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

Training and Moves in Moons of Leviathan

Riding a wave of inspiration from Morgan, we’re playing Traveller(ish). We’re using the skills as a way to resolve conflicts using Apocalypse World moves. So far it is working

What about skill improvement?

In Book 2: Starships of the Traveller Little Black Box, it talks a bit about getting education and training. Easy enough to Apocalypse it up a bit. Here’s a different way to say something similar, drawing inspiration from ( or ruthlessly pillaging, depending on your POV) Apocalypse World and Burned Over:

“Muad’Dib learned rapidly because his first training was in how to learn. And the first lesson of all was the basic trust that he could learn. It’s shocking to find how many people do not believe they can learn, and how many more believe learning to be difficult.”
Frank Herbert, Dune
When your character wants to train, either gaining a new expertise or improving an established skill, talk to the Referee about the people who offer such training.
Then the Referee will tell you 1 to 4 of the following:
[ ] It is going to take X weeks/months/years of consistent training
[ ] First, you will have to hire a tutor through [an in-game faction]
[ ] You will need X to help you with it.
[ ] It is going to cost dearly.
[ ] There is ancient tech that is said to condition the brain in this manner.
[ ] You’re already the best in the sub-sector; you’ll have to venture deep into the void or take on a massive under-taking in order to improve.
[ ] It is illegal to train the brain in such a manner; you will be risking imprisonment, excommunication or worse.
[ ] Those who safeguard these training methods are rigid in their orthodoxy and will guard them dearly but there are always rebels and heretics at the fringe of the worlds…
Once your training is complete you can add the skill to your sheet or increase the skill you already have. The Referee will tell you what you will need to do to keep this skill sharp so that this expertise does not become covered in rust and decay.

But, Judd, you ask, what about stats?

I like that we’re saying that the limits of the human body aren’t interesting to us. What you use to change the world is your training and in order to gain training you have to go out and interact with the world.

What about non-basic moves?

Non-basic moves are all tech. Maybe the True Sword, a networked blade with an embedded AI, gives you a move like the Gunlugger’s Not to be Fucked With, where you fight as a gang. Certain drugs give you access to psychic powers.

A True Sword and a cool way to show the end of the blog post

Can you get a mask with this on it?

Yes, you can. LINK

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.

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.

The Beowulf Exploration and Mercantile Corporation FAQ

Is it true that everyone serving a BEM ship is a convict? Will I be serving on a ship full of criminals?

It is true that some people get out of prison with the skills necessary to serve on a BEM ship and that one of our founding captains served time. That said, we have plenty of explorers who just got out of military service, university and even a few lately who just got out of cryo-sleep from an antique generation ship!

Our crews are diverse and our mutiny index is far below average in the sector.


20 missions and I get my own ship, that seems like a scam – too good to be true. What gives?

After 20 accredited missions you will get shares in your own ship with a group of freelancers whose skill-sets and emotional intelligence and cultural backgrounds compliment yours. Our algorithm is so good that the Perimeter agencies investigated us to make sure we weren’t using an illegal AI!

When our founders left their jobs as freelance spacers on other people’s ships, they crunched the sociological data and found that most spacers either quit after 5 missions or stay for 20+ with an incredibly high rate of mutiny and dissatisfaction. We wanted to find a way to change spacer culture and the way we’re doing that is by giving our explorers the chance to own ships and hire other freelancers.


What if I just want to serve 5 missions?

That is great. Many of our most valued alumni serve less than 20 missions. Once you serve 5 you are a part of our Beowulf Society with access to a network of spacers, freelancers and starship captains all over the sector.


How long will this take?

Different people take different amounts of time. Our fastest explorer got it done in just 5 years and is now on an Admiral Hayla Muhkerjee, Vice-President of Explorer Resources.

The average is around 7 years, earning freelance rates far above average in the sector. We’ve had a few people earn their shares in their Beowulf ship and with the money they’ve saved purchase a second ship all their own!


NOTE: This led to a G+ Thread and that led to a Play-by-Post Community.

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