Good Science fiction always has cool space monsters
Growing up I noticed that Star-Wars had some very interesting aliens and monsters. I always loved reading the books where they would talk about the strange live cycles of these alien creatures. Sometimes they were just a reskinned version of an existing animal found here on earth. Then sometimes these creatures were totally (without a better word) Alien. I remember thinking about this topic for hours.
Then I discovered Dungeons and Dragons, Monster Manual. This resulted in even more hours of pouring through those pages reading every page over and over. What I loved about the monster manual was that they also had stats. This helped flesh out the creatures even more.
Star-Fall RPG has strange alien animals too
One of the rules I have with Star-Fall is there are no normal animals. (Except for Zapperburger menu items) The creatures must be alien in some way. My wife and I have even had long talks about what shape the eyes should be. For the past few weeks, I have been trying to get as much drawing done as possible. One of the things I have been working on as you could guess by the name of this blog post is Alien Monsters. I'm trying to get at least one drawing done a day.
How I Draw Alien Monsters
I start off with almost random squiggles on the page. Looking at it for some time I try to see how it might look like some kind of creature. From there I start adding other layers to the page (I use Krita to draw on my Mac) until some sort of story starts to pop in my head.
Please support our show by becoming a patron
This Alien lizard only has two legs but has a nasty bite. These lizards are found on the planet Turnhout (Jhodian Confederacy). The farmers in the region have a mixed relationship with the beasts as they are excellent for reducing pests but are too curious for their own good. These lizards are about the size of a German shepherd. They are not aggressive but have no problems turning and fighting if needed or cornered (like the parked Space ship they happen to wander into ) The stories about their venomous bite is only that a story told to tourists. Elome finds these creatures adorable.
Not all aliens in Science fiction need to be dangerous. The Ch'Ahha is a small ombnvore that is found on the Agriculture moon of Neven. This creature is not aggressive towards sentient beings and is attracted to G'Dar for some reason. (The G'Dar are not sure what to do with the concept of a pet ... but it's not uncommon for one to take a Ch'Ahha as a pet.)
Elome do not like the taste of CH'ahha and avoid eating them.
What makes this creature unique is the row of ten eyes. These creatures are not on the top of the food chain so some of the eyes are for defense and some are for spotting and catching prey. The closest earth equivalent is if a rabbit decided that it needed to augment its diet by eating birds.
The Warzodian Thunder Bear
Now before you think "Bear" understand that Bears have not existed in the universe for over 800 years. These Thunder Bears are found on the forests of War-Zod. These creatures are extremely dangerous as they are always hungry and always defending their territory from everyone.
These creatures are known for their thick armored skin, Six red eyes that tend to glow at night & their powerful jaws. These creatures surprisingly enough are not apex predators but it seems that nobody sent them the memo. As they sure do not act like there is anything that might try to eat them.
The WarZodian Animal control spends a lot of time trying to control where these creatures live. Having to forcefully move them with the use of powered armor units. (See Episode Four of Star-Fall )
The Tiny Alien Bugs
Sometimes I try to think about the other creatures that nobody would ever notice. Like the bugs. Sometimes they are dangerous like the cyber scarabs or sometimes just interesting like the red-hopper.
The Red hopper is a tiny bug that lives by eating the other bugs found on grain. These creatures are not as plentiful as farmers would like as they are often affected by pesticides. These little farmers helpers have a very distinctive call similar to wind chimes. It is considered good luck if one lands on your nose.
So a few days ago we recorded another episode of Star-Fall RPG Podcast. Part of the world building was that the players were not allowed to use their ship to arrive on the planet surface. Lucky for them there is a shuttle that departs from the space station every few hours. The joke around the table was that the player characters all had "K-run cards". and of course I felt the need to create cards as a joke.
Posting this on the group forum. They loved it.
How can this help your RPG game?
Now I'm not saying that you need to make public transit cards for each of your players in your game. But there are little things like props that you can do to add a little more to a game session. During a game listen for moments where everyone is laughing about something that would be considered small. Something that would make a great detail.
