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HappyDaze

My teeth hurt already, but I think I'm going to like it! (Stars of Iniquity)

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Its not out as pdf yet. Im eagerly awaiting it as such. Generally takes approximatley a month or so after the book is released.

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I have had the book for a few days and have played around with it quite a book.  Overall I am very happy with it.  I have long adapted other RPG random system generators to create systems for my game, and find the book to work well both to make completely new systems and to adapt what I allready have written up.  If anything, I think that it can provide almost too many plot hooks to use in one system.  The colony system seems functional, although a PF sink over the long run.  As my players are more concerned with building up their system than their PF, I don't have a problem with that.  I am working on an Excel spreadsheet to track colony stats, just to make my job easier.  I do like the random item generator, and find that using it to make up an item for a new group of Xenos gives me a good feel for how that race works.  The items traits and quirks then become 'common traits' of the Xeno equipment, which then provides a clue to how the race thinks.

 

On the issue of PDF vs Hardcover, I generally prefer to have hardcovers of my books.  Probably because I like to have the various books open to the resources I need all at once.  For this book though, I may get the PDF as well.  With all the charts and flipping back and forth it would be nice to have the ability to print out copies of the relavant pages for myself.  FFG does seem a little bit scattered in how their books are deployed, but the game is more than good enough to put up with that quirk.

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Well, I'll hope for that month then.

System generation is actually not what I'm looking for - AstroSynthesis works out for me in that regard. Just add some WH40k oddities, and I'm good to go.

 

How does the colony system work? Are we talking ship-like construction with components? And how is it a PF sink?

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Darkheyr said:

How does the colony system work? Are we talking ship-like construction with components? And how is it a PF sink?

I haven't finished reading that section yet, but it seems to be a huge expansion of the colonization Endeavours. The players have to give up a sizeable part of their PF (this can be as much as 10 PF for Industrial or Mining colonies) in order to accquire what they need to start the colony. They also have to create a charter, assign leadership, designate the purpose of the colony, etc. Then they have to find a suitable place to put this colony and actually do so, which could lead to adventures on its own. This entire process is designed so that the players and GM have to build an Endeavour around it, and the success of building the colony then comes from the amount of Achievement Points they get. 

The colony starts out small and can grow over time if it is successful. Eventually it may turn into a gigantic hive city and become a true powerhouse in the Koronus Expanse, but that probably takes time, effort, and a bit of luck. Meanwhile the players will be called upon to participate in the colony's growth, deciding when to use extracted resources for growth and when to keep them for themselves, how to deal with the leadership, and what upgrades to build. Stuff could happen, from Xenos invasions to finding ancient ruins below the colony that are better left alone, and it's up to the players to make sure the colony can survive these challenges. As the colony grows, so does its PF value. 

 

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TiLT said:

I haven't finished reading that section yet, but it seems to be a huge expansion of the colonization Endeavours. The players have to give up a sizeable part of their PF (this can be as much as 10 PF for Industrial or Mining colonies) in order to accquire what they need to start the colony. They also have to create a charter, assign leadership, designate the purpose of the colony, etc. Then they have to find a suitable place to put this colony and actually do so, which could lead to adventures on its own. This entire process is designed so that the players and GM have to build an Endeavour around it, and the success of building the colony then comes from the amount of Achievement Points they get. 

In most cases, finding a suitable location for a colony should be the first step. Getting everything going without a target world in sight isn't too wise.

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HappyDaze said:

In most cases, finding a suitable location for a colony should be the first step. Getting everything going without a target world in sight isn't too wise.

The book implies otherwise. Regardless, looking at the kinds of systems and planets it generates, finding a reasonably suitable place to plop down a colony isn't that hard. Not that there's anything standing in the way of either approach. 

 

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For all those disloyal heretics in the UK unwilling to emmigrate to get a hard copy of this tome, it's now available to order. 

Just picked it up from the Book Depository for a rather nice price. 

