Blue Planet

Blue Planet Game Master’s Guide Revised, now available in DriveThruRPG!

Well, this is unexpected. Perhaps I’ve been out of the loop, but I didn’t expect that the new Game Master’s Guide for FASA’s Blue Planet Revised will be out this month. Still, it’s a happy surprise and I’m not complaining. Especially given how dense the Player’s Guide was, I’m pretty certain that the Game Master’s Guide will finally complete the rules necessary to come up with a kickass campaign.

Welcome to Poseidon, 2199 AD

Prepare for a compelling journey into humanity’s future on a distant planet, where life is hard and dying is easy. A world where GEO Marshals enforce the peace and wired mercs patrol deep waters in deadly fighter subs. A place where corporate greed and human desperation ravage an alien ecology, threatening to plunge humanity into a war of survival with an ancient legacy.

Welcome to the world of Blue Planet.

Whether you are new to the Blue Planet universe or a veteran Game Master, this book contains information vital to running exciting and effective adventures on the new frontier.

  • Regional maps and descriptions detailing the topography and history of the most heavily-colonized region on Poseidon—the Pacifica Archipelago
  • Key maps and detailed descriptions of more than twenty Colonial, Incorporate, and Native settlements
  • Information on how to quickly create GM Characters to challenge players
  • Dossiers on more than a dozen of the planet’s most famous and infamous personalities
  • Biological survey data on the planet’s wondrous, but often-deadly, indigenous lifeforms
  • Revealing biological and cultural information on Poseidon’s aborigines

The Revised Edition of Blue Planet™ supersedes the BPv2 (second) edition, previously published by Biohazard Games and Fantasy Flight Games. The Blue Planet Game Master’s Guide combines and updates the content previously published in the BPv2 Moderator’s Guide rulebook and Natural Selection sourcebook.

The Blue Planet Game Master’s Guide Revised is available from DriveThruRPG for $20.99 or roughly Php 861.00

Blue Planet Player’s Guide Revised, First Impressions

Stop! Or my orca will shoot!

Blue Planet is one of those games that presents a unique and intriguing setting that is a goldmine for stories. Having returned to active circulation in print and PDF format from FASA, Blue Planet is a sci-fi roleplaying game that takes place in an alien waterworld known as Posiedon.

Posiedon is a new frontier for mankind, who has long ago reduced Earth to a wasteland of pollution and urban decay. The discovery of a habitable planet of unspoiled natural resources was a siren song for many, resulting in an exodus of people seeking second chances, or corporations hoping to get the spoils first.

But aside from the frontier angle, Blue Planet’s setting also presents a transhuman society, one where being human is just one choice among many. Among the options for player characters are Modis (modified humans) Genies (Genetically modified humans), Aquaforms (Diver and Squid types), Hybrids (Cat and Silva types), Spacers, Transhumans (also known as Alphas) and two forms of uplifted cetaceans in the form of Dolphins and Orcas.

Aside from the remarkably large spread of “racial” choices, Blue Planet cleaves towards the sandbox style of play and gives a host of professional backgrounds and archetypes to choose from, ranging from Rockstar (leading to Silver Countess’ idea of playing an underwater Lin Minmei with an Orca bodyguard) to mercenaries and commandos. Blue Planet can get pretty confusing if the GM doesn’t take the reins of a campaign and specify exactly what he wants to run. Otherwise you’ll end up with a mess in character creation where everyone is playing something possibly incompatible with everyone else in the team.

Blue Planet runs on what they call the Synergy System. The basics should be familiar to old hands at the game. For those unfamiliar with it, the player rolls a number of ten-sided dice equal to the character’s rank in an Aptitude, which can range from Average (1 die) to Superior (3 dice). These dice are then compared to a Target Number set by the character’s Skill + Attribute scores. Dice which roll under the Target Number are considered successful, and the highest rolling successful die is used to determine the Action Value of the roll. Should all the dice roll above the Target Number, then the Action Value is determined using the lowest scoring die, resulting in a negative Action Value.

