Starlog (Recaps)

 

GAME 01 (12/14/19)

Dr. Bishop (Joe) – Ship’s Doctor/God’s gift to medicine

Victory (Alan) – Bounty Hunter/Ship’s Muscle

Telemachus (Paul) – Ship’s Science officer/Chief explodinator

Bester (Jim) – Corporate Muckety-muck/Missions Officer

Maver (Mark) – Mime/Ship’s Engineer

Vance (Darren) – Retired Admiral/Ship’s pilot

 

As I understand it, Bester is contacted for a job that needs done.  Knowing the crew requirements he digs into his (eidetic) memory and comes up with people to fill the positions needed, and we are contacted.  So we begin where all RPGs begin, at an inn/tavern/carl’s.  This one is Al’s Biscuits (or something like that).  While there, a fight nearly breaks out between some navy men and some people who are annoyed by drunk navy men, but former Admiral Vance defuses it by just being recognized and paying for the annoyed people’s breakfast.  Bester tells us about the deal.  Most, if not all of us, have an amount of debt to work off, at the rate of 1% per month, which far exceeds the amount we make in pension.  We are on a wait list for a craft.  Our ship-shares have been pushed together in order to have enough controlling interest in a ship, but we have to go get it.  This involves traveling far away (expense paid) and going to a planet where the previous team ditched the ship and retrieving it.  Also, we’re to do some geological surveying, which doesn’t seem all that hard.

 

I’m not going to include it in the recap elsewhere, but Telemachus appears to be also running some sort of substance that may or may not be weed.  It’s a sideline for him.

 

There’s some question about what to do once we have the ship.  Some seem concerned that the Admiral may be too straight-laced should it come to doing something that crosses the line.  He says it’s all on a case-by-case basis.  “I won’t be slaving.”  That seems to be good enough.

 

Later that afternoon, Maver & Victory are informed by a contractor that there’s a bounty in the same general direction.  This guy is a corporate type, not a streetwise genius so he should be easy enough to trace, and he’s worth more money than the geo-survey job.  But we think we can do it all.  There’s also a couple side encounters, with Victory helping out a drunk member of another crew to get back to his ship, and with Vance encountering a beautiful fashionably dressed woman (and filing away her contact info for later, just in case).

 

We end up being booked in passage on a ship, making our way from Flammarion starport to the planet that has our ship on it.  There’s a stopover for hydrogen refueling, though nothing happens there of importance.  When we get there, we do some ground travel and then enlist the locals in finding out the location of the ship.  It seems that according to the local government, the crew of the HighNDry were hired to do work for them and they’ll tell us where if we complete the job for them.  Turns out It’s a geological survey using explosive charges to map out a distant volcano which has some smoke coming from it.  They were dicks to everything and everyone, took the job, didn’t complete it, ditched the ship in the caldera, and  fled the planet.

 

We gather our gear, scale the mountain (with much falling) and get to the top and then down into the crater.  The only encounters are an oversized scorpion that is sniped by one of our two guards-people, and a dog that it seems was abandoned by the crew of the ship.

 

The ship itself is on a small patch of dirt in the middle of a water-filled section of the caldera.  We take our floaty equipment and swim across.  The dog is influenced by Bester, who is semi-secretly a psi, and it hangs out with us.  The crew ripped apart the ship and left anything of use outside, including the rations which the dog has slowly been nibbling his way through.  We gain entrance, begin work, and Maver determines the ship was abandoned because of failure due to neglect of upkeep.  They let the place go to hell and eventually it failed.  It’s a 100 year old ship and that takes a lot of care to keep running, so Maver sets to fixing it.  Eventually we test it out and get it to lift off.  We anticipate that it’s likely the charges we are to set will cause a problem so we want everything up and running correctly before we do that part.  A wise precaution because when we set the charges off it does indeed cause the volcano to come to life.  Victory relays to town the information we are gathering and warns them that the volcano is live and will be erupting shortly.

