InDesign Format Preview

TS Layout Example 4

Here is the current format I’m working with during the transition to InDesign. This is the introduction spread for the skills section. The artwork is a placeholder to give a better idea of how I intend things to look in the end. The left bar shows a color coded chapter indicator that should bleed all the way to the edge of the page. The right bar shows the chapter title. I intend to keep most of the design relatively simple to maximize readability and to make the PDF version easier to compile and hopefully reflowable. This design is by no means final, so expect to see changes here and there as the project progresses.

  • Josh

The Universe & The Mind

Here is an explanation of the nature of the universe in Tangent Space in relation to the emergence of intelligent life and the discovery of psionic abilities. I’ll admit it’s a bit philosophical, but I feel that it gives a good feeling for the role psionics plays in the setting.

What we call The Universe is an equilibrium of matter and energy, and the rules of time and space it follows. The equilibrium is fixed. One reaction leading to the next. All conserved in a predictable, unchangeable sum of what is. A Universe that is infinitely defined with an unchangeable continuity. And yet, the only difference between what is and what could be is the order in which the components of the Universe fall.

Is it possible for something infinitely defined by unbreakable rules to create something that is not bound by those same rules? Life is born within the confines of the Universe, evolving into ever more aware forms until a spark of something emerges that defies definition: The Mind. The mind can comprehend the equilibrium, can use the Universe’s rules to influence the order in which the components fall. Yet the mind itself is not bound by the equilibrium, which can only manifest what is. The mind is able to peer beyond the wall of what is and see the infinite sea of possibility that exists beyond. Psionics are the power of the mind to climb over that wall and influence the Universe from beyond its rules.

What if the mind is not a means for the universe to know itself? What if, instead, it is a means for the universe to break free of itself?

Body & Mind

I want to share one of the systems in Tangent Space: Health Points and Mind Points.

Health Points (HP) work very similarly to other RPG games. Each character has a number of health points determined by their constitution. These are lost whenever they take damage from enemy attacks or the environment. These are of primary concern during combat where characters attack one another until one side surrenders or is defeated. Depending on where in the galaxy the story takes place, this could be the most common type of conflict characters experience. When all health points are lost, the character enters the Wounded State.

Wounded characters are being seriously affected by their injuries. The amount of Action Points they have each turn is reduced by 3. (Each character usually has 6 Action Points to spend on their turn, with actions requiring differing amounts of them to be used.) The character’s health is now going into the negatives with any further damage they receive. This happens automatically at a rate of 1d6 health lost each turn as they bleed out. The character leaves the Wounded state when their health points are returned to positive numbers. Once a character has gone negative equal to their maximum health, they enter the Critical State.

Critical characters are dying. They are completely incapacitated and cannot make any actions. A character in critical condition needs to be rescued by their allies and stabilized or they will die! Depending on how they entered the critical state, the game master may have certain medical requirements for the character to return to active duty. These may include cloned organs or cybernetic limb replacements. A character could come back from near death looking like Darth Vader…

Mind Points (MP) are the psychological counterpart to health points. These are derived from your Willpower stat and are rolled defensively whenever the character is in a situation that affects them mentally. This could be walking through a massacred colony, having a diplomatic meeting, haggling with a black market dealer, holding your ground against a giant space monster, or resisting telepathic attack. Whenever you roll a mind point defense, you lose one point regardless of if the defense was a success or a failure. This represents the strain that your mind is under as you try to maintain your mental composure. Some telepathic attacks directly drain mind points from the target. When all mind points are lost, the character enters the Imposed State.

Imposed characters have been significantly affected by an outside influence and are now susceptible to further imposition. For example, it is the goal of interrogators to bring their subjects to this state as this is when information can be freely extracted. A smooth talking scoundrel may try to seduce a character into the imposed state so that they are more cooperative and trusting. There are also telepathic skills that have special functions against imposed characters, or may only be used on imposed targets. A character leaves the Imposed state when their mind points return to positive numbers, which is possible through Willpower rolls and telepathic assistance. Mind points can also go into the negative numbers, and when they go negative equal to your maximum mind points, the character enters the Broken State.