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Darkheyr,

  I do quite a bit of star system generation myself, but I found the rules pretty easy to use to convert to Rogue Trader specific.  As for being a profit sink, you both invest PF (between 3 and 10 depending on colony type and your luck) to build the colony and have to repeatedly run endeavors to upgrade it.  None of these endeavors earn you PF.  Since you could be instead running endeavors for PF, this tends to reduce your PF.  You do get some useful perks when performing endeavors in the system, which should translate to some additional PF.  Also, you can mine out your system resources for PF as long as you can convince your colony that it is for their own (or the Imperium's) good.  Overall, I think that you could definitely earn more PF just running endeavors, but the colony lets you tie in a lot of endeavors into one area under your control.  My group will be using it as a roleplaying tool, so they don't mind the loss of PF.

  It should be noted that there are a lot of benifits you can skim off a colony once you have it set up.  Bonus AP towards most endeavors, a useful leader figure to run your background endeavors, +5 on Aquisition tests at your colony, PF if you can swing the people into handing over their resources (if you can't convince them you take Complacency loss ), and a variety of roleplaying benifits depending on how you run your game.  If there are Xeno or Archeo sites in system then you also have the ability to explore them for advanced items (even ship components) as well.

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One thing you didn't mention: A colony has a Profit Factor value that increases with size. At the beginning it is the same as the colony's size, but it soon starts to rise faster than that. This PF value is added to the players' profit value. The result is that, because of colony properties and good management, you can spend, say, 4 PF to start preparing your colony, but then instantly regain those PF at the moment the colony is built. Of course, if the colony is lost, you lose those PF, but there has to be a little risk. An industrial or mining colony can earn you pretty huge amounts of PF if you want it to, though that can restrict its growth. Just go visit every 90 days or so and gain up to about 4 brand new PF every time. That's insane! You'll eventually run out of resources to exploit, but hopefully the colony will be large enough by then that it doesn't really matter. At Hive level, the colony adds +18 PF to the players' coffers. 

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Hmmm. Sounds interesting. Thank you.

I've been toying with drawing up a ship-construction-inspired system for colonies myself, but lacking pressing need I never got far with it. Now SoI is out and my players are actually set onto colonisation, so…

 

Hopefully the PDF is out soonish, as well :D

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While a colony can easily start with a 4 PF, remember that an Industrial Colony requires 6-10 PF just to found (The average startup for even a research colony is 5 PF).  While the PF scales as a colony grows, you also have to perform at least one endeavor per size growth or your colony stats suffer and can eventually cause your colony to fall apart.  By the time you have performed 9 lesser endeavors, and the greater endeavor (founding the colony) without any PF gain you have lost out on 12+ PF (in addition to the startup costs).  This makes a colony a break even deal at best. 

As for harvesting resources for PF, remember that you have to convince the colony each time to give you the PF instead of applying the resource towards its growth.  Failure to do so causes a loss of 1d5 Complacency.  That can kill your colony quite quickly.  You would have to convince the colony to strip mine its own world for your personal proffit.  While possible from time to time, I doubt your GM would allow you to do so continually.  I would probably allow it once a year with good roleplaying.  The Rogue Trader could probably couch it in terms of his Tithe (provided he supports the colony well) and good Imperial citizens would accept it.  Also note that many of the added structures that raise your colony stats, and therefore its PF and utility, also require lesser endeavors.  You could litteraly spend an small campaign just performing the 20-30 endeavors to build up a colony to a major city or hive level.  While that will interest some players (like my own), some of your players are likely to find it more boring than they would like.  You can perform these as background endeavors, but that risks a higher degree of failure and perhaps losing more PF as well.

I am not saying that colonies are not worth it.  Canny players will center much of their endeavors around the colony and its system resources to reap the benifits of their colony bonuses.  This will allow them to gain greater PF from the bonus AP often available through colony structures.  Also note that you can settle multiple colonies in a system, or even on a world.  The largest colony size is a Hive, and many worlds in the Imperium have several Hives.  My players settled an Agricultural Colony on the world with fertile plains and a verdant ecosystem to ensure food supplies for their expansion in the system.  They plan on settling mining and industrial colonies on a nearby moon, and eventually the Explorator plans on developing a small forge world there (free of the stifiling dogma of the more repressive Calaxian forges).  The group intends for the system to be self sufficient, as least as far as is possible.  It may also be desired to keep your colonies small, especially on less hospitable worlds used primarilly for mining or research.  How you do that is between your GM and you.

