Tabletop Game / Rocket Age

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No need to ask where's my jetpack here.

"Welcome to the Rocket Age, to the retro-future sci-fi past. It's an age of exploration, of scientific and technological wonders unlike any the Solar System has ever seen... A past that never was, but could have been, a Solar System that isn't, but should be... Ride that radium rocket to the edge of Yesterday and blast off into Tomorrow."
Ken Spencer

Rocket Age is an Ennie award winning retro sci-fi RPG by Cubicle 7. The Rocket Age officially began in 1932 when Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, and Robert Goddard built the Eagle, the first Rocket-ship, and flew it to Mars. Now, six years later, things are heating up across the solar system between the super powers, the various aliens they have subjugated and the mysterious Europans...

The setting plays all of the classic sci-fi and pulp tropes to the hilt, from gleaming rocket ships to beautiful Martian princesses. However, it also explores the worst of human (and alien) nature, looking at the real consequences of giving this kind of technology to a bunch of imperialistic superpowers.

Despite all this, Rocket Age is a reconstruction of pulp sci-fi. Every species has heroes, some areas of society have become far more progressive and humanity's world view has been widened by news from across the solar system. The right man in the right place can make a difference, and with a bit of work and a lot of guts, the heroes will prevail.

The gameplay is designed to have a cinematic feel, encouraging big flashy heroics and uses a modified version of the Vortex system designed for Cubicle 7's Doctor Who RPG. Characters are given Story Points, which can be used for everything from buying new equipment to bending the plot. Rocket Age also encourages diplomacy and problem-solving; for this reason, fighting is the last part of the Action Round. So, if you can talk the palace guard into letting you go or trap the monster without hurting it you'll usually get a chance to before someone gets all trigger-happy.

Currently, there are books covering Mars, Venus, a system-hopping full campaign, and books expanding on the peoples of the solar system and the asteroid belt. Future releases look to expand on the Jovian system and possibly other solar systems altogether...


Rocket Age contains examples of:

  • Abdicate the Throne: Some Martian Principalities have ways of doing this without losing face, such as deliberately losing a duel to a 'challenger'.
  • Abnormal Ammo: Rocket Age features Radium laced flame thrower fuel, which apparently burns hotter, more efficiently and explodes into an even larger fireball. Did we mention it's also radioactive? The Jovians also make use of plastic spitting splinter guns and cannons, to make up for their lack of metal.

  • Absurdly Cool City: Most cities in Rocket Age could count, although most of the Martian cities are in various states of decline, but New York takes the cake. It's in many ways the same as our universe's New York in 1938, only with even more money thrown into it and enough sky traffic to make it feel like Coruscant.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: A necessity on Mars, not to simply remove sewage, but mainly to provide somewhere to sweep the sheer amount of sand that blows into the streets. The one city that didn't have working sewers required gigantic Radium-powered fans to keep the streets clear.
  • Ace Pilot: A trait on offer to players. For a more specific example look to Herr Aldritch Switzer, Nazi test pilot and scientist.
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Two sorts appear on Mars. There are ruined cities, still with some technology working, and the modern cities that endure to this day. The modern cities often still have access to advanced technology, but barely understand it or use it well.
  • Adventure Archaeologist: Most members of the ICIC are this. The Ahnenerbe also have Archaeologists on Mars plus various freebooters and scientists may also qualify.
  • Adventurers Club: The Lodge on Venus, where explorers and big-game hunters relax. The Empire's Fortune, a Martian Freebooter band comprised of four former British officers also have one.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Flying leathers, dusters and so on count as armour and can grant social bonuses for having the 'right look'.
  • After the End: Jupiter's moon Io was once a paradise inhabited by a beautiful and advanced people but is now a diseased and toxic wasteland inhabited by their hideously mutated descendants. Blame the Europans (this seems to be a bit of running theme).
  • The Ageless: The Europans, along with any other species with the Immortal trait, do not age, but they are still vulnerable to physical injuries and disease.
  • A.I. is a Crapshoot: Surprisingly averted for the most part. Most robo-men and brains are Ancient Martian and still obey their original programming. Some problems do occur of course given that Ancient Martian technology is ancient.
  • Alien Invasion: The Mind Dune of the Moon is actually an ancient colonisation effort. The aliens were shrunk down into sand-like particles for transport to Earth, but they hit the moon instead of the shallow sea they were aiming for. Now they are attempting an invasion to return themselves to their natural state.
  • Alien Sea: Mars has silt seas, where the old seas of water slowly dried up and filled in as the planet's ecology collapsed.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Venusians, three to four metre tall gorilla-men, already use drums in warfare, so it only makes sense that the drummer of the Rocket Cat's resident Jazz band is one.
  • Allohistorical Allusion: Many. Leon Trotsky is still assassinated in Mexico City on Stalin's orders for example, but for slightly different reasons. The Eagle was piloted to Mars by a barnstormer pilot named Ray Armstrong.
  • All Webbed Up: The Trip Line Spider has no trouble webbing humanoids up for later, along with making traps.
  • Alternate History: Rocket travel becomes a reality in 1931. As such, humanity expands out into the solar system.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Vanstiku'll are a Venusian concordat who suffer a hereditary condition that makes their males die before 25. Because of this, the women take up the dominant and war-like positions in their societies, with the storm riders being their most feared members.
  • Amplifier Artifact: The Ancient Martians built the Mental Projection Device, which is made up of a cold fusion reactor, a bank of computers and a throne-like structure. Although powerful the device was designed for Ancient Martians, causing serious problems to anyone else who tries, especially non-Martians. If a Venusian tries to use the device, it starts a self-destruct countdown.
  • Amusing Alien: Europan Emissaries insert themselves into cultures they have no real understanding of, meaning they often commit such faux pas such as wearing men's and women's clothing on alternate nights or giving themselves inappropriate names. They also can latch themselves onto social outcasts and take on their mannerisms.
  • An Axe to Grind: The Martian Sun Axe is a long, heavy double bitted axe given as a reward to particularly brave Maduri. These weapons are so powerful that they can cleave through enemies standing too close together.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The Ahnenerbe invert this in their theories, stating that the Ancient Martians were actually Aryan Earthlings who invented space flight in the distant past and conquered Mars. Something or someone also left trilobites all over the solar system; it's theorised that they may be interstellar vermin. They can still be found on Venus and in the asteroid belt.
  • Anti-Magic: Rocket Age has Blunts, people who are utterly immune to psychic powers. This is actually a NEGATIVE trait; people can't communicate with them telepathically, attempt to psychically heal them of trauma, or help them recall past events.
  • Apocalypse How: In the past Eris faced a Class X, while Mars and Io have faced Class 4 level events.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Radium, in grand Raygun Gothic tradition.
  • Artifact of Death: Ladite Radium Swords are made from a bronze-radium alloy, making them incredibly sharp and able to reflect RAY blaster beams due to the fact that they are so radioactive they glow in the daytime. Of course wielding one for any length of time is enough to give the user cancer. They can also be deliberately shattered and explode, killing both the wielder and their enemies.
  • Archaeological Arms Race: Ancient Martian artefacts are constantly being fought over for their technological value.
  • Arch-Enemy: Antagonist, an available bad trait, can either give you a minor enemy or a full blown antagonist, depending on the level of the trait.
  • Art Deco: The design of many of the Martian buildings, rocket cars and covers of the adventure booklets are drawn in an Art Deco style. After all, the setting does takes place in the 1930s.
  • Artificial Gravity: Gravity in Rocket Age is something of an odd beast since the setting attempts to emulate Buck Rogers, John Carter and Flash Gordon. In general artificial gravity works in one of two ways:
    • The general explanation of how gravity on Earthling rocket ships works is that the thrust of the ship's engines creates enough acceleration to create gravity. However, the fact that the gravity may vary with the ship's acceleration is never touched on. The official line is that gravity only really matters when it would be dramatic or interesting for it to do so.
    • Rocket Age's most advanced race, the Europans, seem to have true artificial gravity be dint of the fact that their ships can actively ignore its effects, along with other things such as inertia.
  • Artificial Limbs: In Rocket Age one of the only ways to buy off the Missing Limb trait is to acquire or build a cybernetic replacement.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Oooh boy. Humans walking on sky islands in Jupiter's atmosphere, radium powering EVERYTHING, freeze rays. Let's just say that Rocket Age only cares about physics when it wants to; the rest of the time it can sit in the corner.
  • Asteroid Miners: The asteroid belt is being mined by both independent operators and 5th Orbit Excavations, with 5OX often pushing independents off their dig sites.
  • Asteroid Thicket: The Asteroid Belt is full of fast moving debris, making mining incredibly dangerous. Not that anyone lets that stop them.
  • Astral Projection: Psychic characters in Rocket Age can learn to separate their minds from their body, leaving it in a coma while their shimmering astral form goes out into the world. If their body dies while they are separated, a person will either fade away, or be left as a disassociated spirit.
  • Auction of Evil: There is a black market for Ancient Martian artefacts and in one adventure the heroes can find themselves right in the middle of criminal auction for a teleportation device, up against Nazis, gangsters, con-men and deposed royalty.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The device Tesla installs into the torch of the Statue of Liberty during Trail of the Scorpion. The upside: It can wirelessly power the entire eastern seaboard. The downside: If it overloads it would wipe out New York.
  • A World Half Full: Rocket Age is a surprisingly dark setting given the idealistic tone of the writing. Set in an alternate 1938, the great powers of Earth have conquered great swathes of the solar system while Earth itself is under constant threat of annihilation from the Europans, who have already done horrible, nearly genocidal things to two other species. Despite this, the moment you drop a group of player controlled heroes into the mix, the dark gets pushed back very quickly.
  • Baby Factory: The Nazis have a secret breeding program, with a lot of pure Aryan women involved, on Mercury.
  • Badass Mustache: Rocket Age is full of Earthling characters with fancy moustaches, which is to be expected when the world is still in the 1930s. Some Martian princes in the southern areas also sport well maintained Fu Manchus.
  • Bald of Awesome: The entire Silthuri caste of Mars, who form the royalty of most principalities, are bald and nearly universally beautiful. If they do have any hair on their head, they generally pluck it to look more elegant.
  • Bamboo Technology: The Primitive Technologist trait allows characters to essentially build analogues of high technology and equipment, provided their skill is high enough and they have enough story points. A few mentions go out to the Venusian gliders and the Chanari caravans of Mars. The rule book states that someone could build a low-tech out of logs, rope, stone and people power if they really wanted.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Along with the traditional Earthling martial arts like Kung Fu, Judo and Boxing, Rocket Age also features others like Celestial Fist and Maduri Wrestling from such worlds as Mars, Metis and Jupiter, allowing heroes to either be weapon or unarmed experts.
  • Base on Wheels: Red-Blue Chanari caravans are huge structures, ten meters long, eight wide and six high, designed to cross the deserts of Mars. Moved by the combined muscle power of four bull ulodonts inside the base of the structure, the entire thing weighs hundreds of pounds and uses six gigantic stone wheels for stability. The entire thing is essentially an armed Bamboo Technology sand crawler.
  • Bat out of Hell: Martian Devil Vultures are Type 2s, being hairless wolf-sized creatures with four grasping limbs and two wings. They're intelligent enough to make dead-fall traps.
  • BFG: Elephant guns and Venusian trade muskets both count, but the prize goes to the Thunder Lizard gun, a RAY weapon essentially designed to put down a T-Rex.
