|"Sweet Chariot 2nd Edition" is a self-contained StarCluster 2
RPG game. Sweet Chariot is set on the world Chariot, where most of
the atmosphere is a deadly narcotic and the people live only on the tops
The oldest Diasporan-settled world in StarCluster, Chariot was colonized when treachery was overcome by determination. Working within the limits of a hostile world, the Charioteers slowly overcame the natural obstacles in their path, and their culture now is based on steam and natural nuclear fission. The many scattered nations of Chariot are united only by the steam dirigibles that fly over the deadly Deathlands for trade and conquest.
Sweet Chariot is a single book containing everything needed to run a campaign on Chariot, and is interoperable with all StarCluster products.
Sweet Chariot 2nd Edition uses the StarCluster/StarPool dice pool system also used in Blood Games II. You can use Sweet Chariot 2nd Edition with the StarCluster 2 percentile system as well, if you prefer. We felt that the StarPool version gave a more "pulpy" feel to the game.
"...a world that backslid into primitivism with anachronistic retro-tech and more cultures offering potential clashes of ideologies than a rabid fan boy can shake a toy katana at!"
"le nombre impressionnant de cultures et de régions différentes (dix-neuf au total), ayant toutes leurs caractéristiques propres, leurs spécificités en terme de jeu et d'histoire, offrent un vaste champ d'action. Cette multiplicité des cultures et des civilisations se partageant le monde donnent de bonnes raisons à tout types de recherches, d'enquêtes, dans un univers aux technologies pas forcément très développées, le moteur à explosion étant l'un des niveaux de techno le plus élevé."
"Le texte est bien écrit et agréable à lire. Chaque petite nation a connu ses prises de pouvoir, ses putsch et ses révolutions. La religion y est souvent importante mais les "catholicismes" ne reconnaissent pas toutes le même pape (vu l'éclatement). Il y a des complots, des rebelles, des factions politiques, de la contrebande... C'est un peu comme si on se déplaçait en dirigeable d'une Uchronie à l'autre."
5 stars (of 5)
"A crunchy, dice-oriented system is married to a setting with a great deal of roleplaying potential, while adventurers on Chariot are as likely to ride horseback as to take a dirigible or a steam locomotive to their destinations. The contrasts arent always perfect, but they do make for a fresh and surprising SF gaming experience that can honestly be said to be different from anything else on the market."
Click on the image to purchase the Sweet Chariot 2 PDF from RPGnow.com. 313 pages, 11 MB
Click on the image to purchase the Sweet Chariot 2 print book from Lulu.com. 313 pages, $27.04 US
Click on the image to the left to view a three page PDF sample from Sweet Chariot. This is the nation of Kukulkan - a NeoMayan culture. Pyramids, Sacrifices, Public bloodletting, and Steam. What could be more fun?
Click on the image to the left to download a free 1 page pdf containing 3 new professions for Sweet Chariot.
Click on the image to the left to download a free 5 page pdf of the Sweet Chariot character sheet.
Click on the image to the left to read the fascinating adventures of the Airship "Higher Aspirations", the game stories of Greg's playtest group
|"Get High":||Activity associated with flying, or flying itself... especially if you are fond of it. Ex: "The crew and I are getting high this evening."||"Loading Antifreeze":||Consumption of alchohol during high altitude to stay warm, not advisable. Ex: "The damm gunner was caught loading antifreeze last night!"|
|"Inflight Show":||Nonviolent, but memorable event during a flight. "That storm was a real inflight show."||"Monitor":||Military slang for a blimp or zeppelin that sacrifices mobility for firepower.|
|"Gnats":||Combat gliders assigned to protect a large airship or colony||"Die Hard":||Doing something REAL stupid that carries a major risk... but not getting killed (yet). Ex: "He brought a loaded gun near the lift bag?, man he wanted to die hard!"|
|"Broodmare":||Deragatory term used by independent women for women who choose a life as wife and mother (replaces "Bitch").||"Extra Ballast":||In men, massive beer gut. In women pregnancy.|
|"Beyonder":||Minor deragatory term for an offworlder.||"Genetwist":||Deragatory term for a mutation.|
|"Sleepytime Operation":||Any activity (in particular military or illegal) that occurs in the nightside of Chariot.|
|When is Sweet Chariot 2nd Edition being released?||It was released on January 1, 2008.|
|Is it going to be available in print or in PDF format?||It's available in Print and PDF.|
|This is the same StarCluster RPG system you have available now, correct?||Well, not exactly. The characters are usable in any StarCluster game, but the new edition uses a d20 dicepool task resolution mechanic called StarPool. The new system is very compatible with the old, but pulpier, and more suited to Sweet Chariot.|
|Do I need the core rules to play this game?||No, everything required for play is included except the dice. Using the core rules gives you additional employments and allows creation of off-worlders and aliens, but is purely optional.|
|Are characters randomly generated or created without dice?||There are random and non-random character generation methods. Either one or both may be used as you see fit.|
|Is it a Steampunk game?||Not really. It is a Steam tech game. It is set on a world where
the highest level of technology is steam, but that world - Chariot - is
itself set in a star system which includes worlds of the highest technological
levels. The steam technology used is not of the "wierd science" variety
common in "steampunk" games.