Combat in Blue Planet is pretty crunchy. Closer to HERO crunchy than Exalted 2nd edition crunchy, which is a good thing in my book. I’ve yet to go over it all with the same scrutiny of a Let’s Study article, but it does look pretty beefy. Combat maneuvers, initiative that takes into account the delay of performing certain actions and check this: Psychological (social) combat. So yes, fast-talking Con-Dolphin trying to get an Orca to let him through into a corporate compound, Blue Planet has rules for that.

The Blue Planet Player’s Guide Revised also sports pretty much the entire contents of the 2nd edition’s book on technology. There’s a huge chunk of the book dedicated to the wonderful toys of Poseidon, including SASER weaponry (like Lasers, but with sonics!) and mini-torpedo launchers. There’s certainly a lot of technology in this setting and I feel just a little guilty about going over the tech chapter with the enthusiasm that I did.

Overall I’m pretty impressed with what I see so far in Blue Planet. For people like me who weren’t able to snag a copy of the 2nd edition, this is a great chance to get back into this interesting setting. My only hope is that they bring out the supplements soon. I hear First Colony was a great setting book, and as is the corebook does feel like it needs a little more beefing up in terms of what a city would be like in Poseidon.

Blue Planet Player’s Guide Revised is available from DriveThruRPG for $20.99 or roughly Php 945.00

Blue Planet Player’s Guide Revised is out on DriveThruRPG!

After what seemed to be an eternity, Blue Planet returns in a revised edition from FASA(?!) I guess I must have been out of the loop when Redbrick handed this off to FASA (or something else happened) but I’m glad that the product is out all the same. With all the nice Sci-Fi games out there, Blue Planet has a special place for being one of the more interesting settings. I’ve always wanted to run Blue Planet and getting this opportunity to check it out in a nice PDF format is a definite bonus.

Welcome to Poseidon, 2199 AD

Prepare for a compelling journey into humanity’s future on a distant planet, where life is hard and dying is easy. A world where GEO Marshals enforce the peace and wired mercs patrol deep waters in deadly fighter subs. A place where corporate greed and human desperation ravage an alien ecology, threatening to plunge humanity into a war of survival with an ancient legacy.

Welcome to the world of Blue Planet.

Whether you are a Newcomer or a Native, this guide contains everything a Blue Planet player needs to survive on the new frontier.

• A detailed future history of the Blue Planet setting
• Introductions to Poseidon, the GEO, the Incorporate, and the Natives
• Information on the sociopolitical landscape of both Poseidon and the Solar System
• A complete Survival Guide for Newcomers to Poseidon
• Detailed descriptions of personal equipment, weapons, vehicles, and biotechnology
• Complete game rules, streamlined for Blue Planet Revised

Blue Planet Player’s Guide™
Revised Edition Core Rulebook
Published by FASA Games, Inc.
Format: 352 pages, ~6″ x 9″, B+W Interior

This core rulebook is for Players and Game Masters. For a complete Poseidon game experience, the GM will require a copy of the Blue Planet Game Master’s Guide (due out in October 2012).

Blue Planet, Blue Planet Revised, and Blue Planet Player’s Guide are trademarks of Biohazard Games. Blue Planet Second Edition Edition material copyright © 2000–2012 Biohazard Games. FASA and the FASA logo are trademarks of FASA Corporation and are used under license. Published by FASA Games, Inc. under license from Biohazard Games — Made in the USA. Copyright © 2012 Biohazard Games. All rights reserved.

Blue Planet Player’s Guide Revised is available from DriveThruRPG for $20.99 or roughly Php 945.00

New Information on Redbrick’s Blue Planet

Hot on the heels of their “What’s in a book?” article on Fading Suns yesterday, Redbrick has released new information on another game that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time now: Blue Planet, the sci-fi game set in a planet composed of mostly water. With uplifted Orcas, corporate espionage and Xenosilicates that bestow remarkable longevity to those who can afford it, what’s not to love?

What’s in a book? As we approach Gen Con Indy 2012, this is the second preview of some of the game products that RedBrick will be releasing at the convention.

