"Grrrr! Impetuous boy! Ah, well; who wants to live forever?" - retrofuturism/Flash Gordon-esque/space fantasy-adjacent pulp nonsense

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Billy Bones

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I've been thinking about this for ages but only now had the nerves to post something up about it for fear of mad, incredulous ridicule and/or pictures of querulous geese.

If the idea of fighting off cassette-powered pirate robots with nothing but a worn shortsword and an old flintlock pistol gets your bits and pieces going, then this might be the place for you.

I've been writing my own stuff for a couple of years now, but I think I would like to fold some of it into a new setting, and one with more pairs of eyes on it than just me. I've said it before on other threads, that I love the idea of collaborating on a long-standing project and the excellent thread on genre flavours showed it would be great to work more closely with people with similar interests.

I'm not particularly beholden to anything in particular, I'd just like to be able to bounce ideas off of someone else and see where the prose takes us.

If this is of interest to anyone give me a shout. If it ain't, give me the geese I can take it.
 
Yeah, retro-futuristic Flash Gordon sounds awesome. Personally, I think I'd pick a pretty light and/or cinematic rule set to work with. Something OSR, or maybe PbtA or light d100. I don't think it's an idea that would benefit in any real way from high crunch rules. The immediate picture I have of what this could fee like is sort of DCC space opera gonzo (except maybe not with the DCC rules set). Honestly Troika would be a perfect fit but it's not everyone's cup of tea.
 
Yeah, retro-futuristic Flash Gordon sounds awesome. Personally, I think I'd pick a pretty light and/or cinematic rule set to work with. Something OSR, or maybe PbtA or light d100. I don't think it's an idea that would benefit in any real way from high crunch rules.

On the other hand, I think I would start with James Bond 007.
 
Yeah, retro-futuristic Flash Gordon sounds awesome. Personally, I think I'd pick a pretty light and/or cinematic rule set to work with. Something OSR, or maybe PbtA or light d100. I don't think it's an idea that would benefit in any real way from high crunch rules. The immediate picture I have of what this could fee like is sort of DCC space opera gonzo (except maybe not with the DCC rules set). Honestly Troika would be a perfect fit but it's not everyone's cup of tea.
Happy to be led in this respect, one of the benefits of bringing this here is to be exposed to things I just don't know about. What I will say is that I run regular pf2e games in anticipation of sf2e release sometime next year, but as you say, if it's kept as mechanically light as possible it should stay agnostic enough for an easy port.
 
The reason I suggested Troika! isn't solely that it's a light system, but more because of the way it's designed. Troika! is somewhat unique in that its setting is defined almost entirely through the long evocative set of character backgrounds and enemies rather than the usual setting materials. The expansion Acid Death Fantasy, for example, is entirely defined by a map, a d66 backgrounds, a d66 enemies, and a sultanates randomizer. This approach would lend itself pretty well to a group approach since the basic unit of development is a single page and a single idea. It's not that the game can't support more normal setting detail, it certainly can, and some other supplements for the game do this.

This same design approach could be wedded to a standard but still system agnostic OSR-style stat block and the result would be highly portable to a wide variety of systems. The more specific mechanics you included the harder it gets to keep things system agnostic.
 
Unless there are other suggestions or alternatives I'll go ahead and sort a OneDrive for notes and attachments. I do have a WorldAnvil subscription but it's up in May and I'm not renewing it.
 
I've done a draft solar system style map, but in the style of a medieval manuscript like the Nuremberg Chronicle. For no other reason other than I thought it was neat and manuscripts are cool.

I thought about putting together a hexmap and corresponding rolltables full of mad crap in any particular place while shamelessly scavenging SWN, Traveller and this thread for ideas to put in. This has its own issues as I'm not a massive fan of too many rolltables and I prefer curated stuff, but they have their place.

I also had a couple of different ideas for weird space rather than just it's a vacuum, or various tedious nautical tropes (though I am a sucker for said tedious nautical tropes). I recall evil gas cloud thing from Shadar Logoth in Wheel of Time which I thought might present unique challenges for players.

I'm mostly just riffing on some of this stuff
I'm Still very keen to work with others on this or something else, so if some or any of this sounds interesting give me a shout.
 
