Big Bada Boom
- 1 Dramatis Personae
- 2 Not very tragic backstory
- 3 New Russia
- 4 Prelude
- 5 Plot Infliction 001 - The Beginning
- 6 Game Night 2017-08-31 - First Mission
- 7 Plot Infliction 002 - Pigs
- 8 Game Night 2017-09-07 - Shot a lot
- 9 Plot Infliction 003 - Run Away!
- 10 Game Nights 2017-09-14 & 2017-09-28 - Stuff Happened
- 11 Plot Infliction 004 - More Gear!
- 12 Game Night 2017-10-05 - Scary Encounter Tables
- 13 Plot Infliction 005 - Scow Pilot
|milliMaxian (aka Bob)||A flying robot.|
|Drucker||An Orbodun sapper wanabe|
Not very tragic backstory
Bob was created by a large family of robots in some heavily populated city planet in the Giamon Empire. There were loose affiliations with the Kvankii-Lood, so the family of robots were no strangers to violence. Most were at least a stage of combatant and the elders were powerful battle robots. Turn-over was high as robots were killed and new ones were created to replace them.
Bob didn't mind all of this, and probably would have excelled within the family. However, as he established his unique personality he grew weary of all of the petty scheming and deception that his brothers inflicted on one another as they tried to obtain status and rank. Rebelling against this, Bob acquired a somewhat honourable outlook on life.
Leaving might have been problematic as the family would not be happy, so Bob saved some credits and disappeared on a passenger liner one day. After some hasty research, he choose a destination planet he found that had little Kvankii influence and had a larger than average robot population. The plan was to eventually rebuild his body and disappear from his family forever.
New Russia is a somewhat isolated system within the Giamon Empire. Originally founded by people from one of the nation states of Old Earth, it retains a large human population, plus some quirky aspects to their culture.
- There are no weapon stores, only equipment. Having a facility devoted to the selling of weapons is illegal. This seems less of a cultural thing, but more of a way to resist influence from the capitalist dogs in Nastidyne.
- People can build all of the weapons they want, as the government wants to promote self sufficiency.
- Personal scale Dynomer is free to citizens. Caveat being that if you leave New Russia, or export anything from New Russia, you will be audited and owe the government the price of the Dynomer used to create the goods.
- Migrants can become a citizen for a 1000 credit fee. Bob paid this when he arrived. First stage technician and medic courses are also free to citizens. Bob just finished his technician course.
During your technician course you became friends with an Orbodun named Drucker. You got along because you were both new to New Russia and had lawful tendencies. He also implied he was a part of a large family that he was distant from. He has indicated he wants to become a sapper and jokingly asked if you wants to help be his 'meat shield'.
Plot Infliction 001 - The Beginning
You and Drucker exit from the somewhat lame graduation ceremony and start wandering to a bar.
Drucker: "So, how do you feel about partnering up for a while? I really want to get good at blowing things up, but I think I'll need a combatant to help me survive. I'm thinking once we get good and get a name for ourselves we could make some serious credits. You've mentioned one day building a ship and I'd be totally on board for that."
Maxian regards Drucker with his typically flat affect. "Item one: the proposal to form a partnership. I agree to the proposal. As a team, we can work on mutually-beneficial projects with greater effectiveness. Item two: the idea that you need a combatant to protect you while you become a combatant. This is not entirely accurate. Combatant experience will be diluted by having partners. Also, my ability to assist will be dampened by your size - I am a defense-oriented combatant, but you are too large for me to carry out of harm's way. Item three: our potential for earning credits. This seems doubtful. As our projected abilities involve demolitions, fabrication, and running away, this does not suggest anything other than an extremely niche market with limited commercialization. Item four: my plans to build a ship. That is likely more of a retirement scenario, with me spending significant time as a pilot/mechanic on other people's ships first. If we need to build a ship anytime soon, that would probably be an escape-from-disaster scenario."
Internally, Maxian reviews the conversation. He dials the index[ramble] down a few notches. He also flags in internal concern that Drucker might lack the required intelligence to actually gain a stage of munitionist.