This article summarizes the major changes from Blue Planet Second Edition (BPv2) that you will find in the Blue Planet Player’s Guide (Revised Edition). A copy of the book’s comprehensive Table of Contents is attached to this post as a PDF to give you an idea of what’s in the Player’s Guide (and for comparison with earlier editions).

So what’s different in the revised edition of Blue Planet? The first thing to tell you is what’s not different. There are no changes to background, history, organizations, important people or anything directly related to the setting. However, you get more from the Player’s Guide. The Revised Player’s Guide combines material from the BPv2 Player’s Guide (PG) rulebook and Fluid Mechanics (FM) sourcebook. Virtually everything from those books has been retained, revised, and expanded upon.

The first big changes you’ll see are when you get to the character generation chapter. We moved the character profile to the beginning, so you can look over options and get a character concept in mind before any of the actual generation begins.

Once you get to the actual number crunching, you’ll see it’s been slimmed down quite a bit. The eight primary attributes were condensed into 4 attributes; Physique, Coordination, Cognition and Psyche. This may seem drastic, but you’ll see in play that they work well. Less numbers to keep track of means easier decisions when attribute checks are needed, and quicker play.

The derived attributes remain the same, except for Strength — Physique replaces Strength in attribute checks. So the current derived attributes are Endurance, Reflexes and Toughness. These three are unchanged from BPv2. Senses were removed completely. Playtesting showed that skills, Cognition, and Psyche covered situations where senses were used.

When you do create your character, you decide on attributes. The random attribute generation system was removed and the point buy system was retained as the standard attribute generation method. The BPv2 Power Levels of Everyday, Exceptional, and Elite were expanded. BPR has four Power Levels. The Average power levels are Everyday and Professional; the Exceptional power levels are Remarkable and Elite. This spaces out the power levels and gives you more options (as a player and GM) for creating characters. The power levels have been given specific examples so you can choose which power level your character fits into –- of course, ask your GM first!

Character species were not modified, although the attribute changes required us to tweak things. The species descriptions are the same, although we rewrote the bonus summaries for clarity. Pure humans and modified humans (modis) share the same base species, since both are unmodified at birth. The difference is that modi characters can have biomods later in life. Physical activities such as climbing, jumping, and throwing were homogenized a bit for simplicity.

Skills and Aptitude groups were condensed to speed both character generation and game play. Some skills, while realistic, were never used in a player character group, so they were folded into others. No skill was simply eliminated –- all of them ended up somewhere. BPv2 had 19 Aptitude groups with a total of 89 skills. BPR condenses those to 14 Aptitude groups with a total of 67 skills. Because there are fewer Aptitude groups, Aptitudes themselves were scaled back to compensate. The way Aptitudes work was not changed, however.

Training Packages were retained, but changed quite a bit. Origin and Background packages were condensed into just Background packages. Instead of picking one Origin and two Backgrounds, a player chooses three Background packages for his character. All Background and Professional packages were point-balanced to deliver approximately the same number of skill points. So a Novice Administration package and Novice Law Enforcement package grant different skills, but about the same number of skill points worth of skills. A cap of 8 was put on maximum skill level at character generation, to avoid min-maxing abuses.

Most of the base mechanics of the BPv2 Synergy system were not changed. Those that were changed were gleaned from online posts and fan feedback. More examples were added to clarify the mechanics.

Action Value was changed to a “roll high, but under” mechanic to simplify calculation. A successful (positive) AV is equal to the highest successful number rolled on a task roll. For example, if the Target Number is 7, and a 3 and 5 are rolled, the Action Value would be 5. The Action Value of a failed task roll is calculated the same as in BPv2 — the difference between the best roll and the Target Number.

An Extended Task resolution system was introduced, for long term projects such as research, repairing vehicles, or creating a new genie type. The Extended Task system sets a Target Number to be reached via multiple rolls, with a time interval for each roll. A successful roll adds the Action Value to the total, while a failed roll adds the negative Action Value (subtracts from the total). In this way, a failure can set someone back without messing up the whole effort. If the failure takes the total below zero though, then the whole task is shot and must be restarted. If the total reaches the Target Number, then the task is a success.

