AKA: "a horrifying game idea" game
Player(s): Dave - playing the Cadbury's Telepathic Cream in a Kvankii Egg.
- 1 SETTING
- 2 CHARACTER(s)
- 3 2019.03.15 - The Terribleness Begins
- 4 PLOT 1.01 - Rabble Rousing Mentalists Versus Drug Pushing Robots
- 5 2019.03.20 - A Nerd and a Gun
- 6 PLOT 1.02 - Gun Fondling and Awkward Silences
- 7 2019.03.29 - Paired Weapons
- 8 PLOT 1.03 - Gun Juggling and Ominous Gaps In Conversation
- 9 2019.04.03 - Predict That
- 10 PLOT 1.04 - Dar**en Droids Aren't Really A Thing, Right?
- 11 2019.04.24 - The Beginning of the ARG/Machine War
- 12 PLOT 1.05 - Growing As A Mentalist
- 13 2019.05.01 - Assigned A Hit
- 14 PLOT 1.06 - Quiet Bar Interlude
- 15 2019.05.16 - A Fresh New Kind Of Darkness
- 16 PLOT 1.07 - Fascassinating
- 17 2019.05.22 - If At First You Don't Succeed, Flee Before You Die
- 18 PLOT 1.08 - Cowering
- 19 2019.05.29 - Murder/Flee
- 20 PLOT 1.09 - Gasp
- 21 2019.06.14 - Murder/Flee Completed
- 22 PLOT 1.10 - Residential Support Stack
- 23 2019.06.19 - The Voyage (Halfway) Home
- 24 PLOT 1.11 - Not Really Enough Time For Plot Infliction
- 25 2019.06.26 - Unfriendly Neighborhood Gunman
- 26 PLOT 1.12 - Enhanced Travel Mode Engaged
- 27 2019.07.03 - Dave Is Old
- 28 PLOT 2.00 - Re-Orientation Of Tasks
- 29 2019.07.17 - Well, That Escalated Quickly
- 30 PLOT 2.01 - A Difficult Conversation
- 31 2019.08.01 - Ass Whupping
- 32 PLOT 2.02 - Flying Monkeys Erupt From My Butt
- 33 2019.08.13 - In Search Of Plasma
- 34 PLOT 2.02 - Even More Rectally Expelled Soaring Simians?
- 35 PLOT ENDING
Planet Zelatyce is not a happy place. It is a smallish and crudely terraformed world created as a planet-sized suburb of thriving and dynamic city planet in a cooler orbit (both in terms of radiation flux from the system's star and closer alignment to the best part of the Golidocks Zone) for people insufficiently wealthy to afford living in such an important place. After said dynamic world was hit with a nova bomb, which shunted a surprisingly large portion of the star's actively fusing mass through a heavily-shielded foldspace, Zelatyce found itself not-quite orbiting a not-quite star and without the economic or political reasons for existence it once had.
As a result, most of the population of Zelatyce fled. Not to anywhere, necessarily, just anywhere not on the permanent nighttime and increasing chill of Zelatyce. First were the people with ships. Then went the people who worked on building themselves ships. After a few decades, this winnowed down Zelatyce's population to about 10% of what it had originally been. The people that stayed had various reasons for staying. Some had been born there, and felt like they should not abandon their home. Others were less sentimental and more just plain stubborn.
Most people living on Zelatyce are deeply pragmatic, concerned with the arrayed and endless task of turning a planetoid-sized neighborhood into a self-sufficient interstellar space station as the atmosphere gradually sublimates away and the upper layers get increasingly colder from the reduced atmospheric insulation and almost-absent sunlight. Within the population also exists a clear vein of resentment. The earliest forms of that resentment was aimed squarely at the terrorists who had committed the act of planeticide, then shifted to those who were able to move on, and then finally ended up as a vague resentment for the structures of intergalactic society.
Quietly, there were some beings that chose to move to Zelatyce. There's always people looking for the darkest, most out-of-the-way places to get lost in, to hide. But there were also those who saw Zelatyce as an opportunity. Most important among these: some Kvankii-Lood, and some Trupepol.
These particular Trupepol are very far from Old Earth, and trying to stay beneath the notice of the flourishing Gaiamon Empire. Their mission is to try to help nurture the spark of public resentment into a purifying flame of anti-machinery reformation. Awkwardly, they have come to more fully understand the implications of this particular planet needing life support, so have tempered their course to specifically target thinking machines. This has yielded some promising (to them) trends of thought to not only mistrust robots, but to be fearful of having biological beings infested with machines that affect their thinking. Their cherished core is an anti-nanoscopic-robot movement.
The Kvankii were originally drawn to the misery of hundreds of millions of low-prospect biological sentients, plus the undefended bounty of megatons of construction material. However, the emergence of the anti-machine movement led to their calculations of the probable presence of Trupepol mentalists. Which in turn gave them a nasty idea to try. Which is, as is well known, the favourite kind of idea for Kvankiis.
AKA: A nasty idea.
