Friday, April 24, 2015

Story Seed - Getaway

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I vaulted through the window, flipping through the air to orient my feet to the ground. Behind me I could hear the reports of the caster rifles. The bolts of magnetized plasma failed to hit me, instead breaking on the wall of hard light I'd projected. It wouldn't last long, but it got me out the window safely. I watched the ground rush toward me and grasped the crystal interface of my SLiP. The Solid Light Projector linked to my cortex implants faster than thought and I willed a new projection into being, a series of horizontal planes, each just a little thicker than the last, each invested with slightly greater hardness.

I also prayed I was half as good as I claimed.

My feet hit the first plane and I did my best to flex my knees just enough to take up the jolt. The plane burst, flinging motes of hard light that sublimated into flashes of stay color. I kept falling, my feet slapping into the successive planes, my knees grousing in protest at each impact.  Plane after plane shattered, breaking apart into starbursts that twinkled like sparks as I plummeted through them. At each impact I was move slightly slower, my constructs flexed a little more before breaking, and I got closer to the stone and cobble floor of the alley below.

My boots pierced the last of the planes and I dropped the final five feet to the ground with little more speed than if I had jumped from a high stone. I landed in a crouch as sprites decomposed around me. Above the guards were at the window, bringing their casters to bear, the ruddy red glow of plasma already coalescing at their tips. I patted the small satchel slung close to my chest; the thinking machine was still tucked safely there.

With barely a second thought I wrapped myself in a cloak of light. Slightly hardened, it would hopefully turn aside any lucky shots, importantly this shroud projected an image around me; optical camouflage of the highest quality a thief could buy. I took off at a run, not wanting to find out if they had non-optic sensory upgrades. My feet pounding on the uneven paving stones, I made good my escape, clutching my prize to my chest.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nuts & Bolts #29 - Fun(nel) with Stormtroopers

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Earlier this year I got my first exposure to Dungeon Crawl Classics via the Quattro con Carnage experiment in cross-system gaming run by +James August Walls. Unfortunately, because we started the game with Basic Fantasy RPG, we didn't run through a funnel. While the idea of the funnel set-up had seemed odd on first hearing of it, seeing one of the other players go through the process after joining the group mid-way through I saw some of the charm of the meat grinder methodology.
For those who don't know, a funnel is a process where each player brings a number (4 per player is the norm) of level 0 characters (non-adventurers / commoners) and the GM runs them through an adventure. Life is cheap and character death is expected during this adventure because these characters are not yet "heroes". Any surviving characters are deemed worthy to become full fledged hero characters. 
Since Quattro con Carnage I've been curious about the funnel, and figured that in due time I'd get an opportunity to see for myself what kind of experience the funnel system is ... thankfully due time came swiftly.

Enter International Tabletop Day ...

As part of his plans for ITTD Jim had decided to create a Stormtroopers hack of DCC, and solicited advice and suggestions from the net to build a list of occupations for the Star Wars universe. Armed with that list he ran a one shot funnel using Stormtroopers in the sandy wastes of Tatooine.  Apparently he enjoyed the heck out of it, because with that game under his belt (or maybe burning a hole in his figurative pocket) Jim offered our usual Tuesday group the chance to take the role of a bunch of loser Stormtroopers in place of our regular game before we started the next chapter.

And thus D'erp, Saan Dyy, and Hau Berk were recruited into the ranks of the Emperor's "Finest"...

D'erp was the only character of mine to go. He wasn't the smartest guy (ok he was dumb as a box of hair), and the others convinced him to undertake the dubious task of setting up a zip-line from their crashed ship to the ground below. D'erp, being rather agile, managed to set the zip-line up and slide down safely. Feeling pretty awesome about himself he didn't see the womp rats until they were chewing his limbs off. *sigh* R.I.P. you magnificent moron.
D’erp - 0-level Occupation:  Hutt Informant
Strength: 10 (0)
Agility: 13 (+1)
Stamina: 12 (0)
Personality: 6 (-1)
Intelligence: 3 (-3)
The Force: 13 (+1)
AC: 13; HP: 3; Weapon: Blaster Rifle +1 (1d6), Speed: 30; Init: 1; Ref: 1; Fort: 0; Will: -1
One-way radio to Jabba the Hutt, blaster rifle that causes 1d6 damage, belt with compartments, stormtrooper armor (+2 AC), Starting Funds: 26 credits
Languages: Basic
Saan Dyy was the smartest of the group, and he made up for his lack of health with an abundance of brains. Towards the end of the adventure, as he group was facing down Obi-wan himself Saan mixed up an explosive concoction of imperial strength peroxide-based cleaner and suntan lotion. The improvised molotov failed to harm the jedi, but it did cause him to drop his weapon, and allowed for a fatal blow to be dealt to the jedi.

