Archives for posts with tag: halo

I’ve always liked Foehammer from the first Halo game. Wherever the Pillar of Autumn’s crew needed her, she went, usually just in time. Foehammer knew how to pilot her Pelican transport like it was an extension of herself.

Carrying the idea a bit farther, I developed Foehammer as an NPC to use in my games. I plan to insert Foehammer into the fantasy Midgard game I’m currently planning.

Originally designed for the Eberron campaign setting, Foehammer is, in fact, two beings: a warforged and an elemental airship. It is impossible to tell where one begins and the other ends. Their history and origins are uncertain, but the few who have seen them up close know that they communicate without words, even in the heat of battle.

In Eberron, Foehammer were developed as a secret project during the end of the Last War. Through some accident during construction, the two became bonded in a way the artificers had not foreseen (and certainly could not understand). House Cannith performed numerous tests on the two as soon as the bond was discovered, but after just a few days Foehammer disappeared forever, leaving behind broken bones and a smoking hole in the Cannith research foundry.

The same origin story works in any setting. Just change House Cannith to fit whatever amoral research group you have handy. In Midgard, the clockworkers guild would fit perfectly.

Since escaping, Foehammer have kept to themselves. They can typically be found cruising at high altitude through convenient mountain ranges, and occasionally appear to rescue dumbstruck travelers caught by scrags or stuck in a landslide.

Both the airship and the warforged are the finest specimens of their kind, and some have attempted to take one or the other for their own. Attempting to steal a heavily-armed, sentient airship is hardly an easy task, and the warforged is a skilled combatant in possession of powerful warforged artifacts.

Foehammer will become a major player in the campaign world I am now developing. How might you use them?


Part of the RPG Bloggers Carnival.  For more information on this month’s carnival, check out Campaign Mastery.

Johnn Four asked the following question:

What non-game media have most inspired your games and how?

It’s an interesting one, to be sure.  Inspiration comes from all directions, so it’s interesting (and useful) to reflect on where our own inspiration comes from.  For me, I can point to two big sources of inspiration (that aren’t rulebooks or campaign settings: movie trailers and soundtracks.

Movie trailers are fun, short, and full of action and emotion.  I try to model my games off of them in terms of pacing: slow build up, then sudden bursts of action.  What’s more, a movie trailer is designed to draw you in, and I find that there are many that succeed admirably at this goal.  Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Inception: This trailer has a great song and an incredibly powerful tone.  I am simultaneously creeped out and overcome with a desire to learn more.  Plenty of action and the characters are interesting even when we get only a snapshot.
  • The Return of the King: For a long time this has been my holy grail of trailers.  Just past the halfway mark the music begins to build and the pacing speeds up with the music as your heart races and you just can’t look away.  Classic and gripping.
  • Assassin’s Creed 2: This is not technically a movie trailer, but I find that some video game trailers can do just as much.  This one is a work of art, and I’m not just talking animation.  The animosity Ezio exudes is incredible, and we get quite a lot of detail about the world and the actors and their motivations from just a few lines.

As for soundtracks, I can hardly say enough about them.  A really good soundtrack can make you see whole sequences flash past your eyes.  Not only are they great to listen to while creating but they’re also good for in-game music.  My top choices are:

  • Halo 3: ODST: This one is simply phenomenal.  The blend of jazz, electro, and traditional soundtrack elements are part of a tone that is uniquely Halo, but the ODST soundtrack goes above and beyond.  Each song evokes a neo-noir setting full of tension and brooding beauty.
  • Star Wars: My first soundtrack love.  My comments here apply to almost any John Williams score.  The leitmotifs and full use of orchestration are classic, and set the standard for most of the soundtracks produced in the last thirty-odd years.  Who doesn’t get shivers when the Imperial March plays, or almost break down for Padme’s theme?
  • Firefly: The Firefly soundtrack is a fascinating combination of traditional western music (think of Ennio Morricone) with plenty of guitar and fiddle and of traditional orchestration.  The overall effect is one of nontraditional awesome.  Serenity‘s soundtrack wasn’t as good as the TV series’, but that’s pretty much par for the course.
  • Avatar: James Horner outdid himself.  For me, the soundtrack really made Pandora come alive just as much as the CGI and (very impressive) animation/live action work.

These are just a few of my favorite sources of inspiration.  The great part about music and trailers is that the industry constantly pumps out new stuff, and indie game developers are a great source of new, innovative trailers and music.  Try Braid, for example.  So, that’s how my games are inspired.  How about yours?  Have any favorite trailers or soundtracks?

