SAFCOcast 10: Traveller talk and Superheroes!

In this episode we discuss our usual Traveller stuff, including some internet finds, rules we wanted to talk about from Classic Traveller, and of course start off with the SAFCO Mail Bag! This is long one, folks, but we did stay on-topic! There’s just so much cool stuff out there to discuss!

Then we talk about something a little different, Session Zero of our upcoming superhero campaign, called SuperTex, using the legendary Jeff Dee’s and Jack Herman’s The Mighty Protectors: Villains & Vigilantes 3.0 system. We’ll be playing it maybe every three sessions, and will also play it when our whole SAFCO Traveller group can’t meet.

Relevant Links:

 

SAFCOcast 9: Random Planet Generation Smackdown, Traveller session recap, etc.

 

 

In this episode we discuss two of the systems generated by listeners in our Random Planet Generation Smackdown. We had considered doing more, but we’ll do two per episode until we’re done with them. We had got some nice mailbag comments, and we’ll do a recap of the last session of our Traveller campaign, Into the Void.  And of course we’ll hit a few Internet Finds.

Relevant links

Jeff found some interesting items on the internet, and used them for inspiration for a planet and a game hook.

1. Inspiration:  Photo found on Internet of a small mining “island” at the bottom of a deep well.  Island is reminiscent of a sci-fi version of the computer game “Myst”
https://i.redd.it/94k99magyx541.jpg

Book 3 “Worlds and Adventures” (1981)
E – Frontier Installation (Marked spot on bedrock for landing)
Size: Asteroid
Thin atmosphere
20% water
0 inhabitants
No law level, no government
Abandoned outpost

2. Inspiration: Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators – Russian nuclear power sources for lighthouses, in great disrepair, but still radioactive.  Locating and transferring the cores to safety is very dangerous because of very short acceptable human exposure limits. https://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/radioactive-waste-and-spent-nuclear-fuel/2003-11-radioisotope-thermoelectric-generators
Idea for session: The power source of a long-abandoned distant monitoring outpost is desired by a salvage company.

Random Planet Generation Smackdown

Krystian in the Chaste system
Submitted by Colin Turvey
X-260620-7, De,Ni,Ri,N

Orbits a class K5 star in its first orbit remarkably despite being a desert world it’s not just inhabited but bears a population in excess of 60 million mostly Belters as it’s a low gravity world with only one asteroid belt orbiting between it and it’s system’s sun.

It does have 3 gas giants it’s widely thought the massive amounts of oxygen permeating the system is the reason why Krystian remains inhabitable.

It was originally a prison colony particularly for political types despite the conditions the inhabitants and others continue to live here as a mark of defiance at their former oppressors.

The Naval base originally intended to prevent escapes now watches protectively over them such is the change of fortunes they have overcome.

Update:

Found a system generator the Chaste system now has a K5 type star with 8 orbits.

  • Asteroid belt the main source of the Belters pay.
  • Krystian
  • Gas Giant
  • Ember
  • Gas Giant#2
  • Leone
  • Space Station (Naval base)
  •  Gas Giant#3

Literally the molten remains of a much larger world the only residents live aboard the refinery station that orbits this dwarf planet as it literally has no solid landmass!

A Research base is also located aboard and is largely focused on discovering what happened to the Chaste system.

Aegle
Submitted by Ted Hale
C 454 227 9

Aegle was originally colonized by forced resettlement.  The colonists were families belonging to the “Salvation Tears” religion.   The organization’s rapid growth, and popular appeal was perceived to be a threat to several surrounding world governments.  The religion was designated a cult.

Aegle, an unpleasant hot world with a thin, toxic atmosphere, was also a world rich in unexploited bitumen and other petrochemicals.  Ling Petrochem saw an opportunity to fulfill a long unmet need for affordable labor on Aegle. The Subsector Duke and surrounding world governments wanted a politically acceptable means to rid themselves of the cultists.  A deal was struck between the Subsector Duke, Ling Petrochem, and the various world governments concerned. The cultists were rounded up and deported to Aegle.

