Strange Universe: The Game.   Posted by The GM.Group: 0
The GM
 GM, 217 posts
Sun 14 Aug 2022
at 15:34
Strange Universe: The Game


If I were running the game, which I will not be doing any time soon, the broad strokes would work like this:



PLACES:

Colony Ship Longo Drum (spaceship):

When the seed component of Longo Drum was launched from the Conakry, Guinea in 2130AD, making it one of the last of the such ships to be launched, its plan of action was clear:
a) the best real estate would have been claimed by earlier ships before; and
b) before the ship arrived at its destination, technology would have advanced so far as to make the inhabitants of Longo Drum seem primitives or even savages in comparison by those who would have arrived through some kind of faster than light travel, so the committee behind the launch proposed a strategy with three strands:

1) the arts and humanities rather than sciences should be developed as far as they could be developed providing the ship with objects of immense aesthetic value to trade with systems they might meet on the way;
2) scientific work taking place on the ship should concentrate on technologies arising from fringe scientific theories or from unexpected phenomena; and
3) attempts should be made to uplift six intelligent non-human lifeforms, namely, the Eurasian magpie, the bottle-nosed dolphin, the common octopus, the chimpanzee, the Humboldt squid and the rat and to produce a society where all seven organisms (including humans) can thrive equally.

The Longo Drum was built in space and in 2147 launched in an orbit that would bring it into contact with as many other colonies as possible before reaching a point on the edge of the galaxy in around 230 million years.  Its beginning complement was 51,000 people in roughly equal parts Romany, Guineans, and artists and weird scientists of all ethnic origins plus a thousand each of the animals being uplifted.



Harvest (planet):

Harvest! Breadbasket of the Spiral Arm! Harvest has no moon, so there are no tides, but the rain is fine. Harvest doesn't have a lot of vulcanism, so there are few mountains-- mostly just lots of plains for crops. And crops it has! Harvest is 90 percent crops (and harvesting facilities), and 10 percent security facilities to guard those crops and their harvests. Harvest is responsible for feeding an even larger percentage of the civilized galaxy than one might think.

Rumors of sentient native life in the oceans or (especially) burrowing under the plains are dismissed by the security forces. "The scavs? The scavs are clever-- cunning, even, sure, but they're not intelligent! They're just, like, smart gophers!" The harvesting crews aren't so sure...



Lilith (planet):

A planet that's at the same size as Earth, with a greenish sky in its hemisphere, with several giant fungi inhabiting the entire landmass. Other than that, the planet looks habitable. Though, when the first settlers decided to move in, they found very quickly that the air in this planet was toxic. The fungal growth has a hallucinogenic spore that has spread upon the air. Most of the settlers have started hallucinating their worst fears and gone mad, killing each other. Even those wearing hazmat suits were completely affected by the spores effect. The planet was deemed uninhabitable for the near future, although several mega-corporation have sent in drones to harvest the fungal growth for a special product line.



Mersta (space station/power plant):

Originally "Mercury Station," soon shortened to MerSta and finally just Mersta. Just a little closer to the sun than Mercury, Mersta is two shapes-- a flat disc 200 miles wide with solar panels on the sun-facing side, and a cylinder coming off the center of the back of the disc that provides 10 miles of area for living and working space. The whole thing revolves, to give those on the inside of the cylinder 3/4ths Earth gravity. The main function of the inhabitants of the cylinder is to serve as constant repair crews for anything that hits the back of the disc as needed. However, its ability to not only beam nigh-unlimited power to all structures on Mercury, as well as to recharge any number of forms of huge batteries, means that Mersta is actually more important-- and more visited by ships-- than all of Mercury itself put together.



S.S. Belong (spaceship): a strange spaceship with a cult-y sort of people who all think from the same odd perspective... At least they're friendly traders, though...



