Sunday, September 17, 2017

Meet the Planeteers: Professor Vulkov

 "That pain you are experiencing? That pain is called science."

Professor Vulkov is, of course, based on one the most loved archetypes found in pulp science-fiction:  the mad scientist. I started thinking about the Ur-character of this archetype: Professor Zarkov from Flash Gordon.
Hans Zarkov from Flash Gordon

Thinking about Zarkov made me think more about modern mad scientists from fiction - including one from one of my favorite video games - the Medic from Team Fortress 2. 

Professor Vulkov's healing ray was inspired by the medic's healing gun but I already felt like there were plenty of male characters in the game. The medic's glasses reminded me of another character...

...The Baroness from GI Joe. But I also wanted players to underestimate the Professor when they saw her miniatures on the table. So instead I looked to another video game for inspiration: Space Channel 5.

All of these elements combined into a strangely compelling mix which resulted in the following concept art:

Concept art by Scott Rogers
3D model by Kaleb Rice

As a young girl, Professor Vulkov graduated at the top of her class from the Imperial Science Academy when she accidentally disintegrated her fellow classmates during final exams. This act earned her the position of chief inventor at the Voight Neurolizer Company where she spent many years developing and improving weaponry for the Lord High Master Mizra Khan.

When Mizra Khan's empire collapsed after the Starbreaker incident, Professor Vulkov decided to diversify her allegiances and become a mercenary captain. She finds that the frequent battles between the Planeteer factions gives her ample opportunities to field-test her latest inventions.

Professor Vulkov's inventiveness can be felt in many ways on her captain card. Her Healing Ray attack reads: This attack has a range of 4. If Prof. Vulkov makes a successful ranged attack, she may remove 1 blast token from the target instead of dealing damage. While Tricksy allows her to spend 3 action tokens to replace the currently played command card with one from your hand. Discard the first card.

You'll find that Professor Vulkov is the perfect leader for your Planeteer faction if you want to cause a little trouble in the name of science!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Meet the Planeteers: Krith Al Marl

"He said nothing as he raised his gauntlet and gunned down every Planeteer on the rocketship."

Out of all of the characters created for Rayguns and Rocketships, Krith Al Marl is the oldest I have ever created. He was a character that I first drew when I was creating an unpublished a science-fiction comic. Sadly, no art from the original comic longer exists.

Krith Al Marl is based on two huge influences from my teenage years. The first was from the Empire Strikes Back sketchbook that I got for my birthday in 1980, There I was re-introduced to the Mandlorean Super-Commando named Boba Fett. 

By that point, I already owned the Kenner mail-away action figure of Boba Fett. I still remember gasping in surprise as my older brother peeled away the sticker on the back of the card, revealing Boba Fett's rocket-launching ability. But learning that Fett's armor also opened up to reveal hidden weapons kickstarted my imagination. I love Boba Fett as seen in the movies, but man-oh-man, he could have been so much cooler if he had just gotten a chance to use that hidden arsenal.

The other huge inspiration was Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer. In the early 80's I was in a D&D fueled frenzy. I bought Robert E. Howard books like they were going out of style. I consumed Ralph Bakshi's Lord of the Rings movie and owned the (now-stupid expensive) Ringwraith action figure (which I sadly no longer own). I adore the visual of a mysterious warrior with burning red eyes. All my geeky teenage passions were combined into to create this mysterious warrior from long-dead planet Byss.

Concept art by Scott Rogers
3D model by Simon Grell
Color guide by Scott Rogers
The centurions of Byss were once the most feared warriors in the galaxy. Known by their distinctive weapon-studded armor, the Byssians were hunted down and exterminated by Mizra Khan’s Imperial Army. Only one Byss Centurion survives – Krith Al Marl – a mysterious figure who now works as a captain for the highest bidder. In the ancient Byssian language, "Krith Al Marl" translates to "The Dragon of  Destruction" There are very few Planeteers that cross this devastating warrior's path and live to tell the tale.
Krith Al Marl's deadliness is reveal in Hidden Weapons: Krith Al Marl may re-roll a ranged or melee combat roll once per turn. The Omni-targeting System housed in his helmet allows him to use the following ability: Once per game, if Krith makes a successful ranged combat attack, he may deal 1 damage to all crew members up to 2 spaces away. You can wipe out an entire crew of enemy Planeteers if you play this ability at the right time! Krith Al Marl might be the deadliest character in the game!

Keep checking back for more great characters from Rayguns and Rocketships!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Meet the Planeteers: Blaze Meridian

"A pretty smile will get you pretty far.
A pretty smile and two neurolizer pistols will get you much further."

Not all of Rayguns and Rocketships' influences are from the 1930's. The mercenary captain Blaze Meridian is inspired by two female heroes from (relatively) more modern science-fiction adventures - the duel-wielding Trinity from the 1999 movie The Matrix and space hero Kimberly from the 1984 arcade game Space Ace. Blaze has Kimmy's pluck and Trinity's "screw-you" attitude!
Concept design by Scott Rogers
Inspirational poses

3D model by Kaleb Rice
Color guide by Scott Rogers
Blaze Meridian is a sass-talking, trench coat wearing bad-ass mercenary captain. She refuses to carry a circuit sword, preferring to duel-wield neurolizer pistols instead. Once an Astro-Ranger, Blaze left the Planeteer faction after an argument with Jesse Novastar. Since then, Blaze has since become a mercenary-for-hire, with the emphasis on mercenary. While an excellent fighter, she has no real loyalty for her crew and will abandon them just as easily as she will lead them to victory.

Blaze is an interesting character. She does not ever perform a melee attack. Her signature move is Duel-Wield: where Blaze can make a ranged combat attack at two adjacent targets for the cost of 1 action token. While an excellent shot, if things go back, Blaze only looks out for herself. Only in it for the Money: reads permanently remove Blaze Meridian from the game to gain 6 action token immediately. No victory points are awarded for removing Blaze Meridian this way. "Should I stay or should I go" is the theme song to play when playing Blaze Meridian!

Stay tuned for more characters from Rayguns and Rocketships!