Broken characters have had their mind and will shattered. This is a harsh and cruel thing to do to someone as they are completely incapacitated by mental collapse, losing direct control over their own actions. Depending on the type of mental stress that caused the break, the character could be running in circles screaming, sobbing uncontrollably in a corner, or even completely enthralled by another character as characterized by Stockholm Syndrome. (It is unnecessary to bring a character to this state in typical social conflicts. Imposing a character is usually more than enough.) Telepaths are most known for causing this state in their enemies through mental combat, either to remove a combatant from the fight, or even to seize control of their mind. Broken characters need serious emotional therapy to recover from this state.

Mind Points and Social Conflict: Social conflicts happen when people disagree with you and are measured on a sliding scale, going +1 or -1 in each character’s favor depending on their success or failure on each Influence skill or Mind defense roll. Once someone has 3 points in their favor, they win the social conflict and get what they want. Social conflicts against entire opposing groups are much more challenging and should be left to talented speakers and leaders. If a character isn’t even interested in having the discussion, failing even once will end the social conflict. Social conflicts can quickly become a combat encounter if you don’t choose your words wisely. Trying to convince a pirate captain to give you his ship is almost guaranteed to get you shot rather than a civil discussion.

I hope this gives some insight into the base rules that Tangent Space is built upon. I look forward to sharing more soon!

Note: This system has been changed significantly since this post.


Transferring to InDesign

So I decided to take a look at InDesign! To my sheer delight, it speaks roughly the same language as Photoshop, of which I am already moderately familiar. This means that I can very likely do the layouts on my own without having to hire that process out. Time to dust off the notes from those graphic design classes I took years ago! I am currently transferring all my work to InDesign so that it will be publishing ready once all the content is complete! Don’t you just love it when things work out on the first try?


Now Tangent Space has a proper logo! One with a solid background and more styling, and another simpler one with transparent background.

Tangent Space Logo - Centered

Getting Started

Hello! My name is Josh and I’ve been working on this RPG project for over ten years. So far I’ve been content to work on it silently, but as it gets closer to completion I realize that I need to actually start putting my work out there for others to see. It’s a daunting prospect and the introvert in me is being dragged kicking and screaming as I type this. But I think Tangent Space is worth it, and I hope whoever stumbles across it thinks so, too.

Tangent Space was inspired by a long line of science fiction spanning books, movies, television, and video games. I’ve always had a love for strange alien beings, epic space battles, interstellar politics, and the idea of exploring the vast unknown reaches. Tangent Space is my attempt to take all the things I love about science fiction and condense it all into a pen and paper roleplaying game system of my own creation.

Tangent Space is a game that emphasizes storytelling, though it provides the mechanics necessary to have fun and dynamic battles without bogging the players and game master down with excess math. Tangent Space is meant to be simple to pick up for new players, but to also offer increasing complexity and customization for veterans. Tangent Space uses a d12 for the primary rolls and the strength of skills is measured in d6s. The system does not use levels, rather experience is spent on acquiring and upgrading skills. My hope is that this will make it easier for new players to join existing games. Character classes are fluid, allowing players to customize their classes with the skills of their choosing, or even switch them out as needed. In Tangent Space, the class does not define the skills, but rather the exact opposite. Tangent Space also includes a crafting system complete with mechanics for new item invention. By combining customizable skillsets, classes, and equipment, players can truly make characters that are uniquely their own.

Not only will there be character mechanics, but also mechanics for vehicles and starships. My goal is to make the space aspect of the game just as fun and simple to pick up and play as the character based sections. After all, the Enterprise and the Millennium Falcon are every bit as iconic in their universes as Captain Kirk and Han Solo. Smaller vehicles are usually operated entirely by a single pilot, but a crew of players will need to work together to operate larger starships.

There is so much more to show and tell, but I think I’ll leave it here for now. I hope that if you’ve read this far your interest has been piqued and that you’ll check back again when I have new information to post. Follow me on Twitter @TangentSpaceRPG to know when I’ve posted something new

Races Page Example

Here is an example of a page from the Races section of the book. Each race will have three pages of information and one full body profile picture. The artwork in this image is one of my amateur placeholders until a proper character artist can be hired.

Race Example