We're about five or six sessions into
our Stars Without Number game. I haven't been making regular actual
play posts (and I'll probably continue to be inconsistent with it), but
some folks have expressed interest in hearing what's going on in
Persephone Sector, so I thought I'd give a game report. A handful of
sessions in, our “heroes” have had several exploits. Most of
these involve varying degrees of robbery, kidnapping, and
murder. You know... adventuring. They have traveled from the corporate
planet of Croesus to the prison world of Oubliette and now head for
the twin-sunned, desert planet of Las Diablas. Characters have died and been
replaced a number of times. The current party looks like this:
Dr. Jackie Montana
(Expert 3, xeoarcheologist) – The only still-living PC from the
original line-up, thanks to her very effective technique of “running
and hiding.” She faked her own death and is considering going by
the name “Jackie Danger.” She has no combat skills but carries a
pair of matched pistols “for show.”
(Warrior 3, assassin) – A no-nonsense, expert killer from
Netherpool, quick and deadly. He sank all his starting funds into a
high-tech shear rifle, a decision that has served him well so far.
(Expert 3, pilot) – Born in the Scavenger Fleets, Hana was raised
in space. She is abrasive and crude—a spitting, swearing, cigar-smoking space-broad. She's also a fair hand with a monoblade.
NPC Hirelings and Henchmen
– A decommissioned guard 'bot the heroes wrangled from the warden
of Obuliette as part of their reward for dealing with his “hideous
alien monster infestation” problem.
– Eccentric “genius” xenoarcheologist wanted by the Oroborus
Corporation. The PCs were hired by Oroborus to take him form his
prison on Oubliette to their corporate HQ on Croesus. Instead, they
faked their own deaths and took the Professor to Las Diablas, where
he claimed to know the location of an old pre-Scream lab full of
to Las Diablas!
|"Oblivion," a movie only I liked.|
Diablas is a desert planet with a strong western/cowboy
theme. It is a home to pirates, refugees, smugglers, banditos, and
other desperate types. It's equal parts Mos Eisley, Oblivion, Tortuga, and
's Mars. With two suns, there is no night on Las
Diablas. Adaptive nanites in the atmosphere trigger slow mutation in
residents. Over the course of years, humans on Las Diablas gain red
leathery skin, jet black eyes, and horns, supposedly to protect them
from the heat and radiation of the twin suns (Lilith and Jezebel).
Hana, Helper, and Prof. Chase arrive in the town of Lost Dog, having
hitched a ride with the smuggler Jack of Spades. Pete arrives later,
separately, on a commercial tour ship full of rich college kids.
Taking a quick walk around, they first meet Lost Dog's new preacher,
Ezekiel Forgiveness, and his bodyguard Pollyanna Stew refurbishing
the abandoned old church. Instead of being abusing of violent, Jackie
and Hana are surprisingly polite to the earnest young reverend and
hire themselves out to help him put up the new roof.
the marshal station, they briefly meet the local law, Sage Redd
and her koth hound Blue. They take some time to look at the newest
wanted posters. They are pleased to see that none of their names
appear. They do take note of the three largest bounties posted:
Slaughter 5000 (a rogue AI tooling around in a war-bot chassis),
Amala Matrix (the rubenesque queen of space pirates), and Ghrüt
(the Hochog leader of the local banditos).
a steady source of income, the party sets themselves up in the Tin
Pan Inn and the Last Leg Saloon. Once Pete arrives a few days later, the
PCs quickly gather exploration supplies while selling off a big pile
of unneeded gear collected from past exploits. The ruins they intend
to explore lie a thousand miles south, so most of their money goes
toward buying a beat-up old ATV Explorer from the marshal's impound lot. Rightfully concerned about their health, they also comb
the city looking to hire an psychic healer. They find a Naga named
Salussa, a telepath with some skill in biopsionics (Psychc 2,
Dexterity 3!). S/he agrees to accompany the PCs for 10% of the
equipped and ready, the PCs roll out into the desert badlands. Due to
some weird malfunction, "MMMbop"
plays on a continual loop on the old vehicle's sound system. Several
tech rolls (using the experts' precious re-rolls) are made to fix this.
a few days of steady travel, the Heroes come to the great dry canyon
where the ruins are supposed to be. A small shack is perched on the edge
of the canyon, and they decide to check it out. Outside the shack
they meet a crazy old man on a rocking chair with a shotgun talking
to a poorly taxidermied squirrel. This is Crazy Old Levi, the former
preacher from Lost Dog, now gone thoroughly space-crazy. He's a
character I shamelessly lifted directly from “Sparks Nevada,Marshall on Mars.”