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WilliamAsher said:

While a colony can easily start with a 4 PF, remember that an Industrial Colony requires 6-10 PF just to found (The average startup for even a research colony is 5 PF).  While the PF scales as a colony grows, you also have to perform at least one endeavor per size growth or your colony stats suffer and can eventually cause your colony to fall apart.  By the time you have performed 9 lesser endeavors, and the greater endeavor (founding the colony) without any PF gain you have lost out on 12+ PF (in addition to the startup costs).  This makes a colony a break even deal at best.

This is why the book includes a sub-chapter about delegating objectives in endeavours to NPCs. If a group of Explorers wants to deal with every little endeavour that may pop up in their colony, they'd never get the chance to do anything else. Sometimes they just have to let their people help out. You can also use the rules about background endeavours from Into the Storm. 

You're inventing restrictions by not allowing your players to harvest resources every 90 days, which is going to hurt them especially hard with an agricultural colony. Also, when harvesting the resources, they always get the PF regardless of whether they manage to charm the population or not. A charismatic rogue trader wouldn't have any problems getting a colony to do nothing but stripmine the planet while he sends ships to retrieve the spoils, forcing the colony to grow on its own accord. 

To me it seems that running a successful colony without having it completely absorb the Explorers' lives requires trustworthy people and a talent for delegation. That way the rogue trader can be off on adventures while conducting most of his business via astropath. Of course, there are risks involved in this, but the rogue trader typically has a chance to get in there and deal with complications himself. 

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side question, not colony related directly but more system generation. do we have rules to handle multi star systems, like binary or trinary systems?

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Asajev said:

side question, not colony related directly but more system generation. do we have rules to handle multi star systems, like binary or trinary systems?

Yes. One of the results for star generation is a binary star, in which case you generate two stars and use the effect from the strongest of them, ignoring the weakest. There are no results for trinary stars, but you could easily handle that in the same way. Apart from the purely visual aspect of it, there's nothing else that changes with the number of stars. 

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I see thanks TiLT, does the number of planets or stellar bodies increase per number of stars. I.E. each star develops its own star system?

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Asajev said:

I see thanks TiLT, does the number of planets or stellar bodies increase per number of stars. I.E. each star develops its own star system?

No. If that's what you want, just roll up two systems. 

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Made over confident by the excellent quality of the previous two 40Krpg books I've bought (Lathe Worlds and Book of Judgement), I made the mistake of breaking my personal rule of never now buying FFG books sight unseen and received this one from an online order yesterday.

Okay, I accept, I was expecting something different (details on 'new worlds beyond the Emperor's light' as the blurb falsely promised imo), but to me this book is next to useless. It basically is almost entirely given over to lots of very short 'random' creation tables, aimed at creating systems and adventure events, but imo it fails to provide either enough events, or enough exciting new ideas.

Also, the system creation rules, as mentioned in some of the posts upthread, are simply too detailed to be rolled at the table during play, so presumably are intended to be used by GM's prior to play during the adventure creation process. This makes me wonder why you'd bother using the book at all, it's not like it gives much in the way of 'new' imaginative 40K system/planet ideas - indeed honestly there is nothing I've yet seen that made me think 'wow, I'd NEVER have thought of that'. In other words, to me, it seems to be a book for GMs unable to think up interesting settings … which, okay, that's fair enough, but if so wouldn't it have made more sense and been a whole lot easier for the reader/GM, if the book had just included write ups on 30-40 new systems/planets in the Expanse?

Why make ME do the work I expect to pay FFG to do? Also, I am 100% certain any 40K rpg GM worth his screen could come up with a better and more imaginative system/planet in 2 hours, than most of those created by this system. Indeed in many ways I fear the system would create more limited systems/settings than a good GM could in the same time. 

