Original SA post
Jovian Chronicles Second Edition RPG Player's Handbook
You demanded it: Jovian Chronicles, everyone!
But first a bit of backstory: When Dream Pod 9 released its currently last iteration of the Silhouette CORE (aka SilCORE) RPG rules, they bundled all the rules into a single boook, with the company's various lines getting a main setting book that had now much more place for setting information (though they did include a couple new rules here and there to better fit the setting).
This was back in 2003 (with this particular book here coming out in 2004), when the OGL ruled supreme and allowed the market to be flooded with d20 products of varying levels of quality. Naturally, DP9 wanted some slice of that d20-shaped pie, so this iteration of SilCORE was dual-statted. The core book had some short guidelines for converting characters to d20, with an optional rule that turned BAB and Defense into skills. All the other books came with further conversions for the rules, equipment and vehicles introduced. The d20 factor is also why all of the main setting books are called "Player's Handbook". There are no other handbooks.
Strangely enough, they didn't actually provide guidelines to convert SilCORE vehicles directly, instead using Guardians of Order's d20 Mecha rules (with which DP9 also released the d20-only Mecha Compendium). A bit if you ask me, seeing how vehicle creation is one of SilCORE's cornerstones.
Oh well, on to the actual book!
Chapter 1: Introduction
This chapter serves as a short summary of the setting, with some rules and roleplaying campaign bits so you know what you're getting yourself into.
Jovian Chronicles' setting is a bit like classic Gundam, with a bit of Zone of the Enders thrown in. The default starting date is 2210+. Humanity has been colonizing the solar system for over a decade now, and the colonies have since declared independence from Earth, which was too busy with its collapsing economy to do anything against it.
Unfortunately for the colonies, Earth as recovered, and the new government isn't too happy with the current situation. Things have quickly taking on a Cold War atmosphere, with every side building up its military for an eventual war.
The standard mode of play assumes the PCs being Exo-Armor (the setting's mecha) pilots of the Jovian Confederation protecting their space country from CEGA (Central Earth Government & Administration, pronounced like the game developer), but just about every faction and occupation is open for play.
As Jovian Chronicles has its root in classic Real Robot anime, you can expect similar themes: War is nothing to be excited about. Nothing is without consequences, and the factions are anything but black-and-white. This is a conflict where good friends or relatives migth end up on different sides. And if my memory of Universal Century Gundam serves me correct, you should
fall in love. Ever.
Oh, and there's also this:
: Many anime are known for their great soundtrack. This can enhance your playing experience, too. An opening theme song to start each session is almost mandatory.
Oh yeah. Every RPG session can only be improved with some bitchin' Gurren Lagann tunes
Genre Points were one of the new optional additions to the rules in this edition. They are your typical Action/Hero/Whatever points which you can spend to influence your actions or the plot. The following uses are seen as fitting for Jovian Chronicles:
Burst of Angst
: Traumatic events can cause you to go berserk, allowing you to boost most of your attributes at the cost of becoming a bit mentally unstable. Typical underaged mecha pilot stuff.
: For all your MacGyuver needs.
Inner Well of Strength
: Ignore wound penalties through sheer badassery.
: If you have to go down, go down with a bang.
: Your standard skill roll boost.
This section starts off with a quick history on mankinds first baby steps into space, with a mention of Gerard K. O'Neills design of a large, cylinder-shaped space station that could house thousands of people (which does end up happening in the setting). The first major diversion from actual history starts at 1997 when NASA begun a Solar Power Staellite project as a means to revolutionize energy production. The first satellite was succesfully deployed in 1999, which was followed by an entire array of solar panels.
Things really started to take off with the invention of fusion engines in 2007 by a team of North American and Japanese scientists. Suddenly, flights from and to Earth's orbit became efficient to the point of being somewhat economically profitable. Things became even better with magnetic accelerators that - apart from making for nifty guns and engines - allowed you to just shoot cargo into orbit. For safer transportations, you could also have space stations lift stuff up directly with a "skyhook".
Aiming to move beyond Earth's orbit in search for contruction material, the first moon base was established in 2024, with the first Mars mission starting in 2027. Space colonies also started to crop up.
With Earth's ever increasing population and the orbit getting a bit crowded as well, mankind was looking for other planets to colonize, starting with a tiny settlement on Mars. Various companies were formed to spearhead the colonization process, as they needed space stations and colonies to house their workers near the various planets whose resources have suddenly become ripe for the taking. The Jovian Gas Mining Corporation was the first of these companies, building their first space station around Jupiter in 2037. Even terraforming was being done with Venus.
The second half of the 21st century saw Earth's collapse, brought on by a catastrophic state of its environment followed by utter chaos and instability. Anyone who could afford it left the planet for one of the various colonies. Now ruling from the orbit of a rather FUBARed planet, the newly titles United Space Nations could only watch as Mars and other colonies declared their independence and went their own way. The various colonies saw each other largely isolated from each other.
Still, technology marches on, and advances in ECM and stealth technology led to larger and larger Exo-Suits (aka power armor). Finally, 2162 saw the apparently anime-loving Jovian Confederation rolling out the first Exo-Armor.
Back on Earth, Europe and North America started to get their act together, forming "The Union", with the goal to unify and stabilize the planet once again, by force if necessary. This finally came to fruition in 2182. CEGA was born, contact with the colonies re-established, and trade and tourism flourished again.
Things started to get sour again with the start of the 23rd century. Venusians started showing interest in Jupiter thanks to recently-discvered lifeforms on the planet that may or may not hold the key to eternal life, and Terran scientist Dr. Agram Peyarje developed a system for thought-based machinery control which CEGA planned to use for military purposes. Dr. Peyarje wanted none of that and requested political asylum from the Jovian Confederation.
A covert operation to get the doctor to Jupiter didn't quite go as smooth as expected. The Jovians got the doctor, but found themselves chased by an entire fleet, composed of CEGA forces who didn't want to lose their mad scientist and Venusian forces that just went along the ride to try to destroy the Jovian capital-station for unhindered access to the planet. The station was saved and the fleet was defeated by Jovian forces, but ensuing political tensions where pretty messy. Neither CEGA nor Venus felt responsible for the actions of a fleet that has supposedly gone rogue, Lunar and Mars were pissed because the wild goose chase caused the destruction of an entire colony and a fancy new orbital elevator respectively, and the head of covert operation was deemed a traitor because he ended up bringing an entire hostile fleet back home.
: A look at the various nations of the solar system. Are Venusians really as dickish as I fear they are?!
The Solar Nations
Original SA post
Jovian Chronicles Second Edition RPG Player's Handbook
Chapter 2: The Solar Nations
This chapter starts wiht a brief overview of the solar system. This is also where the crazy goose chase (based on the homebrew Mekton campaign with which Jovian Chronicles got started) from last time is explained to be collectively known as the "Odyssey". It served as a wake-up call for the human colonists, who suddenly realized that Earth has not only recovered, but also meant business. Everyone's cranking up his military production for the poo-poo that will undoubtedly hit the fan sooner or later.
The two main players in this game are of course CEGA and the Jovian Confederation, who are both busy puzzling together just who was behind the whole Odyssey mess and playing the arms race game. The other solar nations aren't quite sure which side to pick when this Cold War should turn hot - except for the Venusians, who are suspiciously sitting back and twirling their mustaches.
The Solar Nations are presented in order of their distance to the sun:
Thanks to its close proximity to the sun and with no proper atmosphere to speak of, Mercury's surface experiences some of the most extreme temperature shifts you can find in the whole solar system, with days that would roast you alive and nights so cold they make wandering naked through Antarctica sound like a nice jog over a tropical beach. Therefore, Mercurians primarily live on various orbital stations that always hide in Mercury's shadow to avoid boiling the inhabitants, with a couple others living in underground facilities.
Mercury's main shtick is being the trade nation, with their merchants steeled by living in and around on of the most hostile planets. Having a sort of "merchan conscription" going on also helps raising those trade skills. There's really no civilized place in the whole solar system where you can't find these guys.
: The typical Mercurian is a smooth salesman, but they are a bit vary of strangers on their home turf, as they
As things are naturally a bit cramped underground and in orbital stations, Mercurians value privacy very highly. Just about everyone owns a "haven", a small room where nobody else is allowed to enter. Naturally, some Mercurians become merchants just so they can hang around in much more open locations.
