Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies

s7s logoSince we’re on a PDQ# (PDQ Sharp) roll, I’ll keep going. We have had many fans of the PDQ-based groups at the Emerald City Game Feast open games. We’ve played The Zorcerer of Zo, Truth & Justice, and many home-brews based on the system. We’ve also playtested early versions of the most recent PDQ-based release from author Chad Underkoffler, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies (S7S). (Several of us are listed as playtesters in the credits. 🙂 )

S7S is a joint production of Atomic Sock Monkey Press (Chad Underkoffler’s publishing company) and Evil Hat Productions (well known for releases like Spirit of the Century and Don’t Rest Your Head).

The setting is a swashbuckling fantasy (like you couldn’t tell from the name!) set in an impossible world of airships, musketeers, and pirates. Instead of being set in a pseudo-Europe like another of my favourite systems, Seventh Sea, it is set on a collection of sky-islands that borrow and remix traits from many cultures. To get a glimpse of the setting, you can follow the many links I posted below for samples and free downloads of the fiction and art, and of course the freely available core rules.

These rules are an update and embellishment over the core PDQ rules which were also available free from ASMP, now re-released as PDQ# for a more swashbuckling feel and somewhat more structured character creation. We playtested the hell out of those rules and I’m happy to report that Chad took his playtesters’ feedback seriously. If you sat on some of those games, you will find the final version very transformed.

The pre-orders recently opened for a limited run hardcover version of the book that also comes with a free PDF of the game. I understand they are fast approaching selling out.

The book is receiving, according to its godfather Fred Hicks of Evil Hat Productions, “the Spirit of the Century treatment”: like SotC: a limited hardcover print run followed by a less expensive softcover definitive version. The final version you will find later in friendly local gaming stores will be the softcover.

I have already pre-ordered my own copy of the hardback because it looks so lovely (and the SotC hardbacks were great). I have received the PDF already and it’s a really lovely book. Unlike previous PDQ-based books from ASMP, this one really puts the setting forward as the centrepiece. But like the other PDQ games, it contains a wealth of game-mastering advice for the genre it explores, how to mimic the flavour and tropes in your own game, and a nice list of sources of inspiration.

Links of interest:

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Star Trek PDQ#: Character Creation

Starfleet logoSometimes, I can be a little scatterbrained. I posted the game summaries for Mark’s PDQ#-based Star Trek game, run on the Monday night Skype open games, but I forgot to post the character creation rules. Anyhow, here they are.

The premise: the crew of the USS Resolute is the second-wave team, charged with establishing diplomatic relations and trade with suitable worlds that were recently visited by the Constitution-class ships like the USS Enterprise and the USS Hood.

For the adventure, see the characters descriptions, and the summaries of Episode 1, Episode 2,and Episode 3.

The complete rules for the game system are here. For the purposes of Star Trek campaign, Swashbuckling Fortes should be replaced by Starship Fortes.

1. Choose a name, rank, and job on the ship.

You can really choose anything you want that you can justify as being on the ship. Here are some typical Navy-style ranks and jobs that you might find on a ship:

  • Captain, Commander, Lt Commander, Lieutenant, Lieutenant (Junior Grade), Ensign
  • Master Chief Petty Officer, Senior Chief Petty Officer, Chief Petty Officer
  • Petty Officer (1st, 2nd & 3rd Class), Crewman, Crewman Recruit
  • Chief Engineer, Chief Science Officer, Waste Reclamation Specialist, Defense Contractor, Reporter, Ambassador, Foreign Exchange Officer, Stowaway, Security Personnel, Starfleet Marine, Spy, Assistant Cook’s Mate, Medical Officer.