Old Levi claims that the ground they all stand on is filled with
explosives, and that he can blow them all up with the press of a the
detonator he holds. He demands that the PCs strip to prove that they
don't have three nipples or other witch marks that would show demonic
influence. The PCs only put up for this for a few minutes before they
just up and shoot the old guy. It turns out that the detonator is
just an empty black box with a stick-on button. Now they have a shack
to use as a base of operations. Also, a free shotgun and a stuffed
next morning they zip-line into the canyon and make their way tot he
half-buried doors into the ancient compound. The old ruins have no
power, but the Experts manage to hard-wire a power cell to the door to
get the open-up-actuators to work.
place is a mess. 500 years of neglect has destroyed the tile floors
and rusted the steel walls. The interior of the compound is strangely
humid and musty. There is no power, and the players quickly fall back upon
leaving a trail of glowbugs (palm-sized, sticky, portable lights)
wherever they go.
place shows signs of (relatively) recent exploration, as they find
graffiti on the wall that reads “Holz, Zin, and Kirby were here,
attack, and are quickly squashed.
discover a large menagerie room with independent power. The room's
environmental control is broken, however, and the room is a deadly
-300 degrees. The bodies of several alien animals and an armored man
lie frozen solid on the ground.
the old sickbay they find some injectors full of powerful pretech
body of a dead man holds a will leaving everything he owns to his daughter on
Pinipat, a planet none of the PCs has heard off.
spider-lamprey things attack. Helper gets torn up pretty good, but is
walls of a monitoring station is covered in skull paintings with the
words “We are all doomed.” Logs indicate that the compound was a
bio-lab from the Genetech corporation and there was some kind of
accident, possibly due to the Scream. Also, the station had an AI
PCs find the back-up quantum generator and bring it online, powering
up the station. “Your Cheating Heart” plays on the PA system...
over... and over... and over...
camping for the night in the generator room, some unknown things
bang on the door, making creepy “girl from The
noises. There is no trace of them in the morning.
find a ruined lab guarded by automated laser turrets. Jackie finds an access
panel and cuts power to the turrets. They find more pretech medicine
and the Grudge-things return. Luckily the PCs had closed the doors
behind them, and the things eventually wander off. Still no clue as
to what they are.
the barracks, they find some good (if standard) armor and weapons and
are attacked by a giant amoeba (ochre jelly). It dissolves Hana's
armor, and she has to quickly strip out of it's remnants to avoid its
gooey embrace. Monoblades and mag pistols only split the critter into
smaller critters, but plasma throwers and lasers boil it away nicely.
used the random complex generator in
Hulks & Horrors
to create the map of the abandoned complex. I used a combination of
flavor and room dressing tables form both H&H and SWN to fill the
map. This worked exceptionally well, and I managed to get a complete
two-level “space dungeon” in just a couple of hours. Monsters from Labyrinth Lord work very well for mad-science alien bio-monsters, especially slimes and oozes.
Before this session, my Stars
have been pretty straight and pedestrian. That's weird because I love
crazy/gonzo sci-fi. Hell, I co-wrote LeopardWomen of Venus
y'know. There's just something about SWN that makes me think Mass
Effect and Blade Runner, not Heavy Metal or Flash Gordon.
changed with this session, as things took a much-needed turn for
the weird. The cowboy planet certainly is a big reason for that. I
love space westerns, and I mean real
westerns like Galaxy
man... I need to add robot horses to this game.