Posts Tagged ‘Cosmic Patrol’

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

Rayguns Charging!

Welcome to 2012 everyone! I hope you had a great (and not too crazy) holiday week and a fun New Year weekend!

The new year is only two days old and it’s already crammed with great Cosmic Patrol news, starting with this wonderful review from Reviews from R’lyeh. Check it out, Pookie goes in-depth and even creates his own Patrolman, Reginald Mulligan.

And now the really big news: the winners for the Mission and Rocketship contests have been notified! As soon as I get replies, I’ll let the world know who won. Don’t get discouraged if you didn’t win though, all the entries were amazing and we have some ideas in the works…but that’s all I’ll say for now.

02

01 2012

Event Horizon…and an Atomolink!

There’s some supercharged news coming soon about Cosmic Patrol! Stay tuned, faithful reader!

I’ve become a huge fan of Decoder Ring Theatre since a friend showed me the light a few weeks ago. DRT produces pulpy audio dramas like the radio shows popular in the 1940s-50s. While their two main shows – The Red Panda and Black Jack Justice – are excellent to listen to, they’re not quite Atomolink material. No rayguns? No robots? Sorry, gotta pass.

However, DRT also showcases other audio dramas beside their main features. One of those I just discovered: Deck Gibson, Far Reach Commander!

Deck Gibson is everything you could ever want in a retro-space audio show. Atomic cannons, space fighters, damsels in distress, arch rivals and vicious aliens to say the very least! The show is full of things you could use in a Cosmic Patrol game session, and I can’t recommend it enough. Check it out, you won’t be sorry!

17

08 2010

Prepare for Launch

Welcome aboard, cadet! Don’t waste time wandering about – sit down, strap in and hold on – it’s time to blast off!

Cosmic Patrol is a new role-playing game that takes you into the wild, retro-future of Golden Age and Atomic Age science fiction. You’ll join the crew of a Cosmic Patrol rocket ship and help fight against the million dangers the cosmos has to offer. Make sure your ray gun is charged, you’re going to need it!

As Cosmic Patrol development really gets going, I’ll be posting about the game and the ideas behind it. This is the first game I’ve developed solo, and I can’t wait to talk about the experience, learn a few things and maybe teach others. I’m not keeping to a firm schedule for posts, but hope to make a few a week.

So, welcome aboard, and thanks for joining me on the ride!

– Commander Matt Heerdt

06

06 2010

Cosmos Survival Guide

11

05 2010