Moons of Leviathan: Space Drugs

Inspired by the Visions of Death move in Apocalypse World: Burned Over in the Volatile playbook and in Apocalypse World 2nd Edition in the Battlebabe Playbook.

Moves are gained through using technology.

When you take Trance before battle, roll your approporiate training:
On a 10+, name one person who will die and one who will live.
On a 7-9, name one person who will die or one who will live.
On a miss you see a vision of the monster you become as a result of this battle and the fell havoc your hand brings to the universe, take -1 for this battle and hold 3 moving forward after the battle is done.
[ ] +1 to a roll that brings this vision to reality.
[ ] +1 to to a roll that brings this vision to reality.
[ ] Roll this move again as if you were entering battle. Either retire this character as the destiny is made real or prove you have free will by changing the course of destiny.

“I live in an apocalyptic dream. My steps fit into it so precisely that I fear most of all I will grow bored reliving the thing so exactly.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah

True Sword, a networked blade with an AI embedded in its core.

Link to t-shirt

Knife Fights in Space t-shirt, all profits go to the Trevor Project

Moons of Leviathan, Session 1, Remembering Morgan

That game was special and strange. Thank you, Sean and the Actual Play team. Thank you to everyone in chat.

Thank you, Morgan, for the cool character and cool everything. Thank you for continuing to inspire us.

Ithaca Station’s True Sword

That is exactly what we did, Morgan. There was a duel out on the ship’s hull, in the void of space under the baleful glare of the Leviathan’s eye.

I think you would’ve loved it. What you made and you inspired us to make was too cool for one session. We’re going back.

Preparing for Moons of Leviathan

Getting ready for a game this Friday and just getting all of my notes all in one place.

The Atlantic Ducal Moons

  • Jiddah
  • Mgaar
  • Suez

The Arctic Ducal Moons

  • Baikonur
  • Zadar
  • Messina
  • Doha

The Indian Ducal Moons

  • Oakland
  • Bushehr
  • Anchorage

4 Noble Houses: Job, Triton, Rangomai, Mizuchi

Questions to consider before play:

What is your name?

What are your yachts named?

(Perhaps named for Mythical beasts, Types of Storms, Revered Ancestors?)

Map of the Ducal Moons that orbit Leviathan

Inspired by the Lawmaker from Apocalypse World: Burned Over:

This Ancestral Station has been in your family for generations, granting you the title, Marquis. One thousand souls are in your care. 50 trained knights and 100 soldiers and support staff are sworn to you. 
Choose 3
[ ] A leal and loyal knight named:
[ ] An engineering priest named:
[ ] A fine nexus-dock that brings trade.
[ ] A fine environmental system.
[ ] An engineering cathedral with an ancient reliquary.
[ ] A mercenary company, seperate from your Household Guard.
[ ] A trade agreement with a local mercantile fleet.
[ ] A hidden chamber used for swearing in your order’s knights that holds a secret.
[ ] The re-charging bay for a legendary True Sword.
[ ] Ancient scanners that miss nothing.
[ ] An oasis modelled after a paradise from Olde Earth.
[ ] Robot servants
Drink deep of the station’s plenty, choose 3: Art, Engineer-Priests, Feasts, Hospital, Intrigue, Water, Air, Pilgrimage Site, University, Ducal Attention, Music Arena, Digital Ancestors, Construction, Smart Laws, Leal Training Protocol, Spy Network, Clone Tanks 

Beware the station’s challenges, choose 2: Heretics, Decaying Orbit, Crime Syndicate, Feuding Knights, Vendetta, Debt, Dangerous Border, Heir Dispute: Father’s Clone 

Infantry Battle Experience: 1 Low Orbit Entry to Urban / 2 Station siege / 3 Lunar Siege / 4 Ship to Ship / 5 Asteroid to Asteroid / Noble House Ambush
Political Situation / 1 Changing Hands / 2 In Dispute: War / 3 In Dispute: Legal / 4 Treaty in Process / 5 New Heir / 6 Under Siege
Environmental Data / 1 Disaster Cascade / 2 Thin Air / 3 Storms / 4 Hallucinations / 5 Cruel but Liveable / Love & Earth-like

Dozens of moons surrounding a gas giant with a satanic storm eye moving to and fro. The gas giant is called Leviathan with dozens of moons and enough asteroids in its rings that new moons are still discovered.

There are 4 major houses: Job, Triton, Rangomai and Mizuchi charged with defending the ducal moons with the finest atmospheres with a dozen more houses minor picking up the scraps. Those with noble titles and their knights can wield fighting knives. They are trained with rifle and pistol but the ammunition is controlled by the Unions – laborers, crafters, and engineers who make sure those with title don’t drag everyone into frivolous wars.