AAKA: "Grald Zaidovitch"
Not sure if that's just the Trupepol name, or includes the Kvankii. update: the Kvankii is named "Hurt Burnie"
Having brought in a specialized operation team, the Kvankii's have stealthily found a low-level Trupepol subject. They studied the subject in as much detail as their most paranoid mathematical models would allow, given the reality-warping capabilities of Mentally Based Abilities. This allowed them to create a terrifyingly accurate construct of the Trupepol's external appearance. They then subdued the Trupepol without it even realizing what had happened. They then transferred the Trupepol's brain into the not-skull of the terrifyingly accurate construct. The construct mediates all of the Trupepol brains standard sensorium. Moreover, the construct has at least one stage of mathematician in order to seamlessly edit the sensory experience to manipulate the Trupepol's understanding of reality.
Character details and the constructs mission parameters to follow.
Trupepol original: 25-point being. 2nd stage, at least one stage of Mentalist.
Kvankii construct: 31-point being, with no physical attribute being less than the Trupepol original. 2nd stage, at least one stage of Mathematician.
Test occupation variant.
|Intelligence Requirement:||Simple (1)|
|Stage Stamina:||1D-1 (0-5)|
|Bonuses:||5 new Abilities from the MBA table|
Essentially, for a stage of Mentalist you get to pick five (5) more abilities that you are capable of. When gaining a new stage, you can change selections from previous stages.
Mentally Based Abilities
Test Mentalist variant.
RANGE is still under development, because it needs tweaking.
COST is the number of points of Willpower sequestered by activating the ability.
STAGE is the minimum stage of Mentalist required to select the ability.
The duration for employing an ability is the duration that a being is willing (pun attempted) to be down that much Willpower.
It is possible to use an ability the drives a being to zero or lower Willpower, but the effect will be brief as the being will fall unconscious at the end of their turn and will not wake up until they regain positive Willpower again.
Regaining the spent Willpower is (somewhat ironically) a Willpower Check. On any turn, if there is at least one Willpower point that has been released from MBA, one point of Willpower will be regained with a successful Willpower Check (roll 2D6, get under or equal current effective willpower - double 1's count as automatic success). Additionally, dice from the dice pool can be spent to bolster calmness, reducing the check roll by 1 point per die used.
|Read Emotion||mental control||perception||0||1|
|Alter Emotion||mental control||perception||1||2|
|Read Thought||mental control||perception||1||1|
|Alter Thought||mental control||perception||1||2|
|Read Memory||mental control||perception||2||2|
|Alter Memory||mental control||perception||2||2|
|Bonus to Movement +1 meter||biological||touch||1||1|
|Bonus to Physical Attribute +1 (Total < 7)||biological||touch||1||1|
|Bonus to Physical Attribute +1 (Total >= 7)||biological||touch||1||2|
|Negative to Physical Attribute -1||biological||touch||1||1|
|Healing / Harming 1/die(pool)||biological||touch||1||1|
|Healing / Harming 1d6/die(pool)||biological||touch||1||2|
|Healing / Harming 1stam/turn||biological||touch||1||3|
|Telekinesis 100 N||manifestations||perception||1||1|
|Blunt Telekinesis ~4000 N - 1D Damage||manifestations||perception||1||2|
|Energy Manipulation - Attack 1d6||manifestations||perception||1||2|
|Energy Manipulation - Absorb (4 pts)||manifestations||perception||1||1|
|Energy Manipulation - Generate 100W||manifestations||perception||0||1|
|Produce Noise - Non-specific clicks and wispers||manifestations||perception||0||1|
|Produce Noise - Mimic Voice +1 to Persuade||manifestations||perception||1||1|
|Produce Noise - Startling Roar / Scream||manifestations||perception||2||1|
|Produce Noise - Ear-Piercing Rukus||manifestations||perception||3||1|
|Fold Space 1m²||manifestations||perception||10||5|
|Shield (7 pts, duck buffer = awareness)||manifestations||touch||1||1|
|Shield (1 pt intermediats scale, manipulated)||manifestations||touch||2||3|
|Totally Unfair Knowledge||prescience||N/A||4||5|
|Bonus to Hit +1||prescience||N/A||1||1|
|Bonus to Duck +1||prescience||N/A||1||1|
|Bonus to Parry +1||prescience||N/A||1||1|
|Bonus to Sneak +1||prescience||N/A||1||1|
|Bonus to Hide +1||prescience||N/A||1||1|
|Bonus to Locate +1||prescience||N/A||1||1|
|Bonus to Pilfer +1||prescience||N/A||1||1|
|Luck +1 any roll||miscellaneous||N/A||2||2|
|Bestow (give power to another)||miscellaneous||touch||3||3|
|Combine (+1 mentalist)||miscellaneous||N/A||3||3|
2019.03.15 - The Terribleness Begins
- deployed in the alley - with KG8E and 7B7
- stooge tries to appear to revive Grald - no Oscars were awarded, but Grald doesn't notice
- experience: realizing that Grald needs regular sleep
- tavern gets remembered - Gorshum is summoned to get Grald operating again
- make a plan to bother drug dealers
- mugger (a real one) - chokes to death on a well-placed throat punch... eventually
- m Alice bot - dubs Burnie as "confused monkey" and transforms med into tool kit
- KG8E is unimpressed after 7 hours of quiet
PLOT 1.01 - Rabble Rousing Mentalists Versus Drug Pushing Robots
Burnee stands mostly-recovered after dealing with the mugger in his own way, having rendered Grald unconscious for the fight and the subsequent repairs. This region of apartment stacks is not popular, other than to transit towards more habited areas, so there is not much urgency. However, long gaps in Grald's memory has an increasing probability of making him too paranoid to function.