Drucker: "Ha! You have too little ambition. I bet if we got creative, we could extort vast quantities of credits from people who didn't want to get blown up. Once we get a reputation, we could get a steady stream of income from people who pay us to stay away. And well, you're right that you might not be the best meat shield, tactically speaking. But that's just over thinking things."
He thinks a bit.
"We need gear. There's a construction bazaar nearby, let's go build ourselves some weapons before we attempt going into a bar." The construction bazaar is a series of tents/workbenches where technicians can build stuff. Dynomer is supplied.
fyi - you arrived on New Russia with a tool kit and 10 patches. Drucker has a med pack, tool kit, and 20 patches.
"My thinking is that basing income on extortion is fundamentally self-limiting. Not that I am averse to using leverage as opportunities arise, or to seek such leverage over entities that piss us off. However, if we develop the kind of reputation that you imply, it would be much more expedient, economical, and permanent to pay for us to die. Until such time that we are legendary figures of epic capabilities, we might find more stable employment by hiring out demolition services and letting others face the consequences of their motivations."
Maxian plots a course to the construction bazaar and pings Drucker with it. Meanwhile, Maxian also downloads the schematics for a simple 2D blast rifle. And investigates what is needed to make a shield and force beams. Plus starts scheming for how to internally install a tool pack along with the aforementioned shield and beams.
Drucker seems disappointed. "I see your point... ok, let's get skilled up first, then move on to extortion, and finally blow up the planet." He smirks. "Wait, did I say that out loud?" Belly laughs follow.
Drucker sets up a battle-wiki for the two of you. He adds a link to an obscure net forum deep in the bowels of the planet's information network. It's a private forum so you're not sure how he got in. It's the middle of a conversation between a couple of petty criminals. They're trying to get in good with a small organized crime group. They've been given a task of killing a rival and destroying a ship scale chassis she's been working on. They can kill the rival, but they need help destroying the chassis. They've commented on the forum that if anyone knows someone who can blow it up, to contact them.
"Not a munitionist yet, and don't have explosives, but there must be some way a couple of technicians can blow up a partially constructed ship. Whatdya think?"
Drucker also starts building a 2D blast rifle.
After stenciling the blast rifle with "CAN MAKE YOU A WEAPON JUST LIKE THIS FOR 18 CREDITS", Maxian starts working on a shield.
"Blowing up the planet seems impractical. It's where we keep all our stuff, like our bodies. Also, the mechanism for such a reaction might attract attention. We should discuss that plan further before commencing."
"If the partially constructed ship chassis has a power supply, then that power supply could probably be tampered into rendering the chassis into slag. Or, you know, bits - assuming we have a means to get out of range, and that the blast radius does not have consequences we are unwilling to take the blame for. If there is no power supply, then the ship chassis might not have the internal force-reinforcement for achieving full ship-scale stamina. That might be able to be rapidly disassembled with a more modest fusion generator."
"I have a meta-question: how did you come to have access to this forum?"
Internally, Maxian also starts downloading materials for studying physics and mathematics. Not that there is likely to be opportunity to do so, but just in case.
Drucker eyes you quizzically. "Well, obviously we wouldn't be on the planet when we blow it up. We'd set up the event and then get off the planet. But that's more of a long term goal."
"Ship power supplies might be difficult to tamper to explode given our maximum of three dice - it depends on the technician building it - and there's a 87% probability that she's at least 2nd stage."
"Oh, and to answer you meta-question - a member of my extended family is a mathematician of some merit. He's available to help from time to time."
After the gun, Drucker starts building a patch robot. While you're working on your shield you notice a booth where someone is giving away projectile weapons and bullets.
"It is good to have clarified that your proposed plan for demolishing the planet is not meant to be suicidal. Does the concept have financial benefits intended, or is it more of an artistic statement?"
"You make a good point about the relative difficulty in causing a ship power supply to melt down. Do you have any alternative concepts for inflicting harm on a ship-scale chassis? I do plan on earning a stage of physicist at some point, which would make such a thing more possible, but for now I'm still just green."
