A downloadable RPG

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The future of humanity was the spitter craft. It took us to distant stars, flung us out into the starry nothing. We formed the Panhuman Diaspora. We thought ourselves an evolved species.

We aren't.

Wars, greed, isolation, suffering; all of these still exist, and we the spitter crew exist for one reason only: to exploit it all. What will we do, out here in the blackness of space, just to turn a profit? Oh, don't worry. No-one's watching. Promise.

A NOCTURNE is a hard sci-fi RPG that casts the players as the crew of an interstellar spitter craft - a vast, weird, scarred old spaceship - and charges them with a simple task: make Profit by any means necessary. Will they be smugglers and thieves? Scavengers? Diplomats? Con artists? Or mere war-criminals, leaving nothing but dust in their wake? Will they let their stress and guilt consume them and their craft, or will they rise above it and retire to some peaceful world, rich as kings? Will they even survive 'til the next inhabited system?

You can purchase A NOCTURNE's current version below, or download the sheets for free if you just want to check it out! Updates to the game are ongoing, so keep your third eye peeled.

... See you amongst the haunted stars ...

Purchase

Buy Now15.00€ EUR or more

In order to download this RPG you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of 15.00€ EUR. You will get access to the following files:

A-Nocturne_v1-1.zip 56 MB

Download demo

Download
ANocturne_v1-1_sheets.pdf 8 MB

Development log

Comments

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Are there any character sheets for online play? If not a roll20 module then a spreadsheet?

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I still have a roll20 sheet from a few years ago that was developed during the Google+ days, but it's woefully out of date version-wise and now a little buggy after some updates to the roll20 API as far as I can tell. Also it requires a premium account 'cos it's literally just a bundle of code dropped into the custom sheet setup.

 I am however going to be doing a small update to A NOCTURNE soon to correct some spelling mistakes, rules inconsistencies, etc. that've been caught in testing and proofreading, and with that update I'm going to see if I can put together some handy Google Sheets, because I too am currently doing 100% of my gaming online and know how handy these things are :)

Great! Hoping to get a game started with my group soon and would be terribly grateful.

Hey! I doubt I'll have time to play it in the immediate future, but wanted to encourage you to keep going! Your touchstones match a whole bunch of my favourite media and RPG campaigns across many years. Keep it up!

This game looks very exciting! I've just done a first readthrough and I'm very interested. I did have one question though, the page on the Action Roll (p21) references a mechanic "Doing the Math" which I don't see discussed elsewhere in the game. How does this work?

Oop I found it! It's on a couple of the ship sheets. It's just not ctrl-f able

oooooooooh good catch! Doing the Math is actually... an ancient mechanic that's mostly been excised. I'd thought I'd scrubbed all reference to it from the book, like effacing the name of a hated pharaoh, but I guess I've still got some chiseling to do.

Ahh, that makes sense! The two places I found it were on the Empathy Scrubbers claims for the Dark Orb and Planet Splitter ships. 

But now that it looks like you keep an eye on the comments here, maybe I can ask another question? I notice the Craft has an upgrade Armour, which makes crew aboard take less damage when the ship takes harm. And I see that the craft sheets have room for harm to be put on them. But I don't see any description of how the craft takes harm, what the impacts of harming the craft are, or how harm is transferred from the craft to those aboard. Did I miss something?

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Yeah, a lot of the harm stuff as per the craft itself is very implied right now, i.e. you might take it as consequences for craft-related actions like getting a 1-3 or 4/5 on a craft maneuver action for instance. and then acting through the craft means you take the penalties related to that harm, sort of like when you act yourself with harm. And the idea was that, when the craft takes harm, the crew also takes some level of harm. S'pose it is something to elucidate on in future, and tbh I'm still in active playtest when it comes to a lot of these very specific bits and pieces.

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Still plugging away! Deep in the How To Play and GM advice mines right now, not to mention proofreading and some extra playtesting, but I'm aiming to have it out before the year is done at the very latest


EDIT: Also I must pick up Inhibitor Phase lol

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This may be my dream sci-fi RPG. Any plans to eventually release a physical version? I'd Kickstart it for sure.

No concrete plans right now, just because it is a rather complex affair compared to producing a digital product, but I'm not going to discount the possibility!

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Work is moving along on it, although slower than I'd like. I recently did a big once-over of all the playbooks and suchlike, and am currently in the process of writing up the GM and player advice sections. I'll then likely be working on adding some additional art, and proof-reading the hell out of it! Year's end release is looking somewhat unlikely at this point, but I'll likely be putting out a general progress update in December regardless.

