Friday, 13 October 2017

ICON Tel Aviv 2017

So, for the second year in a row I had the opportunity to attend the ICON festival for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Role Play in Tel Aviv. It's a yearly 3 day convention held during the Sukkot holiday next to the beautiful Sarona neighborhood(full of parks and restaurants) with fun for all ages. So, what does ICON have to offer?


The festival is held next to the Sarona neighborhood of Tel Aviv. This was great for when we wanted to get lunch, and give the kids a break in the playground.


My boysencounter Pikachu!
There's a good deal of Cosplay going on during the festival. It's fun to check out the costumes and take photos with 'celebs'.


Admission to the booths area is free. The booths are hugely entertaining, with topics including board games, role playing, war games, posters, original art, occult art, 3D printing, toys, comics, and books. There is also a large 2nd hand section. I was especially impressed by the large number of Warhammer 40k hobbyists.

Sword Fighting

The sword-fighting area is also a blast. My boys had a lot of fun there. There are also staged fights between 'serious' cosplayers.

Kids Zone

The kids zone in the Tel Aviv Cinematech campus included:
  • Cardboard castles/mazes
  • Stop-Motion photography area
  • Arts and crafts area
It kept my brood busy for about a couple hours.

Board Game Area

The board games tent costs 10NIS admission. It's a place to try out all the latest board games. I was amazed at all the games being run that I've never heard of. I'm looking forward to trying out this tent one of these years, but I didn't leave myself a couple hours free for this, so it didn't happen...

Convention Schedule

Let's not forget the convention schedule. The first thing I'll point out it that you should sign-up early. This is the second year that I tried signing-up too late and everything was full. What does surprise me is that I don't see any role playing games being run. Are those in the board game section? It seems to be all lectures, films, or fantasy art/writing workshops. Strange...

Well, that's ICON 2017, or at least my take on it. We were there a good 6 hours and had a blast!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Supply and Demand in Minos and Airam

So here's another rule extension to our Star Wars/Cyberpunk 2020 mashup, thanks to West End Games' "Galaxy Guide 6: Tramp Freighters", published in 1994.

Chapter Four of the guide contains rules for inter-planet trade in commodities. Planets are categorized by technology level, and commodities by type. Given these two variables, the guide provides a chart with the relative availability of buyers/sellers and market price.

Finding a Seller/Buyer

To find a buyer/seller for a particular type of goods, make a Social skill check based on the availability in the chart. The five levels of availability line up nicely with CP2020's skill check difficulty levels:

  • VH- 10+
  • H- 15+
  • M- 20+
  • L- 25+
  • VL- 30+

For black market good, make a Streetwise skill check instead.

Market Price

The market price is similarly looked up in the table. I'd like to add a random factor though, so roll 1d100-50 and add/subtract that percentage to the price.


Additionally, PCs may be able to bargain their way to a better price. Make a Difficult skill check in Persuasion/Fast Talk. Failure results in a 5% worse price, success yields a 5% better price.

Trying Again

If players aren't satisfied with the price, they can leave the deal and try to find another buyer/seller, but that will take even more time and the availability check will be at +2. Also note that less populous planets or those with well organized cartels may not have another buyer/seller available.

So that's it. I'm looking forward to trying out these rules in next session...

Monday, 15 May 2017

Critical Miss in Hyperspace

Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star, or bounce too close to a supernova and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it.

So, we've already played five game sessions of Star Wars 2020 with the basic space rules I posted previously. Those included travel times and fuel costs of hyperspace travel.

That's fine for when everything goes as planned. But things going as planned is boring. Now let's spice things up with some new rules inspired from Galaxy Guide 6: Tramp Freighters

CP2020 Skill Checks

Hyperdrive Mishaps

When making a jump, the PC should make a skill check for their Hyperdrive Tech skill i.e. 1d10+Tech+Hyperdrive Tech at the appropriate difficulty:

  • jumping on known hyperlanes within a sector, make an Easy roll
  • jumping between sectors on known hyperlanes, Average roll
  • under stress or preoccupied, bump up the roll by one level
  • jumping within the sector or between adjacent sectors with no known hyperlane, bump up the roll by one level
  • if they are trying to jump from within another ship while a Rathtar tries to devour their ship, make a Very Difficult roll
  • Hyperdrive Types
  • if they are trying to jump into a planet's gravity well to avoid the planetary shields, make a Nearly Impossible roll 