 

We fly back to the town and pack in as many people as we can.  We manage to get about 125 people but with a minute left we close the doors because we just can’t save everyone.  Ship is holding together but it becomes obvious to Vance that he has three options:  Fly straight up, possibly have to deal with the toxic cloud and any shockwaves; Fly straight away and have to deal with the same; fly straight into it using the heaviest shielded part of the craft to control the collision.  #3 is the most cinematic (and the one I leaned toward) but Vance ultimately selected #1 because encouraging a collision in a craft loaded with 131 people and a dog is a bad idea no matter how cool The Hunt for Red October is (The scene where Sean Connery steers into the torpedoes because they won’t have time to arm).

 

The ship survives, but only due to a concerted effort as engineering, sensor, piloting and other rolls are made in order to get the ship safely to a safe destination.  We are hailed as heroes.  We collect our 3k for making the volcano erupt and bail for the next adventure.  We have 90 days to get the ship back to Flammarion before the software disables it.  That’s at the most.  Could be as early as 60 days.  If we want to go after the bounty we need to move on and see how far this guy got.

 

Oh, but then there’s a problem with the jump drive.  Seems that a sensor keeps triggering and Maver discovers in the conduit where that drive is, resides a box with a bio-lock on it.  Bester gets it open and inside they find a document all about how to use an unusual element (Dilithium) to power weapons, and a deconstructed mock-up of a “Phaser” weapon.  Seems that someone was using the ship to smuggle or hide this device.  If it’s correct, this thing could be worth a fortune, and also it could be worth killing us over.  There’s a protracted discussion over what to do with this.  For now we store it in the same place but again it triggers the sensors later.

 

While we’re figuring out what to do with it, sensors find a nearby ship that is an Imperium cruiser, but disabled, floating powerless.  Psi scan shows no life on board.  We move closer, wary of this being some kind of trap, but it isn’t. Someone torpedoed them then raided the ship.  We steal the air raft (a big floating platform for moving equipment)  so Maver can fix it and make it ours, and then we report the wreck to authorities so they can retrieve it (and we can theoretically get some kind of finder’s fee).

 

We finally end up at the place where the fugitive was last seen.  Turns out he’s headed on to another region that also happens to be the same region that may have “authored” or has something to do with our newly found super-gun.

 

Now we’re at a tipping point.  If we continue on after the guy we may not have time to return with the ship still operational.  But the fugitive (named “Thoom”) is worth quite a bit and we need money!  So how about we send the ship back but don’t go with it?  We either hire a crew to take it back, or we hire a transit company to haul it back.  After some negotiation with the transit company, we decide to go with them because it removes an x-factor (the hired crew) from the equation.  We will send the ship back and go on after the fugitive.

 

Also, a geologist is enlisted to help us with some information.  The characters are as cagey as they can be about not letting this guy know what he’s doing or why, but the information we are digging for is this:  The worlds that produce this element used in the phaser… what do they have in common geologically, and presumably, what other planets might meet those parameters. Also, what kind of material could properly restrict the radiation of this element, concealing it from scans.  There’s lots of hedging on why we need this information and subterfuge in how we ask for it, so as to keep this geologist from either becoming a target of whoever might be looking for this gun, and also to keep him from realizing we’re on to something big.

 

NEXT GAME:  So far everyone is available for two weeks from Saturday, 12/28.  Joe was gone by the time we discussed this so he’s the only unknown.


 

GAME 02 (12/28/19)

Telemachus (Paul), Victory (Alan), Maver (Mark), Bester (Jim), Vance (Darren)

Let's start backwards with the results...

EXP: From the start of the game until now we've trained 16 weeks, so unless you have fast learner that's two blocks of learning. Everyone got $200,000 (or whatever our money is in this game) each from this game. You've earned your pension 2 more times. And you've paid for debt down twice.

NEXT GAME: Jeff's escrow closes in two weeks so he's got to push it to 3 weeks, Saturday 1/18, unless that causes a mass defection.