Maxian obviously regards the patch robot, then does a search for how difficult it would be to build such an entity. "That patch robot is a good idea, considering that projectile weapons and ammunition are handed out for free." Maxian adds a tag to the battle-wiki for the projectile weapon booth. "Do you mind if I make a copy?"
Maxian decides to shelve the discussion about Drucker's extended family for the time being, but tries to discreetly run a query on notable local Orbodun families.
"Hmmm... unfortunately I've only got as much technical know-how as you, so no ideas are immediately coming to mind. We need an explosive. Let me think on that a bit."
Plans for various simple robots are plentiful on the net, so you can easily find the means to build one. Regarding the brain, you can create a brain from scratch and download basic knowledge, but until it develops it's own personality, it would be extremely naive and annoying. There are personalities that can be downloaded from the net. Most free ones are for semi-intelligent robots and can be set up to be loyal to the owner. For more intelligent personalities, it's a risk because you never know what exactly you're going to get. Many are available for a fee and have advertised traits, but there are horror stories about sleeper personalities that are embedded and take over and turn on their owners. To get a decent personality for an intelligent robot, you'll have to find a vendor you can trust.
Drucker looks around. "Hmph, that would explain why many people have projectile weapons. Wonder why they're giving them away."
He patches his comm through your wiki as he hails the vendor: "Hey dude, why are you giving stuff away?"
Vendor: "Making them gives practice to some wannabe technicians that don't want to bother with the course. At least that's what my boss tells me. Can't sell them, so we give them away."
Drucker: "That might make sense for the guns, but the ammunition? I doubt a student would bother with the quantity of bullets you're giving away."
Vendor (shrugs): "Hell if I know. I just do what I'm told. You want one?"
Maxian builds a tiny little brain from scratch, downloads basic knowledge into it, and prepares for the naive annoyingness.
Consider it a dare to the referee.
Maxian asks the vendor: "Can you tell us who you work for?"
[privately on the battle-wiki]: "Assumption: Distribution of weapons might be a means for the government, or some other entity with a great deal of control, to instigate a higher rate of inter-personnel combat in the population for the purpose of creating a large class of skilled combatants. Hypothesis #1: There could be some generalized threat that the government wants to harden the population against, either in preparation or as a deterrent. Hypothesis #2: The government/controlling entity has plans to harvest combatants for some purpose."
Vendor: "Screw off, robot."
Drucker pauses for a moment. "The giving away of weapons seems to be a local phenomenon. There are no planet wide patterns."
Both you and Drucker finish off your robots. They are functional, but lack finesse. How much in the way of behavior protocols are you going to incorporate into yours?
To the vendor: "Is there a rotational inclined plane that you need assistance disassembling?"
Maxian appends the [Drucker|mathematician|family] file with an appreciation for how readily accessible mathematician-style information is to Drucker. Possible hypothesis: Drucker is himself a mathematician.
Minimal protocols for the patch robot.
- Do no harm to me, or by inaction allow me to come to harm.
- Obey Maxian (or Maxian's explicit delegates), except where it may conflict with #1.
- Protect its own existence, except where it may conflict with #1 or #2.
- Be cool, except where it may conflict with #1, #2, or #3.
Game Night 2017-08-31 - First Mission
- Went to a bar - Maxian defeated a trio of humans who wanted to use him for target practice. Let them live.
- Drucker's associate arranged for them to pick up a couple of ship scale missiles. Had to kill the aggrieved Groten that delivered them.
- Met up with employers - a couple of Trops and went to target facility. The Trops engaged the guards while Drucker and Maxian slipped in the back way. Unable to tamper the lock, Drucker kicked it down.
- Inside were the technician and a young human guard. After a largely ineffectual defense, both fled.
- Explosives were set, chassis destroyed, payment was made.
- Drucker when to brothel while Maxian went to a park.
- A Yiptak in the park decided to ambush the lone robot. Quickly realized the problem with attacking a flying being in a park when using a short range weapon.
- Combat was observed by Russian police.