Once settled, the colony went through a period of rapid, and sometimes violent, change in government form.  Theocracies gave way to autocracies, then dictatorships both popular and unpopular. Civil wars and bloody upheavals  left the remaining Aegle colonists with a disdain for violence and authority. The Aegle Colonists currently employ an informal participating democracy to govern themselves.  Their laws strictly prohibit firearms and violence. Spears are the most common form of weapon and are regarded as protection from local fauna, rather than from their fellow colonist.

Two generations later, the population of Aegle has dwindled.  Young people eschew the faith of their grandparents and yearn for easier lives.  Economic, academic, and social opportunities are quite limited on Aegle. Most Aeglians cannot afford passage out of the Aegle system.  It is widely held hat this is by design to benefit Ling Petrochem.

Aegle’s starport is little more than a Ling depot for the interstellar transport of Aegle’s petrochem commodities.  Ling and Aegle’s population are aware that the starport is a nexus for both human and illicit drug trafficking, but Ling Petrochem has not been inclined to address the problem, and Aegle’s government is ill equipped to stop it.

 

 

 

Into the Void Ref’s Notes 12

Atlas class freighter from Independence Games (link)

Session 12 was short and challenging to come up with and run. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how best to bring an “occasional” player character into the game for one session and make it feel organic. I’ve decided this coming year to have two or three guest players for sessions, and toward the end of the year bring everyone together for a big blowout. I can’t really deal with more than four regular players — it all just gets too complicated, and it is harder to get everyone together. BUT, having some guest players is a good thing.

So, our guest player was running the character Reginald Stormbringer, an ex-army badass. I spent a week making notes of game ideas and not liking any of them. Since it was a guest player session, it needed to be kind of a one-shot. It needed to have some action. BUT – I also wanted this game to set up a return to the unknown of the Void.  So I decided to put their old friend Zal Twist, the Exo-archaeologist, in harms way onboard a hijacked freighter, and have him meet Reggie onboard.

The trick to this session, and the mentally exhausting part, was keeping the flow moving with Reggie on the freighter and the players on the planet, whilst moving them toward a meeting point. It wall worked out, we got them all together, they saved Zal and the rest of the ship (though the freighter crew was all dead), and had a pretty good game.

A few notes:

  • Reggie got hit once by a submachine gun. They really hurt. Nearly took him out. Lesson learned, I think. Don’t get shot.
  • I think non-combat skills are really fun, and very necessary, in my game. They might be more helpful, in fact. On populated worlds it helps if each player has some kind of social skill. Gambling, carousing, admin, streetwise, bribery, whatever. Gives them some nice options.
  • I need to encourage my players to really explore crazy options that make use of all their skills. I had Flint make a Tactics roll and gave him some suggestions that resulted in Barney using his Vacc Suit skill to gain them access to the freighter.
  • It was fun to bring the Fast drug into this game, and to use Basic (the nutrient drink from the Dumarest novels) to revive Reggie after cold sleep.
  • Most of my players are long-time veterans of D&D and Champions. They are very much used to knowing their character sheets really well, and knowing how to use their skills and spells to greatest effect. I think because the Traveller PCs are so simple looking on the surface my players are not sure how to really take advantage of their skills and gear. They are still doing well, but I think they might have more fun if they were a bit more familiar with their characters and gear. I’ll help them develop this by putting them in difficult situations and let ’em depend on their own creativity to resolve things.
  • I still need to start bringing the character histories into the game more.

ITV Session 12: Space Rescue

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The freighter Star Slinger arrives in the Overon system, popping out of jump space 124 planetary diameters from the RCMP base planet. The ship, an Atlas class freighter carries mining equipment and supplies for the colony on Overon, but one of its massive cargo pods contains a special cargo – 120 religious colonists travelling Low on the way to the Void. Emerging from his cold sleep coffin, Lt. Col. Reginald “Reggie” Stormbringer takes a warm cup of Basic from the attending medic and surveys his surroundings. Still a bit disoriented from months in hibernation, the nutrient rich Basic quickly restores his strength. Reggies wonders where his gear might be.