  • Bedlah Babe: Julandri Courtesans are often depicted wearing the bedlah in the games art if they aren't wearing saris.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The Martian royal caste, the Silthuri, fall into this, although the vast majority form the bureaucracy and not the ruling sub-caste. Their wealth is splendid, their lives are truly decadent and they are inhumanly beautiful due to millennia of genetic tampering and eugenics. Unfortunately they are also prone to arrogance and incredibly unchanging, putting them in danger of being overthrown by Earthling armies.
  • Big Applesauce: So far Rocket Age's only adventure taking place on Earth happens slap bang in the middle of New York, involving a Rocket car chase that takes the heroes from the Empire State building to Lady Liberty. Interestingly this also seems to occur in universe; the other races of our solar system tend to assume that New York is Earth's capital.
  • Big Bad: The Red Scorpion, head of the Red Scorpion Crime Syndicate in the Trail of the Scorpion. As to the Red Scorpion's identity...
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Venus has many species of giant insects including ants, the Trip Line Spider, giant dragonflies and wasps. Some of the small ones are even worse.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Callisto has yetis, three to four metre tall hairy horned humanoids. The Bronx Zoo has three and a breeding pair intended for Oslo Zoo escaped from the Berlin Rocket Port.
  • The Big Guy: Julandri labourers, Maduri and Venusians tower over nearly everyone else and are often wider.
  • Bi the Way: The Silthuri caste and Julandri Courtesans of Mars are naturally and socially bisexual. Regular Julandri are also encouraged towards a specific gender by their masters to control the future population, which implies a degree of flexibility. The game also acknowledges varying genders and sexuality in humans and how they were viewed at the time.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Some species have striking similarities to humans, others... do not. Ganymedians are Plant People, while Europans have five genders and no skeleton. They use cartilage based structures and a second circulatory system to somehow move around like a regular humanoid.
  • Bizarre Alien Locomotion: The skies of Jupiter are already home to floating gas bags, but a better example is probably the Eagle Snake. Eagle Snakes are metre long, lamprey mouthed creatures that use three gas bags on their ventral side to control their elevation and propel themselves, while using the ridge of thin flesh to squirm through the air.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: The long dead Lunans are believed to have seen through echolocation. The Jovians can smell certain dangerous gas pockets, an important ability on Jupiter.
  • Bizarre Alien Sexes: Europans have 5 genders in total, male (25%), female (25%), neuter (25%) and two unclassified genders (25%). Because the Europans are incredibly secretive, no-one is exactly certain how their reproduction even works and even the classifications Earthlings have given the known genders could turn out to be wildly wrong.
  • Blade on a Stick: The Martian Maduri have traditionally used the fork spear, a flexible weapon which can mount with several different kinds of blades for specific combat situations. Although it often has a trident layout, most consider it to simply be a polearm similar to those used on Earth in the Renaissance.
  • Bling of War: Martian arms and armour is almost always highly decorated according to rank and caste, as traditional Martian warfare is very ritualised. This has come back to bite them however, as invading Earthlings know to shoot the alien in the fancy armour.
  • Blood Knight: Maduri males are bred to be savage and recklessly brave. They often charge into suicidal situations and rarely take prisoners.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Europans in particular have morality and values that are completely at odds with everyone else, though this may just be simple arrogance. The Ganymedians can also be incomprehensible to outsiders due to being plants-based organisms.
  • Bodyguard Crush: This seems to happen a lot to those protecting Martian Princesses. Justified as Silthuri, the Martian Royal caste have specialized pheromones designed to cause others to adore them.
  • Bold Explorer: A tonne of these exist across the Solar System. The International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation has field agents all over Mars, the Roosevelt Station Exploration Society is an entire club of explorers on Venus and the Lizard Monkey Second Hatching is a religious order who go on exploration pilgrimages. All this is before we get to the independent explorers and smaller expeditions.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Many a Rocket Age villain will happily allow heroes to escape unharmed, only for it to come back and bite them later in the adventure. However, this is nearly always justified, as the villain may be playing some elaborate game with both the heroes and their own lives or using the heroes as a distraction to cover up their own escape.
  • Booby Trap: Along with traps set by sentient creatures heroes also have to contend with the trip line spider, a giant Venusian arachnid who puts both the ewoks and the Vietcong to shame.
  • Boot Camp Episode: For part of the Trail of the Scorpion the heroes are sent to the Rocket Rangers' training camp, to prepare for the final push.
  • Boring, but Practical: Traditional fire arms are still the norm since most people can't afford or acquire advanced RAY weapons.
  • Born Under the Sail: The thirty three Green-Yellow Chanari tribes are the preeminent silt sailors of Mars. Most sea trade on Mars is done through them, along with most of the piracy, and they are the only people who dare to hunt Silt Dragons, the largest vertebrate in the solar system.
  • Bow Ties Are Cool: Although Rocket Age is set in the 1930s, the fact that Mr Festil, a member of the Martian Royal caste, wears one is still very unusual. He even ensures it's always a little crooked, despite how well dressed he is.
  • Brainwashed: Traditional hypnosis works as in real life, but a powerful psychic can use it to control a person through their perception of reality, implanted thoughts or any number of other techniques.
  • Brain–Computer Interface: The Ancient Martians used neural interfaces to interact with their war-walkers (something the Nazis have been quick to reverse engineer) and the Europans, the settings most advanced race, have also developed something similar.
  • The Caligula: Grand Admiral of Jupiter Sebastian Alexander Leopold von Hapsburg I, the mouthpiece of the Europans. The Grand Admiral keeps a harem of kidnapped women of all races and species, indulges his every whim and constantly threatens Earth from Demarcation Point 1.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Terrolinian Wolves, mobile carnivorous ferns, really only fit their names in terms of behaviour. Several other species also qualify.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: The Europans are the closest species Rocket Age has to elves, being immortal, psychic, technologically superior and potentially the oldest species in the solar system. They tend to go on about this a lot the few times they even deign to talk to the other species, although they do send out anthropologists to learn more about them. However, the real reason you can't say screw you Europans tends to be... unpleasant.
  • Cargo Cult: Some of the natives of Io, a ruined wasteland of a moon, have taken to worshiping the detritus left behind by Earthling explorers, who looked very much like gods to them with their gleaming Retro Rocket.
  • Carry a Big Stick: There are plenty of people walking around with staffs, clubs and maces in Rocket Age. They usually appear in the hands of more primitive peoples, or are a traditional weapon used in ceremonies and duels, like the Jovian beaked mace.
  • The Casino: The Rocket Cat nightclub in Emancipation, Mars, has a secret casino hidden in the back, available by invitation only.
  • The Champion: Duke Talmuathil, champion to the Martian princess Stavalai, who started off intending to assassinate his third cousin Stavalai and accidentally fell in love with her. His heroism in her service is now entirely genuine.
  • Chandler's Law: Like many other pulp settings, Rocket Age encourages its use to keep things lively.
  • Chariot Race: The Martian royal caste often race in chariots pulled by a pair of Royal Karns,3.5 metre tall bipedal birds.
  • Chef of Iron: Hank Avalon, the owner of the best eatery on Venus, Hank's American BBQ, will come at you with a cleaver if you start anything in his restaurant.
  • Church Militant: The Order of the Sacred Hamaxe. They form war-bands made up of members from every Martian caste and roam around performing exorcisms as well as fighting dangerous animals and bandits. Unusually a band member of any caste can become a war-priest, although they are usually Kastari.
  • Citadel City: The Martian city of Kolpith was an unassailable city for many centuries. It fell the moment the French brought modern military technology to bear on its walls.
  • The City Narrows: There are plenty of cities in Rocket Age, each with their own narrows, but the most likely place for players to run afoul in is Emancipation's former factory and slave districts, which are full of crime as the city has yet to replace slavery with anything meaningful for the people that were freed. That's ignoring the cities that are literally just narrows, like Freelandia and Maven Haven.
  • City of Adventure: Lots. The best example is the Republic of Emancipation on Mars, which is a fully fleshed out revolutionary state and is the setting for the Mars sourcebook's adventure. Many other adventures either connect to Emancipation, or feature characters coming from there, as it is a city in flux.
  • City of Canals: Practically every Martian city is built around at least one giant canal and a few smaller ones that bring melt water down from the ice caps in the flow season.
  • Code of Honour: There are many Codes of Conduct found in Rocket Age, from the oaths taken by Maduri warriors to the ethics practised by reporters and private detectives. All are covered by the Code of Conduct bad trait.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Oculus, an asteroid-dwelling one-eyed animal, has sharp edged tentacles, Ganymedian sap-suckers are mostly made up of thorny tendrils, and the Metisians are tentacled and as capable of killing as any other sophont.
  • Combat by Champion: Traditional Martian warfare is essentially combat by champions, with two small armies meeting in a formally arranged location and a prior agreement on what each side will relinquish if they lose. There are a number of protocols surrounding these arrangements and if any are breached, such either side harming their formal hostages, the arrangement is off and full scale war is the outcome.
  • Complexity Addiction: There's a little bit of a complexity epidemic in Rocket Age, as many villains won't simply shoot the heroes, they'll tie them under a Rocket Engine, unleash mutant collared peccaries, or thrown into an arena. There's even one instance of a group of fanatical but otherwise perfectly sensible Soviet agents putting a hostage on a furnace's conveyer belt.
  • Conveyor Belt of Doom: As has been mentioned above, in one adventure a group of Soviets have placed their hostage in a giant metal cauldron on a conveyor belt to a furnace. The moment the heroes kick down the door, the Soviets activate the conveyor belt to ensure the hostage's information dies with him.
  • Cool Airship: Used for navigating the atmospheres of Jupiter where a rocket-ship may ignite a gas pocket. There are also convertables, rocket-ships that can deploy balloons and propellers to become an airship. The Jovians one-up this by having airships that float without balloons. Their cities also count, being domed airships that hide deeper in the atmosphere. The H'Slit Venusian nations use stone, leather and wood gliders and sail-craft to travel between the peaks of their home mountain range
  • Cool Boat: Martians use sailing ships on the Silt Seas, which glide across the surface on giant airbags.
  • Cool Car: Appropriately enough for the name, Rocket Age features Rocket Cars, but the tropes also applies to many other vehicles in the setting, as it is the 1930s and sports cars are available. In fact, a conventional vehicle isn't even going to cost a player anything, even if it is a hot-rod.
  • Cool Starship: The titular rockets of the setting, which come in all manner of sizes and designs. Europan Saucers also count.
  • Cool Sword: The Silthuri, the Martian Royal Caste, are the only people allowed to use the Silthanka. Long, thin and very light sabres, these swords outclass every other conventional sword in the setting on speed and quality. For the more traditional Earthling, the 19th century cavalry sabre is also available.
  • Corrupt Church: Most of the Martian faiths are deeply political organisations designed to maintain power over the populous, with constant power struggles both within and without.
  • The Coup: In many Martian principalities there is an almost constant danger of a coup, a side effect of the ruling sub-caste being large enough to have several claimants to the thrown, with most claimants having sections of the army loyal to them. Many adventures hooks in Rocket Age feature the players either roped into a plot, caught in the middle or attempting to foil one.
  • Crazy-Prepared: A version of this appears with the Resourceful Pockets trait. You have pockets, a bag or some other container. It's full of stuff that you can just reach in and grab with no explanation as to why you would have it.
