Archive | 3:05 pm

Weird Spacecraft #2

22 Apr

The previous post on Weird Spacecraft was focused mostly on older Science Fiction ideals. Cylindrical rockets are not the only type of craft to exist in Science Fiction. In some settings, a spacecraft would never see atmosphere, so having it aerodynamic is not a necessity. As I mentioned earlier, the culture of the star faring race will affect the design and function of a spacecraft in a game.

The Warhammer 40K Universe is one where culture definitely affects the shape and design of ships. I bought Games Workshop’s Battlefleet Gothic when it came out. It is now a defunct game, but for tabletop space warfare, it was one of the best. The Fantasy Flight Rogue Trader RPG, set in the Warhammer 40K milieu, may bring interest in incorporating that back into the table. Even if it doesn’t the ship designs become very important in that game.

I love the Eldar ships. They are elegant, work on principles that are different than other race’s spacecraft and introduce a rudimentary cloaking. Here is one of the smaller attack ships, more akin to a fighter than anything.

The Orks are not so elegant in design, but their ships are sturdy, if less advanced, but make use of their hulks even for ramming – a very Orcish tactic indeed!

This Ork fleet looks terrifyingly functional. The prows of the ships hint at the damage a several kilometers long Hulk could do when it tears into your vessel!
The cries of “Abandon ship!” might not be far away if you get too close to one of these without proper agility and firepower to protect you.

The Imperial ships of the Humans are many times like Gothic cathedrals in space, reflecting the cult of Emperor worship and the Crusader-like mentality of those that serve him. For the god-emperor, these mighty vessels protect the colonies of man among the stars, attempting to reclaim and reunite all humans under his mighty rule.

The box cover from the Battlefleet Gothic game tells it all. Here the Imperial fleet is coming out of warp, ready to do battle, because as the motto of the game goes, “There is no peace among the stars”.

The other races of have their own designs, some of which are truly alien.

I haven’t had a chance to play Dark Heresy or Rogue Trader for some time, but I hope to put my rulebooks back to use soon. The images of ships in the publications by Fantasy Flight make me want to ply the space lanes for a few credits, while “avoiding any Imperial entanglements” – wait, that’s another universe, but hey, they all tend to meld in my sector of the Multiverse!

Click image above for more info about Rogue Trader

-Jeff
“Retro”

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Weird Spacecraft

22 Apr

Ok, is it just me, or does this spacecraft look backwards? Whoever designed this made it for looks, but is the design functional?Unless it jettisoned a portion of itself after liftoff and it was out of the atmosphere, it must be designed to work on low/no atmosphere worlds like the one pictured.

This standard rocket design, typical of the 40’s and 50’s especially, sits right with me… but it is also predictable. The picture is enjoyable to look at and I can envision it happening, yet haven’t we seen this a zillion times before? It makes sense; perhaps too much sense.

I find old drawings of space ships before the Space Race to be beautiful concept-wise, but they would be an engineers nightmare. I know it is Science FICTION, but some artwork depicting the vessels that would transport humans across the galaxy seems like someone was looking at the plans backwards (points to first picture above) or on some heavy psychedelics, like the person that did the pic below:

I sure hope the heavily drugged pilot of the spacecraft at the bottom of this pic isn’t crashing into the futuristic building. I am getting visions of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in Space. I have used fishing lures that look like that ship. I can see it now: “Hey Billy! I just got me a design idea fer one of them thar space ship dealies! Hand me the worms, will ya?”

Still, such radical designs could reflect advanced or alien technology we haven’t dreamed of yet. Incorporating weird designs into a space game might be a challenge, but it could add to the effect. In the Star Trek universe, there were many culturally influenced designs that each galactic race had. You could tell who was who, generally, by their ship design, much like ships have been spotted and identified on the seas for centuries. Everyone had to do their own thing and we liked it!

I just thought I would share these images because they were out of the ordinary.
It would be interesting to see these on graph paper being designed for Traveller. I used to love to design ships for that game, but the balance between all of the factors you wanted was hard to get. Whatever these designers wanted for the spacecraft depicted here,  functionality wasn’t at the top of the list. However, they sure make mind-bending art!

