Monday, 13 February 2017

The Ravagers

Imagine if you will, a race as interconnected as the cells of your body. Trillions of beings, their shapes as different as you could imagine in your wildest, feverish dreams, all striving for one purpose. Millions can (and will) sacrifice themselves for the greater good.

What said purpose or greater good are, we can only guess at.

The Ravagers came out of nowhere a few decades ago, and almost at a whim, destroyed two planets without much hassle.

No. Not destroyed. Consumed. Ate.

These cosmic locusts descended upon Izuan Tai and Persaius and reduced all organic material to goo. And then fed this goo to their ships in orbit.

The Corvo and Iz'kal navies managed to get some revenge on these dead worlds, and that, was assumed, was that. The Ravagers retreated into the depths of the Labyrinth, usually reduced to minor skirmishes or strategic attacks.

The truth, however....

The Ravagers are evolving. They are probing the defences of Known Space. Their Harvesters are absorbing victims and learning about them. Their Ironskins are eating the Known Races' metals and instinctively understanding their alloys, their weaknesses.

Soon, the Queens will know much more about Known Space than they did. Information is ammunition, they say. Soon, they will make a move.

And may The Five Gods help us when they do, because there will be no one left.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017


So the fantastic folk at Burning Games liked (and helped, 'cos v1.0 was atrociously bad) with my Berry/Robot rules, and THEY ARE NOW ACCEPTED HOUSE RULES, YAY!


• Generalist robots have basic (ROOT) abilities. They are a little good at everything but excel at nothing. ATHLETICS, SURVIVAL, INITIATIVE are at 3, all others at 1.

• At level one, you take the ALPHA software package, giving you the ability to raise 3 Skills of your choice to 4. If you have another ALPHA package, and enough time to reprogram the core chip, you can choose to drop any of these three 4-level Skills down to their original level, and raise as many others up to 4 (Effectively changing the speciality of the robot). BETA packages (at higher levels) allow for higher upgrades (5,4,4), and GAMMA higher still (5,5,4).

• A regular robotic frame has the following ATTRIBUTES: AGI 2, CON 2, DEX 1, FAITH 1, LINK 2, MIND 1. (Faith is capped at 1) Frames (i.e. ATTR numbers) can be upgraded by buying a higher-grade one, and downloading the robots’ current core chip to the new one. This will take at least 24 standard hours and requires a skilled technician or engineer.

• Unless otherwise stated, all robots have ARMOUR 1

• They are intelligent, sentient beings, and able to believe in a higher power (Hence Faith)

• The cannot have Bio Upgrades

• They can have LINK + ½ (rounded up) TECH upgrades

What do you think? Let me know on Twitter @Atomic_RPG

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

'Berry, meet everyone. Everyone, meet Berry.'

You need robots. Otherwise you'd not have sci fi.

If some player can't make my game, I came up with this guy. Meet Berry! What do you think of his stats?

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Scavengers of the Labyrinth - What the concept is


Out of a population of hundreds of billions, to think that all Iz’kal would be happy to conform to the crushing control of The State, or that all Corvo would be happy to live and die by the amount of credits in their pocket, would be totally unreasonable.

Even going beyond emigration to another area of space, quite a few of these end up as a subclass of undesirables, eking a meager living in the Labyrinth. Some become little more than wonderers, doing odd jobs around Known Space. Some become pirates, preying on those weaker than themselves, or using superior numbers to bring down larger prey.
And some take advantage of the structure of the Labyrinth, and become smugglers.

The Labyrinth has been liked to the inside of a sponge, with an infinite number of chambers and tunnels, connecting most known star systems. Due to the difficulties in communication and navigation, the main volumes are well signaled, with marker buoys, refueling stations, even whole inhabited star systems in some of the larger chambers. Any wormhole terminus opening onto Normal Space in a sensitive system is further patrolled, both by capital ships and customs stations. The bottom line is, if you want to move things discretely in and out of important systems, you’re going to have a really tough time.

Enter the smuggler.

Beyond the large, well known and well-mapped passages, there are an infinite number of other ones. Smaller. Less stable. Like going down a rabbit hole.