This last weekend we started production of Season Two of Star-Fall RPG Podcast. We are hoping to start publishing again in late October or early November. This time with new villains. and extra baggage for the character to figure out. Already within the first game night there is a new level or roleplaying that I have not seen in a very long time. The characters are getting much deeper as there are more emotional consequences at stake. (That and the villains are going to be nastier)
More than just a RPG group.
One of the things that I have noted is that the cast is starting to form like a family. This really warms my heart. I'm also noticing that this interaction is starting to show in the game. I have to admit that there is a great amount of pride in knowing that I was smart enough to bring these awesome people together.
You say in the podcast that he is very powerful ... how powerful?
Powerful enough that I have not shown any of the players his stats. I will say that he has a special skill for taking out the most powerful threats in Star-Fall. Maybe an extremely focused and useful Niche character may be more appropriate. (Like a cleric vs undead) I have been very careful to not have him solve every problem that comes before the players. I do this by having very clear motivations written down.
Is it True you were Drunk when you introduced the character to the party as a pet?
YES!! Brodie had used a Role Vs Roll Card and gave me those eyes that said: "I REALLY WANT A PET FOR MY CHARACTER". Between the too much vodka, The fact she used a Role Vs Roll card to add to the plot of the story AND her overflowing enthusiasm for cute critters. It was a perfect storm of bad judgment (or good )
I remember saying "Turbo Weasel " because it was the first thing that came to my head. Then thought OH SKRUP!! WHAT HAVE I DONE?
Can I play a Turbo Weasel in the Star-Fall RPG when it comes out?
I have been thinking about this and currently, I'm going to say no. Because it would be like giving a Kender flight and invisibility and letting them loose in a magic shop. However, a talented Gamemaster who knows how to deal with powerful characters and giving them meaningful plotlines may be able to pull it off.
If Turbo is half robot and all robots are insane in Star-Fall? why is he not nuts?
Technically he's a Bio-bot where most of the body & Brain was genetically altered. So, for the most part, he is a Weasel with a Genius IQ (For Weasels that is ) and not a robot.. he cannot be reprogramed. He is mostly governed by his biological instincts. Eat, Sleep, Reproduce, Destroy sewing machines & Arkady Cuddles. There is a part of his brain that is enhanced by an artificial intelligence however its minor role when it comes to making decisions.
What are Turbo Weasel's powers?
Flight using Drone rotors or Zero G thrusters
The ability to pick locks (Destroy machines)
Stealthy as skrup!
He can survive in the vacuum of space
He has some amazing tools hidden in his cyborg parts
Fearsom hunter of other Bio-bots (Alpha predator)
There are a lot more than I have not discussed yet and they will most likely stay hidden until they are needed. Afterall his job is to be adorable not a badass.
What do Turbo weasels eat?
For the most part, they will eat anything that would seem tasty to a normal weasel. However, they also do need to ad mechanical parts to repair their cyborg body. This is done with nanites that break apart the mechanical parts and reform them to suit his needs. He has a particular fondness for Cyber Scarabs.
How old is Turbo?
I'm not telling ... but it is possible that he remembers the Fall of the empire
How can there be a Weasel proof Box?
GM Plot device
Turbo seems to be the size of a Ferret why do you call him a Weasel?
At the point, I made him a Cyborg I could take any "Creative license" I want . :P
Why would someone think it was a good idea to make a Cyborg Weasel in the first place?
Obviously, you have never been on a ship with Cyber scarabs everywhere. Cyber scarabs are biobots that reprogram any AI that sees it ignore its existence. They were designed to destroy ships in transit by hiding in difficult to get to places and eating wires and machinery. These creatures reproduce quickly and can destroy a ship within weeks. Turbo weasels were made as a pest control solution that could get into the hard to reach parts of a ship and not worry about being reprogramed.