  • Crossing the Desert: Adventures on Mars nearly always have segments of travel through the desert and it is entirely possible to run an entire campaign based around crossing the desert.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Heavily averted; damage in Rocket Age taken off the character's statistics, drastically reducing their effectiveness. If it wasn't for Story Points most characters would walk around permanently crippled.
  • Crush. Kill. Destroy!: Plenty of Martian Robomen fall into this behaviour, typically due to being absolutely ancient and still operating on a war-time footing from the Erisian invasion. There might even be some hunting Nazis in a conquered Martian principality...
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: The main Martian faith seems to resemble Hinduism or Buddhism. It has a reincarnation system built along caste lines with an end goal of ascending to heaven to be amongst the Ancients. It's also divided among multiple separate sects.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The Ancient Martians appeared to have had a society like this. The Silthuri and Kastari castes keep this tradition alive and Martian cities still keep the architectural style.
  • Cultural Posturing: Quite common, especially from the Europans.
  • Culture Clash: This is a constant theme in Rocket Age and the source of most of the setting's conflicts. Humanity makes huge assumptions about alien cultures, such as labeling the entire Martian courtesan sub-caste prostitutes, rather than the complicated geisha-like role they actually serve, or applying the moral norms of the 1930s to alien cultures with more open values. On the other side of the coin many Martians can't comprehend how human society works without castes or slavery.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Any time a traditionally equipped Martian army gets into a scrap with a modern force. The Deutsche Marskorps and their war-walkers in particular are the masters of this.
  • Cyanide Pill: Agents of the Red Scorpion, a powerful crime syndicate, frequently carry cyanide pills, as do the agents of various governments.
  • Cyber Cyclops: The dangerous kind of Ancient Martian robomen frequently have a single slit-shaped eye, ala Battlestar Galactica (1978) or The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).
  • Cyborg Helmsman: Mechs in this setting require a pilot with a neural interface to work correctly. The Nazis surgically add this to their pilots; the Ancient Martians may well have grown pilots with built in interfaces. The Europans also have technology that allows them to do the same; the only difference is that theirs is much less invasive.
  • Data Crystal: The Erisians appear to have used crystals as computers. In the modern era their Venusian descendants are able to store psychic energy in shards and make other powerful artefacts from Venusian crystals, such as the speaker's staff and the Venusian wood axe.
  • Data Pad: Usually found in ancient ruins, datapads hold information such as film footage, or ancient texts.
  • Dawn of an Era: The Rocket Age begins with Einstein, Tesla and Goddard building the world's first functional Rocket Ship and travelling to Mars. This really is the beginning of a new golden age for humanity and it is widely acknowledged by everyone that humanity is the species that will shape the current Age.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Featured in a number of adventures. One time it involves Legion Martien soldiers staked out to die in the sun. Another involves Nazi heads put on display by Venusians.
  • Death Ray: Disintegrator Guns will usually straight up kill a target unless the user rolls badly. The same holds true for Ancient Martian Ray, Heat and Freeze weapons AND Ancient Erisian Ray weapons.
  • Death World: Of the terrestrial planets Venus and Io stand out. Venus is a hot jungle planet full of dinosaurs and giant insects. Only the highlands are accessible; The valleys are full of fog so thick a diving bell is needed to penetrate them. Io is a blasted wasteland full of mutagens, radiation and disease. The gas giants are even worse but thankfully less frequented by humans.
  • Decadent Court: Many a Martian Court. Demarcation Point One also counts, since Ambassadors to the Europans live lives of luxury, but are constantly trying to back stab one another.
  • Deep Cover Agent: Europan Ambassadors are essentially this, having all of their memories erased before being sent to make contact with other species so as to prevent them from accidentally giving away Europan secrets. Incidentally, this allows for Europan player characters without taking away from the species' ever-so-important mysteriousness factor, since even the ones playing one wouldn't know anything about their actual culture.
  • Defector from Decadence: The only creator approved way of playing a Nazi character is playing as a deserter of some sort.
  • Deflector Shield: The Americans have managed to create a ship scale RAY field that can stop both RAY and kinetic energy. There are also ancient personal deflector shields, created by the Erisians and others, which can occasionally be found.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Well Rocket Age is set in 1938. Factor in alien cultures and things get real awkward real fast.
  • Designer Babies: The Nazis are breeding perfect Aryans for their army on Mercury.
  • Diesel Punk: Despite the setting being Raygun Gothic, the Nazis have war-walkers based on Ancient Martian design and the airships also qualify.
  • Dirty Communists: Since Stalin is in power the Soviets are particularly brutal, sponsoring brutal genocidal revolutions, and are engaged in all sorts of unethical activities.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The Europans' weapon of choice.
  • Disney Death: Characters in Rocket Age are able to use their story points to dodge death or defeat, although at the cost of a new bad trait. Because of this any villain the heroes didn't see die by their own hand can be easily be brought back by the Game Master at a dramatic moment.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Europans' general schtick. They bombed Io back into the stone age (they consider this merciful), engaged in a genocidal war with the Jovians when they began using space flight, driving them into hiding, as well as constantly threatening Earth with disintegration.
  • Distressed Dude: In something of a reaction to the kind of pulp science fiction Rocket Age tries to reconstruct, there are an almost disproportionate number of distressed dudes in the published adventures.
  • Ditto Aliens: The Metisians are a race that look like incredibly alike due to their only method of reproduction being cloning. Although there are slight variations, only a Metisian could tell them apart, since they are a race of squid-like aliens that look a little like brains in jars.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Although most robots aren't, their sheer flexibility in how they can be built means that some robomen can do a little bit of everything.
  • Domed Hometown: Many settlements across the solar system.
  • Domestic Abuse: The former prince of the Martian city Madra was an uncultured thing who used to maim and injure his concubines, who are usually highly valued. One of his concubines, Hantha, decided to ensure he became the ''former'' prince of Madra by letting revolutionaries into the palace.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Many Venusian warrior cults show open disdain for long ranged weapons. It is taboo for their members to use them, although given that Venusians are giant ape people that isn't exactly a comfort.
  • Doomsday Device: The Planet Killer Rocket, created by the Ancient Martians to destroy Eris. The Rocket was so powerful it also knocked Mars out of its original orbit. The Nazis also are building one in the Asteroid Belt.
  • Dowsing Device: Since psychic powers, including dowsing, are real you shouldn't assume the person carrying crystals, sticks or globes is just messing around.
  • Dragon Rider: The storm riders, warrior women Venusians who ride on the backs of Mountain Demons, basically dragon sized pterosaurs.
  • Drill Tank: The United Venusian Mining Consortium uses drilling machines to mine for Radium.
  • Drop Ship: The Japanese have been deploying Flying Lotus Drop Ships in support of various tribes in the jungles of Venus, giving them a vicious edge.
  • Drop the Hammer: Martian War Priests in Rocket Age use Hamaxes, hybrid axe hammers, which can do tremendous damage to people wearing armour when the hammer side is used.
  • Duel to the Death: The Silthuri sometimes use duels to settle matters, usually hiring a champion. Most duels aren't usually to the death, but there are exceptions.
  • Eagleland: The Rocket Age America is a mixed flavour version. The American Army on Mars is busy empire building and in a cold war with the State Department, who would really like them to stop conquering things. However, there's also the Rocket Rangers, possibly the most inclusive and idealistic organisation in the solar system, that has frequently gone against government policy to do the right thing.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Eris, the solar system's original fifth planet, was destroyed this way. Some of the Erisians that escaped Eris's destruction landed on Venus and became what we now know as Venusians.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Hinted at. There is a psychic entity powerful enough to sense and be sensed by psychics in our solar system across the void of deep space. All we know is that it terrified the one Lizard Monkey who felt and knows that it is coming for him.
  • The Empire: The human superpowers are this to the rest of the solar system, especially the Nazis.
  • Enemy Mine: When humanity started pushing its interests on Mars many warring city states put aside their differences to combat the new threat. Thus far this hasn't worked so well for them. There are also some adventures where the heroes could find themselves shoulder to shoulder with their rivals and enemies, at least for a little while.
  • Energy Beings: Easily created by adding the Immaterial trait to a creature.
  • Energy Weapons: Ray and Disintegrator Guns, count along with Ray Swords.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: Although it is clear that genetics plays a deciding factor in developing Psychic Powers it also seems that without a good deal of spiritual introspection they won't develop very far, if at all. One Martian faith, the Society of Eternal Bliss, even places psychics at the top of the reincarnation ladder and treats them as gods simply to give them the time to meditate and develop their abilities.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Venus' jungles are full of dinosaurs. Mars also has a Velociraptor-like creature called the Bahmoot.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Venus' original sophonts are the Lizard Monkeys. Unintelligible, one metre tall and not thought to be sophonts by most, they nonetheless have a very developed culture and belief system. They're very popular 'pets'.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Martian city states are usually principalities and the setting is full of deposed royalty seeking to retake the thrown and courtly rulers holding onto power against the invading hordes of Nazis and their own families, all while looking fabulous as they do it. About half of them are female.
  • Evil Chancellor: An occupational hazard for every Martian Prince or Princess.
  • Evil Colonialist: A major theme of the setting is the damage Earthlings have been doing to the other planets and peoples of the solar system. The Nazis and their Italian Allies might be the most obvious with their death camps, but it is undeniable that every super power and even independent group is doing the same to some degree.
  • Experience Points: Rocket Age doesn't have a traditional experience point system. Instead it has Story Points, which can be awarded for completing missions, more for doing so well, and can be either used to buy special items or warp the plot. Every so often, a GM may give out character points to allow the players to upgrade their stats, abilities and traits, or give a player traits for acting in certain ways.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Iotes, a race used to living on a post-apocalyptic cesspool of a moon, have to be this. They're utterly immune to poisons as a result and can gain nourishment from a bin full of wood-chips.
  • Fantastic Anthropologist: Europan Emissaries immerse themselves into the social roles of different cultures, to gain a greater insight into the other peoples of the solar system.
  • Fantastic Caste System: The Martians began creating the current caste system during the Canal Era using eugenics and genetic engineering, to the point that members of different castes are usually infertile with one another.
    • The Silthuri are the ruling caste and closest to the Ancient Martians genetically. Most of them serve as the bureaucracy; there is only a small ruling sub-caste in any principality.
    • The Kastari form the priesthood and are incredibly similar to the Silthuri; they may well be a sub-caste who used religion to gain power.
    • The Maduri are the tusked warrior caste.
    • The Pilthuri are a mixture of merchant and diplomat.
    • The Talandri are an entire caste of craftsmen, with different occupations done by specific sub-castes.
    • The Julandri are the slave caste, bred for specific purposes. The main sub-castes are the labour slaves, the service slaves, a very diverse class, and the courtesans.
    • The Julandri Courtesan sub-caste are best compared to Geishas.
    • The Chanari are desert folk, falling outside the caste system.
  • Fantastic Racism: Naturally to be expected, given the attitudes of the time. Add to that other racial and special tensions and things can get tense.
  • Fantastic Slurs: As it is the 1930s humanity isn't always the best at respecting other species and has a variety of rude names for them. Some examples include Sweat-Back for Venusians, Tree-People for Ganymedians and Fish (as in new fish) for Europan Emissaries.
  • Farmer's Daughter: Janine Wendt from the Downey Creek War adventure. She's the child of the two most well established and influential farmers in the region who want her to marry someone respectable. This is a problem since she's been having a passionate on-off relationship with Maggie Mc Taggert for two years, the daughter of another farmer who's been feuding with her parents.
