Thursday, November 27, 2008


All the caravan trucks have been updated. More equipment/caravan updates to come.


"Cawfee flavour is reminiscent of a mixture of dark cocoa and finely ground, strong, black coffee woth just an hint of cinnamon."

So, I'm back on the hunt for a cawfee recipe. I've sampled a few from the internet (see below), and I'm interested in feedback from you guys. I have some criteria for the recipe:

1. The overriding principle is ease of creation.

2. It must be brewable at home with common coffee equipment. Recipes requiring an espresso machine are fine, but percolated or pressed coffees are preferred.

3. The coffee should be the base, not the flavour. So various roasts/varieties of bean are acceptable, but falvoured are not. Grind may be specified, but remember #1.

4. It should have 5 or fewer ingredients.

Sample Recipes:

Half black, strong, nearly corrosive italian coffee (you know, that thing that seem petroleum [sic])
Half water diluted bitter-dark cocoa (two full teaspoon in half tableglass of water)
A sprinkle of cinnamom (the water soluble type, if not available, a sprinkle of powdered cinnamom should work equally well)

Mix hot, stir until well blended, adjust with sugar and enjoy! (great even without sugar)
Sure is Weird but Tasty!

A very dark roast columbian arabica, served with a Cinnamon stick would achieve the desired flavour.

I work at a starbucks and made that once, except my recipe called for :
French pressed italian roast
Break up some see's dark chocholate into it
Added some of the moch and a few pumps of the cinnamon

Monday, November 24, 2008


The following has been ordered from NK:

Product Title: A.S.T. Leaguebook #2 - Humanist Alliance

Condition: NM
Quantity: 1
Price Each: $7.20

Product Title: A.S.T. Leaguebook #3 - Mekong Dominion
Condition: NM
Quantity: 1
Price Each: $4.50

Friday, November 21, 2008

Beginnings of the means to an end

Kain, Sam, Gade and Tom sat by the truck in the desert night. The last days’ events had left them exhausted, wounded and thoughtful. Beneath the stars in the Badlands, the four sat quietly, some smoking, all drinking, when Tom spoke:

"We’ve set out to build an information network right? A means to obtain information critical to the continued independence of the Badlands."

"I think some additional information would be critical to our survival as well Doctor," responded Kain. He cringed with pain as he shifted in the sand, his fresh wounds helping to illustrate his point.

"The Polars will want to stop us inasmuch as we are successful in slowing the advance of their influence and mitigating their rampages in the Badlands," continued Tom, undeterred in his deductive monologue. An astute observer might have noted that Dr. Tomohiro Chambers was a Polar from the Mekong Dominion, but people change.

"Say what Doc?" was Sam's laconic response, eyes half closed as he cleaned his revolvers with painstaking precision.

"Oh, is that what we’ve been doing, Doc?" chuckled Gade.

"So far we’ve been working on legitimate enterprises which will help promote interdependence and alliances in the Badlands," Tom was still undeterred.

"We have also been making some high profile contacts. This is good, because as I see it, this limits the Polars' ability to come after us overtly and just quash us with brute military power. So that leaves them covert responses. It follows that since we are seeking intelligence, they would use like-agencies against us. They have networks already established, assets and hand-picked agents trained from in-house military resources. We can’t compete with them on any of those levels."

"I don’t disagree with any particular point of your pessimism Tom, but what’s the point?" asked Kain, his curiosity somewhat piqued by the Doctor’s abrupt ponderings.

"I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the fact that we are setting out to build an information network but we can’t fight the existing ones in play."

"What ARE you going on about Doc?" Sam drawled again.

"We’re too late in the game, the stakes are too high and our pool of cash can’t keep up with the antes," replied Tom to Sam, hoping a gambling analogy would help interest the gunslinger in the issue.

"That’s usually when it get interesting," Gade was always enlivened by talk of bad odds, but he continued on a more earnest tone, "so what do we do next?"

Kain’s eyes came a bit more alive, despite his grievous wounds. He had asked Tom that very question a few weeks before, when they had left Kayr-ad Din: what do do next?

"I found myself thinking about the type of people we need, their qualifications, but mostly about their qualities. If we had limitless cash, we could just hire agents, but they would only be loyal to the money we give them. We could never trust them and we could never afford to pay them in such a manner as to make them tamper proof to the other sides.