On Overon, the members of SAFCO confer about their next course of action. They have salvaged a valuable starship power plant and dual pulse laser turret, and need to find a buyer. Research turns up the name Percius Pringle, a trader in starship salvage who operates a big operation on Overon. They seek Percy out, finding a chubby man with a ruby pinky ring. Percy accompanies them back to the ship to look at the merchandise. He offers them a choice, 500K for the power plant and 75K for the turret, OR beat him at a game of chance called Quirkle and get twice that much. LOSE, and he gets the salvage for free. Knowing that Percy has a reputation as a good gambler, Flint and Lucky opt for the first offer, and the team is 575K cr richer.  While at the ship, they recieve an x-boat relay transmission from their old friend Zal Twist, who says he is returning to the frontier aboard a freighter called the Star Slinger, and should be arriving in the Overon system at any time. Discovering that the ship is in-system on on a course for Overon, the team sends him a greeting.

Atlas class freighter.

Back on the Star Slinger, Reggie watches as the cult leader, known as Micah, addresses his flock. He invites Reggie to join them on their journey to Paradise. Reggie declines. Micah then invites an tall, skinny old bearded man, who also declines. Later, the old man introduces himself as scientist Zal Twist. Reggie and Zal get to know each other a bit. Some time passes, and Reggie hears the unmistakable sound of gunfire in the corridor outside the cargo pod. He has none of his gear. No weapons. 10 goons come into the cargo pod full of peaceful cultists, armed with submachine guns. They order everyone to their knees. Reggie and Zal decide to comply, and bide their time. They have no idea what the intention of the aggression is. The pirates demand that Micah show himself. After a little coaxing, Micah identifies himself. He is removed from the cargo pod and taken elsewhere. Everyone else is kept there under guard.

On Overon, SAFCO is aboard their Type A Merchant ship, and receive a distress call from the freighter Star Slinger, saying they have been boarded by pirates. The team is concerned because Zal is on board that vessel. Flint contacts RCMP administrator Tilton, and finds out there was a coordinated distraction far on the other side of the system, which drew the RCMP system defense boats very far away. If there is going to be a fast rescue, it will be up to SAFCO. Tilton assigns five company marines in combat armor to accompany the team and they take off, working on a plan during the 1-hour flight to rendezvous with the freighter.

Back on the Star Slinger, the pirates decide to move all the hostages to another cargo pod where still more passengers from the many low berths are being kept. As they step into the corridor, Zal falls and cries out that he’s broken his leg. The guard comes over and sticks his gun in the old man’s face. Reggie takes advantage of the situation, makes his Brawling roll, takes the gun and chokes the goon out. The other guards can’t get to him because of the panicking cultists in between them. “Can you walk?” Reggie asks Zal. “Of course my dear boy, I’m not injured! It was a clever ruse to give you opportunity to attack!” Reggie uses the goon’s body as a human shield, and backs up toward a bulkhead, Zal behind him. They open the bulkhead step through, and close it up tight. They see an iris valve portal in the ceiling of the lower deck, with a ladder leading up. They decide to go that way.

Knowing that the Star Slinger has a ships boat docked to its dorsal side, and that the merchant ship could use that docking spot, SAFCO approaches the freighter and is surprised to not come under fire. Barney and Lucky use vac suits to go over to the ships boat. Barney manages to use his ships engineering skill to manually release the docking ring. A blast of air pushes the ships boat away from the freighter as the clamps release. Roger makes his pilot roll and docks the merchant to the freighter.

Reggie and Zal pop up on the upper deck of the freighter only to see at least two more pirates with SMGs down the corridor. Reggie fires as does the first of the goons. Reggie misses, but the goon hits, the shot rendering Reggie unconscious. Zal grabs the autopistol Reggie took from the first guard and tries unsuccessfully to shoot the pirate. Reggies is going in and out of consciousness, and here’s Zal exclaim “that sounds like a ship docking!”.