Saan Dyy
0-level Occupation:  Desert Comber
Strength: 13 (+1)
Agility: 12 (0)
Stamina: 9 (0)
Personality: 12 (0)
Intelligence: 15 (+1)
The Force: 12 (0)
AC: 12; HP: 1; Weapon: Blaster Rifle +0 (1d6), Speed: 30; Init: 0; Ref: 0; Fort: 0; Will: 0
Sunscreen, blaster rifle that causes 1d6 damage, belt with compartments, mop, bucket, peroxide cleaner, stormtrooper armor (+2 AC), Starting Funds: 35 credits
Languages: Basic, Huttese
Hau Berk the armorer was rather tough, with 6 hit points and some extra-heavy armor he'd modified partway through the game giving him an AC of 13 he was less concerned of getting into combat. Sadly he couldn't hit the broadside of a sand crawler, and proved largely impotent during the evening's activities (which is fitting I suppose). Hau's only two moments to shine involved taping himself to the crippled shuttle so he could shoot a womp rat two-handed, and being the only 'trooper to get shot and survive (at least I don't recall anybody else surviving blaster fire).

Hau Berk
0-level Occupation: Stormtrooper Armourer
Strength: 13 (+1)
Agility: 10 (0)
Stamina: 16 (+2)
Personality: 11 (0)
Intelligence: 13 (+1)
The Force: started with 5 (-2) ended with 3 (-3)
AC: 13; HP: 6 4; Weapon: Blaster Rifle +0 (1d6), Speed: 30; Init: 0; Ref: -2; Fort: 2; Will: 0 
Electrical Tape, blaster rifle that causes 1d6 damage, belt with compartments, Merit Badge (Awesome Use of Electrical/Duct Tape), modded stormtrooper armor (+3 AC, -2 reflex), Starting Funds: 33 credits
Languages: Basic, Wookie
Overall it was a fun game, a bunch of characters bit it in interesting ways (lightsaber, falling to their doom, womp rats, a blood clot), and I can see where the story of your 0-level nobody can help to drive a fun backstory and personality if you were to move forward into an ongoing game. I did find it strange how differently I played, how much more (in general) conservative I was with these fragile characters. I can certainly see the appeal, especially as the kick off to a campaign, and am considering how this might be something that could be ported into other game systems.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Story Seed - Scout

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*Optical uplink established.*

 Agent 37 tapped at the microcomputer's holographic control display. The data and images from his suit's sensor suite were compressed into data packets and transferred into the laser comms unit. A flickering beam of light, each pulse actually a high speed burst of data, lazed out from the sphere and into the sky. The narrow beam of coherent light would be intercepted in low orbit by the the waiting scout ship.

The whole process of data transfer took less than a minute, but Agent 37 felt grossly overexposed. The alien ruins were remote enough that it was unlikely any of the Hegemony's scouts would find him, and the carefully modulated green laser would be almost invisible to the enemy base's sensors, but those almosts and unlikelies made him nervous. Agent 37 hadn't survived the war for as long as she had without being careful; discretion was the better part of valor, as the old saying went.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, she thought as she waited for the tight beam return message with her new orders. The heads up in her helmet displayed the feeds from her half dozen remote sensor drones as little windows overlaying her field of vision. They were each about a thousand feet away, circling her position in the sandy ruins, keeping their electronic eyes and ears open for Hegemony troops or scouts that might make her position.

A beam of green light began to strike the receiving lens of her comms as her new orders began to download. Agent 37 found herself holding her breath, waiting for the feed to terminate. The beam ended just as one of her drone feeds cut out in a burst of red light. Panic stained the edges of her mind as she set to shutting down the comms unit and getting it buried in the sand once more. When the second and third of her drones died that panic bloomed as a deep seated dread roiled in her stomach. The Hegemony was onto her location, and at best she had minutes to figure a way out.