Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

11 February, 2006

Episode 1: Collision Course

Filed under: — Obdormio @ 12:11

First of all, do not read this page if you are not the AI of your group. It contains all the secrets and you can’t play it if you know them.

This is an opening adventure. It starts in the usual way. Humans pop out of stasis, holograms and mechanoids are booted up, and evolved pets come wandering into the important levels. Everybody says “hi” and takes some time to get to know each other if they don’t already. Friends are made, future rivalries founded and insults exchanged. A good time is had by all, except the smegheads.

When the initial roleplay begins to die down, and your players seem ready for some more action, things starts getting real funny. Suddenly, the entire ship shakes, everybody does the Star Trek Shuffle, and cover their ears because of the crashing sound. What happened? What was that? What just went wrong? If asked, you have no idea. It felt like something hitting the ship, but it can’t have been, there was nothing on the scannerscope.

Further inquiries will reveal that it has in fact been a while since there was anything on the scannerscope. Even further inquiries will reveal that the bloody thing is broken. If your players are smart, they ask why the damage report machine didn’t report this. The reason is, of course, that the bloody thing is broken.

Have them repair the two machines, ideally the DRM first. This is badly broken, faulty wiring abounds, and it is frankly in need of replacement. If fixed, it will report a hull breach, caused by the impact felt earlier. It was a rock, which knocked a hole in the wall to corridor 5, in levels 44 and 45. No worries, you’ll just seal the doors leading there, to ensure that no more air is sucked out. You can live with one more hole in the hull. Shortly after this report, the DRM gives up permanently, and refuses to work again.

The scannerscope is in much better condition, and is eaily repaired. If none of your players actually have the Repair skill, putting the plug back in will suffice. Now the AI can clearly see all the things happening around them.

This is where you get to act out a magnificently deadpan “uh-oh”.

Looking out through the scannerscope, you have discovered another ship out there, which can only be described as “alarmingly close”. The ship’s engines are dead, and it looks in pretty poor shape all together, but it is still hurtling forwards, as if launched from a catapult. If both ships maintain the present course, the ship will impact with the Red Dwarf in a few hours. Since the Dwarf is about as maneuverable as a dead elephant, the best bet is for the players to get aboard the other ship, restart its engines and change the course.

Before we proceed, here are some stats for the ship:

Designation/Vehicle name: SCS Dumas
Type: Neo-class explorer vessel
Size: Large
Min. crew: 2
Max. passengers: 8
SPD: 2
MAN: 2
SHL: 5
HUL: 25
Damage level: 6 – Drifting Hulk
Weapons: Laser Cannons (2), 1km range, WA +1, WR 9.

The cargo can be whatever you want your players to have. I took this opportunity to give my hologram a light bee, and the whole crew will benefit from the psi-scan I included.

I made some drawings and maps of the Dumas, but since I don’t have a scanner, you can’t see them. Make your own if you need some. My poor ship planning skills made my Dumas basically an ugly lego block, I wish you better luck.

There are no life signs on the ship, so the crew should have no fears for going over and fixing the ship.

The Dumas is in poor shape. there are scorch marks on the walls in several places, holes in the furniture and the mainframe, and the skeletal remains of the eight crew members can be found in various surprising places. It does contain a functioning DRM, though. Be careful when your players search the ship, you can’t let them find the hiding simulant this early in the game.

Should the players locate the black box, they will learn the tragedy of the Dumas. It is a ship built for exploration, sent out to find new worlds to colonize and exploit in the early 24th century. As a result of a computer error, the ship traveled much further away from Sol than planned, and the crew didn’t come out of stasis for more than two million years. When they were finally released, they attempted to find their way back to Earth, fairly unsuccessfully. On day they came across a pod floating in space. They took it on board and opened it, only to be killed horribly by the simulant within it. The final entry is by the captain, stating he has a plan to destroy the beast, and save what’s left of the ship and crew.

A search will reveal that the simulant pod is nowhere to be found. Feel free to encourage the idea that the simulant left with it, but there’s no way your players will believe you.

The Dumas will fit in the Red Dwarf hangars, so if they can get it working again, and pilot it, they can salvage whatever useful stuff they find, or even fix it for use as a secondary ship.

Once they’re in the Dwarf, the simulant will attempt to leave the Dumas unnoticed and hide until he is ready to attack. If they won’t take the ship in until they’re sure it’s simulant free, they’ll have to face him on board the Dumas, which is his turf, so make it hard on them.

When they’re all in the Dwarf, they can either pick up the simulant moving around by psi-scan, or the AI detects him or whatever. The point is, now the hunt begins. You can play it like a suspense, sneaking around corridors, not knowing where he is, or you can play it with him bursting through the door shooting. The simulant I used is the one from Justice, and you can find him on page 56 in the Series Sourcebook. You might want to adjust his SHRUG, depending on how good your players are in a fight. I horribly underestimated mine, they killed him so fast it was hardly even funny.

Should he prove impossible to kill by conventional means, he can be tricked. His goal is to take over the Dwarf, and use it as his own ship, since the Dumas is in such piss-poor shape. He’ll want to reset the AI’s loyalties, and if the DMR is still on the fritz, the players might be able to convince him to take a stroll through corridor 5 on level 44 or 45…

The end of the simulant is also the end of the episode, all that remains is taking whatever’s wanted from the Dumas, and handing out character points.

Hopefully, you found some ideas in here that you can use in you own games. I played this with a delusional human, a wimpy soft-light hologram and an evolved turtle, and we had a blast. They didn’t get to try and trick the simulant, ’cause he died so soon, but I learned a valuable lesson on keeping fights fair: don’t.

Well, that’s all for now, but sooner or later, other episodes will follow.

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