  • Femme Fatale: Princess Stephanika, ruler of the Martian city-state Melikia uses her charms to manipulate the many Earthling diplomats that come to her court. Rumoured to have used her sexuality to keep the various imperial powers focused on one another, Stephanika may be a relatively sympathetic example.
  • Feuding Families: The heroes largest obstacle in protecting the community of Downey Creek in the Downey Creek War is the pre-existing feud between the Wendt and and Mc Taggert families.
  • Final Solution: Although Rocket Age is a very idealistic setting the fact that the game takes place in an alternate 1938 means this crops up a lot. The various Earthling nations and companies are willing to help native peoples in enacting this on their long term enemies and the Nazis will do this personally. At least one example had a surrendering Martian city's entire ruling castes put up against a wall and shot, with the rest of the population sent to 'work camps'
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The flamethrower is available to players and enemies alike. Although essentially just a conventional early 20th century weapon, more daring and suicidal individuals use Radium fuel, which burns hotter and faster, but is, well, radioactive and even more likely to leave a crater than a regular pack if shot.
  • Fish People: Titan is inhabited by two intelligent species, one of which a race of literal Starfish Aliens, while the other is the H'ykar. Described as a cross between a man, a frog and a fish, the H'ykar live in semi-submerged communities and have only just began to practice agriculture.
  • Flamethrower Backfire: Yes, you can fill your flamethrower with Radium infused fuel. Yes, you will leave an even worse corpse than usual, why do you ask?
  • Flechette Storm: The Jovians use repulsion float weapons, with the rifles firing masses of plastic shards, to prevent the loss of the metal that is so precious on Jupiter.
  • Flying Car: Rocket cars and trucks are the go to choice for the rich and well off. There are enough of them to turn the skies of New York into something akin to Coruscant.
  • Flying Saucer: The Europans' ship of choice. The saucers use Gravitic Pulse drives, making them seem to move against the laws of physics.
  • For Science!: Many scientists have an... odd outlook on scientific procedure and ethics. However, this is because the wider solar system has a tendency to attract eccentrics; there are far more proper scientists out there interested in actual useful results.
  • Frazetta Man: The Grey Chanari are the possible descendants of the first attempts at genetically engineering labourers by the Canal era Martians. So unintelligent that they aren't even considered Martian by the other Chanari tribes, they are frequently lead by escaped Julandri labourers, a race known for their own unintelligence and gonky appearance.
  • Freeze Ray: Ancient Martians experimented with freeze ray technology and a few may still be found in working order.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The RAY in RAY gun stands for Radiation Accelerating Weaponry.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Gadgeteer is a trait that allows characters to make just about anything.
  • Game Between Heirs: Some Martian Principalities determine succession through Royal Karn Chariot Races. Some principalities use ceremonial duels to determine succession, a fact exploited by Danny Hatfield to gain control of J'lkarine.
  • Game-Favored Gender: Of the favoured in different ways variety. The Martian warrior caste, the Maduri, has a larger degree of sexual dimorphism than the other castes due to each sex being directed towards a different role in warfare. Women, who are bred and trained for defensive warfare tend towards the Mighty Glacier, while men are intended as faster moving, more aggressive and expendable shock troops. Men are technically slightly weaker, but gain access to some weapons women are traditionally untrained in.
  • Garden of Evil: The entirety of Venus is terrifying. If the wildlife doesn't get you, the plant life will. If the plant life doesn't get you, the diseases will. If the diseases don't get you, the terrain and weather will probably do you in.
  • Geisha: Julandri Courtesans are essentially Geishas on Mars, while also holding true to some of the professional mistress stereotypes.
  • Genius Bruiser: The entire Venusian species are well-spoken, philosophical and poetic gorilla-men.
  • Gender-Blender Name: The Julandri courtesans of Mars all use female names, regardless of their gender.
  • Gender Is No Object: Rocket Age largely ignores gender as an issue, despite the game taking place in the late 1930s, since the kind of people willing to leave Earth tend to be progressive and more exposed to other cultures than those at home. Some of this change comes from exposure to Mars, where in most castes gender is utterly irrelevant.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: In Rocket Age many of the characters you meet fall neatly into this category, being the ones with the disposable income to afford travelling across the solar system. Some even walk around totting sword canes, or become traditional big game hunters.
  • Ghost Ship: The Sky Queen, a space ship rumoured to be possessed by some strange Jovian gas being, that supposedly patrols the skies of Jupiter, attacking ships.
  • Giant Spider: Some species of Venusian spider have bodies up to a metre in diameter, with legs potentially even longer.
  • Gladiator Games: Many Martian principalities have arenas where prisoners fight each other and great beasts for the entertainment of the crowd. Some rulers have even imported Thunder Lizards from Venus. One such arena in the state of Ustanik even features in the Trail of the Scorpion campaign.
  • Glowing Mechanical Eyes: Many of the Robomen who have eyes tend to have either glowing slits or bulbs in the art.
  • Gold Fever: This is the major conflict on Ganymede. Earthlings coming to the forest moon in search of gold have come into conflict with the Ganymedians who are angered by the destruction of their native environment. A similar situation is occurring on Venus, only with Radium being the driving force instead.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Erasmus Cotts became insane after being marooned on a moonlet around Saturn, only living off alien lichen. After finding an ancient abandoned space ship he's taken to attacking ships in the hopes someone will kill him.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The Planet Killer Rocket for the Ancient Martians. The mutated slug controlling Dr Ritterbach would count as another.
  • Gonk: Julandri labourers are naturally unattractive, as are Iotes and Chanari. Anyone with the unattractive trait will also count as this.
  • The Good Chancellor: Less common than their counterparts amongst the Martian ruling caste, but they do exist. Danny Hatfield, human prince of J'lkarine, has a very loyal courtesan named Gavat who functions as one.
  • Going Native: Dr Peter Sawyer, the Hairless Warrior or Kioth-Tanied, went native after witnessing the genocide of a Venusian concordat at the hands of their traditional enemies and aggressive Earthling corporations. He now leads a band while his parents worry for him back on Earth.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Rocket Age is set in an alternate 1930s, where all of the major Earthling powers are spreading out across the solar system. The game designers acknowledge that their translations can be a little off and encourage Game Masters to give their players free story points for pointing out correct translations and grammar.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Rocket Age features the grappler, a lightweight rifle sized grapnel launcher with a magnetic head and vise-like claws. They're usually used by asteroid belt miners who'd rather not drift off into the deep black.
  • Great White Hunter: Quite a common sight on Venus, where trophy hunters come seeking the heads of dinosaurs and the shells of gigantic jungle tortoises.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Julandri Courtesans and the Silthuri both qualify, despite the fact that they are copper-skinned and hairless. They also excrete pheremones that enhance this effect.
  • The Greys: The Europans are almost a subversion. They fit the mysterious observers and judge archetype, only they aren't so above it all and they don't fit the physical description, being tall and spindly. However, they are usually psychic and they do fly around in flying saucers.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Erasmus Cotts became insane after being marooned on a moonlet around Saturn, only living off alien lichen. After finding an ancient abandoned space ship he's taken to attacking ships in the hopes someone will kill him.
  • Gunship Rescue: During the Trail of the Scorpion, the heroes can be rescued from a hostile Martian city-state by a mixed force of British, US and Europan space ships.
  • Hamster-Wheel Power: Some of the worst-off Martian Principalities are forced to resort to using slaves in wheels to provide some little power to the palace. Understandably this is seen as pathetic by everyone else.
  • Happiness in Slavery: On Mars this can be the case in some city states and in some situations, although given the number of rebellions definitely not all. Julandri Courtesans are usually highly valued by their masters and are sometimes even the power behind the thrown, making their slavery a moot point.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Although Rocket Age acknowledges that regular PIs exist, the writers state outright that if you are playing as a member of the Wolfgang & Long Detective Agency you should essentially be playing as Humphrey Bogart.
  • Hard Light: In Rocket Age it is highly ambiguous whether Ancient Martian holigrams can occasionally be hard light, or whether there is some other sensory technology deployed in concert with the visuals. Whatever the reason, the effect is that one facility has what may be hard light simulations.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: One advantage of the fish-bowl helmet is that you are visually un-helmeted, while many of the enemies, such as the Nazis, wear regular helmets and gas masks.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: Weapons with the cleaving trait are typically slow to strike with, but a successful strike can be carried on into a neighbouring combatant. Unsurprisingly weapons like the Sun-Axe are usually found in the hands of aggressive front line fighters and used to break up tight formations.
  • Hereditary Republic: Most Martian city states are principalities, as it is against religious law to claim the title of king or emperor, but some use democratic titles such as prime minister. This has absolutely no impact on the fundamental nature of the city state, as the position is still hereditary until someone ousts the current ruler.
  • Hermit Guru: On Mars many Kastari, the priest caste, live as hermits at various shrines, seeking wisdom. There is also Yil, a Soviet suffering from the effects of volcanic gas on Olympus Mons, who believes he is a reincarnated Ancient Martian. Most of the local Kastari are concerned for him and attempt to look after him.
  • Heroic Dog: One adventure features Timmy, a border collie belonging to Agatha Christie and Enyd Brighton, who can help the heroes get out of some serious scrapes. Characters can also have dogs as sidekicks.
  • The High King: Sasonik was the High King of the Lada Range Kingdoms of Venus, bringing about a golden age in culture and technological advancement. His great-granddaughter Sassinisk is attempting to reclaim the title.
  • Highly Conspicuous Uniform: It should be pointed out that this is mostly seen in the art of various adventures, rather than the actual text, but it often seems strange to see something like Soviet soldiers wearing Ushankas outside their secret hideout on Mars, which unlike in our reality is an incredibly hot world.
  • The High Queen: Princess D'larna of the Martian city-state of U'valik. Attempting to advance and protect her nation from imperialistic Earthlings, D'larna only allows those Earthlings with high morals into her court. Always described in positive terms, she is poised, kind and elegant.
  • High Voltage Death: Rocket Age has had an adventure end in a fight on top of a device that sparks lethal lightning bolts that are as dangerous to the heroes as the mooks they are fighting. Also one adventure features a fire in Tesla's secret lab and although fire might be the main danger electricity is still a grave risk.
  • Hired Guns: Many, the most famous being the various freebooter bands on Mars.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Being an alternate history Rocket Age is awash with them, frankly too many to list here.
  • Hollywood Healing: Rocket Age's story point system gives the players and the game master the ability to invoke this trope. It's called being Grazed and allows the character to collect themselves in a quiet moment and recover half their lost attribute points before continuing on with the adventure.
  • Holodeck Malfunction: In the adventure The Lost City of the Ancients the heroes have to deal with the security systems of a holographic TV station. Unfortunately the facility's AI has mixed the military simulations with old adventure film scenarios, leading to utter insanity.
  • Hologram: In Rocket Age they range from big flashy projectors to wrist mounted devices ala Total Recall (1990).
  • Horned Humanoid: Maduri, the Martian warrior caste have 'tusks' growing from their cheek bones and lower jaw, with the females growing large and more impressive sets.
  • Horse Archer: The Chanari desert tribes of Mars frequently use bows on the backs of bahmoots, horse-sized, velociraptor-like reptiles. They're essentially alien Bedouin mixed with the Mongols.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Bahmoots, velociraptor-like reptiles, are used as beasts of burden on Mars, while the Silthuri use a three and a half metre tall bird called the Royal Karn to pull their chariots. Fanthir are feathered lizards which run on two legs and are used as mounts by the Venusians.
