Monday, September 27, 2010

The Making of Space 1889 - The Burning Desert

This post is a companion post to AP - Space 1889: The Burning Desert. In it I detail how the scenario was developed, what Maptool modifications were needed to run it, how the maps were created, and what other resources were used in the final product.

Adventure Source
I used the first scenario in Frank Chadwick's original Tales from the Ether. The adventure used the original Space 1889 rules and so I had to convert the NPCs into Savage Worlds.

The conversion was amazingly simple. In Space 1889 the attributes and skills go from 1 to 6. I simply doubled the score to give values from d4 to d12 (counting 1s and 2s). The skills matched Savage Worlds fairly well but I fudged them a bit here and there as needed.

The handouts I pulled directly from the pdf using GIMP's screen capture utility (File->Create->Screenshot). There were quite a few of these which included letters, newspaper articles, and a detailed description of Mercury. The hand-written letters were a bit hard to read in the source material and this remained true once I moved them into Maptool.

Maptool Modifications
The most difficult part of putting this scenario together was populating the Savage Worlds Framework for Maptool with all the Space 1889 Gear, Edges, Hindrances, and Setting rules. I added some new functionality to deal with the new Setting Stats like Favors and Social Status. I still have more work to do on the Gear for the Space 1889 Setting Token but I put enough into play this scenario.

The other addition to the framework allowed for auto-fire weapons, double taps, and three round bursts. Most of my settings don't have these sorts of weapons so I've ignored these rules up to this point. This coding time took a chunk out of my time to get the scenario put together.

You never know how many people are actually going to show up on game night so I try to have plenty of pregenerated characters available. I like to do a little write-up on each to give the player a little background.

I posted these in the post Space 1889 Player Characters.


The following NPCs appear in the adventure. There are others the with which the characters interact but the ones below are likely to be the only ones requiring trait rolls. If you need other statistics please consult the GMs section of Space 1889 - Red Sands which contains an extensive list of NPC arch types.

The description of the NPCs can be found in Tales from the Ether, The Burning Desert. The number of Beater Thugs (they keep the crew inline) should be 1 per 2 Player Characters. You can adjust Wisniewski's power up or down based on the number of inventors you bring into the adventure. Feel free to take his powers away altogether if its a weak party without much in the way of combat skills.

Professor Ignatius Wisniewski
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d12, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d4
Skills: Driving d6e, Fighting d4, Investigation d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Repair d10, Shooting d6, Mechanics d10, Science d10, Engineering d10, WeirdScience d10
Languages: English, Polish, Russian, French, German, Mandarin
Derived: Pace 6, Parry 4, Charisma -2, Toughness 4, Bennies 2, Status 2, Favors 0, WeirdScience Power Points: 20
Hindrances: Major: Delusional, Greedy Minor: Mean
Edges: AB - Weird Science
Gear: None
Powers: Barrier, Blast, Stun

Claud Brumpford
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Lockpicking d4, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Riding d4, Shooting d6, Stealth d6, Survival d6, Throwing d4, Untrained Skill d4e-2)
Languages: English, Polish, Russian
Derived: Pace 6, Parry 5, Charisma -2, Toughness 5, Armor 0, Bennies 2, Status 2, Favors 0
Hindrances: Major: Greedy Minor: Mean
Edges: None
Gear: Pistol

First Officer Bruno
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d10, Vigor d10
Skills: Driving d6, Fighting d10, Guts d6, Intimidation d8, Notice d6, Piloting d6, Repair d8, Shooting d6, Throwing d4, Mechanics d8, Untrained Skill d4e-2)
Languages: Russian, Polish, English
Derived: Pace 6, Parry 5, Charisma -2, Toughness 9(2), Bennies 2, Status 1, Favors 0
Hindrances: Major: Greedy Minor: Mean
Edges: TwoFisted, Pugilist
Gear: Pistol x2, LeatherSuit(ap2)

Beater Thug
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d8,
Skills: Driving d4, Fighting d8, Guts d4, Intimidation d6, Notice d4, Repair d4, Shooting d8, Throwing d4
Languages: English, Polish, Russian
Derived: Pace 6, Parry 6, Charisma 0, Toughness 6, Bennies 0, Status 1, Favors 0
Gear: Baton, Pistol

Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6,
Skills: Driving d4, Fighting d4, Notice d4, Repair d6, Shooting d4, Throwing d4
Languages: Varies but includes Polish
Derived: Pace 6, Parry 4, Charisma 0, Toughness 5, Armor 0, Status 1, Favors 0


I drew the maps in Maptool using textures and the vision blocking for walls. There were only two, one map of the desert of Mercury where the steam lauch encounters the Tin Juggernaut and one of the interior of the Tin Juggernaut itself.

I found a deck plan for an aerial steam launch in Sky Galleons of Mars that I used as a vehicle token for the PCs.

Doing a Google search on Tin Juggernaut also yielded a mesh someone put together. I used this as a visual aid for the players. You can find this and other great 1889 renders at Mateen Greenway's Space 1889 page.

The lone map I drew was of the interior three levels of the Tin Juggernaut. seen below with the characters in their final battle on the ground level of the huge machine.

Even though this was a relatively small scenario with few maps it actually took me much longer than usual to produce. This was due to the need to write a bit of macro code to handle the rapid fire weapons and unique character attributes for the Space 1889 setting. It also took time to input gear, edges, and hindrances into the frame work.

I have a bit of work left on the Setting Token for Space 1889. Once completed I'll publish it and place this adventure on my Savage Worlds Modules page.

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