ffutures: steampunk lunar lander (Forgotten Futures)
I've been wanting to post this for ages, but couldn't because H.G. Wells is one of the authors and was still in European copyright until the end of 2016. Then I forgot in January, for which many apologies:

The English House of the Future from The Strand Magazine December 1903: No author credited for the first section, though various architects are quoted at length, the end section is by H. G. Wells.

http://forgottenfutures.com/library/futurehouse/house.htm

A scene from a future London with cars and airships. Title "A return to the severe Greek style at Ludgate Hill"
ffutures: (marcus 2013)
I've just sent refunds to everyone who didn't reply to my email re the end of Forgotten Futures. It'll be interesting to see what happens - I sent out 31 payments, I'm willing to bet at least 3 or 4 will be problematic.

and 20 minutes later one person has declined the payment and told me he wants the money to go to charity - apparently an earlier email to me vanished somewhow...
ffutures: (marcus 2013)
Further to my previous posts, I'm ending shareware registration of Forgotten Futures. See the post link below for an email I've just sent to current registered users. Since a few messages have bounced and more may be blocked by spam filters etc. I'd be grateful if you could point this out to anyone who might be affected.

http://ffutures-news.livejournal.com/34434.html
ffutures: (Dr Nikola)
The copy of A Bid For Fortune I bought recently has a frontispiece missing from my previous copy, and it's absolutely wonderful:

nikola_s

They don't make villains like that any more, you just can't get the wood. (Stanley L Wood, the illustrator, in this case.)
ffutures: (lost world)
I've come across a couple of formatting errors and a misplaced image in my etext of The Lost World. A corrected version is now on line:

http://www.forgottenfutures.com/game/ff3/lworld.htm
ffutures: (Tooth and Claw)
Back in 2008 I wrote Forgotten Futures X, The Tooth and Claw Role Playing Game, based on Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton. It's a fun setting where the player characters are cannibalistic dragons whose Victorian-ish society was loosely inspired by Trollope.

Seven years too late I've realised I missed a wonderful opening lines for one of the NPCs - the banking and insurance magnate known as The Crimson Claw, who has grown so big that he dwarfs any player character and can never leave his vaults - the tunnels are too small for him.

Read more... )

I could almost kick myself that I didn't put that in, but I think it's really a bit late now. And to be honest, while it feels like a fun line, it might not quite cause the sensation of mind-numbing terror I want characters to feel if they meet him.

Dragonmeet

Dec. 8th, 2014 12:26 am
ffutures: (marcus 2013)
I didn't post about Dragonmeet yesterday on Saturday because I was dog tired by the time I got home and I spent Sunday getting caught up on other things and trying to sooth a VERY sore throat.

The new venue (the Ibis hotel in Earl's Court) is a reasonable alternative to Kensington Town Hall. Food was mostly surprisingly cheap, though soft drinks were a bit expensive. But it felt a bit crowded, especially since they apparently had 1500+ people there, and the Open Games area (where I was running my sessions) was perpetually short of chairs. A lot of people seemed to have trouble finding the games they'd signed up for, which really didn't help.

The morning session was Forgotten Futures: the second part of Pyramid Scheme, in which the adventurers tracked Mad Empress Margaret's movements after her faked death and escape from her tomb under London. I really don't want to say more about that one since it will be in the next Forgotten Futures release, except that there was a reasonably happy ending.

The afternoon session was Custodians of the Cosmos, a cinematic adventure using modified Diana: Warrior Princess rules.

That one began about three or four months ago when the con organisers asked for people to run games - I put my name down for a couple, one of which I described as follows:

Custodians of the Cosmos
A motley assortment of adventurers join forces to visit strange new worlds, seek out new life and civilizations... and terminate anything that seems a threat to interstellar peace and harmony. Needless to say they _are_ a threat to interstellar peace and harmony, but hey, nobody's perfect. Especially when there's a big bar bill to pay, and someone's offering a reward of 500,000 credits for the Dread Space Pirate Robots...