Plot Infliction 002 - Pigs
You get hailed by the police. "We need to have a conversation. Come down and meet us here on the roof."
There are five beings you can see - one large, three human sized, and one flying robot similar to you.
"Certainly officers, once you give me verifiable identification."
Assuming that the police have reasonably believable identification, Maxian will comply promptly. There is some confusion about the preposition "down", however. When we last left Maxian, he was near ground level murdering the Yiptak. After than, he would have been either pretending to penguin along again, or bobbing along at a normal speed just off the ground.
The flying robot similar to Maxian is how similar, exactly? Is it possibly from the same creator? Or is it merely of the same kind of capabilities?
The flying robot is similar in that it flies and is about the same size, but that's about it. They have adequate identification.
Upon getting closer, you see that the large officer's gear is really designed to intimidate. Full armour, massive shield and an immense weapon. It's likely an personal scale assault weapon would be more effective, but there's something about a large being carrying an intermediate scale rifle that really adds to the soldiers vibe. The rest of the soldiers are well geared as well.
On approach they give you an intense active scan. Then the large one speaks.
"Well, you seem to be more effective than the typical orphan around here. But unfortunately, you were destroying government property back there. I'm afraid that means you have to be incarcerated."
Other soldier: "That means paperwork, boss."
Big soldier: "Damn, you're right. And I hate paperwork. Options?"
Other soldier: "We could just kill it?"
Big soldier: "True dat. But I'd rather not. I'm feeling magnanimous today. Though I suppose it would be easier than dragging it to the station and doing the paperwork."
Flying soldier: "Let me do it!"
The big soldier's helmet lifts so it can get a better look at you. It appears human, but is the size of a small Groten. "What do you think robot? It would be easiest just to kill you. Can you think of any incentive to not?
Maxian cogitates and considers the situation for a few long milliseconds.
Soldiers. NOT police. Or, at least, the soldier-ified version of police that has more to do with "subduing and pacifying" than "protect and serve". This is probably just an opportunity to extort some bonus pay, but the threat of violence is legitimate. Maxian being green, is not going to be able to effectively bluff his way through this encounter. So, instead, he's going to lean on his green-ness, and default to K2SO-ish manners.
"This appears to be extortion." Maxian's head pivots calmly to stare expressionlessly at the ogre-oid. "You are extorting me, aren't you."
"I am inexperienced at this process. What is the normal amount extorted for damaging foliage? Also, do I just pay the large scary one?"
Other soldier: "Well, it got ripped of on it's personality download, didn't it?"
Flying soldier: "Let me kill it! Kill it! Kill it! Kill it!"
The large one eyes you levelly. "50 credits."
Maxian jerks his head with alarm to look briefly directly back at the humungoid. "50 credits‽‽."
With a pause to look at the stenciling on his blaster rifle, Maxian glances around to look at the pack of vulture-pigs. "I have not been successful selling any wares since finishing technician school. This level of extortion will be difficult to sustain." Maxian transfers 50 credits to the proto-luruk. "How often is this extortion likely to be required?"
The humungoid smiles. "Well, there are options. Usually this, um, donation, is required whenever you attract a squad's attention. Depending on the mood of the squad of course. I peg you for a troublemaker, so you'll likely be seeing us a lot. However, I could add you to a list of government consultants, for a daily fee of 10 credits a day. As long as I get my fee, you stay on the list. Squads wont bug you then."
One of the other soilders who hasn't spoken yet, speaks up. "There are guns everywhere. You'd have a hard time selling them. You'd have better luck using the technician skill for consumables - like good fixes or armour. Or, you could, y'know, get a job. Government always wants technicians, that's why they offer the free training."
The Humungoid snorts: "It's a combatant. It obviously doesn't want to spend it's time in boring job. So, what'll it be, want to
be my bitch be a government consultant?
"I'm afraid that I cannot afford to be a government bitch. I shall have to endeavour to stay out of trouble, though I'm not sure how to avoid having nasty stalk-eyed flesh bags trying to kill me." With a clumsy look at the helpful soldier, "Perhaps I can try to find some more consistently required technician work to be able to afford to protect myself."
