Monday, July 01, 2013

Fun with Imirrhos

Imirrhos is the local name for Antares IX, setting of the TSR Minigame Revolt on Antares.

I adore this game, even though I don't play it too much.  The map and chits are too small for a ham-handed oaf like me. Some days I dream of doing up a spectacular 'big board' version of this game, the way you see some games at conventions.  I got a buddy who does Kingmaker at cons on a 4' by 8' board with miniatures instead of chits.  Something like that.

Anyway, there are a lot of good reasons for me to like Revolt on Antares, such as:
  • Written by Tom Moldvay, my favorite guy from back in the day.  You probably know him as the editor of the '81 Basic D&D rules or author of Lords of Creation, a whacky multigenre RPG from Avalon Hill.
  • Clearly a Star Wars ripoff game.  Star Wars ripoff boardgames generally came in three varieties back then: strategic galaxy rebellion simulators (SPI's Freedom in the Galaxy, for instance), spaceship dogfight games (like another TSR minigame, Attack Force) or planetary warfare operations, which is what we have here.
  • Art by many of the same guys who illustrated the best D&D products of the time such as Jeff Dee, Bill Willingham, and Erol friggin' Otus.  Check out this panoramic Otus battle tableau: 

From left to right we have Lyra Starfire in her airjet, the androids of the Phantom Regiment phasing in from another dimension, Magron the Invincible in his Silakkan lasertank, Doctor Death with his zombie soldiers and space paratroopers!
  • As you can see from that illo, the game maintains the spirit of Star Wars and its creator's deep connection to D&D style adventure by focusing heavily on individual characters using their special abilities to turn the tide of the battle.
  • For a minigame, there's a lot of play in this tiny box.  You get the three scenarios: your basic Throw Off the Yoke of the Imperial Oppressors deal as implied by the name of the game, the Beat Back the Alien Invaders (featuring Magron up there and his lasertanks in a starring role), and the multi-players 'Power Politics on Imirrhos'.  Good stuff.
  • Cute little alien artifacts rules, including a big bomb called the Devastator that utterly ruins the map hex it is used in and the six adjacent ones.
  • Speaking of the map, I friggin' love the colorful hexmap of the planet.  Dig it:

I know I'm not the only person who has considered setting some sort of campaign on Antares IX.  Most folks who talk about that discuss using the map and background for some sort of sci-fi game.  Me, I lean towards a science fantasy Dungeons & Dragons.  Set the planet in Tom Moldvay's Imperial Terra setting (a 2-page write-up in the back of Lords of Creation) and make Imirrhos one of the few planets in an otherwise sci-fi galaxy where magic actually works for some dang reason.  The local people are medieval tech, except the natives on the brown hex reservations (they're stone agey), meanwhile only the ruling classes having access to high tech stuff from offworld, thanks to a briskexport trade in various commodities.

Here's the Traveller style Universal World Profile for my idea of Imirrhos:

C386764-3, Red Zone, Agricultural, Rich, Gas Giant

For the non-Travnerd I'll break it down a bit: 
  • C-class starport (as in average, no big whoop), located at the brown hex with the starburst & spaceship icon.
  • Size 3, roughly the same ballpark as Mecury.
  • Dense (class 8) atmosphere, but probably class 9 (dense, tainted) around some industrial areas due to lack of regulation.  I chose the smallest (therefore typically lowest gravity) planet that can support a dense atmosphere, because I wanted the smallest planet that could plausibly support large flying creatures. (Cf. candidates for the Droyne homeworld)
  • Class 6 hydrosphere means that 60% of the planet is covered by water (by counting hexes and simple arithmetic I arrived at ~56%).
  • Population class 7 means 10 to 100 million people.  I want lots of empty hinterlands.  By comparison 12th century England probably had 2-3 million inhabitants, of which probably only 500,000 or so lived in parts depicted in my Wessex campaign map.
  • Government class 6, captive government.  At least until the Imperials are kicked out.  Then it would revert probably to class 7, balkanized.
  • Law level 4 - D&D types weapons are unregulated, as are non-auto slugthrowers and energy pistols.  PCs carrying any heavier stuff (grenade lauchers, machine guns, phaser rifles, etc.) are doubtless committing some sort of additional felony on top of their usual crimes.
  • Tech class 3 - pre-Industrial Revolution.
  • Red Zone - Following Marc Miller's protocol when he did the write-up for Trav stats for Thieves' World, Imirrhos is a restricted world due to the crazy magic shit going down around here.  Visitors better have some sort of impressive looking credentials if they want to avoid arrest.
  • Agricultural, Rich - trade classifications based upon the fact that Imirrhos is a rather nice little green planet
  • Gas Giant - I want a big ringed gas giant in the background of all the outdoor shot.  Blame the ending of The Quiet Earth.
Have you seen this awesome breakdown of a worldmaking technique based upon plate techtonics?  You should totally check it out.  That doesn't have anything to do directly with Imirrhos, but I followed up on that guy's recommendation for the program G.Projector.  It allows you to take your rectangular planet maps and turn them into a more proper projection.  Like this:

That's an Equirectangular projection, one of the less interesting options (and one I could have approximated easily by stretching the original image a bit).  But having a proper projection means I can directly compare a Size 3 Imirrhos to the surface of the Earth, like so:

Using Photoshop, I turned down the opacity on the Imirrhos layer.  Now without doing any math I can see that the larger continent on Imirrhos is roughly the same size as Africa.  That's good to know.  The other two continents look vaguely Australianish in size.  For further comparison's, somebody else wanted to see the surface of the Moon the same way:
Using G. Projector and another porjection scheme, I was able to get a more round planety-looking pic of Imirrhos.  I made several of these, rotating 5 degrees each iteration.  Then using I strung together an animated gif of Imirrhos spinning on its axis.

I didn't do a complete Imirrhosian day because the side of the planet with the map edges and the numbering looks pretty cruddy.  Still, I dig the overall effect.

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