Then, of course, I more or less forgot that I actually needed to write the damn adventure. Until earlier this week, when panic set in. Fortunately the solution was obvious - since I'd wasted a lot of time playing Oolite and that's quite a well-developed universe I set the adventure there, more or less. In this setting starships can't carry more than 7 LY worth of fuel, and can only jump between solar systems. But when a ship travels through hyperspace it briefly opens a wormhole - another ship can follow it without using any fuel.

There's a region in one of the galaxies which is divided by "The Great Rift," where all possible system-system jumps are 7.2 LY or more. There's a way to cross it, but it's difficult and involves another ship which may well be destroyed. So I decided that this was a natural region to encounter pirates. That let me use the galaxy map rather than having to invent my own - I printed it out across three sheets of A3 paper them got the players in the morning game and various random strangers to add cryptic notes to the map before I ran the adventure, e.g. "here be dragons," "Best burger bar in galaxy," a note in Japanese that I have no idea about, and so forth, to make it more interesting.

In the event I had three players so I asked the players to choose famous SF characters and come up with some simple stats; this gave me the elderly Obi-Wan Kenobi, Tegan from classic Dr. Who, and Buck Rogers (and the little robot Twiki) as the team.

The plot was actually dead simple - an alien businessman offered the adventurers money to eliminate pirates who were attacking ships along the edge of the Great Rift. They guessed fairly quickly that the pirates must be based on the other side. They also learned that the pirates (who only communicated by radio) claimed to be robots, and were stealing things that would be useful to them - computers. machinery, precious metals (useful for components), gems (useful for lasers etc.) and so forth.

So they came up with a plan - they found a hacker and got him to sell them a deadly computer virus, guaranteed to take out any computer know, loaded up with computers and started trolling up and down the edges of the rift.

Eventually a freighter followed them into their wormhole then did something that caused a misjump which crashed them out in interstellar space, and transmitted a message: "Be ye Turing-competent AIs, or human scum?"

As it happens the adventurers did have a robot with them - Twiki.



So they told Twiki to say they were robots - the stranger then transmitted a coded signal that made Twiki go berserk and start hitting Rogers. Fortunately Twiki was too small to do much damage, though Rogers' knees took a pounding. The stranger then demanded that they yield their cargo of computers to the "Thought Collective." Needless to say combat then ensued, which led to the attackers using their hyperdrive to escape across the Rift (at this point the nearest system was 6.8 LY away). The adventurers followed them through their wormhole, and resumed slugging it out on the South side of the rift. This eventually left both ships damaged, the players' ship out of fuel, and the attacker fleeing on fuel injectors (which give extra speed in normal space). By the time the adventurers limped to a Rock Hermit (asteroid base) the pirates had been and gone. The adventurers got Twiki rebooted and went on the hunt again.

After another inconclusive encounter the Collective decided to take out the threat. One of their ships pretended to be an innocent freighter dropping cargo and fleeing from the adventurers' ship - they naturally went to scoop it up, taking aboard three tons of radioactives and two of computers. A couple of minutes later alarms started sounding from the hold, and they went down to find that the five crates had assembled themselves into a large robotic bomb (stolen from Dark Star) which screwed itself to the floor plates, with a 300-second countdown. It then asked them to prove that they were Turing-competent intelligences, with the countdown starting up whenever they stopped talking. The adventurers solved this one by feeding the computer virus to the bomb, which promptly started to sing Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" - the virus had rickrolled the bomb! While it was distracted they used Kenobi's light sabre to cut out the floor plates, dumped the bomb, and put the pedal to the metal. A BIG explosion then ensued, but they got away.