Maxian pulls himself more upright. "Am I free to leave now?"
The humungoid gives a dismissive gesture and the five of them wander off.
Maxian wastes no time making himself scarce from the proximity of the vulture-pigs.
It seems like the next logical place to hang out is by one of the makerspaces, building personnel shield generators. Perhaps those will be more salable. Also, Maxian will hang a virtual sign suggesting, "Can make your weapon +1 to hit for 20 credits."
The nearest construction bazaar is a little less crowded than the one you were originally at, but you do spot another guy giving away projectile weapons and ammunition. Parking nearby with your virtual sign, you attract the attention of people coming to get ammunition, but most seem unwilling to pay you. Many comment that you are too expensive. But, over the next few hours, you do get a couple of customers for weapon fitting. +40 credits.
During that time, Drucker pings you and directs you to a spot on the net where some people are discussing the two Trops, Orbodun and Robot that attacked the hidden shop. You identify who you guess was the technician that ran off - she calls herself Angon and the conversation ends with her inviting a few people she knows to a bar to discuss the particulars of hunting you all down.
Drucker: "I'll be done in another couple of hours. Then let's meet up."
Maxian's character sheet is updated with both the 50-credit expense and the 40-credit earnings
"What is the Venn diagram of the 'let's meet up' plan? Are we also meeting with our previous Trop employers? It seems like they would be interested in knowing about this threat, and would improve our probabilities of being able to address the situation. Unless you mean to suggest that we slink away and lay low until the drive to hunt us down has diminished. Or perhaps what you're working on is an explosive to drop on their meeting place. Just as an observation, the police on this planet are not kindly. We should avoid attracting their attention."
It seems a bit odd that more beings are willing to shell out for (anecdotally) over-priced weapons fittings than they are for combat shields. Is this a by-product of Maxian actually being busy with the fittings and not having a chance to build any shields to sell? Or is there some other circumstantial issue at play?
"We're not meeting up with the Trops. Let them fend for themselves. I propose we hop on transit and travel a few thousand km. The Trops have ties to this area of the planet, while we don't. They'll be the target of retaliation and we'll be forgotten about. Let's meet here:" He tags a bar near a transit hub about 4 km from your location. "Then we can head off."
You had a chance to build a few shields, but nobody seemed too interested in them.
"Discretion in this case makes sense to me. What is the probability that we will be discovered or pursued?"
Maxian begins sneaking low and slow towards the designated rendezvous location, by as circuitous a route as is feasible. He is inadequately experienced to effectively avoid observation, but he will still try to avoid obvious concentrations of combatants, or crossing large empty expanses that are free of visual cover.
Game Night 2017-09-07 - Shot a lot
- Went to bazaar to make guns. Got attacked by large robot trying to force him to convert patches. Escaped.
- Conversation with Amata - another robot from Maxian's family.
- Met up with Drucker. Deferred planning. Went to a bar a few thousand km away from their previous location.
- At bar, randomly attacked by insane Groten. Groten killed.
- Drucker working on Munitionist background training. Aka, mixing noxious chemicals from exotic drinks.
- Maxian starts exploring gaining a stage of physicist.
- Other technicians send their robots to kill Maxian. Limited effectiveness.
- While Maxian is busy fighting the robots, Drucker gets assassinated. Amata is in the bar.
- Maxian assassinated while Drucker is behind cover. Amata kills patch robot. Maxian is able to wake up in time before being shot again.
- Both Maxian and Drucker barely make it out of the bar. They split up and run away.
Plot Infliction 003 - Run Away!
Maxian is currently just outside of the bar, while Drucker has put some effort into getting the frack out of there.
If there's a spare moment, Maxian will slap on a patch or two. The plan is to give Drucker enough time to get to cover, by distracting Amata if necessary. Hopefully luring Amata in a different direction. Being still green, Maxian probably can't scan for the best escape routes while also watching the door, so the hope is that heading up over the roof line will serve as sufficient cover to start.
