Through N-space on the Teh Axis

In the last blog post, I had asked what other themes would work with the Cosmic Patrol ruleset and, man, there were some really great ideas. Everything from a retro video game world to gangsters to the wild west to time traveling – they were all great.

The brainstorming of ideas made me think of Robert Heinlein’s “The Number of the Beast.” I’ll be honest, it’s not an easy novel to get through (Tor.com has it listed as one of Heinlein’s worst novels) but it was so packed with supremely awesome ideas that it’s on my shelf alongside Brackett, Burroughs, Pratchett and Cook.

To summarize real quick – Heinlein has a character create a continua device that allows the protagonists to travel on all six dimensions of the universe, including to fictional realities like Barsoom and a world exactly like the “normal” one except that the letter “M” doesn’t exist. The number of realities/parallel universes/alternate worlds is (66)6 which is a Very Large Number. Google says it equals 1.0314425e+28.

I love that idea. And it’s probably why I love RPGs so much. Visit a different world, do cool stuff and have a lot of fun. The ideas you guys threw at me really reinforced my belief in a flexible, non-crunchy game and I wanted to say thanks!

The Moooooon

Development on the next book is going pretty well. In about two weeks I’ll start the Design-A-Moon-Room contest and post the rules. We’ll be putting two rooms up for grabs, so start brainstorming now. If you need a little guidance, think of each room as a short, open-ended Mission Brief. The Patrolmen should get in, deal with a threat and be given a choice of two or three exits.

A little R&R

On a personal note, I’ll be on a secret mission for the next two weeks and probably won’t be around the forums much (or the web at all, actually). Just an FYI.

If you like Cosmic Patrol and haven’t checked out the forums, you really should. Lots of great ideas and discussions going on there.

Thanks and see ya next time!

P.S. Please, someone, write a TV show about the lawyers at Brackett, Burroughs, Pratchett and Cook. It’s a guaranteed hit!

02

02 2013

This Must Be Said!

For me, the one aspect of publishing a new role-playing game book that took the most getting used to was actually getting feedback. I figured from the outset that Cosmic Patrol would probably be a love-it or hate-it book. While the rule set has some hallmarks of traditional RPGs, it lacks a lot of their crunch. Focusing hard on a really cool setting and story-driven mechanics isn’t for everyone, and I was fine with that.

Still, I was incredibly nervous when the Cosmic Patrol Core Rulebook released at Gen Con 2011. Working on games like Shadowrun, BattleTech and Leviathans is great and I take a lot of pride in those products, but this was totally my own idea and that scared the crap out of me. Thankfully, many folks really liked the game and some great reviews started rolling in.

The biggest honors by far were being on the shortlist for the 2012 Origins Awards and being nominated for the Best Game Ennie Award. We didn’t win, but man, what an honor! I’m still shocked, to be honest.

Thanks!

And now for something completely different…

Last week I promised I’d talk about the upcoming Cosmic Patrol adventure book, The Moon Must Be Ours. I’m pushing that to next week, sorry. Instead I wanted to ask a quick question: What other genres/themes would work with the Cosmic Patrol rule set?

I’ve been scribbling notes for a fantasy-themed world called Goblin Patrol, where the players are goblins stuck in an adventurer’s world. In one awesome Cosmic Patrol review from Idle Red Hands, they played a 1970s funk version called Soul Patrol. What are your ideas?

15

01 2013

Digging into the Moon Dungeon

Well, 2013 is upon us and I’m doing steady work on The Moon Must Be Ours (TMMBO).  At this point of development, it’s all about outlining and specifications. For other game lines, like Shadowrun or BattleTech, this can be pretty in-depth process. Line developers have to weigh considerations like target page count, writing budgets, art budgets, playtesting and the general target release date, to name a few.

Thankfully, by design, Cosmic Patrol books are relatively simple. Each book is targeted at 136 pages and feature the basic sections: intro fiction, rules, gazetteer, characters and missions. Given the flexibility of the rules, a lot of the real effort goes into world building and mission creation. And surprise, that’s the most fun, too.

Lunar Engineering

In the Cosmic Patrol universe, the Moon is one giant Moon Man fortress. It’s been tunneled out from the surface all the way to the core. Any Patrol invasion of the Moon would have to navigate these rooms and tunnels to complete the mission.