Finally the adventurers worked out the most likely location of the pirate base, and went after it. This did not go entirely to plan - when they navigated to that system's navy base, it turned out to have been replaced by a Borg-style cube, and they were promptly boarded by another robot which cut through the hull; the dreaded "Blackturret" (a Dalek - yes, I know real Daleks aren't robots, exactly, but bear with me). The adventurers claimed to be aware of secret government anti-piracy plans that they would only reveal to the pirates leaders - this got them in to see Long John 3PO, their leader. They tried the virus trick again but 3PO just downloaded it and sneered at them... except that it started to tap its foot as they were being dragged away for execution. The adventurers guessed, correctly, that things were about to go badly wrong for the pirates, and made a break for it as "Never Gonna Give You Up" began to play over the cube's speakers. They then ran for their ship and escaped as the cube finally imploded, triggering a Queridium blast (Oolite's WMD) and eliminating the robot pirate threat once and for all. They escaped into hyperspace seconds ahead of the blue sphere of death.

Fadeout to a happy ending, apart from the sudden realisation that they didn't have an address for the alien who had sponsored them, or any way to claim the reward...

I was actually pretty pleased with the way it went, and I think a lot of the credit for that was that I knew the Oolite universe well enough to explain technology, the way its hyperdrives and jump drives worked, etc. so well that I never had to grope for an explanation. The robot pirates were the only real invention, and they worked well in the fairly silly context I was creating.

Finished that about six and went along to the game auction at 6.30, that took more than an hour and raised £1600+ for charity. I didn't manage to win any item, and some of the prices were insanely high, but it was all for good causes. After talking to friends for a while I headed home. Hopefully I'll be feeling more human and will actually be able to talk properly in a day or two...
ffutures: illos from the novel by George Griffith (Angel of the Revolution)
Another image for Dragonmeet - a trusty native (Martian) guide

image )

later - Now with added eyeballs!
ffutures: (marcus 2013)
Suddenly remembered I have a mosaic tool in one of my graphics programs which let me quickly add a hint of an underlying block structure to the version I thought I'd finished late last night - quite pleased with this one, but let me know what you think.

pictures )

I've already printed and laminated the "before" picture for Dragonmeet, which is a little annoying, but which would be better for the actual game, bearing in mind it may be reduced to a fraction of a page?

Later - forgot to say that the program that had the mosaic tool was Microsoft PictureIt! Photo 7, which used to be part of the Microsoft Works bundle, I think. It has some nice easy-to-use effects I occasionally find very useful, and Works often turns up bundled with computers or very cheaply elsewhere.
ffutures: steapunk dalek (Dalek)
This is going to have to be the final version for now, at least until after Dragonmeet. Taking on board comments and hair suggestions from previous versions, I think this is about as good as I'm going to get without spending much more time in it than I can afford.

picture )
ffutures: illos from the novel by George Griffith (Angel of the Revolution)
I've done a new version of this image I'm much happier with, see the previous entry:

http://ffutures.livejournal.com/1071780.html
ffutures: (lost world)
Is this at all convincing?

2nd version of this image - not sure yet if it will be black and white or colour, whichever I go with, it will probably be reduced in size considerably. I should also mention that Photobucket seems to have created some compression artifacts in hosting this one.

ffutures: (marcus 2013)
These are the scenarios I'll be running at Continuum 2014 at the end of July - I've run both before at other cons, so please don't sign up if you've played in them before.

Saturday Morning
Adventure title: Pyramid Scheme
System: Forgotten Futures
4-6 Players, pregenerated characters
Summary: In the aftermath of the Sirian invasion there are some unusual opportunities for entrepreneurs. Some of them seem too good to be true... but why on Earth would the government pay anyone to dismantle and ship a pyramid to Mars? This is a test of a new setting and scenario and some delays and problems are possible.

This is another test of the setting for Forgotten Futures XII. I previously ran this at Dragonmeet 2013.

