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Old 05-23-2010, 07:58 PM   #1
Michael Thayne
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Default [OOC] GURPS On The Verge

Recruitment Closed

This is the OOC thread for GURPS on the Verge. Right now we have three players, and I'd like to get one more (UPDATE: Now we've got five, recruitment closed). First order of business is to talk composition of the group of PCs, roles relative to each other, how they know each other. I'm posting the Player's Briefing below for reference.

To kick off the discussion: players with connections in organized crime is an option, though if they're in too deep it could really crimp the style of the campaign. One of the defining features of Firefly, where I'm taking some of my inspiration from, is that the characters weren't taking orders from anyone, and could take what jobs they chose to. Also note that while starships are expensive, there are very lucrative opportunities n the Verge to offset the cost of one. Anyway, the briefing:

The Basic Premise

The premise of the campaign will just be “a small group of people with a small ship.” Trade will be one of the most profitable things you can do with such a setup, though there will be other possibilities. For example, the Galactic Concord pays for survey data on unexplored planets in the Verge, of which there are still many. That isn't exactly a way to make a quick buck, though, since payments can take a year to get processed.

Mechanics Stuff

The intended style of the game is moderately cinematic characters, relatively realistic play mechanics (after you ignore the alien telepaths and probably-impossible technologies). I'd rather not have to fudge die rolls to keep characters alive, but players are encouraged to take advantages that don't make realistic sense like Luck. If you do take Luck, I'll try to eyeball how much PbP time is equivalent to an hour or whatever at the game table, and I'll err on the side of allowing luck rolls more often when it would keep a PC from dying.

In addition to my recommendation of the Luck advantage, take a look at this list of recommended skills for adventurers. For optimizing characters, look at this list of talents, which tend to be the most efficient way of making a character good a few related skills. Also, please remember that disadvantages are disadvantages, and if you take “virtuous” disadvantages like Honesty and Truthfulness, they are still likely to inconvenience you at some point.

Administrative Stuff

Private message your fellow players with a rough description of your character once you know what kind of character you want to play. This is in part to make sure the more important roles in the group of PCs (pilot, mouthpiece) get filled. You should also coordinate on which characters will own the ship, either due to Wealth or because they take responsibility for making loan payments. (A brand new interstellar blockade runner will cost you $2,000,000, while a slow, beat-up system trader without a stardrive might be bought for a fraction of that.)

Universe History

The year is 2501. How we got here: In the early 22nd century, humans did serious exploration of the solar system for the first time and made first contact with the fraal, telepathic aliens who wandered into the solar system millennia ago, but who had been holding off contact with humans until humans became more advanced. Working together, fraal and humans developed the stardrive, a device which, depending on the amount of power available, can travel anywhere from five to fifty light-years in five days by moving through another dimension known as drive space. However, there is no way to make a faster-than-light journey in fewer than five days. These fixed five-day periods are known as “starfalls.”

Aside: Small ships tend to have small starfalling ranges, and large ships large ranges. Likely, the PCs will have a trader-class ship that can travel 5 light-years per starfall. For a fee, though, it is possible to use such a ship to piggy-back on the starfall of a larger vessel, allowing characters to get around the Verge more quickly.

Back to the history: With the stardrive, humans were able to spread themselves throughout the nearby region galaxy, discovering a number of sentient alien species on the process. Two of these, the sesheyan and the weren, were unambiguously more primitive than humanity, but the mechalus and t'sa were in some ways more advanced, just lacking stardrive technology. Because humans got off to such an enormous head start in galactic colonization, the vast majority of sentient beings in the known galaxy are human.

The First Galactic War (GW1) occurred in the early 24th century, and resulted in the Terran Empire fragmenting into many stellar nations. The Second Galactic War (GW2) happens later that century, and doesn't end until 2472. You should think about how old you want your character to be—medical advances have made 50 the new 25, so if you decide your character is old enough to remember, and possibly have fought in, GW2, it won't make your character too old to adventure.

StarDrive Species

35 Points

The Vulcans of the StarDrive universe. Not really emotionless, but their emotions don't change as rapidly as those of Humans. They look a bit like stereotypical alien “grays,” but with hair, and not really that much shorter on average than humans. They do tend to be fairly skinny, though.