This is the final episode of Star-Fall Actual Play Podcast Season One
We did it .. 15 episodes in about Six Months of work. Podcasting is hard work so I feel like we have accomplished something here. I want to start off by thanking The Fifth Crew And out Voice Actors. Who made this possible. When I first started this Podcast I was not sure if we were going to be able to continue as we only had $45
In this episode, the Fifth Crew makes it to the planet Helios. Where they try to connect with the leader of the War-Zodian Resistance Eric Stroge
IF you are new To Star-Fall Podcast
We highly recommend that you start with Episode One as this is a serial audio drama and some of the key points will not make any sense out of context.
How do you keep your players from causing problems with the NPCs?
One of the problems I hear gamemasters complain about all the times is the players being mischievous during non-combat scenes. Your mage starts to cast obvious spells to impress the court wizard. The barbarian will most likely scratch themselves or belch loudly. Lets not even talk about what the thief is going to do in the king's courtroom. Is it a role-playing game after all right? The players should be able to do whatever they want because they can. But what happens if that does not help the story move forward. This article is for those Gamemasters to make non-combat scene easier to run.
Why do we have non-combat scenes in RPGs?
The first thing you need to ask yourself as the gamemaster is "What am I trying to achieve in this scene?" Many gamemasters never ask that question I myself included till a few years ago. Have you ever watched a badly edited film where there are scenes that make no sense at all? Why was going to the corner store and picking up milk important in the middle of the movie important? In a role-playing game, every moment should be important. That could be as simple as "I would like the players to flesh out their characters more" or "I want them to have the chance to be suspicious of the NPC Mage who is really working for the Dark King". The important part as a GM is that you know what that reason is. You may want to tell your players or maybe not tell them anything. If you can't think of a reason maybe it's a good idea to skip that part of the game.
How to set expectations with your RPG Party
It may not seem like it but in the Zapperburger Episode of Star-Fall I had told The Fifth Crew what I had expected from them. They went into the game knowing that they were going to be in a non-combat situation and should not cause any trouble. The result was just as fun as the players used the fast food restaurant as a way to explore their characters more.
The exact mission goals may be obfuscated but the fact they are looking for something and causing problems would be a bad idea is the key to making this work.
How to keep your Pranksters and Murderhobos happy while everyone else is Roleplaying
Thieves, pranksters & Murderhobos are often the key problems in scenes like this. One of the techniques that I use is allowing a knowledge role with a huge bonus "Due to their expertise". If they roll anything even close to decent (Did I mention huge bonus to the Dice roll) you inform the player that their character is smart enough to not cause problems in this area. you can find all kinds of reasons for the character to not want to do anything stupid. By making it the characters idea the player (and it being something that makes them look good or an expert) they are less likely to cause problems during the scene with the king.
Keeping the Thieves at bay
You noticed the King has an alarm spell on everything only an amateur would try to steal anything from this room.
You notice a bit of writing in "Thieves Cant" warning you that stealing anything is a trap ... all the real goods are hidden elsewhere
You notice your old instructor working as a consultant for the king. They give you a gesture of "Back off .. we will talk later"
Reasons for the murderhobos to be not murderous
You notice a hidden guard ready to snipe you at any second if you get too close
You recognize one of the guards .. You have seen them fight. You know you are no match for them
Reasons to keep the prankster at bay
You know this is the one time you should behave yourself.
Before entering the room you overhear the guards talking about the last person who played a prank in this room
The King has learned of your pranks and comments on it... best be nice here
Using the Stick to keep Player Characters in line
Using some of the examples above of coming up with something very creative. This is a great time to use natural consequences as a big stick to keep the mischievous players at bay. Truth be told I'm not one of those GMs that feels like you have to punish your players (Really unhealthy mindset for some people) but I am a firm believer of "natural consequences" This is where the logical progression of an action happens. Such as you try to steal from the King and you are going to end up at the end of a hangman's noose. It's very important to give all the warnings as possible to prevent the character from doing anything that would be stupid. However, if they keep along the path and you have provided many warnings to allow them to get into trouble. This does not mean that they have to DIE. But it does mean that they may end up spending some time in the dungeon with an unpleasant cellmate till the bard is able to talk the king into letting them go.