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I've done a draft solar system style map, but in the style of a medieval manuscript like the Nuremberg Chronicle. For no other reason other than I thought it was neat and manuscripts are cool.

I thought about putting together a hexmap and corresponding rolltables full of mad crap in any particular place while shamelessly scavenging SWN, Traveller and this thread for ideas to put in. This has its own issues as I'm not a massive fan of too many rolltables and I prefer curated stuff, but they have their place.

I also had a couple of different ideas for weird space rather than just it's a vacuum, or various tedious nautical tropes (though I am a sucker for said tedious nautical tropes). I recall evil gas cloud thing from Shade Logoth in Wheel of Time which I thought might present unique challenges for players.

I'm mostly just riffing on some of this stuff
I'm Still very keen to work with others on this or something else, so if some or any of this sounds interesting give me a shout.
The evil cloud thingy was called Mashadar, and it would be a cool obstacle (maybe more than an enemy). Were you thinking as a spacecraft level threat or something the players might encounter in some similar ruins somewhere? It might be cool to design a relatively open adventuring location and some randomization to determine where the black cloud is layered over top, resulting in a changing labyrinth.
 
The evil cloud thingy was called Mashadar, and it would be a cool obstacle (maybe more than an enemy). Were you thinking as a spacecraft level threat or something the players might encounter in some similar ruins somewhere? It might be cool to design a relatively open adventuring location and some randomization to determine where the black cloud is layered over top, resulting in a changing labyrinth.
Initially I had it as galaxy wide, but I think you're right. I wonder if there's a way of making it a roaming threat that doesn't require the DM rolling a dice every 8 seconds to determine it's pathing.

Also given it's a planet sized ancient cloudy morass of death we should give it a really normal name. Like Stephen or Jim.
 
Initially I had it as galaxy wide, but I think you're right. I wonder if there's a way of making it a roaming threat that doesn't require the DM rolling a dice every 8 seconds to determine it's pathing.

Also given it's a planet sized ancient cloudy morass of death we should give it a really normal name. Like Stephen or Jim.
Well, it doesn't need to be fast, just deadly. Maybe, outside of contact with a PC it moves at the turn scale rather than by round, so every 10 minutes. In a ruin location you could start with a die drop to start and then extend one unit (whatever) toward the then current party location every turn. The party will likely be moving so it won't be moving directly toward them as much as following slowly. IDK, just my first thoughts.
 
Well, it doesn't need to be fast, just deadly. Maybe, outside of contact with a PC it moves at the turn scale rather than by round, so every 10 minutes. In a ruin location you could start with a die drop to start and then extend one unit (whatever) toward the then current party location every turn. The party will likely be moving so it won't be moving directly toward them as much as following slowly. IDK, just my first thoughts.
Okay stay with me here, there are four of them, they are different colours and they are coming to eat your spaceship.

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Happy to riff as much as you like.

Space isn't empty of course, it's filled with laethe - which is a gas like ether which also causes unconsciousness but also...if breathed enough....AMNESIA!

It means Laethenauts have to wear breathing equipment for ship to ship swordfights! One faction uses old style diving bell helmets, another uses 'trunked' gas mask helmets. The aim is to cut the suit so after a few rounds the enemy forgets why they're fighting!
 
Happy to riff as much as you like.

Space isn't empty of course, it's filled with laethe - which is a gas like ether which also causes unconsciousness but also...if breathed enough....AMNESIA!

It means Laethenauts have to wear breathing equipment for ship to ship swordfights! One faction uses old style diving bell helmets, another uses 'trunked' gas mask helmets. The aim is to cut the suit so after a few rounds the enemy forgets why they're fighting!
Astounding.
 
