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!

Meet the Planeteers: Jack Blacktail

"I swear, that Jack Blacktail is the most adorable killer in the galaxy." 

In 1978, a remarkable coincidence occurred. Within months of each other, two ray-gun wielding green anthropomorphic rabbits wearing red and yellow space suits simultaneously appeared in comic books: Bucky O'Hare and Jaxxon in the Marvel Star Wars comic.

I have always been fascinated that such a creative confluence could occur. Both creators (Larry Hama and Roy Thomas) were working in Marvel's New York office at the time and yet both of them claim that neither knew what the others were up to. Either way, these two lovable leporidae were a big influence on my childhood science-fiction tastes. And when I created Rayguns and Rocketships, I knew I had to include another raygun-wielding green rabbit. Thus, Jack Blacktail was born!

Concept design by Scott Rogers
3D model by Kaleb Rice
Color guide by Scott Rogers

Jack Blacktail is a lepine mercenary captain known for his bravado and daring escapes. He often leaps into action before he looks - but his ability with a neurolizer pistol allows him to shoot his way out of danger. His two captain card builds showcase Jack's quickness whether with his neurolizer pistol or his oversized feet. Hop to it: allows Jack to move over obstructing tokens and crew members and they do not count as spaces when moving. Which means blast tokens or blocking enemies are no obstacle for his quick-footed bunny! He's even more deadly with his Doubleshot ability. Once per turn, if Jack Blacktail makes a successful ranged attack, he may follow it up with a second ranged attack as a free action. This quick-shooting Captain can make short work of a crew or blast up the rayguns on an enemy ship in no time. These abilities coupled with his captain's health of 3 makes him a character to be reckoned with!

Stay tuned for more characters from Rayguns and Rocketships!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Meet the Planeteers: Jace Jett

"You want something done right, you gotta do it yourself."

Two parts Flash Gordon and one part Zapp Brannigan (or is that the other way around?) Jace Jett is the hero the Rayguns and Rocketships galaxy needs, but not necessarily the one it deserves (or is that the other way around too?). 

Jace is definition of a classic space hero: a two-fisted, square-jawed, circuit-sword swinging, neurolizer pistol-blasting son-of-a-gun. He is also possibly the worst leader in the galaxy but he is very good at what he does, which is fighting.

His years of defeating space villains and protecting the weak has made him an insufferable boor, one that does not play well with others. That's OK, because while Jace charges off against the enemy, his crew is happy to loaf about on the ship.
Character design by Scott Rogers
3D model by Kaleb Rice
Color guide by Scott Rogers
Art by Ron Salas
Prima Donna that he is, Jace Jett has to be different than everyone else, starting with his unique ability Not Much of a Captain. This replaces the Captain ability that most other Captains have. At the start of the crew action phase, take 1 action token for each crew member that doesn't move or attack this turn. Jace may only use the tokens from this pool to make actions. This means the less crew members who take their movement or attack actions, the more actions Jace gathers for himself. If his entire crew loafs around for three turns, a player can bank up to a whopping 18 action points! That's more than enough to run around the galaxy and back! However, Jace may only use these action tokens for himself and you've got to spend them before the round is over otherwise they go away.

Jace's other abilities are also impressive such as Circuit Swordmaster: lets the player roll 2d8 when making a melee attack. They can choose either of the two numbers as the result. This makes Jace an extremely formidable melee attacker but this ability cannot be used for defense. Not as impressive is Used to Working Alone: If there are no adjacent friendly crew members to Jace, he may re-roll one dice roll a turn. How this guy gets hired as a Mercenary Captain, nobody knows!
Despite his failings as a human being, Jace Jett is still a great character to play in Rayguns and Rocketships!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Spotlight on Captain cards: Fanglaird Varnus

"You can't make a space game without lizard men"

When it came to designing the Planeteer factions for Rayguns and Rocketships, I knew that one of them had to be a race of lizard-men. Some of my favorite creatures in science-fiction were lizard-men: The bounty hunter Bossk, The Gorn, the Zorgons from Zathura. But unlike these classic creatures who were often represented as uncivilized troglodytes, I wanted the Zard to be cultured, from a race who had worked hard to overcome their barbaric past. The Zard have emerged as a major force in the post-Imperial galaxy and they are attempting to expand throughout the stars.
Concept design by Scott Rogers
3D model by Simon Grell
Color guide by Scott Rogers
Fanglaird Varnus is a respected Zardian leader who leads his Planeteer crew to expand the Zard’s claim on the war-torn galaxy. A "Fanglaird" is one of the highest title in Zard society - one who is considered the epitome of manners, charm and skill with a dueling blade. Varnus is an expert duelist and has defended his honor dozens of times. Despite his elegance demeanor, the Fanglaird will not hesitate to resort to the ancient Zardian custom of cannibalism, if required to keep his crew under control.  

The Fanglaird's "builds" reflect two of the Zard's deadlier abilities: Lizardy Fast allows the Fanglaird to dash out of the way up to 2 spaces after failing a melee attack roll. Tail Strike lets the Fanglaird make a melee attack on an enemy 2 with his tail up to spaces away!

The Fanglaird is an awesome opponent and one that is great fun to play in Rayguns and Rocketships!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Spotlight on Captain Cards: Jessie Novastar

"Don't tell me you boys are afraid of a few death rays?"

I originally designed a male captain character for the Astro-Rangers but my daughter reminded me that "representation is important". Fortunately, there has been a long tradition of strong female characters in space opera to draw inspiration from - from Dale Arden and Wilma Deering to Padme Amidala and Honor Harrington.
Concept art by Scott Rogers
3D model by Simon Grell
Color guide by Scott Rogers
The heroic captain of the Astro-Rangers is Jessie Novastar. She is a daring pilot, whether at the controls of a rocketship or navigating in space on her jetpack. Jessie inspires fierce loyalty in her Astro-Ranger crew despite the many close calls they've had thanks to her devil-may-care attitude. While sometimes impulsive and reckless, Jessie still manages to come out ahead as she defends the galaxy against the space pirates, criminals and warlords.

Jessie is the daughter of space heroes “Rock” Novastar and Jenny Rogers. She lives in the shadow of her parent's legendary deeds and while she feels she has a lot to prove, she fortunately has inherited her father's flying talent and her mother's skill with a neurolizer pistol. Her half-sister is the Princess Persevone of Vaporia, with whom she has a complicated relationship.

Jessie's captain card highlights the two different aspects of her personality: pilot and leader. One "build" side of the card features the ability Ace Pilot: As long as Jessie is in the cockpit, the rocketship can only be hit on the roll of a 7-8. Her leadership skills are showcased with Inspiring Command: Any adjacent friendly crew members get +1 to their melee combat rolls. Whether alone in the cockpit or leading the Astro-Rangers, Jessie is a great captain to play!

Stay tuned as we spotlight more content from Rayguns and Rocketships!