We started off the game with TRAVELER: THE ACCOUNTING. This was a game of deciding the most efficient/inexpensive way to 1) Get the scout ship home for refit before deadline, 2) Go after the lab ship that has been located for Tele & Dr. Bishop, 3) Go after the bounty that Victory & Maver are tracking.

After a long discussion we ended up splitting the party! Vance & Maver uneventfully drove the ship back to base while Tele, Bester, and Vic went after the bounty. All did training during their travels. By the time the two parties reunite, the bounty group have tracked down the target, bribed the hotel clerk into giving up his room number, and confronted him. He tries to buy his way out but ultimately winds up settling for being turned over with a B.S. story that instead of stealing 8.5M, he stole less and spent most of it. Our finders fee for corroborating this is 2M that we split among the group and used to recoup costs.

We went after the lab ship. At this point we're down to 4 since Maver left early. Vic and Tele boarded while Vance manned the scout ship and Bester watched the sensors. They are attacked first by a seemingly crazy former crew member who tries to claw and gnaw his way through Vic's improved armor and fails before being taken down. But their real test involves a seven foot tall woman partially covered in armor because she's just bigger than it now, and she's got her own form of berserker rage. The good guys get banged up a little but Vic's armor-piercing axe helps save the day. A page over the com system to the crew yields one other crew member who surrenders and says he's the one who disabled the ship because Butler Chemicals enlisted him to slow down their on-board scientific exploration into combat drugs so he set off a bomb in the lab. After that the people who got killed by the enraged combat drug subjects were stored in the fridge unit or eaten. There's another guy found in pod bay 2, unarmed and weak; another possible candidate in the "down" part of the rage/feed/lethargy cycle.

There's a huge hold in the fuel tank that Maver has to fix (and did while he was gone). In that tank were human remains that had to be cleaned out. This is where one or more of the psychos went to eat.

With everyone secured we go to the planet surface. The crew down there got word of the unrest but essentially are cut off from the universe at large, so they're just doing their geology/survival thing. they failed to notify any of the local colonies of the problems in orbit.

The ship is repaired, refueled, and moved to the next star port where the geology crew are dropped off.

We are at a crossroads as to what to do next. Do we keep the ships? Sell them for better ships? What are our goals. Seems the people with the most direct goals are:

Bester is at war with his family over their corporation. He wants to build a rival corp and somehow seize his family business. His sister is in charge of that one and would likely kill him on sight.

Telemachus has a little A.I. problem. He helped create some self-aware self-replicating robots on a planet where we (most of the crew) had to go and perform our ill-fated pre-game mission. Someone has stolen his technology and run off with it. He would like to stop him and retrieve/destroy the info.

As for our immediate future, it seems to be tied up with the phaser technology. We consult the geologist and look into mining rights for planets (which can take years to procure and for far more money than we have), and how to track down asteroids that might contain the same dilithium element that we can mine.

And that's what I remember.


 

GAME 03 (01/18/20)

Lucky, Rhade, Victory, Bester and Vance

How did we start out again? Already I'm having trouble recalling all of this one. I believe we were on our way to a planet of dilithium but we had two fares to drop off in our role as intergalactic Uber. We had a Cossack and a Wizard. Both had their ups and downs.

So the Cossack dies in transit. Seems it was natural causes. We make sure the authorities haul away the body. They can't find his true identity anywhere in their system. They have no next of kin to notify. We end up with his stuff, which includes a small box. This box is familiar to Vicky and Vance, with the Admiral going so far as to recall it has a fairly simple method for opening one of these. The'd both seen one in the course of their work.

The Wizard (David?) wanders in at one point and sees the box and identifies it as a carrying case for Wafers, aka the data disks that some people can plug into their bodies, usually to temporarily learn a new skill.

Vicky has such a port and tries to use it, only she ends up with some kind of interference. It just doesn't connect appropriately with her system and she has to eject it. The only other person with know with a port like that is David, the wiz from the weird anachronistic group, and he wants to try it, so we let him.