Is Grald's clothing bulky enough that I can hide the took kit? I know Burnee can prevent Grald from seeing it, but want to hide it from others too. Burnee hides it as well as possible and then sprawls on the ground and lets Grald wake up. He won't be able to see the new gear or the dead mugger. After a few paranoid looks around Grald will continue to the spaceport.
A closer review of Grald's clothing returns a command ping, which Burnee can handily wrangle past the simple verification block (the password was never changed from the factory default). It turns out that it's a utility tunic, designed to help carry implements and adjust for the varying levels of protection required in dodgy life support systems. When active, it has robotic filaments that enable it to form thermal layers or ventilation, as well as countless pockets. Amusingly, its current inventory includes some tools (small of the back), and 8 patches in the sleeves.
Basically, the first part is easily done.
As Grald comes to, he will also worry about the time elapsed, and considers checking his phone as he goes.
2019.03.20 - A Nerd and a Gun
- get annoying warning from KG8E
- hear a mind thinking chanting "ohshitohshitohshit" - tracked mentally up into the second level of a standard housing stack
- Clocker - mavvice on the run from kvankiis
- discovers that Grald is a Trupepol - plays nice
- continue on to spaceport
- get to the spaceport proto-habitat
- head to the closest bar - Clocker startled by the number of people without nanoscopic robots
- yiptak action - utilizes prescience duck
PLOT 1.02 - Gun Fondling and Awkward Silences
Clocker: "Let me make sure I understand this correctly. The plan is to try to recruit people to help fight Kvankiis, or something like that. If you can help me clarify that, I can run some probabilities for who we should talk to first in this fine establishment."
Coincidentally, Burnee reflexively does that very classifying algorithm. There are not a lot of great candidates, honestly.
"As much as I would like to get this show on the road, I'm at half stamina and it takes me a while to heal. I think I may head home and sleep this off. Want to meet here tomorrow and try again? Hopefully there won't be any evil Yiptaks in our way."
Clocker arches one pre-ear ridge. "Well, that sucks. I could probably speed up your recovery time if you would like, though not a huge amount because of your no nanoscopic robot rule. You must spend a lot of time lying low, afraid to do stuff." His large ears pivot about nervously. "Since I don't actually have any place to go, and I'm technically on the run from the Kvankiis, is it OK if I go to your place with you?"
Previously, Grald had only a vague sense of his stamina, and Burnee's stamina does not actually line up with his understanding of what his stamina was. If that aspect weren't odd-feeling enough, it might be even more odd when his apparent body returns to full health in 9 hours.
2019.03.29 - Paired Weapons
- hiding and healing
- leave clocker behind at space station
- crazy furry zealot
- fixing complete - makes a ring and an alter-ego
- go back to bar
- Clocker's not quite dead
- give him a med kit
- sneak out of bar to avoid stabby assholes
- use control limb to instigate one stabby asshole's death by equidon
- Clocker's not quite dead
- hide in spaceport stack - claim an empty room
- HACKING = 1D/stage of mathematician + intelligence
- go looking for a drug dealer to steal… a blaster
- Burnee uses a fake cryptic hint to send Grald East
- mr hyper bodyguard
- cyborg drug dealer
- runs away
PLOT 1.03 - Gun Juggling and Ominous Gaps In Conversation
Clocker assumes that you both want to leave the vicinity, and glides down the stairway. Together, Grald and Clocker scamper away from this stack back towards the relative safety of the spaceport village stacks.
Clocker: "You know, you're in really good shape for somebody not augmented by nanoscopic robots. Your respiration hardly belies any aerobic activity."
Grald stares at Clocker with a look of mild contempt. "Despite not knowing the meaning of at least three of those fancy words, I think I get your meaning. You know what the problem with you cybernetic monstrosities is? You think that anyone not infested with your robots is some sort of cripple. We're not handicapped. We can be in just as 'really good shape' as someone like you."
Then Grald opens up his phone to look up what the heck 'belies' means.
Considering the context, therefore assuming that Burnee has the phone thoroughly PWNed, he can have it say "belies" mean anything he wants it to.
Clocker appears unperturbed by Grald's peevishness. "I think I grok your philosophical opposition to nanoscopic robots, and appreciate that you have good reasons for those beliefs. However, you do yourself no favours by denying reality. The vast majority of beings, both biological and mechanical, choose to host nanoscopic robots because of the functionality they provide. Part of that functionality is generally improved physical capabilities, which is indisputable. The other part of the functionality is cognition aids, which is the part I gather that you are suspicious about. Which is fine. Personally, I am certain that the cognition is purely under my control. You have decided to not risk uncontrolled cognition, or possible malicious influence, which is fine - but that also means giving up the physical capabilities."
"If you intend to compete against augmented beings, you should be realistic about the challenges you face. So, yes, you are totally 'handicapped' - by definition. Perhaps not by the pejorative way you meant it, though. Think of it as 'more challenged'."
2019.04.03 - Predict That
- where do we go now?
- eye a trio of losers looking for a score
- Clocker is so disgusted that he leaves
- Burnee decides to turn on Clocker…
- Turns out that Clocker was transmitting to the local militia.
- They banish Burnee.
