Sunday, March 28, 2021

Cepheus Sorcery

Over the last year, I've looked at quite a few Traveller/Cepheus Engine products from various publishers. While I understand the appreciation for building your character through Education and Careers it's not something I'm a huge fan of. However, Stellagama is a publisher that has been making Cepheus products that are lighter on rules yet still capture the OSR appeal I think Traveller/Cepheus has.

My favorite of these began with Cepheus Quantum(it's free )and has carried over to Cepheus Atom (think Gamma World) and Barbaric! (think DnD or RuneQuest).

Yesterday, they uploaded Cepheus Sorcery which is a 2 page set of rules for using the Cepheus system in a Sword & Sorcery setting. Like their other Cepheus Quantum games, it's just a masterpiece of getting to the heart of what I find important as a player and a Game Master. I have less time these days and while I love DnD 5th Edition and Shadows of the Demon Lord it's cool to have such a proven set of rules in a mere 2 pages.

I haven't been taken like this with a set of rules since the Cypher System.

It's free and there is literally no reason not to download it. If you like it, pick up Barbaric! too.

Rifts: Glitter Boy Power Armor for Cepheus Atom


Glitter Boy Power Armor Cepheus Atom
• Gauss rifle 6D damage (Range of 500/1000, must 
   take an action to deploy anchors into the ground 
   before firing gauss rifle)
• Protection 15 (takes no damage from laser 
• DM+4 to all Physical Throws
• DM+1 to all Combat Throws
• Power cell charger
• Integrated gas mask, communicator, 
   night-vision goggles, and rad suit
• No heavy armor penalty

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

GameStorming: Earth 2238

In the last year, I have let my Anxiety keep me from running a campaign and I decided this week that it is time to face that head-on. It's neat to have a group willing to go along with different games and an erratic schedule, but in my opinion, a campaign is more fulfilling for everyone involved.

I'll be using D&D 5th Edition and we'll start around 3rd level. I've limited the races available to Tieflings, Dhampyrs, Hexbloods, Eladrin, Aarakokra, Warforged, Tritons, Hobgoblins, Changelings, Orcs, and Humans, but have not limited classes thus far. 

Speaking of setting, I'm looking at a post-apocalyptic world, probably between 100 and 500 years after the cataclysm. There are plenty of examples of the previous civilization but most of the secrets of those bygone days are little understood by the people currently alive.

I'm going to post some pieces of inspiration for the game.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Burnt World: Behemoth Non-Human for Barbaric!

Behemoth for Barbaric!

Behemoth: In some lost millennium, as a bizarre experiment or perhaps as some sort of curse, giants were magically crossbred with humans. They may attack from the rear rank and gain +1D Endurance.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Burnt World: Ravagers & Wyrm Priests for Barbaric!

 Stellagama's Barbaric! has really captured my imagination and I'm working on a setting that is very much inspired by Dark Sun and I'm calling the project Burnt World. 

Below are two new traits.

Ravager: A sorcerer may quickly and destructively drain magical energy directly from the surrounding environment and its inhabitants in a 5-foot radius causing the vegetation to wilt and die and imposing a DM-1 on all creatures in that radius. When they cast Hastily a Ravager gains Advantage on their Sorcery Skill throw.

Wyrm Priests: These beings gain the ability to cast sorcery in exchange for serving the Wyrm Kings. Wyrm Priests always choose their spells instead of rolling them randomly.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Rifts: Blind Warrior Women of Altarra for Cepheus Atom


Blind Warrior Women of Altara for Cepheus Atom
Infamous clones bred to serve Atlantis and the Splugorith. 12/25, Move 15m, Armor 4, Wrist Blaster (range 100/400 3D damage). Combat-3, Knowledge-1, Physical-2, Survival-2. 

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Rifts: Dead Boys for Cepheus Atom

Dead Boy for Cepheus Atom
The foot soldiers of the Coalition State, they have been fed lies upon lies about the world outside their walls and they loyally enforce those twisted laws of human supremacy. 9/18, Move 10m, Armor 5, Assault Rifle (range 50/200 3D damage, Auto). Combat-1, Physical-1, Survival-1. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

A Milestone

I began Cross Planes in April 2012 and my output has varied from multiple times daily to less than once a month but at some point in the last couple of months I hit 2 million views and I'm pretty excited about it. I don't really know how many views other blogs get and I generally assume my blog isn't anywhere close to being as popular as The Others Side Blog, Grognardia, or Jeff's Game Blog so they might have 10 million views as far as I know.