War Mechs and Battlecruisers are only unlocked if there is an outside threat.

Alien artifacts on the solid planets closer to the system’s sun.

A science-station observatory at the edge of the system; this is where aging nobles who are found to be too warlike are exiled to.

Cover Mock-up for TRAVELLER / Science Fiction Adventure in the Far Future / Moons of Leviathan

I am imagining the Astrogation Temples, where you go to have your journey mapped. The mapping takes place in empty rooms with vaulted ceilings, where stone moon scultpures are put into motion on hard light holograms.

Why is it a temple? Because all journeys have religious significance. The navigators are trained in anthropological religious studies, helping humans keep in touch with their humanity while traversing the void. They might offer a parable or an argument or sit you down for a meal with a nearby family or offer guided meditation with their coordinates.

Astrogation computers are available but only used in an emergency. Computers have a rough time around Leviathan. The gas giant’s magnetic radiation wreaks havoc with any complicated computer and A.I. research is strictly forbidden because of the fell effects Leviathan’s pull has on synthetic entities of any kind.

The Ducal Moons are held by the 4 Major Houses: Job, Triton, Rangomai and Mizuchi. In the centuries since their settling, the moons have changed hands a number of times with houses Major and Minor rising and falling on a political tide.

Baikonur was the first moon settled and is held in trust by the Guilds and Temple. The Major Houses take turns guarding it, changing every 4 cycles. Baikonur, because of its special place in the orbits, was named for a spaceport on Olde Earth, rather than a nautical port.

Moons of Leviathan logo
Paul Atriedes and Duncan Idaho exchanging a knife salute. Good journey to you, Morgan. I’m sorry that we never got to play a knife-fight in space game.

Welcome to Sector Alas Theta

Thank you for joining us as we play Stars Without Number. When we played together last year we all wanted to get together again and play some more. Here we are. We’ve agreed to give it a shot for three episodes and see how we’re feeling.

Misha is the mastermind behind Black Girl Gameworks, a founder of New Agenda Publishing and a curator for More Seats at the Table.

Jahmal‘s work in the gaming community can be found at the Madjay Zero Hustle. Check out his podcast, Diceology.

This is our first session. Misha and Jay are playing Envoys, here to bring Sector Alas Theta back to the Terran Mandate after 300 years of isolation. Inspired by Star Trek: Discovery, we’ve decided that the Terran Mandate is a benevolent organization, with people who are doing their best in a bad situation. The Envoys will be briefed on what initial scans picked up and choose a planet to set their orbital platform HQ into orbit around.

Tonight their characters are getting to know each other as we explore Alas Theta’s factions and the sci-fi mysteries that drive them.

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe…”

What if I have make up a soldier on the spot? Come up with sci-fi armed service experience for someone I named 5 seconds ago?

3 or 4 d6 later…

https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/designs/daydreaming-about-mars

A t-shirt/sticker/shower curtain/blanket/rug for those who daydream about Mars…

Putting SWN Sectors to Use

Stars Without Number written around a black hole.

Razornet Away Team

Not as in, an Away Team but as in, a team that has been away for a while. There are plenty of reasons to have been out of the loop for a while. Here are a a few:

  • Armed Forces Service
  • Incarceration
  • Medical Cryogenic Hypernation
  • Shipwreck survivor
  • Pilgrimmage
  • Refugee

Whatever the reasons you were away, you’re back and either knew the other players from a past crew or job and now were put togther as a Freelance Team in Razornet’s app for enterprising freelancers on the edge of legality.

We’ll talk about what kind of game we want to see. Do you want to have all known each other from you previous enterprise? Maybe you all know each other from time in some Void Marine unit or all survived a shipwreck caused by a malicious alien intelligence…


Terran Mandate Envoy Team

You have just entered the system with a checklist in hand and a vague authority that might or might not be recognized by the governments in this sector. Can you bring the sector back to the bosom of Olde Earth’s government?

Do you want to?

Your commanding officer is jumping to another sector but will be back with the full weight of (TMB) Terran Mandate Battlecruiser Serengeti’s weapons and marines in a year (you hope).

We’ll discuss how your characters all feel about the Terran Mandate government and make an Engagement roll to see how well equipped you are to start. I’m thinking I’d make a roll or two behind the screen to know when the Serengeti will actually arrive and what state it will be in once it does.


Far Traders

Your team just jumped into this system in a rare ship equipped with an Event Horizon-Gate Engine, designed to harness the energy of black holes and turn that energy into jump-gate coordinates that will send you to another black hole near a different sector.

Naming starships is fun.