John Miller is a space commando built in the Free FATE system.  His weapons are from Halo 3: ODST and his concept is inspired in no small part by that game.  I’ve never tried FATE or any derivative thereof before, but I really liked the rules as I read through them and character creation was an enjoyable breeze.  One needs to have a very strong character concept in mind to make it really work, but it seems like FATE works well enough for just about any setting.
Name: John Miller
Concept: a lone wolf space commando
  • Never without his silenced M6S
  • Doesn’t play well with others
  • Haunted by the death of his squad
  • Favors a stealthy approach followed by brute force
  • Has never had a romantic relationship
  • “I work alone, and I get results”
  • Great
    • Guns
  • Good
    • Stealth
    • Endurance
  • Fair
    • Burglary
    • Alertness
    • Athletics
  • Average
    • Survival
    • Resolve
    • Intimidation
    • Weapons
  • Boom!  Headshot!
    • +2 bonus to Guns Skill Testswhen using a weapon’s scope or aiming for at least one action
  • Stealth Weaponry
    • +1 bonus to Guns Skill Tests when using an M6S, Suppressed M7, or sniper rifle
  • “Tell me what you know.  Now.”
    • John may substitute Intimidation for Investigation when interrogating a person of interest so long as he is carrying a visible weapon of some kind and is not in the presence of other law enforcement officers.
  • The Drop
    • By spending 1 Fate Point, John may act first in any conflict.
  • Seven boxes
  • M6S
  • Suppressed SMG
    • Knife
    • Assault Vest
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    A few months back I discovered destination unknown, an RPG blog by Christian Walker.  I was particularly intrigued by Christian’s games-for-prisoners program.  In short, he gets game material (mainstream and indie games alike) to prisoners through prison mail.  Being a supporter of prison reform and generally in favor of helping prisoners maintain some semblance of normalcy (and I could go on and on about the reasons why), I sent Christian the second draft of City of Rain, City of Darkness and the first draft of my Savage Worlds Halo: ODST conversion so that he could give them to some prisoners.

    In response, Christian not only replied thoughtfully but also mailed me a copy of Iridia, a zine he produces.  He also enrolled me in the LMS D&D Club and sent me the first two issues of the LMS D&D Club newsletter.  A week later, I also received my membership card and the DM Certification test.  I haven’t yet had a chance to take the test and then mail it off, but I’m looking forward to doing so.  The membership card, on the other hand, is definitely in my wallet, ready to display my allegiance at a moment’s notice (especially if the Madison Middle School Club shows up).

    And, in Issue #6, some of my writing will be featured.  I’ll be posting my contribution here once the newsletter has gone out, but I highly recommend joining the club.  The idea with zines is that you are supposed to share something of your own, so send something over and get a copy of your own.  I’m going to be sending a copy of Unicorn Star, a copy of Psi Phi‘s literary magazine, to keep the sharing going.

    This is one of those posts that really has no purpose other than to congratulate Christian for doing a fantastic job and thank him for all his great work.  Getting the newsletter/zine is one of the highlights of my week, and I can’t wait to read what’s next.  If you haven’t already checked out destination unknown, do it now!  Go!

    I have now updated the conversion with some formatting updates and better organization.  More content will be coming eventually, but not for at least a few weeks.  I hope to also balance the statistics using R, a freeware statistical package.

    ODST Conversion.pdf

    After waaaaay too many hours tonight I have finished the first reasonable draft of my Halo 3: ODST conversion for the Savage Worlds system.  It is available to you now as a free PDF (and .doc for your modding pleasure) on under the Savage Fan license provided by PEG, Inc.  I will soon update the Files page, but now I am away to bed.  I hate being up late/early…

    ODST Conversion.pdf

    ODST Conversion.doc

    A new item recently came to my attention – Halo 3: ODST.  I’ve been a fan of the Halo series so far, and naturally I was intrigued.  The first thing I heard about it, other than the title, was that Nathan Fillion was involved.  In case you weren’t already aware, Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, and Alan Tudyk all contributed to the voice acting for Halo 3.  The gave life, however short, to the grunts that the Spartans (that means you, players!) mostly ignored.  In this latest installment Nathan Fillion and  Adam Baldwin play ODSTs – Orbital Drop Shock Troopers.

    Halo 3: ODST

    Halo 3: ODST

    If you’re not familiar with the ODSTs, I recommend checking out the first Halo novel.  While not great literature, it is nonetheless an interesting piece of background info on the Halo universe.  The ODSTs are, in short, the meanest soldiers in the UNSC.  The Spartans may have the shiniest toys and the best bioengineering, but the ODSTs have one hell of a fighting spirit.  They are dropped into combat zones from orbital troop carriers, as the name implies.  You can’t make it into the ODSTs without prior combat experience, and they are the best soldiers you can get without asking for Spartans.

    The Desperate Measures trailer is quite a piece of work.  Messrs Fillion and Baldwin do excellent work, and it makes me positively drool over the game.  I’ve always loved the Halo universe, and this installment appears to be no exception.  The quality of graphics and sound is top-notch, and the depth of the game superb.  I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

    I seem to have made a habit of starting Savage Worlds conversions of material I like, and so it is with ODST.  I’ve begun my conversion, armed with Studio 2 Publishing‘s Science Gear Fiction Toolkit (check out their stuff, it’s great!) and a few trailers, game footage, and art.  I’m starting by focusing on the weapons mentioned in the trailer, as well as the ODST armor and tech.  Just because I love the Pelicans so much, I’ll stat them out next.  Then it’s on to Edges, Hindrances, and Skills.  I’m also using a previous Halo conversion I found at Savagepedia, and I intend for mine to be (mostly) compatible with it.  I differ a bit from whoever wrote the first one in terms of how some of the mechanics will play out.  Nonetheless, they should be mostly usable together.  If this ends up being comprehensive I’ll modify the rules to include Spartans, but I’m not planning to at the present time.  Shoot me an email if you would like to be involved or want a copy.

    Update 8/3/2009: Alan Tudyk is also definitely in it.  After watching Desperate Measures 10+ times I realized that Mikey is voiced by the immeasurable Mr. Tudyk.