Attribute Modifiers: ST -2 [-20], HT -1 [10] IQ +1 [20]
Advantages: Extended Lifespan 1 [2], Telepathy Talent [5], Telesend (psionic -10%) [27]
Disadvantages: Addiction (telepathic contact with other fraal) [-10]
Racial Skills: Mental Strength (E) [1]

25 Points

One upon a time, the Mechalus were far more human like than any other species in the known galaxy. Maybe you would have thought they were “really human,” though biochemistry proves otherwise. By the time humans made contact with them, however, they had made cybernetic enhancement standard for every member of their species, slaughtered the other intelligent species in their native star system, and developed a collective guilt complex over having done so. So yeah.

Tend to be cool under pressure, and socially inept from a human point of view, but definitely not emotionless. In fact, Mechalus tend to be more emotionally expressive than humans in social situations.

Attribute Modifiers: IQ +1 [20]
Advantages: Combat Reflexes [15 points] Cable Jack [5].
Disadvantages: Oblivious [-5], Pacifism (self-defense only) [-15]
Racial Skills: Computer Operation and Computer Programming at IQ [5]

Last edited by Michael Thayne; 05-24-2010 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 05-23-2010, 07:59 PM   #2
Michael Thayne
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Default Re: [OOC] GURPS On The Verge

25 Points

Sesheyans are bat-like creatures that were still in the stone age when discovered by humans. Unfortunately, they were discovered by representatives of the megacorporation-turned-stellar-nation VoidCorp, which promptly enslaved them, though to be fair VoidCorp considers all its “employees” corporate property, so the legal status of Sesheyans isn't any lower than any other member of VoidCorp.

Sesheyans are best-known for doing VoidCorp's dirty work. Plenty have escaped to the Verge though, and there's a colony of Sesheyans out in the Verge that claims to have been transported there a thousand years ago by an advanced race of aliens, and argue that because they were there before VoidCorp made contact with Sheya, they are not subject to VoidCorp authority.

Sesheyans are strange-looking: they have six limbs once you count their wings, eight eyes, and walk in a strange, hunched-over gait when on the ground. This, combined with their associations with VoidCorp, make them more likely to be victims of prejudice than other alien races. For an analogy, most aliens are treated like the Federation member races on Star Trek, while Sesheyans are like those weird aliens in Star Wars that you only see working for Jabba.

Attribute Modifiers: ST -2 [-20], DX +1 [20].
Advantages: Flight (winged) [30], Night Vision 8 [8 points], Peripheral Vision [15]
Disadvantages: Light Sensitivity 8 (penalties in full daylight analogous to those humans would suffer in dim light, mitigated by special goggles) [-8], Social Stigma (alien) [-5], choice of Duty (always, involuntary) [-20] or Enemies (Voidcorp, quite rarely) [-20]
Racial Skills: Flight at HT [2], Free Fall at DX [2], One melee weapon skill at DX-1 [1]

15 Points

The T'sa are a lizard like species that began building their civilization twenty thousand years ago. By the time humans detonated their first atomic bomb, the T'sa were already sending slower-than-light colony ships to other star systems. According to the T'sa, it's just luck that humans discovered faster than light travel first. In spite of being a bit resentful on that point, though, T'sa tend to be cheerful, and a pleasure to have on board any ship.

Attribute Modifiers: ST -2 [-20], DX +1 [20].
Secondary Characteristics: SM-1 [0]
Advantages: Combat Reflexes [15] Damage Resistance 2 [10], Sharp Teeth [1]
Disadvantages: Attentive [-1], Curious [-5], Short Lifespan (75% of human) [-5]

0 Points

Weren may be big hairy creatures with claws, but by the time humans discovered them, they were already undergoing their version of the Renaissance, and since then Weren have proven quite adaptable to new philosophical and scientific ideas. With technology, though, they remain much more reluctant to adapt near ways, and in fact, the governments of Krug (the Weren homeworld) prohibit the introduction of new technology onto their planet. The Orlamu government cooperates with them on this, and by mutual agreement any Weren's decision to leave Krug is a one-way trip. Strangely, many Weren do decide to leave, but most of those retain their reluctance to learn to use advanced technology.