  • Hostile Weather: Hostile weather is a serious danger to the heroes, understandable considering that includes Venusian rainstorms (thankfully not acidic), Martian sandstorms and lightning storms in the upper atmospheres of Gas Giants.
  • Hover Board: Rocket Boards are basically just reinforced metal surfboards with a rocket engine attached to the bottom. Most consider them too dangerous to use, but several gangs in New York have taken to using them for skyjackings and to escape the police.
  • Humanoid Alien: Every playable alien species in the solar system bar the Metisians is a humanoid alien; from the apelike Venusians, the various castes of Mars and the plant-based Ganymedians.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Earthlings are commonly seen as warmongering, aggressive and heavily armed by the rest of the solar system and that's certainly not inaccurate, as every major nation has soldiers spread across various planets and moons. Even the Europans, who like to state that they rule the solar system, are beginning to show concern.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Humans aren't all horrible people, but every super power is out indulging in colonialism and conquest, with the Nazis and Italians placing large swathes of the Martian population into labour camps.
  • Humans Are Special: Humanity in seems to have something special going for it, be it ungodly luck in their home planet Earth, extreme adaptability, or simply being the right species in the right place at the right time.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Venusian Cult of the Fanged Mother kidnap and sacrifice both other Venusians and various aliens (including humans).
  • Humongous Mecha: The Nazis have these.
  • Hungry Jungle: Most of Venus above the mists is covered in jungle, full of dinosaurs, giant insects and horrifying diseases.
  • Identity Amnesia: As far as we can tell no roboman, be it Ancient Martian or otherwise, can remember their original job or time period. Justified, as robomen are usually millennia old.
  • If I Can't Have You...: If Yathlax the Eye can't have Princess D'larna, he'll kill her... and everyone on Mars and Earth with the Gravitic Portal. Needless to say Yathlax, D'larna's former bodyguard has gone off the deep end.
  • Illegal Religion: On Mars the chief religious order, the Orthodox Fellowship, considers every other Martian religion or sect heretical and illegal. Whether their influence actually spreads that far is debatable, but they enforce their bans as much as possible.
  • I Love Nuclear Power: Practically everything is powered by Radium. Despite being retro sci-fi, it is not advisable to get too close to the glowing rocks. However, radiation may have a link to psychic powers.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The desert dwelling Chanari of Mars are widely rumoured to be cannibals. This seems to mostly be city dweller propaganda, however, the Grey Chanari tribes actually do eat the dead. Admittedly the Grey Chanari's status as Chanari is widely debated; they are closer to being Frazetta Man than anything else.
  • Inhumanly Beautiful Race: The Martian royal castes and their courtesans are consistently described as being incredibly beautiful by human standards, with the towering Royals often being described in terms of their other-worldliness. Note however, that concerning Martians they are far closer to The Beautiful Elite.
  • Improvised Weapon: Every native Iote weapon is an improvised weapon, made from whatever scrap they were able to find. Don't laugh though, their zip guns, crossbows and slingshots will end you if you underestimate them. Io might have the lowest technology level of the entire solar system, but the Iotes have more natural technical aptitude than practically anyone else.
  • In Medias Res: Most Rocket Age adventures spend their time providing context and set up, but The Warlord of the Gravitic Portal starts in the middle of the heroes' first confrontation with the villain. There is a brief blurb on who he is and who sent you after him, but it's still quite a change after every other adventure opening with, well, the opening.
  • In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face: It goes with the territory of everyone wearing fishbowl helmets. There's a good chance that if your face isn't visible, you're just a Faceless Goons and you should probably change professions.
  • Interdimensional Travel Device: One plot hook involves a man going missing from his private room, with the only object of interest being a large wardrobe. His name? C. S. Lewis!
  • Interspecies Romance: The Human Thomas Moore and Martian Princess Fayiltha of Polintal. Since Moore was such a hero to Polintal the city's Kastari declared him a Silthuri soul in a human body and allowed them to marry.
  • Intrepid Reporter: The Rocket News service is entirely made up of brave men and women willing to travel the stars for the biggest scoop.
  • I Owe You My Life: This definitely seems to be a belief held by the desert dwelling Chanari of Mars, since it's one of the first character hooks on offer for them.
  • Island Base: The Nazis have two of these. Since Space is an Ocean they've built one on Mercury and one in the asteroid belt, with Festung Sieg on Mercury and the asteroid belt one built into one of two asteroids attached to an Erisian spaceship wreck.
  • It Can Think: Many creatures in Rocket Age are scarily intelligent, often to the surprise and despair of the Earthlings that first encountered them. The trip line spider of Venus sets up complicated booby traps, the Yetis of Callisto are intelligent, able to slip out of captivity and evade pursuit in the mountains of Germany and then there are creatures that may well be sentient.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: The designers are aware of the implications of referring to a person as an 'it', but still use 'it' as the article for the non-gendered alien species, since there isn't another article in 1938 that Earthlings would be likely to use. Of course 'It' does end up often being used by humans in a very dehumanizing way in universe.
  • I Want My Jetpack: Rocket Age revels in all the things we thought we might have in the future. You will never have to ask where your jet-pack is, or your flashy sky car, or your rocket board.
  • Jazz: Given that this is the 1930s Jazz has spread to the stars. Talandri bands are quite common on Mars and even the Europans have a band on the Jovian Pleasure Cruiser.
  • Jet Pack: The United States were originally the only country to have mastered jet pack technology, and kept it a closely guarded secret. The US Rocket Rangers use them as part of their standard equipment and Erisian 'Knight' Armor often included something similar.
  • Jousting Lance: Venusian storm riders use thunder lances to attack from their Ptero Soarer mounts. These lances use crystals to hold electrical charge, allowing them both shock and cut enemies.
  • Jungle Drums: Venusians play war drums deep into the night before opening hostilities, as both a war to declare their intentions and as a form of psychological warfare.
  • Jungle Opera: The theme of Venus, though Ganymede could also qualify.
  • Kid Hero: Perfectly playable, as there is a secret society of child spies among the Martian royalty known as the Yondari. Older members can be as old as 16, but the majority are under 10.
  • Killed Off for Real: Rocket Age uses the Vortex system, which generally allows both player characters and NP Cs to dodge death using their pool of story points, even if they are dropped into a volcano or last seen falling into space with a hole in their chest. However, if a character is all out of points or has the Slow Death trait, they are gone for good. Occasionally major NP Cs die in story moments too.
  • Killer Gorilla: Although Venusians are an intelligent, cooperative and developed people this doesn't change the fact that they are two and a half meter tall war-like ape men.
  • Kite Riding: The semi-nomadic Yellow-Red Chanari use one man gliders, which give their highland fortresses the impression of being nests for great flying animals.
  • The Klutz: The Clumsy trait is usually Played for Laughs, but when things become tense it can quickly become Played for Drama.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Lead is extremely poisonous to Europans.
  • Lady of Adventure: Despite it being the 1930s lady adventurers are not uncommon. Exposure to alien cultures and a massive societal shift can cause that. The US Rocket Rangers even allows women into their ranks, though they are the only branch of the armed forces to do so.
  • Laser Blade: The Ray Sword, essentially a lightsaber made of energy contained by the same kind of technology as RAY shielding.
  • Latex Space Suit: Nearly all space suits are sleek and form fitting, even coming with a fishbowl helmet. The only exceptions are the hard hat suits used by asteroid belt miners.
  • Legion of Lost Souls: The Legion Martien is basically the French Foreign Legion on Mars, including members from every species, caste and race.
  • LEGO Genetics: The Ancient Martians managed to advance genetics to the point where they had a machine that could make all sorts of changes, like adding wings or claws to a person, although it did have its limits.
  • Living Gasbag: Jovian Gasbags are gigantic jellyfish-like organisms that float in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter, feeding on whatever passes by them. The Saturnian Krakens are possibly this, but since very little is known about them no-one is certain.
  • Lost Superweapon: There are enough of these floating around in Rocket Age that its a serious problem. Mostly left over from the war between Mars and Eris, they seem to crop up in most of the adventures.
  • Lost Technology: More technology exists in Rocket Age's past than its present. Mars was once a technological paradise, the Erisians had some very developed medical and military technology and Io is also implied to have been very advanced before the Europans decided their neighbours' cities would look better as craters. In fact, most new Earthling technology is inferior reverse engineered Ancient Martian technology, with the possible exception of the rocket ship and some of Tesla's inventions.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Shields are usually useless in Rocket Age, since most enemies have access to ballistic or advanced weaponry. The exception to this is the Venusian wooden shield. Made out a hard wood as strong as steel and coated with psychic crystals and resins, these ancient relics offer some protection against bullets and deflect ray beams.
  • Macho Masochism: The initiation rituals to join the Cult of the Fanged Mother, a Venusian murder cult, involves both murder and extensive self mutilation. The women's path up the cult's ranks is far worse, involving even more self harm and psychological torment.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Missiles are becoming a more common weapon in Rocket Age. The Ancient Martians experimented with the technology before moving onto RAY weapons and many space ships carry large missile pods. The Russians have even manufactured a Missile Artillery Tank. In 1938.
    • It should, however, be noted that none of the above missiles (except for a particular Ancient Martian one) are guided. Technically, this makes them all just rockets - a missile is a rocket with guidance. The book acknowledges the fact that a society capable of creating artificially intelligent robots should by every means be able to produce guided missiles, but deliberately chooses to omit those from the setting as their ubiquity would take away from its Zeerust-y "shining laser beams" aesthetic.
  • Mad Doctor: In Lab 8 of the Nazi's research base on Mercury this is practically a job requirement. Vivisection, cybernetics and genetic tampering are common, despite often being pointlessly lethal.
  • Mad Oracle: Those few Chanari who gain psychic powers tend to have significant mental illnesses.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: The Nazi base Festung Seig includes laboratories for their scientists.
  • Magnetic Weapons: Ancient and Modern Martian Radium Rifles are radiation powered rail guns. The modern versions tend to overheat and leak radiation, as well as only being feasible as artillery pieces.
  • The Man Behind the Man: There are plenty of these in Rocket Age and more than a few women, too, such as Hantha, a former concubine pulling the strings of the Martian Warlord Tal-Matuth.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Even putting aside the plant-like animals (or animal-like plants) of Ganymede the solar system has a lot of man eating plants. Venus has carnivorous bromeliads, Mars has an aggressive desert tree and Ganymede has a true plant that can turn an entire valley into a giant trap.
  • Mars Needs Women: Not really Mars, no, they've got their own, but apparently Callisto yetis can develop an attraction to beautiful women and handsome men.
  • Massive Race Selection: Rocket Age currently has 16 intelligent playable species, called sophonts. These are the Earthlings, Europans, Ganymedians, Iotes, Jovians, Venusians, Lizard Monkeys, the 7 Major Martian Castes and the Courtesan sub-caste. Rounding the list out are the Robo-men.
  • Master Swordsman: Silthanka duelists, Silthuri who specialise in the use of the Silthanka sword, are the best swordsmen in the solar system, selling their services as champions to various royal families.
  • Mecha: The Nazis found the plans for their war-walkers in the ruins of the Martian city Jastariv, though theirs are only pale imitations of the originals.