Chariot is a world with a large population and limited technolgy, and very little habitable land. As such, human life is cheap, and this leads to several sometimes bruatal societies. In this sense it *is* a "steampunk" game.
|You say the air is narcotic. What does that mean? Why are people forced to live on the mountain tops?||The air is mostly argon, and very dense. The atmospheric pressure at 2000 meters (6562 feet) altitude is around 3 times that of Earth. Below this point, the pressure makes argon a narcotic. People and mammals breathing the air will become intoxicated, eventually passing out and dying. Above this altitude, it is possible to live.|
|What do you mean by "natural nuclear fission"?||Chariot is very dense, having more than it's share of heavy metals, including radioactives. The background radiation levels are quite high, and in some places the rock contains enough uranium to create a natural self-sustaining nuclear reaction. These places are mined, and the uranium rich ore used to heat water into steam, which is then used normally.|
|High levels of radiation, you say? So there are weird mutants, like mutant crabgrass or feathered blue kangaroos?||There are mutants, but the mutations are more along the lines of a double set of teeth, or hairlessness, or an unborn twin rather than mutant crabgrass.|
|Why would anyone want to settle on this planet?||There was no real choice. The colony ship was heavily damaged when it suffered an attempted hijacking en route, and the landers were destroyed. Improvised glider-landers were put together, but they were far too risky to use except on a planet with a dense enough atmosphere to generate enough lift to carry them, and the only world which qualified was Chariot.|
|Haven't they had enough time to bring their technological level higher than steam?||There were a lot of people landed from the ship, and most of the machinery was destroyed during the attempted hijacking. The population grew so quickly that the governments of the countries of Chariot were continually hard pressed just to feed them. The mountains were barren, and not really suitible for agriculture. The population pressure soaked up the available resources with little left over for non-food related technology. This has drastically slowed the growth of the technological infrastructure.|
|If the mountains are so barren, how can they support such a high population?||The nations send Deathlands Diver cars (pressurized steam powered vehicles) down into the Deathlands (the lands under too high an argon pressure) to dig up soil and bring it up to the mountaintops, or sometimes to sow and harvest crops right there in the Deathlands. The soil is built up into intensively farmed terraces on the mountainside or spread over plateaus and flat areas. Deathlands Divers are selected from those with a naturally high tolerance for Argon Narcosis. They also perform salvage and rescue operations, and they all search for bits of old high tech broken off from the colony ship.|
|What does Chariot offer in the way of prosthetics, I assume nothing at the level of the Cluster... but maybe a bit above a peg leg and a hook correct (never know when you may need to sneak a shotgun around in a trick leg or something).||Chariot can offer fairly lifelike strap-on wooden legs with hinged ankles (and knees if necessary) with springed heels. Hands would be carved wood also, with a leather 'glove' covering and possibly spring loaded thumbs. The fingers would be permanently bent. Lifelike glass eyes are also available. Poor people would, of course have to make do with peg legs, crutches, hooks, and eyepatches, as this kind of prosthetic work is handcrafted and expensive.|
|Does anybody use carrier birds as couriers? It just hit me that it
A) A fairly cheep means of transporting messages airship to airship.
B) Perhaps a useful means of transporting messages across nations (some migratory birds have astounding stamina and there is always occasional peaks to rest on.
C) Fairly covert, and if I'm not mistaken it's not easy to read the thoughts of a bird which complicates telepathy.
|A) Fairly cheap, But not reliable. Pigeons locate their *home* from
most anywhere, but they can't find a mobile location, and they can't find
an arbitrary fixed location. So pigeons are very reliable communicating
from an airship to a base, but not from a base to an airship or an airship
to another airship. My older brother raised pigeons, and I'm quite familiar
with them. Their homing abilities are amazing.
