Traveller: Formula Infinity G/Racer

Vehicular sports have been around since long before the days of Ben Hur, and there is absolutely no reason to think why they won’t exist in far future. So when I set out to make some vehicles for the Solomani Rim, I wanted to make some racers that had a connection to Earth. That is the seed of inspiration behind Formula Infinity.

There was just one problem: Earth (or Terra, as it is known in the Traveller timeline) is under Imperial occupation. So while writing it up for our upcoming book Solomoni Worlds: Vehicles from the Rim, we had to create how the racing organization adapted to life under occupation as well as how some racing locations are now under the other side of a border. This vehicle not only creates and organization but also plot hooks concerning when racers cross the border.

Of course you can play a vehicle racer. Download the Foreven World’s Careers: Beyond the Claw and play an athlete of any stripe including a speeding racer. Download it exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

Name Formula Infinity G/Racer
TL 13
Skill Flyer (grav)
Agility +5
Speed (Cruise) Hypersonic (Supersonic)
Range (Cruise) 8,000 km (12,000 km)
Crew 1
Passengers 0
Cargo 0 ton
Hull 7
Shipping 1.5 tons
Cost Cr. 1,085,500
Equipment/Traits
Communication System (Advanced, Increased Range), Control Systems (Advanced), Ejection Seat, Increased Fuel Capacity, Increased Fuel Efficiency, Increased Hull, Increased Speed, Sensors (Advanced, Increased Fidelity, Increased Range (2)), Streamlined

Autopilot (skill level)
Communications (range) 10,000 km
Navigation (Navigation DM)
Sensors (Electronics (sensors) DM) +3, 2,500 km
Camouflage (Recon DM)
Stealth (Electronics (sensors) DM)

Armour
Front 4
Rear 4
Sides 4

Traveller: d66 Compendium Now Available for Fantasy Grounds

Roll your dice and enhance every aspect of the universe you love. Know the names of Moons, Space Stations, and that scruffy-looking Vargr sitting at the bar as soon as your players ask. Blast off for Adventure and leave the details to the d66 Compendium.

Based on one of Traveller’s best-selling books, this collection of quick-reference lists brings the Traveller Universe to life with an abundance of imaginative multi-use descriptions to embellish your worlds, your characters, and your encounters. It delivers those niggling details about technologies or cultures that make your game come alive – gender-specific names for many of the setting’s alien inhabitants plus mega-corps, manufacturers, pirate ships, and even seedy underworld organizations. Tie up the finer points of character creation with names, contacts, homeworlds, scars, and more. The d66 Compendium gives players and referees alike the charts to adventure.

The d66 Compendium is a supplement for Mongoose Traveller 2e. Inside you will find:

  • approximately 60 tables designed for you to roll on, outputting the answer in the chat window, letting you have an instant name
  • all tables also presented in the story area as easy to read lists, making game prep simple
  • detailed images, providing imagination fuel to your game

Be prepared for any situation with the right name and idea.

Download the d66 Compendium for your Traveller game in virtual space at the Fantasy Grounds store. You can also download the d66 Compendium as a PDF or order your copy in print at the JBE Shop or DriveThruRPG.

Traveller: Terran Hypercycle G/Bike

Its been a while since I posted a new vehicle for Traveller and I thought. Since I discussed on the TravellerRPG forums about possibly working on the Solomani Worlds, I thought I’d make a vehicle and see how much interest there is such a territory.

If you want to see more in the Solomani Worlds, hit the Like button on the bottom of this post. Also be sure to check out all of our 2e Mongoose Traveller products like Foreven Worlds: Ships of the Border Worlds exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

Name Terran Hypercycle G/Bike
TL 15
Skill Flyer (grav)
Agility +6
Speed (Cruise) Supersonic (Subsonic)
Range (Cruise) 5,000 km (7,500 km)
Crew 1
Passengers 0
Cargo 0 ton
Hull 2
Shipping 0.5 tons
Cost Cr. 196,000
Equipment/Traits
Autopilot (Advanced), Communication System (Advanced), Computer/5, Control Systems (Advanced), Entertainment System, Open Frame, Sensors (Advanced), Streamlined

Autopilot (skill level) 3
Communications (range) 1,000 km
Navigation (Navigation DM) +4
Sensors (Electronics (sensors) DM) +2, 25 km
Camouflage (Recon DM)
Stealth (Electronics (sensors) DM)

Armour
Front 4
Rear 4
Sides 4

3 Rules for Creating Compelling Fantasy Religions

Whether you are creating your own setting or just adding your own flare to an existing setting, creating your own fantasy religions can be fun for both you and your players. The gods and their religions is a way to emphasize something important in your campaign. Learning more about the god of stealth is important when fighting the thieves’ guild; discovering a particular blacksmith is a follower of the deity of war equipment may tip off the players to the NPC being more than they appear.