: Mercury is ruled by a democratically-elected Administrator who was usually a merchants because those guys can prove that they can get things done. They have a neutral stance towards everyone, as taking sides is bad for business. They are however a bit suspicous of Venus, as several Mercurian citizens hail from Venusian refugees (more on that in a moment).
Science & Military
: As they live so close to the sun, it's only natural that Mercury has created the best in heat resistance and solar power. As space pirates aren't really a thing in most regions, they never really had to have any kind of military aside from a small token force. Nevertheless, they have recently started to invest heavily in bolstering their defenses in case any of the other nations wants to try something funny, including making their own Exo-Armor in the form of the Brimstone.
: Instead of your typical modern corporations, Mercury has oldschool merchant guilds, open only to fellow Mercurians. Pretty much every Mercurian is part of a guild thanks to the above merchant conscription, but they don't really have to be a merchant to keep the memberhsip.
Venus was terraformed by corporations who foresaw Earth's collapse and decided to leave ASAP and take most of their assets and cash with them. Not really affected by the collapse, they are now the richest of all the solar nations. If Mercurians are merchants, these guys are capitalists through and through.
Venus' terraforming is not perfect, and it will probably still take decades if not centuries before the planet looks anything like Earth. Currently, only the poles offer somewhat acceptable temperatures (60° C to be exact), and the atmosphere is too toxic to allow anything but dome cities.
: Venus is a bit like a more realistic version of HSD's capitalistic furry wonderland (minus the furries, of course). The corporation you're working for provides you with everything from housing and entertainment, but thinks can understandably feel a bit oppressive. And don't even think about leaving Venus a whole lot. Still, every Venusian thrives to work hard to climb up the social ladder, on top of which the elite plays their subtle Game of Seats.
The official Venusian language and writing system is an insane mixture between English and Japanese everyone else can't really wrap their head around - which is exactly why they came up with it. They're that dickish.
Another oddity is Venus' education system, which separates student by their performance and not their age, with classes and college being rated in a Dan system not unlike what you see in Judo or Karate.
Suffice to say, not everyone is happy with having their corporation constantly looking over their shoulder, but these guys are currently just a small minority. Most of the people who didn't approve of the direction Venus was going (what with everyone being forced to talk like a deranged weeaboo) have already left the planet for Mercury decades ago.
: As mentioned before, Venus is all about capitalism. The population is split up into city-states that are owned and run by a single corporation. If the inhabitant of the city-state has a problem with how things are being run, he can start a petition.
Foreign affairs are handled by a council consisting of representatives of each corporation. The more a corporation is worth, the more seats in the council it gets.
To the outside, they like to be seen as just as neutral as Mercury. The Odyssey incident however as made the other nations suspect their in league with CEGA, despite Venus' official denials.
Science & Military
: Venusian science is (almost) the best there is. What they can't do themselves, they buy or steal. But like everyone else, they have yet to figure out what the deal with those Jovian lifeforms - the Jovian Floaters - is.
The Venusian HDF (Home Defense Force) might first come across as a bunch of buffoons performing air shows and parades, but that's just an act. They are well-trained and have a state-of-the-art fleet that is probably way bigger than they like to show.
More dickish behavior
: Venus loves importing lots of stuff from other nations just so they think Venus depends on them. This helps them greatly in tricking foreign corporations, which among other things lead to the Venusian Bank slowly becoming the biggest there is. Did I mention they're a bit dickish?
As already mentioned a couple times, Earth has recovered from a great social and economic collpase, whose exact reasons and timeline have proven to be pretty hard to puzzle together, but it seems to have involved a global blackout, the mother of all Black Fridays and a plague on top of it (I'm pretty sure the Venusian ancestors had nothing at all to do with any of this). From the other planet's perspective, all contact with Earth was just gone in a moment, with all hell seeming to break loose on goold ol' Terra.
Suffice to say, none of the other solar nations expected Earth to come back with such a force as it did under CEGA rule.
: Well, pretty much all the old cultures you know of are still going strong, with the people in orbit of course being a bit different because space does that to people.
As the mankind's homeland, is leading in exporting works of art, usually bought for some Earth nostalgia. All the major religions also come from Earth, so the planet has all the artifacts and holy places, making it the solar system's spiritual capital of sorts.
The collapse and being largely forgotten by the other nations had a noticable impact on the Earthlings' overall attitude. They've become rather imperialistic and would
like to rule over all those space hillbillies. They also like pulling a Venusian, speaking to visitors only in their mother tongue, which has a good chance of not being spoken outside of Earth (unless your mother tongue is English, Japanese, Cantonese, French or German).
Arrogance aside, the large majority of Earth's population is pretty poor an uneducated, with most countries still not having fully recovered. The only places with wealth and higher education are the various arcologies.
: CEGA is a power-houngry, imperialistic government out to get all the other solar nations under its control. After all, everyone's from Earth, and it was Earth who made all these colonizations possible in the first place. Unfortunately for them, the other nations are not willing to just give up their independence. Heck, even the Venusians are a bit freaked out, fearing that all their bribed CEGA councillors might not help ensure their influence in the long run.
After the Odyssey incident, several council members are demanding proper investigations to be performed, while the propaganda machinery is busy blaming the popular rebel group STRIKE for what happened on Mars and the Moon.
It must be noted that CEGA does not speak for the entire Earth. Asia, South America and Africa are independent from CEGA (though at least South America is a good trading buddy). Tensions with CEGA are generally high, and skirmishes often break out at the borders.
CEGA themselves is also a bit torn, as the orbital stations and the Moon population is a lot more moderate than the guys on Earth.
Science & Military
: With Earth itself having collapsed, it's the Moon and the orbital colonies who provide CEGA with new toys and technology. They're a bit behind the Jovians and Venusians though, and their spies kinda blow.
As with every imperialistic regime worth its salt, CEGA's pretty big in the military business. They've only recently started making Exo-Armor (albeit with
promising results), but they have more than enough warships to make up for this. Their military is split into two branches: The Naval Forces handle space stuff, whereas the normal Army keeps Earth under control.
Commerce & Industry
: The corporations who stayed on Earth (or preferrably fled to the orbital stations) where hit pretty hard by the collapse, but most make a swift recovery after contact with the other solar nations had been re-established. They haven't made many friends however as they tend to demand special treatments.
Something that annoys Earthlings to no end is their dependence on importing terranforming equipment from Mars to get their own atmosphere and soil back in shape. At least pollution ain't really a problem anymore as you can now do everything in space.
This is the catch-all term for all the people living in the orbital stations around Earth, most iconic of which are the giant O'Neill cylinders. When all hell broke loose on Earth, the Orbitals and the Moon where too busy having to survive on their own to help their big brother. The money from the refugee corporations certainly helped here.
: Orbital stations are a sort of melting pot, but they do tend to have one main culture, after whose homeland the station's day-night-cycles and climate is adjusted. Once they became self-sufficient, things went pretty cozy for them. They're definitely a lot more easy-going than Earthlings. This also explains why they didn't have much trouble falling under CEGA's rule, as CEGA's just protecting them from potential outside trouble. To CEGA's dismay, the Orbitals don't take their propaganda very seriously.
: The Orbitals have their own council consisting of members from every station (or at least the stations that want to to). They're a bit at odds with CEGA as they're way more peaceful, with their own military having noticably less influence.
Science & Military
: The orbitals deliver live support and ship design know-how to CEGA. Their own fleet is just as big as it needs to be.
Luna aka the Moon was home to some of the first human colonies outside of Earth. There are also a lot of CEGA military bases on moon, making the whole place a bit militaristic.
: Having been cut off from Earth, the people of the Moon (called the "Selenites") had to learn to survive and follow strictly organized schedules, which has made them a bit serious and stiff. Things are however slowly relaxing in recent times.
: They're similar to the Orbitals here. Most of them are pretty okay with having CEGA around as long as they ensure their safety. Resistence against CEGA can be found, however.
Tensions are especially high between the civilian population and the CEGA military presences after the Odyssey incident, with the rebels who died during it being seen as heroes.
Science & Military
: The Moon offers many raw materials, which made the Selenites some of the finest miners around. They're pretty integral to CEGA's efforts. They don't really have much in terms of their own military, and what little there is only serves to defend them.
Mars' independence from Earth went much less smooth as on other planets, with one part of the population being glad to be free from Earth's shackles, while the ohers don't quite agreed on that. The end result was a civil war that split Mars in two factions: The free-spirited Martian Free Republic and the "order above else" Martian Federation. The relationship between those two is somewhat stable, if tense.