Determining initiative is unchanged. What is new is an action-based system of initiative for greater detail. Instead of reducing the count by 3 for each action, the type of action determines how much the count is reduced. To support this, weapons were given a Recoil value (for firearms) or a Delay value (for unarmed or melee weapons). This way slower weapons and attacks are more accurately represented. Non-weapon actions also have a Delay value, with examples given. The original Initiative system was retained as an Optional Rule, for those who prefer the BPv2 system.

The remainder of combat is unchanged from BPv2. Modifiers to combat, close combat maneuvers, damage resolution and recovery from damage were kept unaltered. We expanded the section by adding an optional rule for permanent disability from critical wounding, and a section on Radiation to Special Damage. The end of the Synergy chapter is devoted to Vehicle Combat. All the vehicle combat rules from the BPv2 PG and FM books were ported to this chapter, reorganized, and clarified. This places all the rules for man and vehicle combat in one chapter, instead of being spread throughout the book. Vehicle stats were still given a separate chapter, however.

The content of the Hardware, Weapons, and Biotech chapters were not radically changed. The stat block entries for equipment were altered to conform to the style presented in BPv2 Fluid Mechanics. When items from FM expanded on items in the BPv2 PG, the descriptions were rewritten or added to -– cybernetic limbs are the main example here. A couple of new biomods were added as well.

Weapons have a Delay or Recoil value to support the new Initiative system. Some of the personal armor types, notably Polyflex, were altered for balance reasons. New equipment and weapons were added. These items were given backgrounds to tie them to the setting and further immerse the players in the world. The Vehicle chapter received a large overhaul to fix stat block inconsistencies from the BPv2 PG and FM. Vehicle stat blocks now properly show all of the equipment the vehicle should have and presents them in a unified form. Any other changes were made only to support the new attributes and skills.

The Future History and On the Frontier chapters were not altered. The timeline was expanded with scientific accomplishments from 1997 to 2010. This was done to update and link the new edition with current events. Entries for cloning, dark energy, dark matter, artificial bacteria, and more were added as precursors of future technology.

If you have any specific questions related to this release, please feel free to post them in the Blue Planet Product Discussion forum and we’ll answer them as best as we can!

The Blue Planet Player’s Guide (Revised Edition) will be released at Gen Con Indy 2012 and is available only from the RedBrick/FASA booth #1935. The book is perfect-bound, 6.125×9.125″, 352 pages, b+w interior, MSRP$34.99. A PDF version will be available for purchase soon from OneBookShelf (details to come). Trade print and distribution to come after Gen Con (details to come). The Blue Planet Game Master’s Guide (Revised Edition) will be released in September 2012; pre-orders will be available for this title from the RedBrick/FASA booth at Gen Con.

So far the game sounds pretty good. With any luck I’ll be able to score a copy of the game and do a Let’s Study series on this game. Definitely looking forward to it!

[Campaign Concepts] Aquapunk

As of late there’s one particular sort of campaign that’s been making a few rounds in my imagination: Aquapunk, which is essentially D6 Cyberpunk meets Blue Planet.

Blue Planet is an awesome game, and while I adore the hard science meets far frontier sort of setting I figure that highlighting the cyberpunk aspect of the setting might just be the right kind of spin to give it the direction I can work with.  I’m not particularly articulate right now to be honest, but I’ll do what I can to try and give a solid pitch.

I want a setting where the standard Cyberpunk idea of the rich people living high up above the rest of humanity.  Instead in this setting, it makes sense that the rich people live far below the surface of the ocean, sometimes living in completely artificial habitats dug deep into bedrock, while the poor and helpless are forced to eke out a living out in the surface, where harsh weather and pirates are a constant threat.

Floating agricultural platforms exist, and are very well protected for their benefit to the habitat below the sea, especially since pirates are constantly looking for ways to raid these platforms for food.  Majority of the population live in a network of large underwater domed cities.  These habitats are often held in control by various mega-corporations who have their own security forces to protect their interests against saboteurs and criminals.

As with regular cyberpunk, corporate espionage has taken on an entirely new and violent level, with corporate sponsored hit-squads conduct clandestine operations against one another.