  • The Medic: ET 99 is a medical roboman wandering around the Downey Creek region of Mars, treating and rescuing animals and people, after having lost its original owner and memories.
  • Medieval Stasis: Traditionally Martian society has strictly regulated the maintanence and modification of technology, as most of what the Martians use was originally made by the Ancients, giving it both religious importance and a need to preserve what could otherwise end up being Lost Technology. This is slowly changing as Earthlings have arrived on the red planet, although the principality of Kirtal has begun improving, repairing and advancing on their own.
  • Mega Corp.: 5th Orbit Excavations and its parent company the Solar Mineral Resource Corporation act like this, having access to advanced technology and private security. There are also a number of other companies across the solar system that may count, with the majority on Venus.
  • Merchant City: G'Pak, the only island city on Mars' silt sea is run by the Pilthuri, the merchant and diplomat class who most other city states look down on and despise. The royal and priests caste have no real power there and are essentially kept around for show, to ensure that other cities don't attempt to use the unusual arrangement against them.
  • Mind-Control Device: At least one evil scientist in Rocket Age has surgically inserted mind control devices into aliens to create an army of monsters and given the setting he won't be the last.
  • Mind over Matter: Psychic powers in Rocket Age include telekinesis, among the many other options.
  • Mind Probe: The Europans have access to the Neural Linkage System, a device that replaces two of their fingers, and allows them to either link into Europan and Ancient Martian devices or forcibly create a psychic connection with someone.
  • Mini-Mecha: The smaller war-walkers used by the Nazi Duetsche Marskorps count.
  • Monumental Battle: In one mission, Tesla's Torch, the heroes find themselves in New York, so naturally they end up battling the members of an interstellar crime syndicate on both the Empire State Building and the statue of liberty.
  • Mooks: The most common enemies in the game. If you have a larger number of them the excess ones basically become set dressing, firing widely and doing nothing useful.
  • Moral Myopia: Europans seem to think they have the right to push around the rest of the solar system and get incredibly angry any time anyone attempts to push back.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Given the setting there are many scientists who act... questionably, the Nazis in particular.
  • The Morlocks: Deep below the Martian city of Y'therthl is a network of tunnels full of the mutants occasionally created by the ritual use of genetic engineering technology. Generally hideous and broken parodies of those above,they can still run the whole gamut of morality.
  • Multi-Melee Master: Rocket Age's vortex system rules mean that any training is applicable to any area in that field, making all fighters equally comfortable with almost any weapon, although many still specialise.
  • Mutants: The Martian city Y'Therthl engages in rituals based around their ancient genetic engineering machines at the birth of every child. A few come out of it worst off than when they went in.
  • Mystery Cult: There are a number in Rocket Age. Venus has several thugee-esque murder cults that operate completely underground and are exclusive enough that the induction can kill you. Martian faiths have several sects that fall into this as well.
  • Named After Their Planet: Nearly every race in Rocket Age, including the humans, are known by the name of their planet or moon. The only exceptions are the Robomen (because they are made as tools and servants) and the Lizard Monkeys of Venus (because no-one knows they're sentient and there's another sentient race on Venus).
  • Nanomachines: The Ancient Martians had access to nanotechnology. Succession, an utterly undetectable poison created by them, is in fact a nanobot infection.
  • Natural Weapon: In Rocket Age many creatures have natural weapons, including the Venusians. It is a trait in the character and monster creation system and can be taken to either give a creature something like Absurdly Sharp Claws or Super Spit.
  • Nazi Nobleman: Many Nazi enemies fit neatly into this category.
  • Nebulous Evil Organisation: The Red Scorpion appears to have started out as The Syndicate, but the addition of its current Evil Genius leader, increasing military capabilities and views towards domination of the solar system seem to have changed that.
  • Neglectful Precursors: The Ancient Martians weren't all responsible for the downfall of Mars, but their millennia long petty power struggles during the Canal Building era ensured that Mars never truly recovered. They also subverted the purpose of their religion and social structures for entirely selfish reasons, leading to Mars' current stagnant culture.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: The Red Scorpion is a powerful criminal syndicate engaged in smuggling, piracy, slavery and pretty much every other criminal activity throughout the solar system. Their sheer size is notable, but what makes them stand out is their access to world ending weapons, standing military, customised fleet of ships and advanced R&D department.
  • Noble Bigot: Rocket Age makes it explicitly clear that all player characters are meant to be heroes, however, there is the Bigot negative trait, which gives negatives when interacting with people the character would look down on. downplayed, however, as the designers also make it clear that if a player has this trait the games master should require them to buy it off as soon as possible, to represent their character growing into a better person.
  • Noble Fugitive: On Mars there is a plethora of Silthuri, the Martian royal caste, who are on the run after their city-states were overthrown, invaded,they attempted a coup and failed or they were ousted by one. Most Silthuri player characters are fugitives by default.
  • Noble Savage: Western Venusians fit this trope, being a tribal society run around socialism, democracy, honour and the hunt. Ganymedians are another example, seeing themselves as the protectors of the natural order. The hunt is also a central part of their culture and they write poetry about the nature around them by sitting down and 'wind watching'.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: The game aggressively insists on PCs being conventionally heroic.
  • Not Always Evil: As much as the Nazis are some of the setting's most common villains there are plenty of instances where Nazi characters are shown to have humanity after all, such as how die-hard Nazi settlers are having second thoughts after seeing the treatment of Nazi slaves, or an officer who still believes in acting like a proper gentleman. Also the standard background for any Nazi player character is that they deserted after learning the truth of what the Nazis are.
  • Not Quite Flight: The Lunans seem to have been a lot like bats, having winglike membranes, but appear to have been unable to truly fly.
  • Not So Different: A major theme with the warring tribes, concordats and nations of Venus, who are often very like their neighbours and rivals. An telling point is how many of the various groups call themselves 'the people'.
  • Ocean Punk: Bizarrely this trope plays out on Mars of all places, which has seas of silt, pirates, whalers and merchants hopping from island to island.
  • Offered the Crown: The priests of the Martian city-state of Herscal actually created a false prophesy to offer the crown to a Venusian who had just slain the mercenaries who killed the state's royalty. This arrangement is less than ideal as the new prince is essentially a communist, but it has helped keep the nation united.
  • Ominous Fog: Going down into the fog of Venus is an excellent way to die from the pressure, or get eaten by something unseen and slimy. Ganymede also has an area covered by the Black Fog, however, this is actually volcanic gas.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Since Science is a skill that covers everything from physics to biology every scientist in the setting is assumed to be this, though they can and do specialise.
  • Once-Green Mars: Mars was once a cool, idyllic world, until some Ancient Martian scientists managed to knock their own planet out of its correct orbit by firing the Planet Killer Rocket at their enemies, turning Mars into a hot desert world.
  • Opening Monologue: What with Rocket Age being written in the style of old pulp serials, every adventure has a monologue that can be read out if the Games Master so wishes, preferably in melodramatic style to match the text.
  • The Order: The Order of the Sacred Hamaxe, obviously, which is a Martian faith made up of holy war-bands led by full priests.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Mind Dunes of the Moon ends with a character revealing their true nature by turning into... something alien and other.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: There are some more traditional ones, like giant spiders or dinosaurs, but then are some straight up weird ones, such as Fog Wolves, flying razor edged mollusks, and Mist Clingers, which are best explained as amoebic armoured starfish. As an interesting note, both come from within the mists of Venus.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: So far the only device capable of creating a wormhole in Rocket Age has the design flaw of allowing the gravity on one side of the portal effect the other, meaning that trying to use it would lead to worlds being destroyed.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The Earthlings play this part to the solar system at large. None of the other species aside from the Europans had space travel, so humanity became the Cortez to their Aztecs.
  • The Paladin: The Order of the Sacred Hamaxe, a Martian crusading order, might be the most heroic faction in the setting, protecting innocents, fighting dangerous animals and fighting evil organizations at every turn. The have a strong code of honour and welcome any Martian caste into their order, an amazing thing to do on Mars.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: The Ancient Martians clearly hadn't had a war for a long time, since when the Erisians came for them they were utterly unprepared for it.
  • Perpetual Poverty: The Impoverished bad trait causes characters to constantly lack funds and resources, no matter how much their fellows have, although the trait can eventually be bought off.
  • Perpetual Storm: As Rocket Age is set in an alternate version of our own solar system of course Jupiter's Red Spot makes an appearance. One adventure hook even involves trying to be the first to explore and document the interior.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The ladies of the Martian royal caste wear nothing but pimped out dresses. One Princess even had a Gem-Encrusted dress which was rumoured to be made exclusively of diamonds, with no thread holding it together at all.
  • Pinkerton Detective: Not actual Pinkertons, but the Wolfgang & Long Detective Agency shares similarities with them, running investigations across the solar system for nations who can't readily reach criminals.
  • Pirate: Mars' silt seas have a wide variety of pirates and corsairs, from tribesmen looking to make a little money on the side, to proud soldiers who have lost their kingdoms and are seeking to found their own.
  • Planet of Hats: Generally all Venusians are warrior poets, all Ganymedians are noble savages and all Europans (aside from the Emissary Corps) are arrogant and superior. However, this becomes subverted the more is learnt about every planet and its peoples.
  • Planetary Romance: A major inspiration for the setting, especially Mars.
  • Plant Aliens: The entire moon of Ganymede is covering in plant life, both earth-like and animal analogues.
  • Plant Person: The Ganymedians are a species composed of various symbiotic plants and fungi, as is every other animal native to Ganymede.
  • Please Select New City Name: This tends to happen to Martian city-states when they are conquered or the previous rulers are overthrown. We currently have Emancipation, New Jerusalem, Neu Berlin and Nuovo Roma to name a few.
  • Plot Armour: Everyone has a bit of plot armour in the form of Story Points. The real question is how much? If the character is a Red Shirt, they might have a quarter of the points a hero or major character has. Player characters have the added advantage of manipulating the plot, meaning they can get out of situations no NPC would have a chance of escaping.
  • Point Build System: Rocket Age uses a point buy system which the entire character creation process runs off. Want attributes and skills? One point for each advancement. Want good traits? However many points that trait costs. Want more point? Well then you'd better start looking at the bad traits...
  • Pointy Ears: Pointy ears are a distinctive trait of both the Martian royal and priest castes, as well as possibly the Ancient Martians they are descended from.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Ganymedians didn't realise that human prospectors couldn't survive being separated from their organs, so their first attempts at taking prisoners went badly.
  • Power Crystal: The Venusians use ancient crystals to store psychic energy, often mounting them on their priests' staffs. Small ones are bound into Venusian Wooden Axes and Shields, ancient artefacts that can parry RAY beams.
  • Powered Armor: Erisian 'Knight' Armor is this for a race of giant gorilla people.
  • Praetorian Guard: Every Martian prince needs royal guards and armies, considering the sheer likelihood of assassination. Many others Royal and Priest castes also have personal guards and sometimes even entire legions at their disposal.
  • Precursor Worship: The Martians worship the Ancients, their far more advanced ancestors.
  • Pretty Boy: Julandri courtesans, a slave caste of Mars. The men are just as pretty and delicate as the women.
  • Primal Stance: Venusians all walk like this, understandable given they are essentially intelligent gorillas. Theirs is also a culture of tribal warfare and the hunt.
  • Private Detective: The Wolfgang & Long Detective Agency supplies P Is to the entire solar system. Their detectives can either be assigned cases by the agency or take up their own. However, they only go for major cases.
