3 Rules to Designing Spaceships

My blog posts as of late have focused mainly on fantasy. Today we’re going to take a break from that and focus on science fiction (or science fantasy, since this applies equally to that genre) and take a look at spaceships. Making your own spaceship is fun and exciting. Ships can serve as the main setting for your game, places to visit on occasion, or familiar places to return. They are everything from the family car to the battle tank and all points in between. They fill a wide variety of roles but they still all have a number of things to keep in mind. So when designing space ships keep the following things in mind.

1) Have a Core Concept of What the Ship Is About.

No one designs a ships to fill every role. That is impossible and won’t sell. The “stealth racing family RV armored destroyer cargo carrier” (bet you can’t say that five times fast) would cost hundreds if not thousands of times more than if this were broken into five separate ships; either that or compromises will have to be made. Pick a simple core concept and stick to it. This should be as simple as a “cargo carrier” or a “destroyer.” Should a cargo carrier carry enough weaponry to defend itself? Yes. Assault a planet? No. Conversely, Should the destroyer carry enough cargo to give it fuel and food enough to carry out its missions? Yes. Enough to keep a gigafactory in operation for a day? No.

Well what about a “pirate ship” you ask? Simple concept but at its heart it wants to be the “stealth racing family RV armored destroyer cargo carrier” I mentioned earlier. Stealth to sneak up on its target, racing to outpace whatever it is after or after it, family RV since the pirates are going to be living there for a while and will get bored, armored destroyer since it needs to shoot at its query and take shots, and most importantly of all, have room for the cargo it steals. If you make that, it will cost more than any military vessel since they don’t need to have the cargo carrier in that ship. So it has to make compromises. Does it have to be both stealthful and racing? Possibly no. It could simply rely on one or the other instead of both. It could have the technology to not appear on sensors until only a short distance from their query. So its engines can be downgraded to only beating cargo ships. Does its armor and weaponry have to outclass warships or can that be compromised down to outclass cargo ships? By doing this, we just kept the price down and still have the pirate ship be effective.

2) Ask “Is This Necessary?”

Ask yourself this on EVERYTHING! This goes for weaponry choices to hallways. Yes, hallways. If there is any way to eliminate a hallway, do so. A hallway is cargo space not being used to transport cargo. If you have to have the crew recreation area double as the way to get from the bridge to the crew quarters and engineering while not wasting space on a hallways, do so. Reason why: that is space saved can be allocated towards cargo, making the ship more profitable.

3) Add Unique Flair

More than anything, this is the reason to make your own ship. Otherwise, you may as well simply buy a book of ships (such as the Foreven Worlds: Ships of the Border Worlds). Do you want the ships ideal for a crew without a mechanic? Make everything easy to repair. You want to show how this world’s technology just isn’t up to par? How about their armor is better than normal because they have been hit so often by raiders? Is it overusing gold and holograms to how just how rich the owner is? Give it personality.

Speaking of personality, our Prelude to War adventures feature a number of characters with lots of personality. Download the first two in the series The Rose of Death and State of Chaos, exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

Happy Hogswatch (Or Whatever You Celebrate)

From now through Festivus and all the way through January 31, 2018, you can download anything JonBrazer.com and get 30% off your entire order with the “holiday2017” coupon code. May your Yule be bright, your Saturnalia be joyous, your St Lucia Day be merry, your Kwanzaa be celebrated with family, your Hanukkah be will lit, and have a Merry Christmas. 

From all of us at Jon Brazer Enterprises, have a safe and happy holiday.

What Are We Up To?

We love to hear what our favorite game companies are working on as much as everyone else. Typically we do not announce very far in advance, but frankly, there is no reason not to share with you what we are working on. So here we go:

Coming in September is the previously announced Book of Magic: Dragon Spells and Archetypes. This book helps you to theme your character like someone that admires dragons, draws their power from a draconic ancestory or wants to hunt down dragons. With archetypes and class options like the draconic implement for the occultist or the wizard discoveries, there are quite a few ways you can create the character you want. Even more, there are spells in here ideal for those taking on a dragon, those that want to associate with dragons, or for dragons themselves. These spells enhance the natural abilities of dragons, making these creatures even deadlier, or penetrate straight them, turning them into useless wyrms. Look for this next month.