CULTURES:

--magpie people ("Chatters": empaths)
--smart space gopher people (and their somewhat barbarian cousins on the planet Harvest down below)
--humans
--dark-skinned humans, octopi-people, and magpies with a DIFFERENT culture on planet Kakapoo
--space manta people
--human asteroid miners (Voiders) who can survive in space without a suit
--Earth's other posthuman peoples, very different on the outside but sharing roughly the same culture, including:
----the Darklings of Mercury's Ocean Caves
----the Swimmers of Europa
----the Telempaths of Earth
----the Martian desert dwellers
----the Venusian airship citizens



POWERFUL BEINGS:

The United:
The United is a fungal being from Lilith whose drones travel known space in search of knowledge and wisdom. It is especially interested in studying other intelligent lifeforms.


SUPER-SCIENCE STUFF:

The Caldwell Quantum Tarot Phenomena:


The Colony Ship Longo Drum was assigned to work on fringe scientific theories. After the Chatterers were proven to have low-level psi abilities (with some impressive exceptions), a lot of time and effort was put into researching such things.

No one was more enthusiastic than Dr. Rosalyn Caldwell, who started working with Chatterers and tarot cards. Even the other researchers on the Longo Drum refused to believe Dr. Caldwell's assurances that she had found a way to predict the future-- until she was able to replicate her successful experiments an impressive 68% of the time, sometimes with truly incredible results. Indeed, she took the credit for predicting that the Longo Drum would be rediscovered by a passing spaceship in less than six months. Four months after she started claiming this, it happened.

Further researchers since the rediscovery of the Longo Drum have continued to refuse to believe that Caldwell is-- as such-- predicting the future. Rather, they believe that her tarot work with Chatterers is influencing the future, based on some sort of collective unconscious of those with psi abilities involving quantum physics.

Each of the four tarot suits has a particular meaning in various contexts, as do the numbers of the minor arcana and the major arcana.

At first, the Caldwell tarot system only seemed to work for Chatterers who had been specially trained from infancy. Now, however, it often seems to work for anyone who tries it who has any level of psi ability, although usually, the more natural ability one has, the better.



Duranium:

     Duranium is a new element. So far, the only known locations to find it are the oceans of Europa and the asteroid belt of Mahalzhan. It possesses several unique properties. First, it is dense. So dense that normal scans cannot penetrate its atomic structure. Second: it is clear once smelted. Third, it is nearly completely heat resistant. It can only be smelted and forged in "sonic kilns." Though much remains unkno0wn of the material, it is highly valued for constructing ship hulls as its heat resistance makes the switch from atmospheric flight to out space infinitely smoother. It is also used by several security forces for construction of weapons and armor, but only for elites. The element cannot be forged commercially but must be smelted and shaped by hand using sonic kilns and sonic forges. The only weakness of this material is its sensitivity to sound in fact. At certain high decibel ranges it begins to soften. At extremely low decibel ranges it begins to draw in heat from its environment, which can prove dangerous to those wearing it as armor if exposed for too long. A curious note about the element: the Astani and a certain type of Europan eel have a natural talent for locating the material similar to how earth pigs can detect truffles.



The Words:

There is no such thing as faster than light travel. That runs up against Einstein's limits. Neither do wormholes provide shortcuts, instead, they disassemble matter into fundamental particles. No the only way to beat Einstein's limits is to travel with a practitioner of The Words.

When ships manoeuvre into dimensions other than the third, travel was unpredictable with only five percent reaching their destinations within a Parsec, within two Parsecs it was only one percent with a vanishingly small chance over further distances. Then one ship began to buck that trend, arriving safely over further and further distances. Eventually it was discovered that chanting certain Ancient Sumerian spells and prayers with specific rhythms, provides control throughout ten dimensional space.  Thus were the Words born.




CLASSES:

Fighters:
  specialize in modern weapons-- particularly energy blasters and vibroblades

Scientists: specialize in 3 sciences: biology/xenobiology/medicine/cryonics/psionics, chemistry (grants "earth sciences" for free), electronics, physics, engineering (grants "earth sciences" for free), software/hacking.