Being an underwater setting, there will also be some form of underwater activity, as I intend to keep the presence of the Longevity Ore (“Long John”) as a major Mcguffin in the setting.  The idea of having a harvested matter that can be used to grant relative immortality is certainly something that will keep people interested, and having enough of it outside of the system will do more than turn heads.

I don’t have a strong “team” vibe from this, despite it being a Cyberpunk campaign, so I’m going to give players free rein to tell me what they want out of the setting by opening any concept for consideration.  I’m willing to run character stories, in case someone plays something that doesn’t really go out an adventure much, but I can also run a mystery yarn in case someone decides to go play a detective, or a cop.

So, back-stabbing and intrigue in the boardrooms of mega-corporations?  Sure.  A fast-paced running gunfight in the myriad twists and turns in a gigantic floating squatter colony made up of smaller boats nailed together?  Why not?  Hold a concert that entrances both humans and uplifted dolphins and orcas?  I can run that.  This campaign is going to be sort of a mirror and a sandbox.  The players give me something, and I’ll make their character’s lives interesting.

[How do I Sci-Fi?] #2 Blue Planet

Blue Planet has always been an intriguing game with a unique setting that has yet been emulated in any other print rpg product to my knowledge.  Taking place in a time when mankind has well and truly screwed up Earth, humanity finds a wormhole that leads them to the distant planet of Poseidon.  Capable of sustaining human life, a rush of colonists and corporations migrate to the new planet in hopes of taking advantage of the new world and staking a claim on it’s rich natural resources.  As the book itself says:

Blue Planet is a compelling journey into humanity’s dark future on a distant planet where life is hard and dying is easy. A world where GEO Marshals enforce the peace and wired mercs patrol deep waters in deadly fighter subs. A place where corporate greed and human desperation ravage an alien ecology, threatening to plunge humanity into a war of survival with an ancient legacy.

The game has also been described as a game of Waterpunk, and I can’t really argue against that.  The science revolves around cybernetics and genetic modifications to help people live in a planet that is composed of mostly water, and corporations have all manner of subs and weapons to fight for and defend their own claims.

However another way to look at it is that it’s a Water-Space-Western.  I know that sounds awkward, but that single concept suddenly breathes new life to this game.  Much like the Frontier, the colonists are carving out their lives in a planet where there is no completely centralized law just yet.  There are threats from both within and without.

Stop! Or my Orca will shoot!

Campaign Concept:

They say that Posiedon is the planet of second chances.  People who decided to take that one big risk to scrap whatever it is they had and knew on Earth, and start over.  Whether its from bad debts, bad memories or a chance to make it big, all of you signed up to make the jump knowing it was a gamble.

But second chances aren’t always free.

In your case, you people are an investment.  MY investment.  I picked each and every one of you for your talents.  I didn’t ship all of you past the wormhole to this planet just out of the goodness of my own heart.  But don’t worry, I’ve got it all planned out.

Poseidon’s a planet ripe for the picking.  With only the Incorporate Private Security in our way, this is our chance to take back everything we’ve lost and still have some left over to spend like kings.  Technology, resources, Long John… it’s all there, and with my connections, every job will be a winner.

So get up, get dressed, and go outside and smell the magic.  It’s time to make some money.

Themes: Everyone’s got an angle, Second chances, Freedom from authority
Character Concepts: Ex-Convict, Bounty Hunter, Hacker, Researcher, Scientist, Journalist, Cop, Grifter, Bureaucrat.

Of course the pitch isn’t the end-all-and-be-all of the game.  Taking on jobs for your employer is the start, but the game eventually breaks down to various character arcs that deal with whatever issues the characters had when they left Earth and took the devil’s bargain.

This campaign starts off with the Waterpunk Wild West Heist angle but can adapt to a more freeform situation, especially if the characters pay off their debts, and decide to cash in an stake their claims out in Poseidon by themselves.

Add rival mercenary companies, security teams, ecoterrorists, and other malcontents of the planet to keep things snappy and fast paced.


Again, old trick, different setting.  However, I have to ask myself if I’m not just tricking myself by applying modern / pulp genres with a coat of chrome and calling it sci-fi.  Would you guys play in this campaign?

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