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No plans on POD just yet, although I'd like to explore it in future once I have this release completed.

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Progress update should be coming soon! Things got very mixed around and pushed back thru January, but watch this space.

Hey Calum,  I'm getting ready to GM A Nocturne in a few weeks (I can't wait!) and I've come across a couple things.

First, a typo report:  p.54, In the book, The Pilot's Red Leader ability is mistakenly called Reflexes.

Now then, my questions are about cost and scale of war-shells and armatures.  I believe it says armatures cost 2+scale+edges-flaws Profit. 

Is that right? 

If so, is there a scale limit for armatures? 

And finally, what is the scale of a war-shell?

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Oh wow, good catch on Red Leader! I swear, I keep coming across typos, although I suppose it's inevitable when you end up writing a book this size.

Yep, the base cost of an armature is 2 Profit, plus Scale #, plus the number of edges, minus the number of flaws. I suppose there's no technical limit to the Scale of armatures rules-as-written at the moment, but my notional limit is essentially craft-scale, if you can muster that much Profit (and have the space within your existing craft to build such an armature, of course). This is definitely something I want to write into the book, or at least delineate my thinking on - remember, you're using the light-fab to build the armature, and the light-fab is embedded within the craft, so the craft's Scale itself limits the size of object you can print using it.

The scale of a war-shell is Scale 1 - remember, the maximum Scale of an object contained within another object is the Scale # of the other object -1, so things like war-shells, small fighters, etc. are generally going to be around Scale 1 so they can contain Scale 0 human meat-bags.

Hope that answers your questions, and good luck with the game! Let me know how it goes :)

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I'm working on it right now, as it happens! It's coming along well, although as you can imagine it's a lot of grunt work. Probably still a few months out at the earliest, but getting there.

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Hey I just bought the playest version when I probably really wanted to buy the v1.0. Is there a reason they are both on sale on the site without any cross posting? Are they the same product? If indeed v1.0 is more up to date, could you spot me a copy without it costing me another 15 Euro? Thanks! johnpowell6(at)gmail.com

Hey! Sorry for the late reply. So, if you purchased A NOCTURNE here, you should have access through itch to the current, most up to date version, v1.0. The itch page still has "play-test" in the URL simply because a lot of existing pages have linked to it and I don't want to break those links. As far as I'm aware, there shouldn't be two separate pages for the play-test and full version at the moment?

I'd like to say what I'm hoping for in the full version is some more gm flavor text and such to help bring this unique setting to life. Reading the Counting to Infinity post helps but itd be nice to see more of that in the book, especially since this leans less on established scifi tropes than most games

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Gonna be honest, I've mostly got my head down writing up the nuts and bolts chapters for all the basic mechanics at the moment, but I feel you! The game is definitely light on flavour text. I'm certainly going to be taking a look at this going forward.

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Hey Calum, so happy to see all the progress.  Any idea when you'll be offering print versions?

This game is super sweet. Filled with haunting writing and evocative art. The mechanics really support the tone and themes.

E.g. You can choose to have your character work on a long term project for a century while the rest of the crew sleeps off the trip between stars if you're willing to resist the psychological and physical harm.

Excellent work. I hope to see this in print someday.

This is such a great game! I wish I could find someone to play it with. 

Can you please continue development of this? It looks like a very interesting idea, and I would love to run it some time.

Thanks,

-Ducanishah

Development is continuing apace on the latest version!

Good to hear, and do you have any advice for someone planning on DMing a game of this?

Thanks,

-Ducanishah

I will say that the rules (and thus some of the GMing assumptions) are changing a little in the latest version, but core Apocalypse World et al.  guidelines apply to GMing, since that's my preferred style, what I'm aiming for with the game, and what the game its kind of based on (John Harper's Blades in the Dark) does best: 1) Start with a bang, but let things go where they'll go after that. 2) Fiction first! Let everything, including rolls, dangers, challenges, Scale, etc. flow from the conversation you and the rest of the players are having at the table. 3) Have some basic prep (a cluster ready to go, maybe with some ideas for dangers, opportunities, or factions jotted down), but don't go too far before play begins - you don't know where play will take you, so run with it! Check in with your prep after every session or couple of sessions to make sure you're keeping things straight or to embellish stuff/push the pieces around as needed. Don't spend too long on this. Roll dice to figure stuff out if needed. Rinse, repeat. 4) As always, be a fan of the player characters, and play your NPCs  like you're taking joyrides in stolen cars.

The game as is on this page isn't the friendliest game to run or play, but that should be remedied in the next version. Lots of changes to come!