Either way, I'm pretty darn excited and felt I had to share. Maybe we'll hit 3 million views by 2026?

Thanks for reading, I know in the last few years my output has been far less than the first few years and I'm trying to find a better schedule but we'll see what the world does and what my Anxiety does.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Warpstar!: Ork Burna Boyz

Ork Burna Boyz for Warpstar!

Actions/round 1
Weapon/skill/damage Flamethrower/ 5 /L3d6E
Armour 1d6+2
Adventuring skills 3
Stamina 23
Notes Energy Attack

Description - Burna Boyz are Orks who cannot stop setting things on fire. These lunatics will set light to anything or anyone for the simple joy of watching them "do the burny dance".

Friday, March 19, 2021

Dark Sun: Thri-Keen for Barbaric!


Thri-Keen from the burnt world of Dark Sun for Barbaric!

Thri-Keen: These hulking mantis warriors are six-limbed insectoids with a tough, sandy-yellow exoskeleton. They have a natural armor rating of 3. Due to their number of limbs they can make an additional attack each round but gain Disadvantage on both Combat Skill throws. 


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Warpstar!: Necron Warrior

Necron Warrior for Warpstar!

Actions/round 2
Weapon/skill/damage Railgun/ 7 /M1d6+1P
Armour 1d6+1
Adventuring skills 5
Stamina 18
Notes Puppet

Description - The Necrons are a mysterious xenos species of humanoid, robotic skeletal warriors that have lain dormant in their stasis-tombs for more than 60 million Terran years, though they have begun to awaken at last. They are the soulless creations and former servants of the ancient C'tan, the terrible Star Gods of Aeldari myth.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Barbaric!: Moks

Moks from the world of Thundarr the Barbarian for Barbaric!

Moks: A race of primitive lion-men, who talk in grunts and growls, who are aggressive and tenacious. They gain Advantage with improvised weapons and gain an unarmed damage of 2D.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Warlock!: Skaven Clan Rat

Skaven Clan Rat for Warlock!

Type Civilized
Actions/round 1
Weapon/skill/damage Weapons/6/-
Armour Armour
Adventuring skills 5
Stamina 12
Notes Intelligent, Poisonous, Tracking

Description -    "Clanrats forms the vast overall bulk of Skaven military power, a large verminous horde of ratmen that go to war as basic and highly-expendable front-line infantry. These Skaven belong to any one of thousands of Clans scattered throughout the underground burrows, strongholds and bursting cavern-cities that make up the whole of the Under-Empire. Of all the teeming masses, only the worker dregs, the worthless and even more insignificant Slave Rats, are considered even more numerous than the Clanrats themselves.

Clanrats are slightly smaller than man-sized, standing four to five feet high. They range between lithe and scrawny and are possessed of constant energy, most commonly seen in a nervous twitching of their hairless, worm-like tails. A single Clanrat is not a fearsome opponent. A lone warrior will lack any degree of discipline or determination and is likely to skulk in the shadows, afraid to go forward, too cautious to go backward, and terrified to even stand its own ground for more than a moment without fleeing. Unless driven by black hunger, a single Clanrat will only attack something that is visibly weakened or crippled, preferring even then to attack unseen from behind. When banded together in a large pack, however, each individual Skaven would bolster each other's confidence and fuel their feral ferocity to a highly aggressive level. This allows the individually cowardly ratmen to form massive units that will recklessly hurl themselves into a fray against obviously superior troops."

Monday, March 15, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Beaked People/Parrot Men for Barbaric!

From Season 1 of the Herculoids
From Season 1 of the Herculoids for Barbaric!

Beaked Person (Parrot Man): Winged conquerors from the stars. 6/16, Move 10m/round (flight), Armor 0, Beak (1d damage, piercing), Combat 2, Lore 1, Physical 1, Social 1.

Hawk the Slayer: Gort for Barbaric!

Gort, Master Rank Giant

Combat 2
Physical 4

Endurance 13
Lifeblood 22


Battle-axe 4D
Breastplate 6

Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Darkhold for D&D 5th Edition

Chthon, a mysterious tiefling who was the world's first practitioner of black magic, was the principal author of the Darkhold. Being academic, Chthon wrote all his collected knowledge of magic into the iron-bound scrolls which served to protect it even during the Dawn War.