: The Martian Federation has a bit of an East Germany vibe going on, what with a huge German influence, totalitarian rule trying to pass itself off as being democratic (with the Federation having a "Democratic Party" as opposed to East Germany being a "Democratic Republic") and the propaganda machinery twisting things around to make the Free Republic look inferior. There's also lots of bureacracy, and of course does Big Brother always watch you. Unlike East Germany, this system actually kinda works in keeping things prosperous and stable.
The Free Republic are your pioneers / space cowboys, valuing personal freedom over everything. They make great BFFs. They even give out friendship bracelets!
: The Martian Federation covers 2/3 of Mars' surface, ruled by a Prime Minister, the current one being Klaus von Braun (because this is an anime-ish setting and anime Germans like puttin the nobility in places of power empire-style). The Free Republic has a convulted system involving four different councils.
Skirmishes on the borders are frequent, but both governments used to just ignore that, as they had to share Mars' orbital assets. This can however start to change after the space elevator went kablooie.
The Free Republic is obviously pro-Jovian. The Federation is on kinda good terms with CEGA, but they're suspecting that they are behind the destruction of the orbital elevator.
Science & Military
: With Mars being an early target for terraforming (now having around 2/3 of Earth's atmospheric pressure), the Martians are quite big in bioengineering, exporting it all over the place.
On the military side, things look a bit grim. Both factions use outdated Jovian Exo-Armors, along with their own Exo-Suits and hovertanks, with the Free Republic using swift guerilla tactics to counter the much larger but less flexible Federation army. Neither of them has much of a fleet aside from some patrol crafts.
This is the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, first colonized for mining purposes and now being a safe haven for refugees from the inner planets, with bases and colonies being built on top and inside of the various asteroids. As you can slap thrusters on those asteroids to get around, Belter lifestyle is highly nomadic.
: Survival ain't easy out here. You gotta get things done and work together here. If you don't pay attention, you won't live for long.
Their main language of choice is "Spacer's Runic", the common tongue of this setting (though the book doesn't really get into more details on the language). Being more isolated than everyone else, they live in clan/tribal structures and don't really want to have anything to do with the other nations' Cold War going on.
: Nothing general, really. Every asteroid does its own thing. Though they agree in that they neither want to meddle in other people's business, nor to they want the other people to meddle in their's.
Some of the larger colonies have a loose unnion going on for negotiations with the United Space Nations.
Science & Military
: Engineers from the belt are highly valued in most nations (safe for Venus and Earth because those are dicks) because they really know how to keep things running. They don't really care much about scientific research, though.
It goes without saying that most colonies in the Belt don't have military at all. If things go sour, they just surrender. The larger ones have some outdated Exo-Suits and fighters to handle pirates, but that's about it.
: Belters still mine a lot, and they get quite mad if you want to take their claim. Not that they could do much if an outside nation would just waltz in and mine stuff, though.
And this could very well happen, as CEGA, Mars and Jupiter and pestering them more and more about becoming mining buddies. They really don't want to take sides in this conflict, but a refusal could result in persuasion by force.
Originally only meant to house mining personell, the Jovian orbital stations became a fully-fledged solar nation after Earth's collapse resulted in a large influx of refugees. They had it pretty well out there, as Jupiter's various moons offered enough resources for everyone.
The Jovian Confederation consists of three states: Olympus (aka "everything around Jupiter itself") as well as Vanguard Mountain and Newhome from the Trojans, an asteroid field located at two of Jupiter's Lagrange Points which are quite far off (800
km behind Jupiter, which is slightly more than the average distance between Jupiter and the
: The the Olympians tend to view the Trojans as hillbillies, who in turn poke fun of the fact that "Olympus" does sound a bit preposterous. Still, they're overall pretty similar and get along fine, so it's all in good fun.
As they've never really had to fight as hard for survival as most of the other solar nations, the Jovians don't quite get the other guys' issues, making them seem arrogant at first glance.
: Seeing the distances involved with this Confederation, it comes to now surprise that each state has its own government, with a council known as the Agora speaking for the entire Confederation. The Agora is supervised by a president, with the current one drawing a fine line between being power-hungry and actually showing results.
Science & Military
: The Jovians are at least as good as Venus, probably even more advanced. Their Exo-Armors are top-notch.
The Jovian Armed Forces (JAF) are one of the largest forces around, thanks to the huge area they need to control and because the Jovians took precautions after losing contact with Earth. CEGA's shenanigans only fuel their desire for more protection. Military training is harsh, but soldiers do enjoy a lot of freedom and flexibility in turn.
Should a war break out, it would be pretty easy for someone like CEGA to isolate the three sates from each other. As a preparation, the JAF is split in three independend branches (one for each state), and and they have an invasion fleet ready because they figured it's better to attack first than wait for the enemy to come to them.
The Jovian Floaters
: These critters are large jellyfish living in Jupiter's atmosphere. They confuse the crap out of scientists because they couldn't have evolved on Jupiter and contain a protein that keeps their cell's DNA in top shape regardless of damage, granting them eternal life. Naturally, everyone's eager to find out how to apply those proteins to humans.
Saturn & Titan
Living on Titan is not easy, what with Saturn blocking most of the sunlight. Still there are lots of resources to be found (especially ethane), so of course you can expect humans to settle there. Titan is not a really a solar nation and "just" a mining colony, with the Jovians having the biggest influence around here.
: Working on Titans puts you about as far away form human civilization as possible, so things are a bit isolated around here. The Titanians therefore like to stick together, identifying more with fellow workers instead of their homeland. They don't even so much as raised an eyebrow over the whole Cold War situation.
: Titan is officially international territory, but that doesn't stop the already very influencial Jovians from treating it as their own property, trying to drive off rival mining companies from other solar nations. Suffice to say, the others are a bit pissed off - which might just explain the large increase in pirate attacks...
Science & Military
: Titan's pretty well into chemical engineering and pharameutics. There's no real military here aside from some Exo-Suit-based security.
Phew, that was a lot to cover. Personally, I can imaging playing as a stereotypical Venusian to be rather lulzy - though I'm not sure if the other players would have as much fun. Probably safer to pick a Mercurian or something. They're like the Hanseatic League if the Hanseatic League was located next to a volcano.
: Organizations - including some weird hairstyles!
Original SA post
Jovian Chronicles Second Edition RPG Player's Handbook
Chapter 3: Organizations
A look at the various organizations of the Jovian Chronicles setting - aka "Hopefully more Venusian hijinks"!
The Venusian Bank is the wealthiest legal entity mankind has every created. The Bank pretty much owns Venus, and CEGA ain't that far behind. It would be even scarier if the Bank didn't suffer from in-house rivalries.
The Bank's HQ is located in a Venusian arcology called New Tokyo. Everything about their executive structure is kept so secret that nobody outside the Bank knows who or how many actually run the place. Not even their powerful chairman is known by name, yet his arms reach far. It's a bit like the capitalistic cousin of SEELE from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Or exactly like SEELE, if it turns out they want to turn everyone into jellyfish or something. Who knows.
The Bank's currently busy getting some Jovian Floaters for research and consolidating its power back on Venus after the blunder that was the Odyssey brought them some unwanted attention, with even CEGA maybe having invasion plans.
Mercurian Merchant Guild
The Hanseatic League in space. We also find out that one of the main reasons Mercurian merchants are everywhere in the solar system is because Mercury itself makes for a very poor trading point. You pretty much have to stay in Mercury's shadow if you want to get to the planet, otherwise the sun will most likely roast you. At least it makes potential attack vectors of other nations rather obvious.
The Merchant Guild is Mercury's biggest money-maker and by its nature absolutely dependent on having good relations with the other solar nations. That's why they're so keen on staying neutral.
The Guild is run by the so-called Merchant Princes. To keep their plans secret despite their public exposure, they use the Merchant's Tongue, a secret language that is frequently updated to keep others guessing.
Currently, they're vary of the Venusian Bank after the Odyssey, and have become increasingly upset over CEGA and the Jovian Confederation halting their ships for inspections.
United Space Nations
The United Nations in space. With far less solar nations than old Earth nations, things are a bit easier to overview. If something needs to be voted on, the USN tends to be split in two: The Jovians, Mercurians and the cowboy half of Mars on one and the CEGA, Venusians and German Martians one the other side. The Belters and non-CEGA Earthlings vote for whatever they want, but they are voting more and more in the Jovians' favor.
The USN is located in a neutral section of the Pyrea Orbital Station set around Earth. WIth the tension growing between CEGA and the Jovian Confederation, many fear that the USN will eventually break apart.