October sees the release of the Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin adventure for both Fifth Edition as well as the Swords and Wizardry. Whether you prefer your games with modern rules or an excellent revisit of the classic game, this is an adventure your players will not soon forget. A black dragon attacks a town and the players track it back to its lair and encounter more than a few surprises along the way. Prepare for more than you expected in this adventure. We are hoping to bring you both version of this adventure at the same time, but one may be delayed (hopefully not too long).

This is where our schedule starts to get a little uncertain. We are working on the equivalent of the d66 Compendium for Starfinder (currently unnamed). I am just not certain it will be ready for its target launch in November. This book will be a handy toolkit for gamemasters of science fantasy names. It contains names of aliens, planets, moons, robots, guns, and a whole lot more. No Starfinder gamemaster will want to be without this book.

Coming in December is the Pathfinder adventure Deadly Delves: Nine Lives for Petane by Christen N. Sowards of Lost Spheres Publishing. They have a Kickstarter going on now; check it out. In Nine Lives the players need to resurrect someone from a crypt, but which corpse is the right one? To make matters worse, an evil cult has been using the crypt as their own private playground. Even worse, monsters keep appearing out of no where. Good luck solving the mystery when your GM decides to run this 13th level adventure.

That is all we have for you right now. We are working on so much more than that, but I cannot pin down a date when any of it will come out at this point in time. We hope you are as excited about it as I am.

Be sure to use Coupon Code OpenStore25 when you download our PDFs from the JBE Shop. Downloading direct from us helps us produce more of the games you love. As always you can find all of our PDFs at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, the OpenGamingStore. and Paizo.

Starfinder: Unleash Star Battles for Epic Space Encounters

Beyond the Basic Star Map
Never play on an ordinary star map! Star Battles: Hex Space Maps 1 and Star Battles: Hex Space Maps 2 takes your Starfinder game beyond the basics, bringing exciting visuals to your table. Have your ships skim planets, buzz space stations and rocky rings, whirl through nebulae, and fight in dawn’s glorious light. These maps sport 1-inch hexes, ideal for an epic showdown between all of your starship miniatures!
Star Battles: Hex Space Maps 1 & 2 each feature:

  • 6 maps, each measuring 12″ x 18″
  • Those same maps reformatted for printing on 8-1/2″ x 11″
  • Easily copied images, ideal for use on a VTT.

Enjoy epic space battles in your Starfinder game today!

Download Star Battles: Hex Space Maps 1 & 2 at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the OpenGamingStore.

Pre-Printed Cards
Order the pre-printed cards and get all 6 maps in this set on 12” x 18″ pages, folded in half and delivered right to your door! Order your copies today exclusively at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow

Starfinder: Even More Star Battle Previews

You may have noticed yesterday that that cover of the upcoming Star Battle: Hex Space Maps has a “1” next to it. That’s because we have the second already to go and launching tomorrow. The first focuses on more ring worlds and sunrises. The second focuses on nebulae, solar flares, rock worlds and we’ve even got a space station in there as well. Each set has 6 maps pre-printed with 1″ hexes perfect for your minis. These maps are a serious upgrade over the basic map and and a great enhancement to your game. These can be incorporated into your game right away and will make for a more memorable experience.

Click on the maps below to see a larger preview.


Starfinder: Star Battles Preview

In two days, the Starfinder Roleplaying Game launches and we at Jon Brazer Enterprises could not be more excited. While we are working on new alien races and class options and places to go, we decided that that is not where we are going to put our energy right away. Instead, we are going to help you play the basic game straight out of the core book. Unlike the launch of Pathfinder back in 2009, there isn’t 30+ years of history with the core game nor is there 9 years of history that the base engine of Pathfinder was built upon. This game is brand new and science fantasy as a genre is not nearly nearly as developed as a more mundane science fiction genre.

So how are we helping? Well the game includes rules for ship combat and Paizo sells a Basic Starfield Map Pack for your space battles. While it is necessary to get the basic map out there, we are Jon Brazer Enterprises. We enhance your world and your game; we go beyond the basic. We have a map pack that you can order Thursday for your game from DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. If you are the kind of person that would rather have the PDF and print your own, you can download the PDF from all our regular retailer locations and it comes pre-sized for you in 12″ x 18″ as well as 8-1/2″ x 11″ paper. Additionally, we are working on having it available for those that play Fantasy Grounds, but that will not be available right away.