Don't get me wrong, I do think there is a place for random tables in 40K rpg games, but imo random tables are for when the GM needs an event he hasn't had time to plan for or think out, or if the pc's go wildly off piste, thus they should be quick and easy to use, providing results that can then be used 'on the fly'. They should also be pretty long and varied to avoid annoying repetition, for example I would have much preferred this book to give us 30-40 2-3 page write ups on sundry systems or planets in the Koronus Expanse (new and imaginative settings that a professional writer has spent time and effort thinking about and pollishing), the colony rules (which are okay), and two D1000 random tables, one for space encounters, one for planetside encounters, with each entry given maybe 2 lines of space.

As it is I have bought a book I will almost certainly never use (except possibly for the few pages of colony rules). I did however also buy a new Battletech sourcebook at the same time, this was the Interstellar Expeditions sourcebook - a book that though slightly shorter than SoI is packed with new settings for BT's Periphery. That's how you provide a GM with helpful setting and idea hooks. FFG take note, for the love of the God-Emperor. avergonzado_triste

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Well the book is a tool kit just like many tool kits for other game systems. I think it is worth it mostly because it gives you guidelines in how they design the star systems they use in pre fabricated adventures. I understand you purchased something you were not expecting but that does not mean the blurb was telling you a lie. Indeed those systems are beyond the Emperor's Light. The side point is you have to build them on your own. With a little bit of creative thought from the GM part this book can provide more then 100 star systems of adventures. In my personal opinion as you have your own the book helps new game masters be able to design a large area of space that fits the Warhammer 40k setting. As a bonus point, the level of detail given is for the game master I see no reason you can't wing it in the middle of a game if you need a star system. After all a star system is your back drop for story telling. You can give it detail after the game.

Some advice from a long time GM, you spend at least as long planning and preping for your game as you will be playing it. In my case a game night is 4 hours of game and 3-4 hours of prep work to give the best performance. Tool kits that are mostly charts can take very long to work through at first but as you become familiar with the book you will be able to complete all the steps in no time. What is left that the book does not cover is creative development of how to use those things that you rolled. That would be our job as GMs, we provide a good time to our players and if we have problems imagining what a roll's result can be maybe put it to the side for a while it will come to you at some point. The other point of advice I can give you especially with a book like this is keep it modular and not linear. If you feel it is to much work at the table then just do a brief roll for the star type and the main planet. Then as your players are doing their thing making of plans you can roll bits of the system as they are needed.

I hope this helps you out. I am sorry you got something you were not expecting but that is no reason to say the book is as good as useless. Give it an honest good try it might not work in the way you were thinking but I can garantee you that if you combine the book with your creative story telling that book will give you more then you would have gotten from something like Lure of the Expanse or other premade adventures.

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For the impatient among you, I decided to throw caution to the wind and start coding a PC-version of the generator. If things work out correctly, it should be able to draw upon, at the very least, Stars of Inequity, The Koronus Bestiary, and Battlefleet Koronus. You can choose which books you have available, and the generator will use only those. You should be able to print the final results in a neatly formatted, Word-like document, export them to other word processors, or even just use the application directly during your game sessions. Each option should be equally viable. You will be able to generate a system with one click and don't have to worry about anything else, or you can go through everything in detail, adding or discarding things where you want to and re-generating parts of the system that you don't like. You should also be able to write custom descriptions for every little thing in the game, not unlike what I did in the two PDFs I posted. 

Needless to say, this is a hell of a lot of work, but the Proof of Concept is working very nicely. The application will only describe rules where I feel it's absolutely necessary, so you'll need the book to be able to use the results it produces. Hopefully FFG won't shut this down, as I'm trying to be very careful with their copyrights, doing my best to enhance their book instead of replacing it. 

No guarantees that I'll ever finish this thing, but it's looking good. 