Game Nights 2017-09-14 & 2017-09-28 - Stuff Happened
Plot Infliction 004 - More Gear!
The wheels on the bus go round and round... except, hover.
First and most obvious is to download the route and timing of the bus that we're on, and look for our best exfiltration opportunity. If we have some significant time on the bus, perhaps we could do some building.
"So, Drucker, we need to talk about modality. We're not an effective assault team, and we don't have much likelihood of competing in that arena. So, if we're going to be successful as a team, we should be realistic about what our skillset and talents are. For my part, I'm good at running away. Which I cannot do while I wait for a low-speed partner that I cannot possibly carry. Not that running away is particularly profitable in-and-of itself. So the question becomes, what is it that we can do well that we can profit from?"
"Running away... I have a thought. How would you feel about occasionally being a puppet? All I really want to work on is my munitionist skill. If we set up some sort of secure communication and remote control ability in you, you could penetrate a target, I can take over your body and do my munitionist thing, and then you could make the getaway. The problem would be jamming. We'd have to do a daisy chain line of site communication setup to make sure that I can take over when I need to."
"Or even better, let's build the remote control ability into that turret robot we're going to make."
"Having a remote-accessible waldo that can double as my personnel turret gunner sounds good to me. I'll already be building some redundantly-paranoid lockouts for the turret
droidrobot, but in terms of limb power, weapon power, comms, and sensors. So that should make the features required for remote access rather straightforward to extrapolate."
Any clarification on the duration of the bus ride? It might also make sense, as a professional, to glance about the bus for any potential threats. And to keep tabs else gets on.
Game Night 2017-10-05 - Scary Encounter Tables
Randomly running up against a pair of droid-hating professional combatants, one with an assault weapon and one a shock-shooter with a sonic rifle? Ouch.
Plot Infliction 005 - Scow Pilot
The first thing Maxian does is put all his built gear in a paid locker, and sets Waldo up with the blaster rifle inside to guard it. Waldo will be expecting a coded ping before the locker is opened to disarm. If no coded ping, he's to shoot all-aggressively at everybody who is not Maxian.
The second thing Maxian does is to do a quick once-over of the scow he'll be piloting. Any egregious mechanical issues will be noted and the boss will be pinged with suggestions for repair. Likewise, the control systems will be reviewed to check for any obvious PWNages of the control systems that will make piloting a problem, and similarly reported to the boss.
Not being a mathematician, it is doubtful that Maxian could determine what challenges there may be in the haul route, but he'll check online anyway. Just in case it's a well-known target practice joke among the general public.
If that all works out smoothly, Maxian will ping the boss: "Is there anything specific I should know - besides the itinerary, waypoints, and certifications required?"
Things that Maxian will contemplate doing - given a modicum of opportunity:
- Repaint The Scow
Something involving teeth, like what was made famous by the flying tigers. Possibly with the ship's name emblazoned with retina-hating orange. Which reminds me...
- Re-Name The Ship
In the highly-unlikely eventuality that the scow has a cool name, Maxian won't fuck with it. But otherwise, it's getting renamed - albeit probably unofficially - to something suitably awesome. Like ULTIMATE SHIT HAWK or PRETTY ECCENTRIC NAME IS SPECIAL. Might abbreviate that second one.
- Get Fast
Determine what the optimal toxic waste haul cycle is, and try to achieve it. Or find ways to improve it. Daring/stupid stunts involving transferring momentum to the cargo will be saved for last-ditch improvements, and will only be attempted if it can be verified that there is low-observability of the delivery runs.
- Make It Fun
Most likely by imagining that the scow is a heavy fighter on an attack run, and pretending to dodge heavy turret fire. Again, vetoed if suck maneuvers will cause unwarranted risk or damage. Less worried about being observed for that, though. They can't be too fussed about somebody making such an endeavour less boring.
- Build A Turret On The Scow
Not that the turret would necessarily have any weapon installed in it. Mostly for the practice of such a construct - if the scow ever has significant down time, etcetera.
- Install A Pair Of Deck Chairs On The Exterior Hull
Just because, well, that's funny.