Check back on JonBrazer.com on Thursday for links to where you can order and download your copies.

Click on the images below to see a larger preview, and happy gaming.

Starfinder: Awesome Space Battle Maps

It is only 10 days until we Starfinder Compatible Publishers can release our products, and it is well past time I start sharing with you what you will be seeing from us right out of the gate. The first thing that every GM needs is an awesome grid to have space battles. I mean, what is a science fiction game without space battles and if you can’t do so on an awesome map, it just isn’t going to look nearly as good. So JBE is here to give you pre-printed terrain for your games to look amazing. Click on the images to see higher resolution of these awesome maps that will be available on day one.

Starfinder: Aliens In Spaaaaaaace

About 2 years ago, I walked out of Guardians of the Galaxy and said, “I want a raccoon race in my sci-fi games.” I liked Rocket, but I would rather him be a race rather than a one of a kind creature. So I asked my favorite artist to do a few drawings, and that is where this image came from. Man, do I love it!

Aliens are going to be a cornerstone to any Starfinder game in the way that fantasy races are to Pathfinder. So for the next installment in my ongoing series about what kind of Starfinder setting would I make, I would like to talk about some of the alien races in it. Of course there will be humans, androids, lashunta, and ratfolk in there, as well as any other race in the core rulebook, but I just have to add my own (if it is not already in there). First one will be a raccoon race. A nice scrappy race that is all about nocturnal life. That’s them. So they should be a crazy, go in guns blazing little guys. I also need to add seedlings in there. You know where I am going with this so I am just going to stop here.

But what else should I do with races: change the flavor of the core races. As I have said many, many places, I always prefer Dark Sun to the Forgotten Realms. Give me a cannibal halfling any day. So how would I change the core races: during the great war that plunged the once great StarRealm into darkness and ruin, the lashunta saw their world bombarded by asteroids by the Cycrom Collective (the cybernetic undead). The lashunta, as a result are scarce in numbers and many of the older generation have gone insane with grief. The younger generation tend to be either exceptionally practical, having grown up taking care of their parents all throughout their childhood, or are angry extremists, wanting revenge on Cycroms for robbing them of a life they can only dream of now.

That is as far as I have created at the moment. If you enjoy this series, please let us know, tell a friend, and sign up for our Starfinder newsletter to stay up on all our latest articles.

Starfinder: The Evil League of Evil

Artwork by JEShields
Artwork by JEShields

I wasn’t planning on writing another Starfinder post at this point, but honestly, the news lately have been … rather eventful … and not all that great. So I figured I’d give everyone a bit of a break for a few moments while you read about about a group of bad guys your character can thwart.

So if I wrote a Starfinder setting, what kind of setting would I write. I talked previously about how there will be an evil undead faction that helped defeat the good the various good planet nations. Today, I am going to share with you another faction that the good planets. But if the last group are your dalek’s that want to exterminate all life, how is this group different. The best way to reference them is with Joss Whedon’s Dr Horrible Sing-Along-Blog: The Evil League of Evil. While obviously this will not be their final name, its flavor is something you will undoubtedly recognize in some theoretical future version. These are everything from leaders of street gangs to CEOs to interstellar corporations that own people’s souls (literally) to evil repressive tyrants. So yes, these are your space nazis, those that make deals with demons, baby eaters and so forth that you can kill without feeling bad about.

This group has no single racial identity. They range from humans, elves, dwarves, androids, orcs, hobgoblins, seedlings, to all the alien races, a sentient horse, and many kinds of intelligent monsters. Their soul unifying desire is power. Whether that power is used to make them a ungodly amounts of money, satisfy their demonic patron, to create their army of automata that follow their every whim, or just have lots of people to whom they can cause pain without repercussions. This group is by far the least unified and frequently succumbs to its own infighting, since one warlord want something a rival CEO has and will stop its war effort just to claim the object of that desire.

This works great in a game because unlike the never-ending tide of undead, these can be small groups of bad guys that you fight that can have little to no effect on your resistance efforts. So if you take out Evil Mike of Mike’s ArcanoSpaceRaiders (for example), Glenstar Corp, who’s territory border’s Evil Mike’s, won’t retaliate right away since you solved a problem for them. Or even better for them, if you do not liberate the whole of his territory right away, Glenstar can capture it, increasing their stature. You may have just made an ally. A very evil ally, but an ally nonetheless.

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