Knowing how the Moon would be framed, I then made two goals:

  1. a choose-your-own-adventure mechanic for moving from room to room
  2. a mechanic that offers easy, normal, hard and insane difficulty settings

I didn’t want a lot of variable monster strengths and trap tests (that’d lead to too much referencing, IMO) so decided that difficulty tracks would be based on the number of rooms players would have to clear to successfully complete the adventure.

With those prerequisites in mind, I turned to a RPGer’s best friend: charts! Flowcharts, to be exact.

EasyNormal Hard Insane

Now these aren’t in the actual book, but are used in the dev process to assign exits for each room. Each room takes the format of a Mission Brief with the room’s challenge or threats and a choice of exits based on what difficulty you want to play at. If you want a quick adventure, go with the Easy track. Want a bigger challenge? Use the Hard track. And then you can mix and match as desired, creating your own custom adventure.

Over the next few weeks I’ll go into more depth on how the room structure works, but I do have one cool announcement to share now!

Create-A-Moon-Room Contest

During the development of Into the Cosmos, we held a contest for players to create a rocketship and mission for inclusion in the book. We’ll be doing the same thing for TMMBO, reserving two or three rooms for player-created entries! I’ll have more info on the contest later. Good luck!

07

01 2013

New Year, New Post, New Forums

Happy almost 2013! The new year will be the Year of the Snake in the Chinese calendar, it’s the 400th anniversary of Galileo discovering Neptune, my birthday falls on a Tuesday and NASA’s MAVEN Mars orbiter will be launched. And while we at Catalyst have tagged 2013 as The Year of Shadowrun, there’s another Cosmic Patrol book on the way!

The Moon Must Be Ours!

In keeping with out general schedule, The Moon Must Be Ours (TMMBO) should publish around late July and be available in time for Gen Con and is a new type of the book for the game. Where Cosmic Patrol was the core rulebook and Into the Cosmos a setting expansion/sourcebook, TMMBO is a plot book taking players through the Patrol’s invasion of the moon.

If you’re familiar with the Cosmic Patrol universe, you know that our nearest neighbor is the home of advanced humans, the Moon Men. These guys are mysterious, super intelligent and possess the power of dynamo-psychism (mind powers). They’ve also forbidden any human landings on the Moon, claiming it as their own private world.

With no other choice, the Patrol had to accept the ban and went about its business exploring the cosmos at large. As more threats to human existence were encountered, it also drove home the fact of a major, mysterious threat right at humanity’s doorstep. For Cosmic Patrol Director Dyson, that won’t stand. And let’s just say the ensuing invasion doesn’t go well.

TMBBO takes a choose-your-own-path structure that I’m excited to put together and playtest. I’ll get more into that mechanic in a later blog post. For now I just want to get back into the habit of blogging every week or so.

FORUMS!!!

Yes. They’re new, stronger and prettier. Go sign up now!

The last iteration of the forums was based on phpbb, and it was a headache to maintain. Then it broke during the busiest time of the year and I finally just wiped the thing out. The new version is based on Simple Machine Forums and should work much better. For now, new memberships have to be admin approved (there’s still an issue with emails and the hosting service, working on that) but that shouldn’t be a big hassle.

So there we have it! New year, new forums, new book!

29

12 2012

Into The Cosmos Street Date

Into the Cosmos Street Date is SEPTEMBER 5TH, 2012!


Into the Cosmos ($24.99)

You are embarking on the adventure of a lifetime! The unlimited cosmos stands before you, full of sights and experiences as wild as your imagination. And that’s the key: imagination. Cosmic Patrol is about creating a story and Into the Cosmos gives you more alien races, characters, missions and rocketships to base your galactic adventures on!

Into the Cosmos features:

  • When in Doubt, Doubt: A new short story of a Cosmic Patrol Intelligence Service agent infiltrating a Hakhaze base!
  • Gazetteer: A series of treatises detailing new parts of a dangerous cosmos!
  • Rocketships: Eight ships Patrolmen may use or encounter while cruising the deep black!
  • Dossiers: New heroes and villains for players to use or fight against. Martians! Hakhaze! Ro-Men! Neptunian Frog Men! Humungulous!
  • Missions: Twenty-three Mission Briefs to challenge even the most courageous Patrolman!

The cosmos has millions of ways to kill you. When it tries, call the Patrol!

