Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We are Researchers (Older D&D in space)

0/ Once

You are researchers

Hub and spindle R&D substations; the first decades of your life spent inside cylinders arrayed as a wheel slowly revolving in space. When you first see depictions of the rectilinear habstructures of a planet-bound people the pupils dilate and the pulse quickens.

Everything in-station white to remind you how an incautious action, an ill-considered footfall leaves unintended marks.

Everything white but for:

*your uniforms, the gray of child/pupil/trainee

*the uniforms of Security, black for caution & death

*the Security spindle, red for danger

*the Prayer spindle, cool blue for the safe embrace of Christ Buddha

*the bio-based tools, people and foods

You are Researchers. If asked to identify your people to another, this is the term used. We are Researchers.

The Schola structure is each Year is a Class, to each Class a spindle and each Class split into Groups, the spindle sliced at regular intervals for each Group's play quarters, bunks, dining area and then the central round Classroom. Classmates share Parent/Teachers, two for every ten Pupils and each is fed, bunks by and is guided by their own Teacher.

The Classes of the Security and Prayers spindles are kept separate and we see them only on holidays.

Outside the station are an untold numbers of worlds, planetoids, systems that we will someday explore, study.

A promising few renounce the Group and go Silent, forswearing speech, splicing themselves into a new body of their own design and construction, reactor-powered, brain-storage crammed with security protocol and diplomatic frequencies.

Most of the Silent students will travel in ship-bodies out to the farthest of space, collecting and returning material but themselves never returning, ever voyaging. Some day they may settle in a smear of brilliant stars and implode, transcend to Christ Buddha. They are the strangest among us and the most holy.

The rest of us will have more pedestrian adventures, traveling to new places from which we will collect samples, artifacts, culture logs, DNA and from which we will return to the station.

-If you are one of the lucky few.


The Returned are our heroes, they work in the top-station arcology are station order, maintenance and grand personal projects. We see them occasionally in the distance, or up close once a year, when they welcome the newest inductees with smiles and dead eyes.

-Each of you has certain Traits; during ceremonial En-Soulment, the period of ritual and social induction into early adulthood extending from age 8 to 13, you chose the sort of Researcher you considered yourself and chose what you Traits might suit you best.

Starting Traits
Roll d6, d8 & d10 and pick 1-3 Traits, assigning roll results as desired, if same result or a second bonus to the same Trait's checks, must apply result to different Trait.
+1 checks
+1 Carry
+2 Attacks
+1 Carry
+1 checks
+1 checks
+1 Attacks
+1 AC
+1 Saves
+1 checks
+1 checks
+1 Endurance
+1 Saves
+1 Endurance
+1 checks
+1 checks
+1 Tech
+1 to Languages
+1 Tech
+1 checks
+1 checks
+1 Search
+1 Saves
+1 Foraging
+1 checks
+1 checks
+1 Allies
+1 Bravery
+1 Allies
+1 checks

We each have explored the station with our Groups, found remote areas and explored each other's bodies (as instructed), found remote areas and watched a Security Pupil disciplined through the eyes, watched the Prayer Pupils learn how to burn the dead Security Pupil. What did each of us see?

what we saw (Secrets)
Roll d8, describe what you saw to the group and how it resulted in the below

the passcode to a Seed data locker
the passcode to a Seed weapons locker
the passcode to a Seed armor bay
where a Prayer Pupil keeps an Orange Book. Add the Book to your inventory
where a Security Pupil stored her Veil. Add a Veil to your inventory
A lax Parent discarded an un-depeleted Amplifier (3 uses left). Add it to your inventory
Passcodes are universal. They give you access to a date/weapons/armor locker/bay wherever you are, not just a single locker/bay.

1/ Stalled Transit

You are travelers

Substation spins and regurgitates the tiny, unsteady lobes of Seed ships into lanes lit by winking beacons. The ships shudder as internal power wakes and impulse engines test fire. Interior lights blink on, the light sensor clicks once. Each of your Group lie on gurgling white foam beds in crisp white uniforms you did not put on. The lights flick off and your biomantles luminesce, waving glowing flagella in harmonic sympathy with your heart beats, the ship's hum. You swallow anxiety, nerves and a sleeping pill.

The biomantle dreams. Birth ponds on a jungle planet, hunted by the older, sapient, biped adults, hunted by great, sloth-taloned cats. Cavorting, mixing chemical handshakes, developing discrete languages, burrowing tongues into other creatures in the pools, riding your host until it dies or you've learned all you need to, until a more advanced host is required. The hunter's net, the training rod, the Teacher/Parent's lash.