InterPol in space. The SolaPol aka the Solar Police is the USN's intelligence agency whose main mission is to ensure peace in the solar system. Not an easy task by a long shot, and not made easier by being rather unpopular among the solar nations.
The Red Cross in space. No acts of violence are allowed in and around their ships. Things are currently a bit tense with CEGA since they busted open the full magnitude of the moon colony desctruction.
The Inter-settlement Geographic Society is the National Geographics Society in space. They're busy exploring the solar system and finding unique cultural quirks in the Belt. It's like a miniature version of Star Trek's Federation. Nothing beats these guys when it comes to mapping.
no longer on good terms with CEGA due to their interest in that new moon crater, and IGS members stationed close to Earth are starting to become a bit paranoid.
Zenith Orbital Network is the solar system's primary news network. Their pimped out satellite network allows broadcasting all the way to Titan. Rivals like Jovian Public Access Network and Luna's OmniNews seem to slowly turn ZONet into Fox News.
STRIKE is often seen as a terrorist group, but not even the various intelligence agencies know all that much about them. It consists of several independent cells that have seemingly nothing to do with each other, and that's not even going into all the
terrorist groups that like to pretend their part of the club. Those are not nearly as well equipped or organized, though.
They're main goal is freeing CEGA from Venusian influence - which may or may not mean they want to bring down CEGA as well because CEGA is bribed up the whazoo.
After the Odyssey, the various STRIKE cells seem to show more and more coordinated actions.
The chapter ends with four group shots. Two of those show Jovian and CEGA military dudes in uniforms (both pretty standard as far as anime go) - but that's not what I'm here for, so let's enjoy some funny hairstyles:
: Character Creations - aka human sub-races and archetypes!
Original SA post
Jovian Chronicles Second Edition RPG Player's Handbook
Now it's time to find out how to create our very own Amuros and Chars!
(I'll only go over the OGL stuff if it's weird or funky.)
Chapter 4: Character Creation
This chapter doesn't have the full SilCORE chargen rules, since those ar ein the core rules book. This chapter does however do things differently than in the core rules, to give Jovian Chronicles are more of an anime feeling. There also seem to be some expanded carryover from JC's Mekton days, where your character was either a talented, but inexperienced rookie or a seasoned veteran who will probably get killed off at the halfway point of the campaign.
SilCORE is a point-buy roleplaying game whose chargen uses two separate point pools (one for the 10 attributes, one for skills). Attributes act as a modifier to skill rolls and range from -3 to +3 for humans (with one exception). The attributes are:
: Your dexterity and reflexes
: Your bishounen/waifu power level
: Your overall mass and size. This one actually goes from -5 (little child) to +5 for humans (just below 250 kilos).
: Essentially your mental agility.
: How tough and muscular you are.
: Your raw diplomatic and leadership skill.
: Your education and memory.
: Your awareness.
: Are you more like Shinji Ikari or Kamina?
: How badass you are. This is separate from PSY because even mentally unstable trainwrecks like Shinji don't chicken out all that often.
(Quite a lot to pick from, huh?)
Jovian Chronicles hands out 50 Character and 70 Skill Points, placing it firmly in SilCORE's "Cinematic Game" power level, the highest of the three available. This helps simulating how guys like Amuro Ray can just sit inside a mech and curbstomp enemy grunt pilots who actually had years of training and experience.
Though if you like, you can always downgrade PCs down to Heavy Gear levels of grittiness, or even
The first step of JC chargen involves picking a concept, with a couple helpful question to flesh the character out.
The 2nd step involves picking your "race", which in JC means "In what kind of gravitational environment did you grow up?". I'll be noting the nations/places where each race can be found, because the book doesn't really do that for you.
: In places between 0.8 and 1.2 G, you're an ordinary human. This includes Earth (of course), Venus and those big O'Neill Cylinder stations who can create their own gravitation through rotation.
: These guys come from places that have fewer than 0.8 G. This includes the Moon, Mars, Mercury (for those guys who live underground), Titan and those smaller orbital stations that can't quite reach higher Gs. Lightworlders are pretty tall (with an average of 1.8 to 1.9 meters), but have a much lighter muscle and bone structure, gimping their max BLD and allowing their FIT to go all the way down to -5. On the plus side, they're can be more agile than normal humans and get the first level of the Survival (Space) skill for free because that one's kinda important for them.
The OGL conversion gives them +2 Dex and -2 Con.
: Being raised in a gravity below 0.05 G makes you a "ZeeGee". This includes everyone from an non-rotating orbital station or asteroid with little to no gravity. ZeeGees are like Lightworlders, except their max BLD is even lower. They also have higher PER due to being used to 360° awareness. They get the Zero-G and Survival (Space) skills for free.
Under the OGL, they have +2 Dex, +2 Wis and -4 Con. Ouch.
Overall, nothing too fancy. The OGL conversion stats are a bit overkill, as SilCORE races just adjust your minimum and maximum attribute score. Most of the time, these 3 sub-races will fall within the same attribute range - especially since low BLD makes you very squishy and attributes beyond +3 are pretty darn expensive. Though I guess you could make a min-maxed ZeeGee mecha pilot who looks about as fit as Oetzi if you really want to.
There is however a slight change from the SilCORE rules where I don't know whether this was an oversight or a deliberate choice: As you modify a race's attribute limits, you can end up with races that don't cancel out their limit shifts (as it is the case with Lightworlders and ZeeGees, whose decrease in BLD and FIT outweights what their benefits). In this case, you are supposed to transfer points from your Attribute pool to the Skill pool or vice versa, depending on whether you get a net loss or gain (to encourage you to actually have a lower/higher attribute average). This isn't actually the case here. I suppose this was done on purpose to note that these are all still normal humans (and future medicine keeps those low Gs from having too big of an impact on their body), though I'm not entirely sure.
Next up, it's time to pick your stereotype, which is something normal SilCORE doesn't have. This is the most Mekton-ish part of chargen. You don't
to pick a stereotype, but they're quite interesting, giving you unique benefits and limitations, as well as a unique "anime power", most of which can only be used once per session and cost an Emergency Die (which are similar to Action/Hero/Fate points and are most often used to get additional dice during a skill roll, hence their name). Not picking a Stereotype has you start the game with 5 additional Emergency Dice.
(The OGL stuff only does a bit of prebuild stuff using 2 levels of a d20 Modern base class)
: The typical mecha protagonist. You start of with fewer Skill Points, but gain twice the XP, which really helps you in the long run. Your anime power is "Beginner's Luck", which allows you to turn a negative modifier positive or the other way around, allowing you to do the impossible and break the unbreakable.
: The opposite of the Rookie. You start with more Skill Points, but gain only half the XP, so you better concentrate on your important skills. Their anime power is "Voice of Experience", which grants someone a +3 bonus or have him succeed automatically in a pure roleplaying scene. This effect can be delayed, so your advice of "Do a barrel roll!" can be cashed in anytime during the same session.
: A tough jack-of-all-trades who doesn't quite get along with everyone else and likes to play the rival - that is before he starts warming up to everyone else. Very tsundere. They have fewer Character Points available (resulting in lower attributes), but their skills' Complexity (a new feature in SilCORE that determines your breadth of knowledg in a skill) is always considered to be 1 higher than it actually is. Their anime power is "Survival Instinct", wich gives them a pool of "Survival Points" that increases after each session and can be spend to reduce an opponent's skill for the duration of the scene or combat.
: The opposite of the Expert. These guys and girls are insecure and have overspecialized in a particular field. They start off with more Character Points, but they must pay for that with Flaws (aka Disadvantages). This the only time Advantages or Flaws are mentioned in this chapter, so I guess other JC characters don't have those?
Their anime power is "To the Limit", giving them a temporal boost to their equipment's stats (though this only really applies to vehicles and weapons).
: Usually female weirdoes like Rei Ayanami. They start off with fewer Character
Skill Points, and they must have an APP of at least +1 because female weirdoes in anime must be attractive. Their anime power is "Charm", which they can use to fascinate people (so a failure makese them quite suspicious). They are also encouraged to get a bit of a special GM treatment, with special equipment or convenient implants and stuff. It's a bit like having "GM's Girlfriend" as a class or something.
Next up, it's Archetypes. They're templates representing typical members of a certain profession, though they still leave some unspent Character and Skill Points for customization. They also come with starting equipment and salary, possible variations and some subplot ideas. They also give you another anime power, this one being generic enough to be used as-is for both SilCORE and OGL.