Hyperdrive Modifiers

The more advanced the hyperdrive, the harder it is to operate. As such, add a modifier to the roll needed:
  • x4 -2
  • x3 -1
  • x2 +0
  • x1 +1
  • x1/2 +2
Mishaps Table

Mishap Severity

If the player misses their check, a mishap occurs. First determine mishap severity

  • Minor Mishaps: Check missed by <=5
  • Moderate Mishaps: Check missed by <=10
  • Catastrophic Mishaps: Check missed by <=15
  • Fatal Mishap: Check missed by >15

Roll 1d6 on the appropriate chart to determine what mishap occurs. Unless you got a Fatal Mishap that is. In that case you flew your ship straight through a star or something similar!


Well, we'll have to give these rules a playtest next game session. I'll let you know how it goes! Hopefully without too many fatalities!

Monday, 1 May 2017

How do You Get From Airam to Minos Cluster?

Airam Sector
At the end of Session 5 of our Star Wars/Cyberpunk 2020 mashup, the party expressed the desire to follow up on the lead to Darakin University, on Dorcin, Dorkin System, Minos Cluster. This raises a simple question: how do you get from Airam Sector to Minos Cluster Sector?

With 40 years of Star Wars lore collected and organized on the Internet, one might assume this is an easy question to answer. But one would be wrong. I couldn't find any discussion or map that answers this question fully. There are a number of reasons for this:

  1. Most of the star wars galaxy maps are at a high level, including only major Hyperlanes
  2. Nav Computer at SW Combine calculates distances, but doesn't specify Hyperlanes at all
  3. Airam Sector appears in the Tie Fighter series of Computer games, as well as the Knights of the Old Republic. Neither of these required players to jump between systems so details how to do so seem non-existent
Outer Rim
So now it's time to solve this problem the way any good DM solves problems: by making stuff up!

Galactic Map

From the Outer Rim Map, we see that
  • Minos connects to Elrood and the Rimma Trade Route at one end
  • Minos connects to Kathol at the other end
  • Airam isn't shown as connecting to anything, so we'll need to remedy that
So since Airam's Hinda System has strong political connections to Eriadu(Seswenna Sector), let's put a minor hyperlane there. Specifically:
  1. Hinda(Airam)
  2. Besberra(Cegul)
  3. Rutan(Atravis)
  4. Hydian Way to Seswenna
Minos Cluster
From Seswenna one can then take the Rimma Trade Route all the way to Minos. But that is a rather roundabout way to get from Airam to Minos. Is there a more direct route? For that matter, do the Ugor and Squib both use this route out of the sector for their galactic salvage operations? The Ugor might, being in the adjacent system, but for the Squib it seems a bit out of the way...

Minos Sector Map

Now let's have a look at 19th Level's Minos Cluster Map. I like this as a starting point because he already did a his homework on the Cluster. We see the Cluster has two connections
  • Elrood Sector
  • Kathol- an even remote system

So if there is a more direct route, it is probably going to be via Elrood or Tantra...
Elrood Sector

Elrood Map

Here's a map of Elrood Sector from Operation Elrood. As you can see, the Coyn Route(Rimma Trade Route) passes through the system. There seems to be a lot of asteroids and clouds in the system that would interfere with off-route Hyperspace travel.

As such, it is unlikely there would be a direct route to Airam Sector

A New Hope

So we seem to be stuck. There is only one way out of Airam Sector and it's surrounded by Ugor and Ex-Imperials and it's not really clear how the Squib run their salvage operation. Bummer...

Ah, but then I saw the first line in Wookiepedia describing the Squib Homeworld:
Skor II was a planet in the Squab system and the homeworld of the Squibs. It was located in the Outer Rim Territories just west of the Rimma Trade Route.
Rimma Trade Route
So it seems that Skor II is specifically known for it's proximity to Rimma. So now I can feel justified about inventing a new hyperlane between Airam and Minos.  Specifically, we'll say that the Squib have a route from Squab/Skor System in Airam to Yelsain System in Minos Cluster. Problem solved!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Star Wars 2020 Session 5- Slain Knights and Broken Steeds

Hey, we got together for another session of Star Wars 2020! So here's what happened...

