Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Klingon Random Name Generator

I was looking through my RPG stuff to find some of my old notes, but it doesn't seem like much has survived. I think most of it got thrown out one of the times I moved. Bummer. One thing I did find is something I don't even remember doing. It's a Klingon Random Name generator for...I don't know what. I guess I must have wanted names for Klingon NPCs in a Star Trek game, but I can't for the life of me remember the details. Nevertheless, here it is in all its mysterious glory.

Klingon Random Name Generator

I: Given Name:

First Letter (Roll one die): 1-3 = K-, 4-5 = Q-, 6 = M-

Mid. Syllable (Roll one die): 1 = -ar-, 2 = -il-, 3 = -ah-, 4 = -ir-, 5 = -al-, 6 = (Roll on Short-Name chart)

Last Syll. (Roll two dice): 2 = -dar, 3 = -gran, 4 = -mtav, 5 = -rvan, 6 = -gga, 7 = -mato, 8 = -tarc, 9 = -gak, 10 = -gar, 11 = -ssa, 12 = -ramark

Short-Name Chart (Roll one die): 1 = -or, 2 = -ruge, 3 = -ang, 4 = -ex, 5 = -zak, 6 = -altz

II: Honorific (one die): 1 = no honorific, 2 = tai-, 3 = vestai-, 4 = sutai-, 5 = zantai-, 6 = epetai-

(NOTE: The honorific is added as a prefix to the line-name.)

III: Line-name:

First Syll. (Roll two dice): 2 = Sol-, 3 = Jur-, 4 = Sub-, 5 = Hav-, 6 = Pal-, 7 = Ney-, 8 = Tre-, 9 = Jav-, 10 = Hur-, 11 = Lim-, 12 = Uru-

Mid. Syll. (Roll one die): 1 = -ai-, 2 = -ge-, 3 = -us-, 4 = -az-, 5 = -la-, 6 = (No middle syllable)

Last syllable (Roll two dice): 2 = -esh, 3 = -ra, 4 = -iss, 5 = -bh, 6 = -arn, 7 = -th, 8 = -ric, 9 = -sig, 10 = -exa, 11 = -vrk, 12 = -ltz

That's it. Let's see how well it works...

#1: Qang vestai-Palgeth
#2:  Qilgga sutai-Neyaziss
#3:  Kirmato vestai-Neygeric

Qapla'! Not half bad, although the slight bell-curve on those 2D rolls weights things toward the middle. Good enough for a quick-and-dirty Klingon NPC or two though. But what do I know? tlhIngan Hol vIjatlhbe'!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FASA Trek's prescience

Guy McLimore, Greg Poehlein, and David Tepool's Star Trek: The Role Playing Game (1982) had a lot of interesting points. While generally staying true to the Star Trek universe, it also emphasized some aspects that were more reminisent of Marc Miller's Traveller (1977). For example, the supplement Trader Captains and Merchant Princes (1983), which let players unleash their inner Harry Mudd. But in the equipment lists of that book was something remarkable, even uncanny. It came disguised as a simple description of a data storage card, or "computer cart."

The text seems to be describing a standard memory tape, but look at the illustration. Look familiar? That's no memory tape, it's a USB flash drive.

But flash drives weren't around until c. 2000 CE, eighteen years after that game was published. This is highly illogical. Is it a clue planted by a time traveler, as in Asimov's The End of Eternity? Did the game designers have precognitive abilities? What's going on here?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


The R. Talsorian sourcebook for Cyberpunk based on Walter Jon Williams' book Hardwired (1986) included some interesting variations on the core rules. Most significantly, the netrunning rules were revamped to a more realistic system. CP2020 is a good game, but the treatment of cyberspace is very idiosyncratic, to say the least. Another thing I like is the table of "glitches" for NPCs. These are personality quirks that can give characters a distinctive personality. It's like a quick-and-dirty Life Path. To determine the number of glitches, roll 1D10. 1-5 = 1 glitch, 6-8 = 2 glitches, 9-10 = 3 glitches. Roll 2D10 for each glitch and cross-index on the Glitch Table.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Radiation rules

I was browsing Joseph Heck's Traveller website and found these rules for radiation poisoning from GDW's Twilight 2000. They are very realistic (i.e., lethal) and will work as written with any game that has a stat range of 1-10. In games that don't have a Constitution stat just use the equivalent; e.g, in Interlock use the Body Type stat, in CORPS or Action! System use Health, etc.

Date: Fri, 29 Sep 1995 12:30:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: John ---- ---------- <>
Subject: Rads
Re: Radiation T:2000 rules

Effects of Exposure: Exposure to lower levels of radiation will produce temporary illness, while higher levels can kill. All exposure is cumulative. When a character's accumulated rads reach or surpass 50, he must be checked for radiation illness. Thereafter, each time the character accumulates one or more rads he must be checked for radation illness. however, the character is checked for radiation illness only once per day on each day that he accumulates additional rads.

The Radiation Illness Chart (below) gives the multipliers used to determine the chances of illness and death from exposure to radiation. Use the rad level on the chart that is closest to (without exceeding) his accumulated rad level.

Rads...Slight Illness...Serious Illness...Death

Multiply the character's Constitution by the multiplier to determine his target number (round fractions up). Roll 1D10. If the number rolled is equal to or less than the chance, the character avoids the effect.

Slight Illness: Nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Onset is 1D6 hours after exposure. The character has strength, agility, and intelligence halved for the duration of the illness. Symptoms last one day at lower levels, two days if exposure is greater than 600 rads.

Serious Illness: First suffers slight illness, as above,. Then suffers serious illness and is incapacitated with severe vomiting and diarrhea, spotting on the body caused by bleeding under teh skin, and blood int he stool and vomit. Onset of serious illness is 2D6 days after exposere at levels less than 300 rads, 1D6 at levels above that. Incapacitation lasts 1D6 days, plus one day for every two days spent without bed rest and medical care. The amount of medical care required is the same as for a character with a serious wound to two body parts -- or two additional body parts if the character is already wounded. General illness, approximating the effects of slight illness listed above, will persist for 1D6 weeks.

Death: The character first suffers from slight radiation illness and then from serious radiation illness. During the incapacitation period (and usually within 30 days of exposure) the character dies.

At higher tech levles, presumably an automed could treat slight and serious illness at increasing levels of exposure, and a full medical facility could prevent death, and "roll-back" a persons cumulative exposure. The description in FF&S of the consequences of getting too close to a Fusion Drive suggest that bone marrow transplants etc, would be necessary, so presumably the character is till going to be laid up for some time.

*Apologies to those not interested in radiation, but enough people had expressed an interest that I thought it was worthwhile.

Whether or not you want to use these rules depends on how realistic you want to be. They would be very useful in a hard sf game but would be inappropriate in a planetary romance or superhero game. If you do use them in a super-science game - a space opera setting like Star Trek, for example - you might want to allow medical science to provide a cure, like the original poster suggested. Assuming the doctor has the necessary drugs on hand and makes a successful skill roll she could alleviate the effects of the radiation poisoning. If the science is sufficiently advanced you could even allow treatment that would reduce the number of rads the character has accumulated.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Warp "speed"

I know Warp 6 is slow, but as Murphy's Rules points out Warp 7 isn't much better.