They say the probability of survival when navigating an unknown Labyrinth passage is about 45%. Some pop up in systems so distant that there is no reference in Normal Space to any known stars. Some open onto deep space, with no stars or planets or nebulas, just darkness.

And some curl up and rejoin the Labyrinth, linking up with better-known, bigger passages or volumes. And perhaps, sometimes, they do this bypassing a heavily patrolled area. Now you have a very dangerous way to go from A to B, without going through the middle point C, where you’d find a couple of very stern Iz’kal corvettes, with virtually no tolerance towards customs cheats.

A whole subculture was born this way. Like ants walking beneath giants’ feet, a whole class of sentients emerged, dealing, moving and dying, going through the so called back alleys of the Labyrinth. There is money to be made, oh yes. There’s always going to be cargo to be moved and people to be transported beyond the reach of the governments.

And if that’s not your pleasure, well... There’s systems and passages to scout, maybe an individual or two to kill, or some old dead ship to scavenge... 


The ‘smuggler’ is very much a Role Play decision and not an actual Profession, as its ramifications would be too vast. Instead, think that whatever your profession, being a smuggler will allow you to perform it in a flexible and infinitely exciting environment. For example, although you can be an ex-Special Ops military operative, maybe you’ve been discharged, or you grew disenchanted with it, and are now a mercenary, with interests beyond the martial, and travel the Labyrinth as hired muscle. Or maybe you’re a scientist, or a diplomat. You can be the medic, but you’ll also come across different planets and different living things on a weekly basis, where your science knowledge will be invaluable. Being someone highly charismatic or good at subterfuge would be fantastic in most situations, but it would be almost a requirement in a smuggler setting.

The inspiration is already out there. Maybe you’re scouting some new volumes and come across a dead wreck. Will you try and investigate it, not knowing what lies inside? (like in the Faith introductory adventure). Or maybe you’re a plucky crew, fighting a losing battle against the ruling governments, and spend your time doing business in the shadows, doing things you’re not proud of, and maybe some that you are. Anything, just to get enough credits to carry on (like in the iconic series Firefly). Or maybe you’re a simple, legitimate trader, that seems to continuously run into situations well beyond your control, and have to use skill and courage to get out of them alive and with all your limbs still attached.

The Labyrinth is infinite. There’s, quite literally, everything out there.

So take your hand of cards, and manage your luck. The glory and the credits are out there.

All you need is Faith.

Friday, 3 February 2017

The Story So Far....

Travelling the Labyrinth, one finds a whole subculture of undesirables, the credit-less Corvo, the unsubmitting Iz'kal, the peaceful Raag.

Some of these folk do odd jobs, stealing, smuggling and moving people and cargo around Known Space.

And here our story begins, with a loose collection of folk, abord an old Corvo light freighter, The Gypsy. Folk with different abilities and knowledge, just working for some coin.

On the first aventure (the Intro), a simple scouting trip found a deserted planet, populated by some very nasty Beetleboars, and a faint energy signature showed to be an old Korian power cell. Where it had come, no one could tell.

On the second adventure (based on Burning Games' intro adventure), the mission was to track down The Purple Thunderous a Corvo heavy freighter that had gone missing. Upon tracking an almost invisible trail of paint flecks through the Labyrinth, the players emerged onto Normal Space to find the ship adrift. Inside, the truth was heartstopping, the freighter had been hit by a Ravager scout and hadd been boarded. The characters fought dearly for their lives, and managed to escape the ship with some salvage, a human survivor, and a keycard they found  in the captains' quarters, revealing the ship was the property of Nation's Solution, one of the Corvosphere's biggest corps....

...who will never stop tracking their own....

Life and where to find it.

Life: What's out there? We don't know.

Although the space occupied by both the Corvosphere and The State (with the addition of any space currently occupied by any Raag Ice Fortress) is vast is individual terms, it is the proverbial drop in the galactic ocean. Most star systems will have planets/planetoids. About 10% of these will have some form of basic/lower life. This can mean simply a primordial soup, and all the way to lower animals/plants. And then 0.1% of these planets will have some form of sentient life. These will vary wildly, from slightly intelligent animals all the way to civilisations. Some of these will have found the Labyrinth. And then, on the top of that very local pyramid, we have the Corvo and the Iz'kal.

