October 26, 2011

Communication isn't always in a box.

Convenient, but too convenient.
Perhaps it has been discussed, and perhaps I've simply missed the topic many times over during my times with the Star Frontiers system, but it is to be said, that not all characters can and will always have a polyvox device bending their ear. Sometimes, they will actually have to know how to talk.

While I know not what all sort of languages the futuristic setting of Star Frontiers (and official canon only provides scant few) provides, I've still come up with a way of determining how easily versed in multiple languages characters are in my campaigns. Quite often we see humans with automatic run of the mill Pan-Galactic with extras being French, Zulu, and other odd spare languages to use amongst the group.

Characters know any number of languages as determined by their LOG skill at character creation.

LOG Score   1-20    21-40    41-60    61-80    81-100
# Known      1           2           3           4           5
Life happens and there isn't always a properly-programmed automatic translator for every vocal beck and call.

October 25, 2011

It Only Rains on Tuesdays... Pt 1:

Oh, balls! Seems I forgot to post this. The first of many, and shazzam!


The man that was Number Two, named "Tom", flash-clone personality of Richtoffen, Tomothy, BioSciences. His gaze quickly turned to his masculine form, fully aware of the terrible chill of his surroundings, but quickly became more preoccupied by the alien sight of the thing clambering out from pod number three.

Its face was that of a man and a man his computer memories bade him know. But that was some freakish mutant; the gentle pouch, like some old earth marsupial, was almost hidden by its chest hair, and he could swear that was some manner of plant's vine protruding from its lower back.

And then, whether in some manner of audacity, or simply negligence, the other shouldered past to view the still unopened tank marked number one. Tom quickly abandoned his alienation to get a good look about the large room they were in and the many pieces of technology set up about its otherwise spartan plasteel construction.

(Note: excluding Kangaroo Boy, we usually are pretty in-character, but the group was perhaps a bit too excited to play weird mutant freaks in a pseudo-post apoc setting, where they for all intents and purposes believe they're supposed to be human.)

Tom notes the tattooed bar-code along his companion's neck, of which a '3' is prominent alongside it. Without a word he confirms his suspicions and hopes the thing truly is a messed up clone of that man that insisted his name be simply 'Wikkus'. The scientist first turns to a large changing screen completely surrounded by various lockers, all with numeral identification. He is quick to don his coat when he first becomes aware of his wings, both folded behind his shoulders, and after drawing Wikkus' attention from occupied tank number one, they find a pocket knife in a desk drawer after avoiding a collapsed, dust-ridden skeleton wearing a delicate lab coat.

Afterward, the two are quick to get dressed, with the scientist stealing number thirteen's pair of utility boots and universal coveralls. After all, that grease job in the back wouldn't be needing it. Neither would any of them past tank five for that matter.

With some effort the scientist had his coat on over his back without impeding his wings, and Wikkus was off doing something odd in front of the first tank; the internal lighting in the room seemed to flicker, but nothing came of it, and Wikkus was quick to find boredom in his curious ability.

By then, the steady cyan light on tank one turned a steady green, strobing for effect as the liquid contents drained and a hulking man barely fitting inside slumped to the bottom as his breather slipped free of his throat. Then he awoke, and forward came our third mutant man. His body bristled with dangerous-looking spines, and he easily stood two feet above either of them. The weapons AND technical officer's entire body rippled with raw strength.

With brief introductions came taking stock of what resources they had at hand. A pessimistic sigh came from Sergei as he scratched just above his bar-code, completely displeased with the lack of working terminal in the room, though he quickly surmised their cloning system must run on its own system somewhere. The further fact that both of the two skeletons' chronocoms were dead and their authorization colour bands were missing only added to his unpleasantness. He liked things to work out.

The mutant Wikkus had a blast cutting holes in his clothes while he wore them with a rusty X-Acto, dexterously avoiding injuring himself as he liberated his pouch from his shirt and thermal garment. Number three then jumped from the top of a rickety, ancient fakewood desk in an attempt to touch the false ceiling. Somehow, he didn't fall on his ass and hurt his dignity.

Before them stood the door, somewhat ajar, and behind it, the pitch black of a hallway. The Russian quickly slid the old plasteel frame aside and they all peered out into the darkness with a quick vote to tread down the right hallway, basing faith on the miniscule amount of light the saw somewhere down there.

Ignoring most of the second floor of this large facility they were in, the three miraculously found everlasting MREs in a kitchen (finding evidence that it was used as ingredients to boot), of which only one was contaminated and found thanks to Wikkus' "Dontcha'Poot'InaMout'" training. Then with unprecedented vigor they shouldered through a destroyed lounge, more hallways, an atrium and out the front door; Tom just knew there was people out there. They were at least a kilometer away, but he just knew.

A blue oinky bank, broken bicycle, and what-have-you awaited the Russian's deft hands out in a few missed cars in the parking lot before he crushed a skeleton with the rusted door of the parking lot's security checkpoint. A seeming blank in his memory left him ignoring a wonderful military green suit hidden under the skeleton's uniform and they continued down the road, leaving the BioSciences Laboratory behind.

He couldn't have known, but Sergei's sense of smell was far superior to that of any man, and eventually, they snuck up behind a heavily-garbed individual bent over the battered shell of a maintenance droid. They weren't the least bit stealthy, but somehow the individual failed to notice their presence.