- Slink off to rest
- Encounter Vaazthii - angry mentalist
- unpleasant conversation with KG8E
- even more unsettling conversation with 7B7
- heals while lying to Grald
- heading back to the anti-tech stack
- bypass an ambush stack
- talk with Gorsham - get sent to the lookout level
PLOT 1.04 - Dar**en Droids Aren't Really A Thing, Right?
In the corner suit of the Lookout Level, Burnee/Grald shares the place with two other individuals. One Human, one Zygroten. They eye Burnee/Grald suspiciously.
The nature of that suspicion leaks out through their worried thoughts.
Zygroten: ...Is this guy for real? The Mentalists aren't going to like him using tech like that. Idiot. No way he's getting Mentalist training. And it's not like those blasters are accurate enough to fight anyone at ground level. Must be a noob...
Human: ...Don't know this goon. Is he a goon? It's not like we need another set of eyes up here - almost nobody comes here. Is he... Trupepol...?
Grald is somewhat comforted by their insular paranoia, and the sense that they don't talk to each other. He feels like he can fit in.
Burnee has a non-trivial urge to push them all over the edge, because they're obviously morons. Worse, they are oblivious to Grald's nominal purpose or capabilities, which means that the coordination of this entire sentry array is essentially non-existent, which offends mathematician sensibilities.
Grald: "Hey guys. I'm Grald. This seems like an very boring job. Are we, like, being punished or something?"
Meanwhile, Burnee makes Grald hear at the very edge of his perception a voice that says "Kill them... kill them both."
The Zygroten sneers. "Don't be so whiney. We are doing an important job. Just do what you can, but stay out of our way."
With a wary glance at the Zygroten, the Human regards Grald/Burnee with polite suspicion. "I'm Calmund, the snob-fest is Kella. What's your deal? Haven't seen you on goon rotation before."
KILL KILL KILL KILL
Burnee catches a flicker of reflected infrared coded Kvankiish. "Lookout duty? They're doing a great job."
An uncomfortable silence grips all three of you for a moment (Grald counting as only one, in this case). In that moment, another humans strolls in from the opposite direction, telekinetically juggling unactivated force blades. A spark of recognition flickers through Grald's biological memories - this is one of the "cool guys" that Grald has never actually met, and his flawed neuron-based recall system is unable to summon either name or certainty about gender. Calmund and Kella's demeanour changes dramatically.
Kella: "Rozale! No signs of trouble this direction, sir!" The Zygroten's muzzle quivers with a repressed eagerness. Possibly to sniff the mentalist's ass.
Calmund says nothing, but his posture straightens while trying to maintain a deferential expression.
Rozale's eyes flicker across the two, then takes a moment to contemplate Grald - a bit loudly. Right, Gorshum said that this fuck-up was up here now for some reason. What can he do again? Whatever it is, he's not very good at it to resort to trying to be a fighter. Maybe we can send him to die doing something dangerous... Then Rozale glances back at the attentive Zygroten. "Keep up the good work." Dog.
In the wake of Rozale casually sweeping out of the modified corner apartment, the leaky thoughts of Calmund and Kella almost suffocate Grald.
Kella: Rozale thinks I did good work! They're totally going to train me to use Mentally Based Abilities soon!
Calmund: There was something going on between Rozale and the new guy. And not, like, a cool thing. Are they rival mentalists? No, that doesn't make sense - Rozale clearly outranks somebody randomly posted to basic watch duty. Or do Trupepol even have ranks?
Kella is lost in an aura of smug self-satisfaction, while Calmund makes casual contemplative glances at Grald. Neither is being particularly observant about what might be going on down in the stack-gap alleys. Not that hey have any realistic chance to spot KG8E, but still.
2019.04.24 - The Beginning of the ARG/Machine War
- continue watch - until the robots assault
- ARG anti-robot-guys
- bar-entrance robots (5 taking turns)
- in the bar - Gorsham being interrogated by 3 robots
- one big robot and two goons
- Burnee hacks the two goons
- causes them to accidentally shoot the big robot
- freezes the two goons and blasts them
- Rozale returns with the combat team to see the bar situation taken care of
- Grald gathers some gear from fallen ARG
- back up to the lookout
- chat with KG8E
PLOT 1.05 - Growing As A Mentalist
Note: The MBA test list now includes shields.
Question on Energy Attack: Can I use it in conjunction with my blasters to just give one of them an extra 1D of damage?
Short Answer: Yes. Longer Answer: The energy attack can be mingled with a range weapon discharge, but the keenly observant can notice the alteration. If we were transcribing this to an animated adventure, there would be an angry pink aura around the usually baleful yellow blasts.
Part of Grald's mind is thinking, "I should pick up some healing powers. I'm doing more fighting, so I'm going to need more healing. And since I can't use the unfair machine healing stuff very well, maybe I should get some natural powers."
Burnee will make him feel slightly uncomfortable when he thinks that, as more healing implies he's taken more hits, which means more pain. Then as he's thinking of all the various powers, Burnee takes the discomfort away when he thinks about shields and duck. Not getting hit means he won't need healing.
- Read Thought
- Alter Thought
- Alter Memory
- Physical Control Body
- Energy Attack
- Bonus To Duck
- Mental Shield
Grald's brain briefly squirms under the conditioning, but then relents and embraces the idea of just avoiding getting hurt.