Sunday Afternoon
Adventure Title: Monster Mash
System: Diana: Warrior Princess
4-6 players
Adventure Description: America, the 1950s. You just want to meet with your friends, chug a few beers or some blood or brains, and maybe go out and terrorize the neighbourhood a little. But the locals seem to have weird objections. Well, that's what being a monster is all about, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but somehow it always hurts. But not as much as you're going to hurt the locals...
Note: this is a play-test of a system variant and adventure still in development, occasional rough patches are possible. I've run this once before at Dragonmeet 2012.
ffutures: (marcus 2013)
...was a bound volume of The Boy's Own Paper covering October 1893 - September 1894, about 800 large pages with a lot of illustrations, for £3.00

Condition isn't wonderful - there are a lot of loose pages which have been bashed at the edges - but it seems to be complete and there are loads of illustrations, some in colour, including fold-out double plates. Even in poor condition I would have expected it to cost £20 or more, so I'm very pleased. Haven't really found anything very useful for Forgotten Futures etc. yet, but still hopeful, and even if I don't it's a nice volume.
ffutures: (Phrenology)
This is my second attempt at an editable PDF Forgotten Futures character record form. I'd be grateful if people could give it a try now and see if anything seems to be dodgy about it, if you can make it do weird things, etc. It looks a bit nicer, I think,

http://www.forgottenfutures.com/game/blank_record.pdf

All boxes are now text fields - I've set the ones that should be numbers to numerical only. There's a second overflow page, just one big text field.

You'll probably need to download it and open it in e.g. Adobe Reader - Firefox displays it but doesn't let you edit it, not sure about other browsers and readers.

update 23/12/13 - tidied it up a little, and got the file size down considerably. Please download again if you are looking at an earlier version.
ffutures: (marcus 2013)
This is a first attempt at an editable PDF Forgotten Futures character record form. I'm probably going to tidy it and pretty it up a little more, but I'd be grateful if people could give it a try now and see if anything seems to be dodgy about it, if you can make it do weird things, etc.

http://www.forgottenfutures.com/game/blank_record.pdf

The characteristics boxes are drop down menus, as are the weapon "Multiple?" fields (apart from Fist and Kick). Everything else is a text field.

You'll probably need to download it and open it in e.g. Adobe Reader - Firefox displays it but doesn't let you edit it, not sure about other browsers and readers.

later - forgot to make the spaces for the effect of fist and kick editable. I'll sort that, but for now please try this as it is.
ffutures: illos from the novel by George Griffith (Angel of the Revolution)
In a comment on my last post [livejournal.com profile] i_kender pointed out that the British Library has put a shedload of illustrations from books on line for free use, as a huge flickr set.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary/

For example, one of the first I found was a larger version of this:

an illustration from The Angel of the Revolution - I have larger versions on the FF CD-ROM, but there isn't room on my web site.

At the moment the quantity is vast and tagging is minimal, actually finding anything is difficult. But if enough people take an interest it ought to eventually be a very useful resource.
ffutures: (Aerial board of Control 2)
I managed to pick up a 1 to 4 DVD copier on ebay - got it for £53, then it turned out that one of the drives doesn't seem to be working but the read drive and the other three are fine. Still a good deal for the price, but I told the vendor, who promptly gave me a 10% refund. Hopefully I can get another drive for not much more, there seem to be a few reasonably cheap on eBay, though I don't know what the final prices will be.

So the FF CD-ROM (DVD) 8.0 will be happening some time next year if all goes well. This is the label design I'll probably go with, let me know what you think.

picture )
ffutures: (Phrenology)
An early attempt to develop a long-range death ray.

big picture )

Anyone care to guess what this really is?

I think colourised, and with a nice green beam, it will be rather cool...
ffutures: (marcus 2013)
I've put up the modified PDF with the colour illo and one other illo replaced by the one that was omitted.

Something that's struck me about that colour picture of the dock - most of the people at ground level are wearing jackets with big high-visibility logos on the back, the sort of thing someone working at e.g. a harbour or a constructions site might wear today. Was this something Kipling came up with on his own, or were they already around?

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