So how can you go about making your own, without shamelessly ripping off real world religions? Before I answer that, I wholeheartedly endorce “borrowing heavily” from mythology. Some exceptional tales are there and are a classic for a reason. Pick up a book on them, read and borrow.

But if you still feel you need to create a religion from whole cloth, I have three rules for you to follow.

1) Pick a Theme and Run With It

Start with a core concept that is going to be important enough that it could draw followers. Clearly define it in 1-3 words: war, art, thieving, servants, farming, birds, a particular celestial body, and crafting are but a few examples. Now take that core concept and let your mind wander on what else is related to that theme. Servants work hard all day long for little reward. Who else does that? Employees. So this moves beyond a Noble’s servants and incorporates the baker’s lowly assistant, the dock workers, the one that cooks for to the caravan guards, and so on. So this deity is not a good of servants, but a god to the downtrodden. When the downtrodden are about to be beaten by their master’s for some minor mistake (or because the master is in the mood), they call upon their deity and the deity shows them some place to hide, perhaps even helping them to plan for such eventualities. So this deity is also a god of forethought and hiding places. Now this deity is both fun and more fleshed out than just “servants.”

2) Add in Something Unexpected … And DON’T Explain it.

Players will latch in to that oddity and think about that far longer than anything else, trying to figure out how they work together? Why does the deity of understanding, reason, and time have a groundhog as their spirit animal? Sure it makes total sense if you’ve seen the movie Groundhog Day, but if you hadn’t, how long would you try puzzling that one through. More importantly, what crazy ideas would you come up with trying to make that one work.

The most important part of this step is to limit it to one or two things. Anything more and the theme to your carefully thought out deity starts to look like a collection of random ideas rolled up together. This is definitely a less-is-more situation. Take the deity of servants from the previous step. What if we make them associated with purple flowers? Or instead its sacred animal is a particular breed of goldfish? Maybe followers should always turn their glass or bowl of water counterclockwise three times before taking their first drink for the day. Obviously, there is a perfectly logical explanation for whatever oddity is chosen, but leaving such reasons said unspoken both adds an heir of mystery and makes the world feel more lived in. Besides, it is entirely possible no one knows why such oddity is the case. It could have been lost to time over the last 1,000+ years. Maybe the deity never felt the need to explain such oddities to their followers. Heck you could make the answer explainable should someone ask, but they have to ask someone in world so they can give an in-world explanation. No matter what it is, treat it as ordinary as a Catholic priest putting a wafer into your mouth saying that it is from the body of someone that died about two thousand years ago and you should eat that dead person’s flesh.

3) Describe How Mundane Followers Interact With Their Faith

In my experience, this more than anything else is forgotten by game designers and GMs when describing religions. While the religion is focused around the deity/deities, the followers are no less important. Without followers, gods lose power. Terry Pratchett described this relationship perfectly in his book Small Gods. The great god Om said several times throughout the book, “Smite you with lightning bolts!” when he got angry at someone, yet nothing happened until he gained a single follower. Even then, he got hit with the equivalent of static electricity. When many people believed in him, he swelled with power.

Mind you, that book was really about how the people in the church of Om had no faith and simply did the ceremony without knowing the reasons why. However, a religion without some type of regular way for the followers to participate in is a religion that is going to lose followers. How many books are forgotten after their author dies? Sure some classics are remembered, like Mary Shelley’s The Modern Prometheus is well remembered, but Percy Shelly is not nearly as well remembered despite the fact he was an established author when his wife created Dr Frankenstein and his monster. Same idea.

So yes, any religion needs a consistent way for the followers to interact with their faith. All of these should interact with stuff we decided above. Prayers at select times or for certain reasons. Eating / not eating certain foods on certain days. Regular community gatherings with preferred offerings. Ceremonies to mark important events in the religion as well as the lives of the followers. Perhaps the god of servants has a ceremony marking someone’s promotion. Similarly, prayers for enough energy and strength to make it through a hard day’s work comes at dawn while prayers of protection against an angry master’s wrath can come at any time. Compare that with a god of intellect and arcane study: prayers to that deity should be before sitting down at a desk to do some heavy reading and study. That same deity probably talks about the evils of eating excessive carbs as they will make one drowsy before a long night of study by candlelight.

I hope these tips help you create compelling religions in your game. Be sure to check out all of JBE’s Pathfinder 1e, D&D 5e, 13th Age, and Traveller at the JBE Shop.

d66: Reason for Not Writing a New d66 List

So I started working on some more d66 lists again, and I wondered why I hadn’t done more of this during the pandemic. I took some time and thought about it and realized why I hadn’t. So instead of writing at some length as to why I had not, I thought I would make it fun and make it a d66 list by itself. I hope you enjoy this.