As with Stereotypes, you can choose not to pick an Archetype and get yourself 5 Emergency Dice instead.
: The default mecha anime archetype. They pilot either fighters, spaceships or exo-armor and like getting into rivalries. Their anime power is "Sixth Sense", which allows you to negate a surprise attack and get an opponent off your tail.
: Apart from the typical soldier, this is also for guards and the police. Their anime power is "Bruiser", which allows them to completey ignore damage from a single attack.
: These are you computer specialists, engineers and whatnot who keep everything running. Their anime power "Miracle Worker" is like the Soldier's "Bruiser" except it only affect vehicles and equipment and only last for the duration of the scene or combat.
: These guys come up with new toys and keep everyone in shape. Their "Startling Discovery" allows them to accumulate "Research Points", which they can spend to make important discoveries or pimp out vehicles or equipment.
: These are always out for a good scoop. By "Just Askin' Questions", they can blend into the crowd and ask people with drawin suspicion, which is handy in restricted areas.
: Your diplomats, business personell and spies. They can use "Distract" to draw attention to or away from them.
: Nomads, scouts and similar persons. "Spatial Awareness" allows them to ignore penalties related to bad lighting conditions, and they always know where they are instide an installation, building etc.
: Merchants, basically. With "Requisition", they can use their connections to get just about any non-military item.
With that, you spend the rest of your remaining points, note down your equipment and flesh out the character's backstory.
: Living in Space, aka lots and lots of technological stuff. Oh boy, this will probably be a long one.
(And I don't know how much of it is a reprint of the 1st edition Spacer's Guide)
Living in Space
Original SA post
Jovian Chronicles Second Edition RPG Player's Handbook
Chapter 5: Living in Space
Thanks to the colony's temporary isolation and the now ongoing Cold War, technology advances in the last couple years have been mostly focused on the military side of things.
Not only have things slowed down for normal people, but it has gotten very crowded for people living on orbital stations, easily eclipsing anything seen on Earth. We're talking about population densities of 7,500 to over 20,000 people per km². I hope claustrophobia has gone extinct in the future.
With so many other people around, it has become mandatory for an orbital guy to stay clam and wait patiently in line as to not cause total chaos.
Seasons and daylight cycles are still a thing in space, though they are artificially simulated and controlled to the inhabitant's liking.
(He said, imagining a Goth station that is always cold and dark.)
Living quarters are obviously pretty cramped, with a single 5x3 m room being the average (parking facilities are rented separately). The book explains that even with all sorts of foldable and multi-purpose furniture, there just isn't enough space for a laundry list of weapons, clothes and other stuff. Players need to put priorities on what their PC keeps stored away, unless he
likes sleeping on a stash of weapons, or a piano. If you're players like hoarding loot, they better have access to a merchant ship (or really any ship with a big enonugh cargo bay).
The limited space also means that not everyone will own everything required for a proper household (like spices and stuff), making it pretty common to borrow things from neighbours.
Those O'Neill Cylinders we've heard before are pretty nifty. They use rotational gravity to make the entire interior surface habitable - or rather half of it; the other half is used for windows. An artificial hollow world of sorts. Like the Not-Side-7 of this Not-Gundam.
Asteroid colonies are kind of a mess, with random modules protruding all over the place, and nomads generally don't mind having the inside be full of wires. Most asteroid colonies try to have a gravity wheel or centrifuge to keep people in shape (which is why Lightworlders and ZeeGees can still reach normal physical values), but not every has one. Living there for too long makes it hard to impossible to adapt back to normal gravity.
Smaller orbital stations usually do offer at least partial rotational gravity, but they just don't have the space for the kind of planet-like environments you can have with an O'Neill Cylinder. Their interior is a lot closer to the ship from 2001.
Most of these smaller stations are not purely for living, but tend to serve military, trading and other purposes.
Flying a spaceship can be a bit hard to wrap your head around. Not only do you navigate in a 3-dimensional space, but everything inside that space is constantly moving and rotating around stuff. Flight computers are mandatory here.
To make things easier to manage, things are generally parked in orbits around an interstellar body, be it a planet or the sun. The Mercurian stations for example have a synchronized orbit around the sun that ensures they're always in Mercury's shadow.
To avoid collisions and general chaos, regions near a planet are designated as a space traffic control(STC) zone. Trying to enter such a zone requires the spaceship to call the nearest STC station and follow their instructions. A bit like air traffic on Earth, overseen by the United Solar Nations Space Navigation Authority (SpaceNav).
Some regions are restricted, usually because of military testing (there be mecha prototypes), scientific research or natural hazards.
Refueling is done at "cyclers", automated (though sometimes maintained by nomads) asteroid stations orbiting the sun or a planet. They require an access code to use. With their large territory, the Jovians have the largest amount of cyclers.
The military version of the cycler also comes with ammo and supplies. Naturally, these ones also come with sensor and self-defense systems.
Travelling as a passanger is a lot like buying a ticket for a airplane, except you also need medical documents to rpvoe that you're fit for low-G travel. Prices depend on the distance travelled, your cargo, your own mass if you're to fat and the class you like to use (they go from the First Class with its own private suit down to the Sleeper Class who spend the journey in a hibernation pod, kinda like in the 5th Element). This section of course comes with its own table and guidelines to figure everything out.
Transporting cargo is very similar, with the cost depending on distance, the gargo's mass and its type.
We also learn about the Hanson Circuit, and automated transit system using large booster sleds used for cheap travel between the Jovian states.
There's also stuff about Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA), which amounts to your usual airlock shenanigans (though it notes that space stations prefer a lower-than-Earth pressure to eliminate those decompression phases) and some general stuff about rescue and salvage missions. More interesting is the section of space racing, including exo-amors and solar sails.
We also find out that ships can use laser cannons for emergency communications. Funky.
And no space section in a hard sci-fi book would be complete without talk about the various ways you can die in space, with the main dangers being decompression, fire and radiation. There's also mention how the various nations deal with evacuations. O'Neill Cylinders are like the Titanic in that there aren't enough lifeboats for everyone. Should your cylinder need to be evacuated, you're probably boned.
The solar system's economy separates each solar nation into its own exchange region, largely due to the distances and time delay in communication. There are credits as the universal currency, but every nation has its own currency as well: Mercury has Ration Points, Venus, has Yen (of course), CEGA and the Moon has the Dollar, Orbitals use SHAREs, Jovians use the Franc (so they're French?), and the two Mars nations each have their own variation of the Mark (just like post-war Germany). Belters use whatever they like most, but they prefer bartering. There's an exchange rate table in case you don't just go with credits for everyone.
A lot is done digitally, but there are still proper bills. In terms of stocks, Jupiter's the biggest one around.
There's also some general stuff on manufactoring, resource collection and mining, but it's nothing too fancy.
Space stations suck for criminals, as everyone is known by a lot of other people and there's little place to hide your activities. Every settlement and station has its own laws, and they generally don't use juries because those take too much time. I'll just summarize each nations' particular legal shtick:
Mercury is big on intellectual property rights.
Venus is all about intrigue and poo-poo. Landing in court is seen as punishment for sucking at covering your tracks.
Earth is still the confusing legal mess we all known and love
The people on the moon really hate people who are bragging or lazy.
Easty Germany Mars is very bureacratic. Cowboy Mars less so, with everyone carrying guns and standing their ground.
Orbitals don't like anti-social behavior at all.
Jupiter has the fastest court system around, making it prone to mistakes. Oh well, at least they focus on re-education people instead of putting them in a dungeon or something.
After a crazy gold rush were scientists researched and invented all sorts of dangerous stuff (with the occasional mishap, of particular note being a little nanobot problem in Kansas City that could've potentially turned into a grey goo scenario if the bots where actually designed for proper self-replication), the solar nations created the Edicts, which bans any non-authorized research on bioengineering, high energy physics, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence. Of course, there is sitll the ocassional remote installation run by mad scientists who don't care about the Edicts.
There's a short section on black markets, but it's your usual affair. Same with piracy and smuggling.
Well, this really wasn't as long as I feared. Some sections are very obvious, but there's some nice background information to be found.
Weapons & Equipment for everyone! How much do you wanna bet that the guns take a nosedive in lethality when converted to d20 stats?
Weapons & Equipment
Original SA post
Why settle for the 90s? I certainly can't wait for that Avengers movie that comes out in a few years.
