Flying Mice

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Flying Mice LLC is a company owned and operated by Clash Bowley based in Boston, United States, in the business of creating roleplaying games. Its flagship product is Starcluster, a hard space opera science-fiction setting in a cluster of 117 systems after the Earth's sun had gone supernova.

Products[edit]

Flying Mice's first product was StarCluster. StarCluster was released at RPGNow on June 19, 2002. Excluding alternate settings, Starcluster has had over a dozen supplements, which regularly placed Flying Mice in the top 50 publishers and for years held a spot among the top 100 products of all time, and a 2nd edition was released in 2004. A third edition was released in September 2010.

The StarCluster 2 System (which was used in most of its other products) was heavily influenced by BRP, and uses 'lifepath'-based character generation and percentile skill resolution, with all resolution being based on trading points between Chance of Success, Quality of Success, and Initiative. The StarCluster 3 System is currently used in all the new products (June 2009 onward) from Flying Mice. This features extreme flexibility, with loadable resolution mechanics, varying character generation, and a high focus on user customizability.

Sweet Chariot was released on March 4, 2003. It details a Starcluster world with a thick, high-pressure atmosphere with a large amount of argon in it; in fact, below 2000 meters in altitude, the air is toxic. Human settlements are on mountaintops and plateaus, and travel between them is made with steam-powered zeppelins, sailing between nations like old sailing ships above poisonous 'seas' of argon. Although released to critical acclaim, and the author has described it as his favorite game, the game has met only slow and steady sales.

Blood Games was added almost a year later, on April 3, 2004. It is a horror roleplaying game, set in the real world; however, unlike most recent horror roleplaying games, which seek to humanize or justify the monsters, the supernatural beings in Blood Games are just that: monsters. Blood Games is also unusual in that it makes religion a prime role, which is almost a taboo subject for other companies.

F20 was added to the Flying Mice lineup on March 7, 2004. It is the company's first foray into OGL games, with the proceeds of the core rulebook going to the American Cancer Society. When Flying Mice LLC joined with several other game companies in the Better Mousetrap Games consortium, publishing rights to F20 were given to fellow member Chine Games.

On October 19, 2004, Tribes Of Mother Night was added to the catalog of games. Tribes Of Mother Night (or just "Tribes") is a dark fantasy game revolving around the presence of shapeshifter blood in normal characters. Tribes was somewhat inspired by the juxtaposition of heroic fantasy and paranoid fear seen in Ravenloft. Tribes uses the F20 system, and now is part of the Chine Games lineup.

The Book Of Jalan game was released on December 24, 2004, although it is not the first game to have this name. Jalan is a standalone Starcluster setting that is also Clash Bowley's take on 'traditional' fantasy roleplaying games, in that in a system designed for classic hard sci-fi, one also finds 'magic'.

Just days later (December 30, 2004, Flying Mice LLC released Aquavita. Aquavita is game set on an aquatic Dyson sphere 1 AU in diameter, inspired by movies set in the 1980s and pulp fiction written in the 1930s. The original tagline for Aquavita was "One Billion Earths", a reference to the sphere's surface area (rounded off). Aquavita uses the F20 system, and now is part of the Chine Games lineup.

Cold Space was released on September 13, 2005 and is a space opera game set in an alternate cold war-era after antigravity and FTL spacetravel change the world. Several supplements are planned including a Soviet sourcebook. Cold Space is the company's best-selling product, outside the Starcluster line.

FTL Now was released on April 29, 2006, and is the sequel game to Cold Space, set between 1990 and 2006.It focuses on the Interstellar War on Terrorism, ignited when terrorists re-directed a massive Mars-terraforming comet to slam into New York City on September 11, 2001, incinerating Megalopolis - the area between Maine and northern Virginia, triggering massive tsunamis and earthquakes, and setting off the Pacific's Ring of Fire. This plunged the Earth into a 'nuclear winter' of five years duration. All told, some four billion Earth humans were killed. The colonies were left to fend for themselves.

In Harm's Way: A Napoleonic Naval Roleplaying Game was released on August 1, 2006. As the subtitle states, the game is specifically designed for roleplaying in the napoleonic naval wars of the early 19th century. It uses the base StarCluster system, but has several additional genre-specific game mechanics overlain. Its emphasis is on emulating the feel of the 20th and 21st century genre novels by Patrick O'Brian, C. S. Forester, Dewey Lambdin, and many others.

In Harm's Way: Aces In Spades was released on March 29, 2007. The game is specifically designed for roleplaying fighter pilots in World War I. It uses the base StarCluster system, but has several additional genre-specific game mechanics overlain. Its emphasis is on emulating the feel of the many novels and films about WWI fighter pilots, like The Blue Max, Dawn Patrol[disambiguation needed], Ace of Aces, and others.

Blood Games II was released on June 26, 2007. This game is a complete rework of the earlier Blood Games, with a new dice pool task resolution system, refined magic systems, new Paths, and all new illustrations by the game's authors.

Forward... to Adventure! was released on July 29, 2007. This game is an old-fashioned fantasy romp with several new-style twists, and much random table action.