B) Yes, if they don't fly too low and don't get caught in a storm. There are no predatory birds on Chariot, so that at least is safe. I would think so long as proper precautions (multiple redundancy, basically) are taken it could be fairly reliable.
C) Quite. No way of telling a message carrying bird from a casual passerby bird without seeing the message band on its leg.
|How common is offworlder influence on Chariot? I want to know if there is some manner of offworld trade missions, or something obvious.||Three nations have treaties of trade and friendship with other planets: Spenceria (with Glorianna), Fukien (with Warren), and Washington (with Fiske). In these nations, offworlder influence will be more common, though still rare - basically the availablity of offworld merchandise at scandalous prices and the occasional tourist and trader from offworld. These nations will also have embassies from their respective offworld trading partners in their capital cities, and consulates at their spaceport. The spaceports would be Type A - cleared, paved fields with supplies of imported M/AM fuel and possibly liquid hydrogen for the occasional fusion vessel. In these nations merchandise from offworld is readily available, but very expensive - about 100 times list price. Elsewhere on Chariot, merchandise from offworld would be scanty and even more expensive.|
|What methods of population control is available on Chariot (is there effective birth control available to the general populance)?||Well, besides abstinence, there are sheep-gut condoms available. They do have a higher failure rate than modern condoms, but in comparison with nothing, they are quite effective. There are no synthesized chemical birth contol methods available.|
|Specifically, how are the following groups treated...
A) Mutants: Typically not a good choice in any society, however the people of Chariot seem aware of the brutal nature of their world and accept it's unpleasentries. So I'm wondering if they accept mutants as it's not really their fault all things considered...
B) Mancatchers and Outlaws: Say an outlaw flees one nation and holes up in another... and does nothing to offend anyone there (assume fairly neutral relations between said nations at the moment...). Is there any extradition/sanction laws that would inhibit efforts to bring the offender to justice?
C) Descendants of the Hijackers: Seem to have faired somewhat well, all things considered. Does the rest of the colony choose to let bygones be bygones, or is it a bad idea to admit you descended from the Hijackers in any city but your own?
D) Deathland Divers: Heroic he-men (it does take a lot of stamina to pull this off), or worker-class crazies (it's not like the region they are heading into is in any way safe).
E) Offworlders: Are there any visitors on Chariot? Any technology exchange? And are there any alien visitors who may have their own intentions? (your average Guaru for example might appreciate a little radiation-induced sterilization).
|A) Given the frequency of mutation, they are accepted fairly well,
but they are encouraged to "keep with their own kind". The mutations occur
most often in the lower classes, so the "mutant Urchin" is somewhat self-reinforcing
as a popular stereotype, no matter that the medical opinion is that this
is a consequence of their environment, and not an inherent genetic flaw.
B) It entirely depends on the particular governments involved. Generally speaking, it is in most governments favor to allow mutual extradition, but some reasons (The theocratic nature of Wallacia, the quasi pariah status of the Hijacker states, etc.) weigh more than mere utility, and in any case, the nations are forever feuding amongst themselves. If there are no extradition treaties, a mancatcher could still get his criminal, but not by any legal means.
C) In general, people of the Crew states hate the people of the Hijacker states with an unremitting passion, and will not deal with them in any way shape or form. The Passenger states are less hostile to Hijacker states, but not generally speaking friendly. The Hijacker states generally only trade with each other and with certain Passenger states. Of course, Washington is a Hijacker state, and trades with Fiske.
D) Something of both. It pays well for an unskilled job, and offers a path upward to ambitious Divers. The fabulous bonuses paid for pieces of old technology is a huge lure, but it takes a certain disregard for one's own safety to do this kind of work. :D
E) There are visitors indeed, particularly to the three nations with extra-planetary trade treaties: Spenceria with Glorianna, Fukien with Warren, and Fiske with Washington. Some visitors go further afield than that, although few care to live on Chariot. Aliens are not at all common. The only aliens with a presence in the System are the Kiskit, who have rather hostile relations with humanity. Both Kiskit worlds are at Tech Level 8, which means they use fission induced fusion weapons. As radioactives are very scarce in the Gloria system outside of Chariot, there are persisitent rumors that they get their fissionables through illicit means from Chariot. Curious Kertu-Drua and Ven der Opt will occasionally wander in, and other aliens somewhat less frequently. It's a long way for a Guaru to come for a bit of hard radiation, though! :D
|Chariot is a very geologically active planet, how often do the locals
face clouds of ash raining down on their settlements? Or worse, run into
airborne clouds of the stuff while traveling? The frequent volcanoes would
make one think it's a common issue, however it's important to remember
that a LOT of space on Chariot is not used by humans.