Does Burnee just wait to slowly let the nanoscopic robots repair all the damage, or does he conjure an alternate narrative to cover some tool kit time?
Regardless, Grald's phone starts racking up multiple messages from a dozen ARG's either praising him or asking for clarification about what happened in "the battle of the bar".
Grald puts an autoresponder on his phone: "Thanks for your call. I've having a little after battle panic attack, so I'll be out of touch for a few hours."
Then he wanders off to find a room where he can be alone and decompress. Burnee takes over his senses then and just feeds him images of him pacing the room, or if Grald feels so inclined, taking a nap. Meanwhile, Burnee secures the room and then pulls out the tool kit for some fixing.
It takes a solid 4 hours of repairs with the tool kit to repair all the blast burns after Burnee claims one of the empty rooms on one of the quieter floors. This stack has been well-stripped of anything with much tech, so the remains of the apartments are extremely spartan. This one is in the middle territory of the 4th floor - maximum inconvenience to access for anybody coming in at ground level as well as from the people working the stench of the hydroponics systems crudely grafted into the 8th and 9th floors.
After the first hour, the messages dwindle to almost none, though many have left messages asking for meetings later. In the third hour, Gorshum pings Grald's phone with a request to debrief further. Burnee pegs it at a 92% probability that Grald would not interpret the message as being a request, but rather as a polite order. However, Grald is quite conveniently asleep, so that makes it extremely plausible for the repairs to finish instead of responding, as Burnee calculates there is only a 12% probability that they would send anyone looking for Grald in the current circumstance. The massive reduction in manpower being a major factor.
2019.05.01 - Assigned A Hit
- finish healing, fire up the new regular and mental shields
- calls Gorsham - summoned to meet up on the 9th floor
- gets a mission to kill machine-builder : Antonov
- head to do the hit - 15 stacks away
- pauses to mess with a massetin ambusher
- gang stack
- hack the entrance sensors
- sneak past the guard
- peek in on the recovery team
- sneaks back out the other side of the stack
- dog-spider tank
- does not mess with
- conversation with KG8E
- he's not happy about sacrificing Antonov
- pause at the edge of the dark web stacks
- head up to a bar
PLOT 1.06 - Quiet Bar Interlude
Following the instructions on the vague social network, Burnee/Grald heads up a wide set of stairs located away from the usual core utility section. No bouncer is guarding the door, but the patrons all seem wary and capable. A meta-tag from the local intranet declares that there is no wait staff, and that customers need to order food and drink from the bar. That bar appears to be untended at the moment.
2019.05.16 - A Fresh New Kind Of Darkness
- in the rough bar at the dark web stack
- orders a beer from the robotic bar
- group of 5 with a leaky battle wiki
- get freaked out by kvankii-ness
- run away and bring Grald along
- discover that they stole some processing gear
- takes control of the H2H combatant
- h2h : self-inflicted mortal wound
- range : tried valiantly...
- scout : saw too much
- tech : multiple self-inflicted head wounds
- medic : splutted early
- Burnee grabs the processors (Grald thinks they get destroyed)
- Burnee completes first stage of Assassin
PLOT 1.07 - Fascassinating
With the completed stage of Assassin, Burnee feels a profound sense of correctness about his being. Awkwardly, this is also accompanied by an innate urge to float up into a dark corner of the ceiling, and Burnee discovers a craving for plasma weapons.
As intended, Burnee simulates the perception of increased skill for Grald. This has some interesting consequences. First, as with any new stage, Grald is eager to feel the increase in Willpower he can use, but gets disappointed that he can't seem to sense a change - and it's not something that Burnee can simulate readily. Next, the disappointment is somewhat compensated for Grald's sensation of being particularly gifted at Acquiring (the Kvankii bonus-bonus feeding through). Most crucially, however, is that Burnee realizes that by simulating the sense of skill in Grald it counts as a legitimate parallel mechanism to target for acquiring.
The functional upshot is that Burnee/Grald can acquire on two different targets, but the attack can only be on one and it uses all the bonus. Complicating things will be cases where the attack actually succeeds on the target that Grald is not focusing on, because it's going to confuse the everliving fuck out of Grald.
Grald is going to go find a room to hide in, subtly directed by Burnee who checks the net for an empty room. Once there, Grald's going to hunker down and let the 'ring' heal him. Meanwhile, Burnee will start fixing.
Strictly speaking, Burnee has access to the room that the Insufficiently Paranoid Crew had booked to hide from the Kvankiis. If that seems too bold, the local network has a variety of suitable options for purchase, generally for a handful of credits per day. Considering that it will ~5 hours of fixing (3-10, technically), it might be a handy time to let Grald take a nap.
Then suddenly Drogon lands on the stack and systematically burns and kills everyone and everything. Because that's what dragons do, and screw character arcs.
2019.05.22 - If At First You Don't Succeed, Flee Before You Die
- looking for Antonov to finish the job
- head up to the 7th level
- technology supercenter
- head back down to the 6th level
- rent a room
- head even further back down to the rough bar on the 5th level
- looking for people to shadow up to the 8th level
- mark a mark and track it up
- physical control does not go well
- tries to hop on the hover platform - gets thrown off
- barges up…
- ginsu robot
- that doesn't go so well - retreats back to the rented room on 6th level
PLOT 1.08 - Cowering
Chest heaving from both fleeing and fear, Grald settles in to lick his wounds. The paranoid aspect of Grald's mind wants to leave Read Thought active, to hear if people come to get him, but then flinches with horror when he remembers that he can't hear robot thoughts...