  • Private Military Contractors: The Legion Martien are often hired out to various Martian principalities as mercenaries. Some Martian Freebooters bands also count, in particular the Mavericks, who are effectively American deniable assets.
  • Prospector: There are a tonne of prospectors kicking around the solar system. They're most commonly seen on Venus, Ganymede and in the Asteroid Belt, trying to stake out claims before other prospectors or the large corporations get involved.
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Erisians, their Venusian descendants, the Metisians and the Martian Maduri caste all qualify.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Every depiction of the various psychic powers shows practitioners in very traditional poses. Favourites include the hand to brow, the directional gesture and the guru styled lotus position.
  • Psychic Powers: All sorts of psychic powers are available for purchase. The greatest practitioners of the psychic arts are the Europans and the Venusian priest-hood, although nearly any intelligent person may have psychic abilities.
  • Psychometry People with Postcognition can read objects for past events, with the most skilled able to read events up to a century ago.
  • Ptero Soarer: There are many species of these on Venus, the largest being the Winged Devil with a ten metre wingspan.
  • Punished with Ugly: Although this might have been a side effect of the viral and nuclear bombardment of Io by the Europans, the Iotes went from being described as the most beautiful species in the solar system to looking like disease ridden, mutated dog men. Knowing the Europan's track record, they probably didn't even do anything to deserve it.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: Dr Ludwig Ritterbach, a Nazi scientist on Mercury, is under the control of a modified Venusian slug which is planning to use his body to breed more of its kind.
  • Purple Eyes: A trait found in some Martians. They are typically only seen in the higher castes and the only castes to have exclusively purple eyes are the royalty and priests
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: Downplayed. Most ancient technology is not in perfect working condition, but has still managed to survive to the present day and may still be active.
  • Ramming Always Works: The Silt Sea pirates of Mars use raiding ships built out of the bones of silt dragons. The prow, made from the skull, is used as a ram and does a devastating amount of damage.
  • Ray Gun: A staple of Rocket Age. Nicola Tesla developed modern versions of these based off Ancient Martian designs and the Ancients even had Heat and Freeze Rays. They massively outclass most conventional weapons in the setting and include the ability to stun enemies.
  • Raygun Gothic: The look and feel of the setting. The corebook even states that all technology will look sleek, clothing worn by adventurers should usually be form fitting and every space suit has a fishbowl helmet.
  • Rebel Prince: Ellios, the heir to a Martian principality, does not wish to inherit the throne, instead wanting a chance to live his own life. Technically he's not a prince, since that would be his father, but his position is exactly the same.
  • Reclining Reigner: Princess Stephanika, ruler of the Martian city-state Melikia, is a notorious Femme Fatale and is depicted in this fashion. The fact that she is the only character shown this way is telling.
  • Retro Rocket: Rocket Age loves its traditional, gleaming rocket ships and plays them to the hilt. They land on their fins, they burn radium for fuel and pack Ray cannons, most even have self destruct buttons. These rocket ships have it all and to top it off the inventors were Goddard, Einstein and Tesla.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilised: The Ebb Revolutions on Mars were brutal socialist uprisings sponsored by the Soviets which usually involved a city's entire Silthuri, Kastari and Pilthuri castes being executed, along with anyone else deemed counter-revolutionary.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Of the conventional handguns available the hand cannons are the most powerful and always described as large revolvers. They still pale in comparison to even the smallest Ray weapons however.
  • Rock Beats Laser: This happens very occasionally. In close quarters jungle fighting a Venusian fighting with a club could easily outmatch an Earthling with a gun, especially considering how wet it is on Venus and the sheer size of the Venusian. Also sometimes something that appears low tech, like a Venusian wooden axe, has unusual properties that give it a huge edge against modern technology.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The vast majority of the Martian Silthuri are actually bureaucrats and military officers, despite being the royal caste. However, many of the ruling sub-caste have also been forced into more proactive roles and actions, to avoid being crushed by imperial Earthling powers or the Martians that have allied with them.
  • Rule of Cool: What the setting runs on. Players even get Story Points that allow them to pull off the craziest things and alter the plot.
  • Ruling Couple: Thomas Moore and Princess Fayiltha. Fayiltha mostly deals with management of Polintal and its affairs of state, while Thomas mostly handles the army. Surprisingly Thomas is much loved by the people despite being an Earthling married to a Martian princess.
  • Sand Is Water: Mars has Silt Seas, full of life. Good luck trying to swim in it if you're not evolved to, however, although you can sail over it.
  • Sand Worm: The Silt Seas of Mars are home to a range of animals, of which the apex predator is the Silt Dragon, a serpent over 150 metres long.
  • Sapient Ship: The USRC St. Miheil is a long distance Rocket ship controlled by a robobrain which is indistinguishable from the ship.
  • Scary Amoral Religion: The Orthodox Fellowship on Mars can slip into this very easily. The fellowship as a major role in enforcing the Martian caste system, is xenophobic, imperialistic and actively attempts to wipe out other Martian faiths. They also actively sponsor and support the 31st Seal, an anti-Earthling terrorist organisation. Admittedly, much of the xenophobia is due to the subjugation of the Martian people, but not all.
  • Scavenger World: Io, being a blasted post apocalyptic wasteland, is full of native tribes searching for the best materials among the ruins. Occasionally Earthlings come by to try their hand at treasure hunting; if things go poorly they can easily find themselves facing off against Iotes armed with zip-guns, bows and crossbows.
  • The Scrounger: Scavenger is a profession. Their abilities allow them to find just about anything mundane, or build it from scrap if they can't.
  • Schizo Tech: All over the place. The humans use conventional 1930s technology alongside spaceships and RAY guns and the Martians used to use a mixture of medieval and high tech technology and are currently in the desperate process of modernization. Then on Jupiter we have the use of zeppelins and compressed air dart rifles, to ensure that things don't go up in smoke.
  • Secret War: The Great Powers of Earth are currently fighting secret battles in the skies of Jupiter for the approval of the Europans.
  • Seers: Precognition gives a person visions of the future which they can focus on to gain more specific information.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Rocket Age's titular rocket ships are often equipped with self destruct mechanisms to scuttle the ship and prevent it from falling into enemy hands, as well as potentially take out the enemy with it.
  • Sex Slave: A simplistic and biased but not entirely inaccurate view of Mars' Julandri Courtesan sub-caste. They are technically owned by the Royal and Priest castes, but they are closer to geishas than concubines and they have far better lives and potentially can hold a lot of soft power than almost anyone else in their society. Despite this, they still fall into this trope a lot of the time.
  • Settling the Frontier: Venus is becoming covered in settlements. These are a mixture of corporate and national, mostly being Earthling controlled, but the one exception is Tamatha, a Martian City-State made up of refugees from the Ebb Revolutions.
  • Shattered World: Our asteroid belt was originally a fifth planet, Eris. It still has ruins and even some survivors hidden in some of the larger chunks of rock.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Martian Julandri courtesans, both men and women, aren't so much shameless, as culturally trained with different social norms. They are aware of the reaction Earthlings have to their revealing or potentially non-existent attire, but they often don't see that as enough of a reason to change. Remember that Rocket Age is set in the 1930s...
  • Sidekick: The Boon Companion trait gives you one of these, the quality of the companion depending on the level of the trait.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Shotguns in Rocket Age have a ridiculously short range in comparison to rifles and using shot as opposed to slugs shortens the range even further.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Shotguns do slightly more damage than rifles and can hit multiple targets, but have far shorter range.
  • Silicon-Based Life: The unknown surface of Venus, deep below the mists and incredibly hot, is inhabited by the Triodi, powerful psychic crystalline creatures that feed on the chemical soups that form there. These creatures' corpses are the source of the Venusian''s psychic crystals. They are incredibly territorial and dislike the 'meaty' creatures above them. Thankfully they don't know about other sophonts, yet.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Justified and somewhat averted. Despite being mostly a desert planet Mars has a fair bit of variety in its environments. Venus is primarily a jungle planet, but the unknown valleys may well be different. The various moons aside from Metis tend towards one biome and the gas giants fall into this naturally.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Rocket Age sits somewhere in the middle. On one hand, there is genocide, death camps and Nazis. On the other there are plenty of people working to make the solar system a better place and the heroes are expected to win in the face of insurmountable odds.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness: Rocket Age is somewhere in the middle, with tendencies towards the sillier, which works given it's based on pulp and retro sci-fi. You can walk around on islands in the skies of Jupiter for example, without being pulled deeper and crushed like a bug, though you'd better be wearing a space suit.
  • Smells Sexy: Some Martian castes appear to have modified pheromones to make them more attractive, more persuasive and commanding, or both. The Royal and Priest castes tend to have the full package, while the Courtesan caste appear to only have pheremones designed to enhance their attractiveness, although given how often they seem to rise to power...
  • The Social Darwinist: The cult of the Fanged Mother on Venus believes that the strong should dominate the weak and the only ethical thing for the strong to do is to cull the weak to sate the Fanged Mother's thirst. Needless to say, most Venusians aren't happy with a death cult turning Venus into any more of a Crapsack World
  • Socialite: Talvala Festil is a rare male example, although given Mars' Royal Caste have less of a gender divide it is unsurprising. Mr Festil is the money behind the Rocket Cat lounge, but never does any actual work, instead acting as the face, charming and befriending everyone who comes through the door.
  • Space Clothes: Fashion has slid towards the sleek, gleaming and skin-tight over the course of the alternate 1930s, although more traditional outfits are still common.
  • Space Fighter: Since the setting is called Rocket Age, it's practically mandatory for there to be Rocket Fighters, small two person rocket ships equipped for dog fighting.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Space often seems very nautical in Rocket Age. There are pirates, fairly traditional navies and the great black beyond often seems more like an ocean to be crossed and explored.
  • Space Navy: Justified in Rocket Age, since it is the 1930s and the only way the Earthling powers know to manage a fleet of ships is as a navy.
  • Space Opera: Despite only covering our solar system, the epic themes and intrigues of space opera are definitely there. Just replace The Empire with actual Nazis.
  • Space Pirates: The Cicilian Brotherhood, a band of pirates founded by the self proclaimed pirate king Arthur Roster, operate from a secret base on Phobos. There are also pirates in the asteroid belt loosely united under an Accord, gearing up for a civil war due to 5OX buying out some crews as privateers.
  • Space Station: Not many that are mentioned. Most space ports are built into asteroids, moons or are ground based bases, as gravity (or lack of it) is less of an issue in Rocket Age due to Rule of Cool and space ships that rarely have trouble with re-entry.
  • Space Western: Rocket Age dabbles in this in places, with settlers on the outskirts of Earthling territories frequently dispensing their own justice, tousling with the natives and constantly having to battle off corporate interests looking to take out the little guy with hired guns. There are even Rocket Rangers who either act as The Cavalry. This is most common on Venus, Ganymede and in the Asteroid Belt, but can be found in other locales too.
  • Space Whale: No space whales have been found so far but there are space eels. They're actually closer to plants.
  • The Spartan Way: The Maduri caste of Mars traditionally form its entire military force. They live incredibly hard lives from a very young age and continue to do so, despite being one of the higher castes in traditional society.
  • Spider Tank: The Nazis are the only ones to have been able to reverse engineer Ancient Martian war walkers. Several war walkers fit this trope, but the best examples are the Sturmschreiter, an eight legged behemoth, and the Panzerschreiter Skorpion, an agile six legged contraption built for city fighting.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: Most fleets in Rocket Age pack everything from small fighters to large capital ships.