In Harm's Way: Aces and Angels was released on December 7, 2007. This game is specifically designed for roleplaying fighter pilots in World War II. It uses the base StarCluster system, but has several additional genre-specific game mechanics overlain. Its emphasis is on emulating the feel of the many novels and films about WWII fighter pilots, like The Flying Tigers, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Midway, and others. It is an updating of In Harm's Way: Aces In Spades for the more powerful planes and different nations involved in World War II.

Sweet Chariot 2 was released on January 1, 2008. This game is a complete rework of 2003's Sweet Chariot, with a new dice pool task resolution system, and all new illustrations.

In Harm's Way:Wild Blue was released on March 31, 2008. This game is specifically designed for roleplaying modern mercenary characters. It uses the base StarCluster system, but has several additional genre-specific game mechanics overlain. Its emphasis is on emulating the feel of the many novels and films about mercenaries. Wild Blue covers jet fighter and strike aircraft, helicopters and gunships, special forces, infantry, armored, and littoral naval combat.

In Harm's Way: Dragons! was released on October 20, 2008. This game is set in an alternate Napoleonic Age where dragons are real and comprise the air arm of the Napoleonic era forces. It is completely compatible with In Harm's Way: A Napoleonic Naval RPG.

Commonwealth Space was released on June 22, 2009. This game is set in the Cold Space/FTL Now universe, and is contemporaneous with both other games, but seen from the perspective of the Commonwealth Colonisation Agency.

On Her Majesty's Arcane Service was released on September 25, 2009. This game is set in Elizabethan England, and uses the Blood Games II game rules, being essentially a prequel to Blood Games II.

In Harm's Way: StarCluster was released on February 22, 2010. This game is a resetting of StarCluster 2E using the StarCluster 3 system, with emphasis on the Cluster military. On the same day, StarCluster 2E was released for Free Download. In Harm's Way: StarCluster won the Gaming Genius Award for Best Setting in 2011.

StarCluster 3 was released on September 29, 2010. This is a complete re-imagining of the StarCluster 2E game, concentrating on civilians in the Cluster. It was released in two pdf editions - a Developer's Edition with special appendix and commercial license, and a Standard Edition without - and a print version of the Standard Edition. Later, a Light edition for players only was released. It was named "Best Game of 2010" by the influential RPGBlog II (http://www.rpgblog2.com/2010/12/2010-rpg-blog-2-rpg-awards.html).

The Tools of Ignorance was released on January 31, 2011. This game is a baseball RPG, centered around a baseball game simulator. Players play baseball player characters and create a team, then play the characters through the team's season. The title refers to the mask and padding worn by the catcher. A very small game, it is about 11% the size of either of the two most recent previous releases.

Outremer was released on July 1, 2011. Outremer is a game set contemporaneously with On Her Majesty's Arcane Service, the 16th century, but in an alt-historical world where the Crusader States survived into the Renaissance.

In Harm's Way: Pigboats was released on July 27, 2012. This game is about American WWII submarine sailors in the Pacific, fighting a silent war beneath the waves.

Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone was released on March 29, 2013. Volant is set on a world where some types of stone float, and the mountains tear themselves out of the ground and fly through the air, and people ride giant birds through the sky, with sailing ships built from floating stone, and monsters inhabiting the earth below.

Lowell Was Right! - A Very Different Now was released on May 23, 2014. Lowell Was Right! is an alt-universe SF game set in a universe where western science as of 1880 was basically correct, and all newer changes were wrong, brought up to the present day, like a Hard SF sort of Steampunk.

Currently in the pipeline are Ecce Homicide - a Police Procedural RPG, and High Strung - a game set in the 1970s, where the player characters are rock musicians.

Flying Mice Writers[edit]

  • Clash Bowley (owner, designer, writer, illustrator; Aquavita, StarCluster, Sweet Chariot, Blood Games, StarCluster 2, Cold Space, FTL Now, Tribes of Mother Night, In Harm's Way: A Napoleonic Naval Roleplaying Game, In Harm's Way: Aces In Spades, Blood Games II, In Harm's Way: Aces And Angels, Sweet Chariot 2, In Harm's Way:Wild Blue, In Harm's Way: Dragons!, Commonwealth Space, On Her Majesty's Arcane Service, and In Harm's Way: StarCluster, StarCluster 3, The Tools of Ignorance, Outremer, In Harm's Way: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone, Lowell Was Right!)
  • Klaxon Bowley -Awesome- (Sweet Chariot, Book of Jalan, Sweet Chariot 2, StarCluster 3, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone)
  • Albert Bailey (StarCluster, Sweet Chariot, Book Of Jalan, Cold Space, FTL Now, Sweet Chariot 2, StarCluster 3, Outremer, Lowell Was Right!)
  • Wesley Fornero (Blood Games, Blood Games II)
  • Tim Kirk (Tribes Of Mother Night)
  • Jason Ludwig (Blood Games)
  • Ryan A. Span (Book Of Jalan, Cold Space, FTL Now)
  • El Zambo -Awesome- (Blood Games, In Harm's Way: A Napoleonic Naval Roleplaying Game, Blood Games II)
  • Shanya Almafeta (Aquavita, F20)
  • John Snead (FTL Now, StarCluster 3)
  • Daniel Potter (Far Shore for StarCluster 2)
  • The RPG Pundit (Forward... to Adventure!)
  • Michael Scott (In Harm's Way:Wild Blue]
  • Pat Brady (Commonwealth Space)
  • Levi Kornelsen (Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone)

External links[edit]