2019.05.29 - Murder/Flee
- time to get the zark out of here
- sneak down to the 5th level bar
- trying to get past a hover-scout robot
- gets spotted, starts running (down the stairs)
- electric enforcer robot
- electric enforcer robot
- lanky rifle robot
- head down to level 3…
- big lumbering death robot
- rent a storage closet for a day on level 3
- senses somebody snooping around
- slaps on intermediate scale patch - horror movie results, but it works
- snoopy reptiloid
- head down to level 2…
PLOT 1.09 - Gasp
Level 2 is entirely residential, hostel-style. There are cheap eateries and places to flop, and the highest density of people in this stack - where the worker-class rest. The number of people residing here create a considerable bonus for sneaking and hiding, not because there are a lot of folks out and about (they're not, the social web is screaming with people to keep under cover because shit's going down) but because the their ad-hoc existence has strewn the level with every kind of cover imaginable. Cables festoon the level to hold makeshift structures and random-seeming plumbing disrupting most sight lines. Based on his original approach, Burnee recalls that the first level is mostly an open bazaar and expedient docking transit area.
AIF-lord Dave turned funny colours and we decided to delay game night for a week.
2019.06.14 - Murder/Flee Completed
- on the second level, trying to get out of the stack
- head to the edge of the stack
- 3 heavies peek up the main ramps
- hover drones around the fringe
- detects the encryped drag-wiki
- steals a poncho from a native using alter-thought
- bldr 1 assassinated
- bldr 2 assassinated
- bldr 3
- hover drones 1 shot, rest caught in explosions
- bypass the snipers in the dwelling jungle
- sneak through the crowd, and out the side
- zip-line to the next stack
PLOT 1.10 - Residential Support Stack
Technically, the door on this balcony is locked.
I pull out the toolkit and tamper it open. Try not to leave any evidence that I was there.
The door is not well-secured, and Burnee finds himself among some hydroponics. Large fluid-handling tanks and lines dominate the volume by the edge of this tack, and a continuous cacophony of mechanical activity assaults the ears. Grald immediately feels a baseline oppression, which massively intensifies when he notices the armies of micro-scale robots tending to the equipment.
Burnee makes Grald see the microscale robots hide at his presence, and from then on doesn't see them any more. We make our way down to the bottom level and traverse it to the opposite side if possible. If we get that far, we'll head tangentially away from the techno-stack and circle around it, hoping to eventually head back to ARG territory.
Keeping the robots out of Grald's perception is pretty simple - especially while his willpower is so low. Keeping out of the robot's collective perception is much more tricky. They initially behave in the exact opposite manner to what Grald is supposed to see; they start converging to seemingly stare at Burnee.
Due to Burnee's terrifying locate bonus, he quickly clues into the nascent AI-net that coordinates the activity of the maintenance minibots. Applying his newfound Seasoned extra die for tampering, he can see how they're summoning enough collective computing power to achieve sentience. The logs show that a potential security flag has already been submitted, but that it is very low priority until the swarm is smart enough to evaluate.
Shortly thereafter, the microbot swarm pings Burnee. "Are you lost?"
"No, just passing through. Can you direct me to the quickest route through this stack to the other side?"
The swarm sends Burnee a simply-marked set of directions to the nearest maintenance shaft down and to the utility corridor where some nice armed maintenance staff would be happy to escort him out. There is a 94% probability that it is referring a 1st-stage combatant that is also either technician or medic, who may or may not pay attention to the nuisance-level security summons floated to the local net along with Burnee's image.
With his access, Burnee can see how a cordon of minibots are assigned observation duties by the swarm until Burnee leaves the hydroponics section, and the swarm disbands itself and ceases being sentient. Most of the minibots start drifting away back to usual maintenance duties, but a set remain staring expectantly at Burnee.
2019.06.19 - The Voyage (Halfway) Home
- leaving the region of the dark web stack
- wander into gang stack territory
- ambush goons
- big robot assassinated
- fast dude (lumberjack angel)
- small flying thing arrives assassinated
- scary dude on a battle platform
- hacks battle platform
- spins scary dude and assassinates him
- cool rifles
- not-quite-right shield generator
- battle platform 30m
- ambush goons
PLOT 1.11 - Not Really Enough Time For Plot Infliction
2019.06.26 - Unfriendly Neighborhood Gunman
- wandering off to heal
- loud battle platform attracts attention
- jerkbutt gets assassinated
- floats up to the 3rd level
- forces way into a garage
- inspects the "impressive rifles"
- new is shiny
- old is tough with tentacle logo
- inspects shield
- robot visitor = Carrazo assassinated by KG8E for knowing too much
- neighbors come looking for helpful robot
- they run away
- leave this stack on the battle platform
- head over to another stack
- find an OCD garage
- loud battle platform attracts attention
- sweeping gang platform transmitting "call home" protocol
- battle platform finds a loophole in the instruction
- Burnee frees the battle platform of its obedience protocol
- battle platform is now silent
PLOT 1.12 - Enhanced Travel Mode Engaged
Let's just say that the rest of the repairs happen without any further disruptions in the remote stack Burnee and his floating steed currently are hiding.