Immediately another personality takes over. After some interrogation, drugging him unconscious a few times, and Lucky threatening to shoot him, we find out that the new dominant personality is a spy, an agent capable of much chaos, usually activated to solve large problems. The chip is fused into the port for the time being.

There's a bunch of discussion about what to do next, some negotiation with this guy, who now suddenly is a PSI and has gleaned certain information from our heads (Primarily that we are carrying the phaser weapons on board), we end up agreeing to get him to his destination. He seeks his ship, and once he gets that he'll give us the coordinates of another ship that we can have outright; a Corsair class ship which is 800 Tons and much bigger than the scout ship we have now.

Oh yeh...fun with phasers: We still needed to test it out so Rhade sets up his testing gear and Vicky and Lucky take turns firing the phaser outside the ship but inside the warp bubble. It fortunately doesn't blow us up or anything. It works on some settings but not on others.

We drop off some other passengers we picked up at the last stop, set up a Low Bay (a device for putting people to sleep for long trips) and put the Spy in it, since none of us really trust him.

It's not long after this that psychic Bester picks up a call for help in his head on the psychic friends network. We vote to investigate. Someone on a planet not far off is pleading for assistance. When we get in range we get hailed by a ship that is downed on the surface. There's some confusion over the radio... Either the many speaking (the captain) has a ship that needs repairs because of sabotage by one of his crew or one of the crew sees him as the problem. When we land we discover that the ship's jump drive has been scavenged for parts and the captain claims crewman Anderson (the woman on the radio) has fled with the parts. The ship was transporting some kind of wildlife experiments for Rexall Corporation. Also, there's a commando named Rennick who is part of the crew who is out in the jungle and is likely in possession of one of the captive experiments that they would like back.

We have no idea what the real story. Bester still picks up the psychic signal and since that takes concentration to do and the two people were talking on the radio at the same time as that was happening then it's likely that neither Captain Cole or Crewman Anderson were the psychic... It's more likely it's their once-captive experiment that's sending the call.

Oh yeh... some of the other captives were Purple Hippo Lizards that tried to take out Rhade, Vicky and Lucky in the jungle. As confirmed last game, AP rounds are great.

Ship sensors track down Anderson and the away team rendezvous with her. She wants to leave but won't go without helping the poor experiment, which it turns out, is a psychic plant. The plant is very young and can't communicate much more than its basic needs or wants. It is with Renick and it seems he's going to protect it at all costs.

When the girl and away try to reach Renick they avoid one tripwire but since everyone on that team rolls badly, the next trap sends Rhade dangling by his ankles in the air while Renick tries to grenade and/or snipe the team. He lands a pretty good grenade early on that takes out Anderson. Finally it's decided on the ship (overhead) that to unleash the kraken... The ship fires a turret laser that nails Renick but keeps him barely alive, and misses the psi-plant, named for his species ("Bofa").

We gather everyone up and get ready to depart. But now we've got a whole other set of issues. The guys from the ship that's here (missing it's jump drive) are essentially slavers and that's Anderson's objection. She' not wrong. But she doesn't know where the psychic plant is from or any more idea of what to do with it than we do.

We're going to take off and discuss this elsewhere, probably sending back the authorities to deal with the Rexall crew, but when we try to leave they try to follow. They don't have jump capability, but then we aren't in a place where we can jump yet; we' have to get up and away and plot a course, which is something we don't have enough time for.

So starts a brief game of cat-and-mouse as we try to get further away, they threaten to blow us out of the sky (with decidedly superior armor and weaponry on their ship), and Bester decides to teleview into their cockpit and try to telekinetically steer them away, which he does once to get us one range increment further away. But this is going to end badly, and wisely Lucky makes the call to engage the jump drive and blind jump as soon as we reached the edge of the atmosphere. Problem is, his roll is bad and Vicky's astrogation roll doesn't quite make up for it.
(In retrospect, I should have made the astrogation roll even if it was at a penalty for doing multiple things, because I still had two unused Luck re-rolls, but no big deal.)

We go the full calculated jump time... Plus 48 hours! We got two days further than we planned to go and in the wrong direction. We immediately discover we're near an interdicted (forbidden) planet.