Attribute Modifers: ST +2 [18], DX -1 [-20], HT +2 [20], IQ -1 [-20]
Secondary Characteristics: SM+1 [0], HP +4 [8]
Advantages: Chameleon 2 [10], Damage Resistance 1 (Tough Skin -40%) [3], Fangs [2], Sharp Claws [5], Temperature Tolerance 2 [2]
Disadvantages: Tech Level 4 [-30]
Perks: Fur [1]
Racial Skills: Brawling at DX [1 points]

Robot & AI

The short version: The StarDrive universe is written to discourage robot and artificial intelligence PCs. But the curious can read on.

In the StarDrive universe, many but not all human abilities can be replicated by computers small enough to fit in a human-sized robot chasis. These robots can slightly outperform humans on some tasks, but are still highly inflexible, have the automaton meta-trait, and most people would say they don't deserve the name “artificial intelligence.” That term is generally reserved for powerful computers that take up dozens of square meters. These artificial intelligences are not perfect replicas of human minds and still have varying degrees of trouble understanding human emotions, but can greatly outperform humans on many tasks. Also, unlike their smaller cousins, they can have the Enhanced Time Senses attribute.

Stellar Nations and Planets

*Austrin-Ontis Unlimited: Weapons company that became a nation. Citizens value their freedom, and are especially big believers in the right to bear arms. In the Verge, the former Austrin colony of Galvin is still at war with the former Thuldan colony of Alitar in the same star system. The Galvinite government is extremely repressive, and their intelligence operatives are arguably the most feared in the Verge.
*Borealis Republic: Started out as an attempt to re-create the feudal system in the 22nd century. Now it's a highly intellectual society where every other person is a clone. In the Verge, the Borealis colony Silver Bell was destroyed in a mysterious attack, but the Republic has since recolonized the system.
*Hatire Community: Worshipers of an alien god described in writings found in mysterious ruins. Somewhat technophobic, in spite of the fact that they rely on technology like everyone else. In the Verge, Hatire has a colony in the Corrivale system, also home to a group of renegade Sesheyan, which generally has Hatire's support.
*Insight: Break away division of VoidCorp. Members have a reputation for being the greatest hackers in the known galaxy. In the Verge, Insight has managed to take the planet Bhruu from VoidCorp, though VoidCorp still controls the rest of the Karnath system where Bhruu is located.
*Nariac Domain: Cybernetic space communists, almost precursors to the Borg, though they're under the control of VoidCorp. Members start play with a free piece of cybergear worth up to $5,000. Unfortunately these devices allow their government to monitor them.
*Orion League: A diverse, politically liberal nation. In interviews, the game's designers described the Orion League a stand in for the U.S.A., though it's described as having a very decentralized political system and not as a dominant superpower. Maybe think the U.S.A. circa 1800. Bluefall in the Aegis system is officially independent of the Orion League, but still has close ties to its parent nation. The Aegis system is home to the planet of Bluefall. Bluefall is a center for media, finance, and tourism, serving as the unofficial capital of the Verge, but is also notable for the fact that its entire human population disappeared mysteriously several decades ago, and is home to a native species known as the deepfallen.
*Orlamu Theocracy: The Orlamu religion was founded based on the visions of the sole crewman on board the satellite in the first-ever use of the stardrive. Unlike some religious organizations, the Orlamu government is very supportive of science. Less pleasant is the Theocracy's policy of forcing psi-capable citizens to use their powers in service of the government. The Orlamu colony in the Verge is Yellow Sky, a somewhat inhospitable planet featuring mysterious ruins in the Tychus system.
*Rigunmoor Star Consortium: A trade guild-turned-nation. It's the richest of all the stellar nations, though because Rigunmoor traders operate independently of the government, its government can't mobilize capital as effectively as VoidCorp. In the Verge, while the Oberon system, home to the mining world of Lison, was originally settled by the Consortium, many colonists turned out quite poor and don't have much of the Rigunmoor cultural mindset.
*StarMech Collective: Corporation-nation specializing in robotics. StarMech culture is unusually comfortable using robots to do unpleasant, and encourages a hedonistic lifestyle that makes full use of the benefits of automation. In the Verge, StarMech claims the mineral-rich Tendril system, the nearest Verge system to Old Space, as its own, though this claim is disputed.
*Thuldan Empire: Very militaristic nation. Game designers have described them as “space Nazis” in interviews, but while they like their military uniforms and Roman military jargon a bit too much, they aren't currently engaging in genocide or trying to conquer the galaxy. Officially, Thuldans are never allowed to leave the military, though most become reserves after a couple of years, and are allowed to work as “security contractors” for other groups. The Empire also has no qualms about using genetic engineering to “improve” its citizens. In the Verge, the former Thuldan colony of Alitar is still at war with the former Austrin colony of Galvin in the same star system. Somewhat surprisingly, the Alitar government is more liberal than that of Galvin.
*Union of Sol: Centered around Earth and therefore at the crossroads of human space. Asian-dominated government is something of a mess. Has a mostly-symbolic head of state known as the Sunlord, a hereditary position. Members gain two extra ability score points to distribute at character creation. In the Verge, the Union of Sol has been responsible for founding the penal colony of Lucullus.
*VoidCorp: Began as a break-away from an Earthly computer corporation, still produces first-rate computers. Unlike Austrin-Ontis or StarMech, however, VoidCorp claims all its citizens, including the vast majority of living sesheyans, as corporate property.
*The Galactic Concord: Formed after GW2, the Concord is like the U.N., only with actual power. Has direct control over large chunks of human space, including the area around T'sa settled worlds, though the T'sa make their own laws with those systems.
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:12 PM   #3
Dorin Thorha
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Default Re: [OOC] GURPS On The Verge