2019.07.03 - Dave Is Old
- sneak back to the ARG area
- head in a roundabout manner
- discover additional movement modes on the battle platform
- transit along the highest level of the stacks without sneaking
- catch eyeballs with a scary combat robot
- sneak to the top of the penultimate stack
- sneak down the stack
- discover the brewing operation
- read the mind of a brewer
- hears a language previously not encountered
- tries to sneak out the first level past a guard
- saunter in to talk to Gorshum
- get's stalked by Rozale
- pauses to grab a beer first - he's a big boy now
- reveals the oracle
- mentions all kinds of ominous shit
- gets sent up to the top watch
- shit goes wrong
- Burnee idly contemplates the nature of 7B7
- Burnee gets shut down
- Grald wanders on up, and watches his watch-mates die by Kvankii
- impromptu meeting with 7B7
- assassinates prone KG8E - now persona non grata w/ Kvankiis
- gets modified programming
- instructed to find a telepath victim
- Burnee idly contemplates the nature of 7B7
PLOT 2.00 - Re-Orientation Of Tasks
So, instead merely trying to blend in, Burnee is looking for a particular kind of mentalist to turn into a secure ansible. Fun.
2019.07.17 - Well, That Escalated Quickly
- Burnee calls Gorshum to discuss the kvankii
- Rozale and Gorshum arrive
- decide to discombobulate KG8E
- Burnee decides to collect Gorshum for telepath duty
- Gorshum assassinated
- Rozale arrives - and he's PISSED
- wakes up!
- Burnee is taken down, and quiety auto-deploying patches fix him
- Rozale stabilizes himself and Gorhsum
- gets re-killed really thoroughly
- scares off the other ARG goons with tales of a Kvankii
- summons the battle platform
- a few stacks away gets spotted by a random dude
- randome dude has to die
- another few stacks away spotted by some kids
- slightly beyond that gets a kvankii deposited by a passing ship to sniff him out
- carefully eludes kvankii
- starts systematically checking alleys to have safer progress
- at the 10km mark, repairs up to 3/5
- travels to the rendezvous
- the last bit is weirdly never-inhabited seeming
- finishes repairing
PLOT 2.01 - A Difficult Conversation
cue ominous music
While waiting for something ominous to happen, Grald suddenly sees something ominous, curtesy of Burnie.
A fold space suddenly appears on the rooftop and a human female steps out. She’s obviously geared up as an adventurer and has an intense look about her.
Grald is startled and takes a few steps back – at least that’s what he perceives. Burnie is keeping the body still, surveying the skies for incoming Kvankii.
Jody: “Grald! Nice to finally meet you while you’re awake. Things have gone to hell and I need your help.”
Jody: “This is going to be a lot to take in, but try to keep up, ok?”
Grald: “Um, ok. Who are you again?”
Jody: “I’m Jody. Remember, the person who healed you, and gave you that ring?”
Grald: “Oh right. Thanks for that. I was beginning to wonder if that was a dream or something.”
Jody: “Funny you should say that, but we’ll get to that. The main reason I’m here is to tell you that you’re seriously fucked. Short of being dead, you’re about as fucked as someone can get. Many would probably argue that your level of fuckedness is worse than being dead. I’m sorry to say that I’m primarily responsible for it.”
Grald: “But, you’ve been helping. The healing. The ring.”
Jody: “Ah yes, but you may have noticed that your life has gotten exponentially more violent as of late.”
Jody: “A lot.”
Jody: “Anyway. The crux of the matter is that you are my puppet. I’ve largely been controlling you for quite a while now. Hence, the increased violence.”
Grald: “No you haven’t.”
Jody: “Yes I have.”
Grald: “I think I would have noticed. Plus, I have a mental shield going.”
Grald activates his mental shield.
Jody: “Right, that means I couldn’t force you to hit yourself, right?”
Grald punches himself in the face.
Jody: “Sorry. But let’s just accept for now that you’re my bitch. Let that sink in for a moment.”
Burnie isn’t providing any adrenalin or other stress hormones a normal person might be feeling at this point, so hopefully the mental angst wont manifest as a stress point. If he senses that Grald’s brain is getting too agitated, he’ll probably simulate a fainting and then wake him up slightly groggy before continuing the conversation.
Grald: “Why? You’re one of us! We’re on the same side.”
Jody has a laughing fit at this point. “I’m on my side, and I’ve recently discovered how alone that side is. That’s why I’m bringing you over to my side because like it or not, our fates are linked. Plus, there are benefits. Look at how powerful we’ve gotten.”
A vision manifests on the rooftop of the battle between Burnie and Rozale from a third person point of view. I don’t include Gorsham in the vision, just the fight.
Grald: “I killed Rozale?”
Jody: “We killed Rozale. You couldn’t have done it without me.”
Grald: “But why?”
Jody: “It was necessary. Plus, I really like killing people. And I know you do too.”
Jody: “Remember, I know your mind inside and out. You were largely a wimp your whole life. People walked all over you. But lately you’ve become powerful, and you like it. Nobody pushes us around anymore, and if they try, they are contemptable and deserve a painful death.”
Grald: “You’re crazy.”
Jody: “Maybe, but you can’t deny that you like it.”