The five armored marines drop into the freighter and split up, two going to the right and two going with Flint to the left. The ones going right encounter Zal, the unconscious Reggies, and the pirates. One takes care of Zal and Reggie, while the others easily defeat the other pirates. The marines are able to easily mop up the rest of the pirates. Reggie is taken to the ships sick bay and patched up, and given a dose of medical Fast to speed his recovery. The team searches the freighter, and discover that the pirates had hidden themselves in some shipping containers and taken Slow so that the jump would seem like only hours to them. When they came off the drug, the knew their accomplices would have drawn the RCMP security forces far away. There goal: they knew that Micah is from a very wealthy family, and they were trying to get him to pay them off to let him and the cultists go.

In appreciation, Micah gives Reggie the cost of three high passages. He offers to pay for some upgrades to SAFCO’s ship.

We end the session with the team still on board the freighter, reunited with Zal, deciding what to do as the freighter continues to Overon. Reggie will spend some time on Overon and see what opportunities present themselves.  Work with SAFCO? Perhaps. Zal likes him. The ships boat will be retrieved.

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1 day elapsed in this session
180 total game days elapsed.

 

 

 

ITV Session 11: Escape from Uetonah

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SAFCO is still on Ueotonah, started where we left off last game. The rebels have, with the help of SAFCO, defeated Samson Mining’s defence forces, but now find their location compromised. They will have to move to one of the other base locations they have scouted out. The rebels quickly begin evacuating the wrecked ship. SAFCO evaluates the ship for salvageable components. The rebels will be taking one large piece of equipment — and autoDoc with its own power source. SAFCO looks over the ship, and Barney determines that not only could they use some of the grav-pallets and tools to salvage the working dual pulse laser turret from the wreck, but also the ship’s power plant, worth several million credits even after decades on the ground. The Jump drive is likewise salvageable, but too big for the limited cargo space in the team’s modified Freetrader. Since they have discovered their original mission on the planet was based on a lie, salvaging these ship components will make the trip and the danger worthwhile.

Barney radios Fardt, back on the ship, gives him the coordinates, and tells him to prepare the ship to come get the crew and the gear upon notification.

The team spends the rest of the day removing the turret and power plant components and prepares them for travel. They go over options for their next destination.They have fuel for one Jump-2, which can get them back to Overon, coreward to the unnamed system they passed through weeks ago for gas giant refueling, or rimward to AT201, an orbital shipyard orbiting a rocky moon of a gas giant. They decide they’ll return to Overon where Flint can report to his contacts in RCMP of the status of the mining on Uetonah, tell Nora Slimjack the status of her son, and get them back toward the frontier and the Void. They can also try to sell their salvage there.

Barney radios Fardt to bring the ship. The novice pilot makes roll the get the ship off the ground. At in-astmosphere starship speeds it will not take Fardt long to get there.

As they wait Fardt calls on the radio. He sounds panicked. “Guys, we’ve got trouble. They tried to close the bay doors so I blasted through them, and now there are three security speeders chasing me and shooting!”. The team can hear the chaos. The security speeders are faster than the ship and very maneuverable, but Fardt had a head start. The team knows the direction they’ll be coming from. They decide to have Fardt slow down enough when he reaches they for the team to ride their grav bikes right into the cargo bay and join the fight.

Flint uses his binoculars and can see the ship approaching as well as the pursuers firing lasers. Fardt’s flying is so erratic they have not managed, from long range, to hit the ship. But they are closing. The team gets on the bikes and they leave the ground. Flint calmly uses the electronic site on his rifle to take aim on one of the speeders. He fires and hits it, blasting a hole in the cockpit windshield.

Fardt gets to the team slows down, and they fly into the cargo bay. Flint stops and takes one more shot before flying into the bay. Again he sights-in on the cockfit, fires, hits the pilot, and the speeder goes down!

Roger takes the controls and activates the automatic turret, Barney heads to the engine room, and Lucky goes to man one of the turrets. Ronda, Fardt, and the robot strap in. Flint stays by the cargo door, hoping to score another sniper shot with his rifle if one of the speeders comes into view.