But exploration and scouting missions go off all the time in every direction. There's bound to be more stuff out there....

Oh what's in a name?

Star Systems, Planets and Stations:

There are billions of planets around stars in Known Space, and more are discovered daily. As there are - apparently - no limits to the extension of the Labyrinth, Known Space is just that, the bubble of space around the Corvosphere and The State that has been explored. Most stars and/or planets will have a code in their respective races' catalogues, although some leaked Coalition starmaps have combined both referentials. If the planet has been visited or is inhabited, a more informal name is usually used. 

Examples are:
XT-22-94, Dirtball, Sigma Delta 4, Evraoh, Bral, Umaets, Slui'i, The Bazaar, Xin's Fortune, Ahhma Falls, Procyon III, KD - 329, 1889 - Gamma, Draconis 27, Odin's Eye, The Anvil, Night's Sword

Names are as varied as the number of stars in the heavens. Traditionally Corvo names are made of 3 units, denoting proper name, family and bloodline. Raag names are more varied in structure and do not follow a recognisable pattern, as they evolved from a non-written language. Iz'kal names are simple, and harmonious.
All of this said, most sentients will sometimes prefer to be called by a nickname or callsign.


Kai'Xi'Chu, Ko'Fai'Jy, Sio'Hu'Wua, Hao'Gui'Dde

Faatin Hassen, Izzat Baksh , Widd Abby, Tayy Zaddi

Shoan Ronn , Montyl Javik, Airal Pavan, Hela Berav

Rutland Evans, Silas Campbell, Evelyn Roberts, Selina Shaw

Ruling over all.


The Corvo: Each colony of the Corvo is nominally fairly independent. Communication is slow in Known Space, so a centralised administration would be difficult. If an issue affects more than one such colonies, councils are generated, with independent observers are moderators. The collection of all these interests are colectively refered to as the Corvosphere.

The Iz'kal: All Iz'kal are part of the same network, called The State. The species does have a number of colonies, but these are always considered to be part of the whole. Even with the slowness of Known Space communications, they strive for The Greater Good.

The Raag: The species is split into 4 or 5 major clans and a myriad smaller ones. Each travels around in modified comets and frozen asteroids, called the Ice Fortresses. Periodically, these travel back to their homeworld with resources and information. There is constant warfare between them.

The Humans: No centralised government, considered to be associate race of the Corvosphere.

The Ravagers: Monarchy, insomuch as there are Queens, in the same way of Terran bees or ants. Details are unknown.

Other Players and Places

The Bazaar. Originally Iz'kal resupply station Blue-448, located in N-Space, inside a decent sized chamber of the Labyrinth. Sold to a consortium of investors after the Reticulum Agreements, and the stabilisation of the Coreawards border. Now nicknamed 'The Bazaar', or even 'The Bizarre', it serves as an unofficial trading post. The main races allow its presence and operation due to the money generated by smuggling and information that filters from everywhere. If you visit, try The Lucky Star bar on level 4, section 8. You'll never drink a smoother T'inn Woo

The Coalition: an alliance of Iz'Kal and Corvo military forces, focused on the Ravager threat. They have been given unprecedented freedom of movement and resources, becoming effectively a new, independent player in Known Space. They have total authority to operate and manage areas of space (including while systems), that show Ravager activity.

The Lucky Star: prime watering hole of The Bazaar. You can see elements of all major races dealing, drinking and gambling in this place. Come for the business or the booze and you won't be disappointed. Weapons are recommended, at pretty much all times.

The Races of Faith

The Corvo: Rampaging capitalists. Lovers of profit and technology. The most outspread of all the races, as they need to expand quickly to feed the unstoppable machine that is their dominions, the Corvosphere. If you have money, your quality of life will be without equal. If you don't, you'll be the lowest of the low. Corvo-tech is the most advanced in Known Space.