We need people we can trust, people who believe in the ideals we are fighting for. In order to have a reliable network, we need to build individual bonds of trust with each piece of the puzzle. People like that don’t show up out of nowhere, we have to go find them and then, we need them to come to us," Tom sermonized.

"Oh well if it's that simple...they just come to us. What? Here? In the desert, they just walk out of the desert and..." Sam’s tone was hard to read. There was a bit of scornful incredulity there, perhaps masking real curiosity, but there was something else present when he trailed off.

"There’s the thing," Tom continued, his words emanating from behind a cloud of cigar smoke, "we need people who want to help us because they know they are helping themselves. We simply provide them with the means to do what they already aspire to do."

"So how do we meet these people?" Gade interjected.

"In practical terms in comes down to changing our approach. So far we’ve been doing macroscopic stuff, setting up systems and connections, a framework to operate within. We need to switch to a microscopic approach. We need to get out there and just help people, face to face."

Tom stopped. He wanted see if that had an impact. No jibes followed, no snide remarks. Tom Looked around and saw for the first time that Kain was quite attentive, Gade receptive, but what impressed Tom was in Sam’s eyes: this had always been the core motivation for him and the Doc was finally putting aside scheming and plotting and money making to get right down to it.

Tom leaned in closer, conspiratorially, like he was about to share a secret:

"We want this network to help the Badlands. Well let’s start right now and get out there. Rovers, corrupt local officials, abusive crime syndicates, hell even child pornographers! We just go out there and take care of them, wherever we go, there is some way in which we can use our skills to make things better. Bit by bit, as we go, as we help people we meet those that want to help themselves."

"Those are the people that will join us. Whether we inspire them or just provide them with the outlet they needed," Kain’s words flowed naturally into Tom’s train of thought. It was so clear. So transparent was this simple conclusion that Kain could not believe that it was ever a mystery.

"The only way we're gonna find the right kind of people is by goin' out into the Badlands and meeting them," said Gade, realising that the simplicity of the statement contained the seeds of all their ambitions.

"We help them, they help us help them some more," threw in the Doc, no longer just philosophising on the matter but starting to feel the energy of the moment, of the shared resolve.

“By building a network of people with whom we have direct bonds of trust and honour, no Polar agency will stand a chance," Kain’s subversive mind fought to disapprove of the conclusion even as he said it but he found he couldn't.

"Bonds of patriotism not mercantilism," Tom said with a grin, realising all the implicit irony of the statement but hopeful just the same, "look at your Baker Street Irregulators, Helena Hitachi, Dr. Milton, The Araman, Bill the Brick, the Imashen-"

"There's no shortage of pain and suffering out there," Sam’s even voice broke through with gravity, but it changed in mid-sentence, belying something else, "that we can help stop."

"It’s a self-fulfilling argument: we achieve our goal of helping the Badlands by helping the Badlands achieve its goals," Tom wrapped it up neatly, laying back on his elbow, content with the summary of this debate. He took a long drag off his cigar and looking out into the sands.

They sat there at last, quiet again, some smoking, all drinking. Suddenly the stars in the sky seemed brighter and the road ahead clearer.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Metaskill: Martial Arts

Prerequisites: Hand to Hand 2; Melee 2

Various styles of Martial Arts are practiced on Terra Nova. For game purposes, the varying techniques are represented by the development of the following skills. In addition,
the martial artist may add his or her Martial Arts skill level to both AD and UD ratings.

Martial Arts can only be used in close combat, that is, any attack/defense roll that would employ Melee or Hand to Hand combat. As well, certain Martial Arts maneuvers can be used in conjunction with the Archery skill and Thrown Weapon skill (for martial arts thrown weapons like knives and shuriken).

Martial Arts Maneuvers:

Level 1:

Combo/Combo Breaking (AGI, opposed)
Threshold: MoS 2
This operates exactly like the Combo ability for Heavy Gear Dueling. An opposed martial arts roll is made, and if successful the attacker may execute two attacks against the defender with no action penalty. All other actions during the round are penalized by -1.

Zen Mastery (PSY, non-opposed)
Threshold: No MoS required
This ability serves much the same function as Duelist’s Luck does in Heavy Gear Dueling. Once a round, the martial artist may re-roll a combat skill (dodge, attack, parry, thrown weapon), using Martial Arts +PSY instead of the usual skill. This ability can (and should!) be used to re-roll fumbles. The Zen Mastery Maneuver may be used to evade bullets from firearms so long as the shooter is less than 10 meters from the martial artist no dodging sniper bullets, sorry).