06

09 2012

Cosmic Patrol At Gen Con 2012 (Updated With Promo Video!)

We’ve got an atomo-awesome promotional video for our favorite little red book…check it out!

The first sourcebook for the Cosmic Patrol Core Rulebook will be available at the Catalyst Game Labs booth at Gen Con:

BOOTH: 1703 (Gen Con Exhibitor Floor Map)


Cosmic Patrol: Into The Cosmos, sourcebook [$24.99; digest size, hard cover, B&W]

You are embarking on the adventure of a lifetime! The unlimited cosmos stands before you, full of sights and experiences as wild as your imagination. And that’s the key: imagination. Cosmic Patrol is about creating a story and Into the Cosmos gives you more alien races, characters, missions and rocketships to base your galactic adventures on!

Into the Cosmos features:

  • When in Doubt, Doubt: A new short story of a Cosmic Patrol Intelligence Service agent infiltrating a Hakhaze base!
  • Gazetteer: A series of treatises detailing new parts of a dangerous cosmos!
  • Rocketships: Eight ships Patrolmen may use or encounter while cruising the deep black!
  • Dossiers: New heroes and villains for players to use or fight against. Martians! Hakhaze! Ro-Men! Neptunian Frog Men! Humungulous!
  • Missions: Twenty-three Mission Briefs to challenge even the most courageous Patrolman!

The cosmos has millions of ways to kill you. When it tries, call the Patrol!

GAMING

If you’re looking to play some Cosmic Patrol, outside of the demos we’ll be running in the booth, here’s a complete schedule of games you can try and get it on!

    Name [Event # / Date & Time (Duration)]

    HQ: All events are in Hall D (Catalyst Area)

    The Kahn Protocols Part 1: Crash Landing [1238609 / Thursday 4:00 PM (2)]

    The Kahn Protocols Part 2: Abduction [1238610 / Thursday 8:00 PM (2)]

    The Kahn Protocols Part 3: Into the Midden [1238612 / Friday 8:00 AM (2)]

    The Kahn Protocols Part 4: Final Confrontation [1238613 / Friday 12:00 PM (2)]

    Alert: Automen Attack! [1238614 / Friday 4:00 PM (2)]

    Blood of Mars [1238615 / Saturday 8:00 AM (2)]

    Fractum-Triggered Annulment Array [1238616 / Saturday 12:00 PM (2)]

    Zero Hour at Outpost 310 [1238617 / Saturday 4:00 PM (2)]

MULTI-MEDIA

We’ll have a large-screen TV in the booth showcasing a variety of promotional videos from Leviathans to MechWarior Online, Shadowrun Online to MechWarrior Tactics, and more. Stop on by for a visual feast!

PARAPHERNALIA

Catalyst will also have the usual additional items for sale of patches, faction/corp custom dice, t-shirts, stachel bags and so on!

AND OTHER COOL STUFF!

For a full list of all books & games premiering at Gen Con, as well as other cool experiences, read the full article.

See ya there!

07

08 2012

Cosmic Patrol At Pax Prime 2012

Catalyst Game Labs will be attending Pax Prime 2012, where you can find the Cosmic Patrol on sale!

Read Full Article.

30

07 2012

GeekDad Reviews Cosmic Patrol!

Hed geekdad

There’s a fantastic review of both the Core Rulebook as well as the recently released Into the Cosmos sourcebook over at Geek.com.

Check it out!

Huge thanks to James Floyd Kelly for tackling our little red book and for providing such a thorough sneak peak/review!

30

07 2012

FutilePosition.com Reviews Cosmic Patrol

FutilePosition.com has posted a thorough review of our 2012 ENnie Awards Nominated Cosmic Patrol.

Check it out!

Thanks to Michael for taking the time and interest in our little red book!

19

07 2012

Cosmic Patrol Nominated In “Best Game” ENnie Awards Category

For those who haven’t heard the news yet, Cosmic Patrol has been nominated in the Best Game category for the 2012 ENnie Award.

There’s some fierce competition in this category…and it’s fantastic that our little red book finds itself in such company. Congratulations to all the nominess…do yourself a favor and check ’em out.

If you’re just finding out about us now, don’t forget to check out the free quick-start rules! It’ll give you a nice taste of all that Cosmic Patrol has to offer…wetting your apetite to take a look at Into the Cosmos, the first sourcebook!

18

07 2012