We've come up with the following issues so far...
1) It would not be fun to run into an ash cloud in a blimp or zeppelin... the craft would probably survive the experience but their could be damage to the rudders or engines (not to mention washing the junk off). On the good side it's a great GM plot device, a way to divert characters (or strand them for a brief time) for an adventure. It can also be a good plot device unto itself, like a navy delayed or changing it's course to avoid a typhoon... only in the air.
2) And it would probably not be welcome for Deathlands divers as well. Although their equipment would probably fair far better than average (it is designed for high-pressure after all), it would make visibility even worse.
3) But on the flip side, the stuff isn't bad for future crop growing... if nothing else a good reason for the amount of viable cropland in the habitable regions.
What do you think, any other important issues on ash?
|One thing to remember is that while there are a large number of volcanoes
on Chariot, not all of them are recently active, and not all of the recently
active ones are continuous. Volcanoes like Mona Loa which basically never
stop bubbling are actually rather rare. Most volcanoes are intermittent
erupters. That said, you have pointed out 3 major points with volcanoes.
1) Yes indeed! Ash buildup can be a considerable danger to airships, and if the ash is still hot it can burn right through the skin of the ship and/or gas bags. The buildup on top of the ship would require someone to periodically knock it off, otherwise the ship might begin losing altitude because of excess weight.
2) Definitely. And driving in ash that was too deep would be dangerous. Not a lot of friction there for steering or movement.
3) That was indeed factored into the ability to live in the habitable areas. The fertility of volcanic ash is vital for the farmers.
Railroads can be buried under ash, as can villages.
You can see the need for Vulcanic Engineering and prediction! :D
|One of the great things about Chariot is it's proximity to the uber-tech
civilization of the Starcluster, it allows you to occasionally bring in
new tech to "spice up" an adventure (or be the focus OF an adventure).
In addition, while resourceful the locals might not recognize the use of
a high-tech item in their midst And of course you don't need to have an
overpowered opponent to pull it off, someone like Cyrano Jones or Harvey
Mudd could be a deadly opponent with few scruples and high technology (actually
pulled off 3 good adventures with such a trader, no real advanced tech
either, just lightweight blimp materials, covertly applied chemical contraceptives,
and radioactive smuggling). So with this in mind I have 2 questions...
1) Is there any global effort among the people of Chariot to regulate the distribution of a technology that might trigger a massive shift in their economy and social structure (say for example, the importing of robots to replace the Deathlands Diver profession).
2) For that matter, is there any effort on the part of the Starcluster government to watchdog what may arrive on Chariot to prevent a potential disaster... including the occasional visit from an agent to recover/destroy a dangerous item?
|In StarCluster, there is a 3-fold division of worlds by tech level.
Primitive worlds (TL 0-4) are protected. Contact and trade are strictly controlled by specialist teams in order to not destroy a unique culture. With Primitive worlds, the burden of protection is on the more advanced culture, and thus the Primitive world knows nothing of the outside. The obvious exception is, of course, Stareve, whose inhabitants turned their back on high technology deliberately.
Advanced worlds (TL 8+) are totally open.
Backward worlds (TL 5-7) are open. These cultures are deemed sufficiently robust as to not need coddling. The burden of protection is on the world (or part of the world) itself, rather than with its trading partner. If (for example) Washington wanted to import robots, then it would. The reasons it doesn't are several:
1: Cultures tend to be conservative.
Simple, cheap, low maintenance items are what would be imported.
LED flashlights with atomic batteries that last almost forever. Insulating
blankets. Synthetic chemicals. Solar powered calculators. Simple, foolproof
Thus the answers:
|I notice you have included detailed instructions on how to create your own Profession in the Sweet Chariot game book. How about creating your own Schooling? Or how about new skills?||Skills are very easy to create. Define the skill, and decide what the
base modifying attribute should be. That's basically it, as all skills
work the same way. The tough part is in defining your new skill.
As for schooling, that is more complex. In general, Secondary schools use a 1d10 roll (flat chance curve, where any given result is equally likely), and tend to be weighted towards attribute bonuses, whereas Colleges are 2d6 (bell chance curve, where the results of around 6-7 are most likely and results of 2 or 12 least likely) and are weighted heavily towards skills. With Colleges, set the larger skill jumps (+2 or possibly +3) at the extremes, and the most likely smaller skill jumps in the center in the range of 5-8.