Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Classic Traveller Podcast

I've just published the first episode of a new podcast designed for referees and players of the classic version of Traveller. It's got the cool name of "Behind the Claw".  Get your RPG podcast fix!

The podcast's homepage

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Classic Traveller - Lament for Oretroos

Between the last session and this another radio intercept was picked up...

Radio Intercept

The session started with the PCs and thirty of their mercenary company standing on the riverbank as a horde of writhing fish/frog-like things rolled towards them.

Keeping out of reach they split up to see how wide-spread the horde was. As far as they could tell it was all along the river. They rejoined the unit, formed a defensive circle and started pouring out the fire. A rough calculation showed them collectively doing around 1600 points of damage per round.

The horde of creatures just didn't stop, they kept coming, and an hour later ammunition was running low and even the FGMPs were overheating, but still they came. During the combat they PCs noticed that the creatures were attacking each other as well as coming for them and that they were cannibalistic too.

They decided to pull out and head for the nearby (ish) native village and the caves there that they thought would be more defensible. In wedge formation with the FGMPs carving out the path they headed for the village. As they moved away from the water the animals thinned out until soon only the odd one or two had to be eliminated. Behind them the horde was destroying everything, buildings trees and even each other.

They spent the night unmolested in the cave, and dawn, ever the hope of man, showed bright and clear with no sign of pursuit by the horde. They started to head back towards the camp site and called down a shuttle from the King Richard. The shuttle swept high over the camp reporting the devastation and then came by for closer pass. As the crew were reporting what they found at the camp the radio went dead. Fearing the worst the PCs hurried onto the camp and could soon see that the shuttle was burning on the ground.

As they moved towards it they suffered from another of the EMP-like pulses and a third of the team found their power armour powering down. At the same time they came under laser fire from the woods. The team went to ground and started returning fire at unseen targets.

After a few rounds of blind fire, two of the company were down, and the first of the enemy were seen. At first all the PCs could see was silver reflect-like shields and the snouts of laser rifles . When they hit them with the FGMPs which would normally melt through reflec, they found the the plasma beams were near useless! In a heartbeat they commanded the mercs to switch to projectile weapons and a suppressing fire of Snub rounds was sent towards the enemy.

More of the shields appeared as the team split into three. Jocko lead his squad straight-in with Bear and Kepler's squads flanking to either side. The enemy turned out to be a small squad of lightly armoured Aslan. The battle didn't last long, but two men from each team went down to the Aslan lasers, bringing the total casualties to eight. The last two Aslan made a break for it, running with the shields held behind their backs. For our intrepid heroes, shooting enemies in the back has never been a problem, the last of the Aslan were therefore cut down without concern. They looted the bodies discovering a few interesting things. The Aslan were dirty and grubby, obviously having been in the field for some time. They were also carrying iron-claws the Aslan equivalent of swords, but of most interest were the shields they'd been using. they were thin foil like devices that folded easily into a pocket and "popped" out to form the reflec-like shields.

It seemed to the players that the Aslan invasion of the sub sector had obviously reached this world and that it was time to get the heck out.

As Kepler the medic went to work (and only losing two of the casualties) the team spread out to search the area. They located an Aslan mortar and took possession of it. They advanced to the downed shuttle and sent out patrols to secure the area. The only survivor on the shuttle turned out to be none other that the head steward from the King Richard who had got caught on the shuttle went it emergency-launched.

Once the area was declared clear of enemy forces they called the remaining shuttle to come and pick them up. As it entered the atmosphere those on the ground caught sight of something...

On a distant ridge line a huge biped could be seen, when examined it was revealed to be large Aslan robot, much bigger than the one's the team had previous appropriated. It appeared to be carrying a large dual barreled weapon. It became obvious that the thing had seen them and as it raised it's gun, then melted it with their FGMPs. As it crumpled a group of 10+ Aslan were seen to come running over the ridge and down into the trees with another robot. They set up the mortar and fired off the remaining rounds in the general direction of the Aslan forces, hoping to disable the Aslan force with what they hoped were EMP mortar rounds.

As the shuttle swept towards them the Aslan fired at it, the PCs could see the laser beams skimming past but missing the shuttle. They rushed all of their people onto the shuttle and headed space-side at the double quick.

Once on board the King Richard the PCs had some trouble convincing the Captain to jump out of system ASAP as he was still thinking of completing the passengers "holiday". This was however given short shrift and a few "kill him and take the ship" asides were swapped. The next question was were to go.

The ship was scheduled to rendezvous with the refueling ship in the deep dark between systems as it had on the way out, but the PCs seriously wanted to head to one of the nearby planets, one of which had a Navy base. The Captain was dead against this. He didn't have funds to refuel the ship at an unscheduled port and sending for funds could take months. The passengers would be screaming blue murder if they did that. In the end it was settled to make the jump out into the dark.