Level 2:

Armour Piercing/Disabling (CRE, opposed)
Threshold: MoS 2
Allows the attacker to halve the defender’s AR for melee and long ranged (thrown weapon or archery) attacks. Hand to hand attackers cannot halve a defender’s AR. However against an unarmoured or partially armoured opponent, the Martial Artist can perform a Disabling attack. This attack (performed with the HTH or skill) will do no damage, but leaves an opponent immobilized and incapacitated (conscious or not, left up to the attacker) for a number of rounds equal to twice the MOS of the Martial Arts check (so, a minimum of four rounds). The disabling attack requires level 3 and is also CRE-based. Both Armour Piercing and Disabling attacks count as one ability. A fumble means that the attack misses.

Called Shot (AGI
, opposed)
Threshold: MoS 2
Allows the attacker to place an attack anywhere on an opponent’s body. Alternately, this skill can be used to disarm an opponent, break a weapon, etc. A fumble means the attack misses.

Level 3:

Endurance (WIL, non-opposed)
Threshold: 3+ wound effects
The martial artist can withstand great pain and fatigue by making a skill roll vs. a target number of 3, including any penalties from wounds (thus a martial artist with a deep wound would need to make a roll of 6). Success indicates that the character can mitigate as many wound or fatigue penalties as he has martial arts skill levels. i.e. a level 2 Martial Artist with a deep wound who succeeded in rolling a 6 or more would be able to ignore the deep wound (since it has a -2 penalty, the Martial Arts skill of 2 covers this. The same martial artist with 2 deep wounds, who succeeded in rolling an 8 or more, would be able to only reduce the penalty from -4 to -2.) A fumble forces a HEA check to retain consciousness.

Level 4:

Armoured Skin (FIT, non-opposed)
Threshold: Special
The martial artist can boost his Stamina by 10 for every level of point of MOS over 5 (That is, +5/+10/+20 to Flesh/Deep/Death thresholds). This lasts until the martial artist’s next use of the Martial Arts skill in a fight, or until the GM says it’s no longer in effect (for those times when one wants to walk over hot coals, say). A fumble here is relatively safe.

Metaskill: Heavy Gear Dueling

Prerequisites: Gunnery: Heavy Gear 2; Pilot: Heavy Gear 2

Heavy Gear Dueling is the skill employed by the most elite Heavy Gear warriors to get that extra bit of performance from their machines. Representing a combination of trained skill, natural ability, and the intuition developed through experience, Duelists enjoy a significant advantage over other pilots.

All Opposed Dueling macromoves are only possible at close combat ranges or within the short range band of the weapon(s) being used. The attribute in parentheses is the recommended governing attribute for the roll. Heavy Gear Dueling is considered a CRE skill for the purposes of skill level advancement.

Non-Opposed Dueling Macromoves may be attempted at any time, regardless of target presence.

Duelling Maneuvers:

Level 1:

Combo (CRE, opposed)
Threshold: MOS 2
The most basic macro. Allows you to close with an opponent and at that very short range, take two actions (usually, two attacks). Whether you succeed or fail, -1 to all subsequent Piloting and Duelling rolls for the rest of the turn. The opposed action is called Combo Break, and is a separate specialty from Combo. Failure means loss of action. Fumble means any additional actions that round lost.

Duelist's Luck (CRE, non-opposed)
Threshold: No MOS required.
The duelist can make a last-second creative adjustment to an attack, defense, or piloting roll made at short range. Re-roll the last attack, defense, or piloting roll, replacing either AGI or PER with CRE, instead. The new roll stands, even if it's worse or a fumble.

Level 2:

Area Effect (AGI, opposed)
Threshold: MOS special
Requires a weapon with at least ROF +1. For every 2 ROF points spent, receive a +1 to your roll. The duelist burst fires the weapon so effectively that the effect is the same as if he had used a weapon with the Area of Effect quality. MOS 1 = AE0 attack at half damage. MOS 2 = AE0 attack. MOS 3 or more = AE1 attack. Failure means normal, non area effect attack. Fumble means attack misses.

Armor Piercing Attack (CRE, opposed)
Threshold: MOS 2 required.
The duelist closes so near to his opponent that he can fire between armor plates or otherwise find a weak spot in his opponent's defenses. If the weapon being used is already armor piercing, the target defends any damage at one quarter normal armor. Failure means normal, non armor piercing attack. Fumble means attack misses.