  • Starship Luxurious: Downplayed on-board regular rocket ships but played absolutely straight on the Jovian Pleasure Cruiser, a literal space cruise ship.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: In The Downey Creek War adventure Janine Wendt and Maggie Mc Taggert have an on-off relationship despite their families' active and potentially disastrous feud.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Metisians are six tentacled, 'brain in a jar' style aliens who reproduce entirely by cloning.
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: Although most people who use bows find themselves seriously outclassed in Rocket Age, Martian Chanari tribesmen who use the Bone Bow are generally far more dangerous, due to the sheer power of the weapon in the hands of a strong archer.
  • Stripperiffic: There are a number of incidents of this, but the best and most justified example is the Silthuri dueling vest, a set of armour designed to protect the groin, face, neck, inner things, wrists and upper chest in a duel to determine first blood, but not meant to kill the other. Traditionally no other clothing is worn while dueling, leaving a lot on display.
  • Stun Gun: Most Ray guns have a stun setting built in, but there are also spasm rods, odd pronged batons that produce a shimmering sphere that can be used to both stun people in melee and to deflect Ray fire.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: The Nazis are the only power with access to War-walkers. They also have numerous insane research projects on the go.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The Europans would certainly like to think that they are this and often appear so to outside observers.
    • The Ancient Martians also appear to have been these at a point.
  • Suicide Attack: The 31st Seal (either a Martian resistance group or terrorist organisation, depending on who you ask) frequently orchestrates suicide attacks, typically in the form of gigantic warriors with axes, although they occasionally deploy bombers too.
  • Super Breeding Program: Believing in eugenics, the Nazis have been working on breeding perfect Aryans.
  • Super Soldier: None are full grown, but the Nazis have young super soldiers in training at Festung Sieg.
  • Sword and Gun: Space Pirates frequently use cutlasses and low caliber pistols in boarding actions, due to the fact that heavier weaponry can easily pop a hole in the side of the space ship.
  • The Symbiote: * One example in is the Fur Frog, a small creature that Venusians keep as pets. They do eat the parasites living in their host's fur, but more importantly they are highly psychic and effectively grant their host access to these same abilities.
  • Take Over the World: The Red Scorpion intends to use his self named crime syndicate to take over the solar system.
  • Telepathy: Telepaths transmit their thoughts into others and at the highest levels can outright possess others. The ability to gain information from others is considered a simpler talent simply gained from being psychic.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Rocket Age has a number of transporters, but only one man portable: an Ancient Martian artefact that requires a beacon at the target location to work.
  • The Theocracy: The secret Martian city state of Hasvarval has no royal caste, instead being controlled entirely by the priest caste.
  • Those Magnificent Flying Machines: The H'Slit tribes of Venus make sail-ships, gliders and sail-planes out of wood, bone and incredibly carved stone fittings. The largest are capable of up to a dozen Venusians. It is likely these contraptions only fly due to the immense heat rising from Venus's depths.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Pretty much every Nazi trope out there is played out here, possibly excluding Ghostapo. Though with psychic powers existing in Rocket Age there's no guarantee...
  • Three-Laws Compliant: Ancient Martian robomen have a number of different three law for their robots. However, sometimes these laws may allow robots to kill, or ignore those in danger depending on the roboman's purpose.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The Metisian warriors and nobility use the Kithakis Throwing Sword, a weapon similar in construction to some African throwing knifes, with the added advantages of it returning like a boomerang. It's perfectly effective in melee too, but to use it properly you really need all the tentacles of a Metisian.
  • Tin-Can Robot: Ancient Martian Robomen can be sleek and graceful, but many of the non-service models were built with practicality and survivability in mind.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Maduri men aren't exactly small, towering over most humans, but the women are giants, more heavily muscled and tusked. This is due to genetic engineering; the women were engineered for defence, while the men were engineered for offence.
  • Too Cool to Live: It is actually possible for players to invoke this in Rocket Age with the Experienced trait. The trait gives more character creation points while cutting down the number of story points, which are mechanically Plot Armor. The trait can even be taken multiple times, meaning that the more experienced and cool a character is, the less influence they have on the story and the more likely they are to die prematurely.
  • Too Much Information: The entire Venusian species will not shut up unless they're trying to be stealthy and have no taboos about discussing any topic.
  • Training from Hell: There are a number of careers in Rocket Age that have the incredibly harsh training regimes. The Legion Martien (the French Foreign Legion on Mars) leaves a trail of ruined men in its wake and the Nazis have a number of brutal training regimes with high attrition rates, some of which require surgery. The Martian warrior caste also have universally harsh training regimes but they can take it.
  • Transflormation: The oldest Ganymedians eventually root into the soil of their home and become trees, venerated by their descendants.
  • Troperiffic: Rocket Age exists in a similar genre to Space 1889 and so has a LOT of the same tropes, although how it is all put together makes it feel very different, being early 20th century pulp sci-fi as opposed to Vernian sci-fi and has a distinctly different attitude to how the aliens are portrayed. Being set in 1938, it is also full of Those Wacky Nazis, Dirty Commies and Raygun Gothic tropes.
  • Troll: Venusians, being huge debaters, will often say something designed to offend, just to get an argument going. Their tribal meetings are usually described as being a lot like internet forums, only louder and more obnoxious.
  • Two-Fisted Tales: Rocket Age is intended to have a pulpy, heroic play-style. It even has a story point system to let you manipulate the plot and pull off almost impossible stunts and bluffs.
  • UnderCity: Martian cities have extensive networks of service tunnels and sewers underneath the streets, often linking the entire city together.
  • The Usurper: Martian politics being what it is there are a lot of people who could classify, but the man who takes the cake is Danny Hatfield, an Earthling who walked into a succession duel with a light-saber and took the Prince's head. Considering these duels are typically staged and planned, he's made a lot of enemies.
  • Uterine Replicator: The Nazis are working on creating these on Mercury. The Metisians have also been using cloning for reproduction for years, possibly even centuries.
  • Utopia: The Ancient Martians had a society where nearly every citizen was living a life of luxury, entirely supported by automated machines. Deconstructed however, since as very few Ancients were actually required to be productive or creative they became easy pickings for Erisian raiders.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Henry Ford is convinced his Venus colony Newfordlandia is a utopia. The workers, who are essentially well cared for wage slaves disagree, with no real money, only store credit, only company Courtesans for company and no chance of escaping the colony. The company's Julandri Courtesans were apparently purchased by Ford to ensure the men weren't distracted by romance and no-one seems to be certain how happy they're with this arrangement either.
  • Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: Some Martian animals, typically reptiles, have an extra set of limbs, despite most other animals including the Martians themselves only having four. This is possibly due to the large amount of genetic tampering the Ancient Martians engaged in.
  • Videogame Cruelty Punishment: In one adventure the heroes are in the middle of a night club when a firefight erupts. If the players deliberately or recklessly endanger innocents, the game master is encouraged to take away all their Story Points, essentially shutting down most of their special abilities and all of their second chances. This should be the standard response.
  • Villainous Valor: Most Rocket Age villains tend to have some very admirable traits, even the Nazis. One is an absolute gentleman for example, while another might be unspeakably brave despite his cruelty. However their deficiencies in... other areas tend to leave them somewhat less palatable.
  • The Virus: Although it hasn't yet been used in a printed adventure, Rocket Age does provide GM's with the Infection trait, allowing them to make their own space zombies and vampires.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: A lot spread across the solar system. Some good examples include the Northern Mountain Women of Venus, whose ranks include the storm riders, and the Rheans, Venusians who managed to get a Erisian space ship working and land on Saturn's moon Rhea. Many of these are self contained and might appear once in a season and never be seen or heard from again.
  • Warrior Monk: Some Martian monasteries have a martial bent and a number of martial arts originate from them, such as Celestial Fist.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The larger disintegrator rays count; the Europans claim they either have enough of them in their fleet or a large enough cannon to wipe out the Earth.
  • Wolverine Claws: Rocket Age has Venusian warriors claws, traditionally made of knapped stone attached to a leather gauntlet, but trade with Earthlings has introduced metal to the mix as well. These are the descendants of Erisian battle claws, a far more advanced weapon capable of parrying Ray beams.
  • World of Ham: There isn't a single major villain who won't monologue, attempt to lower someone into molten steel or try to blow up a world (or two). Heroes tend to slip into this as a defense mechanism.
  • World Of Phlebotinum: The Rocket Age mostly runs on Radium, which apparently allows for ships fast enough to make trips between the inner planets only take weeks and trips to Jupiter only take months. Weaponry tends to be consistently explained and logical, although the setting does of course ignore the energy requirements. However, Rocket Age also includes psychic powers and immaterial beings and offers no real explanation.
  • World Tree: Bata'bik trees are gigantic structures, hundreds of metres tall and up to a kilometre wide found on Venus. These are home to an entire ecology of creatures and other organisms.* Weapon of Choice: The Martian Warpriests of the Order of the Hamaxe use their custom-made hamaxes, a weapon that has both an axe blade and a hammer on the head. Of course, there are far more examples.
  • Weird Science: Rocket Age has Weird Science coming out of its ears, from insane scientists inserting control chips into monsters, to killer robots and matter-energy converters.
  • Whip Sword: The Sawbark Plantain is a plant with thorn edged, moving vines that attack those that approach it. One Venusian warrior cult venerates the tree and its wasp symbiotes making use of spiked whips. This is noted to be ineffective in modern warfare, but very impressive nonetheless.
  • Winged Humanoid: The Jovians are the gangly, elephant trunked, winged sophonts native to Jupiter.
  • World in the Sky: Jupiter has sky islands that form in the atmosphere from collected debris. The islands become a haven for various fast breeding creatures for the short time before they sink under their own weight deeper into the atmosphere.
  • Wretched Hive: Maven Haven is the port of call for nearly all Asteroid Belt pirates and it shows. The majority of the economy is built around servicing the pirates in various ways and the only law is what the pirate enforcers decide it is at that moment.
  • Younger Than They Look: Every Ganymedian in the Tethus range on Venus is younger than they look. After the Soviet ship they were on board crash landed, the plant-like Ganymedians found that the soil and plant-life of Venus caused them to grow much faster and with more fertility. This means that all the Ganymedian children on the range and grassland have the minds of infants and that the adults are aging at an incredible rate.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: If a character has the Striken trait they have a terminal illness and will die sometime in the next few months or years. Rules-wise this gives them extra story points but prevents them from using them to prevent their death.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The 31st Seal is a terrorist organisation that uses suicide bombers, gunmen and other forms of violence against Earthlings across Mars. However, considering that Earthlings are in fact an invading force they have a lot of support from the average Martian.
    • The Interplanetary Comintern, an organisation founded by Trotsky before his death, wishes to spread communism to the oppressed of the solar system. Thing is it's been hijacked by Stalin.
  • Zeerust: Deliberately invoked. Since this is 1938 every human made screen is a CRT and punch card operated vacuum tube computers exist alongside more advanced versions, some of which even incorporate parts of Ancient Martian robobrains.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: More like Zeppelins On Another World. As rocket engines aren't safe in the atmosphere of Jupiter and the other gas giants, ships designed to explore there can be converted into zeppelins.


Rocket Rangers Away!
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/TabletopGame/RocketAge