2. Choose one or more Foibles.

A Foible is a failing or feature that presents opportunities for interesting failure. All Starfleet crew and Federation employees should take the foible Prime Directive. Some foible examples:

  • Pacifist
  • Likes the Green Chicks
  • Always helps those in need
  • Curious to a fault
  • Transporter psychosis

3. Chose a Motivation Forte.

A motivation Forte starts out at Good [+2] and serves as the primary reason you’re on the ship. These tend to be long term dreams and goals. Some example motivating Fortes:

  • Explore the Galaxy
  • Heal People
  • Learn about other lifeforms
  • Bring honor to my planet and its people

4. Chose a Past Forte.

A past forte starts at Good [+2] and explains how you came to be here, what made you the person you are today. Some example past fortes:

  • Science wunderkind
  • Hero of The Great Collapse of New Betelgeuse
  • Graduated with honors
  • Reformed master thief
  • Mister Fixit

5. Choose a Starship Forte.

This replaces the Swashbuckling Forte in the PDQ# rules. This should be your area of expertise on a starship. Examples:

  • Transporter Engineering
  • Tactical Operations
  • Command the troops
  • Phaser marksman

6. Add more fortes and/or increase your existing ones.

You have 4 additional Good [+2] ranks to create new fortes or bump up your existing ones as high as Master [+6].

7. Add up to 5 points of Techniques.

See pg. 6 of the PDQ# rules for a description of Techniques. Techniques chained to a Starfleet forte cost 1 point, chained to another forte cost 2 points, and unchained techniques cost 3 points.

8. Style Dice.

You get to start with 1 style die.

Game Recap: Star Trek – Episode 3

Starfleet logoThis is the third episode of Mark’s PDQ#-based Star Trek game, run on the Monday night Skype open games. The premise: the crew of the USS Resolute is the second-wave team, charged with establishing diplomatic relations and trade with suitable worlds that were recently visited by the Constitution-class ships like the USS Enterprise and the USS Hood.

For background, see the characters descriptions, the summary of Episode 1, and the summary of Episode 2. Episode 3 closes this particular adventure.

Edit: Character creation rules are here.

Episode 3

Shuttle ibn Shukir* successfully docks with the Resolute. The captain goes to get some rest. Lt. Curry gets an advanced scan of the target area, locates a set of (unexpected) human life signs on the planet near Tarkan Laziene’s residence. Dr. Warden examines the Grays they brought back, finds signs of malnutrition and minor illnesses which she takes care of. Continue reading

Game Recap: Star Trek – Episode 2

This is the second episode of Mark’s PDQ#-based Star Trek game, run on the Monday night Skype open games. The premise: the crew of the USS Resolute is the second-wave team, charged with establishing diplomatic relations and trade with suitable worlds that were recently visited by the Constitution-class ships like the USS Enterprise and the USS Hood.

The characters are described here and the first episode summary is here.

Edit: Character creation rules are here.

Episode 2

Captain Stone receives a Starfleet briefing about the situation. The Talithans are humanoids with bluish skin and a funny nose and forehead; they have regressed to a mid-20th century Earth technology level (1950s-60s), although they did reach warp technology at one point but lost it in the war 30-some years ago. The Klingon vessel IKS ghangwI’ (pronounced CHONG-JI), a D7 class battlecruiser, has been spotted in the area. Continue reading

Game Recap: Star Trek – Episode 1

This is the first episode of Mark’s PDQ#-based Star Trek game, run on the Monday night Skype open games. The premise: the crew of the USS Resolute is the second-wave team, charged with establishing diplomatic relations and trade with suitable worlds that were recently visited by the Constitution-class ships like the USS Enterprise and the USS Hood.

The characters are described here. Edit: Character creation rules are here.

Episode 1

Defense contractor Adriana Katsopoulos is warned by one of her people that the Vortex Technologies envoy on Talitha VII, where the USS Resolute is headed, is missing. Talitha VII used to have warp technology but lost it in a war, and is eager to join the Federation to regain access to that technology (now at transistor level). The USS Hood made contact some time ago. Continue reading

Game recap: Star Trek – Characters

At our Monday night Skype session, Mark has been running a Star Trek game set in the days of the original series, using the PDQ# system. Edit: Character creation rules are here.

The premise: the crew of the USS Resolute is the second-wave team, charged with establishing diplomatic relations and trade with suitable worlds that were recently visited by the Constitution-class ships like the USS Enterprise and the USS Hood.

We’ve had a grand old time; here’s the profile of the characters and the summary of the first couple of episodes. Continue reading

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