Might as well... I'll work on a char.
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: [OOC] GURPS On The Verge

June Duran
50 years old
Born and raised on a mining colony on a rockball. Forced into exile when she the growing labor movement she was a part of was crushed by the local authority. She found work amongst organized crime and helped the mob family in a "hostile takeover" of her repressive home colony. For twenty years of loyal service and her part in giving the mafia family new territory, she was given a starship and leave to do with it as she pleases... though the godfather may occasionally ask a favor, June plans on going far enough out in the verge to make a new life for herself where she sets the rules.
Atts 80
Ads 25
Dis -51
Q -5
Skills 101

St 10
Dx 11
Iq 13
Ht 10

(5)Night Vision
(15)Patron: Powerful Mafia Family (Extremely Powerful base 15), Equipment +100%, Rarely 6- 1/2
(5)Talent: Miner +1 (skills marked with *)

(-7)Duty (Mafia), Rarely 6- 1/2, Extremely Hazerdous -5
(-10)Low Pain Threshold
(-5)Sense of Duty: Companions

-1 Prefers "mechanical" to "electronic" gadgets.
-1 Tight With the Ship's Budget
-1 Very Clean

(8)Merchant +2

(4)Streetwise +1
(4)*Explosives(Demolition) +1 *+1
(4)Beam Weapons(Pistol) +2
(4)Fast Talk +1
(4)Holdout +1
(4)Smuggling +1

(2)Acting +1
(2)Area Knowledge (Local Trade Routes) +1
(2)Axe/Mace +0
(2)Brawling +1
(2)Carousing +1
(2)Current Affairs (Local Trade Routes) +1
(2)Crewman(Spacer) +1
(2)Detect Lies -1
(2)Electronics Ops(Security) +1
(2)Environmental Suit(Vacc Suit) +0
(2)Freight Handling +0
(2)Gesture +1
(2)*Geology(Rockworlds) -2 +1
(2)Housekeeping +1
(2)Intimidation +0
(2)Lockpicking +0
(2)Observation +0
(2)*Prospecting +0 +1
(2)*Profession: Miner +0 +1
(2)Scrounging +1
(2)Savoire Faire(Mafia) +1
(2)Search +0
(2)Stealth +0
(2)Traps +0