Archaists: Fighters that specialize in pre-spaceflight weapons (although they are sometimes made of modern materials. Sometimes not, though, which allows them to conceal/smuggle weapons very effectively.

Europan Bounty Hunter:
--Big bonus to dealing with Europan eels
--Bonus to tracking, traps/trapping, hunting


Mystics ("Pilot," "Thief," and "Con Person" classes have all been subsumed into this):
--Good with rolls involving: Linguistics, Archaeology, Physics, Navigation, Piloting
--Good with rolls involving: grifting, hacking, and safecracking
--Good with rolls involving: using the tarot to fight crime
--Can teleport... twenty-mile limit.
--Perfect memories. Big boost on Intelligent checks in regard to "try to remember something useful" rolls.
--Psychic empathy: can read surface emotions
--Sound mimicry-- among other things, good for Charisma rolls where you're impersonating someone (whom you've heard before) over the phone or what have you.


Psi-Haunters: persons whose bodies have been destroyed but they continue to exist as psychic energy beings


Telepresenters: Known colloquially as simply "gifts" (a slang version of "'presenters" being shortened into "presents"), telepresenters are those agents who hide in safety but hook their minds up to robotic bodies.
The GM
 GM, 218 posts
Sun 14 Aug 2022
at 17:19
Strange Universe: The Game

Roll a number of d4s, and take the highest result:
HIGHEST RESULT
1 Absolute Failure. You don’t get what you want and things get a lot worse.
2 Partial Failure. You don’t get what you want.
3 Partial Success. You get what you want, but things get complicated.
4 Absolute Success. You get what you want — and more.

STATS
• Forceful. Roll to resolve risky actions of strength and/or toughness and/or melee combat.
• Agile. Roll to resolve risky agility actions and/or ranged combat.
• Insightful. Roll to resolve rigorous mental actions.
• Charming. Roll to resolve precarious social interactions.

Start out with 1 in each stat. (No stat can go above 3.)

This number represents how many d4s you roll for each stat.

You will get one more point for your stats when you choose a species, and another one when you choose a class.


SPECIES:

--magpie people ("Chatters": empaths): +1 Insightful

--smart space gopher people (and their somewhat barbarian cousins on the planet Harvest down below): +1 Agile

--humans: Add +1 to 1 stat of your choice

--dark-skinned humans of planet Kakapoo: Add +1 to 1 stat of your choice
--octopi-people of planet Kakapoo: Add +1 to Agile
--magpies of planet Kakapoo: Add +1 to Insightful

--space manta people: Add +1 to Insightful

--human asteroid miners (Voiders) who can survive in space without a suit: Add +1 to Forceful

--Earth's other posthuman peoples, very different on the outside but sharing roughly the same culture, including:
----the Darklings of Mercury's Ocean Caves: Add +1 to Insightful
----the Swimmers of Europa: Add +1 to Agile
----the Telempaths of Earth: Add +1 to Insightful
----the Martian desert dwellers: Add +1 to Forceful
----the Venusian airship citizens: Add +1 to either Agile or Charming


CLASSES:

Fighters:  specialize in modern weapons-- particularly energy blasters and vibroblades. Add +1 to Forceful

Scientists: specialize in 3 sciences: biology/xenobiology/medicine/cryonics/psionics, chemistry (grants "earth sciences" for free), electronics, physics, engineering (grants "earth sciences" for free), software/hacking. Add +1 to Insightful

Archaists: Fighters that specialize in pre-spaceflight weapons (although they are sometimes made of modern materials. Sometimes not, though, which allows them to conceal/smuggle weapons very effectively.  Add +1 to either Forceful or Agile

Europan Bounty Hunter:
--Big bonus to dealing with Europan eels
--Bonus to tracking, traps/trapping, hunting
--Add +1 to either Agile or Insightful