If you haven’t grabbed yourself the d66 Compendium and the D66 Compendium 2, treat yourself to these exceptional books today at DriveThruRPG.

d66 List Reason for Not Writing a New d66 List
11 Assembling a desk char
12 Attacking the spiders
13 Baking a loaf of bread
14 Binge watching cooking / gardening videos
15 Busy eating cake
16 Cancelling appointments
21 Creating Pathfinder spells
22 Doing some basic housework
23 Emotionally worn out
24 Enjoying awesome 80’s movies
25 Getting lost in Twitter
26 Laying awake at night, trying to sleep
31 Looking at my unfinished LEGO project
32 Making Fantasy Grounds products
33 Making something with scrap wood
34 Mowing the lawn, again
35 Optimizing the home office
36 Organizing my book collection
41 Overcooking the eggs
42 Playing a board game
43 Playing with my Star Wars LEGO fighters
44 Prepping a D&D game for the kids
45 Reading an RPG book I’ve wanted to read for a while
46 Sleeping, please don’t wake me up
51 Slept poorly the night before
52 Spring cleaning
53 Staring at the deer eating the victory garden
54 Surfing Facebook and feeling happy / sad / depressed / angry
55 Talking about a theoretical dog we want
56 Telling myself to go for a walk
61 Thinking about baking a pie
62 Watching late night comedians adapting to working from home
63 Watching the news about the pandemic / protests
64 Wiping down the groceries
65 Working on the victory garden
66 Writing Pathfinder NPCs

Skyrim, Witcher, and Tabletop RPGs

It’s 2 in the morning and I just brought peace to Skyrim by killing Ulfric Stormcloak, again. I haven’t played it much lately. For the past several months I’ve played Witcher 3 in my off hours. Both are first person computer RPGs but they are two sides of the same coin. The similarities and differences between them are long, varied, and discussed in much more detail elsewhere. For this blog post, I just want to focus on how you can use their styles in your tabletop RPGs.

It’s funny, I know. Tabletop RPGs spawned computer games, so what is there for tabletop RPGs to learn from their computer brethren? Plenty. Computer games sell much better than tabletop so it is easier for word to spread about which games are better than others. If you asked 100 tabletop gamers to name the best campaign published in the last 30 years by any RPG company other than Wizards of the Coast, Paizo Publishing, or TSR, you’ll be at a loss for a consensus. Hell, you’ll be lucky to have 100 answers. Even if you include the major companies, finding a clear winning campaign is going to be difficult. Reason being: it takes 1-2 years to go from levels 1-20 and most groups don’t last that long. But people play the same computer game year after year. So what can we learn from computer games?

1) Get It Online

With COVID-19 raging and people playing via Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and other VTT platforms, people are playing more online. So making it easier for them to game together is something we can all take from this. I expect this change in the way we game to last long term, even beyond when “things return to normal” because it is easier for everyone to meet on their computers than to go to someone’s house game, and then go back home. It’s like going to your computer to be the Dragonborn or the Witcher, except here you can be anyone you want. So publishers should make it a regular habit to make sellable products for online gaming.

2) Adventure Pacing

This is something both publishers and home GM’s can learn. It is the pacing of the campaigns in Skyrim and Witcher 3 that I feel make them sell so well. Both have two major and interconnected plots (Skyrim: win the civil war, and kill the head dragon; Witcher 3: stop the Wyld Hunt and find Ciri), but those plots are not a single story. They are each a hundred little stories bringing you to the final story. The Bloody Baron found Ciri and will only tell you the information if you do this other job for him. The Skyrim civil war starts off properly with retrieving a crown before the other side does. This breaks the campaign up into a number of more manageable pieces.

Between each of those pieces, you can do any number of side quests. This let’s you do something different and keeps the game from becoming overly serious. One the reasons I believe that many role playing games fizzle out is that the plot becomes overly dark and heavy. Sure, time becomes difficult to find, schedules change, etc, but if something brings joy to your life, you make the time for it. If it becomes overly dark and bleak, it runs the risk ones sapping all the joy, and it turns into an obligation, one that can be easily removed.

So learn from computer RPGs and build in side quests. These should be different, fun, and not necessarily have anything to do with the main plot. Consider saving the orphanage’s puppy or returning the owlbear egg to the nest before mama owlbear comes hunting it down. On a more serious note, try escort someone to their family tomb to put their recently deceased grandmother her predetermined plot, at the very bottom of the tomb, and a necromancer previously broke in started making undead. Or retrieve the bones of an old adventurer from their tomb they had fallen in, letting both the living and the dead to find peace. Give them a treasure map or a tip about some lost magical items. No matter what, the payoff should be swift. By payoff, it can be gold or items, but what it really should be is both a feeling of accomplishment and a sense of having done good. People play role playing games to feel like heroes; let them be exactly that, both in the big campaign and to the individuals in smaller ways.