(1)Accounting -2
(1)Armoury(Small Arms) -1
(1)Armoury(Vehicle Armor) -1
(1)Beam Weapons(Rifle) +0
(1)Computer Ops +0
(1)Climbing -1
(1)*Driving(Tracked) -1 +1
(1)Electrician -1
(1)Electronics Ops(Comm) +0
(1)Electronics Ops(Sensors) +0
(1)First Aid +0
(1)Forced Entry +0
(1)Gunner(Beams) +0
(1)Hiking -1

(1)Lifting -1
(1)Mechanic(Small Cargo Vessel) -1
(1)Navigation(Space) -1
(1)Navigation(Stardrive) -1
(1)Piloting -1
(1)Throwing -2
(1)Wrestling -1

Nanoweave Clothes
Servant-Scrub-bot (Expert System(Housekeeping))
Bug Stomper (TL10)
Cutting Torch (TL10)
Portable Tool Kit (Explosives)
Portable Tool Kit (Mechanic)
First Aid Kit
Electronic Lockpicks
Hand Held Scanning Device (For Scanning Cargo)
Laser Pistol 3d(2) burn, acc 6, 250/750, rof 10, 400(3 turns to reload), bulk -2, rcl 1.
Villain's Round Table

Last edited by LemmingLord; 05-28-2010 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:31 PM   #5
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Default Re: [OOC] GURPS On The Verge

I'm thinking all the PCs would be independents that June has had a good repoire with in the past.. If we start with having a degree of trust is makes it more believable.. to me..

The June character will be good at finding us work... being a mouthpiece.. and maybe blowing stuff up with explosives. She makes for a fair backup for some of the ship positions. Obviously she isn't the fighter of the group!! She also isn't the "captain." She may own the ship, but she expects to share command with someone who is an expert in the operation and areas of execution.
Villain's Round Table

Last edited by LemmingLord; 05-23-2010 at 08:35 PM.
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:42 PM   #6
Dorin Thorha
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Default Re: [OOC] GURPS On The Verge

I'm considering a Weren tank/specialist char. Glad to serve you.
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: [OOC] GURPS On The Verge

What tech level is this? Do these people have quantum computers?

I'm considering either a scientist of some sort, a doctor, or the pilot. Maybe a robot? I dunno.
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:59 PM   #8
Dorin Thorha
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Default Re: [OOC] GURPS On The Verge

^ A high-tech char would be an interesting mix with my low tech char.
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Old 05-23-2010, 10:17 PM   #9
Michael Thayne
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Default Re: [OOC] GURPS On The Verge

Re ErhnamDJ: We'll need a pilot, doctor would be good to have, some scientific skills wouldn't hurt.

By the guidelines of Ultra Tech pp.6-7, Tech level is level is TL 10, tweaked as necessary to make the story work. Computing technology is early TL 10 (volitional AIs are too big to fit on a man-sized chasis). Faster than light travel exists as described above. Artificial gravity exists in sophisticated forms, including gravity-based weapons and tractor beams. Weapons designers are experimenting with force fields, though they're not widely deployed. Humans are by default reluctant to use technologies that would radically alter society, when a group embraces such technologies, it sets them apart from the rest of human society.
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Old 05-23-2010, 10:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: [OOC] GURPS On The Verge

Computing technology is early TL 10 (volitional AIs are too big to fit on a man-sized chasis).
So, I could have a giant computer tucked away in the ship that transmits to the brain inside a robot body?

Humans are by default reluctant to use technologies that would radically alter society, when a group embraces such technologies, it sets them apart from the rest of human society.
So they wouldn't make stone tools, utilitize fire, go from a hunter-gatherer society to an agriculture based one, embrace reason and evidence in the form of science, vaccinate against smallpox, make giant sailing ships to explore the planet, go through an industrial revolution in which they ditch most of that agriculture they had just adopted, cure disease, transplant organs, split the atom, create instantaneous planet-wide communication in which every person was connected to each other in the form of something called the internet, explore their star system, or make propulsions systems that allow them to travel faster than the speed of light. Got it. :)
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