Mystics ("Pilot," "Thief," and "Con Person" classes have all been subsumed into this):
--Good with rolls involving: Linguistics, Archaeology, Physics, Navigation, Piloting
--Good with rolls involving: grifting, hacking, and safecracking
--Good with rolls involving: using the tarot to fight crime
--Can teleport... twenty-mile limit.
--Perfect memories. Big boost on Intelligent checks in regard to "try to remember something useful" rolls.
--Psychic empathy: can read surface emotions
--Sound mimicry-- among other things, good for Charisma rolls where you're impersonating someone (whom you've heard before) over the phone or what have you.
--Add +1 to either Insightful or Charming


Psi-Haunters: persons whose bodies have been destroyed but they continue to exist as psychic energy beings: Add +1 to Insightful


Telepresenters: Known colloquially as simply "gifts" (a slang version of "'presenters" being shortened into "presents"), telepresenters are those agents who hide in safety but hook their minds up to robotic bodies. Add +1 to Agile





Health:
Everyone has 4 health to start.

LOSE ALL HEALTH: Roll +Forceful.
--Highest result is 4: You're still in this for now. If you take damage AGAIN, you're unconscious.
--Highest result is 3: You're still awake, but you're on the ground and can't move. You can yell "Look out!" or "Finish him!" or whatever, but you can't move or do anything active.
--Highest result is 2: You're unconscious. You'll regain consciousness in 5d4 minutes.
--Highest result is 1: You're unconscious. You'll regain consciousness in 1d4 hours.

If the whole party falls unconscious, you could be captured or killed.



XP POINTS:
The party levels up each time it resolves a goal it's been working toward.



LEVEL UP: When you level up a PC: increase a Stat by 1 (maximum 3), get 1 extra maximum HP, and you will add a new ability to your character sheet (talk to your GM).



COMBAT:

--Roll Forceful (for melee (unless you have a melee weapon that lets you use Agile, like a fencing foil)), Agile (for ranged combat), or some other stat or combination of stats that your character sheet says you can use to inflict damage.

--Highest result is 1: You take 1 damage as the opponent counters your attack.
--Highest result is 2:  You take 1 damage, OR you take no damage, but you're forced into a worse position (rolling -1 die on your next roll.) (OR, if Ranged attack, you might run out of ammo or weapon-battery-charge.)
--Highest result is 3: You deal 1 damage.
--Highest result is 4: You deal 2 damage.




--REST:
When you rest for a few hours (at least 4), you may roll 1d4 plus your Forceful modifier. Your highest result is how many HP you get back. (Later, it'll restore 1d4 + plus your Forceful modifier plus your level minus 1. So when you're level 3, it'll restore 1d4 plus your Forceful modifier, +2 more.)


ALSO:
The average Medkit heals 1d4 hp. (Later, it'll heal 1d4 + your level minus 1. So when you're level 3, it'll heal 1d4+2.)


There will also be Bandages-- Bandages let you add 1 die to your REST roll.




--Adventuring Gear: 3/3 uses. Need a rope, grappling hook, crowbar, flashlight, any sort of basic equipment? Just mark off a use of Adventuring Gear, and you pull it out of your pack.

--A Pack. All adventurers have a pack to keep their stuff in. It includes basic blah food rations.


NOTE: All items can break (unless their description says so).



Everyone starts with:
--1 weapon (ranged or melee),
--1 armor OR an extra weapon of the opposite type from the first weapon,
--1 Adventuring Gear OR an extra bit of armor.
--1 Pack.


Example: Harran the Fist, Mercenary Fighter For Hire, starts with
--1 vibro-sword (melee)
--1 plasma blaster (ranged)
--1 Adventuring Gear (3/3)
--1 pack



EMPATHY: Roll INSIGHTFUL.
--Highest result is 1: You feel confused. Take -1 on your next roll.
--Highest result is 2: You can't get a clear reading on them right now. Oh well. You can try again after 10 minutes.
--Highest result is 3: You can tell what emotions the target is feeling.
--Highest result is 4: You can tell what emotions the target is feeling. Take +1 to your next roll involving them.