Wondrous Item, Legendary

Random Properties
The Darkhold has the following random properties:

• 4 minor beneficial properties
• 3 major beneficial properties
• 3 minor detrimental properties
• 5 major detrimental properties

Adjusted Ability Scores
After reading the Darkhold for 40 hours you may increase your Charisma, Intelligence, or Wisdom by 2 to a maximum of 24. Additionally, you gain the Magic Initiated feat based on the ability score you chose to increase.

Your Greatest Desire
Once you have increased one of your Ability scores the Darkhold will offer the means to your greatest desire by allowing you to cast the Wish spell. Once cast there is a 66% chance you may never cast the spell again and you gain a random long-term madness from the Dungeon Master's Guide.

Turn Undead
As an action you may present the book and speak the Montessi Formula, censuring nearby undead.

Each undead that can see or hear you within 30 feet of you must make a Wisdom saving throw, vampires have disadvantage on this roll. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage.

A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from you as it can, and it can’t willingly move to a space within 30 feet of you. It also can’t take reactions. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there’s nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.

Book of Shadows
You can reference the Darkhold whenever you make an Intelligence check to recall information about some aspect of celestials, deities, fiends, magic, otherwordly patrons, and undead. When you do so, gain advantage on that check.

Destroying the Book
If the Darkhold is destroyed in any way, it reappears in 3d10 days in a random library, personal or otherwise, in the world.

Groundlings for Barbaric!

I've never run a single edition of Traveller, but I've been keeping my eye on the OGL version known as the Cepheus Engine and Barbaric! is a neat game, and Groundlings, minions from Thundarr the Barbarian, seemed like a good start.

Groundlings: Ratlike mercenaries. 6/16, 
Move 10m/round, Armor 1, Bite (1 damage, piercing), 
Club (2d, crushing), Combat 1, Physical 1, Stealth 2.

Friday, March 12, 2021

State of the Planes March 2021

I'm sure like many of you the past year has best. Last fall I dove headfirst into action figures and DnD, the OSR, and RPGs took a back seat to that new hobby which is where my passion has been directed since then.

I don't want Cross Planes to go away but I don't know if I can go back to anything close to a post every day. It's not that I don't want to, it's that I just am not sure that I have the time to do it.

I have worked at Comic Book World since November 1999 and it has always been the plan that my wife and I would purchase the store from her parents one day. Her parents retired in November and a busy job got busier and since there aren't any in-person Pop Culture Conventions, those people lucky enough to have jobs are spending it locally, so we are busier than ever (and I'm not complaining). On top of that Collectibles have EXPLODED, I was hired during the firs Pokemon boom and at one point my job involved going to Wizard of the Coast's website and ordering Pokemon TCG boosters directly from them for 8 hours a day on a dial up and these days about 1/4 of my day involves finding Pokemon TCG boosters again. I don't know how long it will last but I'm going to enjoy the ride.

The blog isn't going away but it's obvious that what I've had to say on here is different now and I'm trying to figure that out.

I'll be seeing you.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Frustrating RPG Design

I've been interested in RPG designs which often leads me to pick up a PDF of a game just to see how it was designed. I've recently done that with Ruin Master from RiotMind which is a bit of a blend of the OSR and Basic Role-Playing, but there are some places where they seem to pointedly ignore some of the recent innovations to the family of D100 games created by Chaosium's RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu.

Let me reiterate that these complaints are merely based on my opinions and this might be the game you have been waiting your whole life for.

For one thing, many of their bonuses and penalties are multiples of 5 and in my experience, many people are intimidated by double-digit arithmetic so why not keep their penalties (and bonuses) in increments of 10? If you are going to stick with multiples of 5 then why not use a D20 (which I believe they did with Trudavang).

I was also surprised that Ruin Master uses a version of the old Resistance Table which I have seen replaced with a blackjack-style solution where the highest successful roll wins.

Additionally, when casting spells you have to spend Magic Point and roll your Magic skill but receive a -5% to the chance per Magic Point spent. I get the impression that this is a low magic setting, but why require so much math? If you don't want magic to be prevalent don't provide spells we are all familiar with from every edition of DnD. For reference, a person's Magic skill at character creation will be from 40 to 60%.

I completely grok that everyone has specific tastes in their games I just don't see the point of making things so challenging to use Magic and fill the game system with, in my opinion, unnecessary complexity.

Apparently, I'm not Ruin Master's target audience and that's okay. Its a gorgeous book and for the right group an interesting streamlining of The Design Mechanism's Mythras and Chaosium's Magic World and RuneQuest: Glorantha.

Thundarr the Movie

As a life-long comics fan and a retailer with a quarter century of experience, I was today years old when I discovered that Buzz Dixon and ...