The ship enters the dogfight with the two speeders (We use Cepheus Light dogfight rules). The speeders have little armor and will likely blow up with one laser strike, but they are fast and very hard to hit. Roger activates the Manuver/Evade-2 program to enhance his pilot skills and Predict-2 to assist Lucky with the laser turret.

After two rounds of combat the team has missed the speeders with each shot. The speeders, meanwhile, have scored hits on the ships power plant and computer, reducing the performance of each. Finally they score a hit, blowing up one of the speeders, showering the jungle below with debris. Having lost his two partners, speeder pilot 3 decides to break off pursuit and get out of there. The team pursues, blowing him from the sky as well.

With no pursuers, SAFCO finds a place to hide on the planetary surface and attempt repairs to the ship. Barney is able to effect repairs to the power plant, using parts from the salvaged power plant, to return it to its Power Plant-B status long enough to get them to Overon. Lucky, with Barney consulting, is able to repair the computer.

Now the question — how to leave the planet? There are likely some system defense boats in the system. Best not to meet up with them. The planet has one moon. They consider their options, and decide to try using a carefully plotted trajectory out of the system, using that moon to hide their exit from the planet. The GM makes a secret Nav roll for Roger to determine how good the course is. Barney makes an engineering roll, and manages to boost the maneuver drive up one level for the time it takes the ship to get to the Jump point. The man is a miracle worker! Turns out their plan and course is good! They are able to exit the system to the minimum Jump distance without detection.

The ship reaches the jump point, and a course for Overon is layed-in. No mis-jump. The team spends a week in Jump Space. They arrive in the Overon system.

Flint reports on Samson Mining to his RCMP contact R. Tilton. Roger finds Nora Slimjack at the Mooch Mine and tells her that Jason is fine, and apparently on Uetonah of his own free will. Flint gets the name of a trader on Overon with whom to try to sell the salvaged turret and power plant. The team gathers for relaxation at the Mooch Mine. All is well…for now.

End of Session.

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7 days elapsed in this session
179 total game days elapsed.

What’s Up?

October has been pretty busy. We had to cancel our Traveller game last weekend and reschedule for this coming weekend, the first weekend in November. Such is life. I don’t like cancelling, but it was my fault! Had too much to do and not enough time, as usual.

I did manage to read three science fiction novels during October, which is always good inspiration for Traveller games and podcast topics. I read a Robert Silverberg novel called “the Man in the Maze” and two Dumarest of Terra novels. Nice and short. Good adventures, and fodder for Traveller sessions no doubt.

I did get the new Traveller 5 hardback books in the mail! I participated in the Kickstarter, and Marc Miller sure did deliver. The books are very nice, and at first scanning seem to be well organized. I’m sure there are some typos and omissions, but as Marc explained in his session at Lone Star Game Expo, this set is a toolbox. It is massive, but contains all the stuff you need and all that you MIGHT want. Kind of like taking all the old supplements and putting them in one set. I’m very happy with the quality. Not sure when I might use them. I’m very happy with the current campaign and don’t really want to go back and change things to T5.  But for a future campaign I might.

I’ve looked over a number of science fiction RPGs lately. Most are very setting-specific. Honestly, most are kind of dumb. They look like the could be fun, but they don’t look sophisticated like Traveller.

 

 

Lone Star Game Expo 2019: Day 1

Today I went to the 2019 Lone Star Game Expo, in Grapevine, Texas. I took the day off (today was a friday), got up at a reasonable hour, printed some stuff out for the Traveller game I was running at 1pm, did some final tweeking to it, but mostly I thought about the game, the different permutations it might experience, and considered that I’d not even scratched the surface of the unpredictable creativity of five good roleplaying gamers. And that was fine. I knew my scenario, I had plenty of good nonplayer characters for them to encounter, and figured if I just keep calm and think about things the game would be OK.