What about the D6 system? Or mini-D6? The stripped-down version is pretty light and I bet you can go lighter.
Similar, Atomic Highway very light, easy to design in. (and I think the rules are still free off Drivethru)

You could use the base rules, just coming up with your own rearings, careers and skills (the fun stuff). Did some robot rules for it, I called M.E.T.A.L. after the acronym for the stats, and then a bunch of Fallout inspired retro-future stuff. You can reskin all the stuff, motorcycles, become space scooters skiffs, the rules for cars become rules for space ships, road obstacles become asteroids...rename HMG to heavy heat ray :smile:

Going even further, characters in Atomic Highway are described by M.U.T.A.N.T.
Muscle
Understanding
Toughness
Appearance
Nimble
Tenacity

Here we map to S.P.A.C.E.R.
Strength
Persistence
Agility
Charisma
Endurance
Reason

And robots to M.E.T.A.L.
Muscle
Energy
Toughness
Agility
Logic
 
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Happy to riff as much as you like.

Space isn't empty of course, it's filled with laethe - which is a gas like ether which also causes unconsciousness but also...if breathed enough....AMNESIA!

It means Laethenauts have to wear breathing equipment for ship to ship swordfights! One faction uses old style diving bell helmets, another uses 'trunked' gas mask helmets. The aim is to cut the suit so after a few rounds the enemy forgets why they're fighting!
Don't forget the laether harvesters, bottling a little forgetfulness after a hard day. :smile:
 
I've done a draft solar system style map, but in the style of a medieval manuscript like the Nuremberg Chronicle. For no other reason other than I thought it was neat and manuscripts are cool.

I thought about putting together a hexmap and corresponding rolltables full of mad crap in any particular place while shamelessly scavenging SWN, Traveller and this thread for ideas to put in. This has its own issues as I'm not a massive fan of too many rolltables and I prefer curated stuff, but they have their place.
Do you know the boardgame Triplanetary ? It's map would be wonderful.
 
Lots of great suggestions there xanther xanther. I'm seriously considering embracing the retro and putting together a few 8bit style battlemaps as a bit of a demo. All sprites and neon.


Don't forget the laether harvesters, bottling a little forgetfulness after a hard day. :smile:
Too much makes you want to take your clothes off and go for a walk in vacuum!
 
There's been quite a bit of interest in this since clearly you're all massive irreverent nerds like me, so in the interests of moving things on and
until a more permanent solution can be found, I've gone ahead ahead and created a very quick discord channel with community features enabled for threaded discussion. I picked discord because we're all on the pub one anyway!

It's here

 
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It means Laethenauts have to wear breathing equipment for ship to ship swordfights! One faction uses old style diving bell helmets, another uses 'trunked' gas mask helmets. The aim is to cut the suit so after a few rounds the enemy forgets why they're fighting!
...that's not reason enough to stop and you know that, right:grin:?
 
Laethe Space Gravity

Gravity always points “down” in space. This is why ships always arrive the same way “up”. This is why you fight on top of the ship and can still fall off them. It, with the gaseous nature of space, is why things like etheric wings work.

You can see the worlds floating in Laetheric Space and as you approach, you have to sometimes “flip” to get to southern hemisphere lands - something that causes nausea in even the most experienced steersmen.

Now, can you guess all of the methods of propulsion in Laetheric Space?
 
I like the idea of gravity like real world except you have ballast (special rocks) that provide gravity on ship and allow it to "sail" (something with laether drag, traction or some such) and and not flutter about like a feather on the wind.

[ASIDE] This gets me thinking about "wind" in the solar system. Clearly this wind arises from the heating by the sun, and whorls out from the sun in the solar equatorial plane and direction of rotation. The "winds" also arise from magnetic fields (and to a lesser extent gravity) which makes Jupiter such a great way to get a magnetic field generated laetheric wind "slingshot" to the outer worlds.

So you have laether trade winds, currents and the like, furious winds in the inner system, weak winds in the outer system, certain spots (Lagrange points) causing eddies whirlpools, planets themself throwing off smaller winds and creating shadows, etc., the asteroid belt creating a morass of eddies, currents, "rip tides", that only the most experience of pilots can navigate. Now sure you can use steam or jet rockets, but fuel is the key. You can only go so far off the system plane before you are in the doldrums and will have to have your crew done wings and pull you back. Lastly, there is also the danger of the evil galactic geese which migrate between worlds. :smile: [END ASIDE]

When approaching a world you may well have to "flip" to orient correctly. Now ship to ship, up to you if you want to board with the same orientation and have leverage to swing a sword and fire a pistol without being shot off into space, or fly-over beating wings or with steam packs (which do require extensive training). I know, every one wants to join the Royal Steam Marines, or is it Steam Troopers?