The lights flicker on. The ship is damaged. It doesn't appear to be moving. Three of the Group are still sleeping, locked into stasis. There are three others, dead, missing and Silent:

Samson is dead in his pod, head smashed and pulped against the glass. He looks as if he's been biting himself.

Yuri's pod is empty and two hazsuits are gone. Vee, the ship's computer says Yuri is gone now but will be back soon, but says nothing else, has no video recording of transit, Samson's death, the landing or Yuri's departure.

The final pod contains a Silent, its hard cylindrical body marked with prohibitive seals and wards that trigger Pavlovian fear. Its three lenses are blue, black and red. You ask Vee to fog the pod's glass – catching sight of it even in the periphery is discomfiting.

Vee tells you that you may still be in space or at least if you've landed on something with atmosphere she can't read if it's breathable.

My sensors are damaged. Perhaps Yuri is repairing them.

I tell you that the oxygen recyclining still functions, that my bio-body still functions but is hungry.

The sensors down, I need you to check the Pilot for life signs and out rolls the cockpit, the Pilot inside, hairless, fetal crouching clone of William Ganz. Just like Samson was a Ganz, Pilot is modeled after the 23rd century mathematician. If Samson had been better at math than biology, he'd likely have made Pilot. Pilot's pulse is fine, no sign of illness, no infection around the various posts and insertions.

We cannot move until Vee is repaired and we must venture out, to feed Vee.

When I am fed I can repair myself, I can heal you. I am fed on DNA, culture logs, all the information and discoveries you make. The process by which my body translates this food into useful matter is occult even to me.

I can train you in fields of expertise if you bring me the right materials.

The Silent One sleeping in my body is on a timer. I am not told all of the precise conditions governing its stasis, but:

1. The timer is at 999.
2. If we tamper with my body or fail to feed me regularly, the timer may begin.
3. If you xxxxxxxxx, the timer begins
4. If you xxxxxxxxxxx, the timer begins.
5. If I xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, the timer begins.
6. The Silent One is programmed to “clean up” after total mission failure. I have no further information on the purpose of the Silent One, the definition of “total mission failure,” nor the implication of, “clean up.”

2/ Rules

Everything costs Energy and Energy is awarded when you turn in bundles of genetic material, culture logs, etc. You pay for your own food, you pay for your sleeping pod, you pay for everything because everything costs Vee Energy to maintain. The approved perspective is that as long as you do a good job, everything is free. New limbs start at 100 Energy and a new body might be possible. She needs at least a few thousand Energy to repair herself.

You begin with d4+1 Endurance. Lost Endurance is restored after ten minutes of uninterrupted rest in a safe place. Once reduced to 0 Endurance, any damage is catastrophic.

The Armory
There are three weapons lockers and two armor bays in the ship. One time access costs 40 Energy, but a passcode gives you access immediately. Fully discharged weapon or armor is to be replaced in the ship for repair and recharge. Recharges cost 1 Energy a charge.

Arms and Armor
Blasters are as crossbows, vibroswords and knives are as short sword and dagger. D6 damage.

Blasters come with 3d4 charges.

Vibro weapons have a 1 in 6 chance at the end of combat or use to deform and need repair back in Vee.

Armor is ablative and Light Armor absorbs two blows while Medium Armor absorbs four.

Catastrophic Damage/Saves
Damage that would otherwise result in immediate death or catastrophic, nearly certain-death may be ameliorated by rolling a Saving Throw. Succeeds on an 17 (d20). Best case scenario is that you're wounded. A second wound is automatically fatal.

Are usually made on a d6 and succeed on a 4. More complicated checks may require more d6, with success being 4*x+(x-1) where x is the total number of d6s being rolled.

What Vee Eats
Information. This can be large chunks of genetic material, but whole bodies, families, reports on cultural differences, new weapons, art, technology, languages, etc. She's got a number of feeding orifices inside and outside the ship but will not feed herself; you must feed her. She loses about 20 Energy a day just running lifesupport.

images: still from new Battleship Yamato 2199 and frame from Gantz

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Basic Character Creation

This is one of those things you put somewhere so you can reference it later. It's super rough, but what I've been working on in what little spare time I have.

Most of character creation for ability-scoreless and funnel-esque Basic D&D.