There's a discussion about what to do with the smart plant. We don't know where he comes from. He doesn't know where he comes from. Lucky wants to keep him on the ship. He was the one who took control of Renick and had him attacking us to defend him. This means if we take him anyplace with people he can become an invasive species that takes control of locals. We seem to narrow it down to either throwing him out the airlock or taking him to the nearest planet and dropping him off. It just so happens that the interdicted planet below has water. It's got lots of other problems too, but it gives him a chance to survive.

We maroon the poor plant alone on an isolated planet and take off to return our still-unconscious spy to his ship, get Renick somewhere that he can be healed, and let Anderson off.

 


 

GAME 04 (02/08/20)

Lucky (Mark), Victory (Alan), Rhade (Paul), Bester (Jim), Vance (Darren)

So what now? We decide that after dropping off our couple of passengers, including the spy, that we head for the ship he promised us. We board it check the whole place out, and then do some systems testing. Turns out that while he's given us all the codes and things he's failed to mention there's a system timer that keeps anyone from using it for 3 months. After deciding against hacking it with an impossibly high probability of screwing things up we just move on to other duties for 3 months.

In this case Bester and Victory have a contact who knows of a ship that their corporation (Deep Night) lost. Seems there's no contact but they know approximately where it is. They want us to find the ship and then notify them. Finder's fee is $10M. We say yes, of course.

Problem is that it's in some deep space where there are no nearby systems and the available fuel is provided by fueling stations you have to dock with that dot the path across that sector. We fuel as best we can but ultimately when we jump in have to start looking for fuel immediately. There are two transponder signals. What we find is not what we want.

Drifting free is one of the large fuel containment ships that is normally attached to the underside of the ship we are looking for. It has a hole in it and it's empty. We move on to the other transponder signal and find the ship we are seeking, drifting free, and a field of wreckage nearby that was once the refueling station. So we are in deep space and have no fuel.

The ship has ruptures in the hull but has lots of scattered life signs. Psionic Bester peeks inside the bridge and finds a group of people sitting around looking at devices and not doing much else.

We dock and send the away team in. Bester and Vance stay on the ship. Rhade, Lucky, and Victory go in. Their first encounter when they are accosted (not exactly attacked, more like mildly pawed at) by someone who does not look healthy. This guy grabs Rhade who freaks out and after Lucky slashes the guy with a monofilament blade (and the guy doesn't even seem to notice), he slashes him again and puts him down. He's covered in some sort of biological life form, like a spore or other plant, which clings to Rhade's armor.

Continuing on they go through a progression of meeting small clusters of humans holed up in groups and discover that the ship has, instead of banding together to fix their problems, decided to split up into groups and war with one another for resources. The four main factions seem to be ENGINEERING, SCIENCE, THE BRIDGE, and a fourth group whose demarcation I can't recall. Apparently an organism got loose and infected people and then their ship's gunner, named appropriately enough "Gunz", decided to blow up the fuelstation rather than risk having this organism get back to civilization.

It is discovered during all this that the Science division have a cure, but they can't get enough of the original "core" being to synthesize enough for the rest of the crew. So the away team go and gather some by going to the room where the creature is concentrated and fight it, its tentacles, and an assembly of plant-zombies that converge while it tries its best to grab and consume the players. After they take the creature down, they cut off a big slab, take it to the science folks who science the shit out of it and produce the cure, and then that is distributed. The deal that is negotiated is that each faction supplies something like 6 people to squeeze into our ship, selected by each faction's leader, and those are jammed into our ship, we fly them back to society (using the one jump worth of fuel that is on board the ship that is adrift) and then we send someone back from the corp with resources like food and fuel to save the lives of those still there.

