April 25, 2013

Stellar Piracy

The Hulks & Horrors rules mention pirates as a relatively common occurrence while surveying systems, but outside of the "Sentient Crew" encounter at the top of every table leaves the specifics up to the DM to adjudicate. I say why adjudicate when you can roll on a sweet table during system generation! Append this to your system generation process and roll out the six-inch mass drivers. And dice.
Step 3a: Determine Pirates in System
Roll 1d4, on a 1 pirates have a large presence in the system.
Roll 1d6 for each orbit, on a 1 pirates have a base at this location. Terrestrial/Dwarf: 1-2 on surface, 3-4: on moon, 5-6: space station. Gas Giant: 1-2 cloud city, 3-4 on moon, 5-6 space station. Belt: 1-2 hollow asteroid, 3-4 space station, 5-6 repurposed hulk. Deep Space Station: inside station. Artificial World: 1-5 inside construct, 6 space station.

Check for pirate encounters each time a PC vessel moves to a new orbit. Roll 1d6, on a 1 pirates have detected your vessel. If this orbit contains a pirate base an encounters occurs on a 1 to 3. The lead vessel of the crew will hail the PCs, roll on the Pirate Reaction table to determine their attitude.

Pirate Reactions (1d6)
1-2: Attack, the pirates make dire threats and engage.
3-4: Extortion, the pirates demand 1d6x1000 credits to ensure safe passage, parties unable to pay will be attacked.
5: Neutral, the pirates are kind of bored and looking to chat.
6: Friendly, the pirates are willing to impart the PCs with some system data or an item if they have the cash.

Pirate Encounters
Roll 1d3 for the number of vessels in the encounter. Roll 1d5 for the Hull Class of each pirate vessel. The total value of each should be no more than (1d4 + Hull Class) x 100,000 credits. That number is entirely arbitrary and possibly terrible, I ain't got time to stat those ships for you.

April 19, 2013

Star Fails II

I had two new players for this session of my Hulks & Horrors campaign for a total of three new characters after the rout last time. After getting the new players up to speed (and troubleshooting the mic on our Hangout bro) we picked up where we had left off, in system Iota Cancri mourning the loss of captain Keith Slade.

The Crew
Keith Slade, heroic captain (eaten by spiders)
Grug-Ugh-ng, bearman first mate
Private Kipley, space marine
Skrillix, floating squid reprobate
Jason Slade, acting captain
Gold-Gold-Mauve, gun-amoeba

by Axelinde
Unwilling to tarnish their leader's reputation by failing the mission Grug-Ugh-Ng took command, setting a course for the gas giant deeper in-system. Dozens of moons orbited it, but only a few held anything of value. The Daedalus detected up a Galactic Surveyor emergency beacon from a forest moon. Breaking orbit in their shuttle the group came across the wreck of a crashed ship. A trio of occupied emergency cryo-pods were found within the torn fuselage, functioning on a trickle of remaining battery power. Within the pods lay a human and two omega reticulans. After revival they introduced themselves as Jason Slade, time-traveling brother of the ex-captain on a rescue mission to save Keith (arriving too late!) Gold-Gold-Mauve ("GolGol"), and "Greenie." The crew was also able to scavenge survey data from the crashed ship's computer. That left only a two planetoids for study, a stone planet of blood-red rivers (which the group deemed "too metal") or an ice world. They set course for the winter wonderland, and once in orbit discovered that ancient cities covered the small moon, buried beneath almost unbroken glaciers.

Landing their shuttle on a ridge above a large crevasse, the crew clambered into a tunnel leading into the frozen city. The architecture was unfamiliar, reminiscent of ceramic with a tendency toward organic curves and peaked ceilings. The tunnels were full of jellyfish-like creatures, which seemed harmless enough until Jason caught a face-full of soporific powder released from creatures, rendering him helpless but very happy. In retaliation the crew reduced the creatures to bubbling heaps on the floor. The team tied him to the shoulders of Kipley cyberpod heavy armor, where he'd be least likely to harm himself or anyone else. Things went downhill from there. Every room seemed to include more of the floaters, and they soon lost Kipley to the creatures' mind-effecting compound as well.

Will the crew fight something other than pitiful 1HD jellyfish monsters?
Will they find anything worth looting??
Will the time travel thread ever be revisited???
Who is the man in black????

April 17, 2013

Jacking In

Hulks and Horrors is a scifi retroclone combining the human-scale ruleset of D&D with a stripped down Traveller stellar model. It comes equipped with some amazing tables for generating adventuring locations, from the macro game of sector exploration to the smallest underground bunker or space station. You can be a bearman or a floating squid and pilot a Winnebago bristling with nuclear missiles. It is the best, and I've just started running it! H&H paints its universe with a broad brush, so when I see at the bottom of Complex room table an entry for "VR Access Node" and nothing more it demands I make a table for what terrible misfortune befalls whoever jacks in!

Accessing VR Nodes
The Ancients left behind technological wonders of infinite variety, some of the more common pieces of tech are virtual reality systems. These sophisticated systems were used for education, simulation, entertainment, even basic maintenance of the facilities they were part of.

Node Technology (1d6) 
  1. Headset and Gloves
  2. Holographic Interface
  3. Cranial Jacks (1 damage/use)
  4. Psychic Mechanism
  5. Cybernetic Cocoon
  6. Memetics
Figuring out the Ancient technology and successfully accessing a node requires a INT check.

VR Effects (1D12)
  1. All doors on this floor unlock.
  2. All doors on this floor open.
  3. All doors on this floor lock.
  4. Knowledge floods your brain. +2 to all checks to use technology in this complex.
  5. Alarm sounds, attracting nearby monsters. They arrive in 1d3 turns.
  6. Location of the nearest loot.
  7. Psychedelic mimetics fry your psyche for 1d6 damage.
  8. Simulation of infinite space populated by Precursor ghosts.
  9. Defense protocol summons 1d4+1 Servicebots to repel intruders. They arrive in 1d4 turns.
  10. A map of this level is downloaded into your brain.
  11. The defense system activates. Roll a hazard for this room.
  12. The node temporarily overwrites your language centers, you speak only a forgotten Precursor dialect for 1d6 hours.