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TiLT said:

For the impatient among you, I decided to throw caution to the wind and start coding a PC-version of the generator. If things work out correctly, it should be able to draw upon, at the very least, Stars of Inequity, The Koronus Bestiary, and Battlefleet Koronus. You can choose which books you have available, and the generator will use only those. You should be able to print the final results in a neatly formatted, Word-like document, export them to other word processors, or even just use the application directly during your game sessions. Each option should be equally viable. You will be able to generate a system with one click and don't have to worry about anything else, or you can go through everything in detail, adding or discarding things where you want to and re-generating parts of the system that you don't like. You should also be able to write custom descriptions for every little thing in the game, not unlike what I did in the two PDFs I posted. 

Needless to say, this is a hell of a lot of work, but the Proof of Concept is working very nicely. The application will only describe rules where I feel it's absolutely necessary, so you'll need the book to be able to use the results it produces. Hopefully FFG won't shut this down, as I'm trying to be very careful with their copyrights, doing my best to enhance their book instead of replacing it. 

No guarantees that I'll ever finish this thing, but it's looking good. 

Oh god, if you finish this, you are a prince among men.

Endless star systems, a button press away.

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TiLT said:

For the impatient among you, I decided to throw caution to the wind and start coding a PC-version of the generator. If things work out correctly, it should be able to draw upon, at the very least, Stars of Inequity, The Koronus Bestiary, and Battlefleet Koronus. You can choose which books you have available, and the generator will use only those. You should be able to print the final results in a neatly formatted, Word-like document, export them to other word processors, or even just use the application directly during your game sessions. Each option should be equally viable. You will be able to generate a system with one click and don't have to worry about anything else, or you can go through everything in detail, adding or discarding things where you want to and re-generating parts of the system that you don't like. You should also be able to write custom descriptions for every little thing in the game, not unlike what I did in the two PDFs I posted. 

Needless to say, this is a hell of a lot of work, but the Proof of Concept is working very nicely. The application will only describe rules where I feel it's absolutely necessary, so you'll need the book to be able to use the results it produces. Hopefully FFG won't shut this down, as I'm trying to be very careful with their copyrights, doing my best to enhance their book instead of replacing it. 

No guarantees that I'll ever finish this thing, but it's looking good. 

I consider myself more time-starved than impatient, but I greatly appreciate what you're trying to do.

Out of curiosity, what parts of Battlefleet Koronus will you be drawing upon?

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HappyDaze said:

Out of curiosity, what parts of Battlefleet Koronus will you be drawing upon?

There are sections of the generator that inform you that you may use Battlefleet Koronus to pick viable ships for a variety of reasons. The idea is that I'll randomly pick ships from that book if you have it, but if you don't, you'll only get the total number of ships (and perhaps whether they are Xenos or not) so that you can pick for yourself from whatever sources you may have handy. Maybe, just maybe, if I'm not completely sick of the generator by then, I might allow use of the GM Pack's ship generator for those situations. I don't know if there's much of a point to that though, since I suspect that the majority of those who will use this generator actually have Battlefleet Koronus. 

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TiLT said:

For the impatient among you, I decided to throw caution to the wind and start coding a PC-version of the generator. If things work out correctly, it should be able to draw upon, at the very least, Stars of Inequity, The Koronus Bestiary, and Battlefleet Koronus. You can choose which books you have available, and the generator will use only those. You should be able to print the final results in a neatly formatted, Word-like document, export them to other word processors, or even just use the application directly during your game sessions. Each option should be equally viable. You will be able to generate a system with one click and don't have to worry about anything else, or you can go through everything in detail, adding or discarding things where you want to and re-generating parts of the system that you don't like. You should also be able to write custom descriptions for every little thing in the game, not unlike what I did in the two PDFs I posted. 

Needless to say, this is a hell of a lot of work, but the Proof of Concept is working very nicely. The application will only describe rules where I feel it's absolutely necessary, so you'll need the book to be able to use the results it produces. Hopefully FFG won't shut this down, as I'm trying to be very careful with their copyrights, doing my best to enhance their book instead of replacing it. 

No guarantees that I'll ever finish this thing, but it's looking good. 

Excellent! If you finish it or get near to finishing it I will be happy to test it!reir

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