The refueling ship however had been attacked. It was right where is should have been, but there was no life sign. Investigation showed that the ship had been hit with scathing laser fire. The PCs boarded and ensured there were no enemies aboard and then shunted some of the King Richards engineers across to look at the situation. The main transfer pumps were out of action but after getting one of the generators online they were able to jury rig a new pump. Unfortunately this new system would be like filling a swimming pool with a garden hose, it would take days.

Back on the quiet peaceful King Richard a day or two later there was a minor explosion in the engineering section that rocked this ship and upset the passengers. The engineer reported that the jury rigged pumping system had been the root cause but that he would watch it carefully from now on.

A good while later a fire was reported in a cabin. The crew took care of it but when the PCs wandered down to take a look at the situation, they found bodies amongst the debris. They were the bodies of the Montaski's. The PCs immediately went looking for the Curdelets. The men of these families had been at each other throats on the way out. They found Mrs Curdelet in her stateroom, and she thought her husband was in a bar somewhere.

They pounded down to the nearest bar, found one of their Vargr troopers struggling to drink from a human pint-glass. He indicated that the man they wanted was in the corner booth. In the booth they found a well sozzled Mr Curdelet. After a brief inquisition they didn't get anything out of him and he tried to walk away. Out came the Snub pistol and tranq rounds. The first round went into the Vargr and the second into Mr Curdelet. There was more panic and screams from the nearby passengers who only saw men with guns shooting people down in the bar.

As you can imagine the passengers and crew of the King Richard are becoming jumpy and scared. The trip out was dotted with missing people and talk of Vargr monsters attacking people. Then the visit to the planet had turned into a series of animal attacks, bloodshed, Aslan, and death. And here on the return trip, explosions, attacked ships, and now the guards shooting people in the bars.

The man was locked into his room with the pass-key and the Vargr dropped off with the other Vargr troopers who had a good laugh at his expense.

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

How To Write a Gamebook

I just realised that I haven't posted here about my video series on how you can write a gamebook!

I've a few of these books under my belt now, so I thought I'd create a short series on how to write them. So if you're bucket-list includes writing a book, why not watch this series and share a new game book with the world. This is the first in the series, but I have just posted the fourth, and there will be more coming.

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Classic Traveller - What? Eh? Say again?

Recap -The PCs are leading a group of mercenaries acting as security on a cruise liner going to an off-limits world.

Between last night's session and the previous one I set up a few teasers before we started, I posted this after the previous session...

"Day 1: The initial survey was followed up with the establishment of a safe swim-zone on a likely looking beach. Before the passengers were allowed on the surface, an area of sea  close to the beach was ringed with a strong net and small explosives dropped inside that ring to kill all life within. Then the surface was skimmed and finally the passengers allowed down to enjoy the waters and beach.

"One shuttle is running a regular ground to surface route and the other is being used to establish a jungle camp someway inland from the safe-beach."

Then the next day I posted...

"Day 2: A Jungle camp is established five miles from the Swim Zone set up on Day 1. A clearing has been made, and tents for refreshments and overnight stays for around 50 people erected. A partially cleared path has been made/mapped between the two camps so the passengers can "make trail". The camp is surrounded by a "bug fence" for keeping out flying insects and small ground creatures.

"A cliff no more than 2 miles from Jungle Camp, has been identified for the establishment of a climbing camp.

"A 'Hide' has been placed close to a native village for those wishing to view the natives. However up to this point, no natives have been seen. The native village is 5 miles further inland from Jungle Camp."

Then the next day a posted a tease for the players other PCs (known as the home-team) who are still back at the sub sector capital, a snippet from the local news source...

"The enforced evacuation of Stallone has now been confirmed by refugee-Indes employees appearing at the various ports of the system. Indes representatives were not available for comment."

Then subsequent to the snippets above I posted the following radio intercept (yes the one I posted in the last session report and should have saved to go here...

Radio Intercept (only 1 minute 34 seconds of MP3 audio)

.. finally the session started.

We established how the troops were distributed between the three camps, beach, jungle, cliff, and the ship. Then things started to happen. The beach camp was ringed by laser posts effectively providing a zappy bug screen to protect the tourists. The PC 'Jocko' noticed a child standing close the zap fence staring out into the jungle. He approached the child asked what was happening and the kid told him he thought there was a critter in the bushes.

William who was running the bar on the beach, was approached by one of the rich passengers and offered a couple of thousand creds to accompany this guy on a little unscheduled hunting. He wanted to get himself a trophy-head of one of the autocthones. William turned him down and suggested he might want to have a word with the Vargr contingent, and sent him on his way.

Jocko started to move the kid away from the fence and the critter, when the flying-snake-with-wings-thing (a.k.a. fire lizard) launched itself at the kid. Jocko used the cape of his uniform to shield the child and smacked the critter to the floor. Then he swung round his ACR and let fly at the thing with a full auto burst. shots went everywhere but not into the creature! It lunged for the kid and got a grasp of his arm. Another PC, William, dived in, and heaving a cutlass (or was it an axe?) killed the wee beastie. Sadly this left the child in very poor health.