Jovian Chronicles Second Edition RPG Player's Handbook
Chapter 6: Weapons & Equipment
This chapter starts of with something I think might've been better for the last chapter about living in space: taxe rates and the costs of a living quarter.
The average taxe rate ranges from 5% for cowboy Mars and up to 50% for East Germany Mars. Earth and Jupiter are at 35% and 15%, respectively.
Living quarters are pretty standardized, and the base "models" don't even have a bathroom or kitchen (you have common rooms for those). The absolute minimum you can get are "coffin rooms" (a tube just big enough to sleep in and store stuff) and "square holes" (just big enough for up to two people). Basic quarters are twice or four times as big and can be further pimped out with stuff like bathroom and storage areas (though that can get very expensive very fast). If you're really wealthy, you can get yourself fancy quarters big enough for proper couches and beds and all sorts of decorations.
Food is processed and comes from optimized greenhouse modules on the station. "Normal" food can be found in restaurants and is quite expensive. We also find out that Mars is really big in wine.
There's a bit on clothing and uniform colors for the various nations. Basically, natural fibers are only used on Earth. Everyone else makes clothes out of artificial carbon fabrics with traits similar to spider webbing. People in space also prefer form-fitting clothes because they are less prone to get stuck on things (not to mention that skirts, coats and robes don't really work at low Gs).
Since PCs will spend a good chunk of their time in space, space suits get their own section. They're a lot like current space suits, but of course more advanced, with improved self-sealing capabilities and a myomer layer to support the wearer's movement. They're still pretty stiff and uncomfortable, but its up to the GM whether to adress this or just treat it like normal clothing whre you can just slap the helmet on and be ready for space action.
Space suits come in two general categories. The most common are "soft suits", which are your typical anime spacesuits that may or may not actually replace our current space suits in the near future. They're still a bit bulky, though, with the exception of pilot suits (which trade air supply and protection for flexibility) and mars suits (because Mars' atmosphere is pretty tame). Also included here are emergency space suits, which are very puffy suits with a plastic helmet that can be folded into a suitcase.
Hard suits are more like what we're using today. They're big, bulky and stiff. They offer the best protection against radiation and possible damage, which comes in handy for construction workers and researchers. The military is also quite fond of armored suits, which is about the closest thing this book has to space marine armor.
Space suits are also highly moddable, with every type coming with several slots. This includes stuff like a HUD display, a food dispenser, light sources, magnetic gravity boots and thrusters.
Nothing too out of the ordinary here. There are some tethers for quick travel in Zero-G, a couple sheets and nets to keep your stuff from floating around, and people in colony stations apparently prefer parafoils and bicycles for personal transportation.
As Earthlings aren't as experienced in Zero-G environments as the other guys, they tend to use the "Abraham Microgravity Assistant", a spherical drone you hold on to. Some of the more playful models are apparently similar to Haro from Gundam.
Just a bunch of medical kits, drugs and vaccines.
A list of various devices for communications and recording by various companies, with the most lightweight being a combination of a headsat and a wristcom-band. The most interesting is probably Masuo-PANet's VR goggles. They also have VR suits, though the tactile feedback hardware makes those quite heavy. No mention of any sort of game consoles though.
There are also datapads, but unlike Star Trek PADDs or modern-day smartphones, these things are just glorified data storage devices that can't actually do anything unless linked to a proper computer.
For all your espionage needs, there are microcameras, voice/signal scramblers, repeaters and boosters, as well as Subvocal Microphones that let you talk really, really quietly.
If you're a bit paranoid, you can get yourself a "discretion device" used to disable various spy toys.
Goggles, gas masks, ropes backpacks, and even some wannabe Capsule Corporation pods that fold out into small emergency shelters. There's also a bunch of survival suits for whatever environment you can think of, including desert and diving suits. Of particular note are vaccuum suits. These are different from space suits in that they only protect against vacuum. Good for ships and stations without life support, a bit risky for outer space, what with the lack of insulation. Since they're also skin-tight, I'm pretty sure they won't be used for some fanservice later in the book.
Fire's pretty darn dangerous in space, so if just cutting the burning section off of air is out of the question, you can use funny stuff like foam bombs.
If your ship's hull is breached or otherwise damaged, you can go for a temporal fix, like a polymer sheet or some good old reinforcing beams. There are also "sealant bombs" that work a bit like foam bombs, just with some kind of polymer super glue instead of foam. Thankfully, there are solvents around for the hilarious case of someone getting hit by one and being sealed to the nearest wall.
Search & Rescue
Lots of neat stuff about docking onto and cutting into hulls, as well as getting people out of there ASAP. Of particular note is the "Emergency Amtosphere Generator" (fills a vacuum with a temporary atmosphere) and "Oxy-Life" (pumps oxygen directly into your blood stream, though usage for more than a couple minutes can get dangerous)
Generally, everyone in the solar nation can get himself some personal sidearms, but most people are a bit wary of people parading weapons around (excluding military and law enforcement).
The first list is all about archaic melee weapons, which still see use inside ships and stations because they are far less likely to cause hull breaches or system damage. Things start of a bit weird with the pictures used in this section:
Why did nobody notice the spelling error that is
? And what is an ASP?
Though I guess these questions are superfluous as only the sword, axe, tonfa and knife actually appear on the weapons list (unless you treat the naginata as a pole axe). It appears this picture is from a more extensive book from the last edition. In fact the whole table might also be from said edition, as it doesn't list the parry modifier that I think was introduced in this edition of SilCORE.
Since humanity never grows tired of making up new deadly weapons, we also have a couple hi-tech ones. These are "hummers" (vibro-weapons, available as knives, machetes and katana) and electric weapons, which are no new weapons but rather archaic melee weapons that shock their target on impact. The intensity is variable and can be set from "light tickle" to "pretty much guaranteed knockout with a good chance of frying". Pretty dangerous to an unprepared target.
There's also this picture:
Why are the knife and axe "vibro-" if the JC term for this is "hummer-"? Why is there a Vibro Axe if there is no HummerAxe? What is a snap blade? Is this picture from a Heavy Gear book or something
(At least the stun stick is kinda obviously an electric tonfa, though those can do far more than just "stun" people.)
Moving on, ranged weapons start of with bows (but no crossbows; you'd think they would be there if we go that oldschool) and goes through a
of firearm variations. There are 10 different handguns, and most other kinds of firearms have at least 3. Might be a bit much for some, but I think SilCOREs Range Bands and Damage Multipliers allow for slight performance difference without bugging everything down with too many statistics to keep track of.
Notable firearms include:
Holt Exterminator Pistol
: A ridiculous CEGA handgun that deals almost as much damage as the strongest sniper rifle. Its recoil makes it a rare sight outside of Earth.
: A sub-category of firearms using rocket-propelled bullets (a bit like Warhammer 40k bolters). Useful in Zero-G environments as they don't cause recoil, but they deal noticably less damage at short range because the bullets need a while to reach maximum velocity.
: Another sub-category, these are your typical coilguns propelling their projectiles with magnetism. There's a gauss shotgun, but that one's more like a machine gun in that it shoots a precise stream of pellets.
Beam weapons get their own table. They consist of lasers and masers (microwave guns), with a special police sidearm that combines a laser with a sonic stunner. All beam weapons have different settings like in Star Trek, and they all gain an accuracy bonus (because every beam weapon has a built-in laser targeting sight, which is just the normal fire mode on its lowest setting. Not quite sure how this works with masers, though.). They also have the advantage of most types of armor only offering partial protection against them.
Non-lethal ranged weapons includes the classic taser and the sonic stunner, which shocks targets with subsonic waves.
Heavy weapons are the big guns. They're only available to the military and help infantry deal with exo-suits and -armors (though the latter will probably still curbstomp the infantry). The list is pretty much what you expect: machine guns, chainguns, mortar, rocket launchers and of course heavy versions of those futuristic firearms (plus a particle cannon). Of particular note is the "Armageddon Gun", a CEGA favorite that is essentially a machinegune with a built-in grenade launcher (every action hero's wet dream).
Explosives & Grenades list has all the usual suspects, with only maser grenades (aka microwave grenade), night glue grenades (blinds
is sticky) and glue solvent sticking out.
The list of special ammunition also comes with a lot of expected stuff like armor-piercing and tracer rounds. More unusual ammo includes energy-homing and guided (both for missiles and mortars only), as well as recoilless rounds tha turn an ordinary firearm into a poor man's gyrocket weapon. For beam weapons, you can get military-grade high-capacity power cells, which provide more energy at the cost of a possible surge.