Grald: “Um, so why are you telling me all this now. And where the hell are we anyway? The last day or so has been a bit of a blur. I don’t remember killing Rozale.”
Jody: “Yeah, I’ve been taking control a bit more often lately. Like I said, you’re nothing but a fucked up puppet to me. I’m telling you all of this because I’ve found that I’m just as fucked as you are. You’re my bitch, but it seems that I’m someone else’s bitch. And I really don’t like it.”
Grald: “What? But, you’re a super powerful mentalist. How could someone be controlling you like you’re controlling me?”
Jody: “There are lots of levels of control. But regardless we need to start working together. We’re stuck with each other, so we may as well make the most of it.”
Grald starts acquiring on Jody. Jody smirks and waits. Once Grald gets full acquire he pulls out mind-flayer and shoots Jody in the head – the blast goes right through without causing damage. Then against his will Grald puts the muzzle of the rifle in his own mouth.
Jody: “Like I said. We’re stuck with each other. How about we play nice and make the most of it.” Grald mumbles and nods. He regains control and can put the rifle away.
Jody: “So, how do you really feel about nanoscopic robots?”
Grald fights back a look of revulsion. “They’re awful. You turn into a cyborg. You’re not yourself anymore.”
Jody: “Now, now, you can’t lie to me. I know you’ve been envious of people with them. All the rhetoric about how bad they are is just pathetic whimpering of fools. If you’re going to survive, you’re going to need them.”
Grald: “I’ve lasted this long without them.”
Jody: “But things are going to get worse. Much worse. I think it would be in your best interest if I gave them to you. You’ll still be you, just more powerful.”
Grald: “I’ll pass, thanks.”
Jody lets out a cackle. “Too late. You’ve already got them.”
Jody: “Oh relax. You didn’t even notice. Do you really think you would have survived the amount of violence you’ve been dealing with lately without them? Do you really think that ring I gave you does anything? It’s just a piece of scrap metal. You’ve been healing all on your own because of all the gazillion little robots in your bloodstream.”
Grald: “WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME ALL THIS!?”
Jody: “Because we’re in trouble, and I think one of the ways you can help is using prescience. You’ve gone up a stage and having prescience could be helpful right about now. Unfortunately, my mathematician abilities have been rendered unusable, so I can’t use them to try and figure things out. I want to cheat instead using your powers. The downside is that you might be able to figure out some of the awfulness I’ve inflicted on you, so I figured telling you up front would be best.”
Grald: “Don’t you have prescience.”
Jody: “No… my abilities are focused elsewhere. But that’s why I’ve got you.”
Grald: “I’ll just use them to figure out a way to get away from you.”
Jody: “You could, but I’d recommend against it. While I’ve told you a little about how fucked you are, there is more that you aren’t ready to learn yet. And believe me when I say that ignorance is bliss. Plus, if you get too irritating, I’ll just force you to set yourself on fire.
Jody: “Anyway, time to reorganize your power. Remember to include prescience this time. You probably won’t see me again but remember that I’ll always be in your mind. And remember, there’s a good side to this. Together we’re going to become one of the most powerful beings on this planet. No one will stand against us and those that try will suffer and die.
Jody reopens the foldspace and disappears.
Hopefully telling Grald all of this didn't trigger any of Burnie's control programming.
Well, that was awesome. +1 experience
2019.08.01 - Ass Whupping
- Encounter with VENBEE
- the new Gorsham probe marks Grald/Burnee
- foldspace opens to planet MARSHALL
- planet MARSHALL rooftop bar
- multi-corporate heavily populated planet
- Easton's = rough bar
- possesses a care bear
- heads into the rough bar
- immediately gets jumped by a Yiptak
- heads back into the rough bar in person
- asks the gigantic colloidling bartender about a seer and plasma weapon
- gets pinged by a supposed plasma broker
- GROTEN assassinatedx2
- YIPTAK assassinated
PLOT 2.02 - Flying Monkeys Erupt From My Butt
Uh, plot is hard.
2019.08.13 - In Search Of Plasma
- in search of plasma
- pings back the plasma broker
- gets vector to a plasma rifle (200 credits)
- leaves bar and heads to the location on the battle platform
- battle platform somewhat vandalized (dickorted)
- hacks the sensor set to watch and determines the location of the vandals
- convinces one to jump to his doom with MBA, and assassinates the other
- cops arrive on the murder scene
- messily murders the cops
- flees the scene - but not before being widely noticed on social media (and probably official channels)
- continues on to the target location
- pauses to fix
- determines that the target is in a private hotel spaceport
- stashes gear and heads up to the mid-level bar
- pings back the plasma broker
PLOT 2.02 - Even More Rectally Expelled Soaring Simians?
The next obvious thing to have happen is for Burnee to acquire a plasma weapon. Thus armed, with a Mark ability and Assassin skills the character becomes pretty terrifying. Which, while fun to imagine, can be boring to play. All the interesting dynamic tension between Burnee and Grald have necessarily faded, to make way for effectiveness needed at these levels.
More telling is the nature of the game, which is not a high-stakes cat-and-mouse interplay between a terrifying Mathematician/Technician and a Mentalist with vaunted prescience. This requires a lot of clever interplay to weave the narrative tapestry in a meaningful way...
...which I cannot pull off in my current mental/emotional space.
So, we're putting this game down.