Using the Carrot to keep everyone happy
Now for some players, you need to know their motivations. Having a social interaction where the player knows they are going to get something out of it is a major motivator to behave. This does not mean that you should allow the barbarian with a CHA score of 4 do all the negotiations. However, letting the Theif know that having an important patron like the king is worth more than anything they could take from the throne room. Letting the players know in advance the advantages of a successful or at least not a failed social interaction will keep the pranksters at bay.
Listening to your players because it's not about the Gamemaster
Sometimes the gamemaster has a great idea but the players are not going to think that it is fun. There was once a game where I tried to run a social heavy module for my friend's 10-year-old son and six friends. (WHo all had names like Wolf Shadow. Blood Shadow. Shadow blood wolf) and headbands with swords in them... Ummm yeah .. this is not the kind of game where a political debate between the ork captain and the king of the elves is going to be appreciated.
As a Gamemaster your first responsibility is to your players. so Find out what they want to do. If you have a party of five muderhobos. Then give them something that murderhobos will like. By asking the players what kind of game they want to play does not diminish your creativity at all. But it does set the expectations for what kind of game should be played. I personally go and find players that fit the game and not the other way around. Though if they are already at my table it's my job to make sure they all have fun.
One of the biggest myths in RPG is that players must always have some kind of battle or be causing problems. Stealing something, Trying to sleep with the barmaids. I have found that really good roleplayers are just as happy exploring their characters opinions as they are crushing heads. In this episode, the players do just that. The Fifth crew takes a break from escaping from the church of the illumination to have a snack. The players had so much fun Roleplaying that I almost felt bad having to end it to send them to the next scene.
Gerry wants to know if the Rats are fresh? (Role Vs Roll Card)
Norkek and Hedda "Friendzone"
Lots of Fake Zapperburger commercials
Star-Fall Actual Play Podcast is an Australian RPG show with voice actors around the world
I want to take a moment to thank our cast work working so hard. We have really exceeded all my expectations. Our Patreon is going well and we have a great listener base. Thank you for helping to put us on the map for Australian RPG Podcast
So Here I was minding my own business working on the website when this guy calls me. Now I hate Spam emails .. I really hate Spam phone callers. Though in this case, I figured it would be time to have some fun with this guy.
Advantages: No boss, Nothing to loose, Quick thinking, Epicly creative.
Disadvantages: Got better shit to do
Assets, Greedy, Script,
Disadvantages: English, not the first language, Poor listening skills
As a Gamemaster I am quick on my feet to come up with a story
The first thing I could think of is to tie this into the Star-Fall Podcast. Being that is what is forefront in my mind at the moment it should be easy. So what I did was quickly create a character in my head (like I do NPCs) and think of what might keep this guy on the phone as long as I could. I came up with a guy who lives in a highrise in War-Zod during the Church of the Illumination invasion. (Season one of Star-Fall by the way)
I was surprised when this guy was not taking the hints when I was spoon feeding him clues like different planets and stuff. It just goes to show you that he was not really listening to me in the first place..
So here I have the call ready for you to listen. At the end is a trailer for Star-Fall.
PS The guy called back the next day. I was surprised that he did so. I was not thinking at the time. I should have kept it going. too bad ... there will be more of them.
So everyone is talking about this discord thing. So I have decided to jump on the bandwagon. We are going to use this to better connect with our listeners. You will be able to interact with the cast directly as fans and talk about whatever you want. There will be even times where Kevin will be talking about Star-Fall as a whole beyond the campaign.
Patreon Backer Benefits
We are always looking to add cool things for our backers.
Listen to the show WHILE we record EVERY show
Make comments for the entire cast to see while we are recording (Make comments or give the Gamemaster ideas)