Weapon accessories have a lot more interesting stuff. You got your silencers, optical and laser sights (the latter doing nothing for beam weapons as they already have that), but you also have smart sights (which display the exact point of impact after a proper calibration), stabiliziers (keeps the gun stable at all costs, which does make hitting mobile targets pretty hard) and a bunch of special holsters, including quickdraw holsters and snap draw holsters you hide in your sleeves.
For fans of the movie Aliens, there's the harness system (essentially carries weapons for you) and the much more advanced Heavy Weapon Exo-Skeleton that doubles as armor and gives you an effective Strength of +2 (which in SilCORE is a secondary attribute, calculated by averaging your Build and Fitness), making this useful for all but the strongest soldiers.
Game over, man.
For protection against possible attacks, an increasing amount of ships and stations install defensive systems. These are anti-missile systems (shoots down missiles with automated guns or lasers) and anti-laser aerosol (covers the area with laser-disrupting gas).
Also in this category is armor, which makes sense I guess. You've got your low tech armor like leather and composite armor, as well as hi-tech armor made up of various "dura-" materials. There's also reflec armor against lasers and an interference screen suit against masers. As these two only protect against these damage sources (with reflect providing partial protection against masers), you have the much better option of incorporating their benefits into normal armor.
The armor is listed as a full set (without helmet), with a modifier depending on whether you only use part of the set or add a helmet. Simple and elegant.
There's some pretty nifty stuff in terms of shields: the assault shield (a heavy SWAT shield big enough for two), the protective case (a suitcase that transforms into a shield; very popular with bodyguards) and the stun shield (a riot shield that can shock people).
Similar to space suits, you can pimp your armor with electronic and stealth systems.
Sadly, the armor section only comes with one picture, though that one manages to be both badass and kinda adorable:
I call her Stormtrooper-chan.
The section ends with OGL stats for all the equipment (minus stuff you can already find in d20 Modern or Future). Seems to be basically taking OGL equipment as the base and scaling things around. Said scaling has been done linearly, as opposed to the "Damage and armor increases exponentially"-mantra used by SilCORE which doesn't really translate to actual in-game effects anyways, so it's fine.
And of course, as soon as the players have more than a handful of levels, weapons will be significantly less lethal as in SilCORE, where not getting hit in the first place is the best option, as everything that can get through your armor
hurt. A lot.
: The heart of every mecha anime (sort of): Giant robots and spaceships!
Original SA post
It's the final chapter, everyone! Let's go out with lots of pictures!
Jovian Chronicles Second Edition RPG Player's Handbook
Chapter 7: Mechanical Catalog
Now on to one of the most important chapters for an RPG based on a vehicle-centric tabletop wargame: The vehicles!
Exo-Armor and Spaceship Basics
Things start off with a description of exo-armors. They originally started out as combat space suits and became gradually bigger as developers slapped more and more stuff on them. They exist in tandem with spacefighters, who play second fiddle because exo-armors are tougher and nimbler. You'd think this would be the other way around, what with fighters being more compact and all.
Exo-armors have much fancier cockpits than you see in most Gundam continuities. The pilot is surrounded by screens giving him a full view of the surroundings (almost like in BattleTech), and the exo-armor is controlled through a combination of joystick input and the "linear frame", an exo-skeleton in which the pilot is suspended that allows the machine to mimic his every move.
Mechanically, the typical exo-armor has a Size between 11 and 13, with a mass of 40 or more tons and a height of around 16 m. This puts them in about the same mass category as a light tank or a fighter plane, and slightly below most Mobile Suits
Their movement modes are of course Walker and Space. Since Jovian Chronicles uses the realistic Space movement rules, they only have to use their thrusters to change velocity and facing, both of which drains their "Burn Points" (BPs), an abstracted value that keeps track of their space fuel.
Though they don't have a dedicated amtospheric flight engine, they can still fly with their thrusters, though that's not very cost-efficient as they have to constantly cancel out the local gravity and burn their BP fast. They can also use it as a jumpjet, which probably gives them more distance for their BP, especially if they use it to boost their normal jumping distance.
Spaceships range from robust and complex designs to simple modules slapped together with an engine at one end. To provide gravity with their fusion thrusters (aka "plasma drives"), they are rarely not accelerating or decelerating, with the switch happening at the half-way point of their journey. As this creates gravity towards the engine, the layout of a spaceship is closer to a building than a plane.
Most spaceships are not built to enter or operate in an atmosphere.
Everything bigger than a spacerfighter is built using the modular design approach, slapping together sections built separately, with at least one requiring the actual engine output to carry the rest. This requires more bookkeeping than just creating the ship as one vehicle (that may or may not be built on an entirelly different scale from everything else), but it makes for a much better integration with exo-armor and other smaller vehicles as those now actually stand a chance to damage it at least partially.
These are a couple new rules for spaceships with realistic space movement (SilCORE also supports the cinematic "Thrust? What's that? Everything flies like a plane in space!"-route). Not inlcuded are JC's iconic Lightning Strike rules (the kind of split-second combat that occurs if two ships fly towards each other or one suddenly stops), as those are covered in the main SilCORE book.
: Scoop atmosphere gases to replenish your tank. The rules are sound, but the quality editing mentions the mysterious "page XXX" of the SilCORE book
, and it talks about a "Size-to-Mass table" that does not exist (SilCORE just has a formular for both ways). This starts off rather promising.
: Temporarily enter an atmosphere to quickly lose velocity. Can cause heat damage, especially if your ship was not built for atmospheric entry.
: For those pilots that either can't afford or don't want to accelerate for an extended time, here's a formular to quickly calculate travel time based on how much thrust you're willing to apply.
: A popular maneuver for probes in which you use a planet's momentum for fuel-efficient acceleration or deceleration. A bit hard to use as you need to know the planet's speed (though that's one Wikipedia search away), and because the "angle multiplier" table you need to use omits the actual multiplier. Whoops.
: Overclock your engines to double their thrust, though this burns fuel much faster and has a good chance of damaging the engine.
Using Thrusters as Weapons
: Usually ignored in most pieces of modern fiction, any engine capable of accelerating several tons of mass for interplanetary travel (or even faster) makes for a very nice weapon, though it quickly loses its bite over distance.
: Some rules for drones, which later found its way into the SilCORE FAQ file.
Here are some rules about realistic space hazards and terrain. This includes planetary rings, radiation belts, shadows (anything blocked off from the sun is pretty darn cold and dark), extreme temperatures and vacuum. Lots of neat stuff.
And now onto the actual vehicles! As exo-armors tend to have all weapons be either handheld or mounted on hardpoints, they can be easily customized. Some of the more iconic exo-armors come with a list of official variants.
These writeups are also where you see the most errors in the entire book, which is a bit embarassing for a company that's all about vehicle-centric tabletop wargames.
For starters, most exo-armors don't mention their sensor and ECM system's range and quality (though the range is listed under the OGL stats made with d20 Mecha). And the weapon lists seem to omit to not the "Hardpoint" and "Handheld" perks.
The writers also didn't include the Threat Value aka point cost of the vehicles, deeming those unnecessary for the RPG part of JC. Admittedly, the main book tells you that you can just ignore the points and just build your vehicles, but then the OGL stats come with both point
This is the poster mech of the entire franchise, making it the setting's Gundam - though it's also the setting's Zaku as it's one of the oldest designs, making up a good chunk of the Jovian exo-armor forces.
After that surprise visit by an hostile invasion fleet, the Jovians decided to crank out their military production, resulting in the Pathfinder to get upgraded for better performance and easier mass-production.
As a light exo-armor not meant to be a main combat unit, the Pathfinder is lightly armed and armored. Its main weapon is a particle cannon, and it has 2 missiles on its left shoulder for when you need a heavier punch. If things get desparate, it can use two plasma lances for close combat. For a better utility role, the Pathfinder has an advanced sensor system in its massive forehead (which kinda reminds me of an EVA-01 still growing up) and a radar dish on its right shoulder.
: The command version of the Pathfinder, trading the particle cannon for an improved particle rifle, with more fuel, better thrusters and communication systems on top. The only downside is that the rifle has ammo, while the cannon can shoot all day.
: The recon version, trading the missiles for a more efficient engine and a beefed-up sensor array.
: The sniper version. This one replaces all weapons with better sensors and a long-range massdriver rifle. Despite being a sniper weapon, it does not have the sniper modification that gives a hit bonus at long ranges, though I guess this is not mandatory. Then again, this is the only mecha sniper weapon in the book that does
have this modification.