The Party

First, the party got to add two skill points, due to their past successes.
  • Pigman- a Gammorian beater/scavenger/heavy machine user/starship pilot(Avraham)
  • Art- Ithorian tech Rock gardener, healing(Avi)
  • Lucky- a Gran with many natural talents, good at dodging, explosives, stock market, interstellar navigation, leadership, pharmaceuticals(Lauren)
  • The Wookie- a wookie turret gunner, butt kicker(Joshua)
  • Roy- NPC scavenger from Nocto II(NPC)
  • Snortbert- Gammorian who swore fealty to The Wookie(NPC)

Dead Knight

In session 4, the party was left with a decapitated Knight of Ren and his super rad stealth ship. They started by investigating the ship:
  • An encrypted data cube was found near the pilot's seat. The party didn't know how to decrypt it
  • The party removed the Stealth Generator from the ship and stored it on their shuttle
  • The ship had multiple registrations that it could toggle between, like a smuggler's ship
  • The Ship's Nav Computer had way more locations than the party's shuttle does. In fact, it has many systems all over the galaxy. You can view them here: (compare with
  • The party managed to unlock the Ship's Log. It showed that as the party was boarding the ship, it beamed a message to a location on Myloc IV(in Habeen territory)
  • The Ship's log also showed the Ship's route over the past few months:
    Airam Sector
  1. Ilum(Unknown regions)
  2. The Redoubt
  3. Utegetu Nebula
  4. Rago
  5. Ansion
  6. (Ansion to Coruscant)
  7. Coruscant
  8. Perlemian Trade Roune(Coruscant to Brentaal)
  9. Brentaal IV
  10. Hydian Way(Brentaal IV to Eriadu)
  11. Hydian Way(Eriadu to Rutan)
  12. Rutan(Atravis Sector)
  13. Besberra(Cegul sector)
  14. Hinda(entered Airam sector)
  15. Myloc
  16. Nodgra
  17. Myloc
  18. Hinda
  19. Paradise
  20. Nocto
  21. Klaatu
  22. Aiquin4
  23. Klaatu
  24. Nodgra
  25. Myloc

Myloc IV

The party gave the Knight a Burial in Space and landed at the Nharwaak spaceport. There were plenty of Nharwaaks(here since the days of the Zygerrian Empire) and their slaves. The party worked out a shady deal with a local ship dealer. They gave him this shady ship in exchange for a shady(semi-illegal) 1/2 speed hyperdrive! They sold their hyperdrive and were 10,000 credits in the money!

They heard a rumor in a bar about the Nharwaak leader:
"President Tolmaak has a basement collection of Empire military paraphernalia"
Art creeped out the bar patron with the rumor, talking about bombing the president or looking for a data cube hacker. When the man fled, he force jumped to catch him, but rolled a 1, landing squarely on the terrified drunkard, who began to yell. Art left before security could arrive.

The party visited the Presidential Palace to attempt to sell their extra 4 Stormtrooper Armors. They told the concierge that they were art dealers and she made them an appointment for the next day with a member of the presidential staff.

Habeen Territory

In the meantime, the party jetted over to Habeen territory where the Knight had sent a message. They found a remote farm, looking to have fallen into disuse. They captured a spy, and killed another(narrowly missing being on the wrong end of a thermal detonator). They weren't able to get much info out of the First Order fanatic, but his communications equipment had the message from the Knight.
"This is Miro Sen. I'm being boarded. Will be in touch after I dispatch the pirate scum."
 They also found that the spies had been in touch with someone in the Habeen capital, as well as with starships registered to Nodgra System.

As they left, squib scavengers landed and began to loot the place.


Back in Narwaak territory, the party had an embarrassing interview with the Presidential Staff, who assured them there was no truth in the rumor. They were escorted out by security.