We’ll make an Engagement roll to see how the ship is doing and how valuable your goods are in the hold and move from there. You’ll stay in this sector for as long as it is profitable to do so before moving on with whatever you can carry. I love the idea of jumping to different sectors, each sector as its own chapter or book or season…


Scrappy

You are representatives in a scrappy government that wants to stay self-governed. Maybe it is a moon or a orbital station or a science station whose original mission has outlasted the government that put it there. Either way, you are a team looking to represent and stay independent in the face of powerful forces all around you.

We’ll look at the map, talk over the Sector’s situation and put your home in a spot that makes sense.


To the Table

I’m thinking about how I might use these SWN Sectors (I’ve got a few more in my drafts section that aren’t quite ready yet) and how I’d pitch those games. The Burned Over playbooks are looking really good to me and so many of SWN’s worlds are in various stages of apocalyptic decline/ascension. Air and water are still a big deal. I don’t think we’d have to change much to make that work.

I’m reading through my Traveller LBB and I’ve got some vague ideas about using that chargen to get background and then Burned Over Playbooks to show what kind of physical shell the character is downloaded into but that all might be too much work.

I’d rather just throw playbooks on the sector map, maybe make up a love letterish (article about Love Letters from a decade ago by John Harper…sure) engagement roll (like in Blades in the Dark) to see what kind of situation the players are starting in and get to playing.


Original picture from 12019 on pixabay


If you’d like to see more designs like this please check out the Science Fiction Collection…

https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/collections/science-fiction

Ducal Moons

Leviathan’s moons call to me!

Moons of Leviathan, cool logo from a cave looking out onto a Gas Giant.

I am imagining the Astrogation Temples, where you go to have your journey mapped. The mapping takes place in empty rooms with vaulted ceilings, where stone moon scultpures are put into motion on hard light holograms.

Why is it a temple? Because all journeys have religious significance. The navigators are trained in anthropological religious studies, helping humans keep in touch with their humanity while traversing the void. They might offer a parable or an argument or sit you down for a meal with a nearby family or offer guided meditation with their coordinates.

Orbital map of the Ducal Moons, being those moons with atmosphere and dockage.

Astrogation computers are available but only used in an emergency. Computers have a rough time around Leviathan. The gas giant’s magnetic radiation wreaks havoc with any complicated computer and A.I. research is strictly forbidden because of the fell effects Leviathan’s pull has on synthetic entities of any kind.

The Ducal Moons are held by the 4 Major Houses: Job, Triton, Rangomai and Mizuchi. In the centuries since their settling, the moons have changed hands a number of times with houses Major and Minor rising and falling on a political tide.

Baikonur was the first moon settled and is held in trust by the Unions and Temple. The Major Houses take turns guarding it, changing every 4 cycles. Baikonur, because of its special place in the orbits, was named for a spaceport on Olde Earth, rather than a nautical port.


Map inspired by the orbit diagrams from this blog post.

Moons of Leviathan

Morgan did his public twitter chargen and he rolled up a Traveller Noble and prodded at me to think about knife fights in space.

And we did.

Dozens of moons surrounding a gas giant with a satanic storm eye moving to and fro. The gas giant is called Leviathan with dozens of moons and enough asteroids in its rings that new moons are still discovered.

There are 4 major houses: Job, Triton, Rangomai and Mizuchi charged with defending the ducal moons with the finest atmospheres with a dozen more houses minor picking up the scraps. Those with noble titles and their knights can wield fighting knives. They are trained with rifle and pistol but the ammunition is controlled by the Unions – laborers, crafters, and engineers who make sure those with title don’t drag everyone into frivolous wars.

War Mechs and Battlecruisers are only unlocked if there is an outside threat.

Alien artifacts on the solid planets closer to the system’s sun.

A science-station observatory at the edge of the system; this is where aging nobles who are found to be too warlike are exiled to.


Oddly, I have two copies of LBB Traveller on my shelves.

How long would I be able to run Traveller before hacking in some Apocalypse World moves?

No idea…


Morgan, I salute you.


I continue to daydream about these moons here.

Terran Mandate Envoy Re-Entry Checklist

In a perfect Sector re-entry contact scenario your Terran Mandate Bruxelles Class Battlecruiser would glide into dock at the Mandate Base. You would spend a few hours in silent contemplation of the site where humanity made its first landing and then call in the highest ranking naval officer, planetary officials, Perimeter Turing Investigator General, the Chief Exchange Officer, the Sector Archivist into a month-long series of meetings and reports in order to guide humanity back into the Terran Government’s loving arms.

Once that re-entry was complete there would be a sector-wide party.

In decades of envoy work I have never seen nor heard of re-entry going anything like that.

