours may be “banked”, as it were, so can Markers — and both can be traded around through the “economy” created by this web of obligations. Because, well, “if you need x, well, you also need y and so-and-so owes me y, I’ll call that marker in for you if you’ll do z for me …” and so on —

On hacks past and future(?)

I like The Black Hack.  I like how I can tinker with it and so much is left to table interpretation I can do a little better at squashing my inevitable “but I wrote that wrong D8″ reaction, especially these days.  1e is still my go-to for it.

Last year (after several years of scrabbling at the idea), I finished what I called the “Blue Lotus Hack” and — after more months of panic at the idea — released it, first as a PoD on Amazon via CreateSpace and then the pdf on DriveThru.  I also did this under a different nick, because it was the only way to talk myself into it, and linked a blog inside the book; a blog I then managed maybe two useful posts on, because I was sure that the more I posted the more obvious I’d be.

After that I started tinkering with a much smaller idea of a bolt-on “not Spelljammer” / “fantasy space” setup, and got as far as the basics + a class + some critters (I do love me some critters) but stalled at what I thought was the writing up a few paragraphs of a sample system but was/is more likely to be the brainweasels attacking full force again.  Now I’m debating maybe putting the “spacehack” — which needs a name I suppose, oops — up here in parts and pieces, and maybe I’ll collect it all up in a pdf and toss it on here if I go through with it completely …

These were/are my theme paragraphs; they would be most of an intro, with a bit more explanation stapled on either before or afterward: Continue reading “On hacks past and future(?)”