A merchant who heard about the episode offered to buy the armor. The party even got him to show them to a computer expert. When he failed to decrypt the cube, he brought them to an encryption expert who succeed eventually. The party now had Miro Sen's missions from Master Snoke himself:

  • Imperial Survivors in Nodgra- help them take over sector, bringing Airam into First Order
  • Hinda- helping smuggle in arms from Eriadu Tarkins. Make sure they are keeping up their end of the bargain
  • Ilay Squib- try to enlist them
  • Habeen- try to enlist them
  • Nharwaak- crush or subjugate them
  • Ugor- try to enlist them with promises of salvage rights
  • Squib- crush or subjugate them
  • Yoberra- find them and report on them. Can they be used to our advantage? An academic knows how to reach them(Emiel Skoff, Darakin University, Dorcin, Dorkin System, Minos Cluster)

Thursday, 20 April 2017

ODnD Kids 4: Flummoxed by Faeries

Well, here's another session I didn't write up, until now that is! Hopefully, my memory isn't too foggy, it was only a month ago or so...

This one was a bit different than previous sessions in that my two boys were in bed, while my eldest stayed up to play with me and two friends.

The Party

  1. Princessa- Human Fighter with a bastard sword, ring mail and a shot bow. Watch out for this one!
  2. Kevin Lockbuster- burly Halfling Thief with a longsword on his hip and darts up his sleeve
  3. Jad the Witch Hunter- zealous cleric with a mace in his hand and retribution in his heart!

Tavern Tales

I didn't want to have Kevin and Jad meet Princessa in the Palace of the Silver Princess, where the party left off, so we said that they had returned to the village of N'Sau to resupply. They met up in the local tavern but couldn't find sleeping arrangements since the town was flooded with refugees from Gulluvia. The party decided to seek their fortunes in Mere to the East, they decided to leave immediately in the afternoon and camp at nightfall.

That said, the second watch was interrupted by strange, beckoning lights in the forest. The party dressed and left their tents to investigate. They followed the lights deeper into the forest, then deeper, then deeper still until hopelessly lost. They ended up fighting an bear, Kevin was badly injured, and they spent a difficult night in the forest. At dawn they managed to find their way back to their camp, though all their food had been eaten by animals.
The party returned to N'Sau to heal up and resupply and tried again the trail to Mere. This time, they found themselves being followed by riders. They hid in the forest and saw a whole band of bandits was on their trail. Their leader, a cunning looking old coot with an eye-patch, ordered them to sweep the forest in search of the party. The party engaged the bandits. It was a close battle. Jad was badly wounded, but the bandits were defeated and their leader captured. A close investigation of his person revealed a very nice emerald in his eye.

The party made it to the Halfling village of Mere. The locals were very hospitable, especially to Kevin. They took charge of One Eyed Jack, the notorious bandit leader, pointing out that his gang would surely ransom him(yet again) in a few days. He was angry with the party for taking his gemstone and swore revenge.

The party decided to check out war-ravaged Gulluvia. They defeated a group of Goblin Scouts and entered the city. They found a jeweler, but his residence was besieged by a squad of Orcs. The party defeated the Orcs and the jeweler was so thankful he gave them a good price for Jack's Eye-Socket Jewel.

Star Wars Session 4 Summary

Session 4 was a couple months ago, but I never quite got around to writing the summary. Then, last week I watched season 1 of The Expanse(it was awesome) and got all excited about our Star Wars campaign, so here goes:

...OK, actually I don't remember much so this will be a short one. Picking up where we left off with Session 3...

The party started out in Squab System on the squib home world. They bought a Boarding Rig for their Imperial Shuttle in the hope of capturing hostile(read expensive) ships.

They then jumped, if I recall, to the Paradise System, then Hinda.
In Hinda, they landed on planet, but were given the run around by the local official, a man by the last name of Tarkin. In fact, the planet's ruler is Governor Helmrod Tarkin.

The Knight they Killed
They moved-on to Myloc System. This was when the party started a very fortunate run of luck...

With some nice skill checks, their scanners picked up a small craft hiding in an asteroid field. Not only that, but they managed to sneak up on it and catch it in their boarding rig. The air lock opened and... out jumped a very angry Knight of Ren with a big angry light sabre. He missed his attack(really bad roll on my part) and also royally botched his dodge and stun rolls and was immediately knocked out and subdued. (A big anti-climax for the DM. I was sure he would dispatch a PC or two...)

The party tried interrogating him, but he began to break free with his force powers, so they dispatched him quickly while he was still relatively helpless. He seems to have some sort of electronic brain implant.

As for his ship, it was a small ship, but with very rare stealth capability. A very expensive little prize, if they can actually find someone to sell it...

On his ship, they found a damaged cyber-hand of antique construction. Strange since he has both his hands...