The child was rushed to a shuttle and the team's medic Kepler, took off rushing to get him to the ship and the med bay up there. As it ascended the pilot called Keplers attention to a shape in the water below. An very large animal, 80 to 90 meters long was swimming below the surface towards the beach. Was it a danger to the holiday makers? Kepler risked the life of the child by ordering the shuttle to spend time and circle around so that he could a few warning shots across it's bow with his plasma gun. This didn't seem to work, the creature slipped about the columns of boiling water he created and continued to the beach. When he turned back to the child, he was dead. There was nothing else for him to do now, but to head back to the beach and start an evacuation.

At the beach, the PCs started a near-panic by ushering people away from the water line and along the path to the jungle camp by telling them a monster was coming.  The shuttles landed near the beach and the PCs reversed direction and started herding people towards them to get them off planet.

The beast raised up out of the water, a massive thing with hundreds of small tentacles where the head should have been and smashed over the safety fence and flopped its "head" onto the beach. The head split open into five main tentacles and huge bulbs started swelling up on each tentacle.

William opened up from the beach with his FGMP and burned into one of the pods (doing 58 points of damage) which exploded in a cloud of spider-silk-like filaments that started drifting towards the beach. Jocko turned on the beast with an entire magazine of RAM grenades from his ACR. (another 70 odd points!) Explosions rippled along its body.

One of the tentacle pods exploded of it's own accord and thick strands of "silk" shot out in all directions, which the PCs managed to dodge but which hooked six of the passengers and started dragging them back to the root of the tentacle.

Kepler took a shot now as he leapt from the shuttle. His plasma burned into the creature doing an equally stupid amount of damage! William came back for a second shot and this time the creature was killed before it could swallow any of the tourists. However these people were seriously hurt. Not only dragged along the ground and crushed, but when the "silk" was peeled off  it had caused some reactions. The injured were loaded onto a shuttle and sent space-side.

On the ship, the shuttle was met by the ship's captain and he was not happy to find scared passengers pouring back to the ship but also injured guests! He remonstrated with Kepler who was supposed to have kept the people safe from harm, and had allowed them to be harmed. He was not a happy man.

Jocko decided to get a closer look at the monster and started to cut it open. Immediately a horde to writhing wormy creatures poured out of the wound, swimming in the water and writhing around on the sand but didn't cause any harm.

From here things calmed down a little. The beach camp was abandoned and people settled into jungle camp. The laser fence from beach camp was retrieved and set up as a second inner barrier around the camp. The PCs were starting to get a new respect for the unknown fauna.

Many of the passengers took to fishing in the nearby river. What they were fishing out were eel-like with frog faces, and a pair of small arms near the front. They tasted good, and barbeques were very popular. Over the next couple of days the PCs noticed how these fish were getting bigger over time. The first ones brought out of the water had been five or six inches in length but over the next day or two those pulled out were a few inches bigger.

During the night, the patrols noted how the zapper fence along the river was very busy zapping something. In the morning the floor was found littered with the dead fish-frog things. Many of these dead creatures were larger again.

Jocko wanted to get a look at one of the autocthones and so set off to the "hide". When he joined his Vargr compatriots at the hide he was disappointed to note there were no locals about. The Vargr reported that, actually none had been seen they arrived.

The PCs decided to investigate the village. It was set within a shallow bowl in the landscape. Rude beehive huts constructed of mud were scattered around, and there were cave mouths around the edge of the bowl. Inside the huts they found the scattered remnants and accouterments of a neanderthal like life style but no locals. Investigating one of the caves they found the bodies of locals who appeared to have been dead for some while. There was no evidence of foul play.

They returned to camp and jumped into a shuttle for a trip to another village, in search of any of the local tribes. At the next village they found the same story. At the next it was the same again. Various theories were advanced but no definitive answer was arrived at.

As they took off to head back to camp and only ten feet up alarms and claxons sounded and the shuttle's systems simply shut down and it dropped onto its landing struts.  Fearing an attack of some sort, Jocko pulled up his ACR intending to use its infrared to scan the surround jungle, only to find it wasn't working. All the electronic gear was down, only the coms built into their suits was working (hardened electronics). The theory that won out, was that they had been hit by some kind of EMP. It turned out that the jungle camp was in a similar position, it's fences had shut down. Fortunately the other shuttle had been spaceside and hadn't been effected by the ...whatever it was. They ordered the camp evacuated and set to work trying to get the shuttle up and running.

A few hours passed before they managed to get it running. When they arrived back at the camp they had powerful lights erected around the camp and most of their mercs on the ground and prepared for an assault. As darkness fell they saw a horde of eyes reflecting the lamp light, emerge from the water...

And we ended the session there.
I'm an author, I write adventure game books.