Called Shot (PER, opposed)
Threshold: MOS 1 required.
The duelist can attack and hit any of the five standard vehicle locations: Crew, Maneuver, Structure, Fire Control, or Auxiliaries. A random roll is still needed to determine how bad the hit is. Failure means normal, non called shot attack. Fumble means attack misses.

Push the Envelope (KNO, non-opposed)
Threshold: 5
Usable only at Combat Speed. The duelist can eke a bit more power out of his vehicle's engine at combat speed. For each MOS, +1 MP may be spent during the current round. The vehicle cannot exceed its normal Top Speed. Any MPs not spent are lost. Failure means normal Combat Speed. Fumble means the vehicle shifts to Top Speed, costing one action, and possible engine damage at GM's discretion.

Level 3:

Augment Agility (WIL, non-opposed)
Threshold: 7
The duelist concentrates on piloting his vehicle to the exclusion of all other actions. Any MOS gives the Gear an additional +1 MAN until the next activation. Only defensive and piloting rolls may be made while performing this macromove. This macromove cannot be combined with evasive maneuvers. Failure means loss of actions for the current round. Fumble means -1 MAN penalty to any defensive or piloting roll until the next activation.

Redline the Engine (CRE, non-opposed)
Threshold: 7
Usable only at Top Speed. The duelist can push his vehicle's engine for a bit more than it's capable of. For each MOS, +1 MP may be spent during the current round to Top Speed only. Combat Speed is unaffected. Any MPs not spent are lost. Failure means engine damage, reduces Top Speed by -1 MP per MOF. Fumble destroys the engine.

Metaskill: Gunslinging

Prerequisites: Small Arms 2; Specialization - Pistols

Throughout the Badlands, and occasionally in the Poles, remours are heard about talented and deadly gunfighters. Lightning-fast on the draw and capable of astounding feats of accuracy, these Gunslingers turn sidearms into battle weapons. Offensive Gunslinging maneuvers may only be employed with Pistol type weapons, usually in single-fire mode. Revolvers are overwhelmingly the preferred choice of the reputation-conscious. The Sniping metaskill is not compatible with Gunslinging. Gunslinging may be attempted at all ranges, not just short or point-blank. Range modifiers always apply to attack rolls.

Gunslinging Maneuvers:

Level 1:

Called Shot (AGI, opposed)
Threshold: MoS 2
Operates exactly like the Martial Arts ability (opposed roll, MOS 2 to work), and is useful for shooting very small things without much effort. Fumble means the attack misses.

Gunslinger’s Gambit (PSY, non-opposed)
Threshold: None
This skill is analogous to Duelist’s Luck and Zen Mastery. It allows the gunfighter the chance to reroll a combat roll (dodge, attacks), including fumbles (an important feature) once per combat round. This includes attacks from firearms. The Gunslinger may only use this maneuver in context when he could use any other Gunslinging maneuver: in pistol/revolver combat.

Level 2:

Armour Piercing (PER, opposed)
Threshold: MoS 2
At short and medium ranges with an MOS of 2 (from an opposed roll), the gunslinger can halve the armour of a target. Fumbles mean that the attack misses.

Area Effect (AGI
, opposed)
Threshold: MOS special
Requires a weapon with at least ROF +1. For every 2 ROF points spent, receive a +1 to your roll. The gunfighter burst fires the weapon so effectively that the effect is the same as if he had used a weapon with the Area of Effect quality. MOS 1 = AE0 attack at half damage. MOS 2 = AE0 attack. MOS 3 or more = AE1 attack. Failure means normal, non area effect attack. Fumble means attack misses.

Level 3:

Shot on the Run (AGI, non-opposed)

Threshold: 6, special
The gunslinger reduces the effects of his own movement for the next attack. Each point of MoS reduces movement penalties by 1. This includes normal movement modifiers, but also stuff like shooting from a melee, from horseback/vehicles.

Level 4:

Trick Shot (CRE
, non-opposed)
Threshold: 7, special
Success enables the Gunslinger to can manage shots without having a clear line of sight to the target, either firing without looking, or using ricochets and such. The damage modifier from ricochet attacks is reduced by one half.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Baja Prison Blues

Outside the UnderHang:

Sheldon Crawford tugged at his collar. His tie, as usual, felt too tight, the collar too stiff. He stood outside Ali Hassan's latest establishment, the UnderHang, and swallowed hard. He hated wearing his suit and he hated being a cop.