My goal, of course, is for the players to enjoy themselves. This is the second time I’ve run a game at a convention. Not knowing any of your players is a challenge because you have no idea how they will play. Will they play fast? Will they take forever to make decisions. I had four hours to fill, max. I wanted the session to last about 2.5 to 3 hours. Beyond that I start getting tired as gamemaster. It takes a lot of mental energy to run a game.  Again, I was ready. I had a flexible adventure, with some encounters to drop in if things were moving too fast.

I had three players who were very experienced with Traveller. Much more experienced both as players and referees than me.  That’s actually a relief. The other two players had not played Traveller before, but were experience gamers, so no problem. Traveller is easy to teach.

Turns out the group was really nice. All really great gamers. Much like my normal gaming group, they were very deliberative and played it smart, and thus avoided a lot of conflict. I don’t throw a bunch monsters or enemies at my players just so they lose some blood. I like everything to make sense. A little excitement, a lot of problem solving and roleplaying, and conflict when it makes sense. Oh, and of course I love to present my players with a moral dilemma, and this game was no exception.

The session lasted 2.5 hours. It would have gone a bit longer if they’d not played it smart up front, when they chose to negotiate with a potential adversary and turn him into an ally. They did fight some alien jungle monsters, but again they used their resources and good tactics, realizing that killing the monsters wasn’t part of the mission, and managed to avoid serious injury. Games that don’t reward the PCs for doing unnecessary violence encourage that kind of gaming, which I like.

So thanks to John, James, Jonny, Cindy, and Greg. Y’all are great players, and it was a pleasure to game with you!

Afterward we had a discussion about Traveller and gaming in general, reviewed the game and their choices, talked about their own campaigns, and bid each other farewell for the day. Looking forward to seeing them over the next two days of the con.  Then I headed home.

Tomorrow is my “big day”. My friend Jeff, one of the members of SAFCO, is playing in a Dungeon Crawl Classics game with me, to be DMed by Jonny, who was one of my players today. Then later we’re hanging at the con, and going to some seminars, including one at 7pm by Traveller creator Marc Miller.

 

SAFCOcast 4: Traveller Recap and Homebrew Vehicular Combat System, Mail Bag, Upcoming Cons in Texas

After a month of work and vacation, we’re back!

This episode is all about Traveller, specifically Classic Traveller and Cepheus Engine stuff. It’s also the debut of SAFCO Mail Bag, in which we respond to comments and email we’ve gotten.

As always, comment here, on Bob’s gaming blog (where this show is embedded), or email us at SAFCOmailbag@gmail.com.

Links to stuff in the show:

 

 

 

Into the Void Ref’s Notes 9

This game was supposed to happen last month, but life got in the way and we had to postpone. It was worth the wait. Lots of fun. We met yesterday (Sunday) at our usual spot, Madness Games & Comics.  As is my habit, I got there early to get us a good table. One of the employees noticed that I was setting up for an RPG and suggested a table near a column in the store, where I could put the GMs chair at the head of the table and not block an aisle. Nice guy. I struck up a conversation with him, telling him how much we enjoy the store and appreciate the free gaming space, and that each of us always tries to buys something after we play to help support the place. He told me they really appreciate it, and that there are a few groups that not only don’t buy anything, but leave a huge mess at the gaming table. Well, those people need to be taken out and publicly caned. Madness it the BEST, and needs to be supported and respected!

Anyway, back to the game. I’d had some time to plan this game. As usual I’d gone through numerous versions of the session. Numerous possible trajectories for the story. I knew I wanted some really fun action in this session. Last session was nearly all roleplaying, which is great, but we needed some violence. The trick of course is to lead the PCs to the action in a way that makes sense. They still had some work to do finding clues to start leading them to the person they were seeking.

In the olds days I hated having the party separated, but with my current gaming group, over both my campaigns, I don’t mind it too much. Of course eventually I want the team united, but I don’t mind moving back and forth between two or three groups of PCs now. I just make notes, and try move from one group to another pretty quickly, giving them all something to do. This was particularly useful on Sunday, as the team was split into three groups, all looking for clues in different ways. I had four clues ready for them, and was able to work two of them into the game successfully since the team was working this way. I was on my way to discovering this kind of GMing technique for investigative games, and then the GURPS Mysteries book articulated it really well. That book has great advice for GMing investigative games, regardless the system. I recommend it.