Now I've greatly marginalized a few things with this recap. First, how pissed off Victory is by having to deal with ANY of these people. But I have to say, being up front about her disdain made dealing with them pretty transparent and expedited things quickly. Second, there were a few plant-zombie v. human dustups (spore-ups?) that the away team handled well through tactical positioning and baiting them. Third, that Bester didn't do much, though arguably peeping into various rooms psionically was helpful recon. Fourth, that Vance did nothing at all. I believe I made two rolls during the entire game. One was a marginal success so I burned a luck; the other was a simple piloting roll; that's it. With that said, it didn't make any logical sense to stick Bester and Vance on the ship and abandon our scout ship.



GAME 05 (08/27/21)

Rick (Evan), Victory (Alan), Rhade (Paul), Bester (Jim), Vance (Darren)

New Engineers for old.  We start with a meeting with Rick, an engineer that Vance has history with.  An interview ensues in which both the existing team and Rick feel each other out about him replacing the hospitalized Lucky (as Mark is not playing).  Fortunately for us, a job comes in via an associate of Victory, a corporate type who needs us to retrieve a lost vessel for him.  Seems they had a ship with a sub-par captain that lost some crew who quit at one of the starports after the existing captain retired, and now the ship has lost contact and is out of reach of any transponders.  So we've got to fly across the galaxy following the path it had gone and is predicted to go.

During the travels, Vance hears on a Navy channel some chatter about a reward of $300k being offered for execution/return of a young woman who bolted from the military with some stolen Psi drugs.  $200k for her, $100k for the drugs.  Vance writes it off because he's not interested in executions.  However, when the team is in the port to which she is reported to be heading, and our ship is ready to depart, she materializes out of nowhere and begins a psychic assault on the crew!  She tries Bester but his own innate psychic defenses stop that; She does however manage to injur Viktory psychically, and drops the three guests we have on board (Erek--the corproate who hired us, Maryanne--some kind of assistant, and a bodyguard type who is a slob and is driving neat-freak Rhade crazy).  Running down the hall from the bridge, Rick manages to put a bullet in her to minor effect, but Viktory buries a special extra-scary axe into her that nearly cuts her in two.  She hits the ground and everyone is fine.  Except her.

After Vance lets everyone in on who this is (which Viktory discovered anyway by running her information through various systems), we call the authorities and collect the cash.  It gets divided 8 ways ($25k each) with one share to the ship.

There's a lot more character interaction in this, but this is the gist of the action.



GAME 06 (09/11/21)

Rick (Evan), Victory (Alan), Rhade (Paul), Bester (Jim), Vance (Darren)

We land on Bantral, where we find out a little about the ship we are looking for, that they were troublemakers that caused problems at two local bars.  Load of drunks caused a fight with the "regulars".  We also have dinner with the local dignitary who was glad to see vistors at the station.

From Bantral to Vior.  Vior needed help with their orbiting station which had a decaying orbit and broken thrusters, so we pitch in and by the time we leave their orbit has stabilized and we are heroes.

We move on to another planet where the station is attended by a member of Erik's company, a guy who seems to have a title that no one is even aware is a "thing" in the Empire.  Nobody trusts him, but he does nothing to stop us.  They're having some issues with being unable to obtain tech so they try to trade with us but we don't have anything to trade (or that we want to trade).  Word is that a vehicle was scavenged off of a planet with a 6-digit name which is not far (relatively).  It sounds like it could be related to the folks we're looking for but it has since been scavenged and the parts redistributed.  We find out from some logs that it seems the Amwar (the ship we seek) left for Ganulph, a planet that is forbidden due to its hazards.  We go that way with an intent of looking around the planet despite the quarrantine, but it's a bad choice because it's got some serious defense satellites that will shoot down anything that gets too close.  However, we do find a craft orbitting the planet, not quite in the range of the satellites, and it is disabled and broadcasting a distress signal.  We end up investigating and find that the crew were involved in checking out the planet but using a device to shut down briefly the satellie nearest to allow them through.  However while it worked once the satellite may have learned from the first try and sent a missile right into their craft, resulting in it floating around in space until their vac suits ran out of air.

So we loot the ship and move on.  We leave off on the road 398-xxx, or whatever it was called.

 


GAME 07 (