Weeding the Aspidistra (Part 1)

The players: TALOS the hacker android; KENDRICK the dour human engineer; “GABRIEL” the mutant kleptomaniac, fixer and compulsive liar.

Session 1, Part 1

The party were all gathered in one of the ship’s cargo holds, turned into an impromptu briefing room (a few chairs, a holo-projector, that sort of thing). After several minutes of waiting, TORQUILL and EDWIN – the ship’s XO and chief of security (also, previous characters of Gabriel’s and Talos’ players) enter.

They give the brief – the captain’s found one of their competitors, the Aspidistra, has set down for repairs on nearby Lansing colony. It’s a service station and truck stop – nothing special as these places go – the key fact is the ship is vulnerable and the crew (about a dozen of them, including their captain) are likely scattered, enjoying some shore leave. Chief engineer Raleigh’s estimated the repairs will be completed in less than two days – so the team need to get there sharpish and do whatever they need to do to stop the ship flying again.

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Recovery from the Malcontents

Characters: Erlenmeyer (helpful robotic labourer); Edwin (veteran security chief of the Stymphalian); Xenon (chaotic evil mercenary*).

Game: Orison (v2.9..ish), my under-construction sci-fi RPG.

Thoughts: Tom seemed to enjoy running the session but agreed it was a different beast to WRFP, as the GM doesn’t roll any dice (a la Apocalypse World et al.) Henchmen need some work – perhaps for future sessions henchmen guarantee a success for one roll relevant to their occupation, after which they’re dead meat? Also, finally a death roll – yay – although it was rushed. Interesting there was no complaint for the character actually taking the death option, regardless. Needs more research!

Aboard the Stymphalian, Orison Sector:

The characters are requested to recover an experimental engine on behalf of Qynntal Hskiin, representing (in an unofficial capacity) Interstellar Express. The engine, built into a research craft, crash landed on a radioactive planetoid in the Malcontent belt. The conditions are harsh, and organics won’t last long in the poisonous atmosphere even with respirators, so time is of the essence.

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Orison Writeup: January 2013

What’s Orison?

If you’re reading this and wondering about the system itself, the finished PDF will be on this site… someday. If you’re interested in getting it right now, let me know!

Actual Play, 10/01/2013: Orison (The Midguard Ring, Finale)

The Characters

Raleigh, the friendly engineer with a bionic arm; Edwin, the perceptive ex-miner with an exotic pistol; Xenon, the mutant merc with a custom rifle; and Torquill, the ex-military alien doctor.

Previously, on Orison…

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Review: Faster Than Light (PC)

Grab it on Steam or direct (DRM free) from the website.


  • Immersive but simple gameplay
  • Easy to get caught up in your characters wellbeing
  • Lots of Star Trekky elements to fiddle with, all with ongoing value as you play the game
  • Rewarded for the bigger risks
  • Frontier/Elite random generation adds great replay value
  • Music seemed too simple (almost cheap) at first but becomes surprisingly haunting later on


  • Sprites are simple and get the job done, but lacking in style
  • Was hoping for something more open-ended
  • Random generation can make for unnaturally difficult game (personally I like that kind of element, see Necromunda – again!)
  • Could they incorporate multiplayer somehow? (something like Artemis)


Fantastic value game, very easy to pick up and play (and then get engrossed). A very old-school vibe meets modern casual gameplay. Recommended.

RPG design in the “Lady Blackbird” style

So I’ve been recommended Lady Blackbird a couple of times and it’s been in the back of my mind to build something based off it. (Obviously I can’t just play the damn thing as written, that’d be far too straightforward.)

So far I have a new, sci-fi setting (taking some cues from things like Star Trek and Mass Effect, as well as some of the ideas from an RPG I was working on earlier this year that may still see the light of day, tentatively called Erebus).

“Nightfall” (Beta 03/10/2012) (pdf)

I showed the spoiler-free parts to some of the group last night and they seemed pretty positive (the ones who weren’t falling asleep, anyway – we did start looking about 11:30). The traits and tags mechanics seemed clear enough, as did the basic characters I’d created.

Based on the feedback I clarified some of the descriptions and tried to make each character a little more unique. I’m still a bit cagey as to how they’ll work in gameplay but hey, only one way to find out I guess.