-Jeff
“Retro”

A Grateful Thanks to Bard at The Clash of Spear On Shield

22 Apr

Several of us were recently given the Stylish Blogger Award by Bard at The Clash of Spear on Shield. I am a huge fan of his blog, so when I was one of those chosen, this was quite the honor. I know that some people don’t think much of these things, but I think it is the thought that counts most.

I don’t know if my blog is “stylish” except that it has my own developing style. Hopefully, soon I will find my “voice” for this blog and I think it is slowly happening. I am very thankful for the support and recognition Bard has given to it in its short history so far. Interacting and sharing ideas and creations about roleplaying, especially Old School games, is all I wish to do with this blog. Any suggestions, comments or criticisms regarding my blog are appreciated. I am open to the entire OSR community’s feedback and appreciate the diverse points of view.

There are four rules attached to the award:

1. Thank and link back to the person giving you the award.
2. Share seven things about yourself
3. Select 10-15 blogs who you think deserve this award
(note: Bard started out with seven, with more to be added later, and I must start slowly here, also)
4. Contact these bloggers and let them know about the award

Rule One: Thank and link back to the person giving you the award.

Thank you from the heart, Bard, for your kind Stylish Blogger Award.
Your blog, The Clash of Spear on Shield (great Tolkien title, btw!) is a source of inspiration to me. You bring a unique contribution to the OSR and we have some similar interests that resonate with me. Thank you for your kind comments and support!

Rule Two: Share seven things about yourself.

1)    I am a father of one son who has recently turned 18. It is strange for me to think that he is now a young man, when I remember like yesterday that he was a little child that I carried around as he slept. I love my son and am glad to be a father. There is nothing quite like having a child to love and be loved by.

2)    Vocationally, I have been sort of a Jack-of-All-Trades, never working in the fields that I went to school for (Philosophy & History). Maybe one day I will teach, like I dreamed of. I am not ruling it out, yet and am back in school studying for that goal. I have worked in computer technical support, as a behavioral counselor for the developmentally disabled, as a MN State Administration employee, commissioned sales and several other jobs. I seem to adapt to interesting situations as life offers opportunity.

3)    I do not watch much TV and rarely go to the movies these days. I prefer mostly Sci-fi / fantasy and History when I do. In books I am heavy on History, Mythology and Religion/Philosophy, with fantasy & sci-fi mixed in. Walks or hiking and fishing for relaxation are also times for me to think. I would do more stargazing if it weren’t for the light pollution around here. I used to do quite a bit of it when I was younger and in a darker area. Even though I do enjoy lots of quiet time, I still like to go out dancing, especially to Retro 80’s nights, which is no surprise to my friends, who call me “Retro”.

4)    My natural personality is Introverted, but I became an Extrovert by necessity in my youth – this makes for some odd tension in how I view things and in my actions. I always feel like there are several possible variations of “me” because of this – it has come in handy at times, because I am fairly mutable in situations if need be.

5)    Gary Numan is my favorite musical artist. I have been a fan of his Electronica strangeness for almost his entire career. I saw him in concert twice at some smaller venues. Both times I was right upfront at the stage. After his 2007 visit to Minneapolis, he signed a CD for me. He is really a cool, mellow person, and his music has been a great influence in my life.

6)    I have written poetry since I was a teen. We know that most teen poems suck, but I hope mine are at least a little better by now. I wish I had more time to devote to reading poetry, much less writing it. My favorite three favorite poets are Lord Byron, Dylan Thomas and W.B Yeats – all three being Romantics.

7)    I am just a regular guy that likes people and experiences. One day I would like to travel more again. Seeing even more people and places only makes life more interesting. If I could, I would follow my wanderlust until I dropped, which is a typical Sagittarius thing.

I will do more passing along of the award later, but immediately nominate RPG Lady. Her blog came immediately to mind, because she is sharing her relatively new experiences as a role-player and fledgling GM. She is finding her own likes and dislikes about systems and genres and sharing her ways of developing her characters and NPCs that is an honest and fresh approach. http://rpglady.wordpress.com/

She also has another blog dedicated to her writing, as she is a fiction author.

Thanks again, Bard – I appreciate your vote of confidence and will pass the award along more as time goes on.

Peace/Pax
-Jeff
“Retro”