Sheldon though tback to the days during the War, during the occupation of Baja by the CEF. Back then, he gladly performed all sorts of dirty tricks to tail a CEF informant. Then there were the smuggling operations, the surveillance shifts and the occasional kidnapping. All for Baja. Those skills transferred well to the Regulators, where he and Lenny Green spent most of their time as the closest thing Kain Delacroix had to beat cops.

It wasn't just that Shelly Crawford was a bad choice for cop. He hated interacting with the public. Arrests, investigations, canvassing, press conferences... Shelly Crawford hd no taste for it. But Lenny needed a guy on the street that he could trust, and Shelly was the only Bajan Regulator that stuck around after Delacroix left.

And now Delacroix, and Tarmalin, Chambers and Vonyran were all back and in the lobby of the UnderHang. He looked behind him at hissix-man security detail and let out a private sigh. Mayor Dunn had insisted on the full spectacle: the men were heavily armed and armoured. Nearby, a sniper had set up, rifle bipod resting across the hood of a police car. Two armoured jeeps sporting machineguns were covering the hotel entrances. To top it off, a Pit Bull police heavy gear was idling at the ready, around the corner.

Sheldon moved forward. His men followed. He got the handcuffs ready and cleared his throat. As he entered the hotel, he knew tha tthese arrests were going to be more than painful. Sheldon Crawford hated being a cop.

Inside the New Baja MILICIA Garrison and NB Police holding facility:

"Well, that went better than expected," Julie spat as she and Lenny Green leaned up against the wall just outside the interrogation room holding Kain, Sam, Tom and Gade.

"Your sarcasm is duly noted," Green retorted. The New Baja chief of police scowled, "that could have gone worse. Kain could have jumped me."

"They all look more hard done by than before. Sam seems positively haunted," Julie nodded quietly, and then chuckled, "Tom looks well, even if he's feeling extra-indignant."

"Can you blame him?" Lenny turned and looked the attractive young woman in the eye. Green was feeling his age in years, "Dunn's little maneuvers have put us all on edge. Whatever Hassan is doing, the Doc doesn't like it, and I don't like it either."

Julie nodded, "Hassan and Dunn are both working for the AST now. When's the next election again?"

"Five cycles," the older man turned and grabbed the doorknob, "you ready to come clean to them in less than ten minutes? We've got to do this right, otherwise Dunn will be holding all the cards."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Shotgun Blues

The high pitched grating noise sounding from The Cave irritated everyone withing earshot; only Carmichael, however, was ornery enough to stomp over and confront Kain about it.

"Just what is that damn racket?"

The sound stopped as Kain looked up at Carmichael. "Eh? What?" He held a hacksaw in his right hand. The left grasped the benchvise.

Carmichael stepped further into the shop. "Is that a...shotgun?"

Kain nodded. "Yep." He turned back to his work, the rasping of the hacksaw climbing higher in pitch as Kain shortened the length of his stroke. Moments later, the long, doubled barrel of the weapon dropped to the floor with a clang.


Kain was returning to his bunk to get a change of clothing. After filing the ends of the new weapon he was covered in fine metallic dust.

The interloping object was immediately apparent as he entered his small room. A box lay on his bed, which he approached with an equal mix of curiosity and caution. A cursory look didn’t arouse additional apprehension so he opened the simple cardboard package to find a sawed-off shotgun wrapped in a pink medical tubing giving the effect of a bow. Attached to was note which Kain recognized as being in the Doctor’s hand.

- You had but to ask my friend -

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Baja / New Baja

Baja, TN1918, just one cycle after the Treaty of Westphalia.

A single temporary rail line, set down during the Terranovan assault on the Spaceport, is the only link to the rest of Terranova. You step off the the train. It's a ghost town. The jewel of the Badlands is in ruins. The oasis towers, the downtown core, the spaceport--everything is ruined. There are marauders--rovers gone completely over the edge. Scavengers picking at the remains of the dead city. Shell-shocked survivors now feral and crawling through the sewers at night. And of course, the Spaceport, guarded by a single MILICIA compagnie forbidden by treaty from exploring the wreckage for CEF war prizes.

And of course, the Southern Republic has decided that whatever's left of Baja could be rebuilt--as an AST Protectorate.

In the middle of this charred hulk of a city is New Baja Town, a tiny community of survivors, eking out a life.

They need help.

Khayr-ad Din

Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.