I hear that they have developed superfast jet packs for when stealth is not required, what with the flame and smoke, but also hear that if one stray round or heat ray hits the tanks, and BOOM!

[ANOTHER ASIDE] Propeller driven craft, except the propellers have to be magnetic. [END ASIDE]
 
There's a system agnostic OSR supplement called Skycrawl that plays with the idea of gravity causing materials. Skycrawl calls them 'heavy elements' and their value is equal to their gravitational force (they double as currency). All ships and whatnot need to carry some if they want up and down gravity. The value also makes the heavy elements a wonderful target for piracy and prospecting.
 
I I know, every one wants to join the Royal Steam Marines, or is it Steam Troopers?

I hear that they have developed superfast jet packs for when stealth is not required, what with the flame and smoke, but also hear that if one stray round or heat ray hits the tanks, and BOOM

Jetsteam packs are unlawful within the satrapy of the Red Star Legion.

[ANOTHER ASIDE] Propeller driven craft, except the propellers have to be magnetic. [END ASIDE]

That would be the unnatural propulsion of the Red Star Legion.
 
Can we come up with an equivalent of a galley? Perhaps, bicycle powered propellers. :smile:

Biremes of course are where you have bicycles built for 2 and paired riders trained to work well together, which can power larger and more efficient propellers.
Whereas the Laethernauts of the Asteroid Isles have trained from birth to ride bikes built for 3 making their Triremes the fastest stellar gallies in system. They can be dangerous pirates as they come in on you out of the still off the system plane then retreat to it.

Another idea, the scale of the solar system is vast but I wouldn't want to mess with it too much or up the nominal speed of trvael. Hence my solution is once you reach a certain velocity, you create a stream/furrow, etc. in Laether space and the space itself "Warps" and you travel to Mars etc. at reasonable times.

Add in perhaps different levels of "warp" as you achieve greater velocities. Also, this means that slower modes of travel can never achieve a "warp" so perhaps if you are thrown overboard with just your wings you can't achieve any "warp" or only the slowest, and may limit simple gallies and the like to "coastal" craft sailing near a world, to the moon and back etc.

To put it somewhat together....this is where the asteroid belt can be like a chain of islands, where slower craft can ply. Perhaps ancient Polynesians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Vikings*, and the like (with their great sailing and navigations skills, and guts to sail off into the Laether) settled the asteroid isles long ago, before the Red Star Legion, which reign is broad and justifiable, civilized the belt.

*some say the Vikings did not so much as set out for the Belt, but arrived there accidentally (a Sun spot storm generated strong Laetheric winds that blew them out to the belt) when sailing to Mars because they had to leave Luna because of some killings.

Of course back in the past....they didn't use propellers but hand cranked paddles, sometimes with up to 4 rowers per paddle, while others used ingenious sail designs and hull configurations to not just ride the laetheric waves but take advantage of them
 
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I’d be inclined to just make things closer. Like Mars is a speck in the Leathespace the same way that I can’t see Rio de Janeiro from Malta.
 
I’d be inclined to just make things closer. Like Mars is a speck in the Leathespace the same way that I can’t see Rio de Janeiro from Malta.
Probably to a degree, but see Mars as a journey across the Pacific time scale, perhaps Venus across the Atlantic, but a object the size of Mars would be more than a speck...maybe make the world smaller as well? For example, the moon is pretty big in the sky, much smaller than Mars and about 250,000 miles a way.
 
Probably to a degree, but see Mars as a journey across the Pacific time scale, perhaps Venus across the Atlantic, but a object the size of Mars would be more than a speck...maybe make the world smaller as well? For example, the moon is pretty big in the sky, much smaller than Mars and about 250,000 miles a way.
To your eyes limited by Euclidean blinkers…
 
To your eyes limited by Euclidean blinkers…
Truly...once the light compression and funneling properties of the laether became known, the disconnect between apparent celestial object size and actual distance was resolved. :smile:
 
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