The Iz'kal. Mildly telepathic humanoids, evolved from marine mammals. A civilisation with virtually no lying and very little crime. Their culture, called The State, is very eco-aware, and expands keeping a balance between technology and nature. Masters of genetic manipulation, embryos are changed to perform their future jobs whilst still in uterus. If you don't conform, you'll have your whole race against you.

The Humans: Mankind self destructed in the fires of WWIII. When the Corvo arrived, they had very little effort annexing Earth. Humans would never again have a big civilisation, but through the Corvo, they moved out into Known Space as elite mercenaries. Most Corvo ships have one or two humans in cryo, for defence. Their services are highly sought by all races. Most humans are genetically sterilised by the Corvo, as a condition of contract off-Earth, to avoid having a highly trained growing population within their borders.

The Raag: Small but strong humanoids. Their homeworld is a frozen wasteland. After centuries of slavery, they rose up and wiped out their former masters, keeping huge amounts of their tech. The Raag now roam Known Space in their Ice Fortresses, looking for resources, as their Enginseers study their former slavers' tech. Ruthless towards enemies, most clans exist in a state of perpetual warfare. Rare is the Raag that perishes of natural causes. The biggest clans are the Kimora, the Eferi, the Velada, the Noteri and the Jino.

Ravagers. Origin: unknown. Purpose: unknown. A hive mind of countless organic obscenities intent on absorbing all living matter. 2 know planets dead, countless smaller incursions into Known Space. Never forget: the Queens never spend calories without a purpose.

Once upon a time....

‘I doubt this is the future your forefathers imagined, child. I’ve been told of you humans. You evolved on a planet in a distant sector, now part of the Corvosphere.

Your achievements were many, but war ended up destroying you. When the Corvo came out of the network of wormholes called the Labyrinth over your planet, there was little left, just roaming clans of savages. In the blink of an eye, your Earth was part of the Corvo dominions, the Corvosphere.

Funny bunch, the Corvo. Vaguely insectoid, a civilization obsessed by technology, and ran by Mega Corps. They are, however, masters at finding value in things. And you humans were so adaptable; you became elite mercenaries for the Corvo. And they needed all the help they could find, the Labyrinth isn’t empty.

As a sort of cosmic counterbalance to the Corvo, we have the Iz’kal. Descendent from marine mammals, they have a latent telepathy that allows them to link together. Their species is all about sharing, and the greater good, but don’t think them weak. Their combined civilization, The State, might not be as advanced as the Corvo, but they take an attack on one as an attack on all.

Then you have my kind, child, the Raag. Not much to say, really. We were enslaved for centuries by another race, the Korian. There were mean and cruel. Then the Uprising happened and we killed them instead. All of them. We then converted ice asteroids into our Ice Fortressed and with them we roam the Galaxy looking for resources. Humans and Raag were simply clinging on to the Iz’kal-Corvo cold war.

The two species wouldn’t – couldn’t – see eye to eye, but after a couple of engagements, they quickly saw that an all out conflict would wipe them both out. There was, and is, tension, with both sides doing shadow-y ops, trying to bring the other down from the inside, damaging resource collection, destroying facilities, and so on.

And then, 20 of your years ago, another player joined the field. Izuan Tai, Persaius, planets that no longer are, so we could know the Harvesters. What they are, where they come from are questions we still ask. They are as varied as pebbles in a stream, with towering beasts, humanoids indistinguishable from you or I, and everything else in between. All they want is to consume all organic material and preserve their Hive and their Queens. The Corvo and Iz’kal created the Coalition, a joint army, answerable to none, with total authority over Harvester infected systems.

So here we are, little one. 5 races, as many as the fingers in your hand.

Each of them wanting to survive and
thrive, even if it has to go over all the other 4.
All travelling the stars
using the Labyrinth. And all slowly encroaching on each others’ territory.

We live in interesting times, young one….’

Kwoonshy ‘Onshy’ Treeg, Clan Taber, Raag Soryteller.

Faith: Scavengers of the Labyrinth

Adventure names:

1 - Welcome to the Labyrinth
2 - The Purple Thunderous is missing
3 - A Simple Transaction