The other advice I’ve taken heed of lately — well — I can’t remember where I read this, but it’s to have a third party involved in the story. You need the heroes, their adversaries, and at least one other entity or organization that can provide help, hindrance, information, or otherwise simplify/complicate the story (or in this case game). In the case of my game, I’m using some NPC organizations to let me, as GM, give the PCs a bit of help when they are stuck, but it all fits in well with the story. It’s taken me decades to really learn this simple lesson.

So, we had some nice action during a grav bike chase in the bioluminescent Pachyderm trails through the jungles of Planet Uetonah.  I used the same rules I homebrewed for the mining pod close-quarters ship combat we used in Session 7. They work pretty well. I don’t want our sessions to turn into tactical ship/vehicle combat that slows everything down, and these rules are doing the job. They keep the game moving, offering just enough structure that I’m not just “making stuff up.” The players have some agency and results are still determined by the dice.

The players, of course, threw me a few curveballs. I had a much more complex layer of tunnels through the canopy above the Pachyderm trails I was hoping they would enter, but their use of grenades against their pursuers was very effective. I used that noise of the grenades as the reason the giant snake creature inhabiting the upper system of tunnels was attracted to the action, and it then of course chased them. I made it damned hard to kill. Took a lot of grenades to put it down, and even then it was only unconscious. Tough bastard!

I had lots more stuff planned but we ran out of time. Rather than rush through more stuff probably mess up some fun encounters, I stopped the session a the three hour mark. Plenty left to do in late July, and time for me to modify it more and make it better.

I’m loving this game.

 

ITV Session 9: the Snakes of Uetonah

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Picking up from the last session, the entire team leaves the Inn having learned nothing from the innkeeper. During his time at the starport, Barney had noticed a former colleague from the Scouts, Clem Daxon, working on the subsidized merchant ship nearby. Barney is still curious about the Pachyderms and what’s going on  with the rebels. He returns to the starport to make contact with Clem.

Lucky and Fardt look around the city, Fardt using his streetwise skill to try to pick up some leads or info on the rebels.

Roger, Flint, and Ronda decide to go to a local watering hold, Irma’s Imported Mooch Bar, to likewise try to get information on the rebels, Jason Slimjack (the man they are seeking), or any other information of use. They walk in and mingle, and begin chatting people up.

Back at the spaceport, Barney talks to Clem who was on the Scout Vessel Brave Explorer when Barney, as a junior engineer, saved the ship from being stranded in deep space by improvising a miraculous fix to the ship’s jump drive. Clem was also an engineer, but not a miracle worker like Barney. It seems Clem’s current ship is having jump drive problems, and Barney’s offer to help is accepted. Barney checks the drive and finds no problems. He suggests that the problem may be in the control programs. Clem give him access to the computer then goes back to double check the drives. Barney quickly finds a glitch in the control software and fixes it. He then examines the cargo manifest of the vessel, seeing that they have several containers of grain from Mylor they were delivering here to Uetonah. Problem is Mylor is not a grain exporter. Barney chats up Clem a bit more, after explaining he has fixed the Jump Drive. Clem says they’ve been bringing grain from Mylor to Uetonah for a few months, and the money has been surprisingly good! Captain Seahorn, of the subsidized merchant, is a secretive person but all the crew’s shares have been excellent.

Back at the bar, Lucky and Fardt walk  in, having gleaned no useful information on the street. They walk in to see an old man with cloudy eyes, dark brown skin, and a rough brown cloak begging. Their shipmates all give the old man generous amounts of credit. He pats them all on the shoulder, thanks, and blesses them. He walks past Lucky and Fardt, speaks to them, then Lucky gives him 20 credits. He blesses them too.