3) Pickup and Playable

This one is small but it makes a world of difference: include pregen characters with any adventure you’re publishing over a VTT. In Witcher 3, you’re playing Geralt of Rivia; the entire game is built around you being him. While I’d appreciate it if you could pick from a number of witchers, you can start playing right away. In Skyrim, the guard asks who you are and as the meme goes, you stand there for ten minutes while your face, gender, body type, and race keep shifting, horrifying the poor guard.

That is the difference between including pregen characters and not. If a GM is running your adventure during an online conversation, they’re going to have to make those pregens themselves, adding a barrier to them running your adventure at all. Remember, running a published module is supposed to make the GM’s job easier; including pregen characters is another thing to do just that.

Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Store at Fantasy Grounds is far from extensive, but we are working to improve it. See everything we have there and download something helpful to your game today. While you’re at it, check our our full catalog of Pathfinder 1e, D&D 5e, 13th Age, and Traveller products at the JBE Shop and grab yourself some awesome stuff today.

Star Battles: Nebulae and Asteroids Space Map Pack for Fantasy Grounds

This collection of stunning maps includes 12 brand new scenes of space and is ideal for ship fights in your science fiction/science fantasy campaign played over Fantasy Grounds. Each map includes a gridless version, a square grid, and a hex grid so you can use these in any game system.

Star Battles: Nebulae and Asteroids Space Map Pack includes:

  • 5 maps featuring asteroids for your players to dodge
  • 4 starfield maps of beautiful deep space nebulae
  • A stunning planet with a ring and moon
  • A dwarf star in the middle of a solar flare
  • 1 of a planet with a nebula background

Give your game a stunning background for the most epic of battles!

Download today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, the Fantasy Grounds Store, and the Open Gaming Store.

JBE’s Virtual Conversation Schedule 2020

COVID-19 has dramatically changed convention schedules with most bring canceled (for good reason). But people still want to play their games, and everyone at JBE wants to join in on the fun.

Right now we are scheduled to attend three virtual conventions.

We hope that you will join us at these and other online conventions.

We are looking to attend more virtual conventions so if you are running an online con, contact us by commenting below or going to Twitter or Facebook and let us know about it.

Traveller 2e: What Is Your Favorite Kind of Ship?

It’s been a while since JBE published some new ships for Traveller. If you haven’t seen our ships for 2e Mongoose Traveller, check them out at DriveThruRPG. I’ll be getting back to creating some new ships shortly. Creating new ships is downright fun, and I’ve missed making them.

So I want to know what is your favorite kind of ship. We have some ideas for ships that we want to build, but I want to know what kinds of ships are your guilty pleasure. Let us know by voting in the poll below and leaving a comment below.

d66: We’re Back With More d66 Goodness

You asked for it. We delivered! Brand new d66 Lists are back and better than ever. We just posted for brand new d66 lists for your over at the JBE Shop. Grab them today.

Not only that, we are adding all of our existing d66 lists to the JBE Shop. The JBE Shop is going to be the new home of all our individual d66 lists. Doing it like this, you can add to your collection all at once from those you have been wanting to pickup and our new ones. If you picked up d66 lists in the past, have no fear. You will still be able to download them at other websites with no issue.

So which ones have been released today? Great question. First up we have d66 Reasons Traffic Control has Denied Take Off Clearance. Traffic control doesn’t always let you leave a star system when you want to. There can be a whole host of reason why they may say no, and d66 Reasons Traffic Control has Denied Take Off Clearance presents you with 36 such reasons. Use them in your game today. Download it at the JBE Shop.

After that, we have a new list of ship names for you: d66 Ships Named After a Breakup/Divorce. Not everyone names a ship after good times or happy memories. Some do it after a major life change. Inside d66 Ships Named After a Breakup/Divorce you’ll find all kinds of ship names that will help you give the ship’s captain or owner some personality. Download this d66 list today at the JBE Shop.

This next one was requested by a fan: d66 Things That Happened While You Were in Jump Space. Quite a bit can happen during that week when you are in jump space. The last you heard, all was fine on the planet and you emerge to food riots, a megacorp announce expansion plans, or perhaps war broke out. Perhaps something happened on your ship while you were away from reality, like a powersurge sending you off course or someone in low berth is suddenly pregnant and the unborn is experiencing rapid gestation. The list d66 Things That Happened While You Were in Jump Space will help you make a unique experience. Download at the JBE Shop.

Last but not least, we bring you d66 Vehicle Manufacturer Names. This d66 list delivers 36 names for vehicle manufacturers. Whether you are looking for a massive, multi-planetary corporation that produces gravcars and much more or a small local specialty company that hand makes flyers and ground cars, this list is here to help. Download at the JBE Shop.

If there is a specific list you would like to see, let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page or on Twitter. We want to hear your thoughts.

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