The Retaliator is an interceptor exo-armor who packs quite a mean punch for its size, though it is comparatively lightly armored. Aside from 2 plasma lances, it carries a railgun and a total of 10 missiles.
The strongest mass-produced exo-armor there is, and one of the newest models in the Jovian military. It's not very fast, but it is heavily armored, with an anti-missile system, a railgun/laser combination (though the lasers are weaksauce backup weapons) that is not shown on the picture and a crapton of missiles that are very spammable.
(Though I'm starting to wonder why those shoulder-mounted missiles count as a single missile system with 10 shots. Looks more like 10 one-shot systems. Makes the missiles harder to take out, and the pilot could launch, something mecha pilots love doing. Or if you want to keep things simple, at least give that one missile weapon some ROF so you can launch multiple missiles.)
This ridiculous fellow is based on a configuration (aka Mekton Command Armor) for the Prometheus prototype exo-armor. Still more or less a prototype itself, the Stormrider has nevertheless shown some promising results.
If the huge particle cannons and the massive thrusters are any indication, the Stormrider's main purpose is that of a fast assault unit. It also comes with a chest-mounted scatter launcher aka shotgun, a ton of missiles (though I'm pretty sure that puny Damage Multiplier of 10 is an error; they typically have 16-30), and a point-defense laser system.
Overall, it doesn't really hit harder than the Vindicator, but it does so faster. Though I was honestly expecting more oomph from those oversized guns (they actually just have improved range over the saner models).
The primary Jovian spacefighter, this interceptor carries a giant, rocket-shaped weapon pod around for quick and easy weapon swapping. The standard loadout consists of various missile types, with options for a laser, more missiles or rockets. It also comes with counter measures.
It also has some weird antennae that give the whole design a rather alien/insectoid look.
This CEGA creation is the result of the Earthlings freaking out about all those fancy mecha used by everyone else, so they quickly cobbled together this slightly humanoid rocket. Still, despite its cheapness, it has some neat stuff, like a laser system that automatically hits any enemy that comes too close. Though since this was a rush job, the system has a tendency towards friendly fire.
Other than using said laser system manually at range, it has a lot of missiles.
Since the Syreen couldn't keep up with the lastest Jovian models, CEGA built a proper exo-armor (based on an older exo-armor model they got from Mars) in the form of the Wyvern, aiming to best the Jovians with superior firepower and armor. It comes with an anti-missile system and two head-mounted anti-infantry massdrivers (making it more Gundam-ish than the Pathfinder), along with a bazooka, shoulder-mounted missiles and leg-mounted rockets.
Like the Pathfinder, it comes in several variants:
: Like the previous command variant, this is one is s straight upgrade from the standard model, with more speed and better sensor and communication systems. It also trades the bazooka for a much meaner automatic rifle.
: This one has additional armor plating and comes with both the bazooka and the rifle. It also gets a hummer knife, though there are no stats provided for it (though those appear on the next model, who also has the knife).
: The missile spam version, ditching the bazooka for additional shoulder missile launchers and a handheld rocket pod.
The newest CEGA model, created with Venusian help. Its name comes from the shoulder-mounted radar and ECM systems, which do look a bit like heads.
The Cerberus combines high speed with very heavy armor, though that leaves very little in terms of weaponry: It carries an automatic sniper rifle, Gundam vulcans, a knife and a plasma lance.
Taking a cue from the Dragonstriker prototype, this exo-armor is a straight upgrade of the Syreen. It comes with a more advanced laser system geared more towards missile defense than autonomous firing. The shoulders come with 8 hardpoints, making the design very flexible.
Since the standard Fury has lots of empty hardpoints, they fall into one of 3 variants, which are named after the three furies of Greek mythology:
Alecto, The Unceasing
: The recon model, with better sensors and stuff and recon drones.
Megaera, The Grudging
: The default model, comes with a shoulder-mounted sniper railgun and missiles for the shoulders.
Tsiphone, The Avenging
: This one's used to take down ships. It has plenty of room for torpedoes, and it comes with two extra-powerful plasma lances that go through ship hulls like a hot knife through butter.
Sadly, you can't actually use the drones and torpedo bay without the "CHAOS" book.
CEGAs old interceptor fighter with a two-man crew. Has some flexible hardpoints, and the standard loadout consists of two particle cannons and a missle bay.
The shiny new Mercurian exo-armor. Heat-resistnt, fast and maneuverable, it suffers from a lack of fuel and serious firepower. Nevertheless, it's popular for protecting merchant ships and helping out with the cargo.
The most recent Venusian toy, still kept very secret (the current Venusian main mech is the Oni, which is pretty much a Wyvern). It comes with two plasma lances, shoulder-mounted missiles and a rifle, with possible options including heavy missiles and particle cannons. It also has a sort of Gundam vulcan on its head, though this one fires laser beams.
A goofy-looking CEGA exo-suit, with a height of 2.8 meters. It's pretty much oversized power armor, making boarding action in more cramped ships and stations pretty hard. It comes with a hummer blade, grenades and one of two rifles.
As an exo-suit, it's not really a threat for exo-armor, but it makes short work of infantry.
The main Jovian exo-suit. It's smaller than the minotaur (2.2 meters) and more geared towards speed than endurance. It defends itself with a plasma lance, missiles and a rifle.
The Bricriu-class (a very hard to remember name) is quite old, but still servicable ship design in CEGA use. It's a bit cramped like a submarine, but you can't have everything, can you?
The ship is made out of 6 sections in total: The main section with the point-defense systems, 4 turret sections (each with either 3 kinetic kill or beam cannons), and of course a drive section.
Tengu-Class Escort Carrier
CEGA's main exo-armor carrier, and quite the succesful and spacious design. Aside from the main section, it has 2 missile tubes, 2 vehicle bays and 2 drive sections.
The newest Jovian destroyer, quite fast and maneuverable for its size. Apart from its main section, it has 2 drive sections, 2 kinetic kill sections and 2 wing sections with oversized laser cannons.
Valiant-Class Strike Carrier
Jovian's most recent carrier ship, this one has comes with a main section, 2 habitat sections (making it quite comfy), 2 kinetic kill cannon sections and 4 drive sections.
And of course, it being a Not-Yamato of sorts, it has a spinal laser that takes a long while to charge up, but has a good chance of one-shotting just about everything it manages to hit.
Ebiiru-Class Cargo Ship
A very old and pragmatic cargo ship, it's essentially a bunch of cargo pods stuck on some crew modules and an engine.
Inari-Class Cargo/Liner Ship
A much nicer looking ship than the Ebiiru, this one carries both cargo and passangers, usually both at the same time because you gotta multitask to make profit in space.
Mule-Class Bulk Tanker
Your standard tanker ship. They're mainly meant for the heroes to protect or destroy.
And for some fanservice, here are female exo-suit pilots in vacuum suits:
Shouldn't the Jovian Falconer pilot have the white suit? That's kinda closer to their general color scheme.
Generally, the designs aren't too shabby, especially the stylish Ryu, the Lancer fighters and those freakish CEGA rocket mechs that are probably some of the most sensible giant robot designs out there (who needs legs in space, anyways?). The Pathfinder is a simple and elegant design, but the Jovians seem to suffer from a serious lack of design variety, as all their exo-armors here look almost identical. And in the end, most exo-armors can't quite keep up with the more interesting/badass Gear aesthetics of DP9's main flagship setting.
And of course, the error-prone writeups leave something to be desired.
That's about all for the book. There's a short Appendix, but that's just a random adventure generator for stereotypical mecha anime episodes. Thankfully, the book is clever enough to note that these are just guidelines.
Overall, the setting's rather servicable as a totally-not-Gundam setting. It however loses some points for painting the factions with too much black and white after starting off talking about grey areas, and Mars really doesn't sound too interesting as they're mainly concerned with their "Cowboys vs East Germans" sub-setting that doesn't offer much synergy with the rest as Mars doesn't have a real military presence in space. It looks like if this cold war turns hot, they'd be at the mercy of whoever has currently the most warships in orbit. Oh well, at least the Venusians are lulzy.
Oh, and the quality of the scan is a bit meh. The pages apear bleached out, at almost every picture has some slight scanlines going on (or whatever you call that).
So, what do you want to see next? Do you wanna see
, the result of DP9's last RPG staff trying to build a setting from the ground up (without previous editions to copy stuff from)? Or do you want to see something else?