The team at the bar receives a  message via their communicators from Barney, who explains that he thinks he’s found the source of rebel weapons, and he’s keeping watch on what happens to the gear, thinking it might lead the team to the rebels and Jason.

As Lucky and Fardt begin to drink the mildly hallucinogenic mooch, a woman approaches Roger and thanks him and the team for their kindness to the beggar. Was she shakes hands with Roger she passes him a tiny map.

Roger and the team examine the map. It shows a series of trails through the jungle, the route crossing a river, and ending in a spot labeled “meeting.” Clearly they are on the trail. The meeting spot is a good 40 kilometers away and they don’t know anything about the trails.

Lucky and Fardt remember seeing some hunters returning five grav bikes to a rental shop. The team goes there and inquires about the bikes and where could they possibly be of use in the dense jungle. The shopkeeper explains that the jungle is riddled with trails used by the Pachyderms to travel long distances. The team rents the five bikes, one for each human member of the group. They are not suitable for Fardt, and they have little cargo space. He’ll stay with the ship. The grav bikes are of the Imperial Scout Service variety, so the Scouts are all very familiar with them, and Flint has a general skill with grav vehicles.

The team, 4 ex-Scouts and an army colonel, are all well-versed in wilderness survival. They collect the supplies they need, choose weapons (including 2 or 3 grenade each from the stash from the asteroid), and set off.

They ride the two kilometers to the mine, and find the entrance to the Pachy trail described by the shop keeper. As they riding into the trails, they find themselves in a different world.  The trail is about 10′ wide and 15′ tall – big enough for Pachys to travel single-file, or to ride grav bikes two side by side. The ceiling of the trails is nearly solid canopy, but they are lit by a weird bioluminescence. The bikes of course have lights. The team proceeds along the route at a moderate speed.

As they approach the first fork in the Pachy trail route, Roger (in the rear position) notices that they’re being followed by men on rapidly closing grav bikes. Roger’s bike is hit by a bullet, but continues functioning, as another bullet whizzes past his head. He puts his bike on autopilot and pitches a grenade back at his pursuers. The rest of the team hears an explosion to the rear, as the two of the enemy bikes blow up pitching their riders, unconscious, into the trees.

The team continues flying down the trail. Barney decides that since the grenade worked so well for Roger he’ll try it too. As the goons shoot, the second grenade explodes, taking out two more. In front, Flint and Ronda see a hole ahead in the roof of the trail, leading into another tunnel. Ronda continues forward, as Flint flies up into this exit, slides the bike around 180 degrees, and waits for the next bad guys to fly down below him, his auto rifle ready to take them out.

However, the team nails the last two goons with another grenade, leaving Flint nothing to shoot.

Just as Flint realized there are no enemies left, he hears something big behind him. He turns to see a gigantic snake-like creature about to strike. He manages to accelerate his grav bike back into the down-tube just as the snake attacks with a loud snap of its massive jaws. It’s fast  – as fast as a grav bike – and follows him down to the Pachy trail.

Lucky throws his bike onto autopilot, swings around facing backward on his bike, takes aim, and hits it twice with his autorifle, but the beast continues pursuit.

The team looks back to see Flint racing back toward them, followed by a 5′ diameter 90′ long snake-like creature. The beast snaps again – barely missing. Flint tosses a grenade into it’s mouth.  The explosion hurts the monster, but fails to stop it. Lucky throws his bike onto autopilot, swings around facing backward on his bike, takes aim, and hits it twice with his autorifle, but the beast continues pursuit.

It attacks again, again its massive jaws barely missing Flint and the bike. Flint clicks the bike on to autopilot, takes his two remaining grenades one in each hand, pulls the pins with his teach, and lobs them into the beast, finally stopping it! The team regroups farther up the trail. Ronda reports from up ahead that more access holes to what are apparently snake tubes are ahead. The team decides that the initial blasts from the grenades used on the pursuing grav bikes must have drawn the creature’s attention. They set off again, this time quietly skimming the bikes down through these biological caves, continuing toward the meeting places on the map.

IY6026.105
2 days elapsed in this session
Game time elapsed 171 days.