Richtoffen suddenly became rather put-out, failing to read the being for what it was. He just knew there were people about, but not this one! In his simmering frustration, the faux-German clenched his palms and with a whirl of startling speed, the person's pry bar was in his hands.

They gasped and choked, shelving around to draw a hidden weapon, but not before the Russian and his scientist friend lunged headlong, battering the hunched creature before it shrieked and jumped backward from the ever-near Russian, firing an unseen shot off into the air. Again the bear of a Russian dove at the being, though it in turn threw a knife past his head before he grappled it to the ground with resounding success.

The creature recoiled, nearly flinching as many spines dug into its skin, and it was free! But not before Richtoffen had mastered his ability of magnetic control to snatch the pistol from the ground, firing two shots, the last making a clack as it powered down, inflicting a single crippling blow to its leg. Despite this, it still managed to dodge the heavy-handed Russian in his wrestling attempts. In his anger, the Russian pounded the miserable wretch into the pavement, taking another swing to crush its spine, killing it instantly.

Kangaroo Boy had simply stood there, gawking at the scene before him. The others quickly pushed the laser pistol and a small supply of spare charge into Wikkus to turn to looting its haversack.

Further down the shallowly-winding road flanked by a massive grid fence and disheveled gate, the scientist took note of the disappearance of those people out there somewhere. Not even ten minutes later, the grass before them had withered away into a large plot of sterile land, and at its center, to their marvel, a large brown dome accompanied by six columns of what seemed to be sand.

Though all three suspected it to be a hut at first, Sergei was more interested in what looked like a dead body around the other side of the dome than anything else. He was struck brutally by three of these six formations, almost unable to stumble back to escape the rest.

The Dome pulsated with a strange crackling purple energy that soon disappeared, and likewise, so had the scientist. The two locked in a mental spar as Wikkus panicked, not even thinking to fire his readied pistol. The shaken scientist snatched it up and revved the power settings medium-high, scoring a single hit that exploded just in front of the brown mass, and Wikkus, jostled by the action cast forth from his hand a tight sphere of pale orange gas. It flickered violently against the invisible shield. Richtoffen fired two more power-consuming shots, finally blasting past that unseen field, scoring great damage immediately aided by the acidic quality of the orange gas. Sergei had seen his moment and threw his looted knife right into the brown thing just before it collapsed into a pitted mess.

They were victorious, and with impunity they hounded the dead man, but the vultures shirked back; this was no cadaver touched by carrion feeder, for it was clearly infested with something. No one wanted to touch it, though they truly wanted its things. Richtoffen held the long-dead man aloft by a metal thing in his sturdy backpack as Sergei slashed its straps, and the body hit the dead ground with a thud. Its belt received a similar treatment, though it was simply unbuckled. All three ignored the military green single-piece suit of this man, even with a good glance at several unsuccessful bullet impacts marring its shoulder. But then perhaps, Sergei realized, this was armor! They must return to the security check point almost an hour back and take the dead guard's!

He grinned with delight as they strolled back with a new incendiary grenade and some other goodies.

After covering little more than a kilometer and a half of travel, and slightly more than three hours of waking existence, the trio resumed their progress down the shoddy paved road into a fork. With a moment's reprieve, the doctor set to using his new-found medical supplies on his Russian friend's crushed and battered body, though he decided not to rid himself of his dirtied disposable scalpel blade, at least not just yet.

And that's it till next time. Whenever that is.

October 19, 2011

It Only Rains on Tuesdays...

 A sprawling hulk of material, the colossal microcosm, Warden, carries on for miles in length, height and width. It is a super-massive spheroid vessel totaling a grand number of 17 floors empowered with the means of artificial gravity, and the space of an entire world.


A whistling crack sounds ahead of a gentle drone, almost a whir really, but it carries on, reverberating all around, and with a nauseous pain that empties your center your eyes creep open. Only a faint blur of colour meets your waking sight. But it burns your eyes with an intensity that stabs the back of your skull. At least you thought it did.


What a silly notion: You. Marvelous.

It could have taken hours, maybe even minutes, but as your vision slowly adjusts itself and colours become shapes, and shapes features, you are ready to brave what stands before you; and with a slightly feeble start you clamber out of the artificial construct that was your womb.

Congratulations, hero, this is how your life begins: confusing, cold, and naked.


That was the introduction I gave my players back on Monday when we began our new campaign after a couple weeks of game withdrawal. The setting is a pseudo-Post Apocalypse aboard the starship, Warden, and uses the main rules system from Star Frontiers, though that it is not. It's aimed to be a swell mix of, if you couldn't already guess by the hyperlinked ship name, Metamorphosis Alpha, Gamma World and a wee bit of stuff from Frontiers for that slightly Fallout kind of game. We're all pretty big fans of the Fallout series, though a number only know Gamma World by WotC's version, so it'll be nice to lay some sod.

We normally always play with miniatures, if only to ease all the remembering up for whoever's the GM, but not this time, and I have to say, with Star Frontier's somewhat simple and quick combat, it's a blast. We were finally spending more time screwing around than pushing pieces about the place.

Anyhoo, as follows is a campaign in the far-flung future chronicled by me as I remember, session by session. Hopefully things don't seem like too long a read. I'll need to optimize that.