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Since the Scream, the human diaspora has been cut off from its Earth roots. It is unclear if this document comes from Olde Earth or if it has been created by Terran Mandate naval intelligence, passed from long range flotilla to flotilla.

The checklist is a good set of guidelines for long range explorers with spike drives that can venture to different sectors. The marginalia from various envoys over the centuries shows where the checklist can come up short or not offer solid expectations for rookie envoys making post-Scream first contact with the humans who have survived the three hundred years isolated from their homeworld and its government.

Mandate Bases

are sometimes the center of the sector’s government and are often the primary naval base for any ships still claiming to be descended from the Terran Mandate. Gathering up the star drive signatures and transponder data is the first chore so that any envoys sent to the far reaches of the sector will know what to expect.

Marginalia RE: Mandate Bases

The sectors that still have a base are staggeringly rare. When they do, they are often helmed by total [untranslated slang for an orifice]-hole who claims to have their power handed to them directly from Earth’s Prime Minister or some bullshit.

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My favorite Mandate Base was built on the original terran capital ship that settled the sector but it had been turned into a cathedral-ship dedicated to keeping humanity in touch with its terran roots.

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Refused to hand over star drive signatures and transponder data because we couldn’t be a true Terran Mandate ship because were couldn’t possibly be human. We weren’t pure enough in our genetic codes. At least I didn’t feel guilty dropping a battalion of Terran Mandate Marines on their asses.


Perimeter Agencies

are in place to make sure no illegal unbraked A.I.’s are on the loose in the sector. The envoy is to take hold of the hunting records, gaining an understanding of how many A.I.’s have been neutralized and how many hunts are still in progress. The Terran Mandate ship offers its updated search algorithm so that future hunts, based on carefully sifted data, can be completed at a higher rate of success.

Marginalia RE: Perimeter Agencies

Guess which organization AI most often take over when they gain significant power and mobility in the sector. You guessed it. I got in assuming the Perimeter Agency is entirely compromised and work backwards from there.

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We don’t even check to see if they’ve made any improvements to the search algorithm that could be better than ours. We are [difficult to translate synonym for genitalia].

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There’s an envoy theory that Draco wrote this checklist. Yeah, I still use it.


The Exchange Consulate

is the center of banking and diplomacy, is a key cultural touchstone in keeping the sector moving and working.

Marginalia RE: Exchange Consulate

I’m waiting to find that unique Exchange Consulate, where humanity moves past our capitalist bullshit and the Exchange Counselors help ease the sector towards a post-scarcity society. Nope. It is always violence and some bullshit about how we will never innovate without money to drive us on.

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Knowing the market forces at work in the sector is my first order of business. I stop at the Exchange Consulate first. Once I even helped them bombard a planet that had gone into arears on its debts and assumed the Terran Mandate would never come to help the sector’s toothless bank to collect.

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I am sure there is something more satisfying than taking out a laser pistol and shooting a CEO of a predatory corporation who is profiting off human suffering. Maybe true love would be better or ascending our physical world and becoming a being of energy and light.

But I fucking doubt it.


The Preceptor Archive

is where information and history are stored and is important for not only understanding the context that the sector is currently operating in but for sending a full report back to Olde Earth.

Marginalia RE:

We got into orbit and a nanite attack caused the battlecruiser to evaporate. I survived with a few others in an escape pod. When we buried the pod’s dead we made contact with locals. While we figured out each other’s language they understood the olde symbol for the Preceptor Archive. Had to walk halfway across a continent but you are damned right I did. It was a short journey to get to the library and wait out my extraction, ten years later.

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The archive had been attacked and the whole moon it was built into was operating at about steam level technology. The rest of the sector just watched their archive fall apart. I wanted to drop old bombs on the lot of them.

Check out the book is slang for sleeping the archivist liaison. The competition is ferocious on the battlecruiser.



Where is the place to put a check when you uncover a dangerous alien threat or a planet where they lit everything on fire and ascended to a different dimension or when the whole sector is warring with such intensity that they didn’t even notice you?


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If you’d like to see more designs like this, please check out the Science Fiction collection….

Inspiration Goat Table Techniques #1

I used the above technique in the Thursday night Trophy Gold game and got a wonderful tale from Jesse. He told me about how his orphan pickpocket broke into a noble’s house and had to kill the noble in order to get out.

I loved it because it wasn’t a kill that made the world a better place (well, depending on the noble) and there was a touch of shame in it. This kid was a treasure-hunter because they had lived a tough life and this was the only clear vocation open to them.


Inspiration goat now has a twitter account that will act as a place for me to share these new weekly table techniques and the Daydreaming about Dragons podcast: